Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sweet As Pie Baking Challenge – Choc Cherry Slice

Due to general busyness and perhaps a little bit of laziness (just a touch), my Sweet As Pie Baking Challenge has been on hold but when Mother’s Day was on the horizon I felt it was time to dust off the cookbook and get stuck into a new recipe.

Choc Cherry Slice marks the final recipe in the Biscuits and Slices section of ‘Australia’s Sweet Baking Favourites’ cookbook. I’m not much into cherries but I’m told by my trusted taste testers that it was delicious and maybe a little indulgent too!!!!


It’s a super simple recipe and looks quite a bit fancy once you’re done so enjoy!!!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Surprising Jeff




I honestly believe that the best part about gifts is the giving rather than the receiving, especially when you put lots of thought and care into purchasing a gift that your loved one will cherish forever. This is exactly what I did for Jeff’s 27th Birthday and to add a little more fun and excitement, I kept it all a big surprise!

In the early hours of Tuesday 23rd April I woke Jeff up, handing him some clothes and told him to shower and get ready, his birthday surprise was about to begin. I’ve never seen him wake up so fast before and bounce out of bed, he was so excited and so was I!!!!

Little did he know what awaited him that day but I knew he’d love the surprise I’d organised and boy was I thankful the day had arrived because I’m not sure I could have kept my mouth shut for much longer!!!! I set his GPS and he followed it into the unknown which he soon found out to be the airport for a flight to Sydney.

The whole hour and a half in the air he kept looking at me with the biggest smile on his face and we both tried (without luck) to nap while we could. He was so excited about what was to come that he left his phone in the car and had to retrieve it before boarding our flight and left his backpack on the plane and had to run back for that too!!! Anticipation obviously makes him lose his mind hahaha!



I waited until we were safely on Sydney soil before I revealed where we would be off too – the Hilton on Gorge St for the night!!! Ok, so I was pretty freaking excited about this part of the surprise and couldn’t wait to see what the Hilton was like (AMAZING by the way!)

I had decided that I would leave the main surprise til last and would race into the hotel room ahead of him and put it out on the bed for him to discover. Unfortunately check in wasn’t until 3pm so we spent most of the day exploring the city shops, eating croissants for breakfast and sampling some of the best gelato I’ve ever tasted! 



 At 2pm they FINALLY let us into our room where I quickly ran in and shut Jeff out while I got his surprise ready. I stood back, looked at it sitting on the bed and was so excited for him that I literally bounced to the door to let him in!!!!!

The look on his face was priceless ‘Tickets to see Josh Groban in the Sydney Opera House TONIGHT!!!!!!’ Winner!!!! This surprise was already a HUGE success and Jeff was thrilled. Actually, he was beyond thrilled and couldn’t believe I’d kept it a surprise and also that he hadn’t found out himself and booked tickets. Phew, glad that didn’t happen!!



We spent the rest of the afternoon napped in the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in…. I’m pretty sure it was in fact a cloud! Late afternoon it was time to get ready for this very special night!


We both had an amazing night that we’ll never forget and will forever cherish. We ate Chinese food at Circular Key before the show, admired the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera house all lit up and of course took stacks of photos! We then settled into our seats in the Opera house Concert hall and completely enjoyed every second of the very talented Mr Josh Groban and his stunning music. He’s also a very funny guy and had everyone almost falling out of their seats in fits of laughter.










We were totally unaware of time and before we knew it, 2 hours had past and it was time to leave. We left the Opera House with the biggest smiles (which is kind of fitting as his last song was called ‘Smile’) and set off to find dessert. We sat in the Guylian Chocolate CafĂ© with the harbour as our backdrop and enjoyed chocolately desserts while Jeff rang his family to tell them what had happened to him today.




I can officially say the whole birthday gift was a major success and Jeff could not take the smile off his face for days! Not only did he have an amazing time but so did I and it was so special to do something completely different to normal. Back in 2007 our first ‘real’ date was to see Josh Groban play in Brisbane and I had promised Jeff that if he ever came back to Australia we would see him play in the Opera House. Well, mission accomplished!

But it wasn’t quite all over just yet as I had one more little surprise to reveal over breakfast the next morning. Still buzzing from the night before I asked Jeff if he’d like to see the show again and of course he said yes! I handed him a little envelope which contained two tickets to see Josh Groban’s show in Brisbane that Saturday night. This just seemed to top the whole surprise off perfectly and gave us both something else to look forward too!



The Saturday night show was fantastic, dare I say even better than the Sydney show! I almost had to restrain Jeff when Josh Groban stepped off the stage and walked down the aisle next to our seats for a little meet and greet with the audience. He also invited a lovely young lady from the audience who had asked to sing with him up to the stage. Even I was shaking with nerves for her but she did a wonderful job at singing The Prayer with him.
An amazing couple of days that I certainly will never forget and that I’m sure Jeff will cherish! We are so blessed to be able to do these special things together and I’m so grateful that it all worked out perfectly. Praise the Lord and a HUGE thank you to my Mum for all of her help and for finding out about the show in the first place!