Rainbow Bright

I attended the 5th birthday of Ms Rainbow last Sunday.

Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can see a Rainbow, see a Rainbow
See a Rainbow in you

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I used to live in the darkness
Dress in black, act so heartless, but now
I see that colors are everything
Got kaleidoscopes in my hairdo
Got back the stars in my eyes, too, yeah now
I see the magic inside of me – lyrics by Kesha, Rainbow

Yes Ms Rainbow you are a source of colour, light and love in my world. Dark clouds part, heavy fogs lift and I am bathed in glorious sunshine when I’m with you.

You are a reason to write. You make me want to be the best version of myself- present, attentive, a good listener, a hug giver, memory maker.

Your party started early, 9.30am. True to form you’d already been awarded ‘ Player of the week’ at your Sunday sport of choice Auskick, had your AFL team mates sing you Happy Birthday twice, and most importantly, spotted a Rainbow in the sky on the drive home.

And in just 5 short years you are well on the way to achieving your career goal – ‘ When I grow up I want to be a Rainbow’.

I’ve a hunch your there already!

But please don’t stop, oh the places you’ll go, with your imagination, creativity, inquisitive mind, adventurous spirit and open heart, you’ll be a double rainbow before too long.

I found a Rainbow , Rainbow, Baby
Trust me, I know, life is scary
But put those colours in Girl,
Come and play along with me tonight – lyrics by Kesha, Rainbow

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Los Angeles – A Like Story

Los Angeles  – City of Angels – California – USA.

Melrose Ave - Los Angeles

Melrose Ave – Los Angeles

I left you this time last week, and whilst I was more than ready to come home – those 6 days in your company affected me.

My aim was to fall in like with you – not love, in 6 days that would be too much to ask.

To achieve this, I transported the best version of my Sydney life – yoga, beach visits, pancake eating, coffee sipping and general meanderings to the West Coast and waited.

And wait I did, I began hoping and praying that each time I left the comfort of my West Hollywood Air BNB apartment the mixture of self-consciousness, anxiety and fear would subside.

As I ventured to numerous West Hollywood yoga studios, Runyon Canyon for mountain hikes, Santa Monica Boulevard for the most AMAZING pancakes, Down Town LA for a change of scene, Venice Beach for a little more CRAZY and listened to the music of John Mayer – this chronic over-thinker began to notice a shift.

Despite the confronting scenes LA served up in quick succession – I noticed my heart softening, the inner chatter diminishing as I became transfixed by the heartbreak, the chaos, the raw beauty that is LA living.

All I had to do was to leave the house and get amongst it – stop thinking, start doing.

And I had heard that saying countless times before but in LA, of all places, it.finally.made.sense.

Back in Sydney, I will be forever thankful for the lessons learnt on the West Coast. If a sense of peace can be found in a city with 6 lane freeways ( in EACH direction) then it can be found anywhere.

Despite the inner chatter, the pleas from within that your best self is to be found on the couch, mindlessly watching NETFLIX – to that I can confidently say ‘ NO’

In spite of what appeared at times to be the most inhospitable surrounds, the beauty and warmth of the human spirit was there to be uncovered – and with an open heart, I got to experience just that.

Thank you LA – I do indeed LIKE you very much.

Palm Springs – Forever Love

Palm Springs, California – Desert country.

Forever love blooms & blossoms.

Palm Springs, California - Desert Country

Palm Springs, California – Desert Country

I’ve proof, having just attended the wedding of a best friend, an Aussie Wonder Woman who tied the knot with her UK lover boy.

They met in Canada, united Down Under, and got hitched in the USA.

A modern-day fairy tale, a love fiesta with all the trimmings.

I’ve been a friend of the Bride since High School, a beautiful soul who puts friends & family first – always. Bar the time she started dating her now husband.

On that occasion, their relationship was priority number one. She introduced this strapping hulk of a man to countless curious friends on her terms, in her time. I could not have been more proud.

It was the start of my friends journey to putting her needs first, prioritising her happiness.

And in doing so, she became even more selfless. By filling her cup first , the overflow of love, laughter and mischief multiplied, and was gifted to her global posse.

To witness the marriage of two kindred spirits, half way across the globe, was indeed special. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Passport at the ready, when true love takes hold, basking in its beauty is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Palm Springs, California – Desert country.

Scott & Kate’s forever love blooms and blossoms.

 

Ode to John Mayer

I awoke on the 1st of January, 2018 to find myself a John Mayer fan.

There was no warning, I did not see it coming nor could it be explained away.

I thought this fixation might be fleeting, so I kept it to myself for the past 31 days.

To mark the beginning of a new month, I was out early for my morning caffeine fix, riding my bike to the truly hip ‘ Artificer ‘ Speciality coffee bar and Roastery, Surry Hills.

Hipster music of choice played over the airwaves. Cafe patrons, myself included, sipped our coffee whilst tapping feet on the pavement to John Mayer tunes.

There seems no escaping it, its February, I’m calling it, there is a John Mayer movement occurring and I’m wholeheartedly in – hook, line, sinker.

His catalogue of work is extensive, dating back to the late 90’s, and having previously showed no interest I’ve catching up to do – but I’m invested in the ‘ movement’!

And in Mr Mayer, I see parts of myself – parts I refused to acknowledge for a long time.

Formerly a person consumed by inner turmoil, angrily rallying against the nondescript.

A reformed chronic overthinker and  intellectualisor of everything. Paralysed by fear, acting out or not all.

‘My Shadow days are over’ sang Mr Mayer in 2012.

True that John! The sun shines on us both.

A slow, often painful personal awakening , enabling an acceptance of self.

Given the chance I’d ask John to reword his 2006 hit  ‘Waiting on the World to Change’  to ‘ Change starts with me’. Personal change ignites and inspires profound shifts that ripple outward.

But its all about timing, that was then, this is now.

John Mayer version 2018 is purely melodic – achingly beautiful, introspective, poetic music. Continuing to question the human spirit – this time with grace and ease.

Vulnerability, hope, truth, above all love in song form.

Thank you for the music John Mayer.

Your newest forever fan xx

 

In The Blood – 2017, Album ‘ The Search for Everything’

 

How much of my Mother has my mother left in me

How much will my love be insane to some degree

What about this feeling that I’m never good enough

Will it wash out in the water or is it always in the blood

 

How of my Father am I destined to become

Will I dim the lights inside just to satisfy someone

Will I let this woman kill me or do away with jealous love

Will it wash out in the water or is it always in the blood

 

I can feel the love , I can feel the love I need

But it’s never going to come to the way I am

Could I change it if I want it, can I rise above the flood

Will it wash out in the water or is it always in the blood

 

 

McIver’s Ladies Baths

 

Having just returned from the South Coast for a Hen’s Day for one of my best friends it seems a good a time as ever to commit to writing the Number One Beach of the 2017 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign.

Introducing McIver’s Ladies Baths, Coogee.

Ladies only ( and children)

Because as Beyonce so eloquently puts its ‘ Who run’s the World? GIRLS’

Our own private ocean bath.

Just because.

As my Hen’s retreat reminded me – it is ‘ my girls’ who shape my world. We have stood by each other through the good, the bad, the ugly. We don’t always agree, we challenge, we support, most importantly we inspire.

And McIver’s Ladies Baths, Coogee celebrates this in salt water form.

Having lived in Sydney for some 14 years and counting it is a crime against womankind not to have swum there before last weekend. So on the second hottest day on record in the city, I decided to right this wrong.

It was a pure oceanic delight.

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I hope ‘ My Girls’ will join me at McIver’s Ladies Baths in the Christmas campaigns to come. Leave behind the magnificent men in their lives and join me for an salt water swim that celebrates the female form.

Beyonce ( and myself) make this request of you.

Right here, right now.

Happy Summer 2017 – 2018 fellow readers….till we meet again on sand and shore xx

 

 

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Over the Christmas – New Year period, when visiting friends who I had not seen in forever, as I entered the family home, I was greeted to a recital :

‘ The Bogey Hole, Bilgola Beach, Merewether Beach’

‘ Stop’ I uttered , my face going red.

But on and on it went…..

‘ Bar Beach, Newcastle, Bronte Beach Revisited’ , my face turning a deeper shade of crimson as the roll of call of the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2017 continued.

‘ I can’t believe you read my blog, I am so embarrassed’

‘ I love your writing, you’re a wordsmith’ my friends husband offered.

And so I dedicate this post to you, Catch up with a Mate Fan.

Newcastle Ocean Baths with its stunning Art Deco pavilion.

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths

I’m keeping this post simple, admit that since the admission of a readership of at least one person, words escape me.

Newcastle Ocean Baths, a 2.5 hour car journey North of Sydney or a 3 hours on the train ride. Highly recommended. A journey that will instill a love of coastal living for any inner city resident. Newcastle awash with swimming options, as my fan of one would recite…..’ The Bogey Hole, Merewether Ocean Baths, Bar Beach’

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths

 

Little Manly Beach

It was a pinch yourself is this real moment!!

A visit to ‘ Little Manly’ beach, a summer lunchtime spread, ocean side from an apartment that truly had water views. Coming back to the inner city late last night, I found myself glancing out my window, longing for THAT view….

Little Manly Beach View

The day had it all…..international guests, cousins, kids and new friendly faces.

Food glorious food, wine, champagne, cheese and pavlova.

Ocean swimming at its best, there are not many people who can say that from their back yard they can jump into the sea….

It was a pinch yourself is this real moment!!

From the apartment backyard, we noted the beach was awash with people, sun-baking, swimming, snorkelling.

But we did not have to contend with the crowds….we submerged ourselves into the delight that is Little Manly Beach by jumping off the backyard wall, or navigating the rock platform to the waters edge.

I had never head of Little Manly till yesterday. It is secret. Locals like it that way.

Those in the know, are truly in the know.

And when the ice- cream boat, that I first encountered on a trip to La Perouse ( 12 Beaches of Christmas Campaign 2014) I almost hyperventilated.

It confirmed what I already knew – this was indeed the most wondrous of days.

Little Manly Beach, the Ice Cream boat, international guests, cousins, kids and new friendly faces. Food Glorious food, wine, champagne, cheese and pavlova.

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It was a pinch yourself is this real moment!!

I’ve the marks on my arm as evidence to attest it was indeed very very real.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Today marks an important cafe milestone.

I completed the Bills Restaurant Sydney Trifecta : Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Bondi Beach.

Once a month for 3 consecutive months – November, December and January.

Same meal each time : Ricotta Hot Cakes with Honey Comb Butter.

Same company on each visit peppered with ever-changing conversation.

How lucky am I?

Ricotta Hot Cakes with Honey Comb Butter

Ricotta Hot Cakes with Honey Comb Butter

 

Sure, I’ve eaten at Bills many times since moving from Wollongong to the ‘ Big Smoke’ in 2004. But never the Trifecta in such short span of time!! Same company, same meal.

The stuff of dreams!!

I’ve always loved the food, the coffee, the home away from home atmosphere, the down to earth service and the sense of familiarity that accompanies each visit.

The cafe menu scarcely changing since I started visiting some 14 years ago.

And in a city of constant change, hustle, bustle, endless food and beverage fads ( Cronut anyone?? ), Bills and the Ricotta HotCakes with Honeycomb Butter remain a constant.

Heavenly.

Boldly declaring at todays sitting ‘ No more Hot Cakes in 2018’, my dining buddy kindly reminded me it is but the 3rd day of the New Year.

With 11 long months to go, I’ve got time for yet another serve ( or three )of Ricotta Hot Cakes with Honey Comb butter.

 

 

 

Claireville Beach

A hidden gem – One of the many that make up Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  Lesser known  than show stoppers Avalon, Palm and Whale Beach. But once on your radar, it will remain a firm summer favourite. And for good reason….

IMG_3854I arrived there at dusk, the sun was fading and the crowds had dissipated.

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And whilst I did not swim, I soaked up the scenery, let is wash over me. I watched the sun go down and I marvelled at the natural beauty surrounding me.

The salty sea air, a few deep purifying breathes and I turned towards the car park, heading back for a meal at a friends Northern Beaches Weekender.

This visit took place in April 2017. It was my first visit to Claireville Beach.

These photo memories sustained me through a long cold Sydney Winter and a mild Spring.

Summer is now in full force…..and Claireville Beach is waiting for you!!

 

Brighton Beach

That’s Brighton Beach, Wollongong.

A pristine stretch of sand and ocean blue that I had forever termed ‘Wollongong Harbor Beach’ ( accompanied with inner dialogue – I’d never swim there!!)

But yesterday, completely by accident, as I stood waterside in the late afternoon, snapping pictures for the post I assumed would be titled ‘Wollongong Harbor Beach’ the  identity of the coastal delight revealed itself to me in makeshift sign form.

Brighton Beach, Wollongong.

What a discovery! What a revelation! Some 39 years and counting, considering myself a local Gong girl – and still learning.

Online research followed – Brighton Beach Wollongong – confirming the little coastal inlet in Wollongong Harbor has an official name – was I the only one not in the know?

Not to worry – a quick swim, and some happy snaps and my naivety seemed forgiven.

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But thoughts that I knew my home town well were in an instant shattered – and that feeling remains today.

Brighton Beach Wollongong – my place of personal reckoning.

Seems I have a lifetime of learning ahead –  the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2018 can’t come soon enough!!

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