Kiwi Visitors

I FINALLY convinced my family to come visit me from New Zealand! And by family, I mean my brother Luke and his friend Sam. The rest are still on the roster.

Luke and Sam arrived early Friday morning and flew out Monday afternoon. A short but fun filled visit. How fun filled you ask? Here’s their itinerary…

Friday:
Fly in, home to change and eat, dropped to city
Train home, nap
Dinner party then out
Visit Fridays, Black Bird, Laruche, The Met & Cloudlands

Saturday:
Straight to Gold Coast
Movie World adventures
Home to Lauren’s to change for half an hour
Draculas Cabaret show
Out to the Casino
Drive around Surfers night life

Sunday:
Say goodbye to Lauren
Breakfast out
Harbour Town outlet shopping
Surfers Paradise tourist sightseeing & lunch
JB HI FI to buy a MacBook air
Drive back to Brisbane
Sit down for an hour
Groove Train in the city for dessert
Black Bird for drinks
South Bank for sushi and a look around

Monday:
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Mt Cootha look out
DFO outlet shopping
Airport at 3pm ready for flight back to NZ!

The boys were so tired they were falling asleep in the car! I wore them out but they saw the best of Brisbane and I hope they will be back, I had the best time playing your guide and hanging out with them.

Can you guess from the pictures which one is my brother?

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Melbourne – time flies

I decided it was time I went back to Melbourne. My dumpling cravings were ridiculous and I supposed I should catch up with my friends too!

I managed to escape the massive storm of cyclone Marcia, although I was half waiting for them to cancel my flights.

Once in Melbourne I bussed then trained to Nikita’s house who was having such a ball that she forgot to meet me! We ran into her apartment to get changed only to find there was no power so I changed and did my makeup in the dark.

The waiting cab took us to the Saxon in Richmond where Rosie and some of their other friends were waiting. I downed a few cocktails to catch up before heading to Chappelli’s where we shared a bottle of champagne and downed a chicken risotto, garlic bread and chips.

Pawn & Co was next on the cards and we stayed there until late. Or early.

Saturday I spent time with Nikita & Rosie (including a dumpling run to Hutong) then headed to Hawthorne to visit Lisa. She has a great new house and talked me into doing a new painting for her room. We made dinner and settled in to watch a movie.

Sunday we met Nikita for brunch and afterwards Lisa and I went to the city. I bought a great leather mini at Zara.

Sammy picked me up after I had devoured some more dumplings. I met her beautiful Chow puppy, Hugo and we settled in at Beachside in St a Kilda for some ciders. My very good friend Adam, his lovely fiancée Sally and Mum Fiona met us and we laughed the afternoon away.

So much so that I nearly missed my flight! Yet again I was running through the airport to make my flight. Finally got on the plane and they shit the doors only for a siren to go off. The plane was grounded for 1.5 hours and after all those coders I was busting for the bathroom!

I sat next to a hilarious guy from Brisbane, we chatted the whole time. He actually made me cry with laughter 7 times ( I was super tired) and I managed to make him cry once. Fair effort I thought!

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Milk Factory Kitchen & Bar, South Brisbane

A bar where they throw rose petals at you and overly garnish your drinks? Hell yeah!

Starting with cocktails, I stole Ka Lei’s drink (a freshly squeezed Apple juice with Bison vodka) so she ordered a bramble. The bar tenders were really interactive and knowledgable. In particular, Aisher was whipping some amazing concoctions!

We ordered the eggplant fingers with satay sauce and the chicken pakoras with aioli. They were both average.

What was amazing however, was the gin & tonic swordfish ceviche served on scallop shells! Best ceviche I’ve had in quite some time.

We went on to play a game with the bar tenders. They had to try recreate the taste of Spice Box – a spicy, sweet, rye rum which they’d never even tasted. There were all sorts of random ingredients being retrieved from hiding places!

The bar reminds me of the layout of bars in Canada. People actually sitting at the bar and engaging with patrons and staff. A nautical theme, dimly lit with a great range of alcohol.

Lots of fun and banter, I’d definitely go back.

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Hamilton Island, Day One

This is my 6th trip back to the Whitsundays – I adore Hamilton Island!

This area of the world is just breathtaking – flying in is gorgeous.

My two tour guides, Liz & Shara met me at the airport with our golf buggy to start exploring. They’re friends of my cousin, Melissa who was at work.

After a quick change (into a bikini of course) we went for a spin around the island. And by spin, I mean crawl – the golf buggy really doesn’t go that fast.

We stopped for a cocktail at One Tree Hill lookout then headed to the beach to chill int he sun and swim before picking up Melissa a few hours later.

We had dinner at my fave place, Coca Chu. Delicious food!! My fave is the lobster wrapped in betel leaf.

I love being back on the island, it’s such a relaxing place. It was meant to storm the entire time but now the forecast isn’t looking too bad!

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Harajuku Gyoza on a Wednesday

Wednesday. I would never have driven if I had predicted how the evening would fold out!

I love Harajuku Gyoza. It’s loud. It’s Japanesy. People are excited. The dumplings rock. So do the sides. And the beer. It’s easy to find in Fortitude Valley. Happy days.

My fave part of the restaurant though is the yelling when people order their sake. It is absolutely hilarious and soooo much fun.

Lisa, Beck and I headed there on one of our semi-regular catch ups. We ordered all the dumplings… like everything on the menu and some! I also had the cucumber & miso salad and we shared the eggplant and pork belly – I can’t fault anything!

I asked for a Kirin beer – Lisa thought I had ordered a cider and was appalled to find she had ordered a beer. All the more for me though! We decided she would drive my car home and I would drink her beer. Win, win.

The guys across from us ordered sake and we fell into complete hysterics at the faces they made – one guy in particular was horrified. So we decided to order some. It’s way too fun not to join in! A guy from the horrified face table joined us and accused us of not drinking all our sake. He quickly took great offence to us enquiring whether he was a Kiwi. While we were bickering his friend sent us over 3 more sake shots for his amusement. I was pretty much done by that stage but with some encouragement we all picked up our glasses and threw them back. Our ‘lovely’ friend departed but not before commenting that we were all ‘beautiful ladies as long as we kept our mouths shut’ which had us dissolve into absolute fits of laughter.

Great night!

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Happy Holidays

I’m running a bit behind with updates for my holidays!

I had the absolute best time in New Zealand for Christmas and New Years.

I spent the first five days at home in Feilding with my family and the cows. Christmas was a quiet affair until the evening when the neighbours joined and we got rowdy. Boxing Day we headed to the annual Palmerston North races which quickly escalated to a group of friends and I heading out for the night.

We rented an amazing house in Pauanui on the Coromandel Coast, where we have spent many holidays, for the next week. While Daniel (brother) flew out to Fiji to party it up on Beachcomber Island, my best mate Kim, my brother Luke’s mate Ben, myself, Luke and my parents headed north. We were met there by my Dad’s brother and his family and our family friends, the Davies and their family, including my beautiful Goddaughter. 16 of us in total!

When we are in Pauanui, life really revolves around only a few things: naps, champagne, the beach and food. Probably four of my favourite things!

The house was on a private airstrip with a hangar underneath and a balcony built for taking it all in. We watched the planes and helicopters flying all day long. The beach was only a few minutes walk away as was the tiny shopping centre.

We attempted fishing with no luck, not even a bite BUT! I did do the big walk up Mt Pauanui successfully on the morning of New Year’s Eve! It was tough towards the end but well worth the views.

I had such a good time that I actually balled my eyes out when I left. It’s pretty unusual for me to get upset when I fly out but I just didn’t want to leave. Lucky I got back and had a party that night and started work the day after so I had little time to dwell on anything!

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Hamilton Island – booked!

I couldn’t decide what to do for Australia Day this year but after a quick chat to my cousin, Melissa who lives on Hamilton Island, my mind was made up.

I’ve been to Hamilton Island every year for the past 6 except for last year so it’s well time I got back.

This time I plan to do all of the hikes/ walks I can and get in some snorkelling and fishing.

Can’t wait!

Any suggestions for things to do or places to eat on Hamilton Island?

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Home for the holidays

I flew home on Christmas Eve this year. It’s late but I have limited leave due to being not far into a new job. A casual $750 bought me a one way flight to Palmerston North via Christchurch (where I sit writing this) from Brisbane.

I can’t wait to see my family and be on the farm.

I had originally decided to go to Singapore or New Caledonia for NYE but after a few friends pulled out I decided to stay in NZ.

Luckily we (my family) had the idea to rent a house in Pauanui for NYE to meet my Aunt, Uncle, cousins, family friends, their kids (who are my age) and their kids, one of which is my goddaughter. My best mate Kim is coming and my old flatmate Kim & her friend will be joining us for NYE, I can’t freaking wait. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend NYE than by the beach with some of my favourite people!

I fly back to the Gold Coast on the 3rd from Auckland, arriving at 6pm. Lisa sprung her birthday party on me that night so I’m straight back to Brisbane to party the night away with her – lucky she’s a bloody good mate and she dropped me at the airport at 5am this morning!

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Birthday 2014 reflections

Upon my birthday I often contemplate how my last year has been. And quite a year it has been!

I spent my last birthday in New York before returning to Vancouver (where I was living) for Christmas and NYE. I then tripped around the states for 7 weeks before fleetingly stopping back in Vancouver to pack my bags, have a farewell party and hit the plane back to NZ within 24 hours.

I then tripped around the North Island, the South Island and had a quick visit in Brisbane. After deciding I couldn’t have the lifestyle I was after in Wellington after 3 months I headed to Melbourne.

Melbourne was a whirlwind of parting for fun and partying for work. I met a bunch of great people and cut out some others that weren’t doing it for me. I lasted there 3 months too.

Job hunting for a perm role turned out more difficult than it first seemed. I was picky and didn’t want to fall into just anything. I’m absolutely positive I made the right choice to hold out for what I wanted and to take the role that I did.

So amongst the partying I accidentally applied for a role in Brisbane. Turned out I loved it. One interview and I wanted that job! Lucky for me, a few weeks later I was offered it.

I immediately flew back to NZ for a quick holiday to see the fam & farm before starting over in Brisbane at the end of September. I had to pack and leave 4 days later. They lost my luggage in the move from VIC to QLD – it came through eventually and was a fantastic excuse to update my wardrobe.

I moved in with some great friends (Tay & Patty) and met Huck, their border collie puppy who won me over in a second. He’s the real reason I moved in – sorry guys!

The last three months flew by in my new role as Digital PR & Communications Manager at Wiley. I feel so privileged and grateful to be part of such an amazing team. I’ve never worked anywhere with a culture like Wiley before and it is certainly one to admire.

I was thinking I hadn’t done that much this year (I mainly think in terms of travel & haven’t been overseas since April) but I’ve really done and achieved a bunch!

Will be interesting to see what the next year will hold.

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Ham Party!

Everyone loves a Christmas ham, and lucky for me, my work (Wiley) gifted each employee a ham and bottle of wine for Christmas. They really are generous employers.

I only had a few days to eat the ham before I flew out to NZ for Christmas so I decided to have a ham party!

I decorated the yard, invited a bunch of my close friends and had the Christmas music (much to everyone’s disgust) blaring. Starting with cheese boards, homemade hummus by the legendary Kim and my fave guac by the lovely Lisa we had drinks outside while the ham cooked inside.

I glazed the ham with pineapple and brown sugar (thanks mum for the recipe) and I must say it turned out pretty well! Served with an Asian slaw in buns and beef sausages for those who didn’t eat pork, (cough Daran & Lisa) everyone was pretty full by the time I bought out dessert hush consisted of fruit kebabs and watermelon.

We had a fantastic time, so much so that two of the boys crashed (isn’t Mates Motel a great ad campaign by the govt?!) for the night and two out of the four carloads that drove needed to get a ride with the others!

We had lots of fun, partied from 3-midnight and consumed much of the ham – happy days!!

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