Monthly Archives: August 2012

Breakfast in bed suprise

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What better way to wake up in the morning than this. Breakfast in bed. Thank you my darling for everything and esp for roses. :-). Love you so much…

Chunky statement necklaces

I went shopping last night as I needed to go for a birthday party tonight. I am wearing coloured denim and I wanted a chunky necklace to go with it.

To my surprise, it looks like this spring is going to be full chunky necklaces. Every place that sells accessories has them in all kinds, colours and styles on display. From floral accents and multicolour gemstones to layered pearls and bib necklaces; I had array of choices. I ended up buying a  beaded one.

I am so happy to see them everywhere. I have got 5 now so I will be wearing them everywhere. I bought a couple of them from Dubai and UK during my Europe trip  :).

I can transform my wardrobe with a single accessory now. I really love them as you can wear them as your only accessories and you will still look stylish. With these kinds of necklaces, it is best to avoid earrings and bracelets. Keep it minimal and it will work perfectly.

It goes well with jeans as well as dresses and skirts. It can definitely embellish the plainest tops and dresses.

I have seen them on my favourite fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker as well as many other celebrities.  Loving their looks.

Today at work I wore a necklace as well; it is not a big statement necklace but quite a  good size for work.

Keep it chucky this Spring  🙂

Schönbrunn Palace : Austria

Anyone who knows much about European history knows about the important influence of the Hapsburg family. The aesthetic preferences of that family are displayed in the Schönbrunn palace and gardens that make up this amazing castle in the heart of modern Vienna.

Schönbrunn PalaceAs soon as we were dropped off in front of the palace, I was in awe at its grand presence. The entrance has a long path that leads to the palace. On one side of the path, there is a fountain while the other side, servant quarters.

We were there with a local guide who was really informative and gave us lots of history behind the palace.

Despite its apparent unity of style, the complex incorporates various structural changes resulting from its long history. After World War I the palace became a museum; it was restored after damage in World War II.

Remodelling and modernization began in 1743, when the young Empress Maria-Theresa ordered that the building, one of her favourite residences, should be repaired and enlarged to accommodate the imperial household in comfort.

Schönbrunn Palace

Maria Theresa (1717-1780), archduchess of Austria, Holy Roman Empress, and queen of Hungary and Bohemia, began her rule in 1740. She was the only woman ruler in the 650 year history of the Habsburg dynasty. She was also one of the most successful Habsburg rulers, male or female, while bearing sixteen children between 1738 and 1756.

Maria Theresa was married to Francis I, Duke of Lorraine. Maria Theresa was one of the few people in her age who married for love. She loved her husband dearly and passionately. She had 16 children by him, with 11 daughters (ten of whom had the first name “Maria”) and five sons.

Her youngest daughter was Maria Antonia, better known under her French name Marie Antoinette, who would be promised in marriage to the later King Louis XVI of France. Marie Louise who became Napoleon’s second wife, bearing him a son, was a great granddaughter of Empress Maria Theresa through her father, and thus a great niece of Marie Antoinette.

There are 1441 rooms in the palace but in the tour we were allowed in around 40 rooms. Every room have its history and is different that second room. There are so many photos of the children and family hanging everywhere. We went to a hall where Mozart himself at 6 years old played a concert in, then a bedroom Napoleon Bonaparte slept in, and lastly a ballroom where JKF conducted foreign relations. The décor of each room was fabulous.

Maria Theresa was a fashionista so there are lots of beautiful gowns on display as well as her long hair preserved.

Unfortunately we cannot take photos inside but this is what I can find online.

From the palace we went exploring the garden which was filled with original huts, orchard and pasture. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs. The grounds were beautiful, and the mazes and labyrinths are lots of fun. The garden is huge with alleys with trees whose branches and crowns which are cut in line by extraordinarily talented gardeners. The pruning and shaping must take an enormous amount of work.

Schönbrunn Palace

There are lots of sculptures in the Schönbrunn Garden which were mostly created between 1773 and 1780 under the direction of Johann Wilhelm Beyer, employing many sculptors. You need several hours to stroll, or you can take a buggy ride but as we have limited time in the palace we couldn’t go around everywhere.

There are few fountains in the garden. The fountains are lovely, but it’s quite a walk to get all the way round the gardens.

It was nice to visit the palace and see how rich and famous once lived.

Please click here for more photos 🙂

Enjoying Viennese residential orchestra: Austria

Everyone asked me to make sure to go and enjoy the orchestra while in Austria so we decided to join our tour group and listen to the Viennese residential orchestra. I am not into orchestras but as they say, when in Rome… so we went with the flow. The bus took us from our hotel and dropped us at the Auersperg Palace.

Viennese residential orchestra

We attended an evening concert of Mozart and Strauss music presented by the Vienna Residence Orchestra in a beautiful concert room of the Auersperg Palace. The venue was lovely and intimate with beautiful painting, high ceiling and big chandeliers.

Viennese residential orchestra

It was an evening concert consisting of musicians many with instruments from the 18th century plus an Opera singer and Ballet troupe. The performance included solos and duets by a soprano and a baritone, a male and a female dancer, and a string ensemble.  Most of the musicians looked very young. Me and AS were observing their expressions, they were so into the music.

Viennese residential orchestra

During the show they got the audience to clap along with the music and some of the ballet scenes were very comic.

Viennese residential orchestra

Overall, the music was beautiful and professional, but they didn’t provide a program of what they were going to play unless you spent an additional 5 euros for a ‘professional’ program.

We enjoyed the performance immensely and it was absolutely one of the highlights of our trip. The music was mostly Mozart and Johann Strauss.

Viennese residential orchestra

There was one intermission. During the intermission we were offered a drink of either champagne or orange juice.

Viennese residential orchestra

We were given a CD from the Vienna Residence Orchestra too.

Viennese residential orchestra

Here is some samples of what we listened to.

Snowy Mountains: Australia

I guess lots of people living in US and Canada will call us crazy but we do drive 7 hours to play with snow. There is no snowfall in Sydney so we have to jump into a car and drive almost half a day to reach Perisher or Thredbo to play with snow during winter. And last weekend that is what we decided to do, take a visit to a winter wonderland :). We were 8 people altogether which included my hubby, my cousin K didi, her husband and her son and 3 of their friends.

Perisher valley

So we left Sydney after work on Friday to be get to the mountain early morning Saturday. The drive down there was not much fun as it was cold and dark. We stopped at one shop for coffee and cookie and to hire some gear.

We hired snow trousers, jackets and walking boots. We all decided to hire toboggans instead of ski or snow board because it is much easier. I fell so many times while trying to learn how to ski in the past that it was not fun at all. Generally a normal skier would spend the majority of their time skiing and a fraction of their time falling so I knew already that I don’t have ski genes within me. And ohoo how can I forget all the pain and body aches the next day. I really wanted to avoid that this time as my body is still in recovery mode from last weekend’s City2Surf run.

Perisher valley

Perisher valleyAnyway, from there our next stop was the Perisher valley. Perisher Valley (elevation 1720m) is a ski resort village in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, in the Snowy River Shire. It is located within the Kosciuszko National Park between beautiful Jindabyne and Charlotte Pass on the Kosciuszko Road.

Perisher valley

Perisher valleyPerisher valleyThe place looked really beautiful with snow everywhere. We got lucky as it snowed the day before so there was 27cm of fresh snow to play with. The lift to the mountains was not opened then so there were not that many people around. I have to admit it was really cold so we decide to have breakfast before we stared to play in the snow.

Perisher valley

Perisher valleyAfter breakfast we took our toboggans and made our way uphill. First we stared on a small hill to get the hang of the toboggan and later went to the big hill. My nephew who is nearly five was enjoying his ride as well. He would come down and immediately walk his way up the hill. It was a really exciting experience. After may be 10 rides, it started getting hot but AS didn’t let me take my jacket off as he said I might get sick later. I know he does look after me  🙂

Perisher valley

Perisher valleyWe also had some fun with snow war. As we were talking photos, I went and stood behind AS. So while he was posing, I took a heap of snow and started the fight. I knew he was not going to leave me alone after that. It was so much fun. Later everyone joined the fight including my nephew who was having the time of his life.

Perisher valley

Perisher valley

Perisher valley

How could a snow trip be successful without a snowman? Someone started the snowman on the top of the mountain which we continued and he looked beautiful with my gloves and muffler :). We all posed to take our photo with the snowman.

Perisher valley

Perisher valley

By midday we all were starving so we decided to have a break and went for lunch. We had brought some dry home cooked lunch and it tasted the best after so much energy was lost. On the way to the eating area it started snowing as well.

Perisher valleyAfter the break, we took our toboggans again and continued the ride for rest of the day.

Perisher valleyPerisher valleyOn the higher hills, I could see people skiing and snowboarding. I do want to learn how to do that well without falling of course but I really enjoyed what we did.  It was really fun. Planning for next trip to snow already for the next year  🙂

Please click here for more photos.

Perisher valley

Perisher valley