I (kind of) Quit Sugar, and I liked it – Part III

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Click to read Part I and Part II.

Week 6

The Week 6 menu looks amazing, AND we get to reintroduce a little fruit back into our diet, hurrah! Frustratingly, I am unable to cook a lot of the recipes with the very basic cooking instruments that I have available with all my kitchen gear on its way to Sydney, so this week is also going to be a write-off for me in terms of sticking to the meal plan. While I am still avoiding sugar, I am not eating nearly as many vegetables as I was earlier in the program, I’m not getting as much variety in my diet as I was just a couple of weeks ago, and I have been skipping meals because it’s just easier. Consequently, combined with the extreme stress that I am currently experiencing thanks to this bloody move, I am feeling sluggish, rather emotional and completely exhausted.

My dad lives and works quite remotely out in the bush (about a five hour drive from PosyTown, and a fairly hectic drive at that), but he drove in to town to see me one last time before we fly down to Sydney – he called to take me out for a milkshake. Not a coffee, a milkshake. I had to laugh, it would seem I will always be five years old to my dad. I enjoyed every sip of my shake, though I did feel pretty sick after finishing it! I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence, but about half hour later, I came down with a cracking headache…

It is an emotional week for me, but it was always going to be, sugar or no sugar – it is the week we move to Sydney! It is also the week that my beloved Sydney Roosters WIN THE GRAND FINAL – and Mr Posy and I are actually there to see it!

Week 7

Our first week living in Sydney! We are surrounded by boxes, but surprisingly unpacking is a lot easier than packing, even with less storage space than in PosyTown. We don’t completely stick to the prescribed meal plan, but we are still on the IQS-wagon. I am feeling completely amazing, but this is can probably be largely attributed to the high that I am experiencing now that WE LIVE IN SYDNEY.

PosyDog is loving all the extra walks as we explore our new area, and I am loving the extra energy that I have. My clothes are looser, my eyes brighter and skin clearer, and I am feeling generally amazing.

Week 8

It would seem that finishing up at work, moving, and wedding planning finally catches up with me – I have come down with a chest infection… Just in time to start my new job – perfect! I have no appetite, so  stick to a fairly bland diet of grilled fish and steamed vegetables instead of this week’s meal plan. I have a disgusting cough (let’s not mention the stuff I’m bringing up…), my chest and back hurt, I’m completely exhausted, and I am getting very little sleep thanks to the aforementioned cough. A GP puts me on a course of antibiotics and gives me something that is supposed to help the cough, but all it does is make me feel hungover the next morning.

Mr Posy and I attend a friend’s birthday dinner on the Saturday night of Week 8 (which I cough and wheeze my way through) – I throw caution to the wind and indulge in a little dessert AND a little birthday cake. Life is for living!

I realise that my cravings for sugar have for the most part disappeared, and that I no longer crave chocolate and icecream, but instead fruits like raspberries, kiwi fruit and plums. I have far more variety in my diet than I have ever had – and I am no longer getting a large portion of my daily calories from sweets. I have created good new habits – I’m consuming more vegetables (with a focus on veggies that are in-season), and I’m back on the breakfast wagon (which I had taken to skipping), and kicked bad old habits – dessert every single night (often ‘just because’), chocolate/various other sweets every day, and mindless snacking. I feel like this is what IQS is all about – or at least what it was all about for me – regaining balance in your life.

Life after IQS

So, nearly two years on since I did the IQS8WP – do I eat sugar? Of course I do. Life is for living! I like chocolate. And ice cream. And cake. And Black Forest Trifle from Rockpool Bar & Grill. But I can’t eat sweets in the same quantity that I once could – neither my tastebuds nor my stomach can take it. I actually prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate these days! I no longer use chocolate as my emotional crutch, nor do I feel the need to eat sweets just because.

The picture I’ve painted of my diet pre-IQS8WP possibly sounds a lot worse than it was, but I did feel very unbalanced, and I am a lot happier with my nutrition now. I enjoy meal planning each week, I love the variety that I have in my diet, and I am a lot better at ‘listening’ to my body these days. I have more balance in my life – not just with what I eat, but overall – and I feel a lot better for it.

I (kind of) Quit Sugar, and I liked it – Part II

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Click to read Part I.

Week 2

Spend much of the week tired, teary, cranky and anxious – but we’re just over four weeks out from an interstate move and there is still a lot to be done, so this is probably ‘normal’. The scales show a loss, which I suspect is a combination of stress and cutting out sugar. The headaches seem to have disappeared, but I’m completely exhausted.

Had a Friday lunch with work colleagues at a Thai-Indian-Nonya restaurant. Knew that my dish would include sugar, but threw caution to the wind and just ate it. Honestly, I will not be the person that sits at a restaurant and asks the waiter to ask the chef to omit sugar from my dish. I am really into giving this giving-up-sugar-thing a go, but I’m not going to let it rule my life.

Mr Posy calls me late Saturday afternoon telling me that his SIL wants us to go out for ice cream down by the wharf after we’ve had our dinner. I have a minor breakdown, before deciding I’ll just have water and fake a stomachache. We get down to the wharf and I discover that the ice cream place has a ‘natural yoghurt’ ice cream, which I decide is a good alternative. There’s no denying it has sugar added, but it is definitely a better choice than the triple chocolate, and, I feel, a good compromise. I am very conscious of how my attitude to and decisions I make about food might impact Niece Posy, and I decide that I am not going to be the person sipping water while the rest of the family is enjoying ice cream on such a beautiful evening. I am just going to have to make the best choice that I can in these situations – we only have a few weeks left with family before we move, and I intend to enjoy this time.

I feel incredibly anxious on the Sunday, but thankfully I have a coffee-date with a friend, and I feel a lot better after talking through some of my moving-anxiety with her. I stop by our local on the way home to do the grocery shop for the week – $80, seriously, eighty bucks, for the two of us for the week, again including all breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. This includes meat/fish for five out of seven dinners… Amazing!

Week 3 

Despite sleeping terribly Sunday night (I think thanks to the second coffee), I wake feeling fairly refreshed Monday morning. Waking early is definitely getting easier. Despite the late timeslot, I have a really good touch football game – I feel lighter, faster, stronger and more focused.

I realise that I am going to be without our fridge in about a week once the removalists have been in, and start to panic. What am I going to do without a fridge for two weeks?! This program relies pretty heavily on both the fridge and freezer – I am going to have to work something out.

I am feeling a lot better within myself, and while I’d definitely like to indulge in some chocolate or ice cream, I’m no longer having mad cravings for sugar. I’ve noticed I’m snacking a lot less now too – I eat when I’m actually hungry, not just because it’s a habit or because I’m bored… I don’t see a loss on the scale this week, but no gain either – my weight has remained stable, hurrah!

I argued with myself repeatedly all weekend – I wanted some ice cream or some chocolate, and I had one part of my brain saying “No! Don’t do it! Keep going with IQS!”, and the other part of my brain saying “Shut up! You’re an adult! If you want to have a scoop of ice cream, you totally can!”. Make a compromise with myself – I will keep going with the IQS program, but if I still want a treat when I’m in Sydney at the end of Week 4, it’s mine…

Week 4

I get through Monday – Wednesday on the IQS program (and when I jump on the scales on the Wednesday, I’ve again remained stable!), but come off the rails a little Thursday – Sunday while we are in Sydney. Breakfasts are easy – eggs on toast, some days with a side of spinach, bacon and avocado. We generally skip lunch, instead opting for an extra coffee (bad!), but dinners are tricky, mostly because I refuse to ask if sugar has been added to a dish, so I just make the best choice that I can with the information that is in front of me. Where I really come unstuck though, is at Yogurt World. The first visit on the Thursday, I can rationalise that it is the treat that I said I would have at the end of Week 4 in Sydney. It’s just a bit of frozen yogurt, a little fruit, a little chocolate (that I actually find too sweet). The second visit on the Friday I rationalise as a celebration – we were accepted on a place that we applied to rent, hurrah! The third and final visit on the Saturday is just because, and still I don’t feel guilty, and I probably should…

Week 5

It is supposed to be detox week (no meat, no wheat, no caffeine (WHAT?!) and no alcohol on top of the no sugar) – I thought we were already bloody detoxing? – but I have a little problem… The removalists came first thing on the Monday morning, packed up my house, and drove away with all my belongings – so that makes things a little difficult. We only have very basic kitchen utensils, plus a cooktop and oven, and I’ve borrowed a bar fridge from my brother – no freezer, no food processor or blender, no sharp knives etc etc etc. I decide that I will move detox week to Week 7 or 8 once we are in Sydney and in our new place (!!), and that I will just rely on regular IQS recipes this week. With under two weeks to go in PosyTown before we move to a city in a whole different state more than 4,000 kilometres away, it’s probably not a good week for me to be ‘detoxing’ anyway. Me without coffee? Not pretty. Not happening. Not this week or next, anyway…

Still to come: Weeks 6-8 and life after the IQS8WP in Part III.

I (kind of) Quit Sugar, and I liked it – Part I

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I was going through my drafts, and realised that with all the craziness of moving to Sydney and then getting married that I never published this post! So here it is – from back in 2013…

Back in August (2013), a good friend mentioned to me that she was interested in giving the whole ‘I Quit Sugar’ thing a go. I had seen the IQS social media frenzy and read a little about it, and was intrigued, but reasoned that I didn’t believe in cutting out entire food groups for the sake of it. I know, I know – would we call sugar a food group? Well, if you’d looked at my diet pre-IQS, then you could be mistaken for thinking so… And don’t you cut out fruit as part of IQS? That’s ludicrous! I realised that I just didn’t want to give up all things chocolate, and once I understood that cutting out fruit was only temporary I decided to jump on the (band)wagon to go along for the ride with my mate. Here is my experience of the IQS 8-week program.

One last hurrah

The incredibly mature thing to do when you’re about to embark on eight weeks of no sugar is to of course eat as much of it as possible while you still can. I know we’re only cutting out fruit temporarily, but I eat it like it’s my last supper. Along with caramel in my coffee (I don’t even normally add sugar to my daily latte!), copious amounts of chocolate ice-cream, and a bag of red frogs. Know that the initial detox is going to hurt. A LOT.

The initial preparation

Lying  on couch feeling sorry for self – suffering from terrible indigestion, a smashing headache, and fatigue from said sugar binge. Realise that I’m being ridiculous and it’s time to make the change. Remove self from couch and head off to forage for vegetables at local supermarket. Buying regular milk (i.e. not skim/low-fat) is so foreign, that I stand in the dairy aisle staring at all the cartons of milk for so long an employee asks if I need help finding something.

Weekly shop for two people (for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks) comes in at about $200 in total. Given we normally shop for dinner each evening after work (and usually buy lunch during the day), this is an incredible saving, and if nothing else comes from this plan, we’ll be saving on the cost of groceries, AND we’ll have less waste each week.

The weekly cook-up involves roasting beetroot, sweet potato and pumpkin, and steaming broccoli and cauliflower. My whole house smells like farts.

Week 1, Day 1

Feeling rather virtuous after my glass of lemon water at 6.00 am, followed by my 7.00 am breakfast of porridge (made using real oats, not instant), with toasted pepitas and coconut flakes. Manage to get out the door and on my way to work earlier than I have in months, and having eaten breakfast. Feel that it would be counter-productive to consume my morning coffee, but I love my daily ritual and I purchase my latte  from my local cafe (on full fat milk!) anyway. Not ready to give up this indulgence, especially not in the first week that I give up all things sugar.

Slammed with a throbbing headache about 2.00 pm. Would normally have had chocolate/fruit/low-fat fruit yoghurt by this time, but this is just a headache, and not a detox symptom. Right? Feels a little early in the program to be having withdrawal headaches, surely. Email my friend who is doing the program, and we conclude that it’s just a headache.

Dinner is delicious – Sausage, Walnut & Beetroot Hash. With yoghurt. Yes, sausages and yoghurt – I had no idea it could taste so good.

Replace my ritual of dessert on the couch while watching TV with a cup of peppermint tea. Miss you, chocolate ice cream.

Week 1, Day 2

For the first time in months, I actually feel like eating breakfast shortly after waking. Headache from yesterday returns with a vengeance (again around 2.00 pm) – try to fight it off with carrot sticks.

Sister-in-law texts “Dinner at our place! My cousin is making Spanish hot dogs!” – I just want to go home and eat the salmon that is on the meal plan for tonight, but we have less than six weeks left in PosyTown, and we’re trying to spend as much time with both our families as possible. I nearly fall asleep at their dinner table, I’m just. so. tired.

Week 1, Day 3

Another day, another headache – this time it hits me shortly after waking. Am on the verge of tears all day, but that is pretty unsurprising given how stressed and overwhelmed I am with planning our interstate move and wedding (less than six weeks and eleven weeks out). Want to devour an entire bag of Caramello Koalas to numb the anxiety. Eat a carrot. May turn into a carrot by the time this program is over.

Get home from work and want to eat bags and bags of red frogs, bars of chocolate and bowls of ice cream. Go for a run instead.

Week 1, Day 4

Hit snooze twice before dragging myself out of bed. Went to bed late, didn’t sleep well, and am completely exhausted as a result. Vow to make an effort to go to bed earlier. Headache hits about 1.30 pm. Dawns on me that perhaps I need to up my intake? I’ve been skipping my mid-morning snack as I’m still full from breakfast, but perhaps this is a hunger headache and not a withdrawal headache at all? Will test theory tomorrow.

Week 1, Day 5

So much for going to bed earlier. Absolutely exhausted after a late night (though I did sleep soundly for a change). Really struggle to open my eyes and take an exceptionally long time to drink hot water with lemon. Manage to make it to work on time, but all I can think about is how tired I am, and how much I want to go back to bed.

No headache today, hurrah! I don’t know if it’s the quitting sugar/generally eating much better, or if it’s other life changes that are all falling into place, but am feeling much happier, more settled, and just generally content.

Week 1, Day 6

Saturdays are usually big snacking days for me, so was a little nervous with how I would cope. I spend most of the day on the couch watching chick flicks, and thankfully feeling uncharacteristically not-hungry.

Week 1, Day 7

Father’s Day – up early to go out for breakfast with Dad, as he’s in town for the weekend. Breakfast out is pretty easy – poached eggs with bacon and spinach + a latte.

Get our weekly shop out of the way – about $120 for both of us, again including all breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Can’t remember the last time we spent so little on groceries.

Go for a really long walk in the late afternoon, and end up in tears. As you do. It’s really hard to separate moving/wedding/family stress from detox symptoms. Really want to comfort eat chocolate ice cream right now.

I still have seven more weeks of this?!

Stay tuned for Weeks 2-8 and life after the IQS8WP in Part II and III. 

The Guilt Trip

Flight

About this time last week we were on our way home to Harbour City after a lovely long weekend visiting Mr Posy’s family down in the City by the Bay. Niece Posy read us the riot act back in January – she was very unhappy that we hadn’t been down to see her for a while, and demanded to know when we would next be visiting. Given our last visit was in August (time got away from me), her guilt trip was very effective, and that night I was looking up flights.

I started a countdown calendar of work days to our trip (because I am five), and I was tickled pink to hear that Niece and Nephew Posy were counting down the days on their own calendar (“THEIO AND THEIA POSY IN TOWN!”). Getting up at 4.30am to get to the airport for our early morning flight was hideous, but worth it once we got off that plane at the other end and I could give the kids a big hug.

Melb

Niece and Nephew Posy are getting so grown –  I relished every minute of colouring-in, playing superheroes, making tutus, reading storybooks, singing at the top of our lungs, searching for fairies, and taking selfies. And bowling! We took the kids bowling for the first time and they loved it.

Saying “see you next time” still felt like a knife going through my heart, but there were no tears on leaving this time round (theirs/mine). We’re hoping they might be able to get up here in May for a long weekend, and Mr Posy and I are making a list of all the places we want to take them and all the things we want to do.

It’s funny how life works out sometimes, isn’t it? If somebody had told me when I first started this blog (after sidelining my previous blog), that the thing I’d miss most when Mr Posy and I moved to Sydney was having his family right across the road, I would have said they were out of their mind. Yet here we are – more than four years and one interstate move later, and I miss them dreadfully, and I wish they lived across the road. I don’t miss Mr Posy’s Ma’s cooking, but I do miss having his family so close. I miss our family BBQs, and I miss seeing the kids grow.

We’re at a bit of a stalemate though – they will never move to Sydney, and Melbourne will never be on the cards for us. We will just have to settle for video chat and frequent flyer points.

La Dolce Vita IV (Q4 2014)

Sydney

I don’t like to wish my life away, but I had been looking forward to the final quarter of 2014 since the end of the first. Quarter 4 = my favourite flowers back in bloom, the return of Summer, the build up to Christmas, and most excitingly – our trip to Bora Bora!

Q4

Q4 2014:

Sydney FC games attended: 1 (vs Adelaide United [we lost])
Beaches visited: 3 (Red Leaf, North Bondi, Palm Beach)
Mornings at the beach: 5 (+8 in Bora Bora!)
Movies watched: 8 (Sex Tape; Tammy; Wish I was Here; Love, Rosie; If I Stay; Begin Again; Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Books downloaded on Kindle: 12
Books actually read on Kindle: 8
Concerts purchased tickets for: 2 (The Script, Taylor Swift)
Concerts attended: 1 (Katy Perry)
Road trips: 2 (Bathurst for work, ACT for a funeral)
Trips taken: 1 (Bora Bora!)
Trips booked: 0
Visits from family: 3 (Mum [for work], Nan & Pop, Dad)
New cafés/restaurants/bars explored: 35 (North Bondi Fish, Messina Dessert Bar, Mamak, Adria, Cyren, Stacks Taverna, Beanbah, Harris on Harris, Brown’s Siding Cafe [Medlow Bath], Jack Duggans Irish Pub [Bathurst], Elie’s Cafe [Bathurst], The Hub [Bathurst], Church Bar & Woodfired Pizza [Bathurst], Victory [Blackheath], Fire Station Cafe, Tipple Bar and Bistro, Strawberry Hills Hotel, Bill’s Bondi, Kingswood, Franc’s Cafe and Bar, Izakaya Musashi, Le Tipanie [Bora Bora], Bloody Mary’s [BB], Mai Kai [BB], La Villa Mahana [BB], Lagoon by Jean Georges [BB], Bar 100, Nakashima, The Orient, Alexandria Hotel, The Treehouse, Sourdough Panini Bakery & Bar, Pasta Emilia, Sugarcane, Luxe Woollahra
Celebrations: 3 (1st wedding anniversary, friend’s birthday, Christmas with Dad and co.)
Festivals/events attended: 5 (Festival of Chocolate, Sculpture by the Sea, Jillian Michaels Maximise Your Life Tour, cooking class, surf lesson)
Flex days taken from work: 8 (1x catch up with friends, 4x Bora Bora, 3x Christmas)

Bora Bora

While this quarter largely revolved around our trip to Bora Bora (another post for another day) – preparing for and gearing ourselves up, actually holidaying on the island (hooray for two weeks off work!), coming home and wishing we were back in paradise – we also had a lot on that didn’t involve our vacation.

Katy

This quarter was probably my most social yet. There were catch-ups with family and friends and after-work drinks with colleagues, a trip away for work, a cooking class, a surf lesson, a Katy Perry concert, beach days, and Christmas with my dad. Mr Posy and I celebrated our first year in Sydney, and we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Oh! Also a temporary promotion at work. … and I wonder why I am completely exhausted.

As I reflect back on this quarter, I stop and pause to remember the lives lost in the Martin Place siege in our beautiful Harbour City. Such an absolute tragedy; a tragedy that I will never be able to find the words for. The ocean of flowers, outpouring of love and the way that people banded together in the days that followed still makes me tear up. Some people may choose to do some truly horrible, unspeakable things to others, but there is still good left in the world too, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

And so ends my quarterly wrap-ups for 2014 – I wanted to document our first full year in Sydney to ensure I didn’t forget any part of our amazing adventure, and what an adventure it has been.

La Dolce Vita III (Q3 2014)

Sydney

I’m not sure what it is about the third quarter of a year that is so incredibly draining, but Q3 left me absolutely exhausted (as partly evidenced by the delay in this post!). This same quarter in 2013 also left me shattered, though I suppose I was preparing to move our whole life interstate and organising a wedding at the time, and I don’t have that excuse this year. Looking back, we may not have been packing up a house, but we were pretty busy this past quarter…

Q3 2014:

Roosters games attended: 7 (vs Sharks [we lost], vs Panthers [we won!], vs Dragons [we won!], vs Rabbitohs [we won! … and thank you to the NQ Cowboys for beating Manly = Minor Premiers 2014!) … vs Panthers [qualifying final – we lost], vs NQ Cowboys [semi final – we won!], vs Rabbitohs [preliminary final – we lost; I cried]) + 1 Manly vs Rabbitohs game…
Swans games attended: 1 (vs Dockers [we won!])
Beaches visited: 2 (North Bondi, Palm Beach)
Movies watched: 5 (Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Fault in Our Stars, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Bad Neighbours, Happy Christmas)
Books downloaded on Kindle: 0
Books actually read on Kindle: 0
Concerts purchased tickets for: 1 (Ed Sheeran)
Concerts attended: 2 (Lady Gaga, Tina Arena)
Road trips: 1 (Newcastle to visit my aunt and little cousins)
Trips taken: 1 (Melbourne to see BIL, SIL, and Niece and Nephew Posy)
Trips booked: 0 (but counting down ’til Bora Bora!)
Visits from family: 5 (Mum x2 [for work], brother x2, Dad)
New cafés/restaurants/bars explored: 17 (Le Paris-Go Cafe, The Cook and Baker, The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant, Wolf, La Dimora Cafe, Ground Control, Bodhi, Dunes Kiosk, Macchiato, Cosmopolitan Cafe, The French House Coffee, Kwila, Bucket List, Ribs & Burgers, Ravesi’s, RB Diner, Luxe Bar)
Celebrations: 2 (12 years with Mr Posy, cousin’s 11th birthday)
Festivals/events attended: 3 (Bondi Winter Magic, Aroma Festival, Festival of the Winds)
Flex days taken from work: 4 (1x Life Admin Day, 1x PosyTown Show Day, 2x Melbourne)

Q3 almost felt like the never-ending quarter, and reading over my list, I’m surprised at just how much we managed to cram in to just three months – 17 visits to new cafes/restaurants etc, 7 NRL games, 5 visits from family, 3 festivals, 2 concerts, 1 AFL game, 1 roadtrip to Newcastle and a trip to Melbourne to visit our family. Mr Posy and I also celebrated 12 years together in August!

It was fantastic visiting Niece and Nephew Posy (and BIL and SIL!) down in Melbourne in August – the kids are getting so grown. You can have entire conversations with Nephew Posy now (he’s not a baby anymore, but such a gorgeous little boy), and Niece Posy is just as sweet as ever. They are amazing kids and they light up my life. I miss them a lot, but it is getting easier. I’m hoping to get down to Melbourne to see a little more of them in 2015; two visits in a year is just not enough.

Q3 concerts

I had such an amazing time at both the Lady Gaga and the Tina Arena concerts – obviously very different artists who put on very different shows, but I loved them both for very different reasons. I bought tickets to Lady Gaga on a bit of a whim – I like the music and I figured it would be a very entertaining show, and I was not wrong! The concert was freaking phenomenal. I have loved Tina Arena since I was a small girl, and I saw her once before in concert (at the Sydney Opera House after returning from our first US holiday), and she just does not disappoint. She belted out songs from her new album, along with some old favourites, and I left feeling pretty elated. Speaking of concerts, I bought tickets to Ed Sheeran for 2015 when the presale started – I wasn’t sure about it at the time, but I figured my future self would be upset with my past self if I didn’t, and now my  current self is quite looking forward to it!

2015, now there’s a thought… How is the year almost over?!

Festival of the Winds

Feels like home to me

Sydney

As of three weeks ago, we’ve been in Sydney for one whole year!

Three hundred and sixty-five days. Fifty-two weeks. Twelve months. One year. It’s amazing how quickly time passes! The past year has been a total whirlwind – interstate move, new job, wedding. Nothing like a bunch of major life events all at the one time!

Some days, I still have to pinch myself. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, after packing up our little life in PosyTown, we said farewell to our family and friends and boarded a one-way flight to Harbour-City. I just can’t believe that we’ve lived in this beautiful city for 12 months now. Yet at the same time, I feel like we’ve lived here forever, and I can barely remember a time before Sydney. PosyTown feels like a lifetime ago.

We had dinner with some very old friends who were passing through the night after our Sydney-versary, and speaking with them made me realise that moving, and moving interstate, isn’t just some tiny little thing. Not only do you have to find a new place to live, pack your whole house up and shift it interstate then unpack, you have to find a new doctor, dentist, hairdresser, start a new job, make new friends… It’s not easy, and I’d be fibbing if I said the past year had been a walk in the park, but it also hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. Completely exhausting yes, but not so difficult.

Coffee

It still feels very surreal that we made the move I always dreamed we’d make and that we do actually live here now, but we are settled. We have our weekday and weekend routines. As much as we like to explore new cafes and restaurants, we also have our favourites where we often find ourselves again and again. I haven’t yet made an effort to get into team sport since we’ve moved down, but it is something I want to look into for the coming year. Making friends in a new city is not easy, so I am grateful that we already had extended family and friends here as part of our instant support base – it has helped, a lot. I miss seeing Niece and Nephew Posy every day, watching them grow, but they left PosyTown for Melbourne not long after we moved, so now they’re only an hour’s plane ride away, instead of a four hour flight.

After dreaming of our Sydney move for so many years, I had that little worry at the back of my mind – What if it doesn’t work out? What if it isn’t everything I’d always hoped it would be? I also worried about Mr Posy – he’d previously been a little hesitant about moving so far from everything we knew – What if he hated it? What if it made him completely miserable? I needn’t have worried. It has been more amazing moving here than we could have ever hoped, and surprisingly, I think Mr Posy actually loves Sydney even more than I do. I certainly didn’t see that one coming! In fact, I wouldn’t have thought it could ever be possible.

Celebrating Sydney

This beautiful city treated us with spectacular weather to celebrate our Sydney-versary – we enjoyed sangria and seafood in the sunshine down at North Bondi, while reminiscing over everything that has happened in the past twelve months, and talking about our plans for the years to come… and then because we hadn’t indulged enough, we finished off our day with a trip to the Messina Dessert Bar…

Dessert

Our new chapter has only just begun.

Getting stuff done

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Life Admin

I wanted to title this post “Getting sh’t done”, but decided against it. Seemed a little smutty.

One of the benefits of my new job (which really isn’t so new anymore) here in Harbour City is the ability to accrue flextime. I know, I know – it’s hardly revolutionary, but it’s new for me. Don’t get me wrong, my boss back in PosyTown knew that I put in extra hours and she was absolutely amazing and very generous when it came to time off, but it’s great to be working within an official framework, where all our hours are officially logged. I haven’t made as much use of this arrangement as I could have, and I certainly haven’t been taking the full six days per quarter (and have so far only really used the days that I have had off for travel), but I am trying to embrace this whole ‘work-life balance’ thing – something I have never been very good at.

I’ve been keeping a list of things that I needed to do, that could only really be done on weekdays during work hours but were too time-intensive to do during my lunchbreak, for some time now, and I decided that I would finally put one of my flex days to good use – to get through my to-do list. I also tried to arrange a couple of coffee dates with friends I have been wanting to catch up with, but the Universe conspired against me and those dates weren’t to be. A good thing, really, as it turned out I did need the whole day to get through all my tasks.

I declared last Friday my ‘Life Admin Day’. You know – a day dedicated to calling banks, sorting out your super fund/s, getting papers together to send off to your accountant, calling your health fund, sorting out stuff around the house and with the furchildren etc etc. I was on a mission and I was determined to get through my list, and some of Mr Posy’s, as it turned out.

About half an hour into Life Admin Day, I started worrying that it would be a total bust. Websites were down, I couldn’t log in to online portals, papers weren’t ready, people on the telephone weren’t helpful… I took a deep breath, sipped my coffee, and continued on to the next items on my list, instead of becoming completely hysterical that my day wasn’t working out the way I had hoped. Fortunately, by the time I worked my way through the rest of the list, systems came back online and I was then able to action the items that I had been struggling with at the top of the list. Throw in a trip to a bank, and I WAS DONE. I got through everything on my list, including sorting out an account I had been meaning to close for the past, oh, six years… Oops.

The best bit about my day off? Aside from feeling absolutely elated at crossing off all those niggling tasks that have been bothering me for some time (seriously, it felt almost as good as submitting the final essays for my uni degrees) – I had booked us in for a sunset ice skating session down at Bondi! And unlike when we went ice skating at the rink in Rockefeller Center (Christmas 2007), Mr Posy actually let go of the barricades this time around. I am toying with the idea of another skating session before it finishes up; I will have Mr Posy zooming around the ice in no time!

Bondi

The icing on the cake was that with all my life admin and chores out of the way on Friday, I actually had an entire weekend to play! With such amazing weather, this meant a two hour walk on Saturday, watching my beloved Roosters lose at Allianz, another walk on Sunday – this time along the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk looking out for whales – and coffee in the sunshine (something we have been enjoying on weekends a lot lately).

Here’s to getting sh’t done.

La Dolce Vita II (Q2 2014)

Sydney
And in the blink of an eye, another quarter (and season) has passed us by – it’s hard to believe that we are now more than halfway through the year. Christmas will be here before we know it!

Q2 2014:

Roosters games attended: 2 (ANZAC Day match vs Dragons [we won!], vs Raiders [we won!])
Swans games attended 1 (vs Geelong [we won!!])
Mornings/days spent at the beach: 4
Beaches visited: 3 (North Bondi, Manly, Palm Beach)
Movies watched: 4 (The Lego Movie, Philomena, The Other Woman, Veronica Mars)
Books downloaded on Kindle: 3
Books actually read on Kindle: 2
Concerts purchased tickets for: 0
Concerts attended: 1 (Kate Miller-Heidke)
Road trips: 1 (Canberra)
Visits from family: 2 (Mum, Joey)
New cafés/restaurants/bars explored : 18 (Rushcutters, Grounds of Alexandria (technically a re-visit), Catalina, Alpha (re-visit x2), Lady J Café and Wine Bar, Zigolini’s, Bondi Picnic, Sahara Parramatta, Ruby’s Diner, The Boathouse Palm Beach, Nelson Road Tuckshop, Hinky Dinks, Le Cafeier, Coco Noir, Good Brother [Canberra], Bar Indigo, Public Dining Room, Gertrude & Alice)
Celebrations: 3x birthdays (Molly, Gems, Niece Posy [via Skype, ha!]), 1x baptism
Festivals/events attended: 4 (Easter Show, Wills and Kate do Manly, Vivid, Supanova)
Flex days taken from work: 0.5 (Before Easter)
Work adventures: 2 (Speaker on 1x conference panel, 1x office move)
Public Transport adventures: 1 (Stuck on train for two hours, for a trip that takes 15 minutes)

Q2 2014

While this quarter has been quieter on paper (or rather, on screen), I am absolutely exhausted. We temporarily moved offices back in February, and the longer commute was really wearing me down (two trains and a 45 minute commute each way, instead of the 15 minutes on one train that I’m used to), and I was putting in long hours as work was quite hectic at the time. Throw in the cooler weather and the earlier sunset, and I was ready for bed as soon as I walked in the door each evening! Thankfully, we moved back into our city office at the end of June, work has calmed down somewhat, and I am getting used to fewer daylight hours.

Mr Posy and I have made long weekend walks with PosyDog a bit of a habit – we usually grab a coffee to go somewhere along the way, and seem to find ourselves somehow walking for a good two or three hours. Mr Posy made the comment the other day that I am “definitely solar-powered” – that I seem to have so much more energy and am much happier after a good stroll in the sun. It seems so obvious, but living in PosyTown I spent a lot of hours indoors in the air-conditioning for a good nine months of the year – seriously, I’d go from home to the car to work to the car to gym to home, with a weekly game of touch football and an occasional walk thrown in; I spent so little time outside – and it’s only since we’ve moved down here that I’ve noticed how much happier I am after a little exposure to some sun. It’s a little surprising that somebody living in PosyTown could end up deficient in Vitamin D, but I managed it; I’d definitely be interested to hear my results at my next health check!

This quarter marked both six months in Sydney, and six months of marriage for us. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that we haven’t even been here a year, because it feels like we’ve been here forever, and some days it’s hard to believe that we’ve been here as long as we have, because it feels like we only left PosyTown last weekend! I still miss my old work family regularly, and I still look occasionally look for them when I’m walking around my office – I guess when you work with the same crew for five years, it takes a little while to adjust!

Mr Posy has had a few trips away for work – they usually seem to clash with with sporting events that we’ve had booked in for months… i.e. the Roosters vs Tigers game (my team vs Mr Posy’s team), and the Swans vs Geelong game (again, my team vs Mr Posy’s team). Thankfully, we had friends who were able to use our tickets to the Swans game, though I’m still a little gutted to have missed it… especially considering the Swannies won!

I have been madly ‘planning’ our trip to Bora Bora – which mostly just involves spending hours and hours reading about places to eat and cocktails that are available, looking up blog posts from people who have been there recently, and counting down the days until our own holiday.

Those that follow me on Twitter will know that I had a bit of an adventure on public transport last week – my usual fifteen minute commute ended up taking two hours (mostly spent in underground tunnels) – at first I had to have a bit of a laugh, then I started to go a little stir-crazy, but then I was able to have a laugh about it again. I caught the bus the rest of the week – and discovered that I actually prefer the bus! It takes me about five minutes longer (however drops me off closer to work), but if the bus breaks down, at least I’m not stuck underground, and I can get off and walk…

Looking back, perhaps this quarter was a little busier than I first thought…

Sad for Summer

Beachin'

I was quite enjoying our seemingly eternal summer, but like all good things, it had to come to an end. The mercury dropped over recent weeks, freakishly climbed again to summer-like temperatures around Easter, before seriously dropping once more this past week. After packing away our beach towels and bathing suits and pulling out jackets, boots and warm knits, I have finally come to accept that I will not be hitting the beach any time soon.

We have had much to keep our minds off the beach, however –  festivals and fun events (we attended the Royal Easter Show for the first time), amazing meals in some lovely restaurants, and many many coffees out and about.

As well as a visit from Wills and Kate (sorry- Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) over Easter (ha!), we were also very fortunate to have a few fleeting visits from family, and friends (who we consider family).

It wasn’t until I caught up with my station girl J and her fiancé over dinner (on their stopover in Harbour City before jetting off to the US for three months) that I really realised just how much I have been missing my people. I knew I was missing our family and friends, but I think, for the most part, I’d been able to quash those feelings – until we met up at Alpha for dinner, where I found myself fighting back tears because I was so happy to see my beautiful friend. After a good catch up over a few glasses of wine, an amazing Greek feast, and a walk around this gorgeous city, by my beloved bridge and the sails of the House, I said farewell, while my heart was both bursting with happiness and aching with sadness. As much the visit from my lovely friend just made me miss her more, it was also just the recharge that I needed.

It’s hard to be sad for too long in such a beautiful city, especially considering Vivid Sydney kicked off only a few days after J’s visit! Mr Posy and I always tried to time our visits to Sydney to coincide with Vivid – it is one of our favourite events on the calendar, and this year’s festival was more amazing than ever. As part of Vivid Live, we saw Kate Miller-Heidke at the Opera House – I have never been so mesmerised at a concert, ever. Her performance was nourishment for my soul that I didn’t even know I needed.

Vivid

Last weekend we took a roadtrip down to Canberra for the day to visit my mum, and we also dropped in to see my great aunt. It was an exhausting trip (an 8 hour round trip, for a 4 hour visit), but it was good to see Mum’s new abode and also spend time with my dad’s aunt and uncle. I am still recovering after driving both legs of the trip!

I want to drive up to Newcastle to visit my aunt and little cousins again soon, and we also want to take another trip down to Melbourne to see Niece and Nephew Posy (and BIL and SIL) – but our calendar is fairly packed for the next couple of months, so I will have to contend with Skype catch-ups for a little while yet.

It’s probably a good thing that the weather has cooled and we no longer spend our weekends lazing by the beach – with birthdays, baptisms, NRL games, concerts, comic book festivals (don’t ask), dinners and drinks, roadtrips, and, oh, work, we just don’t have enough hours in the week to squeeze everything in. I won’t lie though – I am definitely counting down the days until I can get back in the water… and shortly after fly out to Bora Bora!