Dreamin’ of a White Christmas

Okay so I’m only 2 little months late on this one…I think I was trying to pretend the holidays weren’t totally over yet.  But the trees are long gone and the stockings have been packed away.

So here is my much over-due Christmas recap:

With three years since my last Christmas at home, I was really jonesin’ for a some snow on my holiday.

Wish: Granted.

It was the perfect combination of friends, family and fun – all with the anticipation of the best.day.ever.  Christmas morning at my sisters new home was dreamy as she has recreated what I remember so fondly about  growing up in our family home at the holidays.


The next obvious highlight was New Years Eve.  Being invited to the ever-exclusive Hatchy Malatchy NYE bash was a true delight.  I mean, you know you’re entering an epic night when this is what greets you at the front door….


And then dinner is served and it looks like this….


And then you dance til 3 am (it’s true!) and wonder why you can’t get out of bed 2 days later…


…….dang flu – but so worth it!

Other highlights included introducing Adam to the “best sandwich in the US“.  Yum.  Special thanks to the Dad + Wilskers’ for an excellent tour de Reading Terminal Market.  That is JUST the way to guarantee more visits from Mr. Hines.


I had a lot of fun with my favourite 3 year old:



Here are some of my other favourite photos.  Did I mention it SNOWED!?



I’m sure I’m forgetting lots here – that’s what happens to your memory once you hit 28…
Feeling truly grateful to have enjoyed the final days of a wonderful 2012 with my most favourite people…
Cheers to a happy healthy 2013!

Palm Springs

I’ve been lazy on the blog front.  Okay, lazy on every front.  Since the last time I wrote, Adam has had a whole 3 months off work.  While he was out adventuring – trekking around Nepal and then hiking about Tasmania, I was holding down the fort.  Which translates directly to working + television watching.  I feel like I’ve accomplished a whole lot – like taking down Abu Nazeer with Carrie on Homeland.   There really hadn’t been much to fill you in on…..until the holidays!

We started our US adventures with a quick trip to Palm Springs.  A place I have been wanted to visit for quite awhile now.


We stayed at the Orbit Inn.  Recommend!  What’s not to love about a cocktail hour by the pool and complimentary beach cruisers to check out the town.  Which included this larger than large statue of Marilyn Monroe:


There was some terrain out the back.  I pretended to be adventurous for a moment…



After leaving Palm Springs – we drove to Joshua Tree National Park.  I imagine if you’re into rock climbing it would be a dream come true.  For me, I enjoyed the sights – especially the wackadoodle trees.  The highlight was when a wolfpack crossed the street in front of our car.




California has provided us with a great stepping stone between Australian and the US.  Next it’s off to Philadelphia for a White Christmas!


How I spent my momcation….

Apologies for the mega delay.  I just wasn’t ready to write about this straight away for fear of endless water works….

As my visit back home in April was nearing its end, I felt the only way to board an airplane with an ounce of emotional stability would be to have Mom booked on a flight to Sydney sometime in 2012.  Well that day finally arrived!

Spending an entirely uninterrupted 20 days with my main lady, Ms. Maria O. Brockwell was a dream.come.true.

If I had to give our time together here a mission statement it would be:

To provide an overview of Sydney’s neighborhoods through an in-depth analysis of the cafe culture.  

So off we set on our coffee drinking field trips.

We did more than just sip on flat whites….

I showed her around the ‘hood where she and I took turns snapping the following photos:

We walked to Bronte and were fortunate enough to catch a truly epic Whale show.   Among our other coastal walk highlights was this picture-perfect moment of little boys in the Icebergs pool waiting patiently for a big splash:

Got it!

We went around some Harbourside Gems:

We woke up bright and early to watch the sun come up over the Pacific…

We ventured into the City and over to the North side a few times too…

Finally having the chance to show my mom a slice of my world here was perfection.  I try to describe what I see and do day after day – how the tide changes the vista of the beach and how the birds make the craziest noises, but it didn’t compare to her being here in person and seeing it all for herself.  Now she knows where I grocery shop and who my chemist is and all these silly little things.   It helps to know that my mom knows the landscape of my life.

I miss playing cards with you every night after dinner – but I know I’ll see you on Skype in a few hours and that makes it just a little bit easier.   Thanks for making the journey, Mom.



Oh and the best news was that Maria didn’t hate her 25 hour flight.  So she’ll be back……and I can hardly wait!

Mother of Noodle Down Under

I’ve been here a little over a week and have honestly taken some pretty interesting photos..but we keep going out and having way too much fun to stay inside and write any of this up…sooooooo, we had a little extra time this morning, post cafe – gig and quick marketing for dinner.

Yeah, you think you’ve been to a cafe or two stateside..but Bondi really raises the bar on the coffee scene…heck, they have a whole guide to the cafes in Sydney..you can’t swing a chicken without hitting one…

Porch and Parlour was how we started today’s tour…and yes that is an old bed spring hung on a brick wall with little roses attached..your eyes are not deceiving you….

so this may look ordinary, but it’s actually two little cut out hearts, behind an old screen, framed in an old white frame.  This is hanging on a wall that appears to be coffee coloured plywood…how they do that???

this could be a “mug shot”…get it, mug shot??  I really was/am happier than this …but I hear the camera doesn’t lie..

toast and jam of beauty…so far the winner in the toast field.  apparently it is a breakfast of champions here..

happy campers…but seriously isn’t the camera lying again?  she looks so young and i look so old..yikes


Weekend Getaway – Blue Mountains

Another trip to the Blue Mountains.  This time, to take in the Jenolan Caves.

We mega-failed by forgetting to bring a real camera along on this spectacular tour.  So this is as good as it gets.  Whoops.

The rest of the weekend was more photographically successful – as we enjoyed the scenery at our B&B.

We ended the weekend with a hike in Wentworth Falls through the National Pass.

Fun Fact of the Day (courtesy of Lonely Planet):

The slate-coloured haze that gives the mountains their name comes from a fine mist of oil exuded by the huge eucalyptus gums that form a dense canopy across the landscape of deep, often-inaccessible valleys and chiseled sandstone outcrops.




Our time in France was amazing, but really, it was just the icing on the (already-dreamy-trip) cake.  The primary reason for the holiday back to the UK was to enjoy some Olympic action!

Watching the Triathalon in Hyde Park is an event I’ll remember forever.  The crowds were massive, and many were decked out in their finest Union Jack apparel.  So many people, all wanting to catch a glimpse of the famous and favoured Brownlee Brothers.  We scored a primo spot for the Cycle portion – but boy do they whizz by!

We were lucky enough to score tickets to an Athletics session – where we took in the Men’s High Jump, Men’s 1500 meter, Women’s Long Jump, Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles, Men’s Discus Throw, and several other qualifiers.  We made sure to get to Olympic Park hours in advance of our session to really soak up the atmosphere.  The park was buzzing.  So exciting to hear the crowds in various stadiums erupt, knowing that somewhere in the Velodrome or Diving Center, Team GB had just won yet another Gold.

Even if you didn’t have tickets to an event – I feel confident that there was no better place to watch the games then within the UK.  Watching a race from a rooftop bar in the City, surrounded by the sights of London was ideal.  Knowing that just a few miles away something historic was taking place.

Olympics aside, we had a wonderful time catching up with friends and family.  My personal highlights included a trip to Borough Market,  visiting several new delectable Gastropubs as well as old favourites, a boat ride down the Thames, and on and on and on.

Taken just several hours after this glorious boat ride – the storms rolled in.  Oh England, how great if you could just get your weather sorted out.

Living in Australia, it’s not everyday that I get to see a familiar face.  So it was especially great catching up with my cousin Heather.  I thank the Olympics for putting us in the same place at the same time!  With her living in Amsterdam and me in Sydney – meeting up in London was a treat.

I saved the best for last.  Of course the other highlight was meeting the newest member of Adam’s family.  This little nephew nugget of Baby Harry deliciousness.

Trip of a lifetime for sure.



Bonnes Vacances!

Walking around Paris in late July you see many of the shops closed with signs in the window reading:

 Reouverture a Septembre.  

Bonne Vacances.

No date.

Just Septembre.

It sure makes the French life/work balance seem pretty cushy.  Especially when you can board the TGV in Paris and just 4 and a bit hours later arrive here:

Collioure is a small French Coastal village located just minutes away from the Spanish border on the Mediterranean side.  It is where Adam and his family vacationed several summers about 15-20 years ago.  It had a special place in his heart and he’d be forever wanting to re-visit it.  I totally understood the magic…..

The Landscape:

The Architecture:

The Torquoise-y Waters:

The Cookies:

The Date Night Setting:

The Company:

Collioure, you haven’t seen the last of us!