Sunday, 29 November 2009

Story of the Sunday Sun

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be in Iceland. It is a country that has long fascinated me so I was really excited about the trip. So many parts of it were amazing but what stood out when I went through my photos was the sun. I was totally taken aback by the glory of it. It rose late, stayed low and large and set early. We got about 5 1/2 hours of daylight. This weekend they'll get about 5 - it changes by about half an hour a week all the year round.

So, in honour of Sunday, I am leaving you with some of my favourite "sun" pics from last Sunday:











Saturday, 28 November 2009

Flickr Favourite on a Friday

Lot's of the posts I've been reading in my reader have been all about giving thanks.  It is something I do do, but do need to do more often.  Being an Aussie, living in the UK, Thanksgiving is not a holiday that I celebrate though, so I think I will do my thanks some time soon, not right now.

That said, after a really kind of kaka day at work today, I am thankful for so so so many creative people that inspire me all over the world.  Flickr is one of my favourite websites - had you noticed?  I love exploring what they call "interestingness" whenever the need for inspiration strikes (hopefully less often as I'm making some changes in my life right now).

Anyway, through "interestingness" I discovered what remains my favourite photo and is currently the image on my work desktop.  I can't help but smile, and be happy, and be inspired when I see it.n  I love the colours, I love the perspective and I love the subject matter.  Basically, I just love it...

Tulips Carousel @ Descanso Gardens

So thank-you to you, my readers (however few) and to Whisperbee for this gorgeous pic.  Do you have a fave pic or inspiration piece?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

My Lego Nirvana

The Grand Carousel (with moving horses and lights and sound)

I don't really know that I need to say much more.  But I will.  I'm like that.  I talk to fill in silences sometimes.  Not always, just sometimes.

Anyway, I love Lego.  So many hours were spent playing with it as a kid.  (As an aside, I'm glad I'm Simon's sister because I wonder if we would have had as much of it as we did had it just been me.)

I also love love love carousels.

True story 1.  I rode the carousel in Darling Harbour, Sydney, with my stepmum when I was 19.  She was working north for three weeks so I flew up for a girly weekend.  As we passed it by she commented it would have been fun to have kids with us so we could ride on it.  I pointed out we didn't need kids to ride on it.  So round and round we went.  And laughed and laughed we did.

True story 2.  I skipped the dessert and champagne at a Mothers day lunch at Royal Melbourne Zoo last year so I could cut carousel laps with my nephew.  The other adults stayed in.  Knowing me, passing champagne and desserts is quite something.

Anyway, I think you get the point.  I lust after this.  Recently when the parents asked what I wanted for my birthday, I was so tempted to suggest it, but I just didn't.  Maybe next year?  Or Santa, if you are listening, I've been super good this year.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

So it's my birthday

And I'll eat cake and coffee if I want too.

After a busy evening baking treats (, Hedgehog slice ) last night for the work colleagues I am having an indulgent day today.  I had a Lemon cupcake and coffee for breakfast and a cookie and coffee for morning tea.  Maybe I'll have some marshmallow hedgehog slice and a coffee for afternoon tea.

Life is good.

Recipe notes:
I made a triple batch of the cookies, doubling the choc chip content in each (ie, 6 times what the recipe says!).  The chips I used were milky way buttons, cadbury dairy milk buttons, bournville buttons and pink smarties.  Yep, 4 varieties of choc chips.  Needless to say, I'm popular at work today.

I also changed the Hedgehog recipe to substitute mallows for walnuts to cater for people with nut allergies, and my own personal tastes.  It's like a rocky road hedgehog cros bred and it works.  It really really works.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ten on a Tuesday (7)

Another week, another ten on a Tuesday, via Roots and Rings.  This week, she's taken questions from the audience so I can't really blamer her if I find them tough.  Well, I can, because she selected them, but I can't because it is not her fault I don't know myself that well!!

1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A P.E. teacher.  My friends now might laugh at this.  A lot.  I'm not as sporty as they come.  Let's just say that.  I'm also not as patient as they come so I don't think teaching is really my calling.

2. Name 3 of your irrational fears.

(1) - Manhole covers/grates/parts of pavements/cattle grates that aren't really pavements.  I'm getting better with these, but not there yet.  I now only avoid them if it isn't going to inconvenience every other soul on the footpath.  I've made huge steps.  It started in Madrid in 2002. 

(2)  - Fingers getting sliced off.  I don't really like ice-skating for this reason.  I also use to think of what would happen if a tram ran over your finger on a daily basis during my commute in Melbourne.  How irrational is that?  I mean, you would have to be lying on the tracks for this to happen - so your fingers really should be the least of your concerns.

(3) - All my teeth falling out.  I don't know why they would - I brush and floss as I should, I have my 6 monthly check ups and I have no fillings.  They don't just fall out in my dreams though, they split in half then fall out.  And yes, sorry if you are eating.

And for no reason, here is a gorgeous pic of my home town with a W class tram in it (via Andru1308's Flickr photo stream).

St Kilda tram stop

3. If you had a $200 gift card to any store, what would you want it to be? (Nothing responsible allowed. Can’t be used for groceries or anything)

Maybe Steamer Trader Cook Shop or Foyles.  I love kitchen things but I could spend hours upon hours in Foyles.

4. What is your most (blog-friendly) embarrassing moment?

See here.  Question Three. Falling over for no good reason whilst wearing flats, walking through the (flat) cafe foyer at my old work and putting myself out of action for nigh on six months. 

5. If you were only allowed to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Probably pizza.  See, it is a little bit of a cheat answer but some of my fave pizza's have loads of toppings (pumpkin, pine nuts, goats cheese, spinach, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms etc) which would mean that selecting this meant to eat many of my favourite things (although not all at once).  I'm also quite partial to sweet pizzas - nutella, raspberries, hazelnuts etc.  Most bases covered. 

6. What was your favorite toy growing up?

Probably our lego collection.  My older brother and I had a massive collection that we could play with for hours.  Have you been to a Lego shop recently?  They have some amazing things.  Stay tuned for a post of my Lego Nirvana soon.

7. Do you have a “go to” outfit? What is it?

Sure do - Jeans, black rollneck, starry cons and brightly coloured scarf.

8. Who was the best teacher you ever had?

Miss Large probably in primary school.  Not  the greatest name for her, given she was about 5 foot tall and well into hockey and sports.  She didn't stand for nonsense but was quite friendly.  She was super helpful for Simon and I during our later primary years when Mum passed away. 

High school - probably Mr Canty - he saw some strengths in me that I maybe didn't see straight away and helped me find them, and my career (which I enjoy, for the most part). 

9. If you could buy any car right now (something at least SORT OF within the realm of reality…so, you know, a Rolls Royce may not qualify), what would it be?

A second hand Nissan Figaro in Lapis Grey. 

Or maybe a baby blue Fiat 500 with blue leather interior, or a Hot Magenta Pearlescent Ford Fiesta?  Nothing too extravagant. The Fiesta is the most practical and the best value for money but I'd be happy with any of them.

10. How do you reckon that Chelsea comes up with 10 of these questions every week? It was hard! What’s your theory on how she’s so creative? Are you going to help her?

Reading her blog it is a given she's creative, honest, open and funny.  I think a lot of the questions come from random brain worms but others might be suggested or something.  I'd love to help her, I'm just still thinking over some questions.

So that is my 4th Ten on a Tuesday.  I'm planning on catching up on the ones I missed because I was late to the party sometime soon.    What are your ten??

I home....

and would just like to let you know that

ICELAND aa checker

I really do.  It was cold and, at times, wildly windy but I really did have an amazing long weekend there!

(please excuse my pencameranmenship - I haven't yet mastered cursive light worms)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Ice Ice Baby

vanilla Ice ice baby (oh-oh)
vanilla Ice ice baby
vanilla Ice ice baby vanilla ice

Yo man let's get out of here

(Thanks Vanilla)

So yippee yay, I'm going away!! I'm flying out to Reykjavik tonight with some friends (three old colleagues) for a long weekend in Iceland. We are hoping to see:

Beautiful sky

And are touring

Gulfoss Waterfall



And relaxing here

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

All this whilst listening to this

(maybe but certainly not wearing that!)

Notice how I chose sunny pics mostly? Well, sadly the forecast is not for sun. I'm packing my ski jacket, thermals, beanie, woolies, snow boots and bathers.

Picture sources (via Flickr):
1. Beautiful Sky (Northern Lights) - alf07 °,°
2. Gulfoss Waterfall  - Chilihead
3. The Strokkur Geyser - Keith Marshall
4.  Skaholt (a traditioanl Icelandic Village) - steverideout
5. The Blue Lagoon Thermal pools - Lucy.Bold
6. Bjork - via Virgin Media

A postcard made for me

So a while back, I mentioned I had a new postcard pal, K (one of my dearest friends).  We've been exchanging cards for a little while now and I love the thrill of receiving snail mail that isn't a bank statement, fast food menu or some such meh item.  The ones I've been receiving are great, although they do make me a little homesick. 

Part of the joy, and it is a selfish joy, is chosing the card to send. 

This isn't the first of the cards I sent, nor the most recent, but it could be considered one of my personal mottos, especially as I head into busy season (both professionally and personally):


I picked it up, along with some others along the way, at Paperchase.  It's got to be said - I love a good stationery shop and this is one of my favourites over here

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

S is for Simon's Sista

S is also for me. Well, my name, Sue, rather than me per se.

Anyway, here is a little S I liked on Flickr.  I'd call it a top shelf kind of S


And here is said little S in my room, on my top shelf.


Sorry about the lighting etc of the pic but hey ho.  I bought the silver frame for something else, got it out of its wrapping and realised it didn't fit (an I still haven't framed the other pic!).  Still, I like my top shelf S, along with my bouncy balls (mostly souvenirs etc) and my little birdy.

I found this S, many others in the One Letter Pool.  Mosy on over and see what you sure to let me know your favourite

10 on a Tuesday (6) but (3)

So it is the 6th week of Ten on a Tuesday (and her birthday week - birthday shout outs to you Chelsea) over at Roots and Rings , but only my 3rd week participating.  Again I'm finding the questions tough because I just don't think there is that much to me! 

1. What are some of your family traditions?

The obvious ones revolve around holidays.  Actually, that is a lie.  There aren't any obvious ones that I can think of.  There are things we did often when we were young but my family life is in three parts (0 - 9 with Mum and Dad, 10 - 16 with Dad and then 16+ with Dad and Lynne), and any "traditions" mostly only cover one or maybe two periods.  One thing we do is an Easter Egg hunt at the farm.  It is open to us kids, our friends, our cousins etc and is on Easter Sunday before lunch.  There is a smaller scale one for my niece and nephew (not fair to pit them against all us adults).  Do you have any idea how good a place a farm is to hide eggs?  Stables, dairy, house paddock, oval and driveway are the limits. 

2. Do you know how to change a flat tire?

No.  I don't have a car either so that is my excuse.  My excuse for the years I did have a car in Melbs?  I had people on speed dial that do know how, as well as roadside cover.

3. Do you subscribe to any magazines? What are your favorites?

No, not anymore.  I don't seem to free up the cash for them.  Some of my fave are Australian Women's Weekly (a little mumsy at times but I love the recipes), National Geographic (parents are long time suscribers so I often use to flick), The Week, Time Out London (which my lovely housemate subscribes to)

4. What are your top three favorite office supply items? (If you don’t share the love of office supplies with me or if you are male, you may skip this question.)

I would have suggested that if you don't have this lil love affair in your life, you can move along now pretties, but maybe I need to work on my tolerance!!

Pens - lots of pens, inky gelly pens.  Right now I'm digging the G-2 Pixie Rollerball Pen in turquoise.  It is mini enough it fits in my wallet.  Love it.  I used the full size one in blue at work (and red and black and what not).

Highlighters - specifically Stabilo Swan, in all colours.  I'm an accountant - lots of spreadsheets, paperwork etc.  Me need colour

And the 3rd is a three way tie between my diary (I'm not organised but this little raspberry coloured beauty with matching pen helps), anything from Smiggle or anything from Kikki K

5. Are you a good public speaker?

No, far from the best.  It is something I came to enjoy in my old job though.  I was lucky - I was a bit of nerd in a particular area of Australian tax law so I got a few interstate trips to present trainings and seminars on...Australian Superannuation Rules.  See, told you I was a nerd.  It wasn't something I always dug but my old mentor and I worked at it, and I joined a Toastmasters Club (Glen Waverley was my local) for a couple of years before moving to London.  So, am I good?  Depends on what you want me to talk about! (and trust me, you don't want me to talk about super...)

6. How do you feel about acronyms?

My old firm (known by its acronym) had a 6 page dictionary of internal acronyms.  Not quite right, really, is it?  I really do use some too often (NFI is the freakin idea - it is lazy, I know) but LOL/ROFL/IMHO/OMG make me feel old and like I might be talking to a 13 year old.  Is that the image you want to give off?

7. What’s the most creative things you’ve ever done? (Bloggers, feel free to include pictures!)

I'm not really a creative type.  I'm an a.c.c.o.u.n.t.a.n.t. with super superb p.r.o.c.r.a.s.t.i.n.a.t.i.o.n. skills so I think of loads of creative things I would like to do, and could do, I don't actually pull many off!  I've done a few bits and bobs in this home that I should get around to posting.  Small things.  Really small things.  Probably not worth posting about.

8. I’d rather jam a pen in my eye than…
Eat a banana

How ironic that the body shop has this advertising going at the moment.  So far from the truth.


9. What company has the best advertising?

See above.  Not the body shop.  No, siree, def. not the body shop.  The patriot in me really likes the Qantas adds that they bring out around big events.  A the Yellow Pages Directory have had some beauties (Not Happy Jan and GoGGomobil series come to mind. 

10. When is your birthday?

Not today, not tomorrow but next week!  That's right - it is soon and will be good.  November 25th will mark the passing of another year of my life, and a darned good one at that.

So here is my Ten. Feel free to play along and link back to Roots and Rings, as well as here (via comments).

Monday, 16 November 2009

Photo 5,000!!

Wow - I just uploaded the last batch of my pics to my computer and realised I have taken more than 5,000 photos on my little camera in the last 499 days! I got my little red beauty last year just before I moved to London and have been snap happy ever since.

So I've taken a total of 5,051 pics in all. Let me share with you some of the milestones. Looking back through my folders to find these has made me feel incredibly lucky to be able to live the life I do. 

is number 5,000!

It was taken at dusk in Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo yesterday (Sat 14th November). 



This is my parents at my older brother's wedding in New Zealand in September 2009.  My lens had fingerprints from my gorgeous little niece all over it.  I cleaned it between 4,000 and 4,001 so the later is a far better pic, but hey ho.

3,000 -


Taken on a walk along the canal in Hertford.  When the craziness of London gets to me, I head to my friends cottage on the canal here and kick back.

2,000 -


The Blue Mosque, Istanbul.  Taken in April as part of a 10 day tour of Turkey, timed for the dawn services at ANZAC cove. 

1,000 -

next question?  pic 1,000 was taken at the Redback Tavern in Acton, West London, towards the end of a "quiet drink" that resulted in a power session and some seriously severe hangovers for all involved.  Needless to say, no one needs to see the pics!

I wonder when I will take number 6,000?  This side of Christmas I suspect - I've got two trips (Iceland and York) planned, my birthday and some Christmas functions.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Goodbye Autum leaf road...

I have fallen in love with Autumn all over again this year.  Back home in Australia, it doesn't seem to have the magical feel it does here, and with seemingly more trees being evergreen (or evergreys in the case of many gums), the colours don't quite pop as much as they do in the Northern Hemisphere.

I'm heading to Norway this weekend and Iceland next so it is pretty much the end of the ooh-ahhh-oohs at all the colours.  To celebrate/comiserate, I'm posting a few of my favourite Autumn snaps.  I've seen so much more prettiness, I just have been too busy enjoying it to really capture it!

The 3 pics above are:

(1) The far shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland (taken Oct 09)
(2) Kitsbuhel, Austria (taken last Oct 08 so technically a cheat)
(3) Dusk in Lustleigh, Devon (UK) (taken 31 Oct 09).

Ideally, I'd love to spend some of next Autumn in New England.  If you can't imagine how beautiful that might be, check out this set of photos on Flickr from Kipernicus.  I want to be there dag namit!

Ten on a Tuesday (+ Tre)

So we have been without home nets for 10 days, coming back online tonight.  Not sure why.  BT didn't say (couldn't or wouldn't, I don't know).  Anyway, I'm back.  But not in time for Tuesday.  So I've subtley changed the title, adding Tre (Norwegian for Three, in honour of me being three days late and heading to Norway this weekend).  Chelsea over at Ring and Roots has posted some tough questions this week but I'll do my best.

1. What gift are you most proud of giving?

I'm not sure.  I love giving gifts but to pick a favourite is hard.  Really really hard.  I'll narrow it down to one though. The first one that stands out is some theatre tickets to my Dad and my now-step mum.  It was within the first year of them dating (thinking of Dad dating sounds weird, and little ick, eww, but anyway).  I had been working an after school job at the local cinemas so it was the first Christmas I really had some cash to splash (yeah, I earnt about $100AUD a week so not really very much!).  Anyway, a stage show of the Hobbit was coming to town and I knew that they would love it.  Things were pretty tight for a while growing up and theatre is just something they didn't spend money on (how things have changed - they can't get enough of it now, and I'm so glad for them).  And they got a proper date.  That sounds weird, but us three kids somehow managed to ruin most of their dates with sporting injuries requiring medical attention.  I think in the first 18 months they were together, there were 8 dinners called off, spent waiting at the local A&E or the doctors rooms.  It's a long running joke.  Anyway, two tickets aren't a substantial gift, size wise.  So the wrapping was half the fun.

To hide what I'd given them, I put the tickets in an DL envelope.  I then put the DL envelope in an A$ envelope, filled with cheap chunky glitter.  The A4 envelope then went inside a big box.  So as to weigh the box down, I put in a brick.  So as for the box to have sound effects, I put in a half bottle of water that sloshed right around and a half full jar of gravel for additional sound effects.  See, shaking Christmas presents is rife in my family.  I then filled the box with balloons before sealing and wrapping it.  Anyway, when they opened the box, they couldn't stop laughing at all the various "gifts" before eagerly ripping open the A4, sending glitter everywhere.  It really did add a little bit of disco to the Christmor decor that year.  Oh, and they loved the show.  We all have a framed pic of them all dressed up and heading out.  To think that was more than ten years ago.  Yikes.    So yeah, you could say that one of the best gifts I gave was a half full jar of gravel.  What can I say, I'm generous!

2. What’s the best gift you ever received?

I wish I had a beautiful loving story here, but I'm not sure I do.  I don't think I've ever been in love.  I've had my heart just about broken, but I don't know...
Is it naf to say my ipod?  I know everyone has one and I was late to the party but when I got mine towards the end of 2007 I was just delighted with it.  It's the big clunky 80g silver one but it was exactly what I wanted.  Knowing I was moving overseas, getting meant I could put all my music on there and tuck my CDs away in storage.  It is so so handy having my music with me, all the time.  Comes in useful on things like 14 hour train journeys between NY and Toronto, and on my 3 hour daily commute between London and St Albans.  I think I love it because I was given it at my family birthday breakfast.  I love family birthdays and really miss that, being away.  

3. In honor of my husband: What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?

I don't think I've posted long enough for you to realise just how clumsy I am.  Like super clumsy.  For instance, I was walking through the foyer at work one fine morning last year.  Then I wasn't walking.  For the life of me (and the guy I was walking with), we can't work out just how I tripped over (wearing flats on a flat as a tack surface that I'd walked over a 1000 times).  In tripping over the air, I rolled my right ankle.  In order to try not and hit the deck (FAIL!) I twisted my left knee.  End result?  Torn ligaments in both my right ankle and left knee.  After 2 months physio, my right ankle was strong enough for me to have the required surgery on my left knee and go on crutches.  Did I mention I also tore the cartilege and split the lining on the back of my knee cap?  So now it is all fine.  I twist my ankle regularly now, and it swells but it doesn't affect me that much.

Told you I was clumsy!!

4. They say everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. Who’s 15 minutes has gone on far too long? (The Gosselins are not acceptable answers, be more creative.)

Kevin Rudd.  Can I say that?  I can't stand the Australian prime minister.  Whilst I'm more Liberal than Labor back home, it isn't even about politics, it is about him.  Move over KRudd.

On a pop/tabloid note, hmm, JEdward?  Ick and Eww.  Sorry, I liked Rachel and Lucie and they got kicked out of X Factor UK whilst you stayed around.  Move along now kids.

5. You have 20 minutes and $1000. What do you buy?

Sneakers, really good comfy asics Kayanos.  and return flights to NY, staying at the Gershwin.  Assuming you can't get vouchers that is.

6. Tell me three blogs that I need to read.

All Bower Power - Whilst I love what she does with her house, she cracks me up how she writes.  I really do just love.
The Bright Side Project - Well, I'm not entirely sure if it is a blog or not, but I do suggest you read it!
Today I Saw - as a bonus, very little reading is required and what does need to be read is handwritten.  A sweet little 15 seconds of my day that makes me smile. 

7. Would you rather go without pizza or ice cream for the rest of your life?

Ice cream. I can live without it.  Sure, the quality of my life would be less, but it would be a life.  I am simply not willing to imagine (let alone live) a life that doesn't have pizza.  I can always have gelato after my pizza rather than ice-cream, right?  Ok, yep, good, thanks.

8. Would you rather go to a beach or a snowy mountain?

Beach.  I'm Australian.  I love the beach.  I especially love Australian beaches, but all beaches really.  Some of my favourite times down at our beach house were in winter.  I love rugging up and walking along the beach/over the dunes an then coming inside to sit in front of the pot bellied stove.  The beach house is in a sleep little town about 3 hours from Melbourne that has a surf beach and sheltered inlet, perfect for fishing, water skiing and windsurfing.  Here is a pic of the inlet on a weekend in the middle of winter.  This makes me miss it so much!!  (It was taken from the boat but you can walk around the headland you see there)


And here is a pic of an English beach, this one is down at the Needles on the Isle of Wight.  Not the same but I still love it

9. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

I'm a nightie but not a ravie.  Does that make sense?  I'm def. prefer the night but don't like to be out all night, just up and doing things.  That said, breakfast is my fav meal (but I often order it for lunch).

10. What word do you always misspell?

Definetly.  Should actually be Definitely.  Notice I often write def. rather spell it wrong?  My mind just hits a road block every time.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Flags of the world

These Flags Made From Food came accross my desk a little while ago and I have to say I think I'm in love.  Flags made from food - whilst these are really quite impressive, I'm sure there are more you could do.  Would be a great way to serve food at a themed event maybe? They were orginally designed for the Sydney International Food Festival.

I'm pretty sure I know some aussies here that would love a meat pie like this one (although it would only last a few seconds before the inside gets smothered in sauce!)

(pic from pedestrian tv)

Aside from my obvious bias towards Australia, I think the South Korean and Greek ones are my favourite because you really could serve nibblies like that.  What is your favourite one??

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Lisa Leonard Giveaway over on Centsational Girl

Have you heard of or see Lisa Leonard's designs?  They've been doing the rounds lately on some of my favourite blogs and they are now on Centsational Girl's, in the form of a Fabulous Jewelry GIVEAWAY.  You should go check it out, and enter to win.  (feel free to share with me if you do).

The hardest part would be chosing which design you like the most.  Some of my favourite include the Fly Free Necklace, the Starry Hearts Necklace and The Large Initial Bracelet.

Though, if you asked me again tomorrow, I might just change my mind!  Get to it kids, go and enter to win!

(oh, and a side note - I hope to get my act together for regular posts soon.  Our interwebs at home is down which means I can only steal a minute or so at work here and there.)