Mount Buller & The Apline National Park

Over the Easter weekend Matt and I wanted to get a little mountain air and embrace our inner explorers. We stopped in at Anaconda for the most basic supplies, mustered up four days’ worth of vegetarian sustenance and drove several hours out of Melbourne up into the mountains.

I love cities, but I love walking more.  After a while trudging through day to day life both of us tend to crave a bit of outdoor silence. Mount Buller, out of the peak season, is ideal.

We opted to free camp and forgo the luxury of running water to save a few pennies and stayed at Sheepyard Flats.

Being Easter and unbeknown to us non-locals, the place was heaving, but mostly everyone minds their own business and boy do the Aussies know how to camp! Hammocks, barbecues, dogs, generators and fairy lights gave the campground a cheerful festival feeling. Although be warned to ”two wheel drive appropriate” road you read about on Parks Victoria actually means; can just about get down there if you go twenty kilometres an hour. If you’re travelling through and are hiring a vehicle, a four wheel drive would be preferable.

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Nestled amongst the trees and next to a river, this place is a photographers paradise in the morning light, and the stars are incredible at night. Plus it’s only about an hour’s drive to the summit of Mount Buller, twenty one kilometres away once you’re onto the main road. From December to the end of April it’s free to get onto the mountain. Walkers and mountain bikers have the place to themselves, free of the hoards with chains on their tyres making the most of the snow during ski season; when the place really comes alive.

Over two full days we walked the Nature track to the summit of Mount Buller, adding a cheeky extra ridge walk, and made it to the summit of Mount Stirling via the Corn Hill track.

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The Corn Hill track was without doubt one of the best walks we’ve had in a long time and my personal highlight of the weekend. At a reasonable pace we completed the return journey in five hours but there are some very steep accents so be warned, a decent fitness level is required for this one. Due to the difficulty levels however we had huge stretches of the hike to ourselves and near the summit of Mount Stirling the silence was indescribably perfect. Just what we needed to go back to the city feeling revived and refreshed, if not more than a little sad to be leaving so soon.

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We stayed one night in Lake Eildon, which was beautiful, but due to a nightmare of spending hours trying to find the campsite it ended up purely acting as a stop over point on our way home. I’d love to go back during the spring and give it the exploration it deserves, on land and in the water. We did manage this one cheeky shot from a viewpoint on the road though…

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If you have a little time to go hiking and explore outside of Melbourne in Victoria, the road a little less travelled to the Alpine National Park is perfect to feel like you’ve got back to the wilderness and reset your energy levels. It really does deserve a spot on your camping list.

Free Music

I mentioned to you in my Valentines day post that M and I aren’t really so into Valentines day. So this year we grabbed a colleague of his and headed to the beach for a free music festival. All the roads were blocked off and pedestrians were let loose to play, replacing the normally almost constant flow of traffic.

We headed out in the afternoon after a lazy start of documentaries, tea and lie ins. Venturing to our local watering hole to get things rolling. There were salsa bands with hoards of people dancing in front of them, food carts, amusement park rides,  and (terrible) rap music on the main stage by the sea. You’re not allowed drinks in the main stage viewing area either. So after all of two opening bars we sacked that in for the bar next door, queuing for an age to get in, but rewarded with rum and ginger beer slushies and a great reggae band. Everyone cleared the way for dancing and got into the weekend spirit.

After one too many slushies and slobbering over the bowls of chicken wings going past, our tummies rumbled loudly enough that we headed back out into the throng of the main street for takeaway schniztel and drinks into the night.

A brilliant day out and one I won’t forget in a while.

How did you spend your valentines day readers?! Did you get spoilt?

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Watermelon Rum Coolers

These are just a little something I whipped up whilst I had some watermelon in the fridge that needed eating a few Fridays ago.

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Deliciously simple, the amount of watermelon above is enough for one very tipsy pirate or could stretch to quick sundowners for two.

Start off by chopping up your cold melon and shoving it all in a blender.20160206_201854

Then get your hands on whatever type of flavoured rum tickles your pickle. I opted for the below as I was feeling summery.

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I’ll leave how much you add up to you – make it as strong as you dare! I added in several generous double measures to make a batch for myself to  leave in the fridge and go back to at a later date.

Add a small handful of fresh mint and blitz the nuts out of it.

Now this is where you can see the efforts of my ”experimenting”…

The mixtures ends up looking something like this…

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At this stage if you have one, I would advise to add some ice and put it through a cocktail strainer into your glass. It tastes deelishusss.  Very light but packed with flavour.

I unfortunately, do not yet own a cocktails strainer… So what came out was rather, ermmm, foamy. But as you can see, she’s still a looker!

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Add some fresh mint and extra ice if you’re serving to others or just feeling fancy. If like me you don’t own a strainer, scoop the top foam off with a spoon and slurp through a straw straight from the jar  you were saving for later. Well you can’t rely on pirates to behave themselves on a Friday after all!

 

Valentines Day Gift Ideas

I should probably start off by saying I’m not the biggest lover of Valentines Day. M and I’s anniversary (of the day we met) is very shortly after and so we frankly end up skipping it and go all out for ‘our’ date instead. I’m also not wildly materialistic, apart from loving a clothes shopping splurge; I’d much rather save up and splash out for trips and experiences.

That being said, I know not everyone is that way inclined, and so thought I’d share my favourite seasonal picks with all of you and share the link love so you can click away a fortnight in advance, rather than going for the rubbish ”leftover flowers” look at the following to win V day…

Continue reading “Valentines Day Gift Ideas”

Biking along the Coast from St Kilda

One Sunday M and I dusted off our bikes and took them for a little spin. Well a roughly 30 mile spin actually. Along the front of St Kilda is a long and winding cycle track that runs right next to the coast and takes you all the way down the Peninsula should your little heart desire it. We cycled all the way down past Black Rock, towards Mordiallic until the weather seared at 36 Celsius and beat me fair and square (when we left it was mid 20s with a gentle breeze – always look at the forecast).

We took a packed lunch and explored the coast line, munching sandwiches, stopping for iced tea and chips and dunking in the sea when the heat got too much. Sandringham beach was particularly beautiful and I definitely plan on returning. You can hire bikes in Melbourne, much like the London Boris bikes and I would recommend spending a day exploring the coast line if you have a day to spare. The views speak for themselves…and I am very keen to set off again. Once the weather has cooled off a bit mind!

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Christmas List (For the Home)

Okay, so here’s part 2 of my Christmas Lists 2015.

These are ideal for home birds and family members, or could maybe even just be inspiration for yourself come post Christmas sales. You deserve it after all.

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Every girl worth her nadgers in the In Crowd has one of these babies, and I’ve been wanting one for ages. Push in any veg you want, and out they come in the shape of moreish crunchy noodles. Use it to up your salad game with carrots, get rid of the carbs replacing courgettes (zucchini’s) for pasta topped with sauce, or to prep sweet potatoes for roasting into glorious, crispy, thin healthy crisps for dunking in avocado dip. It will change the way you feel about veggies and make any food nut in your life very happy.

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Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh scented candle

For those who like a touch of luxury on their Christmas evenings, this is a perfect holiday scent, and would be ideal for bathrooms or living rooms, bring a warm relaxing vibe to your home whilst you sip spiced wine and munch on minced pies.

 

glasshouse-fragrances-candle-sistine-chapel-gold-frankinsence-myrrh_1_1.1449169256Cashmere blankets

Oh so, heavenly soft and a beautiful gift for anyone. Snuggle up together by the fire, on the sofa watching movies or wrap up warm at night while star gazing on the beach. Whatever the weather, you have no reason not to get one. It’s an investment well worth making for yourself too, as good quality blankets last a lifetime.

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Christmas Hamper

I’ve always loved hampers. Whether you buy one pre-made, or put one together yourself, it can be a thoughtful personal gift, and treats your loved ones to fancier food than one would probably otherwise stretch to buying of their own accord. I’ve always loved John Lewis’ selection. You can buy chocolate hampers, preserves only, alcohol free; the selection is massive and the quality is indisputable. For something middle of the road at under £100 you get loads for your money too if buying for a couple, or stretch to the £250 mark for a generous gift when visiting a large family if you didn’t have time or resources to get individual gifts for all. Trust me, with my step mum’s brother’s family consisting of six and a dog, I understand what you’re going through…

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Mindfulness Adult Colouring Books

Whether it’s for someone in your life who needs a bit of time out or a coffee table filler for guests, what better gift to give than the gift of calm?

Adult colouring books are taking the world by storm, and are as said to be as mentally good for you as meditation. Together with a set of vibrant colouring pens or pencils, these can make thoughtful stocking fillers too.

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Christmas Wishlist (For Her)

Hello again everyone! Bet you thought I’d disappeared. It’s been rather busy recently as I’ve just started a new job here and had to go through all sorts of training to get started, but I’m back, and despite the hot weather here feeling very much in the festive spirit.

I have always adored Christmas, and I must confess whilst it will be great to be here in Aus on the beach on the day there will be a little English girl part of me that misses the great big roasts, sitting round with all my family by the fire with champagne, eating endless chocolate and satsumas, tearing open presents with my teeth and pulling on scarves, hats and boots to take the dogs out for a long walk into the frost (there was a time where we’d take the roast peelings to the horses too).

But sun or snow, I know you all have your own lists for Santa and so I thought I’d share mine for the ladies with you since Yuletide is nigh upon us. I’ll be following this up with one for the boys, home and kiddies too.

Continue reading “Christmas Wishlist (For Her)”

First Locking Eyes on St Kilda and a Weekend Playlist

On a rather average but hot day in Melbourne with nothing to do, we decided to stretch our legs a little.

It seems that nobody does much walking around here, unlike me and my fella. We wanted to get a feel of the place and the actual distance between us and the coast, with the whole day ahead of us. So we put on our comfiest shoes and started the trudge out of town.

We actually ended up walking to Port Melbourne and then along the coast all the way to St Kilda. On our way to Port Melbourne we were asking friendly locals the best way to get there to which several people answered, head back that way and pop on a tram, baffled when we explained, no thanks just point us in the right direction.

We wound through parks and eventually spotted the Southern Ocean for the first time when we got to Port Melbourne itself… 2015_1027EBAY0006

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We then walked for what seemed like A WHILE until we finally arrived at St Kilda West/St Kilda, two hours after we had left our hotel in the CBD…They sky scrapers looking teeny tiny from where we now were…

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We headed up to the pier to get some better snaps and check out a food spot for future reference (which I regret to say we still haven’t tried, but it’s sadly closed in the evening).

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As you can see it clouded over a lot by the afternoon!

The weather here I must say has lived up to it’s reputation. We’ve literally had it reach 36 Celsius and blistering sunshine on a Tuesday and go back down to 15, cloudy and rainy by Wednesday. But the sun appears to be pushing it’s way through and we’re hopeful the summer seems to have finally thought about beginning to arrive.

In aide of that I’ll leave you with a couple of songs for the weekend that should hopefully bring you some sunshine whatever the weather!

  1. Hozier – Jackie and Wilson
  2. Walk Off The Earth – Summer Vibe
  3. Lana Del Rey – High By The Beach
  4. Brandon and Leah – Life Happens (watch the video too!)
  5. OMI – Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)

Happy weekend everyone – happy adventuring.

Hozier at the Palais Theatre

Hurrah! We now have internet in the flat in Melbourne, which means I can update you on all the adventures we’ve been having. It’s sad to think that the last time I did a post for you all I was younger than I am now, but we’ll get to that next time. I’ll be lining up some posts for you from now on!

So, I should probably start off by saying that I’m going through a little bit of a music infatuation.

And I’m pretty picky when it comes to music. Don’t get me wrong, I like all sorts, but for me to love it needs to move me in some way, otherwise I’m just not really interested.

Like the rest of the world I heard ‘Take Me To Church’ by Hozier and found the lyrics, his voice and the instrumental component of the song mind blowing and so proceeded to buy his album off of Amazon and develop a relatively healthy level of obsession.

So it was one bored Instagram scroll whilst Matt was test driving a car on Halloween during the day that I discovered Hozier. Was. In. Melbourne. Since I’d been raving about how great I was sure they’d be live for ages I spat out my tea, said ”*loud deep inhale* Noooo!!” to no one in particular and started feircely Googling for tickets.

When Matt arrived back in the car I managed between hyperventilating to tell him the news only to discover they were sold out. Balls. But that wasn’t going to stop me.

Thankfully I discovered Ticketmaster Resale and managed to get the tickets for less than the original price we would have paid for them. After lots of swearing and setting up accounts, getting the credit card out as we were trying to park the car (we were on our way to lunch with friends I might add) we nabbed two tickets and I proceeded to get very, very excited (yes more than I already was).

So at 7 30pm on All Hallows Eve we ordered a drink at the bar of the Palais Theatre in St Kilda (literally a 10 minute walk from our flat – there were no words) and then made our way down to what we discovered were blinding seats. Right in the middle, about 9 rows from the front. 20151031_195241

Continue reading “Hozier at the Palais Theatre”

The Crusting Pipe and Petillon’s White Balloons

Okay, so I know the last two posts have been hefty ones.

I thought I’d give you a bit more of a breather today with a more bitesize final installment of my London weekend with the fam.

Sundays with my Dad’s bunch are usually rather more petite than the Saturdays as it is. Usually around 2 or 3pm everyone heads off to catch flights/trains/lifts back to their destinations of choice before the Monday grind.

The being said, we usually head to all round favourite, The Crusting Pipe in the centre of Covent Garden for a long wine filled Sunday lunch.

This particular weekend however we were struck with Charles Petillion’s installment of 100,000 white balloons.

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Continue reading “The Crusting Pipe and Petillon’s White Balloons”