Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Monday 26 May – One year on!

Current location: Eveleigh
11.11am, At work. When I arrived this morning, I found a poster wishing me a Happy One Year in Oz (with my head photoshopped onto a Swifts netballer's body, yay!)!

I can't believe it's been a year since we arrived. In some ways it feels like longer; in most ways it feels like months. My initial thoughts of Australia still stand – that it's outdoorsy, sunny, and very, very far away from home! – but it's been much more 'normal' too. Although it wasn't something I really worried about beforehand, I've been amazed at how friendly people have been and how easily I've settled into an everyday life here, with work, sport, holidays – it's fab.

 Too much has happened this year to try and sum any of it up here, but luckily I can use this blog to look back and see what I was doing at various points throughout the year. Be it dancing on tables, developing new obsessions, trying to get better at surfing, setting challenges, eating crocodile and kangaroo, learning to bake, abseiling down cliffs, getting fined (often), realising I'm not scared of spiders, hating cockroaches, perfecting my accent, overspending on everything, becoming Skype's bitch, hunting for mulled wine, embracing lipstick, or working on my tan, it's been a bloody humdinger of a year!

Sunday 25 May – Girls on tour

Current location: Erskineville
11.11am, In the kitchen with Em and Annie. We'd just had a yummy banana-french-toast brekkie and they were kindly washing up. Love hanging out with these two funnies again!

Saturday 24 May – The best of Sydney!

Current location: Erskineville
11.11am, Heading out for brunch with Em, Annie and Andy. It was the start of an amaaaazing day, experiencing the best of what Sydney has to offer. After a classic brunch at Bakerman, we went down to Circular Quay to meet Jess and catch the ferry to Manly. The sun was out and we went straight to the beach to soak up the rays and pretend we were tourists. After a few hours of lazing, we were pretty thirsty for a late arvo beer so went to the Bavarian Beer House, where sausages and weissbier were the order of the day. Man, I miss the cuisine from living in Berlin!!!

As we headed back over to the city, we managed to catch a ferry just as the sun was setting. The view looking over to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House never fails to astound me. It's breathtaking and beautiful! At the moment, 'Vivid' is on, which is a festival of lights that sees the iconic building lit up in cool colours and patterns.

It's so funny because I really vividly (geddit?!) remember arriving in Sydney almost a year ago and, as we were flying over the city, I saw the Opera House lit up in all these crazy colours, and it made me soooo excited for arrivign and for the year ahead.

As Circular Quay, where Vivid is held, was soooo busy, we decided to go to Luna Park, a theme park across the water, where you get awesome view of the quay, while also getting to go on rides! It was the BEST!!!!!! We went on a rickety old rollercoaster and the ferris wheel (my phone died so no good photos from me!), then grabbed some food and headed back to the Opera House, to see a concert. We saw an Avalanches tribute band – and even though I didn't really know who they were or what they'd play, it was AMAZING. Such an enthusiastic, electric, entertaining gig that had everyone up dancing within minutes. What an awesome day!

Friday 23 May – Cheese, chicks, chuckles

Current location: Erskineville
11.11pm, Drinking wine and eating cheese. Some of my lovely girls came over (Ri and Jess), and so Rochy, Jdog, their friend Pete, Andy and I used this as a great excuse to eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of wine. At about 11pm, our friends Annie and Em, who live in Melbourne, arrived for the weekend, so we popped open a few more bottles and carried on the fun.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday 21 May – Workout Wednesday!

Current location: Eveleigh
11.11am, Eating bananas and peanut butter on toast. I am ravenous today, thanks in part to an awesome workout before work, with Sha. I say 'workout', but it was really just a run to the park (Prince Alfred Park, my favourite), then a couple of circuits on the equipment.

Sha is such a wonderful friend to have for many reasons, and one of them is that she encourages me to take on challenges. Every other month, we have undertaken an exercise challenge (including 100km of Summer, Ironman March and now 1000-Minute May). We are both in the middle of 1000-minute May, which is very straightforward: we have to each complete 1000 minutes of exercise during May. It has led to us going for a few pre-work runs, and I've been cycling most places instead of getting the train, as well as playing extra games of netball and even trying new things such as tennis. It was a lovely morning, and set me up for the day, even if it did leave me wanting to eat everything in sight!

(Picture from

Sunday 18 May – Swifts do it again!

Current location: Katoomba, Blue Mountains.
11.11am, On our way to Katoomba station to get a train back to Sydney. We'd been for brunch at the cutest place ever (Yellow Deli), which looked like something from harry Potter, but with the amazing smell of waffles, had a quick look in a chocolate shop, and then it was time to get the train. Clare was actually going straight to the airport to fly to Melbourne, while Rianne and I were off to a Swifts home match, against the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds have won the past six matches against the Swifts (albeit by only a goal or two), but we had to win to keep up our chances of getting through to the finals. Even though we were up by 10 after the first quarter, the Thunderbirds got the difference back pretty quickly, and it was such a tense match. Known for their amazing finishes to matches, and with a history of winning by a couple of goals in the final few minutes, the Thunderbirds were  amazing and gave us suc a run... but luckily, the Swifts were more amazing, and a few key interceptions and some awesome shooting saw Swifts winning 45-42...much to the delight of the 10,118 fans cheering! Three little goals have never seemed so wonderful!

After the match, Rianne and I went to a Members-Only function, like the big geeks that we are, and got to meet Susan Pratley, one of my fave players. I wasn't very cool, but I don't think she minded... Most of the other fans were under the age of about 12 though, so it was a bit embarrassing.

All in all, an incredible end to an incredible weekend!

Saturday 17 May – Mountain life

Current location: Blue Mountains!
11.11am, Looking at the Three Sisters. This morning started so well, with an early wake-up after such a good night's sleep. I put on my trainers and went for a little run in the sunshine, thinking 'What a lovely town, everyone smiles and waves at you when you go for a run.' It was only at the end of my run that I found out that today there is an 100km Ultramarathon going on around the Blue Mountains, so I can only assume people thought I was doing it!!! Oops.

When I got back to the hostel, Clare, Rianne and I went out for a yummy brunch to set us up for a day of walking, and off we went. We had the most amazing day of sightseeing, walking, going on the cable cars, cheering on the marathon runners (amazing people!), having a delicious picnic of cheese baguettes, cakes and apples, and generally feeling a million miles from anywhere.

When we got back, just after dark, Rianne and I went out to grab some Thai takeaway, then the three of us had a cosy evening in the hostel, before falling sleep at 10am. All that fresh air has done us in, but in such a good way!

(Pictures nicked from Clare and Ri)

Friday 16 May – To the mountains!

Current location: Katoomba
11.11pm, In the pub, having a mulled wine. Rianne, Clare and I came up to Katoomba after work, and went straight to the youth hostel we're staying at, which is so lovely. It's huge and friendly and lots of fun, and we got our own room, which is always nice. After we dumped our stuff, and put on a lot more layers (the Blue Mountains are COLD!), we went to a fab pub up by the station and ate loads of pizza, including one that had crocodile on it! The croc tasted kind of like tough chicken, with a kind of prawny taste. Probs not my fave food ever, but nice enough. After that pub, we went to another one and warmed up with a mulled wine, then went back to the hostel ready for a good sleep and full day of fresh air tomorrow. 

Thursday 15 May - Happy birthday Phil (and That's Life)!

Current location: Eveleigh
11.11am, Eating Maltesters and celebrating That's Life's 20th birthday.... This morning, they came and put helium balloons on the back of everyone's seat (in the entire company), and gave us chocolate and a copy of the mag each. Thanks! It was also my friend Phil's birthday (sadly not 20th), so we ended up having an impromptu birthday dinner with him (the dinner was impromptu, his birthday was not). We went to Miss Peaches, which is fast becoming a Newtown favourite.

Wednesday 14 May - Opera drinks

Current location: Eveleigh
11.11am, Making plans for tonight! I was meant to be meeting a new friend but we couldn't quite get our times right, so Clare, Rianne, Jess and I went for a wine or two at Opera Bar. I love it there; I know it's touristy, but I just can't get enough of the amazing view! I'm really enjoying showing off Sydney to Clare.

Tuesday 13 May - Netball nails

Current location: Eveleigh
11.11am, Taking a photo of my nails! I love doing my nails but, due to playing netball, in which you have to keep your nails short, I don't always get to make the most of the hundreds of nail varnishes at home. Tonight, though, I'm taking my newly painted nails to a match, and hoping they don't do any damage!

Monday 12 May - Book clubbing

 Current location: Paddington, Sydney 
11.11pm, On my way home from Bree's house, on my bike. It was raining, a lot. So I couldn't really see, and was getting soaking wet, but I was happy as I had just been to Book Club. It's one of my favourite days of the month, and this one was no exception. We were talking about Americanah, another book that I absolutely loved. I've loved most of the Book Club choices so far, so it's going well!

(Picture taken from

Sunday 11 May - Reunited!

Current location: Darling Harbour
11.11pm, Actually, I have no idea where I was at 11.11pm, or if I was still in Darling Harbour, or home by then, but I definitely was in Darling Harbour earlier in the evening. I met my lovely friend Clare, who I used to work with at Incisive Media in London. She has flown over for a month's holiday and it's the first time I've seen her in a year. What a super human she is! We went for a cocktail on a rooftop, and then for an amazing Mexican dinner at Margaritaville, and caught up on everything from the past year. Welcome to Australia lovely!

Saturday 10 May - Camping life!

Current location: Little Beach, NSW
11.11am, At Little Beach, in Bouddi National Park. I bought Andy a new tent for his birthday and planned for us to come camping here this weekend. It's a beautiful camping spot right on the beach, and you have to walk through about 15 minutes of bush to get there.  However, last night we got up here too late to put the tent up, so we stayed at Andy's parents' house, which is only about 20 minutes away. So this morning, we got up bright and early, and headed down to make the most of the lovely weather, a full day at the beach and some pretty awesome waves (Andy, not me. I was making the most of my pretty awesome new book and my pretty awesome sunbathing abilities).

Dave and Val came down to join us for brunch (which they cooked!), as tomorrow is Mother's Day but we won't be able to spend the day with them. So we had a lovely couple of hours, then they left and Andy and I went for a big trek through the bush and along the cliffs to get to another beach. We had to basically abseil down a cliff to get there, which was pretty fun but pretty scary, and then I did more reading and sunbathing, and Andy did more surfing. 

The evening brought dark skies early on, so we fired up the barbecue and barbied some sausages, poured some red wine into mugs and sat on the beach for a while. Sausages, wine, beach, Andy. Pretty perfect.

Friday 9 May - Friday night in Ettalong Beach

Current location: Ettalong Beach
11.11pm, Reading in bed. After work today, I hopped on a train and went up the coast to meet Andy and his parents. We had a yummy pork dinner, some wine, and looked at photos. Lovely chilled Friday night. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wednesday 7 May – Same same but different

Current location: Surry Hills
11.11pm, On my way home from an amazing event at Longrain. Tonight was the cookbook launch for Poh Ling Yeow's new book Same Same But Different. We ate the most incredible food, including beef rendang, caramelised pork, tuna carpaccio, an amazing chicken curry, and two different desserts! I went with my friend Yee and we met some ace people, including Poh herself, who was so funny and warm, it was like having dinner at a friend's house. Can't wait to try some of the recipes out!

Tuesday 6 May – Nana and Bea

Current location: Erskineville
11.11am, Texting my mum, about my nana. My nana would have been 99 today (sadly, she died when I was 18), and tomorrow is my niece's first birthday. Nana's maiden name was May; Bea's middle name is May. My nana was the loveliest, sweetest and funniest nana, and she would have absolutely adored Bea, who is a cheeky, smiley and beautiful little lady. It's funny that both these gorgeous girls were born almost a century apart... When I put this picture on Facebook, it was so lovely, because all my sisters and cousins started commenting, all about how lucky we are to have had such a great nana, niece/daughter/cousins/sisters... And it all started with Lucy Ellen May, born 6 May 1915.

Sunday 4 May – Too much activity

Current location: Erskineville
11.11pm, Collapsing into bed! I was sooo tired tonight, after doing a lot more exercise today than I meant to. This morning, I cycled to Rianne's house to watch the Swifts play the Vixens, and the Swifts won, yippeeeeee!! Then I rode up to Bondi Junction to have a bit of a shop with Jess, and then put on some netball kit and nipped over to the netball courts to play a quick bit of netball.

On the way home, I heard from Andy, who had arranged to meet our friends and their brand-new baby, so I went to Surry Hills with a vague idea of where they lived. Sadly my phone's battery had run out, so once I arrived at their apartment block, I spent about half an hour trying to get in, find out which apartment was theirs etc, before a nice lady let me into the foyer and let me borrow her phone charger! When I finally got in to their apartment (having learnt my lesson about not relying on my phone!) I met beautiful baby Paxton and had a good cuddle.

When we got home, Sha was around for dinner, and Rochy and Jdog had cooked up a feast, so we tucked in!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Saturday 3 May - One year on

Current location: Erskineville
11.11am, Watching scary films. I had a super mega lie-in today and then when I got up, it was raining and Andy was feeling poorly so we decided not to do much. We watched Paranormal Activity 4, ate toast, had a nap and then played a bit of tennis. Andy has now officially been back a year so this was our version of celebrating. What a year it's been!

Friday 2 May - Girls just wanna have fun

Current location: Surry Hills
11.11pm, In the Forresters, having drinks with girls. We had an early mark at work today, and weren't meeting a friend for another couple of hours, so Chrystal and I decided to go and get a pedicure and then have a glass of bubbles! It was a lovely Friday afternoon!

Wednesday 30 April - Passing Through

Current location: Surry Hills, Sydney
11.11pm, Leaving a bodyboard movie premiere. Some of Andy's friends have made 'Passing Through', a new feature-length bodyboard film, so we went to see it and catch up with some of his friends. Such a fun night (especially as the ratio of girl to hot surfer boy was about 1:25!!)

Tuesday 29 April - The busiest day!

Current location: Sydney
11.11pm, On my way home, finally. Today started with a chat with a bestie, then a cross-city dash to give Andy his keys, as he'd left home without them and was on his way to open the shop he works at. Then a full day of work (with a lunchtime nip home to grab my bike and netball kit, and lunch!), then a post-work netball match, which we won, then an awkward change of clothes on the side of the court, then an amazing art exhibition. Good friend Phillip Marsden had an exhibition of his illustrations, and they were awesome! Next up was a pub quiz with the Lawrences, then a ride home. I haven't been this busy since I lived in London!