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.

Vacuum Cleaners are Expensive

I think Manface and I are about to be in the market for a new vacuum cleaner. (All the exciting things on this blog.)

I am a bit obsessive when it comes to vacuuming floors. Given that I have dark hair (unfortunately my first white hair seems to remain on its lonesome) and light carpets – I feel it is necessary to vacuum nearly every second day. It calms me.

Our current vacuum cleaner has all the promise of being worthy, but none of the follow through. It kinda sucks. I clean the filters pretty much every time I vacuum. And it’s orange “blockage” light goes on as soon as the head hits the carpet.

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The evil Vax

 

Actually can anyone explain to me why vacuum cleaners need filters? Isn’t the whole point to pick up all the dirt to throw away? I get the one at the back that lets hot air out of the machine, but what’s with the one in the middle? Why are they filtering dirt? Weird.

Anyhoo, I went to the inter-webs for advice and it told me in Green Wizard like certainty that my only options if I am at all serious about vacuum cleaners are:

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A Dyson (left) or a Miele (right)

I’ve decided to go with a Miele (the one on the right). Unsure which variety yet… but probably a S8310.

Ultimately, the decision was made yesterday when I utilised my “home sick time” reading a bunch of “vacuum lover” threads and watching at least three demonstrations of “Dyson vs Miele” on youtube. Who  am I to argue with the “vacuum lover” threads and youtube clips dedicated to this subject?

I feel Dysons are too showy, it seems that the best thing about the brand is their marketing – and who wants a showy vacuum cleaner? It’s a bit odd. On top of this, the reviews just don’t seem to live up to the hype. Oh by the way, can anyone tell me when and why society become so obsessed with bag-less varieties?

Miele it is.

Of course it will be a little while before I can actually purchase this apparently “life changing” tool.

Who knew that a “good” vacuum cleaner would set you back so much money?! Too cope with this shocking discovery, I’m going to have to go old school and save my pocket money for this one. $20 a pay for what will no doubt seem like all eternity and I should have enough money at around the same time I run out of my spare filters for my evil Vax.

 

 

Lets talk about what is going on in my apartment today….

This here, is what my bed looked like at 1037 this morning, when I finally got out of it for a moment.

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Disgraceful state of my bed

I have a monster cold, and it has not only taken over my body… but also my bed. We both (my bed and I) look this disgraceful.

I did not go to school.

And it’s a good thing too as I did not iron any clothes over the weekend. Here is the proof. This is the washing that I didn’t fold yesterday because I was too busy failing at making Portuguese Tarts

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Washing remains untouched

Oh yes, FAILED at making Portuguese Tarts. Look no further, here are the FAILURES– they’re eggy, not creamy, and just aren’t even slightly comparable to the beauties that my Portuguese teacher brings in every Friday. I’m not aiming to outdo my lovely Portuguese teacher at making her own nation’s dessert… but some form of resemblance would be nice.

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Disgusting attempt at Portuguese tarts. They’re lumpy and eggy and not at all what they should be.

Speaking of Portuguese… let us move to the dining table where my Portuguese books sit untouched as my head is too fuzzy to learn new vocab or remember all the finicky Portuguese grammar rules… just FYI, the enthusiasm has worn off after 6 weeks of intensive language study… hopefully it will return at the same time my voice does.

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Portuguese Notes have not been touched in three days.

While we’re talking about cooking, on a positive and un-failed note… just before this scoundrel of a bug took over my body, I did manage to bake and create my ideal chic-chip cookie. After years of searching, I finally found it! I feel like it’s one of those things that each of us will find after years of “yummy but not quite there” research. Declarations of “too crunchy”, “too soft”, “not enough chips”, “too sweet”, “why can I taste the bicarb?” are now a thing of the past for me!

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The last half of the last PERFECT choc-chip cookie

If you haven’t found YOUR perfect choc-chip cookie, I’m here to spur you on “keep searching my lovely cookie explorers, keep searching, they will come!”

(PS that was not meant to sound condescending, I sincerely mean it, I might even share mine when I know it wasn’t just a once off miracle!)

Since I appear to have been very kitchen focussed so far today, let us delve into the depths of my refrigerator where we can find a half finished bottle of Coke Zero. It is taunting me. I need to throw it out. I bought it two weeks ago when Manface’s sister and her boyfriend visited for a weekend (We saw the Foo Fighters!!!! Manface was out of his mind happy!).

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My nemesis… the glorious black liquid. It’s hold on me is so damn tight.

I made the ridiculous new years resolution to give up soft drinks (excluding soda water) and quite remarkably have managed to stick to it. However, for those considering doing the same thing…

IT IS HARD!

Who knew how much of a hold the glorious black liquid had over me???

It has been over two months since my last diet coke, yet I still crave it on a daily basis. Particularly around friends or when out and about. So… this bottle right here… is pure torture for my self-control.

It’s hitting the garbage… RIGHT NOW. Catchya.

Another “Fun” Run

This time in the shape of the “Neon Run” last night.

A thunderstorm came through at about 4pm yesterday afternoon, and whilst glorious in the way that only thunderstorms can be, it sure left Melbourne rather muggy. What better to do than run 5km around Albert Park?!

It way way hot, and way sticky, and we were all sweaty messes.

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Highlights of the run included:

– the foam party pit… took me way back to my college years in Canberra circa 2005, when foam pits at Academy were the bomb!

– the gorgeous view of Melbourne skyline at night as we ran

– the undeniable youthful glee caused by wearing glow sticks and flashing neon lights!

Would I do it again?Probably not

Was it better than the colour run? Definitely not

Do I understand how they justify the cost? Hells no.

Was it a fun way to spend last night? Absolutely!

In other thoughts on fun runs…

What is the catalyst for this dress-up-fun-run craze lately? It seems like every couple of months someone has invented a new “fun” 5km to do.

Mud. Colour. Neon…. What’s next? If we didn’t live in such a water conscious country – I reckon a run ending in something like this would have been awesome in the mugginess which was last night! Perhaps water splash run?