Get shit done; April 2016

We visited the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for the first time in around 2 years and were struck by this bicycle structure in the main hall. You could walk through and under it.

I began running on a regular basis. I became a person that enjoys going outside in the morning to run. I’d catch sights like these hot air balloons and the misty potential murder scene below that. I even got some new runners to celebrate my transition from somebody who DOES NOT RUN to someone who doesn’t mind it.

Some wild mushrooms suddenly popped up all over our garden. No sooner were they there, they were melting…

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival came to town for the third time since we’ve lived here, so I finally went to a show with these ladies. The show was funny, not too funny, but oddly in a tiny room. I guess there are so many acts that you get to see people in small spaces for a few dollars. I’ll definitely make a point to go again next year.

I took an after work wander around the city one night whilst listening to a few podcasts. I found a few streets near the university I’d never seen before. Pretty high on my list of favourite things is discovering streets I’ve never seen in the place I live. Melbourne is much bigger than Manchester but Melbourne’s city proper isn’t huge and because of the grid layout it’s difficult to find yourself lost down a street you don’t recognise. In Manchester I could walk for twenty minutes and have trouble figuring out where I am, less so here. That makes these detours even more special.

I had an afternoon tea for a friend’s birthday. I used to enjoy these a lot in Manchester, with Katie and Jill, there were so many places with casual afternoon tea menus. I’ve seen far less here so this was special. The cakes were delicious but I think the English make a better finger sandwich. The most mundane thing I’ve ever uttered?

Wintery, weekend breakfasts crept in and this was most delicious. Smoked kippers, fried, and eaten on buttered toast. This tastes like seasons and England and made me think of my Granddad’s breakfasts. I always remember him for the delicious, hearty meals he would make first thing. My favourite was the huge bowl filled with a variety of cereals (think a shredded wheat biscuit, cornflakes and bran flakes sharing the space, looking like a pie chart) and topped with milk and then double cream and sugar. Nobody reacts favourably to this anecdote. I’ve since recreated the cream and sugar on top of my Shredded Wheat and it is something special. I think he’d be a fan of this too…

Me and my favourite person went for a long Sunday walk along the Western coast of Port Phillip Bay. The day was crisp but the sun was warm and the water was so clear. We walked about 10km or so from Altona to Williamsburg. I love a long weekend walk and I think he joins me just to make me happy.


a day at the national gallery of victoria…

A month or so ago we spent a day wandering around the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), a beautifully modern art gallery in the middle of Melbourne City. I’d be happy to visit the building without any art in it, it’s incredible. As we approached, a wedding party were having their pictures taken in front of the waterfall featured entrance. Actually, it seems like every weekend we see a wedding taking place in front of a striking building in Melbourne.

The NGV has a grand atrium, with a tall stain glassed ceiling. There is concrete, glass and steel everywhere. It reminds me of the Mosley Street Art Gallery in Manchester, which is a lovely old Victorian building with a complimentary modern extension. Glass and stone all over the place. The buildings are very different, but manage to pair old with new, making them visit worthy in their own right, but not thunder stealing. I’d live in that beautiful NGV building.

Anyway, we went to see the artwork too. It didn’t dissapoint. The exhibitions were accompanied by the Alain de Botton Art As Therapy blurbs. I quite enjoyed them. I find it very difficult to appreciate certain pieces of art without some kind of text next to them. I almost always find it enhances my experience. I suppose that says something about me, perhaps that I am utterly unimaginative and need rigid guidance and context. So having the traditional information and then the Art As Therapy description gave me a little history, art and philosophy lesson. Perfect.

Below, some photos.













Adam’s here!

After a lovely weekend we are now beginning a new week. A week that includes our friend Adam. Inexplicably, Adam is on a 4 week trip with work from Manchester to Melbourne. What a happy coincidence. We have very little money left until out payday next week (couldn’t come sooner) so we’re saving it for whatever plans Adam might have. We don’t yet have our own place (till payday) and our hostel allows no guests, so we need cash just to hang out and have a chat with Adam. But I’m looking forward to spending that money!

After Adam’s 4 week stay, the friends we made in South America, Darren and Dermot, come to Australia for 3 weeks as part of their ongoing around the world trip. And after that Alanna arrives, with Jenni too, and we plan on a trip somewhere exotic, assuming that holidays and work all allows.


Last night we had a fancy bowl of ramen and a beer on a rooftop bar with Adam! It was misty, Manchester like weather, but the view was worth the chill. And the 7 floors of stairs we walked up. It was lovely to be social in our new city, on a Monday night.

In work last week, we won a Playstation 4, which is like Christmas come early for Oliver. They have a monthly auction, using points you earn at work, and somehow we won! There were 2 beautiful Mac Book Airs up for grabs but I couldn’t quite stretch to one of those. So a Playstation 4 is our most prize possession, locked away in our hostel, without a TV to play it on. Pretty ironic.


Our second most prized possession is this never ending $4 vat of cookies.


a shamphree update…

When I left Manchester and my house and routine for a life with a backpack (for a few months) I decided, for space and convenience, to return to regular old shampoo and conditioner. But I’ve never forgotten about my lovely Shamphree experiment and I’m determined to return to it when I can.

It seems that, aside from friends and family, people read the posts I wrote about Shamphree more than anything. This makes sense since when I started looking for information about Shamphree there wasn’t much aside from How To Hair Girl‘s site and a few personal blogs. I must have read every page I could find about Shamphree. So I’m pleased to provide a little bit of information for those who are after it. You can find my other posts by clicking here.

Firstly, when we left England we went to Brazil, to sunshine and sea. In that climate I can wash my hair once a week because it’s mostly piled on top of my head, filled with dry shampoo and seawater and enjoying a break. However, the very first time I washed it the conventional way, after about 3 months of Shamphree, I admit that I was annoyed that my hair felt clean and soft and incredible, like an advert for expensive hair care products. I wanted it to feel terrible, but those chemicals know what they’re doing.

I noticed that the regular shampoo pretty much stripped all the oil from my scalp, so my roots felt clean, but really clean, the way that only a magic chemical concoction can. The difference with using bicarbonate of soda to ‘shampoo’ was that my roots felt clean but there were natural oils left in my hair. These didn’t make my hair feel greasy, just healthy (in a purely aesthetic sense, I really don’t know the science!)

And yes the conditioner felt like liquid silk, and made my hair insanely brushable, shiny and manageable (annoying) but inevitably after a few months I’m now back in that same routine of washing it every two days and ending up with greasy hair that has to be addressed.

Over the past 5 months I’ve used dry shampoo, just shampoo, or shampoo and conditioner but less frequently. Now I’m in Melbourne and looking for a job so I can’t walk around in Havaianas with piled up dry shampoo hair. I want someone to hire me, I need clean hair.

The point of this was… regular shampoo and conditioner made my hair feel pretty good, but only for a while because now it’s just the same as it was before I tried Shamphree. By which I mean it’s clean for about a day and a half before it looks hideously greasy. Now I know that if I broke out some bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and bought some new little spray bottles, in a couple of weeks after the degreasing period, I’d have clean and less needy hair.
After Shamphreeing once before I also know that I’ll need a higher ratio of bicarbonate of soda to water, and this might make the initial couple of weeks far easier. Last time I didn’t know what to expect but this time I know that when you get your Shamphree method right, you’ll be happy with the results.

I’ve kept up my shea butter habit whilst travelling because it’s the best! I bought it for my hair, but use it mostly for moisturising my face after I wash it, for dry skin after being in the sun. The best use is for your nose, when you have a cold and are constantly blowing your nose and wiping with tissues you end up with a sensitive sore red nose. In the past I’ve used Savlon but shea butter is the only thing you need. Every time in blow my nose, I cover it in shea butter afterwards and it’s good as new!

I hope that was a helpful update on this in between phase. If you have Shamphree questions, just ask and I’ll try to be helpful. Otherwise, How To Hair Girl is the master. Below, quite a stupid picture of me that Oliver took. Nothing much to do with my hair, except for the ball he put in it.


oh Manchester

We sat today in a little cafe drinking coffee, of course, and The Smiths started to play. It was Cemetery Gates, written about the Southern Cemetery in Chorlton, Manchester. Oliver and I would cycle past that place everyday on the way to work. In the dark during Winter on our way home, in the cold mornings in Spring and in shorts and sunglasses during the Summer. I think how much I couldn’t face that journey for yet another day, but now it seems very idealistic. But isn’t that always the way? I’ll start romanticising Stockport in another month or so.

We’re in Melbourne now, staying with a friend of mine, Alice. So far her mum and dad have spoiled us with healthy, wholesome food and it’s spectacular! Our plan is just to find a job and then hopefully somewhere to stay for a few months until Alanna arrives in late June.

a week of farewells; drinks with the laurens…

We indulged in some 2 for 1 cocktails allll night at Lola’s, Manchester. There was no menu, just 3 bartenders… cocky, shy and young as they came to be known… and cocktails made from whatever vague adjective you offered up. “Kind of tropical, bubblegummy” and “something with coffee” were 2 of my favourites.


a week of farewells; dinner in chinatown…

Jill and Adam kindly gathered us together a week or so ago for delicious szechuan hotpot in Chinatown, Manchester. If you’ve never been, it’s really good. We usually go for New Year’s Eve, but since Oliver and I will miss out this year, we welcomed the early visit.

It was a kind of hello and farewell for a couple of people I haven’t seen in a while. It made me think how much more time I should spend with my friends, so I have all good intentions upon my return. Sadly, Eamonn couldn’t make because he was swanning about in Berlin. The bastard.