Exciting news – we have a new page on our website!

On our fridge, and in more detail in my head, we have a To Do List. It’s not one of those boring ones about hoovering and chores though, but about all the places to go and things to do while we’re over here in Australia. We’ve added the new page to share it with you and you’re more than welcome to give us ideas too! I’ve also summarised what we have done so far with handy links in case you want to know about something in particular.

You can get to it by clicking the button under the main picture called To Do List (to the right of Home) or by clicking HERE.

 

Wineglass Bay, TAS on New Years Day

Wineglass Bay, TAS on New Years Day

Here’s the first monthly update for 2014.

Liking: Annoying as it was having to take most of my annual leave over Christmas due to the work shutdown, having three whole weeks off until Jan 13th was great!

Disliking: I called our mortgage company (Virgin Money) to renew our permission to let our house out with them, only to find out they wont allow this. We need to switch to a Buy to Let mortgage which they wont offer us! Changing is going to be a right old pain, not to mention expensive as we have a big early repayment fee. The only upside is we can probably switch to a lower rate and hopefully save money in the long run if we use all our money we saved here to pay off a chunk. Grumble grumble.

Watching: As the first half of the month was a holiday we didn’t watch much at all! I’m keen to see the Hobbit 2 at the cinema soon although I have a feeling the experience won’t be as good as watching Hobbit 1 in Wanaka at the cinema where you sit on sofas and get hot freshly baked cookies in the interval!

Consuming: Camping food including red pasta splat in various forms, cheese, ham and pepper wraps for lunch and a tin of Quality Street we picked up for $10 after Christmas – win!

Buying: I bought a mallet when I went camping by myself to help bash tent pegs. Apart from that, not too much.

Working on: Nothing until the 13th Jan. I even stopped work emails getting pushed too my phone and it’s been excellent. I’m the sort of person who can’t help but check them if they come in so I don’t have a big red number annoying me!

Thinking about: Relaxing mainly. We’ve been plotting about some plans for next year, including moving to a different place where we can swap a bedroom for a better view.

Visiting: We were in Tasmania until the 3rd and then we visited Melbourne again. After Matt went home I went in to Philip Island, Lake Hume and the Snowy mountains. I’ve been writing up about them on my iPad to stay tuned for more details.

Missing (new feature!): As we’ve been camping a long time I’ll admit I do miss the convenience of living in a house. You don’t have to put the flat up every time you want to go to sleep, all your things you need are by here in your kitchen and bathroom without you having to get them out the boot or your bag and there is a table whenever you want it! I enjoy camping but home comforts will be nice too.

Looking forward to: Continuing our adventure down under in 2014! We are planning a cheese and wine based celebration for being here a year which should also be good.

firework

Happy New Year blog fans!

Hope you’re all having a fab time. We are currently down in Tasmania away from lots of computers at the moment, so I wrote this in advance and scheduled it (like a lot of the posts).

I suppose as well as a big party its natural to reflect at New Year on how the year has gone, what you’ve been up to and what lies in the year ahead.

So last year started with an excellent M themed fancy dress party with our friends The Pauls from round the corner in Horsham. Not only did we have outfits, staying awake till gone midnight was a pretty good achievement as we landed back from New Zealand that day with some serious jetlag. It seems like ages ago now – this year has gone so fast!

Obviously a lot has changed with our move over to Sydney on 11th Feb, both starting new jobs and setting up in a new flat including buying a lot of new furniture and bits and pieces (and new Short family member Jeffrey the car). It’s all going well here which is great and I’m glad we were brave enough to come. Time will tell what happens next.

Instead of New Year Resolutions, here are some wise words to think about (I couldn’t choose one!)

‘Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it…unless is agrees with your own reason and common sense.’

‘We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.’ 

‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.’

Strange beasties

Strange beasties

Here we go again:

Liking: Having friends Rhainnon and Phil from the UK to stay and holidaying with them down to Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road.

Disliking: Postal charges to the UK! You think they’re bad your end, here its crazy. After the first couple I started weighing things at home first to make sure I worked the system – although then the scale battery died so then I went back to guessing.

Watching: We’ve been too busy to watch much really. We saw Despicable Me 2 on DVD which I enjoyed a lot (I’m a kid inside really) and are off to see Hunger Games 2 at the cinema tonight.

Consuming: Messina gelato (again!) and the comic Gaytime ice cream too – that wasn’t worth it! Matt’s been having coffee from the new machine. I’ve also been eating a lot of passion fruits. They are so yummy and 10 for $2 so cheap too. I don’t know why I didn’t buy them before. Are they super expensive in the UK or maybe they seemed too exotic!

Buying: Not a lot apart from Christmas presents. Matt has set up Spotify on my phone (although we pay for it already) so once I learn how that works I can have music I want in the car on our road trip. Update: I also caved in and bought an iPad so I can stop stealing Matts tablet. Shiny!

Working on: Bits and pieces mainly. Outside of work Matt has become the Sydney Rock Climbing Club librarian, so we now have 14 boxes of climbing books, minutes and DVDs to look after. I’ve been working on our UK friends to come out so we can have some more visitors (who can bring me Marmite!)

Thinking about: Our Christmas holiday to Tasmania and my road trip after including Philip Island (Penguin central!) I’ve also been thinking about how weird it is having a warm festive period. It was a warm December and Christmas for us last year in New Zealand, but because we were driving round on holiday we weren’t quite as exposed to it.

Visiting: Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and the Grampains mountains. They have weird creatures there (see pic). More about our adventure there in future posts! We also took a sailing trip on the Harbour with Captain Andrew and are heading to the beach for a Christmas Party and barbie soon – santa suits optional!

 

Looking forward to: Tasmania and Philip Island.

Here we go:

Liking: The total convenience of the new barbecue. And meeting this friendly minion from Despicable Me outside my work!

minion

Disliking: The rubbish hoover getting progressively worse and finally dying. We have a new filter ordered, and in the mean time Matt has been very busy researching robotic hoovers. I have to say my lazy side is tempted.

Watching: Still Arrow pinched off a work friend and some films including Mad Max which we didn’t really get. I don;t think we’ve watched any TV in the last month at all apart from the news.

Consuming: Barbeques! I’m loving the corn on the cob and halloumi on the BBQ. We also visited the awesome Messina gelato (yum!) and the Kurtosh (Hungarian chimney cake) bakery around the corner. We’ve also managed a couple of bottles of the suspicious free wine form the Hunter Valley. It might mainly be used for cooking now.

mushroomicecream

Buying: A new NAS drive to store our computing on and a Nespresso coffee machine for Matt’s early birthday present. I’ll be hitting the iced lattes when it gets a bit hotter I think.

Working on: A bid for Sydney Light rail to help another team out. Made a change from the day job.

Thinking about: Organising and posting Christmas presents. I also have a three week Christmas shut down, not two, so i’m planning the third week road trip.

Visiting: We went for a weekend in the nations capital, Canberra. We hit some museums and saw the main sights including the giant Merino sheep in Goulbourn on the way down.

goulburnsheep

Looking forward to: The impending visit from Phil and Rhiannon at the end of the month and our trip down to Melbourne. This includes seeing the supposedly awesome ~King Kong musical which I’m pretty excited about.

What have you guys been up to over the pond where Winter is coming….?

Here’s a quick run down on our October.

Liking: Having some time off between the bids which was aweseom and relaxing. Also the Navy Fleet Review which came to Sydney was a pretty good event all around.

Disliking: Running out of Marmite! I’ve gone back to cereal for now as this inferior marmite below has a second ingredient of sugar, the wrong texture and a nasty after taste! Also the lavender plant on the balcony died – still 5/6 are alive which I don’t think is a bad result so far.

NOT Marmite

NOT Marmite

Watching: Arrow pinched off a work friend. Also I watched all of Series 1 of the Tudors. I might have to invest in Series 2 soon!

Consuming: Wine and cheese from the Hunter Valley – yum yum yum. Also I tried the Quinoa I got back in September and concluded its not massively exciting! We went with the climbing club for a weekend in the Wolgan Valley which included 8 hours roasting a whole sheep, rump of lamb and chicken over a camp fire. They tasted awesome! 🙂

Buying: Not very much. We are about to buy a barbeque, so have been thinking about different ones of those. – not the $6,000 ones though!

Working on: Bits and pieces we should have done but were too busy to do when the bids were on.

Thinking about: The bid result – waiting is killing me!

Visiting: We went camping and climbing in the Wolgan Valley which was good – 35km up a dirt road to a clearing surrounded by mountains. I saw 4 wild wombats and a whole heap of kangeroos. We also went on a bus tour with Matts work around the Hunter Valley tasting wine and eating cheese, which was also good. More about these soon.

Looking forward to: Our friends Phil and Rhiannon visiting at the end of November.

What have you guys been up to?

Our mini balcony garden

Our mini balcony garden

Here’s a quick run down on our September. We have been….

Liking: Generally having lots of things to see and do and an awesome choice of really nice food places. Also the new plants (see above and below).

Disliking: Getting my first ever food poisoning – NOT fun. And the police being really slow and not getting back to us about the dent in the car.

Watching: More Grimm – its still going. Also we just purchased StarGate Atlantis, so have started on that too. There’s really not a lot on TV worth watching here.

Consuming: I recently made chicken min-roast and chocolate fondants which were awesome. Unfortunately the fondants were gooey on the bottom/top still so didn’t look good, but tasted very yummy. Will have another go with our dodgy oven soon. I’ve also been trying to be healthy after a bad diet during the bid, so cooked successfully with some tofu and have some quinoa in the cupboard to try. On the going out front we have been to Messina Gelato (awesome) and had a 9 course meal for our anniversary which was also brilliant – more about those in upcoming posts!

Buying: Plants for the balcony. We have a collection of six plants now out on the balcony which I really like – not only are they pretty they help draw attention away from the boring flats next door!

Working on: Our second RoadsPlus bid, this time for Queensland. This one goes in at the end of the month, then its back to waiting for the result, so fingers crossed!

Thinking about: Christmas in Tasmania. We booked a trip for Christmas over to Tassie. Matt has a two week mandatory shutdown and I theoretically have a three week shutdown so it seemed sensible to make the most of it. We are going to drive to Melbourne and get the ferry so have that booked. Now we’re planning our route and some places to stay.

Visiting: We were due to visit Canberra but had to postpone that. This month we have mainly been in and around Sydney including the Lane Cove National Park, Middle Cove for some climbing and Ryde waterfront for Matts ~Dragon Boat Race. At the end of the month we are going on a trip tot he Hunter Valley for the day with Matts work which should be good (wine and cheese – woo!)

Looking forward to: October – we have an action paced month including another Hunter Valley trip and the Wolgan Valley which is wombat central – yay!

What have you guys been up to?

Here’s a quick run down on our August. We have been….

Liking: Winter. Its winter here, but really, its chilly in the morning and evening, so you want a coat, and then still only sometimes jacket weather in the day time. I’m sure if we stay here long enough i’ll miss the properly cold weather of home, but right now i’m liking the mild winter thing. Its even warm enough for camping (I hope so anyway, as we have a trip planned!)

Disliking: Missing things. There have been some significant events back home this August (friends Hen Parties and weddings) which I would have really loved to have gone to. I’m hoping to get up to date with all the facebook photos soon – get uploading people!

Watching: Grimm and Worlds End. Our latest DVD boxset is Grimm. Its a supernatural detective series, based on the Grimm fairy tales. Perfectly watchable, although not in the same league as Game of Thrones. We also went to the cinema to watch Worlds End, the latest Simon Pegg and Nick Frost film. It was enjoyable light hearted comedy viewing, probably a tad too much on the silly side for me. It was funny seeing England on TV – you don’t realise how distinct things like country lanes and pubs and high streets are until they;’re all different!

Consuming: Raisin toast . This is such a good invention. Its fruit bread, all sliced up for toasting and its yummy. Like a cinnamon and raisin bagel, but as a loaf. This month I also gave in and opened the gigantic Marmite Ellie brought us from the UK and it is gooood. I’ve had to abandon the latest imposter brand – Aussie Mite – its just rubbish i’m afraid.

Buying: An Esky. Its basically a cool box, but its the brand to have over here., so another step on the road to integration Perfect for the stupidly hot weather apparently. We went for a 26l one, which is very small by most standards it seems. Locals have suggested we should have got an all signing all danging wheely model with its own drain plug, but they were at least three times the size. Stay tuned for updates on whether we’re going to need to upgrade. 

Esky

Esky

Working on: Our first full RoadsPlus bid. Work has been manic for me with the latest bid – our first proper one. I did 17.5 days work straight in a row, hence no original new photos sorted out yet! Its stepped down a gear temporarily now thank goodness!

Thinking about: Weddings. Our friends back in the UK have been doing a lot of marrying this month. Congratulations to all of you and sorry we weren’t there with you!

Visiting: Jervis Bay. We’ve just come back from a weekend down in Jervis Bay on the South Coast. Its got great scenery, wild kangaroos and a load of beaches, including Hyams beach which has the whitest sand in the world. Ooooh.

Looking forward to: Visiting the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley is the place to go from Sydney for a weekend filled with wine and cheese. We’re going on October, possibly to do a highly dangerous cycling tour around the wineries. :-s

What have you guys been up to?