Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Triple J Hottest 100 of 2014

My votes:
  • Grimes - Go (my #1) - #171
  • Alt-J - Every Other Freckle - #14
  • FKA twigs - Two Weeks - #45
  • Future Islands - Seasons - #23
  • Glass Animals - Gooey - #12
  • Willow Beats - Merewif - #137
  • Milky Chance - Stolen Dance - #4
  • TV On The Radio - Happy Idiot - #49
  • Chet Faker - 1998 - #8
Would have loved to fit in:
  • Royksopp & Robyn - Do It Again - #73
  • Royksopp - Monument - #59
  • Calvin Harris (ft. HAIM) - Pray To God - #103
  • Ball Park Music - Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You - #58
This year all my votes were completely song based and not loyal to my favourite bands. I actually only found out that Polica, M83, Bon Iver, (and Aphex Twin! but meh) released singles this year by scrolling through the artists on the Hottest 100 website.

I was sure that Pharrell - Happy was going to win, but it's not in the list! It wasn't in last year's list either, so I'm not sure what's going on with that. I think that Future Islands will get pretty high, but no clear pick for #1.

Edit: #1 was Chet Faker - Talk is Cheap, I think that's a good #1!
Edit: Triple J released the hottest 200, I'm glad Grimes got in there!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Baking

Christmas Tree Cupcakes
I picked the yellow stars out of a pack of yellow star sprinkles, and used some sugar pearls for decoration. Green buttercream icing piped on with a star nozzle. 

Rudolph Cupcakes
The nose is a Jaffa, eyes are mini m&ms, and antlers are Curly Wurly chocolate bars cut lengthways. 

Holly Cupcakes
The leaves are green musk sticks cut on an angle. The big holly berries are Jaffas, and the small ones are mini m&ms.

Holly Marshmallows
Pascall marshmallows with the top dipped in chocolate, decorated with Jaffas and green musk stick cross sections.

Christmas Biscotti
Cranberries and pistachios make this look Christmassy.

Christmas Rocky Road
Starburst Red Berries, pistachios, and blanched almonds make this look Christmassy.

Coconut Ice
Pretty much just icing sugar and condensed milk.

Cocopop Crackles
With coconut snow.

Hedgehog Slice
Andrew's mum's delicious recipe. 

Peanut Butter Cups
Arnotts butternut snap cookies heated, shaped into a cup using a ladle and shallow cupcake trays, filled with peanut butter, and with chocolate melted on top.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Immersive Technologies Pre-Start Inspection

Pre-Start inspection is a tool developed by the Visual Database department at the company I work for, Immersive Technologies. I scored the supporting actor role in the promo video alongside Raj:

I think Raj and I did pretty good, but I won't quit my day/night jobs just yet!

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Fremantle BeerFest

Yesterday was the 2014 BeerFest in Fremantle where a huge gathering of WA's brewers brought their best beers and ciders. As always, the setup at the Esplanade was awesome with music, food and master classes to make it worth staying the whole day in the hot sun. Thank god I have the day off today! 

We had bought tickets through Scoupon a while back, and we'll definitely have to remember that for next year. I think Scoupon had the tickets for $5 cheaper, but the real win was that you could skip the massive ticket buying line and go straight to the ticket checking line. 

The festival was quite busy (especially for a Sunday) but not so busy that you had to wait in line for a long time. People were getting drinks then sitting down at the tables and watching the bands which we thought were all really cool, especially in comparison to the music at the Beaufort St Festival which was mostly god awful dance pop with the bass turned up so high that I kept thinking my phone was ringing the whole night. 

We sent straight to Little Creatures to check if they had their Saison, but they didn't so we went back to the start and had our first drink at Eagle Bay, yum! We also had a beer at Cheeky Monkey and a cider at Blackwood Valley, and after scoping out the rest of the festival we stopped at Feral for a tasting paddle. 

I had:
  • Fanta Pants (Imperial Red Ale, 7.6%)
  • Karma Chameleon (Imperial Black IPA, 10%), best beer of the day
  • Karma Citra (Black IPA, 6.6%)
Andrew had:
  • Kelis (Saison, 6.5%)
  • Razorback (Barley Wine, 10%)
  • Hopfen Fahrt (IPA, 6.4%), this one wasn't on the list but was at the taps

We had our first two while watching the band and saved our last glass for the beer masterclass. I saved the Karma Chameleon because that was one I definitely didn't want to rush!

The beer tasting masterclass was with Matt from Bob's Bar. He talked a little bit about types of beer, types of tastes and faults in beer, and about how to start getting into beer tasting. I found the bit about faults really interesting, especially that certain tastes are supposed to be in certain types of beers, but if they're in others they're considered a fault. My palette is definitely not refined enough yet! We also got to smell some hop flowers (which were very pretty and smelt exactly like beer), and crunch on some malt (which was really delicious, but didn't taste like beer). 

We finished off with a Saison cocktail from Cocktail Gastronomy and a beer from Mash Brewery (the Copy Cat IPA). The cocktail was nice, sweet, but we couldn't taste the beer in it. The meringue thing on top was really yum. 


We also couldn't resist and got some waffle fries. I don't know why this isn't a thing that is everywhere, they were amazing!

Any trip to Fremantle isn't complete without dinner at Maya. After drinking and not eating much all day we left all the plates squeaky clean.

I love festivals at Fremantle! I think they've really worked out how to make it an awesome day. We went to the Beaufort St Festival the day before and it was quite hard not to keep making comparisons. We had fun at the BSF too, but they didn't get the setup, facilities, and content as right as the Fremantle festivals do. They had different constraints, and they did well trying to keep the masses moving in the direction traffic would, but all in all it was meh in comparison.

Having said that, we will definitely being going to both again next year. Perth is so cool!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Perth Royal Show 2014

I love the Royal Show! I think I started talking about it at the start of August, and it was everything I every dreamed it would be.

I donned my traditional colourful eyes and nails, and this year topped it off with some bunny stockings and an umbrella skirt. Give me a break, it's my one chance a year to do this shit ok?

This year we got to the show just after 1pm and stayed until after the fireworks. I think this was perfect timing, I'll have to remember it for next year. You want to get there early enough to make sure you see all the things you want to see, but not too early so that you get exhausted and can't make it to the fireworks.


#1 The Zimboys

These guys were our favourite act of the whole show! I saw them a few years back and they were even better this year. They're a group of 3 guys who do tumbling, balancing, and general acrobatic tricks and stunts including back flips while jumping rope, doubles and triples diving through hoops, handstand balancing on chairs, love it! I clapped so hard the whole time.

The whole act is really cute and involves them getting fake angry at each other, which usually results in them fake pushing each other over, and fake kicking each other in the nuts a lot.

#2 Trippy Fireworks with Prism Glasses

I could never watch fireworks without these glasses again. Watching fireworks with these glasses will blow your mind. Andrew, Krystal, Sean, the VDB guys and I lost our shit. We were sitting there screaming and laughing and rocking our heads around like bobble heads (to get rotation on the prisms) and I'm pretty sure everyone thought we were on drugs. But we weren't, and this is better. Get some!

#3 Sideshow Alley

This year we went on the Python Loop, the Bumper Cars, and XXXL. The Python Loop is consistently fun as always, and definitely worth the $10 (all 40 seconds of it, that's only 25c a second!).

I had to be convinced into going on the bumper cars (I had a bad go kart experience that I now associate with all non-car cars) but it was so much fun I will definitely do it again.

XXXL was surprising! I had written it off as a gentle ride, which it was for the first half, but then it ramped up and showed some impressive pull.

It's a bit hard not to be a ride snob after Port Aventura, but it's nice to get swept up in Sideshow Alley anyway.

#4 Loot

Even though you can get this stuff elsewhere, the Royal Show is the one time we treat ourselves to Morish Nuts, Karutz sausages, and this year some Tiger Snake Whiskey (which earned us free tasting at the Albany Distillery stall, yay!). 

#5 Everything Else

Bunnies (children just don't appreciate the bunnies like I do):

Diving pigs (since 1993!):

Little pigs (poor mum):

Fancy pigeons (AND utility):

Pigeons who look like clickers (I don't want to see a bloater pigeon):

Balls-on-their-face pigeons (my favourite pigeon, here's the yearly video):

Dalmatians (Andrew's favourites):

Sheep dogs (who were being handled by Louis CK's look alike):

Multi-Dimensional Universes (flower smell is a dimension HAHAHA):

Why would anyone miss all this?!

P.S. Here's links to some of the other Perth Royal Shows:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Homemade Raw Chocolate

I recently got this recipe from a friend at work (thanks Tracy) and it's actually amazing. I don't really like chocolate (except for Ferrero Rocher and Tim Tams), but this is something else, something much better!


  • 100gm Cacao Butter
  • 4 tablespoons Cacao Powder
  • 100m Agave
  • 2 teaspoons Lucuma Powder

All of these ingredients are available from a health food shop. Cacao butter smells like dark chocolate and looks like white soap. The cacao powder is similar to just regular Nestle, and I couldn't tell the difference but the packet convinced me it was better (probably substitutable). Agave is similar to honey, but from a cactus instead of bees - in fact, the first time I made this I used honey instead, but the honey didn't dissolve properly so left a sticky layer at the bottom of the chocolate which… was DELICIOUS, but not easy to store. I'd never heard of Lucuma before but it's apparently Peru's version of vanilla, it doesn't smell like much though!


1. Chop up the Cacao Butter into small shavings.

2. Melt the Cacao Butter in a bain-marie, stirring continuously. Don't let the butter get too hot - it should stay at room temperature. When completely melted, remove the container from the bain-marie.

3. Add the Agave Syrup and stir until dissolved

4. Add the Lucuma Powder and stir until dissolved

5. Add the Cacao Powder and stir until dissolved

6. Return the bowl to the bain-marie and stir the mixture to thin it out

7. Pour into a a plastic container (Note: in the picture below I'd made a double batch, so use a smaller container for a single batch)

8. [Optional] Sprinkle some crushed nuts or coconut into the mixture. The nuts will sink down so it's OK to add them at this point. I added a row of chopped blanched almonds and a row of chopped pistachios. I'm sure any other nuts or fruits would be just as nice!

9. Put the mixture in the fridge and let set for at least 2h

10. Remove and chop, then store in the fridge. The chocolate can be quite crumbly, but save the crumbly bits to sprinkle over ice cream :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh Hai Mark! And Ice Skating in the City

Oh Hai Mark!
Last week Greg Sestero (Mark) from The Room came to Perth to promote his new book, The Disaster Artist, at Luna Leederville.

The first part of the session was a behind the scenes documentary about the making of The Room with interviews from a lot of the cast. It was really interesting seeing the actors describe their shock and confusion about the whole process, and it made me understand the movie a lot whole lot more (zero is a percent!). It seemed like the actors were constantly trying to find out what their character's motivation was, but the most they got from Tommy was to "just go with it" or "that's the twist!". The best example was Claudette's character (Lisa's mum) who couldn't figure out how to deliver the line, "I got the results of the test back, I definitely have breast cancer." There was also some priceless footage of Tommy Wiseau reciting Shakespeare for jeans commercial, what the hell is his accent anyway?

Mark then did a reading from his book as well as a reading with members of the audience from the original script of The Room, which was actually much more insane than the movie. One scene that was way more weird is at the end of the movie (spoiler alert!) where Johnny is crying and rubbing Lisa's dress all over himself; the script describes that he was meant to have his pants off and actually has sex with her clothes. What the actual fuck does this guy think people do in real life! Don't leave your clothes at his house.

It was a really good event, this is the movie that just keeps on giving! Mark is a really cool guy, I think he's definitely figured out how to make the best of a bewildering situation. I can't wait to read his book.

Ice Skating in the City
Yesterday we went ice skating outdoors in Northbridge! So much fun, and very trippy skating while the sun is out and shining.

You'd think it was impossible to keep ice frozen outdoors in the middle of a Perth winter... and you'd mostly be right. The ice skating rink had a decent layer of water on top of the ice which in a way made it more fun - you really had an incentive not to fall over! I felt sorry for all the kids falling down and getting up with drenched bottoms, but they didn't seem to care one bit and got straight back up onto their penguins!

We got there a bit early while the session before ours was still running to scope it out and also get a drink at The Lodge. We noticed that there was a lot of water, especially towards the center of the rink, but people were still managing to skate pretty decently. We thought that when the session ended the staff might squeegee the ice down to get rid of some of the water, but instead their solution was to slide a big Christmas tree in the center of the ice to conceal the big pool of water, very resourceful!

We got our skates on and joined the crowd of kids on the ice for a gentle skate. Despite the surface of the ice and the crowd it was heaps of fun. We managed to get in some fast skating and test out the ice properly at the end when the crowds died down.

Definitely a do again. I think that the rink they had set up at Fremantle a couple of years back was better (bigger and more frozen), but the location of the Perth rink was really cool. Dim sim in the morning, ice skating and a drink at the Mechanics Institute in the afternoon makes for an awesome Perth winter Sunday.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quick Recipe for a Sushi Costume

My mum and I made this costume for a Japanese themed party we went to. When I say my mum and I, I mean my mum mostly did it and I helped hold the scissors.

  • Salmon: Section of orange felt material
  • Rice: White electrical tape
  • Rice: White dress (or top and pants)
  • Rice: White stockings
  • Nori: Green (or black) belt (or scarf)
  • Wasabi: A green streamer roll
  • Fold the orange material up into a rectangle that fits comfortably on your back. I originally intended to use an orange pillow but found it was too big and heavy to wear
  • Use the white electrical tape to draw V shapes to represent the fat in the salmon. We cut the tape in half lengthways because it was quite thick to start with
  • Before you wrap yourself up with the scarf, slip a lacky band through the scarf that can be used to attach the green streamer
  • Get a partner to sushi roll you!

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I recently thought about something from my childhood that I hadn't thought about for years. It's a Romanian custom called "sorcova" where kids use a decorated... thing... called a sorcova to tap adults on the shoulder while they recite a special poem in exchange for money on the 1st of January. Why not!

I was a bit young to understand the whole thing, in particular the money part, but I remember really trying hard to remember the poem which didn't make a whole lot of sense.

The poem goes like this in Romanian:

Sorcova vesela
Sa traiti sa-inbatraniti
Ca un mar ca un par
Ca un fir de trandafir
Tare ca piatra 

Iute ca sageata
Tare ca fieru
Iute ca otelul
La anu si la multi ani

I realised just how little sense it made when I tried to translate it into English (sorcova is the name of the decorated thing):

Sorcova, happy sorcova,
Wishing you to live and to grow old,
Like an apple, like a pear,
Like a single rose,
Hard like a rock,
Fast like an arrow,
Hard like iron,
Fast like steel,
To the new year and many years to come

Confusing isn't it! One of those things you don't question until you're older and remember it was weird.

My mum managed to find the sorcova and it's still in OK shape although missing some of the parts I remember, including a little man figurine in the center. I remember thinking it was really beautiful when I was little, and maybe it's the nostalgia or the peacock feathers but I still think it's really pretty!

Mina with the sorvoca:

Happy sorcova everyone!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pavlich Pies, Colourful Cupcakes and Supa Golf

Some pies I made for Pavlich's 300th game:

Some colourful cupcakes for a fundraiser at work. It's the second time I've tried the multi-coloured icing technique, and I think it definitely looks better with stronger more contrasting colours (like red, yellow and blue), but I did like the effect of using little blobs with a star piping attachment on the bigger cupcakes:

Today we went to Supa Golf in the Swan Valley, it was really fun despite being bloody cold! It's also a lot harder than it looks. We also tried the award winning Mash copycat IPA which was really nice. It was meant to have stone fruit flavours, which I couldn't taste or smell, except for a peachy taste when I burped. I reckon that should definitely be a tasting note for beer, something like "hoppy on the nose, and peachy on the burp".

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cooking with Mina - Iahnie de Fasole

Today Mina showed me how to make her delicious Iahnie de Fasole - beans with sausages.


  • 1.25kg of white beans
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste (no salt added)
  • 1 handful of whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 pork and leek sausages (we used macedonian ones)
  • Boiling water

Overnight (or for at least 6 hours), soak the washed beans in cold water in a casserole dish (that has a lid you can use later).


  1. Replace the water that the beans soaked in with fresh cold water and boil for 1 hour on low heat with the lid on
  2. Strain the beans in a colander
  3. Put the beans back into the casserole dish and fill with enough boiling water to cover the beans with the level about 2cm above the beans, and add the salt
  4. Boil again for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed
  5. Remove the beans from the stove
  6. Cut the sausages in half and score them deeply
  7. Fry the sausages (scored side down first) in a frying pan in enough oil to generously cover the base of the pan
  8. Once the sausages are done, remove them from the pan but keep the oil, and put them on top of the beans so that any oil remaining on the sausages drains onto the beans
  9. Fry the onions in the sausage-oil until they soften
  10. Add the parsley and fry on high heat for about a minute
  11. Add the tomato paste and fry for another minute
  12. Add 1 cup of boiling water, stir though until it begins boiling, then remove from the fire.
  13. Take the sausages off the beans and put aside
  14. Pour the fried onion mixture onto the beans in the casserole dish and stir through
  15. Add the thyme, bay leaves and pepper corns and stir through
  16. Add the sausages back to the dish
  17.  Simmer covered for 10-15mins (to soften the herbs and peppercorns) with the lid on stirring occasionally
  18. Enjoy with dill pickles and crusty bread!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Making Oua Rosi with Mina 2014

One of my favourite parts of Easter is making oua rosi with Mina. This year they turned our really pretty!

Also for easter I made some bunny cookies with some cookie cutters I impulse bought like 6 months ago because you know, they're bunnies. It was waayyyy harder than I thought it would be! I used a really great recipe for the sugar cookie dough, but it was just so hard and fiddly to get the cookies to not break apart due to their shape. The ears in particular kept staying within the cutter as I pulled it out of the dough.

The next challenge was the icing. I'd never worked with royal icing before (and even this time I used a packet of it) and my god it's hard. You firstly have to mix it up thick and use it to pipe outlines around each of the cookies which takes FOREVER. Then you thin out the royal icing with water to turn it into flood icing which you use by getting a teaspoon of it and placing it into the centre of the outlined cookie and then working it outwards using the spoon. Very annoying and fiddly! I also added a marshmallow tail which was cute but made the cookies quite hard to stack.

I think that the end result definitely does not reflect the amount of effort that went into it. They were good but not great, I think I might stick to cupcakes!

Since we're talking about baking, here's a picture of some cakes I made for the end of a project at work. The project was to create a simulation of a Caterpillar CAT6060 hydraulic shovel and excavator, including the satellite console that has all the machine switches on it and the BCS monitor for monitoring machine state. My team worked on the software for the BCS unit and the machine control. I think it turned our really well! Unlike the cookies I think you can definitely tell the amount of effort that went into these.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Melbourne 2014 - Sunday

Back in Perth, holidays really go too quickly :(

Yesterday morning we went for a (just less than 4km) jog around the Tan Track around the Botanical Gardens which was a great way to start the day. Well... kind of, man I'm bad at jogging! By the end of our very slow jog my knees and ankles felt like they were going to explode (and still hurt today) even though I was fine cardio wise. I really envy and admire people who can jog and enjoy it, but I would take 30mins of burpies over a 30min jog any day!

I managed to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery when not focusing on my complaining, and also on dodging the various vomit piles around the place. We estimated that during our short stay in Melbourne we saw about 10 piles of vomit, not including the vomit instance when I was actively vomited on.

After a quick shower and checking out of our hotel we had a breakfast/lunch extravaganza session at Cumulus Inc. Amazing coffee, juices and food! We had a coffee outside while we waited (~25mins) to be seated at the kitchen bar. When we asked what juices they did they apologetically said that they only freshly squeeze grapefruit; hopefully this encourages people to try the best fruit candidate for fresh squeezing! I chose the shakshouka to compare it to my favourite thing to get at the Perth Hawkers markets, and it was really really good - a bit low on the spices but perfect for breakfast. Andrew and I shared some home made crumpets and a Madeline with lemon curd over a second coffee, and all this lasted us pretty much the whole day.

We spent the rest our time taking a quick trip into St Kilda for a walk along the beach markets, a quick stop in at Luna Park (we wanted to ride the "roller coaster" but then we noticed that it was more like a chair-lift-roller-coaster with an unhappy looking operator that was standing up on it), and a couple of drinks and a game of pool at the Espy Hotel. I had a VB and a Melbourne Bitter for that authentic experience and decided that VB tastes like artificial sweetener but Melbourne Bitter is not too bad at all! I thought both beers were interesting but I don't understand when people say that they're "bitter", which is a different bitter to grapefruit. I guess I have more beer practice to do!

Back in the city we had another drink at the Lindt Cafe (the iced milk chocolate is the best) and laughed at all the people waiting in line to get into the new H&M that just opened in the GPO building. Seriously the line was snaking all around the building, there were BOUNCERS… in suits… bouncing at H&M! I felt really bad for all the people because they would have waited over an hour to get in and I don't mean to be mean but how disappointed would you be if you waited over an hour to get into H&M, and some girls even had their boyfriends in line with them. For the record I like H&M, but not 1h line like! Anyway I took some pictures because I thought Yvonne would find this funny.

Melbourne is a really cool place, I like it a lot.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Melbourne 2014

Andrew and I are currently in Melbourne enjoying the good food, refreshing cold weather and unfortunate footy.

After a delicious breakfast of poached eggs on toast at The Quarter, an awesome takeaway coffee from Degraves Espresso and a mighty struggle with the Myki machine (we gave up and went to a deli to get one) we caught the tram to the the Queen Victoria Markets. Perth really needs some markets like these! I love doing my fruit shopping at Malaga markets but my god the selection at QVM was huge. Although we were a bit grossed out that there were pigeons flying around pooping on the produce in the outdoor area of the fruit section… eww.

We had a quick pick me up at the Lindt cafe, then headed to Movida for a lengthly 2h dinner and drinks session before the game. We asked for some pimentos de padron (off menu) and were so excited when they said they had some! They were just as good if not better than the ones we had in Madrid.

We also tried the anchovy and tomato sorbet (I braved the anchovy and made it half way, I can see why people like it but I was also reminded why I don't), the Iberico jamon (50gm for $30 but so delicious and worth it), the patatas bravas (again Madrid quality), the beef cheek on cauliflower puree (I am definitely going to attempt the puree at home), and the field mushrooms in sherry sauce (the winning dish in my opinion). We had a couple of Moritz beers, Andrew had a dry sherry, and we also got a bottle of rioja tempranillo. I really really liked Movida, the food and setup made us really nostalgic of our time in Spain.

The game was sad, let's move on.

We had a quick drink at Cookie rooftop bar which I meh-ed - it was OK, but maybe I'd had it hyped up so much that I was disappointed. The bar was too small and awkwardly positioned to service the number of people up there, and there was a garbagey smell about the place. I can see why it would be an awesome outdoor cinema place but as a rooftop bar it was meh and The Garden in Perth is better. My favourite part was the stairs to the top... earn that drink slackers!

Then I got a mega craving for laksa which could not be quenched because the Malaysian part of China town was closed at 11pm. More like Ma-lazy-an! I'm just sore because I really wanted that laksa especially after I got vomited on by some random guy (well my foot got vomit splashed) that didn't even apologise. I think I took it pretty well, and Andrew did a great job of pulling me out of the way before the second torrent of vomit. Then we saw some guy pissing in a lane and some people sculling a goon bag and it wasn't even midnight yet! We've decided that Melbourne city friday night people are much grosser than the Perth city equivalents, even if they have better street art.

We sought refuge in a restaurant called Shark Fin Inn where we caught up with Greg but spent most of the time in amazement at the massive crayfish in the tank next to us, and also wondering if the thing in my vegetarian hot pot was a) a thumb guard, b) a whale foreskin or c) a mushroom. We asked, and after the staff discussed the best english translation they decided on bamboo mandible, which we decided it probably meant option a). I kid, but the food was actually really good, and I had my first black and white snow ear funguses which I really enjoyed.

Today we went to the Melbourne Zoo! We got kissed by a seal on the cheek, landed on by butterflies, watched some monkeys rape/fight each other (our zoo visits are never complete with some form of butt fingering, raping, or my personal favourite, flehmen and urine drinking). It's so much fun seeing different zoos, their different ideas for enclosures and unique animals. Our favourite was the butterfly house which we thought could have done with some classical music or something because it was just magical.

We then caught the tram into the Brunswick and Fitzroy area and took a walk around the suburbs (which were filled with places that looked straight from The Last Of Us) before ending up on Brunswick Street. We had a drink at Bimbo Deluxe (Melbourne you definitely win at rooftop bars), then a perfectly crafted cocktail at Black Pearl, then after some quick shopping at Dangerfield (where I bought 3 x animal related things) we finished off with an early dinner at Brother Burger.

We just came back from a swim at the Hyatt pool and are relaxing before our last day tomorrow. We're planning to run the tan, I am nervous!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, and Mel and Brendan's Wedding

A week ago I spent a week in Kazakhstan for work gathering some information about some machines and processes used at a few of the underground mine sites around the country. It was an amazing trip and a great opportunity - I think very few people can say they've been in an underground mine site, let alone one in Kazakhstan!

For anyone wondering what an underground mine site is like, it's an extremely physically demanding environment to be in. I came prepared with notes, drawings, and documents expecting that I could whip out my pen and paper and take notes down there, but that was SO not possible. My video camera was the only thing I could use as a tool, and even that was difficult because you always had to have your hands free when moving for safety.

It wasn't at all claustrophobic, but it was very uncomfortable in almost every other way. The temperature varied from very hot (around machines) to very cold (due to air being pumped in from above ground), and it was wet (sometimes almost to the top of our gumboots), dusty (we had to wear dust masks which were absolutely filthy when we finished our shift), extremely loud (a jumbo drill operating is fucking terrifying), and our mining outfit (is it called an outfit?) was heavy, hot and constrictive. Before we went I was worried that there wouldn't be any access to bathrooms down there (I drink a lot of water…), which there weren't, but it was so not an issue, peeing was definitely the last thing on my body's agenda! What an experience!

I even have a little souvenir of copper ore: the Perth customs officer thought it was an awesome bit of potential contraband, but luckily I got to keep it :)

On the way back we had two 7h stopovers; one in Almaty and one in Hong Kong. In Almaty we took a dodgy taxi ride into town (500 tenge became 500 tenge/km, the ropes decorating the taxi seats should have been a warning sign…) to go see the beautiful Zenkov Cathedral - one of the only wooden cathedrals in the world, and it's made entirely without the use of nails! Scott insisted there's no way anyone would be able to know, so it's probably not true… he has a point.

We stayed a while and enjoyed the beautiful Russian Orthodox service out of the cold, it was so beautiful I didn't even mind I had to wear a head scarf (tolerance disclaimer - the bit that bothered me wasn't the head scarf, it was that I had to borrow one from a communal box and I'm a germaphobe).

After a terrible sleep on the flight to Hong Kong we sucked it up (along with a Berrocca) and went into town to go see The Peak. It was a really busy Sunday, so that's pretty much the only thing we got to do before we had to go back to the airport, but we took a detour through some markets on the way where I bought some awesome chopsticks with little ducks as the chopstick rests.

Our trip was really successful, but man o man it was exhausting. I took Friday off and spent the weekend relaxing and celebrating Mel and Brendan's wedding down south at Laurence's winery and Pullman resort in Bunker Bay. Congratulations Mel and Brendan!

The wedding was beautiful, Mel looked stunning and Brendan looked very handsome, the speeches and videos were touching and witty, and the reception was really really fun! Maybe a little bit too fun (my head is still hurting a bit today).

Down south is a beautiful place for a wedding. Andrew and I enjoyed the most of our rare time off by having lunch at Knee Deep winery on the drive down on Friday (the butternut medley was amazing), and lunch at Bootleg Brewery on the drive back, which I would have appreciated much more on a less fuzzy brain/tummy.

Congratulations again to Mel and Brendan!

Monday, March 10, 2014


I'm currently in Kazakhstan on a work trip, somewhere I never thought I'd be traveling to! We're waiting at the Almaty airport to travel to Ust-Kamenogorsk and thought I'd take the opportunity to do a quick post.

Almaty is a beautiful city. It was snowing and -12 degrees when we arrived, an absolute contrast to Perth which we left in the mid 30's. We arrived in the afternoon and stayed at a lovely hotel with Persian rugs and beautiful old furniture for the night.

After a swim in the indoor pool and an intense session in the steam room (we had a local show us the best way - 10min in the 50 degree steam then plunge into a cold shower, and repeat until your plane kankles disappear!) we ventured out into the cold and the snow to visit the new republic square and grab some dinner.

The walk to the square was really fun with frequent stops to take photos of the postcardy scenes and crazy looking icicles. Dinner at Olivka was soup (delicious dish-of-the-day lentil soup and brocoli and leak soup) followed by a shared horse steak (tastes exactly like beef) and lamb curry. We were so tempted to just go back to the warmth of the hotel but we were proud that we took a chance with our 4 Russian/Kazakh words at a local place.

This morning we had breakfast in the hotel and tried some chal, a fermented drink made from camel's milk. It smelt absolutely awful, but tasted OK, sort of like fizzy yoghurt with an alcoholic aftertaste. I only risked a small sip.

I haven't had a chance to try the local beer yet, I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sacrilege at Perth Festival

A massive bouncy castle in the form of Stonehenge, how much fun!

Emma, Joey, Andrew and I decided to go on the last day of Sacrilege which was here for the Perth Festival at the Supreme Court Gardens.  It closed at 7pm so we decided to go at around 5pm - we figured that would be enough bouncing and then we could go grab dinner and a drink afterwards.

Turns out there were timed sessions of 10 minutes which… THANK GOD for because we were all about to die when the whistle for our session blew.

Andrew and Emma went barefoot, Joey wore socks, and I took things a little bit too seriously with my Nike studio wrap shoes.

We definitely didn't pace ourselves! Because the bouncy castle wasn't super bouncy (and there were no flips allowed, but I did manage to sneak in a handstand) the funnest thing was running, which felt like you were running super fast in space. I think it was the final lap around the outside that killed me the most!

I can't believe how tired we were after 10 minutes! How embarrassing. Also, we have a 2 hour session booked at BOUCEinc at the end of March, probably should have gone for the 1 hour session, whoops. After 5 classes this morning (3 fitness, 2 pole) I am feeling pretty sorry for myself this morning, but totally worth it!