In between settling back in school after 3 weeks of wedding bliss and many many many reports, the kids and I have been looking a lot at Ken Done's work. We're in the midst of creating some big Australiana Ken Done-inspired pieces. I can't wait to see how the finished piece looks like. It's been super fun being immersed in all the children's' funny 'Australia chats'. "You've got the draw the meat pie because it's such a tradie thing and it's so Australian. Everyone loves meat pie. It's disgusting but it's good!" "Oh and money. Australia is known for it's money so should draw $5, $100 notes."
We received our wedding photographs from our very clever photographer Sayher Heffernan last week and its been smiles all round in our household since. Our family and friends have all returned to Singapore after a month long holiday, it's back to work and as life resumes as per normal once again. It's so nice to be reminded of our special day through Sayher's photos, cards and gifts that's still arriving! We are truly so blessed and fortunate to have such a wonderful bunch of people in our lives...
I must admit, it was SO hard picking our favourites out of 800+ images. Sayher did an amazing job capturing our day and every single one of his shots were perfect. Thank you so so much Sayher. You are amazing and everyone loved having you around! We would love to share them all, but you might fall asleep so here's some! Be prepared, this post is still super long. Probably the longest ever post I've shared. In my life! (And I have been blogging for 14 years now! Haha)
Seriously, what a magical and truly loved-up day! Darren and I have been talking a lot about the day and sharing our favourite moments with each other. So nice to know I've married such a reflective man. ( Well, I kind of already knew he was one prior to getting hitched. Haha ) There have been days when Darren just looks over at me and tells me 'It was a good day wasn't it? I wish we could do it all again and I won't even change a thing.' I so agree with you Darren!
Throughout the day, there were so many special moments. I remember sitting in the car, with Lydia and my family. We were all so excited heading to the farm. I remember seeing Darren for the first time all dressed up and handsome! Hehe.
Then there was the bit where I walked with my Dad. And in true Dawn -very clumsy - Tan fashion, my veil got caught in the branches and it was a sudden " Ohh Oops! Ahh! " Haha. Funny thing was Darren later told me how he saw it all coming and thought it was hilarious.
I remember sweet little Alby sitting right at the front, on the grass, chewing on a twig during our ceremony. Such a sweet little bubba and he made my heart melt! The special wild flowers Ziggy handpicked for Darren and I. And of course, the 2kgs of confetti! I bought just a bag from the art shop we use at school ( Typical Junior school art teacher supply ) and of course it had to come in a 2 kg bag minimum. So what happened? Confetti explosion! There was confetti EVERYWHERE. It was really funny undressing after the whole wedding. Let's just say we kind of confetti-ed the toilet at The Langham.
Throughout the day, there were so many other meaningful moments too. I could go on and on and on like how there was so much poop out in the fields and it was funny getting photos taken. I ended up with a bit of poop on the hem of my dress! Haha. There was our homemade photo booth, our beautiful cake baked by our dear friend Lynsey, all the touching speeches and of course, those POSSUMS! Yup, they came, they saw and they peed and pooped right above the dinner tables! Imagine guests all screaming and laughing and running to corners of the barn. And people exclaiming "It's raining!" "My foooood!!!!!!" "The cake the cake!!!" "Ahhhhhh!" Yup, exactly what happened! Funny enough, we all loved that it happened (guests included). It made for SO much laughter!
I remember hearing someone shouting "At this rate, Instagram's gonna cramp!" especially since everyone was instagramming our wedding. Too funny! The Piñata was also really funny. The kids all had a go and when it finally broke, chocolates went everywhere and the kids all just quite literally attacked it all. Darren said he heard someone exclaiming how it was like a scene from Les Miserables. All the hungry children fighting for food. Haha. According to our dear friend Martine, her son Barney woke up the next day, his pockets stuffed with chocolates!
Seriously, what a day! We are so grateful for all our friends and family who have helped made everything so special for us. We would especially like to thank the following A-stars whom if not for them, we would probably have to postpone our wedding! Hahaha.
Firstly, thank you so much to the The wonderful Farm Cafe and The Collingwood Children's Farm. Tom, Kitty, Pip and all the staff who helped, you guys are amazing. Kitty you are truly an event organiser genius! You have helped make it all so stress-free. Everything was set up so so beautifully and it made our life so much easier. We didn't even need to say/do much and you guys just went all out and decorated everything so beautifully! The flowers, the tables, bunting, the food. Oh my the food. It was so good! One of our regrets - Not eating more! Haha. To all couples out there planning a wedding, I highly recommend having your wedding at the Farm and using The Farm Cafe for catering! Ace venue, great staff and stunning food. What more can you ask for?! : )
Next up, we would like to thank our wonderful Bridal party - my super sister Zoe Tan, Lynsey, Jie Xin, Yang Yuan, Bingquan, Lydia, Percy, Jinghui, Ian and Martine. Thank you so much for the months of wedding help, all the prep, the advice, the encouragement, running around, assuring and seriously everything. From the super special wedding cake ( Lynsey you are such a baking genius! ), to the measuring of dresses, collection of flowers, videoing, emceeing and bible reading oh and that crazy lemon bunting making… … you guys are truly the best and we are so blessed by each and everyone of you! Thank you Celine and Issac too for all the extra help. And Florence too for all the encouragement from Perth!
Martine, thank you for turning my salami hair into angel hair! HAHA. You definitely have a gift with hair no doubt! And if you ever decided to open a salon/braid bar, do know you already have your first customer here!. Haha.
Also, Jinghui … ... I think you should go into emceeing if you ever decided on a change of profession! Ian can do bible reading and music, you can host. Perfect wedding team!
Thank you too, Melvin for going all out to officiate our wedding. Without you, we would not even be legally Man and Wife!
Thank you to Whitney Deal for making my beautiful wedding dress and for all the hard work sending mock dresses and finally the dress all the way from America to Australia! You have made wedding dress shopping across two completely different time zones so easy. We love my dress so so much and couldn't have dreamt up a more perfect piece!
Thank you too Jennifer Sarkilahti of Odette goodness, for specially making us my magical Laurel wedding band. And of course my engagement ring too! I rarely wear rings but the ones you've made us, I will forever wear it with joy! Thank you!
Thank you Fowlers flowers for our pretty flowers too! Again, so so easy to work with and we highly recommend! Lauren and Josephine, the two of you are super : )
Thank you too Penelope Durston for doing such an amazing job with the hemming of the girls' dresses. Seriously, you have such a great big heart and we truly appreciate You! Thank you for going all out, ordering us those special Las Ninas Mexican dresses. The advice you've given, and of course, the hemming!!! We owe you so so much and we are very grateful for it all.
And of course, we would like to thank every single one of our family and friends for sharing our special day with us. To those of you who flew all the way in from Singapore, seriously guys! We were so super happy you guys could come! We know how hard it was booking flights, getting accommodation ( Grand finals week too! ) so we truly want to say a big thank you from the bottom of our hearts. <3
To our Australian friends, work colleagues, buddies… thank you for being there to share our joy too! We really appreciate all the encouragement and help offers throughout our entire planning journey. All chats over breakfast, at work, offering of an extra ride, accommodation, thank you!
To all of you who read my blog, follow my/our adventures, thank you too for always being here. All your good thoughts, kind words and smiles always serve as a reminder to us that people out there appreciate who we are! So thank you : )
And of course, thank you Papa, Mama, Zoe Tan for always being there for me and Darren ;-) I shall not get too mushy here because we are us and we don't do mushy ( Zoe Tan, I can imagine your hair standing already ). And thank you to my new parents Dad, Mum and sister in law/brother in law/family, thank you for welcoming me into your family like you always do.
Last but not the least ( I hope I didn't forget anyone else but if I do I'm sorry! Too long a post! ), thank you God for bringing Darren and I together in the first place. I love you so so much Darren but if it wasn't for Your super ways, we wouldn't even have met! Hehe. Thank you Darren for everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! I have so so much to say to you ( as always ) But I shall tell it all to you in person so you can tell me lame things in return. Haha. "I'll never let you Gyoza" and "Udon know how much you mean to me" … … <3
Remember this post from a while ago? I can now share with all of you our wedding invite set! It was truly so much fun creating this for ourselves. Funny enough, it didn't take me forever ( I thought it would, considering how much of a perfectionist I am when it comes to my own work. Hah! ) The moment Darren and I knew we were going to get married at Collingwood Children's Farm, I told him I think we need a pig. Somewhere. Darren thought I was crazy at first but went with it anyway ( Bless Darren! ) and so we ended up with a pig for our invite. Haha. I hope you like it as much as we do. And if you're wondering… yes, I am able to create custom wedding stationery! In fact, I am working on one for a very special couple right now. Think Peonies, green foliage. Mmm-mmm.
I am on a bit of a not-so-mini freelance break till end Jan next year ( Think last teaching term, report writing, Singapore wedding reception, honeymoon… ) but I'm sure we can always work something out. Send me an email and I'm happy to chat! Cheers x
I know I'm a little late in sharing but look what's just been released?! Clever cookie Anna of Kester Black not only creates the most pretty nail polishes, she's now gone into soap making land too and I was lucky enough to be invited to create the limited edition packaging for her! I pretty much jumped from my seat when I saw her initial email. I've been a huge fan of Anna's polishes and have seen them everywhere. So to be able to create the packaging illustrations for her first ever soaps! OH YEAH! ( Just imagine me doing a fist pump in the air )
These australian made soaps are 100% Vegan and super yummy. These simple and effective triple-milled soaps contain Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Vitamin E ( Oooh! ) and Shea Butter. They are deeply cleansing and nourishing for all skin types. Trust me on that - I have super sensitive skin and I've been using the Gingerbread like there's no tomorrow!
Not only are these soapy goodness great for your skin, they're super environmentally friendly too! They don't contain any palm oil, parabens, sulfates or petrochemicals. Anna oh Anna, how clever are you. Seriously!?
So, if you'd like to get one, head over to Anna's shop page. I like both the Fig and the Gingerbread but if I had to just pick one, I'd definitely pick the Gingerbread. It smells like Christmas and I love Christmas. Mm-mmm. Approx 60 more days to the best holiday of the year. I cannot.wait.already. Christmas you gotta come right now. So yes! Have fun and I hope you treat yourself to a bar or two!
Darren often tells me (With a rather sad face!) how there's always a lack of 'Dude Stuff' compared to 'Lady Stuff'. It's always the same mugs, ties, wallets during Christmas time especially... ... So I made these special Beer prints just for all you Dudes out there! Or ladies who love drinking too! I know I love my light beers. Hah. These are all available from my online shop here. Hope this makes all the boys smile! (:
And it was truly the best day ever. Darren woke up yesterday morning and said " I wish we could do it all over again and not change a thing. It was so much fun wasn't it." It sure was! We've been married almost a week now and it feels so surreal. Just last week during this exact time, we were still at our rehearsal dinner! I remember I had the worst headache from Hay fever allergies but the food was so good. So it kind of cured it. Haha. We're celebrating tomorrow (one week as a married couple) with a mini barbecue at home with family and friends.
I look forward to sharing photos from our wedding after we receive them from our wonderful photographer, Sayher Heffernan. There are so many people we want to thank as well. The Farm Cafe, our family and friends, our wonderful celebrant, and the list goes on...But that deserves a proper post on it's own, with nice fancy pictures. Hehe. So stay tuned! xx
As you can tell from the pictures above, life's been pretty hectic lately! We are officially one week to go and it has been nothing short of crazy, magical, exciting, stress and nerves all rolled into one! We have been weaving in and out of work, teaching, report writing (267 reports!!!!), wedding planning, vow writing, bunting shredding, hair trial-ing, pre-wedding celebrations and a ton of good food. My sister is here and everyone else starts arriving next Wednesday. ONE WEEK AWAY and it's so exciting just thinking about it. All our family and friends in one place. At the same time - Something super hard and almost a miracle when you call 2 separate countries home! I am officially counting down to this Thursday (Last day of teaching for me) then it's seriously Love time! Haha. Cannot wait. I probably won't be popping up here in the next 2 weeks but yes, if you'd like to follow our little journey and see some snaps of our special day, we'll be on instagram! : ) #dawnanddarren2014 Till then, have fun, Spring is finally here!
Hello everyone, hope you are well : ) Spring is practically here and I am so excited! (Minus the hay fever part. Haha) I finished this custom house painting a couple of weeks back and just thought I'd share it here with you today. This house was really fun to paint. All the greenery! Made me think of Spring so much. Hope you like it!
I was at a friend's last evening and this song came on. Such a beautiful song with such a wonderful message. I was moved to tears the first time I watched it so just wanted to share with all of you here. I have been thinking of the lyrics so much especially these days, when it's just 4 more weeks to the wedding. I have been asked by so many people about everything wedding beauty related. My makeup, hair, skin, teeth if I'm going to get them whitened, if I was going to get a spray tan, how's my diet and of course, the cut of the dress. I understand the good intentions of everyone and I am really so thankful people care and want to ask. Makes me smile and so touched to have such supportive friends. But last night when I watched this video again, I got reminded of what Beauty really is.
Darren loves me for who I am. Our favourite part of the day is when we both get to change into our daggy fleece pyjamas, have uncombed hair. I sometimes even tuck my shirt in and wear my trackies SUPER high waisted. Haha, So glamorous hey. But Darren loves this side of me. So seriously, I don't need to worry about anything. Weight loss has been a big thing for me. Growing up, I was always in the overweight/Trim-and-fit club. Endless jokes about my weight, my big crazy lion hair (I have really thick and bushy hair), my non-typical figure, it never ever ends... ... and it always hurts.
Most people who listen to the song would probably just feel awww and think about something else. But for me, it really hits hard and means so much. Just cannot stop thinking and tearing up. As we are now 4 weeks away to our new big adventure together, I am going to remind myself constantly that all these makeup and things, they are all superficial. Important to an extent but really, not the main point of it all.
I am still going to exercise and eat healthily, I am still going to book myself in for facials, a pedicure and a hair colour but not because it's what every bride to be does. I'm going to do it because I have been working so hard on all my freelance work, I deserve some pampering and feel-good sessions. I'm going to do it not for the wedding, but for me. And I am not even going to try and lose any weight. I am going to just exercise and be healthy, for me - So important when you are a woman hoping to become a mum.
To all brides to be, friends struggling with self-image... I encourage you to embark on this self-loving discovery journey with me. The people around you, love you for your ability to love, your giving heart and your little special characteristics. They love you for you so time to put down all those insecurities and just be yourself. We're all in this together <3
6 Years ago on this very day, Darren and I decided to start dating and we have not looked back since! We often joke about this picture as it's our very first picture together as a couple. Look at us! We were so shy back then. Haha. The Chinese often have this saying 'Behind every successful man, is a woman.' - Very true indeed! This is definitely one of our favourite pictures together to date. We looked so young back in the days. Well, we have since grown so much together, both age wise and side-ways. Darren's put on a total 9kgs and I think me too somehow, maybe. I'm too scared to weigh myself! Just thought I'd take some time today to look through and share some old photos taken over the years. Each one on this same date.
Our First Year - We celebrated at Melba at The Langham. I remembered Darren saving up for a long time just to bring me here. I was still a student, he just found a new job. Lots of money and it was a big deal. Funny enough, I decided to surprise him by going nuts over the fresh naan bread. Seriously, he takes me out to fancy pants restaurant buffet and all I want to eat is just cheap, plain naan. Haha. I remember being stuffed to the brim with naan and him with some oysters ( They took it away too soon! ) and had a crazy tummy ache at home after. How glamorous! We still laugh over it to date.
Our Second Year - I cannot remember what we did, where we went but I think this was the year we decided to go low-key and just celebrate at home with a simple meal. I did however, find this picture of us at Falls Creek. We both love the snow so much and I think we did take ourselves to the snow to celebrate! We went with our friend Grace and it was so much fun!
Our Third Year -This one, another cracker one. Masterchef was all the rage back then and I was OBSESSED. Absolutely obsessed and addicted to the show. So we decided to splurge or rather Darren did (Hah!) on a degustation dinner at The Press Club. Fancy fancy dinner and the food was oh so good. However, me being me, commented how one of the chicken things tasted like KFC's Popcorn chicken. And the entire night just revolved around laughing and cheapening up fancy food with our fast food equivalents. Yup, we are that classy! Again, I stuffed myself so much (So expensive had to finish every single bit!) and pretty much exploded myself. I died and suffered from a food comma in the carpark. Too funny. Another year we often laugh about!
Our Fourth Year - Ah, the year we chose to wrong place to celebrate. Dark, crowded, waited forever for a table, food that was just alright. We ordered the wrong dishes and spent the night really wanting what others ordered... Lighting made it so hard to take a nice photo too but ah well. We get what we get and the main thing is about us being together and just celebrating that right? Haha. Still a good one nevertheless!
Our Fifth Year - This year was extra sweet. Our first ever as an engaged couple! I remember wearing my engagement party dress that night. Was meant to save it for the engagement but I was too excited and Darren really liked it too. We ate at the beautiful Guy Grossi's Merchant Restaurant after recommendations by my students (Nephew of Mr Grossi himself! ) Every bit of food we had was perfecto. We finished off with a giant slice of Tiramisu which was so gooood. It was really nice to be serenaded by live musicians as well. They came right up to us and played the violin and accordion. Pretty sweet! We took the night nice and slow, strolling around the hotel after before heading home. Nice and so relaxed.
So yes, tonight we're heading out as per tradition and this time round, we've made a booking at the highly recommended Estelle! A bunch of our friends gifted us a dining voucher last year as an engagement present and we've been saving it for the perfect date. So tonight will be just right. Darren's extra excited this year as it's our very last one as ... boyfriend girlfriend. HAHA (I Know, that term makes me cringe a little. But oh so true!) Next year we'll be Mr and Mrs. Not long more to go!! I think 40 days?! We are so excited!
To celebrate this special once in a lifetime, monumental last-anniversary-before-we-get-married day, I decided to gift Darren (and myself too!) a special Leila Sanderson rosette. It's blue so it'll remind us daily that we are each other's #1 prize/best in show! Haha. I know - so cheesy. Darren's pretty happy with his rosette. He kept pretending to pin it on himself yesterday. It's now up on our wall, where all our special photos hang.
Thank you Leila for making us such a special rosette. Everyone, Leila's instagram feed is definitely worth the follow. So many gorgeous things as she prepares to launch her shop soon. So so good and I just want like everything there!
Alrightyo, off to get some work done before our big night out tonight. Enjoy your beautiful weekend all of you! x