Checking In At: Brisbane, Queensland

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I’ve spent the past couple of days enjoying Brisbane with old friends and new. The days have flown by and I don’t think i’ve even seen half of this lovely city so I will definitely be back for another visit!

I arrived at Brisbane Airport Thursday morning… my luggage however did not! I handed in my details with the lovely staff, who helped me along with a washbag and a bit of cash for essentials and off I went not knowing when or if it would arrive… Amazingly it arrived only hours later at my AirBnb!! I’m not entirely sure what happened there, as it seems to quick for it to arrive on a seperate plane, so maybe it had got caught up somewhere… but I am extremely lucky and thankful that it turned up so quickly!

The evening was spent with my friend Elise who I met at work in London when it was her turn to travel to the otherside of the country. It was so nice to see her and have a long overdue catch up in person! We strolled along Southbank, eating delicious discoveries from the current Noodle Market they have there… FYI I didn’t actually have noodles, cheesy chicken spring rolls which taste like a cheeseburger! And a waffle on a stick!

It gets dark here really early! Considering it was a BEAUTIFUL day, sunny and at least 23 degrees, by 5.30pm it was pitch black. And it does this all year round because they don’t have daylight saving here… so now it is winter, but even during summer it’s still dark at 5.30pm. I find that odd! It feels like your day is cut short and that you should be heading home to bed. On the other hand it is light at 5am. But considering I am no morning person, i can’t see myself getting up that early too often!

Thursday night I slept… and considering there was an 18th birthday party going on upstairs, I slept solidly and soundly (with the help of earplugs) right into Friday morning.. where I also slept for a long while…. I needed that sleep! And I don’t want to jinx it, but it seems that that is as far as my jetlag goes! I actually feel really good! … I think it will be a whole other story when I get back to England.

I think i’ll leave this tale here for now… or this post may get really long… so… To Be Continued…

xoxo

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London In The Sun: Day Five and Six…

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It’s the final chapter of my trip to London. But don’t worry, there was still plenty to do in the last couple of days.

Up, Up and Away:

Friday started off with a little adrenaline rush as Lizzy, Tom and I headed off to conquer Up @ the O2! .. I figured I couldn’t possibly climb Sydney Harbour Bridge if I hadn’t climbed the O2!… And what a buzz you get from accomplishing it! Whilst not the most spectacular views of London when you reach the top viewing area.. unfortunately it isn’t in the best situation for that… the experience is still well worth doing purely for the climb. I mean, who doesn’t want to say that they’ve climbed over the Millennium Dome? Dressed up in the lovely provided jackets, donning the comfiest shoes i’ve worn in a while and weighed down by a harness that is attached to a cable throughout the climb meant that I was ready and raring. There is even a phone pocket built into the suits for photography purposes at the top! The floors were springy to give the effect of actually walking over the O2 roof, this also made the climb comfortable on the knees and easy to grip. If you get the chance to do this, do it! … Mind you, if you were going to do it for the view, do the London Eye instead!… Don’t forget O2 customers can get a discount code as well.. what more do you need!

Wining and Dining:

After the climb I met up with my lovely friend Holly, at Caffe Concerto in Green Park, for an evening of good food and great conversation…. In fact, yesterday was Holly’s and her BF Elliot’s third year anniversary.. So a huge congratulations to you both!… Caffe Concerto was a lovely restaurant complete with grand decor and chandeliers. However the price was much sweeter than you would have expected considering the service and food that was offered. The evening passed quickly as we brought each other up to date on our different adventures.

Catching Up:

I also managed to fit in a little catch up with two university friends, Will and Bruce, who have taken over the flat that I stayed in when I lived in London. I hope they are loving it as much as I did!!

Breakfast At T..rafalgar :

Saturday… the final day! Lizzy and I managed to fit in one last little treat before I had to catch the train back home. We popped by Trafalgar Square for breakfast in the sun and then into the National Portrait Gallery to see the Audrey Hepburn Exhibition. I think Audrey Hepburn is the pinnacle of sophisticated fashion. She just looked flawless no matter what she wore, however you can see that precision and decision went to every outfit. Simple and elegant. Mind you, I may even have a touch of sophistication if I had Givenchy filling my wardrobe… I loved living her life for a few moments as i wandered around the exhibition, devouring the stories that went with each of the incredible photographs of her.

And then it was time to go home… But not for long! I now have less than a week until I fly!!

xoxo

Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see.
We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waiting, round the bend
My Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, and me”

Moon River, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

London In The Sun: Day Three and Four…

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A wonderful couple of days in London were quickly followed up by another couple of days!! (I was there for six, aren’t I lucky!!)

Tourist at Trafalgar:

I got to continue being a tourist on Wednesday whilst my friend Lizzy was at work. First stop was Tottenham Court Road for a cheeky look round Primark. I needed a dress to go under my belted shirt I was wearing as the one I had packed had SHRUNK IN THE WASH!! Ooopsie! I found a perfect simple black dress and a floppy hat that tied the outfit together perfectly!! I loved my outfit for the day, but somehow managed to not get a photo of it!! Ahh well, i’m sure I will get to share it with you in the near future.

The sun was glorious as I walked around the centre, so naturally I headed to Trafalgar Square to munch on my lunch (left over pizza thank you very much Domino’s). Being a weekday it wasn’t packed but it was still busy enough to pass the time sitting on the fountain edge and watching the world go by. I love seeing everyone pose for their photographs, don’t you? This was followed by a stroll around Covent Garden and St Paul’s Church garden which is currently decorated for a Shakespearean play being performed there.

The Breakfast Club:

I met a friend at The Breakfast Club for tea. It was YUMMY! … We both had an American breakfast which means pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausage and potatoes. All with lashings of maple syrup. Whoever worked out that pancakes, bacon and eggs taste fantastic together with syrup is a genius. I can’t get enough of that concoction! More importantly than the food however was getting to catch up with Chris. A fellow ex-colleague who is about to start a Masters in Drama Therapy! I am so proud of what he is achieving and know that he is going to be incredible in his field of work. Luckily for me, he has also been on his travels to Australia so he can send me me lists of places to visit when he thinks of them!

Appi-Hour Anyone?:

My ultimate and all time favorite chain for cocktails in London is Be@One. After tea we headed to Greek Street’s Branch to meet some other friends from my work in London. I haven’t been back to London since February so it was wonderful to get to see everyone again and find out how they all were. So much changes in just a few months, I can’t imagine how much will differ next time i’m back in London. We spent the evening trying a few (a lot) of the hundreds of cocktails on offer to us, making good use of Be@Ones clever ‘appi-hour’ app once happy hour was over, and enjoying the show the bar staff put on when making each cocktail. They really do rock the “service with a smile”!

Muggles Everywhere As Per Usual!:

Thursday’s first stop was at Platform 9 3/4. I nearly swapped my plans and headed to Hogwarts instead of Australia, but alas, someone had been tampering with the barrier again so we couldn’t get through. A fellow wizard managed to capture me and Lizzy on a photograph as we tried to push the trolley through the barrier… proving Gryffindor and Slytherin can work together sometimes!

A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:

Wow! If you are in London at any point… OR the tour is coming to a theatre near you… GO AND SEE THIS SHOW!!! It is STUNNING. The script, the acting, the set, the lighting, the projections, the costume, the perfectly timed work of the back stage crew. Everything is FLAWLESS. I was in awe throughout the whole performance and I don’t think it is a show like any other at the moment, especially on West End. Based on the book by Mark Haddon (which you should also read!) A Curious Incident is based on a tale by Christopher, a 15 year old boy. The story enables the audience to see into the mind of someone who may have Autism or Asperger Syndrome and delves into how they cope with the challenges that life brings. I would go and watch this play again tonight and tomorrow if it was possible! … Several £15 tickets are released for every performance, at 10am on the day, in the Gielgud Theatre box office. I bought one of these and had a slightly restricted view but felt I did not miss anything. …. FYI… don’t rush off at the end of the show.

xoxo

Mother & Daughter Road Trip… Oxford, Bicester & Milton Keynes…

Oxford

It’s one of those wet Sundays that makes you want to curl up on the sofa with films and copious amounts of tea. The type of Sunday that you look at that list of to do jobs and that room that is in major need of organisation and you just think, nope. Not happening!

So instead of being productive like I should be, i’m watching Harry Potter. Lovely!

Last weekend on the other hand, the sun was shining even more so than yesterday, and it couldn’t have been more perfect for a Mother and Daughter Road Trip!

Mum has a mile-stone birthday coming up in November and as I will be on my travels when that happens I decided we better have a little celebration before I head off! On Saturday morning we headed out in my little Kia Picanto (or Percy) for a weekend full of fun and frolics that my mum had no idea about!

First stop was Oxford. I think we were both relieved to arrive after a detour taking our journey – in the heat with no air con – to about 4 and a half hours long! I had booked a room for the night through the University and was placed in a little cottage-esque style halls of residence. What luxury those students live in! No different to a hotel, the room had a comfy double bed beautifully made, with a gorgeous ensuite shower room. I think I could handle living there for a year!

A short bus journey took us into central Oxford where the next part of the surprise was waiting. My friends Sophie and Lydia were there with their mum Heather – my mum’s friend. Neither mum’s knew so it was lovely to finally be able to break the secret!! … The rest of the day was spent strolling in the sun, exploring the various University buildings and the little streets and parks of Oxford. We even stumbled across a circus with wonderful old-fashioned carts and caravans. It looked so pretty in amongst the trees!

We finished the day having a delicious meal at Cote. Lemon sole for me, it’s my go-to fish when i’m feeling splurge worthy with my money! And Cote did not disappoint. Washed down with Pimms, wine and lots of giggles it really was a wonderful day!

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On Sunday morning I revealed Part Two to mum. We would be spending the night at Bicester Golf and Spa Hotel. I figured we would need a little down time after all the walking over the weekend!

We headed back into Oxford for the morning and devoured a hot chocolate and croissant from Pauls… a favourite treat from my time in London with the best hot chocolate in England. (Angelina’s in Paris does top it though, sorry Paul!) .. I also had to ask a girl where her gorgeous top was from which she revealed was Zara. Low and behold when we popped into the local Zara, there it was in my size AND in the sale! Bonus!! … We spent the rest of the morning exploring the shops and wandering along the river before heading our separate ways. The girls back to their homes and me and mum to Bicester where we spent the afternoon in the spa and eating steak in red wine sauce. Delicious.

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Monday morning meant the conclusion of our trip with one more surprise on the way home… A stop at Milton Keynes for a spot of Indoor Sky Diving!! … Whilst a tad on the expensive side considering you only get 2 minutes in the tunnel, I would highly recommend this experience! It doesn’t make me want to jump out of a plane at great heights anytime soon, but it does make me want to learn all the cool tricks the instructors can do! One did a little superhero show  – think iron man – flying around the tunnel! Wow! I was just about able to learn to hold myself still enough for the instructor to let go for a few seconds before the air blew me off-centre! … The best part was at the end when, if the instructor thought it was safe, they would hold on to you and spin you up to the top of tunnel and back down again. I did not stop grinning!

xoxo

Five Happy Things…

Happy Things

I have 19 days until I fly out to Australia!… And I need to get organised!!!! I don’t think i’ve got any further since my last ‘the flight date is approaching’ post!

Still to do: Travel insurance, Packing checklist, Pick a camera, Book a place to stay for the first couple of nights in Brisbane! … and i’m sure there’s more!

If anyone has any recommendations for any of the above then I would love to hear them!!

On top of sorting my life out I’m also trying to see as many friends and family before I head off on my travels. So far since leaving work I have traveled to Durham and Oxford to see friends and family. I have spent this week at home catching up with various friends and next week i’m in London. I’m so excited to be heading back to the place I spent 5 years living to see some of my favourite people and places.

I plan to put some posts up all about these moments soon but after the sad news of my latest post, and as it’s a Friday, I thought i’d post some things that have made me happy this week:

Friends: So far this week i’ve had catch ups and dinner dates with 5 friends and I have even more plans for this evening, tomorrow afternoon and night where I plan to see even more lovely girls and boys. And it has been wonderful! I’ve been able to see friends who live far away so we’ve had months to catch up on. It’s also amazing how much happens in just one week when you’ve been away, which means I still have lots to catch up on with friends you often see. I have an evening of pizza and girly chatter to look forward to tonight. (Secret revealed: I also had pizza last night, yum yum yum)

Mother And Daughter Road Trip: Because i’ll be away when my mum turns the big 5-0 later this year I took mum on a secret road trip for an early birthday present. It was lovely to spend some quality time with her and we had an awesome time. Shopping, eating and strolling were involved, as well as an extra surprise activity on the way home. … A big thank you to my friend Katie who loaned me her Satnav! Who knows what would have happened along the road without that amazing creation!

Sunshine: It just makes you feel brighter and lighter doesn’t it!? Even at 5am when it streams through my beige curtains!

Thunderstorms: Waking up to a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, hearing the rain lashing against your window, the grumble of thunder building up and seeing a crack of bright light burst through your curtains.. and then getting to snuggle down further into your warm cosy bed, your duvet tucked tight around you and drifting back to sleep knowing you don’t need to go out in the rain. Bliss. I think i’d sleep a lot better if we had more storms at night.

Colouring: I find it’s very difficult to switch off. From life, from thoughts, from technology. Sometimes you just need a few minutes where you don’t think and i’ve found my way of doing so. Colouring! I am loving this latest trend of adult colouring books. You can really focus on the page with the only thoughts being what colour shall I use for the next section?

I hope you all have plenty of reasons to be happy this week!

xoxo

Some Sad News…

I have some sad news to share, the reason for my silence these past couple of weeks. You will have all read, seen, heard about the awful happenings in Tunisia two weeks today. I was horrified to originally hear about the attack unknowing that the effects would hit very close to home.

My beautiful friend’s parents were at that very hotel. Stuart Cullen was her dad, one of the 38 who was killed. I’m not going to go into any more detail, I just wanted to take this little moment to say how heartbroken I am that such selfishness can bring so much grief on so many people all over England and throughout the world.

Stuart was an incredible man and I was lucky enough to witness the love he always showered over his family and friends.

xoxo

Ladies Who Lunch… Making time for friends…

Ladies Who  Lunch

Sometimes finding time to catch up with friends is difficult. I have my friends who I see very regularly; and then I have my friends that I don’t get to see enough of. Today I met two such friends for lunch in Norwich and because of this I feel amazing. I could literally use the description ‘feeling warm and fuzzy inside!’…

I don’t think we’ve been able to see each other for about a year due to a number of reasons, but no one around us would have thought that. The afternoon was filled with laughter, memories, laughter, the latest news, smiles and more laughter. My jaw really does hurts from the amount of smiling, laughing and talking that happened today.

It was wonderful to hear and see how wonderful everyone was feeling about their lives at this moment in time, even though we are all on very different paths. Mel now has a beautiful five month old daughter and the joy just oozes out when she talks about her. Clare has taken the plunge into self-employment as a vocal coach (about time too the talented so and so!). Her enthusiasm for performance is contagious so this is definitely one giant leap in the right direction. And then there’s me. Only two months and 19 days away from flying across to the other side of the world!! Everyone seemed really secure with the path that their life is currently forming and that is just an incredible thing to witness.

Anyway, my point is… make sure you make time to meet up with those friends you haven’t seen in a while… or even your friend you saw yesterday. Its good for the heart!

xoxo