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Category Archives: Whitsundays

HAMILTON ISLAND @ WHITSUNDAYS – goodbye, farewell…

A little-known fact… Chris bought the ring back in Feb when he was getting it made, but obviously I didn’t know. Anyway, about a month or two ago, I was chatting with a girl friend about engagement rings and we were looking through the designs that caught our fancy? Guess which design I picked out? The EXACT one that Chris bought me :P Great minds think alike, hehe! It does mean a lot to me ‘cos it’s really nice to know that the guy I’m marrying knows my taste to a tee :)

Anyway, after The Proposal, Chris was really keen to still head out to our “celebratory dinner”. I wasn’t particularly in the mood to eat.. considering we’d only just pigged out on cheese and wine, and my stomach was doing total flipflops in excitement over the proposal :P Chris was insistent, so I decided I’d just eat light and have an entree or something.

Set amongst tropical landscaped gardens and overlooking the Reef View pool, The Pool Terrace Restaurant is chic but casual. Lit by candlelight, it’s was a lovely restaurant for us to just enjoy and bask away in our ‘newly engaged’ status :) Again, I was surprised at how fantastic the food was.. I selected the Tasting Plate which was basically “surprise” dishes consisting of whatever the chef thought was best and freshest. The food was great, but the portions were too small for the price IMHO ;)

Which meant I of course had to steal some of Chris’ :P He’d selected the Eye Fillet steak served on a bed of croquette potatoes, asparagus and porcini mushroom suace. Topped with a delicate truffle butter. That steak was friggin’ AMAZING. It was fat and thick but was absolutely tender and cooked perfectly.. was actually better than the steak we had at The Steakhouse earlier in the trip :P

Dessert was Sticky date pudding with pistachio ice cream which didn’t look too exciting on the menu, but I’m damn glad we’d ordered it because it was AWESOME! Warm and fudgy and moist.. beautifully matched with the pistachio ice cream. Too bad the resturant’s not in Sydney too!

The Pool Terrace Restaurant

Our 1st photo post-engagement, ‘cept it’s so flashed-out and we look so tired!

My tasting plate

Some kinda tart, and some risotto/truffle ball

Super tender beef with a strawberry

Smoked salmon and seaweed, and scallop at the back

Eye Fillet steak served on a bed of croquette potatoes, asparagus and
porcini mushroom suace. Topped with a delicate truffle butter.

Sticky date pudding with pistachio ice cream

CHEERS TO OUR ENGAGEMENT! :)

Picture-perfect view from THE BALCONY, the next morning

I could stand out here for hours…….

Chris’ video of THE BALCONY :)

Byeeeeeeee

And that’s the end of it… A wonderful holiday that I’d anticipated would be something that would totally rejuvenate us and it was all that and so much more :) It’s been an absolute whirlwind of craziness since we’ve returned, with engagement celebration dinners, hanging out with friends.. and of course, an engagement party coming right up!

But THANK YOU so much for all your well wishes and thoughts. It means a lot to us and really put a smile on my face reading through your comments :) It’s nice to be able to share this with you, and also quite nice to be able to talk about something for a change, since my blog is pretty much about nothing interesting except for a few food pics here and there ;)

And do I have anything planned yet? The answer to that (very frequently asked) question is… NO! Nothing at all – not even a date, or a venue, or bridal party, or theme colour, or anything at all. I’ve never been the girl that dreams of her wedding and has got everything planned/imagined.. so it’s all quite overwhelming for me and to be honest, I just wish everything would be over and we were already married – that’s kind of the part I want the most, and not really months and months of planning/stress just for one day. Pressure, much? Eek!!!

 
 

HAMILTON ISLAND @ WHITSUNDAYS – “will you marry me?”

Chris said, “Put on your pretty dress for dinner”.. and I figured that was a good idea since 1) it was our last night there and 2) we were going to a nice restaurant where we could sit el fresco style outside. After a few minutes of me moaning that we shouldn’t spend too much on dinner, I finally put on my dress and brushed out my hair. Was wandering around putting on my shoes when Chris asked, “Hey babe, can you wash this knife so we can return it downstairs?” because we borrowed a knife to cut the cheese during our indoor-picnic. “Yep, no worries”, so I took it to the bathroom to wash it.

When I walked back out of the bathroom, Chris was standing out on the balcony, taking in the view. It was almost at the end of sunset, so it was pretty dark except for the sparkling lights by the pool downstairs and along the pathways. I walked out and stood at the glass balcony doors and he turned around, saw me dressed up, and smiled at me.

I stepped out onto the balcony and he enveloped me in a big hug. We both turned to look out over the ocean, quiet for a second as we listened at the waves crashing against the sand.. just taking in the view.

“Isn’t this just perfect?”, he asked.

“Mmmm…..”, I murmured, a bit distracted and entranced instead by the sights and the sounds.

Then…. then… a series of events unfolded, but I can’t really remember it very well because I was in COMPLETE AND UTTER SHOCK the entire time.

But basically, next thing I knew.. Chris was looking down, his left hand cupped around something. It was pretty dark (especially since he was practically cuddling the thing!) so I didn’t really know what was going on.

“We’ve been together for a really long time now…”, he said. Then went onto a little speech that I absolutely can’t remember!!!! :( It had something to do with him wanting us to have many more years together, growing old together, etc, etc.

At this point, I was half un-fazed, because we’ve talked/gushed about stuff like that before. But also half had my heart jumping up into my throat, because I was starting to piece things together and realise what was happening (yes, it took my brain this long to figure out). I hadn’t uttered a word or sound this entire time.

Then he opened the box and nestled instead was ONE SPARKLY RING.

I stared.

He got down on one knee.

“Will you marry me?”

“Hmm..?”

Yes ladies and gentlemen, that was my eloquent response to my boyfriend trying to propose to me. Was just too stunned to really think straight! So my very next sentence?

“Erm.. are you serious??”

“YES!!”, he said

At this point I had pretty much half-collapsed out of shock, and was about to fall right off the balcony. I was leaning on him (he was still down on one knee and looking up expectantly at me) and just gaping in complete surprise.

“Oh hon…. YES! YES!!”, came my response, finally :)

And so he put the ring on my finger… and thus we begin the next stage of Us.


The full realisation of what just happened didn’t really hit me until much later, since we made a pact not to tell anyone whilst we were away. We wanted a little bit of “us time” with this beautiful ring our little secret. It was probably the part I treasured most – that we had this secret, something special that could never be taken away from us.. and no one knew it yet :)

And The Ring?

I find it almost too incredible to believe… but designed it himself and got it made at Percy Marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’d never dared step foot into Percy Marks before – with their double-door entrance and security and the way the boutique looks, I’d always felt it too inappropriate and daunting to go in. I’m completely floored that he would not only have stepped inside, but worked with their designer Meriel on The Ring. Apparently “Meriel is a recent winner of a 2007 Harpers Bazaar, Diamond Guild Award. Their painstaking attention to detail is unmistakably Percy Marks”, so my Ring was in good hands teehee! :D

Many months ago, I lost my gold Tiffany & Co ring, that I wear on my ring finger on my right hand. We searched high and low for it, but never found it. Turns out, Chris had stolen it to get the right size :P Still, despite that, it was still too big for my unnaturally thin fingers, so we had to get it resized down to a size 3 (AU “F”). Despite that, still very impressed he went through that effort and had the foresight.. and super pleased I didn’t lose my T&C ring after all :P

I had no idea, but he’d been planning the proposal for ages.. he purchased The Ring allll the way back in Feb this year, and kept the secret the entire time! I later found out he’d wanted to propose when we were in Switzerland/Singapore but that trip got cancelled (remember that?).. no wonder he was do devasted when that happened.

What I was most touched by was when I found out he’d already talked to Mum and Dad about it last month when they were visiting. They went out for lunch together one day and talked about it. I’m a traditionalist so asking my parents first is really important to me, and I just think it’s wonderful that he did that :) I think it means a lot to Mum and Dad too.. and a very smart move to get their blessing first!

So the date we got engaged is 8 June 2008.
Brilliantly, Mum and Dad got engaged 8 June 1974.

And that, is just SPLENDID :)

 
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Posted by on 18 June 2008 (Wed) in Chris, Engagement, Holidays, Uncategorized, Whitsundays

 

HAMILTON ISLAND @ WHITSUNDAYS – a day of sun, surf and sea

After (yet another) hearty breakfast, we headed out to the jetty to catch our boat for a day trip out by the beaches, for some sun, surf and snorkelling. Little did we realise that the boat (which I envisioned to be a chic little yacht) was actually a feisty red jet boat! There were about 20 of us and we had the TIME OF OUR LIFE on that thing. It was absolutely awesome, by far the favourite activity/event I’ve been on in quite a while. It was like a roller coaster ride, and the wind was so strong our faces felt half-blown off afterwards, haha. The best bit was a MEGA bump bump bumps the boat did, every time we rode a wave and came crashing back down. It was the best adrenalin rush, and absolutely fun. I want to do it again!!

We stopped first at Whitehaven Beach – rated Most Photographed Beach in Australia. With crystal-clear aqua waters and over 7km of beach stretched along Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven Beach boasts bright white pure silicia sand – so absolutely fine and delicate. It’s a gorgeous place, and very few people were then whilst we frolicked, which was great! I hate crazy tourists running amok – I like to be the only one doing so, haha ;) We wandered around, pranced around in the ocean, kicked a ball around, and generally had a lovely outdoorsy time enjoying the beach and surf.

BREAKFAST…. oh yummy

Pretty yachts

Waiting for our boat

All smiles

Our cheery red jet boat

All ready to speed off

Glorious weather

INSANE bumper jet-boat ride ;)

Aaaaand we reach!

Beautiful turquoise water

On Whitehaven Beach

Whee!

My superman ;)

Hurray for beautiful beaches!

Gorgeous super-fine white sand

The bushwalk/trees is just meters away

Cute picnic area

Peeling off the clothes to go for a swim!

…but not before kicking a ball around

Gorgeous view

I lack hand-to-eye coordination ;)

Chris doing a cartwheel

Us :)

Standing around doing nothing in particular..

Feeling rather small in a biiiiig beach

Slooooowly and bravely getting into the water, it was kinda cold!

WHEE!

Chris’ video of the beach……. with me jumping around like a maniac, for some reason

After that, it was off to Chalkies Beach for some snorkelling!! I bought 2 snorkel sets for the occasion but silly Chris forgot to bring 1 of the masks, d’oh. Was so excited to go snorkelling but because it was by the beach, the water wasn’t clear enough and the sun went behind some clouds.. so everyone gave up in about 15 mins, LOL. Chris and I persevered and were last ones out of the water, but it wasn’t that terrific. I wouldn’t bother doing it again, or at least next time go right out to sea to snorkel instead of trying to do it by the beach! We did see coral and fish but nothing amazing. Hence why no photos ;)

When we got back to the hotel, we ate MORE food at the free markets (WOOOOOOO!!!!!) and then lounged around by the pool. Then we decided to go on a bushwalk, along the famous trails at Hamilton Island. We brought along our wine and cheese, with the intention to bushwalk to a secluded area that overlooked a small beach, and picnic there. Little did I know that Chris had popped in the engagement ring box into the paper bag, and I had held onto the bag for a few mins without realising it was in there the whole time!

His intention was to have a wine & cheese picnic in a private area, then propose. How romantic! Except it was not to be… When the shuttle neared the area, we saw a big group of people dressed as pirates (!). Chris kept complaining that they would be there and annoying us, and I didn’t see why it was such a big deal. He said afterwards he was really annoyed because he couldn’t propose when there were silly rowdy pirates around :P Then on top of that, it started to drizzle… AND I fell fast asleep in the shuttle…. so we ended up taking a round trip and he woke me up when it reached the hotel, haha.

So we ended up having our “picnic” in the hotel bar, which was very nice since we were under cover and warm when it was raining outside as the sun was going down.

Chilling in the pool

Waiting for the little resort shuttle to take us to the bushwalk area

Having drinks & snacks at the hotel bar

But of course, it was after our little indoor picnic, when we went back upstairs to our room at sunset, where the VERY BEST part of the entire holiday happened……. :)

 
 

HAMILTON ISLAND @ WHITSUNDAYS – paddling away into the sunset

Our evening activity after a day of lazing about and eating ourselves silly was sunset kayaking. It sounded pretty fun – get into a 2-person kayak and paddle away into the sunset :) We were with a group of Americans that were totally hilarious! We had an absolute blast chatting away, having a glass (or three) of champagne and watching the beautiful colours of the sunset. We were lucky as there were quite a bit of clouds in the sky – perfect for a sunset.

It was one of the most fun activities I’ve ever been on. I just really enjoyed paddling away and getting a (teeny) bit of exercise.. and bobbing in the water.. just having a relaxing but entertaining time. It was picture perfect and the company was fantastic. A simply wonderful activity to round off a wonderful day.

With our ridiculous-looking life saving vests :P

HOOZAH!!!!

Busy taking photos instead of paddling ;)

Our really cute guide

Chris with the 2 of the hilarious Americans

Our kayaks all tied up, and waiting for the sunset…

Front-row seat!

The sun starts to set…

Beautiful colours in the sky

CHEERS!!

Just gorgeous

After having a shower, we adjourned for some drinks at the hotel’s casual bar.. with some lovely Brie and crackers. It was just perfect, just the 2 of us in a little corner area, chilling out and having a nice chat :) Just unwinding comfortably to round off a great day.

Cheese, crackers, nougat and wines that we bought

The bar

CHEERS

Playing Checkers.. Chris let me win :P

OH HAI!

Relaxing

Us

Heh…

ROFL!

After that, we got a bite of dinner at Toucan Tango, a poolside restaurant that’s casual dining and oh-so-chic to be lounging by the pool and nibbling on fries. We arrived at 9pm and the kitchen was closing, but they were nice and squeezed us in anyway, never once hurrying us up to leave. We sat right by the pool and had glorious views of the palm trees fringing the pool as well as the beach and ocean which was a few meters away.

Great food too! Was thoroughly satisfied with the tasty Thai chicken salad and sneaked some of Chris’ Steak sandwich because it looked too good ;) I’m surprised the food on the island is so good – I’d expected average quality since they do have monopoly (ie. only a few restaurants on the island so you’re kind of restricted to only them). But the cuisine’s fantastic and the ingredients are all really fresh! I envy the chefs that live in such a wonderful place and get to cook for happy holidayers all day long ;)

Sitting at Toucan Tango

Us, looking a bit tired

Thai chicken salad with mango and coconut

Steak sandwich with caramelised onions, lettuce, tomato and basil aioli

The view of the pool area at night. Tres romantic :)

But of course, the next day was much, much better…………… ;)

 
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Posted by on 16 June 2008 (Mon) in Chris, Engagement, Holidays, Uncategorized, Whitsundays

 

HAMILTON ISLAND @ WHITSUNDAYS – to market, to market

I should’ve known this would’ve been a KICK ASS HOLIDAY the moment we saw little market stalls lined up in the resort, right by the beach. We saw them after dinner the night before and it was pretty late so the place was deserted, but we snooped around and discovered a big BBQ and some wine signs.

AHA.

A FOOD FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!

So of course, straight after breakfast the next day, we made a beeline for the market stalls, wallets in hand. They had just gotten started, and food was sizzling away and people had just started wandering around. Keen to buy some nice cheese and wine and maybe some other snacks, we were distracted by the first stall, Movekpick of Switzerland ice cream! It looked absolutely delicious, but considering we’d just had breakfast, it probably wasn’t appropriate to have any ;)

Then………

The lady said, “Would you like some ice cream” and we nonchalantly replied “Mmmm looks good”, ready to decline and walk away. Then she added, almost as an afterthought, “They’re free”.

It was like time stopped.

Come again?? We didn’t quite realise what was going on, but who are we to pass up a freebie.. especially when it’s the expensive-Switzerland-icecream kind? ;) “Gingerbread, please!” for me, and “Maple Walnut!” for Chris. Dumbfounded, we watched as she scooped full scoops of ice cream into full-size bowls. We were expecting little spoons dipped into the ice cream for a mere taste or something, not full bowls! “Mmm it’s good. Can we buy some more?” we asked, thinking it’d be a good idea to get some later in the afternoon as well. “Nope!” she smiled. The ice creams were free and full-sized, and you couldn’t even buy them if you wanted to. LOL!

A bit stunned by it all, we moved on to the next store. It was wine. Lovely Australian wine. “A taste?” smiled the lady. Now who are we go decline? ;) Turns out, you can only get the wine for free as well, you can’t go buy it ;) And so it was, for every stall.

It wasn’t just standard freebie food. It was oysters, scallops, salmon, lamb, steak, rich chocolate, King Island cheeses, etc, etc, etc… All cooked fresh before your eyes and served to you piping hot. It was heaven! Despite having had a heavy breakfast, we ate ourselves silly ;) Unbelievably, it was FREE FOOD ALL DAY, the whole time we were on the island. It don’t get any better than that :)

Glorious cheese!

Amazing King Island ash brie

Fried seafood served by a pretty chick :P

Antipasto goodies, I think

Fresh fruit that they made fruit cocktails with – yum!

Super fresh seafood

Oysters and grilled salmon

Cooking up the scallops and prawns

The only stall that you could purchase from – I bought 3 bars of the nougat, they’re terrific

Chocolate fountain with strawberries and marshmallows. SO gooooood…

Super cute kid! He had chocolate everywhere, it was soooo adorable, made Chris and I want kids pronto :P

Walnut & maple syrup ice cream

More free ice cream!

It’s IRON CHEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With real chefs from the island’s restaurants!

We got front row seats! WHEE!

My favourite chips in the world

The chefs start their preparations

WHOOSH!

Pancetta wrapped around sweet potato and brie, sitting on brocollini

Spicy Thai vermicelli

Thai green curry with crayfish and prawns – OMG this was divine…

Tom yum soup with prawns and peppered steak

Prawn salad – it was so fresh!!

Seared peppered steak. LOVED this :)

Toffee apple with fresh whipped cream

Double chocolate ice cream

All stuffed, it was time to relax by the pool and just waste the afternoon away under the sun ;) I couldn’t imagine a better afternoon spent just lazing about doing absolutely nothing.

Sitting on a bridge over the pool. This was really romantic at night!

Pool bar

The pool’s right next to the ocean

Chilling out

Hot guy!

Haha

Mmmm this is life

You know you’re marrying The One when he comes bearing food and wine, when you’re lounging on a deckchair in the sun :)

My view from the deckchair!

It was just as well we had a big afternoon full of food and doing nothing, since we needed all the energy we had for our evening trip……..

 
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Posted by on 15 June 2008 (Sun) in Chris, Engagement, Holidays, Uncategorized, Whitsundays

 

HAMILTON ISLAND @ WHITSUNDAYS – a lovely breakfast

Got up bright and early and headed downstairs to the lovely open-air restaurant for a big breakfast. Lemme just say I LOVE hotel breakfasts. Where else can you go absolutely bonkers and pig out like tomorrow when it’s barely 9am? ;) Pure unadulterated pleasure. The restaurant’s right next to the pool, and faces the gorgeous tropical gardens and palm trees (beyond which is the beach and ocean). It’s wonderful to chill out and spend a nice sunny morning with a big breakfast and a hot cup of milo… mmmmm….

The restaurant

Palm trees + blue skies = perfect holiday

Cute guy :)

Food galore

My *ahem* hefty breakfast…..

After that, we wandered around the island checking the place out. The buggys are totally cute but you rent them at $85/day, which we deemed a complete ripoff and so refused to rent them. Of course, that didn’t stop us from hopping into someone’s buggy and taking photos of us in it anyway :P

Parking myself in the “Buggy Park”. LOL!!

Chris vroom-ing away

Such a poseur

Lovely gardens

White hibiscus

What are these flowers?

Us :)

Walking along the roads around the island

And then….. we discovered something AMAZING. Something that made our jaws drop. Something that made us almost never want to leave the island. Think of the ONE thing in the world both of us are obsessed with, and then multiply it 12361233295321 times better. This was it. Coming up next, so stay tuned :)

 
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Posted by on 14 June 2008 (Sat) in Chris, Engagement, Holidays, Uncategorized, Whitsundays

 

HAMILTON ISLAND @ WHITSUNDAYS – for meat lovers only

We arrived in the afternoon and spent much of it unpacking, lazying around enjoying the hotel room, and wandering around the island. The island is small, so you can easily walk from one end to the other. The really unique thing about it is that it’s like being in a little village where everything is linked – there are multiple hotels but you can access all their pools, and everyone gets around by either walking or using the little golf buggys. Very cute!

The whole place has a tropical island resort feel and everyone wanders around in swimsuits or beach wear, so you truly do feel like you’re on holiday. Time pretty much comes to a standstill, and I kept getting confused what day it was, because everything’s just so relaxed, easy-going and unfussed. It was the perfect way to unwind :) We were also delighted that we had lovely weather – it was sunny and the air was balmy, a far cry from Sydney’s current state of wet, cold rains!

After we poked around the island discovering it, we decided on the Steakhouse, which completely lives up to it’s namesake. “Specialising in 6 star grass fed beef, which has been aged on the bone for a minimum of four weeks”, Steakhouse is all about meat, meat, meat. We were really blown away with the quality of the food and the very decent portions – Chris opted for the T-bone steak which arrives sizzling, with a rich mushroom sauce and a baked potato stuffed with sour cream and bacon. It was DELICIOUS! The bite was perfect, it was tender, and the taste was full and satisfying. Was incredibly impressed, I thought it was even better than Kingsleys Steakhouse here in Sydney!

I opted for the Lamb Shanks on garlic mash, which sounds rather bland but the word SHANKS as a plural made me order it ;) Normally you get 1 shank which is enough for most people but not for me! Bwahahaha!! I need much more so was quivering with happiness when it arrived with TWO big shanks resting on buttery garlic mash potato. Oooooooooooh. Chris eagerly eyed my dish and gave it the big thumbs up. The meat was tender and very, very filling because of the sheer amount. It ended up being a bigger portion than the steak, so it’s awesome value for money!

We declined on dessert as we figured we’d grab an ice cream on the way back, but by the time we stepped outside, we were too full to stuff in any more ;) A fantastic first meal……….. with much more food to come.

Much, much more.

Sitting in a gazebo by the water, before dinner

Looking a bit tired

Standing on the pier and looking up at Steakhouse

Vegetarians, begone!

We got the corner table outside – the best one in the restaurant, yay!!

T-bone steak which arrives sizzling, with a rich mushroom sauce and
a baked potato stuffed with sour cream and bacon

Lamb Shanks on garlic mash

Garlic mushrooms!!!

My super cute PJs purchased from Peter Alexander, during a mega sale!

 
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Posted by on 13 June 2008 (Fri) in Chris, Engagement, Holidays, Uncategorized, Whitsundays