birthday week eats

last week i celebrated a birthday! i turned 40 minus 3. i also decided that i deserved to eat and drink special things cooked by other people and not in my kitchen.  here are a few delicious morsels i savoured for you…

birthday dinner @ Chiswick
birthday dinner @ Chiswick

a meal of delicious seafood at Matt Moran’s Chiswick.

twilight cocktails @ Bar 36
twilight cocktails @ Bar 36

i’ve always maintained that Bar 36 (aka Blu Horizon bar at the Shangri-la) makes the best vodka martini. a birthday martini is becoming my yearly tradition!


paleo-friendly brekkie @ the local
paleo-friendly brekkie @ the local

brekkie at Sotto in North Sydney

Veuve & blooms
Veuve & blooms

because birthday girls drink bubbles!

lunch @ Cooh
lunch @ Cooh

i read about this new organic, sustainable cafe (Cooh) and had to go! i had smoked trout with roasted beets, radish, goats feta mousse and a seed crisp. soooo good.

i’d definitely have a birthday week do over!!!

thirty six trips around the sun

Today is my last as a 35 year old.

While I don’t usually get philosophical about birthdays, I would like to reflect on my last rotation around the sun…

This past year has seen a lot of change in my life and realisation of what changes need to be made in order to reach my/our goals.

Jay and I moved from our beloved rented sky-home apartment in Pyrmont in order to knuckle down and save some money for a deposit to buy our own (overly-expensive) Pyrmont apartment! Seeing a financial adviser was a rude shock in my spending habits; and it’s been very difficult and a daily challenge for me to reign in my spending and not have the ‘I deserve it now’ mentality. It’s a work in progress…

My work has been a constant challenge; from coming out of a project which was a solid year on a client site working exclusively for them, to managing a multimillion dollar global project and then having to audit and remediate 4 projects back to back that were off the rails with hostile clients, it’s been very tough. Some days I felt powerful and confident, and others I would duck into the bathrooms and have a cry. Many sleepless nights on deployments or worrying about my workload, but when I sum it all up and take time to reflect, it’s been character building and has provided me with more experience to be better in my career. My career hasn’t taken the path I thought it would when I was starting out, but most days I like what I do and the company which I work for. I did some study too which was hard but rewarding.

My extended family has had a tough year; My cousins lost their Mum, who I hadn’t seen in years, but who I love and respect deeply.
My father-in-law is almost 2 years into battling cancer, which is terminal however he’s going through palliative chemo and it’s still working although there are good and bad days, like all cancer treatments.
My brother ‘walked out’ of rehab 6 months into a 12 month program and I’ve been so angry with him I haven’t spoken to him since February. I just had enough of all of the lies and manipulation. It’s hard because I just want to magically fix his addiction and the bad choices he makes with his life because of it, but I can’t. I can’t continue to bail him out and have my emotions manipulated. I love him deeply but after trying every way to get through to him, my silence is my last resort.
On the upside I have had a few conversations with my estranged father, which have been good. It’s obvious that our relationship will never be the same as it was, he’s such an oddity, but I have completely let go of the anger and hurt I felt and carried around with me for 10+ years. It’s not so much a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ but rather a ‘soft glow’ that I can see with our future relationship.
I didn’t get to see much of my most darling Mum this year, with her travelling around Australia, but we had a few days here and there which was nice. I miss her terribly and wish she just lived closer dammit.
On the upside, I have grown a lot closer to my sister-in-law this year. It’s always been hard for Jay because he is so much younger than his siblings so it was like they always saw him as “younger” but gradually over time that perception has been changing and this year we’ve had some quality time with one of his sisters and her family and I really love and respect them. As I get older I am starting to appreciate family a bit more.

Jay & I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary earlier this month. I continue to be in awe of my husband, who is just brilliant, kind, caring, funny, so smart and handsome. We’ve been together 19 years (high-school sweethearts) and he still gives me butterflies. I’m very thankful for him.

The dynamics of many of my friendships changed this year; I made new friends, reconnected with old friends and farewelled some too. One of my best friends said something to me the other day about how some people just come into your life for a finite time where your friendship is intense and has a specific purpose. Afterwards you stay in touch and you’re still friends but the need has been met and the intensity has faded. Other friends are always there, in the background, and you know your love and affection will always be constant no matter the situation. I think it’s true and take comfort in that idea.

This last year my fitness declined a little as different priorities took over, but I recently did the Whole30 which kicked off my desire to make my fitness a priority once again. Im going to do the 12WBT again in the lead up to the New Year; with the goal to drop a few kgs before summer and really just get back into a solid routine. I’m apprehensively excited about it!

I didn’t do much travelling this year; we had a week holiday in Byron Bay in April which was relaxing although the weather was disappointing for a beachside vacation. I took a week off in September just to chill. Jay was at work, so I had some alone time to do day trips out of the city, walk with Harley, see some movies and do some cooking. It was therapeutic.

Last night I celebrated my impending birthday with close friends Janine, Ian, Jared, Pete and of course Jay. We went to a fancy bar for cocktails and then to an even fancier restaurant to dinner. It was so much fun! Here’s a few snaps of our night….





With all that in mind, it’s been a busy year but a good one!

Here’s to a better 36th trip round the sun!

34 things I know now I’m 34

Today I turn 34! It’s not a big deal milestone but it still gets me thinking about my year gone past and what I want to achieve during the year ahead, and for reasons unknown it also causes me a little anxiety.

Instead of writing an reflective account of my highs and lows of my year as a 33 year old, I’d rather take an irreverent approach by expelling some anxiety and imparting some wisdom!

here goes…

  1. there are no problems, only challenges. 
  2. see & admit your flaws (then work on them). mine? I’m impatient, have ridiculously high expectations, am often unforgiving,  say ‘yes’ too quickly and sometimes back out after I’ve had time to think, Id rather express my emotions than talk about it, the expression “foot in your mouth” refers specifically to me. 
  3. always mean what you say. don’t f*ck around with mind games because you end up either hurting yourself or someone else.
  4. life is too short to wear or own bad underwear. the moment it starts sagging, losing it’s elastic or has wholes in it, it’s life is over. repeat after me. over.
  5. no matter how loyal you are to a company (unless it’s yours), their bottom line will always come first. remember at the end of the day it’s business.
  6. if you think a bug/spider/unholy-creature is crawling on you, then it probably is.
  7. always take advantage of an open bar. losing your shoes/shirt/purse/dignity is an optional extra.
  8. dancing & giggling uncontrollably make you feel 1000% better no matter what the situation.
  9. quantum entanglement is what binds humanity. not god.
  10. dead ants have a particular smell and there are alot of things that often smell like them.
  11. if someone cares about you, they’ll make time for you, but if they don’t they wont. however no-one can make time for you all the time.
  12. no matter how busy you get, time with your girlfriends is a must for your sanity & your soul
  13. always try and find something good about someone, no matter how much you may clash in personality.
  14. you’re going to fall/trip over in public. it’s going to happen, so when it does, just pick yourself up as elegantly as possible (I know it can be hard when you’re skirt is over your shoulders and the entire contents of your bag is strewn around you) and just move on.
  15. a smile goes a long way in diffusing a volatile/awkward situation.
  16. forgiveness is a gift you give yourself
  17. friendships come and go; they ebb and flow. if someone’s not in your life, it’s for a reason.
  18. never trust a newly divorced man at a party
  19. my Mum always said ‘you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar’. it’s so true; asking for a favour is all in the delivery.
  20. at one point you’ll realise that someone in your life that you love is toxic. it’ll hurt but you’ll have to let them go.
  21. having 500 friends on Facebook doesn’t mean you have 500 real friends.
  22. don’t go too long without having sex. ever.
  23. it’s imperative to know how to change a tyre, hang pictures, change the gas cylinder in your kitchen blow torch & deliver an attacker-stopping punch.
  24. gossip is all fun & games until you’re the gossip. then it sucks.
  25. always open a door or give up your seat to the elderly. having manners is cool. being disrespectful is not.
  26. people who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
  27. pick a simple, beautiful dish and learn how to cook the sh!t out it – that way you’ll always have something amazing to bring to a pot-luck or impress a date/partner, their parents & your friends!
  28. karma is not real. as much as I’d like to believe it, people don’t get their just desserts.
  29. someone somewhere once said ‘a person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person’. this is indeed very true.
  30. owning a pet gives you untold joy & hours of fun antics
  31. you should always dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
  32. working out 5+ days a week is non-negotiable. embrace it, don’t hate it, learn to love it. it’s with you forever (unless you don’t mind dying from a coronary when you’re 55)!
  33. never let a day pass without kissing your partner passionately and telling them you love them
  34. the sun will still rise, the stars will still shine, the tides will still roll and the world will not end, if I don’t clean the house. (for those that know me this is a huge admission and a realisation that I struggle with daily!!!)

So there it is! My finite babble wisdom in all its glory! Ha ha!

Now I get to start my birthday with a Body Combat class and end it with dinner at Felix restaurant at The Ivy!

a third of a century

I turned 33 yesterday & it was an epic celebration!

The night before, a quiet drink after work with the girls turned into a seven hour alco-thon with me & the guys left standing (barely) at the end of the night. I managed to avoid tuning into a pumpkin by getting home at 11:45pm. 

the first (of many) glasses of vino
Odyssey cheese plate
Tim, James, Mel & Rob

My 33rd birthday was spent with a rude reminder of why I don’t get drunk very often! Vomitous wretching followed by a throbbing headache & a strange sense that I may pass-out from alcohol poisoning at any moment….that was all before 9am. 

Harley lying in the birthday wrapping paper he shredded!
Leunig wrapping paper!

Jay’s pressie hasn’t arrived yet (snail mail…) so I opened my pressie from my Mum – a Polar GPS to hook into my Polar heart rate monitor!!! Now I can track my distance! My girlfriend Tam got me a personalised signed copy of a book ‘Brinn; War in her Veins’ from the author Jotham Kingston! Mandy & Neen’s pressies are on the way. 

Polar GPS
signed by author!

Considering the epic weekend Jay had last week, it was nice that he wasn’t upset with me that I crawled into bed in the wee hours of my birthday! But he did think it was funny that I was in such a mess & was worried that I wouldn’t recover in time for our momentous dinner reservation at Quay in the evening.

The super luck department had it in for me though, as Tim & I had a concall with a customer in Hong Kong where we kept getting kicked off the conference bridge and had random bursts of uncontrollable laughter over the silliest things. I think we may have still been drunk.

a pressie of chocolate from a PM colleague James

One of my team members James left a nice surprise on my desk! Chocolate. I ate 5 squares of the Cadbury Crunchy. All I kept thinking is Michelle Bridges would be disappointed. 

edemame for lunch

I left work and went and ate at the Broadway Sushi Train for lunch. I made the brilliant discovery that edemame is a fantastic hangover cure!

I bought myself this bright orange/pink skirt from Sportsgirl
Sportsgirl Luxe Maxi Skirt

I went to see my hairdresser Elly at Stevie English for a fringe trim & birthday blowdry (for free!!!).

birthday blowdry

Then I picked up Harley from doggy daycare and Jay from work and we got ready to go out for a fabulous dinner! 

Quay Restaurant
Quay main dining room - day view. Source:

The view is amazing. I’m going to write a separate post on the food, it really deserves it! But I did have the most amazing dessert I’ve ever eaten in my life; the Jackfruit Snow Egg

Jackfruit Snow Egg
Jay at Quay
Melly at Quay
Happy Birthday from Quay!

So, as you can see I did have a very eventful birthday. A little too much drinking, a nice reminder that I really am too old for drunken late nights on a school night, but really a nice day where friends & family made me feel special and I forgot I was on a healthy clean diet…for a day & a night…

Here’s to the next third of a century!