Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bullet points are beyond me

A bullet pointless brain dump & semi explanation...

Work is busy. Like crazy busy. I knew it would be around this time of year but wow, it's on like donkey kong. My old role saw me with 4 deliverables a week (oh how I loved Fridays). This "new" role sees me with six a year. All at month ends - 1 each in May and November, 2 in February and August. Whilst it's great to have less deliverables, these one obviously require a lot more work (less number crunching, more conceptualising etc). It's going to be a bumpy ride from here in.

Maybe work being busy is compounded by me taking time off? I had a long weekend last weekend and I've an even longer one this one. This afternoon I'm heading to the land of gelato, pizza, pasta, tiramisu and limoncello. To where the forecast is for a serene sky (I kid you not!). Where there are walks, gelato, a beach, gelato, sunshine, gelato, friends (7 of us in total), gelato, the unknown and gelato. I can't wait. Sadly, nor can some of my workload so I'm on it at the moment.

Maybe I seem overwhelmed a bit to because I've decided to move flats. I'm moving at the end of August. I just don't know where to. My lease is a 12 month one and after 3 years here, it's time for somewhere new. I know where I want to move to but it's a popular place and rooms go quickly (I want a share house, not solo). I saw a great flat last night so fingers crossed the girls like me and pick me. It's a bit like being in high school again.

The antidote to some of the uncertainty, the stress (or just busy, not actually stressed) is kayaking. A while ago I signed up for a kayaking course. I've just finished my one star BCU and have joined the club. Two hours on the water every Tuesday after work is fantastic.

That's all for now, I'm off to do some stress testing (yeah, that's what I do…happy happy joy joy - doesn't it sound thrilling?)

Cinque Terre
Where you will find me this weekend

(oh, and people waiting on postcards, they're coming, I haven't forgotten!)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 90

Ok, disclaimer.  These are my questions that I submitted to Chelsea.  And pretty sucky 2D ones at that.  Boo to the hoo for that.  Sorry.  Anyway, I’ll answer them anyway…

1. What colour are your toenails painted?
Bourjois’ 10 Day Nail Enamel in No. 19 (what a fun colour with a boring name!)

2. What colour are your fingernails painted?
Essie’s Sugar Daddy (what a boring colour with a fun name!)
3. What is your favourite brand of nail polish?
Essie.  I’m newish to it but it’s my clear favourite.

4. As the norm, do you DIY your nails or get mani/pedis?
DIY. I hear they’re cheap in the states but they’re not in the UK or Australia.  I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had a mani.

5. Have you ever had a gel mani? Do you recommend it?
No, but I’d love to know what others make of them.  I like the idea of them, especially ahead of a week or so travelling.

6. What is the last movie you watched on television? (TV, Netflix, Redbox, etc.)
This question was meant to be NOT on Netflix etc (or Lovefilm, the UK one).  Harry Potter 1 was the most recent one I watched on tele.

7. What is the last movie you watched in the cinema?
Harry Potter 7.2.  Prior to that – Senna.

8. Is there a movie that everyone talks about as if it is a classic but you haven’t seen?
Star Wars (any and all of them).  Or Bond (any or all of them).  Or Reservoir Dogs.

9. What is your favourite movie soundtrack?
Empire Records. Hands down.  There are lot of movies with great soundtracks (Garden State, 500 Days of Summer spring to mind) but Empire Records is the ONE.

10. Have you ever seen a movie and thought it was better than the book it was based on?
Not that I can think of right now.  I wonder what I had in mind when I asked this question. 

Monday, 25 July 2011


I ducked away for the weekend to Chamonix, France, skipping out early Friday and landing at 8am this morning (yep, straight to work, this afternoon may suck).

A friend had just finished the Tour de Mont Blanc, was around for the weekend and keen for MORE walking (the TdMB came on the back of the week of the GR5) so who was I to say no?

The weekend? Well the weather wasn't fantastic (we had rain, we had snow but we did also have some sunshine) but not bad enough to prevent us doing some walking. Nothing to strenuous - a couple of hours each day. Saturday we had to fit the farmers market in first, Sunday a trip up Aiguille du Midi for some sightseeing.

Saturday we did a valley walk (mostly in forests, so sheltered from the rain) whilst Sunday we ventured up to Brevent and walked along the range to Flegere. Both were fantastic but I especially loved the Sunday walk. Do you know the best bit about walking at altitude? Any shortness of breath can be blamed on it (even though I think we both know it was my lack of fitness that was causing it!). Cable cars are also my friends - makes walking up high with stunning views very achievable without having to do the nasty hill climbs. Another thing I learnt - I like longer walks. I don't really hit my stride until the 3rd hour onwards but then often can just keep going and going. I love being outside.

Also another good thing about walking in the French Alps?  Makes you feel like you really deserve the raclette/fondue/crepese/macarons you are going to eat afterwards...

Anyway, I have some pretty fantastic pics on my camera, but they'll have to wait. Today, I can really only share with you those from my phone that I've uploaded to flickr... (and are mostly repeats of what made it to twitter...i would apologise but I don't think there is really any hardship in enjoying these views more than once!). 
Cable car from Plan de l'Aguille to Aiguille du Midi
View of Mont Blanc from Aiguille du Midi
View to the top of Aiguille du Midi (we went to the base of the tower, which is where the 2nd pic was taken)
View from lunch.  Cloudy day but beautiful all the same 

Friday, 22 July 2011


I love them. They remind what I need to do and in a way, that helps me get things done. But lately, they've also been reminding me of what I've not being doing, what hasn't been getting done. I've got my regular to do list and this is the one that has some stagnant items on it. Items like "send Morocco postcards". You know, how I went to Morocco in April?? Postcards still waiting to be written and sent. So are the Amsterdam ones (weekend before Morocco) and Paris (a month ago!).

I've got the list of things for a trip. I'm heading away for the weekend, leaving work at 12, flying at 2 for some hiking in the French Alps. This list will get done. It had some things I needed to pack (done) and some things I still need to get (hydration supplies). There is also an accompanying list of things forgotten (hello watch, hello book).  I've got a similar list for next weekend's trip as well.

I've got a list of blog posts prompts that I want to right. Haha, as if I will get to them. Seriously, I posted my July 2010 pics in July 2011! Some I've got to cut loose and start again. Maybe this list is more of a weight. A list of what I'd wish I'd done. Who knows. I do still want to post trip recaps I've missed because this blog semi serves as a travel journal of sort. Facebook gets more photos, emails get more words, Simons Sista Saw gets a bit of both.

And most fun or important to me, my 30 list. A growing list of things I want to do before I'm 30 (later this year). I want 30 things on the list, hence I haven't posted it yet. But I'm not sure there is 30 things I especially want to do so I'm struggling with either having only things I really want to do/try/achieve or having a ridgey didge 30 before 30. Regardless, I need to start sharing this one soon because things that are on it are getting crossed off already.

What do you think? Should my 30 list have 30 things on it (and maybe loose some integrity) or should I share it as is? Do you use lists successfully? Are they electronic or noted?

Other lists I have are of places I want to go, shopping lists and let's not forget - the work to-do lists (which I keep meticulously).

(pic at top is a screenshot of my 30 list, currently in draft in teuxdeux.  I think it would be better served in a pretty blog post with links, but getting that done is still on my to do list) 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 90

Running late today.  Drafted the answers at work and then work got in the way (ie. lunch got cut short).  Figured I'd do it after work but then I got a surprise visit from a friend (hi Lari).  Oh, and a couple of hours kayaking as well.

Zoo theme today, from Lindsey via Chelsea.

1. What is your favorite zoo to visit?

Probably Dubbo (Western Plains Zoo) in outback NSW is my fav. It's really open and you hire mini mokes to drive around in to get to the various animals. Or Melbourne Zoo as it means I'm probably either seeing a band with mates (Zoo Lates) or hanging with my niece and nephew.

2. Do you visit a zoo very often?

Not really. I've been once in the last 3 years. I go in Melbourne a little more often as they have night gigs (away from the animals) and it's a popular place for work functions etc.

3. Do you have a membership to a zoo?


4. When you visit a zoo, do you stay all day or just an hour or two?

It makes sense to stay and see it all (value wise) but it really depends on why we're going. Last month we went to London Zoo for their Friday Night Lates so we could only be there for a few hours (and it was raining)

5. Do you buy food at the zoo or pack a picnic lunch?

Usually take some and buy some. Zoo Lates is a great excuse for a really delish picnic. And when with my niece and nephew, there are allergies and young ages to deal with - easy to have some stuff to hand.

6. What is you favorite animal to see at the zoo?

Probably the butterflies. I always love a good butterfly house.


7. What is your least favorite animal to see at the zoo?

Australian animals. They

8. What is your favorite memory of going to the zoo as a kid?

The mini mokes at Dubbo Zoo or taking the ferry to Taronga Zoo in Sydney or the carousel at Melbourne Zoo. Hard to pick one.

9. Do you visit the gift shop when you go to the zoo?

Usually. I collect bouncy balls and Zoo's usually have a good supply of them.

10. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best and 1 being the worst) how nice is your city’s zoo?

London - I’d say 4. Melbourne - I'd say 8

Monday, 18 July 2011

Monday musings

Short and sweet for there is not much to muse on today.  My weekend was quiet.  I hadn't really planned a super quiet one but it ended up that way.  That I arrived home Friday 11pm and didn't leave the house (except for stepping on to the balcony) until Sunday 11am probably best paints the picture.  There were things on but it was raining, I was cranky (and crampy...very connected to each other) and cosy.  Oh, and I had the house to myself as my housemates were both away.  Love them but the peace and quiet of being solo is such a welcome treat.

During my hibernation I did
  • some spring cleaning (2 garbage bads of clothes for goodwill, 1 large bag of books that I can't actually lift);
  • some movie watching (Harry Potter 1, Harry Potter 7.2, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Marley and Me);
  • some sport watching (Tour De France for 6 hours over 2 days, I can't get enough of it at the moment & 45 mins of golf in the background before I realised what was on!!)
  • some nail painting (hot hot pink crackle for the fingers- fun, but not adding to the banker look I've got going on 9-5, a deep pinky purple for the toes)
  • some washing (me, my sheets, my towels, my colours & my whites)
  • some baking (if you can call it that - I made the 5 minute cake in a mug (using a pyrex measuring jug rather than a mug to avoid spillage.  Better than you might expect it to be, but certainly not something to serve to others)

During the non-hibernation period (all 4 hours of it on Sunday where I managed to get rained on 4 times), I met with friends for a waterside pub lunch.  Good food, good company (them, not me) and good chat (holidays, it always comes back to holidays!). Crap weather.

So that was my unexciting weekend that need not be recorded for posterity, but kind of is.  How was yours?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Project 365–July 2010

You know that project I started last year? Project 365?  Well I never did finish it completely but I didn't totally give up on taking the pics (but did on posting them).  I'm ONE YEAR behind!  So here are the July pics. July 2010!

July was a ripper month, and include photos from my London life, Wales, Scotland, Thailand,Sydney, Melbourne and country Victoria (Australia).  It's really strange looking at them now, a year later!  There's a subtle ode to my Canadian reader right on day 1.
Enjoy – and let me know your favourite pic

*missing – 9 July 2010

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 88

I really like this week's questions.  They're a bit themed, but a theme I love.  Travel.  But not too themed.  Go Kyria (Travel Spot) and Chelsea (Roots and Rings, once again a gracious host).

1. When you are on a plane and the kid behind you is kicking your seat, what do you do?

Recline it, then turn around and ask if that makes it easier for them to kick it. Actually, probably not.  My response depends. If it's a short haul, I probably say nothing. If it's long (long long) haul, I might glance back over and say something. Saying that, it depends on the age of the kid and if they should know better or can understand. And is it incessant kicking, or the odd kick?  It's not always easy travelling with kids.

2. What food that you KNOW is bad for you and you shouldn’t have, but you love/eat it anyway?
Ice cream. Pizza. Thai green curry. Loads. Better to ask what I know is bad so I don't eat (answer - pretty much nothing).

3. What is your favourite book of all time?
Seven little Australians. My first favourite book, so I'm going to say all time.

4. If I came to visit you in your town, where would we eat?
A curry house (it's England) and then probably Breakfast Club Hoxton for an English breakfast or derivation thereof and then probably a picnic from Borough Market or a good pub lunch. Not necessarily in that order. Of course there would be cocktail and coffee stops in between. I hope you are hungry. 

5. You have 500 dollars and 40 minutes to spend it at any store you want. Where do you go?
Cotswolds/Snow + Rock. An outdoors store. I need for nothing but love those stores. I'd love a lightweight waterproof jacket (a new one, I mean), some more trail shoes, a fleece, a new pack etc.

6. What blog do you read every day/the most often?
Pretty much all that are in my reader. Which is a hotchpotch of stuff.  Personal blogs, travel blogs, a few (very few now) design blogs, photogrpahy blogs, personal finance blogs, friends blogs.  All awesome blogs.

7. What’s the longest you’ve ever been stuck at an airport?
For delays? About an hour. Stopovers - 12 hours (but we left the airport so that doesn't really count). 3 hours is the longest I've hung around without leaving the airport (Frankfurt airport - it's so large though it takes that long to transit). I've been pretty lucky really.

8. What’s your daily makeup/face/cleansing routine?
It's pretty lax. I wear an spf moisturiser (boots brand) and a cliniqe pressed powder. I have a Simple foamy face wash for the morning and a boots brand cream cleanser for night. I love the Waitrose Essential brand (i.e. homebrand) 3 in 1 wipes when travelling though.

9. Where is your farthest away friend?
My first though are any that are in Melbourne. But really, it's probably Jen, a Canadian friend who I met in Austria when she lived in France, through an Australian friend who met her in Belgium.  She's since lived in Australia and is now based in New Zealand.  I like her.

10. Where is your favourite place to go hiking (or to enjoy nature)?
I'm liking it anywhere. I can't wait until the day I get to explore more of the Grampians and Wilsons Prom at home. Over here, Wales is stunning (and accessible for a weekend) and I could easily spend a week or more in Scotland. Then there is all the places I want to go but haven't yet...

Jen and I late in the day at Oktoberfest (Munich, Sept 2008)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Weekend wrap up

I've had a fun few weekends of late, mostly in London town.  As much as I love travelling (and have a few trips later this month), I love being at home, waking up in my bed.

This weekend just gone was spent with school friends, making the most of the London, and the weather.


Champagne high tea, cocktails and the theatre.

Rather more classy than our usual shenanigans but it was fun to get dressed up and treat ourselves (oh, I know I treat myself plenty, I just don't often dress up for it).


Canterbury - Cathedral, Wall and Castles 
(farmers market, fresh produce, coffee, cute town and pretty parks as well)
Whistable (f&c on the beach for dinner to cap of a great day)

How was your weekend? 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 87

They're all a little ID4 today.  Makes sense given Chelsea is American.   I'm hijacking them and pretending they're about Aussies things.  Otherwise it would be a whole lot more dull around here.  Oh, and excitedly - I booked some flights to Australia for Christmas today.  Bring on the Aussie summer - I hope it pulls one out after what I hear was a terrible one last year.

Anyway, on with the questioning...

1. What do you traditionally do for 4th of July?

No traditions. Being Aussie, it doesn’t really affect me. For Australia Day, which I guess is the equivalent – it’s usually a bbq and listening to a national radio countdown (Triple J Hottest 100) if I’m in Australia. If in the UK, it’s usually work and then something with Aussie mates.

2. Did you follow your tradition this year? How did you celebrate yesterday?

3. What’s the best fireworks show you’ve ever seen?
Las Fallas, Valencia. A festival devoted to fire. Unfreakinbelievable. (in linking to that post, I realised I never posted the pics of the fallas themselves.  to come...)

4. Have you ever been injured by a firecracker?
I got hit in Spain earlier this year, but not injury. You can tell in this video when I get hit because I duck the fck down.  Right around 33 seconds.  The firecrackers that hit me were to the right of screen.  Still, I'd do it all again.

5. Burger, Brat, or Hot Dog?
Burger. Vegie.

6. Do you sport red, white and blue on our Independence Day?
No. Maybe green and gold on Australia Day but even then, maybe not.

7. If you had to be from any country other than the USA, what country would it be?
Australia, ahead of all others, including the USA. If not Australia, probably NZ (closest in outlook and lifestyle to Australia and they need visas for even less countries than Australia).

8. Charcoal or gas?
Gas for convenience but charcoal if it’s a leisurely weekend kind of thing.

9. What’s your favorite thing about this fair country of ours?

10. God Bless the USA, My Country Tis of Thee, or the Star Spangled Banner?
N/A. Advance Australia Fair (the Australian national anthem) all the way. Yes, I like it more than I like Waltzing Matilda. I like “I still call Australia home” even more though (even though it is possibly more well known as part of a QANTAS advert).

The Aussie song has 5 verses, only two of which make up our national anthem (verses 1 and 3). We use to sing 1, 3 and sometimes 4 at school.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

La Tour Eiffel

Whilst I don’t think it truly dominates the Paris skyline, it certainly dominates their souvenir industry. It seemingly dominated my Paris pics as well.

Larissa and I found it ridiculously hard to get a self portrait in front of it at night although I find the many attempts amusing!