27 Dec 2013

Christmas In England

The one thing I've been looking forward to since I booked my flights back home in June is Christmas.  I love Christmas.  I love the food and the time spent with family and friends and just the whole season.  I was lucky to have an amazing Christmas last year in Australia, but without a biting wind and frost everywhere it didn't really feel quite the same.

In my family our first tradition to kick off the festivities is going to mass (church) on Christmas eve with my grandparents and then having a cheeseboard together afterwards.  Unfortunately this year I was working at my aunt and uncle's bar in town, but fortunately we finished early and I got home just in time for the cheese, wine and granddad's annual family poem.  My granddad is a bit of a wordsmith and every year does a few verses on each family member summing up their year, this year's was absolutely hilarious and loooong - four verses for each person.  There are 25 people in our family, 26 including my uncle's cat!


6 Dec 2013

Crafty Dog Fashion

During my last few weeks in Melbourne on one particular Friday night, I was walking into the bathroom at 1806 before we left.  On the way in a woman walked past me wearing a lovely, bright dress so I complimented her on it.  She said it's funny I should compliment her dress, as it's actually one of her own designs.  A short conversation and business card swap later, she promised to email me further details.

She did, her name is Eleanor Kennedy and I really liked her story.  I love hearing about people who have found their passion and turned it into a career and a way of life.  All pictures included in this post are from Eleanor.


2 Dec 2013

Fields, Manchester & Frost

Last weekend my friend Dave drove up from Northampton to see me and my folks.  I last saw him a week before I flew over to Melbourne, so a catch up weekend was due.  As well as eating and drinking ourselves into slight comas, we wanted to pack in a few other activities as well, including a run, a visit to Manchester and a walk through England's green and pleasant land.


1 Dec 2013

Blue Daisy Cafe, Manchester

I can't resist a good cafe, especially after a year in lovely Melbourne.  This weekend I was in Manchester catching up with a friend.  After our fair share of op shopping we needed a caffeine boost.  I really resent buying coffee from giants such as Starbucks and Costa.  Firstly, the coffee is never that good, and secondly, I'm generally a fan of supporting local independence rather than chains.  We stumbled across this place as we popped in to Pop Boutique on Oldham Street.


28 Nov 2013

A Quick Stop In London

This week I went to visit my brother Nick who lives in Balham.  We call Nick the 'German' of the family, because he is incredibly organised and precise about everything.  Naturally, when I arrived Tuesday morning he had a full itinerary mapped out that would take up my two days there.

I dropped my stuff at Nick's lovely and surprisingly-roomy-for-London flat then we headed out in search of brunch.


25 Nov 2013

Jeudi et Vendredi à Paris

Our final couple days in gay Paree.  We went to the East parts of the city (on foot, had to work off the wine and kir somehow) to Pere Lachaise Cemetery.  I recommend spending the two euros it costs for a map, we didn't and quickly got horribly lost.  That with the first signs of lunch hunger was not a good combo.


24 Nov 2013

Mecredi à Paris

Today we went to the Palace of Versailles for a good look around.  I love history (so much so I studied it at University) so touristy things like this are often right up my street.  It was still lung clenchingly cold, and even though my ears hurt it was nice to be in the beginnings of a proper European winter.  I've missed it a little!


23 Nov 2013

Mardi à Paris

Day two in Paris was busy.  We got up and out early into the ffffffreezing cold air and made our way to the Musée d'Orsay.  When we arrived the queue was monumentally long, so we decided to come back later and have hot chocolate at Angelina's first.


22 Nov 2013

Lundi à Paris

On Monday my mum and I popped over to Paris for a week.  I've been away for a year and we've always wanted to go together as my mum is a bit of a Francophile and once lived in Paris, so now was as good a time as any.

I really like Paris.  I know a lot of people don't because it's expensive, dirty and often dodgy - to be honest I agree that these things are all true, I actually had a pick pocket try their luck with me on Thursday whilst on the Metro, which incidentally absolutely hum dinged of warm, stale urine.  For me though, these negative factors don't outweigh the reasons why I like the place.  It's quaint, everyone wears black and doesn't seem to give a toss and it's just so pretty!  I love the French language too, it's so soothing to listen to and so expressive.

6 Nov 2013

First Impressions Of Auckland

If Australia is an amalgamation of America and the UK, then I'd say that New Zealand (or what I've seen of it) is an amalgamation of Australia and the UK.  The scenery here is much prettier and quaint than Oz, the weather is more unpredictable than Melbourne and everything feels much more compact as opposed to far from anything like it can in Australia.

I'm staying with more members of my huge, global family.  It's one of the benefits of being from a huge family - you have relatives everywhere!  My great aunt and her son live in Remuera and this is the view from the top of the hill they live on:


1 Nov 2013

People I Met And Liked In Australia

There is one single thing (or multiple, rather) that has made my stay in Melbourne worthwhile: people.  People I've met briefly, people I've become close friends with, even people I didn't like.  They've all chipped in to make my third trip away the best one yet.

In an ode to the many, many laughs I've had across Melbourne, here are a few photographic memories of people I met and liked in Australia.


28 Oct 2013

A Quirk Of Fate - Kuwaii Launch Party

Last week Marlee and I had a second blogging excursion to go, this time it was the Kuwaii Launch at A Quirk Of Fate.  A Quirk Of Fate is located in Northcote about a fifteen minute train ride from the CBD.  It's one of those shops that stocks wonderfully quirky and unique trinkets and works closely with local designers and producers.  

I had the pleasure of meeting Vulette who blogs over at Young Red Violets.  It's great meeting other bloggers, it means you can make jokes about hashtags and people will actually laugh!

24 Oct 2013

Chin Chin, Flinders Lane

Chin Chin gets nothing but rave reviews.  Everyone I know who has been there loves it, and plenty more have never made there because you can't book tables and the place is always heaving.  On Tuesday I finally went there with friends.

We only had to wait 40 minutes for a table - perfect length of time to go get a drink - and once seated were quickly occupied by the menu.  I absolutely love the menu, and the website.  I just think the design is fantastic.  Whilst we're on the subject I should mention that they don't actually show the menu on the website so this may mean the menu changes quite regularly.


23 Oct 2013

e.g.etal Jewellery Exhibition, Flinders Lane

One of my favourite things about being a blogger is having a legitimate excuse to go to any kind of event, have a gander, have a free drink and then chat to strangers in a swanky venue.  Tonight was exactly that.  Marlee at String Of Events got invited to attend an exhibition of some new and current jewellery designs at e.g.etal on Flinders Lane.  She was allowed to bring a plus one and so of course picked me.

We arrived a little late but that didn't matter, the venue was small so it was easy to to get around all of the collections.  I don't really wear a lot of jewellery out here, I left the vast majority of it in the UK because I was too scared to risk losing anything - my rings are all inherited from grandparents and great aunts so they're very sentimental.  Being at this event made me miss jewellery terribly, is that shallow?

Before I get to showing you pictures of the actual jewellery, here's something arguably more important. There was free Hendricks on offer (and they got it right by serving it with cucumber):

Spot the gin

22 Oct 2013

La Belle Miette

I've been meaning to blog about this place since I arrived in Melbourne almost a year ago, literally.  Better late than never.  They have a few stores in and around Melbourne but the one on Hardware Lane is the one I always visit.  La Belle Miette is a macaron café, you can get coffee and/or macarons and that's it!

I like La Belle Miette because it's simple, really pretty and the macarons are delicious.  Apparently though, according to a French person I know, the name is French, but they wouldn't normally be put together.  Each macaron is between 2 and 3 dollars each and they are handed to you in the most beautiful little boxes.

I was having a bad blogger day and forgot to bring my camera.  Luckily Marlee very kindly let me use her SLR, which I definitely didn't complain about.


20 Oct 2013

'Brawl In the Bierhaus' At Thousand Pound Bend

So wrestling isn't something I'd normally follow or go to see live, but the sound of this event reminded me of Jack Black's film Nacho Libre so expecting a lot of entertainment I decided to go along.  Thousand Pound Bend is a cafe in the CBD on Little Lonsdale and at the back is a warehouse space used for all sorts of events.  Markets, blogger networking.... and wrestling.  This event was hosted by Wrestleclash and was called 'Brawl In The Bierhaus', celebrating Oktoberfest.

Upon arrival the first three things I noticed were the ring, beer and sausages.  They'd gone all out, there was 'authentic' German music playing and the commentator looked like a member of the Von Trap family.


14 Oct 2013

Great Ocean Road - Pt 2

So on Sunday morning we were woken up by the miserable sound of rain drops on our tent.  Determined not to be deterred by bad weather we had had breakfast and packed the tent up in record time.  A shower each later and we'd left the campsite and were on our way to Apollo Bay for another morning snack and a strong coffee.


13 Oct 2013

Great Ocean Road - Pt 1

This weekend I finally got to go down the Great Ocean Road.  Delayed gratification, if you will.  Saturday morning I jumped into Jenn's car and a after a quick check we had the essentials (wine, cider, chocolate, snacks and a tent) we headed straight off.


5 Oct 2013

Yarra Bend Park, Melbourne

On Friday Marlee took me to Yarra Bend Park.  It's about 15 minutes from the CBD (although it took us a little longer than that to get there because we got lost...) and is a beautiful snapshot of Australian terrain.  

There's something about the buildings in parks over here that looks so colonial

30 Sep 2013

Back To Mornington

At the start of the year I worked for one of the universities here in Melbourne and met Caitlin.  After I left, Caitlin and I stayed in touch and last weekend I visited her for a second time on the Victorian peninsula - previous post here.  The thing that I have loved about staying in one place for a long time, as opposed to constantly moving when you're backpacking, is that I've been able to meet real locals and make real friends.  Here, I've had so many expats and locals alike invite me into their personal lives with arms wide open.  I feel very lucky and privileged to have experienced this.


20 Sep 2013

My Go To Spots For Internet Comedy

A while ago I wrote this post after a visit to the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne.  Since then I've been making a bigger effort to seek out blogs and youtube channels that are funny.  Fricking funny, if you will.

A lot of people don't really 'get' blogging, vlogging or youtubing (?).  Comedy can be the perfect place to start, everyone 'gets' comedy.

Here are my favourites that I follow most closely.

19 Sep 2013

Gaijin Lunch Bar, Little Bourke

I like to eat Asian food because it is nearly always three things: filling, delicious and cheap.  Gaijin Lunch Bar is no different.  Located on Little Bourke Street in the CBD, this little cafe is cute and rarely over crowded.  It's a perfect spot for a quick lunch or a pre-night out dinner and drinks.  It's very well priced, my lunch including a drink came to about 11 dollars.


15 Sep 2013

Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs & Wine Tour

Today I met up with old Uni friend Lucy to venture down the Mornington Peninsula for hot springs and wine tasting.  We booked with Chillax Tours via a deal we found on Living Social.  Our tour guide was the extremely laid back Jason, he took us to the hot springs first for four blissful hours of soaking and lounging, then on to two wineries in the area - T Gallant Winery and Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove.  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the springs because I didn't want to get my camera wet, but let me tell you they are well worth a visit.  So relaxing and peaceful.

12 Sep 2013

The Benefit Of Travel

For Christmas, Kayleigh bought me a book from Lonely Planet called Better Than Fiction.  It's a collection of short, true travel stories from a range of fiction writers and I finally finished reading it last week.  It's a brilliant book, and one quote from one of the stories in particular has stuck with me:

'A few days seeing the world in a different perspective gives you the confidence to face things waiting for you at home'

I love this quote and totally agree.  I feel it applies to me because now I'm ready and raring to get back home and start working towards the things I've wanted to.  Yeah, maybe it did take a little bit longer than 'a few days' for me feel ready to go home but whatever, I've had a really fantastic year.

Melbourne has made me realise I can pretty much survive anywhere, but the place I want to go and survive in is the UK.


11 Sep 2013

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week - A Round Up

Fashion week here in Melbourne has been an awesome and exciting time for me.  It's great to celebrate things you love (something which I feel blogs do particularly well), and I love fashion.  I wanted a varied experience from MSFW and during the week I managed a pop up store, a fashion show, a visit to the hub, the students exhibition, an evening shopping at Melbourne Central and the new designers market.

Here is an extensive photo diary of the parts of my week I didn't show you.  I'm genuinely sad MSFW is over, must make it my mission to attend in other cities!


10 Sep 2013

Lady Petrova, Melbourne

Last weekend Marlee and I soaked up the last magical dregs of MSFW by visiting the new designers market, the student art exhibition and Lady Petrova's store off Flinders Lane.  I'm giving Lady Petrova her own post because... well, she's awesome.  I was feeling a bit panicky as I really want to purchase something from her store, if anything just as a Melbourne keep sake.  Luckily for me, she told me her new online store will be opening soon so I don't have to scramble together the dollars before I fly back to the UK.


7 Sep 2013

Pocketto - A Coffee Table Book To Remember #MSFW

We all know that one of the best things about attending events is goodie bags.  When Marlee and I attended the Pop It launch party last week, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a fashion photography book as part of our freebie gift.  After some extensive research (i.e. googling) I learnt that Pocketto is actually a magazine and we had received it's first official issue!


6 Sep 2013

Melbourne Central One Day Shopping Festival

A festival for shopping?  A shopping festival?  Really?!  Well, not really.  If you're thinking of people in wellies covered in mud making purchases at Topshop then think again, it wasn't a 'festival'.  Just a good excuse to go shopping.  The vast majority of the stores in Melbourne Central had a one day treat on Thursday 05 Sept, named the One Day Shopping Festival.  From 10am til 10pm various discounts and offers would be available in honour of Spring Fashion Week.  For one day only!  Blimey they know how to pull your heart strings don't they?  I don't usually do shopping hauls blogs, but in the name of MSFW I will.

I had a look around Dotti and Sports Girl but didn't find anything.  A few minutes wandering I almost left, but then I remembered Dangerfield and their hefty stock of Princess Highway garments.  Approximately 23 minutes later I left the store with three new items of clothing that absolutely reeked of bargains!  Here is what I acquired:

5 Sep 2013

Made In Melbourne @ MSFW

I wouldn't say I'm the most fashionably dressed person on planet earth, but what I would say is that I love clothes.  I really appreciate a good outfit, either on myself or other people.  I love people watching and one of my favourite blogs is The Sartorialist.  As for shopping, I am never EVER done (and never will be).  So when the ever informed Marlee at String Of Events invited me to the Made In Melbourne runway show I instantly said yes.  It showcases Melburnian designers only, so it's a great event for local talent.

I've never been to a runway show before so I was extremely a tad excited.  It was held on Siddeley Street overlooking the Yarra, a beautiful spot especially in the evening.

We arrived, checked in, got drinks, nabbed good seats and waited for the show to start.

2 Sep 2013

POP IT #MSFW, Melbourne

Today saw the beginning of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (that's #MSFW to you Twitter), something I have been very excited about for a long time.  Unfortunately I can't go to as much as I would like because I have to, like, work and eat and sleep, but you know, I'll fit in what I can.  This evening Marlee (String Of Events) and I went to the grand opening of Pop It at the Kitten Club on Little Collins Street.  It's a pop up event that's here all week, showcasing the latest lovely garments from a range of Aussie designers.

The thing I love most about Australian fashion is that it's fun.  It takes risks and isn't afraid to say, you know what I would just love?  Some dinosaurs on my knickers, that's what.


1 Sep 2013

Metaphysical Groove

There are a lot of street performers on Swantston Street in Melbourne.  Some are okay, some are confusing and others a bit annoying.  But there's one group in particular that are amazing and who I always stop and watch no matter what.

I see them approximately twice a week and they're just brilliant.  They're called Metaphysical Groove International and they are fantastic dancers.


31 Aug 2013

#HeroSubs, Melbourne

Working in a city centre is tough, particularly if you want to maintain a reasonably healthy diet and lifestyle.  It can be so easy to just hop on a tram instead of walking, and even easier to not bother bringing your own lunch and just grabbing something quick, easy and full of fat and salt instead.

We've all been there, particularly on a day when you haven't had the motivation to bring in a healthy lunch or on a Friday just as you finish work.  You need to eat something to get through the afternoon or before you sip a glass of wine, but your options are generally going to be fries, burgers or both.  You're going to get serious guilt after eating these and quite rightly so.  

Luckily for me, Hero Subs has just opened across the road from work in Melbourne.  They're everything the Subway chain should be but just isn't.  That is, their bread is soft and fresh, their fillings are cooked not frozen and their standard is generally brilliant with a few little quirks here and there - most notably the sub boxes which are designed to look a bit like Nike shoe boxes.  Here you'll be pleasantly surprised, and I for one know that every time I've eaten at Subway (usually when I'm slightly inebriated), I've been bitterly disappointed.


20 Aug 2013

Sister Bella, Drewery Place, Melbourne

This adorable little bar takes the concept of laneway bars in Melbourne one step further: it is located down an alley that is off another alley.

I mean, your initial thought here isn't necessarily going to be 'I bet there's bar around here!'

17 Aug 2013

Mrs Parmas, Little Bourke Street

I've heard so much about Mrs Parmas, even from people who don't live in Melbourne.  So obviously I had to go see what all the fuss was about.  Unfortunately, I'm really not sure what the fuss is about.  It's a nice enough place, but for what you pay and for what I was expecting from all the hype, I was actually really disappointed.


11 Aug 2013

Disco Abyss @ Shebeen Bar, Melbourne

I know a cat called Martha, she lives in a lovely flat in the CBD.  Last night she invited me to an art party called Disco Abyss which is a new event organised by some friends of hers.  Unfortunately, she hates crowds so I went with her two pet humans instead.

I was really intrigued to go to this and it didn't disappoint.  It was just what I expected: a wildly flamboyant, decadent, racy, risqué night of music, acting and performances.  It was one of those occasions where more is more.

Pre drinks and preparations at Martha's pad beforehand

31 Jul 2013

MoVida, Melbourne

There are two MoVida tapas restaurants in Melbourne.  There's a big one off Bourke Street (towards the Southern Cross end of the city).  Then there's the original one tucked down Hosier Lane.  Both serve unbelievable food.
My housemate and cousin Ben took me to MoVida in March for my birthday.  A last minute decision, we ended up at the one on Bourke because Hosier Lane was fully booked.  The food was incredible.  Hooked by the food, and intrigued by how much everyone talks about the original restaurant on Hosier, I was determined to go back.  So tonight Ben, Penny and I had tapas at MoVida.

It is quintessential Melbourne.  Tucked down an alley that is plastered in graffiti, the interior is dark, warm and completely inviting.  I feel that the bigger branch off Bourke has less character than this one, but the food and service standards are still the same.  Go to Bourke for a birthday party or works do, go to Hosier for a quiet and memorable meal with friends.


27 Jul 2013

Open House Melbourne 2013

When Marlee first explained the idea behind Open House Melbourne to me I grinned at the brilliance of it.  As I've said many times before, there is so much going on in Melbourne all the time and there's something to suit every mood.  Basically, for this weekend only, a number of the old buildings in Melbourne are open to the public for free.

A few of the buildings are only available to visit on ballot entry or pre-booked tours, but most of them you can just walk on into!  Today Marlee and I decided to keep it local and check out the ones in St Kilda.  The first stop was the St Kilda Vaults, these used to be a row of shops facing the sea front (just opposite the St Kilda Baths).  It's a shame the space is no longer used, it'd be a great place to have a party or even a run way show.  They had some great images of old St Kilda inside too.

The vaults are to the left along the road, now all closed up sadly

26 Jul 2013

Gin Palace, Melbourne

I really love gin.  Gin and tonic, sloe gin and bitter lemon, gin and cranberry juice, gin and orange juice.  Among my favourites are Tanqueray, Hendricks (this one always with cucumber, not lime), Bombay Sapphire and Beefeater.  So when some friends invited me to join them at a bar called Gin Palace a little part of my life was immediately completed.  In true Melburnian style, Gin Palace is tucked away down an alley called Russell Place off Little Collins street.  The only marker is the rather small 'GP' sign above the door which sparkles at night.

It's a great bar to visit during winter with it's cushions and cosy armchairs.  When you first walk in it's easy to presume this place is pretentious, but trust me it isn't.  The staff are lovely and very down to earth, and they've got enough knowledge to whip you up a gin surprise that isn't on the menu.  The menu itself feels somewhat like a beautifully presented short story book.

Leigh perusing the menu .... 'Hmmm, so much gin so little time!'

25 Jul 2013

Flinders Lane Shopping Night

I first heard about this event about a year ago on Marlee's blog, way back when we only knew each other via the interweb.  I remember thinking wow what an awesome event, I'd love to go to something like that.  One year later, here we are.

Of course there were free drinks.  This morning my head felt a little fuzzy after the free wine and cider at Nite Art yesterday, but I soon got a new lease of life with this cider!  We started the evening at Lenko, moving slowly on to Lady Petrova, Design A Space and many more.

24 Jul 2013

Nite Art, Melbourne

This evening Marlee and I went on yet another blogging excursion.  Nite Art was a free event in which various venues and galleries in the CBD exhibited the work of local artists during one evening.  The art varied widely from modern art, to photography to short films.

We started the evening off with dinner at Yoyogi on Swanston Street, one of many great Asian eateries.    I went for the teriyaki bento box and a green tea milkshake (which was surprisingly good until I started getting full).

Delicious, just delicious

14 Jul 2013

The Fall - Tarsem Singh - Film

It's been a while since I've written about a film, mainly because it's been a while since I've seen a really, really good film.  When I was staying with Marlee (who blogs at String Of Events) recently we watched a film called The Fall.  It's a very visually beautiful film with a simple but strong plot.

Filmed over four years, the director Tarsem Singh funded the whole thing himself.  The film uses barely any CGI and during filming the crew visited a huge number of locations including Cape Town, Jaipur, Fiji, Sumatra, France, Andaman Islands, Bali and many more.  So when you watch it and are blown away by the beauty of some of the landscapes and backdrops, bear in mind that they are all real.


13 Jul 2013

Woo Ga Korean Barbecue

I'm making it my priority to try as many Asian dishes as I can while I'm in Melbourne.  The food is so good and so cheap.  On Friday evening some work friends and I headed to Woo Ga in North Melbourne.  It sits opposite the Queen Victoria Market on Victoria Street, they serve Korean barbecue combos.

Walking in you're hit with meaty smoke and the sound of sizzling.  Looking straight to the menu we saw that the combos are on offer were extremely good value!  We picked our share combo (which for 6 people came to about $22 each, I think that's incredible value for Melbourne) and within seconds the staff had set our table with cups, bowls, dishes and an incredibly hot, stone pot to cook the meat on.

Your standard plastic menu, love this

6 Jul 2013

Reasons To Love Social Media

I love social media.  There, I said it.  I love social media.  When I hear people groan at the word twitter or ask 'What exactly is Pinterest for? It's just pictures isn't it?' a part of me winces, the other bites my tongue.  When social media is used in the wrong way, it can be humiliating for those involved and embarrassing to witness.  For example, when the owners of Amy's Baking Company appeared on Kitchen Nightmares, their Facebook page soon began receiving comment after comment from reddit users.  Anyone who knows anything about the internet in general, knows not to react to trolls.  They reacted - read here.  That is probably the only lesson anyone will ever need in how not to use social media.

But when it's used in the right way, when each tweet, pin, like and all other manner of shares leads to a beautifully orchestrated masterclass in good PR, when companies and brands really hit the nail on the head, it's brilliant.  There are three perfect examples of this, and they are three reasons to love social media.

30 Jun 2013

#VoicesOf2013

#VoicesOf2013 organised by Kidspot was my first 'blogger conference' and I didn't know what to expect, plus I heard about it from the ever-informed Marlee at String Of Events.  So I felt lucky and excited to be going to a blogging event, by bloggers and for bloggers.  The event was free and I was completely blown away by the high standard and the attention to detail.

Had to giggle as I took this photo, Marlee and two other bloggers were stood next to me doing the exact same

10 Jun 2013

The Mess Hall & The ACMI

By Sunday morning my long weekend had already exhausted me.  I'd gone for drinks and Chinese food with a couple of folk from work on Friday evening (turned out to be the worst Chinese ever, but that's another blog for another day!), walked along Point Nepean and back and rushed myself to dinner on Chapel Street for an old University friend's birthday on Saturday.  Nevertheless on Sunday morning I got myself up and went into the city to meet Jess, Phil and co for breakfast.  I last saw Jess and Phil when we had dinner at Pho Chu The.  This time we all met at The Mess Hall on Bourke Street - not to be confused with the one in Brunswick.


9 Jun 2013

Sorrento & Point Nepean, Victoria

On Saturday I caught up with peninsula girl C.  C and I worked together at the start of the year at one of the many Universities in Melbourne and haven't seen each other since then.  She lives way down the Mornington Peninsula in a place called Sorrento.

I hopped on the Frankston line (catch it from Flinders, Richmond or South Yarra station) and she picked me up at the station just as the sun was beginning to shine.  Taking the coastal route we made our way to Sorrento for one of the famous vanilla slices you can get here.

28 May 2013

Fit For Travel

I find one of the most exciting parts of travelling is the planning and preparation that goes in beforehand.  I love nothing more than browsing backpacks and travel gadgets in Go Outdoors or Blacks (okay, I admit, I love nothing than browsing ANY shop.  Screw you) or stumbling across a really useful gadget to add to my packing list.  Then there's also the more boring things to sort out, like letting your bank know where you're going (to learn why you should not forget this, read a previous post of mine here), organising insurance and ... getting vaccinated!  Nearly forgot about that did you?  It's easily done.

A couple of weeks ago fellow temp and pom N was telling me about her planned trip to Vietnam at work (great work ethic right there).  We discussed the various things to see and do there, and I told her story after story of my own time in South East Asia this being the first time she had gone.  Then I mentioned how lucky I was to get a load of doxycycline for free as an anti-malarial drug.  At which point the smile from N's face vanished and she suddenly went 'Crap, injections'.

With only a week until her flight, she was really lucky to get herself sorted in time.  I showed her a website I always use to find out exactly what she needed to get done.  It then occurred to me to blog about it.

26 May 2013

Pho Chu The

Everyone loves beef pho.  The light fragrance of the spring onions, the soft and juicy beef and the crisp taste of the watery soup.  In Melbourne, Richmond is the best place to go to be spoilt for choice on Vietnamese cuisine.  Before deciding where to go, I asked a Vietnamese guy at work where he would recommend and he said Pho Chu The.  Decision made.

On Saturday night, I met fellow poms Jess and Phil at the restaurant on Victoria Street for a catch up over cans of coke, cups of tea and chopsticks.


25 May 2013

The Festival Of Steve

Melbourne has some unusual and unique events going on and this is certainly one of them.  The only information I could gather from the blog was that it would be a 'festival celebrating the gentlemen of Melbourne'.  I had no idea what to expect and guessed that it would either be really, really good, or really, really rubbish.  The name confused me, because I haven't met any Australian men named Steve. It's like the comedy channel at home called Dave, I know loads of people called Dave who are British.  Makes sense.  But Steve... who is Steve?

Nevertheless this morning I headed into the city with Marlee and Sam to see what it was all about.  It was located at The Kelvin Club on Melbourne Place off Russell Street.  Our first impression was to see a group of men wearing waistcoats stood outside chatting.  Liking what we saw we eagerly hurried inside to sign ourselves in.  The Kelvin Club is this amazing vintage style public house, it felt like stepping into a film set.  Once I had seen the venue the idea of the event clicked right away and I felt excited to get inside and see more.

The entrance lobby to The Kelvin Club

22 May 2013

Pin It Forward UK

About eighteen months ago I joined Pinterest.  My friends described it to me as a place to bookmark, or 'pin', things that you like and things that interest you.  I was hooked immediately, I installed the pin it button on my toolbar right away and began pinning absolutely anything and everything that tickled my fancy.  From pretty colours to interior arrangements, and from fashion items to motivational quotes and even recipes.  You can literally pin anything.

Pinterest is now taking on a very large life of its own and is about to launch a new website in the UK.  Like all good social media networks, the Pinterest team have contacted a number of bloggers recently and got them on board to help spread the word and generate new users in time for the launch.  I was absolutely delighted when I received an email from them last month asking me to take part.  To be involved in such a wonderful demonstration of how important the blogosphere is these days, and to be involved directly with one of my favourite social networks, is a wonderful opportunity and fantastic experience.

I certainly use Pinterest just as much as any other social network, but it gets used in a different way.  I feel that Pinterest is centered around ideas, inspiration and motivation.  Just a few weeks ago I went to the hairdressers and in the chair next to me a girl was on her phone searching through her 'Hair Ideas' board on her Pinterest account, in order to show the stylist what cut she wanted.  So much less hassle than cutting up a hair magazine!

Similarly, my friend Emily used Pinterest heavily last year for inspiration (or pinspiration, say it with me...) whilst planning her wedding.  She got some great ideas for her hair, shoes, the cake and dress from the site.  The best bit was with us girls all living in different parts of the UK at the time, we could all see her ideas on Pinterest and let her know what we thought, or even find our own pins that we thought she'd like.

12 May 2013

Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Melbourne is famous for its street art, so it would be silly for me to not share some of it with you.  Hosier Lane is an iconic laneway where the art is always changing.  It's also home to MoVida, a bloody sensational tapas place!  My cousin and I went about a month ago, but we were unable to get a table at the one here so we went to the much bigger and much more commercial feeling one off Bourke Street.  That said, the food and service was second to none.  It was the best tapas I have ever had, when I think back to the slow cooked beef cheek with cauliflower puree I do a little Homer Simpson gargle.  I left incredibly full and keen to blog, but I want to go back to the original one on Hosier for a blog post.  Good excuse to have a second round of tapas!

Anyway, I digress, a week or so ago Marlee and I decided to go into the city to see an art exhibition.  Said exhibition turned out to be much smaller than we expected so on our way to get some lunch we wandered up Hosier Lane and took some pictures.  Here are mine:


5 May 2013

Decisions

I'm suffering from a bit of inner turmoil at the moment.  I'm really enjoying living and working in Melbourne, but as ever my travel feet are itching and just won't give it up.  On top of that I'm also going through a new phase of homesickness.  Now that I've been away for more than six months home is on my mind every single day.  Not just my family and friends, but everything about England that I love.  So with all this in mind I'm trying to decide what my next move should be.  I'm all for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and all that, but at the same time I also think that I should be able to say no to something if I really don't want to do it.

25 Apr 2013

Trinket Hunting, Coffee Drinking And Beach Walking

Recently I visited two markets with Marlee from String Of Events, we went to the Finders Keepers Market in the amazing Exhibition building in Carlton, and Camberwell Market in ... well, Camberwell.

The Finders Keepers Market was a very up-market kind of affair, it was great but unfortunately my budgetary constraints that particular week didn't allow me to purchase anything.  I'll just have to go to the next one!  My favourite stall by far was the I Tram Melbourne one, I love their stuff and will be keeping a keen and beady eye on their products.

Camberwell Market was much more up my street in terms of what I'm used to.  It felt very similar to a carboot sale, there were coffee and sandwich vans everywhere, buskers and a world of trinkets and odd little bits and bobs.  Along with lots and lots of clothes too of course!  I didn't buy anything this time round but I'll definitely be going back for a few more browsing sessions, plus this is the sort of market where just wandering around is fun in itself.  Here are some pictures from both, starting with Camberwell:

Marlee's hand getting stuck in

13 Apr 2013

'Web Comedy: The New Joke?'

Today I revisited The Wheeler Centre.  It's located by the side of the State Library on Little Lonsdale Street and todays talk was focused around the internet, social media platforms and comedy (with it being the comedy festival).  On the guest panel they had Youtuber Alex Williamson, stand up Jennifer Wong, podcaster Tommy Dassalo and comedy production bigwig Sam Kinken.

7 Apr 2013

The Six Month Mark

I have now been living in Melbourne for six whole months.  It's gone by unbelievably quickly.  I've made new friends, reconnected with some old ones (it's a small world!), had an amazing working experience in the CBD, had a fair bit of luck and discovered that there is more to Melbourne than I could have imagined.  This really is a fantastic city to live in.

The Australia Day parade at Federation Square

22 Mar 2013

How To Deal With Post Travel Withdrawals

You step off the plane and you feel the pinch of cold weather again.  It doesn't matter, in fact you feel affectionate towards the weather you have been missing because you're still on top of the world after one of the best experiences of your entire life.  Travelling.  You will tell your children and grandchildren all about it one day, but for now you cannot wait to tell your family and friends.  You've been reinvented, you have a new attitude and you can't wait to apply it to life back home.


So many moments of pure joy and elation!

4 Mar 2013

Toulouse-Lautrec, Kangaroos And Greyhound

Last weekend Kayleigh and I took a long planned trip to Canberra.  My mum's best friend now lives there with her family and being keen culture vultures we were desperate to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition that is being held there.  Two perfectly good excuses to visit the city that receives a fair amount of bad press!

Unfortunately, the only form of transport we could really afford was a Greyhound coach.  The trains were quite expensive and took a ridiculous amount of changes and the flights were extortionate.  So on Friday when the clock hit five we grabbed a bite to eat in Fed Square and headed straight to Southern Cross for a long and uncomfortable coach journey.

25 Feb 2013

White Night Melbourne

I have been so excited for White Night Melbourne over the past couple of weeks.  However, the night was not what I expected.  I expected a small scale, cultural evening.  Whilst there was a lot of culture, it was certainly not small scale!  I was shocked at how many people were out, it was even busier than New Year's Eve.  Anyhoo, this will be a picture heavy post and some of the pictures (as you'll see) are awful quality.  This I blame entirely on the crowds, I couldn't stop to take proper pictures for fear of getting lost!

So on Saturday after a pre-evening nap (best decision of the day) I went into the city with fellow blogger and Melbourne local Marlee and a couple of her friends at around eight o'clock.

21 Feb 2013

Blender Lane Artists Market, Melbourne

Stumbled across this last night en route home from the Queen Victoria market. It finishes next Wednesday so I will be returning to make some purchases!

I love the culture in Melbourne. And to say its one of the most heavily populated cities in the world, it is very laid back.

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