Somehow, this post never got posted, but the pictures are no less lovely, so why not now?
Last year (ie 2013), we went to Diner en Blanc held at the surprise location of Bondi Beach. I posted about it here. This year (cough 2014!), we went again, and here’s a photo summary. This year it was held in Centennial Park, which wasn’t as ‘wow’ as a beach, but still a lovely setting.
For my birthday celebrated in February, I was generously given two ‘experience’ vouchers, and a while ago I redeemed some of one for doing Trapeze (did I blog about that?). The remainder of the vouchers went on a sea plane flight, rather on a whim. What a way to start a weekend!
I will not share all 134 photos graphs and the few videos I took.
It was about 15 minutes in the air, but it felt like ages. We went out past the harbour heads and flew down to Bondi beach, before turning around, allowing the other side of the plane a view. Once back inside the harbour, we climbed up high so we could fly towards the Harbour Bridge.
Landing was a fun challenge with all the Eastern Suburbs private schools having their little sailors out in the water!
I’m kicking myself I didn’t think to add this to my 12 in 2 list – but then again, I had some spaces, so there’s nothing like adding to a list, only to strike one item off!
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!
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’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?
So, the last three days have been better. And I attribute it to my list/check sheet. Instead of buying a prettier product from a stationary store like Kikki K, I DIY’ed.
Basically, each morning, I want to exercise, meditate and (ideally) write down my day’s goals. Then in the evening, I want to floss (and put my mouth-guard in for teeth grinding), take my tablets and apply cream to my head, balm to my cracked heels, write a few things I’m grateful for AND… pray.
I love ticking stuff off, so this is working pretty darn well for me! So even though I deferred this morning’s meditation to get to work earlier, my tick-traction meant as soon I was done with dinner, I sat for 15 minutes trying to visualise a prick of sunlight expand making the person happier and happier. I was MUCH better at meditation pre-visualisation. But meditation is a constant learning and improvement exercise.
I started the work routine on Sunday night, and got some stellar photos I’ll subject reader to:
And last week, it was the BF’s birthday. I completely dropped the ball. I didn’t plan a thing – a gift nor a dinner/experience. So on Friday night, after a day off with a killer headache, I merged his favourite desserts – lemon meringue pie and cheesecake. Can you see my attempt at a piped heart?
It was delicious, but interestingly, I’ve noticed my ‘sweet tooth’ cravings are mainly after lunch or in the afternoon. That’s work time, so this is safe in the fridge at home. One square of dark mint chocolate is enough! This realisation means I’m avoiding the fundraiser chocolates more often, and generally keeping my eating pretty healthy. Weigh in tomorrow, but since our Phuket trip, I’ve dropped 4kg, and while I want to lose more, when the BF put it like that, I was pretty proud of myself!
Hope life’s treating you well too. Do you like checking things off on a list? Does it keep you on track to achieving your goals?
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!
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.
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.
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?
So this weekend, I did something ‘cool’ that I didn’t even know existed, so it couldn’t even be on a bucket list! It was sky yoga:
It’s a small studio in the centre of the grungiest part of Sydney, near Central station. To get to the ‘Sky Lab’ you go past a graffiti wall – more like a whole artistic commune!!
I went with a friend after our usual “Pilates in the Park” was cancelled. A school friend recently started it (another implant from the state of Queensland) but she was in NZ for the weekend, so we forked out our pennies to try sky yoga! I have the best and smartest friend, who’ll try any quirky challenge. And take silly photos ENDLESSLY!
I’m pretty sore today – two days later. The back of my thighs… and some soreness in my back. Still the quirky factor of fitness has me hooked.
There are so many professional photos, they’ve taken, so check out the website for some ethereal photos… I can’t help but want more!
This was the party to end all parties. It had every element I could hope for, and of course, nothing I wouldn’t want. You might recall a teaser post here.
The morning was frantic. I got a fake tan. Then for the two hours waiting for it to set, I finished my jigsaw puzzle, cause I was not packing it up half done!
I needed two additional tables, and one (nail biting-ly) only arrived at 3pm, thanks to some wonderful friends up the road! You’ll notice I made meters upon meters of bunting as you can see in the background.
I also had three friends arriving from interstate. Sadly I could only fit one in to stay here, and she arrived at the same time as the last table. Another guest helped out with picking up the three cakes at 4pm and dropping them by. Sadly I forgot to take photographs of the cake 🙁
I knew not all my friends had met one another, as two came from school days, another two from my trips to Paris, and others from university. With this in mind, and a desire to ‘give back’ to my wonderful friends, each person had a small bio/highlight reel written up for them. I thought the early guests could ‘busy’ themselves finding the bio that matched them, but in the mean time, find out about other guests. On the other side of the card was their name. Inside the card, was their seat number. I’ve never been a seating plan gal, but I didn’t want new friends to feel like they had nothing in common with those around them, so I tried to socially engineer 😉
Everyone loved the entree… I thought I had enough white crockery borrowed from my parents and a friend, but alas, I forgot about the side plates… and I similarly was under resourced with tumblers and cutlery. Thankfully the caterers had some in their van, and luckily avoided those costs!
The best thing about catering were the two waiters who cleared everything and kept all the glasses filled.
There is nothing I like more than a sparkler, and for $5 I got 80! That was enough for us all to enjoy countless!
I invited 16 guests to join me for a sit down dinner party in my home. I got the event fully catered, with three canapes (or two, after decorating resulted in me upturning the dish of arancini balls!), one entree and alternate mains. Then I bought three different cakes from Adriano Zumbo, a celebrity patisserie.
You’ll remember (or know) I’m not keen on stuff. Well, my brother and his girlfriend MADE me a 3 and a 0 pinata and filled it with candy. That’s an activity/experience combined with a consumable I love!
They filled the pinata SO full they couldn’t hang it without it breaking the string, so my daring brother held it! Much to the amusement of my guests AND the neighbours and their guests who were also having a dinner on their facing balcony!
No event of mine would be complete without some craft. Or with flowers. And sparklers. Oh how I love sparklers.
The other surprise arranged for me was a video tribute. My friend had contacted my facebook ‘friend’ list, and perhaps even some of you bloggers! She asked for a short video, and she stitched together with facebook photos. I was totally surprised, and had Dar from An Exacting Life come to life. Interestingly, she was mistaken by my family by another Canadian friend we have! An Israeli friend dialled in (and then there were embarrassing photos of us with mud on us from when I visited her!).
It was a wonderful evening, and pretty stress free thanks to the amazing caterers and help from friends and family. I feel honoured to have such wonderful people around me, and that extends to my readers, who were duly talked about too!
Hot on the heels of my harbour bridge climb last Friday, yesterday, Sunday 6th July, I did the Gold Coast Half Marathon.
Talk about a busy month – between the BF cashing in his skydive, to me climbing the bridge (and having a fancy dinner), then the half marathon, and in less than a week, leaving for Osaka, Japan, I hardly have time for chores 😮
My training program heading towards the half marathon was sporadic. I had periods of very regular short runs, and I moved from a non runner to 5kms in a period of 12 weeks. After that, things sort of feel apart, and my running routine was more ‘resistance to running’. I managed two or three ‘runs home’ which varied from 6-7kms to 13kms, but that’s probably as far as I ran prior to the half. So I always knew it would be TOUGH!
Usually, I run first thing in the morning, or after work. Neither times, is it just after a meal. Despite this, I decided I’d have porridge before the half marathon. Perhaps a rookie error! I’m pretty sure all that liquid was the cause of some serious cramping, or stitches I felt in my side. I just walked them out, but it got to the stage that returning to running was a sure way to shake another stitch into forming!!
I also run with a heart rate monitor. This started when I started the Michelle Bridges 12 Week running program, as a way to ensure I wasn’t overexerting myself, and in the early days, I realised I was running at too high a heart rate. I was shocked to repeatedly see my heart rate at 180 during the half marathon. I usually want it to be under 172, and in training runs, once it gets to 177-178 I usually walk til I can bring it down. In the race, I ended up employing the same strategy.
I hoped to run to my usual pace, which is about 9km/hr (5.6mph). This would have been ambitious, but part of goal setting it to aim high! This would have had me with a finish time of 2hrs 20mins. Thankfully, the very well organised Gold Coast Half Marathon has pace runners, the ‘slowest’ of whom ran at a target completion time of 2:20. Sadly, I let them get ahead of me, and never caught up with them somewhere in the middle single digits of the run.
I was lucky enough to run the race with my father, who I ran with for the first few kilometers. My father has run a number of ‘halves’ before, including this particular race when I was young. It came as no surprise that he beat me, quite substantially! He is slow and steady, but he NEVER walks!! So my father finished with a time around 2hr10! I however… came in at about 2hrs33 (by my timing – official timing below).
To be honest, I’m pleased I made it across the line unaided! Was it a run? Mostly not! I walked a WHOLE heap, and I wish the pain I felt from the stitches, and later my heart, could have made it possible to run more of the race, but no. That being said, I don’t for a minute diminish the achievement that is finishing a 21.1km course!
A day on, I’m sore in my hips, the right arm (from the ‘strain’ of holding my phone… I prefer that to an arm strap). Even my shoulders are achy. And I spent the whole day after the run sore and tired! Tired beyond belief!
The only photo I wish I had to share with you is of my T Shirt – duly handed out once you FINISH the 21.1kms!! I did take this freebie (but not the medal) cause I am gosh darn proud, and feel I need proof I made it! I will wear it on (much shorter) runs in the future, to shock & awe!
I finally did it! For a long time I’ve wanted to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so I made it one of my 12 in 2 goals (12 things I wanted to achieve in two years).
I have an incredibly generous boyfriend who took the hints… and bought me a voucher for my birthday to use.
The frugal minimalist in me did NOT want to pay for a photo, but after reflecting on it for 5-10 mins, I went back and paid for one of the eight photos they took on the trip. Yep, no BYO cameras allowed… Cars below etc.
To be honest, I wasn’t scared for a moment!
Here’s the view of our bridge in the early morning…
Some pretty famous people have climbed the bridge – and some pretty famous people have had their affairs come to light thanks to being on roof top pools…! We heard some AWESOME stories from our guide Billy. The usually group is 14 people, but I was lucky to be in a group of 7 – a couple (with grown up children) for California, who had chickens. A mother from Queensland and her son (who’d gifted her the climb) from Sydney. And a pair of sisters from Sutherland Shire, who’d climbed before. One of the sisters was doing it for her 18th.
The things we were told! For example:
It took 8 years to build, starting in 1929
16 people died during it’s construction, which is NOTHING given they had no fall arrest or protective gear like harnesses.
Families were given £800 for the death of the worker
Only one person feel from the bridge construction and lived – using his tool built to break the harbour’s surface tension before he entered the water. He suffered some broken ribs amongst other things, but returned to work 12 days later.
When it was designed/built, there was five cars in Australia, and one in Sydney
It was designed with two ‘lanes’ for trams, two ‘lanes’ for trains, and four lanes for cars. It now has no trams and more car lanes.
This bridge is SEVERELY over engineered!
Almost all the steel came from England (which is comical given Australia’s large steel mills now!)
The large sandstone pylons are ‘hollow’ and don’t actually support the bridge as you might think
It’s 145m from water to the base of the bridge – supposedly a Defense Force aircraft flew under it recently!!
The bridge is currently undergoing a treatment to remove the lead paint, and have a permanent polymer coating on it. The projections on how long the project will take to complete are astronomical
Before the ‘Bridgeclimb’ business, all sorts of drunken fools can and did climb parts of the bridge
You are given a breath test prior to getting in your onsie… no drunks on the bridge now!
You walk through a metal detector before induction. My bobby pins were rejected, and I was given hair elastics
Everything you take up (fleece, hat, beanie (or toboggan?!), gloves are all attached to you. There are significant risks to traffic below should things fall, and we were told of some horrific accidents
You get put through a test climb with ladders and your harness – if you don’t pass you don’t climb the bridge
Some of the walkways are wooden – which just blows my mind, given how wood can rot etc
The whole time, you are continuously attached to a line, that naturally takes you up one side, across the middle, and down the other side. Not once do you get unlatched.
Riveters used to throw hot bolts to their mate – just incredible in today’s workplace health and safety conditions!
One guy climbs the bridge every six months when his wife comes to town to go shoe shopping. He’s now got a personalised onsie!
Tour guides are part time employees, some being teachers, lawyers, and our guide is a photographer the rest of the time
Billy, our tour guide, kept telling me I should be a guide – I’m really not sure why (I do know I spent more time in awe, than giving smart alek comments, which is usually more my style on guided tours!)
The busiest time of year is between Christmas and 4 January
The bridgeclimb is suspended for the NYE fireworks display and preparation, which you can imagine eats into the profits of such popular days!
Our guide told some amazing stories – such as guiding a blind person the whole way, with multiple guides used to share what he would see; another person did the whole ‘climb’ on their bottom with their hands – they had some disability with their legs.
There’s been countless proposals (and one the day we climbed). Only one has been rejected, and the groom had filled the tour with his mates. Talk about tense!
The best time to climb, according to two staff, is winter. The weather compresses the air, so we could see the Blue Mountains to the West. It is also more comfortable, with a onsie etc
The flags fly all the time, one of the very few places to fly flags at full mast all the time. We saw the damage to the flags at day 12 of their life – the winds up there just destroy them! Their is the state flag and the national flag up there most times, with the state flag occasionally being swapped for the indigenous flag.
The Bridgeclimb owner was rejected 4 times in his applications, and each time, with a list of concerns. Supposedly, to each list, he ticked each off, and raised a larger list of things authorities hadn’t thought of. It is, without a doubt, an incredibly well thought out business, and nothing is left to chance!
For someone who usually has poor fact recall, I think I did well!!