Winter Weekend: Mount Hotham

Winding our way up to Mt Hotham it quickly became clear we were in a very different snow situation compared with Falls Creek the previous day. Snow was falling, the wind was howling and visibility wasn’t great. I was excited!


But also driving very cautiously…

We stopped to take a photo of the Hotham sign and my phone said it was -4 degrees. Not sure how accurate that is but it certainly felt below freezing. And hard to keep one’s eyes open…

Didn’t even need chains, thanks All Wheel Drive, whatever you are!

We drove through Hotham to Dinner Plain where the weather was much nicer.

But much less snowy, so we bought a Hotham resort pass online and headed back for lunch.

The view was great!

The food, pretty average.

Back outside conditions were still frigid.

I braved the cold in a bizarre small-down-jacket-over-a-large-wool-coat outfit:

With proper shoes and socks on! Who’d have thought my hiking boots would ever come in handy again?! We found a protected slope perfect for busting out the free toboggans we had been given.

My beanie is one of Carrie’s Beanies for Brain Cancer, they raise much needed funds for research to find a cure for the horrendous disease that is brain cancer.

Sadly, I lost our toboggan race.

Andy built a snowman (I didn’t have waterproof gloves on!) and I photographed it as if I’d helped:


Andy tried a toboggan/snowboard hybrid sport:

It ended as well as you can imagine:

We finished our afternoon with a snowy walk:


Walking in a winter wonderland

And then began the somewhat tedious drive home.

A magical day.

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Winter Weekend: Bright and Falls Creek

A few weekends ago, Andy and I packed our winter woolies and headed to Bright, a small town at the base of some of Victoria’s most popular mountains. It was early in the Australian snow season (it’s a real thing, I promise!) so we didn’t have plans to ski but hoped we’d see a bit of the white stuff. We weren’t disappointed.

We stayed at this AirBnb which was really just a motel room but it did have a spa and a fireplace; both essential for a winter mini break. Bright is very picturesque, surrounded by pine covered mountains with low cloud drifting in and out all day. Not all the shops and restaurants were open yet but we still ate very well.


I highly recommend Ginger Baker for breakfast. They’ve managed to create the perfect cold weather al fresco dining scenario with wood fires to keep you nice and toasty.

I had the potato rosti with cured salmon, spinach, hollandaise sauce & poached eggs

After breakfast we dropped into the visitor’s centre to find out the best way to head up into the mountains. The woman who helped us was beyond charming, in fact, everyone single person we spoke to in Bright was absolutely lovely. She informed us that we’d need a resort pass to head up to Falls Creek which would allow us to park and take a free chairlift into the village bowl. Seeing as it was already late morning, we bought an afternoon resort pass which was only $20 to enter after 1pm.

It’s mandatory to carry snow chains on Victorian mountains during the winter months so we dropped into the Shell petrol station to pick some up. Again, the man who served us was super friendly, he gave us a discount on the chains, sold Andy a pair of $50 gloves for $20 and lent us two toboggans for free! I wonder if everyone is this nice at the end of the snow season?!

The drive from Bright to Falls Creek is about an hour and a half. It’s not that far but it’s super windy. I skied a few times at Falls Creek as a child, so I was going out of my mind with excitement on the way up.

This was the view from the car park:

The snow was pretty patchy, but it was still beautiful. After getting the chairlift up to the village bowl we took ourselves off on a short hike.

I’m not sure what the trail was called, we just headed uphill and away from the village.

It’s funny, I’ve seen snow before and lots more of it, but I still couldn’t shake the excitement. Cold weather is so much more bearable when everything is dusted with snow.

As you can see I wore my best snow shoes.


I copped a bit of flack on social media, but my ankles weren’t at all cold! Especially compared to my nose and cheeks.

On we walked.

By the time we started to head back it was snowing quite a lot.

Which was great in my non-waterproof wool coat!

Loving it


Feeling a bit soggy, we decided to warm up at the Falls Creek Hotel.

We had the entire place to ourselves! Unthinkable during the peak season.

The bar tender whipped up a couple of hot chocolates laced with Baileys. It was delicious! And rather strong.

Hot chocolate hitting the spot

Eventually we got the chairlift back down to try and avoid the bad weather on the drive back.

My 100th attempt at getting a decent chairlift selfie

We emerged below the clouds and the sun was out at Mt Beauty.

An amazing view near the town of Mt Beauty

That evening we stuffed ourselves with appetisers and craft beers at the Bright Brewery, another great local establishment. Little did we know there was a lot more snow in our future…

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Four ways I’m embracing winter 

Dressing warmly has me hot under the collar 😉

I haven’t had a proper winter in a long time. I lived in the land of perpetual sunshine for three and a half years (Western Australia) and then chased summer around the world for a year and a half. As a result I am totally embracing the cooler weather this year. The foggy mornings, endless cups of tea, the chilly sunsets (why is it the clouds go the most insane colours in winter?!), snuggling up under 3 layers atop an electric blanket. It’s magic.

Along with Canberra and Hobart, Melbourne is one of the colder capital cities in Australia. Our weather is famous for being changeable and people love to complain about the seemingly endless winter. Here’s how I’m embracing the cold season:

Starting the day right 

I love porridge and I feel like it gets a bad wrap! My mum calls it ‘wallpaper paste’. I’ve had porridge for breakfast every morning for about a month now, I either have it with banana, cinnamon, a drop of vanilla essence and some desiccated coconut or I grate a pink lady apple into it and add cinnamon. It’s like apple pie for breakfast. It keeps me full for ages and warms me up from the inside out.

Dressing the part 

When I lived in Kalgoorlie, which is slightly colder than the rest of Western Aus, my Perth friends would put on a synthetic jumper and a pleather jacket and complain about the cold. Haha! Investing in natural fibres like wool, down, leather and fur (if you’re into that) is the way to go. I bought three 100% Merino wool sweaters from Uniqlo for $40 each and have had them on high rotation. They are so soft and warm; I got two turtle necks in white and black plus a maroon crew neck. They go with everything. I also purchased this 100% wool coat from Sportsgirl in anticipation of single digit forecasts.

I don’t know who was it who said ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothes’ but it’s so true! Having plenty of tights, thermals and decent socks makes getting dressed in winter so much easier.

My what a warm neck you have!

Soups, soups, soups (and maybe a slow cooker) 

Pumpkin and sweet potato soup

I haven’t hit the slow cooker yet but I’ve been making soups like a madwoman. I mostly just throw a load of veggies (onion, garlic, carrots, celery, sometimes sweet potato and spinach or whatever is in the crisper) into a huge pot and add liquid vegetable stock and maybe a tin of crushed tomatoes. Then I might add a tin of lentils and a bunch of Moroccan spices or a tin of kidney beans and Mexican spices. When the veggies are soft and the soup has cooled a bit I put it through the blender in batches. I’ve added chopped up cooked chicken and pork leftover from a roast to add in for protein. I now eat soup for most lunches and dinners and have a freezer full of it! So cheap, tasty, warm and healthy.

Winter mini breaks

I have two winter mini breaks planned over the next few months. One to Bright which is at the foot of the Victorian high country and a base for hitting the ski fields. And a second to Hobart, Tasmania. Seeing snow makes me feel very affectionately towards winter! Even a light dusting is cosy and romantic. I can’t wait for open fireplaces and snowy walks. Although, I’ll never forget the time I had to move house, on a tram, during a snow storm in Vienna… that was less romantic!

Is it cold where you live?

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Life lately

Well, well, well. I seems such a long time since I’ve blogged consistently. To think I managed to blog more often when lived in a remote mining town AND when I was on the road contending with abysmal wifi is somewhat shameful. Life hey? It’s either busier or I don’t have a handle on time management. A bit of both probably.

So what’s been happening? Well a couple of weekends ago I flew over to Perth to celebrate the engagement of these two:


Bec and Scottie, whom you may remember from Rome or from when we lived together in an adorable cottage with a white picket fence. Bec’s parents hosted the party at their house and absolutely no effort was spared in putting together this spectacular evening. Bec’s mum painstakingly put together all of the decorations; everything from the floral wreaths to the lighting configurations to the forest of white trees lining the pool. It looked wonderful.

Bec and I

It was a major Kalgoorlie catch up and so good to see everyone and get up to speed on two years of gossip.

As per usual we burnt up the dance floor into the miniscule hours and spent Sunday a little worse for wear. Totally worth it!

So many laughs

It’s amazing to think back to how young we were when we all met in Kalgoorlie in our first graduate journo jobs, figuring out life and love in the dusty Goldfields. Not these guys are gettin’ hitched!

I also saw my old community theatre friends and had an amazing evening with them over cheese platters, pizza and sparkling wine. Wish I’d remembered to bring my proper camera out!

What else? It’s getting very chilly here in Melbourne which I’m loving. I’ve been working a lot which I’m not loving. I have a few mini breaks coming up which will be wonderful. I’ve been binging hard on Orange is the New Black (so weird to think we watched the last season in London!) and Master of None, are you watching? And eating a lot of soup!

OH! And this biggest update is that I am now blonde.

What’s news with you?

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What’s your food philosophy?

Tucking into dinner in Naxos, Greek Islands

That was the first question on a list I was given by Liz from I Spy Plum Pie when asked to feature in the Foodie Files segment of her blog. I was kind of stumped. I’m not someone who only eats organic, locally sourced produce. I don’t kneel at the altar of paleo or gluten free living. Do I even have a food philosophy?! Turns out I do, and you can read my answer here.

What dictates what you eat? Time? Flavour? Where you live? Health benefits? Money? I remember hearing from a woman on a podcast who was amazed at the variety of foods the chefs at her college could make, even if it was just spaghetti or mince meat tacos. The reason? Her family had eaten chicken for dinner every single night of her childhood. She just thought that’s what everyone did!

When you’re fortunate enough that daily food is a given and not a luxury, it’s interesting to think about why you eat what you do.

Even if it’s a burger in a bikini in Bali.


Your thoughts?

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My top 8 blue water travel destinations

Some people love mountains, others a quaint countryside. Some are fascinated by volcanoes or find ultimate paradise in the mist of a thundering waterfall. Me? I love blue water. Especially the kind you can snorkel in. Here are my top 8 best blue water locations around the world:

Savai’i, Samoa

I visited Samoa in 2013 when my sister lived there. After I arrived by plane on the mainland we took a ferry to the smaller island of Savai’i. It was my first (and only!) experience on a South Pacific island and it was magic. So many of the beaches in Samoa were completely deserted, it was bizarre and wonderful. I’ll definitely be back in the region one day.

Crete, Greek Islands

I knew I would love the Greek Islands and Crete didn’t let me down. The water is that deep rich blue, different to what you find around tropical islands. I probably swam more there than in my entire life.

Coral Bay, Western Australia

Andy took me to Coral Bay for my birthday after we’d been together about 6 months (way to set the bar high early!). The water is extremely clear and the Ningaloo Reef provides some of the best snorkelling in Australia.

Caye Caulker, Belize

Kayaking near the Split

I don’t think I’ll ever be over this small island off the coast of Belize. When someone asks me where my favourite place is from our 16 month long trip I always say Caye Caulker (and Mexico). The snorkel trip we did there was probably the best day of my life to date! I have a large framed photo of the turtle below on my desk at work.

Snorkelling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Caye Caulker

Dhermi, Albania


So blue. So cheap. Friendly locals. What’s not to love?


Banff, Canada

Moraine Lake

A controversial entry, given all my other blue water destinations are warm and involve swimming, but the glaciers in Banff give the lakes the most incredible blue colour. It almost doesn’t look real. I actually think Moraine Lake is even more spectacular than Lake Louise.

The Archipelago of San Bernando, Colombia

The Archipelago of San Bernardo is a set of nine coastal coral islands and one artificial island belonging to and governed by Colombia, located in the Gulf of Morrosquillo in the Caribbean Sea. We stayed in the most incredible floating tree house hostel there, surrounded on all sides by the most beautiful water.

Esperance, Western Australia

This was meant to be a list of 7… but then I remembered one of my most beloved places on this green earth. There’s a reason I look 25 trips to Esperance over the three and a half years I lived in the region. It has the most beautiful, secluded beaches I’ve ever experienced. So often I’ve been the only one on the sand (save for a few friendly local kangaroos). It’s a long drive there but so worth the journey.

Got any blue water destinations you can recommend? What do you look for in a travel destination?

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East Africa is calling

Full photo credit to my sister Sarah for these beauties

My sister took these photos in Rwanda. That’s where she lives, with her man Nady in Kigali. I’ve just had 5 weeks of leave approved so in September/October that’s where I’m heading. To see animals, to climb volcanoes, swim in lakes, stand on white sand beaches and spend time with some of my favourite people. I can’t wait!

We’ll hopefully get to see not only Rwanda, but Tanzania (hence the white sand beaches), Uganda, Kenya and the DRC. I’ve never been on the African continent so this is extra exciting. If you have any travel tips or advice please let me know. I’m excited to blog all our adventures. But for now I’ll be saving money, hibernating all winter, updating my passport which has run out of pages (!), pretending to do a bit of research (I’ll be relying heavily on Sarah to show us around) and staring at dreamy photos like these.

A close encounter in Akagera National Park, Eastern Rwanda

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What’s your best coincidence story?

I love a good coincidence story, like a lot of people. This American Life (aka the greatest podcast in the world, if you aren’t already well acquainted what on earth are you doing reading this and not on their website downloading EVERYTHING?!) recently did an episode on coincidences and it was so fascinating, I found myself attempting to relay each story to Andy and failing at doing them justice. Because that’s the thing with coincidences; you always think yours is the best. You feel like you have something bizarrely wonderful and ‘small worldly’ happen but upon retelling it to others, barely manage to muster any interest.

That was my experience last week when I had, what I thought was, an incredible small world story. I mentioned, absentmindedly, to my friend at work that this time last year I was in New York City seeing Matilda the musical. To which she replied “I was in New York this time last year as well! But we saw Jersey Boys and Aladdin“. Long story short, it turns out we both saw Jersey Boys in NYC, on the same night, in the same theatre, both with our parents and partner AND scrolling back through our phones, we both took almost exactly the same photo just 13 minutes apart…!!!

The 8am part is wrong as our phones would have been on NYC time when the photo is taken

At the time, neither of us worked at our current organisation. I wasn’t even sure I’d end up back in Melbourne. Doesn’t it seem amazing that a year after seeing the same show in NYC, we are sitting on the opposite side of the world at adjacent desks?! Doesn’t it?!

Probably not. Because it’s my coincidence story, not yours. I want to hear yours and I’ll let you know how it rates to an outsider. Go on!

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5 things the photo-taker in your life wants you to know

That’s me on the left, the photo-taker. Taken backstage at the Goldfields Repertory Club during our performance of Don’s Party in September, 2014

You know that person, the one always wielding an unwieldy camera at social gatherings just snap, snap, snapping away capturing life’s greatest moments? That’s me. I’m definitely the photo-taker in my family and in my circle of friends and I love it. I love looking back at old photos and I think it’s important to capture and preserve memories. I use the term ‘photo-taker’ as opposed to the word ‘photographer’ because the former is more of a ‘memory maker’ and doesn’t necessarily have a keen interest in the mechanics of photography.

It started in primary school when I would take disposable cameras on school camps and wait eagerly to get the films developed so I could look at grainy photos of kids in a canoe. Or standing in front of a flimsy looking hut they’d built. I have photos from the hallways and classrooms at high school, at the tram stop where I spent so may hours. If you’re not a photo-taker I guarentee you have at least one in your life. Here’s what we want you to know:

I take photos of you because I love you

I want to capture a memory of you laughing with a friend, in absolute awe at the top of a mountain, swapping stories with your grandma or dancing like a maniac at a 21st so in many years you can look back and remember how happy and beautiful you were and still are. Sure, people take these kinds of photos on phones but phones get updated, lost or are just poor quality. I take photos on cameras, I print them, I blog them, I share them on social media and importantly, I back them up. What’s the first thing people say they regret losing in a house fire? Photos. Because they are precious and intrinsically linked to history and memory. I’ve literally never heard anyone say ‘I wish I didn’t have so many photos from my childhood’. This article about a man who only discovered he had zero photos of his mother until after she died brought tears to my eyes.

It does sting when you roll your eyes at me

If I had a dollar for every time someone got annoyed at me for taking so many photos, but then used one of my snaps to post to their own social media I could buy a pretty darn fancy camera! It’s the epitome of hypocrisy and not to mention rude. On any given day I see photos I’ve taken used in #flashbackfriday posts or in a collage for someone’s birthday. That’s awesome! But don’t roll your eyes or make fun of my photo taking only to benefit from it later. I always tell my friends they’ll be grateful when they’re old and ugly and have photos of their youth, but the truth is I’ll still be taking photos when I’m ancient and withered.

The photo bombing/pulling a funny face thing is really lame

I get that this is a mechanism for covering up shyness or feeling awkward about having your photo taken, but if you’re pulling a dumb face I’m just going to stand there until you stop, thereby dragging out the process and making it even more awkward… So yeah. Those ‘joke’ photos rarely make it off the camera’s memory card so lets not waste our time people.

Stand straight/sunglasses off/big smile please

It really doesn’t matter how much makeup you have on, or how tired you think you look, a big beautiful smile will always look good. As will standing or sitting up straight. I also often ask people to take their sunnies off for a photo (something people usually hate) because I want to see their eyes, it really makes the photo more personal.

I want to be in the photos too

I’m really lucky to have a boyfriend and friends who will happily jump behind the camera to get me in the picture too. I am not afraid to ask to have my photo taken and I won’t apologise for it. I’ve certainly copped flack for appearing to be one of those women who demand their boyfriend (aka the #instagramhusband) take photos of them but I don’t care. I take photos of other people all the time. Am I not worth having photos of? Speaking of people who are worth taking photos of; mothers. There seems to be a trend of mums taking photos of dad with the kids but never being in the photos themselves. To quote blogger Sophie Cacia in her open letter to dads on instagram ‘take the goddamn bloody photo‘!

So without further ado, here are some photos I love:

The Gang in Esperance, June 2014. I love how this looks like we’re the cast of an angsty teen TV show.

Darling Emily at the Beaten Track Brewery in Kalgoolie, August 2014

Lauren’s circus themed 30th in Kalgoorlie, May 2014

Me in Santorini, breaking the no sunglasses rule, July 2016

Easter Feaster, April 2014

Hopetoun, January 2014

Elly and Jordan on the beach in Esperance 2013

Beach babes emerging from the water at Twilight Beach, Esperance 2014

Andy and I at dinner in Chanie, Crete 2016

A staged candid photo before the Ball in Kalgoorlie, March 2014

Apprehensive Elly and excited Bec ahead of quad-biking in Bali 2013

Andy with his beers in Boston 2016

Exploring ruins at Palenque in Mexico 2016

Niki underwater in Ometepe, Nicaraugua 2016

Kate and I taking advantage of the nice light in the Guggenheim Museum NYC in 2010

My sister Sarah in her kitchen in Samoa, September 2013

Men I know in the water at Point Roadknight 2016

Bec and her pink champagne at the races in September 2013

Brosnan telling a story at my birthday breakfast in August 2013

Alexis and her kilted men in July 2016

My beautiful grandma Jill with dad at her 80th in 2011

Andy the groomsman in Tasmania 2017

Gang at the Nullarbor Muster in Rawlinna 2014

Bec snaps me on the catwalk in Kalgoorlie 2013

Family at Point Roadknight 2016

A beer, book and the woods = Andy’s happy place. Oregon 2015

Lovers laughing at a cocktail party in Kalgoorlie 2014

Mum and I at lunch in September 2014

So many great memories. Go on, take more photos of your loved ones. You won’t regret it.

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How do you celebrate Easter where you live?

I’m not shy about the fact that I love Easter. It’s a very low key holiday in my non-religious family and we usually just get together to relax and eat delicious food.

My experience of Easter in Australia:

In Australia Good Friday is a public holiday during which people often eat fish. It’s like Christmas Day in that everything is closed; all the supermarkets, restaurants and especially booze shops. Nothing really happens on Saturday except the shops are open again so people who went into an pre-apocalypse style shopping frenzy on Thursday can once again go and buy things (I am one of those people). On Sunday morning children run around maniacally collecting chocolate Easter eggs left by the ‘Easter Bunny’ (aka their parents). People often get together and have a family meal like they would on Christmas Day. Throughout the entire Easter period and the weeks leading up, people eat delicious hot cross buns. If there was any doubt Australia is truly a Christian nation just take a look at the way we get into Easter and Christmas! People also use the four day long weekend to take a mini break, maybe go camping. There are no doubt church services on the Friday and Sunday but I’m the wrong person to ask.

Last year Andy and I were in Mexico in the lead up to Easter and then in Belize, on Caye Caulker Island for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Being in such strongly Catholic countries (well mostly Mexico, where Catholicism represents about 80% of the population, in Belize it’s about 40%) I was expecting for Easter to be a big deal. But I certainly saw none of the materialistic markers of Easter we have in Australia; no Spring paraphernalia all over the shops, no hot cross buns and certainly no chocolate Easter eggs. On Caye Caulker we couldn’t buy alcohol and I vaguely recall there was some kind of disorganised looking religious procession down the main street. It was the only year I can recall not eating a single Easter egg.

I was fascinated to hear Easter is not a big deal in the US. Do you celebrate Easter? What’s it like where you live? Do you get a public holiday? Do you have chocolate Easter eggs?

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