Monday, 30 November 2015

Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens


Sydney is slowly creeping towards summer and there has already been a couple days where it has been in the high 30s. Two Fridays ago it was actually 43°C which was horrible. But when the weekend rolls round, it is completely dreary. It has been raining or overcast almost every second weekend since I started my job. Perhaps it's a sign from above that fulltime work really isn't for me. I jest.

I have been feeling quite down for a while now. It's a combination of a few things but in essence, I just feel so trapped. I knew that it was going to rain but I decided to head out to the Blue Mountains. When I am travelling, I still go out as planned even if the weather is kind of crap and decided I need to adopt that mentality for my own weekends back in Sydney.

I hired a car from GoGet and was stuck circling the same few streets since I kept on missing the bloody ramp to the motorway. Seriously. It took me over 20 minutes before I was actually on my way. I'm not a confident driver. I rarely ... well more like never drive. I have driven twice since July and it was just to the shops and back. And back in July when I drove in South Australia, that was the first time in 5 years.

What amazes me about Sydney is the size of metroplitan Sydney. It just keeps growing and encompassing previous separate towns as suburbs of Sydney. For example, Richmond does not feel like Sydney. It feels very much like a large country town with historic buildings but it is a suburb of Sydney.

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It was bucketing when I was in Sydney, but there was a crazy amount of fog once I arrived at the Blue Mountains.

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There is meant to be a very pretty view of the Blue Mountains (See here). That being said, it was still very cool walking around the garden. Definitely had an eerie, if not spooky, kind of feeling. It was very foggy and it was drizzling.

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To be honest, I haven't been to many places in the Blue Mountains. I've done Wentworth and Katoomba but the rest is unknown to me. I have always been a little reluctant to go to the Blue Mountains since it is a little boring but I think I will try to see more of the area. I miss seeing empty land and enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Wednesday, 25 November 2015

GPO Cheese & Wine Room

For the past 5 years, I have walked past the GPO Building on Martin Place twice a day. However, it was only a few months ago when I realised that there are restaurants inside the building and it is connected to The Westin!

For Mr Paella's birthday dinner, I picked the GPO Cheese & Wine Room. When I had booked a few days prior, I had selected the number of people and also the seating location (tunnel rather than the main room). However when we arrived, the wait staff didn't have that additional information on hand which was a little annoying. Doesn't that defeat the whole point of making a reservation?

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The highlight of the night was the grilled prawns entree. I'm not a fan of seafood generally, but the prawns were really well seasoned.

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The mains were a little disappointing. We ordered the chicken spit roast w/ french fries and the mac & cheese with Italian sausage. Although the chicken was really nice, the french fries were okay. Not terrible, but they were effectively a better version of McDonald's fries. Comparable to a fresh batch of McDonald's fries in fact.

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The mac & cheese was a dish that I had been craving for a while and it wasn't creamy enough. It was a little watery actually.

It seems that the cheese fondue is quite popular there and, of course, the cheese boards. But I'm not entirely sure if I would revisit. The GPO Cheese & Wine Rooms seems more like a place I wouldn't mind eating at rather than a place on my list of places to eat at in the Sydney CBD.

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Ending the night with a walk around Circular Quay.

GPO Cheese and Wine Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cafe Oratnek

When I ask people what to do in Sydney, invariably people end up rattling off a list of places to eat. Although this is usually not what I'm after, it does expose me to a variety of places that a) I haven't heard about or b) are the current 'popular' eateries.

Cafe Oratnek is a place that I have been hearing about and I decided to pop in for a visit with Mr Paella. It was a pretty miserable day when I visited which may have been a good thing actually since there wasn't a line! It's at a bit of an odd location; close to Prince Alfred Park or the giant Australia Post building on Cleveland Street.

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I ordered the soy chai latte which was alright. I just wish that places would actually use proper chai rather than chai mixes which does not compare to the real thing.

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My dish was the mashed 4 spring peas & beans, jamon serrano, spinach, kale, parmesan on toast with poached egg. I'm not really a peas kind-of-gal, but surprisingly I really liked it! The jamon was probably my favourite part of the dish. I also tried Mr Paella's soft shell crab burger (not pictured) and it was pretty good. My favourite was probably the chips. Super crunchy and beautifully flavoured.

Cafe Oratnek is well known for it's matcha dishes/drinks such as matcha latte, matcha lamington and also matcha french toast. I'm actually inclined to revisit to try other dishes which is a rarity for me!

Cafe Oratnek Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Wednesday, 11 November 2015

My Biggest Pet Peeve: Lack of Accountability

There is a quote by C.S. Lewis:

'Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.'

I think it describes adulthood perfectly. More often than not, I think that I am the same person that I have always been. But in reality, I am remarkably different to 14 year old Natalie who first started blogging or in fact even 21 year old Natalie. If there is one thing I can say about myself is that I am more sure and confident of who I am, what I want in life and what I want out of the people who are in my life.

People may say that I am quite demanding and aggressive at times. I am largely a very easy going person. However there is one thing that irks me and that is the lack of accountability from people. Over the years, I have cut ties with quite a few people predominately due to their narcissism and their lack of accountability for their own actions. I shall illustrate this in four examples just from this year:

1) Sunbear
I believe that life is a series of choices and it is important to know that. I don't eat out at the trendiest food places in Sydney because I would much rather save that money for travelling. I would much rather spend that $25 for a bus ticket overseas. And that is my choice. This individual has consistently asserted his poor financial situation, which is not the problem. The problem arises when money is spent on studying in Switzerland (a super expensive country), visiting Cambodia, London and roadtrip-ing in Europe and is currently completing a 6 month internship in Atlanta, Georgia. But then claiming that there is no money and that is why 'I would love to visit Australia but I have no money'. That is a poor, poor excuse. Money is not the issue and that excuse always irked me.

I guess the final straw that broke the camel's back happened last night. Sunbear has been absent from my life for the past 3 months due to starting a new life in Atlanta. That was fine. My problem arose when he started messaging me (after a lack of communication when I tried to reach out) and his irritation when I didn't respond promptly. Ridiculous. Absurd. Infuriating.

Now where does the lack of accountability step in? The fact that I was the one who was allegedly overreacting, that it was my incorrect interpretation of the situation and using my feelings and not facts (have you heard of a more sexist comment?). I accept that I may have slightly overreacted but I stand by my principle and to not have accountability for one's actions and rather blame other people. Now that is absurd. It takes two to tango.

2) Fellow Grad
As hinted before, I had a recent issue with my fellow graduate. This person has always irked me but it was fine. Different personality; I find it hard to respect people who have no backbone. Recently for selfish reasons, he extended his defined rotation cycle and only informed me after the fact. Why does this impact me? It means that my rotation cycle is now affected as I was meant to move into the place he is currently at. At a high level, this was only a slight annoyance.

Now where does the lack of accountability step in? This happened when I asked why he didn't inform me when he was seeking the approval rather than telling me after the fact. Excuses. Excuses by the boatload started pouring in, also insinuating that I was overreacting (which I was not as I asked the one question) and in reality, he claims that his actions didn't have an impact. Bull. Shit. I would much rather he have taken ownership and accountability and stated that he did it and 'I thought it was best to tell you after the approval'. Rather, the 'blame' was shifted to his manager, his team blah blah blah and in reality, he had no part to play in the whole thing. Of course, this was consistent with his personality but unfuriating nonetheless.

As it is a colleague I will of course remain cordial and professional. Prior to this, we were half casual friends (the kinda but not really category). I have since cut out the friend component of the equation and we are purely work.

3) Ex
If there are three words to describe my ex it would be: lack of accountability. Lack of accountability for his finances, his education, his studies and everything else under the sun. Not much to elaborate except that is the epitome of someone who has no ownership or accountability for their own life.

4) V
I don't know him at all. Whatsoever. Perhaps it is his own insecurity but when I called him out on being promiscuous he got so offended and upset. Angry even. Why? To me it is as simple as this: you've made your bed, now lie in it. If you don't want people to know that you sleep around? Then don't tell people. Or better yet, don't sleep around. If you do sleep around, then embrace it! Own it!

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Friday, 6 November 2015

Colour Film: Sticky Shutter Problems

It is Fri-yay! It has been a long and tough week. Work has been quite unfulfilling and on top of that, a stupid my fellow grad made an incredibly selfish decision which has directly impacted me. But he is full of bloody excuses and acts as though he has done no wrong. On top of all that, I went to develop a roll of film and I came out feeling very unimpressed. Firstly, rude staff. Secondly, I have a massive scratch in my negatives. Luckily for them, the roll was already subpar so nothing was really ruined, but I was fuming. I know they scratched it when they were removing the film from the canister. Incompetence.

This roll of film wasn't the best. I was so disappointed. Unbeknownst to me, I have a sticky shutter and this has resulted in each frame to be half exposed. I actually don't know how long my camera has had this problem as I haven't developed a film from this camera since I was in Germany late last year. I have since shot around 5 rolls after that. I am a little worried that those rolls (when I do get around to developing) will all have the same problem. I have basically a brand new roll of film in there which means that I can't inspect the shutter. I have mentally written off that roll too. I just hope it was a very very recent problem.

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Helensburgh's Sri Venkateswara Temple. Very disappointed that this photo didn't come out. My first Hindu temple and an incredible experience.

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Live Italian music at Leichardt Italian festival a few weekends ago.

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Gnocchi!

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Passive area! Brings me back to my childhood.

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Another shot that is ruined :(

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The sticky shutter isn't so noticeable in this shot. Maybe because it doesn't take up half the frame.

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Double exposure

What is funny is that I used to use textures like that for my icons and banners back in my Photoshop graphics days.

In other film news, I have purchased 10 x Kodak Tri-X 400 and 5 x Fujifilm Superia Xtra 200! I am still not a fan of Superia Xtra 400, and hopefully I enjoy 200 a little more (it was the cheapest colour film available on the site).