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Archive for May, 2009

I’m having some people to dinner tonight so today is going to be a busy day! On the main menu are:

  • Sweet chilli & coriander chicken and vegetable kebabs
  • Tandoori chicken and vegetable kebabs
  • Vegetable cous-cous
  • Vegetable stir fry (lots of Asian style vegetables, thin rice noodles, and a mix of chilli, soy and hoisin sauce)

Some of the guests (there are 5 people coming, 3 are bringing food and 2 wine) are bringing a green salad, bread and dips for beforehand, and a fruit salad to go with dessert.

The dessert menu is:

  • Mini chocolate tarts, with strawberries and blueberries
  • Plain (low fat, although it will end up very high fat!) vanilla icecream with mini marshmallows, crushed up choc-honeycomb and choc-wafer pieces, and chocolate sauce mixed through

Hopefully it will all go according to plan and I’ll have some nice photos to upload later 🙂

My Saturday yesterday was pretty low-key; I had thought to get a start on the cooking but somehow didn’t quite get to it. I did do all the necessary grocery shopping, plus picked up some photo frames and other household things I’d been meaning to get, and went for a long run. I missed this last weekend with being away, and it was great 🙂 I did 60 minutes and about 10km…not the best pace, but it felt good nonetheless.

I’m off for a quick gym workout now and will then rev myself up for cooking and cleaning (I’ve learnt from experience that it’s best to wash my kitchen floor after I do lots of cooking…otherwise I just have to do it twice. lol.)

xx Kari

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Break part 2

After our dreamworld day, we decided to focus on shopping for day 2. My sister bought heaps (she’s been working full time for the last 6 months after finishing school, so has pretty much been saving for this purpose) but I limited myself to a few things…I did get a new bag and wallet though, which was nice 🙂 We also spent some time checking out the super rough beaches next to where we were staying:

I've never seen a closed beach before

I've never seen a closed beach before

Lots of froth

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I don’t think my pictures do the waves justice – they were big!

On the evening of our second full day we found a great sushi bar about 15 minutes from where we were staying. I had actually never been to a sushi bar before! I’d always ordered from take away places or occasionally at a sit-down Japanese restaurant, but not from a revolving belt. It was great! We could watch them preparing it right in front of us and it was definitely the freshest sushi I’d ever had. Plus, it was fun checking out all the things that revolved around in front of us…there are definitely some exotic sushi options out there. I was boring and stuck with tuna. We actually went back again on our next night and I had tuna and veggie then too…why change something that works, right?!

We also checked out a mix-your-own icecream place on one of the evenings…you choose your icecream flavour, pick a mix-in (or a few!), pick a topping if you want one, and they smoosh the icecream together in front of you. It’s a fun concept. My sister picked chocolate-honeycomb icecream with maltesers and mini m&ms as add ins, and I picked sugar-free almond icecream with an oreo add in. I don’t really eat that sort of food much at home so this was definitely a holiday treat, but I am proud to say I truly enjoyed it 🙂

Day 3 we caught up with some family on my Dad’s side – my cousin and her husband and little boy and my uncle (my cousin’s Dad/ my Dad’s brother) and his wife. We went to a rainforest area between the Gold Coast and Brisbane:

Mt Tambourine rainforest

Mt Tambourine rainforest

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Waterfall

Stream (sorry about the lighting)

Stream (sorry about the lighting)

I love this sort of scenery. Queensland gets a lot more rain than the other Australian states, which is why they get these sorts of forests and we don’t.

Our final day we spent in Brisbane (the capital), mostly wandering around and checking out the main city centre. And then we flew back! Quite a quick trip all up but I am so glad we took it.

This week it’s been back to work, but it’s my last week in my current jobs before starting a new position next week. Lots of farewells! Today is my final day of saying goodbye to people and places…it’s been a bit bitter-sweet finishing up.

On that note though, I had actually better get to work…

xx Kari

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What a break :)

I had a great time on holiday! I often find holidays quite stressful by day 2 – I am definitely a person of routine and sometimes I struggle to adjust to different things when away. I would usually still enjoy myself overall but it would make things hard nonetheless. This time, there were still moments when I was out of my comfort zone, but overall it was a really fun trip.

It was also a bit of a bonus as the weather in Queensland, where we went, was shocking in the lead up to us going! Flooding, serious rain and wind, areas being declared a ‘natural disaster zone’… The beaches were really rough when we were there and there was definitely rain about, but as we weren’t planning a beach holiday it didn’t really affect us too much. We had enough sunshine to do the outdoor things we wanted, which was the main thing, and were happy to focus on shopping when it was raining 🙂

Our hotel was also amazing – we stayed at the Sheraton Mirage as part of a package deal and I have no idea how we got the rates we got! It was super impressive:

View from the lobby across the outdoor water area/pool to the beach

View from the lobby across the outdoor water area/pool to the beach

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Our room

View from our room

View from our room

On day 1 I checked out the hotel gym first thing and did a speedy holiday workout (30mins cardio) before we headed to the buffet breakfast included with our room. This was also amazing! Luckily I wasn’t by myself or I’d have dealt with the “how much should I have?… Should I get my money’s worth?… But I really don’t need it” thoughts – which usually end with me being so overwhelmed I eat hardly anything, or going all out and feeling super guilty for the rest of the day. I find being with another person (whoever it is) can be helpful for reminding me of sensible and ‘normal’ eating. The choices at the buffet were:

  • Amazing fruit. Lots of fresh fruit (watermelon, honey dew melon, kiwi fruit, grapefruit, orange, berries, pineapple, paw-paw), plus stewed fruit (pear, apricots, peach, mandarin) and some dried fruit toppings.
  • A cereal bar. Little boxes of all the main cereals, plus muesli and a make-your-own kind of thing with various toppings (nuts, dried fruit again, some different grains/flakes)
  • Different sorts of toast and English muffins
  • Eggs and other cooked things (I didn’t really pay much attention to that side)
  • Danish pastries, muffins, etc
  • Icecream (??!!)
  • Assorted savoury Japanese-style food (??!!)

I could live off the first three dot points above and kind of wished we could have the breakfast buffet for dinner too! The first day I just had lots of fruit, the second I had cereal and fruit, the third I had toast (I think it was pumpkin bread; nice) and fruit, the fourth I had a super fruit plate again. The fruit really was brilliant! We’re kind of out of summer fruit season here but somehow they had it all anyway.

I didn’t get a picture of the buffet (my sister was horrified at the idea), but took an angled shot from the stairwell leading down:

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Given that the first day was sunny, we also decided to do dreamworld that day (one of 5 theme parks in the stretch of Queensland between Brisbane and the Gold Coast). This was my sister’s activity choice but it turned out to be a really fun day! I had warned her ahead of time that I wouldn’t go on the super scary rides – like this one, where you drop from over 100m high in about 2 seconds flat:

Queensland 029

'Tower of terror' - so called for a reason

She did get me on a rollercoast that loops-the-loop twice though, and I have to say that I actually found it quite fun (once the initial panic stage had passed) 🙂 And we went on most of the rides rated as ‘moderate thrill’, which were all good.

'Moderate thrill' rollercoaster :)

'Moderate thrill' rollercoaster 🙂

We also checked out some of the animal exhibits:

Tiger show

Tiger show

Seriously fat wombat!

Seriously fat wombat!

Sleeping wallaby

Sleeping wallaby

We also got lots of incidental exercise in…we walked pretty much all day between rides. I find that is often the case on holiday actually, unless it’s a travelling day, where there’s usually no exercise.

After we’d finished at dreamworld we went back to the hotel for a bit, went out to a nearby Italian restaurant for dinner (I had a chicken salad) and then picked up some dessert snacks to watch a movie with back at the hotel (I got a small packet of chocolate coated fruit and nut mix)…we watched He’s Just Not That Into You which worked well as a end-of-the-day sister chick flick 🙂

Updates on days 2 through 4 to come later!

xx Kari

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Holiday

As of a few hours 🙂

Not sure when I’ll next post but I’m sure I’ll have lots to update next week!

xx Kari

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Nostalgia

I am feeling kind of sad this afternoon. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here before or not, but I’m in the process of wrapping up an assortment of part-time positions in preparation for starting one full-time job in a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to the new job, and it will be great to be based in one place instead of moving around all the time, but I’m not always very good with good byes and changes and the next week and a half is going to be full of them! Today was my last day at a place I’ve been working casually for over 5 years…in many ways this is the least sad good bye as I know I’ll still have ongoing contact with these people, but it’s still strange to think I won’t actually be working there any more.

I think in some ways this is also a double hit for me, as one of my current positions is at the university where I studied for 8 years – 4 years undergraduate and 4 years postgraduate – so finishing up there means I cut official ties with the uni too. I know I’ll get over it though, and of course the new job is exciting…I’m just not a huge fan of sad 😦

On other topics, I used some of my market-fresh vegetables last night to make tuna-stuffed-pepper. It was a pretty simple mix, but it tasted great! I had bok choi, some cooked celery (I love it cooked!), carrots, cherry tomatoes, and half of the big red pepper filled with “sundried tomato” tuna (I didn’t snap the tin):

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Lots of colour!

I had my carbohydrate as a separate meal 🙂 A bowl of special k advantage with a few tsps of skim milk (I was in the mood for crunch) and some frozen berries:

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I also had a great interval-training run at the gym this morning. I did 25 mins on the cross-trainer to start, and then did 25 mins on the treadmill with the speed set at 12km/hr for my “work” speed and 7km/hr for my “rest” speed (both with 2.5% incline). The running time didn’t equate to much all up (half of the 25mins) but the speed felt good!

I have a presentation to practice for work tomorrow (one of the jobs I haven’t finished lol) so I think I’d better go and do that now 😛

xx Kari

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*This post was meant to be posted on Sunday night, but I forgot to hit submit!*

I finished off the weekend with a great Sunday afternoon! I wanted to get some new black ballet flats as my current pairs are either scuffed or super dirty inside or both, so I went into the city with a bit of a shopping mission. Luckily I was successful…I found a pair that I love:

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Sorry about the blurry pictures…I think my shoe photography skills leave a bit to be desired!

I feel like I should point out here that I already own an inordinate number of ballet flats. I guess in part this reflects that I still have shoes I bought 5 years ago, and I tend to go for quantity over quality with my shoe shopping. I’m definitely not a designer shoe girl, at least not at this stage of my life!

I thought I’d take a snap of my current (pre-new purchase) ballet flat wardrobe for reference 🙂

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Lol…from top left:

  • A red pair I bought a couple of years ago and wear pretty occasionally – really if I’m wearing a red top/accessories and jeans or black pants
  • A dark grey pair I bought in London this time last year on sale for 10 pounds
  • A black (super dirty inside!) pair I bought in London this time last year before finding the grey ones…I can’t remember price but they were quite cheap as I was really just buying them due to my own shoes inexplicably giving me blisters.
  • My favourite pre-existing black pair that have straps crossing over the top. Sadly, the front of them have become very scuffed. Still great for weekends but not so much for work.
  • My other pre-existing scuffed black pair, that also have the disadvantage of being about a 1/4 size to big.
  • On the bottom row, far left, some slip on polka dot shoes that don’t really belong with the ballet flats but are stored here for lack of a better place…bought in NY this time last year (it seems I spent a lot of my trip last year buying shoes, which I hadn’t actually realised until writing this!!) and which, sadly, are not very easy to walk in. Still, I really really liked them and love the fact that I have shoes from NY 🙂
  • A goldy beige pair also bought this time last year in NY (!) but from the Gap…I really like these but made the mistake of wearing them to Niagara Falls. Of course, they got soaking wet and ever since they’ve had a tendency to fall off my heels at the back. Definitely not for walking around in.
  • A silver pair that are identical to the black ones far left on the top row…also 1/4 size to big.
  • A light pink pair I bought 5 years ago and still love, but they give me blisters EVERY time I wear them.
  • A darker pink pair that also give me blisters. I didn’t really have much luck with pink.

You’ll notice that there’s a little gap in the middle of the top row where my new black shoes can fit in 🙂

I do realise that this really is more shoes than I need. This is just one category after all – although granted my most prolific one. I also have boots, quite a few pairs of running/casual outdoor shoes and a few pairs of slip on sandals and heels for evenings. I think part of the problem (aside from the quantity over quality thing, and the tendency to keep shoes even when I don’t wear them anymore) is that I am seriously prone to blisters. I definitely appreciated Angela’s post on the topic here. I don’t have so many problems with runners, which is something to be very grateful for, but with pretty much any other shoe I can never tell if they’ll give me blisters or not. I know what to steer clear of – sharp straps, straps with lots of buckles or accessories that might rub – but it is beyond me why my pink ballet flats give me blisters when, for instance, my red ones do not. I thus waste an unfortunate amount of money on shoes that will forever give me pain!

Anyway. I think this may be enough on shoes for one day. I also bought 3 books in the city (in a 3 for 2 special), which was perhaps not sensible seeing as I go on holiday this Thursday and will no doubt be spending extra money when away, but I just received a big back payment of pay and have been waiting a while for the middle book below to come out in paperback:

012The books, in order, are “When will there be good news” by Kate Atkinson, “The unbearable lightness of scones” by Alexander Mcall Smith (the one I’m excited about – latest in one of his series and apparently some of the characters come to Australia 🙂 Plus I love the 6-year-old character in this series called Bertie) and “The lucy family alphabet” by Judith Lucy, which I hadn’t heard of, but looks  good.

To finish of the shopping I bought another block of the sugar-free carob I love:

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And clearly that was quite enough for one afternoon 🙂

xx Kari

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I am back home at my place and very glad it is the weekend 🙂 I’m also starting to get very excited about a holiday my sister and I are taking at the end of next week – we’re flying to Queensland on Thursday for 4 nights/ 5 days. I am really looking foward to it!

(more…)

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