JUST SNAPPED @littleswallowchinadoll

Paris, we meet again

I love the Eurostar. It's about a million times better than going to the airport to get a plane, and a gazillion times more comfortable. 

It was with welcome relief that we arrived at Chez Chez on Friday night. What's better than visiting friends and being taken care of all weekend when there's cheese, foie gras and wine involved? 

Welcome kirs down, we headed to a little French bistro for the standard issue French feed: marrow, steak tartare, wine, and heart-stopping aligot - mashed potatoes with garlic and cheese. Totally decadent.

After a little sleep, it was time for a trip to the supermarché and a stroll in the park before Miss L and Miss O arrived.

Is there anything more French than carrying baguettes? Didn't think so.

Then it was time to lay the foundations for our day. OH YEAH.

Before heading to the main event: Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendents. In other words, an exhibition hall filled with boutique wine merchants as far as the eye could see, all waiting and willing to take you on a tasting journey through their vintages and vineyards.

We rolled out of there, 5 hours later, 50 or so bottles better off, and a lot more than 50 or so samples worse for wear. Via a stop at the token chocolate stand, of course.

And what better way to enjoy our stash than at a Parisian house party with raclette and a catch up with Anthony? Double cheese all the way, dudes, double cheese.

As we headed to bed in the wee hours of the morning, full of cheese and wine, I really wasn't sure how much more cheese I could take. 

As it turns out; a lot, lot more.

Koh Samui Day 6: we got married

I don't even know how it really even happened. One minute I was protesting that I didn't want to get married, the next I was waking up on my wedding day. 

I fretted. Everyone agreed with everything I said (wise choice). We ate the most beautifully presented pad thai for lunch. We ran late getting ready for the photographers (would you expect anything less?) who took the opportunity to capture the details.

And then we were ready. My new sister in law did a spanking job on our hair, and my maid did a bloody brilliant job on our make up. And the dress actually fit!

Mum gave me a pep talk.

And then Ms K and I were left alone to drink shambles and "relax" in my room while our guests arrived and took in the views and the decorations (good job team wedding villa!). There was even a Skype link up being broadcast back to the UK.

Then I remembered I hadn't looked at my wedding vows and tried to crash course memorise them at the last minute (it didn't work).

Dad came in to tell us it was time. We scooted outside and waited nervously, hidden from sight.

Then the music started, and we nailed the walk down the aisle. Go Dad!

I caught my first glimpse of the CG - and honestly, I've never seen a grown man cry so much.

We had the absolute honour of being married by Ev. What could be better than being married by someone who has known you as a couple from the start, who has travelled with you, lived with you, laughed with you and eaten with you? Having a close friend marry us, and write one of the most heartfelt ceremonies ever, was just perfect.

The CG and I wrote readings for each other, that our siblings read during the ceremony. It was our first time hearing what the other had written, and boy, was I impressed that the CG had managed to string together a whole page of related words (I really half expected a limerick).

I've seen less people crying at a funeral, no joke.

Despite all the tears, and the laughter, we managed to say "I do".

After lots of congratulations,

some group photos,

the most delicious seafood BBQ (best prawns EVER),

heart warming speeches,

delicious cake,

a DVD from our niece and nephews,

general fooling around,

wish lantern lighting,

and our first swim,

it was time to really start the party. We rolled into bed around 6am. Possibly not the most romantic wedding night, but definitely the most fun.

Thank you so much to Artem & Helen who captured our day perfectly for us. To everyone else - to our friends and family who not only flew halfway around the world to celebrate with us and who joined us thanks to the wonders of technology - who acted as hairdressers, make up artists, bakers, officiants, readers, chauffeurs, photographers, duty free alcohol mules, musicians, speech makers, video recordists, events managers and decorators....thank you just doesn't even cut it. We love you all so very, very much x

Welcome to the family

My big brother and sister in law took time out of their extremely busy lives (that is seriously no exaggeration - think two kids, two jobs, a new house - fingers crossed - and a time consuming business...I have serious respect for these guys) to come spend Saturday night with us.

I really need to get a good compact camera. I hate not having great photos of a brilliantly fun night.

I'm seriously obsessed with Burger & Lobster. Now I've had all 3 things and I'd do it again. Every week.

FYI smashing through 3 bottles of wine and 2 rounds of vodka in a few hours is not a great idea when you're off to the theatre. Cue us being late and missing the first scene, falling asleep in the first half, and me climbing over a row of people to get to the toilet.

We walked back to Waterloo to sober up a little.

It was a lovely London night. Topped off with a late night chat, a sleep in on Sunday morning, and a leisurely breakfast before we had to say adieu *sob*. Here's hoping all our post-wedding family time is as enjoyable...

A Malaysian wedding feast

Yeah, yeah, I'm skipping around. I'll get the to the wedding eventually - especially now that we have 800+ professional photos to go through. 

After Thailand we jetted over to Malaysia to continue the wedding celebrations with a little shopping, family bonding, and feasting with the extended family including my awesome Grandma. 

Mum and Dad threw us a traditional Chinese style banquet dinner which was ridiculously tasty. 

So tasty, in fact, that I didn't remember to immortalise every course - which I'm now obviously regretting since I don't have any evidence of possibly one of my top five noodle experiences. 

In between gorging ourselves, we did a little toasting. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum-sing!

We collected red packets (just one of many reasons being Chinese is cool).

The CG captivated the room with a little thank you speech.

And we caught up with family.

Is this not the most Asian formal-style picture ever? Complete with chairs at the front and all. Nice.

The Goat, Clapham

It's rare that I blog about our locals. I guess because when you go to places on repeat they don't seem worth talking about.

We've been to The Goat for drinks a lot. And I've eaten there a couple of times...but a burger when you're a wee bit jolly tastes much like any other burger.

Right, little man?

So when we went for Sunday lunch with the crew, I have to say I was pretty impressed. On the down side, everyone who went in for the traditional roast had their meals served lukewarm - and their desserts served steaming hot. 

But if you went off piste, man, you were in for a (hot) treat. I had the Devon crab tartare to start, and it was hands down one of the best crab dishes I've ever had.

I followed up with ox cheek pie - who knew ox cheeks would be so melt-in-the-mouth tender? They're now on the list of things to experiment with at home.

p/s is there anything better than a pint of orange juice & lemonade after a night on the wine before?  Best drink IN THE WORLD.