Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 86

Tuesday.  See Chelsea's blog (Roots and Rings).  Thanks Chelsea.

You know how I don't like to talk about work on here?  Sometimes I wish I was more open about it - it's doing my head in at the moment.  Or someone is.  I take comfort knowing I work alongside and not for said head do-er-in-er and that he's got the same effect on others though.  Comfort in it not being just me.

You know how  I like chocolate?  Totally happy to talk about how I take comfort in that on here.  With friends, I stumbled upon the M&M world that has just opened in London.  I remember the one in Times Square and this one is pretty much the same, save for a few London/UK references.  My favourite part (the only part I like, actually) is the wall of m&ms for pick'n'mix.  They don't yet have the special flavoured ones not widely available in the UK (I'm talking peanut butter, coconut, cherry or almond) but they assure me they are coming.  Still, plain m&m's taste best when they are hot pink or teal coloured.

1. What’s the recipe for your favorite drink? (Smoothie, alchoholic, coffee, whatever.)
Affogato. 1 scoop good vanilla ice cream. 1 shot espresso (or a double). Put ice cream in a glass. Pour coffee over. Devour.

2. What kind of razor do you use?
Gillette Venus something or other. It's aqua-ish

3. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
None really. I was really scared of it when I was a little kid (dude, they live in garbage cans in a dark alley - not at all what I knew growing up). I did have a tickle me ernie when I was about 15 though. Go figure.

4. What makes the perfect salad? (Lettuce type, toppings, dressing, etc.)
Baby spinach. Balsamic. Sweet corn, crumbly cheese (goats, feta, something like that), steamed but still crunch brocoli, snow peas (mange tout), pumpkin seeds.

5. What was your favorite subject in school?
  • Geography - for it was endlessly interesting
  • Politics - for the debates (I think it should be a compulsory, not an elective as well as a lot of what I know about political systems etc come from that subject)
  • Accounting & Maths for the ease of it the and satisfaction of things being right (or wrong. But I appreciated the lack of grey area).
I was a nerd (still am) so liked most classes to be honest.

6. What’s your favorite summer tradition?

7. Do you suffer from season allergies? How do you combat them?
Nope. Sometimes I think I'm allergic to Mondays but usually, I just have another coffee.

8. How often do you have to charge your cell phone?
Every day. I use the apps all the day and listen to music on it all day long at work.

9. Do you have a bucket list?
Not as such. There are a lot of things I want to do - before 30 (not long now…), in London (see that completely neglected page on my blog?), in life. Maybe if I put them out there a bit, friends would buy in? On that note - who wants to go to Windsor Castle or the London Transport Museum with me? Anyone?

10. Do you have any desire to go back to school?
Not at the moment. Once I return to Australia, there is a good chance I will depending on what industry I settle in but not for now. I often think if I won the lottery (the same lottery that I don't actually enter), I'd study again, something completely not vocational. Call me a nerd but I quite like the idea of studying Geography. Or photography - for the sake of a hobby only.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The best day of my life…thus far

(written yesterday, 23 June but not posted)

23 June 2010

It’s one of those days that I think will stay with me as one of the best days of my life.  Nothing earth shattering, no life long lessons or impacts, just a really fun day.

I was half way through a Greek Islands sailing trip with 7 friends.  Our boat, suffering technical difficulties, was not able to leave the port on Paros so we were faced with another day there.

We hired quads & set off, 4 of the 8 of us, plus 3 new friends
Off to the ferry, bound for Antiparos
Where we went to explore the Antiparos Caves
Then down a dusty dirt track
To a secluded cove. Secluded but for the naked Scandinavian couple
A swim
On for a seafood lunch
To another beach
Oh, and let’s biscuit as well
Back to Paros, time for an ice cream
And and a cartwheel in the sun
Back to the boat in time for sunset
Off to a bar.  Australia won (the only game they won during the world cup)
And a crazy night of dancing and uber strong long island ice teas.


So many many more pics from this day.  Looking back at them though, even though none of them really do it justice, it’s like I can tell at the time it was a wonderful day.  This makes me infinitely happy.

What’s the best day you’ve had (aside from the days of big life changes like weddings, births etc)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Isle of Wight Festival

Or as one friend aptly named her album on fb - Isle of Awesome

It truly was an awesome weekend.  A bunch of school friends.  A bunch of work friends.  A bunch of bands.  A whole bunch of fun.

It was 4 nights camping (Thursday through Sunday nights) and thankfully mostly sunny.  Muscial highlights included
  • Foo Fighters (the entire set, Grohl is a legend, Taylor Hawkins is a .... I like him, insert choice word here)
  • Joan Jett (I Love Rock'n'Roll)
  • Imelda May (all, I don't know her or her music so couldn't name songs)
  • Eliza Doolittle (pretty much all but skinny genes and pack up for sure)
  • Hurts (symphonic cover of confide in me)
  • Mike + The Mechanics (the Living Years)
  • Pulp (Disco 2000, Common People)
  • Seasick Steve (entire set - that guy is a festival legend)
  • Boy George (Karma Chameleon)
  • Kings of Leon (yes, Sex on Fire.  They mostly suck live but when the audience creates the ambience, it's hard to beat)
A bunch of others (we saw many more bands but memories are blurred/mixed etc).

Other highlights inlcude the rides (some, some were nasty), the silent disco (so much fun), general silliness, glowsticks (be still my beautiful glowsticks - I took 200 along).  Best left to pics:
I didn't take my usual camera with me (to high a chance of trashing it) so all of the above were taken on my digital harinezumi 2+++, which I love (even it with it's lowtech processing, or because of it).

So many many more fun moments were had.  Thanks friends!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 85

I'm home from Paris and I have to say it was pretty good.  I'm still not in love with the place and don't think I' ever will be, but I can see how others are.  I left my pics uploading at home when I came to work this morning so I hope to share them with you soon.  There isn't anything there you won't have seen before, but hey ho, I'll post some anyway.

This Tuesday's questions come from Ashley D at That Super Awesome Blog via Chelsea over at Ring and Roots.   Ashley's in the midst of a love story that happens in the movies.  It's pretty super exciting for her.  I guess that's why the questions are all about perfect this week.  I'm pretty indecsive and, for the most part, pretty easily pleased, so I found it hard to answer them.  I think you'll pick up on that though as you read the answers as I'm clearly rambling during some of them.  Sorry about that.

1. What’s the perfect meal?

Food wise, I’m not so sure. Something I don’t think I’d be able to cook myself, certainly something I haven’t cooked myself. I think the ambience and company would be equally important.

2. What are the perfect pair of shoes?

My silver Birkenstocks (similar to the Madrid style but with cutouts – I can’t find the style name or a pic on the webs for the life of me) are pretty close right now. I can walk all day in them, and they’re cute. At least I think so.

3. What is the perfect afternoon?

A non working one, for starters. Maybe a lazy picnic or day at the beach? Or a wintery one in by a fire with a good ale or a nice red? Lots of things sound like a pretty perfect afternoon for me.

4. What’s the perfect house?

One that has my things in it, is pretty clean and smells like me and my stuff. I’m not sure what design style I’m drawn to really, or anything like that.

5. What is the perfect outfit?

Jeans, birkies/havianas & tee/tank/blouse. It means it’s warm (but not hot hot hot) and I’m probably doing something pretty low key.

6. What’s the perfect wedding song?

Haven’t really got one. I think it’s best to, I don’t know, meet the groom, before going down that path! (Seriously, I have friends who know are single and can tell me which song they want for their first dance). That said, if I get married and have a traditional reception, I’d quite like to dance to "More I Cannot Wish You" from Guys and Dolls with my Dad at some point. We’d both need to brush up on our dancing skills, but I love the song and it’s sentiments.

7. What is the perfect job?

Making coffees by the beach. Perfect in that I’d love it to be my job, and it combines two of my fav things. Not so perfect in that as much as I love the beach and love coffee, it’s rare for me to want a coffee at the beach so I’m not sure on the success of it as a business model. Maybe iced coffees by the beach?

8. What’s the perfect hairstyle?

Loose bun thing is my default but I like my hair best when it’s pretty straight, certainly frizz free (rare) and side angle parting. I’d show you a pic, but it’s a rare day for it to work as I plan so I don’t have one.

9. What’s the perfect music festival?

Meredith Music Festival probably. It’s small (capped at 10,000), has only one stage (so no clashes as to who to see) and is super laid back. You camp near your cars, you can bring couches etc.

10. What’s the perfect day to yourself?

Wake up, shower, make a coffee, back to bed to read the paper (it feels so indulgent to get back into bed after a shower, I love it), head out to see something I want to see (museum/gallery etc), have a coffee out stop at the Borough market for food. Cook said food, watch a movie, paint nails.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Paris Planning

This weekend I'm heading to Paris.  It's not a secret, but it's not really well known, or a popular thought either - I don't like Paris.

(Photo via Nep)

I went there a couple of times in 2002, the first time being my first experience as an independent in a non English speaking country. Maybe we were staying in a dodgy area but I found the men too full on (groping on the metro, the street, the constant chat etc) and I just never felt at ease. I wasn't travelling alone either - with a friend - but we were both wary. It was hard to reconcile the beauty of the Metro signs with the horrible reality of the Metro on that trip.  We returned a month later and whilst we liked it a bit more, my overriding memory of Paris is of feeling very ill at ease and uncomfortable.

Fast forward 9+ years, and I'm finally returning tomorrow. And I'm really looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to falling in love with the place, like so many have done before me. I can't erase earlier memories but I want to override them completely.

I'm meeting some school friends there (they are on holidays and enjoying more flexibility so have headed there this morning whilst I get to work today) tomorrow morning, after an early bird Eurostar journey.

We're a mix of people - two have us have been before (multiple times) and two are freshies. And we've all got different things we want to see and do.
  • A picnic (cheese, champagne and baguettes) up near Sacre Coeur and the Catacombs top my list.
  • The Eiffel Tower and maybe the Louvre top someone else's (both great, but not really at the top of my list as I'm a little bit been there/done that)
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery tops someone else's (specifically, Jim Morrison's grave)
  • A day trip to Versaille has been mentioned as well
We all share the craving for cheese, baguettes, cheese, champagne, cheese and macaroons though so at least we have that in common.

If you were heading to Paris, what would you want to see or do?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Whilst I was missing - Scotland

I was all pumped to share pics with you from the Isle of Wight music festival last weekend, but alas, I'm not so organised to have sorted and uploaded pics etc.  And I really want to include pics for that post.  Rest assured it was buckets of fun!

Two weekends prior to that (28 - 30 May) was a long weekend here in the UK.  Taking advantage of that, my housemate Kate and I headed north, to Scotland, to attempt to climb Ben Nevis with her sister, brother-in-law and a few friends.

Ben Nevis is the highest point in the UK and the last of the Three Peaks I want to scale so I was pretty excited about it.  Fresh from the Lake District and confident in my new boots, I was pretty hopeful.

Well, turns out Mother Nature had other ideas and hopeful alone was not enough.  On what was one of the most feral days I can remember, we attempted and failed.  We made good ground and got beyond half way before one of our group took ill, forceing us all to stop for a bit.  Stopping on the side of a mountain with wind, rain and hail lashing you is cause to cool down.  After being stopped for a while and it becoming apparent we couldn't all go on, we turned around, somewhat defeated.

So Ben Nevis remains a challenge for another time.  The next day we read the news of a fellow walker (a fit, well equipped 22 year male) dying from hyperthermia that same day who didn't even get half way.  It really was a feral day and had we had more time, we probably never would have attempted the climb in those conditions, waiting for a clearer day.

Our smiles hide just how cold we were.  The snow that fell was a welcome relief from the hail that smashed our faces.

So whilst Ben Nevis (the main aim of our trip) beat us, the trip itself was still worthwhile.  Scotland has a natural rugged beauty that I don't think I will ever tire of.  I can't wait to one day go furthter north, and to the Orkneys.  Mostly from the comfort of our car, we oohed and ahhed as we drove around the Argyll Coastal Route and the A82 (Britain's best road apparently).

In order:
Loch Lomond, from Duck Bay Marina
The Nevis Ranges, from Spean Bridge
Loch Ness, from Fort Augustus
Loch Tulla, from Achallader

Is Scotland on your to see list?  have you been there?  I love it and can't wait to return.  Again.  And again. And again. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Ten on a Tuesday 85

I'm back from a great weekend away with friends at the Isle of Wight festival.  I'll be doing a recap once I upload photos (lower down the priority list than cleaning my gear which is well and truly mud covered).  One of the highlights for me was hanging out with my mates.  One chunk of our group was my school friends, another chunk was my work friends.  But really, they're all just really good mates and I really loved how easily they all get one.

Some random questions this week from Lisa via Chelsea, about perfect for my current brain power (must drink more water/eat more veggies).

1. How do you pronounce the word aunt? Does your pronunciation rhyme with ‘haunt’ or ‘can’t'?

Aunt, like can't. I can't imagine it like haunt.

2. Do most of the people in your life know you blog? Or are you partially or totally anonymous?
Some yes, some no. It's not a secret but I don't advertise it either.

3. When you grocery shop, do you prefer to bag your own groceries or do you like it when the store bags them for you? Paper, plastic, or reusable bags?
There's no choice but to bag your own in the UK.

4. Do you have a green thumb?
Nope, it's a black thumb. We have some communal basil in our flat but between the three of us, even that is on the way out.

5. If you watch the Food Network, which chef/show host is your favourite?

6. Do you like to take baths? Do you take them very often?
Love them but don't have a bath. I take them about once a year when I visit my parents farm.

7. What colour are the walls in your kitchen?

8. Do you prefer to dine outdoors or indoors?
Outdoors if the weather allows for it. Most lunches are eaten outside at the moment, dinners a little less so.

9. Describe your ideal weather.
London - around 25
Melbourne/beach/not sight seeing in a city - 30

10. If you could learn any foreign language, which would you choose to learn?
I think Spanish but I'd also like to know German and Italian as well. French might also be handy.

Play along if you will...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 83

Yesterday was one of those slow slow slow work days. Not really different to any other day in terms of my work load etc but I knew there was somewhere else I wanted to be. My friends Penny and James arrived from Australia yesterday and I just wanted to go and play with them.

Penny's one of my dearest friends from school, my good time girl who certainly knows how to have fun. In the months before moving to the UK, I'd see her three, four or more times a week so seeing her every nine to fifteen months over here, well, I miss her. James is her delightful firefighting, website coding boyfriend who I can't wait to hang out with and get to know a bit better.  They're here for a few weeks of fun and hijinks.

Today is one of those good days.  Yeah, I'm working and I'd rather not but Penny and James are here and playing in London town and I've seen them (over a yummy pub meal and some ale last night)

Todays is also made good (how's that for improper grammar) as it's a Tuesday with 10 easy to answer mobile phone related questions.  Thanks Chelsea and Krys).  It's all about mobiles.  I'm most curious about your answers to Q3 - how many phones have you had?

1. What type of phone do you have? Do you like it?
Apple iPhone 3GS.  As said before, I like it as a gadget, but not so much a phone.

2. How old were you when you got your first cell phone?
16years, 1 month (Christmas present)

3. How many cell phones have you owned since your first?
This is my 10th.  2 Siemens, 6 Nokia, 1 Motorola and 1 apple thus far.

4. How much is your average monthly phone bill?
£35.  I’m on a £30 plan plus about £5 worth of international sms’ not included (although I’m not clued up on Viber, I might have a lower bill?)

5. When you were a kid/teenager, were you allowed to have a phone in your room?
No.  We had a cordless phone and could chat in our rooms but as soon as we were off the line, it had to go back to it’s cradle.

6. Do you like talking on the phone or do you despise it? Or somewhere in-between?
Somewhere in between.  I can chat to family and friends for hours but hate calling service providers etc etc.

7. Do you text a lot? Is texting/talking while driving illegal where you live? Are you guilty of it anyway?
Not as much as I used to, no.

8. What sort of texting keyboard does your phone have? Touch screen, slide out, or something different? Do you care?
Touch.  It is what it is.

9. Look at the last call in your call log – who is it? What were they calling about? Who calls you the most?
Daniel.  I think he was calling because his flight was cancelled so might have been wondering if we were still at the pub (we were) and it worth him joining us.  But as I didn’t answer it or see the missed call, it might have been about something else entirely.

10. What is the longest phone call you can recall having?
Can’t remember specifically but more than an hour.

Penny & moi.  Melbourne, 2010. Byron Bay, 2008.
I've just gone through my pics on Flickr and there are no normal happy smiley (& sober) ones of the two of us.  Maybe this trip, we'll get some. 

iConnect for coffee

iConnect is the instant messenger we have at work. It's a great tool, for both work and play. I use it send links and directories to team members (very much work related) and to touch base with colleagues (non team members, not so much work related). It's funny though, as my really, the majority of the time I use it to talk about food. An example from the first half of today:

Conversation 1 (guy from my wider department but doesn’t always sit on the same floor, my old boss)
10:04 Colleague 1: coffee?
10:04 sue: yep, let's go now
10:04 sue: I've got a 10.30meeting, need to post something and have the taste of an absinthe flavoured hard boiled lolly in my mouth
10:04 Colleague 1: alrightie
10:04 Colleague 1: gross
10:05 Colleague 1: why did you do that?
10:05 Sue: NFI. But coffee needed stat. Foyer.
10:05 Colleague 1: yep, let's go now
11:00 sue: 2 coffees & 6 mints later and I can still taste that feral lolly.
11:00 sue: I’ll give you one when you’re next on L8
11:01 Colleague 1: Ta, I’m good.
11:50 Sue: bit early for food but when the time comes, I'm in a tortilla mood. I think it’s the weather. want anything?
11:51 Colleague 1: yeah I could burrito.
11:51 Colleague 1: 12:30?
11:51 Sue: You can always burrito. I think that’s why we’re friends.
11:51 Sue: sounds good

Conversation 2 (guy on the same floor different department but we both use to be in the same team)
10:05 sue: going now for coffee. Meeting C1 in foyer.
10:05 colleague 2: K. swinging past.
10:22 colleague 2: Sht coffee this morning. Too foamy.
10:28 sue: dude, cap = foamy.
10:28 colleague 2: I like my foam at parties. You been to one?
10:28 sue: Nope. Not about to either. Instead, I’m about to head for another coffee with {boss}. Catchya
10:29: colleague 2: have fun
10:29 colleague 2: you really should change that to AUTO RESPONSE: I AM AWAY FROM MY COMPUTER RIGHT NOW GETTING COFFEE.
11:00 sue: might just do that. Not my fault my bosses all live for coffee.
12:31 colleague 2: not going to gym now - a bit late..... lunch? Tortilla?
12:33 sue.wells: come past
12:34 sue.wells: we're about to head off

Colleague 3 (girl in my old team, she remains there)
10:24 Colleague 3: coffee?
10:28 Sue: already been. Sorry dude.
10:28 colleague 3: you suck. This afternoon?
10:28 Sue: Sure thing
10:29:colleague 3: going now. Was it wet out there? Need a brollie?
10:29 colleague 3: :-(Where’d you go?
10:44 colleauge 3: so wet outside. I’m saturated.
11:00 Sue: sorry, had a meeting. W more coffee.

Convo 4 with Boss
10:28 Boss: Ready?
10.28 sue: yep. Which room are we in?
10:28 Boss: no meeting rooms available. Let’s get a coffee on L9?
10:28 sue: k

So what can you gather from that?
  • My name is Sue and I’m a coffee-a-holic
  • Also, my name is Sue and I will never ever ever be an absinthe-flavoured-boiled-sweet-aholic
  • (oh, and burritos, always and forever)
  • (oh2, and I did go get an afternoon coffee - it's a recently begun bad habit that I hope to break some time soon).


Monday, 6 June 2011

Weekends gone by

I’m no longer going to apologies for the blogging absences.  They happen and will continue to happen, especially whislt I'm spending more and more weekends away.  This weekend I was home, but didn't turn my laptop on until 00:06am Monday.  That's when I'm writing this post so any errors...chalk it up up to that.

The next few posts are going to be recaps, mainly for my records.

Three weekends ago (14/15th May) I headed to the Sussex coast to walk part of the South Downs Way.  Armed with a picnic, clear day and plenty of time, we did a 14mile walk along the coast,traversing the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head

Setting off, early early days
Cliffs pretty much the entire way
Not that we tired of the views. 
Being near the sea is something we both took for granted growing up in Australia
We stopped for a rest here and there as well. That's Beachy Head ahead.
Whilst it was a fantastic walk, I think we were both delighted when we rounded the bend and could see Eastbourne, the finishing point (or at least, where we’d get the train back to London from). 

The walk was just on 14 miles and whilst not challenging, we could tell we'd done something.  The wind that day was like nothing else I’d felt up until that point.  So strong at times we couldn’t even walk into it (we tried for fun, as thankfully we had a tail or cross wind most of the way, never a head wind).

It was a last minute walk, one that we organised to do on on the Sunday late Saturday night but one I’m glad I did.  Something so freeing about spending the day by the sea.  For those in London, it's only an hour & half to get to the start or finish so well worth it.

Have you been enjoying the outdoors lately?