Vitamin D deficient

Have you seen the latest Hamilton Island advertising campaign? It is KILLING me! On every sign I walk past in the city, on every bus that drives past me and in every newspaper or magazine I read, I see the ad below.

‘Where in the world would you rather be?’ it asks. Well nowhere of course! I want to be there on that very boat with the sun on my back and a cocktail in my hand. Where I don’t want to be is walking the streets of dreary Sydney having my satin shoes ruined by the torrential rain.

I know I’ve blogged before about how much I like the rain. But I like it when it rains…and then… stops. And then the sun shines. This continually horrid, grey, miserable winter is really getting me down. I feel like I am in desperate need of some sunshine. I am CRAVING it. I have struggled this week to stop day dreaming about a summer holiday.The Hamilton Island campaign is not helping.  My parents have been there and loved it. But I’m obviously the new target market because I’ve been exposed to all elements of the campaign’s media mix. Which means I simply have to go there.

There’s a few other islands I’ve dreamed about over the past few days too. These are:

Hayman Island
It’s not far away from Hamilton Island so maybe I could fit them both into the same trip? Hayman is the most luxurious of all the Whitsunday Islands and I certainly fancy the idea of floating around in this pool while I gaze at the ocean. Ah, the epitome of holiday indulgence.

 

Fiji
Everyone keeps telling me how wonderful it is. Leigh loved it, Roz loved it, Mel and Jay loved it. I want to go. Look how happy Jay & Mel look on their Fiji holiday. Am I jealous? Hell yes!

Lord Howe Island
You know how sometimes somebody will tell you one little thing about a place and it stays in your memory for ever? Or maybe that’s just me. 
Leigh went to Lord Howe years and years ago. And I remember her saying that because the speed limit for cars on the island is only 25km, most people just ride bikes. And every since then I’ve really wanted to go. I don’t actually like riding bikes so I’m not sure why this place appeals to me but I guess it probably has something to do with the slow pace of life.

Norfolk Island
There’s so many things that interest me about this island. It seems kind of mysterious. And again, everyone I know that’s been there has loved it. Well, my sample size consists of only four people. But read this description from their home page and tell me you don’t want to get your butt on the very next flight:

“Welcome to our world. Where you can be as laid back (or busy) as you want to be. Where the only fast food is pulled fresh from soil or sea. Where there are no traffic lights. Where you can still park your car with the keys in the ignition. Time moves slowly here. Elegant convict-built Georgian buildings are still in daily use and have been nominated for World Heritage listing. Ours is an island of unspoiled natural beauty, where we tread lightly upon the earth. We are a unique people, descendants of the famous Bounty mutineers. We speak our own special language, and will welcome you in our own unique way. How do you get here? Norfolk Island is just a short flight from Australia and New Zealand, so don’t delay. Experience a holiday so relaxing, it will permeate every fibre of your being. Welcome to the World of Norfolk. Welcome back to earth.”

 And plus, I just really want to see this big cabbage.

 

Tasmania
I’ve been before with my parents and I know that Ian would love it. We want to road trip around later in the year. A road trip + time alone with my darling + an island (of sorts) = a most fabulous holiday!

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Places I love in the world

So many of my loved ones have been holidaying or travelling lately. There’s been snow trips, road trips up North, Fiji holidays and travel through the UK and Europe. I’m currently as green as the wicked witch of the west.

I’m trying to decide where I want to go next and when Ian and I can actually coordinate holiday leave. While all that logistical stuff is being worked out in the background, I’ve been reflecting on my favourite places to be in the world.

This is my list of the six most happy spots for me.

6 – Home.

As in Lake Macquarie. Growing up, I really took the lake for granted. But now that I don’t see it as often, I realise just how beautiful it is. I wish I lived back there, close to my parents, my sister, David, and my fabulous cousins.

  

5 – Brighton Beach, Victoria.

I have loved this beach since I first saw Ken Duncan’s picture of it.  I’ve been there a bunch of times myself now and it always makes me so happy. I love how yellow the sand is and I love the brightly coloured beach shacks. I think I have photos of myself doing stupid poses in front of most of them! My visits to this beach have always involved the people I love most in the world. That too makes me think fondly of this place.

4 – Hawaii.

Donna and I planned our Hawaii trip within an inch of its life. We itinerarised, then reitinerarised. It’s what we do. Planning is half the fun!

I always say to Kebabs that it feels like we grew up after our Hawaii trip. Before we went there, everything was simple. When we came back, life suddenly got more complicated. Work was stressful, our schedules were busier and there seemed to be much more to worry ourselves about. But in Hawaii, we were young and everything was wonderful.

3 – Kaikoura, New Zealand.

This was the place in NZ that I loved most. And NZ is so beautiful that it’s a big call to make. The day we were in Kaikoura, Ian, David and Leigh went sea kayaking and I sat on the beach for a few hours, all alone, feeling completely at peace with the world. The person I most like to spend time with is myself ;). So my time on this beach was pure, blissful, contentment. This photo is taken in Kekerengu (which is the next town over) looking back over Kaikoura. Such amazing colours!

2 – Xian, China.

Walking on the city wall in this picture was truly one of the happiest moments of my life. As I walked along with Mum and Ian, I realised that nobody in the world knew where we were. And there was something totally exhilarating about being so free.

1 – Wherever Ian is.

Because if he is there, then all is right in my world.

Food for thought

I have just spent my whole work day in a seriously boring training course.

It started at ridiculous o clock (7.30am!) so I didn’t have time for breakfast before hand. Which meant that I spent most of the morning feeling hungry and dreaming about food. Instead of taking notes, I wrote down my current thoughts about food. And I thought I’d share them with the blogoshpere.

Here they are:

  • I cannot give up coffee no matter how hard I try. Kylie, I’m not sure if you read my blog but I know you’re hearing me loud and clear on this one!
  • delicious is the perfect foodie magazine for me. I find the recipies in Good Food, Good Taste and Food Ideas too simple but the ones in Gourmet Traveller too gourmet. Donna Hay magazine is insipid and uninspiring. delicious is just right.
  • I hated avocado when I was growing up but now I love it. Especially on toast with vegemite. Apparently this is weird.
  • I don’t really think I’m a fussy eater but there are some things I just won’t eat. I don’t like raw meat or raw fish. The texture makes me gag. Sometimes I manage to eat a little bit of smoked salmon but I have to activley not think about it being in my mouth. Which kind of defeats the purpose of eating it.
  • Weirdly, bok choy also makes me gag. I like the taste but struggle to chew and swallow it.
  • I also don’t like goats cheese or cauliflower. And hot tomatoes and things with dried fruit in them are only ok in moderation. 
  • It suprises me that I am not a vegetarian. I hate like the idea of eating dead animals. I will NEVER buy food that has involved morally deficient humans treating animals cruelly. In particular, foie gras, non organic chicken and battery eggs.
  • Two Figs vineyard in Berry produces such amazing wine that every time I drink something else now, I never like it as much.
  • I love kneading dough. And pizza tastes so much better with your own base.
  • I love dark chocolate.
  • I tasted white anchovies once and loved them. In fact after I’d had them, I became a fan of anchovies in general. They were another thing I hated when I was a kid.
  • The John West tuna guy was a topless waiter at a hens day I went to once.
  • Balsamic vinegar always makes me think of Ian . He went through a phase where he’d make salad with nothing in it but lettuce, tomato and balsamic vinegar. Every single night. For months. And months. And months. Eventually I had to put a stop to it. I couldn’t eat balsamic vinegar for a long time after that.
  • I’m bored with winter fruit. Seriously, there’s only so many oranges and mandarins one can eat. When are pineapples back in season? I need pineapple!
  • I’m definitely not done with winter cooking yet. I love making hearty stews and soups.
  • I usually have about three favourites cuisines at any given time. These change regularly but the constant favourite is Japanese. Especially sushi (without the raw stuff), ramen and okonomiyaki. Indian is more often than not in second place. Sometimes Italian sneaks in at number two. Third generally rotates between Vietnamese and Lebanese. Pho makes me very happy and kibbeh makes me equally as happy.
  • I think that thyme is a vastly underrated herb.
  • Basil, mint, thyme and rosemary are my favourite herbs.
  • Dill is my least favourite. Ian and I are united in our belief that it smells like dead ants.
  • I am a yoghurt addict. Poor Donna has spent too much of her life listening to me talking about yoghurt.
  • I love the drinks we discovered in NZ. Monteith’s apple cider, and Phoenix Organics sparkling fruit juices.
  • When I went to Tasmania with my parents, we did a tour of Cascade Brewery. They tasted all the beers, I tasted all the soft drinks. I think I just really like drinks that come in glass bottles.
  • I really want to try more things with polenta and more things with quinoa.
  • When meat, olives and fetta cheese are all in the same recipie, it makes me feel all salted out and I never want to cook it.
  • I LOVE lamb shanks. I saw duck shanks on a tapas menu when I was on the Gold Coast. But I don’t think I could eat a poor ducky’s shank.
  • Dumplings are my favourite food ever. The asian kind, not the sweet ones.
  • I want to try baking a risotto rather than the painful, stiring for hours version.
  • I used to be really good at making frittatas but lately they have been disastrous.
  • I don’t like sweet things as much as I used to. I don’t know why.
  • I love fish. A lot.
  • I love blue cheese. The stinkier the better.
  • Runny eggs scare me.

I wrote more but I think that’s enough for now…I’m practically salivating. Will save the rest for another post.

Hope

My Darling Donna Kebabs sent me this lovely poem the other week. It made me cry. In a good way. I thought I’d share it here.

Hope

Hope is the bright shining light which keeps darkness at bay
Hope is the gentle cold breeze on a hot summer day
Hope is to remain positive when it gets tough
Hope is seeking more when others think you’ve had enough.

Hope is dreaming of tomorrow
Hope is simmering under sorrow
Hope is sparkles when there’s tears in our eyes
Hope is a beautiful thing. And beautiful things never die.

Hope is as light as a feather
Hope keeps all of us together
Hope is grand and free of cost
Hope is the last thing ever lost.