Get shit done; May 2016

May started to feel cold, so we cooked a lot and prepared for our holiday to Bali, half way through the month. I’ll post separately about that holiday, because I took a lot of pictures!

Oliver cooked up some delicious Indian curry a we fried a stack of poppadoms. The best ever.

We had dinner at a friend’s house one Friday night and she cooked incredibly hearty, Italian fare in her effortlessly cool house. Bare bricks, big open spaces and precisely selected furniture. We listened to Paul Simon through the back door.

My cousin is moving from Brisbane to Melbourne in August and he came down to suss out the suburbs for a weekend. We had brunch in Fitzroy and Oliver and I tried to sell the North to him. Can’t wait to have some family around full time.

This colourful dish was a nice change from the grey exterior.

On the other hand… pork chops and baked apples, sage and roasted beetroot screams Autumn and Winter. We made this two days in a row and I didn’t feel hungry for days.

We celebrated our friend Adam’s birthday at a bar in town and ate huge gyros at a Greek place afterwards.


Get shit done; February 2016

This tiny platform of the Rooftop Bar on Swanston Street might offer one of the best Melbourne views I’ve seen. So perfectly framed, interesting building on top of interesting building, light and shadows. I’ve become really fond of the Melbourne city skyline; contrary to a year ago when I told Toby it was kind of ugly. I like its diversity mostly; the contrast of old and new and typical and atypical whichever way you look. It makes for lovely pictures.

Visiting the Rooftop bar wasn’t on the get shit done list, but documenting views like this are. We came here before we saw Beach House play in the city, a surprise ticketed treat from Oliver; very pretty pictures below.

The band was so good. They’re long time favourites of ours and they sounded fantastic, the lighting was beautiful.

We saw Beach House for the second time in a week at Laneway Festival, along with Diiv and Churches and some others. This was also a surprise ticketed treat, but I knew about this one for a while. It was a beautiful sunny day, we bumped into friends and enjoyed sitting on the grass all evening like the 28 and 30 year olds we are.

This may also be on the list of best views. It ticks major boxes… city skyline, train lines. 

On our to do list for a while was a trip to the Mornington Peninsula. This reminds me of a post from a year ago (or so) which listed things I wanted to do in Melbourne. I’ll seek it out and update it… I have a feeling I may not have crossed much off that list but hopefully it’s evolved into something more crossable.

We rented a car and drove down to the Peninsula, passing Mount Martha, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea, maybe not in that order. We stopped and had a dip in Rye, we had a walk to a paradise looking beach in the National Park and we visited some very beautiful rock pools at the back of Blairgowrie. Oliver had pulled a muscle in his back, so he was a trooper for even getting out of bed, let alone driving us all that way and walking around with me. He couldn’t swim in the rock pools, so I guess that’s a reason for another visit.

There were some very brave souls jumping from rocks into the pools. Not I. I took a leisurely dip from ground level.

Oliver’s third tickets surprise of the month was Sufjan Stevens. Another great show. I’ll freely admit my favourite album is his Christmas Album, but I knew far more of the music than I expected to. There was an awesome light show that felt like meditation, or something. And Hamer Hall is such a treat to be in again. We saw Amy Schumer here the first time, and it was really nice to watch a band here too. It’s a clear distinction of age; sitting watching a band in Hamer Hall, drinking a glass of wine. Woah. Times have changed.

These may be the worst pictures you’ve seen of a gig. Apologies.

I took a mini trip with Maree to the State Library. It was just a way to pass the time before a movie, but it was such a treat. It’s a beautiful old building that made me nostalgic for the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and days when I would write essays in the Manchester Metropolitan University library till late. Made me wish I had a 3000 word essay and a stack of books to pore over. If only my 22 year old self could imagine that.

Get shit done; January 2016

Our trip home to the UK came at an awkward time for my workplace; lots of change and uncertainty. So I didn’t exactly ring in the New Year with a clear view of what I’d do in 2016, more an idea of how I’d like to approach the year. My approach involves doing things I’m afraid of (plenty of those) and travelling as much as possible. I’d like to learn to drive too, stability permitting though.

In that spirit, here’s some stuff we did in January…

 Bucket List kind of stuff in Dubai on the way home from the UK. More of this in another post.
 Got to the MCG for the end of the Big Bash League season. We saw the Melbourne Stars lose, but I still enjoyed myself.

  Wandered along Port Melbourne, a place we’d never really explored. Beach volleyball and fit people working out outdoors.
Summer wander through the Botanical Gardens and their humid as hell tropical greenhouse.

The view from the pier in Port Melbourne.
  Negotiating THIS. What is this? This is Melbourne weather. Hot and windy hairdryer kind of weather. This is what Buenos Aires felt like when we visited two years ago. I nearly lost my shit when we were there. As long as it’s a day here and there in Australia I can cope. 

A very familiar Yarra view of the city. I must have taken this same picture about a dozen times in the last year.
  We went to the Australian Open! This was definitely a treat for Oliver, I didn’t expect to enjoy it too much, but I loved it. We went on Day 1 and saw a great women’s singles match. I think Wosniacki… she’s Danish?

A very drunken, greasy picture of a nice rendezvous with drunken, greasy friends.

Australia Day 2016, celebrated like a true Melburnian; using a communal bbq on the Yarra River. Too much beer and too much sun. A lovely national holiday! Unfortunately I missed my favourite part of Australia Day; the citizenship ceremony in Canberra presided over by the Prime Minister. It makes me well up.

Last week…

These are a few pictures from Saturday 19th to Thursday 24th September! It’s truly Spring now in Melbourne, with bright warm weekends and slightly longer days. Getting up at 6am means it’s light outside now and when we return from work we can still spend 30 minutes in the garden.   

Oliver and Toby spent last Saturday afternoon building the bbq we bought from Bunnings. It’s by far our favourite garden feature! We plan to eat by bbq all summer!

Last Sunday we spent our first day in the park this Spring. The trees are still bare, so it doesn’t look like the seasons are changing but in Melbourne there are golden leaves on the ground for about 9 months of the year. You never know what the day will look like till it happens.  

This monster is living on the side of the house. It could be harmless, it could be a killer. Any ideas?  

We finally visited Pelligrini’s on Bourke Street last week. It’s a lovely, cosy old school style Italian serving home cooked comfort food and big servings of familiar desserts. It’s the perfect late night spot after a chaotic evening. 

 Oliver picked the blueberry pie, but I couldn’t resist the chocolate plum tart. I wish I did because the blueberry pie was so fantastic! I’ve recommended it to every North American I know, since they’re always hankering for cherry pies and blueberry pies.

This was a steak night that unexpectedly included so many lovely people like Pierce and Shamah! And loads of wine. And tequila. On a Wednesday.  

And then I finally granted my mother’s wish by letting a professional colour my hair. Forgive my sullen expression; I’m not really the selfie taker.  
    Woah! Cringe! Returned to my ginger roots, but still, selfies are not my natural state. Aside from these I want to remember that this week was sunny and Spring like, I finally got paid and I let go of routine a little to drink too much and have a lovely time.

Some more pictures from our weekend in Daylesford..

There are still plenty of sights in Australia that astound me! The weekend we recently spent in country Victoria had a few of those; for example these wild cockatoos just flying around near a Seven Eleven. I’ve only seen birds like this in a zoo or an aviary, they’re huge a very white and very loud!   

We hired a car for the weekend so Sunday was spent seeking out the natural sparkling springs. The water contains natural gases which make it sparkling from the spring, so we pumped a bottle or two and drank plenty. It was certainly interesting, but after a few sips the eggy overtones got to me.

We got up to see Trentham Falls and saw the lightest dusting of snow! I’m not that keen on snow, except when it’s outside and I’m in bed, but this was pretty nice because it was so unexpected.

The waterfalls were very impressive and a reminder of how much there is to see in Victoria and Australia.  

On our return to the city it gets a little patriotic. Soon after this Oliver had a nightmare with the rental car people, which in hindsight was kind of funny but definitely not at the time!

Healesville/Coldstream/Yarra Valley

Back in January & February of this year when my parents came to visit, we took a day trip to the Yarra Valley to see vineyards and taste wine. None of us know much about wine but it’s undeniably enjoyable to try glass after glass and pretend that you do. I got some lovely picture of my parents together, though a few are ruined by the ever present cigarette. Oh well, it’s true to life.

We visited the Domaine Chandon winery, where they offer a free self guided tour of their warehouse. You can read about the grapes, the processing, bottling and understand a lot of what you observe about wine but never really understood. It’s great for a newbie!


They offer a great deal in their restaurant area; a taste of six of their bottles for $5. Incredible value. We shared two of these tasters between the three of us and it was plenty. The sommelier gave us a bit of background on the different conditions required for each wine. I think we tried a sparkling Shiraz, which I’ve never tried before but was delicious, a couple of champagnes and sparkling white among others.


We also visited the Dominique Porter winery where they generously allowed us to try nearly all of their wines. I settled on a fancy Chardonnay that my parents bought me as a gift and I’ve only just tucked into it, last weekend in fact. I was worried that my tastebuds were less than sharp when I picked it out, because I was a little tipsy and everything tasted good at that point. Happily though, it was very good.

We sat outside at Dominique Portet and the sun made it’s first appearance of the day. I was so pleased, because my parents are sun worshippers and the Melbourne summer wasn’t working too hard for us. But when it appears, the sun is intense and incredible in the Yarra Valley. We ate some cheese and fussed a dog who sat with us and took some lovely pictures of my parents that will dominate birthday cards and gifts for years to come.


Afterwards, we stopped by the White Rabbit Brewery in Healsville to fill up the Growler that Oliver bought last time we were there. I’ve just looked the Brewery up and found that it’s sadly now closed! They’re moving to Geelong, which is makes it’s trickier to refill that beer bottle, but I’m sure we’ll manage. We then drove along the Black Spur Drive to Narbethong. It’s a 30 minute drive through an incredible stretch of Mountain Ash trees. We headed back to Melbourne through a C road that turned into dirt track on a couple of occasions. Every time I delve into the Victorian countryside I am overwhelmed. There is so much beautiful landscape to see here, I feel very lucky to be among it all.


Weekend Walk

We just returned from a really nice walk in Yarra Bend Park, actually a national park, along the banks of the Yarra River. We walked for about 3 or so hours and took in 11km. We’ve signed up to do a crazy 35km walk in September, from the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne to Brighton Beach, called the Bloody Long Walk. We’ll need to get in some practice before then so I’d like to make it a regular occurrence.

We grabbed a coffee on the way and stopped for a little bite at Lentil As Anything, which is a not for profit, veggie food place. You pay what you can for your food, with no set prices. It’s a really nice idea. We visited the St Kilda branch last year in May, when we were staying in a hostel and had very little money. The St Kilda branch wasn’t too impressive, but the Abbotsford Convent branch was delicious and very busy. No pictures, but a map of our route..

walk 28.6