IMG_20130419_120846to a lifetime of adventure and wandering this glorious blue planet, to bellies full of fabulous food and delicious wine, a team of adorable giggling babies and mad beautiful chaos, to seizing every single moment and collapsing exhausted and happy at each sunset and awaking renewed in each other at each sunrise, to drinking only to thine eyes for all eternity.
today and every day you are my love, my beloved lover, my soul mate
♥ 24.04.13 = 17 years ♥

this ones a cutie

Our friends James and Natalie are about to have their second baby.

This is their first born; the adorable little Patrick aka Patch.

peek-a-boo! Patch I see you!

When he was born (November 2010) he looked like this:

baby Patch in his parents hands

They live about an hour north of us, so we sometimes catch up for a meal in the middle.

James & Patch
the little family x 3.5 (there is another baby in that belly!)

And here is a couple of pics from their recent NZ trip

Patch hanging out at Hokitika Gorge
Nat & Jimmy - between Picton and Nelson

LOVE this little family and can’t wait to meet their new addition when he is born!

it’s a love story | clare & james

While I haven’t posted one for a while, last year saw Love Stories from The Dawes, The Jacksons and our story!

I’m going to kick off the 2012 season with the story about James’ marriage proposal to his gorgeous Clare.

James is a work buddy and a fellow Project Manager. When we’re not stealing each other’s engineers for projects, we’re talking about the copious movies and TV shows we watch, our similar views on ethics and strategizing a survival plan for when the Zombie Apocalypse arises!


(swoon-worthy)Words by James.

The Marriage Proposal

Clare and I worked various hours every day of the week except Monday, which we usually had as a day off together. The Monday coming up was of particular significance because it represented the two year anniversary of our first date. In the weeks leading up to this day I was secretly very busy preparing for an anniversary to remember, and on the Saturday night finally told Clare that she would need to be ready for an evening out and an overnight stay on Sunday night, for our anniversary on Monday.

A Silver Cab arrived to pick her up at 6:30pm on Sunday and brought her to the Blackett Hotel in Sydney, where I met her in the foyer. I quickly ran her bag up to the room while she waited for me downstairs. We walked across Darling Harbour for our booking at Zaaffran, an excellent Indian restaurant with a fine dining atmosphere and service, and on the way discovered a British lolly shop. Clare had been away from England for a couple of years by now so we picked up a few of her favourites and continued on to the restaurant.

Zaaffran is the sort of restaurant where all the tablecloths and napkins are a crisp white, the silverware is polished to a high shine, the wait-staff are all dressed in black and the a la carte menu is the finest selection of Indian dishes. The food was amazing. We had nearly finished enjoying a wonderful meal when it occurred to me that Clare might be upset if she was expecting something else to happen in the restaurant, when in fact I was planning her surprise for the next day. I didn’t want to give anything away so I said, ‘By the way, we’ll also be going somewhere for breakfast tomorrow morning. Our anniversary isn’t just this visit to a restaurant tonight.’

This turned out to be the right thing to say, as she smiled and said she had been a little sad that the night was almost over. Now she knew there was more but she didn’t really know what else to expect.

Being July, the night became chilly so we caught a taxi back to the hotel. The room I booked was a New York loft-style apartment, with a lounge and kitchen, and an upstairs mezzanine bedroom and bathroom. When we reached the top of the stairs Clare smiled in delight as she saw the bedroom ceiling covered with helium-filled balloons in forest green, burgundy and gold, all with matching ribbons hanging down. There were so many you couldn’t see the ceiling. (It had taken me two hours with a helium gas bottle to fill that many balloons and tie the ribbons during my afternoon visit to the hotel room!)

I filled the bath with warm water, essential oils and wild flowers I had picked from around where we lived, poured the chilled wine and brought out the chocolates. The rest of the night was wonderful but I will fast-forward my story to the next morning!

We checked out of the hotel and left our bag with reception, then set off with a small backpack on my shoulder. Pancakes On The Rocks was a fun and delicious way to start the day so we took our time over breakfast just eating and chatting.

Afterwards we walked around the shops at The Rocks for a little while before heading to the other side of Circular Quay. There is a set of stone steps in between a club and a restaurant on the eastern side, which we climbed then crossed over Macquarie St to a large grassed area that looks over the Opera House. I chose a spot under a huge tree that afforded us a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well, and spread out the picnic blanket. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the day was warm and we had one of the best views in Sydney.

Now, back when we were in England together we bought a game of Travel Scrabble to play on the flight back to Australia. It is a game we both enjoy and have played many times. On this day, the second anniversary of our first date, I took the Travel Scrabble out of the backpack, handed it to Clare and said, ‘Crack this open while I get the drinks ready. We’ll have a game.’

While I was getting out the chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot, two champagne flutes and a secret little box, Clare opened the game. She frowned when she saw some magnetic letter tiles already in place then her expression changed to surprise and delight after she read the words ‘Clare will you marry me’ written in Scrabble tiles. She looked up and saw me on my knees with a ring box containing a 1-carat solitaire diamond engagement ring in my hands. I said ‘I want my whole life with you. Will you marry me?’ and with tears in her eyes she said ‘Yes!’

I put the ring on her finger, kissed her and poured the champagne. While we were still grinning like a couple of crazy kids in love, Clare called her family in Adelaide to share the news. They told her that they already knew because I had called yesterday to ask permission to marry Clare. She thought the whole thing was wonderful and it is certainly a set of memories I will always treasure.


it’s a love story | Janine & Ian

This next story in the “it’s a love story” series is about my husband’s good friend Ian and his beautiful wife Janine. aka E and Neen. The four of us all went to the same high school and I was actually friends with Ian before I was friends with Jay, before we started dating. I always knew of Janine but since I was a in a year above at school, we didn’t travel in the same circles and I didn’t get to become friends with her until a few years ago when we were all living in the same suburb in Sydney. They are our dinner club companions and a wonderful couple who truly balance & compliment each other.

These are words by Neen.

♥ A love story about a boy and a girl ♥

Once, there was a teenager boy who arrived late at school, every single day.

Once there was a haughty teenage girl who thought that the boy was pretty lame for always being so late.

The boy thought the girl was a snob so they ignored each other for quite some time until the girl found out that the boy was always late because he was very sick. Then the girl felt bad for being so haughty and decided she wanted to get to know the boy a bit better.

One day, the boy arrived at school with a brand new hair cut. The girl was pretty shallow as a teenager and decided that the boy was looking a lot better and therefore a lot more interesting.

At a party not long afterwards the boy tried to hold the girls’ hand. She let him. It had made her heart go flip flop.

Over the next year, they became girlfriend and boyfriend three times. Being teenagers, they’d immediately cease speaking to each other once they got together. Eventually, on the third try, they got together properly and had a cute little high school romance.

After school, while the girl was at Uni and the boy at Tafe, they spent most of their spare time doing their own thing. She played with her friends and he played with his friends. This quasi break did them good because they had their own kind of fun for awhile. Him with parties, drinking and other such things. Her with cafes, movie nights and family time.

Many years later, the girl went off to Europe with her sister. While she was away, she realised how much she really, truly, madly, deeply loved the boy. A few days after this occurred to her, the boy emailed her to say that he had realised his life was much better when she was around.

It was at this point that the girl and boy grew up a bit and had more of a grown up relationship. A couple of years later, the boy proposed and after the girl had jumped around excitedly for awhile, she eventually said yes.

They moved in together only a week before they were wed so for them, marriage was much more exciting than just a wedding. The boy and girl know how lucky they are to have an easy, happy marriage.

The girl likes how funny and clever and affectionate the boy is. She also thinks he is cute and kind and fearless.

The boy likes how silly the girl is. He likes her big heart, her thoughtfulness and her weird little quirks.

The boy and girl have been soul mates for the last 15 years. This makes them happy. They are happier still, knowing that in front of them lies many more happy years and lots more love.

it’s a love story | tamara & leon

Need to Know Prelude Notes:  Tamara is one of my oldest and closest friends. She’s always been a little shy and aloof, but she was the first girl at Avondale to invite me over for a play date when I arrived in year 3. We’ve had some serious hang out time over the past 23 years; we watched Pulp Fiction 53 times in the school holidays and basically lived in an attic for a week watching movies, sleeping, talking and laughing without thought to the outside world. We make up funny & imaginative stories about our parallel lives as superheroes, we do our nails and read magazines on the grass, we cook, we talk about books and films and music, but often its the things that Tam doesn’t say that I pick up on the most. She doesn’t talk about her feelings much, but I have seen her cry (which is rare outside of closed doors) and I know about her frustrations & hurt with her family (both true and biological) and even though she isn’t outwardly affectionate to anyone and everyone like me, she has a beautiful tender nurturing interior that you get to see if you get through the exterior. She is an amazing Mum who takes the time to explain things and nurture her children’s individuality. She doesn’t mind that I shower her with kisses and give her hugs and am sometimes a bit too rough with her delicate Korean feet! We don’t agree on some things (such as religion & politics), but we have a friendship that understands and accepts that people have different experiences and beliefs. She has a beautiful heart  and a creative spirit. That’s my Tamara. And this is her love story.


“Why was your wife so special?”                
“How long is your program? It was a million little things.  When you added them up, it meant we were meant for each other.” 
(Sleepless in Seattle)

I have been asked, often by nosey students in Korea, to tell the love story of how I met my husband.  They wanted to know, because they thought that Leon got little love hearts in his eyes when he spoke of me.  I’m often stumped at this question and I’m likely to come up with a different version each time.  There was no lightning bolt moment, no remarkable tale of coincidence and no grand romantic gestures in front of bemused bystanders.  And thank goodness, because it is possible that I may one day die of embarrassment because of a public display of affection.
Fans of The X Files may remember how the tension between Mulder and Scully was built up for seasons, only to be resolved OFF SCREEN.  The audience may have felt cheated but it was quite true to the understated nature of the characters.  An outpouring of emotion would have been weird.  So too, goes the relationship between his Mulder to my Scully.  You will have to infer what we are feeling, rather than listen to a flowery description of what we mean to each other.
So The Story has four parts.
Part 1: Mel points out some guy that she thinks is hot at Tuggerah.  I paid little attention.  Mel was always pointing out some guy that she thought was hot.
Part 2: I accompanied Grace to a pre-party gathering at Geoff Crews’ flat.  He lived with Jared; they were friends with Leon Dawes.  We spoke a little but he didn’t speak to me the next time we crossed paths at the coffee shop.  I thought it was a bit rude.  He was just a bit shy.
Part 3: Lindy had a party at her house and we spoke a little bit more.  We agreed to meet at the coffee shop.  The next time we crossed paths, he actually sat down at the same table with me for a coffee.
Part 4: The Whitlams played at uni.  He nearly didn’t go, but Lindy talked him into it.  I didn’t want to go either, but Lindy made me because I was staying at her house that night.  So it was meant to be…
FF fourteen years later.  We’ve travelled together, worked together, had a family together, been through it all together.  I hate questions like, “Why did you fall in love with your husband?”  I honestly don’t know the answer.  I feel like an idiot trying to quantify either of us.  We work with what we’ve got and try to learn something along the way.  There’s more to learn; much, much more.
The children are jumping on me and pulling their pants down for a laugh.  I don’t set too many goals for the future, other than nurturing a proper relationship with my husband and children, and make some warm memories so that I’m not cold in winter.  In the end, relationships and memories are the only things that count.

Leon Dawes & Tamara Esau
Mr & Mrs Dawes
Their girls: Willow (L) & Finley (R)

it’s a love story | mel & jay

The first time I met Jay was in 1994 when my BFF stole his hat and ran around the high school courtyard refusing to give it back. Back then he was known as “Jono” (it’s a looong story)! I was definitely uninterested considering he was in the year below. Nothing much came out of that schoolyard encounter (for me or Grace ). Almost 2 years passed before I gave him another thought. Suddenly I noticed that he was hot! He played American football, basketball and volleyball; I was on the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams and we’d often have practise on the same days. It was a great opportunity to sneak peeks! I wasn’t at all fazed by the fact that he was dating (if you can call not talking to each other at school or hanging out, dating) my younger cousin Denae. I dropped a few hints to my loud mouth friends Nath & Grant, and before you know it, he was single!

The day before ANZAC day public holiday, I caught him coming back from the tuck-shop, cornjack in mouth, and asked him to a party at Tam’s house that night (much to Lindy’s disgust).

He rocked up to the party dressed like a rapper – baggy jeans, oversized hoodie, white sneakers. He loved hip-hop and RnB. I dressed in vintage clothes and listened to Smashing Pumpkins, Sheryl Crowe & Nirvana (this was 1996!). People couldn’t believe we were dating; I was in year 12 and he was in year 11. The other guys in my year started a (not-so-)secret betting ring to place guesses on how long we’d last… I must admit it took a while for him to get up enough courage to hold my hand and actually talk to me at school, but it was kinda cute how shy he actually was!

We made it through high-school, me going to Uni for a year and then moving into our own place together in Sydney. We had a few rough patches where breaking up would have been the easier option, but our love proved stronger than either of us expected. I’ve learnt that communication really is key. I trust him 100%. I know that he always has my back. He is my best friend. He is my calm.

We married in 2005, on a beach in the Whitsundays with 40 of our closest friends and family watching on. We wrote our own vows and he just astounded me with his depth of genuine love and devotion. All I felt that day was an overwhelming love, trust and happiness with the man who I promised to spend the rest of my life with.


Our tastes in life complement each other, but we also allow each other to develop and explore as our own person. We have the best times together travelling (we’ve travelled throughout Europe, Asia, NZ & Oz). We love to go on long walks around the harbour with our doggie Harley, we are total foodies and love discovering new and exciting cuisines and restaurants, we both play music, and love nothing better than going on impromptu road trips or curling up on the couch watching the footy or our fave TV shows and movies. I genuinely love his friends and he feels the same about mine.

What I love about him is that he’s strong, secure and an easy going. I am regularly confounded by his intelligence; he just gets things. Whatever it is he can pick it up and figure out how it works. But most importantly, he gets me. He doesn’t mind that I get freaked out by Stick insects, or that I obsessively clean things, or that I spend way too much on candles and fresh cut flowers. He loves that I make up crazy dances when I’m overtired or stressed, that I’ll disappear for a few days when I’m engrossed in a book and he puts up with my favourite food fetishes where I’ll cook food with a common theme for a month before moving onto something else (oranges in everything one month, couscous every day the next). He’s unbelievably patient while I have the shortest fuse, and he takes the time to explain things so I can understand the coolest stuff about Physics or technology. He’s relaxed, honest and humble.

We’ve been together for fourteen and a half years but I’m still learning new things about him. I’m so proud of who he is as a man and how our relationship has developed.

I never want to take what we have for granted. I want to always be someone that he can be proud to be married too, because that’s how I feel about him.


We’re true soul mates.