Little Rituals

IMG_4138Coogee Fish Shop, 201A Coogee Bay Road

‘ Underrated. A throwback to the 80’s fish & chip shop, so if that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll love it’  The A Team, August 2019

Little rituals. I’ve lived in Sydney for 15 years and for as long as I can remember Potato Scollops and Fish Cocktails 1980’s style are best purchased and eaten seaside in this Eastern Suburbs gem.

I’m an 80’s kids.

I grew up at a time when $2 worth of hot chips would feed a family of 4 and then some.

I grew up at a time when potato scollops were cut by hand and coated in thin, crispy batter and then loaded with plain salt. Chicken salt was not available till the early 90’s.

I grew up at a time when fish cocktails weren’t a thing – battered fish the size if a thong was. A piece of shark would set you back a single gold coin.

Fast forward 3 Decades and 2 Fish cocktails and 3 potato scollops are priced at $7.00.

But for that 1980’s taste I would pay five times that amount.

These hidden gems, these fish and chip shops stuck blissfully in an 80’s time warp are few and far between. When you find them, you stick by them. You travel to support them. And you hold you breath upon approach, hoping to god that they have not succumbed to high rental costs, the Hungry Jacks or Subway epidemic that swallows up seaside realestate.

Today as I ate my 2 fish cocktails and 3 potato scollops I was that 80’s kid again. Carefree and smiling as oil dripped from the fish cocktails, coating my fingers. Salt coating my lips as I crunched my way through the crisp battered hand cut potato scollops.

Today was a good day. No, today was a great day.






Sounds of Summer 2015

When I really should be reviewing beaches for my 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign….I find myself desk bound, working harder than ever…harder than I imagined I would have too.

But I am happy.

For music has the power to transport me to the beaches I will review when the time is right.

And there is one song of late, that propels me back to my home town of Austinmer, that sleepy coastal seaside town I am privileged to call home.

Shining Bird, how did you capture coastal living, summer breeze and whimsical day dreams so eloquently in song form?

I find that I lose all bearings as soon as I hear the bird song, is that distinct cry from a currawong ? magpie? …Whatever it may be, I am hooked then and there…. and I am seaside in Austi, a place where coastal perfection is given a big bear hug by the lush green towering Illawarra escarpment.

Shining Bird – Rivermouth – The sounds of Summer 2015





Why DID the Chicken Cross the Road?

Back in 2010, the infamous Clovelly Road chicken crossed the road, and ultimately found itself lost. Silly, silly bird. But fear not, for the Clovelly road chicken was fortunate to met a kind human, who threw poster form, attempted to reunite bird with owner.

Clovelly Road Chicken circa 2010

Clovelly Road Chicken circa 2010

Fast forward to 2015, and I too am crossing the road. Many of them, from East to Inner West. Like the Clovelly Road chicken all those years ago, who threw caution to the wind, flew the coup so to speak…it’s time for change and taking chances.

This chick is packing up her Eastern Suburbs pad and moving on….Whilst unlike the Clovelly Road chicken, I have a destination, in so many ways our decision to cross the street is identical.

In road crossing, we are daring ourselves to seek out a better life. We are no longer content with routine, we are restless. But who is to say that road crossing will lead to the change we seek? Could be worse, could be better…. One things for sure….Life on the other side will be different and that is enough to warrant a move.

Chicken & Chick street crossing is brave & courageous yet scary & risky behaviour.

Yet I look to my feathered hero for inspiration, that I too may fall on good luck and fortune by making this bold move.

How will you know if I have made it?!

Over the coming weeks look on street post for signs that read ‘ FOUND – Young women happy & smiling in Inner West Terrace home’

Eastern Suburbs Bucket List – 2015

A threshold of tolerance has been crossed…..Mould, damp, torrential storms and an endless Eastern suburb chill has sealed the deal…..I am on the move.

I am packing up my Easterns suburbs pad and moving back to my old stomping ground….Sydney’s beloved inner west. But I do so with a heavy heart.

Sunrise Clovelly...Oh, how I love the East

Sunrise Clovelly…Oh, how I love the East

But It is time.

It is time to have a kitchen, a bedroom door, time to do away with the bar fridge, time to own lounge room furniture and time to stand in a bathroom bigger that the size of a small cupboard.

Yes, it is time.

But it has been time well spent …..5 years to be precise and I leave the East with a treasure chests of memories…priceless and precious.

5 years of Centennial Park Birthday picnics, 5 years of early morning swims at Bondi, Bronte, Clovelly and Mahon Pool, 5 years of eastern suburbs café hopping, 5 years of living in a tree-lined street where houses frequently sell for $2 million dollars plus, 5 years lying in my garden hammock, book in hand, Flora the cat always in tow.

I have lived the Eastern Suburbs princess lifestyle on a shoestring budget….Flora has too….and I will be forever thankful for this opportunity. It has been life changing.

But it is time…time to leave.

And so, for my last 2 weeks in the East I am embarking on my own Eastern Suburbs bucket list….Doing everything I want to do, everything that represents the East to me, everything I have grown to love, and if I am honest, started to take for granted.

The taking for granted part signifies that yes it is time…but not before I live the Princess lifestyle for one more super indulgent time!!

CUWAM- Coast, City, Country

If I was had the strength, this blog entry would be called ‘ Burning the candle at both ends’….but I will save that for another day. I have was well and truly over done it this time…Having taken Catch up to a Mate motto a little too serious, taken it coastal, city and country in a matter of 6 days…and the time has come to STOP, to force oneself to take a long hard  look in the mirror, re-evaluate, re-group and re-focus.

Too much of a good thing…it is the only to describe the week that was….there is no denying it was good….Yet as the saying goes too much of a good thing ….

Has left me feeling burnt out by the experience, suffering from blogger’s anxiety, writers block….This entry contains the  words of a fragile soul…but it is a tale worth telling, so that others too, might learn from my experience


The Easter long weekend arrived. Good Friday…and you were good. The sun shone and I took my pale white body to Bronte beach for a dip in the sea pool…..A summer day had finally arrived in mid Autumn. Sitting quietly on a hill in a beach side park, I sipped on my coffee and whilst sunning myself and thought ‘ Isn’t life grand?’

Once home, I collected a few worldly possessions, namely Flora the cat, and drove South, arriving at the parental home is time for a chin wag and cool drink before joining some girlfriends at the local for a pub meal. Catholic guilt got the better of me, and despite the fact that I have not been to a Sunday Church service for 15 years, I refrained from eating meat, at ate a fish meal instead??

The catch up was great…A pregnancy confirmed, an infectious smile from a first time Mum relishing in her first ever girls night out since the birth of her bub…steady flow of conversation and drinks…..

Catch up with a Mate’s coastal experience: smiles all round


Upping the tempo a bit, I was to board a Hen’s bus to the city on Easter Saturday…My little brother is marrying his true love…What is not to celebrate?

The Hen and me

The Hen and me

An early morning seaside stroll and a coffee at Austinmer beach to kick start the day…Constrained laughter from my Father as my Mother and I attempted to ‘ Glam it up’ for the AAMI Golden Slipper Race day at Rosehill Race course.

My mother and I do glamour….but of the understated variety…A day at the races calls for in your face glamour and we struggled with a concept foreign to us…

The party bus left the sleepy south coast at 10am….city bound. 40 women, decked out in their finery, all intent of celebrating with Tennelle, the prettiest Hen of all. We laughed, chatted and drank on our bus ride to the West, then we laughed, chatted, and watched our money go west throughout the racing carnival!!

Come 5pm, it was time to call it a day…39 people got back on the party bus bound for the South…I took the high road ( or the low road, depending on how you look at it!!) back to the city….5 city rail carriages transported the drunk, the sunburnt and the penniless back to Sydney city….for come sun up Sunday morning…Catch up with a Mate was heading to the Country


Exhausted, I awoke early, packed a bag of summer clothes, and took the streets to catch the 7.30am public bus the Airport.

Arriving at the domestic terminal to be told I had missed my flight to Melbourne because it left from the ‘ International’ terminal…

Not one to be shocked by much anymore, the knowledge repressed from days working in the travel industry…this situation was real…Some domestic flights DO leave from the INTERNATIONAL terminal, and you need to get there 2hrs prior to departure with your PASSPORT!!

Forced to purchase a new ticket, my fear that I could be out of pocket hundreds of dollars was quickly quashed…$80.00 later I was on my way to Melbourne.

I was collected from the airport at 11am by bride to be Naomi…and we drove 2 hours north east…destination, Shepparton…to be part of the illustrious 88th Shepparton Tennis Tournament ( well part of the crowd anyway)

The Tennis Tournament had started on Good Friday, and arriving on Easter Sunday felt like arriving half way through a Steven Spielberg blockbuster…You weren’t quiet sure what had happened…Felt a bit lost….A dinner party guest who arrived as dessert was being served, having missed entrée and mains….awkward!!

I did my best to get involved, I drank a few beers and caught up with the locals I had befriended during my 2011 visit. I became an active spectator, clapping and heckling on demand, cheering court side for winners who went on to be winners , consoling would be winners who became losers…

And aside from tennis, I looked to my friend Jess for advice on what to do in Shepparton…Eat, drink and be merry…Coming from a very small family, I have long been in awe of Jess and her large family, it seems to grow bigger each time I am swept up into the maddess!! The Easter Sunday meal catered for the masses…on last count I reached 25 bodies…Realising this I hit the champagne!!

My time in Shep was short…3 nights and 2.5 days…I had failed to pack for the chilly weather conditions, and as a result wore the same outfit for preciously 3 nights and 2.5 days…I have my sights firmly on the 2013 Shep Tennis Tournament…Arrival date : Good Friday…Next year I will not be the party guest who arrives for dessert only!!

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In need of solitude I caught the 7am bus from Shepparton to Melbourne City on Wednesday…I spent a good part of the day in St Kilda and then took a tram to Carton, Cinema Nova and watched a mid week movie. But during my one day silent retreat, I realised I missed the company of my Shepparton family…I admitted to Jess that I felt ‘ bored’…or maybe that was code for exhausted??

I retired to bed early…for in the morning…it was back to reality…office work in Sydney!

Thursday morning, my 5am alarm signalled the start of the epic journey home. You know you have over done it when you have to catch 2 buses, 1 train and a plane to arrive at the work for a 9am start!!

In summation

Hindsight is a strange thing….I look back on the week that was and think it was pure madness to think that my sense of self would remain intact as I navigated coastal, city and county landscapes at such a fast pace….Madness….

Madness, yes, that is what it was, but it is my nature to cram things in…I once took a round the world vacation in under three weeks…Madness…Lesson learnt? Only time will tell, but my track record ain‘t good!!…By recalling the events of the past 6 days, reflecting on the highs and lows, it is my sincere  hope that I can help myself in the future, to slow down, smell the roses…and if I can’t save myself….maybe this tale with resonate with  fellow reader!!

CUWAM: Fun in the summer sun

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Wow…the sun finally came out….It shone for two whole days…But has gone away today…But that is ok, it is Monday and a day of work….But I am away from the office till Tuesday, and whilst sunshine is always preferred, just not being at work today is enough to make me smile.

What a ripper of a weekend. Amazing, wonderful, exciting, fun-filled days spent in the great outdoors, with great company, food, drink and beach action.

The working week can get stuffed!! It was, to put it mildly, very average. Office life consumed my days….It felt as though I started to write a work related email on Monday morning at 9am, and was still typing the same correspondence on Friday at 5pm!! But when it was over, I breathed a sigh of relief for a knew that the weekend was to be special.

Don’t get me wrong, there was some light relief from office life…A Yum Cha extravaganza on Tuesday with the Parentals and my Aunt,  two gym sessions at Kings Cross were I sweated out all 9am-5pm tension but the week that was is best summarised by the fact that Flora the cat had to wear a plastic bowl type device around her head!! To prevent her tendency to over licked and over groom a battle wound!!

Yes, the week was very trying, for the cat and for me…..

Saturday morning, I awoke to find Flora, wound healed and ready to enter the world minus her head-piece ( a good start), the sun out and shining, warming up my little house ( very good sign) and a quick glance at my calendar confirming that yes it was the weekend…and yippee…no need to go into the office ( the most awesomest news EVER!!)

I was also super excited for today, I was venturing down the to the South Coast, stopping in at Berry, before reaching my final destination, Callala Bay. Why? Because I had an invite from an old friend, who had recently relocated to this coastal oasis.

Callala Bay is a seaside town I had last visited as a 6-year-old girl with my family. I remember staying in shed type accommodation, on a big block of land, literally opposite the sea. I also remember waking up one morning, my parents horrified that they had forgotten it was my brother’s 2nd Birthday, and dashing to the nearest supermarket to buy him a gift ( I really don’t think he knew what all the commotion was about)

But before I reached Callala on Saturday, it hds been decided that I would meet my friend Colleen in Berry, where we would take a look at the 124th Annual Berry Agricultural Show…..Sydney Royal Easter show, eat your heart out…The Berry Show leaves you in the dust…It was the BEST day out…I saw wood chopping, dagwood dog eating,a  poultry pavillion, prized winning tomatoes and carrots, and a divine array of farmyard animals….The was also a wine and food tasting pravillion…What can I say?….The 124th Annual Berry Show surprised me, wowed and entertained me….I will be penciling this event into my social calender for 2013…Might even enter the Miss Showgirl Pageant for the over 30’s!!

From the show, Colleen and I drove to Callala….my 6 year old memories came flooding back as we took an evening dip at the beach…From the beach we literally put some inclosed shoes on and went for a quick bite to eat at the Callala Bay RSL Club. A perfect day.

Sunday, we hopped in the car and drove to one of my most favourite swimming spots in the world ( you heard it here first!!)…Hyams Beach…Claim to fame: It has the whitest sand in the world.

Hyams Beach….the pictures best tell the story, words do not do the place justice…it is simply paradise.

After swimming and sunning ourselves, we headed up the road for a bite to eat at Hyams Bay General Store….What a way to cap of a  splendid  morning, fresh coffee, fresh salad and frittata and breakfast bruschetta.

Colleen and I ate out lunch and simply smiled….it had been an action packed 24 hours and it had been a lot of fun. As I drove of in the direction of home in the afternoon I knew that it would not be long before I was lured back to this part of the South Coast. Like Colleen, who is privileged to call this part of the world home, this place has been part of my own personal narrative since I was a child, my home away from home, and how lucky I am!

CUWAM: The 12 Beaches of Christmas

St Kilda Beach, Melbourne

I will be taking a break from Write on Wednesday ( which is also taking a summer break) and replace it with my own personal take in the silly season that is Christmas and New Year in Australia.

I will venture to 12 beaches over the holiday period…With yesterday marking the official 12 day countdown till  St Nick’s arrival into town, one might expect a post a day approach to this Christmas tale….But a more laid back style is being adopted ( it is the Australian way!!)

The 12 beaches of Christmas / New Year yarn will be told whilst I am on annual leave from work, from the 16th December till the 3rd of January, 2012.

Come on the journey with me,  as I spend as much time as possible beach side / pool side / harbour side.

Beach side action will set in NSW,  Australia…and whilst the picture inserted into this post is in fact from Victoria, I just could not help myself….I love this image.

For inspiration for you own Summer Beach guide, check out the Tourism NSW website for beach action…and while my focus will be on Sydney, NSW….you will find great information on beach action across the entire state.

Sydney Beach Lifestyle

And my personal favourite, Secret Beaches Sydney, not so secret if they are on a national website!! But secret just the same….

Three cheers for summer hip, hip, hooray!! Let the good times, the summer times begin..

P.S For readers who venture to this post via the Ink Paper Pen blog site, I won’t link in all 12 beach posts on the site..that would be like spam!!…But if you feel like reading up on the unfolding tales of the sea, you will find the  12 posts under the CUWAM category ‘ Sydney: Home Sweet Home’ and or ‘Coastal Living

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