Friday 24 February 2017

Taking Stock - Feb

I will be honest, I'm not a fan of these kinds of posts so it will be short and sweet. I'm just not sure what's of interest to the reader, and what I get from doing it, as the writer....

Life this week (well, last week) saw me:

Eating the fabulous watermelon cake

Drinking cocktails

Pondering if I should spend the big bucks to hit Womad on the Sunday night (fly back first thing Monday) to listen to Hot 8 Brass Band and the AMAZING Parov Stelar? Still deciding, stay tuned. With airfares and a hotel, it's BIG bucks...

Reading the new(ish) Herman Koch which I'm loving (I adored The Dinner, but was not enthused by The Summer House with a pool (or whatever it was called).

Watching the new Trainspotting at the movies (I liked it) and Barbu at the Opera House (tomorrow night).

Thinking about my smart daughter's advice - If you aren't smiling, you're doing it wrong.

Writing, hopefully, my First of the Month Fiction for Tuesday's #IBOT.

Linking with #OpenSlather

Anyone want to tell me I MUST go to Womad?

PS I've not watched all 6 mins of this clip so I can't tell you if it's suitable for work or not.

“A picture is a poem without words” - Horace

I had a sensational Friday, jetting down for the Hockney exhibition - but more of that to come. On my short cut to lunch (and big up Supernormal on the half serves so I could order three dishes while dining solo!) I cut through Hosier Laneway and here's what made me smile.

I was definitely loving life that day!


Linking with #MuralMondays

If you're not smiling, you're doing it wrong

My daughter has a little Kanye in her - this is not a criticism. I think there's a lot of good in the Kanye headspace (haters, take it elsewhere - I've written before on his enviable view of self perception and self-esteem). She just wrote a book which she illustrated, titled "You are one of us. Champions!". There were pages reminding you that you are strong, you are brave, to hang in there and you are adventurous. I love that kids believe in themselves, whether they have the skills to back it up or not. I think we need to back ourselves a little more in all that we do.

What I love more is that she made this book for her friend, who she was concerned for because the friend didn't believe she was any good at anything (we just had the swimming carnival so go figure!).

I'm envious of this trait in children, that they can throw themselves into whatever they do with 100% enthusiasm, and no little voice of judgement nagging them and tarnishing the experience. I don't know why we lose it as we age. It seems a flawed evolution if you ask me.

While cleaning out my handbag, I found this:

I have no idea when this came into my possession (possibly a year ago!) but I think it's my new motto in life.

So as you go about your day, just remember, if you're not smiling, you're doing it wrong.

Linking with #AwwMondays

Monday 20 February 2017

I don't want to be a Princess

'How was school, Princess?" I asked my little one.
'I'm not a princess. I don't want to be a princess' she replied. So I asked why not.

She'd thought about it. Based on the story book princesses, but when you consider modern royalty, still applicable centuries on.

1. You don't get to choose your own clothes. You're told what to wear and it's always dresses or skirts. 

2. You have too many slaves and never get to do anything on your own. (I did point out perhaps they were servants not slaves but I agree a princess would rarely get to wander around by herself).

3. You have to spend a lot of time doing stuff whether you want to or not. (I'm guessing she means all those ceremonial functions).

4. You can't just look at your phone when you want to. (I don't know protocol but I'm guessing she is right).

5. You wouldn't be able to start a blog and mouth off about things that were annoying you (obviously this is my input not hers)

So next time you see those photos of royalty, think about the people in it. How overwhelming and invasive a lifestyle it must be. Even a child can see it wouldn't be fun...

Linking short and sweet for 

Sunday 19 February 2017

“If you're skating on thin ice, you might as well dance.” ― Anita Shreve

I love Groupon. It prompts me to try things I might not normally bother doing, because if I chuck it in, I haven't blown too much money. (My partner hates my frugal behaviour as he finds it embarrassing....but that's another story).

I signed up to a month's free lessons at a dance studio. I figure I only have to do one class a week to get my money's worth, but will aim for 2.

I'm going to try ballet, hip hop, African dance and everything else they offer. Just to see what it's like.

I need to point out I'm not very good with left and right - it's an optical issue not stupidity, by the way.

I really do not have very good co-ordination.

I maybe should have mentioned the above to my rather graceful friend who signed up with me. But I guess she'll work it out soon enough.

I have no appropriate fitness attire.

I am presuming I might look a little like this (without the outfit):

However, who knows, by the end of the month I might be more like this, or at least smiling like they are (and we know that dancing is the shortcut to happiness):

If nothing else, what I lack in talent and ability, I hope to make up for in enthusiasm.

We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. - Japanese Proverb

And I finally have something to add to the much neglected list:

Torshlusspanik List:

1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)
11. Master a Masterclass (check)
12. Perform a rap song (check)
13. Trampoline adventure (check)
14. BMX Riding (check)
15. Do a cart wheel (check)
16. Ride an Electric Bike (check)
17. Astonish Myself
18. Write a book*.
19. Participate in a distance event (check)
20. Climb Sydney Tower (check)
21. Dance in a dance class

Friday 17 February 2017

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." - Marilyn Monroe

I'm cleaning up my dying phone in order to replace it. I've been collecting photos of shoes and stockings and decided now is the time to use them.

Sometimes all you need is the right footwear to put a spring in your step. Do you wear colourful tights or sparkly shoes?


Remember the wisdom of Dr Seuss in the mighty Oh, the places you'll go. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

my wee girl went through a faze of wearing her skating tights as daywear

Linking with #RubyTuesdayToo and #BlueMonday.- for the first photo. Two themes, one photo.

Monday 13 February 2017

Here's to not losing your head this Valentine's Day

I had grand plans this Valentine's Day. I was qoing to book the squillion dollar dinner and go full romance under twinkling lights at The Grounds. However, just before I booked, a note came home saying meet the teacher was on that night. How deranged! Given some of the teachers are young, why would they want to do that? So we will be having a super romantic night in a classroom on little seats talking about maths and projects. Fabulous! I know, don't be jealous! My amazing 'in your face' lifestyle knows no bounds.

The story of St Valentine is a little different to what you might expect. One version is he married young lovers against the wishes of Claudius II and got his head lopped off. Another version is Claudius wanted everyone to worship 12 Roman Gods but Valentinus stuck with his Christian beliefs. While in jail he restored eyesight to the janitor's blind daughter (thus the sainthood) and on the eve of his execution, sent her a farewell note telling her to keep her faith in God and signing off 'From your Valentine'.

Apparently the almond tree is the symbol of love and friendship but slightly impractical so at a guess, that's how the roses and chocolates came in. I guess you could chuck in a pack of almonds if you wanted to be 'traditional'.

My Valentine's Day wish to you all, single or committed, is this:

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” 
― Kurt VonnegutThe Sirens of Titan

So ditch the hate and share some love towards the refugees, the poor, the homeless, the LBGTQI community (Liberal party, let's show them we respect their love and let them get married!), those of a different religion, those of a different skin colour, those who are different. Let's ignore the lead by the countries fueling hate and show them that we are better than that. Let's lead by example.

Lastly, I leave you with this ad. No affiliation but I can't believe in 2017 people are scared to hold hands. Shame on us.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. 
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Linking with #AwwMondays

Friday 10 February 2017

Too much of a good thing?

We went to Bruce last night - great concert as always and while chatting with the women in the next seat, discovered she was returning for the Thursday night concert and then travelling to Hope Estate for the Saturday concert as well. I know this is quite the Springsteen fan thing, to travel Australia when he tours and see a gig in each of the capital cities. We have a friend who has clocked up 100 Bruce concerts. 100!

My question is, if money and time was no object, would you do this? 

For me, I think I'd diminish the enjoyment. The initial part of the concert is always the hyped excitment of 'seeing them live'. However if you just saw them two nights before, would you have that? Or would you need that? Maybe you don't to still enjoy the music.

We've been three times, over a number of years. I loved the Wrecking Ball tour, which was my first and I find part of me comparing the experience to that each time - the set list, the things he did on stage and so on. If you saw him three nights in a week, how could you not become slightly critical in comparison?

We have seen Eric Bibb every time he comes out - 8 times, maybe? These days we often discuss what songs we wish he had done (but didn't) after the show. We still enjoyed it, but there's a part we would have preferred if he'd done it a little differently. 

So if you are one of the people that clocks up the concerts in quick succession, can you tell me what I'm missing?

Should Springsteen return and tour again, we'll be there but in a year or so.

Linking with #FortheloveofBLOG

Sailing, Sushi, Sunsets & Sydney

We got offered the boat again, and this time we took four families with us, so the kids, from teens to primary outnumbered us.

We opted for easy catering, grabbing prawns and sushi platters and set off after 1 for a lazy afternoon lunch. We swam, jumped off the side and then the highlight, heading home into the sunset.

If you are a visitor to this fair city, and it is truly beautiful, you must find a way to get yourself out on the harbour. A ferry, whale watching, the tall ship twilight cruise. Hire a boat if you're loaded. Whatever you do, you need to see the icons from the water. That's the real Sydney Harbour.

It is impossible not to love life as you bob about on the water, enjoying a champagne Sydney day!

Linking this old post with #SkyWatch and #HeidisHimmelsblick
This boat was near us, and I will admit to having boat envy - or should that be slide envy?

Monday 6 February 2017

Life through a lens

Recently I attended So Frenchy So Chic, a music and food festival celebrating all things French. I noticed that a lot of the 'activities' to pass the time involved taking photos for Social Media - screen shots 'in' New Caledonia, sitting in a boat or in front of the Renault yellow balloons, or simply before the giant letters with the harbour background. It's a day out for beautiful people, so I didn't really think about it.

What did surprise me, was when later in the week, I attended the Opera House and in the foyer was a pretend opera box with props to take your photo in, and a long queue to do just that. When you walked into the auditorium, there was the hashtag being promoted. Apparently my opinion that the obsession with Social Media and selfies was a young person's game, was unfounded.

I've been coming to the conclusion that the way we see the world has changed. This focusing on our presentation of the world has to have an affect on the way we view ourselves in it.  In the past, I read an article that stated the top reason for choosing a travel destination was the most instagrammable. More recently there was an article that 20% of your travel was on history and interest and 80% was on taking photos for your SM feed.  I was once invited to an event with the most instragrammable food. I declined because I didn't know if we would be allowed to eat it and was too embarrassed to ask.

I was considering a very pricey dinner for Valentine's Day, but was surprised they advertised the opportunity for 'picture perfect moments illuminated by fairy lights' and the photobooth before they mentioned the lobster they were serving for the meal. They're very savvy marketers so they know what appeals and in what priority, so I think this is an indication of the seismic shift in what is important to the population.

I have gone to restaurants and events, purely lured by the appealing SM of it. Not because I wanted to create that social media, but the photos were enticing and made me want to seek out the experience. I think it was Marc Best (of Marque fame) said in an article that 90% of people take photos of their meal, and 50% of those post them online. Most of the people who go to the restaurant now have been lured by Social Media (of their friends or the PR effort). So I understand why businesses want it done, and I also understand why people want to share great experiences with their friends. If we do something fun, we want our friends to do it too.

My questions is, how much is it shaping our view of the world and our role in it? Clearly, by the travel statistics it is changing us. It has to be changing how we experience our life. What does it mean, and what is it doing to us, psychologically?

Sorry for the inconclusive post but I'm very interested in your thoughts on this. Obviously our children will be very different people to us, given this is the norm they grew up in.

Linking with #MummyMondays

Thursday 2 February 2017

Seeing Red


With the year of the Rooster upon us, I can't step out in Sydney without stumbling through a lucky gate or seeing lanterns.

We've eaten tasty treats at the Lunar Markets and read the wishes on the wishing tree.

It's hard not to feel the festive nature of the city, in celebration that seems to grow larger every year.

Does your city celebrate?

Linking with #RubyTuesdayToo

How much money is enough?

The short answer is there is never enough money. Enough is okay, too much is better. So for #Lifethisweek I want to tell a little story.

This story was told to me by a tuktuk driver, and deviates a little from the version on the website, but I like my version better, so that is what I'll share. In Siem Reap there are regular music concerts held to raise money for the running of a hospital. It started when a Swiss man, who fell in love with Cambodia decided he wanted to build a hospital. The government said 'We can give you the land but we can't give you the money. If you can raise the money, you can build the hospital'. So he asked around, begged bankers and businessmen and held concerts. He raised the money and built the hospital. The real story is even greater than that, as there are five hospitals, helping 13 million outpatients over twenty three years, and saving three thousand children a month who would otherwise die without this access to free medical care. If you are in Cambodia (or occasionally Switzerland), please attend a concert, and know your dollars are doing some good. Nowadays, 3% is donated from the Cambodian Government, 4% from the Swiss Government and a whopping 92% of running costs come from private donation. If interested in donating, click here.

As amazing as this is, it is not unique. A similar tale was repeated when a Japanese Photographer was moved to help the children of Cambodia and set up Friends Without A Border which in 1999 opened Angkor Hospital for Children (run by and for Cambodians) and more recently in 2015 opened the Lao Friends Hospital for Children. You can fundraise, donate, send supplies,  'adopt a patient', give a gift to an inpatient or buy gifts to help support the FWAB.

I've spoken before of Aki Ra and his continual work clearing landmines, and the byproduct of this work, housing and caring for children, creating the Relief Centre housed with the Landmine Museum. Last year a Farm Project was also created. All run on donations.

These people thought of the project and didn't baulk at the dollar signs. Their determination was enough.

So in answer to the question, how much money is enough? However much you need.

Please note I have no affiliation with these charities. I just like them.

Linking with #OpenSlather