A last hurrah with La before she ties the knot

Darling La (you can see some of our previous adventures here, here and here) is getting married in a couple of months! To a fantastically lovely man! In Bali!

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An oldie from a holiday in NYC a couple of years ago… love that town, so much fun with my lovely La

I have been designated the Maid of Honour (or MOH as Pinterest tells me) and so the task fell on me to organise a kick-ass bachelorette party!

Woot woot, I love a good event organise – it’s the leader/controller in me!

Given that La’s nearest and dearest girlies live across four different States of Australia I decided the only solution (because it is always the only solution) was to create an excel spred sheet!

Ta-dah…. Here’s what we did!

The mighty plan – La’s Bachelorette Party

Along the way we played a few different games…

Truth and Dare – I made these medallions up for the dares and got each of the hens to pin a couple onto their sashes. Once La had completed the dare we would pin it as a badge of honour onto her sash.

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The dares

How Well do You Know the Groom – I prearranged with La’s fiancé for him to answer the questions on video first. When we asked the same questions to La, she would answer and then we would play back her fiance’s answers. It was a hoot, and she loved it. Her fiancé also recorded a little “have fun I love you” message for just before we went out for the night.

Favourite Memory of the Bride – We did this while we recovered with big breakfasts the next morning. It is so neat to here the hens tell their version of the stories compared with the Bride to Be’s version.

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All of our colourful juices the next morning

All in all, we had a lovely time and home by just after midnight! The best time to get home in my book!

Bring on Bali!

Easter in Cairns and a quick trip to Cape Tribulation

Manface and I spent Easter weekend with our parents in Cairns this year.

My parents have just moved up to Cairns as they transition from full time work to whatever not full time work but not quite retirement is…

It’s their first move in 10 years and I think it’s been so good for them. They look so happy and healthy up in the tropics! In a fortunate twist of fate, Manface’s parents already lived in Cairns – and it’s been great to see our folks get to know each-other over the last couple of months. We couldn’t be more lucky in how it’s all worked out.

Parents, Retirement, Cairns

So I haven’t figured out how to take pictures of the moon rising.. but the moon was totally rising in this picture

 

I was in desperate need for a good break and it was so good to relax, soak in the warmth of the tropics and to be doted on by both sets of parents!

Whilst up North, we took a quick trip up to Cape Tribulation to see where the Reef meets the Rainforest. Cape Tribulation is about 140km North of Cairns and apparently it is the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas meet – the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef.

On the way up to the Cape, we stopped off at Port Douglas for breakfast and then at Mossman Gorge for a quick swim.

Port Douglas Breakfast

Yummo Breaky

 

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Mossman Gorge

 

Once we got to the Cape we made our way to Emmagen beach. To get there, we had about a 5 min rainforest walk and if you weren’t looking for the entrance off the side of the road you would blink and absolutely miss it… kind of makes it more fun that way!

Unfortunately when you are this far North in Australia you can’t swim at the beach. Crocs and Stingers… #straya heheh

However, Emmagen waterhole (also secluded and hard to find) was only a 15 min rainforest walk away – so we took a dip there instead.

To finish our little outing, we grabbed burgers and cider at the information centre on the way out. Ahr, nothing beats waterholes and Australian landscape!

And finally… I just figured out the gallery setting on Word Press! Woo!

This is cute – and I reckon grownups have the same reaction to tequila

 

“Yes please, I’d like one of those”

“What was that??? That’s awful!”

“Oh actually maybe that was fun, hahaha”

“Maybe not, maybe that wasn’t fun at all”

“Just shake it off, shake it off”

“Another one? err, just gimme a min”

“Ok, ok… I’m ready! Let’s do this”

“Nooo, that really is awful! Truly awful”

“I can’t see anymore, I can’t see… oh that’s just my hands”

“Why are we doing this?”

“One more? I want to…but no… no, I can’t, absolutely not”

28!

I turned 28 this week!

To celebrate, Manface flew in last weekend and took me to Cirque du Soleil!

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As I was wearing a dress with only a small clutch, there is limited photo evidence of the night… but rest assured that it was fabulous!

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Cirque du soleil – Totem

The boy outdid himself and made it extra special with a chauffeur car and tapas at Mo Vida Aqui (so, so, so good) before hand. It was so nice to be able to get everywhere we needed to be so easily… and in supreme comfort. I really recommend it to anyone for a special occasion.

As always, the Cirque du Solei performance was spectacular. The show touring Australia at the moment is called Totem and loosely plays on the evolution of mankind. My favourite act was probably the uni-cycling plate girls (although I don’t know where they fitted in with the evolution theme) who managed to throw and catch plates on their heads whilst uni-cycling about on uni-cycles two and a half metres of the ground. My goodness I think the only thing they could have added to make it more difficult would be a tight-rope… and surely that would be impossible!? As it was, the balance, coordination and teamwork was mind blowing.

On my actual birthday, I was greeted at o’dark o’ clock by my friend Matt (who I catch the train with) to walk to the station. I’ve just started drinking piccolos instead of flat whites, so naturally Matt had a new piccolo keep cup (fantastic Melbourne based company out to make a difference with sustainable and cute cups) for me and was lovely enough to buy my first coffee for the day (from Cup of Truth at Flinders St – they make the best workday coffee in town I reckon)

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Little piccolo keep cup! Thanks Matty!!! x

I arrived at School to a package of Pastel de Natas, a new Comprehension work book and a freshly made coffee – a minha professora estã muito simpatico (my teacher is very kind)

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Cakes, Comprehension and Coffee

 

 

Also, Mama and Papa bear sent me a care-package with happy chocolate lollipops! I’m so looking forward to seeing them over the Easter break!

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Chocolate bouquet and card from mama and papa bear. xxx

 

And on top of all of this, the other students in my class bought me a big cake!

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One of the boys in my class is originally from Korea, he got this cake from the Koran bakery he normally goes to for sweet treats

 

I felt so spoilt and loved! Bring on 28!

I’m becoming a Scout Leader

Earlier this week I was invested into Scouts Australia!

I was a part of the Scouting Movement as a child – first as a Cub Scout and then as a Scout. I have such fond memories.

Back in the day as a Scout

I loved learning new things in an environment very unlike school.

I love the outdoors (as documented here, here and here) – but I really only remember getting involved with camping, hiking and outdoorsy pursuits as a child through Scouts… so perhaps through Scouts I learned to love the outdoors. Either way I’m not complaining! Scouts provided me the opportunity to do so many activities that I would otherwise not have had the chance to do until adulthood.  Things like; abseiling, rock climbing, kayaking, visiting community centres, the list goes on and on.

One of the things that stands out for me when I look back on my time as a Scout was the commitment of my adult Scout Leader. My Scout Leader was a great guy in his 20s who dedicated so much time to teaching us kids useful outdoors skills. I really did look up to him.

So… this year, with a bit more time up my sleeve than recent years – I decided to become a Scout Leader! I am still in training, but…

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Being Invested as a Scout Leader

I am absolutely loving it!

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Investing a new Scout! The uniforms have changed a wee bit from when I was a kid.

I love that each week I get to see my troop improve and master new skills. I love watching as they develop friendships with each-other. I love that I get to mentor a group of bright young people at a time when things can sometimes start to get confusing. I love that I get to be more involved with the community in such a positive way. And, as an added bonus…

I love how much I am learning from the experience.

Tidy your house, tidy your mind?

On the weekend I finished reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m often late to the party with a lot of these trendy books – but you see, at the moment I’ve been reading a bunch of literature on feminism, the changing role of women and men in the work place, and all that sort of thing – so sometimes my “To Read” list is just too big to include books about… um… tidying up!

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Picture from Amazon.com

 

Anyhoo, as mentioned over the weekend I was taking a break from my normal trend of “equity in the workplace will only ever be achieved with equity in the home-place”  type phrasing and read a book about tidying up. I was really surprised at how I took to it.

In her book, Marie Kondo talks about how she has been somewhat obsessed with the need to tidy and clean since she was a small child. The way she describes her passion for the “art” in many ways comes across as resembling a disorder… but then I think back to this documentary and reconsider.

Perhaps this level of passion for what many may consider a simple pursuit, is actually a way to achieve the pride, success and happiness that many of us crave in our office jobs?

However, I am side tracking. The thing that really resonated with me in this book came down to what I feel was perhaps only a minor undercurrent in Marie Kondo’s analysis… and that is “A tidy home = a tidy mind”.

Marie Kondo speaks in great detail about the two steps of tidying up.

Step 1 – Discarding

Step 2 – Putting things away

She quite rightly points out, many of us have simply have too much stuff. Many of us (and once again I appreciate how lucky I am that I sit in this group of people) have a consumerist lifestyle in which we buy things… in bulk… cheaply… more in fact than we can consume. Far more stuff than we ever needed. Old mobile phones, computer screens, cameras, paperwork, university text books, high school text books, clothing, camping gear we never use, surfing gear from that one time we lived by the coast, the list goes on – our houses are filled with stuff we don’t use anymore and that we hang on to “just in case”.

As Marie Kondo touches on; our lives just like our homes have also become clogged with superfluous stuff. Facebook, email, pinterest, instagram, work email, work itself, extra study, hobbies, friends, family, professional development, our next holiday, the book we are reading, the blogs we follow, the 7 different news sources we check each day, the social commitments – there is so much stuff – our calendars and our minds are over flowing.

Marie Kondo has one rule in which she follows when deciding what to discard from her home. She holds an item in her hands, turns it over, and without the distractions of music, television, other people, and answers a question – “does this item bring me joy?”

If the answer is no, she thanks it, I mean actually says thank you to the item for the role it played in her life and then gets rid of it.

It’s such a simple concept, and I really like it.

And not just for physical items throughout my house (which FYI I have discarded a lot of recently) – but also for… well everything.

How many things do I commit to socially that I really have no interest in?

How many thoughts cross my mind each day that I have harboured for years but rarely taken pleasure from?

How many coffees have I drunk with people who I shared a friendship once bloomed but has now naturally wilted?

How many goals that no longer seem worth chasing do I still workshop?

How many to do lists have I written that items reappear on from the week before, playing over and over like an airport announcement?

I feel like Marie Kondo’s approach to physically tidying ones house could be used as a symbolic way of also tidying our minds. Do these things that I’m turning over in my mind bring me joy? If not – thank that thought for the part played in making me who I am – and then bid it goodbye as I throw it back out into the sea of thoughts that whirs amongst us instead of inside of me.

Once all the joyless things are gone, what is left?

What is left are the things that we truly appreciate.

And along with them a little more space to demonstrate our appreciation, a little more time to invest in them, and a little more patience to show due care when we take them out and put them away again.

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What is left of my wardrobe – there’s obviously been a lot of discarding over the last few days! :)

 

 

Bingo at the Portuguese Club

As I’ve mentioned here before, this year I am doing a 10 month intensive Portuguese Course. This equates to 6 hours of Portuguese a day! My day starts with an hour of listening and dictation exercises before I move into alternating classes of grammar and consolidation. It is exhausting, but also pretty awesome!

A couple of weeks ago, one of my teachers, Maria, took my class to a Portuguese Club to play Bingo.

T’was great timing as the week prior we had concentrated on dates, numbers, time etc etc.

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My Portuguese teacher and Me (A minha professora Português e eu)

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Totally not winning at Bingo

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The food, so much food

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Heavenly Pastel de Nata – how the should look… unlike my attempt here

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Portuguese Women, Australian Flag, Portuguese Flag, Super Serious number caller and a disco ball… so much fun!

I don’t know why – but I was so nervous when I arrived at the club… I can’t put my finger on it… I wasn’t afraid of saying anything wrong, I just felt very self conscious, like I didn’t belong. Which is true – I didn’t belong. I’m not Portuguese, I can only speak a little at the moment – and incredibly slowly and poorly. But at the same time, the club was incredibly welcoming and more than happy to giggle and help me as I attempted to communicate. So why the nerves?

Has anyone else had a similar experience when learning something new?

Either way, I’m really glad I went. I was able to really challenge myself to get out of my language comfort zone and practice verbal communication.