Category Archives: About me

#meredith2013

The A Team again partook in some Meredith. It was a good ‘un.

the a team

The music was spectacular, as always, with highlights being Chic featuring Nile Rogers, Spiderbait, Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes, and Brian Jonestown Massacre. But, again as always, the fun was had both in the ‘Sup and around the outside.

luke drinking a cocktail

We decided to start the first day with cocktails. Milk Based Cocktails to be precise. Luke made some White Russians before we left and popped them in a couple of thermos, and surprised Laura. She was stoked to say the least.

laura discovers a mbc

We all enjoy the MBCs and umbrellas.

holly drinking a cocktail

Cocktails were soon followed by life saving cups of tea. You know how it is.

a saving cup of tea

The days were glorious …

the love arch

… as were the evenings.

sunset over meredith

Farewell Meredith. See you soon.

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Christmas 2013: the season that was

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Luke and I kicked off the season with my ‘work’ Christmas party. Given that I have no workplace as such, this ‘work’ Christmas party consisted of just the two of us. It was excellent. No boring boss or creepy guy from accounts.

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We took ourselves off on a bike tour to Abbotsford, where we partook in a cleansing ale at the charming Retreat Hotel. One turned to two or three, and we were hungry. So off to Thy Thy for a feast.

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No party is complete without the ‘superior’ Michinbury. Hey big spender.

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We may or may not (may), have then ridden home, dragged the mattress into the lounge room and slept under the Christmas lights. Childhood dream realised. Best ‘work’ Christmas party ever.

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Next up is the Christmas baking. As per every year, my sister Laura and I split our baking and make hundreds of treats for packaging up and sharing with friends and family.

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This year I made lebkuchen for a picnic, gluten-free mince pies for Luke, along with a range of truffles – peanut-butter balls, date and ginger logs and whiskey balls. Laura made the amazingly cute shortbread, chocolate orange balls, mint log and fruit mince pies. We are the best Christmas bakers going around. Just quietly.

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By the time the end of December rolled around, Luke and I were well ready for a holiday before family Christmas time. So we took ourselves up north to Mooloolaba for a few days. Bliss.

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First we visited ‘Crikey Park’, aka Australia Zoo. Crikey expensive, but a good day out. We saw bucket loads of lizards, crocodiles, birds, koalas, giraffes and kangaroos. It was fun to be tourists and ooh and aah at the wildlife.

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Beaching was up next. I didn’t grow up near the beach, I’m more of a river gal, but whenever I visit the beaches on the Sunshine Coast and Northern NSW, I can see what all the fuss is about. We enjoyed naps, fish and chips, watching the sun set over the marina, reading books, Luke enjoyed swimming at the beach (I got dumped by a wave and cried), I enjoyed swimming in the hotel pool, etc etc. Bliss.

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Good old Lismore and the family were up next. We introduced the Ramsay team to the iconic Milk Based Cocktail #MBC and got everyone on board (see last years Christmas post for the story!). We go with a White Russian, but there is definitely room for another in the repertoire, any suggestions?

Then we ate.

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But don’t worry, we survived all the food, and loved seeing the family. Another Christmas win!

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I hope that you all had a great Christmas and sent 2013 off feeling full of food, booze and family!

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2014: The Plan

I love a new year. Shiny, unsullied, full of potential. Sigh.

mooloolaba sunrise

So. The Plan for this year is centred around mindfulness. Being in the moment. Enjoying. Living. Not checking facebook and instagram 24/7. Loving. Oh the possibilities!

1. Sleep

As of the 28th of January, I am a full-time teacher. I will need lots of sleep so as to be sane, happy, with it and kind. As such, I will get ready for bed as early as possible – lunch made, bag packed, make-up removed. I will go to bed at a reasonable hour and I will not faff around at 10pm, putting off doing my chores. When I sleep 8 to 9 hours I am happy and resilient. Winner.

2. Internet-free Moments

Luke and I started Internet-free Sundays last year, but lost our way. Bringing back Sundays full of walks, cocktails, vinyl, card games, cooking, reading and napping. Adding to this, I shan’t use the internet mindlessly after dinner. Social media is often an unsatisfying time suck.

3. Shopping Ethically

Joining in with Pip of Meet Me At Mikes for a Year of Ethical Fashion. If I’m looking for things to wear I will only:

a) Buy from ethical makers or
b) Buy second-hand or
c) Make it myself  or
d) Wear things I already own or 
e) Borrow or swap garments with friends

I am currently pretty good with this already, with jeans, underwear, shoes and exercise gear being my weak points. Please note that underwear will be bought from ethical makers, not purchased second-hand (!).

Related to this, is a plan to go through my wardrobe and figure out what I *really* need to transform it into the wardrobe of a grown up teacher person.

Adding to this, I am going to try to make all my purchases as ethical as possible, using the Shop Ethical! app.

4. Beautiful Mornings

My new job is out east, about a 30-40 minute commute each way. Blah. So! To counter this, I am going to get up with enough time to have a stretch, perhaps meditate, drink a delicious cup of tea or coffee and eat a damn fine breakfast. My mornings will be beautiful and peaceful.

5. It IS about the money, money, money

A year with the both of us studying has really racked up the debt. This year will see us pay of those damn blasted credit cards and save money for … our wedding! Yippee! And hopefully a mid-year jaunt to Perth and some weekends away as required.

holly sunset

I’d love to hear of your plans for 2014. Bring it!

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3(0) is a magic number

I am now 30 years old. AND DAMN IT FEELS GOOD!

birthday presents

Here are all my presents. Well not all of them! Lovely Laura gave me some Royal Doulton champagne glasses, which are to be featured another time!

paella

Luke bought me this paella pan and accoutrements, we have eaten paella twice since. Who would have thought it was so quick and easy!

books
A favourite adult book, and two amazing kids books.

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“Bernard, Bernard! I’m a prostitute robot from the future!”

le creuset

I was very spoilt again, with this gift of my second Le Creuset! This cast iron pan will get plenty of work in years to come. And it’s orange!

squishy

After opening all my presents (thanks Mum and Dad for the knife, and my lovely in-laws for my spoils), and having my first solo bedroom dance as a 30 year old to Azealia Banks (language warning!), the squishy above took me out for breakfast to the North Carlton Canteen. Yummo.

I was lucky enough to share my day with my friend Lisa’s wedding day! So Lukey and I spruced ourselves up to get down to Lisa and Aaron’s wedding in the Carlton Gardens. The sun came out just in time for the ceremony, and all was glorious, as all weddings should be.

wedding

I kept myself relatively nice until my job as MC was finished, then I joined the others in some ridiculous dancing, champagne glass smashing (accident!) and general tomfoolery. Fun.

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Hawt bride.

I was also super spoilt with our traditional birthday dinner later on in the week – Luke took me to La Luna!

la luna charcuterie

It was a delicious, (ethical) meat filled, winey and yummy night, starting with an amazing charcuterie plate, then garlic prawns, sausages, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, roasted pork and ice-cream to finish.

la luna meals

Not to mention a wine or two with each course. Dirty 30s indeed!

wine

Needless to say, a most fabulous time was had. Thanks to everyone for the fabulous send off up to the third floor!

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Luke making friends with all the neighbourhood cats on the walk home from dinner ….

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Love and happiness

The ever romantic, sexy, kind, fun and generous Luke Ramsay asked me to marry him last week. Because mama didn’t raise no fool, I said yes.

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While standing on the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, overlooking at the fountain and lake, Luke said some very, very kind things about me and pulled out a ring.

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The sneaky bear had bought the ring in Melbourne, and had been saving it to ask me while in Central Park. Swoon. He had even spoken to my sister, and both our parents before we left, not to ask permission, but to ask for their blessings. Gotta love a family man.

Luke

He really is the one for me.

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Life as I now know it

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Don’t worry, I’m alive!

University has swallowed my life. After four weeks of my new routine, I’m feeling like I can lift my head up again. Thank goodness!

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This is what I’ve been doing. Books, laptop, tea. Repeat.

I’ve been loving the study, but the change of routine shook me around more than I had thought. I’m a creature of habit, I’m at a bit of a loss without routine. But now that I’ve finished my old job, had a month of classes, and started my new casual job, I’m feeling a bit more like myself.

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This is grumpy me, during the first few weeks of having two jobs and starting uni. Grumpy.

So. What’s news? Well, we went to Golden Plains and enjoyed us some Cat Power and George Clinton. It was hot and awesome …

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The view from our tent. Glorious.

I took my Guides camping. It rained but we are toughies …

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Packing up wet tents is a challenge for Guides and Leaders alike.

I haven’t been photographing my outfits much, but this one is a favourite. I feel very 70s in it.

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Luke’s mum sent me this 80s tupperware. Very much in love! But don’t microwave it. Hot tip (ha!) from the experienced …

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Last weekend saw Luke and I spend a day together, the first for three or four weeks! We slept in, went to the gym, out for breakfast at our favourite (have the summer breakfast), did some study, then played board games and drank wine. Glorious. We have made it our mission to spend every Sunday like this.

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Summer breakfast at Small Block – spinach, fetta, beetroot relish, avo, eggs, toast.

So that’s me.

Oh, and just to show off, it is only 87 days until Luke and I go to southern California and New York for a wedding and a hollyday. Happy happy happy dance!

Happy Easter to you if that’s your thing. If not, hope you have enjoyed your long weekend. I have!

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Holly loves Christmas

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A little vintage fellow on my vintage silver aluminum tree. The tree belonged to Luke’s grandparents and is treasured.

With a name like Holly, it would be most disappointing if I was one to spurn Christmas. Luckily I love Christmas! What’s not to love? Food, friends, family, holidays, summer (for us anyway!), songs about oneself decking halls, drinking wine and eating shortbread at 11am …

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Gluten-free fruit mince pies – pastry by moi, fruit mince by Mum and Laura.

Luke and I alternate Christmases between my home of Launceston, Tasmania and his home of Lismore, New South Wales. This year was a year to head south and hang with the Brackens. We took some leave from work and headed down to Tassie for 10 days. Bliss!

First off we headed to the north-west coast to visit family, and stock up on Christmas supplies. We did the obligatory pop into Ashgrove Cheese and ate all of the tasting options, twice, but gave the Raspberry Farm and Anvers Chocolates a miss this time. Most restrained of us. Mainly because we already had a house full of raspberries and chocolate treats!

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No one made Luke choose the horse’s arse over a strawberry. No one.

We also stopped at the Berry Patch and the Cherry Shed, both of which provided much amusement. And delicious berries of course.

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The giant cherries were just asking for a pin up pose!

We spent the days before Christmas, cooking, eating, napping, reading, hanging out. Perfection. Then the day was upon us!

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I bought this vintage ‘resort wear’ in Lismore last year with my Christmas money, it was begging to be worn on Christmas Day. It has pockets!  I did change out of it later in the day though in order to fit in more food …

We had a lovely relaxed approach to Christmas lunch. No turkey or overcooked carrots for us! We started with oysters, 12 natural and 12 kilpatrick, then had prawn cocktails, then amazing Tasmanian crayfish in a white wine sauce, then the spread you see below, then pavlova, then plum pudding, then we all exploded.

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Cray legs, boiled new potatoes, broccoli salad, roast chicken, broad beans, caprese salad.

Through out which, we consumed copious cocktails. We began with Santa’s Slays (rum, cranberry juice and sparkling wine), then moved onto a variety of warm weather appropriate cocktails, such as the one below.

Last time we were in Tasmania we attempted a Christmas cocktail hour but were thwarted by a lack of mixers. We only had milk, and to her credit, Laura made a good go of it, offering us a variety of milk based cocktails. However, they didn’t go down very well on a full stomach while sitting in the sun. This has now gone down in Bracken family folklore, meaning “Make me another milk based cocktail!” was an oft heard phrase.

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Laura’s fabulous invention of gin, raspberries, lime and sparkling wine. And not a drop of milk to be seen.

On Boxing Day, we packed up two cars, six people, the dog, a dozen bottles of wine, left over treats and some board games and headed to Bicheno on Tasmania’s east coast. This is a glorious part of the world, well worth a visit. Mum hired a fantastic beach house and we proceeded to rest up.

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The view from the balcony. Bliss.

At night we played cribbage, card games and Monopoly. One epic six person game went on for around 4 hours! Some of us enjoyed Monopoly more than others. It’s always more fun when you win, so Laura must of had the best time of all!

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After four days beach-side it was sadly time to head back to Melbourne to commence real life again. Luckily I had one more holiday up my sleeve before work began again, a trip with Luke’s parents down the Great Ocean Road! Which I am sure you shall hear about shortly …

I hope you all had a great Christmas, New Years Eve or just a break if neither of those float your boat. Bring on more family, good food and travels in 2013!

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#meredith2012

Ah Meredith 2012. To quote Aunty, it felt next level and old school all at the same time. It’s very difficult to express the wondrous weekend that was the Meredith Music Festival, so I’ll leave it to these photos to help you get it if you weren’t there.

on the road to meredith
On the road, this place is a beauty.

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Morning! Meredith Sunrises for all!

dusty sunset
And a Meredith Sunset. There’s nothing like it.

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Oh look! It’s Vladimir Putin!

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Giving my respects to Vladimir.

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Me capturing Laura, capturing Meredith.

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It’s Lukey!

ribena
A breakfast necessity. Hydration and vitamins.

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When it’s hot, nap.

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Meredith isn’t Meredith without Sunday morning recovery tai chi.

Hope to see you in the ‘Sup next year!

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Meet Mallory!

I am a cyclist. Well, cyclist might be an exaggeration, but there is no doubt that I love riding my bike.

My ride is a 1960s Malvern Star, I named her Mallory. My Dad bought her for me at an auction in Launceston for only $75. He had her cleaned up and shipped over to the Melbourne inner city where she belongs. Thanks Dad!

She came with her original owners manual in a lovely Mao inspired plastic bag, tied onto her handlebars with a rubber band.

It was hard to avoid cycling as a kid, as I grew up in Evandale, Tasmania, the home of the National Penny Farthing Championships. In 1993, my Dad won the Airport Sprint, a race where they closed down the Launceston Airport so fools on penny farthings could ride down the runway really fast. Funnily enough, they don’t race that one any more.

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Here we all are in 1994! Nice hats!

Dad is a huge cycling fan and cyclist, as a teenager I worked in a cafe and served him and his many lyrca-clad mates lattes and pastries every Saturday morning after they’d been out on a long ride. Despite being surrounded by bikes growing up, I never really rode my bike much (maybe the lycra put me off!?).

These days I ride often. I ride Mallory to work everyday, to Girl Guides when I don’t have tents to traipse about, and out and about with Luke on the weekends. I try to avoid any real traffic, and stick to the nice wide bike paths. Luckily there is plenty of those in Melbourne.


Look how fast I can ride! Wheeeeeee!

My best (and only) sister Laura bought me this book for my birthday, it is full of cycling wisdom, maps and themed trips. I’m yet to try any of the suggested outings, but have enjoyed sections such as “Never look at yourself while wearing a helmet” and “The bicycle and women’s rights”.

Winter sees me often chosing the tram over Mallory, but now that summer is here I’m looking forward to days of cycling about. Safe riding!

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Why I love vintage

I have been an op shopper for as long as I can remember. My friend Stacey and I would scour the op shops in Launceston for polyester striped shirts, grandpa pants and crazy jackets. I am proud to say that I still wear some of the things I thrifted while I was a teenager.


MC Escher coat bought years and years ago at a Launceston op shop.


Maroon wooly from a hundred years ago (it’s the perfect cropped length), red and black wool pencil skirt from the Red Cross op shop on Brunswick Street.

While I find most of my pretties in vintage shops not op shops these day, I don’t mind. I still love the thrill of the chase, not knowing what I will find (and if it will be in my size and if I can afford it). I also like not being dressed the same as anyone else!


Asian Princess dress bought years and years ago at a Launceston op shop.

I like knowing that the clothes I love have been loved before, and that no factory (recently) spewed out noxious gases to make the vast majority of the things I wear.


Washed vintage scarves, all in a row.

I love my vintage dress collection, I now have over 40. I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed at this! I have a couple of early gems from the 40s and 50s, but the majority are gorgeous numbers from the 60s through to the 80s. I love them for their awesome bright prints and easy to wash and wear fabrics!


This 1970s number was bought at Clara Fox, found unworn, still with the tag on!

So my friends, go forth and hunt down some pre-loved bargains! The planet will thank you!

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