So a very dear friend and blog reader gave me a great birthday gift – she named it an Advent calendar and the concept is to do different ‘bucket list experiences’ each month together. We started with my birthday dinner at Momofuku, and then things slowed down! Of course, I have things I want to see and do that didn’t feature on her 12 months of birthday fun Advent calendar, and I got busy in March doing all sorts of fun things.
One thing she’d earmarked us doing was Humming Puppy Yoga – funny name right? It’s a yoga studio that has a resonant frequency going at all times, as well as being constantly at 27 C. Warm, but just right. This weekend, I went along to try it.
I selected the class based on timing – 2.30pm would work well around church (as it was a long Palm Sunday service). The class at that time was called Mellow Yoga which sounded like just what I’d feel like on a Sunday afternoon!
This place is next level on chic, hipster, boutique exercise. It’s like first class style. The waiting area and bathrooms were stunning. I’d settle just to ‘wait’ for someone and never do a class and die happy! They are upstairs from a tea store, so there’s two teas to sip, or coconut water or filtered water. Luxury right?
The studio is the third or top level of the building. The room was wonderfully dark for the session with only muted lighting and a lit candle. The session was an hour long, and it was blissfully relaxed and over before you knew it. My friend S said it was an expensive place for a nap, but cheap for therapy – and it really is a hybrid of the two!!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete visit without dropping in on the tea lounge. Again, jaw droppingly gorgeous in style. We had Ginger lattes and some fancy snacks (you know, all goey and power foods but nothing like conventional food!)
I’m not sure if I’ll do expensive yoga again, but I want more of those drinks!!
A lot has happened in March, so in the style of others, I’m doing a month’s round up.
I went to the ArtExpress featuring the graduating class of 2016’s artworks, which I shared a photo heavy post on.
I had a weekend in Melbourne with my mother. It was spectacularly sunny and warm the whole weekend – Melbourne’s not known for having consistent weather at all! We ventured to a new suburb to try a Barre Tone class with an instructor who I used to have teach me in Sydney. I’d forgotten what an intense work out she provided, and my mother enjoyed her first ever class. We scoured op shops, first out of necessity for Mum to buy some work out pants, but then for fun. She brought a great black and white dress and a multi colour rain coat. I settled for a polyster top for work (I’d NEVER buy polyester new, but for cheap and second hand, I’ll bend the rules). The main reason for the trip, however, was to see Book of Morman. Neither of us are musical fans, but we both loved it. It’s incredibly quick, punchy and completely irreverent. We went to a Saturday matinee which was blissful (we’re both sleepy heads). On Sunday, we met Fiona from Declutterer for breakfast at St Kilda. All three of us talked our heads off, helped that Mum is also a teacher.
The following week was no slower for first times and fun times. On Thursday evening, I braved a lot of traffic to see my very first drive in film, Beauty and the Beast. Having a car is a certain prerequisite I didn’t fulfill previously! On the Saturday night, I went with my brother to see some Aussie Hip Hop. The main act was Urthboy, but I’d almost saw I enjoyed the support act more, Joyride. Joyride just seemed to have a smoother sound and strong convinctions in his thoughts, and I couldn’t help but be a little starstruck.
Following all this, on Sunday, Lucinda met a less than shiny and bright me – yep, in a week, I met two long time blog readers and writers. We ate lunch at a cafe (as Lucinda thinks breakfast out is ridiculous, which I’d agree if I settled for avo on toast, but I clearly do not!) before heading to see a French film at the festival. It was a harrowing (true) story of Polish nuns, pregnant through rape, and the help of a younger French doctor.
As with past months, I continued dating in March. I saw one guy three times – first for a drink. Due to wet weather, I decided to hail a cab rather than walk the relatively short walk to our meeting point. The same time a water main failed in a main city street. In the end, I escaped my sky rocketing taxi fare for a different pub, and he came and found me! I was quite impressed by his efforts, so we met for another drink the following week. He kindly drove me from the date to Newtown, where I met my parents and my brother and his girlfriend for her farewell dinner (she’s returning to the US). It was a fun night, my family were in great spirits for a weeknight! I was going planning to go to the drive in with the same fella but he got cold feet waiting for me to pick him up (due to heavy traffic – an emerging theme!) We ended up catching up the next evening, but things didn’t gel and have silently fizzled out since then!
Technically the 1st of April, I went on a first date at a very hip and local cafe (it’s closed when I drive by for work, but I read it’s tasty menu one evening walking) They churned us in and out quickly but it was tasty!
And earlier in the month I met for a post work drink in what ended up being a very smokey outdoor area. We’ve remained in contact and somewhat as friends, he’s a lawyer, so good at chatty banter!
Work has been revolutionary in the past week – they announced some rather unexpected and hard to stomach changes to my management line. Both my direct boss and his boss (also my mentor) are in a perilous position. My boss is told to await Easter, and they may find him a role. My mentor is finished and leaving the company at Easter. The last week of March was consumed with finding this out, then disseminating the information, and attending roadshows and talks from management. Right now, it doesn’t mean my job is in jeopardy, but blind freedy can see it will mean my role and those similar to mine will need to be rationalised evenutally, having see such a huge reduction in front line staff in the two years I’ve been in this role.
Black with white patten polyster work shirt – second hand – Melbourne
White knit dress – second hand – Oxford brand
Grey cable knit pullover – second hand – Cotton On <- cheap brand, cheap fabric, but comfy
Navy top with sequin detail collar – second hand – David Lawrence
Entering the new year, the only brainwave I had was to attempt to get more cultural experiences. Things like concerts, art shows and sculpture walks. Many of these things, I’ve been to some years, and not others. Like 2016 – I hardly managed to do any of these, so by listing them and calling them out, I hope I’ll get to them!
To help do 12 this year, I wrote a list of what could be done in what months, and this is what I came up with:
Anytime: book talks/launches
Feb to April:
✔ArtExpress – graduating student art from the past year
And today, I made it to ArtExpress, after cancelling (on myself) on other weekends when the weather or my inclination weren’t quite right.
If you’re done with me selling the architecture, I’ll start on the art…
I’m starting to notice I have a weakness for very well done hard drawing, and there were a few fantastic examples
The following was a progression, but it was hard to show you the skill, so here’s the leftmost panel:
Back to hand drawn – this was an AMAZING technique. The colour and subject meant I looked at this as an after thought, but was astounded and impressed once I did look at it in more detail
The other scholarship winning work wasn’t immediately attractive to me. But the more I looked, the more I saw the incredible juxtaposition. There was a number of pieces painted/drawn of the artists close people in vunerable positions. Then these pieces were photographed in public spaces, exploring the idea of street art.
There were a few features of artworks that, to me, scream ‘STUDENT’ and perhaps on the days I didn’t come, I might have been thinking too much of these more amateur treamtments. For example, the use of thread, loose thread and sewing:
The other treatment I came to dislike, was that of tearing. I’m sure I saw more than these two, but even still… I just don’t find this a technique you see in much of the traditional and highly priced art:
The last photo also used flowers, in a way I found a bit… blah? Wasn’t the only piece with some flower add ins:
Lastly, there was an artwork I wasn’t meant to photograph, and even still, it’s impossible to show the technique – then are like lunar landscapes made by various sized pin pricks. It was mesmerising
I havve some further shots to show how amazing an art gallery can be, in this beautiful city:
My original post from 2013 has seen me really work through getting the things I want to do, DONE! So I’ve also updated my ‘completed Bucket list post‘ So I have decided to republish and deleted some things that no longer seemed like things I wanted to do or buy or achieve.
I ended up with eight big things, 22 travel related things, and 11 ‘experiences’ – 41 in total. It’s a shorter list than I expected if I’m honest – perhaps I need to find more things to add.
And I did – I updated this post in late May to add another 22 items, a few of which I just did on my recent trip to Europe. As always, I’d welcome suggestions!
The BIG stuff (8)
Live in NYC
Get married (before the children)
Have children (thinking 3)
A home with a passionfruit vine, a frangipani tree, a magnolia grandiflora… and a vegie patch.
Pay off my mortgage (currently about $250k $125k to go)
Fully fund my retirement
Write my will
Prepay and plan my funeral
Visit every continent (Completed: Australia, Asia, Europe, Middle East – need South America & Antarctica)
2018 update: I’m not sure what appealed about Sweden and Norway, both have been sidelined, and I made my way to Copenhagen!
travel experiences (19 15)
1. Go to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (could do it with the bro in 2014, but alas, I realise I don’t love crowds and big parties, so maybe another time)
2. See Machu Picchu (to think my brother just did this Jan 2014!)
8. Go to the super bowl (early Feb)
9. Go to Burning Man, Black Rock desert, Nevada USA (late Aug/early Sept)
10. Go to (the original) Mardi Gras | New Orleans (mid Feb)
11. Spend Christmas or Thanksgiving | US
12. Fly FIRST class – maybe Emirates where I can shower?
13. Go on a ‘big boat’ style cruise (maybe in retirement) 14.Walk on a Glacier – 2017
15. Marvel at Plitvice Lakes | Croatia
16. Watch the Sunset in Santorini | Greece 17. Soak in the Blue Lagoon | Iceland
18. Let Go of a Floating Lantern | Thailand
19. Soak in Pamukkale Hot Springs | Turkey
4. Swim with dolphins in NATURE (not in Dubai…:s) 5. Go to a silent retreat – 2018 (a singular day)
6. Get body painted for an event 7. Go caving – 2017 and second time in Iceland
8. Be part of a flash mob (thanks Moonwave for the tip!)
9. Build a bonfire and make S’mores
10. Try kite surfing 11. Try a pottery wheel – 2018
12. Attend a masquerade ball
13.Pick fruit from a tree & make a pie – 2018
14. Stomp grapes
15. Start a fire without matches
16. Use a paddle to bid at an auction
17. Waterski – barefoot and normally!
18. Go snowshoeing
19. Mud wrestle
20. Take a SoulCycle Class
21. Fly in a blimp – not sure this is even possible
22. Ride a unicycle
23. Toboggan – likely with the Northern Lights 24. Sleep in a Capsule Hotel
In keeping with past fancy dinners here, here and here, this year I booked with a small group to go to Momofuku in Sydney’s casino ‘The Star’. The creator is the guy behind now 21 resturants, mostly in the US, and this was the first outside the US.
It was a great night, and the photos tend to speak volumes!
The meal alone was $175, and then $105 to match all courses with alcohol – my mother and I shared that. Two friends went for ‘reduced pairing’ which resulted in half as many drinks, but standard pours. I think mum and I got more variety! Dad ordered a glass of wine, and uncommonly, the tasting resulted in him rejecting it. They were great about it, and (unsurprising to me) Dad picked the French red wine of the two replacements they offered.
Overall, it was a great. It’s a very intimate small resturant (42 seats) with an open kitchen. Mum preferred to other places she’s dined like this. So that’s a recommendation. Oh, and despite the name… it’s not Japan.
I’ve recently been updating my bucket list and movign things into my complete bucket list post too, and realised, I’ve done some things I’ve wanted, and taken photos and never mentioned it on my blog – that’s like it never happening right?
One is Barre BOdy. A great friend got me a single pass in the new year, must have been early 2016. I went once and then got hooked, and off and on have been doing in ever since – I now have a subscription (which for me is COMMITMENT, I don’t even have a phone plan)
I love that my mind has to focuc entirely on the small but hard movements. It’s mindfulness without being bored stiff :p And it certainly helps that the studies are GORGEOUS!
I even have to pre book classes – talk about planning and commitment to exercising. I sometimes cancel, but mostly, I talk myself into going with a ‘you can walk out half way and you’ll be better off then doing nothing’ – and of course, I’ve never walked out either!
It truly is a pleasure – and I window shop work out gear worn by my class mates too – which sounds a whole heap creepier than it should!
Just like I lived in the loft when I started this blog, let’s call place 3 the lighthouse. I’m not sure what to call place 2 – the 2 bedder? That’ll work!
So the light house, is not, in fact a light house! It is, however, VERY light. My father suggested my last two homes had been caves! How rude! But there was some truth in
This 2 bedroom apartment has windows on both sides of the apartment, so it’s great for cross breezes. There is a corridor or hallway that exteds from the front door to the built in laundry cabinet (see the picture below), and off this, initially, is a loggia (code word for strange balcony, I’ll come back to that), then the living kitchen open plan. The corridor then closes in and you have the first bathroom, the first bedroom, then the master bedroom with the ensuite which tucks in behind that laundry cupboard. The corridor has windows all along it, so walking out of the bedrooms you face narrow floor to ceiling windows, which has a central courtyard.
You can imagine the apartment building as a large O, with a central courtyard. What this means is there’s lots of light bouncing around all the white external walls. It also means you get a show from all the other apartments! I can tell you the ground floor neighbours use their loggia as a study and a gym, complete with weights and foam matting. My upstairs neighbour has an elaborate cat climbing thingie, but great ferns in other windows. Another neighbour has found this heat means he seldom wears a shirt… See what I mean!
Right, so back to the this loggia. The loggia runs the width of the apartment – from the central courtyard to the exterior building wall. At each end is a hinged bi fold door, which are HUGE – I’d estimate at least 2m by 3m tall? So with both open, you get a great breeze through. All other windows in the apartment are hopper style – which is very safe for small climbing toddlers (there are none as current residents). They aren’t as great for getting air in and around the apartment, but better than nothing.
The apartment is also airconditioned – ducted through out. Sadly, as this is clearly ‘on budget’ for a development, it’s not zoned, so it’s all on, or all off, which seems overkill when I didn’t have a flatmate, or when we’re sleeping. It also doesn’t have a timer. And… for those followers on my personal Facebook, the centralised components of the air conditioning in the building has ALREADY had issues, even though the building isn’t even 6 months old.
The air conditioning isn’t the only sigh that there’s been corners cut in this building – two ‘exit’ signs have fallen out of the ceiling. I can wiggle the exterior door handle to the garage and easily get access without my keys. I’m so pleased I’ve not bought the place, that’s for sure. I really think this has been built for people to buy off the plan, and largely for investors to rent out. I might be wrong, but… well we’ll see.
To there’s some candid shots of my new place – I’ve now hung all the art, and sometimes I even clean up! Actually – I find my flatmates is tidier then me, which is a lovely blessing.
I’ve never owned a car outright, as long time readers might recall from this post. That’s all about to change!
I have decided at the ripe old age of 31, that it’s time to buy my very own car. It due to some frustrations by the limitations of work’s car – I can only drive it to and from work, and for work. So it limited the flexibility to do things ‘on the way home’. And playing and training for water polo is a little tricky! I used to have a team mate live locally, but no longer. So car pooling is out.
I started with a budget, of course. Then I knew I wanted some convenient features – being reversing sensors and steerin gcontrols for the radio, and hopefully Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phone calls. OH, and I realised I forgot to say – I was only going to buy a used car.
Initially I thought about a hatchback. They are very adaptable to large bootloads of Ikea furniture – I know from all my years sharing a Hyundai Accent. Dad and I went to, coincidently a home I’d inspected when it was for sale, to inspect a BMW 118i. It was priced high for what it offered in terms of kms and age. I offered a fair price, but the sellers were successful in getting their asking price. I can’t fault them on that!
However, after looking at the profile of many of the possible hatchback options, I didn’t like the profile. I didn’t love the car I inspected. I just felt… ho hum. It’s pathetic, but then, there’s so much choice in the car market, I figured I would be better to buy something I loved! I’d always liked the rear profile of an Audi A4.
So this past weekend, I planned to inspect a few A4s, and encouraged by my parents, I put in an offer. There was some back and forth, but I’ve now put down a holding deposit on a silvery blue 2009 Audi A4, which is coincidentally diesel. The car I drive currently, the Hyundai i30, is a diesel, and I have no issues or concerns with it. I have paid a holding deposit, and the coming weekend will be an independent inspection. Part of me is steeling myself for ‘bad’ news, given the car is 110,000km under it’s belt. But better to know what I’m putting my money into, now and into the future.
I’ll be the first to admit – I’m mildly terrified. It’s a HUGE lump sum payment. It’s like buying property. It’s ultimately easier to damage badly, at least I think so! Although, I keep recalling, it’s JUST a car – I can just as easily sell it if it doesn’t work how I’d hoped. And if I realise I went too big, or it’s too hard to park, or uses too much petrol, I’ll at least have tried and failed at the car I’ve long admired. You can only learn through failure. I much prefer that idea to the idea of always wishing I’d got what I ‘really wanted’
It’s hard to imagine the flexibility and freedom a car will provide me. At any time, I can go anywhere. In any weather. I look forward to having the open road, and suburbs, and choices open in front of me!
Of the four countries, and five cities we visited on our European tour, I will empathically say, Bosnia was the ‘best’. Best is a tough thing to say when I explain why I found it the most impactful. This is a city that, IN MY CHILDHOOD, suffered a civil war for 44 months. People starved, for 44 months. I was in primary school. The world knew, but didn’t do anything. I chose to read about Sarajevo/Bosnia prior to coming, and also read two books whilst in Sarajevo (yes, I even bought new books, which is something I NEVER do, but am so glad I did do!). These books really helped me to understand how it was to be in Sarajevo during this time. I also dated a Bosnian whilst at university, and that is a large reason I ever learnt about Bosnia.
My brother, Rory, returned back to the UK two days before my departure. Once he was on his way to the airport, I joined a hostel tour of the tunnel under the aiport (and got to see my little bro’s plane take off), and then onto the Toboggan course.
Doing these posts two months after my trip help me realise how much I enjoyed my time. Sure – there were struggles like the steep hills in Sarajevo, the cash card not working in Romania, and mould in bathrooms in Turkey. However, on the balance, I saw so much. I learnt so much about four other cultures, four other countries, and their capital cities. My brother was an awesome travel buddy – we were lazy for a good half of the day, really taking the rest and recover part of the holiday seriously. I often felt ‘guilt’ about this – not making the most of where we were. For Rory, he was homeless by work and home circumstances, so didn’t have the same hang up. And I shouldn’t either! Concurrently to this trip were some things happening in Australia that were challenging. For that reason, I travelled for three weeks, rather than four weeks. It got shocked responses from people I told in Bosnia that I was going home early. But I was ‘done’. I was rested. I no longe rhad the drive and momentum to go to another new place. I didn’t want to search for a good deal for a place to stay, or a flight. Actually, I think I realised – I don’t actually like to PLAN holidays. I might consider outsouring that next time – I didn’t hate my two weeks in Japan when I was largely ‘scheduled’; that trip, I did seek a little more idle time, but as that two week trip developed, I ekked out that time. And having a tour or a guide can really help you understand a culture, and answer your questions as they come into your mind (rather than relying on google when you get back to wifi).