Thursday, 28 March 2013

Finally up to date...

After six 'Flashback Blogs' I think I am just about up to date! Sorry for the lazy blogging... it seems that I am all or nothing! I swear this would be so much easier if I had an iPhone.
This recent burst of inspiration is from my friend Nikki – she is currently in Singapore with our friend Lottie and will soon be arriving in Australia for 4 weeks of fun! I cannot wait for her to get here… I have a full excel spread sheet of plans! Nikki is currently blogging everyday of her adventure at: http://badderschapter26.blogspot.co.uk/
 
It’s likely she will update long before me, to head over to her blog to follow our travels over the next few weeks. She has a secret bucket list of things to do, so I’m sure I’ll be getting involved with the challenges along the way!

We also have James’ family over at the moment – his Mum Debbi and her fianc√© Paul. They arrived early on Tuesday and managed to fight the jet lag and stay up all day – we were very impressed! It’s really lovely showing them around our hometown and James was straight in there was a fishing afternoon – well he and Paul fished and Debbi and I drank wine and read and napped in the sun! So nice to have them stay over Easter : )
 
All five of us will be heading up to Port Douglas next weekend which should be amazing – a skydive is on the cards – eeekkk!!

In other news, we have confirmed our return to the UK in July. Tunbridge Wells will be our new hometown – no beach there but I hear it’s pretty nice. It’s going to be very hard to leave Australia and all our good friends here… but we have to see it as the next chapter!

But for now, it’s time to make the most of Australia. See you very soon Nikki!!!! xoxo

Flashback blog: Gold Coast Theme Parks

After the Cyclone Feburary continued to be wet so at the start of March James and I took a trip down to the Gold Coast to take advantage of the quieter theme parks.

We went to Movie World the first day, where I was forced to go on the scary rides, and Sea World the second day. The highlight of Sea World was James taking on seven year old boys on the pirate boats... a few innocent Mums got caught in the cross water... they were not pleased. We also went to  The Outback Spectacular, a themed restaurant and horse show - very country Aussie!

Our hotel was really cool and had a restaurant called Bazaar which was like a market place of different food and you just keep walking around and getting what you want - like a posh all you can eat - I highly recommend to any Gold Coast visitors.

It was a great few days away, another James planning triumph!



Superman ride!

"You want me to go on what?'




He wanted to buy this...


I love this boy

Rainy days







Attcking innocent people with his water gun...

James in action







Flashback blog: Cyclone Oswald hits the Coast

 


In late January James headed home to the UK for work interviews. I dropped him at the airport and as I drove home it started to rain really heavily and did not stop for five days. It was as if Australia was crying that he had left!

The crazy rain and severe winds were part of Cyclone Oswald. Thank God that my friends Diana and Camillo were visiting from Brisbane for the weekend as the Cyclone meant staying inside all of Australia Day and the rest of the weekend, I would have been so lonely! But actually, it was like Christmas in the UK - eating all day and watching movies!

When the rain finally stopped on Sunday afternoon we couldn't believe the foam that the sea and rain had created - the video above shows just how crazy it was!

The storm totally changed all the beaches on the Coast, big 1-2 metre drops where the sea has dragged all the sand out to sea and filthy brown water. Even now, in March it is only just getting better!

Flashback blog: Mt Cooroora

After several trips up Mt Coolum, James decided that we were ready to take on Mt Cooroora, where the famous 'King of the Mountain' race is held each year. We carefully selecting our group - Sara, Emily and Ellie (the lovely but bush walkingly challenged Becca (from Mt Barney fame) was not invited... James says she needs to train for this one!)

It also gave me the chance to take out my latest 'James gift' - he bought me a camel sack... weird present but handy on this hike!

It was a really tough climb up, and down as well, but totally worth the pain for the view!

We made it to the top!

James and his girls

What a way to start a Sunday morning


Kind of the hill

Note my Camel Sack

Navigating our way down



We climbed that!

Flashback blog: Mt Barney

On New Year's day a hungover James (he ended up being sick on our neighbour Shane's arm early that morning.. ) and I collected Becca and Jess and headed south for a road trip. We ended up at Mt Barney National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

When arrived at our house for the night and the guy at reception greeted us warmly, advised us on local walks and said: "Enjoy the house, there's no key... welcome to the country"

Later that night, playing cards on the deck we had our first taste of being out with the nature when a huge Possum wiggled it's way down the roof right above us! Much later, I woke in the middle of the night to a really loud scratching at the patio doors in mine and James' room. I immediately though - there are no locks on the doors - prodding James awake I told him there was someone trying to get in and made him get up and check it out! Most likely it was the Possum back but it still gave me the creepers! James was not that happy with me!

 The next day we set out on the main hike where you reach swimming pools in the middle of caves. It was a really hot and humid day, and bush fire warming was on extreme. At the start of the walk it tells you what you need: a watch, 2L of water per person, to let someone know that you are starting the walk, sun lotion, food, hat etc. We text Becca's boyfriend, had a watch and lotion and some food, 2 hats for 4 people, but not much water and James was the only one with a backpack (I had to make shift my beach bag into a backpack). Really, we weren't very prepared. We were not very far into the walk when we realised that it was all a bit much for Becca, we weren't making very good progress and the water was quickly going. When it became apparent that a small empty water bottle was too much for Becca to hold we considered turning back, but I put my hat on her and that seemed to help... and finally we reached the centre - the water pool. They were beautiful and so cooling. There was a huge rock that James and Jessie jumped off but me and Becca were to scared as we didn't know how deep the water was!

On the way back Becca seemed to be struggling again when Jess and James proclaimed that they could smell smoke - not what you want in the middle of the bush! James stated that he 'didn't want to get burned alive' and that we needed 'to get a move on' - after a tense trek back we finally made it out and as we drove away we could see the smoke from the bush rising...

A lesson learnt in the dangers of bush walking but still a magical trip!




Cave climbing




Very necessary insect spray

Brave jumpers

So refreshing

Sleeping roo


Night time possum




Dubious about getting in!

Flashback blog: Xmas and New Year

Christmas time in Australia means full-on heatwave and lots of tourists - so work is very busy for both me at the restaurant and James in the emergency room.

As it was our second Xmas it didn't feel as strange as it did last year and we actually found ourselves quite over subscribed with parties! James and I spent Xmas eve making mince pies and mulled wine to take to our parties. In the evening our neighbours had a BBQ and drinks in the courtyard and then we had to leave at around 8pm to head to a dinner party with some of our other friends where we started to work our way through the wine collection James and I had built up on our trip in November. We came home late that night and opened our presents under our tree, why wait until the morning if it's after midnight?!

We woke up with slightly sore heads on Xmas day and drove to Brisbane to have lunch with my family. There were 16 people and a feast of food, after lunch I got in the pool with my cousins and the kids, James was meant to join but instead found his niche with the over 70s playing card games and drinking sparkling wine! Typical.

Feeling sleepy from the food and sun I drove us back to the Coast to attend our fourth party in 24 hours. My friends from work Basia and Tania hosted a 'orphans' Christmas for all those away from home, and some who just wanted to join! They have a beautiful garden and set the table up under the mango tree - it was really quite magical and they are amazing hosts. I wish I got a photo!

We brought our xBox and Kinect with us and James made everyone play athletics - the 100m hurdles are not fun after so much food and wine!

It was a tiring but amazing few days, we are so lucky to have so many great friends and family here. We'll miss this next year when we're in the cold!

For NYE, I had to work but James was off so he joined in with another neighbourhood gathering.

I was still at work at 11.45 and beginning to panic that I would see the New Year in mopping the floor - but my friend Sam, one of the Managers, saved the day and told me to leave quickly! I changed at the speed of lightning and managed to meet James on the beach at 11.55 just before the fireworks began. James was pretty drunk and decided that he would join the other drunk idiots and take on the dumping waves in celebration of the New Year. Luckily, James managed to avoid getting dumped on a sandbank and making his face bleed, unlike some of the other swimmers! He then proceeded to take drag out friends Yuvnik and Anna, and Diana and Camillo back to ours for another boy vs girl Kinect party...

By 3am I decided to call it a night but James drank, and cigar smoked, on with our neighbour Shane until much later...




 
Our tree
Yuvnik and Anna

Fresh from work
A drunk James heading into the surf


Mooloolaba NYE















Flashback blog: Camping in Noosa Northshore


In November last year we made plans to head up to Noosa Northshore and camp for the weekend with my cousins Sean and Dean, and Sean's kids Madeline and Alec.

My cousins both have Land Cruisers and heaps of camping gear so are the perfect crowd to go with and James loves camping. My camping experience is limited to rolling into a tent tipsy at Latitude Festival and the kids were new to it as well. Now, November was a beautiful month - endless sun and dry skies. However there were two days where it rained non stop and they happened to be the two days we decided to camp... It poured from the minute we had the tents up until the minute we took them down! Despite the less than favourable conditions it was still a fun time. James tried sea fishing with the guys while me and the kids staying in the tent and played games. They are such good kids, never moaned or complained and still said they enjoyed the trip at the end! We did get to go climb in the red sand once the rain stopped!

Camping induces the usual fear of snakes and spider but the worst we got was a bush rat in my cousin's tent - Sean and Dean woke to a scuffle and turned the torch onto find a curious rat perched on Alec's pillow next to his sleeping head! Luckily, Dean is something of a nature man and quickly grabbed it by the tail and swung it out of the tent!

We're hoping to plan another trip soon - minus the rain!


Sheltering from the rain!

Home for night

The camp site



Red sand


Mad and my cousin Sean


It all got too much for Alec!