Tag Archives: blogging

10 things to do in Melbourne

As a Sydneysider, I am conditioned to think that Sydney is better than Melbourne. As much as I love Sydney, I still enjoy visiting Melbourne and can appreciate the city for its differences. Be it for a girls weekend, a wedding, a couples retreat, or to visit cousins- I’ve always had a good time in Melbourne-town.

First of all, the shopping in Melbourne is better than Sydney. It has the flagship H & M store, which is bigger than any that I have seen anywhere else and they have the few remaining Mango shops in Australia. Chapel St also has few more different fashion options.

I love shopping in the little laneways like the Block Arcade and the Royal Arcade with Suga- a shop where you can see them roll out and make yummy lollies. My favourite jewellery shop, The Rose Garden on the Walk Arcade, is where I bought all my wedding jewellery and accessories.

The next best thing about Melbourne is the shows. The theatre district near Chinatown always has a great blockbuster like Chicago or Avenue Q, sometimes before they make it to Sydney.

The beautiful National Gallery of Victoria is my top sight seeing pick. I was lucky enough to catch the Degas exhibit last time I was there- one of my favourite artists. The water-featured entry way always gets me straight away and the modern layout is spacious and light.

The Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is also fantastic. The wonderful Emperor Penguins make it better than Sydney Aquarium, especially as they still have a shark tunnel.

Another good spot is the huge Fitzroy Gardens complete with Captain Cook’s Cottage. Melbourne loves its English style parks, and this one is my top pick.

Melbourne is known for its great restaurants from world class fine dining, to the Italian precinct on Lygon Street and casual laneway dining experiences like the Meatball and Wine Bar and Touche Hombre. All delicious!

It is also renowned for its serious café culture. And I must admit that these Melbourne-ites know how to elevate a café to the next level. My recent top pick is #hash with its signature hot chocolate science experiment served with fairy floss.

My favourite suburb in Melboure is St Kilda. It has the original Luna Park, the famous Esplande Hotel where they filmed The Secret Life of Us, the Beachcomber Café at St Kilda Baths and the weekend markets. I was lucky enough to live and work here for a couple of months and play the local, catching a tram into the office everyday.

With the newly renovated Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and me working on the conference circuit, there was another year that I went to Melbourne a lot. It was good as to discover the adjoining Southbank area with the Crown Casino and Rockpool Bar and Grill, both of which I rate better than their Sydney counterparts.

And of course the DFO is right near the convention centre for any last minute shopping emergencies, like suddenly finding out that you need to attend networking drinks at the Old Melbourne Goal.

And then there’s the tennis. Even this non-sports-lover has to admit that watching the tennis in Melbourne for the weekend was atmospheric; and I didn’t even get bored.

Related posts: Sydney vs Melbourne, 10 things to do in Sydney, Small town vs Big city

10 things to do in Sydney

Here are my favourite places to go in Sydney- a top ten list, if you will. Some of them may seem cliché, but there is a reason that certain places are deemed tourism worthy.

My number one place in Sydney is Taronga Zoo. I love animals and will go to any zoo at any given opportunity. Taronga Zoo is special because you can take a ferry to get there and it has the best views of the city from its grounds. You can even take a gondola from the ferry terminal to the zoo entrance and back again. I also like Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour for an animal fix. It has great shark tank viewing tunnels and they have beluga whales too!

The Botanic Gardens is the place to go for its iconic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I am lucky because I used to work close enough to the gardens to go for lunch time walks there. I always enjoyed seeing the tourists stopping to take pictures along the way as it reminds me what a lovely city I live in. In summer they have open air theatre shows for kids and they always seem to be setting up for a festival or opera on the harbour side.

The Opera House is the best place to catch a show- pretty much just because you are in the Opera House. My favourite bar, Opera Bar, is also here. It’s often crowded and hard to get a drink, but you can’t beat being under the Opera House looking at the Harbour Bridge while you sip your pre- show cocktail. For a more old skool pub, I also like The London in Balmain. Rustic and sturdy, they have a large selection of beer on tap and decent food. Plus, how can you not love a pub that welcomes dogs?!

One of my favourite restaurants is at The Deck at Luna Park. It has great Spanish style seafood share platters and is not too expensive. It’s also located in my favourite suburb- Kirribilli. I was fortunate enough to live here for a while and there is no place quite like it in Sydney. Lavender Bay is beautiful, the Harbour Bridge is above you and the city is just across the water. You also can’t beat walking to work over the Harbour Bridge.

The European clothing brands have finally landed in Australia! So my new favourite place to shop is the brand new H & M‘s that keep popping up all over Sydney. I must admit that I am a little addicted.

But the best way to see Sydney is to be on the harbour in a boat– preferable at the start of the Sydney to Hobart Race. The harbour is what makes Sydney special, and it is beautiful, so if you ever come here make sure you get out on the water.

Related posts: Sydney vs Melbourne, Cocktail Hour is Sydneytown, Kid at Heart, Degustation Delights

Money vs Happiness

Three things happened to me last week:

  1. My husband said that his goal for the next 5-10 years was to continue to be happy
  2. I finished up at my first job in the for profit sector
  3. I read that 52% of Aussies would sacrifice up to $10, 000 of their salary in order to feel happier.

When the first happened, I was surprised as I thought my husband’s goal for the next 5-10 years was to own a big house in the suburbs. Mine was to travel overseas at least once a year of course.

I thought his goal was sweet and simple and definitely achievable. The lesson of just being happy is one that I thought I had already learnt and one I actually remember teaching my husband about on a couple of different occasions when he decided to move on from a job. Perhaps it was a timely reminder due to the second occurrence.

The job I left last week, was my first job in a for profit company. Perhaps, because of this, I never stood a chance. I have no regrets, as I have always been of the school of thought that it’s better to go for it and find out, then always wonder what could have been. This theory works for relationships too I find!

It wasn’t about the people- there are good (and of course bad) people in every workplace- I just wasn’t happy. I’m not sure if it was even about being a for profit company either, for as long as I have purpose and passion I find I have the drive to work. So perhaps it is just that passion that I was missing.

Which brings me to point 3. I would definitely sacrifice money in my job to feel happier (although I shouldn’t have to!). And it seems I am not alone. We all know the theory that money doesn’t make you happy. But maybe it is money that makes you happy? Or enough money to keep your wife happy? Or maybe just having enough money to feel comfortable? And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Maybe it’s not about the fight between money and happiness at all, but about finding the right balance for you. As I embark upon my next round of soul-searching interviews to find the right fit for me, this is definitely something to keep in mind. At least I feel like I am getting closer. And as they say, this is the first day of the rest of my life.

Related posts: New beginnings, I’m happy for you, Having it all?, It’s the simple things, Kicking goals

Sigiriya and Dambulla, 2015

Sigiriya Rock was the next item on the agenda for our trip. My husband, daughter and I decided to give climbing the actual rock a miss in the midday heat and took a walk around the gardens instead.

The grounds were surrounded by a moat and contained many ramparts and water gardens with lily pads and lotus flowers. The view of Sigiriya Rock from the gardens was great and we bumped into the friendly Singaporean couple from Kandy again.

Dambulla Rock Temple turned out to be one of my favourite sites of the trip. The golden temple and golden Buddha at the foot of the mountain were large and shiny and there were lots of monkey families to keep us company on the walk up to the rock temple.

Dambulla is actually 5 caves built into the rock of a mountain with over 150 statues of Buddha. Overwhelming to say the least. The temple was whitewashed and quite striking on the outside. There was also a large sacred fig tree on the grounds with coloured flags twined in the branches.

The first cave was completely filled with a reclining Buddha and there was barely room to get in and see the statue. The second cave housed the great king and many sitting Buddha’s. There were even paintings of Buddha on the roof.

The third and fourth caves had stupas and Buddha’s in various poses. The last cave was one of the smallest and most dilapidated, but also the one I like the most- there was just something about the atmosphere in there.

After the walk back down, we stopped for lunch at the luxurious Thilanka, Dambulla on the recommendation of an uncle. The resort was isolated with a beautiful long pool and tennis courts. The food was tasty and it would have been nice to stay a few days in this little oasis, but alas, it was back on the road for us.

Related posts: Kandy, 2015Upcountry, 2015Ebony Springs, 2015Ella, 2015Mirissa, 2016Galle, 2015Cooler Colombo, 2015Old Colombo, 2015It’s a Sri Lankan Thing

Liebstar Award Entry

Thanks to Tamz Explores for nominating me for the Liebstar Award.

My answers to your questions are:

  1. How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Pretty quickly- it’s my name and writing.

  1. Who or what inspired you to travel?

My parents took me traveling from the age of 6 months and so I was always going to be doomed to a life of wanderlust!

  1. What is that one country/city that you found the most fascinating and why?

India- it’s just so different to anywhere else.

  1. What has been the most memorable interaction with anybody during your travels?

It would have to be with all of those I interacted with during our wedding week in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

  1. Five things you would never travel without?

Camera, day bag, a good book, snacks and a sightseeing list.

  1. Where are you heading to next in 2016?

Off to the Gold Coast to take my daughter to the theme parks.

  1. What is the best food you have had on your travels?

I had the best gnocchi in Budapest.

  1. What is your worst travel memory?

Getting ripped off in a hammock shop in Merida.

  1. Three destinations you would definitely recommend to fellow travelers?

Mexico, New Zealand and Spain.

  1. Name three of your favorite travel bloggers.

Emily Luxton, Jetsetting Fools and Independent Travel Cats.

My nominated bloggers are:

  1. Emily Luxton Travels
  2. Jetsetting Fools
  3. Independent Travel Cats
  4. In Search Of
  5. Global Grasshopper
  6. I Will Travel
  7. Travelling King
  8. Flights and Frustration
  9. Venga, Vale, Vamos
  10. Borderlass
  11. Mallory On Travel

My questions to them are:

  1. How did you made the leap from recreational blogger to professional blogger?
  2. What is one of your most favourite places you have been?
  3. What is special about your hometown?
  4. Where do you see yourself living in 5 years?
  5. Can you imagine ever getting sick of travel?
  6. What is your favourite city?
  7. What is your favourite small town?
  8. Tell me about somewhere you travelled that was undiscovered at the time?
  9. What is your number one tip on travelling with kids?
  10. Where do you see the future of travel blogging heading?

Happy Holidays!

Ahh Christmas: supposedly the happiest time of the year, but also the loneliest for those that have no one to share it with. And families- don’t even get me started- love them, or hate them, this is the time of year when they are in your face!

This year I am looking forward to a big Sri Lankan Christmas which is so big that we had to hire a hall. No, I am not exaggerating. We haven’t had a Christmas this big since a few of the older generation passed away and the younger generation started breeding.

I am taking delight in the fact that it is the first Christmas that my daughter knows it’s Christmas and is obsessed with Santa, but is not quite yet old enough to demand particular presents that she wants.

I am also looking forward to seeing a few more members of the Canadian branch of the family than usual and sharing some fun in the sun with them. It is probably odd for Northern Hemisphere folk to have turkey in the middle of summer I am sure, but I usually have rice and curry anyway so I wouldn’t know the difference.

And then, before you know it, it will be the New Year’s Eve.

Once a night of drunken debauchery where I whizzed around Sydney trying to attend as many of the five different parties that I had been invited to without the aid of taxi’s and end up walking home with a bottle of champagne.

But New Year’s Eve is one night and now I enjoy the thought of a New Year with new travel plans to new places. I plan to begin the year with a new positive attitude about new possibilities, try to appreciate the little things and dream bigger about the big things.

I will be taking a couple of weeks off from blogging over Christmas and New Year’s as I don’t trust my parents internet/who’s really going to be reading my blog at that time anyway.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers out there- thanks for reading, commenting and for all your social media support over the past year. A special thank you also goes out to those fellow bloggers that have published my articles and let me guest blog for them. I’m excited to share more stories with you all in 2015.

Oh, and start the year right by subscribing to my blog- just enter your email address in the box on the home page and my new posts will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Cheers!

Related posts: Random Public Holiday Ramblings, What’s your obsession?, Canada, 1997-1998, India, 1987-1988, Part 1: The Road South

What is News?

When I studied Journalism at university, we were taught that news is what was is newsworthy.

Well, duh! But what they meant is that news is an item that is interesting to you. It is what is new and close to you in location and interest- the closer proximity the better.

This explains all the investigative prime time television shows about the price of milk comparisons across supermarket chains in Sydney.

I remember reading “Gotcha”- a book about the rise of celebrity and how everyone is going to want their 15 minutes of fame. This was before the rise of reality television which made the theory a true.

It spoke about celebrities such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue and how their ability to constantly reinvent themselves would ensure them longevity in the media spotlight.

And now, it seems that the only kind of news is celebrity news. Most people seem more concerned about the size of Kris Kardashian’s divorce settlement than the number of people that died in the last drought in Somalia.

Perhaps people have so much negativity in their lives that they only want to see the happy news stories like the new baby giraffe in Belfast Zoo? Maybe your personal Facebook feed is of more interest to you than the UK’s BBC News?

Which reminds me, how are we ever supposed to get balanced journalism in a country where the media is essentially owned by only two entities?

I suppose it’s easy for me to criticise. I decided not to participate in the journalistic dialogue when I was told that I would have to write boring local stories that I wouldn’t want to write for the salary of less than a normal person needs to live.

But now, there is blogging, and I can write what I want, when I want- so here it is.

Related posts: Random Public Holiday Ramblings, The New Bachelor Australia, The New Amazing Race AustraliaKicking Goals, I first started writing