Sunday, 10 August 2014

Beaches, Jazz and Goodbyes

If you missed the first few blogs to Australia 2014 series please use the links just below!

Australia 2014 Part 1
Australia 2014 Part 2
Australia 2014 Part 3
Australia 2014 Part 4
Australia 2014 Part 5
Australia 2014 Part 6
Australia 2014 Part 7

The last two day’s we were in Brisbane, Mike wasn’t working, plus we were still showing Mike’s friend Don around, so on the Saturday morning, we decided to take him to Surfers Paradise since we loved it there.

We’d forgotten it was Anzac Day and as we walked through the main city centre, we were surrounded by a parade of all sorts of military units and the streets were thickly lined with onlookers. We stood for a while watching too, we wanted to respect Australia’s history like we do our own.

Aussie Uniform

Once we had made our way to the South Bank train station, we headed south to Surfers Paradise and lucky for us it was a beautiful hot day – perfect for a trip to the beach.

When we arrived, we took Don to the Q1 building (some of you may remember the stunning shots from our first visit to Australia) where you can view the city and beach from 270 metres above ground level. Don was as awestruck as us, and even though we’d been there before we were still in awe of the spectacular views.

View from the Q1
There's a reason it's called Surfers Paradise

The Q1 viewing deck also has a fully stocked bar and restaurant so we stayed for cocktails and nibbles. When we go back one day, I’d love to go for a late dinner there, I can imagine the lights of SurfersParadise are just as amazing as sunny days.

Back on ground level we headed to the beach, which was clean, not too busy and the sea was crystal clear, I was so happy to be back. Mike and I did our obligatory couple on the beach selfie, which is now my profile picture on all my social media. Don, bless him, was really missing his wife at this point, and wished she’d been able to see Australia too.

Mike and I

Before we headed back to Brisbane, we did some shopping, all buying tacky and fun gifts for loved ones at home.

Once we were back in the city, we met up with Pieter, Renee and a couple of their friends. We went to a restaurant called ThePoint Bistro on the South Bank where they served modern Australian Fair, whilst a three piece Jazz band played. Conversation flowed beautifully helped along with copious amounts of wine and beer.

The South Bank Crew became....

Feeling a tad drunk, silly and playful,  we then had to decide whether to go to a chocolate restaurant or a liquid nitrous ice cream parlour called Nitrogenie (a hard life choice, you understand!)– we opted for the latter, where we indulged in huge ice creams (mine being Nutella!) which we took to pub, where we washed it down with yet more booze – full and bloated did not cover it!

...the NitroGenie Crew

The next morning we met up with Don for breakfast in our hotel, I chose to stick to fruit and coffee after the gluttonous feast the night before. Sadly Dons flight was early afternoon so we said goodbye and 
Mike and I opted to just wander round the city one final time.

Whilst in town we went to a shop where they sold tea in traditional tea leaves and imported flavours from the whole world. We wanted to buy Renee and Pieter a gift for all their company and hospitality, being English we felt tea was a fitting gift, we then checked out of our hotel to spend our last few hours in OZ with them.

They loved their gift and we sat with them both and Rennee’s parents for dinner, accompanied by the tea we’d bought (which was the best tea I’ve ever tasted!).

After some very sad goodbye’s (Mike no longer will be visiting Brisbane for work) we checked in at the airport and headed straight for the business lounge. Our flight home was uneventful and Mike’s Dad Tony picked us up from Heathrow.

A cold British Spring Day brought us back down to earth with a thud, although we will not have the perks of going to Brisbane on business, we vowed we would go back soon, as it is still our favourite city on earth – we love you Brisbane!


L x

Monday, 14 July 2014

Seafood, Sushi and Stereotypes

If you missed the first few blogs to Australia 2014 series please use the links just below!

Australia 2014 Part 1
Australia 2014 Part 2
Australia 2014 Part 3
Australia 2014 Part 4
Australia 2014 Part 5
Australia 2014 Part 6

Seafood, Sushi and Stereotypes

Despite the helicopters, museums and nights out, the reason we were actually in Australia was for Mike to attend a training course! So, on April 22nd – 24th,  Mike had to go into work whilst I lounged by the pool, ordered room service and managed the odd hour of work,– a hard time in my life as you can all imagine and couldn’t go out without my mobility scooter – so I was trapped! ;)

A hard life!

On the 22nd two of Mike’s colleagues had flown in from America. Lucy (English) and Don (American) had never been to Australia before, so Mike and I, now seasoned Brisbane guides, took it upon ourselves to show them the city as best we could in such a short time!

That evening I met Lucy and Don, and the four of us went to dinner on the river at a place called George Paragon’s Seafood Restaurant. The food was incredibly tasty and unbelievably fresh! I had a vegetarian starter with avocados and a main of grilled schanpper and king prawns, all with an amazing view of Story Bridge.

We chatted about America verses England. As Lucy is a Brit, living in Texas, she was the best person to ask ahead of our move to Denver, all whilst we took the Mickey out of Don and his homeland!

After dinner, we hopped onto a river taxi for a night tour of the city, this plan went slightly wrong when we realised the boat was only covering about 4 stops of usual route, so with jet lag taking hold of Don and Lucy, we all went back to our hotel.

The 23rd was much the same in the day. Mike went to work, whilst I worked on my tan, swam in the pool then I “laboured” away at a whole one article – I didn’t want to strain myself too hard you see!

In the evening, Mike came to collect me and we met Lucy, Don, David (as in David, Jutta and Siwa) and their workmate Leo. Looking around our table, back at the Bavarian Bier Cafe, we looked like a bad joke waiting to happen; 3 English, 1 American, 1 German and 1 Colombian – not an Aussie in sight.

Our multicultural table! 

The men partook in litre sized beers (Don, being American, didn’t know what a litre was until a giant tankard arrived in front on him!) and we all indulged in sausages, pickled veg, pork roasts and plenty of creamy mash, I could feel my internal Weight Watchers counter explode!

Mikes Big Sausage


There was a lot of oil/rocks/geek talk going on, so it was here I ran up a £50 data bill to keep me amused - oops!

With bellies full and ideas shared, we all headed home.

On the 24th whilst Mike was training, I actually did a lot of work! I still managed a couple of hours by the pool to rest afterwards though!

As was now a mini tradition, Mike came and got me and we headed to the South Bank with Lucy and Don, where we met with Pieter for sushi at a place called San Kai. I adore sushi but although he’ll eat it, Mike cannot see the fascination and craves the meat and carbs!

We were later joined by Tobias, who is German, so again our table was an amusing collection of nationalities; 3 English, 1 American, 1 South African and a German – and still no Aussie in sight!

After dinner, we all headed to a bar where the guys were in search of the biggest, girly or “fru fru” cocktails they could find. They did so well, there were ones being lit on fire, others with umbrellas, sparkly mixing sticks and fruity art, with one cocktail coming with a plate of bacon!

Despite being surrounded by Degree’s, Masters and PHd’s we chatted a lot of very funny... how to put this... crap! We then played a game of Country Stereotypes where we’d shout out random things reminding us of different countries. Answers ranged from silly, odd and offensive, Tobias treading through treacherous water when he shouted “bad taste... in everything” when  it was England’s turn!

The bar closed at midnight, but we decided to go looking for another, only to find everything was closed or not selling alcohol – confused we asked why? We were told as it was past midnight and officially Anzac day none would be sold until it was over – boo!

So we headed back to our hotel, saying Goodbye to Lucy, who was off early the next day to Darwin for swimming with crocodiles – as you do, and Mike and I made plans to meet Don the next morning!

L x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Good Health Box – Review!

I was lucky enough to win a Good Health Box last month and I was not disappointed!

With chronic health issues, I struggle to exercise and maintain my weight; this is not helped by the fact that I am a complete foodie!

When I can across a competition to win a selection of healthy and yet interesting goodies, I had to enter!

Established by two guys Tim and Chin, Good HealthBoxes started after both guys became snacking fiends and vending machine villains! They both knew they needed to kick start a healthier way of life but without missing out on interesting and filling foods – So Good Health Box was born!

Tim and Chin offer an array of different snack selection boxes including the Youth Box full of healthy treats that can be used in lunch boxes, after school snacks or fuel for a homework session.

They also do large family boxes for everyone to share, a Protein box for those who exercise a lot and need foods that will support their regime, there's the Free From boxes that are brilliant if you have dairy or gluten intolerances and many more tempting box selections.

For my prize I chose their Health Box. This included;

My Box of Goodness!

Cofresh – Hummus Chips (Tomato and Basil) – The bag was big enough to share and they’re delicious dipped in low fat sour cream dip. The Hummus chips have 30% less fat than average crisps too.

Mini Moo’s –Lily-Lu’s Minty Moo Chocolate – After a long stressful day I usually crave a big old bar of chocolate but I delved into my Health box for my Mini Moo bar, served it with a low sugar hot chocolate, killing the craving dead!

Two Organics’ – Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookies – These were lovely and could easily replace my normal favourites plus their wheat, gluten and dairy free!

Goobers – Orange Flavoured Raisins – I don’t like most orange flavoured treats so I gave these to my niece, she loved them asking for more afterwards – a true seal of approval!

9 Bar – Flaxseed Snack Bar – I love 9Bar products, I always have them in my cupboard for breakfast on the go. The Flaxseed one is particularly crunchy and scrumptious!

Ma Bakers – Giant Bar Strawberry Flapjack – The bar is a huge 90g’s. I found it a little heavy so split it into three snacks, a tad too sweet for my palate in one sitting.

Plamil – Coffee Chocolate Bar – I loved this bar, I have since bought more of them. The chocolate has a lovely coffee taste without being too strong or bitter.

Traidcraft – GEO Fair Trade Snack Bar – Full of fruit and crunch this was a satisfying 4 o’clock snack and not too sweet or sickly!

Eat Natural – Date, Walnut and Pumpkin Bar – Like 9Bar I always have Eat Natural bars at home for interesting flavours and combinations without too much sugar or too many calories. I tend to eat these for breakfast too.

Beond Organic– Organic Apple Cinnamon Bite – I could eat these everyday! A raw mini bar in place of a sugary biscuit is mouth-watering. This one reminded me of Christmas pudding! Vegan, Gluten, dairy and soya free, these are great to serve to friends with specific or complicated dietary requirements.

Nakd. – Cocoa Mint Bar – This was a lovely treat without the guilt of average chocolate, containing only cocoa, dates, cashews and raisins, you feel like you’re doing your body good whilst still getting your chocolate fix!

I would highly recommend Good Health Boxes for guilt free snacking and treats, unlike other similar services Good Health Box do not make you subscribe, you can leave Tim and Chin to pick your goodies for surprise selection or you can make up your own box with your favourite’s included. There are so many products to chose from at affordable prices.

For more information on Good Health Box see their Facebook, Twitter and webpage!

Big thank you to Good Health Box for treating me to some of the best snacks on the health foods market!

L x


P.s If you would like me to review or test your products please email me at Lynsey_Ellard@hotmail.com I have over 2,000 readers a month and a lot of lovely Twitter and Facebook followers :)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Helicopters, Sunbathing and Dolphins

If you missed the first few blogs to Australia 2014 series please use the links just below!

Australia 2014 Part 1
Australia 2014 Part 2
Australia 2014 Part 3
Australia 2014 Part 4
Australia 2014 Part 5


Monday 21st of April was the last day of the “Holiday” part of our trip to Oz. The following 5 would be very work related so Mike and I decided to make it a really special day.

We’d booked a day trip to Morton Island to go feed Dolphins! Mike had fed and swam with dolphins in Florida and Bahamas (Lucky Sod!) so he was more excited to see my reaction to it all!

We caught an early morning ferry from Brisbane to Morton Island taking about 75 minutes. The weather was in its 30’s a perfect day for sunbathing and island life! The island is a protected one, with only one resort called Tangalooma, allowed to have been built, retaining the stunning features of the place.

We arrived to views of amazing white beaches, crystal blue waters and no crowds of tourists – paradise!


Morton Island

Although not planned, we decided to take a helicopter ride over the Island, again Mike has been in many helicopters so he was looking forward to it, although apprehensive I would be nervous in such a little aircraft.

I loved it! I wasn’t nervous in the slightest! Our pilot Michael told us about Morton Island and pointed out shipwrecks, turtles, dugongs and dolphins - it was breathtaking.  I was a complete loser and updated my status from the air which I git stick over – bothered!


Excited Much!??

Both our cameras were in full action but I was conscious not to see the whole place through a lens and took it all in – I was in awe!


View from the helicopter!

Landing, I felt exhilarated and we wandered around the resort and beaches, finally stopping for lunch, it was very fast food in a canteen style but it did the job.

Mike wanted to explore the island more on foot, which is almost impossible pushing a wheelchair.  So I set up camp on the beach, with my MP3 player a bucket of suncream and plenty of water – such a hard life, whilst Mike went off camera in hand – of course!



One of Mike's shots

Later when the boy had returned with some excellent photos of the wildlife and manmade coral reefs made out of sunken ships, we decided to go for a few drinks as sunset was approaching, we got a table covered it in beers whilst we chatted and took in the stunning views, it was all very romantic!





About 6:30pm it was time to feed the dolphins. We made our way to the pier that was designated as a meeting point and already the dolphins were swimming close to shore ready for their supper!

Because of the wheelchair I was transferred to a beach chair (looks like a wheelchair but with huge quad bike wheels). At the waters’ edge I stood up and we walked into the sea, which was beautifully warm, with both Mike and our assistant holding me up, as the slightest wave knocks me over.
I met a dolphin called Tinkerbell, who was gentle and playful, our assistant had said she was unusually calm and probably sensed my weakness – bless her heart!       

We watched 70 or so other families do the same from the pier, so that we could see all the dolphins from above a splendid sight.

Morton Island had been the best day of the whole holiday, with two more items ticked off my bucket list; a helicopter ride and feeding dolphins – amazing!

Thank you Mike – I know how lucky I am!

L x


David, Jutta and Siwa

If you missed the first few blogs to Australia 2014 series please use the links just below!

Australia 2014 Part 1
Australia 2014 Part 2
Australia 2014 Part 3
Australia 2014 Part 4

Hi

I’m so behind with all my news this time, I feel overwhelmed as to how far behind I am! I apologise as always, life just seems to run away with me! Still here I go....

As you may remember for Australia 2014 Part 4, we’d been drinking cocktails and star gazing, so they day after I was exhausted so we had a quiet morning then headed to Mikes friend David’s house. They met at work and we were going to dinner so that I could meet David’s lovely wife Jutta and their completely adorable daughter Siwa.

We had planned on taking a train but they were closed for track repairs. Some of you may remember this happened on our first trip to Brisbane and the train company gave us a 40 seated bus to ourselves and paid for an hour long taxi ride home again – all completely free! Well they did it again! This time our personal coach driver not only decided to take us to the nearest train station, on finding out about the short walk to David and Jutta’s house, he dropped us off at the end of their road! UK train services need to take note!!

David and Jutta are from Germany, hence the beautiful and unusual name for their little girl. We had a wonderfully relaxing day with them. When we got there, we had a beer in the garden chatting about the fruit and vegetables they were growing in their garden and the foods they make themselves, for example Jutta makes her own yogurt – being the food that I am I was incredibly impressed.

It was decided that we should go for a walk in the forest nearby so that Siwa could ride her bike. It was a typically gorgeous Aussie day. I was happy to warm my old legs up and see more of Queensland.


Siwa

As we walked and chatted, I found David and Jutta are not followers of modern lifestyles/conveniences. They travelled for a year around Australia in a camper van when Siwa was a baby, so much so that when they were home, Siwa was asking for her torch to light the way to the bathroom as she hadn’t, in her short life, used electricity and lights much – bless her!

The family do not have a TV, have taught Siwa to be fluent in German and English and encourage her to have a technology free childhood. For all their hard work Siwa is a bright and engaging child. It was so refreshing with no one rudely checking and updating their phones or switching the TV on for X-Factor in the middle of a conversation.

After and delicious dinner made by Jutta, the family walked us to the train station all bare foot.  Siwa hilariously stepped in dog mess on the way, she was completely unfazed or precious about it, wiping her feet on the grass, where she found a new friend in a frog – we had had a wonderful day, thank you David, Jutta and Siwa!


L x 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Letter to my 40 Year Old Self

Hello!

Me again! I've had lots going on as usual! My Sister Nicola and her partner Dan, became first time parents, giving me my second nephew! Baby Alex was born on June 7th at 2:27pm weighing a very healthy 7lb 10oz. I am completely besotted with him and I now have 2 Nephews and 5 Nieces, with two siblings and I, still yet to have our own children!

Alex 07/06/2014

Mike’s been away as usual, I haven’t seen him for three weeks but he’s home in three days time!  He’ll be in the UK a grand total of 24hrs because we’re off to France for two weeks with his family, which includes 3 days at Disneyland!! I can guarantee I’ll be more excited than our 3 and 1yr old Nieces!

I still have to catch you all up on Australia but I thought I’d take a break from that to follow up on a project I gave myself last year.

Last week, I turned 30. I’ve been utterly spoilt as usual; My Mum and sister made me a homemade Afternoon Tea which was so lovely! Friends turned up to take me to breakfast, lunches, cocktails, dinners and yet more Afternoon Teas. I received tons of cards, gifts, text’s, calls and had a lot of love on social media – Thank you to you all – I’ve felt very special indeed.



On my 29th Birthday, as some of you may remember, I wrote A Letter to My Teenage Self (click here!) This became one of my most popular blog posts ever. I had friends and family do the same and I’ve had their work stowed away until now.

Turning 30 is seen as a milestone. I’ve been regularly asked how I felt  about changing decades. Getting older doesn’t bother me, (but is that because I’m still very young?)  but I do looked back over my 20’s and wished I’d taken a few more risks and ticked more things off my bucket list.

So, today I’m presenting you guys with my letter to my 40 year old self.

All those that sent me their teen letters, could you now write to your future selves for me please? If you’re a new reader have a look over both of my letters and if you want to get involved please do, I’ll be launching a competition around the entries!

Letter to My 40 Year Old

Dear Lynsey,

Wow, 40. I remember our Mum turning 40. She looked so young, in fact now she’s 50, she still looks like a woman in her 30’s. Since I’ve just turned 30, I’m praying I’ve inherited her youthful genes.

I’m hoping Mike would have proposed by 2024. If he hasn’t, did you have the gumption to just start booking venues, florists and buying your wedding dress? Then, only letting Mike in on the plans when he receives a save the date cards like all the guests? Bless him, the pressure The Boy must be feeling after 8 years is crazy, but I keep telling him to chill out and do it how he wants to do it, taking no notice of friends or YouTube proposals!!

I do hope I’ve gotten over my fear of having children by 40. I’m currently in a limbo where I should probably make the most of my younger body and pop out one or two nippers, but seeing how hard it’s been for friends and family, has had me running to the chemist within 24hrs of a late period.

This must sound completely juvenile to you now? I hope my keeping the breaks firmly locked in, that I haven’t caused us the heart break and stress of IVF or Adoption. I know we’ll make a great Mum, but I’m just not ready to give up my selfish lifestyle just yet!

I’m hoping that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome hasn’t lost you a limb by now and I’m anticipating a cure by 2024, I do wonder what life would be like without constant pain, although I’d rather there was a cure for cancer first, I long to see that in our lifetime. 

When we were 19, we seriously lacked in confidence. At 30, we still do, we’re just so much better at faking it! I do hope that confidence grows to be real and without an ego or vanity. 

By now I’ve linked the lack of fearlessness to the lack of work you commit to or produce. Every article we post or email we send to our editors, is sent with eyes close, and body poised like waiting for a bomb to go off, I hope in the future we’ve grown a back bone and some giant balls!

At the moment I’m waiting to hear when we’ll be moving to America with Mike’s work. I’m currently mood swinging between excited, terrified, curious and anxious. How do I say Bye to everyone without balling my eyes out? I know Denver’s only a plane ride away, but not seeing Mum 5 times a week is going to be so hard, this only being made harder by our nieces and nephews. Alex has just been born, I want to hug him every day. He’ll be 10 whilst you’re reading this – I cannot even begin to imagine him being anything other than a new born baby.

With all this in mind, I do actually think American will be great fun; in fact I’m apprehensive that we’ll like it too much and won’t want to come home, but by now we know we have to go where Mike’s work takes us and he’ll look after us no matter where we are. 

I hope I 30’s are full of love, laughter and plenty of luck. I’ll try my hardest to be the courageous woman we want to be, and I hope we make the most of every day. Try not to get "too" middle aged, one of the things I like about us is how easily excited we get about the smallest things, don't lose that enthusiasm for life. Continue to enjoy Comic movies, why should they just been for teenage boys? Carry on making your friend pose for the pre night out photo in all your future kitchens and please learn to not worry so much, I fear one day that worry will break us. 

Keep smiling; keep optimistic and I’ll see you in 10 years!
Love
Lynsey x

Cheers old Girl!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Sausage, Stars and Bug Spray

If you missed the first few blogs to this series please use the links just below!

Australia 2014 Part 1
Australia 2014 Part 2
Australia 2014 Part 3

Fully recovered from my 24hrs bug or Sun Stoke (I’m not quite sure which) Pieter and Renee invited us to the home they were buying last time we visited Queensland.

Pieter was picking us up at our hotel, we arrived in the reception and did a double take as our friend Sue-Ellen was sat their waiting for us too! After a couple of excited hugs Pieter had arrived and off we went to theirs!

Sue Ellen had baked Scones, Renee had prepared lunch and we were all joined by Renee’s parents. I was a little nervous as Renee’s parents have very thick South African accents (and I’m awful at deciphering anything other than Southern English dialects!) but I warmed to the accent and the occasional switches into Afrikaans.

Sue Ellen and her Scones

We had such a lovely day; music playing, lots of laughs (mostly down to Mike) plenty of food, beer, great conversation and a stroll through the park, Renee and Pieters house backed onto, where the boys regressed to childhood!


Mike and Pieter

The following day we were meeting up with my cousin Andrew (His and my Father are brothers) and his girlfriend Christie.

An hour late (as always!) we met them in the town centre where we decided on the Bavarian Bier Cafe for lunch.

After ordering litre beers for the boys and girlie fruit beers for us girls, we started to catch up.

It was very sweet seeing Andrew so loved up. Because of the distance between the UK and Australia, Andrew and I didn’t meet until I was 14 when he stayed with our Nans place for a couple of months. He was the cool older cousin with the funny accent, the same accent that got him both in and out of trouble a lot!


Andrew and Christie

Lucky for Andrew, Christie is gorgeous, blonde, sweet, funny and intelligent to boot, the boy has fallen on his feet. Although a bias opinion I think Christie didn’t do too badly either!

Mike and I ordered the Bavarian Tasting Platter which had: Crispy Pork Belly, Haus Sausages, Schnitzel, Sauerkraut, Red Cabbage, Creamy Mash, Granny Smith Apple Compote and Löwenbräu. It was bloody huge! Enough for 3 or 4 people, although we both tried our best, the platter, despite its deliciousness, beat us, to be fair, we had all equalled our blood supplies in beer by this point!

Mike and I outside the cafe with Story Bridge behind us.


We were seeing Pieter and Renee again that evening Mike, Andrew, Christie and I went back to our Hilton Hotel and had cocktails while we waited for Pieter to come get us (again! Bless him!). 

We said our goodbyes to Andrew and Christie with every intention of going out with them later for an engagement party... unfortunately we didn’t make it, I was too tired and too sore – muchos sadness.

So, anyway we went back to Pieter and Renee’s as we were going stargazing with them and a couple of their friends. We drove to Mount Glorious with a picnic, a telescope, Mike’s fancy pants camera and plenty of bug spray!

We arrive to a picnic area that was incomplete darkness, the only source of light being our torches and the stars themselves.

I was in awe. I’d never seen so many stars and so clearly. It was a real wow moment!

One of Mike's photos

Using Pieter’s tablet, with a very useful app and his telescope we saw Jupitor, Saturn (clearly with its rings) Mars and a shooting star! I, of course, made a wish; I’ll get them where ever I can!

Mike spent ages trying to photograph the skies, luck was against him as we’d forgot one piece of his tripod, and he’d forgotten to look up the settings he would need for the best pictures, but I think he did a great job despite all of this.

It was getting late and the German sausage was a distant memory, so we tucked into sandwiches, crisps and wine whilst doing light art (some very creepy!) in the perfect darkness. 

Me, sitting alone, in the dark... creep myself out!

I started to get bitten by mosquito's so I sprayed myself with the bug spray.... only to find out later it was foot deodorizer, I smelt lovely but I was eaten alive - doh!

Close to midnight Renee and Pieter dropped us off at our hotel and we fell into bed!


L x

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Steak, Cake and Sickness

If you missed the first few blogs to this series please use the links just below!

Australia 2014 Part 1
Australia 2014 Part 2

Unlike our two previous trips to Brisbane, we had a feeling this trip wouldn’t be as jam packed this time.  We’d exhausted a lot of the city’s main attractions. As you read the coming blogs you’ll notice we were almost living there rather than being tourists. We now have a few lovely friends in Brisbane and some family, so we wanted to use our time to generally relax and catch up with people.

On day three we had a late start and breakfast, and then we “forced” ourselves to lounge by the pool in the 29 degree heat! I could have stayed there all day but Mike gets bored after an hour so, we hoped into the pool for a couple of hours. It felt like our private pool as we were the only people there for 3 hours!

After our hard morning by the pool we went back to our room for a hard earned nap lol!

Ironically, we had come all the way to Brisbane and were looking forward to seeing more of our friends Jen and Brian, only to find out they were flying to the UK on the evening of day three! We caught up with them for dinner just before they caught their flights!

We all headed to the iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel, known for its amazing steaks....and steaks we had! They were perfect, medium, juicy and very generous!



We were sad that we wouldn’t be seeing Jen and Brian more during our trip but thank Heavens for Facebook! (And Hashtags! ;)

Day four was my turn to be sickly! I woke up with terrible nausea, but did my best to ignore it.

As we had exhausted the first two pages of trip advisor, we went to page three to find the more random exhibits Brisbane had to offer.

We decided on going to the Town Hall where the Brisbane museum is. There, we found the full history of the town from its Aboriginal beginnings, to the Brisbane World Expo in 1988 all the way to today. 

Mike had a great moment when he recognised one of Brisbane Citys original free settlers as someone who may be a distant relative through his roots in Scotland – small, small world we live in!

Brisbane Town Hall

As I was feeling better by lunch, we went to the Shingle Inn, Brisbanes oldest cafe’, also situated in Brisbanes town hall. With dark wooden clad walls and waitresses in traditional tea house black and white uniforms, Shingles is a charming little gem that many of the city’s own residents had no idea it was even there!  

As much as I’d like to fib and tell you that the Shingles signature coffee and a couple of macaroons was the cure, it was not the best idea for my delicate tummy and the nausea returned. So we went back to the hotel. 

Whilst Mike worked, I continued our sloth themed holiday alive by having an afternoon nap.

The decadent but offending lunch! 

I woke up feeling loads better. We’d arranged to meet our South African Friends Pieter and Renee for drinks and dinner. We met them at a very busy bar on the river front forgetting it was the beginning of a long weekend, so every office worker within a mile radius seemed joined us in a glass of wine (lemonade in my case!).

We all headed back into the centre of town for dinner and decided on a restaurant called Vipiano. Much like Nando’s does, Vipiano is a great place for meeting friends as each diner receives a customer card to which they add their food and drinks to so that there isn’t that awkward bill splitting at the end.

I chose pizza and a cocktail, feeling sure that I felt 100%, and whilst the boys talked work and studies Renee and I gossiped over cocktails.

About 15 minutes into dinner the dreaded nausea came back, stopping me in my tracks. I donated my incredibly delicious apple and cinnamon cocktail and asked the staff to box up my pizza. Despite this, I thought I’d just needed to avoid all food and drink and  just carry on.

By the time we’d made it back to our hotel it was clear I wasn’t well at all. As we got to our floor I told Mike to quickly push me back to our room..... TOO LATE! I’d thrown up all over myself twice in the 100 metre walk!

So, the night ended with me showering in my clothes, taking anti sickness pills and going straight to bed – how does the boy resist me?
L x


Friday, 23 May 2014

Back in Brizzy

 We arrived in Brisbane, the jet lag already setting in!

Our friends Jen and Brian (who you may remember from past OZ visits here and here) picked us up from the Airport and took us straight to our hotel; thankfully they appreciate jet lag more than most and didn’t expect a long catch up!

We were staying in the Brisbane Hilton (My TA review here). Oh my, it’s very posh! There's a beautiful marble clad foyer which is where their restaurant and bar were found too! Checking in was lovely and quick as Mike is a Diamond member of the Hilton Honours reward scheme.


Inside the Hilton


Our room was and 3x as big as our one back home, with city views, huge bathroom, a desk and cozy arm chairs.

Our Hotel view with Brisbane Town Hall in the centre :)

We were so pooped, we didn’t fancy going out so we ordered room service. This was my first time having room service, I was ridiculously excited (small minds!) and we ordered a classy selection of 
pizza, chips and milkshakes!

Room Service

With a very full belly and snuggled in my white fluffy hotel dressing gown we hit the sack.

On our first full day in Brisbane we decided to reacquaint ourselves with our favourite city. We had a wander through the city centre, over the river into the South Bank. After a couple of ours we headed back to the hotel with jet lag setting in and Mike (we later found) had a mild case of food poisoning.

After a nap, Mike’s phone lit up with a message “Pig and Whistle? Now-ish?”. How better to ease us back into the Brizzy life than dinner at an English pub – irony!

Our message was from Peter and Renee, who you may also remember for previous visits to Australia here and here. It had been two years since we’d visited so we had a lot to catch up on! We’d finished by 8pm and it was still 22 degrees – I could just feel my limbs thawing out already!

Finally by day two we were starting to move into the appropriate time zone! After a lovely complimentary breakfast at the Hilton, and another walk around town, we headed to Brisbanes’ Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) after hearing about a fascinating exhibition called Falling Back to Earth by Cai Guo-Qiang.

You all know by now, I’m no expert in art. But I really do not know how to explain Mr Guo-Qiang’s work other than with the word Epic! There was Heritage; made up of 99 animal replicas all drinking from the same lake. Then there were 99 wolf replicas all running/flying towards a glass screen called Head On. The symbolism of 99 suggests that the sequence is not complete leaving room for expectation and questions but you’re better off looking at my photos that taking my word for it!

Heritage
Head On
Head On


By late afternoon we were staving and decided on a “dinner” of pancakes at Brisbanes 24hr Pancake Manor! For the first time in about a decade, I left my camera AND my mobile at the hotel, so just imagine, three large pancakes, smothered in berrys, ice cream, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and cream all melting on top... diet? What diet?
L x