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Friday, November 21, 2014

A Day on Maggie



Townsville is a place I now know well. We spend quite a bit of time there since my husband's parents moved there a few years ago.

We are always looking for new things to do in the area and this visit I decided I wanted to go to Magnetic Island for the day. Known as "Maggie" to the locals, I'd been before when I was young but remembered absolutely nothing!

We took the passenger ferry across (a reasonable fare of $32 return, I thought) and before we knew it we were being turned down to hire a Mini Moke. Mokes are a little bit of an icon on the island but turns out you need to get there early to hire one!

In the end this was a good thing, as it was a blisteringly hot day and in the end I was very happy with the Ford Focus we ended up with (and the ice-cold air con!). I certainly would recommend hiring a car, because though the island is quite small and you can take the bus between townships, it gives you some independance and you don't need to wait around in the hot sun. We saw people walking but the distances between places eg. Arcadia and Horseshoe Bay are quite great.




We took a few snaps at Horseshoe Bay before heading up to The Forts bushwalk. More on this in another post - let's just say for now it was a personal challenge for me, being quite steep and long! Afterwards I was promised a lovely lunch so we drove down to Picnic Bay and ended up at the pub there. One steak sandwich and a glass of prosecco later and I felt revived.

The water is so impressive and every view delights on the island. You can't swim in the summer - one of North Qld's biggest disappointments really - because of the stingers. We saw a few kids in stinger suits splashing about but most people confined themselves to the stinger net, which a local told us they rotate between the beaches throughout the summer.



We headed home in the afternoon a little disappointed that there wasn't much more to do. While waiting for the ferry, we strolled around the marina admiring the boats and yachts and dreaming of a nomadic life. Maggie is a quiet place - people who live there obviously value this and holiday-makers must appreciate the slower pace. But I don't think it's for me unless I ever decide I want the kind of holiday where you do nothing but sleep, eat, read and go for walks.

Come to think of it, that actually sounds quite nice...



Have you ever been to Maggie?

PS - this is also my 301st post on this blog - nice milestone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss


The sound the engines were making changed. Was it my imagination, or were they were slowing down? I glanced out my window to see only clouds. Were we descending?

I'm not a nervous flyer by any means. I actually love take-off, that wonderful adrenaline-inducing moment when the engines fire and the plane leaps forward, gaining speed before delicately lifting from the ground and soaring into the blue sky. It's the stuff of wonderment to me. The sheer physics of it are astounding.

Unfortunately, it was those physics of flight that were on my mind when flying back from Townsville on Sunday. Suddently, I was gripped by the fear that for some reason, the engines would fail and we would fall out of the air like a 300 tonne brick.

There's a strange misconception amoungst the populace, some sort of false story sold to us by tv and movies, that planes can glide. It's true, most big planes can suffer the loss of one or more engines, but when all of them fail, there's no steady descent in which the pilot has the luxury of picking out a handy field to make a crash landing in. Nope. Commercial planes are not in any way, shape or form aerodynamic. They do not glide. The only thing that propels them through the air is the fuckton of thrust being generated by those huge jet engines. No thrust, no forward momentum. No forward movement, no lift. No lift, DOWN WE GO.

I always scoff silently at the air hosties' safety demonstration. Because honestly, the chances of anyone surviving a crash landing over the ocean are practically none. You won't need the lifejacket, the whistle or the little light because the plane will disintegrate upon hitting the water. At the speed it'll be coming down, the physical forces involved will make the water like concrete.

What? I'm sorry, but this is the kind of stuff I think about. I was growing panicked, and suddenly my heart was hammering so hard I could feel the thud of the carotid artery in my neck. After a few minutes contemplating a sudden and horrible plunge to my death, my brain finally decided to throw me a figurative lifeline and pointed out I should look at the hosties. If they weren't worried, why should I be?

They were acting perfectly normal. I therefore concluded we weren't going to crash and calmed down. Statistically, I was more likely to die in a car crash driving to work than in a plane crash. Chill, Sarah, geez. Maybe ignorance is bliss.

Do you love or hate flying? Got any good stories?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why I'm Investing in my Skin

I recently dropped a fair amount of dough on some fancy skincare products. Why? Spoiler alert: I got vain.

Ever since my early twenties, I've felt the need to take care of my skin, particularly my face. I wanted to age like Cate Blanchett or Nigella; and would do anything not to end up with old, tired, lined skin. Living in Australia, there was also sun damage to think of. I met women who'd spent their life in the sun, and it showed. Soon, ending up looking like a dried up piece of beef jerky was my worst nightmare.

Being somewhat financially challenged, I made do with a skincare regime that consisted of moisturising and putting on sunscreen in the morning and cleansing plus night cream in the evening. I found cheap products that did an average job and silently congratulated myself on being proactive in the FIGHT AGAINST AGING that we all seem to be waging.



I'd always been incredibly skeptical of cosmetic ads selling magical creams. I scoffed a little inside when I saw women spending $100 or more on a little pot of "creme" because I thought they'd been sold an idea, not a product that actually did anything. Well, was I wrong. Turns out that like shoes, when you spend a little more, you actually do get a better product.

Recently, two lucky things collided in my life - an improved income, and a friend becoming a consultant for a posh party plan skincare and makeup line, Arbonne (not sponsored!). I went to a party, she gave me a tester kit and after two weeks my skin was glowing, blemish free and feeling about ten years younger from the "regime".


SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY, I told her (well, I actually said I'd have a party of my own to earn some hostess rewards and bring down the cost). I told my hubby I was spending more than usual on something for myself, he was fine with it! Actually happy about it. After so many years of making do with supermarket products, it felt very adult to spend a little more.

So now I wait for my investment to pay off. A few compliments wouldn't go astray...

So, I want to know - are you a skeptic or a believer? Do you spend lots on your skin or think that the average priced stuff does the same job?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Show Some Respect


Yesterday was Remembrance Day. In my office, someone with access to the building intercom reminds us of this on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month and we listen dutifully to the Last Post then observe a minute or two of silence.

It's a nice tradition, and not one you'd expect to find in today's corporate offices but I'm sure the scene was repeated in almost every tower across the city.

Except in my office, not everyone observed the Silence. Nobody stood up. I heard keyboards tapping throughout, which was easy because otherwise it was quite quiet. I also observed a manager continuing their conversation with someone, not bothering to stop and remember our dead.

I must admit, it irked me. Would it kill them to stop what they were doing for one minute? To take 60 seconds out of your otherwise busy year to think about the thousands upon thousands that we lost in the Great War, and all the wars since?

Then again, I guess I'm old fashioned. I dislike children swearing. I don't like you nicknaming me before we're familiar. I let older people go first. I wait to be introduced to a new acquaintance.

I still think there's a place for respect in this crazy, laidback world. What do you think?

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Weekend in Black and White

Weekends are my favourite time for Instagram - both following what people are doing and sharing my own pics.

During the week I saw a beautiful black and white photo in my feed and decided I'd capture some moments in this classic medium. It was an interesting experiment - it only took a few pics for me to realise that the things that I would normally take a photo of because the colours were pretty were not going to work.

So I looked more closely at shades and texture - and shared some different subjects from my usual.






This was a fun experiment - I really liked the way these turned out.

Do you ever "shoot" in black and white? What's your fave Instagram filter?
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Romance of Digging In the Dirt



It recently came to my attention that there is a small archaeological dig going on at the Royal Bull's Head Inn in Toowoomba. I thought this was cool because 1. I'm from there and anything to do with archaeology is rare in those parts 2. I remembered visiting there on a school excursion when I was a kid and 3. It is being run by two of my old Uni lecturers.



I haven't had a chance to visit yet, and knowing my luck by the time I manage to get up there the dig will be over, but still I'd be interested in the findings, because it's one of the oldest (if not the oldest) building in the city. So old it would have been standing when my German ancestors emigrated to the Darling Downs.

Anyway, of course then I got reminiscing about my uni days. I was a student of Anthropology at USQ for 4 whole years and never did any practical archaeology. I always admired the work of those who did, but one visit to the lithics lab was enough to put me off for life. I thought that stone technology, both the digging up of and study of, was intensely boring. Of course there is other stuff to dig up - more interesting things like gold and bones - but these are rare. Even my lecturer's dig at the time, in a cliff cave on an island in the Whitsundays, didn't yield anything much more interesting than shells and bone fish hooks.

I'm sure most archaeologists would beg to differ with me on that last point - as it's often not the items themselves that are exciting, but the interpretation of them and how they can contribute to our knowledge of human culture.

But me, I don't even garden. I now know I'd rather read about digs and their findings than actually participate. You've got to be passionate to do that stuff out in the hot sun, or wind and rain. If you've ever watched Time Team, you probably realise how frustrating and fruitless archaeology can be.

But as long as amazing things turn up occasionally, I guess we'll keep digging in the dirt. Who knows, maybe I will give it a go one day.

Archaeology, do you dig it?

 Dr Lara Lamb is blogging about the Royal Bull's Head Inn dig here. Or visit their Facebook here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show goodness

I was fortunate enough to win a pass to the Good Food and Wine Show from Vanessa at 26 Years and Counting.


Now, not being a foodie but a big appreciator of food (and the occasional wine) in general, I was excited to rock up to the Convention Centre and have a poke about.


What I found was a crowd eager to sample some quality wares and a lot of stallholders, with businessness small and large ready to please them.

The big draws, are of course the cheese (yummo) and the wine (a little early in the day for me) but there was a grand array of other goods - chocolate, fudges, preserves, dukkah... you name it!


I met up with Vanessa who was watching a chef demonstration and we wandered around together. After a while I learnt to be shameless about asking to try samples!


It was a great way to spend a few hours, and I enjoyed looking at local producer's stalls as well as the bigger brands.

Do you go to food and wine shows? What's your favorite bit - the free samples or the chance to talk to the brands?

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