Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I've lost that blogging feeling

So I have officially lost that blogging feeling so I think after this one that's it! I am coming to the end of my year now and heading back to the UK so maybe it all fits perfectly together....all my stuff is on FB anyway!

I leave Australia a week today, in fact I wil be in Christchurch in a week praying for no earthquakes! I then join a contiki tour of New Zealand for a couple of weeks going all over both islands....disappointingly not stopping in the Marlborough region as far as I am aware :o( but I am sure I will cope with jus drinks NZ wine whilst I am there!

I then have a couple of days in Auckland where I will mostly be doing touristy things like going to e zoo etc before I fly to LA on the 11th March. I am then meeting up with the lovely Paula who I met on my first contiki in Oct 2010 and we will celebrate my birthday together before we both do another contiki tour going round California, arizona, Nevada and then back to LA. very excited about tis one as it includes the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and skiing in Lake Tahoe! Woop woop!

I then say goodbye to the lovely Paula as she heads back to the UK and I head up to Canada to see the awesome Erin in Calgary. Can't Wait for a good old catch up and a glass of wine wit her and the lovely Nicole! Going to be amazing! I am there for a week and have no idea what they are planning so going to be fab to get there and find out what I am doing!

After a week n Calgary I jump on another plane and fly to Toronto to see Caroline and Matty from my NT tour, again I can't wait to see them and find out what has beeping on in their lives. As much as I am looking forward to seeing the places I am travelling I am most excited about Canada and catching up with my peeps who I haven't seen in ages! They again are planning my week so will find out the plan once I get there!

And then after leaving Aus on Feb 22 I will finally make it home on Aprl 12 to see the family and specifically the new additions to the family. My sSister has had twin girls last week Audi can't wait to meet them. Plus my cousin is due on 17 April so eve more babies....exciting times!

Right that is the plan and this is me signing off blogging! Hope you have enjoyed my tales from the other side of the world and pictures from the future travels will be on FB


Wednesday, 30 November 2011


So I didn't realise it had been so long since I had blogged :o( whoops!

Last time I blogged I was just coming to the end of my contract with SSQ and it was moving on to other things! So here is an update from the last 2 and a bit months!!

I finished work with SSQ on Friday 16th and had a lovely leaving lunch and afternoon of drinks with the girls which was all very classy and refined until I decided to drink my body weight in cheap cosmos at the Shadow Lounge so I was home and in bed by about 9pm!! A bad nights sleep and it was up and time to start the Dukan diet! not the easiest on a hangover but by heck does it work! But I will come back to that!

I then had a nice week off with a trip out to the Symphony Under the Stars (a free classical concert which I very much enjoyed as alot of it was the music from Carmen which has some awesome fmaily memories!). I then started my next contract which was as a PA for the Head of Aviation at Griffith University - I just can't excape from the blooming planes!! I worked with them for about 4 weeks and it was lovely, nice and relaxed and had the bonus of being only about 10mins from the house which was great but as I wasn't going out much (bad side effect whilst trying to master the dukan!) I started to get a little bit of cabin fever as my life was pretty much home-work-home and that was it!

When the contract came to an end it was only a couple of weeks until Mr & Mrs M were due to arrive and I was getting rather excited! I hoped to get a bit more work but nothing was around so a large amount of time was spent chilling out and not doing much - not bad to do that in Australia really ;o)

After 2 weeks of chilling out it was time to go and collect Mr & Mrs M from the airport and start their month long stay in Australia. We had one night in Brisbane where we had a lovely meal at Tukka (an Australiana restaurant) before getting up and heading off on our drive down to Sydney the next day.

First leg of the trip was down to Byron which I have to say I was pretty much in love with - such a nice place to just hang out and relax! We were there for 4 nights where much time was spent hanging by the pool. walking on the beach and finding some sweet places to visit in the surrounding area! Twas most lovely!

We sadly had to leave and we headed on down to Coffs Harbour for our next overnight stop. I was less than impressed by pretty much everything we encountered from the standard of the hotel, the road works, the cbd itself - I was very glad to leave the following morning but we did have a lovely evening in an Italian restaurant down by the jetty area which was the highlight of staying in Coff's - I will not be rushing back there in the near future.

Next stop was Port Macquarie which was much nicer and we had a lovely afternoon walking around the town before heading over to a Koala hospital which was really sweet - I am pretty much obsessed with Koalas now - they crack me up the positions they fall asleep in! After a quick swim in the roof top pool we then headed to a lovely fusion restaurant for dinner which was most delightful and walking distance which was fab as it was getting a bit tiresome driving and not enjoying a glass or 2 of vino! ;o)

It was up fairly early the next morning as we had a 4 hour drive to Pearl Beach to meet up with family friends. We stopped at Raymond Terrace for lunch looking over the hunter river and then on we continued. It was lovely to see them and Pearl Beach is a very quaint little village and the house has beautiful views out on to the beach.

It was a nice couple of nights and then on the Monday morning we headed into to Sydney where a swim in the pool at the complex was needed to cool off before we headed over to Bondi to see the Sculptures by the Sea. I remember being told about it last year when I was on the East Coast tour so I was really pleased to see it but it was blooming hot and about 38degrees at 7.00 at night! So what else to do but to head to Icebergs swimming club for dinner and a drink to cool us down! The best bonus and much to our surprise as it is right at the end of the season we saw a whale playing! It was awesome!

The next day was fairly relaxed with a walk around Sydney CBD before heading back to Double Bay for dinner at the boat club - oysters mornay - YUM! Then back to the unit for a relatively early night as it was an early start to the airport the next day for Mr & Mrs M and friends to head to Tasmania and for me to head back to Brisbane.

All went beatifully smoothly and got home in time to commence a delightful time of not working for a week and a bit :o( I was hoping to get some work in before Mr & Mrs M came back to Brisbane but the temp market has significantly slowed on the run up to Christmas! Then on the Friday before Mr & Mrs M got back I got a call....6 hrs work which has turned into a 4 week contract starting on 9th Dec...phew! Xmas was going to be rather quiet if that hadn't come about!

Anyway I digress, Mr and Mrs M returned and we spent a couple of days up in Noosa which was timed to perfection as we were moving house that weekend! A lovely couple of days in Noosa (one night with too much alcohol and a rather public cry from me!) before we headed back to Brisbane to celebrate Mrs M's birthday with a lovely meal at Jellyfish which is on the Brisbane River and was truly fantastic! I even tried Jellyfish (gristley and horrible - never again but had to try once!).

The following day we headed off quite early to get the boat to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (told you I was obsessed!) where we had a lovely day and a bit too much sun on my part - I was glowing after the first hour on the boat and had to buy a t-shirt to cover up my slightly pink shoulders! After a lovely walk round the sanctuary where we saw koalas, kangaroos, dingoes, bats, tasmanian devils, a platypus and a number of other animals we headed back to the boat into the city, walked through Southbank and the Botanic Gardens and then had a dip in the hotel pool before heading to the new place for the last dinner of the holiday with DG & SP.

I dropped Mr & Mrs M back off at the airport yesterday morning and then proceeded to make myself rather homesick by going Christmas shopping for the family during the afternoon before heading back for a quiet night at the flat.

So that pretty much brings you up to date! I am working for the next 2 days in the City and find out later today about the new contract so fingers crossed for an early start date! :o)

That was a lot longer than I meant it to be but that is 2.5 months for you!

Lots of photos will be going on to FB once we have internet connection at the flat next week. I am off to get my lunch and will blog again soon about my return travel plans as it is less than 12 weeks until I leave Australia now!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

An eventful couple of weeks...

So since I last blooged it has been an eventful couple of weeks.

A while back (June!) I applied for a job with Tennis Australia to work at the Australian Open, the only thing I heard from them was that 2000 people had applied for the multiple workstreams and that they would let us know the outcome at some point in July/August. When it got to the end of August I was getting less hopeful but when I was on the train on the way home from a few drinks after work I got an email from them saying I had been shortlisted and that the group assessment was taking place on 6th September in Melbourne. So once home (having basically bounced all the way!) I booked my flight to Melbourne and spent much of the weekend very excited trying to tell anyone who would listen (including random people in restaurants!) what had happened...oh yeah I can keep my cool ;o)

The weekend between hearing about the job and going to the assessment centre was the start of the Brisbane Festival which commences with a fantastic fireworks display called Riverfire with display points on the top of buildings in the CBD, barges on the river and a number of bridges including the Story Bridge.

My lovely friend Renee and her partner Francis had invited us (me, DG & SP) round to their apartment block which has a view I am jealous of on normal occasions let alone on Riverfire night! So we went round with wine and nibblies for a night of fun and fireworks....little did we know that although this would be the case the night would take a bit of a turn. After oohing and aahing over the fireworks out on the balcony we were all chatting away and eating the yummy nibblies when I accidently threw some French Toast over the balcony (we were on the 11th floor) so we started joking around with the neighbours below and DG was handing them down her home-made pate when someone (can't remember who) noticed a bit of a commotion going on - a couple of ambulances and sadly quite a lot of blood. A man was lying on the floor being worked on by paramedics and very sadly for him and his family, after a good period of time, he lost his fight for life. It turns out he was one of 2 deaths from balcony falls that night but they haven't released any information about him.

I have seen dead bodies before (during my aborted attempt to be a nurse) but I have never seen someone lose their fight for life. 2 things stick out for me, 1 - I don't remember hearing any screams or the ambulances turning up and 2 - he was wearing socks....I don't know why those 2 facts stay with me but they are the ones that do.

Anyway, once the body had been taken away by the coroner we made our way home. A couple of drunken phone calls to family and friends later and it was time for bed - just as well I had been drinking as I don't think I would have slept very well. We all spent much of the next day in our rooms - quiet times and I tried to do some prep for my upcoming interview....not sure that I got anything done though!

On the Tuesday of that week I headed off to Melbourne for my interview thing. Arrived in Melbourne at lunch time and walked around for a while to get a feel for the place before getting a taxi to the hotel I was staying at that looked over the AO site. Quick shower and a change and off I went.

I arrived at the arena and got my name badge and photo taken and then it was inside for a brief presentation on the Open and the possible roles. It turns out there were about 400 applicants for the events role so I was very pleased to make it into the top 20! We were then split into 3 groups and had 2 activities. The first to build a tower as high as possible from 30 pieces of A4 paper and masking tape (we did pretty well and got about 1.5m!) and the second was a group interview where we were asked to sell ourselves and were then given a scenario and were asked to explain our approach. I don't think I did too badly and they have said 2 weeks until we hear anything so I hope to hear something by Tuesday next week.

Having said all that, and I can't believe I am actually saying this, but I am actually in 2 minds as to whether or not the job is suitable for me! I guess the 2 weeks works for both sides, for them to get references etc and for the candidate to decide whether they actually want it! I am still in the decision process as I am not sure I want to write off the rest of my year over here - I still have so much to see!! Will let you know when I make my decision!

After the assessment centre I was able to meet up with the lovely Jess for dinner. I met Jess on the tour I did of QLD in October and it was fab to catch up with her again. Very much looking forward to doing that again when she gets back from Canada!! We had a lovely evening of chatting and silliness before she (well her Dad) dropped me back at my hotel.

The next day was spend wandering around Melbourne - I absolutely adore it and can't wait to go back again at some point in the near future!!

Back in Brisbane life has been ticking along nicely, I finish work tomorrow at Smart Service Queensland (I have been organising a very well received conference on social media and its uses in government - I even had tweets congratulating me on such a good job!) and I head into the unknown world of temp work again!!

So as I said an eventful couple of weeks so I am heading off home for a nice glass of wine - have to get it in now as I am planning on starting the Dukan diet this weekend and no wine allowed for a few months....I don't think my body will know what has hit it!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A piece of paper...

So after 10 weeks of 14 hour days on a Monday and a Wednesday the event course I have been doing is finally over and I got my grade today and I got a distinction with 86.5% overall!

The course itself wasn't particularly ground breaking and having been in the events industry for over 10 years now (eek!) I could have taught a fair few of the lectures but what I really enjoyed from it was the opportunity to lead the group I was working in and doing a creative pitch to a charity.

The concept was fairly straightforward, they wanted a community fundraiser to raise money, awareness and to increase the community support in Queensland so we came up with a fundraising campaign that ended in an awareness week.

The charity was Redkite - a children's cancer charity so our fundraising campaign involved nurseries and primary schools registering for a fundraising pack that enabled them to organise their own fundraising day where during the day they flew kites. Nice and simple and it went down a storm with the client - it will be interesting to see if they decide to run with it!

Anyway it looks like I am in the right career....lucky really as I don't plan on changing anytime soon! ;o)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

4 days as a Sydneysider!

After work on Tuesday instead of the normal trip home I headed off to the domestic airport and bound a plane for Sydney.

I arrived in Sydney after the 1.5hr flight excited to see what the capital of NSW was like...the trip from the aiport to Central station was very simple but a little expensive ($15 for a 9min train journey!) and once I got there, found the correct exit and headed off to my accommodation. From landing at Sydney to getting to the hostel took me just over 30mins - pretty impressed with that!

I have not stayed in a hostel before but thought I would give it a go as it was cheaper than a hotel and would have people in similar situations to me - travelling about! I got up to my room which I was sharing with 7 other girls and tried to make my bed in the dark (it was about 11pm and I didn't want to wake anyone up!), this was aided with a brilliant tip from my sSister Ellie to take a sleeping bag liner - such a good idea! The next discovery was that the communal bathroom on my floor was being refurbished so we had to use the ones on different floors - boo!

Anyway I headed to bed as the next day I had an early start as was meeting at 8am for a wine tour of the Hunter Valley. We (me and two others) were picked up from outside the hostel and after another collection stop we headed off to the Australia Wildlife Park for morning tea and a visit with some local inhabitants! Some cute and one that I was feeling very brave with!

So after having fun with the animals it was back on the bus and over to a chocolate and fudge factory - delicious fudge (bought some but don't have any left!) - before heading onto the first Winery at Warraroong Estate for a tasting of wines under the label of Swish Wines and Tin Soldier. The last time I went to a wine tasting (well properly!) was when I was about 12 in New York - this one was lots more fun and we tried about 13 wines...most delightful, I even tried red wines. I ended up buying a case of wine - just hope it tastes nice when it gets here as I can't remember it clearly any more!

So after this winery we headed onto to two more, Tempus Two and Tamberlaine. Tempus Two is a larger brand and Tamberlaine is an organic winery - both were nice but not as good as the first - no more cases bought and no more photos as it was raining! After we had finished at the wineries we headed off for our last stop at a brewery - no idea what it was called as had drunk enough by this point and I am not a big beer/lager drinker! We then headed back into Sydney for about 7pm where I had dinner and an early night as was shattered!

The next day I woke up and the sun was shining so off exploring I went - Darling harbour for breakfast, Sydney Aquarium and Centrepoint Tower for 360 views of Sydney.

The aquarium had quite a lot of animals although I felt a bit bad as the tanks were a bit small for the large mammals - they had dugongs which are wicked but they didn't have much swimming room :o(

The Centrepont tower was awesome and had some great views:

So after the tower I headed up to the botanic gardens to get my first official view of a bridge and a house that I was told were a must see ;o)

I walked round Farm Cove to get a better view and decided to stop and have a glass of wine at the Opera bar which turned into lunch and most of the bottle - it was a little mesmorising and quite difficult to walk away from....well until a crazy decided that trying to proposition me was a good idea - only problem with travelling on your own - you can attract the crazies - anyway the bridge was stunning and the Pinot Grigio went down well too!

I then caught the ferry round to Darling Harbour and walked home taking lots of silly photos which have been edited out of the ones on FB! Why I think I can be arty after a few glasses of wine I don't know!

A quick dinner in Chinatown and then back to the hostel where I had a chilled evening chatting with one of the girls from the room - don't know her name but she was from somewhere near Memphis!

The next morning I woke up to hear the sound of rain on the window :o( not good - decided to go and get breakfast in circular quay and see if the weather improved at all! It started to perk up a bit so bought my ticket for the Taronga Zoo and off I went...the weather turned on the journey and it got colder, wetter and just to top it off the wind picked up. I battled on in my jacket to see the lovely animals - so many photos but here are a few:

After the zoo I headed back into Sydney (its on the other side of the harbour) and thought about walking back to the hostel - about halfway through my feet were screaming at me and I was soaking (yes it was still raining!) so I headed to the nearest train station to get the train back to Central - this may sound easy but in the cold, wet and dark it was not as straightforward! I eventually found the citycircle trains and got to Central where I proceeded to leave through the wrong exit to the station and it took me about 40 mins to work out where I was and eventually make it back to the YHA. By this point I was cold, tired, wet and my feet were killing me so all I wanted to do was go home to my nice bed in my nice room in Brisbane - tried to change my flight but couldn't - just as well really as the next morning the sun had come out and I had a lovely day walking round the Chinese garden of friendship and then met up with the lovely Sam from my NT Contiki tour and we whiled away the afternoon with lunch and a coffee in Darling Harbour - tres pretty!

So having said goodbye to Sam I headed back to the YHA to get my luggage before heading to the airport for my nice and simple flight - it didn't quite work out that way so with a delayed flight, no airtrain because it was too late to a bus, train, bus combo to get home I finally made it home at just past 11 last night about 2.5hrs late!

I had a great time and really liked Sydney and am looking forward to going back and enjoying it with other people when Mr & Mrs M are in Australia and also when Inge and Lucy arrive later in the year!

Monday, 15 August 2011

and on to the next adventure.....

Tomorrow night I am flying to Sydney! Yes I am finally taking a few days off work and going to see a bit more of this beautiful country I am currently calling home!

It has been a busy couple of weeks, my course has come to an end (finally!) and the event I was originally brought in to organise went off without a hitch - actually it was a resounding success with people actually tweeting me to tell me how much they enjoyed the day!

I am waiting on the results from the course but I should know next week what I got - we came 2nd in the presentation by 1 point and the lecturer really liked our idea (slightly borrowed the concept from when I worked at the Meningitis Trust but adapted it to a different charity!) - fingers crossed for the distinction people!

Anyway getting slightly off track so as everything has calmed down a bit and my contract has been extended until mid September I thought I would take a couple of days off - Wednesday is the city based public holiday for the Ekka (big old agricultural show/fair type thing happening this week in Brisbane) so I added some rec leave on the end to have a nice long weekend. I was originally going to just take some time and catch up on sleep but then I changed my mind and booked a flight to Sydney and a 4 night stay at the Sydney Central YHA! Who needs sleep?!?!

I am a little nervous as I am off on my own but I am sure (fingers crossed again people!) that I will meet some lovely people and will have a fab time. I am hopefully meeting up with the lovely Mia from the NT tour at some point and will see how the rest of the stay takes me!

I have one thing planned and the rest I will organise when I get there. I fly out tomorrow after work and get into Sydney at about 10pm go straight to the YHA and then the next day I am off on a wine tour around the Hunter Valley. It mentioned chocolate and fudge as being part of the tour so I was sold! - oh who am I kidding, it mentioned wine and I was in!

I am flying back to either the Gold Coast or Brisbane on Saturday - still to be determined as am waiting to hear if a group of us are going to be staying in Coolangatta on Saturday night for a chilled evening with a few (!) glasses of wine!

I am bound to have lots of photos to show when I get back so keep an eye out!

Friday, 15 July 2011


So I know I haven't been blogging much lately, not a massive amount to say to be honest!! I am either working, studying or sleeping (or at least that is what it is feeling a bit like at the moment!).

I am currently doing a night course 2 nights a week in Event Management. Thought I would do a little bit of professional development whilst I am over here, and the networking opportunities were a pull as well for the Brisbane event scene! As much as I am enjoying it, I will be very glad to be finished in a few weeks and can get back to a normal life with no 14 hour days!

The course has been okay so far, I am really looking forward to the PR modules (although they have been moved because the original lecturer couldn't do it any more!). It was something I wanted to study as part of my marketing/events degree but couldn't because it clashed - explain that one if you can!!

I am working with a good group of people from varied backgrounds and I hope that we do well in the pitch presentation we have in a few weeks time. I also have an exam (first one in years) although it is multiple choice so I am hoping I will be okay! Anyway come the middle of August I will have a Diploma in Event Management after my name to go along with my degree. I know it sounds backwards but the degree was super early in the educational scheme of things!

Aside from that I have also started a new job. I am now working for Smart Service Queensland (another Gov agency - yay!) organising a conference for 200 people on social media and how it can be used for the Government.

Its a great team and we have lots of giggles and fun (and lots of morning/afternoon teas!) and I am really enjoying it, the contract runs until mid August at the moment and then I am back into the world of agency temping until Mr & Mrs M come over in November for a month.

And the best bit, I am waiting to hear on a job with the Australian Open Tennis - there have only been 2000 applications so I am sure I will walk it! Three month contract - yes please!!

Anyhoo, I really need to get my act together and get over to the gym (another addition to my weekly activities) but am struggling this morning after a lovely night catching up with Renee and Melissa - beautiful dinner, beautiful view of the city and beautiful company!