Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Cafe Belle Fleur

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Who would have guessed that Cafe Belle Fleur is located at a Flower Power (flower nursery) in Glenhaven. It was a bit expensive considering it was at a Flower Power and in the middle of nowhere, however the food was pretty good and the setting was quite pretty.

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I ordered the vegetarian burger (lentil & chickpea) and I actually can't wait to recreate it at home for my lunches next year!

Cafe Belle Fleur Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Christmas Lights

Christmas was always a non-event when I was growing up. These days, it still is. After a family lunch and present opening, I spent the rest of the day watching Jane the Virgin. I actually love that show!

These are some photos from Christmas Eve when I went Christmas light hunting. Some of these houses were actually crazy!

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This was from the front window of their house!

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Fitzroy Falls

A few weekends ago, I went on a one day road trip with Mr Paella to the Southern Highlands. I had visited the region earlier this year and it is a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney (although it is only an hour from the very edge of Sydney, damn you urban sprawl). We were heading to Fitzroy Falls at Morton National Park.

It was a little bit of a dreary drive initially however the weather picked up. Perhaps I'm a little old fashioned, but I'm not the biggest fan of the GPS. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful tool and the few times that I do drive, I love using Google Maps. But my problem is that I like to see the "bigger" picture of where I am driving and getting the general direction of where I need to go and I feel that that is a little lost when you follow directions mindlessly. Long story, but we didn't pay enough attention and we turned too early onto a small country road. Which was great!

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I'm a little boring as an individual but every now and then this need for spontaneity pops up. I don't mind taking the back roads and you see different things!

We eventually made our way to Bowral for lunch at Primary Expresso. I ordered a potato rosti and Mr Paella ordered baked eggs. Nothing to write home about, but a nice simple and hearty meal.

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Sadly at the time of my visit, it was a little dry and Fitzroy Falls was a trickle. That is the thing about outer New South Wales, I feel like a lot of the landscape is quite similar and Morton National Park reminded me of the Blue Mountains. Namely due to the flora.

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We did a quick walk around the track and discovered that the other falls were completely dry.

on the way back to Sydney, we decided to go via the scenic route from Kangaroo Valley to Berry. Oh my. The road there was crazy! It reminded me of country roads I visited in Switzerland except the road was narrow-er and the driver wasn't as confident. There weren't any lines and some of the bends were almost 360! You know that it is a sharp bend when the sign recommends slowing down to 25km/h on a 80kmh stretch of road. Please see photo below.

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Look at the right and left hand side of the image of the road.

It was a lovely day heading out of Sydney. I miss open space and the country. Or semi-rural. Actually, they are still big towns but compared to Sydney, everything is small.

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Friday, 18 December 2015

Figure 8 Pools


Earlier this year, I made an attempt to find the famous Figure 8 Pools at the Royal National Park. However I didn't manage to leave enough time to get to the pools before high tide and was interested in returning one day.

I decided that I would do the hike to find the pools on the day of my 24th birthday. Spoiler alert: I made it!

There are two ways to get to the pools: 1) from Otford which makes it a 13.5km round trip hike or 2) from a car park so it is a 6km hike. Naturally I went for the 13.5km hike like last time. The hardest part of the hike is getting from Otford train station to the start of the Coastal Walk. It is so steep and almost at a 45 degree angle.

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I walk quite fast and I hike at a relatively brisk pace (except when uphill) and I managed to get to Burning Palms Beach in a record time of just over an hour! That means I walked 5km in just over an hour! I am very glad that I didn't attempt to go to the pools last time as it was quite difficult getting there. The tide was low however scrambling over rocks and walking on the rock platform is a little challenging. It requires nimble feet and a lot of balance.

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The Figure 8 pools are a natural geological rock pool located on a coastal rock shelf. There is the perfect Figure 8 pool and multiple over pools that are not quite in the "8" figure. The pools are deceptively deep and lots of people just jumped into them!

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After a small wave.

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This was so cool! A perfect circle.

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A portion of the 'path' back to the beach.

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A bit of warning for those who visit, beware of the waves. On many occasions, the wave would hit the rock shelf and water would spill over the shelf and into the pools. However, on one instance a big wave hit and the water went across the shelf quite high; it went up my shorts for me! A lot of people who were in the pools or lower down (I was standing on a slightly elevated piece of rock) were knocked over and subsequently were scrapped and bleeding. When the water receeded, a lot of people were also fussing over their phone. Thankfully my camera was alright even though it was in my shorts and my shorts were drenched!

The hike back to Otford was boring and tough. It's essentially all uphill and, as it was my third time doing this part of the track, I still wasn't a fan. It's just quite boring and I was glad to finally reach Otford.

I think people should definitely visit the Figure 8 Pools as it is so unique and, although quite popular, it is still somewhat special since a lot of effort is required to reach them. I managed to do the entire hike (including resting at the pools and elsewhere) in around 5 hours. I don't think that I would revisit on my own accord truth be told. The hike is quite hard and it really isn't one that I enjoy. Perhaps I would visit if I had friends coming from overseas.

Some comments:

  • Check the tides as it is really not possible to access the pools except at low tide. Give yourself enough time as buffer and also plan in some time for having fun at the pools. The last thing you want is to be scrambling across rocks (which is hard as it is) without the water lapping at your feet.
  • Please wear appropriate footwear! Don't wear ballet flats or thongs. Wearing either one is just a terrible choice.
  • Bring band-aids! Just in case you do get scrapped when swimming in the pools or even when scrambling across the rocks.
  • Bring water and snacks. I would think this is a given, but I saw so many people walking to the pools without any water or snacks. I really don't know how people do that.
  • And of course: exercise common sense. Chances are you won't have phone reception and you really are on a rock platform in the middle of no where so be safe.
Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Jah Bar

For my early birthday dinner, I went to a tapas place in my area. As multicultural as Sydney is, I find that certain cuisines dominate particular suburbs which can be a little annoying when I don't want to trek out too far for dinner. My area of Sydney has a lot of burgers, pizzas and the occasional Thai. So I was quite surprised to discover that there was tapas nearby! I've eaten at The Strand at Dee Why many times now and never noticed this place.

This was my friend's first time eating tapas and I haven't eaten tapas in a very long time so we were quite excited.

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Sweet potato // $15
wood fired with honey, smoked paprika, oregano and confit garlic

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Cider glazed chorizo // $17
with toasted almond picada

Moroccan braised Lamb // $18
slow roasted, pulled apart & put back together

I didn't take a photo of the Moroccan braised lamb unfortunately! My favourite was the sweet potatoes; the honey made it so incredible tasty.

Jah Bar was an interesting place. We were seated at the bar and could see the wood fire oven and the staff assemble some of the tapas. Like a lot of other places at The Strand, it's a little expensive however I wouldn't mind going again someday. Especially interested to go during warmer nights and sit outside by the ocean.

Jah Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Sunday, 13 December 2015

Matilda: The Musical

Last Thursday night I watched Matilda at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. It was a birthday present from Mr Paella and it was incredible! I had heard amazing reviews from the musical but had zero idea about the musical aside from the obvious fact it is based off Ronald Dahl's novel.

I absolutely adore this musical. It is near the top of my favourite musicals right now, just under or very close to Wicked. It's a musical that appeals to both children and adults and is hilarious. That being said, I didn't expect it to be so well rounded or so touching. There are moments of hilarity (esecially with Mrs Wormwood and Mr Wormwood) but then moments of sadness.

The role of Matilda was played by Georgia Taplin for my show (shared with three other girls) and she was amazing. Actually everything about the show was incredible; the production, the songs and the amazing cast of children and adults.

My two favourite songs are: Naughty and When I Grow Up. I'm a little torn which one is my favourite because the lyrics of 'Naughty' resonate with me. But 'When I Grow Up' really touched me when I was sitting in the theatre. It was an incredible scene with the children and adults sitting and then "flying" on swings into the audience. It's a very bittersweet song. This review perfectly captures my thoughts:

And When I Grow Up, complete with kids and grown-ups playing on oversized swings over the front few rows of the audience, does something which seems impossible — it simultaneously speaks to adults and children in different ways. It’s joyous, cheeky and playful but has a bittersweet resonance for many adults. Have we grown up into the people we wanted to be? Did we take the innocence of childhood for granted?

And when I grow up, I will eat sweets everyday on the way to work and I
Will go to bed late every night.
And I will wake up when the sun comes up and I will watch cartoons until my
Eyes go square and I won't care because I'll be all grown up.
When I grow up
Ha staying up late. Late these days is 11pm because of work the following day. How adult is that?!

I would highly recommend this musical!
Friday, 11 December 2015

BW Film: Sydney

I got two rolls of black and white film developed by a camera store near work. This time, relatively cheap and no scratches! Although I've now come to realise that developing black and white film really is an art and the two professionals that have done it have resulted in two different kind of photos. This time, the shadows and the highlights in the photo are a lot more distinct. I also feel like the grain is more obvious. Compare with the previous roll.

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Seeing these photos also makes me realise that I need to be more aware of the light and shadows in photos. Just another lesson on my very long learning curve.