If you've ever...

Lived in London. Visited London. Travelled the World. Lived in Australia. Visited Australia. Even longed to live in either lands. Fell in love. Nursed a broken heart. Tried to make sense of your 20s. Or if you enjoy an entertaining read, then this content has your name all over it! 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Keep it Local or Flavour it Foreign? My Christmas forecast for 2010


So a friend-focussed Christmas in a foreign land, or a family-laden local affair with all the comfortable trimmings?

I spent Christmas 2007 under the Eiffel Tower with a bagette, brie and my best friend in bitingly-cold, yet beautiful, surrounds. Thirty minutes in and half a flute of icy Champagne later, we peddle our bikes back to our Latin Quarter apartment to thaw out in hot baths, drink red wine and curl up with DVDs while fielding festive calls from Oz.

The following year I was bursting with excitement as I strolled through the melted snow of a rare and eerily stunning, empty Times Square in NYC. After hours of being visually assaulted by fabulous, trashy neon, we made food babies out of pepperoni pizza and fell into a long slumber courtesy of jet lag (and a 36 hour Christmas, having flown LDN - NYC that morning!).

And come 2009, it's been all about prawns, a massive hot/cold roast feast, pavlova and my beautiful family in the air-con while the 30 degrees sun beats down over Australia. It's wonderful. It's familiar. It's delicious.

But...

I can't help but be slightly torn on this one ... so next year I want to take my family somewhere foreign (but foreign to us in our own land) and have an intimate day at a seafood restaurant with bottles of Champagne and no washing up to do. My mum will think I'm an angel for planning this one. Perfect.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowy London Town


I'm a total child in snow. It's as if the snowflakes turn the world into something as magical as Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, as seen through a five-year-old's eyes. I've only experienced snow a couple of times - London and New York City - but on each occasion, instead of peering out a frosty window over a mug of hot chocolate, I'm smack bang in the centre of the white stuff. Snow angels, snow balls, snow men, snow...anything! Even waking my housemate up with a snow ball to his sleepy head. I make the BEST housemate. Trust me.

So it was with sadness I saw on BBC news that London received a flake or two recently. Before Christmas too. How magical :( But then I think about having to navigate my old walk to work in Battersea in the blistery cold and darkness, and I'm pretty relieved it's all sunshine, bikinis, chilled beers, prawns and ice-blocks for me this festive season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What 5.30pm Feels Like

It's 5.30pm and the crickets are competing with my neighbour's lawnmower for control of the air waves. You know you're in Queensland when the still, summer ambience is pierced by the trembling, rumbling sounds of old mate next door's Victa. It reminds me of afternoons of making mud pies in our backyard, while the dogs barked at tiny feet pounding on the trampoline.

An annoying sound to a newcomer, but it's strangely homely to me, I must admit.

I think my housemates and I first noticed the lack of the 5.30pm grass-cutting activity in London a few months in to our stay. You know in between a bottle of rosé out in the garden, peering up at the planes that dominate the skies every 30 seconds. But, back to the point, Londoners simply do not mow.

Unless your pad is out in the 'burbs somewhere like Streatham with some grass out back for the kids to play on. No, back gardens in London are made of concrete, decking, and/or pavers ... or in our case, a massive pond with a deflated soccer ball bobbing around instead of pretty goldfish. But the concrete city is largely appealing. True, London has some of the world's most stunning commons and Royal Parks. But away from these luscious green spaces, it's the flowers that take centre stage against white terraces. A splash of colour that screams for admiration against whites, greys, and blacks. Grass? No. But for me, roses have never looked as beautiful as the wild ones in our Clapham South garden.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Festive Spirit has officially erupted within me!

There's a little sadist in me. Well a gentle version of a sadist. When I'm sad, I just want to dig that bit deeper and wallow in a darker version of it. When I'm heartbroken, Dashboard Confessional is my best friend. And when I long for London, out come the London-based films - especially the sort about heartbreak, you know, just for double whammy. Why the hell not.

First it was a bit of Bridget Jones, oh Colin you sexy, surly man you, and the beautiful, old London streets in winter time. Oh, and the empty Borough Market, void of the amazing brownies, olives and breads. And then it was Closer. Even though I never cared for the London Aquarium, I certainly did and still do, care for Jude Law. And now, with Christmas marching along my attention turns to Love Actually. This time last year in South London, I was sat on my couch, windows all foggy from the heater and mulled wine on the stove, singing along to All I Want for Christmas is You. Mmmm...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hit the brakes

One week out of being back in Australia for three months now, and the brakes have hit hard. The initial down time was a blessing, now this endless downtime is daunting. Haunting even.

Imagine a life where stress rules; but feeds your veins with adrenaline, hope, and new opportunities. I miss the hard-hitting pace of London. The unforgiving city. Chews you up and spits you out without even a second glance. Love it or hate it. I love how black and white it is. But you'll never feel as alone as you do in London. New York City is pretty similar. Although, admittedly there is something so filling in it.

I still walk as fast as my London legs took me. From joining the stampede of feet to make a tube. Make the tube exit. Make a bus. This fast-forward mentality spilt into my every day actions. Hell I even grocery shopped faster. Cooked faster. Slept faster. Lived faster. And drank faster... my liver was witness. Sharing three bottles of white (and a large glass extra to boot) with my ex-editor-turn-bestie on a school night was perhaps a bit excessive. Never mind my lack of hangover the next day. Great to boast about at the time. But in hindsight, I cry for my liver. You poor toxin-filled organ, punched up with wine. I often also cry for my heart ... but that's the eternal dramatic in me. Mix wine and heart-issues together and you get an irrational, over-emotional, drama-filled evening. Ever been walked out on in a restaurant? I can bashfully tick that box. Thank GOD I've learnt to separate the two now.

So it's no secret that most people wash away the intensity and stresses of London life was alcohol. Not to be congratulated obviously, but it's just the way of life. Having a pub on pretty much every street corner aids this medicating-the-madness relief. Handy really. But one definite and vain downside of this liquid lover are the impending kilos that cling to once skinny frames. Most antipodeans call this the Heathrow Injection. And inject it does. Thank god the opposite occurs back on home turf. Ironic really, with a slower pace of life and less running around...

The brakes have hit, and now I've just gotta suck it up and get used to it.

Displacement

An ex once said to me 'You've got one foot in London. One in Australia'. 

It was his excuse to finish things. I told him it was not true.

But on some days it is.

Like today.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So...What about this Weather?

They say the English whinge about weather.  Perhaps that's rubbed off on me. I swear I used to be content. Adaptable. Or rather, just acceptable of what the skies would throw down upon us Down Under. 

OK, so we may be blessed with endless sunshine. But, I'm finding that it's precisely this endless sunshine that's waking me up early, reducing the need to wear foundation, forcing me to cram a water bottle into my handbag, and hell, I'm evening refusing to wear pajamas - cos it's that hot! 

Turn the tables... it's pitch black at 4pm in London, you can't exit the office without a coat, boots, scarf and gloves. But at least your foundation is still in tack. And you can walk from your bedroom to the bathroom without offending or exciting your housemates.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Brave the Crave ... Hardly!


So, Walls is Streets and Sure is Rexona. Having called both Australia and London home, I knew I could stick with tradition ...  just be sure to position my finger over the name change. But, why is it we crave what is simply not attainable (well without a hefty imported price anyway)?

When living in London I would salivate over the mere thought of a Cherry Ripe, a Pizza Shape, a Burger Man (or any sort of Man...). I would hum the Vegemite theme song. Even the Aeroplane Jelly one, despite giving up the bright, wobbly stuff in primary school. 

But now I've been back in the motherland for two whole months and I'm ashamed to say I have not committed night-long binges on these Aussie food icons. Three years of cravings left to well ... not crave anymore.

The grass is always greener right? Instead, the thought of Ben and Jerry's, Minstrels and Fudge Bars play in my mind on repeat during my sugar-craving attacks. Hell, I'm even importing my Neal's Yard Remedies from Covent Garden now... Jurlique what?