Sydney Adventures

Last week I took another trip up to Sydney for work.  It was a continuation of the training I had received the month before. Essentially, it was 2 long days trying not to fall asleep and hoping to get some free alcohol during the evenings activities.

I wasn’t looking forward to the trip and had considered not going, however, as I had been picked as one of our company’s leaders I figured my bosses probably wouldn’t appreciate me turning down the opportunity and so I was Sydney bound. On the plus side, this time we were able to fly up instead of a back breaking 4hr limo drive. We also wrangled a mid afternoon flight so we could enjoy the night before having to do some really long days (8hrs of ‘learning’ and then 3hrs of networking disguised as dinner). As requested by Holly, I took a billion photos to show everyone! This is even my cut down version, there are probably only so many angles of buildings and the opera house that you can see.

I haven’t flown very much and each time I do the airport looks different (I might have gotten lost looking for the cab rank when coming home) but fortunately there is basically nothing in the Canberra airport except a few gates and an overpriced cafe so it is pretty easy to navigate.

Water feature at the airport - obviously I had to check how it worked.

Water feature at the airport – obviously I had to check how it worked.

We were on a little Dash 8 plane and the sky looked pretty grim so it appeared as though we were in for a bumpy right. Luckily, the flight is only about 30mins in the air so we didn’t have to tolerate it for long. It was very strange being above the clouds and having the sun warming my face when it had been cloudy and a bit rainy as we walked across the tarmac to board. I also got to see a rainbow from the plane! It was especially awesome.

Up in the clouds!

Up in the clouds!

A rainbow from above

A rainbow from above

Once off the plane, we headed for the hotel and checked in. As I’d travelled with a colleague we decided to meet back later to make a snack run (instead of impulse buying $6 bottles of water!) and make dinner plans. We went for a wander around but ultimately ended up back at the restaurant attached to the hotel, Vapiano. I don’t have any photos of it but it was fast, tasty and they had $4 happy hour! It has a really neat system I’ve never seen before, when you enter you’re given a card that has up to $75 worth of value, you swipe the card whenever you purchase anything. When you decide to leave you go to the front counter and pay up. Very efficient and easy (especially when you’re expense claiming it). They mostly do pizza and pasta, the pasta is made while you wait, it’s very cool!

Once happy hour was over and we’d finished eating I decided to part ways with my colleague and went back up to my room. While looking for somewhere to eat my colleague had mentioned that Haigh’s Chocolates was around, I’d been wanting to try their chocolate for ages but their website kind of sucks (you can see all their offerings but you can’t buy any of them online) so I decided to look them up, it turned out they were open for another 30 mins and they were only a 5min walk away from the hotel!

I turned up to find that, no they weren’t open until 8PM and they close at 6PM.. at least I didn’t walk too far to find that out. Instead of walking back to the hotel I decided to use the time to wander around the city and check out all the beautiful buildings Sydney has to offer. While I would never want to live in Sydney, it does have a lot more history and beauty than much of Canberra, I also like how many of the buildings have been preserved and re-fitted rather than being knocked down.

Look up!

Look up!

I started my journey by walking down Pitt Street and heading towards The Rocks (part of me was going to Pancakes on the Rocks, mostly I just wanted to walk around and check out the city). I saw some lovely intricate designs on buildings, stairways, footpaths, everything really! It seems like, at one point in time, we spent a  lot more time on the details when creating buildings rather than the speed of which we could build them.

Look up again!

Look up again! I could only look at this from the outside as the room was being renovated. It reminded me a little of Galifreyan writing

A merging of old with new

A merging of old with new

One thing I found strange was that, although I was walking around the city by myself at night, I didn’t feel afraid that something might happen to me. I walked through areas that, had they been in Canberra, I might not have. Maybe that’s just because I know the areas in Canberra you shouldn’t walk through at night and I was blissfully naive when walking the streets of Sydney.

Once I got to the end of Pitt St, I decided to cross the road and walk into First Fleet Park (I didn’t consider it had a name, google saved me) and noticed an increase in souvenir stores and wondered why that might be. That is, until I turned the corner and saw the Harbour Bridge, and a few steps later the Opera House. It’s funny that I have such a poor sense of direction in Sydney that I didn’t see them coming.. even though I was heading towards The Rocks, I never considered I’d be near the water..

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Eventually I hit a bit of a dead end so I decided to walk back to the hotel, this time following George St instead. Basically, if you can find George St you can find anything in the city, or so I’m told. Worked for me anyway. As I walked up the street I noticed a beacon up ahead and it was a Guylian cafe! I didn’t know such a thing existed and now, having Googled it, it turns out they’re only in Sydney (at 3 separate locations). They were also open which I was super excited about. I took a quick look around, bought some chocolate I’d never seen before and went up to the cakes and slices window. Oh my, they all looked delish! 

Guylian Cafe display

Guylian Cafe display

They’re a bit pricey and I wasn’t overly hungry, so I settled for buying the chocolate blocks and a Chocolate Praline Hot Chocolate, it was pretty amazing.. even if it did burn my tongue on the first sip – I was too eager to see how it tasted! I wish they had a store here, I’d definitely go back!

After that minor distraction I decided to continue my trek back to the hotel, with Hot Chocolate in hand, and try to take photos at the same time. I kept having to find places to put my drink down. I took a detour down a little laneway (something I’d never have done at that time of night in Canberra) because I was drawn by a beacon of light. This mysterious laneway held a beautiful second floor courtyard and a store dedicated to buttons! I wish I’d been able to get access to the courtyard but alas, all I have is the photos.

Secret courtyard

Secret courtyard

A world of Buttons!

A world of Buttons! Apparently its real name is Buttons Buttons Buttons!

Down the rabbits hole

Down the rabbits hole

Lastly, as I walked back I noticed a sign for Sydney’s oldest pub! Claiming to have been around since 1828. I wanted to take a look but had my Hot Chocolate and I as took a look in, everyone looked back at me and I got a bit nervous. After looking up The Fortune of War it turns out that while it’d been in business since 1828, the building itself was re-built in 1921.. which probably makes it more to my style but oh well.. maybe another time.

Here ended my adventure for the night, I got back to my room and relaxed for the rest of the night as preparation for the days ahead. They were incredibly long and dull and I feel like I accomplished very little. We also had to go out the second night together to do some trivia (yawn) which took 3 hours! It ran from about 6:30 – 9:30 and I really wished I were elsewhere. That being said, we were at the Stacks Taverna and the food was very good.

Dessert at Stacks

Dessert at Stacks

There was a lot of it as well, which was good when the Churros came out because I probably couldn’t have just eaten one.. fortunately for me, my colleagues were pretty full and I ate most of them (you should always have room for Churros!).

Also fortunate for me was that a few of the guys decided to head back to the hotel at the same time as I’m fairly certain I would have gotten lost.. it looked pretty straight forward on the way down.. who knows where I would have ended up though if I’d walked by myself.

Finally, after getting through the next dull day (we weren’t given any breaks either) I was on my way home! I was pretty pleased as, other than the first night, it had been a pretty uninspiring time. At lease the first night was worth it.

A Day in the Life: July 2014

I haven’t been very good at keeping up with these Day in the Life posts, my last one was April where the new house and things just got in the way. I wasn’t sure I was going to post one for July or not and then I read Amanda’s post about how she’s feeling about the link up, blogging and life and realised I was feeling a bit the same about the series. I always forget the days and never take enough photos and then don’t really want to write about my breakfast. Hopefully a new idea is found and we can continue on with the series, for today though I decided to do something a bit different and highlight a great, unknown, Australian brand that I use every day (in my life) to link it back.

Happy Skincare

Up until about 12 months ago (maybe  a bit more) I used to only use a homemade facial scrub and Jojoba oil for moisturiser, I didn’t want to buy any products and thought my scrub and routine was fine. Having to mix up my creation a few times a week started getting really old though and I noticed a few Australian brands that were using natural ingredients and I thought I’d give them a try.

The one I really loved was a brand called Happy Skincare who I randomly found on YouTube one day. At the time I was using a cream cleanser and the directions weren’t really working out for me (I’ve never used a cream cleanser before) so I decided to google how to best use it. The video I found was an instructional video from Happy Skincare and as it really helped so I decided to check out their range of skin care. After a few days of wondering whether I should make a change I decided I might as well give their sample pack a try, as it was relatively cheap and came with free shipping (in Australia) and a $10 voucher off my next purchase.

Happy Skincare 4 step system

Happy Skincare 4 step system

The sample is for their 4 step system which includes a deep cleansing balm, a toner, facial oil and mineral mask. I’d never used a cleansing balm before but I really like it, it’s not harsh on my skin and is easy to use. Just don’t use too much water. Their sample pack claims to last about 2 weeks but as I don’t use the products every day I found it lasted me about a month, at which point I decided to use my $10 voucher and buy the full size (pictured above). When I went from my home made routine to buying stuff I was so concerned the products would be too drying for my skin but found that it wasn’t the case at all, if anything what I was making was more harsh on my skin.

Deep cleaning balm and Mineral Mask

Deep cleansing balm and Mineral Mask

Since using Happy Skincare my skin feels really soft and I’m noticing less blackheads on my nose (YAY) and although there are 4 steps the whole process doesn’t take very long.

The 4 step system – $97.90

Cloud 9 Deep Cleansing Balm – As pictured above it sort of looks like a putty, it’s the strangest cleanser I’ve ever used but as you rub it between your fingers and onto your face it starts to melt and becomes this nice texture that you massage all over your face. You then rinse off and pat dry, if you buy the full size pack you get a Konjac sponge to use to remove the cleanser and also to gently exfoliate your face.

Raindrops on Roses Hydrating Tonic – This is basically a mist you spray onto your face, it has a lovely scent and is really refreshing, when combined with the facial oil it makes my skin feel super soft

Good Vibes Omega facial Oil – Previously I used Jojoba oil directly onto my face as a moisturiser so I’m no stranger to oil based moisturiser, I remember about 10 – 15 years ago everyone was always going on and on about oil free moisturisers and how you never wanted to put oil anywhere near your face but I’ve found more recently that it is more accepted to use one and that people are realising just because you are rubbing oil onto your face it doesn’t mean your skin will break out. This oil is nice and light and keeps my skin soft and lovely.

Pig in Mud Mineral Mask – It has been a long time since I’ve used a mask like this so I forgot what they were like. The directions for this are to combine 1 teaspoon of the mask and 1 teaspoon of water or greek yoghurt or honey etc. I am yet to try honey (as I don’t have any) but use greek yoghurt each time. I found that I only need 1/2 teaspoon of each to get good coverage on my face. It’s really easy to use and rinse off (the instructions are also great) and doesn’t leave my face feel dry and tight.

Overall, I really like this brand and want more people to know about it so they don’t just disappear one day. What type of skin care do you use? Do you try to use natural products or not?

Please note: I wasn’t paid for this post, I paid for all the items myself and really just want people trying the brand as it’s one I quite like.

A Day in the Life: April 2014

This month the Day in the Life link up was meant to happen on the 10th and I actually took photos and everything this time but house buying and moving and cleaning and life got in the way of getting the post written. And here it is 10 days later and I don’t really remember much BUT I do have some photos.

For about 2 weeks it had been raining non stop here so every time we visited our new place it was grey and dreary and the 10th was no different. In fact, one of the things I remember most from this day was the fact that I checked the mail and there were a few snails in the process of devouring all of our mail. So we had some snail mail, literally! Get it, snail.. mail..

Snail Mail

Snail Mail

We also learnt a bit that day about what data cabling we have in the place and it’s actually pretty decent! Nearly every room is connected so we will have the internet everywhere! While we were testing that, I remember taking this photo and marvelling (again) at how cool our stair lights are.. yes stair lights can be cool! 

Fancy stair lights!

Fancy stair lights!

Mostly, I remember being nervous about moving and hoping everything would go ok. Also, walking to work in the rain, again. Fortunately, it did go ok and our moving day cleared up and it was the first day of sunshine we’d seen in a long time.

We’re also working on a new blog, the domain I bought about 20mins after .house was released on the 9th (10th for me) and we think it really suits all our new house things. Take a look if you’re interested – ournew.house – new TLDs are fun!

 

A Day in the Life: March 2014

I decided to do this a day late this time so.. yeah, I should just do that from now on.  I didn’t take too many pictures but mostly because I was at work all day and that’s kind of boring.

For those that don’t know, this is part of Manda’s A Day in the Life link up. My previous entries can be found here.

Today, my alarm was set for 7:40 but Jarrod had to get up early so, although it was set for that time, I didn’t need it. I mostly just lounged around in bed until then anyway because why not? Usually I leave before or at the same time as Jarrod so it felt weird to be leaving after him. I felt like  I was going to work super late even though it was just a 9 o’clock start.

I walked to work and got there a few minutes early, there were 12 calls in queue which, unfortunately at the moment is pretty usual. I was told there was an outage happening though and that was the reason. That outage  became 50 in the queue and everyone was on phones trying to get through them. A change had been made the night before that was all approved apparently, I guess none of us got that memo.

After that though the day was mostly normal, monitor queues, help people out, do team leadery things. 

At lunch I met up with Jarrod so I could go spend a bunch of money on a bank cheque for the stamp duty on our new home! –  I haven’t mentioned that on the internet much yet, that will be later. – I came out of the bank with a cheque for a bunch of money and we went on our way, which included a stop off at McDonalds on the way back for a Chocolate Frappe, mmmm!

I went back to work and did work things and didn’t have  much motivation to do the boring things I had set for myself for the afternoon.

Next thing I know,  one of the guys in my team walked by and I thought he was listening to music (he had his phone and earphones), turns out he was on handsfree on his phone with his girlfriend and she had just told him that his dog had died, a snake had bitten him.  None of us knew what the hell was going on but it was sort of like in the movies/on TV when someone gets bad news and they fall to floor and cry and we really didn’t know what to do. As the boss I figured I should probably do something but, although I am a manager of people, I’m not very good at dealing with crying, sad people and I think I did the worst job ever. What do you say to someone who has just lost a pet they consider like a child? “That sucks bro”?

 So, I spent the rest of the afternoon mostly just waiting for work to end while feeling sorry for that guy and feeling like a pretty crap team leader. It was a good afternoon.

Needless to say, when I got home and Jarrod said we should get some sort of takeaway for dinner I didn’t really need to be persuaded much. We decided on a new Turkish place called Alara’s, who I would link if their website was up. Does anyone else find it super frustrating when restaurants don’t have websites? Alara’s opened up a week or so ago so we decided to support this new business and bought a pide and a couple of pieces of baklava. We wondered if we might still be hungry after the pizza. We were wrong. It was quite big for the price ($16) and quite tasty.

Mix Meat Pide

Mix Meat Pide

I haven’t gotten to the baklava, I am pretty keen to try it though.

While devouring our feast we watched some Rick and Morty. Does anyone else watch this? If not, you should. It’s weird and awesome and weird. Adult Swim have apparently removed the episodes from YouTube but you can watch the pilot on their site.

And now, I’m writing this up. It’s 8:30 so the day isn’t over but I will probably just watch videos on YouTube and read my book until it is.

 

A Day in the Life: February 2014

I’m a day late for this again, for some reason I thought it landed on Saturday this time but it was actually meant to be 7/2 – a Friday – maybe I will just always be a day late. This part of Manda’s A Day in the Life link up. My previous entries can be found here.

Either way, this time around the account isn’t very interesting. If I told you all about Friday I would have documented a bad day at work and Saturday I stayed at home hiding from the sun. I also have no photos this time around because there wasn’t much of anything to take photos of.

After a terrible week back at work after taking leave I was looking forward to the weekend, although this really started on Monday – I really didn’t want to go back to work.

My day began with a late sleep in because not having an alarm to wake up to is one of the joys of the weekend. I lay about in bed for a while and thought about all the things I probably wouldn’t do for the day. In the end, we did go outside briefly to get some food and stuff but mostly we hid away inside because it was going to be another hot day.

I washed my hair because we were going out, normally I wouldn’t on a Saturday but it was looking, and feeling, a bit gross.. Ever since getting my haircut a few weeks ago it’s been getting greasy really easily and I’m not sure why.

The drink was quite a highlight, a local cafe nearby does an excellent thick shake so we bought one each plus a piece of Mars Bar Cheesecake and made our way home. The Mars Bar cheesecake was a bit of a disappointment, it looked a lot like this (but this isn’t the actual one, as I said.. didn’t take any photos) and had a chocolate base, cheesecake section and what tasted like mousse on the top. In theory, it sounds awesome but in reality it was pretty plain.

Good thing we had the thickshakes to keep us happy.

The afternoon was spent lounging around on my laptop and also reading some of my current book, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I’ve read it before and really like it but find I’ve been struggling my way through it this time around. So, I decided to get back into it and red about 80 pages because giving up and having a nap.

Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road

After the nap and some further reading I came back to the world of the internet and looked up some recipe/how to videos on YouTube and wanted to make them all, but then remembered I’m pretty lazy when it comes to that stuff. So, instead of making some extravagant dinner we just made a meal with chicken and vegetables and sat down to watch Batman Begins.

Originally, it took me 3 attempts to watch this movie because I kept falling asleep and well, now I can see why. Half the movie is just character building and so dull and really.. do we actually believe Bruce Wayne/Christian Bale was turning 30? We estimated that he looked closer to 40 , the funny thing is that at the time it was released Christian Bale was only 30.. oops, sorry Christian. I also realised that Batman Begins was made in 2005 and this means I’ve been complaining about Christian Bale as Batman for 9 years and after the re-watch I still don’t like him. Also, why is he scared of bats? I know, fell down a well and a bunch of bats fluttered all over him.. so terrifying. I’d probably be more scared of falling down holes – you know, the actual thing that hurt him – than a bunch of bats. And don’t even get me started on what they did to the Batmobile..

To me, Michael Keaton is the best Batman.

Anyway, moving along.. there was icecream involved with watching the movie so that was nice.

The night ended with doing some more internet things and going to bed, so yes, a mostly non eventful day.