Tag: Champagne

Christmas Connection

Christmas Connection

Through the looking glass…

As one year closes and another one opens it’s been a long time between drinks as they say. So much has happened in the last 12 months and the year has flown by in what feels like a blink of an eye. It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are, but the older you get – the faster time moves and before you know it you are once again preparing for Christmas and all the stress that seems to come with it.

Do you remember being a child and the days leading up to Christmas taking forever? Each hour felt like a lifetime until it was finally time to go to bed and wait to hear the thump of the reindeer landing on the roof. I would lie there willing my eyes to stay open so I could hear the ‘Big Mans’ arrival, only to wake in the morning to find I had missed it. The evidence of his visit however, was under the Christmas tree in the many beautifully wrapped presents.

I think as adults we sometime get so caught up in all that we need to do, we forget that there is a certain magic to this time of year and if you take the time to look, it’s right there in front of your face. This year our Christmas was a marathon. Lasting a week, we had back-to-back events with family and friends and I was exhausted just thinking about it, before it had even begun. It was definitely not a hundred meter sprint in which to drink too much on the first evening and be hung-over for the event to follow. No…. This was going to take some stamina! Pacing and bracing myself for the idle chit-chat, the getting along with family, saying all the right things and hiding the ‘black sheep’ of the family in me, was stressing me out more than preparing Christmas dinner and getting the fairy lights all to work, all at the same time!

My pre-game routine became a ritual, with a glass of champagne in hand; I would change my outfit 15 times and remind myself over and over again,  not to say anything controversial. Needless to say, I was nervous and despite the fact that I don’t care what these people think of me, I didn’t want to make it a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons. To my family, Christmas is a BIG DEAL. There are traditions that have been upheld since I was a child and although the people and landscape has changed over the years, their expectations of Christmas and bringing family together remains the same.

By Boxing Day I had seemingly survived a number of events relatively unscathed. But Boxing Day signalled the start of the ‘Main Events’ which had me worried. This was all my family craziness at its best. One must do ones best to look good, behave and get along for the sake of family and tradition. My mother doesn’t really expect us all to get along – except on Christmas. This is not a request – it is a given. And whilst I love her for that – it does take some effort!

KAM has been around now for a while and also knows what to expect and what is expected of him. I could feel the tension within us both as we drove towards my family home. However, as we turned into my mum and dad’s Street, the Christmas magic kicked in and all I could smell in the summer air was my dad’s roast meats cooking on the multiple barbecues he has going preparing to feed the hordes about to embark on his home. It’s fair to say my dad is a bit of a Christmas Grinch. But come hell or high water – he’s in charge of the meat, and don’t try to take that from him or dare to offer advice. It has been his role for a number of years now and happens to be one of my favourite things about this time of year. He slaves over them for hours – marinating, roasting and finally carving them, after sharpening his knives like a pro. I watch him take so much pride and care with his role at Christmas time and quite frankly, the result is amazing! My mum is like Christmas on speed! She decorates better than a David Jones window display, cooks, prepares and makes the house look just so. It’s important to her to have all the family together and wants everything to be perfect. Somehow despite how busy she is, she carries it off every year.

So as everyone has arrived, poured themselves a drink and is sitting around catching up, I merely sit and observe. This year, our table is full of children and the magic of a hot summer Christmas inclusive of cold ham, a sunlight pool and treats they wouldn’t be allowed any other time of year is evident. The smile on their faces and giggles coming from the kiddie table as they crack the bon-bons is infectious and you can’t help but smile along with them.

Some of our table are blood relatives and some are not. Some, I haven’t seen for 20 years and some I had never met until recently. Teenagers with so much spunk and their whole life ahead of them. Some who have lost love this year and some who have found it. We, who have been grounded and feeling sorry for ourselves, realise that we made it through yet another year of turmoil and I think are just happy to still be in one piece.

After all the presents are opened, our bellies are full and the champagne is giving me a nice buzz, I am glad that KAM and I didn’t pack our bags and run from the Christmas festivities (even though we talked about it a lot!). Christmas comes but once a year and there is no better reason to celebrate the people you call ‘family’ whether they are people you belong to, or people you have chosen.

So happy New Year to my fellow travellers, dreamers and gypsy’s alike. No matter who you are, no matter where you roam, family is a gift, and will always be your home.

Dedicated to a new friend who is clever, feisty and full of life. Put pen to paper girlfriend! People will love your sparkle! xo

Blue Water Sailing, Corlette NSW

Blue Water Sailing, Corlette NSW

Sailing Super Styling!

What is the best way to surprise a loved one on their birthday? Go Booyah all the way of course! And what better way to do Booyah than chartering your own private yacht from Blue Water Sailing, who do Booyah just right.

Aptly named ‘Champagne on Ice’, this beautiful yacht greets you from one of the most expensive Marina’s in Australia. Everything about this company exudes luxury and they simply cannot do enough for you.

When I called to organise this for KAM and explained that it was a Birthday surprise, Rhonda from Blue Water Sailing was more than happy to assist, including finding a very rare and expensive bottle of wine for the sail (KAM’s all time favourite!). You should have seen his face when it was brought up from below, chilled and presented like the Sword of Excalibur. He couldn’t have smiled any larger!

From the moment you board this amazing yacht for a sunset cruise around stunning Port Stephens, you are treated like royalty. The two crewmen are friendly and highly knowledgeable, which is helpful when you are sailing in some pretty high winds. They expertly navigate the yacht into a quiet bay, only accessible by boat and as the sun goes does we dine on large fresh prawns, a cheese platter and a cold bottle of Tyrrell’s VAT 1.

This is silver service without the pretence and there are linen tablecloths, proper cutlery, fine wine glasses and no paper plates in sight. Nothing is rushed, and time seems to stand still as you enjoy the romance of this experience.

Finally though, its time to head back. They ask KAM if he would like to man the wheel for a while and do a little real sailing on our way home. The boys teach him the ropes and he’s off, head first into the wind, pulling 20 knots like a pro! This yacht glides through the water like an elegant dolphin, riding the waves comfortably, making you feel alive and exhilarated.

Just as night falls we reach our destination back at the Marina and I know we will sleep well tonight. I’m sad the experience is over and I ask KAM if he enjoyed his Birthday surprise. He gives me the best answer ever… “Lets go and celebrate with a champagne on ice!”.

Thank you Blue Water Sailing for making a memory that will last a lifetime and one which we hope to repeat sometime soon!

Blue Water Sailing
Marina D, The Anchorage Marina
Corlette NSW
P: 0448111331

5 Good Bubbly’s for $15

5 Good Bubbly’s for $15

A Bubbly Sunday Experiment

I am not sure whether living on the same block as a bottle shop is a godsend or a problem. Either way, it makes a bad day a bit easier when you simply have to walk next door to make yourself feel better – albeit until tomorrow. Whilst we are lovers of fine wine, there is always those days when you just need a good drop of bubbly to put a little fizz back into your day.

So purely in the name of research, we toddled off next door and brought them out of bubbly, in order to give you the best 5 Bubbly’s for under $15. Paired with a nice Mezze plate, we sat on the balcony in the sun, enjoying a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes, the hard work just simply has to be done!

At $15 or less, all 5 of these lovely wines, will definitely cheer you up after a bad day at the office or make a Sunday afternoon with friends a bit of an occasion. Don’t get me wrong… I love the finer things in life! But sometimes the finer things don’t have to cost the earth. Let me prove it to you!

And while we did rate these bubbles from 1 to 5 (number 1 being our favourite of course!), do understand that there was half a point between each, so not a big difference in the love-factor overall.

Coming in at Number 5 is the Jacobs Creek Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2015. This beautiful and quite serious drop from a very affordable vineyard is a great “bad day wine”. It’s boldness lets you sink into it and relax after a hard day and would be great paired with some hot and spicy Thai food! This is a great Hump Day drop when you can’t be bothered to cook and get take-out and watch The Bachelor, laughing at all the silly girls!

Number 4 on our list is one of our all-time favourites! Henkell Trocken Sparkling Wine can be found in our fridge on any given day of the week and the lady at our local bottle shop even quietly lets us know when it’s going in special so we can buy up in bulk! Henkell is a zesty, fun, lively bubbly with an everlasting citrus flavour that is just too easy to drink! Really… A bloody nice wine!!!

Our Number 3 is one of the prettiest wines I have ever seen. The Yellowglen Vintage 2015 Bella Pink Moscato is decorated with beautiful packaging and makes it perfect for drinks with the girls on a Friday afternoon. This lovely wine is like a super-sweet nectar that tickles the end of your nose as you sip and is good old plain fun! If I have a night at home alone, you will find me on the couch with a bottle of Yellowglen Pink Moscato and a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with caramel topping. Paired with a great girly movie and Mr. George Clooney, it feels like a naughty night in. But don’t tell KAM!

Number 2 was a bit of a surprise package! Living with an Italian, I have enjoyed my fair-share of Prosecco’s, but the Porta Dante Prosecco in my opinion is one of the best (and one of the most inexpensive). This lovely wine is smooth, sophisticated, and gentle – just like a good Italian should be! I could easily sip a Sunday away with a bottle of this lovely bubbly with KAM. Although I do wonder…. Are two Italians too much to handle at the same time?!

And finally our favourite! As we were conducting this experiment we tried not to taint the results, however with a bottle of Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon in the mix, it was hard not to be bias. The Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon is pure sunshine in a glass and makes all your bad days disappear like the fizz that escapes from the bottle as you open it. This beautiful bubbly is summer at its best and showcases the Hunter Valley Semillon’s with class, style and grace. Happy songs start to play in my head as I sip a glass of this spectacular wine and I remember all of the beautiful meals KAM and I have shared with a bottle of Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon on the side. This wine is simply the best money can buy at around $15 and in my opinion is worth much more – but don’t tell Bimbadgen I said that or they might up the price!

So there you have it! This list proves that for under $15 you can enjoy a little luxury at any time of the week without breaking the budget! But don’t take our word for it… Try them for yourselves. After all, life would be boring without a little experimentation, right?!