Wednesday 30 May 2018

Loving Life, Loving Sydney

With VIVID here (the three week light and music festival), I have to say, I'm loving Sydney. The city is alive with hoards of people in the streets enjoying this glorious city.

I was discussing with a traveller the charm of Singapore as a modern city, like Sydney or London (because she had said it was 'culture-less', I argued it was a evolving modern city with plenty of history that shaped it, just not a 'culture' that was something you could look at in a patronising Western fashion. It was a global city and the culture was in the thoughts and way of life of the people, that shaped the activities and way they use public spaces. She then stated that she wasn't a fan of Sydney either, and that London was more 'real and historic'. I have no idea how a city isn't real? It has to be real for the people living there. If you see a city and think it isn't real, I suspect that means you haven't made the effort to see beyond the tourist trail. 

Unlike Melbourne, you can't walk down the street and be guaranteed a fabulous meal - you have to do some research but there's plenty of gems at all budgets. If you stay put in the CBD and visit the Rocks, you've missed most of what makes Sydney so special - get up to Palm Beach and catch the ferry, head to West Head or the quaint Bobbin Head,  hit the coast road south. Natural beauty bounds, art is everywhere, music and comedians are on nightly (somewhere) in the city. Sydney (like Singapore) is a city that rewards you with the effort you put into it. 

If you managed to coincide your visit with the three weeks of VIVID, get out on a boat or hit the streets, take in the festival atmosphere and be dazzled by the visual delights. If you live here, don't listen to the naysayers, visit many times in small trips to just one part - the Rocks one night, the Gardens another. Easy, accessible and free.

In it's tenth year, VIVID is now part of our city's history and culture. Real or otherwise.

Follow my Instagram for more VIVID adventures live. 

Linking this old post with #TravelTuesday #MCoW #WednesdayAroundtheWorld because it's lights on for VIVID this weekend, after missing out for two years in a row!

Monday 28 May 2018


Our youngest went off to camp this week, and last night, our eldest went out and I suddenly realised it was "Night of Didier" again. The poor overlooked, uncomplaining child who melts my heart is celebrated & suddenly showered with one on one attention. Or even better, the rarer two on one attention.

With one vegetarian and one child going for the Guiness Book of Records for the fussiest eater, my meat loving child usually misses out unless I want to cook 4 meals a night, which is rare - go figure. And so it was, with no movies he wished to see, he chose the local chinese for Emperor Chicken (I'd offered Holy Duck and his dad was suggesting Assembly for pizza but no, simple and easy was his choice, much like him).

It's funny how traditions start. Sometimes you don't even know you've made one. Yet here it is.

Have you created a new family tradition? 

PS I noted to my partner the other day, that in a few years it will just be the fussy eater and us on holidays, so we really better try to fix her eating habits or our travel experience will be ruined!

Friday 25 May 2018

Weekend Reflection - Lights on Water

We spent an evening watching the boats in their VIVID finery light up the water.

 The stroll around to Darling Harbour has a number of hands on light and water experiments (at the Jellyfish at Cockle Bay)

 Unlike previous years, the Darling Harbour show runs non stop. So you can have dinner before or after, fitting in with the kids needs.

Linking with #BlueMonday

And it's back...

Late May to mid June is the time Sydney shines - people flock to the city at night to check out the dazzling lights. Vivid Festival is art, music and the big draw, the lights. Those that follow the blog for a number of years know that I go hard, and this year is no exception.

Instead of the crowds at the Opera House for opening night, we had dinner at Lotus at Barangaroo and checked out the lights there, and then strolled through Darling Harbour (just missing the 8pm fireworks) to Uber home.

For an easy Vivid experience with the kids, this is one way to do it. From our table at Lotus we saw the giant lady (and we kept going over to see her up close and the kids got to talk to her), and the 'storm' in the forest entertained us all through dinner.

So you can see the scale

There are so many locations to experience Vivid this year, there's really no reason not to go!

Linking with #BlueMonday

Wednesday 23 May 2018

The trick is just to do it

I have a terrible cold and I missed out on a girls weekend away in Noosa due to kids commitments, and have just had to turn down a $400 gala dinner (free) due to more kids commitments, so all in all, I'm feeling very sorry for myself.

I did however go and see Radnor & Lee at the Metro on Sunday. Josh Radnor (who is an actor) is learning the guitar. He said in an offhand comment 'I joined a band and then decided to learn an instrument so I wouldn't have to just stand here. The guitar gives me something to hide behind.' He followed on with "I'm like the poster boy for just getting out and doing stuff. I waited til 42 to join a band and start playing the guitar".

I liked this idea - it doesn't matter the reasons you choose to make a change, they don't need to be high brow or 'worthy', and like Grandma Moses or Mary Wesley, age is irrelevant to a successful career.

So this week I am loving hope and the feeling that anything is possible if you just do it, for whatever reason. You don't have to try to write a best selling book - you could write a  book because it's a tiny piece of meditation just for you. And maybe others will like it. The trick is, you need to write it, or paint it, or make it - whatever the 'thing' is that sets you free from the tedium of work and home life.

Linking with #GlobalBlogging #OpenSlather #KCACOLS, #AllsortsofBlogs & #Stayclassymama

Sunday 20 May 2018

Last chance for the Sharing Feast at Pilu at Akuna Bay

Unfortunately Pilu at Akuna Bay is closing it's doors for the the Pranzo della Domenica. This Sunday, 27th May is your last chance for a laid back Sunday lunch on the water in the National Park.

For $65 a three course meal (four courses with antipasto) will arrive at your table - let them know any dietry requirements with booking. Children under 12 are $30, or there's a kids menu too.

Book your Sunday feast here.

You can tell we brought the kids - Uno cards!

Going early for #IBOT only so people have time to get a crew together for one last hurrah this Sunday.

Thursday 17 May 2018

"You can't see the world through a mirror." Avril Lavigne

For Mother's Day we went for lunch at Sydney's QT and I noticed reflections everywhere!

I loved the art reflected and the endless lights, stretching on to eternity.

As one who is not such a fan of my image in a mirror, I was quite delighted at the joy I got capturing reflections. It's not the mirror that's the problem, it's what my brain does with the image it sees. As I've discussed, that's something that needs working on.

While trying to find a theme for this post, I came across this quote by Pearl Bailey. "We look into mirrors but we only see the effects of our times on us - not our effects on others." For those that struggle with mirrors, maybe we need to remind ourselves that the mirror only reflects us, not the great world around us and the people in need that we can help - be it friends, family or strangers abroad. Maybe that's where the real meaning of life and happiness lies.

If you wish to help the people of Hawaii, donate to the disaster relief here. You can choose to direct your donation to those affected by the floods on Oahu or Kauai, or those people evacuated on the Big Island. I've no affiliation with these people, I just really loved the people of Hawaii & their spirit of aloha.

Linking with #PictorialTuesday #WWOAT #WWOT  #TheRandom #WordlessWednesday  #WeekendReflection, #mySundayPhoto and #SundayBest

Wednesday 16 May 2018

The gift of boredom

I've done nothing of interest this week except cut through red tape with a machete. While there's a level of satisfaction, it's extremely dull and tedious. I haven't even been out. I was thinking how bored I was, when it hit me. I've had an extremely eventful few years, and this is the first time I can remember when I wasn't worried or stressed with one matter or another. 

So in a short post for #LovingLifeLinky, I'm celebrating boredom. There's some truth to the saying "When you pay attention to boredom it gets unbelievably interesting". Jon Kabat-Zinn

And of course, following Hedy Lamarr's advice 'Boring people don't have to stay that way' so I've organised to sneak out for an hour tonight to catch my last comedian of the Sydney Comedy Festival...

What are you loving this week?

Linking with #TwinklyTuesday and #FortheloveofBLOG

Monday 14 May 2018

“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” Leo Christopher

I needed to get some of the kids passports renewed. I had lunch with a friend to verify the photos. She got to the part that asked how long she'd know the kids and said 'So what is it? Nine years and....nine months?' I was stunned. She's a good friend but what I considered a new friend. Yet apparently I'd known her a decade. How had that happened? And why didn't it feel that long?

As I often seem to say these days, when did I get so old?

Be thankful of the people that see you through the difficult times as well as the fun. Make sure you acknowledge what they do for you. Suddenly you discover they've been there all along.

One last little thought on time, is a lovely little quote that calms me in the panic of this disappearing life. “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” (an anonymous quote). Make sure your flight crew are good to have along for the ride. Make it all count!

Linking short & sweet for #MLSTL

Friday 11 May 2018

Share My Snaps - May

It's been busy, already with concerts, cabarets, comedians and children's commitments (see what I did there?).

My photo has been picked for #SnapSydney in the Inner West. Really it's Sid Tapia's fabulous portrait of his daughter 'Skylar-Lovelle' that was special, but I'll take what I can get at the moment.

Loving Sydney more than ever, which is good because I'm not going anywhere due to kids exams and other obligations.

Falling behind in work but gradually knocking off other chores that need to be done - so half a win, half a fail. Which I guess means neutral?

Trying to get some aid over to Big Island, and encourage people to donate to help the displaced people on Kauai and Oahu (from the floods) and Big Island (Volcano). I loved those places and the people of Hawaii are such good people - they actively help the homeless in a way I've not witnessed elsewhere and even some of the recovering addicts checked themselves out of rehab to go and help on the ground in the aftermath of the lava evacuation. These are the type of good people they are, so it would be nice to help them where I can. If you had a good holiday in Hawaii, maybe you can give a little too?

A lot of this can be seen on my Insta, so sorry for the duplication...

What has been snapworthy for you this month?

 Linking with #PointShoot #WordlessWednesday #PictorialTuesday #TPThursday #ThruMyLens and #WednesdayAroundtheWorld

Thursday 10 May 2018

Weekend Reflection - Rubbish

I was walking down the street at night, with the peak hour traffic flying past and caught the reflection of the tail lights on the bin. The colours danced in a mesmerising motion. I thought 'In the right light, even rubbish is beautiful'. 

“Sometimes the most beautiful things are in front of our eyes, and we don’t even notice because we’re either too busy or too afraid to take a closer look.” 
― Katja Michael

Linking with #WeekendReflection because I really like this shot, and I weirdly haven't seen the bin like this again...

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron

With the Sydney Comedy Festival playing in our neighbourhood, I've been making the most of it! Having taken in 4 shows, I've been laughing a lot lately. On Sunday my husband had to work, so I thought we'd taken in a movie that night, so his weekend wasn't a total bust, but there was nothing on at the right time. In the end we took a punt on one of the $20 comedians who was on at 6pm, so we'd be home in time to put the kids to bed.

We laughed solidly for an hour and then went home, happy and relaxed. There's something in laughter that releases endorphins.

So currently in life, I am loving laughter. I am loving the Sydney Comedy Festival and I'm loving where I live - that everything is so close and easy to get to.

Have you been to the Comedy Festival yet? There's one week to go!
Do you love where you live?
Too bad we can't claim comedians on the health fund....

Linking with #OpenSlather & #WWOAT

Sunday 6 May 2018

Follow your compass

I wrote a very lovely post the other day, and somehow in my precoffee haze this morning, I deleted it. So please forgive the quick ramble, as I try to remember what I wanted to say. I'd even deleted the photos off my phone. That will teach me to try to be efficient. Just pretend this is very poetic and touching.

I went to see Eddie Ayres talk about his new book, Danger Music for the Sydney Writers Festival. He spoke of his time spent living in Kabul teaching the cello to students in the music school. He really gave life to the stories of the people trying to live in a war torn country. When we see the news, we often forget about the civilians on the ground, those who are just trying to survive under new and unstable, and often extremely dangerous conditions. He made me aware of how little I thought about the realities for these people, how little I really 'saw' behind the headlines.

He also spoke of how he left the radio abruptly during a major depressive episode as a result of being transgender, and ended up in Afghanistan. It was during that journey that he realised he needed to transition to male in order to be happy. Which lead him to say 'You need to follow your own compass and do what you want to do. If you do things to please others, that's when problems happen'.

With a child in their HSC year, I am watching a lot of kids in my circle of friends struggle with stress and anxiety. Teetering on withdrawing from school, even with only a few months left to go. To me, that is a sign that we are doing something wrong as a society. We haven't sold them a positive present or future. Even those students that sit the exams, a lot will miserably go onto university into a field that doesn't interest them, only to please their parents. Statistically 3 out of 5 of them will start at university but drop out in the first two years.

We parents need to curb our expectations. Not everyone wants to be a lawyer or doctor, even if they are smart enough and even if their ATAR allows them. We need to let our children follow their own compass, as hard as that can be at times.

I don't have the answers, but I know we need to avoid the problems that happen when we don't follow our own compass.

Linking early with  #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

Thursday 3 May 2018

The A - L of me

For those that don't know, or haven't worked it out, I'm an Existentialist, which means in short, I believe this is all you get, and with that comes a pressure (or responsibility) to suck the marrow out  of life and make the most of everything on offer. It is the drive that gives me my FOMO, as discussed before. As a result, rarely does a week go by when I'm not chasing down the Joys of the Arts or nature that this beautiful city has on offer.

I have three Kids I adore, obvs, and a husband who humors my drive, that at times can be a little manic. I like to eat and drink, though as I age this is not working for my body, however I just can't get interested enough to Diet.

Eddie Ayres

I love Books and listen to them in the car as I drive, as a form of meditation, so I don't get irritated at the amount of my life I waste in traffic. I plan to write one, just seem to lack direction and motivation at the moment. I will get there though.

I adore Holidays, especially if we travel, but even just hanging around the house without the time frames and harassment of school and homework pressures, is my preferable state of being.

Lee Fields

I have rediscovered my love of  Concerts, and the beneficial effect music has on me. I also Go to the cinema frequently (Okay, I cheated there, but I used F(ilm) and C(inema) elsewhere). The dark room and story washing over me works like meditation, and I always leave relaxed and happy, having spent a few hours focused outside my thoughts.

The magic light that always makes me smile

In short,  I Love my life, most days. There will always be dark days, and difficult times. Everyone will have to deal with medical issues and loss, financial worries and difficult family members or something that makes it a struggle to get through the day. As they say in the song 'But it's the little things, the little things and not expectation, that make life worth living' So know what little things make you happy. On those days when you struggle, eat the cake, go for a run, sing that song, dance a Bollywood dance, do the little thing that lifts your spirits. If it still doesn't help, call that friend. The one that makes you feel better. A new day will come.

Linking with #Blogtober21 on the prompt -1. All about you.