Fairy Bower Pool

Having just returned from an early morning dip in the ocean pool at Austinmer it seems only fair that I pen a blog post about the delights of summer swimming.

In November a fabulous friend did visit from interstate. The four days that followed could best be described as intense – fun-filled, memory making, adventure packed, sunshine, unicorn and rainbow rich days. A concert, a heat wave , a lightning storm, countless catch ups, coffee, cocktails and birthday cake, train, bus, uber rides, fire alarms, tattoos, laughter.

And the Fairy Bower Pool Manly.

Fairy Bower Pool, looking north towards Manly

Fairy Bower Pool, looking north towards Manly

A ferry ride on a sunny Sunday morning after a cafe breakfast. A short stroll only the Manly promenade and there you find her – the Fairy Bower Pool, a triangular ocean bath complete with the ‘ Sea Nymph’ sculptures that sit along the rock edge.

This little ocean sanctuary was the perfect antidote to our action packed Sydney adventure. It provided the perfect setting to take stock of all had come before and all that would follow.

Fairy Bower Pool Manly – you are magic.

Just like the friendship I share with my interstate bestie xx

The Sea Nymph sculptures, Fairy Bower Pool Manly

The Sea Nymph sculptures, Fairy Bower Pool Manly

 

 

 

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Chowder Bay

An early morning ferry ride to the Taronga Zoo wharf.

Alighting and then walking north along a footpath with views of Sydney harbour, hidden beneath a canopy of Eucalypt trees, keeping pace with the bestest of friends – a perfect Sunday stroll on a crisp winter’s morning.

The stuff dreams are made of.

THAT view

THAT view

The 6.5 km walk ends and Balmoral Beach ( reviewed in 2014) and at every turn truly breath-taking scenery.

None more so that Chowder Bay.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services describes this oasis best ‘ It’s ( Chowder Bay )  a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. With plenty of facilities and large grassy areas for the kids and spectacular harbour views, it’s a fun and relaxing day out for the family without leaving town.

From the picturesque palm-dotted beach, you’ll gaze across the scenic waterways to South Head. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the calm waters and unpack the picnic hamper on one of the shady tables. The nearby historic military buildings and Clifton Gardens Wharf now house lively cafés and restaurant’

Chowder Bay

Chowder Bay

I was there in August. Though the sun was shining bright the water temperature left much to be desired.

Summer is here, it is time to head back to Chowder Bay with my bestie!!

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Bombo Headland ‘ The Boneyard’

Bombo Headland ' Boneyard'

Bombo Headland ‘ Boneyard’

I won’t pretend to know this stretch of coastline well. Having spent the first 25 years of my life a South Coaster I rarely ventured out of the Northern Suburbs.

But as an adult the desire to explore the greater Illawarra has been a driving force behind the 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign. It has forced me out of my comfort zone and the likes of Austinmer Beach and Macauley Beach, Thirroul to far-flung places!

Bombo Headland or The Boneyard is one such place.

Having traversed Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Coastal walk countless times it is with shame I admit to NEVER having walked the Kiama Coast Walk. That was until this year.

This 22 km track of pristine coastline is breathtaking. It is broken down in to three sections and on a crisp winters day my parents and I walked section one ( 8.4kms ) from Minnamurra to the Kiama blow-hole. The walk took 3 hours, we ate a picnic lunch at Bombo beach and caught the train home.

One of the beaches that caught my attention that day was Bombo Headland or ‘ The Boneyard’ – a plentiful place where the Dharawai and other Aboriginal groups gathered to catch and collect marine life. With the onset of colonisation it would later became a loading dock for the blue mental industry.

A committed group of Landcare volunteers have since returned this area to its former glory and the regeneration of many native plants and wildlife continues to this day. And to them I say thank you.

I recall reading a plaque about a local surfer, who had surfed at ‘ The Boneyard ‘ for most of his life and as I took in the glorious view that day I could see why one would return everyday to this inlet paradise.

Bombo Headland

                       Bombo Headland

Another 16 kms of the Kiama Coast Walk awaits – expect that to feature in the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2020!

 

 

 

 

Peacock Point, East Balmain

Peacock Point, East Balmain

Peacock Point, East Balmain

It is THAT time of year again!!

12 Beaches of Christmas 2018. Exciting times await, adventures to be had that will include sun, sand, surf, salt water. Friends, family, suncream, summer fruits – mangoes and peaches, long light filled days, endless laughter.

The discovery of new stretches of coastline, inlets of water, rock pools and streams.

Peacock Point, East Balmain falls into this category.

Taking a Sunday stroll with a friend we literally stumbled across this harbour side gem. The locals of one of Sydney’s premier picnic spots looked up suspiciously from beach towels as we gazed in amazement at ‘our’ discovery.

Whilst it remain questionable as to whether you could indeed swim in this part of Sydney harbour, one lady in a red bikini implied that it was possible.

Simply stunning. So refreshing to find yet another reason to fall in love with Summer in Sydney.

Peacock Point, East Balmain embodies the spirit of the 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign – revisit the familiar or venture far to discover something new – whatever you do – dive in deep to the ocean blue.

Peacock Point Reserve, East Balmain

Peacock Point Reserve, East Balmain

 

 

 

My Friend Bindi

She tells tall tales but more often than not they are true.

She lives an intensely passionate life in tandem with her perfect match.

A truth speaker. Thrill seeker. Dance like no one is watching kind of gal.

Open hearted and fiercely protective of those in an inner circle than spans the country, the globe.

A women who will dares to dream big and then with utmost conviction walks the extra mile to make her inner most desires a reality.

It’s hard not to be impressed. It’s hard not to smile. It’s hard not to laugh.

Most of all it’s hard not to love.

A women who lives her truth – inking it onto her body:

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and make a change

Michael Jackson ‘ Man in the Mirror’

The Breakfast Club

I recently watched the film ‘ The Breakfast Club’ for the first time.

Considering it was released in 1985 I am left wondering why it took me 33 years to get around to this?

Yet I admit I watched in two parts and for the first 43 minutes I had not a clue why this film was revered a cult classic.

The movie had nothing to do with breakfast, rather a group of teenagers from different walks of life enduring a Saturday morning detention at their High School.

As I near middle age I found it difficult to relate to the characters personal struggles to relate to one another and to the indifference they showed authority figures.

I did not understand, I was bored, I turned it off and went to bed.

Awaking the next morning I was determined to see the film out. Yet before I picked up where I left off I did a bit of reading in an attempt to find out why all the fuss

  • The movie was written, produced and directed by John Hughes. And John Hughes wrote, produced and directed Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – my all time favourite film. My heart warmed
  • I read the film premise and came to terms with the fact that the kids would not be going to a cafe for brunch. They were way cooler, members of ‘The Breakfast Club’ – the nickname invented by students and staff for detention. My heart warmed.

And as the remainder of the film unfolded I was won over and then some.

A bond began to form between the group of teens whose paths would NEVER have crossed had it not been for the Saturday lock in. As they divulged deeply personal secrets they were forced to reevaluate their preconceived ideas and stereotypical judgements about one another, themselves and their place in the world ( yes it was THAT epic)

When I was in the UK in 2013 I ate numerous times at the ‘ The Breakfast Club’ cafe chain. Prehaps that’s why I associated the orignal film with bacon and eggs? I was only 7 when the original film came out and fell hard and fast for Ferris and Edward ScissorHands at 13 so there was little room in my life for Claire, Andy, Brian, Allison and John Bender.

But fast forward 33 years and it seems I’m ready to appreciate the mastery and wonder of the teen comedy drama. All 97 minutes of pure cinema genius.

They only met once, but it changed their lives forever. They were five total strangers, with nothing in common, meeting for the first time. A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.

The Breakfast Club, first viewing September 14th-15th 2018. Life changed forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Coat of Many Colours

'The' Coat,  Sydney. 2018

‘The’ Coat Sydney. 2018

Of late my mind has drifted, wondered back in time.

Kings Road Chelsea London to be precise.

I am 22 and I am wearing a fabulous coat that I purchased in an Op-Shop in Willesdon Green, North West London – the Borough I called home for 5 months in 2001.

I am wearing this green and pink wool number down Kings Road, Chelsea feeling very pleased with myself. In its heyday Kings Road was synonymous with cutting edge fashion and although it had long since been gentrified, 17 years ago as I strutted along the pavement I felt I was honouring a bygone era in my thrift shop purchase.

And it did not go unnoticed. A colleague who worked with me in the retail store commented one morning ‘ I saw this young women walking down the road in a coat of all types of fabulousness – and then I realised it was you!!’

This made my heart sing, my head swell. My colleague was a true Londoner, born and bred, edgy and cool.

Me, I was a from a small coastal town in NSW, population 2000 people. I had only ever been to Bondi Beach once in my life time ( 4 days before boarding my flight), so that when UK residents asked me about Australia’s most famous beach – I could say I had been.

Those were special times.

I have fond memories of Kings Road Chelsea. I worked for the High End Furniture brand ‘ Heals’ earning 5 pounds an hour, serving supermodels and listening on the tunes of  Kylie Minogue and Gabrielle. To this day, the ‘ Rise ‘ soundtrack by Gabrielle and ‘ Light Years’ by Kylie are amongst my all time favourites.

17 years ago. Seems but yesterday. And it can be when I put on my coat of many colours and indulge my taste in music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Youth is Yours

Recently I started listening to the music of Troye Sivan. He is all of 23 years of age.

I lived out my teenage years in the 1990’s – in a decade free of the perils of social media and the connectivity that mobile phones and tech platforms afford the masses.

It does not feel that long ago, yet as I cast my mind back to a time when grunge fashion; flannelette shirts, doc martens and band t-shirts ruled supreme, it is worlds removed from the brightness that greets me each morning as I peruse my wardrobe.

Troye on the other hand grew up online, a Youtube sensation, his self-made videos amassing millions of followers, documenting his teens, those tumultuous, tender, trying, hypersensitive years. He took fans along for the ride, they journeyed together with the hope, desire and drive to emerge out the other side, basking in the glory days awarded one in their early 20’s. Looking out with fresh eyes and a newfound self belief that the world was theirs for the taking, brimming with endless possibilities and promise.

As I approach a milestone birthday, I pause to reflect on the journey so far.

And I find myself drawn to the music of Mr Sivan.

Am I having a mid-life crisis?

I listen to his 2015 award-winning song ‘ Youth’ I am painfully aware that my ‘ Youth’ has long since passed.

My youth, my youth, my youth

My youth is Yours

Troye Sivan, ‘ Youth’ 2015

My youth belongs to my many treasured friends, childhood besties and high school buddies who shone a torch-light, illuminating a pathway through the murkiness of adolescence into early adulthood.

My youth belongs to my parents, who loved me wholeheartedly and unreservedly, even though I proclaimed to not need parenting and proceeded to challenge them on anything and everything.

My youth belongs to my brother, who I failed to acknowledge as a human being during this period, yet with the passing of time and with age, I come to see as one of my greatest allies.

I will herald in the next decade of life surrounded by people who have shaped and guided my childhood, my youth, my twenties, my thirties.

Mr Sivan’s music prompts reflection, it is indeed bittersweet to say with certainty that my ‘ Youth’ has long since passed.

Yet the characters who appeared in tales of my youth, are ever-present. Together we shape the next chapter, and it is beautiful, bold and promises to be the best yet.

Be Here Now

By chance I stumbled across the documentary ‘ Be Here Now’ on Netflix. I had never heard of the Welsh Born Australian based actor Andy Whitfield, his wife Vashti, or their children Jesse and Indy.

But as I sat in my living room, on a nondescript day in May, in an instant it became clear that this documentary was to ensure I would not forget them.

What first caught my eye was the exquisite beauty of Andy. Handsome, yes, but truly beautiful due to the infinite love he displayed for his wife and two young children.

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A shy, self-conscious man who aged 36 had dared to dream he might pursue an acting career. The documentary opened to the glitz and glamour awarded Hollywood stars who have ‘ made it’ – red carpets, adoring gazes of the masses, camera flashes.

Andy Whitfield had arrived, having just completed his first major acting role in the tv series Spartacus. A loin cloth wearing, chiselled, tanned, totally ripped Gladiator.

He was living his truth, having stepped away from the known certainties of an engineering career and mastered a self belief anything was possible

It was beautiful to watch. On the world stage stood Andy Whitfield. He moved freely, spoke eloquently, laughed fully, loved unreservedly.

Cancer. Stage 4. Three months to live.

The documentary delivered the first of many blows early. I struggled to make sense this news. In stark contrast the Whitfield’s wasted little time, united they would faced Andy’s diagnosis head on.

The unwavering commitment of Vashti supporting Andy, to be truly present to what is, not what might be, could, should or would be. To ‘ Be Here Now’ with her partner, in each and every moment. And Andy’s unwavering commitment to live by that motto despite insurmountable odds.

Fast forward to late July, and I’m attending Creative Mornings July breakfast lecture. The theme for July ‘ intention’. The guest speaker, Vashti Whitfield.

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I’m pinching myself that I’m in the audience and sit in anticipation for what I know will be an insightful hour.

As I listen , I come to further understand the motivation behind documenting her incredibly personal family story.

For the Whitfield’s, living a meaningful life was about having impact. And documenting their cancer journey which culminated in Andy’s passing, ensured his legacy would be lasting.

The documentary depicted a tight family unit, drawing strength from their steely commitment to living a fully present life. A life anchored in intention, in alignment with core values. Aware of fear and suffering in daily life, the Whitfield’s shaped their experiences around honouring the duality present in each moment, and their ability to find joy inspite of suffering and loss.

By acknowledging ones mortality the sacredness of the present moment became paramount. Be here now, and you are instantly aware of the power you have to make a difference in the present, your immediate legacy.

Just as the documentary ‘ Be Here Now’ shook me to the core, elements of Vashti’s presentation were powerful and poignant. Asked to consider your legacy upon taking your final breath, hardly breakfast conversation! Or your immediate legacy, how the person sitting next to you might recall your interaction?

I looked down at the name tag I was wearing. I’d been asked to assign myself an intention for the day.

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Thank you Andy, thank you Vashti, thank you Jesse & Indy. For allowing the cameras to capture moments in time that were difficult, painful, terror filled, anxiety ridden. It would have been far easier to close the door , stop the cameras rolling and attempt to make sense of your hellish reality on your terms. In your time.

But on the cameras rolled, on and on and on. And in doing so, you took us on an inspiring, life affirming journey of love and loss, reminding us that boundless beauty is on offer should we choose to focus with intent on the here and now.

‘ Be Here Now’ is streaming now on Netflix.

Please Like Me

The series ‘ Please Like Me’ might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it is mine.

I’ve served myself the entire series, twice.

I never intended to watch it again. It just happened. ‘ Nanette’ by Hannah Gadsby recently aired on Netflix. Hannah loves a cup of tea. Hannah features in Please like Me. And so as the credits rolled on Nanette it felt natural to throw myself whole heartedly into PLM, for the second time, tea-cup in hand.

I don’t like PLM, I love it. And a year had passed between viewing, but like old friends, it was ever so easy to connect again, pick up where we left off, series one episode one.

Steph Harmon, Culture Editor with the Australian Newspaper, The Guardian wrote in 2016 ‘ Josh Thomas’s Please Like Me has quietly become one of the most surprising, honest and devastating shows on television. Over four seasons, the series has traversed all manner of topics that other shows with bigger budgets fear to cover, and delivered them with sensitivity, nuance, frankness and frequent hilarity. The show has dealt with homophobia and racism, depression and workplace harassment, breast cancer and STDs. There was an abortion which, in a refreshing turn, was treated not with kid gloves but with openness and no regrets. There was commendably realistic gay sex – a lot of it. And in the second season, many of the scenes and three of the main characters were based in a mental health institution.

Sad tear, happy tears and laughter, lots of it. Vulnerability at the forefront of each performance, like quickly turns to love, adore even, a bunch of characters who resonate, glow, ‘ shine bright like a diamond’ from lap taps, tablets and iphones. Or in my case, lounge room tv, screening on demand.

This last week in June has been divine. Thank you PLM.

I look forward our next encounter, third time lucky. I know the drill, cup of tea in hand, tissue box in close proximity. Cannot wait!!

‘ Love Yourself’ Series 4, Episode 2

Please Like Me is currently screening on Netflix, Series 1-4.

Nanette by Hannah Gadsby is currently screening on Netflix

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