Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ten on a Tuesday - 45

Those that know me or follow my twitter may know I've just been away again.  I've spent the past 5 days on the beach in San Sebastian (Atlantic coast of Spain) and Biarritz (Atlantic coast of France).  They were magical days and you can be sure I'll be sharing more about them with you soon.  They were the perfect last hurrah of a wonderful summer.  To prove Summer is at an end, I've come back with a cold.  Awesome!  I'm now back in London until October I think so I should be a better friend/blogger/commenter etc and I can't wait.

And with that, on with the show.  I know I missed a ripper of a set of questions last week, all photo based and will be back to catch up on them soon.  Here's this week's ones though...thanks Chelsea

1. Pretend it’s Monday morning–take us through a day in the life of you.

6.44am  Alarm goes off (iPhone's barking one).  Hit snooze
6.54am  Get up and head to the shower
7.00am  ish...head to kitchen, make coffee

Then it get's hazy - I don't really do anything different from day today but I leave home anytime between 7.30am and 8.10am.  Regardless, this black hole of time is usually working what I'm going to wear, catching up on emails, book o faces, twitter etc etc and general faff.

8.30am - 6.30pm work
6.30pm - 11pm - stuff*
11pm - Bed

*either nothing or bootcamp or dinner with friends.  Mondays are more likely to be nothing (you know the hosuework/chinwag/procrastinate online kind of nothing) or bootcamp but never say never.

2. What’s your favorite reality tv show?
So You Think You Can Dance but I've only watched one series of the US one since I've moved to the UK. 

3. What motto do you live by?
Sure, why not?  I say it a lot and when it comes to doing things and trying things and being open minded, it tends to epitomize how I think.  That said, I maybe say it and act it too much and end up spreading myself thin (yep, that saying/theme rears it's ugly head again)

4. If you knew could you try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt?
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.  I will climb that mountain, I will.

5. What was your first job?
Working at the local cinemas.  I started in the candybar before spending most of my time in the box office.

6. What is your current job?
I'm a risk analyst.  I sit in the Counterparty Credit Risk team within the broader Risk Analytics and Reporting (CRR RAR for short) at a big bank.  Essentially, I just crunch numbers and do sums.

7. What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name (and you cannot pick the one you already have)?
Hard one.  I hardly love my name (I feel like it is an old one) but I'm not attached to any other and my parents chose it so I've learnt to be ok with it.  Maybe...hmmm...Jess or Jen or Kate?  Something quite common but only one syllable

8. What musical instruments can you play?
None really.  I learnt violin and recorder but mastered neither. I can play a few songs (think Mary had a Little Lamb and Twinkle Twinkle, songs in that vein) on the piano but no chords or nought.  So, none.  Wish I could though - starting with piano.

9. Is it easier to forgive or forget?
Forgive.  Much easier.  And better.

10. What is one food you’d never want to taste again?
Cows tongue, since you ask.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

V Festival

Have you heard the crickets around here?  Aside from the usual (long days at work), I’ve been away camping for four days. 

A friend (Sarah) celebrated her Hen’s weekend at V Festival this year so off we went for a couple of days of sunshine, some rain, a lot of music, a dash of dress ups and even more fun. 

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Aside from the hen I didn’t know the other girls but we all had a blast.  And met some legends…

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(Yep, HeMan is alive and well.  This group also included danger mouse, the hulk, captain planet and a few others off camera - that's a very tipsy hen in the middle of them)

Other costumes we saw included Wally (from Where's Wally fame), Oompa Loompas, Teletubbies, Pammie Andersons and many more - it was a lot of fun).

The acts we sore included Kasabian, Kings of Leon, Scouting for Girls, Newton Faulkner, Faithless, Temper Trap (my personal fave), Seasick Steve, Eliza Doolittle, Paolo Ntuni (hello hotness), Stereophonics, Madness and more (brain is tired right now!).  I’m not going to post the rest of the pics here but they’re all in my flickr photo stream (and as far as hens pics go, they're very tame and sfw).

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ten on a Tuesday - 43

Some interesting questions this week via Chelsea .  The college process (from application to majors to what we all even call it!) is very different in Australia than what I've read of/seen in the USA.  I'm basing this comparison pretty much solely on my experience (and my friends) versus what I've learned from books/tele/movies (isn’t that where you learn everything?  Oh, wait, no? Ok then). 

Let's start with the differences - we call it uni or university.  We have secondary colleges (high schools) and then university.  Some universities have halls of residence and they are referred to as colleges.  You'd stay in a college whilst attending the uni.  Not many people do, mostly those that aren't from the main cities I guess.  It is a lot more rare to move for uni here also.  I know only one person who moved interstate for uni, and one that moved to the country.  Both for specialists courses.  Anyway, let's get onto ten questions about my uni experience...

1. Where did you go to college?
Melbourne.  Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).  It had two city campuses and my classes were across both of them.  It was smackbedang in the middle of the city too.  Vertical campuses, I guess.  They seemed to buy city buildings as they became available.  Some quite diverse too.  Most of my lectures were spread across Storey Hall (modern) and Capitol Theatre (old school).  Both cool buildings but both provided so many visual distractions it was sometimes hard to concentrate.
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(Storey Hall [via Wojtek Gurka's photostream], Capitol Theatre [via Mugley's photostream]).

2. What did you study?
Ba. Business (Accountancy) I think is my official degree.  My second focus (outside my compulsory accounting subjects) was financial and investment planning.  Something I no longer have any interest in.

3. Was college really all that it was cracked up to be?  
I didn't have the typical experience as I was working full time with one of the big 4 accounting firms.  They offered me a traineeship, working full time and studying part time.  The hours were just shy of full time but it meant my classes were at night.  With a  lot of mature aged students.  I later switched to full time (part of the trainee process) but I'd missed the O week friendship forming years by then.  The big 4 still offer these traineeships but you now attend first semester full time and then start working, delaying your start by 6 months but meaning you get the "typical" uni experience.  I think this is a great step.

4. How far were you from home?
Uni was about 16km from home.  I lived at home for all but the final year when my parents moved to the country and I moved in with friends in the neighbouring suburb.  This isn't abnormal.  Some friends moved out earlier but more because they didn't want to live with their parents any more.

5. Did you have the same roommate all four years?
See above - family for the first 4, then friends the final one (it took me 5 years from woe-to-go including part time and deferring to travel).

6. Where did you order food from at 2am?
Pizza was a standard.  I also lived near enough a late supermarket so we could do snack runs.


7. Did you date in college or were you tied down?
Bit of both but mainly dated.

8. Funniest drunk college moment?
I don't drink.  Never did, never will ;-)  OK, that's a lie.  I can't really think of one that stands out.  We had a lot of fun nights and I'd often run into Dad as he was walking to the station to go to work in the morning and I'd be getting of the train to come home and get some sleep.  He would always laugh at me (and be glad I was home safe).  This was very much during the working part time, studying fulltime phase!!

9. Did you make it to class on time?
If I went, I was on time, but I didn't always go (and if I was going to be late, I just didn't go).

10. What was your favourite class in college?
Possibly Italian or Human Communication.  Ironically, they're specifically not related to my major.  We had to do a certain number of credit points from  outside our faculty to ensure we graduated as "well rounded citizens".

Thursday, 12 August 2010

How to Be Less Busy in a Busy World

Ok, this is a slightly wondering post but stay with me please. If nothing else, read the article, How to Be Less Busy in a Busy World.


Do you ever feel like there is too much going on and your spinning your wheels? I've been feeling like this recently. I keep saying Yes to things I genuinely want to do, then I feel like I have no "me" time and then I might have a minor freak out, then I usually go and say yes to some other thing I want to do. That's kind of how my life has been. Maybe since I got to London, but certainly this year. I think it comes with this job a little - I have great colleagues, really social ones and whilst I refer to them as colleagues (mainly for descriptive ease), they really are my friends. This week I have drinks for several occaisions, am having a bbq at mine on Saturday for the hordes (with my housemates, for our combined hordes) and planning on spending Sunday at the Vintage at Goodwood Festival, helping my friend, Candy Camper. I have a lot of on and feel I need to be sensible and manage my time well. Attend occaisions because I said I would (and I want to) but not stay late etc.

What would I do with the "me" time I'm constantly choosing to forgo? Update my project 365, sleep, read, put picutres in frames (that I've had a long while), clear out the closet. Basically run a defrag on my room (it's needed, trust me - I have way to much stuff in there).

Yesterday, whist spinning my wheels, I read a superb post on Apriltwoeighty that she'd sourced from mnmlist. How to be Less Busy in a Busy World. The heading got me but moreover, the article did, and I read the post several times throughout the day. How to be Less Busy in a Busy World.

After reading this post, I determined I'd go to drinks last night, but not stay late, only drink champagne (ie. not mix drinks), eat dinner (not eating it is a rookie mistake I make often) and leave at a sensible time. Know what I did instead? If you follow me on twitter, you might know I didn't do those things, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't entirely clear what I was doing as my tweets were far from coherent. I went out. We had burritos enroute from the wharf to a club in Mayfair where we went dancing all night long. I got to bed at 4.45am this morning. I got up at 6.50am this morning. So now, my wheels are spinning faster than before, I've had two hours sleep and I have a hangover that can only come from drinking champagne and a multitude of cocktails*.

How and why did I do this? I'm not sure. I think I was excited about it - the people going (there were 6 of us going, 6 really great people that have a lot of fun together very easily) and the venue. I don't set out to dance but I'm partial to it after a drink or two so the chance to go to one of the bigger named clubs (so not my usual scene - I'm a pub/bar girl) excited me also. FOMO is a condition in my social circle I think - Fear Of Missing Out and it reared it's ugly head last night. FOMO aside, we had a great night. Things came together last night and it was slightly epic, but I am surely paying the price right here right now.

Tomorrow, friends, I will say No. And I will mean it but question it, but I will say No. I need to slow down. Really, I do. Just as soon as I get through the next few weeks.

*There are some pics of the most epic cocktail from last night, the treasure chest, but really, I'm not sure it's appropriate to the what I'm really trying to say here.  The cocktails at Mahiki are all expensive but were really delish and so much care is taken in the presentation of them.  Some of this may have been lost on us.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ten on a Tuesday - 42

10 questions, 10 minutes, 10 answers...thanks Chelsea

1. Do you have an innie or an outie?
Innie, since you ask. 

2. What kind of milkshake do you order?
Chocolate stawberry.  My favourite is a choc-strawberry swiss mountain malt from a pancake restuarant chain back home, The Pancake Parlour.

3. How often do you repeat outfits at work?
Varies.  Pants get repeated more often than tops.  I have a few shirts I especially like but because I can wear shirts, tops, knits etc, a lot of what I buy to wear casually can be worn to work under a cardi.  So tops, maybe fortnightly on average. 

4. What are your feelings about thank you notes?
I love getting them but I struggle writing them.

5. Do you like spicy food?
Yep, I like it hot.  I've had plenty of food that is too spicy but I'm pretty good with the heat.  I don't like it hot only for the sake of it (ie. there needs to be flavour with it, and not just heat).  I'll order a vindaloo just as often as I'd order a korma curry.

6. How many toilet paper squares do you use?
Can't be sure.  More when it's crappy 1 ply stuff though.  Less when it's crappy scratchy stuff I guess.

7. Were you in Girl Scouts?
Brownies and Guides for me (as it's called in Australia/UK). 

8. Notebooks/Journals: College ruled? Wide Ruled? No lines? Spiral Bound? Plain front? Decorative?
I like gridded notebooks.  More fun to doodle in.  Spiral bound usually although I'm using an plain aqua fronted moleskine at the moment. 

9. Do you snack throughout the day? What do you pack for snacks?
Yeah I do but not hugely.  Today, I didn't pack the mini tripple choc muffins I made last night because I'm a duffer. I normally have a cappucino around 10 which fills me up until lunch time.  I tend to buy a bag of apples on a Monday and have that on my desk during the week.  Muesli bars and ginger oatcakes can usually be found in my drawer too (if my overly familiar colleagues haven't helped themselves!).

10. What is your favorite month? Why?
September was always pretty good in Melbourne.  Start of Spring (easily my favourite season) and football (Aussie rules) finals. Win win win.  Now, probably May?  Two bank holidays, and the warmer weather, longer days with the anticipation of the summer.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

My wonderful weekend

I stayed local this weekend, barely venturing north of the river (Saturday night aside).  Did a few things I've wanted to do for a while, and enjoyed some things I previously knew little about.  If I was to sum up the weekend - it was indulgent.  Taking the time to enjoy.  It was also about cups of tea.

Ok, it started with coffee at Borough Markets on Saturday (along with the freshest most delish breakfast baguette).  Northcote Road markets later in the day and some local thrift stores.  Only one purchase, but I do love it so.

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I got a set of this delicate pink china - 4 cups, saucers and cake plates - for £4.  Perfect.  Pictured here with last night's cup of tea and a tim tam.  They're a tad pinker in person than this pic shows.

Saturday night was spent with a friend (old housemate) heading out for a "quiet cocktail" at a sweet cocktaail bar (found thanks to Becky at Teacups, Cupcakes).  Per her review, it started quiet which was great as we were able to catch up. Around 11 though, the dancing started and that kept us there until the small hours.  I can't wait to go back to this bar - it's seriously is just one (chintzy) room with a hole in the wall bar but some super tasty cocktails and a great attention to detail.  Go check out Becky's post for pics though - she's did a much better job than me.  Here are two of my cocktails though - a whisky & peach one (tea cup) and a jam jar caprioska

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Sunday, we toured the Brunel Tunnel (the first tunnel under a navigatable river in the world...yeah, I paid attention) which held our attention for a little bit before a waterside cream tea (no pics - it was far from the best cream tea I've had) and wandering around a slew of waterside pubs until dark.

A really good fun weekend with friends - thanks guys

How were your weekends? Any scores or highlights?

Friday, 6 August 2010

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I'm here with some deep deep thoughts and some hard hitting questions today. Well, kind of. There are some thoughts and questions, but it might be a stretch to consider them deep or hardhitting.  I know a few bloggers do Seven Quick Takes on a Friday, but my mind is so scattered (still blaming it jetlag but it could equally be the glass of white wine I had last night) that I can't think of more coherent thoughts than what I've got below.  I'm sharing a pic of one of the parental's cows and a pic of my home home city (Melbourne) with you to try and compensate.  Hope that is ok.


When you see a toilet lid closed on a public/work/not your house toilet, do you assume the best (it has just been cleaned) or the worst (it desperately needs to be cleaned)? I always feel like it’s a gamble, but mostly it pays off.

Do you kiss your friends on meeting/farewell? You know, the cheek kisses? I seem to do it a lot more now than I use to, but it's always just the one cheek. Well, normally. Last night I went to some drinks on a boat for young Dutch professionals here in London. It was a great night out but one thing I noticed (and liked) was the warmth they all greated each other, and me. And when they greet, they do the triple kiss, left, right, left. I got a lot of kisses last night. And had a lot of fun. (And, if you are in London - the boats permanently docked near Embankement are great for afterwork drinks. Kind of like a laid back beer garden but with stunning views of the Eye, Big Ben, St Pauls, OXO Tower etc. Well worth it)

Do you have a favourite salad that wows the crowd? I've got a few friends coming over next weekend and I need to put together some salads. No biggy but suggestions welcome for something a little different. I think a few of us might be greek saladed out so looking for new ideas. So, yes please, suggest away!

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  (view from Skyhigh, Mt Dandenong.  It wasn't the clearest of winter days but I still enjoyed it).

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Greece Recap 5 - Mykonos and Santorini


This is the final recap from the Greece trip that is now 6 weeks (and 6 other countries) behind me.  It's sat in draft for a while for reasons unknown - I was just looking back and updating some tags when I realised I never did publish it!  The trip was fantastic – a really great summer holiday that I’ll long reminisce about (but yeah, no need to worry, I think I’ve done boring you with it after this post!)

After the high times of Ios we boarded a ferry to Santorini.  I must say, I had mixed emotions about this - it's the first place I use to think of when I think of the Greek Islands, but I knew our time there was to be to short to be useful.

We got to the hotel around 10pm and left at 10am.  Not really a lot of useable time!  Especially as we were staying out of town (albeit in a resort area so easy on the eye!).  We were staying in Kamari, which is the black sand beach.  As our time there was so short we got a beach front dinner, a pre breakfast sunrise swim and breakfast and not a lot else.  I’m keen to head back there, take a ferry out into the crater, see a sunset from Oia.
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From Santorini, we caught the ferry back to Mykonos for our last day.  Given the island hopping started here, it was sweet to finish it here as well, and actually see some of the island.  Again, quads were the order of the day (although this time we doubled up to cut costs).

We spent the arvo exploring the beaches (mainly Platys Gialos and Paradise).  Platys Gialos is a glam beach whilst Paradise is a party beach.  Seriously.  The clubs/bars/beats are right there on the beach.  It was great to see but not really for me.

We caught a stunning sunset as we headed back to the boat to glam up for our final dinner and drinks in Mykonos Town.



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Pics, going down are Platys Gialos Beach, Paradise Beach, sunsets and quads (sunset pics taken from the back of the quad - so not exactly holding still!)

Overall this was a fantastic trip, a true summer holiday.  I still think I prefer Australian beaches though (I'll take fine sand over pebbles/rocks etc any day of the week)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Fab Pastries – French Tart Dough

I finally did it!  The June fab pastries challenge of french tart dough got done down under.  I offered to cook some grub for the parents one of the nights I was at the farm so I made rhubarb tart.
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As far as pastry go – it went ok.  Per the recipe, heating the butter and what not then adding the flour to it seemed to work well for me.  I think I’d let the dough cool next time after mixing the flour in and try rolling it out as mine was a little thick when I followed the directions.  That, and we also didn’t have a tart tin so I just used a spring form cake tin.  Together, these things mean that base was quite think and the sides super low. Not ideal but it worked well enough.

The filling was just two bunches of rhubarb stems, about a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a teaspoon or two of rhubarb.  We all love stewed rhubarb.  It was served with double cream (thick thickened cream but not the solid stuff!).  Parents were happy.  I was happy.

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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Ten on a Tuesday – 41

Some more great questions this Tuesday.  Thanks Chelsea.  I answered these this morning at the unsavoury hour of 3.30am but have held off on posting until Chelsea posted hers.  It is funny to read bac over my answers and correct a few things!  They're still probably riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, but that is the nature of the beast today.  I find the first day back in the UK from Aus the worst for jetlag - others find it worse going the other way.  Anyway, yada yada yada and on...here's 10 answers to 10 pleasing questions...

1. What is your current favourite television show?
I would say Brothers and Sisters but we’ve not long had the season finale.  I haven’t found a new fav though so will stick with that.

2. Apple juice or orange juice?
Fresh cloudy apple.  Yum.

3. It’s Shark Week on Discover Channel. Do you watch? Why or why not?
No.  Probably because we don’t have discovery channel.  That, and I’m not really that interested in them.

4. What are the non-blog websites that you visit regularly?
Foxsports (Aus edition) – got to keep up to date with my Aussie rules goings on
Herald Sun – the Melbourne paper
Travel Zoo – This is a bit of a guess.  Lots of travel pages actually, but probably this one the most.

5. What is your favourite way to prepare green beans? Asparagus? Potatoes? Carrots?
Green beans – topped and tailed, lightly cooked (still a tad of crunch)
Asparagus – Cooked in a frypan of water, or bbq (I love grilled asparagus but it isn’t practical for me most days)Potatoes – whilst I loved them roasted and scalloped and fried and many which ways, I tend to bake them more often than not.
Carrot – fresh carrot sticks.  I don’t mind them cooked but I’d rather snack on them raw.

6. What is your favourite flower?
At the moment I’ve loving poppies in every which colour.

7. How do you feel about handkerchiefs?
Not for me. I’m strictly a tissues girl.

8. If you could only shop at 3 stores for the rest of your life, what would they be? (You probably should include a grocery store.)
David Jones – an Australian department store with some great concession stands and a pretty darned good food department (lovingly called “Food Glorious Food”)
Debenhams – a UK department store, lots of choice and not to expensive
Wilkinsons -  a store full of everything you can think off – housey things, food, other fun random stuff.

9. If you could only use wine for one purpose for the rest of your life, which would you choose? To cook with or to drink?
Malbec to drink (preferably by an open fire with friends, but you know, I’m flexible). I don't mind wine in cooking but I love drinking red, and Malbec particularly, so I'm not willing to forgo that.

10. What’s your bedtime?
Last night it was 7.31pm.  Normally around 11.30 – 12.00 but I’d like it to be closer to 10.30 – 11pm.  Just got to stop procrastinating.

Pieces of me - August

Schuccks, it’s August already!!  Here is this month’s pieces of me…

I like: Tim Tams, Redksins, Violet Crumbles, Twisties and Caramello Koalas – these are some of the Australian sweets I brought back from my recent trip.

I don't like: Jet lag.  It’s 3.48am and I can’t sleep.  I’ve been awake for an hour now (and have done my 10oaT as a result).  As good as it is to get some free time, I’d rather be sleeping.  Come the arvo – I’ll be wrecked.

I want you to know: That I don’t know. I don’t know much and it seems I know less and less each day! 

I’ve planned: To attend V Festival this month.  It’s for a friend’s hens weekend and should be great.  The line-up is large but I think I’m most looking forward to The Temper Trap. Oh, and Kings of Leon.  Oh, and Stereophonics and … Editors, Kasabian, The Kooks, Pixie Lott, Florence and the Machine, Scouting for Girls, The Temper Trap, Calvin Harris, Goldfrapp, Kate Nash and Sarah Blasko.

I want to say to someone special: Come out and play where ever you are

Dad hug (Dad doing his best not to cry as I surprised him)
Family at Dads
My family at Dad’s 60th.  L – R: Waz (younger brother), me, Dad, Lynnie (stepmum), Sonia (Simon’s wife), Simon (older brother)

Home Sweet Home…

That’s London, I think.  This last week in Australia helped clarify it somewhat too.  Although I think of the trip as a quick trip home.  Home is both places really. 

Anyway, enough rambling.  Can you tell I’m tired?  I’m trying to stay up as late as possible (aiming for at least 7.30pm!!) to try and get my body clock back to UK time.  Might sound easy but after only dribs and drabs of sleep on the flight home, it isn’t.  In my favour, I don’t think a week back in Oz was long enough to really get into their time zone.

It was a wonderful trip – Dad’s surprise went down a real treat.  Everyone was standing to sing happy birthday to him during which Simon and I walked in.  He nearly collapsed (stumbled…not fainted style) and there were tears and big hugs.  It was a really super awesome night.  I managed to stay awake through it all too.

Aside from Dad’s party (which can’t be underrated), I had a really fun time with my friends and family over there.  Given I was only home for a little bit, I am so appreciative of everyone for going out of their way for catch ups.  I’m not naming names but two of my friends pulled sickies to come and play, even getting medical certificates.  Go you good things!!

Highlights were numerous – some obvious, some low key.  The look of delight, and constant cuddles and chats with Isaac, my nephew, stand out.  He’s 5 and quite the sensitive one but such a sweet sweet boy.  I stayed with him (and his Dad, my younger brother, and his sister, Imogen) most of the time.  Imogen’s going to cause her Dad a lot of grief as she get’s older – she’s already stubborn and charming and gorgeous and a performer.  Good luck Wizzy Waz!!  Some more family time at the farm with the parentals. And some touristing time with Dad in the Dandenongs.  And a wonderful dinner with my Mum's family - the first chance I'd had to see them since my uncle and cousin's death.  Despite their losses, they're a really uplifting family to be around.

I also had a lot of fun with friends – from a day in Sydney, to a day out at Hanging Rock (no picnic though – too cold, we ate a the cafe), catching the Tim Burton exhibition, movies and dinners and breakfasts and other stuff too with others.  Melbourne seriously is a wonderful city and whilst I knew this when I lived there, I don’t think I really appreciated it or took advantage of it.
 IMG_0058Melbourne – my other home city

You can be sure there will be more pics, just once I'm not so sleep deprived!

** I'm obviously well behind on reading and commenting on blogs - give me some time and I'll get right back up there soon - only 764 posts to read :-) **