Monday, January 29, 2007

Matters of Health

Feeling good and happy all through my holiday and since being back. Imagine my shock today when I visited my Chinese doctor and her shaking her head and (as always) saying: 'Digestion bad, sleep no good, lots of stress!' Back to square one!

Her solution: "Less stress" ... Not in this lifetime, lady!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Holiday Catch Phrase

Every holiday with W comes to an end with a new 'secret code' catch phrase, firmly embedded into our everyday dialogue, much to the confusion/amusement to anyone listening:

Tuscany (Spring 2005) - "Eddie, pants off!" Patsy from AbFab
Sydney (2 weeks ago) - "Mate, mate, mate" the seagulls from Finding Nemo

I'm eagerly awaiting the next holiday ...

Happy Australia Day!

The perfect way to celebrate Australia Day (when not in Australia and its 5 degrees outside):

To start - Aussie friends, a treasured bottle of 2001 Barossa Shiraz and the unexpected discovery of a lone Tim Tam in the back of the cupboard.

The night continued with more Twisties, Cheezels, Burger Rings, Midnight Oil and Cold Chizel. Whoever organised it is a genius.

Waking up the following morning with a sore head was all worth it ...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Holidays

Updates & photos on Sydney and Hunter Valley below ....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Insurance worries

Finally in position to purchase car of ones' dreams. The bit I had not considered is, having been taken off my Dad's car insurance a few years back, means I will be paying the highest premiums possible. Hmm ... that combined with a sporty car parked in a North London street, means no go!

Me ... not happy!

For now it will have to be a sensible less sporty number ...

The Sales

Worried I would miss the sales in London I stocked up in Sydney instead. The sizing there is spot on, while in the UK I am always in between sizes. The loot was something like this:

  • SABA black silk skirt ... the empire line dress had to go back
  • SABA dark aqua cute cardi and black V-neck knit ... both a beautiful cotton/silk blend
  • Jigsaw navy skirt and the best fitted white shirt
  • 3 pairs of Haviannas ... can never have too many
  • Lots of cute tops from Miss Shop ... forgot how great it was for basics
  • 400 thread count sheets from Sheridan, in dusty pink and dark wine red ... absolute bargain at $200 AUD
  • Frilly yellow turtle neck jumper from Reiss, in a luxurious silk/angora fabric ... half price darling!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Encounters and after shocks

  • Bumping into an old colleague at the airport. Flirting over a pre flight drink ... Almost daily emails from him since
  • Seeing The Ex by chance. Neither of us stopping. Not feeling anything ... Reassuringly priceless
  • Chance encounter with the 'hottest guy from school' ... Returning to work and finding out he has gone through trouble of getting my email address
  • Phone call from Irish Actor today, telling me about going back to 'the place it all began' ... Interesting and reassuring that it is not always us girls who don't get over it

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Back to reality

  • New toy: iPod Shuffle
  • Listening to: Moby (The Very Best of), Lenny Kravitz, Gwen Stefani, Bob Marley
  • Exercise: Daily yoga, 40 min run (38 min walk, 2 mins running)
  • Watching: New season of Desperate Housewives, The OC, Prison Break
  • Work: Too many emails waiting to be answered
  • The Blog: neglected

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stranger things have happened ... maybe not.

My new doctor is also an actor! What are the odds?

Hunter Valley

Driving north over the bridge, passing the leafy North Shore suburbs, the short stretch of proper highway and then the country side ... I love the open emptiness of Australia. The peace and carefree feeling that comes with staring at the long open road, the heat and the anticipation of my first ever Wine Country visit. W being the perfect partner in crime ... We both love good food, relaxing and I am now getting the taste for good wine.
We stayed at the Pepper Tree Guest House, on recommendation from JD, and it was fantastic! They insisted on calling us Mr & Mrs *insert my last name* but the room was just as requested and they sorted out the dinner reservation confusion which I caused.

The first night we dined at Robert's. Had heard so much about this place and it lived up to the hype. The food - delectable, devoured too quickly to take photos. Our waiter - very cute, a local poster boy featured on the cover of the visitors guide. The experience - priceless, we returned the following afternoon for coffee.

Day of wine tasting started with some sparkling at Petersons and continuing to the Hanging Tree winery. I had not heard of it but the 2004 Cabernet at dinner the previous night had struck a cord. It was down a dirt road and as W would describe it 'in a state of dilapidation', but there was something very authentic and homely about the place. We left charmed and bearing a bottle of their 2005 Cabernet. The latter now proudly residing on my wine rack, to be shared with W in a year or two.

The other memorable vineyards were Brokenwood and Pepper Tree. The staff in both were delightful and we spent a while in each sampling a long list of their finest. We left a little merrier and with a small selection for our final dinner Down Under:
  • 2005 Brokenwood Indigo Vineyard Viognier
  • 2005 Pepper Tree Limited Release Verdelho
  • 2004 Pepper Tree Limited Release Orange Zinfandel

The day was rounded off with a much needed nap and dinner at Casaurina. On the way we passed a field where kangaroos stood and calmly watched on as we gawked.

Dinner was a bit less exciting. Another highly recommended restaurant but after Roberts it didn't impress much. The service was ok but missing that little bit that makes it special. the food left something to be desired. We had selected a Brokenwood Shiraz which we finished off in the hotel bar and then went on to sample the Scraborough Pinot Noir. Thankfully it was my day off driving ...

The drive back to Sydney was rounded off with lunch at Pilu at Freshwater. The view is priceless and peaceful.

Jules had written about this place a few months ago and I was intrigued. I tried the house specialty 'Oven roasted suckling pig with scented apple sauce' and W tucked into the 'Lamb rump with broccolini, fregola and Bosane olives'


Three wonderful weeks. Did it all live up to expectations, you ask? It indeed did and even surpassed them. I had time to myself for reflection and realisation that this is the place I want to end up in. It is the the sunshine and smell of the ocean I want to to wake up to. It is where I want my children (those yet unplanned beings) to grow up ...

The gang at Bills
Wow, did they grow up fast!
Look at who I bumped into :)

There is so much to blog about and most of it has already been posted by my wonderful friend Julia. The rest will forever be in my heart and I may share bits of it as time goes by

Dress up

Cafe Sydney

Bondi Beach on NYE

  • Those nights which feel like we see each other every day and no time has passed
  • New Year's Eve ... the fireworks, the cocktails, the disagreements ... all priceless
  • Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge - the ultimate birthday present
  • Cafe Sydney - gathering of different friends, new and old
  • Dinner at Glass
  • The perfect movie partner & girls' night out ** - Me, legging it to the car, carrying a tiger pie ... priceless
  • Girls' night out 2 - Alpha meets Danni!
  • The last supper (drunken night)

Thai Me Up

Practice makes perfect!

Could this be it?

C'mon ... smile!

Smiles all 'round!

Open wide!

We are so worth it!

Has it really been 10 years since we left school?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Mum!

My Mummy turned 50 three weeks ago. At the time there was too much going on to sit down and write about it. It was a special day for a very special Mum, wife and daughter. Very much a family affair. The day started with grandma's pancakes and homemade jam, light lunch with a chocolate fondant birthday cake and finished with the Gourmand menu at L'Ortolan.

Where is Alphachick?

Being without internet I have been absent for some weeks. Sun, shopping, old friends are keeping me busy but before I begin telling you about my Sydney adventures I need to blog about my last week in London...