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

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. 

(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

30 by 30 – Cooking up a storm

Back when we first moved to Sydney, I found myself checking out West Elm/Pottery Barn/Williams-Sonoma on a Thursday night for new homewares, when I noticed that Williams-Sonoma offered cooking classes. I mentioned it to Mr Posy (who has come a very long way since he was first learning to cook, and now regularly puts me to shame), and he also thought it sounded like a fun idea (and it meant that I could cross off an item from my 30 by 30 list), so I made a mental note to book us in for a class. As it so often does, time got away from me, but in August I finally had a look at the calendar and booked us in for a class – which we went to last week!

We were originally booked in for a ‘Date Night: Marrakech’ cooking class (which I mostly chose based on the date of the class), but they contacted me in September to say that unfortunately they had to cancel the Marrakech cooking class and that it was now a ‘Date Night: Tapas and Sangria’ class. They gave us the option of going ahead with this class, choosing a different class on another date, or obtaining a refund – we chose to stick with the class on the same date (they had me at Sangria!).

I’d had a bit of a rough fortnight at work, so I was fairly exhausted and almost considering piking on the class, but I quickly changed my outfit (Mr Posy and I both wore white shirts. To a cooking class. Who does that? Total amateurs!) before I could change my mind – and I’m so glad we went.

Williams Sonoma

I wasn’t really sure what to expect – would we be cooking or just watching? As I sipped sangria, completely oblivious to the cooking stations around the kitchen, I decided we must just be watching. The chef, Hulya, explained that she would be cooking three dishes, and then we’d also get to have a crack at making the third dish. Oh…

The first dish put in front of us was the Gambas al ajillo. Oh my word, amazing. What’s more amazing, was that I managed to get through the shrimp without spilling sauce all down my top…

Gambas al ajillo

As we all devoured the shrimp, bread and sauce, Hulya started putting together the flan (so it would have time to set), explaining that it always helped if she fed the participants while she was preparing the other two dishes. I think the term ‘hangry’ was even thrown about. As she had with the shrimp, she explained each step as she went, showing us the consistency that we were looking for (with the custard), and passing around ingredients for us to look at and smell.

Once the custard was ready, it was poured into loaf pans and put away to set – and on to the meatballs. Hulya went through each step of the recipe, explaining what to look for, what consistency the sauce should be, how long to reduce everything down – and after a quick taste, it was our turn!

Seeing as Mr Posy is such a whiz in the kitchen these days, I left him to chopping up the onions (though Hulya did show us a new technique which meant no tears!). And also mixing up the meat and squishing the meatballs. I chopped the parsley. And the almonds. And mixed them up with olive oil, saffron and paprika. For those playing along at home, I made the sauce.

Cooking

Token shots cooking the meatballs.

Meatballs

The end result looked and tasted a little bit amazing. Albóndigas en Salsa de Almendra. Meatballs in almond sauce. I will definitely be making these at home, but maybe with a little less garlic.

In the interest of leaving room for chocolate flan (and more sangria), we packaged up most of the meatballs to take home for later.

Flan

This flan was delicious. The mix of dark chocolate and chilli confused my tastebuds a little initially, but was incredible. The caramel/toffee was a little sweet, so I couldn’t get through it all; the flan would have been off the charts with some strawberries and/or a little cream – something I can’t wait to try again at home!

All in all, we had a really fabulous night – the class was fantastic, really well organised, and a lot of fun. I will definitely be booking in future classes with Williams-Sonoma. It was fun to learn new dishes with Mr Posy, and the classes would also make a fun girl’s night out. Importantly, we asked for the sangria recipe before we left – with the weather starting to heat up, it will be the perfect accompaniment to a summer barbeque.

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.