Off to Brisbane!

May 02-03, 2016

Finally, 5 weeks of night ward call are over for the both of us! On to 5 weeks of holiday! Including getting married! Can you imagine how excited we were to embark on this adventure?!

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Thank you Yoni for picking us up when we landed in Brisbane, obviously so good to see you again! ๐Ÿ˜€

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We were so excited to enjoy a delicious Japanese lunch at our collective favourite – Wagaya – in Chinatown. Unfortunately, it was closed! Not sure why, but perhaps it was a holiday (May Day)?

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Instead, we had lunch at Thai Wi-Rat, with very cheap options off their lunch menu!

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Both Yoni and I got rice with roasted pork (approx $10). Rather than succulent pork with crispy skin, Thai Wi-Rat appears to further fry/bake their pork after chopping – which made it quite tough and dry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I have also never liked the bland cooked vegetables that often accompany such meals – I would much prefer a dressed salad or a bit of stirfry, but I suppose it’s standard! My Thai iced tea was good though!

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Mike quite enjoyed his rice with roasted duck ๐Ÿ™‚

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We then checked into our serviced apartment at the Meriton on Herschel Street. Beautiful view and a good value for the space – which is also perfect for entertaining some friends!

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Our amazing view – we missed Brisbane!

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I asked the Meriton to leave a note from me to Michael in our hotel prior to checking in. It wasn’t a problem and a welcomed surprise for him!

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Cheers to our holiday!!

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Night view was just as nice!

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In the evening, we caught up with one of our favourite gals – Fiona! Had some delicious Korean food including crispy chicken wings and bulgogi at another favourite – Maru!

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So good to see this one!

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Yoni dropped by after his evening shift to hang out with us some more – and he drove us to their airport the following morning, you’re the best!

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Gloomy morning before checking out!

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No problems with checking in for our flight and soon we were on our way to North America! First, Brisbane to Los Angeles with Qantas. Then, Los Angeles to Toronto to Ottawa with Air Canada!

I’ve always liked the better quality of food with Qantas airline!

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SOON… HOME SWEET HOME!

Crab a la Jin’s

April 29, 2016

Nothing better than delicious homemade food with good friends.

Actually, there is one thing better. When someone is making the food for you – thanks chef Jin!

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Jess & Jin invited us over for some pretty tasty Chinese crab dishes!

Saucy crab with noodles

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And chili crab!

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Thanks for having us over and feeding us such tastiness guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

A WEDDING DRESS & OUTLOOK CAFE

April 23, 2016

Many would say I’m crazy for cutting it so close, but ONE WEEK before flying back to Canada for our wedding, I finally picked up my wedding dress! Hurray! As previously mentioned, I will be posting a wedding blog series to document our adventures of wedding planning and the big day itself!

After the final fitting and carefully packing my dress away in the car, we decided to stop for breakfast before driving 1.5hours back to Rockhampton.

We have been meaning to try The Outlook Cafe – glad we finally did! Located on the hill by Auckland Point Lookout with great views!

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Very simple set up and modest decor, with areas of seating protected from the elements.

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Can get a little stifling protected from the breeze!

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I quite enjoyed a very filling Brekky Wrap – 2 Bacon Rashers, Egg, 2 Hash Browns, Cheese, Hollandaise sauce & BBQ sauce in a tortilla ($13.90) plus a side of sweet potato chips ($3.10). Chips were crispy and sweet – really enjoyed it!

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Michael, of course, had his Eggs Benedict – English muffin with 2 poached eggs, shaved ham, and Hollandaise sauce ($18.50).

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And while Michael orders his usual flat white, I couldn’t help but get a refreshingly cold Real fruit mango smoothie ($7.50).

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Worth a visit if you’re in Gladstone! We had a great breakfast with much excitement for our upcoming trip back to Canada – getting married soon!

Degani @ Rockhampton Post Office

April 16, 2016

After a LONG night at work, Michael picked me up in the morning and took me out for a much needed meal. Our first visit to Degani at the Rockhampton Post Office – and certainly won’t be our last!

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It was 8am in the morning, but I had not had anything to eat all shift and was ravenous. Luckily, the staff were great – they didn’t blink an eye when I requested a burger and fries for breakfast – and it was also not a problem for the kitchen!

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I chose the Works Burger with hamburger patty, salad, egg, bacon, pineapple & cheese ($15.80). Everything was fresh and the burger was so big, I had to use a knife and fork to slowly hack away at it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Chips were nice as well!

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And of course… I got this. Because who doesn’t need chocolate first thing in the morning?

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Mike was much more breakfast-appropriate, having Eggs Benedict Degani Style with two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, shaved ham and toast ($15.40).

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We finished everything, had a great morning catching up, and a good night’s sleep once we got home – thanks Degani! See you again in the future!

Comforts!

April 6, 2016

When you’ve got some time on your hands, nothing beats some homemade comfort foods.

My first time making tomato soup – fresh, tangy, healthy, yummy! As a kid growing up, I loved having the Campbell’s tomato soup with Premium Plus crackers. Now I know, homemade soup is on a whole different level!

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Cheese and Biscuits Cafe

March 31, 2016

Cheese and Biscuits Cafe is one of our favourite places in Rockhampton! Which makes it the perfect visit for a breakfast date.

They offer a simple menu revolving around delicious toasted paninis, baguettes, and sandwiches, as well as a variety of drinks, and a display cabinet full of tantalizing sweets. The service is always quick and friendly. Laid back atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. A testament to their service and food is the familiarity between customers and the staff – obvious frequent customers.

The cafe is also loved by the community for proudly being a breast feeding friendly establishment, making the news in May 2015, which you can read about HERE.

We have yet to try all the sandwiches, but these 2 are definitely our favourite (all of them are super tasty though!)

Bonnie Loch ($12.50) with smoked salmon, red onion, dill creamed cheese

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The Dlough’y ($12.50) with BBQ pulled pork, cheese and coleslaw.

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Toasted to perfection with perfect flavour combinations – they never disappoint!

Coffee is tasty and they also offer a selection of (huge) smoothies ($6.90) which are subtle in flavour and not too sweet – made with greek yoghurt, skim milk and ice.

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We also never pass up an opportunity to grab something sweet – like this black forest cake – to have for later! We keep hearing about how amazing their caramel tarts are but haven’t yet had the chance to try!

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Definitely recommend a visit – any food choice you make, you won’t regret it! Wish I had taken more photos to share ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Walk around Kershaw Gardens

March 29, 2016

After our breakfast at The 2 Professors, Michael and I went for a lovely stroll in Kershaw Gardens. Unfortunately, a large majority of the park remains closed since Cyclone Marcia came through last year.

Here are a few beauties from our short visit!

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Understandable if this is why the park is still not open!

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Ants feasting on a dead moth!

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Pond covered with water lilies

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Great little stroll in the park before going to home to sleep! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully the full park reopens soon!

Breakfast Date at The 2 Professors

March 29, 2016

Around this time, Michael and I were both working night ward call, alternating each other’s schedule… so when I was off, Mike was working and vice versa. Luckily, with only a little bit of difficulty, we successfully inverted our schedules. That meant, we were consistent night owls and slept during the day (12pm-9pm… ish)

That also meant, the opportunity for so many breakfast dates! Which never happens!

Finally had the opportunity to try out The Two Professors – a local favourite joint.

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Great open space with nice decor and variety of seating options. Order at the counter and grab your own seat.

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Michael (and many people we know) said the coffee was fantastic.

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We were incredibly excited that they offered REAL bagels! So you know what we had…

We both had Benny’s in Detention ($16.50)

Michael enjoyed smoked salmon with sauteed spinach and poached eggs with house made hollandaise

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I had the Italian sausage patty, bacon, poached eggs and sauteed spinach with house made hollandaise

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We both agreed that the bagels were great – dense and chewy. However, my Italian sausage was not flavourful and terribly salty. In addition, it was a very long wait for our food.

Didn’t deter us from returning, as we soon came back for another breakfast. Again, there was quite a long wait for food. This time, I had the Cherry Ripe Pancakes – ricotta coconut pancakes with house made nutella chocolate syrup and black forest cherry ice cream ($15.50). A generous serving, however, I must not be a fan of coconut pancakes. In addition, the main reason I ordered this dish was the promise of ‘black forest cherry ice cream.’ Unfortunately, they served plain vanilla ice cream and when I inquired, the server didn’t even know if that was normally served. I was later told that it is the combination of the berry compote and vanilla ice cream that makes up ‘black forest’ Just a little underwhelming!

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Despite that, I would still recommend The 2 Professors to those looking for a new place to visit for breakfast. However, I will wait until my next bagel craving! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Two Professors Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New joint in town – Burger Urge

March 26, 2016

For those who don’t know, a new eating area has opened at Stockland Rockhampton. The Terrace now houses a number of familiar names including Max Brenner and Guzman Y Gomes. My favourite? Burger Urge

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Not the first time we’ve been, check out this visit to a Brisbane location years ago!

Always bustling! But you are quickly served and the staff are nothing but friendly and attentive.

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Our company for the night ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Burger Urge is licensed which is great if you want a drink with your meal!

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Have a look at the menu for the variety of burgers (beef, chicken, lamb, vege) available. If not, you could have a salad or po boy sandwiches.

This is the Natural Born Griller ($12.50) with beef, grilled field mushroom, melted American style cheddar, truffle mayo, aioli & salad – yum!

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New Yorker ($12.50) with beef, crispy maple bacon, pickles, melted American style cheddar, hickory BBQ sauce, aioli & salad

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Our favourite at Burger Urge, which we never fail to order, is the Share Plate ($13) with thick cut fries, sweet potato chips & onion rings served with trio of dips (truffle mayo, aioli & ranch). Crispy, well seasoned and oh so generous, perfect for sharing between 2… or more!

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We have been back a number of times already, each time we have left satisfied with both the quality of food and service. Some people aren’t a fan of the beef patties as they appear to have quite a significant amount of filler in them. We don’t disagree… but still like! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Breakfast at The Grind

March 26, 2016

After hearing great things about The Grind (Yeppoon) for weeks – we finally had the chance to check it out. Breakfast date with Jess & Jin!

Beautiful weather, which was already a win ๐Ÿ™‚

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Minimal seating inside but can’t complain about sitting outside in this weather!

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Neat mismatched decor

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The Grind serves a range of Yenda beer… too bad it was breakfast time!

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My husband in desperate need of a haircut

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Everyone agreed the coffee was great!

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Michael and I each enjoyed a filled bagel. Michael enjoyed the Smoked Salmon Classic ($11) – smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, red onion, black pepper, rocket & lemon.

I chose the BRAT ($10) with bacon, rocket, avocado, tomato & aioli.

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We both agreed that the bagels were delicious and filled with fresh ingredients. But, they are most definitely NOT real bagels. Just soft white bread shaped into bagels. As you might know, being Canadians, we are huge fans of bagels and were unfortunately quite disappointed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Jess and Jin enjoyed their tasty fish and chips with a fresh salad, crispy fish, and generous amount of tartare sauce!

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Have been looking forward to visiting again for their tapas nights – unfortunately, no opportunity yet but hopefully soon!

For dessert, as per the recommendation of a friend, my first Long John (bar shaped, yeast risen, filled donut) from O’Gradys Bakehouse! Chewy, just the right amount of cinnamon sugar and cream filling – so yum!

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Kitchen Moments of February & March 2016

February 21, 2016

Roasted Japanese eggplant!

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February 27, 2016

A nice batch of homemade kimchi – using mom’s famous recipe and my favourite – sugarloaf cabbage!

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And I have perfected a new favourite in this Canadian household – Butter pecan tarts! Now we don’t have to crave them anymore!

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March 2, 2016

I made one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes – Bun Rieu Cua – vermicelli served in a crab infused tomato broth with crab cakes, tomatoes, tofu, mushrooms and greens. A frequent request from Michael! Had Jess, Jin and Richard over to enjoy as well – the had seconds, I think that’s a good sign!

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March 5, 2016

A homemade Vietnamese classic – rice topped with fish sauce and scallion oil served with BBQ pork!

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Classic banana fritters

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March 6, 2016

I made an apple pie from scratch… for the first time! After a few goes, I think I’ve got my pastry recipe down. My crust looks laughable, but dang, it was good!

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March 19, 2016

Butternut squash on sale = making one of my favourite soups = perfection on a cool day

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March 22, 2016

An easy, but impressive favourite, crispy skin duck roast! Served with salad and golden roasted potatoes

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March 30, 2016

Somehow, I realised I had the right combination of ingredients in the fridge – pork mince, Chinese sausage, eggs, peas, onions, garlic, etc… for my mom’s traditional ‘banh bao’ or ‘steam bun’ However, I had also been craving her famous pate chaud. So we made the best of both worlds – puffed delights filled with the comforting flavours of steam buns.

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It was a kitchen day – also made a ton of my favourite white choc cranberry cookies for the O&G staff! The end of the first rotation of the year already, can you believe it?

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$40 Tapas & Wood fired pizza at Kanangra Heights

February 20, 2016

Richard and Jess joined us for a really nice dinner a top hill just outside Yeppoon in a villa-styled restaurant called Kanangra Heights.

After a day of rain, it finally stopped on our way to dinner!

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We arrived at the restaurant just as the sun was beginning to set, giving off fabulous colours and making a nice background with this old parked bus…

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The restaurant has a lovely relaxed ambiance, with both outdoor and indoor seating. There is mosquito repellent for you to use if sitting outdoors, which is very much appreciated by someone like myself.

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The furniture and decor is mismatched but sweet and romantic – really a perfect place for a romantic date night!

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Importantly is the food! Kanangra Heights offers a selection of different menus on different days, please check out their website for more information!

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We participated in the AYCE Wood-Fire Pizza & Tapas for $40/pp – definitely worth the visit and the money.

Pizza bases are pre-made for you to create your own pizza! We are always impressed at the number of toppings available, including: brie, olives, mushroom, roasted pumpkin, roasted eggplant, pineapple, sundried tomato, prawns, calamari, chicken, beef mince, salami, and more! With the toppings come a variety of sauces (bechamel, napoli, bbq, etc) to match your toppings. The pizza are then fired in the oven for you as you wait – doesn’t take more than a few minutes if there is no wait!

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For tapas dishes, you order directly with the staff. They encourage only ordering a few at a time as to not waste food. And depending on the number of people at your table, they will bring the perfect number to share (ie. If the menu says 2 pieces, they will bring you 5 pieces if you are a table of 5).

Wood fired garlic bread – yum!

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Seasonal Mushrooms in a Creamy Garlic Sauce served on Freshly Baked Puff Pastry Points

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Salt & pepper calamari, prawn cutlets and chips with tartare sauce

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Almond-Brie Croutons on Light salad of Apple and Salad Greens

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Moroccan Spiced Lamb Spring Rolls served with Minted Yoghurt Dipping Sauce & Lemon & Herb Dukkah

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They also have a few different specials each night which is listed on the board by the main door… worth checking out as well!

This was one of the specials… haloumi cheese with garlic rice

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And another… scallops on a spoon with chili

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Some dessert options, all of which are served with ice cream or cream

Chocolate Mud Cake

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House Made Cheese Cake

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Sticky Date Pudding served with Warm Caramel Sauce

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Eton Mess – a Parfait of Fresh Fruit, Whipped Cream and Meringue

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We have now visited twice for the tapas and pizza special. The food is overall good, however, taste and presentation are not consistent, despite the same menu. In addition, service is great but the food takes forever to arrive. Perhaps this is a clever tactic to stop you from overeating, but we arrive hungry and really do want to try all the dishes!

During our last visit (June 16, 2016), it took us 3 requests to have our scallops served. We had also ordered some buffalo wings and prawn cocktails that never arrived. Towards the end of the night, the staff returned to ask us if we still wanted them or move on to dessert. At that point, we decided to just move on to dessert and she began clearing our plates before we even finished the remaining food (calamari/prawn/chips)!

Despite the above, we would still recommend visiting Kanangra Heights at least once. The venue, location, and ambiance are all very lovely. They have a good drinks menu and the food is overall tasty. Worth coming for the experience!

MOMENTS IN FEBRUARY 2016

February 8, 2016

Officially upgraded with new hospital ID!

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February 11, 2016

Homemade traditional Malaysian laksa by Jess & Jin! Thanks for dinner you two!

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February 13-14, 2016

Valentine’s Day Getaway on Great Keppel Island with Jess & Jin! The weather was great, we couldn’t stay away! Stayed in two of the cabins with The Hideaway which was a great choice, would do it again!

Can’t get over how beautiful this place is!

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Hello to my first gray hair! And definite baldness!

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We got back to the main beach right as the storm came rolling in…

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Even with a storm, how gorgeous are these views?

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Can you believe Michael bet me $5 that the rain wouldn’t reach us? That silly man!

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As we had access to kitchen facilities, we went fancy ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sausages and caprese salad – yum!

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Amazingly, the storm passed and Valentine’s Day was beautiful. Clear blue skies and calm ocean waters! Had a great time paddle boarding – J&J’s first time!

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Found a hut supported by lots of lost thongs/flip flops

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Chilled out with food and cold drinks before heading back to reality… Happy Valentine’s Day!

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February 20, 2016

It was a rainy day today…

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But Yogoland had a $5/cup special… and it was awesome! I ate whatever I wanted but wasn’t too greedy ๐Ÿ˜‰

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East St Markets

February 6, 2016

Michael and I dropped into The Workshop earlier in the evening to leisurely savour all the food stalls of East St Market before meeting up with hospital gang for a hang out night ๐Ÿ˜‰

From their website:

Real foodies with real passion put happiness on a plate every Friday and Saturday night til 10pm.ย Many foodies are in fact chefs! ย Live entertainment from 7.00pm- check our What’s On page for who’s playing next. Indoor pop-ups, art classes and in-house Barber add to the unique, ever-changing experience.

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Look who we ran into! Daniel and his partner finishing up their dinner ๐Ÿ™‚

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We had Okonomiyaki (Savoury pancakes) &ย Gyoza dumplings from Izakaya @ Workshop – both yum with extremely friendly service!

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One of our favourite dishes of the night (came back for seconds!) came from Taste of Everest – Cumin potato curry with fried rice bread for $5! They have a number of other all vegetarian dishes to try! Wonderful service too!

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We also tried a couple of dishes from Bulgogi House – bulgogi (of course) and some mini savoury pancakes. The bulgogi was great but we wouldn’t get the pancakes again as they were bland.

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Dishes are around $15 maximum and there are always a number of stalls to choose from. And don’t forget the live music, bar, and company of friends! A good venue to unwind and have a good time with friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Moments in January 2016

January 24, 2016

Date night with Michael at Ribs and Rumps! Once in a while, I have cravings for ribs and Michael indulges me ๐Ÿ™‚

We shared the Signature Pork Ribsย  – 1/2 rack for $39 – so expensive, I know! Always good though…

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And we also ordered the Entree Platter for Two – with boerewors sausage, honey bbq glazed buffalo wings, & seasoned panko crumbed calamari with nam jim dipping sauce ($29). Good value and tasty – would recommend the platter for sure!

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January 26, 2016

Hang out day with Jess & Jin! Started with breakfast at their place – we brought over stuff to make pancakes ๐Ÿ™‚

Cookie wanting a share of pancakes as well…

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Chilled

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And then decided to go watch The Hateful Eight. As this empty movie theatre can tell you, don’t waste your time. All 5 of us couldn’t stop fidgeting and agreed the movie was a waste of time.

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For dinner, back and J&J’s for a delicious baked snapper – thanks guys!

January 30, 2016

A day to be hoity-toity with the girls – Jess, Sabrina, Rachel and Micah. Thanks for hosting the High Tea Jess!

Impressive display of homemade goodies and tea sets ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sabrina made a Japanese styled cheesecake, Rachel made lemon squares. There were finger sandwiches and savoury pastry bites – yum! I went a little crazy for Jess and made carrot muffins, apple tarts, lemon rosemary scones, and cinnamon rolls.

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Needless to say, there was enough food and tea to keep us filled and last us hours of good conversation ๐Ÿ˜‰ And we still had enough food to share with the boys who went out and enjoyed a round of golf!

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And again, Cookie always wanting a part ๐Ÿ˜‰

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 31, 2015

New Years Eve was going to be a quiet night with board games. Somehow, we became the ‘cool kids’ and people wanted to hang out at our place. Of course we didn’t say no!

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Beers and board games for everyone! Rang in the new year with new friends and old… happy new year!

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There were even confetti poppers… I don’t even remember where they came from!

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I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and so kind of them to help clean up before heading home. Look at us starting the new year with this sparkling house!

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January 01, 2016

In reference to my previous post about Malaysia House, we spent a quiet first day of the new year with delicious takeaway! Pad Thai, Beef Rendang and Golden Sands prawns with leftovers for another meal… mmm!

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January 02, 2016

How lucky, still off work!

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We went to Yeppoon – Rosslyn Bay

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So you know it, we had a picnic and I got to bust out my brand new wicker picnic basket – I love it!

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Wine, croissants, biscuits, and more. Perfect food for perfect weather!

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I remember we toasted to the new year and all the excitement lined up… including moving up from interns to Junior House Officers, vacation, and getting married! Happy new year!

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Malaysia House

December 29, 2015

More recently opened in Rockhampton, we highly recommend visiting Malaysia House for some tasty food!

It’s just a little more expensive than other Asian restaurants, but definitely good value and the food is always delicious. With a drinks menu, lots of seating room, and friendly service,ย  we have never left Malaysia House dissatisfied.

We have frequented the restaurant a number of times, including for takeaway – here are a few dishes from our visit with friends shortly after Christmas!

Laksa – Malaysian style curry, coconut mil, vegetables and rice noodles ($13.80-18.80)
Has been one of favourite noodle dishes since first trying it in Singapore – and this dish does it justice!

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Golden Sands – deep fired in batter made from duck egg yolks ($20.80-24.80). This is my favourite dish at Malaysia House and I always recommend it to anyone who asks for suggestions. Salty, crunchy, and decadent, try both chicken and king prawn!

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Along with Amanda, Farrah, and Pei Yee, we had these two with us at dinner!

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Assam Dish – fish or king prawn cooked in tangy tamarind sauce with fresh tomatoes, okra and onions ($20.80-22.80). I didn’t have this dish, but was told it wasn’t bad!

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Angel hair king prawns – crispy king prawns in buttery egg floss and fresh curry leaves ($23.80) Tasty, but I still like Golden Sands more!

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Roti Canai – traditional flat bread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with curry dip and sambal paste ($3.00)

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Char Kway Teow – wok fried flat rice noodles in spicy sambal and bean sprouts ($14.80) Love the wok flavour and never overdone!

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Some of our other favourite regular dishes:

  • Curry puffs (3 for $7.80)
  • Rendang beef ($17.80)
  • Homemade BBQ duck ($25.80)
  • Salt and pepper silken tofu ($15.80)
  • Pad Thai ($14.80)
  • Nasi Lemak ($14.80)

They also have a Lunch Special menu, each dish less than $15! If you’re craving Asian food, looking for new place to try, stop by Malaysia House!

Malaysia House  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Christmas Festivities

December 24, 2015

A quiet Christmas Eve together at home. And of course, Michael can’t do Christmas without some eggnog, rum and cinnamon!

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Also spent the night baking some of my favourite white chocolate & cranberry cookies to share on Christmas.

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December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We slept in, which was glorious. And then we opened presents together… our 5th Christmas together, how I love this man!

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We agreed not to spend too much on each other for Christmas presents this year (around $150)… gotta save up for the wedding!

Some stocking stuffers from Mike – I think he got me the Toblerone because it’s his favourite and he knew I would share ๐Ÿ˜‰

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A card from Michael’s parents

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Some of Michael’s stocking stuffers

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The Paediatric Ward did a Secret Santa gift exchange… I got some beautiful earrings and a notebook – thank you Santa!

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Gifts from my sister… all the way from Canada, thank you so much!

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Michael was so incredibly proud of his Christmas presents to me, and to be honest, I was amazed! He got me so many great things at such incredible deals, he stayed within the budget!

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I’ve always wanted a wicker picnic basket, and this one had 4 complete sets of stainless steel dinnerware and cutlery! And now that we have a beautiful island to visit, he’s bought me some fins to complete my snorkel gear. And a ground pad and inflatable pillow for camping (after getting me a sleeping bag earlier in the year!) And a girl can never have too many underwear – thank you so much my love!

Some of my gifts for Michael. Friends made fun of me for getting him a textbook but I thought as this is his current, most serious, decision in life – it would never hurt to have a good (recommended) reference book

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This was our first year away from family at Christmas, a little sad! But so kind of Nerissa to invite us to join for lunch with her parents (Aunt Neetha and Uncle Danny) visiting from Brisbane. We had a great time and it felt like having a family away from home ๐Ÿ™‚

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Old man Jin helping with lunch

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Started with a fresh watermelon and prawn salad with feta, mint and proscuitto

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We were treated to a full home cooked dinner complete with a turkey! And even got to try a different styled stuffing with a base from chicken liver, something tasty we’ve never had before!

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We had no idea, but there was even a gift exchange, which was so lovely! Thank you so much to everyone for including us two Christmas Orphans!

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How cute are these two?

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Garrett mugs for everyone!

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A Corelle set from Jess & Jin, mug from Garrett, Spa kit + men’s set from Aunt & Uncle… thank you so much guys!

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Love you guys!

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Dessert

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With these avid fishers, once the topic of fishing came up… it didn’t stop ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not only did they go down to fish in the evening, they also made plans to go fishing bright and early the following day ๐Ÿ˜›

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Thank you so much to our friends for a warm and beautiful Aussie Christmas celebration!

December 26, 2015

Family Christmas get together in Ottawa! Got to skype the g-parents the join the fam jam ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Even from afar they think of us too โค

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These two!

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A beautiful Christmas gift from Amanda – diffuser with mood lighting

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A few days later, a package came in the mail for us – from Michael’s parents!

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So many delicious goodies!

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And some beautiful Christmas cards from our friends โค

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Great Keppel Island… again!

December 18-20, 2015

After our first visit, we knew we would be back. What better way to celebrate upcoming Christmas than an island getaway with friends?

Jess, Jin, Mike and I went over to GKI first on the 18th. Due to some recent bad weather, the ride over on the smaller ferry with Keppel Konnections was a non stop crazy roller coaster ride. Thank goodness I took some Gravol before we left because my sea sickness would’ve left me very, very unwell ๐Ÿ˜›

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Unlike camping last time, we booked a cabin this visit. More specifically, we booked the A Frame with The Hideaway for approximately $300/night. They say maximum 6 people occupancy, but there are 3 queen beds and 3 single beds with enough towels for 9 people!

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The cabin did not have AC but very spacious and cool. Comfortable dining and living area. The only downside is 1 washroom, but you can always duck outside to use the public toilets and showers! They also have a small kitchenette but no oven/microwave.

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We were blessed with beautiful weather both days! The first night, we took it easy, chilling out and enjoying a nice charcuterie dinner in the cabin after sunset.

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Sunset yoga on the beach!

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Sillies!

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Beautiful sunset!

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Amanda and Kon joined us the following morning – yay! We did the hike over first to Monkey Beach to enjoy some private beaches and snorkeling in great weather

How gorgeous is this?

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Great conditions for snorkeling as well!

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Amanda โค Kon

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Relaxation 101

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How beautiful does the water look?

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White soft sand

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During snorkeling, we saw an enormous sting ray… looked like a dinosaur! Imagine the sound of its wings as it flaps across the ocean floor…

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Really good quality time with some best friends ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mermaid on the beach

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They boys decided to build a spa – really like this photo!

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Here is a video from our first visit to GKI – to give you an idea of what snorkeling has to offer!

One of the highlights of our trip? Skyping with my greatest friends back in Canada! Had the chance to catch up and show them the beautiful beaches they were missing out while suffering Canadian winter ๐Ÿ˜‰

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And hearing the greatest news… Ruixi and Chris expecting their first child due in June!

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I even got to participate in a gift exchange… I have the best friends ever!

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Putting up the Christmas Tree!

November 26, 2015

We put up the Christmas tree! Of course we didn’t care that it was not yet December, we would’ve put it up earlier if we could!

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Apparently, it was enough of a celebration for Michael to finally break into his Christmas present from me last year – a 21 year old Glenfiddich single malt scotch whisky. It was pretty tasty, even I (and I don’t like scotch) enjoyed a sip! Michael was a happy man!

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And he got to spend the whole evening with this crazy one…

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Ta da!

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Some our favourite decorations, mini-me graduation presents from Uncle Rick and Aunt Wendy! Not that the inscription is in any way true!

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Our New Getaway – Great Keppel Island

November 20-21, 2015

We couldn’t believe we didn’t do this sooner – what an amazing place!

Less than an hour drive from Rockhampton to Keppel Bay Marina followed by a 30 minute ferry ride over – Great Keppel Island offers beautiful views and gorgeous beaches with soft white sand and calm, crystal clear waters.

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There are 2 main ferry operators: Larger ferry with Freedom Fast Cats ($55 return) and a smaller ride through Keppel Konnections ($45 return). Both ferries will drop you off on Fisherman’s Beach – the main beach and hub where accommodation and restaurants are located.

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There are two main accommodations: Great Keppel Island Hideaway and Great Keppel Island Holiday Village. Prices are extremely reasonable, especially during off season. Both offer a number of options for a variety of group sizes, including: camping sites, cabins, decked tents, bunk houses, and houses. Depends on your mood obviously, but check all the options available!

For our first visit, Michael and I decided to camp – so we packed up all our gear booked a plot at Holiday Village. Toilet and kitchen facilities provided, along with use of snorkel gear and paddle boards, which is great!

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Here is something we always do and highly recommend ๐Ÿ˜‰ Bring a no fuss meal to have your first evening on the island. Bring it to the beach and watch the beautiful sunset. Our favourite? A charcuterie dinner – lightweight, everything packs nicely in a small cooler bag, delicious variety, and goes perfect with a bottle of wine. A blanket, some crackers, bread, dips, olives, meats, cheese, fruit, a bottle of wine, some disposable cutlery and cups are all you need for a romantic, delicious sunset dinner.

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Look at how gorgeous it is!

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Our other food recommendation? Enjoy a filling hot buffet breakfast in the morning (available some days) at the GKI Hideaway Island Bar & Bistro before heading out. Bring lots of snacks and water and hike over to swim and enjoy the many other beautiful beaches! End your night back on the main beach enjoying cold drinks and a meal at one of the restaurants ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Yoga seagull

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Lots of opportunity for people watching (as you might have noticed already in this post)

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We have only explored some of the beaches on the South Eastern side of the island – but hope to explore others in the future!

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We definitely enjoyed hiking over to Long Beach, then back towards Monkey Beach and Shelving Beach. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear! There is some pretty decent coral reefs just a short swim from shore from Monkey and Shelving beaches! You will have to climb uphill so need to be in a little bit of shape!

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View of Fisherman’s Beach on our hike over to nearby beaches!

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And view of the nearby Keppel Islands

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Long Beach

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You know it, with views and peaceful scenery like that, we definitely have gone back. And plan to do so again many times as we can while we live in Rockhampton!

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Friends, come visit us! We will take you here! ๐Ÿ™‚

Moments of November 2015

November 07, 2015

Surprisingly a good handful of colleagues who also enjoy board games!

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November 12, 2015

A Christmas parade in the summer! We have never seen such a thing so took advantage of the evening off. Michael and I had dinner at Nando’s (always have to remind myself never to go there again… just don’t see the appeal!) right by the road the parade was passing through.

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Those poor possibly confused kids – we saw over 5 Santas in that parade! ๐Ÿ˜›

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Certainly nowhere near the extravagance of Christmas parades we are used to but still heartwarming to see all the participants in their vehicles and the families lining the streets to cheer and support!

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November 13, 2015

A farewell tea for one of our favourites – Dr Jama! A long term locum who was moving on to work in Brisbane – everyone was sad to see him go! He was the first supervisor I worked under as an intern and certainly one of the best first experiences as a junior doctor!

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Michael also had the chance to work with him, I think we are both on the same page! Sad to see him go!

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Lucky for us, since November, Dr Jama has since come back to work again as a medical specialist locum – hooray for us!

HALLOWEEN THANKSGIVING!

October 31, 2015

Canadian Thanksgiving landed on October 12th. However, due to busy work schedules, we decided to take the opportunity to celebrate together with Halloween!

It was quite a special occasion because Michael and I, for the first time in the history of our lives in Australia, bought and roasted a turkey. That’s right, a whole turkey! I’ve never even made the turkey at family thanksgiving meals before… but dang, it was a success!

Of course, we invited all our Canadian (and other) friends to share in some of the warmth.ย  The catch? Wear costumes as it’s obviously Halloween, and bring a little something to share!

Michael and I prepped, stuffed, and roasted a turkey – what.

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Naps while the turkey was cooking ๐Ÿ˜›

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We don’t know how it happened so well to be honest… so juicy and tender!

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We also made some roasted potatoes, mashed potato and salads – coleslaw and diced tomato & cucumber. We absolutely could not find any fresh or frozen cranberries so after a bit of internet research – I attempted to make a cranberry sauce from Craisins. It was surprisingly, really good. I would definitely make it again!

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For the first time in my life, I made stuffing from scratch… and it was good! I’ve learned the key spice to stuffing is sage – which is now a staple in my pantry. Growing we have always loved (and still do) Stove Top dressing, but homemade is pretty easy too!

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And of course, can never miss dessert – whipped up apple danish logs and mini pecan pie muffins!

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I thought our burglar costumes were pretty economical. Bought a striped shirt that I can wear on a regular basis and a toque from the Reject Shop (less than $5) with LED lights that could actually be useful in a power outage/camping situation!

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Amanda came as a goth and I could not stop laughing at Kon’s – a Russian dressed as a Mexican ๐Ÿ˜›

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Michael thanks you two again for his birthday gift! Those glasses were just perfect for him to enjoy with his collection of scotch!

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Lisa was a gypsie/fortune teller and we happened to have just the prop she needed to complete her look – an LED ball.

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Chuan came conveniently as himself, a Habs fan and his girlfriend Angela was obviously much more creative as Medusa!

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The little minions of the gathering – Jess and Jin – we were impressed at their costume dedication.

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Even their dog Cookie came dressed as a witch!

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Thug Rachit representing his hometown Toronto ๐Ÿ˜‰

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A third Canadian boy who was costume lazy and donned his Canadian gear – Garrett! Pei Yee was a vampire! Although I don’t have close up photos of her, she was a pretty one ๐Ÿ˜‰ And there was one without a costume, I’m looking at you Bryan!

Obligatory Canadian group photo

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It was a night of gluttony, with many beers brought and consumed alongside some additional tasty food from everyone!

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Including Mediterranean risotto from Lisa

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Pasta bake with beans and cheese by Angela

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Sweet potato cups by Amanda

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Spicy fried rice by Bryan

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It was also Chuan’s birthday on November 3rd. He brought an ice cream cake for early celebration with everyone – hip, hip, hooray!

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2 Jins?

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2 Gs?

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Hope everyone left stuffed – we sure were.

And the best thing about any Thanksgiving meal? Leftovers for days!

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Until next year!

Finally went fossicking!

October 24, 2015

On our way to Blackdown Tableland National Park for camping back in May 2015 – we drove across a sign for Mt Hay Gemstone Tourist Park. Located approximately 30 minutes from Rockhampton.

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Fossicking! For thundereggs! Right up my alley. If you didn’t already know, I love rocks ๐Ÿ™‚ After a few failed attempts at making the trip out to visit – we finally did it! Thank you to the wonderful friends who indulged me.

And for those who are wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Here’s an excerpt from their website:

Established in 1974 to allow visitors to dig their own thundereggs and spherulitic rhyolite, the Mount Hay Gemstone Tourist Park remains a popular destination for fossickers seeking these curious volcanic formations. Mt. Hay is the remains of an extinct ancient volcano, which was last active about 120 million years ago. When it was a rumbling volcano millions of gas bubbles were present in the molten rhyolite lava .. it is these gas ‘pockets’ that became thundereggs. Thundereggs or volcanic birthstones are the result of these โ€œpocketsโ€ filling with siliceous liquids containing impurities and trace elements, which crystallize as they cool, and when cut in half, reveal many different colours and patterns.

The fee is only $25, which includes an introduction to the history of Mt Hay, what to look for and how to fossick for thundereggs. In addition, you are given the tools to fossick and at the end, they will cut a few of your treasure finds!

We even had the chance to meet Don of the founding Kayes family! He was absolutely lovely and extremely patient and informative. He took us out back, got on his knees digging with us and even put up with our lame jokes – thanks Don!

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We had tons of fun and spent hours fossicking. We actually had no idea what we were doing but followed Don’s instructions – looking for rocks that appeared round/egg shaped. We crossed our fingers that we weren’t picking up duds and instead, hoped to find rocks with centres of jasper, quartz, agate and amethyst!

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The large display you can have a look at to get an idea of all the sorts of thundereggs you can come across

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When the sun finally started to go down, Don came back out to herd us back into the shop.

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Once inside, we were given buckets and brushes to wash our rocks.

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We then eagerly showed Don our collections and he helped us pick the ‘best chance’ rocks to cut.

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All of us hit the jackpot. We oo’d and ah’d over each others finds and all left with happy grins and the promise to one day return with more friends!

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If, like us, you found a bunch of rocks you wanted to have cut – don’t worry! The additional fee is very reasonable! ๐Ÿ™‚ Estimate based on the size of the rock (I can’t remember the price, but they have a display chart you can use to estimate costs)

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You were awesome, thanks so much Don!

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And don’t forget to check out the gift shop – lots of neat things to pick up! I bought a piece of amethyst the size of my palm for less than $10 for Michael as he missed out. Now on display with our liquor! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Thank you for hanging out with me Amanda, Kon, Pei Yee, and Angela!

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MOMENTS OF OCTOBER 2015

A look back at some fun times!

On October 3rd, Amanda and Pei Yee hosted a Malaysian Night for us! They cooked a number of Malaysian dishes for the guests to enjoy including Nasi Lemak and Beef Rendang. All the guests also brought food to share and it was overall an incredible feast! Mike and I brought coconut sticky rice with jackfruit and some carrot cupcakes ๐Ÿ˜‰

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October 15 was date day with Michael! As per his wishes, we went golfing at Emu Park. The course was green, the sky was blue and we had a great day out together.

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Unfortunately, I suffer incredible reactions to insect bites and lived in agony from tiny sandflies bites over the next week ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Very surprisingly, my favourite rotation of 2015 was Surgery. Me, of all people! I had an incredible time with the surgical team, enjoyed the work and the cases, felt supported and was constantly learning. We had a lovely farewell dinner with the consultants and registrars on October 22 at The Spice Route. Thank you everyone for a great time on Surgery – I definitely miss it!

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The following night was the Hospital Masquerade Ball, held at the Leichardt Hotel. The food was terrible but luckily the band was good and the company better. Would we pay that much to go again next year? Probably not to be honest!

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Having a photo booth was fun!

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This gorgeous couple – nearly ready to meet their little one!

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And my handsome man ๐Ÿ™‚

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More to come for the month of October!

(I know, please bear with me. It’s April and I’m back blogging for October. But it’s because I want a record of my memories!)

ADELAIDE: DAY 4 – CENTRAL MARKET, RUNDLE MALL, ETC

September 29, 2016

Our last ful day in Adelaide! How quick time flew by!

We started off the morning going to Central Market with the Lewington Family – so much good food! Michael and I have always loved markets and this was certainly one filled with lots of sights and smells.

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We enjoyed a few snacks for breakfast/lunch including sandwiches, and this kim chi and sweet potato fritter from Let Them Eat!

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We forgot to take some photos but we most definitely also bought cakes/pastries from this wonderful shop! Don’t have anything like this in Rockhampton so definitely had to take advantage ๐Ÿ˜‰

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And who could resist this delectable baklava? Best I’ve had in years!

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We also picked up a snack to enjoy back home – Mushroom Pate from Little Acre McLaren Vale – yum, it was as delicious as it sounds.

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Matt then left for work while the rest of went to see more of the city.

Took a nice walk down to Rundle Mall

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Rundle Mall reminds us of Queen St Plaza in Brisbane

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Caught the end of a street performance with floating glass balls/orbs

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Isabelle had a ton of fun running around in the open and playing by the water fountains

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‘The Mall’s Balls’

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Coffee stop!

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Lots of photos of Isabelle!

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Stopping for coffee gave a chance to people watch…

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The dilemma of having too many choices of board games…

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That evening, we went to Star House for a dim sum dinner with Matt. For the first time in my very short professional career, I had the opportunity to identify myself as a doctor in public. Right as our food was being served, a very intoxicated woman fell to the ground in front of the cash register beside our table. She was conscious and fine, but traveling alone, so we stayed with her until the ambulance arrived. Food was good though!

Spent the rest of the night and the next morning with the Lewingtons before heading to the airport and back to the real world!

Thank you so much to Matt, Laura and Isabelle for letting us stay with them, so great to spend time with you and seeing Adelaide together!

Adelaide: Day 3 – Dinner at The Moseley

September 28, 2015

After a wander down Jetty Rd, we decided to have dinner at The Moseley Bar & Kitchen. They have a sit down restaurant on the first floor and a bar restaurant upstairs.

As we have never been to The Moseley, based on the menu alone, we decided to eat in their downstairs restaurant.

Lovely lighting and what a welcoming view! Bright, uniquely furnished, warm, spacious, and casual – just what we were looking for.

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We had not made reservations but did not have any issues. We were shown to some couches and coffee table as our dining area. Interesting wall beside us filled with old window panels.

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Eye drawing and installed at the front of the restaurant are comfy hanging white wicker chairs. We couldn’t resist a swing after dinner ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Our lovely company for the night!

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Started off the evening with some fresh bread!

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Isabelle and I still working on our selfie game ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Matt and Laura decided on the same dish – Ricotta Gnocchi with kale, broccolini & almonds ($25) which they both enjoyed!

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Michael and I were interested in trying a few of the entrees!

Pork Belly Japanese ramen broth with shaved bug tails and wheat noodles ($15). We both thought this dish could’ve been much better, it just needed actual hot broth! When we first tasted the dish, the pork belly was unfortunately dry, but the egg was nicely cooked, flavour of the broth and texture of the noodles were good. The broth, however, was lukewarm and as a result, the bug tails weren’t fully cooked, not to mention it’s odd eating a ramen dish that was neither hot nor cold. We asked the staff if this dish was meant to be room temperature and she happily offered to ask the kitchen to make us a fresh bowl. Sadly, the second bowl came out at the same temperature! If you are not serving noodles in a cold broth, it should come out steaming hot!

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Aside from the above mentioned fluke, the rest of the food was good!

We had Chicken, leek & truffle pithivier with frisรฉe, bacon & croutons ($16). We learned a new word that night. Normally a sweet dish, a Pithivier is a round, enclosed pie usually made by baking two disks of puff pastry, with filling stuffed in between.

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Twice baked gruyere souffle with apple & walnut salad, Waldorf sorbet, & quince paste ($15). As you can imagine, all the components worked really well together. The sorbet was refreshing but we still don’t know what flavours Waldorf sorbet entails – totally forgot to ask!

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Last, but definitely our favourite of the night, Duck liver pate with goji berry jelly & charred house made bread ($15). Indulgent, and a really nice balance of savoury and sweet. We weren’t expecting the jelly to be a layer overtop the pate but it was great! We couldn’t get enough of the charred bread as well – it should come with more to prolong the enjoyment of the pate ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Enjoyable evening with great service and a welcoming atmosphere. We would love to come back if we lived in Adelaide and definitely recommend a visit!

The Moseley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Adelaide: Day 3 – Sunset at Glenelg

September 28, 2015

After the day exploring Hahndorf, we had ambitious plans to watch the sun set at Glenelg – a popular beach suburb complete with numerous hotels and a variety of restaurants.

Unfortunately, we just missed the sunset but there was still light and the colours were amazing!

Walked out onto the pier (it was cold!) to enjoy the lapping waves and darkening skies. Also a number of fishermen on the pier hoping for a catch.

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Pink wisps in the sky

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Enjoying the view

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An attempt at some family photos! Unfortunately, I didn’t realise my camera settings were way off, sorry for the terrible quality!

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At this time, Baby Emeline was coming soon! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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My favourite photo of the night

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Dark blues and pinks

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After sunset, we wandered down Jetty Rd checking out the options for dinner. We ended up deciding on The Moseley Bar & Kitchen and had a fantastic dinner. Will tell you more about it in a separate post!

We went home for a dessert bake off – cinnamon buns – Michael vs Laura. The winner? Matt and I! Haha, both were delicious and everyone was a winner ๐Ÿ™‚

Michael made a yeast dough version which required extra time and love.

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Laura used a non-yeast recipe that was also delicious and even had apples! These were definitely the inspiration for my quick and easy cinnamon rolls now!

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A great third night in Adelaide! Thanks again Lewingtons!

Adelaide: Day 3 – Lunch at the Haus

September 28, 2015

Spending a relaxing morning exploring Hahndorf still worked up quite an appetite! We had walked by the Haus earlier in the day and really liked their spacious outdoor tables and large menu selection, which made the decision easy. But if you’d prefer to sit indoors, there is plenty of seating as well!

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Lots of room for Isabelle to enjoy herself

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Laura enjoyed a light lunch comprising of Soup of the Day $10.90 with Ciabatta bread. She couldn’t remember exactly what type of soup, but it was rustic, definitely made of root vegetables and delicious!

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Isabelle enjoyed a Little Peoples meal of Ham, Cheese & Pineapple Pizza ($9.90) that Laura eventually helped her with as well. Decent sized, cheesy and tasty!

We also enjoyed a side of Haus Beer Battered Chips with Garlic Aioli ($6.90) – yum!

Now this is definitely something we would recommend to another visitor – the Beer Tasting Paddle with your choice of 4 Beers/Cider on tap with Local Nuts/Jerky ($15). Definitely ask for the bartender’s suggestions and be adventurous, this is a great deal!

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Michael and I shared the Trio of Wursts – Chef’s selection of German specialty sausages: Bockwurst, Bratwurst & Cheese Kransky with creamy mustard potato bake, sauerkraut, red wine sauce & German mustards ($29.90). Filling and delicious! The favourite between us was definitely the Bratwurst, but we really enjoyed them all.

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Our disappointment in this meal were the Organic Pretzels ($4 each). Perhaps we are used to the soft, chewy, buttery soft pretzels in North America but these ones were unfortunately quite tough and almost dry. We wouldn’t get these again next time.

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Overall a lovely lunch with great food! The service was fantastic and they have quite an extensive menu with something for everyone. We would definitely come back for another meal to try out more of their food selection if we are ever back in Hahndorf. Check it out if you’re visiting!

The Haus Hahndorf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Adelaide: Day 3 – Hahndorf

September 28, 2015

After breakfast at home with the Laura and Isabelle, we headed off to Hahndorf – Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.

Hahndorf was definitely worth a visit! Very quaint with many shops to visit – from bakeries, candy shops, finding beautiful handmade candles, puppets and more! And of course, can’t forget the selection of different German restaurants to dine at!

My favourite photo taken in Hahndorf, I hope this will be Michael and I one day! At the very least, our height discrepancies will be accurate! ๐Ÿ™‚

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We almost immediately stopped in Copenhagen for some freshly made cinnamon sugar donuts… mmm!

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With an extensive menu, it was difficult not to order more on the menu, like waffles, pancakes, crepes, and ice cream!

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Mmm, piping hot… could have so many of these!

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My handsome partner!

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Lots of opportunity for nice photos!

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Stopped in for a visit at Heritage Museum Art Gallery. Beautiful handmade pieces of jewellery and art, although no money to buy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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An empty gallery upstairs with remnants of Autumn Festival lanterns.

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Couldn’t resist a stop into Humbugs to stock up on some sweets! So many to choose from!

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Really delicious selection of fudge!

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Isabelle was definitely excited!

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Quick visit to 3 Wishes Candle Barn to check out their beautiful candles and pick up a gift for our wonderful friend, Amanda!

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Some beautiful wooden works including clocks and puppets at the German Village Shop

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Alpaca fleece products from The Alpaca Shop! Gorgeously soft pieces but also quite expensive!

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All the above mentioned shops are definitely worth a visit! Can surely find a little something for yourself or a loved one without much effort!

Next up – our delicious lunch at The Haus cafe+bar+kitchen!

Adelaide: Day 2 – Mount Lofty & Moon Lantern Festival

September 27, 2015

After a fun and indulging day in McLaren Vale, Matt drove us up to Mount Lofty for a view of Adelaide from a different perspective.

Mount Lofty is approximately 15km east of downtown, where there is a 4km uphill trek to the summit and is one of Adelaide’s most popular exercise circuits – of course, we drove.

Beautiful panoramic views greeted us, followed by a gorgeous sunset over Gulf St Vincent.

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A popular tourist destination, many people had the same idea as us

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The golden rays of sunset reminded me of autumn colours back home… almost.

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Worth the wait, look at this amazing sunset! And if you look close enough, you will see the silhouette of a plane just taking off!

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Beautiful just watching the sun go down…

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We didn’t stick around for long after the sunset as Laura and Isabelle were waiting for us. The moon was already high in the sky by the time we started heading back to the car!

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Visit up Mount Lofty reminded us of Mt Archer in Rockhampton… not nearly the same views though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We went home to pick Laura and Isabelle up to head into the city and partake in the Moon Lantern Festival – I had not expected to be celebrating Autumn Festival this year so it was a pleasant surprise!

By the time we made it to Elder Park, it was packed with people. Luckily, we were able to grab a spot on the grass while Matt parked the car to enjoy the start of Australia’s largest lantern parade.

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The featured lantern, “the Hong Kong Dragon,” is the largest lantern created for a moon lantern festival.

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A view of the Adelaide Oval across the river

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There were tons of lanterns, including those from participating South Australian schools and community organisations – neat to see them all!

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The Moon Lantern Festival ended with a fireworks show over the River Torrens which everyone enjoyed!

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Slightly chilly, but fun night out!

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And of course, joining the throngs of people escaping!

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It was late by the time we left the festival. We dropped Laura and Isabelle home first to rest and get ready for bed. The boys and I headed back out in search of some dinner! The hope was to enjoy a cuisine not easily found (if at all) in Rockhampton.

Stay tuned for the next post!

ADELAIDE: DAY 2 – MCLAREN VALE

September 27, 2015

Day 2 in Adelaide was full of awesome firsts!

We started the day with breakfast with Matt, Laura, and Isabelle before heading out to Pete’s house and meeting his wife Chrissy and their 3 children. We also met another one of Matt’s colleagues, Chi, his wife Joan and their 2 children (plus grandparents)!

Thank you to Matt’s lovely colleagues and families for welcoming us and including us in their day out to McLaren Vale!

Only approximately 35km south of Adelaide, the drive out went by quick! We also passed by John (another one of Matt’s colleagues) and his family on the road, who would also be joining us for the day.

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Isabelle and I mastering selfies during the drive ๐Ÿ™‚

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The McLaren Vale region is known for its dry red wines, which meant our lucky day! We were very thankful that Chrissy had organised the day so well. McLaren Vale would take days to weeks to properly tour and we really enjoyed all the stops she had planned.

First up, Mollydooker Wines Cellar Door. The first thing you notice is the breathtaking view of vineyards against a hilly backdrop.

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Today, I learned that Mollydooker Wines was not only started by Sarah and Sparky Marquis, a husband and wife team, but that mollydooker is also an Aussie term for left-handers. You guessed it, Sarah and Sparky are also lefties! They have a pretty interesting story, you can read more here!

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The Cellar Door had a quirky, retro themed tasting room with easy going staff and generous tastings we must say!

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The boys loved some of the red selection, particularly the Velvet Glove Shiraz and Gigglepot Cabernet Sauvignon. It was also my first time trying Miss Molly (Sparkling Shiraz) and Girl on the Go (Sparkling Verdelho), both of which were great. And we were even served some beautiful, warm home made bread with olive oil and dukka – yum!

They had a promotion going at the time of our visit. Post a selfie with Mollydooker’s Girl on the Go and receive a free bottle of Girl on the Go or a pair of flutes. Was too good not to pass up ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Beautiful backdrop and outdoor seating area to really soak in the surroundings.

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Thanks for a great visit Mollydooker Wines, hope to be back in the future!

Next stop was Serafino Restaurant for lunch ๐Ÿ™‚

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The grounds are immaculate and is the perfect location for a wedding or special occasion – there was a baptism lunch the day we visited – very eloborate!

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I remember waiting a long time for the food to arrive, but it was delicious! Mike had the Beef Wellington and I enjoyed an herb crusted lamb rack with baby veggies and gnocchi – yum! Definitely on the pricier side but worth a visit for a special occasion!

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Last on our McLaren Vale stops – Penny’s Hill Cellar Door. Rustic and charming, it was a relaxing way to end our visit. I also love their elegant and distinct packaging.

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Lots of sitting area, even a restaurant! Can watch grazing sheep or check out the chooks. Great for kids to hang out as well ๐Ÿ™‚

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Both of us concentrating on a game we don’t know how to play

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Isabelle visiting the chooks

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Wine is serious business

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Can’t get over the amazing views in McLaren Vale!

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Took some photos of Laura, looking fabulous at 36 weeks!

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Soon it was time to head back as we thanked and said good bye to our new friends for a great time!

Mike and I absolutely loved McLaren Vale (or maybe we just love vineyards) but definitely hope to visit again… for much longer!

We couldn’t buy too much, but did leave with a nice bundle of souvenirs to enjoy at a later date ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Birthday dinner at Tsuruya

September 22, 2015

Celebrating Michael’s 36th birthday with a special night out! After much anticipation, we drove down to Capricorn Resort Yeppoon for our 6:30pm dinner reservation at Tsuruya Japanese Restaurant.

From their website:

Indulge yourself in the authentic, personalised interactive table cooking and tradition of the exquisite and delicate flavours of Japanese cuisine. Tsuruya also features a Sushi Bar for made to order sushi rolls and the freshest local seafood sashimi prepared right in front of your eyes.

We were greeted at the entrance on arrival and shown to our table. Happy to find that they had given us a table in a corner by the window, a little quieter and more private. The female servers were dressed in nice kimonos which added to the ambiance of the restaurant.

How cute are the place settings? The kimono napkins were a nice touch!

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The birthday boy!

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Didn’t expect the restaurant to be very busy on a Tuesday night during down season, but surprisingly it was! Lots of families with young children throughout the evening.

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Chef at the sushi bar, keeping an eye out on his guests ๐Ÿ˜›

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After perusing the menu, we finally decided on some sets.

Michael chose Sushi (C) Course ($69.50) which included the following:

  • Appetiser
  • Dobin Mushi
  • Steak ‘Japanese style’
  • Assorted Sushi

I decided on Sushi (B) Course ($59.50) which included the following:

  • Appetiser
  • Ebi Shinjoh Age
  • Dobin Mushi
  • Chawan Mushi
  • Yakitori
  • Assorted Sushi

Our appetiser Gyu Sashimi – Raw beef thinly sliced and served cold with a vinegar flavoured soy. We had never had anything like this before, very refreshing taste!

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With the above appetiser, I also received my Ebi Shinjoh Age – Deep fried prawn & fish cake. Nice that there were 2 pieces so I could could share one with Mike! A little on the dark side from frying but good flavours and a nice chewy texture.

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Sitting by the window, we saw a kangaroo come by for a graze on the lawn!

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Our next course – soups!

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Both Michael and I received Dobin Mushi – Seafood, chicken and mushrooms in a clear soup served in a traditional Japanese pot. Absolutely loved the presentation. Served in a teapot, we were instructed to add a bit of lemon juice and pour the broth into the teacup to slowly enjoy. The broth was clear and so incredibly intense in flavour! Also lovely to eat all the morsels of seafood at the bottom of your pot as well.

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My set came with a second soup – Chawan Mushi – seafood, chicken and vegetables cooked in a hot savory egg custard. Extremely delicate, silky and delicious, never had anything like it!

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Onto our meat dishes!

For me, Yakitori – pieces of chicken and onion on bamboo skewers with homemade BBQ sauce. Chicken was super tender and well flavoured. Loved this! Again, the portion was large enough to share with Michael, which was nice!

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Michael’s steak came with a hot stone that allowed him to further cook the steak at his seat, it also came with a light dipping sauce. The steak was tender but served a little overcooked (to his liking) since you’re supposed to cook it more, and a little under seasoned, even with the dipping sauce.

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And finally, our assorted sushi box! Beautifully presented with a mix of scallop, prawn, eel, and fish – with a side of ginger and wasabi. We have heard raves of how fresh the fish is at Tsuruya, but unfortunately for us, we didn’t find the same that night. Some pieces were better than others, but certainly not the buttery textures we were expecting!

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Overall a lovely night out for the birthday boy with some incredibly tasty food! (Except for the sushi unfortunately…) Also great value for money and we look forward to coming back to try the lunch menu ๐Ÿ™‚

Michael’s 36th Birthday!

September 21, 2015

Happiest of birthdays to you my love!

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Due to the fact that I was working and also preparing for my job interview on Michael’s birthday, we decided to hold off on celebrating until the following day.

Instead, we had a low key night at home. I made him one of his favourites – bacon and mushroom risotto – for dinner.

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September 22, 2015

The following morning, I had my job interview, which was over quite quickly (more about that in a separate post) and I soon found myself back home with Mike!

Luckily, he had the day off as well and we had planned a dinner date/celebration at Tsuruya – a well known Japanese restaurant at the Capricorn Resort in Yeppoon.

We still had the whole day to ourselves though! Always nice to relax at home together on the our days off, catching up with TV shows and just enjoying each other’s company.

Made another special for Michael – shrimp toast for lunch.

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I spent the majority of the morning making the components of Mike’s birthday cake. He requested a ‘German Chocolate Cake‘ because he’d had it before and it was so richly chocolate and decadent. I had never made a German Chocolate Cake before, and after reading its description, insisted that he was mistaken. But the birthday boy was insistent that’s what he wanted! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We headed out to Yeppoon in the early evening for a stroll on the beach and to enjoy the sunset before dinner. Beautiful as always!

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Sculpture on Yeppoon beach front against the sunset

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Framed

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Gorgeous sunset colours

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One last photo together before heading to dinner!

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I will talk about our awesome dinner at Tsuruya in the next post!

We saved room for dessert, birthday cake! It doesn’t look the prettiest, but I tell you, it was tasty! Turns out German Chocolate Cake is not German at all! Invented in the US by a man with the last name German. Chocolate cake topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. Despite the discovery of a new delicious cake, Michael eventually conceded that what he had in mind was, in fact, Belgian chocolate cake, the silly man!

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I also finally gave Michael his birthday present… a scavenger hunt with 20 clues, each one with money inside. It didn’t take him too long to solve all the clues but he loved it, yay!

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Got himself a nice golf club (60deg wedge) with extra birthday money leftover for other enjoyments! Happy birthday my dearest! Here’s to many more to come!

Triple birthday dinner at The Ranch

September 12, 2015

Thank you to all of you who came out to celebrate our September babies – Garrett, Jess and Michael! I was amazed at the number of attendees on such late notice – you guys rock!

We decided on dinner at The Ranch Bar and Grill for a few reasons:

  • Very recently opened, so none of us had visited yet
  • Numerous good reviews
  • Convenient location for everyone!

The Ranch had just recently opened, so some hiccups were expected, but we luckily didn’t encounter too many! We initially made a reservation for 12 people at 8pm. However, because our friends are awesome and more people responded than anticipated, we had to change our reservation last minute to 16. The staff were lovely and more than accommodating with our request, however it did take quite a bit of time to set up. By the time we were seated, it was almost 9pm and we had to rush to get our orders in before the kitchen closed.

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I called in advance to make sure it would be okay with me bringing a cake. Yes, and they were more happy to keep our cake in the fridge – thank you! Made a banana chocolate raspberry cake with Nutella icing ๐Ÿ™‚

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They have a bar area (room to sit and stand), which was great while we waited to be seated, perfect to mingle and talk. A variety of beers on tap and a couple of special cocktails. For some reason, we weren’t able to order other bar drinks (ie. gin & tonic) – wasn’t sure why, but we didn’t push it!

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Did we mention there was live music? Yep! I have to admit, our group was more busy catching up with one another than tuning into the music, but the other patrons were certainly enjoying it!

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The menu looked great and everyone was happy with their meals! The portions were also generous and the food freshly cooked!

Both tables ordered the Wagon Train – Entree Combination Platter ($32 for 2 and $48 for 4) – Let’s just say… if you’re ordering the platter, you don’t need a main meal! A mix of potato skins, chicken tenders, stuffed jalapenos, and spicy chicken wings – a great value!

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2 of our birthday boys

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Everyone was quite happy with their steaks, which were cooked medium-rare. Unfortunately, due to the rush, they weren’t allowed to rest for the appropriate amount of time so all the juices ran out on the plate as soon as the steak was cut. Hand cut chips in the mini pails were a cute touch!

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Birthday girl, pretty in red!

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A terrible photo but my San Antonio Chicken Burger ($17.90) was yum! The succulent, crispy chicken really makes the burger!

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It was getting late by the time we were finished dinner and ready to move on to cake cutting. The staff were wonderful! They insisted it wouldn’t be too much trouble and even insisted on finding us enough matching tableware for the cake cutting/eating.

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Thank you so much! It worked out much better than taking the cake away and having to all head over to someone else’s house to eat it.

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Happy birthday you three!! Thank you to the staff at The Ranch! And of course, to all our friends for coming out to celebrate!

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We will definitely be coming back for more meals in the future!

Triple Birthday Dinner

September 12, 2015

We had 3 lovely people celebrating their birthdays within 1 week:

  • Garrett – Sept 14
  • Jessamine – Sept 18
  • Michael – Sept 21

So it made perfect sense to me to organise a birthday celebration for the September babies!

Started the day with a late morning picnic gathering at the beach. The initial plan was Rosalyn Bay Beach but it was incredibly windy so we opted for Lammermoor Beach instead. Thank you David, Farrah, Pei Yee, Amanda, Bryan, Usama for coming out! Unfortunately, both Jess and Jin were working during the day, so it was just for Garrett and Mike.

We drove to Keppel Bay Marina for a late lunch at The Waterline Restaurant. Beautiful views and delicious food! The lunch specials are great and they’ve got Brewhouse specials that are definitely worth checking out!

Can’t be a birthday celebration without a good dinner! More about that in the next post ๐Ÿ™‚

Hiking up Mt Archer

September 06, 2015

After our outing at Capricorn Caves the day prior, our weekend was not yet over. Instead of the suggested 14km Zamia Walk (Grade: Difficult) DOWN Mt Archer (604m above sea level), our locum consultant, Neil, suggested we should take on the challenge and hike UP.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Wonderful… and let me tell you, there were moments of regret! But we conquered!

To play it smart, you should do the following 5 things:

  1. Drive to Mt Archer in 2 vehicles. Whether you decide to hike up or down Mt Archer, park one vehicle at the top and one at the bottom. That way, you keep it a one-way 14km hike. Because trust me, you won’t want to double back.
  2. Bring enough water! It will take 3-5hrs depending on your speed and you want to stay well hydrated.
  3. Bring snacks. Because food makes everyone happy.
  4. Wear good shoes. And be sun smart of course!
  5. Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Neil has a very interesting background and is incredibly fit for his age. While Jess, Jin and I struggled to keep his pace, he powered on without seemingly breaking a sweat.

Some of our views along the way up!

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The trails vary in terrain as you go up but the tracks are well developed so you can’t get lost! This photo was taken at the bottom of the hill heading towards the start of the Zamia trail.

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Nearby views on the way up!

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There are always a few fires going on around Mt Archer ๐Ÿ˜›

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Neil, always ahead of us!

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Did I mention Jin was doing this hike on his birthday? Yep, how admirable! If anything, I would be as lazy as I could on my birthday!

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After much huffing and puffing, we finally made it to the summit around 4 hours!

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Woo hoo!

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Was it worth it? Yes! Even if only to say we did it ๐Ÿ˜‰ And surprisingly, we weren’t sore the following day!

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August 2, 2015

But what if you don’t want to hike that far? Don’t fret! Mt Archer offers something for everyone! You can drive to the top of Mt Archer and enjoy hanging out in the picnic areas. From there you can also choose the Walking Track Circuit (500m) or the Bracken Fern Way (1.4km return), both easy-grade with incredible views!

Here are some photos from our visit earlier in August with Jess, Jin and their dog Cookie!

The Walking Track Circuit – pretty easy as you can see!

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And the views you can enjoy on the Walking Track Circuit

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Cookie, the fluff ball, enjoyed the walks as well!

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We also walked the Bracken Fern Way trail – definitely worth it! It’s a little bit more difficult in terms of terrain, but still pretty easy!

Lots of little things to see and enjoy on this trail ๐Ÿ™‚

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Don’t want to be bothering this!

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Numerous interesting plants I’ve never seen before

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If you stop to listen and look, you will see so many busy bees!

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Never seen this insect before… I imagine a type of wasp?

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Camouflage

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Doesn’t take long to reach the lookout ๐Ÿ™‚

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There’s even an area to sit, rest, and enjoy the view – which we did of course!

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Gorgeous views!

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Whether you’re in the mood for some nice walks with great views or up for a more challenging hike – Mt Archer is definitely worth visiting! And don’t forget to drive up at night to enjoy the pretty city views as well!

Jin’s birthday!

September 5, 2015

Celebrating one day early, thank you for inviting us Jess! Always lovely to spend time with friends and what makes it even better? A fire pit, of course. Happy birthday Jin!

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Ice cream cake for the birthday boy!

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They have matching eye smiles! ๐Ÿ™‚

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CAPRICORN CAVES

September 05, 2015

Finally visited Capricorn Caves! I’m currently on my surgical term, and one of the visiting consultants, Neil, gave me the afternoon to organise a group out to visit the Cap Caves with him. I think I did pretty well, with a total of 7 including Clarence, Konstantin, Chris, his partner Lynda, Shant, Neil, and myself!

Only a half hour drive from Rocky, not too bad! We bought tickets for The Cathedral Cave Tour ($30/adult) which was led by an informative guide who put a lot of effort into keeping us all entertained.

Before I continue, I must say, if you have ever seen caves in your life… this visit might be a bit underwhelming and you may find it a waste of time and money. The caves are pretty small and we didn’t chance upon any wild life.

Personally ,this tour reminded me of our time in Malaysia visiting Batu Caves and more specifically, going on a tour of the Dark Caves ($11) which were much larger and pitch black. A more thrilling adventure in hard hats (to protect yourself from bat droppings) and head lamps, and actually seeing lots of wildlife, including huge pools of guano (bat poo). I’ve also had the chance to visit Dong Thien Cung (Heavenly Cave) in Ha Long Bay Vietnam – the caves are enormous with beautifully light towering stalactites and stalagmites. As a result, the much smaller structures at Cap Caves are nowhere near impressive ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, it still has its own charm and worth a visit if you are living in the area!

The tour starts at the cave entrance with fig tree roots clinging to the limestone walls.

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Close to the entrance…

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This is the Tectaria Devexa var devexa fern. Although it is found across Sri Lanka, SE Asia and Vanuatu – Capricorn Caves is the only known site in Australia! In 2006, the fern population declined to almost near extinction with only 21 plants. Fortunately, organisations worked together and funding was secured to save the fern.

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There are interesting cave decorations (speleotherms) to note, including some cave coral…

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A very tiny stalactite!

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More cave views…

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Looks like a camel’s backside ๐Ÿ˜›

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I see a hanging skull… do you?

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Through the caves, we eventually reach the Cathedral Cave. The natural acoustics make it a popular venue for weddings. Also, twice a year (May & November), there are sell out performances from Underground Opera Company. Some of Australias finest performers singing a selection of Opera’s greatest arias and duets. This I would love to see!

Once you enter the cathedral, you are asked to take a seat in the pews and hear the natural acoustics of the cave via the song Amazing Grace. During this time, the lights are dimmed play along with the song. It’s a beautiful and enchanting few minutes.

Candles burning add an extra element of ambiance to the caves. On the day we were visiting, the crew was setting up for a wedding to take place later in the Cathedral Cave.

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Hauntingly beautiful!

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This is a view in Belfry Cave, where the Summer Solstice Light Spectacle occurs. “A natural phenomenon unique in the southern hemisphere, occurs throughout December and early January. Due to the alignment of the sun over the Tropic of Capricorn brilliant direct sun light penetrates the darkness of the Belfry Cave through a 14 metre vertical shaft in the cave roof at midday. The effect is electrifying. The colour of peoples clothing is reflected all round the cave walls and a disco mirror ball creates light patterns on the roof.”

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Check out some of the photos of that event HERE. Looks pretty neat!

At the end of the cave tour, we have the option of exiting through a narrow zig zag passage (duh, of course we did it!) and leaving the caves via 2 suspension bridges – wee!

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The visit ended with a stop at the souvenir gift shop… of course ๐Ÿ˜› Where I wanted to buy a very cute quokka hand puppet but had absolutely no reason to do so.

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Have you ever visited Capricorn Caves? What did you think? Overall, it was a great time with the company I had! ๐Ÿ™‚

New hobby – Golf

This year has provided us with many opportunities for Michael’s new hobby – golf. We also have a number of friends who enjoy it as well, which is great, because the more the merrier!

Golf is surprisingly quite affordable around Rockhampton with at least 6 different courses. And tagging along gives me lots of time for photography! Of course, I could definitely use more practice on my swings, but plenty of time for that right?

Below are some of my favourite photographs taken while golfing so far this year, enjoy!

Moon at dusk

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Mike and Jin sharing a few laughs

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Garrett’s really good! Always nice to have him around to give tips ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Jess keeping an eye on the guys

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Candid moments

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Beautifully quiet

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Perfect advertisement moment ๐Ÿ˜›

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Rainbow!

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Always meeting new friends!

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Golf = happiness?

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Beautiful sunsets

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FULL ALBUM HERE if you’re interested! I’m sure this album will keep growing throughout the years!

Weekend trip to Bundaberg!

August 8-9, 2015

We finally took a weekend off to visit our friends Yoni, Josiah, and his wife Danya! Josiah and Danya are settled and working in Bundy this year, while Yoni was rotating through for his surgical rotation. and coincidentally also working with Josiah.

Only ~2.5hrs from Gladstone, we left early Saturday morning and stopped at Agnes Water along the way! Didn’t swim but had a nice picnic and the beach reminded us of an undeveloped Noosa ๐Ÿ™‚

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We arrived to Bundaberg in the late morning and decided to visit their Botanic Gardens.

Two conclusions:

  1. So many birds!
  2. Definitely worth a visit if you have time!

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Japanese Gardens

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Chinese Gardens – look at all the turtles!

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So peaceful ๐Ÿ™‚

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Picking up Yoni after he finished work, yay – finally reunited!

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As Josiah was still busy moving into their new house, we decided to go for a late lunch and meet him later. For the first time this year, Korean food! How I missed you! Had a great meal at Korean food&Cafe “Hello” consisting of…

Bibimbap!

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Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and a side of Kimbap! So good!

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Always ruining my photos!

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Not only was the food good, the restaurant even had a ‘Korean Grocery Store’ section – allowing us to stock up on all our favourite Korean snacks for cheaper!

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The city centre reminded us of Rocky!

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Danya was unfortunately out of town Saturday, but we had a lovely dinner and catch up with Josiah and Yoni at City Elements, which I will share more about in a separate post!

The following morning, August 9th, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Botanica Cafe with some of the most generous portions of food AND hollandaise sauce!

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Of course, a visit to Bundy just isn’t complete without stopping at Bundaberg Rum Distillery!

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Definitely worth paying $15 for a self guided-interactive tour. If you have time, sit and watch the National Geographic segment: Bundaberg Rum Megafactory. Very informative and interesting!

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Did I mention at the end of the tour, your price includes 2 drinks? And those drinks can include the limited edition MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005, valued at $139/bottle? Worth it!

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The boys went to play golf in the afternoon at Bargara Golf Club while I recuperated in bed from a viral illness. Luckily I was feeling much better by late afternoon when Danya returned from Brisbane!

So nice to catch up with these guys!

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One last meal together at the Spotted Dog Tavern before driving back to Gladstone – until next time friends! We miss you!

Camping at Blackdown Tableland National Park

May 30-31, 2015

Our first camping trip this year ๐Ÿ™‚

180km west of Rockhampton, it is an approximate 3 hour drive to Blackdown Tableland National Park. The mountainous terrain of the tablelands provides a unique landscape featuring gorges, waterfalls and diverse vegetation. It is also the traditional homeland of the Ghungalu people and they ask visitors to respect their land and take a moment to acknowledge their spiritual ancestors when visiting.

Beautiful drive up!

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Camping is only permitted at Munall campground, with nearby walking tracks that are incredibly peaceful and lead to amazingย lookouts. Entrance to the park is a 11km turn off from Capricorn Coast and a further 8km to Munall campground.

 

We managed our drive in a little Honda Jazz but a 4WD would certainly make the trip much MUCH easier. Have fun though!

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A map of the campground and surrounding trails

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Here is a short video of our time in Blackdown Tableland National Park!

And of course, some photos!

Our campsite at Munall. A very reasonable fee of $5.75/person/night.

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There are 3 main walking tracks.

We started with the 2.8km circuit Goon Goon Dhina track. It was incredibly quiet and peaceful, not another soul in sight. “An easy walk past old cattle yard ruins, then follows Mimosa Creek upstream to a Ghungalu art site. Signs along this track offer insights into the park’s history.ย Learn how Ghungalu people used plants for food and shelter.”

Constantly reminded how small you are in nature

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Saw sundews in nature for the first time!

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Lovely trails and plenty of still water. I’m sure it is quite pretty when water is flowing!

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We stopped to admire the Ghungalu art site

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We came across lots of prescribed burning in all areas of the park.

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A short drive away is the 4km (return) Gudda Gumoo trail that takes you a lookout and further to the gorge. Head down a flight of 240 steps to the base of the waterfalls and take in the rainbows cast over the falling waters.

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The water was frigid but I imagine this would be an amazingly refreshing place to swim and cool down in the summer!

Rainbow! But no pot of gold in sight… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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We saved the Mook Mook trail (2.4km return) for last and so glad we did – best scenery!

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A zombie?

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So gorgeous and quiet

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Look at this incredible view! No words!

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On our drive down and back to Rockhampton, we stopped to enjoy the scenery from a different angle ๐Ÿ™‚

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Winning at the selfie game!

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See you next time!

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I should also mention… plenty of cows on the road! But they always look so grumpy and always covered in flies!

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Visiting Rockhampton Zoo

If you have a few hours to spare in Rockhampton, definitely check out the Rockhampton Zoo!

A completely free attraction within the Botanic Gardens that offers an opportunity to relax in nature and see over 50 species of animals native to Australia.

Not all exhibits wereย open and some enclosures were not in use. We imagine due to ongoing renovations from cyclone damages earlier this year.

Nevertheless, an enjoyable time walking around and meeting all the animals!

Chimpanzees

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Red seal coot birds

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Basking alligator

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Freshwater crocodiles trying to hide

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Sleepy koalas hanging out in the eucalyptus

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Kangaroos! Unfortunately, no interaction with them as you can at other zoos like Australia Zoo or Lone Pine

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Lace Monitors! So cute!

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Rockhampton Zoo even has an aviary! Small but with plenty of birds to observe ๐Ÿ™‚

Royal Spoonbill

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Emerald Dove

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I don’t know the name of this bird!

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Bar Shouldered Dove

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Showing off

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And of course, as with any park… you will get Ibises looking for food ๐Ÿ˜›

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Worth a visit, check out Rockhampton Zoo if you have free time!

Flying to Brisbane!

February 23, 2015

The first 5 weeks of work passed by like a blink of an eye.ย Even so, we were already ready for a vacation, bring it on!

Hung out in the Qantas Lounge at the airport before flying back to Brisbane! Here’s the view!

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We picked up our rental car at the airport and checked in at our hotel – Riverside Hotel Southbank. Clean, modern, good size, and exactly what we needed! Had a daytime nap and rested in bed watching the Oscars.

So nice to being back in Brisbane! After resting, we had a lovely walk around South Bank, bought some Max Brenner chocolates for family, and stopped for a snack at Ahmet’s. Their dinner banquets are definitely worth trying friends!

Excited for food!

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Freshly baked Turkish bread glazed with butter and herbs ($5.50)

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With a side of Baba ghanoush ($4.90) – one of our favourite kinds of dip, made with roasted eggplant

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We also got some Mucver – Green zucchini fritters with tomato salsa, fresh mint & dill yoghurt ($11). Tasty, but much greasier than we personally like.

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Later that night, we went over to Matt and Kristen’s for dinner, joined by James and Kim! So, so nice to see and catch up with them! Felt like forever since spending time with them! Matt and Kristen made yummy chili con carne, James and Kim brought 2 kinds of cheesecake and we brought some wine. So delicious and filling, and in great company too! We miss you guys!

No pictures…sadface ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

What’s it like being a doctor?

How’s your job? Do you like it? Are the hours crazy? Are the nurses nice? Are the surgeons mean?

Just some of the repeated questions I’ve received from family and friends since starting work as a medical intern. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I wasย on the General Medicine ward for my first 5 weeks. Then we went on our annual 5 week holiday (which I’ll definitely tell you more about later) and now I’m currently week 8/10 of another Gen Med rotation. Where has the time gone?!

First day on the job…ย I knew absolutely nothing and no one, it was fantastic. (Not). I spent everyย day imitating a sponge as best as I could. Trying really hardย not to look too much like aย foolย while absorbing everything I was seeingย around me. Trying to remember patients and their issues, staff members’ names and their roles, which forms to fill and how, where to find equipment and leave specimens, etc.

It was exhausting. For the entirety of my first week, I got home, ate dinner and immediately fell asleep.

However, like many other tasks in life, I gained familiarity and through that, confidence. With time and experience, I’ve even built some competence! ๐Ÿ˜‰ These days, not only do I leave work on time, I also don’t take work home with me AND I can stay up for hours after having dinner!

Some of you may have heard the saying, “Interns are just pens with legs.”ย The reality is, there is some truth in most medical stereotypes. I mean, we do have to…

  • Make sure the patient list is up to date
  • Write the chart notes during ward rounds and patient reviews
  • Fill out request forms, such as pathology, imaging, referrals, etc
  • Complete the discharge summaries

So yes, a lot of writing is involved. But can you imagine if this pen ran out of ink?

Who would keep people up to date with patient notes? How would patients get their required tests? How would GPs and other doctors know what happened to their patient and what follow up was required?

As the ones whoย spend the most time on the ward, and through the above roles, we often end up spending a lot of time with patients and their families. We areย the first point of contact for nursing staff in caring for patients. We helpย to clarify questionsย and provide more information. We listen to and acknowledge concerns, even if only to provide a joke and share a smile. Not to say the senior doctors don’t do all the above and more, it’s stillย a rewarding experience for us junior doctors.

So yes, we are at the bottom of the totem pole. Some days you feel it, but most days you’re definitely an essential part of the team.

Flour – Our new favourite cafe

It was a pleasure that one of the first cafesย we dined at upon moving to Rockhampton, Flour, has become our favourite ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for the recommendation Amanda!

Yes, it is a 25 minute drive away in Yeppoon, but definitely worth it! And considering we used to take public transport in Brisbane for longer periods of time when going out to eat, how could we possibly complain?

Immediate sign of a good cafe – it’s always buzzing! Which can sometimesย concern you, “Am I going to have to wait forever for a table?” But the wait has never been too long for us. And they take reservations, which is even better.

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The second good sign – familiarity between customers and staff. Frequent diners! People don’t keep returning if they’re not happy right?

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The furniture and decor are mismatched and cute, giving off a fun, relaxed vibe.

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Sit down and look at the menu, but certainly don’t forget to check out the baked goods at the counter and in the fridges! Don’t be like me during my first visit and not leave room for cakes and pastries. For breakfast? Of course!

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I don’t drink coffee, but if Mike’s happy with his, then you’d be too!

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The menu is small but tantalizing and Michael, of course, must always try the Eggs Benedict. It sets the ‘food standard’ bar for him.

Eggs Benedict on ciabatta bread with smoked salmon, baby spinach, and hollandaise sauce ($17.50). Eggs beautifully poached, sauce delicious, with loads of salmon – worth it.

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I have a weakness for pumpkin (and haloumi cheese) when it comes to a breakfast menu… or any menu for that matter. So my choice was obvious: Spicy pumpkin fritters topped with baby spinach, poached eggs and bacon served with house made hollandaise ($17.50). Can you say a generous serving? I was stuffed! Not to mention it was delicious and definitely the kind of dish I would spend extra time trying to duplicate at home for a special weekend breakfast.

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And because you can’t see the pumpkin fritters from the above angle. I have had fritters at other restaurants where they have beenย soggy and/or dripping oil – not in this case!

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We have now visited a number of times and service has always been impeccable – friendly and efficient. Could not fault their food nor their service.

And yes, we most certainly have tried some of their cakes! Fresh, decadent, and delicious – there is definitely enough variety available on a daily basis to suit all sorts of sweet teeth!

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So far, our favourite ‘getaway’ cafe for breakfast or even just a drink and snack. Would definitely recommend Flour to everyone who’s stopping in Yeppoon! Don’t forget to share your experience ๐Ÿ™‚

Flour on Urbanspoon

Exploring Yeppoon

January 9, 2015

With a rental car and a weekend before starting work, we decided to explore the area… and drove out to Yeppoon.

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Adventure time!

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A peaceful and scenicย 25 minute drive from Rockhampton, Yeppoon is a lovely, quaint coastal town.ย Not to mention home to our new favourite cafe for breakfast – Flour Cafe – but I’ll tell you all that in a different post!

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After a delicious breakfast, we stopped by the beach. Unfortunately, it was quit stirred up by recent high winds and rains.

We then drove over to Keppel Bay Marina

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It was lovely and I imagine the water is quite beautiful when not stirred up

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We then drove over to Emu Park, a small town just 21km from Yeppoon.

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Completely deserted, definitely a place you can sit and think ๐Ÿ˜›

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The Emu Park land area was first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 and is home to the Singing Ship Monument. Slightly creepy to hear the monument sing, no really, it does!

The Singing Ship commemorates Captain Cook`s Bicentenary in 1970 and marks his discovery of the bay in May, 1770. The memorial represents the billowing sail, mast and rigging of his ship Endeavour. Concealed organ pipes use the sea breezes to create eerie music.

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View from the monument, it’s too bad the water wasn’t very pretty!

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Just a short day trip driving around and taking in the nearby sites, definitely worth it! What’s even better? The cheap tropical fruits you can get in smaller towns compared to what I’m used to in Brisbane! Love it when my favourite fruits are in season… too bad it’s over!

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Not a bad first weekend in Rocky, wish there was more time to relax before starting work though!

Saying farewell to our parents

December 27, 2014

Forever grateful for the time our parents spent in Australia with us…

Our time together can summed into a few words –ย family, fun, laughter, and delicious food.

Some more moments of our time together…

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One of my new favourite meals to prepare – grilled fish with tropical salad – delicious and healthy!

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It was a bittersweet farewell. But we were pretty excited. Excited to start preparing for our move to Rockhampton and beginning our careers as doctors in the new year. Sad to say good bye to our parents but we would be back in Canada in Feb-March for our holidays!

No time to diddle daddle, lots to do!

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2014

I’m chuckling because I’m writing about our Christmas in April – better late than never?

My mom and I decided to stay home and relax on Christmas, but Michael and his parents braved the hoards to experience Christmas on the beach ๐Ÿ˜› Weather was good and they had a fun time!

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How many Canadians can say they spent Christmas in this kind of weather?

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I was adamant I would be cooking Christmas dinner – letting my mom relax. Unfortunately, it was one of my biggest cooking fails – a raw meat loaf – so upsetting! The other dishes were good, including corn, potato wedges, prawn toast and salad.

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Our first Christmas tree in Australia

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Beautiful, love our colour scheme!

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Family photo!

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In previous years, our cousins have always had a bit of fun at family get togethers, like colour coordinating our outfits, wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, custom made t-shirts, etc. Imagine my delight when Mike’s mom produced these funky Dollarama light necklaces – complete with 3 different modes and extra batteries!

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Had a glitch with one of them – ah, expected of Dollarama!

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Blueberry pie for dessert, thanks Caroline!

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Some more family photos before opening presents

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I look sort of like a monster here

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My love!

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Let me share some of the wonderful presents I received ๐Ÿ™‚

Gorgeousย ruby (my birthstone) and diamond earrings from Michael that nicely match a necklace he gave for Christmas in 2011

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A beautiful Ivanka Trump dress from my mom. I’ve received many compliments wearing it already!

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A nice leather Coach clutch from my sister and some delicious chocolate bars! Can’t find those in Australia!

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Presents from my brother…

A wine making kit. I haven’t used it yet, will have to soon!

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And an electronic measuring cup and ceramic knives – now staples in my kitchen ๐Ÿ™‚

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From Michael’s parents, goodies from Canada!

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And a few items from his mom! The candle holders fit nicely in our new home in Rockhampton!

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Michael was very happy with my Christmas present to him – adding to his collection ๐Ÿ˜‰

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It’s long passed, but I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday with your loved ones!

Early Christmas Dinner with the family

December 23, 2014

My family from Perth were staying in Brisbane until Christmas Eve evening. That meant we definitely had to take the opportunity to have an early Christmas dinner with everyone present.

If you know my family, food is a priority. You will never attend a family event with us and leave hungry. NEVER. EVER.

Visiting another city and living in a serviced apartment? No problem! The Nguyens always deliver!

Preparing the food is all part of the fun!

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Sneaking in some more views from their apartment

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The… Christmas tree?

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Some of the food dishes… all homemade!

Inari – aburaage (deep fried tofu) bags filled with rice. Our addition – topped with seaweed – yum!

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Variety of sushi rolls

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Vietnamese cold meat – thit nguoi – one of the traditional meats seen in Viet subs

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Roasted leg of lamb

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Shrimp cocktail ring with traditional Viet garlic mayo. So much better than marinara sauce!

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Curry egg salad

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Couscous salad

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Ong Ba Ba!

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Michael and his mom

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Ong Ba Ut

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My future parents-in-law ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ba Ut and I

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View of the spread

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And as always, family photos before eating!

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She who cooks, carves

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Self serve buffet

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He’s so cute.

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The following day, December 24, 2014, was all about relaxation and spending our last day together. We ateย Christmas leftovers and hung out at the apartment. Michael and his parents climbed Mt Ngungun during the day and joined us at the apartment in the afternoon to see my family off.

Love my family! Don’t know when I’ll see them next ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Thank you so much for everything, can’t wait to see you again! โค