Bendooley Estate & The Berkelouw Book Shop

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Bendooley Estate Food Menu
The Berkelouw Book Shop
The Berkelouw Book Shop NSW
The Berkelouw Book Shop NSW
Bendooley Estate Food Cheese Platter
Bendooley Estate Food Menu
Bendooley Estate Food Wood Fire Pizza
Bendooley Estate Food Duck Gnocchi
Bendooley Estate Food Duck Gnocchi
Bendooley Estate Food Sirloin Steak
Bendooley Estate Food Duck Gnocchi
The Berkelouw Book Shop NSW

  Location: Bendooley Estate & The Berkelouw Book Shop
Photos taken by Hai & Nat with a Canon EOS 70D

Happily married and now 31 years old, Hai surprised me with a trip to Bendooley Estate for my birthday.
It was about an hour and 15 minute drive from Hinchinbrook, and I was so excited because at this estate they also housed a Book Barn. A Book Barn! When I heard these words, my eyes lit up. People who have grown up with me knows I love my books and I love to collect.
We headed out on our mini road trip - past tall green trees, rolling hills and dirt roads to reach this immaculate and charming estate with trimmed hedges and timber buildings.

Inside, a huge fireplace fills your eyes as you walk in.With a fire already going, the warmth was so welcoming. In front of the fireplace, tables and chairs were ready to serve lunch. Flanking the restaurant floor were books. To the left, new books hand-picked by the staff. To the right, shelves and shelves of second-hand books - all categorized by genre and author.
Hai drove us there two hours before lunch, so I could spend my morning browsing. I love my husband for being so thoughtful. I spent my full two hours there, and bought my treasures. My favorite find was a book published in 1924, by a British man who travels to China, Japan and Mongolia. The pages are aged, browned and delicate and holds a special place on my bookshelf.

For lunch we sat down and ordered wines, two cheese platter (mossvale blue and gippsland brie) with house-made crackers, seasoned fries (its a huge serving!) margarita wood-fire pizza, black Angus eye fillet beef and duck ragout gnocchi.
We obviously ordered too much but it was my birthday so we indulged. The food was delicious and of high quality and we finally felt like a married couple out on a real fancy lunch.

The weather unfortunately didn't hold up so we couldn't explore the rest of the estate that day but I promised myself to keep visiting so I can discover more of this beautiful place.

Introducing: My Mountain Tattoo

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Tattoo Mountains Nature Ink
Tattoo Mountains Nature Ink
Tattoo Mountains Nature Ink

Tattoo designed by me, Tattoo inked by Alex from Cabramatta Ink

With just under three months to go until the wedding, I've barely had any time to sit at my computer to edit photos and just do what I do - blog. My life for the past year has been spending hours researching dresses, music, pre-wedding photo locations, ties, wedding gifts, celebrants, Asian ceremonies, stationary..... and I'm burnt out.

Yet fnding the inspiration for my tattoo came to me easily, and it was the easiest thing to do while planning this wedding! Amidst my crazy schedule, I found time six months ago to get this tattoo for my thirtieth birthday.
All I did was think about the hikes I've done and all the time I spent outdoors. The mountains and trees came to my mind easily as I drew it into my art book. Then I thought about freedom, and a bird was sketched.

I then spent the next few weeks hiding it from my mom. Yes I am thirty and engaged but there is still a certain amount of respect my mom expects and no matter what, she would not react well to this tattoo. But as the weeks draw closer to the wedding, my mom and I have been spending more time together as we work out the details of the Asian wedding ceremonies. I'm pretty sure she has noticed it by now but has not said anything. The wedding is clearly the priority which I silently appreciated.

I also was surprised that my mom agreed to walk me down the aisle. Even though she raised me for most of my life (my mom and dad are divorced) I knew that it was important to me, but I didn't realize it was also important to her. It warmed my heart.

These are some of the better moments of this wedding planning. The amount of stress that comes with it is enough to make me want to burn my wedding planner and hop on a plane to fly somewhere (and I have a massive fear of flying)! But... these days I just keep glancing down at my tattoo and try to furiously remind myself that I will see mountains and trees soon. Mountains and trees. Mountains and trees....

And then it will be all worth it in the end. Soon I'll be hiking towards those mountains and trees with my rose gold wedding band and smiling at the memory of my mom walking me down the aisle.

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