Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The background to my list–pt 3

Full list  |  Part 1  |  Part 2

20. Try three new foods
Why not…

21. Go a weekend without coffee
My friends laughed at this one because I’m known for loving my coffee.  And whilst I do love it, I’d like to think I’m don’t need it and there is truth in me always saying I only drink so much of it because I like the taste.  Let’s see…

22. Leave a letter for a stranger
Or maybe some Karma Cards?  Something like that. I’d love to find a letter so I’ll pay that forward to someone else?

23. See a band
Ideally in a new venue.  London has an incredible live music scene and I just feel like I’m not making the most of it.  Or barely any of it.

24. A yum cha lunch
Yum! I love yum cha and the idea of sharing a meal, the lazy susan, the tea, the ritual.  All things like that.

25. Send 29 postcards
I love receiving snail mail so now I’m going to pay it forward.  Who wants one?

26. Get my leg back behind head
I use to be able to do this.  I can’t anymore.  That isn’t the real reason it’s on my list though.  This comes up from time to time because over the past 18months, I’ve had reoccurring dreams that I could get my leg behind my head but it got stuck there and I had to wait for housemates to come home and help me.  Hmmm…reading that, it doesn’t seem like a great goal, no?

27. Design a photo calendar
I love taking pics and I’m sure there’s 12 from the last year or so I’d be happy to look at for 30 days or so.  I think of this one each year but hopefully, I’ll actually do it this time.

28. Walk at least one (new to me) section of the Thames Path
I like walking and the Thames Path is a well known National walkway.  Let’s get on it.

29. Make pizza dough
Love pizza. Maybe too much.  I like the idea of putting some love into the preparation of it though, rather than instant gratification.

30. Go to a comedy show
Because who doesn’t like to laugh?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The background to my list–pt 2

Part 1 or the Full List

11. Get up for sunrise
I always love a good sunset but I’m just really not that familiar with the sunrises.  Time to get up and see one.

12. Eat a steak
I’m a pescetarian and have been for nearly 10 years.  Prior to that I ate white meat.  Before that I ate some red meat (in lasagne etc. when it was flavoured) and even earlier again, I ate red meat, served as red meat.  Eating red meet coincides with being a kid and not really having a say in what I ate.  My fussiness with meat has never been for social reasons but rather, I don’t like it.  The taste, the texture, the look or the smell of it.  But 15ish years ago (my best guess on when I last had a steak), there were a lot of things I didn’t like which I now do.  So maybe, maybe my tastes have changed.  I’m going to try a steak and see if I still dislike it.

13. Take in a sunset from Greenwich / Primrose Hill / Hampstead Heath
Pretty.  Enough said.

14. See Elgin’s marbles at the British Museum. 
I doubt they really ever will get returned but since its the most well known exhibit at one of the most well known museums (and is free), I feel like I should trundle along.
15. Ride a bike
Because that’s what the cool kids are doing.  I want a bike so I can ride to work and stuff, but I also just like riding for fun.  That said, I haven’t since I lived in Australia.

16. Get a pedicure/manicure
Never had a pedicure, hence including it on the list. I’ve added mani to it as the chances of me wearing open toed shoes now it’s getting cold is slim to none.

17. Learn to crochet
I’m a complete knitting fail but I like the idea of being able to crochet flowers, beanies, scarves etc.

18. Visit and tour St Paul’s Cathedral
How long have I been saying I want to do this? (answer… a really long time)

19. Attend a Church service
Religion isn’t something I like to get into on here because I’m really firmly in the “each to their own” camp.  I’d say I’m spiritual rather than religious but would like to attend a service.  Now just to choose a church to visit…

20. Try three new foods
To get me out of my vegemite toast comfort zone?  There’s a huge mix of cultures in this city and grocers for most.  Time to be a little adventurous.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Listening to

I’ve noticed a load of tunes based posts recently, most interesting of which was Sarah’s 10 albums every lady should own & replay on Yes and Yes which I love.  The one here that stands out for me, or has made me go back to my music archives (i.e., what is on my ipod and not my iphone) is India.Arie’s Acoustic Soul.

This album is a long time love of mine.  I’m not sure how I first came about it but I remember seeing India perform on Oprah (back when I was a student and had time to watch day time tele).  Love this album and will be listening to it as I walk into work in a few minutes time. 

I can't find a legit embdeddable video but I’ll leave you with a link to the video of her most well known track; Video.  Lyrics below

What album would you add to the list?

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won’t
Depend of how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

I’m not the average girl from your video
And I ain’t built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally,
Because I am a queen

I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I’m wearing I will always be

When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it’s suppose to be
And I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my Lips, my eyes, I’m loving what I see


Am I less of a lady if I don’t where panty hose
My momma said a lady ain’t what she wears but what she knows…
But I’ve drawn the conclusion, it’s all an illusion
Confusion’s the name of the game
A misconception, a vast deception,
Something got to change

Now don’t be offended this is all my opinion
Ain’t nothing that I’m saying law
This is a true confession
Of a life learned lesson
I was sent here to share with y'all
So get in when you fit in
Go on and shine
Clear your mind
Now’s the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
‘Cause everything’s gonna be alright


Keep your fancy drink, and your expensive minks
I don’t need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive cars and your caviar
All’s I need is my guitar

Keep your crystal and your pistol
I’d rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Don’t need you silicone, I prefer my own
What god gave me is just fine…


Monday, 19 September 2011

The background to my list–pt 1

30 before 30, 101 in 1000 days, bucket list etc.  We’re all familiar with them.  I’m late in the game, deciding only a matter of months before my 30th to do things.  Some of the items are more meaningful than others but I’m going to try and explain the reasoning behind each one.

Today, I’ll just do the first 10 and follow up with the remaining 19 shortly.

1. See a play
I’ve seen many a musical but rarely do I go and see plays.  London has a lot of theatre options so this really shouldn’t be that hard, should it?

2. Read the Great Gatsby
Movies coming out (well, being filmed) and I bought the book at the beginning of the year at the recommendation of a friend.  So just read it already, right? right.

3. Visit the London Transport Museum
It’s the London museum that I most want to go to.  And have for a while.  So again, just do it already, right? right.

4. Attempt Couch to 5kms
I say attempt because I’ve never been a runner.  But maybe I’ve never been a runner because I’ve never really tried and certainly never stuck with it.  A program to follow might make it easier.  So let’s see how this goes.

5. Cook a dinner for 4
I’m sure I can cook, but I just don’t do it very often.  I like the idea of cooking for friends though.  Taking time to plan a meal, get the ingredients and cook.  Just need some friends to come over for dinner…

6. Bake macaroons
I love them.  I think I will suck at them.  I want to try them.  That’s really all there is too it.  And if they fail, macaroon crumbs would be okay with ice-cream, wouldn’t they?

7. Move to a new hood in London
Done.  This one shows the age of the list (mid July).  I was tossing up staying where I was (lovely big sunny room in a location I was bored with that was no longer really convent for me to get to work or my friends.  So I decided it was time to experience a different part of London.

8. Kiss a stranger
My friends mostly laugh at this one.  If we’re out for a few drinks, and especially if we’re at a gig, I’m a big fan of the pash n dash.  But drunk disco pashes weren’t what I meant. 
I’m very single but am not helping my cause.  I don't respond well (I’m the awkward turtle) to being chatted up & often I don't even know when it's going on. ie. I'm a dating dork.  So basically, I need to put myself out there more AND respond better to it.

9. Visit a market
Portobello, Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane, Columbia Road, Bermondsey, Broadway.  London has loads of markets but I couldn’t tell you the last time I made it to one.  Time to rectify that.  Just shop already, right? Right.

10. Visit a new country
New country = new to me <> South Sudan.  This was another one friends laughed at, mentioning that I’m always away.  I do travel a bit but this year, Morocco is the only new country I’ve been to.  I’ve been to some new places (Cinque Terre & Valencia off the top of my head) but many (Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest) are repeat cities as well as countries.  That’s not a bad thing, but I want to see more, see new.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Wednesday last week wasn't just hump day, it was Dolly day.


Dolly Parton, as part of her Better Day tour had a few shows in London at the O2.  I remember back when the tickets went on sale how much I wanted to go.  I was even prepared to pay the £90 (yes, £90) for the shittiest of seats if someone else would.  Sadly, no one else that I asked would.

Fast forward a few months and last Tuesday I got some corporate box seats from work for £10 each (£10 donation to our charity of the year).  My employer has a corporate box there where tickets are offered in a lottery when not being used by the bigiwgs and clients.

So, exhousemate Kate and I, after many singalongs at our old place, headed off to see her.  I was so ridiculously excited about this gig, it was all I could talk about/think about for the 36 hours between getting tickets and going, and then for another 48 hours afterwards.

Dolly came on,  all 5 feet of her decked out in gold sparkles and rocked it from the get go.  Joelene was the fourth song in and I'm not ashamed to say my eyes teared up with the excitement of it all.  That also could have been because we were drinking gin & tonics (the main benefit of the corporate box is that whilst catering wasn't included, we did have in seat drinks service, meaning no cues at the bar). 


From start to finish, her gig was AMAZING.  I really do only know her bigger hits but then there were many many songs I didn't realise were hers.  And there were some fantastic covers - Tina Turner, the Beatles, Led Zepplin & Dusty Springfield all got a Dolly-ing.  And whilst her voice has such a distinctive twang, it was amazing.  Little Sparrow, done a capella was mind blowing for me.  But not only was it her singing (and rapping!), she's such a witty corker and had as all laughing a lot through out.

All in, this was probably one of the best gigs of my life and one that I will hopefully be able to tell future Grandkids about.

The setlist was:

Set 1
Light Of A Clear Blue Morning (Intro)
Walking On Sunshine / Shine Like The Sun
Baby, I'm Burning
Bluegrass Medley
Rocky Top
Mule Skinner Blues
Help! (The Beatles cover)
Shine (Collective Soul cover)
Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin cover)
My Tennessee Mountain Home
Precious Memories
Coat of Many Colors
Smokey Mountain Memories
Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield cover)
Better Day
Together You and I
Holding Everything
He Will Take You Higher
He's Everything

Set 2
White Limozeen
Country Is As Country Does
In The Meantime
The Sacrifice
Little Sparrow
River Deep – Mountain High (Ike & Tina Turner cover)
Here You Come Again
Islands in the Stream
9 to 5

Two Doors Down
I Will Always Love You

My photos aren't nearly as awesome as the night was, and nor is the video (the encore, I Will Always Love You) but that's ok by me.

Such a great night out.  Thanks Dolly!

(are you a Dolly fan?  Most of my mates and especially my colleagues laugh at how excited I was about it all).

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 97

This week’s questions are delightfully twisted and come from Rachel at Rachel Heather via Chelsea at Roots and Rings.  There all multichoice;

Would you rather?

1. eat chocolate covered grasshoppers or this freaky squid thing?
Chocolate grasshoppers sound pretty good right now…  (for the love of man, please check that link out at some point! It's beyond my vocab)

2. never see another movie or never watch TV again?
Never watch TV again.

3. be a superhero with a lame power or a super villain with an awesome power?

4. eat only salty snacks for the rest of you life, or only sweet snacks?
Salty. I love sweet things but I can tire of them way more quickly than salty.

5. never read another book or never hear another song?
This is not a life I’d want to live. I guess never hear another song. As much as I love music, there is a lot of it in my memory that I guess I’d have to rely on. Not being able to read another book would be a cruel cruel life.

6. be a whale carcass remover or a sewer inspector?
Whale carcass remover. It would be a sad job but so long as it’s only beached whales, I’d choose that over being in a confined space such as sewer. I think my heaves whilst doing that would reclog anything I had to unclog in the first place.

7. have no electricity or no running water?
No electricity. Doesn’t appeal but I guess I’d learn to cope. Running water; well not so much.

8. be a dog or a cat?
Cat. Like dogs but have you seen how lazy and lovely cats have it?

9. always be hot or always be cold?
Neither appeals. At all. I would generally rather be cold (because I think it’s easier to warm up than cool down) but if I was set to always be cold with no chance of heating up… I don’t know. Would you get use to it?

10. be forced to watch all 3 High School Musicals on an endless loop, or the Twilight movies?
Seriously? I haven’t seen the Twilight movies but I’m going to say them because I know I don’t want to have to watch the 3 HSM on loop.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Weekends are lovely

A low key weekend, movies, dinner, aussie rules football, shopping and a walk with friends.  No sleep ins but early nights instead.  What’s happening to me? I must be getting old? (or just wise, because they were lovely).

Sunday – a walk in the Chilterns with an assortment of friends.  An eight mile loop from the village of Wendover up Coombe Hill, past Chequers and back to Wendover.  For a Sunday lunch.  And afternoon tea.  And amazing hot chocolate.

It rained some, but mostly it didn’t.  Open fields & closed in woods.  A wonderfully English walk really.  I think all enjoyed it*.

* I think all would have enjoyed it more had there been no rain but really, you can’t wait for the dry days to enjoy this country.  And I’m glad we all enjoyed it as I’d chosen the route and organised it for 10 of us, some who I hadn’t met before.  I love doing things so I organise the things I love.  And then I freak out and worry that others might not like what I’ve organised.  But really, it seems people are often happy to be organised.  And if they wouldn’t come along if it wasn’t what they wanted to do. 

**I now know they all enjoyed it as the email this morning has run hot thanking me and asking when the next one is.  Just as soon as I have a free Sunday, I'm going walking again.  I really do love it.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

29 before 30

So I’m 30 soon. 25 November 2011 marks the day.

I’m pretty excited about this birthday. I love celebrating a birthday and well, a milestone, just a bigger reason right? I’m excited about the decade ahead. But really, I’m getting ahead of myself. Because there are still a chunk of days left in my twenties. Days I want to put to good use, to do some things I often speak off.

So here is my 29 before 30 list. I started writing it early in the summer and thinking about it long before then. So, some of the things I’ve just recently done but mostly, what’s on it is what’s to come. I’ve done 29 before 30 (rather than 30 before 30) as I’m really celebrating being 29 (i.e. The now). That, and well, adding a 30th would be reasonably meaningless as I can’t think of anything else I especially want to do.

I’ll break them into chunks probably to explain why there on it, or share the reasons when I blog the results. Some have some real meaning and reasoning. Some are just fun. Many are things I’ve been saying I want to do for quite a while now so I’m just putting a deadline* on it.

1. See a play
2. Read the Great Gatsby
3. Visit the London Transport Museum
4. Attempt Couch to 5kms
5. Cook a dinner for 4
6. Bake macaroons
7. Move to a new hood in London
8. Kiss a stranger
9. Visit a market
10. Visit a new country
11. Get up for sunrise
12. Eat a steak
13. Take in a sunset from Greenwich / Primrose Hill / Hampstead Heath
14. See Elgin’s marbles
15. Ride a bike
16. Get a pedicure
17. Learn to crochet
18. Visit and tour St Paul’s Cathedral
19. Attend a Church service
20. Try three new foods
21. Go a weekend without coffee
22. Leave a letter for a stranger
23. See a band
24. A yum cha lunch
25. Send 29 postcards
26. Get my leg back behind head
27. Design a photo calendar
28. Walk at least one (new to me) section of the Thames Path
29. Make pizza dough
30. Go to a comedy show

So, some will be easy to accomplish, some will require a bit of planning and some might just be impossible. Regardless, let’s do this

Friends, if you are in London or nearby and want to do any of these things with me in the next few months, let’s talk…

*deadline. If I fail, well I guess I’ve got a good start on some things to do once I’m 30. I’d love to get through everything on this list but needing to balance it with down time, work, friends etc, I’m not going to stress (too much) about it.

**I'll be back to provide links where possible etc, and update this as I go

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Ten on a Tuesday (96)

Chelsea's questions this week.  I don't really know how she comes up with the random easy to answer ones but I like them.

1. What temperature do you keep your thermostat on during the day?
Ah, we don't. The new place is quite warm naturally (it's east/west facing). We don't have aircon and we haven't needed the heating in the 10 days I've been there so far.

2. What temperature do you keep your thermostat on at night?
Again, n/a.

3. In a canister of mixed nuts, do you pick out certain varieties and leave the others?
I prefer brazil nuts, macadamias, cashews, almonds, pistachios & walnuts so I guess I'd eat them first? Peanuts are generally the last to go I guess.

4. What is your favourite kind of M&M?
Peanut of what's available in Australia or the UK. Love the peanut butter ones and the coconut ones I've been able to get at specialty stores and really looking forward to trying the Pretzel ones (when some mates bring them back from the states).

5. How do you buy books? (Amazon, bookstore, new, used, electronic, etc)
If online it's the Book Depository. Otherwise, 3 for 2 or something at train stations/airports. No hard and fast rules.

6. How do you like your eggs cooked?
Poached. I like a runny yolk but I'll sacrifice that in the name of a well done (and no clear runniness) white.  I'm happy with scrambled or fried as well, but I tend to order poached because I don't poach at home.

7. Can you whistle?
Yes, in a pretty meek whistle while you work kind of way. Not in wolf whistle/at the footy/woohoo kind of way.

8. What common word do you always misspell?
Kayaking. I always try and put a double "k" towards the end. And surprise. That first "r" always surprises me (suprise). Oh, and necessary (neccesary, neccessary). They're my main misspellings I think (note that my spell check just autocorrected misspellings…I didn't have a double S initially). I mistype Sue (Seu anyone?) and individual (inidvidual) a lot.

9. Are you afraid of flying?
No. I don't love it, especially take off and landing but I'm not afraid of it (maybe bored of it? It's a necessary part of my life if I want to see the places I want to see.  Yes, a first world problem I realise).

10. How often do you go shopping?
Grocery shopping - ad hoc. Other stuff - ad hoc. Basically, ad-hoc.

Reading time

I’ve just ordered/borrowed the books above to kick-start my Autumn reading;

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

  • The Slap

  • The Help

I started The Help last night and will then move on to whichever of the others comes first I guess?  (I order my books through the Book Depository* which means they don’t always come together).  Quite a few bloggers have recommended the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks whilst a friends book club did the Slap a little while ago.

I just finished reading Room recently.  Wow.  Quite a story.  It’s written from the point of a view of a 5 year old locked in a room with his mum and he’s never known freedom.  A sad story for sure, but little Jack, having never known any different is an interesting voice to follow.  It took me a bit to get into it but then suddenly I really couldn’t put it down.

What are you reading? What should I be searching for next?

*Book Depository is a great online book ordering website if you don’t have a local book store you like or that stocks what you want.  They do free delivery worldwide and are usually a good price.  With the pound weak, it is probably super cheap for Aussies to order from there.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Back

Goodbye lovely home...
My old place and my old street.

August, wonderful as you were, I'm looking forward to a calmer September. Things that went down in my August include:

  • I hit two (of 6 annually) deadlines at work. Come 5pm 31st August I was a happy and relived little worker ant. And then I promptly left the office (leaving so early, I didn't really know what to do with myself to be honest!). 

  • I moved house. After three years in the south (near Kennington and Oval), I moved to the East. No longer an SW postcode, I'm now an E. I'll share more on the new place and area but so far I've been able to leave home later, walk the Thames Path to work and arrive earlier which delights me. It's such a good start to the day. That said, I'll miss the old place and my old housemates (all who have moved to pastures new as well). This move more or less occupied my mind all month so I'm glad it's done now. Despite not being completely unpacked, I feel a lot more settled now than I have for a little while.

  • I holidayed. A long weekend in Italy (sans luggage) sneeks in as it carried over until 1 August. An impromptu weekend in Budapest for a mate's 30th as well.

  • I relaxed. In amongst it all was a super calming and fun day with my Aunty, visiting from Australia. Everywhere we went that day was just a backdrop to the conversations we had. Conversations that bely we only see each other for a day a year. We can pick up where we left off, no worries. We can play games in fabric stores, talk of the ridiculous and daydream of the even more ridiculous. That said, backdrops such as the V&A, the Wallace Collection and Liberty of London are fantastic and we're glad to have them.

Looking Forward

September is going to be a much calmer month and I'm pretty excited about it.  I've got a mix of things booked and spare time and just have a really good feeling about the month ahead.