Menu plan

So I’m trying to lose some weight, and a HUGE part of that is planning meals. All the below recipes are less than 300 per calories, as they come from the Michelle Bridges program I did last year and printed out, so I can’t ‘share’ them.

The week past:
Tuna Mornay – I liked it, the BF wasn’t a fan.  Bit ‘liquid’ for a meal
Lamb souvlaki using the Aldi kit 🙂 – the added garlic sachet to yoghurt was YUMMO!
Spaghetti and meatballs – too vegetable-y and no strong meat or tomato taste, BF thought it was OK
Sticky BBQ beef and slaw – awesome, will be back week after next
Chicken yoghurt salad – ‘scary looking’ said the BF, but high protein snack/mini meal

The forth coming week:
Pad See Ew with beef – Saturday
Lasagne – Sunday
Penang Chicken – Monday
Sweet potato parcels – Tuesday
Cajun pork – Wednesday

Meal at my parents might be thrown in there….  Some make multiple serves so we’ll have leftovers too.

My first week’s weigh in is on Sunday – I was 81kg when I got off the plane last Sunday.  The best I’m hoping for is a 78 on the scales, even 78.9kg would be exciting. Here’s hoping!


What are you cooking?

Week 1 as “the boss”

Yep, this week, first week as the boss of 75 people! Well 4 direct reports and about 70 indirect reports… Oh and all of them are men – but that comes as no surprise to me 🙂

So far, I’ve loved it.  I’ve done an extra four hours of work, just to keep notes, and thin out all the rubbish and stuff in my space (rolodex anyone? floppy discs?).

This week I’ve touched on

  • the merits and short comings of crib and satellite stores
  • store (like pallet racks!) cleanliness
  • data clean up (that’s something that hasn’t changed since my last role, and never will I expect)
  • found out about a number of personal issues of staff – some I’ve not met yet, and perhaps might never!
  • reviewed timesheets, travel time applications, overtime applications – so far no leave application at least?
  • future plans that have stalled, like
    • granting staff voluntary redundancies who’ve applied
    • moving assets to a new location (away from where I work)
    • moving the people associated with working with the above assets, or not?

So far, I don’t feel too out of my depth.  There’s been many questions I can’t answer, but I have a strong network of people from my north area that I’m comfortable calling on for help.  And many of my equals I’ve worked with previously, and they have decades more experience than me, and only too happy to help.  I hope I don’t wear out my welcome with them.

The best bit, that I’m loathed to admit, is that I get a car.  The commute isn’t short, at about 40 minutes. But it’s ‘easy’.  I’m not hot and sweaty when I get to work.  The rain this evening didn’t worry me.  And I drive through the area that is ‘my’ poles and wires, so I can see issues.  This is both a blessing, but a curse too!  At this stage, the vehicle option I chose is only for home to work, and work travel.  I can look into a leased vehicle and the tax advantages in the new financial year.  The new FY will also mean others have done their tax returns and tell me if it really turns out well for their financial position.  I’ll be the first to admit that the cost of cars is a HUGE reason I’ve never owned a car.

All in all, I feel much better for the new role. How’s your work treating you this week?

Thai massage bliss

Massages in Phuket are about 300THB or AUD$9. The quality varies A LOT, between ‘stores’ but also between masseuses, as we both went to a place twice, and had totally different massages despite asking for the same thing!

Very fancy
Very fancy

However, we walked past a ‘first world’ swanky style massage and spa place. So we took a brochure.

Foot washing station
Foot washing station

They had massages at 1200THB, which seemed OK, and so I committed to going on our last night.

Door into the air conditioned room
Door into the air conditioned room

I decided I wanted a compress massage, which I thought I’d seen in pictures… When they put hot face washers on my feet, I thought face washer = cold compress to some people? Alas, that was just a red herring. The massage was what I had originally thought!

A cool fruity drink and a chilled cloth before starting
A cool fruity drink and a chilled cloth before starting

Before using the compress, which I never saw and therefore didn’t photograph, she warmed her hand with it, and pressed it to my bare skin. She slowly repeated this up a limb or section of my back, before using the compress.

The rooms were as nice as the corridors (you can tell a lot from a corridor!)
The rooms were as nice as the corridors (you can tell a lot from a corridor!)

If you’re wondering, the air was scented lightly with lemongrass. There was air conditioning, a pleasant noise for a massage in Thailand, and traditional Thai music.

Even thought of something to 'watch'
Even thought of something to ‘watch’

They’d thought of everything… there was a safe for my stuff. And a disposable g string too! Not the the massage was a ‘dirty’ as an oil one was another night.

The bowl for the masseur
The hand wash bowl for the masseur

The place was just immaculate. I almost wish I hadn’t gone the last night, and splurged on another!

Buddha face all lit up
Buddha face all lit up

All loosened up, I went and met the BF at the place with the 100THB cocktails… we then went to dinner, and then another (cheap) massage. Oh, and some souvenir buying!

Zorbing in Phuket – 12 in 2 list

Ready or not, we roll!
Ready or not, we roll!

At long last, after posting about my 12 in 2 goals here, here and here, and then finding out that the Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, closed down their zorbing, this looked like a goals I might just never get done!

Post watery zorb
Post watery zorb

Alas, Phuket has what they call ‘Roller Ball’ which is zorbing – putting fully grown human in inflated balls and rolling them down a hill. Being Phuket, I naturally went with water inside the ball (I can’t imagine doing it without the sloshing water to help move me and the BF around.

Ocean views with adventure
Ocean views with adventure


Verdict? AWESOME!

It was over quickly, and it was pricey for the duration, but not the $110 I’d estimated to do in Australia originally. I think it was about $40 each if I remember correctly? As often is the case, it also came with a ‘free’ t shirt in orange. I declined. They were confused. I didn’t take it, nonetheless.

Twists and turns
Twists and turns

I laughed the whole way down – and we were on a crooked track not the straight one, which you can see above, and I think that made it more fun too!

So a quick run down of the 12 in 2

I did everything (still learning to surf, two lessons down and one to go) except: prepay my funeral, visit my friend in New Zealand (she moved back to Oz) and go on a silent retreat.  But I did start to meditate, so that’s a step towards the last one.  Nice work.  Time for another 12 in 2, you think?

2015 Phuket holiday

For the last 8 days, none of your sneaky internet people broke into my house and stole my laptop with a broken hinge OR my favourite blue glasses.  Thankful, really I am, cause you know, the internet these days, anything could happen whilst a gal and a guy are in Phuket, Thailand!

So we flew Air Asia X.  This is the same low cost carrier we used to fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam last year.  Thankfully, since then they’ve upgraded for a cattle shed terminal in Kuala Lumpur to the world’s most elaborate low cost carrier terminal.  This thing is seriously ginormous, and connected by a super high walkway so planes can slip underneath.

Low cost terminal with no expense spared!  This is pretty much SOLELY for one airline, Air Asia
Low cost terminal with no expense spared! This is pretty much SOLELY for one airline, Air Asia

The Good?
We didn’t miss out KL connection like when we went to Vietnam. I’m not sure I ever mentioned that 😉

Crossing off bucket list items like a keen adventurer: Zorbing, white water rafting, ziplining and ATV riding!

Post watery zorb
Post watery zorb

Having countless mojitos, the odd pina colada and even a Brandy Alexander to mix things up.  Even better was finding somewhere that did them for 100THB, or AUD$4

One of innumerable pools!
One of innumerable pools!

I did NOT get sunburnt.  I got a little pink on the shoulders on day after a long pool session of Connect 4, but it didn’t linger or peel!

Beating the BF occasionally at Connect 4.  This is a guy with 9 poker hands/screens on his laptop as I write this, he’s a demon on counting cards too – and so a simple game like connect 4? Genius!  Til I beat hi 😀

Many massages, and the most ‘luxurious’ one at a true spa?  Just AUD$60! I took all the photos, so I can see a whole post coming on!

Packing awesome sunscreen, that both worked, and never felt oily once applied.  I never believe the marketing sctick, but this was TRUE!

The beach on the doorstep
The beach on the doorstep

Our hotel had free wifi in the lobbies and the restaurant, but you had to pay more to have it in the room.  I post this as a ‘good’ cause we’re both likely to go down the rabbit hole of internet-nerdage, so it meant we had to plan our online time, and it was usually with less air conditioning, so it was a real balance of priorities!!

The Bad?

It was sweltering heat most of the time we were there – in the high 30s with high humidity.  I’ll admit, the lure of 20C in the air conditioning often won out, as did the National Geographic channel, BBC World News and two French channels.  The BF often had more sun lounger time, which I would optimise by watching French TV, often with no “sous-titres”.  Yay me!

ATV riding through a stream
ATV riding through a stream

I know I’m an adventure activity fiend, but I was TERRIFIED of ATV riding.  Why?  Well a broken shoulder many years agos from a scooter accident still gives me grief.  And a friend broke a collar bone ATV riding at a buck’s night.  And then there’s the perpetual fear of horrendous sun burn (yep, one year I got it so good, I couldn’t stand for the pain of burnt thighs for about a week!). After being one not-so-cool-cucumber after our laps of the yard alone on ATVs, one of the three guides ‘passengered’ me, and I was right behind the first guide.  This meant I got every instruction and tuition on accelerating and braking.  In the end, I became confident and had no trouble.  I especially loved the nearby guide, who told me all about the plants we rode past.  I’m a fiend for that info, so I’ll share it with you

  • rubber plantations – these are EVERYWHERE! They get sapped at night, or at least cut, in diagonal lines, and they work down a face of a tree, and then change faces, year on year etc.  We even drove past the village collection point for rubber/latex, and rode past many trucks to collect it.  It collects in little coconut half shells, or plastic pots.
  • pineapple – as it takes rubber trees seven years to mature, and have a thick canopy, the intermediate seven years allows for other crops to be planted.  Pineapple was one of them.  Did you know that pineapples grow about of the spikey leaves?  I thought, as a Sunshine State girl, everyone knew this – not so!
  • ginger – I recognise ginger plants as they often have similar species for flower growing purposes, and with lots of floristry experience, I know them.
  • bananas – we had banana trees within our hotel/resort.  Tiny, petite little bananas, not like the ones you buy in grocery stores here.  They were also inter planted with the rubber.
  • papaya or pawpaw – there is no fruit I could dislike more (see other foods I dislike) but alas it grows, though not in huge quantities like bananas or rubber.
  • palm oil palms – these are large, thick trunked, squat trees that offer immense shade.  The BF told me that Malaysia had a financial incentive to make palm oil and they generated more than the world’s demand! Thankfully, Thailand isn’t so oversaturated.

Weirdly, Thailand also serves a lot of water melon and dragon fruit and we didn’t see that growing!?  For those in the northern hemisphere, you may never have seen such a cool looking fruit as dragon fruit (which google taught me is also called Pitaya!)

Dragon fruit or pitaya
Dragon fruit or pitaya

Every restaurant had free wifi – so whilst it was good it wasn’t in our room, it did interrupt dinner times! That being said, some of them wanted a pint of your blood for access – like your ID document numbers!? Sometimes I just CBF’ed! I did READ all your blog posts, but I struggle to comment with a smart phone, so that’s how the rest of my Sunday might proceed 😉

OK, not really ‘bad’, but I bought a handbag AND stuffed up the conversion rate :s It was still reasonably priced, and I love it, used it on the way home. But, consumer!! I also bought a dress the BF liked and a $3 lime elephant key ring after a few cocktails. Oh and a pair of loved shorts copied with my own fabric ($20!!!)

The Ugly
Well let’s just say my ballooning weight was tipping the lower end of the scales of women’s weight in our resort!  It appears our hotel appealed to the Thomas Cook and similar tour companies, who likely fill charter planes and then deposit the whole load at our resort.  Many people had ‘full board’ which is something I could hardly fathom doing for a whole week – it’s like choosing to return to boarding school!  Anyhow, there were some clinically obese and overweight people there, and largely (ha!) women.  Not that one of them shied away from bikinis – they were EVERYWHERE.

Speaking of weight, I must set a plan in place and follow it, as I’ve weighed myself since the holiday indulgences, and the scales don’t like/lie! Cough…

Well there’s the first pass of a sleepy (night budget flight) intrepid traveller…