Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Hidden Gardens, Caversham House

I'm at the age right now where I still love going to weddings. I'm sure that by the time I hit forty years old, I may not be as excited as I get nowadays. I've been to a few weddings, but today was the first time a friend of mine was getting married. 

The wedding was out in the Hidden Gardens of Caversham House in Caversham. I've never been to Caversham House before, but I've heard that it's quite a popular venue for outdoor wedding ceremonies. 

The place was stunning. That is how every wedding should be though, so I was not surprised. The ceremony was held on the beautiful lush green lawn area over looking the Swan River. There were these gorgeous stairs that led to the lawn down below which the bride and bridesmaids walked down. The garden, flowers and hedges were so well kept and just so full of colour. To top it all off, there was a huge water fall type feature on the far side of the garden. It was so beautiful. I've never seen anything like it, and it just looked gorgeous. 

As lovely as the venue was, what really made this a memorable day for everyone there was the love so evident between the bride and groom. I swear there wasn't a single dry eye after the vows were said. There was love and happiness everywhere I looked today. Even though I said I might become less excited about weddings as I go to more and more of them, I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing love being shared around.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Balga Friday Markets

I like to go to weekday Mass every now and then, and every time I go on a Friday I always pass the Balga Friday Markets held at the Princess/Wallington Reserve. On my way home from Mass, I decided that it was about time I went and had a look around. The weather was lovely and I had time to kill. 

I was completely surprised at how many sellers there were! There were so many things for sale. Pretty much anything and everything you could think of (except for a waffle maker which I have been hunting for for ages now). Most of it was old and used, but there were some new things too, like phone accessories. I honestly think that you'd have to spend a whole day just to go through everything that was up for grabs. 

I admire all of the sellers for coming out early and setting everything up. There was just so much stuff! I really can't emphasise that enough. It would take them quite a while to set up their tables, chairs and tents and lay everything out. 

So I confess that I didn't really have any intention to buy anything as I only had $2.20 in my purse, but I think I'll go back for a proper hunt one day and look for some awesome vintage goodies. 

I really wish I could have taken more photos to give you an exact picture of how big this market was, but I wasn't sure how people felt about my snapping photos of them. Also, I only had my phone on me and it makes that really loud camera sound which made it even more awkward. Apologies for the lack of photos. 

Super creepy looking doll.
What I assume is an old fashion coffee grinder

A man with his parrot. Quite cute. The parrot was not for sale :P

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Co Yo vegan yoghurt

I have recently heard a lot of hype about the product Co Yo, a coconut milk vegan yoghurt. Vegan yoghurt is a delicate thing and can be either a hit or a huge huge miss. I have tasted a soy yoghurt that was not very pleasant, and I've tried the Soy Life yoghurt which is amazing! Co Yo is an American product that isn't readily available in the big chain grocery stores here in Perth. I was curious to taste the yoghurt, but was content with never knowing because I had the Soy Life yoghurt to tide me over. 

I was buying myself some nutritional yeast (which is kept in the fridge) the other week from Weigh 'N' Pay in Woodvale, when I saw that they also sold Co Yo. I just had to know what all the fuss was about so I went back today and bought the mango flavoured Co Yo. Be warned, this yoghurt is super expensive. I paid $14.50 for a mere 400g. It better be made from coconuts from some extremely rare tropical island grown on soil which has been blessed by God himself in order for it to be that expensive. But anyways, some things need to be tried at least once. 

I decided to also whip up some vegan gronola to accompany my yoghurt, and bought some hemp seeds to sprinkle on top too. I used the recipe from here to make the granola, but I halved the recipe and make a few changes which I will include below. 

I decided to have a super small serving of the Co Yo since it was so expensive, but it actually turned out to be better that way because the yoghurt is quite rich. It tastes a little like what I remember yoghurt tasting like, but it had a slight bitter coconut after taste. I guess the bitterness is because of the fact that the yoghurt is sugar-free. None the less, I'm glad I served it up with the granola because that added some more sweetness to the yoghurt. 

The yoghurt was quite nice, but I find it tastes better with other accompaniments. I also sprinkled some chia seeds on top which was nice. 

Even though Co Yo is quite good, I think I'll stick to my much more affordable Soy Life yohgurt :)

Vegan granola

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup roughly chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
**You can add in raisins or dried cranberries too, but I didn't have any so I omitted it from the recipe. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, nuts, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Heat the oil and maple syrup in the microwave oven for 20 seconds. Pour it over the oat mixture.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and stir until all the ingredients are combined.
  5. Spread the granola onto a half sheet baking pan, bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Place the pan on a wire rack, stir in the dried fruits, and push the granola to one side of the pan while cooling. This ensures that the granola will cool with some clusters.
  7. Keeps well for a month if stored in an airtight container.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Heathridge Nail & Beauty

Ruth and I went out to a fairly new salon called Heathridge Nail and Beauty. The place has only been open for about 2 months but business already seems to be doing quite well. The salon is located in the Heathridge Village Centre on Caridean St. It's a very quiet suburban area which I didn't even know existed until today. I was surprised at how lovely the salon was on the inside. There were beautiful chairs and mirrors along one wall where customers came in to get their hair done. Another wall was lined with super comfy looking massage chairs which all had little foot spas at the feet of the chair. Then there were two rows of tables and chairs where people could get their nails done. Not only that, there were rooms out the back for things like waxing. This place seriously has it all!! I've never been into a salon with so much going on. 

The staff (who were all Vietnamese) were all friendly too. I got talking to the lady who was serving me and we got onto the topic of her life since leaving Vietnam. She really is this admirable person with a very strong character. She told me about how when she first came to Australia her English wasn't very good and so she was a bit reluctant to speak it. However, she knew that she would never improve if she didn't practice. Yes, I totally agree. People tend to run away from the things that they're not good at, but I feel that we need to face the things that need improvement. It might take a while to improve, but any step forward whether it be big or small, is better than not moving at all. 

She then went on to tell me about how she worked in 8 different salons. She said that she wanted to gain as much experience as possible. I think it's amazing the lengths she went to in order to better her knowledge and skill. Rarely can you ever just sit there and wait for knowledge and experience to come into your brain. You have to get out there and be eager to learn. It's the more difficult road, but it's the most necessary one to take.

Also, people can do the same thing differently. It all depends on how they were taught or what works best for them. Watching people is one of the best ways to pick up tips which can then be applied and refined in practice to suit your own individual ability. 

What I loved about meeting this lady today was that you don't have to be some rich and famous person to be an inspiration to others. All you need is to show your spirit. This reminds me of something I read the other day: "Your life is a message to the world. Make sure it's inspiring". I don't take the word "world" literally, but I do believe that your life is a message to anyone you meet.

I was only able to take one photo, and here it is; but trust me when I say that this place is lovely :) They're doing a 20% discount on all beauty and nail services (for a limited time only). Get in and let them pretty you up for some bargain prices :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Donating my hair

Today my good friend Cindy and I donated our pony tails for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign. Neither of us have ever done anything which changes our appearance so drastically, but we knew this was for a good cause so we let the scissors snip away at the hair we've been growing for the past couple of years. 

We went to Sachi For Hair in Dianella plaza and we were in such good hands. The hair stylist who cut our hair was Claire, and wow she is a master with the scissors. It was such a strange feeling when all the hair was cut off, but once our hair had been restyled into the bob cut, I kind of forgot why I was so nervous to begin with because rocking shorter hair is pretty cool. Is this how Beyonce felt when she cut her hair?

Both Cindy and I are so happy with our shorter hairdos. To think, we would never have known that we could pull it off if we didn't take the leap and go for it. I've learnt this lesson many times over this year. Sometimes trying something new, scary as it may seem, turns out to be not that scary at all. It's the best feeling when you are glad you pushed past the fear and made the leap. This makes me think of something I once read about "what-ifs" and not knowing. I love this idea that we should take whatever we have right here and now and make a life so great that we are glad our "what-if" never came to be. Sometimes we don't get what we want, but we will always have something good in our lives. It's best to use all these good things and move forward to creating a better future. Even if it's different from the one we planned, doesn't mean it still can't be good. I love this quote from Marc and Angel Hack Life: "To be upset about what you don't have is a waste of what you do have". 

Love this girl so much. A true friend and an amazing human being :) :) :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Measuring my hair

I'd like to share a rather personal story with you all today. A few years back, my very close family friend (second older sister even) Emily was diagnosed with cancer. My sister and I went to vist Em in hospital as she was undergoing her first rounds of chemotherapy and loosing her hair. I remember so clearly when she said to me, almost jokingly I guess (because she has this amazing sense of humour), that she'd love my hair. It may seem a bit strange, but I felt compelled to actually give Em my hair. I really wanted to. I think it was Em who told me that people can donate their hair to make wigs for women who have lost theirs through cancer treatment. 

The first thing I did that night was go home and Google all the ways in which I could donate my hair for wig making. I came across Pantene Beautiful Lengths, one of the campaigns which runs across Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately as I was reading through the requirements for hair donations they said that they did not accept hair which has been chemically coloured (i.e. dyed). I was so devastated because I had just coloured my hair only a few months before. 

For me there was no question about whether or not I wanted to donate me hair. It was just something I wanted to see through to the end. So I began to grow my hair out. I first had to wait for all the colour to grow out. This took the longest time. I think it was 2 years before it was all out completely. Then it took another year to get my hair to a length that I was satidfied with. During these three years, I made sure I took good care of my hair. I used leave in conditioner, I rarely straightened or curled it and I made sure I went for semi regular trims every few months (even though you're supposed to go every 6-8weeks). 

My good friend Cindy also got involved with me and we finally arranged to get our hair cut for tomorrow. Which leads me to my something new for today. 

Today I measured my hair for the first time ever and to my great surprise, and delight, it measured a total length of 81cm :) Plenty of hair to donate. YAY!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Retro Rumble

Another market was on the agenda today. This time, it was the OnWilliam Retro Rumble held at Russell Square in Northbridge. Today's market was probably one of the best I've been to. Not just because of the cool things for sale, but the experience itself was great. My friend and I took the time to have a chat to most of the stall vendors and ended up hearing a lot of their background stories and had plenty of laughs in between. 

Such a beautiful day for some market fun.
Since when was there a park at Russell Square?

Normally I'll just post up photos of everything I saw, but because some of the sellers had such interesting stories behind their items, I thought I might do a bit of show and tell. 

One of the first stalls we went to was for The 100 Loyal Faces Project, run by a lovely lady named Peta Santoro. Peta is in the dog photography business and uses a lot of the images to make products such as calendars, cards, canvases and she even had home-made doggie treats for sale. Too cute. Peta isn't in this business just for herself. No, no. What I liked about The 100 Loyal Faces Project (aside from the gorgeous name of the foundation) was that profits from the sales go towards FOUR different animal organisations. I think it's so lovely that Peta is passionate about so many different organisations that she contributes to as many as she can. Sometimes you can't pick and choose, so you have to have them all... and this is a wonderful example of just that. Check out more of Peta and her amazing work at

I love the quirkiness and bizarreness of things for sale at markets. For example, I found this brooch of the real life lab mouse experiment where they grew a human ear on the poor thing. It kind of creeps me out, but at the end of the day my opinion doesn't matter because people like to express their own ideas and creative genius in their own way. And that's what I like to see :)

One of my favourite stalls from today was from Enid Twiglet, an embroidery artist. Yes, she was a total artist! She stitches her own design and then together with her hubby scans them and put them onto products such as glassware, jewellery, wood, plates and heaps more. These two cute gingers (Enid and her husband that is) are quite the team. She does all the embroidering and he turns it into other amazing items. He stitched together wallets, carved out and made cool pencil boxes, and that's just to name a few. My friend and I loved all the embroidery she did of various body parts, and when we asked her about it, she said that each one was relevant to something that had happened to her. For example, she had pneumonia once and thereafter became quite intrigued by lungs. Another piece of embroidery was of a rib which she had done because she broke hers, and she had done a coccyx because her back always gives her problems. I loved hearing about the little stories behind everything. You'll never know if you don't ask!

There is honestly so much that I could ramble on about but I will make special mention of a cool craft called wet felting. We saw a bunch of stuffed felt toys, but upon closer examination we noticed that there was no continuous seam line around the toy. I was so perplexed as to how the shape was made! we asked the lady who had made the toys and she explained to us the process of using a fluffy/fibrous type of material called merino wool/roving. The roving is soaked with water and a bit of soap. This process is done a few times with layers added on top. Then the wet felt can be placed on a mould. In this case, the lady made moulds in the shape of things like dogs, dinosaurs and other animals. The felt is then placed onto the mould and left to dry. She then stuffed them with some fluff and hey presto, super cute toys! My favourite was the shrimp :)

Here are some of the other cools things we saw for sale :)

We saw a few dresses with comic designs on them!
These are rings which are made from cross sections of wood with pictures of animals hand-painted onto them. Check out
See more of these cool pixel key chains from Pixel Closet.

When it comes to market food, I'm generally pretty lucky with finding a vegan option. Today was definitely another success story. There was a food cart called La Cucaracha which sold banh mi (which technically is Vietnamese) and some Mexican drinks. I was so happy to see that they had a veg option which substituted beans in for the pork. I got them to hold the mayo, and there you have it, a delicious Vietnamese-Mexican fusion. I also got the horchata which is an authentic Mexican drink. It can be made from a few different ingredients such as ground almonds, barley, sesame or rice. This one was made from rice. It was fresh with a bit of a sweetness to it. A nice accompaniment to the Mexican banh mi :)

There were also quite a few popsicle stalls around the square which was great for a nice sunny day like today (although it did end up raining a bit later in the afternoon). By far the best popsicle flavour I saw was the salted coconut and mango. Unfortunately it was not vegan, but I am determined to make my own version one day. 

From start to finish, the day out at the markets was pure awesome. Mark it in your diary for next year. But in all honesty, any event can be an awesome one. It pays to show interest in other people and what they are passionate about :)