I use this blog as much as a photo album, so here’s another multi course dinner at Oscillate Wildly in Newtown, Sydney. I avoided using the flash in this small restaurant, so apologies for the grainy footage – it’s mainly so I can remember the night 🙂
Oh no! I forgot to photograph the ‘custard apple’ course – with guava and cucumber. Deliciousness, I tell you – like and fluffy, crispy but sweet but neutralised by cucumber…
There were also some lovely truffles and jellies for having with coffees… mmm…
We went for matched wines – most of them were biodynamic or similarly untouched by chemicals and preservatives. Mostly whites, but still tasty!
This topped off one of the best days of my life – the day was my Harbour Bridge Climb:
To friends, and boyfriends, and expensive experiences.
Sorry, I seem to have lost my momentum of regular posts. I think it packed up and left with motivation a few weeks ago. Hopefully both with return with renewed vigour, but until then, I’ll stick to publishing a weekend’s to do list:
Vacuum both bedrooms
Fold and put away light load
Stain treat linen shirt (again)
Wash dark load
Buy two ferns for the living room (:D)
Get cuttings of herbs from friends <- our napping got in the way
Visit open house for awesome 3 bed warehouse conversion (and dream of my future). Yeah we like to look at places of our dreams. It sold before we got there 🙁
Go rock climbing
Do an interval run, aiming for a 4 mins on, 2 mins off for a distance of at least 5kms 5km attempting 4.30/1.30 splits (but not succeeding!)
Write the little bro an email (he’s in South America) He’s already written back too 🙂
Take back plastic packaging & bags to Coles pre run too!
Buy some paints for my growing collection of tubes for a Advent calendar (talk about prepared, right?)
(Maybe) buy some quilting and coloured thread to make this
Read a few more chapters of my book on Gen. Honoré’s experience in New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina (ideally finish it to return it to my mentor on Monday)
I spent seven years in an all girls boarding school, in Brisbane, Australia. Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like remembering the quirks of communal living. Given the vast majority of people have little to no exposure to boarding school, I hope this might be amusing!
1. You always take the plate second from the top in a stack. The top one is assumed to have been sneezed on or touched or something?! Maybe it’s just the dust cover?
2. Showers require thongs. The idea of bathmats – pft, I laugh at a bathmat! (actually, I sorely missed them during term time, and hated the flood of water that resulted from thongs + multiple showers)
3. (White) Bread is a staple. And it is delicious 🙂 Plates of 10 slices on every dinner table every night!
4. Loaves of bread are likely to be open at the bottom of the bag. Liberating the doughy thick crust is heaven for some random people, and if the top of the bag has been taken, there’s always the other end.
5. Caramel tarts are worthy of sprints times comparable 100m mens final to get to afternoon tea FIRST! (However, returns are not guaranteed, it depends if they were all eaten at the dessert the night before).
6. Lights out is multi staged: there’s overhead common lights out, and then there’s lamps out.
7. Privacy is flexible: with partion walls that didn’t go the ceiling, curtains instead of doors…
8. In primary school, it seemed perfectly acceptable to buy a frozen slushie on arriving at the movie cinema, walk around drinking it, and refill the cup prior to watching the movie you came to see. Actually, we never had any staff even raise an eyebrow at this – that stuff MUST be cheap to supply! Or the staff too young and nervous to bother with tweens?
9. Coffee is a food substitute: We didn’t get a lot of snacks, other than the most mottled, old apples and oranges (ie the cheap stuff). Therefore, with enough milk and sugar, instant coffee becomes palatable to a young’un. However, when Dad offers you a coffee at home, it will be nothing like instant coffee, and nothing you can do will make it taste the same.
10. Parcels are enough to brighten a whole week! There was a parcel list posted daily on the noticeboard. Birthdays were wonderful, as were starts of term, where you awaited ‘forgotten’ items to be sent, hoping Mum would have included a treat or thousand in there!
Oh it’s funny to look back. Some of these points are still true today of boarding schools I’ve worked in, but I think some become the function of a school’s culture!
Which was the ‘weirdest’ to you, and which seems the most normal? Any quirky school memories or habits for you?
As regular readers would know, I wrote a list of 12 goals I wanted to complete in two years in 2013. It’s sort of like a mini bucket list, so that you get into action achieving those things you’ve always wanted to do. And this blog is all about lists, and achieving my hopes, goals and dreams. One of those things listed was to try jet skiing.
Thankfully, by sharing them online, my wonderful BF knows just what to get a girl for Christmas! So whilst we spent a week in the Western most state of Australia (imaginatively called… Western Australia), he organised for me to go jet skiing!!! Here’s a map to get everyone orientated:
Whilst we were in Western Australia, we drove from Perth to to Busselton for a night away, thank to the BF’s parents generous Christmas gift to us both. We swam in the most Western of beaches (and it was beautifully deserted and untouched compared to Sydney beaches) near Dunsborough. Sadly my phone was low on battery, and there’s no delightful photos to share with you.
I’m not sure what came first, the chicken (the trip South) or the egg (Jet skiing), but I sure am pleased to have had the chance to jet ski around Mandurah. The company (Stag water sports) was fantastic, seeming like little more than a pop up tent on the shoreline, but they ran a great 1hr tour, escorting us around the estuary, in search of DOLPHINS! (Yes, the yelling is totally necessary!)
How’d I find it? Oh my gosh, if it wasn’t for the BF sharing my jet ski, I might never have exceeded 10km/h! He got right on and gunned it after our guide, whilst I screamed, and shouted, and hung on for dear life! Despite the warnings that sunglasses might get lost if we were to fall off, I couldn’t bare the glare without them. Sure enough, with a few strong turns left and right, the BF threw us both off, and all I was worried about was my $7.50 sunnies I’d only just bought! (remember the last pair ended up in my Waste Wednesday just before Christmas?). Thankfully, I rescued my glasses and we got back on.
Eventually, I gave in to excessive reassurances and encouragement, and took the driving position. Oh my, I am one serious looking jet ski driver! I had all the concentration in the world, and the strongest grip that I could hardly turn! Plus, speed was scary. But it was just lovely to see more of WA and be on the water.
The best bit was on our route back to shore, we slowed down to a crawl, because our guide found a pod of dolphins. In real life, dolphins are a lot less like Sea World. There were no flips, and no riding on them. They weren’t even a perfect blue, more a darker grey tint. And there fins weren’t perfect either, these dolphins had grown up in the estuary of hard knocks, with evidence of them coming off second best to something!
I was SO excited to see dolphins, I started waving at them. I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose I’m not a squealer, but it was equivalent. It just *made* my trip, I tell you! Eventually they headed deeper and we could no longer see them, so we did a little tour of a man made set of canals, and the huge houses and boats, before returning to shore.
It was a GREAT Christmas gift/experience that I’m sure not to forget. Have you been jet skiing? Have you seen dolphins – in the wild or otherwise? Did you find them just magical
Go sky diving: well the BF will with his voucher, but we might make it a weekend away, or certainly a lovely day trip to the beaches south of Sydney
Swim and take enviable photographs at North Sydney pool
Walk the 14 km harbour foreshore walk: previously you couldn’t walk on public land all around Sydney Harbour, but with the development at Barangaroo, you now can.
Complete the ‘Bay Run’
Clear the greater than 24 month tasks at work (3) (wow, that one is exciting, isn’t it!) This was magically achieved… not sure when, but overall, I’m killing it in the stats, and helping other portfolios ‘clean house’
Go to a movie at the Open Air Cinema (sales opened today… and the allocation for the day sold out on films I liked) – Alas, they sold out, and I never did wait in line on the night of to see if I could get tickets.
Get a photo strip done with the BF in lieu of any more gifts, I asked the BF to come to the photo booth with me. It has a real rustic look, slightly sepia toned. It was good fun, though we’ll be better prepared last time, the flash caught us by surprise the first time!
Start a herb gardenthen it died from an infestation. I shall try again, using offshoots from friends.
Chip away at visiting all the pictured beaches (sorry I’ve forgotten the source!) with the BF, we’ve been to: Maroubra, Manly, Bondi (though not to swim), Dee Why, I think it was Queenscliffe?, we’ve walked Bondi to Bronte, but not swum any
It seems putting things on a list does wonders for me getting things done! I did the Bay Run and the pool visit in this past weekend! The bay run was through a organisation my father introduced me to (he beat me at the 7km run too – I took 47 minutes, I’d hoped for 45 minutes). We signed up on the morning of the run, and I think having it on the list was enough to make me commit to it.
The BF took me to the pool on Saturday to cool down. It’s incredible to see the scale of the bridge built so long before sky scrapers, next to a pool. Here’s some more photos of it:
What things are you hoping to get done in this season? Hopefully you have some fun things on there, not just doom and gloom and household ‘musts’! Let me know
On some list, somewhere, I knew I wanted to make a gingerbread house this Christmastime. I kept putting it off on weekends past, to snuggle on the sofa and read blogs and watch TV shows. But this past weekend, a friend wanted to catch up, and so I decided we could build our first ever gingerbread house. Come on, two engineers, what could be better? (Answer: two civil or structural engineers! Electrical engineers aren’t ideal).
I didn’t use the recipe attached to the above template, instead using this, but adding all spice and nutmeg that other recipes mentioned. I also decided against the window, as I didn’t have boiled lollies on hand for the cooking.
While they cooled, we headed to the shops for decorations:
From directions elsewhere, we decorated before constructing. I think if kids were decorating, you’d want to build it first, cause construction is slow.
Here’s the start of construction:
We were worried it wouldn’t hold together when we put the first roof panel on, so we did some temporary bracing (in Christmas colours!)
One of the roof panels was a little thick and not cooked to a crisp (which I prefer). So we decided on some structural reinforcements!
After a date night to the movies, I put the last roof panel on, to dry overnight:
Sadly, the first roof panel we put on slipped a bit, and stuck lower than intended. Or we wanted a row of light to enter the house, and did this intentionally, you decide?
I’m so chuffed with our house! I’m not sure what to do with it now though! I am thinking of taking it to show at Sunday School’s Christmas party, but as to who gets to finally deconstruct it and eat it… I don’t know… Any winning thoughts?
On Saturday, I was invited to join in an exclusive international event – Diner en Blanc. As the name suggests, it started in France, and it’s a dinner in white. The tradition started many years ago when a group of French friends decided to reunite after years of living abroad – but how would they recognise one another? They decided they would all dress in white for a picnic. However, their planned location was a somewhat fancy area, so they all decided not only to dress in white, but to dress up! Since this first picnic, the idea has grown in size, and geographical location.
Nowdays, the event grows through attendees each year being able to invite some friends the following year. But space is limited, and logging into the website is best done with military precision (for once I was thankful for my early work hours). The venue remains a surprise until groups meet at various meeting points around the city. You pay a small fee to attend and this covers a coach to the secret location (and all the other logistics – such as some shared lighting, security and a DJ).
Last year, the Sydney event was held at Circular Quay, outside the Museum of Modern Art. This year, it was held on Bondi Beach.
Guests clad in white, are also required to bring their own table and chairs, white table cloth, cloth napkins and ‘real’ crockery and cutlery. Glass is not permitted, so plastic cups are OK. (You can imagine how pleased I am with an event for 3,000 people encouraging reusable options!) You may bring your own gourmet picnic, or buy hampers. The event is not BYO (Bring your own) alcohol, as a number of alcohol companies sponsor the event, and it’s difficult to get a licence for this.
These are more than enough words – let the pictures do the talking! There’s more traditions that I didn’t mention, so please feel free to ask.
If you ever get the chance to attend a Diner en Blanc, take it! (this link has a button on the right that scrolls through other cities) They are magical. Sure, there’s a little preparation to get tables and chairs to the venue, but once you’re seated in a sea of white in a public location, you can’t help but think just how lovely life can be!
I’m (only) 28, but for my age, I’ve travelled quite a lot (see my completed bucket list for an idea)! As well as packing and flying internationally or domestically 4 times a year, home to my parents from boarding school. These are the things that work for me, and I’d recommend to others:
You gotta be able to carry it all: makes sense really, but don’t rely on trolleys or porters, cause somewhere along the line, you’ll be tripped up
Remember you ‘things’ count: three bags, or whatever (coats), then everytime you’re walking from taxi to check in to gate to plane etc, mentally recheck the count!
Paper shopping bags: work a treat for those 5 novels you want to take! Putting them in checked luggage could put you over, having them in a disposable bag means if you do accidentally leave it anywhere, it’s not the worst thing in the world, and you’re unlikely to be challenged for taking more than one piece of carry on this way
Wheelie suitcases: I swear by them. But then I hate having heavy things on my shoulder, so I also don’t usually use an over the shoulder handbag
Spare underwear: seriously, I think this enough in your hand luggage. I don’t like to lug too much around
Face washer: in a zip lock – great to wash and try ones face on a long trip. I sorely missed packing this for this trip, and it would have made a world of difference to feel ‘clean faced’ part way through.
Paper copies of tickets/reservations: I know phones are fancy now, but with long flights smart phones can lose charge, cost a fortune to download data, or plane not work. Especially in the developing world, take the time to print and carry documents you might need. If nothing else, it helps to show taxi drivers!
Umbrella: Place it in the front pocket of your checked suitcase. Some airlines/airports confiscate your umbrella (Marrakesh!) so checking it is best. Having it in the front pocket makes it easy to access in a sudden arrival downpour (Greece! I didn’t pack one, so I bought on for 3 Euro!)
Swiss Army Knife: I can’t praise mine highly enough, even if it was from an ex. I stash it in the front pocket of the checked suitcase. Even locked, I can wiggle it out, and use it to cut off other tags etc
Light scarf: no matter where you are going, these are great as a light stopping eye mask, a pillow case on the suspsicous pillow case, or to keep you warm
More underwear: the last thing you want to run out of is underwear. It’s small – pack more than you need. Yeah, I’m not a huge handwasher on holiday either :p I like to put the dirties in the inside suitcase pocket
Dirty clothes: I like to fold everything, but distinguish dirty stuff by pulling it inside out, and then folding it. Saves me wondering if I wore it (I will rewear stuff in cooler climates, I turn things inside out when it’s got no more wears!)
Toiletry bag: I don’t believe in one carry all – there’s never a big brick sized space left in your bag! Many smaller bags work better – I reuse pencil cases from school and zip locks bags.
Take reading material to leave behind: either thin your collection at home, or buy second hand books. I love library books, but not for international holidays!
Power boards: don’t buy countless adapters, buy one, and pack your local power board to charge all your ‘things’. As an aside, I really do take less and less electronics every time. They are just too much stress to leave in a room, or always carry. A phone with a good camera is usually enough for me.
Do have a pearl of wisdom when you are travelling and packing? Please add to the discussion, I’m sure there’s some tricks I could leanr.
So every month I like to check in with my progress on my new year’s goals. But interestingly, I’ve added some goals along the way throughout the year, and they haven’t been added to my monthly review (see the last one here). I latched onto doing this little side project of 12 things I want to achieve in two years (ideally 2013 & 2014, though I did start a little into 2013) . It’s like a condensed bucket list. Sadly, I only check in with my blog readers when I’m on my road to achieving some of those. So I thought I’d write a post about what I’m NOT achieving, and perhaps kick me into action (with the added accountability!)
I’ll only talk about the ones I’m not consistently achieving in the new year’s goal, so let’s have a look:
New Year’s Goals
Not eating sugar: I get on this bandwagon and off as soon as I justify the occasion, and then it’s a slippery slope from ‘just this once’ to ‘yes please’ at every single offer! Moderation is not something I do well with cakes, sweets, biscuits, brownies, chocolate… need I continue? It’s not enough to rest on ideas like ‘at least I don’t drink soft drinks (soda, pop)’
Training for water polo: well I took a season off, so that might be ok. But I didn’t really swap it for something else. Even committing to exercising twice a week (as I would with polo) would have been good for me. Some weeks I was on fire, running every second day. Other weeks, I’d call a walk to get an ice cream exercise!
12 in 2 goals
In summary I had the following (check the old post for links about what I’m on about!):
Dinner at Quay: Done for my birthday in 2013
Dinner at Aria: Will do it for my birthday in 2014. BUT… as part of Good Food Month, my father took me there for lunch exactly a week ago! What a treat, and a semi ‘achieved’ for this goal.
Sydney Harbour Bridge climb: cough cough, this is simply putting down a few hundred dollars, praying for a beautiful day, and doing it! I should just book it in with the colleague who was interested. We’ve pencilled in 22nd November
Go jet skiing: The BF thinks I can do it at Christmas, as he knows a place in Perth (where his family are, and we’re headed for Christmas)
Go zorbing: Would you believe it, when I was in the area they did it, they were closed!! UNBELIEVABLE! I even drafted a post to report on it… I was that sure I’d do it!
Visit Lexi in NZ: Well, that’d be fine, if Lexi hadn’t moved back to Sydney when she was surprisingly accepted to Medicine!!
Do a knife skills course: Did it, and reported to you all here.
Learn to surf: Oh yeah, that! Summer is the time to do it, I should speak to my friend about that. I did email him, but it’s been more than a week, and no news 🙁
Read the new testament: See I set an *achievable* goal, and then went and started reading the whole darn thing. I reported in with a book review when I got to the 1/4 mark (13 weeks in), then promptly moved house and didn’t resume reading. It’s tough going at times. I get a few days behind, and it’s a mountain to get up to date. I really need to etch out ‘bible time’ and get back to this. I want to do this, no one is making me! And I do enjoy it some of the time!
Go on a silent retreat: I found one, and then it became the same weekend a friend from out of town was visiting, so I didn’t book in. I should look into them again
Run a half marathon: I’m not there yet, but I did compete in a 9km run, and I did the 5km Neon Run, just the 5km fun color run to do in Feb. Other than that, I have no real training plan or goals. I need to plan to get further!
Plan and prepay my funeral: Hahah, no. It’s expensive, but I also think I need a will first. So I need to hassle the solicitor today about what I need to do!
How do you kick yourself into gear, and ensure you do the fun things, not just the mundane things?
Not long now til I’m back to normal programming – please comment as freely as usual, and I’ll read and reply to everything once we touch down (if not sooner).
To keep with my 12 in 2 goal to run a half marathon sometime by the end of 2014, I signed up for the Sydney 5km Neon Run this past Saturday with my water polo coach and some of her friends. The run was in the evening around the Domain and Mrs Macquaries Chair – iconic parkland around Sydney Harbour.
Here’s the foursome:
The glasses were $10 (!!) each – seems a lot for plasticy goodness with LEDs. I wasn’t going to buy any (partly because I didn’t bring any money, and partly – well regular Wednesday readers would know why). But the team bought me a pair, and were smart enough to know they just HAD to be blue!
There were other merchandising options, like these:
Here’s the crowd, it was a small event, relatively speaking. That being said, we entered in a walking group, but did want to jog a bit. Sadly, there were too many people underfoot at the start, and of course after our first burst of running, we weren’t as interested anymore! There were four different music and dance stations, as well as fantastic harbour views! We did run the last 750m plus to the finish, which was nice.
My phone ran out of battery not that much later, so there’s no ‘night’ photos, which is when the run started. It was pretty amazing to see all the costumes, and we vowed to amp it up next year. I’d love me a bright tutu, though I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to run in! There was one guy just in fluro jocks – and painted on suspenders! And it was cold at the start line… So he was very daring.
Events like this a great – legitimately FUN run (or walk). I’m pleased to report that they used paper cups (unlike last time) AND they had lots of recycling bins for the cups too! Sadly, the glasses were plastic wrapped, as were our ice lollies filled with rehydration fluid, handed out at the finish.
For more fun photos, see the Neon Run site.
What’s the most fun you’ve had exercising? (Or is that an oxymoron to you?)