Bali family reunion

For those readers who have blogs, most will know I’ve been in Bali for a week.  I try to limit ‘advertising’ my holidays prior to going, you know, just in case I have a crazy maniac stalker and all.

Living room, complete with desk?
Living room, complete with desk?

My younger brother of the two has been teaching in England for nine months.  (Oh, if you have any ‘9 month’ jokes none would be as poetic as the fact my BF’s ex is pregnant… alas, his London sojourn means he’s not the father). Anyhow, a year ago my parents suggested a family holiday in Bali in Sept 2015, no matter where they and their kids had scattered to.


Sadly, one brother didn’t make it, but it was great from the littlest to fly 16 hours to join us for a few days in our uncle’s villa in Bali.  The BF and I flew Friday evening, and were offered an upgrade a week out, which we jumped on!  My parents flew the same flight a night later.  The brother came on Tuesday and then we all left on Saturday – my parents for Singapore to London to ‘visit’ the brother, my brother to Doha then London and we had a direct flight to Sydney.

Pointy end of the plane
Pointy end of the plane

It was an incredibly lazy holiday – the villa’s pool was well shaded when needed, and meant lily skinned Sarah didn’t get burnt.  Things were ridiculously cheap.  I did plan a ‘crazy adventure’ but my mother had recently had her students present on a canyoning disaster, which was the activity I’d been keen to do.  In light of that, we didn’t do it, and instead will try it in the Blue Mountains, complete with Australian health care nearby.

The 'back back' route out of the jam
The ‘back back’ route out of the jam

Bali is known as a cheap destination for Australian families, but also backpackers. From Perth, our Western city, it’s only a 3 hours flight, so closer than flying to the East coast of Australia. From Sydney it’s about 6 hours.

Tailored to the Australian market (this is our social security)
Tailored to the Australian market (this is our social security)

I feel somewhat uncomfortable about getting massages, pedicures and the like overseas. I always feel like it’s an exploitation of the cheaper labour rates. And they are hardly ‘nice’ service tasks to do for others. Nonetheless, I had two foot massages whilst away.

Foot massage time
Foot massage time

What else?  Here’s a shot of our in house pool:

Shaded pool
Shaded pool

This was the re-screen right before boarding. For reasons I cannot understand, Aussie flights get a second screen, manually. No x rays. Perfunctory pat downs of women only. Oh and a reinforcement of the LAG rules (no more than 100ml etc) even though you’ve passed passport control, immigration etc. We spent $5 on two waters, to then have to skull them. There wasn’t even a fountain to refill the bottle I BYOed. Tired and cranky – grr!

So much about this photo gets me incensed.
So much about this photo gets me incensed.

Bali was steamy and tropical – much like recent trips to Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. I’m hankering for another wintery or chilly trip next. The US was a lovely cool reprieve from the Aussie summer.

Book Review: Saudi Arabia – according to “City of Veils”

I’m reading a captivating book I picked up by chance at library closing time.  Whilst it’s fiction, I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about Saudi Arabia and the Islamic culture.  According to the story in City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris.

Not the same cover I'm used to
Not the same cover I’m used to

– women can’t work unless married.  Inevitably they lie, and if they are found out, stop working

– women get a trousseau upon marriage, filled with countless under garments.  How bizarre when the rest of a woman other than family and a wife are covered in scarves and robes.

– there are ‘summer marriages’ – travelling business men marry a co-wife and travel with her.  Because they are married, no harm, no foul. They divorce after the summer.  The religious clerics think this is preferable to prostitution, though it is similar, as women are often paid by a new car or a villa

– women get driven places, by brothers or cousins.  What and how these men manage it, I’m not sure.  The women will travel as a passenger in the back seat!  This is juztaposed in the book with the women who work with the police being allowed to sit in the front, which is a shock to the women to be seen as ‘equal’

– one female character married her mother’s friend’s son, for about 2.5 months.  After the mother’s death, the marriage dissolves.  The woman returns to living with her brother – and essentially being ‘kept’ by him, but she still returns to the ex husband for money too.

– women often are left standing when the men sit face to face (ie when two people come to visit someone in an office).  That just seems perverse but awkward too!

– men don’t make eye contact with women, often looking above them, at their ‘halo’

– there’s men’s and women’s sitting rooms within homes.  It’s common to take guests their (segregated by sex).  The Arab characters find it strange that the two American female characters both take them into the kitchen.

– a man invited to dine with a family will not actually get to ‘see’ the woman, except perhaps if she comes to serve tea! They stay in their sitting room, and the women in the kitchen with the children.

– the story gives the perception that Arab wives provide martial obligations on a daily basis. If this is true, I’m thankful that such an obligation isn’t extended more widely…

Overall, I’m enchanted by other cultures.  I’m blown away that I manage 60 (was 75 before redundancies) men and I’m a woman.  Who wears what I like (but chose to be conservative with work wear).  In another part of the world, TODAY, women have none of these liberties.  How amazing that globalisation hasn’t totally caused homogenization (is that the right word?)

Isn’t the internet grand – I was too lazy to go to the bedroom to check the author, so googled, and was delighted to find there’s another two books by this author which I’ll promptly want to read.

Also, those who blog book reviews, do you have a ‘weirdness’ about wanting to post the exact cover picture of your book, not an alternative one?  My cover images was more orangey, not at all the one I put above.

Cosmetic, toliteries and places I could declutter more

Some may recall a time when I was a prolific blogger.  A single-don.  I blogged about what was in my bathroom drawers.  Naturally, it was a titillating post that took the internet by storm.  A few years later. In my local readership of blogs, being An Exacting Life and Declutterer.  So you know, worldwide sensation.

I have returned to share with the shared (but mainly my stuff) contents of the bathroom cupboards, drawers and surrounds.

Bath surrounds

Daily use
Daily use


SO we have
– 2 shampoo bottles (BF not good as ‘using the last of’ apple shampoo)
– 2 solid shampoo bars
– 1 conditioner
– 2 face washes (Cetaphil) – one inverted so it’s almost dead
– 1 make up remover
– 2 body washes (L’Occitane Rose and Body Shop Camomile)
– 2 razors

Pretty much the sum of my frustration – so many ‘two of’ items.  The two shampoo bars?  I thought the red one was aggravating my psorasis, plus it smelt like ‘burnt trees’ to the BF (tar based).  So both are used interchangabley, though the preferred one is a little too damp atm and therefore more ‘soupy’ than bar.  And I’m using ‘the last little bit’ of the bottle shampoo that the BF  John West rejects (…makes John West the best, and Sarah frustrated!!)

2 face washes – it’s the Mary Poppins of face washes I tell way. The make up remover is circa 2007 or 2008 and a few pumps from retirement.  Given I use it once a fortnight or less, you can see it’s life is long.

Body wash – once it was a gift from a non-bath having friend (alas, I use it as a body wash).  We loved the regifted bottle, I’ve bought it since DESPITE the Rose body wash living strong – it’s on it’s last legs and needs water to dilute the thick sludge due to evaporation.  It is effective for countering water polo smell though!

Two razors – BOTH blunt.  The man handled one has more blades, and I’m opting that way, pink tax and all.  But I don’t want to trash the other handle either, so there it’s stayed.

Well that’s a post in itself.  Now for all the storage!

Most used items
Most used items

Left to right

Hair box containing errant make up, cotton bud box (to refill canister), spray wash off bronzer

Hair dryer, head band, errant pendant and ring, chunky gold necklace, errant blush

Empty ‘extra razor’  tray, open coconut oil (better at eye make up removal), mug with eye liners and mascaras and a whiteboard marker for marking weigh in weights on the mirror

Ice cube tray of earrings (including some without a pair), foot balm at the front, and a ‘keyboard cleaning brush’ stashed in the bathroom for vent cleaning

Seldom used items
Seldom used items

This is the lesser used drawer generally though the bottom right hand side gets worked out as our medicine cupboard.

Across the top (back) of the drawer there is

– zip lock bag with two sunscreens and Moov natural insect repellent for tropical/summery holidays
– strapping tape
– loo roll in ‘easy to reach’ location
– Old El Paso jar with solid deodorant circa… 2009? maybe earlier?
– hand wash refill (inverted)
– band aids
– leave in conditioner
– make up palette circa teenage years from Grandma?

The make up palette hides more! The less often touched items:

the lesser touched
the lesser touched

Inside the travel stuff box we have

Grab and go
Grab and go

Designed to ‘grab and go’
– ballet case: mini shampoo, mini conditioner, mini face wash, mini spray (eww) deo, toothbrush, toothpaste… etc?
– back left: travel slippers (great on planes!)
– back right: travel pillow with ear mask and ear plugs
Also in the box is a Brisbane travel card, a map of Paris metro and a watch I wear on long haul flights only.

And lastly, the two mirrored cabinets:

Bigger shared cupboard
Bigger shared cupboard

Top shelf = boy stuff
Middle shelf:
– 2 perfumes
– 2 foundations
– 1 deodorant
– cotton buds
– face moisturiser
– tooth floss picks (for the BF


Bottom shelf:
– 2 toothpastes (one is sensodyne)
– plate for teeth grinding
– floss
– my vitamins


Skinny seldom used cupboard
Skinny seldom used cupboard

Girls stuff and a yoghurt container of nail polisher remover etc.

Mainly, I’m overwhelmed.  There’s just too much, but I don’t want to throws things out.  Using it up seems to take milleniums!  So many ‘two of’.  I can count on the same fingers I seldom paint, how many times I’ve painted my nails… It’s almost MORE important to have remover to me, than to have the polish!  And the ‘girl products’ – I’ve gone green there, and this is no place for ‘just in case’ (a handbag or work would be!)

Le sigh – suggestions given a shelter or work aren’t viable (I can’t find a shelter and man based workplace)?

Body Painting class

So my bucket list has me wanting to be body painted.  When the local venue offered a class on body painting, I jumped at the chance.  I didn’t have any idea what would happen – in the end, there were three models, suffering in the large warehouse in winter, and a known artist (of make up and painting bodies) who just said ‘go have fun!’.  Other people come from a make up background.  One woman and two friends were enjoying it as a birthday gift.  Everything was provided, including sugary snacks and some vino.  All in all, a good way to spend a night!

Bodypainting 004

Back of modelesse 1
Back of modelesse 1


What a mess we make
What a mess we make
I just cant say no!
I just cant say no!
Male models back made me want blue hair!
Male models back made me want blue hair!
Non chalance of Modeless 2
Non chalance of Modeless 2
The funky decor
The funky decor
The male model, part way through I did his face
The male model, part way through. I did his face
Male model with detailing
Male model with detailing

If you’re looking for quirky one off classes after work or on weekends, try The Workshop, which is in both Melbourne and Sydney.  I subscribe to their weekly email, which is a great way to scan if there’s anything of interest when I’m free.

I went shopping and I didn’t buy…

This past weekend, the BF did his pre-learner’s bike course and seeing my mother was busy, I took the time to exercise via window shopping.

I get a LOT of satisfaction from taking snaps of things I like.  I don’t need to buy them.  Just browsing the items, and then sharing them is enough.  For local readers, I’ve included the vendor in the captions, should you be a buyer not a browser 😉

Freedom offered three of the little boxes as a package.  I cant imagine theyd look grown up though
Freedom offered three of the little boxes as a package. I cant imagine they’d look grown up though
Parking lot distraction...
Parking lot distraction…
So I told you I had a thing for lughts, right?
So I told you I had a thing for lughts, right? (Freedom)
If I smash anymore of my current loved glasses, Freedom can help
If I smash anymore of my current loved glasses, Freedom can help
Alternative blue glasses as replacements
Alternative blue glasses as replacements
Fantastic furniture isnt know for stellar quality, but the sheen of the teal was alluring with the glass bade
Fantastic furniture isn’t know for stellar quality, but the sheen of the teal was alluring with the glass bade
Art I loved - Coco Republic isnt where one buys art though
Art I loved – Coco Republic isn’t where one buys art though
Boring chair, but I love the fabric - muted but patterned
Boring chair, but I love the fabric – muted but patterned (Freedom)
If I still lived in the loft, these would be GREAT on the big wall!  I'm crushing on gold a bit lately, you'll see
If I still lived in the loft, these would be GREAT on the big wall! I’m crushing on gold a bit lately, you’ll see (Freedom)
If I was to have bar stools, Id like them to be like this. Coco Republic
If I was to have bar stools, Id like them to be like this. Coco Republic
Gold crush - totally for looks Dommayne)
Gold crush – totally for looks Dommayne)

So thats everything I didnt buy. And I didn’t even get any good fatty snacks (there were none around).  I did get blisters from my shoes, but nothing I can’t handle.

Do you window shop, or is it just too hard?

A new 12 in 2

I’m feeling a little stuck in a rut, so I thought I might set some ‘fun’ goals to help me look forward to things that are out of the ordinary.  I started with my Bucket List.


So here’s what I’d like to try and enjoy in the next two years (the numbers below are from the bucket list):

Struck through means they were done!

10. Visit Russia <-July 2016!

11. Visit Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia/Romania <- AUg 2016
25. Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!): three times for my cuticle picking with limited success and much expense
26. Ride a segway
27. Drive on a race track
36. Go cave diving <- went canyoning in March 2016, which I think is similar oh and we visited caves
45. Build a bonfire and make S’mores
61. Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise)
65. Fly a glider <- gifted a voucher (thanks BF!); completed in June 2016

That’s eight… hmm I feel like i need some that take time to achieve.  Something academic or endurance… thoughts?