Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 82

Summer questions this weekend.  Ironic really.  We've just had a long weekend here in the UK and in theory, Summer starts tomorrow.  That said, I got snowed on Sunday in Scotland and am somehow still trying to warm up from a ridiculously cold day up there. These questions though, they warm me up somewhat.  Thanks Chelsea and thanks Akirah.

1. From your childhood, what do you miss most about summer vacation?
Time off and time at the beach with cousins (camping on the NSW coast, nippers at Sandy point etc)

2. Are you going anywhere on vacation this summer?
The only "summer" holiday to the beach currently booked is to is to Cinque Terra in Italy but I've got a music festival and a trip to Paris booked in, and a few other trips in the pipeline.

3. What foods do you like to barbecue?
Pineapple rings and corn on the cob.  My Dad's allergic to pineapple so I always feel rebellious having (we couldn't have it as kids at home)

4. How do you celebrate the fourth of July?
Same as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th etc.  I don't.  I know the question doesn't ask it but I would guess the Australian equivalent is Australia day (26th Jan) and we celebrate that with an all day BBQ and listening to a national radio countdown, the Triple J Hottest 100.

5. What’s your favourite beverage to drink in the summertime?
For the last few years it has been cider but I'm a bit off it at them moment.  A cold beer is always good, as is pimms, or icy coola cordial. 

6. What movie are you looking forward to seeing this summer?
I'm not really sure what is coming.  I guess the final Harry Potter.

7. In the car: windows down or AC?
Either -depends when, where and how hot.  I love the windows down on an open road but appreciate the cooling abilities of AC.

8. Have you ever had a summer fling?
Yes.  There's a funny story to it as well but not for sharing right now.  Oh, and the one I'm thinking of, I was 14 so it was only as serious as that sounds (so think stolen kisses, hand holding etc).

9. Do you wear sunscreen?
Yes.  Everyday.  More so in summer and certainly more so on holidays. I'm a fair skinned red head. 

10. Do you have any favorite summertime activities?
Anything involving beach/water (but not actually sunbaking).  I love late chilled BBQs that stretch into the long days (to make the most of them, given the short winter ones!)

Saturday, 28 May 2011


Maze is one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants here in London.  Per the Maze website, it’s
“… breaks formal traditions by serving French cuisine with Asian influences in tasting sized dishes allowing diners to sample a wide variety of flavours and textures”
So after seeing a deal for a four course tasting menu on a local travel site, I (together with three friends) went last night and had a really good time. 

I’m by no means a foodie and whilst I often eat out, it is rarely (read never) anywhere of note but I really enjoyed it.  The service was excellent, I had one of the tastiest martini’s I’ve ever had (a raspberry passion fruit one) and really enjoyed the food.

Some of the combinations are more adventurous than what I’m use to, but not so far fetched that they didn’t appeal.  Whilst my mates went for meatier options, I had:

  • Marinated beetroot, Dorstone organic goat’s curd, pine nuts, Cabernet Sauvignon dressing
  • Loch Duart salmon, fondue of leek, vinaigrette of brown shrimps, horseradish
  • English pea and white asparagus risotto, aged parmesan and pea shoots
  • Rhubarb soup, ginger pannacotta, coriander

All of it in small serves, immaculately presented and delicious.  I think it was the dessert I was most aprehensive about but I really (really really really) liked it.

A thoroughly good night out, but because of the combination of food, service and company.  All of us enjoyed it and appreciated it for a what it was – a treat.

Have you eaten anywhere special lately or somewhere you are eyeing up?  I’d love to eat at Dinner by Heston.  That’s next, just as soon as I can get a booking.

(Like a bad blogger but a good dinner guest, I didn’t take any photos).

Thursday, 26 May 2011

My inbox, priorities and procrastination

My work inbox has zero unread emails, 2 unactioned emails and a total of 5 emails. I'm on top of it. I have a lot to do at work but at pretty much all times, I know what I've got (or, what I've been asked over email at least, I'll always get things sprung on me last minute - it's the nature of the beast).

My own inbox has zero unread emails, 42 unactioned emails and a total of 58 emails. I'm so NOT on top of it. I read emails on my phone but hate replying on it. I spend up to 10-12 hours in front of a computer at work each day so I turn my laptop on about once in a blue moon (hence scarcity of posts- I need to schedule some, hey, when I do actually turn the beast on).

How do you stay on top of things?

(oh, and let's talk about the things that are stagnating on my to do list - I haven't posted some cards I've had for MONTHS because I don't like going to the post office, I want to order some glowsticks online (for a musical festival) etc). I'm not sure what I do with my down time but it is not productive.

So - do you have a to do list? Does it help? How do you keep it? (ie. Electronic/written). Do you follow it? And do you reply to emails when you get them?

Help me, I need it.

(I'm currently using the iphone app TeuxDeux and I whilst it's helping me keep track of what I need/want to do, I'm still not actually doing it).

(I'm so bad at responding emails that a friend, a really good friend, wondered and asked if she'd upset me because I took so long to reply).

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

That time of the year

Time for togs

Shopping for togs (bathers, swimmers, swimsuits etc) is one of my least favourite activities.  I find it so so hard, I end up with something that is semi-half ok but I don’t really like or feel confident it.

A lot of it (all of it?) has to do with my body.  I’m a big girl.  I have boobs that are happiest in underwire and a belly best covered.  When I wear togs, I wear them all day.  So I want a tankini.  That supports my bust. 
The strange thing when shopping for tankinis is that the vast majority of the ones I see offer little to know support.  Underwire bikinis are easy to come by but not something a little longer.

After exhausting my options in the stores I’d been to and realising that I needed to get a move on (I don’t need it for a few weeks but I’m short on shopping time), I took the search online.

A few weeks ago I ordered this one from Very:
It doesn’t look over supportive but for only £12, you can’t go to wrong, right?  I ordered it in to sizes (it has bra sizing) but their delivery never reached me.  They can’t explain why, and have refunded the cost (but not the postage which I’ve taken up with them).  They suggested I reorder it.  Well, based on the one experience I’ve had with them, I’m in no such rush.

Today I ordered this one, again in two sizes:
This one from Fig Leaves (Fantasie brand) has underwire as well and looks a little more supportive.  I know I’m being all old before my time and wanting to cover up etc but I just want to be as comfortable as I can (which in turn means not exposed etc).  I love that it has straps and not a halter neck also – I’ve never really been a fan of them on me.

These ones were a little pricier (£34) but if I like it, it will last more than just this year.

Last year’s ones were never quite right and I gave out more than my fair share of nipple flashes, so they really just do need replacing.

What do you wear for swimming?  Bikinis?  All in one?  Tankini?  And how often/how many do you have?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Working 9-5

Do you like Dolly? I've been listening to her greatest hits album this week a bit. Can we still be friends? I hope so. (I hope so because either (a) you like her too or (b) you don't like her but don't mind that I do. I'm not really interested in other points of view so much.

So I started the new role a fortnight ago.

So far? It's good. It's a real steep learning curve but at the same time, it's pretty quiet and reasonably straight forward so far. The more I learn and do, the more I will need to learn and do. I think it's a good move for me though - more co-ordination and project work, more in depth analysis of figures, more exposure to more types of exposure. It's a real jack of all trades role, rather than a master of one. This will be good come the day I head home to Australia (we don't have the same depth in financial services so there are far fewer risk roles and they're far less specialised).

It's fun getting to know the new team but without some of the awkwardness that comes with being the new person. I mean, I am the new person, but I still have coffee and lunch each day with the same guys I did before (we're not in the same team anyhow) and my afternoon tea options are endless. So I'd call it a win.

And a little work related comic for you...based on my experience with the IT guys over the last few weeks, I'd say there was some truth to it...

    Tuesday, 17 May 2011

    My weekend–Lake District

    Doing this

    Walking and then rock climbing (learning to at least) in the Lake District.

    Scaffell Pike is the highest peak in England and been on my must do list for a little while now.  Weather could have been better (wind and rain for 6 of the 7 hours) but it was worth it. 

    The walk took us 7 hours, had plenty of scrambling and climbing as well as some gentle parts.  I really found my stride coming down and ran parts of it*. 

    Now…well I’m sore all over and chock full of cold.  I’d do it all again though.

    How was your weekend? 

    *Jogged.  Jogged really, when the downwards momentum over slippery boulders was to hard to fight.  Good fun though.  Grateful to be wearing my new boots – no blister, no rolled ankles, no missing toe nails (and all those good things that come with descents).  The Meindl Burma Pro are my new best friends

    Monday, 9 May 2011

    Mothers Day

    Happy Mothers day Mum.  Wherever you are.  I love you.

    Mum on her wedding day, 1974.

    Mothers day is a bittersweet day for me.  Bitter because it’s nearly twenty years since she passed away and so much as happened since that I wish she was able to be a part of.

    Sweet because of the number of people that have stepped into that void over the years – my dad, my aunties, my friends’ mums, my mum’s friends and Lynne, my stepmum. People who I have extraordinary relationships with and who I am forever thankful for.

    (Ironically, I was hanging out with Aunty Gabs today, the brunette bridesmaid, and wife of mum's brother, my uncle)

    Friday, 6 May 2011

    End of the Rainbow

    End of the Rainbow is a musical/play detailing the demise of Judy Garland. It's been playing in London for some time but finishing soon and I knew I wanted to go and see it. After failing to make plans with friends for some time, I decided I wanted to see it bad enough to just go, solo. Randomly, when I looked yesterday afternoon, there were cheap tickets for last night but not for any of the other nights I can attend so last night it was.

    Judy Garland's story is a sad one. I knew that, I knew she had substance issues, I just don't think I realised how sad it was. Dead at 47. Married 5 times. 5!! Numerous other famous lovers. A broken relationship with a flawed mother. A broken relationship with her oldest daughter (Liza Minnelli). I don't know the status of her relationships with her other children. Sacked/let go by MGM, massively in debt but supremely talented. After seeing the play, I then spent some time online (on the bus home) googling her. Such a brilliant start, gone bad.

    Set over the last 3 - 6 months of her life, the play is both sad, funny (hilarious funny, laughing out loud funny), entertaining and thought provoking. I don't know the plans for this play (I'm calling it a play - there was music in it, a la a musical, but not at random intervals and they didn't sing rather than talk) but if it does come near you - go see it! I can only hope your lead actress is as good as Tracie Bennett was last night - she was phenomenal.

    Anyway, I'll leave you with probably what is Judy's most famous song, sung much later in her life…

    Wednesday, 4 May 2011

    Whilst I was away– Morocco

    I’m home from my Morocco jaunt and I’ve got to say I loved it.  Obviously, I took a lot of pics (over 700) so there needs to be some heavy culling but it was a great trip. 

    I was doing a southern loop from Marrakech; camping in the desert, staying in the mountain villages and relaxing on the coast.  It was a great trip, and the constantly changing scenery was part of it.  It’s hard to pick a highlight, for I really did like it all.  We went through the palm groves of the Draa Valley, the dunes of Erg Chegaga, Tata, Tarafroute, the mountain village of Tagoudiche, coastal to Essaouria, back to Marrakech and a whole lot of other places along the way.  (Route map of sorts at the bottom)

    And in what is my most picture heavy post to date, here’s is some of what I saw…

    IMG_4680IMG_4747IMG_4690IMG_4685IMG_4696IMG_4724IMG_4749IMG_4692IMG_4727IMG_4802IMG_4750IMG_4758IMG_4768IMG_4785IMG_4816IMG_4821IMG_4841IMG_4853IMG_4860IMG_4875IMG_4919IMG_4937IMG_4932IMG_4918IMG_4946IMG_4959IMG_4975IMG_4978IMG_4983IMG_5014IMG_5034IMG_5041IMG_5049IMG_5054IMG_5055IMG_5058IMG_5060IMG_5073IMG_5005IMG_5016IMG_5072IMG_5091 - CopyIMG_5098IMG_5103IMG_5105IMG_5113IMG_5116IMG_5119IMG_5147IMG_5149IMG_5151IMG_5166IMG_5177IMG_5187IMG_5209IMG_5210IMG_5219IMG_5229IMG_5245IMG_5214IMG_5228IMG_5224IMG_5262IMG_5239IMG_5268IMG_5281IMG_5289IMG_5279IMG_5291IMG_5217IMG_5218IMG_5302IMG_5325IMG_5330IMG_5347IMG_5368IMG_5376IMG_5393IMG_5401IMG_5364IMG_5355IMG_5380IMG_5386IMG_5343IMG_5408IMG_5411IMG_5431IMG_5404IMG_5436IMG_5396IMG_5371

    And’s let not forget Jemaa el-Fnaa square.  Post Thursday’s bombing.  We didn’t hang around in this area or stay to be entertained by the mythics, snake charmers or water carriers.  Not this time. 

    The route we took looks kind of like this on the map (although we did some more off road, rather than following the roads so it’s not quite accurate)
    View Larger Map