2017 Easter Long Weekend Roundup 

Happy Easter my loves, 

If you follow me on social media, you would know that the hubby and I packed up and headed down South for the long weekend! Every year we head to the country for Easter and go camping with my in-laws. This year we stayed at the ‘Caves Road Caravan Park’ in Yallingup. Yallingup is breathtaking to say the least! Some of my must see places include; Yallingup Beach, Wyadup Roacks, The Cape Lavender Tea House, and The Canal Rocks. Oh, and if your a nougat lover like my husband and myself, than you can’t go past Bettenay’s

Until next time,

Ash xx 

Bedroom Reveal~ Plus My Styling Tips!

1

Target cushions|| White pillowslips|| Sheridan bedspread (no longer available), more here, and here

2.JPG

3

 

4.JPG

Faux fur throw~ similar here|| Target blanket

5

Bedside Lamp|| Artwork|| Frame~ available in-store at Red Dot|| Jo Malone candle|| Jar~ available in-store at Red Dot|| Books, here and here

6

7

Artwork||Frame available in-store at Red Dot|| Bedside Lamp|\ Photo frame~ available in-store at Adairs|| Bible~ in-store from any book shop. 

8

9

Vera Wang photo frame (gifted)|| Concrete plate~ in-store at Kmart for $1!!!|| Chrystal set (gifted)|| Bedroom Furniture via The furniture gallery~ mine here 

Today, I’m excited to share with you all my newly decorated bedroom! Frankie and I were extremely lucky and were gifted this gorgeous bedroom suite as a wedding gift late last year. I had been meaning to re-decorate, but with Christmas and New Year approaching, I just never got around to it! 

I’ve always loved home decor and believe that a visually appealing bedroom is not only relaxing but welcoming after a long day of work! One issue a lot of people struggle with is styling a room on a budget, furniture and home-wares can be incredibly expensive. However, as you can see from my pictures (above) a good mix of high and low end products can make the world of difference.

I like to invest in good quality furniture as I believe it acts as the foundation of the bedroom, and choosing to add in affordable home-wares instead. One of my go-to stores for affordable styling is Target, I find their quality is exceptional and incredibly affordable. The bonus of purchasing more affordable accessories is that you can mix them, or replace them for an entirely different look.

I went for a ‘relaxed coastal’ look for our bedroom. We only live five minutes from the beach, so our room really reflects our coastal location. Overall, I’m loving how it turned out!

Until next time,

ash xx

Open Letter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Committee

To the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Committee,

My name is Ashleigh Vellios, and I’m married to Francois van Gruening, which makes Daniel and Sharon van Gruening my in-laws. I am disappointed that my families battle for their Australian citizenship has come this far! I believe that their health condition is an unsatisfying reason for denial of citizenship, especially when the applicants have maintained their condition financially for the past 12 years without government assistance. I believe my mother and father-in-law have been unfairly dismissed and deserve to be granted their Australian residence.

I myself am only second generation Australian, with my dad’s parents migrating to Australia from Macedonia and my mother’s mum migrating from Germany. I’ve grown up in and have experienced a multicultural Australia! I’ve learnt some of my family’s traditional language, experienced their cultural traditions as well and eaten and cooked European dishes; all whilst growing up and identifying as an Aussie. And now thanks to my new family, I’ve learnt to speak some Afrikaans, eaten South African dishes and learnt about some of their nation’s traditions, which I am so thankful to have experienced because I believe that culture develops personality and individuality.

My husband and I first met when I was 17 and although we were young for such a serious relationship, Sharon and Daniel were incredibly welcoming. They invited me over for family dinners and adventures out, whilst maintaining a vested interest in my life and culture. Sharon has visited my Baba and Dedo (grandmother and grandfather) many times for their traditional European lunch and has heard many stories about their life in the ‘old country’.

View More: http://kirstyrussellphotography.pass.us/ashleigh--rancois

View More: http://kirstyrussellphotography.pass.us/ashleigh--rancois

I have been treated like part of the family from the very beginning to say the least, thus I have witnessed a family that is extremely close and loving to one another, and it is a shame that it could be potentially broken up! My in-laws sacrificed crucial years of Francois and Johan’s childhood, leaving them in the company of their relatives in order to find work overseas to make enough money to migrate their family to a safer country to not only allow their sons, but their future grandchildren a life without serious crime and murder. South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world and In 2014 Francois’s uncle whom lived on the family’s farm back home was brutally murdered. I have witnessed firsthand the emotional toll this death has caused the family. My husband and I are incredibly fearful for Sharon and Daniels life if they are sent back to South Africa, I couldn’t bare it if anything was to happen to them.

My in-laws have been there to celebrate our birthdays, academic achievements, our engagement and wedding day; they have supported and encouraged us over the five years we have been together. My husband and I are planning to start trying for a baby in the next year and we want Sharon and Daniel to be here to celebrate the birth of their first grandchild. We want them around to celebrate their grandchild’s birthdays, academic and sporting achievements and most importantly we want our children to develop a relationship with their maternal grandparents. We want our children to understand their South African heritage; they can experience the language, food and culture in Australia through their Ouma and Opa. To be honest, this will not be possible if Sharon and Daniel are sent back to South Africa.

View More: http://kirstyrussellphotography.pass.us/ashleigh--rancois

Sharon and Daniel are well respected members of not only their immediate family here in Perth, but with the Manjimup community. Working full time and participating in local sporting activities has allowed the couple to develop and maintain relationships with fellow town members. As such Shaz and Daniel have often attended parties, gone out for dinners and drinks, and even gone on camping trips with their friends from Manjimup. They are also valued members at their workplace, often working overtime and putting in all their effort to get the job done to the best of their ability. As a result they have contributed greatly to the overall success and achievement of Manjimup Toyota!

Sharon and Daniel have been battling their entire lives and like many Aussie battlers, they share one thing in common, a wish to provide a better life for their family and loved ones. They may have been born in a different country, speak another language, and have an accent, but all things aside they are just like us, human beings trying to better their families future. As Australians we take our fortunate surroundings for granted, but for one minute put yourself in their shoes, and help them win their battle for a safer and brighter future. I for one cannot sleep at night knowing that I take this great country for granted, when so many others will never experience this opportunity. As a first world country I believe it’s our duty to provide others these same opportunities. Thus I will argue that it is un-Australian to deny the applicants permanent residence and split this family up! Doing so will have detrimental repercussions for the overall happiness of each member of this close knit family.

I believe in Australia!

Yours sincerely,

Ashleigh Vellios

Getting Married Young and Not Changing My Name

They say getting married young is like leaving the party early, well I beg to differ. I might be leaving the party early, but I’m pretty damn happy with who I’m going home with! 

Like most things in the world, everyone seems to have an opinion on the marriage debate, with the high rate of divorce now days, many people are choosing to forgo getting married, or wait until their late twenties or early thirties. Each to their own. But getting married in you early twenties… Shut the front door!!! 

I’ve written previously about the judgment my then fiance’ and I received when we got engaged  at 20 and 21, definitely very uncommon in today’s generation and although our families were totally fine with it, we had A LOT of outsiders comment on the matter! It’s funny because I was recently chatting to my sister-n-law about the issue, whom by the way is married at the ripe old age of 20, she agreed that the only people who have criticized her choice are those she barely knows!

Some people would try and hide their surprise/concern, whilst others were outright rude and practically said we were being ridiculous to our faces. To be honest it has never really phased me, we like to do things differently and we couldn’t care less if others don’t agree with our choices. But to be outright rude, well those people can just…’F-off’!!

af-3

A+F-54.jpg

A+F-87.jpg

Fast forward to October 2016 when my husband and I tied the knot at 22 and 23, we both agreed afterward that it was the best decision we ever made! Our relationship is far from perfect; I love Frankie with my heart and soul, but some days I want to kill him and I’m sure there’s days where he feels the same about me! We’re the best of friends and we love to spend every minute of the day together, however there’s days I can’t wait for him to leave me the hell alone. Yes, not perfect, but I wouldn’t change our relationship for anything.

Every single persons story is different, and not two people are the same. We are free to make our own choices, take control of our own lives and futures, therefore I fully believe that people should not judge or criticise others. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did what made us happy? 

Unfortunately I also copped a lot of criticism for not changing my name after I got married, and this time pressure came from my family as well. Changing my last name when I got married was something I knew I was never going to do. I’ve always been super content with the name I was given, my last name has a strong connection to my Macedonian heritage which I’m incredibly proud of. Another huge reason in my decision is because my sister-in-law and I also share the same first name…weird right? I know!! We both agreed that two ‘Ash van Gruening’s’ would be super weird!  Although my husband was disappointed at the beginning, he accepted that keeping my last name was important to me and has fully supported it. 

Like I’ve said to friends and family, I’m open minded and if in the future I want to take my husbands name, I will. Having kids might just change everything….When will that be babe? ha! 

With women’s rights being debated so heavily in society and the media at the moment, it makes me wonder if our choice to keep or change our names,  will be less of an issue one day in the future? Is our choice to change or keep our names going to become a societal norm for the next generation of women? I certainly hope so! 

love

ash xx

Our Wedding

af-54

A+F-56.jpg

 

A+F-146.jpg

View More: http://kirstyrussellphotography.pass.us/ashleigh--rancois

af-22

A+F-47.jpg

A+F-30.jpg

af-132

Ashleigh Francois-Ashleigh Before-0009.jpg

View More: http://kirstyrussellphotography.pass.us/ashleigh--rancois

View More: http://kirstyrussellphotography.pass.us/ashleigh--rancois

Ashleigh Francois-Ceremony-0138.jpg

Ashleigh Francois-Ceremony-0162.jpg

Ashleigh Francois-Reception-0003.jpg

View More: http://kirstyrussellphotography.pass.us/ashleigh--rancois

Ashleigh Francois-Reception-0019.jpg

af-52

I can’t believe that our wedding day was over three months ago! The whole thing is still so surreal and I often forget I have a husband (soz babe)!! This was definitely one of the best days of our lives and I could do it all over again tomorrow!

Although Frankie and I had been engaged for well over two years (getting married was no surprise there!), late last April we decided to spontaneously get married that same year. We were over the engagement stage, and quite frankly, were just looking forward to sealing the deal as husband and wife. Best. Decision. Ever!! One of the other best decisions we made was keeping it a secret! Weird for a style blogger, right? Well to be honest it made the whole process that much easier.. We really wanted to just surprise people, so the only people we told were our close family and friends. I also felt like it allowed the entire decision making process up to us, without unwanted opinion. 

Those who knew me well, would know that I never wanted a wedding! I was never the girl dreaming of the huge white wedding she was going to have one day, that just wasn’t me. Instead we opted for an intimate party, with our closest friends and family (Cue the DJ)! And that’s exactly what it was! We drank tonnes of wine whilst getting down and dirty with our best friends, we truly danced the night away. 

In terms of details, Frankie and I love to do things differently, so instead of the traditional wedding cake, we opted for a tower of cheese. In a room full of wogs….I’d call it a hit! We wanted rustic, intimate and non-traditional, all except a few old Macedonian traditions. My Macedonian heritage/culture is a huge part of me (hence the name of this blog!), so it was really important to include it on our wedding day. My Baba and Aunty both organised  a mixture of rice, five cent pieces and sugar coated almonds to be thrown over my husband and I after we married. It was so great to see our guests scavenging around afterwards for the pieces. And you bet we did Macedonian dancing… someone actually had to pull the plug on Baba, that woman could go all night!

Details:

Venue: Sandalford Wines (Ceremony and Reception) 

Wedding Stylist: Marielle Studio

Flowers/Entry Board/Table Arrangement: All organised by the lovely Mary from Marielle Studio 

Photographer: Kirsty Russel 

Wedding Cake: Say Cheese Towers 

DJ: Ben De Rosa 

Celebrant: Anne Lord

Hair and Make-up: Lush Hair and Make-up by Lesley and Mel (these ladies are the best!)

Wedding Dress: Rachel Gilbert

Veil: Wedding Veils Australia

Shoes: Valentino

Headpiece: Lovisa

Bridesmaid Dress: Shona Joy

Bridesmaids Shoes: Target

Grooms Suit: MJ Bale 

Grooms Shoes: Windsor Smith

Wedding Bands/Engagement Ring: Stefan Jewelers 

Brides Earings: diamonds borrowed from my nan

Love and Light

Ash x

 

My Green Smoothie Recipe

P1070728.JPG

P1070738.JPG

p1070740

p1070750

P1070754.JPG

P1070758.JPG

p1070766

P1070790.JPG

Lululemon singlet (no longer available) similar style, here|| Lululemon leggings|| Nike sneakers (purchased in Hawaii)similar style, here|| Prada sunglasses|| New York Yankies cap (Purchased in Hawaii)|| WelleCo Super Elixir vanilla protein powder || Nutribullet 

I’ve been drinking smoothies as a snack for years as a healthier alternative to sugary treats and as a way to pump my body with the nutrients that it needs. Recently I’ve been searching for a product to add to my smoothie to make it more filling and nutritious, and I discovered the WelleCo Super Elixir nourishing protein powder. Unlike other powders, the Super Elixir doesn’t contain ‘whey’, instead it contains organic sprouted brown rice  and pea protein, making it more beneficial in alkalizing the body. I’ve started to add a spoonful of the vanilla flavoured protein powder to my afternoon green smoothie. Check out my go-to recipe bellow.

My Green Smoothie Recipe

Blend together:

1 cup of Spinach

1/2 a cup of frozen blueberries

1\2 a cup of frozen raspberries

1/2 a banana 

2 spoonful’s of coconut yogurt

1 spoonful of the Super Elixir protein powder

1/2 a cup of unsweetened almond milk

love

ash xx

New Years Eve 

Stevie May top|| Nobody denim|| Windsor Smith heels~similar style here|| Gucci pouch|| Nars lipstick~heatwave

Happy New Year!!

Firstly, I need to apologise for the terrible photo’s (above), they were taken straight after dinner on New Years Eve and I’d had one too many glasses of vino…. And the hubby left the camera behind, so iPhone pics it was! 

The hubby and I were down South to ring in the New Year, the nights have been quite cool, so warmer clothing was a must. It gave me the opportunity to wear my brand new top from Stevie May… I’m all about the bell sleeves and crotchet, it’s 70’s all the way! Because the top was more ‘out there’, I paired it with a classic pair of skinny leg jeans, and voila! 

In terms of New Year resolutions, I’m not usually one to start the year off with a bunch of resolutions…. Life isn’t so straightforward and the majority of the time we never stick to them! Instead I’ve thought of a few goals to work towards in the New Year. Things that I can strive to daily for a more positive life for myself and others. The goals I’m working towards this year are;

  1. To achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle, by maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet, and working out regularly at the gym.
  2. To not care or worry about what ‘other people’ think about myself or the life choices I make. Life’s too short!
  3. To continue treating people how I would like to be treated and generally being kind to everyone I encounter.
  4. To not criticise, condemn or complain about others so much.

I hope you all have a happy and healthy New Year!

With love,

ash xx

Sydney Adventures

p1060191

p1060192

P1060197.JPG

P1060200.JPG

p1060205

p1060862

p1060870

p1060877

p1060879

P1060908.JPG

p1060895

P1060890.JPG

P1060899.JPG

p1060926

^^ Cheap Monday denim jacket (old)|| Bonds white t-shirt|| Fabletics leggings (purchased in Hawaii)|| Nike sneakers~ similar here|| Prada sunglasses 

P1060941.JPG

p1060948

p1060955




The last leg of our honeymoon was a two day stop over in Sydney before we headed home to Perth. I’ve lived in Australia my whole life, but I’m afraid to admit that I’ve never visited the East Coast before! 

One of the highlights of our time in Sydney was finally seeing the Sydney Oprah House and the Bridge…Two Of Australia’s most iconic architectural buildings!  We also visited the Toronga Zoo and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, which were both really fun experiences.

And the shopping!! I never understood Perthians who would complain about the shopping in Perth after comparing it to that of the Eastern States…. Well now I know why! Sydney had a lot of the same stores as Perth, but they were bigger and there was heaps more stock that we just wouldn’t get back home. Plus there was a tone of stores and restaurants that weren’t in Perth. You can count on the fact that some serious retail damage was done! 

Until next time,

Ash xx

Our Honeymoon Part 2- Waikiki

P1060488.JPG

p1060509

p1060517

The iconic Waikiki Beach! It’s definitely as beautiful as expected 

p1060497

Bathing suit available in-store at Kmart. 

p1060504

P1060642.JPG

P1060621.JPG

Inside the historic Moana Surfrider Hotel

P1060623.JPG

 

p1060626

The most gorgeous staircase at the Moana!

P1060630.JPG

p1060634

P1060635.JPG

P1060641.JPG

P1060643.JPG

P1060646.JPG

P1060653.JPG

P1060654.JPG

P1060658.JPG

P1060671.JPG

The view from the top of the hotel was to die for!

P1060674.JPG

p1060675

P1060552.JPG

The beginning of our hike to the Diamond Head Crater  

p1060549

P1060564.JPG

p1060569

P1060573.JPG

P1060575.JPG

P1060584.JPG

The view from the top of Diamond Head Crater 

P1060597.JPG

P1060684.JPG

Our last night in Hawaii. We celebrated by attending a traditional Luau! I’m wearing a Seed Heritage shirt, One Teaspoon shorts, Hobbs wedges, and Gucci pouch.

p1060698

p1060724

p1060762

p1060788

Aloha!!

On the second half of our honeymoon, my husband and I holidayed in Waikiki, a place I would argue to be one of Hawaii’s most iconic attributes! The vibe in Waikiki was incredibly different to that of Maui, instead of quiet serenity, it was Go,Go, Go!! There was so much to do, and so little time…

We stayed at the Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel, which we later found out was the first ever hotel to be built in Waikiki, and was originally meant for American personnel men only. The hotel was rich in history, opening in 1901, it boasted an abundance of historical artifacts, including, the gorgeous wooden staircase (pictured above), which was built in the original hotel building over 100 years ago! There was a constant hustle and bustle, with the hotel located on a main shopping strip and with the iconic ‘Waikiki Beach’ literally on it’s door step. Sitting on a wooden rocking chair in the backyard of the hotel, overlooking the beach at night was one of our favourite pass times. 

An experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life was swimming in the iconic ‘Waikiki Beach’. I’ve seen thousands of pictures and videos of the beautiful beach in numerous pop culture, which I ultimately believe, influenced my decision to one day visit the island! It was divine, with crystal clear blue water, hot sand, those infamous skyscrapers and tonnes of people…. If I close my eyes, I could almost picture it! 

Waikiki is full of adventure, and although there were so many amazing things we would have to loved to do, four days was just not enough! However we did hike the popular ‘Diamond Head’, which offers an amazing 360 view of the the island.. breathtaking is an understatement! The steep trail was tiring, especially in the Hawaiian sun, but it was so rewarding when we reached the top. On our last night on the island the hubby and I attended a traditional Luau, I mean… You can’t go to Hawaii, and not go to a Luau, and boy are we glad we went! The evening was an incredibly special and historical event, learning about the Polynesian culture and stuffing ourselves with traditional food. My favourite part of the night, was watching the gorgeous women dancing the hula.

Now, this honeymoon would not be complete unless we went shopping and Waikiki had the best shopping I have ever seen! We went to the ‘Ala Moana Shopping Centre’, which was the largest outdoor shopping complex on the island, with hundreds of stores ranging from; Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom, to Sephora and Bath and Body Works, to Gap and Macy’s. It was my first time visiting Sephora (we don’t have one back home in Perth) and I could have died… It was just so cool! I also stocked up on pumpkin flavoured candles from Bath and Body Works, which smell absolutely delicious! 

Mahalo ,

Ash xx