Looking back on 2015 (another belated Year In Review)

Bondi sunrise

Happy 2016!

The last couple of years I’ve really struggled to get going in January; I haven’t wanted to let go of the old and embrace the new – but not this year. While 2015 was a good year for me, I was well and truly ready for 2016 to kick off by the time the end of the December rolled around… Unfortunately work has been fairly all-consuming, and while I had planned to get my ‘year in review’ up at the beginning of January, somehow we’re now in the middle of February. Again..

I shouldn’t be surprised that January (and half of February) disappeared in the blink of an eye – 2015 was a total whirlwind. I look back on the posts that I wrote last year, and most of our adventures feel like a lifetime ago. Gosh, never mind adventures from last year, we were in Margaret River just over a week ago for a friend’s wedding, and even that feels like eons ago!

But back to 2015…

I turned 30 at the beginning of the year, and I didn’t have a meltdown. My celebrations were relaxed and low-key, and involved a lot of food. It was fabulous!

After acting in a role for a little over six months, I won the position in June as part of an external competitive recruitment process. … Shortly after, I was seconded to work on a reform project which kept me busy for the rest of the year!

Mr Posy had been working remotely for his PosyTown employer since we made the big move, but in the middle of the year, he got a job here in Harbour City. I am so proud of him and everything he has achieved, and I am so happy that he got a job where he did. It seems like an amazing place to work, his colleagues are fantastic, and his skills are really valued by his management.

We flew down to Melbourne to visit family, and they paid us a visit when they came to Sydney for a cousin’s wedding. Mr Posy and I took a road trip down the coast to visit my grandparents, and up the coast to visit my aunt and cousins. My dad visited, my brother visited, my aunt and cousin visited, we had friends visit. Our family and friends will always be very important to us, and I love sharing our beautiful city with them.

Mr Posy and I managed to squeeze in an extra-long weekend on Hamilton Island to celebrate our second wedding anniversary – it was nice to just relax and spend some time together, especially after a busy few months settling in to new jobs.

We saw Wicked at the Capitol Theatre, Ed Sheeran at the Entertainment Centre, The Script at All Phones Arena and Taylor Swift at ANZ Stadium – all of which were absolutely brilliant.

In October, we walked a good 32+ kilometres as part of the 7 Bridges Walk, and I vowed I would never walk it again. Until the next day, when I admitted that was probably a lie, and while I wouldn’t be signing up in 2016, I would do the walk again. It was a great way to see Sydney, and it was a fun day out (blisters and all)!

We took more road trips towards the end of the year, exploring beaches we’d never been to up and down the coast. My favourite so far is Hyams Beach, and I am itching to go back for a long weekend.

We finished off the year back down in Melbourne for Christmas with Mr Posy’s family. After two Christmases apart, it was a lot of fun to spend time with Niece and Nephew Posy.

The past few months have been hectic with work, and just the thought of making plans was exhausting, so we had a quiet end to yet another busy year. One day we’ll do the big Harbour City New Year’s Eve, but, this year, the call of my couch was too strong. We said our farewell to 2015 with a couple of movies, a home-cooked dinner, and a couple of glasses of champagne, before walking down the street to get a good view of the (9pm) fireworks. I was asleep before the main event, but woke at midnight to the sound of the fireworks and people cheering. As is becoming our tradition, we were up early on New Year’s Day to catch the first sunrise of 2016 (pictured), and to get in for breakfast at Bills before most of the city woke (and before the last of the party revellers went to bed).

2016, I like you already.

20142013 | 2012  | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

(Belatedly) Looking back on 2014

Sydney

Oh dear, I’ve done it again – I’ve left my ‘year in review’ post until February. I seem to really struggle to get going in January; it’s my birthday month so it still feels like it’s part of the festive season, people at work are all still off on holidays so I find it difficult to take the month seriously, and the past couple of years I’ve been finding it really hard to let go of the old and embrace the new. Now here I am, feeling like I am finally starting the New Year, in the middle of February.

I knew that 2014 had a lot to live up to as 2013 was always going to be a hard year to top – 2013 was the year that Mr Posy and I finally moved to Sydney, the year I started a new job after six years with the same employer, and it was the year that Mr Posy and I finally got married. It was a big year for us, and one that I didn’t want to end. I may have been a little slow in letting go of 2013 and getting into the swing of 2014, but once I finally accepted that a new year was upon me, I really embraced it. While 2013 was a year of change, 2014 was a year of adventure – our first year living in and really exploring Sydney, our first year of marriage, and our first overseas trip in five years.

I’m glad that I kept track of all our adventures through my quarterly blog posts – I’m still amazed at just how much we crammed into 2014. I visited 81 different restaurants/cafes/bars, some of which I returned to again and again, spent 33 mornings at the beach, went to 17 different festivals/events, had 13 visits from family, took 5 road trips, went to 4 concerts, took 2 trips to Melbourne, had 1 adventure getting stuck on public transport underground, and took 1 holiday to Bora Bora. I won’t even go into the sporting events we went to, the movies I saw, the books I read, the special events we celebrated, or my adventures at work.

2014

More than a year on, and we still haven’t really adjusted to living here – we’re up at the crack of dawn every day and we squeeze the most out of our days, as though we’re only here on a holiday and may have to return to reality at any minute, forgetting that we’re here in Sydney for the long haul. By the time Sunday evening rolls around each week I am completely exhausted, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mr Posy and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Bora Bora – parasailing, swimming with turtles, stingrays and sharks, driving an underwater scooter, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, snorkelling, jumping off our overwater bungalow, swimming, drinking, eating. It was an amazing holiday (another post for another day). We’ve been back to reality for nearly four months and I still miss that beautiful island nearly every single day, and can’t wait until we can go back.

We had a quiet and very relaxed end to a busy year. We farewelled 2014 at home with champagne and trashy movies, before taking a stroll down the street to get a good view of the fireworks. The next morning we were up early to catch the first sunrise of 2015 and to get in for a leisurely breakfast at one of my favourite cafes before the rest of the city woke. It is going to be another really great year.

New Year


2013 | 2012  | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

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.

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…

La Dolce Vita (Q1 2014)

When I lived up in PosyTown, I had all the time in the world (well, I did once I’d finished studying, anyway), but rarely felt that I had anything interesting to blog about. Now, I live in this amazing city and have plenty to write about, but I have been too busy exploring Sydney that I have had little time to cobble a post together.

As we’re now fast approaching the month of May, I thought an update on our first quarter of 2014 would be prudent.

Q1 2014:

Roosters games attended: 4 (World Club Championship: vs Wigan Warriors [we won!]; Telstra Premiership games: vs  Rabbitohs [we lost], vs Eels [we won!], vs Manly [we lost]).
Mornings/days spent at the beach: 16
Beaches visited: 4 (Bronte, North Bondi, Avalon, Freshwater)
Movies watched: 14 (Saving Mr Banks, August: Osage County, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Book Thief, Wolf of Wall Street, About Time, The Heat, I Give it a Year, Frozen, Her, Ruby Sparks, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (Moonlight Cinema session), The Hunger Games – Catching Fire, Anchorman II (Moonlight Cinema session)).
Books downloaded on Kindle: 17
Books actually read on Kindle: 6
Concerts purchased tickets for: 4 (Katy Perry, Tina Arena, Lady Gaga, Kate Miller-Heidke)
Concerts attended: 0
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: 1 (Bora Bora!)
Visits from family: 3 (Mum + brother, Dad, Mum)
New cafés/restaurants/bars explored: 11 that I can remember off the top of my head (The Wine Library, The Boathouse Balmoral, Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel, Opera Bar (okay, a re-visit, have been once before), Flat White, The Chalkboard Café, Café Salina, Swell Restaurant, Chiswick (okay, another re-visit, went once before in the lead up to the wedding), The Tea Salon, Panania Hotel…)
Birthdays celebrated: 3 (Me, PosyKitty, my friend’s little boy – cowboy themed party!)
Festivals/events attended: 5 (Taste of Sydney, Four Thought at the Opera House, Alain de Botton at the Opera House, book launch, Yoko Ono’s ‘War is Over’ at the MCA)
Flex days taken from work: 3

Q1 2014

Our weekends the past few months have largely revolved around the beach, and most surprisingly, Mr Posy has been the driving force behind this. I am so glad that he rediscovered his love for the beach, to the point that I had to drag him home, because it really is my happy place. If I’m being completely honest, I suspect that he would have dragged me along to the beach even if he didn’t enjoy it himself, because of how much happier and more relaxed (less anxious/stressed) I am after a dip in the ocean … but aren’t we all?

My birthday this year was a very quiet affair – no morning tea at work or after-work drinks with friends, and no little people here to help me blow out my candles. Mr Posy did take me out for a dinner however, AND he made me my favourite cake – Nigella’s Chocolate Mousse Cake. He also treated me to breakfast at The Boathouse in Balmoral (and more time at the beach), so I had a pretty relaxing birthday weekend!

We managed to squeeze in a trip down to Melbourne to see my BIL, SIL and Niece and Nephew Posy (they moved south shortly after we left PosyTown – thankfully they’re now only one hour away by plane instead of four!) – I really miss being able to wave to them from my front patio. Niece and Nephew Posy are growing so quickly, and it was so hard to say “see you later” (always “see you later”, never “goodbye”). On our last night in Melbourne, Niece Posy’s teddy bear ‘said’ to me “I’m going to miss you Aunty Posy”. I can’t tell you how hard it was to fight back the tears. I knew it would be tough moving away from them, but I didn’t realise that I would feel like a huge chunk of my heart was missing. I am thankful for Skype and short plane trips!

Most excitingly this past quarter, Mr Posy and I booked a holiday for later in the year – a first anniversary/belated honeymoon trip… to Bora Bora! It has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I am over the moon that this dream will soon become a reality. I have been busy reading travel books and forums, scouring the interwebs for travel reviews and photographs, and counting down the days. Unlike other trips that we plan, there will be little structure to this holiday (aside from a dinner at Villa Mahana that I have already booked in) – and I can’t wait! I may already be planning a return visit, before we even get there…

All in all, we’ve had a pleasant start to 2014, and it’s hard to believe that we’ve been living here for nearly seven months already – and married for almost six! I don’t know why I thought time would slow down living here; instead it seems to fly by at double-speed.

Looking back on 2013: A belated Year in Review

Given we’re through the first month of the new year and fairly well into the second, television has resumed its regular programming, school is back in session (traffic, uggggh), annnnnd I just had a birthday, I can no longer deny that it is now well and truly in 2014.

I know I am a little LOT late with my ‘year in review’ post, but I wasn’t quite ready to let 2013 go – it was a huge year for me; my biggest year yet.

The First Quarter

Thinking

As has become the custom for us, we marked January with a trip to Sydney. Sidenote: I’m not sure what we’re going to do now that we actually live here?! We caught up with friends, ate too much, met with wedding vendors, and celebrated a friend’s gorgeous little boy’s second birthday.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t always the best company – I had discovered a lump a month earlier (Christmas! Best gift yet!), and being particularly stupid I had decided to bury my head in the sand (hoping it would go away), only to rediscover the lump on our trip away. Pretty stupid at the best of times, incredibly stupid when you have my family history. After crying hysterically to Mr Posy, I made an appointment with my GP (who was also Mum’s GP and had diagnosed her cancer) for when I returned to PosyTown. I cried even more when my GP referred me on for an ultrasound, saying “We need to get this looked at”… Thankfully, it was just a false alarm; however it did prompt me to quite seriously look at my lifestyle and how I was treating (or not treating) my body, and make necessary changes.

Community Service Announcement: Get your girls out (and the rest) – see your GP and get a health check. If something doesn’t feel quite right, have it looked at, don’t just hope it will go away.

The rest of the quarter involved drowning in huge changes at work (and all the additional work that these changes created) and supporting staff through said changes. Explaining to staff, who after many years working together had become like family, that there would not be a position for them in a new structure was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my career. Thinking about it now still makes me feel sad and uneasy. I can’t even rationalise it to myself as one of those “growing experiences” that “only makes you stronger” – it was an experience I could have done without.

PosyTown is such a transient place, and as with every year, I said goodbye to more dear friends who rode off on their way to greener pastures – always hoping that it would soon be my turn to leave.

Needless to say, my heart was pretty heavy and I shed many tears during the first quarter of 2013.

Quarter Two

Sydney

Fortunately, the second quarter balanced out the first.

After many years of balancing surviving work and study, I finally donned a cap and gown, and walked across the stage to collect my degrees. I don’t know who was more proud – me, Mr Posy, or my parents. I am missing study, but I’m not quite ready to throw myself back into another degree just yet. For now I am enjoying making travel plans, exploring Harbour City, and researching possible future courses.

We took another trip to Sydney, this time for a friend’s baby shower and to meet with our priest in the lead up to the wedding. I was far more relaxed and in a far better head-space than our previous trip, and we had a wonderful time catching up with friends. I went back to PosyTown feeling refreshed after our very quick trip away.

Niece Posy turned three, and she had a Minnie Mouse themed party. I tried my hand at cake pops for the first time, and will never ever forget my little niece’s reaction when she saw the finished product. I had so much fun helping my SIL with the party-prep, to the point of finding myself designated as face painter for the big event. Luckily the three year olds were quite impressed with my basic flower, love heart and a little glitter; the older children, on the other hand, were not quite as forgiving of my ‘skills’…

Quarter Three

Chaos

Chaos. Bedlam. Total pandemonium.

All the changes at work that had been brewing for months with the restructure hit boiling point. It was an incredibly challenging time – but I can honestly say that it was made somewhat easier working with and for such amazing people. I have many decades in my career ahead of me, and I am sure it won’t be the last major restructure that I have to stomach, but I’m thankful that my first experience with such significant organisational change was with such an incredible bunch of people.

I said farewell to more friends leaving PosyTown, but I also said hello to my very dear friend who was back visiting after two years living in the UK, so it wasn’t all bad.

I found out that I had won a job in Sydney! I received two job offers within days of each other (and came *this* close to a third), but with one permanent and one on a temporary contract, it was an easy(ish) choice with such a huge interstate move to make. Telling work and our family and friends that we were leaving was much harder than I had anticipated, but the opportunity really came at the right time for Mr Posy and me.

I took Niece Posy to the Royal PosyTown Show for an Aunty & Niece Day Out, and we had so much fun checking out the cows, goats, chickens, horses and fire trucks. Gosh I miss that kid. She and Nephew Posy are so sweet, and I miss them every single day. Fortunately they moved down to Melbourne with BIL and SIL, so they’re now only an hour flight away (instead of four!), but I do wish they were still only across the road.

Mr Posy and I took another trip to Sydney – this time for wedding prep (nothing like leaving dress shopping and the menu tasting to only a few months before the big day!), to meet a friend’s new baby, and to meet my new employer. It was a quick trip, but the weather was amazing, I got to spend time with some of my closest girlfriends, and it was exciting knowing that we would soon be calling Sydney “home”.

A few weeks later we took one last trip from PosyTown to Sydney, this time to find a place to live! We returned to PosyTown just in time to pack up our little life (which surprisingly filled a huge truck) and send it on its way to Harbour City.

The Final Quarter

Dream then do.

I think we managed to cram maybe a year’s worth of activity into the last few months of 2013.

I finished up in my position in a team where I had worked for the past four and a half years (with the same employer for six years), said our goodbyes to family and friends, and caught a one-way flight to Sydney. Moving to Sydney was a dream around ten years in the making, and it felt (and still feels) so surreal finally making it happen.

Our new life in Sydney kicked off on the right foot, when my beloved Roosters WON THE GRAND FINAL – and we were actually there to witness it. It was a nail-biting game, and I will never forget the moment when Jennings basically put his body on the line for an amazing try that turned the game back in our favour. A fellow female Roosters supporter in the seat in front of us turned to me – we stared at each other incredulously for a minute, before giving each other the biggest high-five. It still makes me tear up just thinking about it. I have been trying to brainwash telling my little Manly-supporting cousins (now 8 and 10) that they have been barracking for the wrong team for years – I may have rubbed in our victory when we finally caught up with them a couple of weeks ago…

We had a little under a week to unpack our home, before I started work – it was an adjustment going from a three-bedroom house with ample storage, to a two-bedroom terrace with only one built-in cupboard and a much smaller living space. While we had purged our lives of things we no longer needed when packing in PosyTown, we used the opportunity to further simplify our lives and rid ourselves of junk. It was incredibly cathartic.

After working for the same employer for the past six years, it was a little strange starting a new job. I’d managed to develop a nasty chest infection in the week between arriving in Sydney and starting work, so the first few weeks completely knocked me about. I am still adjusting to a less frenetic pace than I was used to in PosyTown (a pace which I secretly enjoyed), but the people are nice, so I can’t complain.

One of the highlights of 2013 for me was of course getting married, and also having all our family and friends in Sydney to celebrate in the lead-up to our wedding. Niece and Nephew Posy completely lost their minds when we picked them up from the airport, however I still can’t decide who was more excited over our little reunion – them or me. While the weather wasn’t amazing (torrential downpours, anyone?), we did manage to get in a daytrip to Taronga Zoo, and the rest of the time was spent at the Aquarium in Darling Harbour, eating out for breakfasts and dinners, walking around shopping centres like mall-rats, and of course gearing up for our wedding celebration. We had an amazing dinner with our bridal party and immediate family a couple of nights before the wedding – it was so nice to have everybody together before the madness started.

I will save the wedding post for another day, but we had a truly beautiful day that exceeded all our expectations and was more amazing than we could have ever imagined. Mr Posy and I felt so incredibly humbled to be surrounded by all our family and friends, many of whom travelled such a long way to be there. I don’t think  I will ever tire of looking at our photos and watching our wedding highlights video…

After not managing to catch a single one of the concerts that we’d planned during the first three quarters of the year, we finally squeezed a few in – Ricky Martin and Taylor Swift for me (both of which Mr Posy also surprisingly enjoyed; they put on a great show), and Muse for Mr Posy (and okay, partly for me also).

The time came to say farewell to my gorgeous friend (and beautiful bridesmaid) who returned to the UK for what sounds like another two years minimum. I’m just grateful for all the mix-ups with her visa paperwork which meant she was home for longer, and meant that she didn’t have to do a crazy flight back to Australia for the wedding, only to have to get on the plane back across the pond the very next day.

Mr Posy and I finally took our first real road trip, down the coast to spend Christmas with my grandparents. While it took us around six hours each way, it was such a nice drive – so nice that Mr Posy who has always been Mr Anti-Road Trips is now keen to take more of them – and it was the perfect trip away to recharge after such a crazy few months.

As it was our first “married” New Year’s Eve (and our first in Sydney), I soon found myself manically scouring the web for ideas of where we might go on the night to ensure we started 2014 with a bang. In the end, Mr Posy talked me down off the proverbial ledge, and we spent the evening eating dinner at home and watching movies. I managed to stay awake for the “family fireworks” (which I could just see from where I had positioned myself on the couch), but fell asleep barely ten minutes before the main event. It was the perfect way to start our first year of marriage, and our first year in Sydney – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Epilogue

While this post is long overdue, I figure better late than never. I needed to write it – it’s important to me to look back and reflect on the year that was; to celebrate the good times and mourn the bad, to step back from it all and gain a little perspective, and to stop and really appreciate the people in my life and the moments I have with them.

I am still finding it a little difficult to really embrace 2014 (maybe I should have stayed awake for those midnight fireworks after all, ha!). I can’t decide if it’s because so much happened last year and I’m still processing it all, or if I simply don’t want to believe 2013 is over. It certainly was not always an easy year, but 2013 will forever be a special year for me, and one that I will treasure always.

I can’t wait to see where 2014 takes me.

Getting our bake on

By 2 , , Permalink 0

As a kid, we lived pretty remotely for a few years (so much so that I had to do school via correspondence), and during the summer holidays I would fly down (by myself! – so exciting when you’re 7!) to spend a week or two with my nan and pop. I have fond memories of my visits with my grandparents – their house has always felt like home. Other than my younger brother (who was way too young to come along, being five years younger than me), I am the eldest grandchild on my dad’s side by more than ten years, so growing up I had a lot of one-on-one time with my grandparents, and I really treasure the time I spent with them.

Pop and I would play game after game of Draughts (I can count on one hand the number of times I actually beat him, he’s not one of those people that will just let you win!), and he would take me to the golf course so that I could drive the golf carts, to swimming lessons at the local pool, to the pond down the road to feed the ducks and swans, to the cheese-making factory for milkshakes… I would read books, witness new calves born over the back fence, hang out with the girl my age next door, play ping-pong in the rumpus room, and listen to stories about my dad as a kid that Nan and Pop would tell me over meals.

One of the best parts of my visits was when my dad’s youngest sister came to stay while she was on university holidays. My Aunt B would take me along when catching up with her friends – we’d hang out in a cafe, or spend all day at the beach; I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up like my aunt, I adored (and still adore) her. Best of all, she would bake with me. I love water, I love swimming, and I love the beach, but my favourite memories with my Aunt B are dreary days stuck in the house spent baking in Nan’s kitchen. I don’t know if it was the only recipe she knew, or if it was just her favourite treat, but we baked a lot of butterfly cakes over the years.

Me and Aunt B

I know that we won’t always live across the road from Mr Posy’s brother (and ergo, Niece and Nephew Posy), so I try to make the most of this time while I can. Just as I loved making butterfly cakes with my aunt, Niece Posy loves to come over and spend the afternoon baking – and she really loves when our baking involves berries.

The recipe for raspberry and coconut muffins (well, cupcakes…) on the Taste website is one of our favourites.

Ingredients

Missing from picture: baking powder and milk; we used melted butter instead of oil (excuse the toddler feet…).

Dry ingredients

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, add sugar and coconut.

Eggs, milk and butter

2. In a small large bowl (to prevent toddler-stirring-splashback), whisk eggs, milk and melted butter.

Mix Ingredients

3. Mix egg/milk/butter into flour mixture until just combined; fold in raspberries.

Oven ready

4. Prepare cupcake cases (should have done this first, whoops!), and carefully spoon mixture into cases. This takes an exceptionally long time when you’re two/three years old, so allow time accordingly.

Snack time

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes; allow to cool slightly, and indulge while watching Ramona and Beezus/Peppa Pig/Angelina Ballerina/Enchanted (whichever takes your fancy).

Niece Posy is a very proficient helper in the kitchen – together we’ve made an assortment of cakes, cupcakes, muffins, brownies, ANZAC Biscuits, and even cake pops. She is also very good with salads (broad bean, chorizo & feta, mmm), and she loves to supervise when we make pasta dishes. Next time we bake, I think butterfly cakes are in order… Now that I think about it, I can’t believe we haven’t yet made them!

Snap out of it.

I’ve not really felt like I’ve been my best self lately. I’m not happy about or proud of this.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been angry and irritated and impatient and intolerant and sarcastic and potty-mouthed  and snarky and frustrated and tearful and pretty negative all round. I’ve been withdrawn and I’ve bailed on team sporting commitments. I’ve been tired all the time, and I’ve not been making good food choices.

Work has been unpredictable and stressful for some time, and all the change and uncertainty has left me feeling anxious and generally uneasy – but this is really no excuse. This is just not me.

I’ve been a real wet blanket. don’t even want to be around me lately, so I don’t know how others have tolerated me.

Ordinarily, I am a pretty cheerful person; even when things are tough I can usually manage to slap a smile on my face and muster a little enthusiasm. Lately, I’ve barely tried. I know I certainly can’t be upbeat all the time, however I do think there is something to be said for always doing your best. While one’s “best” is of course bound to change depending on how one is feeling in that moment, even stressed and tired, I know I could be putting in more effort.

The only thing that is certain right now is that the next few weeks will continue to be exhausting and stressful.

Life