Thursday, 1 January 2015

A look back at my 2014

Being New Years Morning and all, I thought I might write up a post about my year. While I know 2014 has been a horrible year for some, including some of my close friends and family, it will be a year I look back on with much fondness.

Warning: This is a very long post

2014 saw me take my first trip overseas (and also my second and third) with a famil trip to Cambodia in April with Peregrine. It was a very eye opening trip for me, learning about the horrors that happened there in the 70's, seeing some of the locations and bones of the victims so close, it was impossible for me not to cry. But on the other hand, I got meet some of the friendly locals, I sampled local cuisine (but not the deepfried spiders) and I explored some of their beautiful ancient temples.

Posing at Angkor Wat

The faces of Bayon

Trees growing through Angkor Thom

Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Cambodia really is a beautiful country, with an extremely rich cultural heritage. This is one country you want to see as soon as you can, and enjoy it before it becomes too commercialised and overrun with tourists.

I also got to go for a quick 4 day trip out to Norfolk Island, curtesy of Oxley travel and Norfolk Island Tourism. A very cute little rock in the middle of the ocean, it has a country town feel to the community, with all the perks of being a secluded island (unpredictable weather included)

Then of course, July held the biggest event  of my year. My Wedding!!! I had spent a few days a week, for the past 2 months leading up to this, at my grandma's, sewing my dress, and had spent 4 months prior to that painstakingly hand beading lace applique pieces. I even spent some of the night before my wedding stitching the red ribbon to the waist of the dress. The skirt used 20m of tulle, which was so wide I cut it into 4 widths, so essentially 80m of tulle went into it. The outer skirt is comprised of two gathered layers of 20m of tulle,  which then had a satin circle skirt underneath, with the rest of the tulle used to make a tiered petticoat with most of the volume on the bottom tier, to balance out the bulk at the waist created by the 2 gathered layers. I kept telling everyone it made me feel like the most glamourous puff ball/marshmallow! 
Our wedding had plenty of other handmade touches to it. I made faux fur capelets for my bridesmaids, a faux fur jacket for myself, lace doilie bunting for the cake table and lollie buffet, the photobooth backdrop, dyed doilies and made table numbers for the centrepieces, and, I also made the cake (despite numerous objections from friends and family) and trust me, it was a damn tasty cake. Whilst a few things went wrong on the day, I married my husband, and wouldnt have done it any other way.

Quick glass of Dom Perignon before going to the church

Arriving at the church

First kiss as a Married couple
The Bridal Party

It was a bit chilly

Cutting the Scrumptious Cake

The Candy Buffet
 My maid of honour was such a big help in the days leading up to the wedding. She stayed over at my house and, while I was busy meticulously icing the cake, she painstakingly washed all the glass containers for the lolly buffet, taste tested the lollies, filled the containers, covered them in gladwrap, and packed them carefully into boxes for transportation. I was so busy in those last few days, the lolly buffet may not have happened had she not been there for me. She was also instrumental in making sure I didnt forget anything when we set up the day before, or on the day itself. 


Then of course, another highlight of 2014 was our honeymoon! This was my husband's first trip overseas (but my third by this point, although it was the first one I booked) We were gone almost a month, and started our trip with a week in York staying with Family.

Quick drink before our flight out of Sydney

Matt in a train at the National Railway Museum in York

Throw her in the Stocks! At the Castle museum in York
York has some absolutely amazing museums. My husband and I spent a whole day at the national railway museum (he loves trains!) And the castle museum has some amazing displays, including a whole reproduction of a victorian era street, complete with a back alley, and shops you can enter. We also walked the historic York walls, did some shopping in the Shambles, had a bit of a pub crawl,  and found a cute York Cat trail treasure hunt style walk, where the clues lead you around York to find old Cast Iron cat statues. Apparently, back in Plague days, these statues were put out to scare away the rats that carried the plague.

The cliffs of Moher in Ireland
 One of my husband's favourite parts of the honeymoon was definitely our 3 day tour of Ireland with Shamrocker tours (which we both HIGHLY reccomend!) As well as the extra day we spent in Dublin at the Guinness Storehouse. No prizes for guessing why he loved that. We did the 3 day Southern Rocker tour, and they sure do cram alot into 3 days. We saw so many sites, and many a laugh was had. Our tour guide Kim was great and had fantastic knowledge of local myths and legends. Plus she liked a sneaky pint now and then.

The Mona Lisa
 After a few nights in London, which neither of us really enjoyed much, we caught the Eurostar to Paris! Unfortunately by this point we had both caught a nasty cold from one of the hostels we stayed in, so when we finally got to our fabulous 4 1/2 star hotel, we just ordered room service and enjoyed the comfy bed. I think they were initially shocked to see 2 backpackers walk in to the lobby! We enjoyed 4 fabulous nights in Paris, and while I would have liked to explore more, it took alot of effort to get out of bed. Luckily, my boss and coworker had given us a wonderful wedding present for our first full day in Paris. They bought us a guided city tour, lunch at the Eiffel tower and a river cruise on the Seine, so we were able to take in alot of the sites without making too much effort. Other than that, we spent a full day at the Lourve (I could have spent many days there) and mostly just wandered around the Eiffel tower as it was so close to our hotel. Of course we had a crepe in front of the Eiffel tower, and I bought myself a white beret.

Crepes plus Eiffel tower Selfie!

All lit up at night
We also camped in Munich for Oktoberfest for 4 nights, but a lack of electricity and wifi at the campsite meant I didnt take any photos on my tablet to conserve charge. I will have to steal some of the photos my husband took later. We had alot of fun at oktoberfest, and being there for mostly weekdays meant it wasnt as busy, so we could usually get a seat, plus we met, and had drinks with quite a few locals. The Friday night we were there was just full of Australians getting embarrissingly drunk and puking in the alleyways... and I wont mention the condition of the amenities that day...... so my advice is, if you want to really immerse yourself in the festival, meet locals,  and actually be able to get a seat, go on a weekday. We found a second hand clothing shop (thanks to a recommendation from our bus driver) and I bought a Purple Dirndl and white blouse as a souvenir, which I also wore some of the time at Oktoberfest. We did look at Lederhosen, but they are quite expensive, and damn near impossible to find in my husband's size. However he did buy 4 german beer steins to bring home for himself. We are thinking of hosting an Oktobetfest event at our place in the new year, complete with homemade soft pretzels and pickles!

When we eventually made it back to Australia, our colds seemed to get worse again, and we stayed in bed for a few weeks until we were right again.

Then, the rest of the year you already know if you have been reading my blog. I made a 1950's style Wonder Woman Costume for halloween, participated in Sew Retro Rose's Swirl Sew-along, tested some sewing patterns for a few designers, cooked Macarons for a CWA cooking competition, participated in Tiny Angry Crafter's Vintage Pyjama party Sew-along and sewed or cooked nearly all the Christmas Presentswe gave this year.

2015 looks to be a great year for us. I am looking forward to my new job at Elsie George Boutique (as well as launching our own line in the new year) continuing work at the Travel Agency, especially now that I have my qualifications. As well as all the new things I will get to sew, and any new adventure married life may bring me (dont worry mum, no children just yet)

So that's it for my 2014. I hope everyone's 2015 will be just as great, if not better!

Dixie O'Dare

PS. I got my Swirly secret Santa! I can't wait to sew something fabulous with that fabric!

PPS. I now have pink hair. And a new dress. New Look 6457 view E

And now for some christmas kitty cuteness!

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