Four years.

In true Moses style, I am four days late in posting my annual Australian anniversary picture post. Another year has flown by and a lot has happened, including officially becoming a permanent resident (oi oi)! Here’s my year in pictures – and I still recommend that everyone do this as it’s a very very lovely way to practice gratitude and nice to look back on in years to come…

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All I did was pretty much yoga… I did 50 days in a row!

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Until I went down to Sydney for Harbour Life…

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…and spend some time with Stoykes and Swenton. Fantastic nicknames that have stuck!

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Then before we knew it, it was almost Christmas again and Chris made the balcony into a grotto “for the kids” (that we don’t have).

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But we decided to go home for Christmas, so flew from Bali and had a cheeky little stop over on the way, where we drank girly cocktails and got burnt.

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I was soon back in The Toon!

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Where I surprised some of the family dressed as Santa!

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And spent some boozy nights with friends.

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Little Chrissy and myself then had another cheeky stop over in Bali on the way back to Darwin.

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Where we chilled with cocktails again for four days.

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We arrived back in Darwin where Wet Season was in full swing and the storms looked like the end of the world was coming!

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We got some pals on the balcony every day who brightened up the rainy days.

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Then Swenton and Stoykes came to visit for the weekend and we did what we do best…sloth.

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We tried to make the most of the Wet Season by Chris bogging us on the quad :-/

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…and we took Milton the little staffy pup to the beach on weekends.

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Aimee and Jordan came to Darwin in April and we set off on a road trip down the Centre.

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We saw some impressive sights…

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…but broke down and met Bob. 

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We finally made it to Ayers Rock (in a rental car) and had to fly back to Darwin from Alice Springs, sending Billy up on a truck *sigh*.

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I didn’t have time to chill before I was setting off to Bali a few days later for Eleanor’s Hen Do….

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…which again consisted of cocktails and one of my most favourite nights out ever, dancing on the tables and getting  tequila poured down my neck at Motel Mexicola!

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Roe gave birth to the gorgeous Harper and Vickie got engaged – celebrations occurred! 

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Bob then came to stay for a couple of days during his trip of Australia…which turned into 10 nights! We ate and drank like kings for a full 10 days…

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…which thankfully didn’t affect my run during City2Surf, beating last year’s time by 10 whole minutes!

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Since it would be my 30th while I was at home, I had a little shindig with the Darwin girls – thanks Eleanor for organising a bloody lovely day!!

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The following day while I was hungover, we moved out of our apartment with our beloved sunset views and into our mates house for a bit, while we went home etc…

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Me and Chris were going home at different times so I had a solo swan around Singapore on my way back. I learnt asking fellow tourists to take a pic of was useless…apart from this one.

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It was Holly’s Hen Do the day after I landed.  A tacky party bus and a lairy day and night in Durham and Newcastle. 

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I spent some time with my Nana and Grandad. Mainly getting fed (obviously)

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…and my lush little Julie ❤

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Then me, my mam and dad took off to Barcelona for five nights.

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We did a lot of sightseeing, swanning around, eating tapas and drinking sangria.

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…and I turned 30!!!!!!! (What the hell man?)

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We got back and had a little birthday party in the garden. My favourite humans came round and things got a bit out of had later on – don’t worry Mam, I won’t put the pics up on here!

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Me and Rachi then went to Marbzzz for a few nights. 

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Then it was time for the wedding of the year and the bridesmaids gathered the night before at Le Petite Chateau!

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We had the most amazing day for the most beautiful bride! As usual, things got out of hand and we finally stopped drinking at 5am the following day…

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…which did not serve me well and I ended up havin the worst hangover of my full 30 years of existence. 

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After being wrote off after the wedding for the rest of my trip home, I was soon back in Darwin and diving with the Tiger Sharks, which Chris had booked me for my birthday!

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And we went on a camping trip to get me back in the swing of the NT.

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But then it was Chris’s turn to go home, so I decided to go to Sydney for 6 weeks to stay with Swenton.

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Where it was so cold at first, I had to buy a wooly hat!

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We had a lot of trips out – like The Blue Mountains…

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…and Jervis Bay – home to the whitest sand in the world! (As you can tell, the weather changed while I was there).

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We slept, ate, worked and drank a lot of after work beverages together but time flies when you’re having fun…

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…and I flew back to Darwin to greet Little Chrissy from his trip home and celebrate getting our Permanent Residency!! (and Harper’s christening).

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Life has been a bit full on since coming back to Darwin, we moved into our new house last week! Proper Aussie style, with a huge garden and a massive shed…just what he wanted!

I’m looking forward to the next year in the house and possibly our last one in Darwin before we head over East to test the waters there!

Here’s to another year! 🙂 xxx

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Super Bob

Bob was the highlight of my social media for a couple of weeks back in May. Crowned the ultimate hero by my friends and followers (or rock star *American accent*, according to Bob), he came to our rescue not just once but twice during a road trip down to the Red Centre. From a complete stranger to being part of the furniture, Bob is the coolest guy I know, and hopefully a friend for life!

Bob came into our lives on Tuesday 18th April, if I remember correctly – and when I say our lives, I mean the lives of myself and Chris, and my friends Aimee and Jordan who were also on the road trip with us (blog to follow on that – I know, I’m slack). It started when we broke down in our beloved Land Rover, Billy. Billy had already let us down earlier in the day when his hose thing blew (apologies, I don’t know a lot about cars), but anyway, we got that fixed…or so we thought.

In pretty much the same spot that the hose blew, 50km’s out of Alice Springs (the centre of Australia for those who don’t know) and en route to Ayers Rock, the cap on the coolant tank exploded! Great!! So, there we were, pulled over on the side of the road (AGAIN), in the desert and covered in flies, with not a scooby doo on what to do. We were defeated – cheers Billy. Quite a lot of cars drove past and not one stopped but then one guy on his beasty road bike (a KTM 1190 to be precise) pulled over on the opposite side of the Road and took off his helmet. It was Bob!

When I say covered in flies, I seriously mean COVERED!! They were horrendous and a lot of swear words would leave all our mouths in the following days to come. Anyway, Bob had a look – he tinkers with V8 cars as a hobby and Billy is a TD5 diesel but a car’s a car in my eyes! He advised us to fill the tank with water and he followed us back into Alice Springs at a slow pace, stopping every now and then to check the water levels and top up. We made it back to town and safely to the Land Rover garage to have words.

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We took Bob for a drink in Alice Springs and found out a lot about him – a very interesting man indeed, with stories that you could listen to for hours in his cool American accent. That night we had to camp at Alice Springs again. The next morning, we still weren’t sure what was happening and Land Rover were fitting a new tank and cap for us. We had to go bowling to pass the time and we bumped into Bob again that day, missioning about Alice on his bike and checking out what was around town…not a lot really. It was grey and raining that day, I had no idea you got rain in the desert!

The following day, we set off again hopeful that we would finally catch a glimpse of The Rock (Ayers, not the wrestler). We were off and kept getting further and further away… things were looking good!! Then about 100 or so kilometers out of town we saw a car and caravan pulled over on the side of the road with the baldest tyre I have ever seen! They were an oldish couple, definitely retired, and guess who was helping them?…BOB! Evidently, Bob was not just our hero!

We pulled over to see if they needed a hand but he was all done and was ready to head to the Rock too, so he started following us. So, here we were tootling along with Bob on our tail and thinking about how mad it was that we ran into him again helping somebody else! But then another 70km along the road, the cap blew AGAIN! 170km out from the nearest town and stuck…but Bob was there! What are the chances? Talk about the universe sending you signs!

When I mentioned flies earlier, well the flies just 50km out of Alice had nothing on the flies 170km away from Alice! They were intense! We were literally stuck in the arse end of nowhere and covered in flies but luckily there was a blanket of cloud blocking the sun as Chris and Bob took Billy to bits to remove the thermostat (this was the conclusion that was made). At first I had my headscarf over my face, then it was sitting under the mozzie net on the chair. This was serious!! Bob is a menthol cigarette smoker and I even had one after 1.5 year of not smoking – I know, what an idiot. A few more followed too *sigh*. What else are you supposed to do when you’re stranded in the middle of the desert with no phone signal? The smoke seemed to scare off the flies for a bit too!

A few hours passed in the desert before they had the thermostat out. I don’t even know how me, Aimee and Jordan passed the time but somehow, we managed to not go insane. Once the car was back together again, we were buzzing to get it started and go! But…it wouldn’t start!! Something obviously went wrong – god knows! We thought there could be too much liquid on the engine from the cap exploding, so we decided to wait until morning to try again. That’s right, we had to camp over night at the side of the highway with a gazillion flies. And Bob insisted on staying with us to make sure we were okay! What a hero!

So, there we were stranded, and had to make the most of the shitty situation we were in. Aimee and I took on the women’s role and cooked the tea (sorry feminists, it’s just a joke). We cooked up some homemade chips and kangaroo burgers, which would be Bob’s first ever ones. Luckily, we were fully equipped with food, water, cooking gear…but no alcohol. Which would have definitely come in handy that day! The men collected whatever wood they could that wasn’t as ‘dry as sticks’ (literally) to make a fire – they came back with actual trees! We sat around the fire that night hearing about Bob’s fascinating experiences and his family and then headed to bed unwashed and stinking of smoke. Luckily, the flies buggered off when the sun did.

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The following morning, we woke up to the flies again and tried the car but Billy was having none of it! Bob once again took the role of hero and drove Chris on the back of his bike 80km to the next service station with phone signal! Aimee, Jordan and myself were sat there for almost three hours edging closer and closer to the rapidly disappearing shade from the roof tent – we didn’t think of putting up the awning *hands over face* (silly billies). Anyway, they returned almost three hours later and with news that we couldn’t be collected till the following morning. Shoot. Me. Now.

We sent Aimee and Jordan hitchhiking back to Alice Springs and Bob set off for Ayers Rock after doing all he could to help us, and selflessly taking a full 24 hours out of his planned trip! Chris and I were stuck there for another 20 hours. I can’t deny that I wanted to cry. But!!! We ended up getting Billy going…(which I will talk about in my next post – this is about Bob). We did make it to the Rock eventually, FYI. Just not in Billy.

Bob spent the next four weeks travelling the west coast of Australia and we kept in touch, following his journey on Facebook. Chris and I told Bob that he could come and stay with us once he got to Darwin; we wanted to repay our dues and show him how grateful we were. Anyway, he arrived in Darwin on Saturday 20th May and we couldn’t wait to see him! We were straight on the beers (bubbles for me) and out for dinner, showing Bob our favourite sunset spot, and we even went out for more drinks in town, which is very unlike me and Chris. It’s safe to say that I was pissed that night – which isn’t hard at all as I get drunk from just two glasses of bubbles.

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Bob had originally planned to stay three nights with us and head East to Queensland on the Tuesday, but he ended up staying TEN NIGHTS! He became part of the furniture and it was so lovely having him there. It’s very rare that you can say that somebody doesn’t annoy you when they are there all the time, even a little bit, but Bob really didn’t! We went out to eat ALL the time, and we realised that we both had a love for creamy seafood pasta. He was also a bad influence and would insist I have a glass of bubbles almost all of the time. I very rarely declined…

While I was working, Chris and Bob had a day out on his bike to Litchfield National Park and show him the waterfalls etc. By the way, Chris is obsessed with motorbikes, so having someone there who loved them just as much was so nice for him. It’s safe to say they became BFFS! I’m not so good at the motorbike chat. Chris also had an incident at work, which left him with a huge gash in his head (or coconut as Bob called it), “you’ve got a pretty tough coconut!” he would say in his American accent. Bob spent that whole evening at hospital with us too; five hours we were in there! He even took me for sushi as Chris hates it and told Chris that he should take me for it once in a while because I love it… Lol! What a guy!

The day finally came when Bob made his final decision to leave Darwin and continue his trip around the rest of Australia. It was sad saying bye, he fit into the Broses household just perfectly (Brown and Moses – Broses). We became such good friends and he still seemed to like me after seeing my ‘Hangry’ side. Now that is friendship. We still keep in touch on Facebook and he still calls me Princess and Chris ‘Big Boy’…neither of us can deny that we like our Bob nicknames. We plan to go and see Bob in his homeland and get a tour of California from the man himself. He was most definitely supposed to come into our lives and we will be forever grateful for what he did for us!

I hope this story made you feel as good as it does me, and moral of the story…EVERYBODY BE LIKE BOB! Cheers, Bob!!

THREE WHOLE YEARS!

I landed in Australia 3 years ago today!! I’ll not go into how much “eeee I can’t believe it!!”…because I can’t. And that’s all we seem to talk about these days – how quickly time flies (it seriously does though).

So, as I did for my one and two year Down Under anniversaries, I’m going to make it a tradition…here is my past year in pictures.

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We moved out of our lovely Bayview house during the hottest time of year…

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…and stuck all of our stuff into storage while we had 2 months away (this isn’t all of it but Little Chrissy did a good job).

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Our trip started with a lay over in Singapore where I ended up victim to a strange middle-aged Asian man with a foot fetish. Somewhere in the world, there is a very close up photograph of my feet. It’s a good job they’re good looking feet.

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We finally got to Thailand and I fell in love with the place (and the longtails evidently).

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It was our first proper BAEcation (no, I’m not saying that seriously).

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We hung out with rescued elephants dressed like twats

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…and swanned all over the place on bikes. I even crashed one. *hands over face*

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We then flew home for Christmas where we met each others families for the first time…and my Mam was fully prepared for us arriving with festive wear.

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We showed Little Chrissy the sights of The Toon.

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I got to see my pals…and get drunk!

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The Moseses met The Browns (no,there were no announcements).

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After 4 weeks at home we flew back to Darwin and got our own apartment…

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Which we chose deliberately for those amazing sunsets!

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City life isn’t so bad!

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It was sweat season after all so we lay low and took the quad out for a couple of spins.

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Then Holly and Hanna arrived in Darwin for the weekend. We ended up mortal within a couple of hours of them being here. Standard. But I did make it out FYI!

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Little Chrissy played chauffeur and took us to waterfalls…

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He also played photographer too!

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The following weekend I went down to Sydney. And spent it pretty much drunk.

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…apart from when me and Holly climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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I had a work trip to Brisbane and got to stay with Kate and the pooches!

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Back in Darwin, Little Chrissy got the best reg plate EVER for our car… WEY AYE!! So we took it off on adventures to Jurassic Park (well, I think this looks like it anyway).

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He also bought a wicked roof tent and we went on some camping trips around the NT.
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We had many days out on Old John and getting chucked about in the tubes. SO MUCH FUN!

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Manton Dam became a regular Sunday spot.

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Those famous Darwin sunsets kept coming…

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We missioned about in the bush on the quad some more…getting dirty along the way. I really like doing boyish things!

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Then The Moseses arrived in Darwin!!!

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It was Territory Day once again – it literally feels like it’s been 2 minutes since the last one!

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We did a lot of drinking and being stupid.

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Then we flew to Cairns for a week.

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…which I LOVE!!!!

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I turned 29 (urgh) and jumped out of a plane for the second time…with my Dad. No, that’s not him behind me. That’s just another bald man.

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But all good things must come to an end and they went home after 3 amazing weeks *sigh*

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But I had no time to cry…Chris’s brother arrived the week after for 6 weeks.

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So I let them have some ‘boy time’ and headed to Bali with the lasses for a long weekend; where I got massaged about 5 times…

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…and trekked up Mount Batur.

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Once I was back in Darwin, I quit my soul destroying job and took off camping with Chris and Michael.

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First stop, Katherine. Where we kayaked the gorges and camped over night.

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And then to Kakadu for some sight-seeing, swimming…

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…and of course, edgy pictures.

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We went to our first Greek wedding which was an experience. Also, free booze! Sweet!

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Then we went to Bali (again) and swanned about on mopeds (me not crashing this time).

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*I kind of just wanted to put this pic in here coz it’s nice*

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…and this one. I LOVE BALI!

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We went diving and saw loads of turtles! I even touched one – I think he liked me.

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Since coming back I decided to do something for myself. I started doing yoga and absolutely love it – I have just completed 31 days in a row! So life has pretty much been yoga…and writing…

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…and having pleasantly pleasant days with friends in the sun.

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Finally, here is a pic of me and Little Chrissy looking canny on date night at the weekend.

Shit the bed – I really didn’t realise how much I had done!! I’m feeling very grateful for another amazing year!

Here’s to the next!!! 🙂 xxx

P.S. I really recommend doing this kind of thing to anyone! It’s a great way to practice gratitude!!

Kayaking Katherine Gorge, NT

Kayaking through Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk National Park) in the Northern Territory has been on my bucket list pretty much since I moved here. I wanted to explore them for myself after having seen umpteen amazing Instagram photos of the place. They really are as beautiful as they look on the pics – if not better! Me and Little Chrissy had attempted to do the trip for the past year but something always cropped up and the timing wasn’t suitable. So a few weeks ago, with Chris’s younger brother, Michael, in tow…we set off on the 3 and a bit hour drive to Katherine. And I was excited!

We made sure we were fully prepared for this camping trip since we notoriously forget something(s) every.single.time. And the day before, I had quit my soul sucking job so I was feeling more than just excited. So overly excited in fact, that not long after offering to drive if Chris got tired (probably 5 minutes after), I was on the [camping] ciders  – don’t worry, it was 11am and perfectly acceptable. Obviously, in true Moses style, I was tipsy after my second (okay, my first) bottle.

From Darwin, it doesn’t take long before you run out of signal. So from then on, our journey consisted of my 10 or so songs that I have had on my phone since 1966 (a lesson we never seem to learn for long drives – I really need to download some music), several toilet stops (often at the side of the road) and non-stop nothingness. The Stuart Highway really is BORING. Thankfully, I was drunk and felt merrily happy the whole way.

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Edgy photos when you’re tipsy are always a good idea!

We finally got to Nitmiluk National Park around 4pm – just in time for the check-in desk closing. We got our passes and info – to be at the boat for 7.30am the next morning – and headed for a camping spot in the grounds.

Nitmiluk camping area is pleasantly pleasant – toilets, showers and laundry facilities are available for a nightly cost of $15 per person. This seems to be the standard camping price anywhere in the NT this year. Anyway, we picked our spot and I joyfully watched the boys set up camp and simultaneously played with a wallaby. He was well cute! And in my tipsy haze I ended up calling him Baba (sad, I know).

We headed to the pool (which is actually really nice) and there the boys played with a ball – throwing it back and forward – for ages!  Wow. Despite having just spent over $100 on food, we couldn’t resist eating at the campsite ‘poolside bistro’. I must say, I was very impressed! I got completely carbed up and was ready for bed.

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BABA!!

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The pool at the camp ground *boring caption*

The next morning once we got to the jetty; checked in, got our paddles and life jackets blah blah.. We noticed that we had way more stuff than anyone else! Shock. We had opted to do the ‘Under The Stars’ tour – where we would paddle to Gorge 6 and stay the night before coming back the following day (thank God I didn’t choose 9 – the final gorge). We had our tents, sleeping bags, a big bulky esky (which is cool box for my English pals), a 5 litre box of water and our own bags containing more unnecessary shit. What a bunch of divs.

Normally the kayakers would leave from the first gorge (where the jetty was located) but because of recent saltwater crocodile sightings, we had to get a boat to the second. So 50 eager kayakers all got on this boat, crammed in, paddles on the floor vertically in between our legs and took off – seeing a freshy on the way. Fresh water crocs are fine though…they don’t want to eat you!

We had so much shit man! I was already sick of it as we lugged it over the rocks between gorges 1 and 2 to get to the kayaks. Me and Chris shared a double and Michael got a single. Between the 2 kayaks, we managed to squeeze in everything and paddled off down Gorge 2. Yes, it really was just as beautiful as those Insta snaps.

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Keen kayakers *don’t know what they’re letting themselves in for*

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Gorge 2

We were paddling against the current and I’m not sure how long it took before my arms were tired (not that long at all to be honest) and I tried to stealthily get away with not paddling. Chris noticed of course (oopsies). So I got out my camera to take some pics and do what I do best. I did paddle some times though *sarcastic winky face*.

We’d heard about the difficulty of getting over the rocks in between the gorges and particularly later on in the dry season but we really didn’t expect it to be the way it was. It was difficult to say the least! Some of the day trip canoeists didn’t even bother trying to get theirs over to the third gorge and we had to get through to the sixth!! Unfortunately (well, fortunately for me), I proved to just be in the way and not much use at all in carrying the kayak over the rocks. Some parts were really slippy then others were really high! They say they want you to carry the kayaks and not drag them but sorry, I didn’t see anyone ‘carrying’ their kayaks over that dodgy terrain (yes, I still love that word). So whilst the boys worked together to get the kayaks from one end to another, I swanned across the rocks like Peter Pan making myself useful by carrying a paddle.

To our annoyance, there seemed to be more rocks to climb over than water to paddle through. It was very hard work (for them)!

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And that wasn’t even half way!

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Lady Muck. Swanning along.

A few hours later, we made it to gorge 5 – by far the best gorge (in my opinion)! It’s the narrowest gorge, yet the tallest. Or at least it felt that way anyway. We were so in awe of the beauty of it that we stopped paddling half way down it and decided to have a snack while floating there. No noise. No people. Just us and our apples. It was nice.

I really love and appreciate being out in nature and feeling so small and insignificant in comparison. We really are only a teeny tiny blip on earth.

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By the time we got to the sixth gorge, I was wrecked! And burnt. It had taken a total of 6 hours from leaving the jetty to get there. Including all of our stops; rests, snacks, picture taking etc… The camping area was a small sandy beach up a 4ish meter hill – which proved to be very challenging to walk up. Especially when the sand was as hot as the sun itself. It consisted of a sign and a composting toilet at the top. Which I never used so can’t report back on. I’m a nature wee type of girl; AKA a girl who hates the idea of what could be lurking in those toilets!

We emptied our belongings out of the kayaks and everything was absolutely drenched!! Like dripping wet! Chris (‘the bush man’) made a washing line across some trees with string he happened to have in his bag (bush ready) and our sleeping bags dripped dry in the sun for a few hours and luckily dried out completely. Our bag of water was also no more – it had split! But (also) luckily, we could drink the gorge water. I know, I was skitzy about this at first but I’m still here to tell the tale with no post gorge water illnesses to speak of.

The gorge was absolutely silent. Apart from the sound of the wings of a crow that was the size of a small aircraft; that kept flying down when ever it thought we weren’t watching to try and pinch some of our food! We honestly didn’t have to be watching when it’s wings sounded like a helicopter coming into land. You really aren’t stealthy you little shit! It was so peaceful there that I had a little afternoon nap in the shade. Aaaaahhh… Lush.

We made tea on our little stove of egg and chip butties (nana style – PROPER chips)…simple, yet so god damn satisfying. We even brought Lurpak in the esky too (which had completely melted). Can you imagine how good it tasted after 6 hours of strenuous physical graft? That’s the thing I love most about camping… Cooking. And eating. Outdoors. Some of my favourite things (especially eating).

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Mchael found a way to entertain himself…

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So did Chris…

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While I napped and then helped cook tea…

It gets dark pretty early in the NT – something I am used to now. 6.30ish during the dry season. So we laid out the sleeping bags on the sand and talked whilst staring up at the stars. FYI, if you haven’t experienced the stars in the Australian outback, then you really need to! Next thing I know, I’m waking up in the middle of the night beside Chris (outside and not in the tent) with the moon glaring down on us! It was so bright that I could see everything! The gorge looked lush reflecting in the still water below and I took a few minutes in my sleepy state to take it all in. It was quite a surreal feeling. One of those ‘wow, look where I am’ feelings.

I couldn’t get back to sleep under the light of the moon, so I snook off into my tent for what felt like the worst sleep of my life (I do like to exaggerate if you hadn’t noticed already). FYI, sand is not comfortable to sleep on. At all! I thought I could dig myself little spots to fit into nicely but in reality, sand is just really hard and then the lumps you made for your “comfy” position, don’t make very comfy for your next. I should have brought a bottle of wine with me! Blackout juice.

None of us were feeling all to refreshed the next morning but we had a laugh at our own expense. Seriously man, sleeping on the sand is shit x1000! We had our bacon breaky (why does bacon always taste better when you’re camping?) and then packed up our belongings back into the kayaks. Everything would become drenched again in a matter of minutes! We left gorge 6 around 8am to get back to the boat at the second gorge at 12pm. 4 hours to get there. Easy.

For some reason, the way back felt so much easier! Fair enough, we were paddling with the current but even getting over the rocks was much easier (well it looked it anyway from where I was standing – lolz). AND….I paddled!! The whole way this time!! It was like we were an Olympic kayaking duo. I was feeling good! I was feeling strong!! Unstoppable!! And we made it to Gorge 2 in good time for the boat (even with some photo stops along the way – at Gorge 5…again).

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Gorge 5, you da best!

So, lessons learned for the next time (if we ever do it again) and tips to anyone thinking of doing the ‘Under the Stars’ trip:

1) I did this but book way in advance! Those kayaks get booked out really quick! As there was only 3 of us, we had to get a double and a single. To save money, try going in a pair as our double cost $83 per person, while the single was $140!!! CRIKEY!!! *Australian accent*

2) Don’t take too much stuff. That thing you think you won’t be able to go without for a night…well you really can do! Leave it on dry land. Don’t even bother taking different clothes. What’s the point? I didn’t even get changed. (What a scruff, I know).

3) Go earlier on in the dry season when the water levels will be that little bit higher, meaning less rocks to drag (*cough* sorry, I mean CARRY) the kayak over.

4) Buy those ugly wet shoe things! They really do help!

5) Sack off the cold foods and the big esky! Take dry food instead and stick it in a bag up the front of the kayak.

6) Take a dry bag. You will want to take pictures! Keep your valuables locked in a dry bag because everything really does end up soaking wet!

7) Be prepared for serious physical graft. Every time I excitedly go kayaking, I forget how bloody hard it was the previous time. I am noticeably more hench after that trip though. ‘Laurie Triceps’. Plan your trip and camping spot depending on how hard you want to go.

8) Take a mat to sleep on. The sand is not comfy. At all.

9) Wear a high factor waterproof sun protection and a hat! This one isn’t rocket science really but you’re literally exposed to sun the whole day and it is HOT! The front of your legs will get a lashing.

10) Don’t stress about taking water. Like me (if I don’t have water with me at all times, I seriously skitz)! Take a bottle and drink the gorge water. No need for bulky eskys.

And ultimately…Enjoy it!! How many times in your life are you going to kayak through some unreal gorges and stay the night under the stars?

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Viva la wet shoes!! #TrendyAF

All pics taken with Olympus OMD EM10 Mark ii

23 reasons why we love camping. But hate camping.

After a weekend away camping, I’m left with the same severe camping confusion that I’m left with after every trip. Do I even enjoy camping? Lessons are never learned from the time before but we do it anyway, and look forward to it too! I love camping. But I hate camping.

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1. You’re excited about being at one with nature. But the flies will bring out a terrible side in you that you’ve never seen before. Cue tourettes.

2. You can’t wait to make a fire. But you just end up stinking of smoke all night.

3. You feel a sense of accomplishment once you’ve put up your tent. But taking it down is just a pain in the arse.

4. You brought lots of healthy food with all good intentions. But you end up eating crackers and chocolate because it was just easier.

5. You feel all cozy when you first get in your tent. But do you ever really have a good night sleep? Seriously?

6. You tell your boyfriend you love going off-road. But you didn’t wear a bra and it’s starting to hurt.

7. You really don’t mind having a number 1 in nature. But what if a number 2 calls?

8. You pack the car full to the brim and declare yourself “bush ready”. But you always forget at least 5 things.

9. You think you’re going to be totally fine without having a shower for a day or two. But you’re desperate for one after 2 hours of sweaty sun exposure. Baby wipes just don’t cut it.

10. You fall asleep to the soothing sound of nature. But the soothing sounds of the early morning birds soon turn annoying when you’re feeling a bit groggy.

11. You can’t wait to cook your tea on the fire you made. But you end up burning yourself at at least three times and the potatoes are taking six hours to cook.

12. You’re excited for the road trip to the camping destination. But the road has looked the same for the past 3 hours and several people have spotted you having a wee at the side of the road.

13. You’re prepared with loads of mozzie repellent. But the bastards still manage to get you – and in the most inconvenient places ever.

14. You can’t wait to take loads of #camping pictures. But you can’t be in any of them because you look like Worzel Gummidge.

15. You think you’re going to have a romantic time away with your partner. But you’re too scruffy to even touch each other. Not even love can help that.

16. You love animals and the idea of a kangaroo coming to say hello. But not when they sound like a dinosaur that is coming to eat you in the middle of the night.

17. You look forward to having a relaxing drink around the fire. But waking up desperate for the loo in the middle of the night is the worst.

18. You’re amazed at the stars in the sky. But…but nothing, it’s lush.

19. You love the idea of having no phone signal for a few days. But what if there’s an emergency?? Cue skitzing.

20. You love the feeling of waking up naturally in your tent with the sunrise. But you really really don’t want to step outside where you know the flies await you.

21. You pleasantly skip through the arse end of no where without a care in the world. But then you face-plant a web the size of China, home to the biggest spider you have ever seen. Cue heart attack and shameless freak out.

22. You look forward to getting home. But you hate unpacking and your camping gear stays in the car another 4 weeks.

23. You think you’re a tom boy who loves camping. But really, you’re just a typical English girl who complains about dirty fingernails.

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Mount Batur… A Bali Must-do!

The perks of living in Darwin – Bali is on your doorstep (well, in Australian distance terms). A swift 2 hour flight and you’re there and for a bargain price of $150 return!! I’m very good at catching flight sales…

Myself and a few girls took off for the long weekend and what a weekend we had! We crammed so much into 3 days – I’m still recovering from exhaustion now. We had the obligatory boozy day thrown in there, which ended up being not so boozy after all. A few tipsy cocktails at Potato Head was sufficient (OMG , I’m officially boring!). After a day of trawling Seminyak and being offered numerous pairs of ‘Ray Bandinos’, we headed North to my favourite spot – Ubud.

Ahhh Ubud, I do love you. You are my favourite.

We primarily went to do the sunrise trek up Mount Batur. An active volcano that is 1717m above sea level and last erupted in 2000. We booked with Pineh Bali Tours.

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A pano I took up there. AMAZING!

We were well aware that we were being picked up at 2am that night/next morning but 4 girls who had serious addictions to marvelously priced massages and the likes, ignored their 8pm bedtime curfew. I strolled through the doors of our homestay around 10pm feeling like a floaty sleepy fairy. I really do love massages and treats. So much so in fact, that in 3 days I had; 4 full body massages, reflexology, a facial, a pedicure, a head massage and conditioning and those ear candle thingys.

Anyway, It didn’t seem like 2 minutes later when my alarm was going off at 1.30am. I was considering sacking off the full thing (which would have been a very silly thing to do). I’ll openly admit I’m not the best person to be around when I’m tired! Anyway, I battled my demons and got myself ready. I’d read about how cold it can get up the volcano but I was freezing just getting out of bed (I’ve definitely acclimatized to the Darwin heat). My flimsy hoody wasn’t going to cut this. Promptly at 2am, the driver was there and waiting for us. For the next hour, we drove to our first stop – the coffee plantation. I can’t remember the journey there at all so I’m assuming I was half asleep/full blown KO’d on our way.

My god I was freezing!! I couldn’t warm up at all.

There were loads of people at the plantation, most sat outside on benches waiting for their coffee and pancakes, which FYI, were the nicest pancakes I have EVER eaten!!  I’d do it all over again, just for the exquisite pancake. We were fortunate enough to get a room inside to eat (which was still freezing but nevertheless, walls and a roof do help). I’d love to be able to say the coffee was as good as the pancake, but unfortunately it tasted like arse. Extremely sweet arse. I don’t suppose pouring that syrupy milk substitute shit from the tin helped it either.

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The heavenly pancake – I love you.

Our driver then took us to the base of the volcano where hundreds of other people were waiting to do the 2 hour trek to the top too. We were each given a torch and introduced to our tour guide, Daddy (lol). He was only 24 and had a pretty little face. It did feel a bit weird calling him Daddy though…”Daddy, please can you take a picture?”, “Daddy, where do we go for a wee?”,  “Daddy, are we nearly there yet?”. Weird.

It’s safe to say I was freezing my tits off at this point and gave in to renting a questionable fleece for 50,000 rupiah (a $5 life saver). I wasn’t impressed with the colour. I looked like an egg yolk. Anyway, it fulfilled it’s main purpose – keeping me warm. So warm in fact, that on the climb to the top, Daddy carried it up for me as I ended up sweating!

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Apparently nobody got my scary pic idea…

The trek up itself wasn’t too bad at all. I didn’t find it very challenging due to the sheer number of people in front of us slowing us down – which I did find quite annoying. I’ll be going to the front next time! The main problem was the terrain (I really love that word – terrain). Very slippy loose stones – I think we all slipped over at some point. That and the fact you were climbing up in the dark with only a small torch. There were some high stepping parts too at some points, but they were my fave to be honest. Daddy helped us up those parts (lol again).

We didn’t have to walk too far until we above the clouds and the stars looked AAAHHMMAAZING!!!! . Before approaching the steepest part of the climb, a line of twinkling lights going up the face of the mountain looked absolutely unreal! At first, we thought it was a cluster of stars, blending in with the insane amount of stars in the sky – but we soon realised these stars were moving and were in fact not stars, but torches (I didn’t have my specks on). I wish I got some pics of it but no photo could do what we saw there any justice (well not without a tripod and a mega lens anyway).

We finally reached the top and it was starting to get that little bit lighter. We were officially way above the clouds and WOW! It was beautiful. Mount Agung poked out above them in front of us too. My favourite part had to be the moments just before the sun rose above the clouds – when the sky started turning orange and the clouds looked almost fluorescent. I’d say there were about 200 people there but we all had our own spot and view which wasn’t blocked or spoiled by all the humans.

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Just look at that man…

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The sun was just about to come above the clouds…

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…and then it did!

It didn’t take long before I was freezing again and I had to get my edgy fleece back off Daddy. I’d gone from sweating to freezing in approximately 3 minutes (that might be a slight exaggeration).

We were served egg sandwiches as the sun rose – the eggs had been cooked in the steam coming from the volcano (canny cool really). Although, I did feed most of mine to the dogs there; they looked starving! I have no idea how they’re there? Obviously living from the egg sandwiches tourists give them on a daily basis. The sandwiches had no butter, or Lurpak in particular, so I was more than happy to share. Tea and coffee is also on offer up at the top, but I obviously declined as the memories of the recent cup of arse were still fresh in my mind.

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*EGG SANDWICH POSE*

After the sun rose we explored a bit of the mountain where we came across a bunch of my most favourite things in the world (after Julie, my cat)…MONKEYS!! These monkeys were much cuter (meaning less scary) than the ones in the Monkey Forest. They were smaller, friendlier and didn’t bear gigantic teeth that look like they would rip your throat out. I ended up with one on my head with its scruffy feet as Daddy teased one with a bit of bread (still laughing every time I say Daddy btw). They were all over and proper proper canny. They’d just sit and look at you, as though they were in awe of the “stupid humans who will feed me for a picture”; sometimes sitting lovingly in their couples and even families. OMG, I really want some monkeys.

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Silly Daddy…

There was steam coming up from the ground in quite a few spots, which looked cool and also proved fantastic for warming my icy fingers. Take gloves if you’re gona do it! There’s also a temple inside a cave there!! INSIDE A CAVE!!! How!? We weren’t allowed to go in however, for safety reasons, but we could see the start of it. Daddy was really clued up on it all and told us his mother taught him everything he knows about the volcano – how cute man.

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Hand warmers

Nature calling at the top of the mountain isn’t ideal. “Daddy, wheres the toilet?”; Daddy pointed us towards a bush A bush that was evidently used as the regular toilet bush. I’ll not go in to much detail but I will say “Urgh”. Just “Urgh”. Humans really do continue to surprise me. The bush isn’t exactly very private either and I caught one man trying to look through! Perv. A bit of advice…hold it in if you can.

On our descent down the mountain; between us, I reckon we must have slipped and fell about 50 times – in a funny way. None of us were hurt. However, we did pass one guy who’d slipped and cut his elbow, being attended to by a couple of guides. All of the guides seemed to be well equipped with first aid kits as I imagine cuts and grazes are a regular occurrence. It was really steep after all and I’ve already told you about the terrain (so glad I got to say it again – terrain). At one point I ended up flying down so fast (on my feet – not literally) that I couldn’t stop until two unfortunate Chinese school girls ended up in my way. Soz. Luckily, I didn’t knock them over. My knees took quite a hammering going down and I couldn’t wait to get down. Cue the…”Daddy, are we nearly there yet…?”

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Vickie struggling down – lolziez

After about 5 minutes of skidding down the mountain face in the sun I was sweating again and Daddy grabbed my fleece. Aw he was so nice, Daddy. I really he think he hated us by the end though. We kept stopping and took about 2000000 pics between us. Daddy was designated photographer – although he did seem to enjoy it and was canny good at it too! We made sure he got a good tip for being stuck with a bunch of fannies/posers.

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The clouds were beginning to disappear too and we got amazing views of Lake Batur; which to be honest, we had no idea was there! It looked bloody glorious!! A place a definitely want to visit properly next time.

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Lake Batur. How lush!?

Anyway…as a trip, I loved the full thing (minus standing in what I’m pretty sure was human faeces). That view (and the monkeys) were totally worth getting up at daft o’clock for, and even being cold – and I HATE being cold! If I could change anything, I would have liked to be at the very front so I could get up at my own pace and challenge myself a bit more. Yes, I’d definitely say I was ready for Everest now…

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Top Trekka

 

 

 

When The Moseses came to Australia

I’ve recently had what felt like three of the best weeks of my life. My parents eventually made it to Australia to visit me! And it was, as expected, a jam packed three weeks and a very different holiday to the ones they normally go on. Chris had only met them two or three times last Christmas too, so this was a pretty big thing for both of them! The ultimate test. We picked them up in the early hours of Monday morning in our Land Rover bearing the ever so Geordie reg plate ‘WEY AYE’ and our apartment was gleaming upon their arrival. Needless to say, they loved it and would definitely be feeling at home for the next three weeks.

I could be here all day writing (and loling) about the trip. So in no particular order, here is the jist of what went down when the Moseses came Down Under…

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Mercury cider was the sponsor of those 2 weeks. And wine for me and me Mam (obvz).

My Mam truly is my biggest fan and literally laughs at every thing I do or say. I know I’m canny funny, but I’m not THAT funny. “Do you like knuckle sandwiches?” (private joke, soz).

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They took a liking to taverns, often in the arse end of nowhere. Having pints in the most laid-back settings amongst the locals. The one’s with proper long beards and who bear a toothless but welcoming smile upon entering their local meccas (completely stereotypical, but so evidently true).

We had a fabulous week in beautiful Cairns. My god, my heart definitely lies in Tropical North Queensland. Those mountains!!! Aaaahhh!! Although to my Mam’s dismay, we didn’t get to do too much beaching done in the week (sunbathing is boring anyway), but it made me realise just how much I miss the beach! Stupid arsehole crocs in Darwin.

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Cairns, you are sexy.

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*Edgy family shot in Port Douglas*

My dad has two pairs of flip flops. Wet (for times around the pool and waterfalls etc) and dry (for every day use and general swanning around). And he is very strict in changing them depending on the expected terrain. Yes, my Dad is a complete fanny. His dry/every day use flip-flops make the most extreme flipping and flopping noises as he walks and we always knew when he dropped back whilst we were walking around. Think of Louis Walsh clapping on the X Factor – that was the noise my dad’s dry flip flops made.

Having my Mam cook for me was absolutely fantastic! On the few days I did work while they were here, I came home to a couple of my faves, including…mince and dumplings! She even said it was a surprise for me coming home. Awww… I did guess though, it is my fave after all.

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Cooking for us while on her hols, aww! (Not sure what my Dad is doing though lolz)

We stayed in a find on AirBNB in Cairns and every time we entered, we said “Hiya!”. It literally felt like we were staying with a family (who weren’t there). Clothes hung in all of the wardrobes, questionable aboriginal art hung from all walls (or beards, according to my dad), the ingredients for baking a cake were in the cupboards… Oh, and we were at the very end of Cairns runway. No need for an alarm with those early morning flights departing. Nevertheless, we had a really pleasant stay and I would actually stay there again.

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A casual photo in front of the aboriginal art

I did a skydive with my Dad. The nervous giggles came and we both did a cheesy video – why are they so bad? He was paired with an old German bloke who had the driest sense of humour ever – that I’m sure made my Dad feel a bit uneasy. Personally, I thought it was hilarious. They were at the front of the plane and he made my Dad dangle there for a couple of minutes before chucking them out. LOL! Evidently, age has caught up with my dads facial skin and his jowls wobbled like mad and he couldn’t open his mouth without top lip going off on some holiday of its own. *Pissing myself laughing as I type this*. Not that I looked too gorgeous myself during mine mind.

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There are no words…

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This is me. Unfortunately.

I turned 29 and wasn’t even arsed about it like I was turning 28. I think I’m ready for my thirties considering how Nana-like I am. I’m not sure I was ready to accept my partying days were over last year but now I think I’m okay with that… It was a bloody lovely birthday too and lush to have the people that I loved there.

My Dad was top selfie taker (or selfridge as he called them).

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*Selfridge*

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Both of them at it. Always!

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“Get in for a selfridge!”

We went on the Sky Rail across the rain forest to Kuranda (on my birthday). My Mam was terrified and shouted at us when ever we moved. She clung on to the side of the chair and didn’t move – not even her head. We got the old train back through the mountains, which proved to be too slow and sweaty to fully enjoy. To be honest, I was just too impatient and desperately craved another birthday wine!

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We took them to Manton Dam for the day – our usual spot for taking the boat to do some water sports. We had the place all to ourselves (which was lovely considering its normally packed at weekends) and we had a really good day; getting thrashed about in the tubes (hilarious), chilling with a picnic and ciders, watching my Dad attempt to wake board…all until my Dad took my Mam for a spin in the boat on their own and the boat broke down. At the very opposite end of the dam. Right before the sun was to set. Typical. They were so far out that we could barely see the boat, never mind communicate. We didn’t know what had happened! Poor Chris had to take one of the tubes and start paddling over. I know they say there isn’t any crocs in there but there’s always the possibility. I waited at the shore at the opposite end on my own silently shitting myself. Today of all days, there was not a single other person there! Luckily they managed to get it going again and in came the 3 of them – and my Mam in a life jacket, obviously. Mam’s are skitzy.

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Thinking they’re lovely in Old John…until they broke him!

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Just LOL!

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All to ourselves…

Sitting on the balcony with wine is ever so satisfying. It’s amazing how much shit you can talk about with your parents – it’s always better when your Mam laughs at every single thing you say.

We went camping at Litchfield National Park and they absolutely loved it! Drinking ciders (shock) in the waterfalls and enjoying being in nature. We gave them the roof tent and me and Chris slept in the smallest tent known to man-kind. So small in fact, that as soon as we got in, I felt claustrophobic and started panicking. So we had to cut a big hole in one side of the tent. We basically slept outside. We had a morning dip in the nearby waterfall, which was more than refreshing (freezing) and I’ve literally seen nothing like my Mam trying to clamber over the rocks and boulders to the water. I’m sure my nana could move faster. On our way back into Darwin, Chris almost killed us as he drifted off at the wheel. Lol!

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Cheesy family shot 1256

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Camping grub!

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The Moses Explorers

One night we went into town for drinks and whilst sitting in the outdoor area of a bar,  a drunken aboriginal guy approached us asking for a cigarette (standard Darwin) and also some money claiming he had walked up from Alice Springs that day. A 20 hour drive away? Yeah mate. Anyway, we spoke for a bit – him telling us more humorous fibs and apparently, he took a liking to my Mam. He asked my Dad if he could kiss her on the cheek and before we knew it, he grabbed her whole face (with his really long dirty finger nails urgh urgh urghhhhhhh) and smacked his lips on hers!! Hahahaha!! He bailed as soon as he did it and my Mam ran straight to the toilets for a wash whilst me and my Dad pissed ourselves laughing. Eeeeewwwww!

My Dad did a bungy off his own back! I still can’t believe it! I bottled it. I know I would probably pass out climbing the stairs getting up there. He jumped out screaming “BUNGYYYYYYY” followed by what I’m sure were some obscenities as he bobbed up and down. I was a very proud daughter. Go on Gary!

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Wouldn’t. Dare.

They were here for Territory Day on July 1st. I’ve said it before…one of the best – if not THE best firework displays I’ve seen. Now I don’t want to have a go at the moon or anything but the tide was so far out that the fireworks were too. Obviously, it was still a great display, but I did miss the exciting anxious feeling of them falling on your head. We did have a great night though. It’s so satisfying chilling on a beach with drinks and market food as the sun disappears into the sea. I will never ever get bored of sunsets.

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Still lush…

We drank so much in those 3 weeks and I was declared a lightweight by the parents. I’m still suffering  exhaustion now from trying to keep up with them. They highlighted just how poor my stamina is! (It’s true).

I took them an hour out of Darwin down to the Adelaide River to go on the famous Jumping Crocs Cruise. It’s always a good trip!! We opted for the small boat this time (which is by far the best one). I’ve been on the tour a few times now but they still terrify me. I really don’t like them at all!!

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My Mam really is a big huge skitz. I drove us down a long gravel road towards a billabong and she wanted to turn back the full time. “If we’re not there in 5 minutes, turn back!” We got out the car too to take some proper cheesy jumping pics in the middle of a long road (you know the ones) and we saw a car headed towards us… “Get in the car!! Lock the doors!!” Jesus, I think somebody has taken Wolf Creek a little too seriously. Those two words left her mouth more than enough times during those 3 weeks.

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Whilst we were down Mindil Beach having a drink at sunset, a random bloke, who was clearly looking for something near us, told my Dad he had lost his thongs. My Dad’s face! We don’t call them thongs in England mate. They’re flip flops. Lol!

We got (another) cheesy family photo with a koala. I really want one!

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…and they met some kangaroos.

We went diving/snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, where the journey there was so choppy that everyone spewed! Apart from me. But believe me, I concentrated so hard on not spewing (I’m scared of it).

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Aw, we really did have a mint time and they were no bother! It felt great playing host for them for once and having them in my home. And, amazingly, they didn’t get on my nerves at all!! Well, apart from my Dad’s obsessive flip flop swapping and the day he argued with me (and Google) ALL DAY that Canberra was in New South Wales and I’d apparently made up the whole ACT thing (Australian Capital Territory). I’m pretty sure he’ll still be convinced to this day that he was right. Eh Dad??

Saying bye this time round was the hardest one yet! I’m not sure why – maybe because we’d had such a good time? But dropping them off at the airport was the most emotional I’ve felt in a long time!! (No, I’m not made of stone, Chris!). We were all sad but I’m so glad they got to see how I live out here and understand why I do want to be here in Australia, so far away from home. And they completely do understand!! They’d be living here in a flash if they could.

So I discovered during those three weeks, more so than ever, that my Mam and Dad are just like best friends to me; just as daft (if not more so – especially after a wine), good banter (it was clearly passed down in the genes ten-fold) and our mutual love of griefing each other to bits. I really love it when people take the piss out of me for some reason??I’m already looking forward to their next trip over in a couple of years time already – when hopefully we will be living in Cairns. But firstly, my trip home next summer can’t come quick enough for some more mad Moses time.

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