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 😉 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 😉

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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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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 😛

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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 ❤ 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 🙂

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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 😉

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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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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 😉 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 😉

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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! 🙂

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! 😉

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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 🙂

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!

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! 😉

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

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 🙂

Past moments in Gladstone & Rocky!

A few more memories! Haven’t been posted but certainly not forgotten! 🙂

Celebrating one of my fav ladies’ 24th birthday (June 17)! A nice meal at Gracemere Hotel and, of course, cake!

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Obviously very happy with the company and the cake 😛

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The numerous drives back to Rocky every weekend while we were in Gladstone. Gosh, it was always good to be home and sleeping in our own bed!

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Ocean visits! Walking along the beach never gets old with perfect blue skies and good company! Especially when it’s so close by!

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Celebrating Kon’s birthday (June 28) with cake, boardgames, and wine!

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Plus what better birthday gift than a hockey jersey of your favourite team from your girlfriend? 😛

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Making it out to Rockhampton River Festival (July 11) – enjoyed some good food and even watched fireworks in the pouring rain!

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And only once in our 10 weeks in Gladstone did we have a visitor – Jin coming down to visit Jess!

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But it did make for a pretty darn good breakfast out at lightbox. I mean… check out their breakfast special for $23! Easily one of the tastiest breakfasts I’ve had. And for the first time in Australia, when I answered, “I’d like my eggs over easy please,” they understood exactly what I meant!

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Good coffees too, thumbs up lightbox!

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The boys played golf whenever they had the chance – I had a lot of time to take photos on the golf course… enough for a whole post on its own!

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Not forgetting to enjoy some good homemade food in Gladstone!

Having Jess and Ian (surg PHO) over for some Viet subs, savoury sticky rice and stir fry!

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And being treated to chicken curry and spring rolls made by Ian and Jess, respectively! Yum 🙂

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Selfie during our last meal together before Ian heads back to Brisbane! Thanks for being good to us!

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More good times to come!

Club Med Turkoise – Turks & Caicos

March 05-12, 2015

One week. One glorious week full of beautiful weather, gorgeous beach with turkoise waters, delicious food, sun and fun.

Where? Turks & Caicos. A British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago.

More specifically, we stayed at Club Med Turkoise on Grace Bay, Providenciales (Caicos Islands – home of most local residents) – one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – ranked #2 on Trip Advisor!

As you might remember from our previous Club Med experience in Bali, we are huge fans of the Club Med all inclusive experience. The location, the activities, the food, and the people you meet are some of the best reasons to choose Club Med for a fun-filled, stress free holiday.

We were supposed to fly from Ottawa to Charlotte then onwards to Providenciales. Unfortunately, our first flight was delayed so we got re-routed from Ottawa to Toronto to Miami and finally Providenciales. Due to the delay, we didn’t arrive until late evening of March 5th as opposed to midday. A whole day, wasted! Thanks a lot United Airways!

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Morning came and all our troubles went away. What a beautiful, amazing place!

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For this trip, we bought an underwater camera that was also perfect for vlogging. I invite you to watch our video and check out our adventures in Turks & Caicos!

It is easy to see why Grace Bay is one of the prettiest beaches in the world. In addition, Club Med has the widest, cleanest, and nicest spread of beach on Grace Bay – definitely a winner!

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Crystal clear, turquoise waters at the perfect temperature. We spent many hours of every day in the calm peaceful ocean.

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The perfect summary to our holiday:

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Club Med Turkoise has the usual array of included activities such as tennis, basketball, and trapeze. What won our hearts? All the water sports!

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Sailing, kayaking, snorkelling, and paddle boarding… we tried to as many water activities in a day as possible.

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Snorkelling was twice a day and great! We even brought our own snorkels and masks but their provided equipment is pretty decent as well!

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So many things to do!

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Sailing quickly became a new favourite hobby. And we didn’t capsize once!

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The food was also great! The main buffet restaurant, Grace Bay Restaurant, was where we ate most of our meals. A repeating breakfast and lunch spread throughout the week but enough variety to keep us happy. For dinner, there was a different theme every night. We love food and there is definitely enough choices and something for everyone. Our favourite? Their famous white chocolate bread! Yum!

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The social aspect of Club Med is one of its main appeals. Most dining tables fit 6 people so you will always meet new people at meals (if not during the day). We met a variety of interesting and wonderful people!

They also have a reservation-only a la carte restaurant, Lucayan. We lined up to secure a table but were incredibly disappointed. The atmosphere is nice and it was really good to have a private meal with just the two of us, however, the food simply did not measure up to our expectations.

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Lastly, they have Sharkie’s Bar – one of our favourite spots to hang out in the afternoon. Simple menu with the best chicken burgers and fries. Food, drinks and fun live entertainment – what more do you want?

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Perfect beach for nice long walks 🙂

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Gorgeous sunrises and beautiful sunsets… every day!

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Sunrise from our room!

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Enjoyed numerous sunsets on the beach

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Did I mention the local beer, Turks Head, is pretty tasty? 😛

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Last night on Turks and Caicos and one year anniversary of our engagement! How tanned we were by the end of our vacation!

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Couldn’t get enough and look forward to the opportunity to return! Thanks for an amazing time Club Med Turkoise!

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 scenic 25 minute drive from Rockhampton, Yeppoon is a lovely, quaint coastal town. 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 😛

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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!

Family trip to Stradbroke Island!

December 16, 2014

Stradbroke Island holds a special place in our hearts. Not only is it one of our favourite places in Australia, it was also where Michael proposed to me on March 12, 2014!

We were very excited to be able to show our parents the beautiful island and the place we became engaged 🙂

There’s not much to say because the photos speak for themselves!

Ferry ride over

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Ran into so many beached jellyfish

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Look at the gorgeous water!

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My mom is not a fan of midday beach fun because it’s so hot and the sun is so strong, very happy she still came along!

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Selfies!

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The rock where we got engaged! Where Deadman’s Beach transitions to Frenchman’s beach… ❤

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Continuing with the Gorge Walk

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We finished the day off with Korean BBQ dinner at Midam – delicious!

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Fam in Brisbane: Beach getaway at The Sanctuary

December 06-13, 2014

The day my mom, Mike and I got back from our Singapore/Malaysia trip coincided with the arrival of Mike’s family to Brisbane.

For a week of relaxation and to spend time together, we booked a holiday home at Noosa (Sunshine Coast). The house was large, beautiful, and comfortable. Tucked away giving privacy and tranquility.

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Spacious kitchen, even a deck and BBQ.

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The only downfall? The Sanctuary is located on Upper Hastings Drive (not mentioned in the listing) which required a hike up 200 steep stairs. Good exercise for Michael and I, but a little difficult to enjoy for the rest of our group.

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The view was nice though!

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We spent every day at the beach, often with a 6am morning swim before breakfast.

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My mom was amazing. She marinated numerous types of Vietnamese meats and we had delicious BBQs almost every night. We also did go out for a few meals, including this cozy and yummy breakfast at Gaston!

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My mom showing us one of the activities she enjoyed as a kid – making butterflies from flowers

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Sunshine, the ocean, good food, board games, catching up on books, talks and laughs… vacation always seems to pass too quickly!

A quick return to Stradbroke Island

October 6, 2014

On March 12th of this year, Michael proposed to me during a wonderful vacation on Stradbroke Island. One of our favourite places turned into a very special place that day, and we will always look forward to the opportunity for a visit.

With beautiful forecasted weather, we took advantage of the Labour Day long weekend to spend a day on the island.

Started our day sharing a delicious breakfast at Tillers Cafe Pantry, a restaurant attached to Allure Resort, where we stayed back in March. The last time we were here, it was our first meal out as an engaged couple and my first time wearing my ring in public. I remember not being able to help but continuously glance down at my ring, as it was so sparkly in the natural light 😛

We enjoyed Whole dressed avocado served with sourdough bread, grilled haloumi cheese, lime & dressing of olive oil and balsamic ($12), which was just as delicious as last visit!

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We also shared a slice of berry white chocolate cheese cake accompanied with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. The cake had really good texture with interesting crunchiness from white chocolate within the cheesecake.

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We strolled along the beaches after breakfast, even coming across this sand mermaid who has seen better days

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Blue skies, sunshine, warm sand for lounging and refreshing ocean swims! Love him 🙂

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Coming up to high tide by the time we passed Deadman’s Beach and headed into Frenchman’s Beach, but here is where he proposed! At the tall boulder just slipping out of the sun… 🙂

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A perfect day, Stradbroke Island will always be one of my favourites places ❤

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Our great experience at Club Med Bali

May 10-16, 2014

(Note: This is going to be a LONG post, but I hope you enjoy!)

It seems that every vacation Michael and I have been on, they have always been very “go go go!” Fast paced and always on the move to soak in as much as possible, in as little time as possible. In addition, they have never been “all inclusive” in any sense because well… it was always cheaper to do our own thing. Finally, there came a time earlier this year that we thought we deserved (and hopefully would enjoy) a more relaxing, slow-paced vacation. It would be even better, if it was an all inclusive vacation so we would have even less to worry about. A friend suggested looking into Club Med and incidentally, there were great sales happening online.

And that, is how we came to spend our one week vacation at Club Med Bali, an island and province of Indonesia. It really didn’t take too much convincing.

I should probably with the most obvious possible question? What exactly is Club Med? 

Club Méditerranée or Club Med, is considered the original ‘all inclusive resort’. A French corporation of vacation resorts found all over the world including Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Maldives, the Caribbean, Europe, South America and Africa. Each resort is called a village, with a resort manager (chef de village) and Club Med staff from all over the world who are called ‘Gentils Organisateurs’ or GOs. Each village is also supported by local staff known as Gentils Employés (GEs). And of course, cannot forget the guests, or ‘Gentils Membres’ (GMs)!

There are a few aspects of Club Med that make it quite special compared to other resorts:

1) The ‘all inclusive package‘ includes not only transportation to/from airport, lodging, food, drinks and shows, but also activities and the use of sports facilities. These include tennis, golf, snorkelling, kayaking, etc. activities that are normally not included and could cost quite a bit. And did I mention you can get lessons in everything as well? Indeed!

2) GOs are quite multi-talented. They are not only your lifeguards, bartenders, sports instructors, etc. during the day, but impressive performers during each evening’s show. More importantly, GOs and GMs play, dine, drink, and dance together every day and every night. They are not just staff members but your friends and family during your stay at the village. This social aspect is a big reason why people chose Club Med again and again.

3) Crazy Signs – unique to Club Med and a ton of fun for all ages. A communal dance that is standardised across Club Med resorts all over the world and led by the GOs at different times of the day and night. At one point during your stay, you will definitely learn the moves and groove along! I don’t have videos of Crazy Signs, but you can check out YouTube videos HERE and HERE.

Great overview of Club Med Bali HERE on YouTube 🙂

Now that you know a little more about Club Med (in case you didnt, like us not too long ago!) let me share our experience!

Flew with Jetstar on the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner!

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Best memories of the flight? Electronic dimming windows, automatic flush and faucet in the toilets, and the best touch response I’ve had with in flight entertainment.

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How tired we look after 3 consecutive days of exams and packing last minute!

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Safely landed at Ngurah Rai International Airport where we were met and driven to Club Med Bali located on Nusa Dua Beach.

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Welcomed by the lovely GO Melanie for an orientation over refreshing drinks and a cold minty towel!

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Club Med bracelets to identify you as GMs

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Heading towards the rooms…

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So peaceful

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We stayed in room 3021, close to all the facilities yet far enough not to be kept awake by night life. The rooms are definitely dated, standard but spacious (see in video below) with daily servicing. Bottled water is provided and you are encouraged to fill them up at water stations found around the village during the day when you’re out and about… or you can drop by the bar 😉 Bathrooms were decent, but the showers have seen better days – they could definitely use a good scrub down or facelift! There is central air conditioning so you don’t have control over the thermostat, although the A/C was refreshing and good temperature to sleep at night, we prefer it to be a few degrees colder. Other than that, no complaints really! We were only ever in our room to change during the day and sleep during the night, if you’re at Club Med, you really shouldn’t be spending more time than that in your room anyway!

First priority, food! There are two restaurants – Agung Buffet Restaurant and Batur ‘a la carte’ Restaurant. They operate at different meal hours, giving you a chance to get food pretty much whenever you want. Since we had missed the buffet lunch hours, we went to Batur Restaurant for a bite to eat. It is a smaller restaurant but lovely.

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Yay, we made it!

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For our first meals, grilled fish for me, satay for Michael. Food was good, but we enjoyed the rest of our meals at Agung Buffet Restaurant for the huge variety of choices.

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One of 4 dining areas within Agung Restaurant.

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And another, this one is for adults only so much quieter without kids around.

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Overall, the food was amazing. There are food themes every night, such as: Ocean buffet, Sit Down Cocktail, Indonesian, Long Time Favourites, etc. There were areas of the buffet that consistently offered a selection of Indonesian, Italian, and Korean cuisines. A large selection of fresh breads, cheeses, and salads were available at every meal. There was always something new and tasty to try. If you are foodies like we are, or enjoy trying new foods, then meals at Agung restaurant are delightful.

Don’t judge us in this photo right after what I just wrote. 😉 The fries were really good, and we just wanted a few before dessert… haha!

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Having breakfast in another area of the restaurant. Breakfast buffets offered mostly the same selection every day but I can’t complain because I happily got fat on the fresh and deliciously buttery croissants.

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Lots of chilling by the bar having drinks

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Pools pools pools! Where most of our very important relaxation happened 😛

There is the large main pool with generous numbers of lounge chairs and cabanas/gazebos.

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Can do this all day long…

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GEs are constantly checking in on you to see if you want any beverages, why yes please!

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There is also the new Zen Pool – an adult only pool that serves only non-alcoholic beverages. Seems befitting for a pool that is supposed to be as quiet as possible. We loved the swinging lounges/beds at this pool.

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Heading out towards the beach

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Unfortunately not the nicest beach, nor the softest sand, but still offered its own version of beauty!

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Dip in the Indian Ocean!

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Mount Agung, active volcano, in the distance. We will climb you next time!

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Gorgeous weather every day

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Enjoying the local beer

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Night view walking along the beach with constant security patrol

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Lots of daily fitness classes including: yoga stretching, power walking, abs and thighs, aqua gym, pool game, dance fitness, and more!

Fun in the sun! Quite enjoyed aqua gym – water aerobics. Representing Australia doing the kangaroo race 😛

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Sports! Unfortunately, high waves kept us away from the water sports (kayaking, windsurfing, snorkelling) so I don’t have photos of that to share… maybe next time!

Land sports!

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We enjoyed a lot of golf (6-hole course), sometimes multiple times a day.

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Also tennis outdoors!

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Indoor facilities include a gym for badminton, basketball, etc. as well as 2 squash courts

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Beware of mosquitos! They do regular evening mosquito fogging to keep them at bay but I still got bit numerous times. Worth it to bring repellant!

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Archery was a ton of fun and something I was actually decent at.

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And I even went on the trapeze! My certificate for Knee Hang Catch – you’ll have to watch the video below to see! Thanks (L to R) Danny, Jack, and Ali! And Kevin who’s not in this photo.

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As you have probably noticed in the previous photos, the village grounds are kept immaculate and are maintained on a daily basis by the lovely GEs.

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Performance theatre, with evening shows every day

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This night’s performance theme: Halloween, it was really good!

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I know there are a lot of photos, but they really don’t capture the full beauty and ambiance of Club Med Bali. Please watch my video below to see more!

There are a few things regarding Club Med that we didn’t personally experience that is worth mentioning:

1) Petit/Mini/Kids/Junior Club (2-18yo). What makes Club Med a fantastic holiday choice for families is children/youth oriented programs run by GOs. Gives children a chance to hang out with those their age and make new friends, stay engaged with the numerous activities and schedules, and give parents a chance for some relaxation and adult time. You can always hear the enthusiasm and energy when they’re nearby and just know the kids were having a ball. We will definitely go on Club Med vacations when we have a family, no doubt about it.

2) Night life. Because Michael and I wanted to spend as much time alone together as possible, we skipped out on the night life. However, it always looked liked a blast with dancing and hanging out with the GOs and other GMs. If we had been on this vacation with friends, things would’ve turned out very differently 😛

3) Mandara Spa within Club Med Bali. We didn’t try the services but the prices are comparable to Australian prices. Speaking with other GMs, there are nice spa/massage options if you are interested off the village grounds for much cheaper.

4) Excursions. Trips to see what Bali has to offer are available through the Discovery Centre or independently outside the village. We were happy to spend our entire trip having fun and relaxing in the village so actually did not get to see Bali attractions. We don’t regret it, but will definitely do it next time we’re back!

We had an amazing first Club Med experience in Bali. Thank you so much to all the wonderful GOs and GEs we met during our stay and made our trip extraordinaire! Can’t name you all but merci beaucoup! This holiday has definitely hooked us in and we will be looking forward to future vacations at other Club Med villages!

Until next time!

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Michael & I are engaged!

And we wanted to share the happy news! 😀

Michael and I spent our week off, from Monday to Friday (March 10-14) on a beach getaway on Stradbroke Island.

We stayed at Allure Resort, in a lovely privately owned beach cabin (Shack 18) that you can read more about in this previous post

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First selfie after arriving 🙂

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Just 2 minutes walk from the beach

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With absolutely gorgeous weather

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We had brought all our own groceries so cooked and indulged in many delicious meals in our beach cabin. We had lots of private time, and enjoyed quite a bit of relaxation including catching up on our favourite TV shows, watching movies, reading novels, and playing Splinter Cell on the Xbox. Yes, we even brought our Xbox to the island. 😉

More importantly, we had lots of fun in the sun! Spent hours swimming in the cool, crystal clear waters and went for long walks on the beach.

It was actually during one of our walks on the beach, on March 12, 2014, that my wonderful partner of 3 years asked me to marry him.

Here is what Michael would like to share:

I had been contemplating for weeks how exactly I wanted to ask the love of my life to marry me. I opted for a simple plan that involved doing something that has brought so many days of fun together, asking her during a day at the beach. From our previous camping trip to Straddie, I recalled that there is an interesting area of beach with boulders and other various rock formations accessible at low tide as Deadman’s Beach transitions to Frenchman’s beach. So, with keeping the schedule of the tides in mind, around low tide I suggested we make our way towards Frenchman’s beach.

My plan was initially to double back on Sandra during our walk, hiding among the rocks in order to find a private spot to write my proposal in the sand. Luckily, as we were walking through the completely empty beach, Sandra suggested we stop so she could shoot a video of the waves and rocks. I immediately jumped on this, disappearing behind the largest of the rocks to quickly extract the ring from my backpack and write “Sandra Marry Me” in the sand. I really would have liked to put it in a question…but I was unsure exactly how much time I had before her recording was over, so I kept it to the point with just three words.

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Just as I finished the last letter, I poked my head out from behind the rock to see she was done and looking for me. I called for her to come around the rock to check out something cool. As she walked around the rock and her gaze shifted to the writing, I dropped to one knee, opened the box to display the ring and said, “Sandra, you are the love of my life, you make me so happy, I want to be with you forever. Will you do me the honour of marrying me?”. She said YES! We kissed and I proudly placed the ring on her finger 🙂 I’m a happy man.

Right after he put the ring on my finger 😀

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I thought Michael was hiding behind a boulder trying to scare me. Imagine my surprise to see his message in the sand and then down on one knee!

There was no hesitation before I said, “Yes!”  In the past 3 years, he has shown me what love for another should be by showering me with it. He has been immensely kind, caring, and supportive. He praises my strengths and accepts my flaws, encourages me and pushes me to be the best person I can be. He treats my family with love and respect and I am extremely lucky to have been embraced by his family from the beginning. Michael is my best friend and the love of my life. ❤

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We are very happy and extremely excited for what the future will bring!

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Here is a short video of our time on Stradbroke Island!

We have kept our engagement quiet these past few days in order to let our families and close friends know first. It was even harder to do because we had no internet service during our time on Stradbroke Island and had to wait until we were back in Brisbane. But now we want the rest of the world to know as well!

Family and friends have asked a few similar questions, so I will share my answers with you here.

1) Were you surprised or did you know it was coming? Well, Michael and I have talked about getting married for some time now. While we were back in Canada over Christmas, he surprised me by asking me to go look at rings with him. He had also asked my mom for my hand in marriage and received her blessing, so I definitely knew it was coming, but it was certainly a surprise when he proposed! Like I mentioned earlier, I thought he was trying to scare me. It never crossed my mind that he was about to ask me to marry him!

2) Did he pick the ring out himself? Yes he did! We tried on a few different styled rings together over Christmas to get an idea of what we both liked, but he secretly got this ring on his own. I love my ring! I especially like that it’s a Canadian diamond surrounded by beautifully delicate and subtle detailing.

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3) When’s the wedding?! Is it going to be in Canada or Australia? We honestly don’t know yet! There are so many factors that are out of our hand at the moment with regards to where we will be doing our medical training. So when we know, we will let you know too!

Whew, if you’re still here then thank you so much for reading and sharing in our good news!

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Stradbroke: Good eats at Tillers Cafe Pantry

During our stay on Stradbroke Island, we enjoyed ourselves twice at Tilllers Cafe Pantry, a lovely open air dining space right next to the reception of Allure Resort.

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The cafe offers non-alcoholic drinks and a nice selection of breakfast options, as well as sweet and savoury snacks. What we also really liked about this little cafe is the pantry, plenty of neat and unique specialty items to browse through and try.

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Our first visit was for coffee and an early evening snack. We were greeted by extremely friendly staff and the enormous cheesecakes in the display case caught my eye immediately.

I couldn’t pass up a slice of passionfruit cheesecake ($6) that even came with a side of delicious vanilla ice cream! Loved the topping! The crust was quite crumbly but not too sweet and I believe I even tasted coconut flakes.

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Mike enjoyed his flat white… and of course, some of my cheese cake. 😛

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The following morning, we came back for breakfast. In contrast to an empty cafe yesterday around 5:30pm, the cafe was buzzing and packed with customers. Definitely a popular breakfast destination!

My wonderful date!

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Photos of the menu. Reasonably priced, tantalizing options!

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Mike didn’t take long to make up his mind: Croissant filled with smoked salmon, capers, sour cream and dill ($14.50) and a coffee ($4). He enjoyed his croissant immensely and was pleasantly surprised at the fresh and delicious side salad that was not mentioned in the menu!

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I decided on the Whole dressed avocado served with sourdough bread, grilled haloumi cheese, lime & dressing of olive oil and balsamic ($12). I never say no to haloumi. And I’m not usually a fan of avocados but this was the most perfect avocado I’ve ever seen and tasted. I know, I sound crazy. But it was beautifully green without a blemish, perfectly ripe and buttery. And I don’t know how they get that dressing so emulsified but it was delicious.

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And I also ordered a plain toasted croissant ($2.50) – best croissant I’ve had in a long time!

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This vacation on Stradbroke Island has been extremely special with wonderful memories during our stay on Allure Resort. Enjoyable experiences at Tillers Cafe Pantry with tasty food options and friendly service will definitely bring us back when we’re on Stradbroke Island again!

Tillers Cafe Pantry on Urbanspoon

Day trip to Maroochydore!

Had a super lovely Saturday with James and Kim yesterday, thanks so much you two! 🙂

Earlier this week, James suggested we drive up north to Maroochydore to go to the beach. How could we possibly disagree?

Turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day! The current was quite strong so Kim and I didn’t go “swimming” but water was still super refreshing 🙂

Photo cred: Kim

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We then went to visit Harrison, who’s at a hospital nearby and is amazingly living out this rotation in a beach resort/village. Beautiful house with great views and access to a private beach, kayaks, swimming pools, etc.

We even went kayaking, which totally made Kim’s day ^_^

A trip to the beach wouldn’t be complete without beers, fish and chips for lunch!

And could only be better with a beautiful sunset 🙂

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James and Kim, you guys are adorable.

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Group photos!

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We were treated to an absolutely lovely, home-cooked/BBQ dinner by Harrison and his housemate, Pam. And of course, any get together is always more fun with boardgames! In this case, Cards Against Humanity and Mafia/Werewolves. Definitely made me think of the friends back in Canada! Was also nice to meet the other housemates, Richard (again) and Dara 😀

You guys are all awesome, thank you so much for such a wonderful day!

Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 02 & 03

Day 02: Sept 19

Woke up bright and early to birds chirping and the soothing sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore.

After breakfast, we decided that we would re-hike the same path as yesterday: East from Flinders Beach all the way to Main Beach and stop to swim along the way. Since we were walking through the same scenery as yesterday, I didn’t take as many photos!

Wee, wee, wee! Riding my invisible broomstick around Home Beach

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Marking our presence!

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Morning stretches

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I found lunch! Different kinds of molluscs!

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While I was hunting for lunch, Mike decided to claim a secluded section of Deadman’s Beach as his own private beach. Just for the 2 of us!

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That is my head, sticking out of the ocean

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Closer look at the molluscs I found

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New friends! Tickling my palm as they tried to slither away

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Sand dune! Too bad we didn’t have anything to use to slide down with!

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Bird of prey swooped down and stole an angelfish caught by a fisherman

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Super calm fisherman

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Lots of little crabs on all the beaches

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Little critters all around if you stop to take a look!

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Thought these flowers were quite interesting!

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We finally made it down to Main Beach! The wind was crazy today and the waves were too large to safely go swimming… neither of us are surfers, haha!

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Since we couldn’t swim at Main Beach, we walked back (so much walking) to Deadman’s beach for more swimming… and more crabs

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We made it sure to make it back to our camp at Adder Rock in time to watch the sunset! And to not only enjoy but see our awesome astronaut (read: freeze dried) dinner!

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It was actually REALLY tasty! Yum yum!

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We took our dinner bag onto the beach to eat and watch the sunset together. Aww, how much more romantical can camping get? Haha

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The wind had picked up quite a bit after the sun went down so we hid out in our tent for the evening. Yay!

Day 03: Sept 20

Our last day on Straddie! We decided to have breakfast, pack up and head back early in order to enjoy a whole day back in Brisbane.

This little fella never failed to show up and laugh at us in the mornings!

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Our next door camping neighbour (took this with my telephoto lens). SHE HAS A FRUIT BOWL and containers with drawers!

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Someone tied their bracelet to the fence

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This bird greeted us on our first day and followed us everywhere around the camp ground. On the last day, it landed on my shoulder while we were having breakfast! Very cute, especially the way it wiggled it’s butt, I don’t know what kind of bird this is though, does anyone?

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And that’s it! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!

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CLICK HERE IF YOU’D LIKE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE STRADDIE PHOTO ALBUM

Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 01

September 18, 2013

During this vacation, I did something I’ve never done before: I went camping!

Big thanks to Mike for the awesome first experience! Being an avid camper, he had everything we needed to make the trip as smooth as possible 😀

Our destination had long been recommended by numerous friends and boy were we glad we finally went! STRADBROKE ISLAND – definitely would visit again!

Getting to the island was incredibly easy and convenient, making us both really wished we’d gone earlier. Take the train out to Cleveland, hop on the complimentary bus out to the dock and on to the ferry! Ferry price is $15 return for students, pretty good! Once we arrived on the island (Dunwich), the island bus was waiting and it cost an additional $2.50 to get to our camping ground, too easy!

On the way there!

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Here is a map of Stradbroke Island so you can see the places I have mentioned and will be talking about in this post.

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We decided to camp at an unpowered site at Adder Rock for $28/night. Being low season, we got our pick of camping sites and decided to camp along Flinders Beach. Camping on the beach, what could be better right? They even had all the amenities we could need, including cooking and toilet facilities. From Adder Rock, we hiked East along the coast, scampering over rocks and walking through kilometers of pristine beaches all the way to Main Beach.

Setting up camp

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Done! Our home for the next 2 days

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… with the awesome beach view

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Settled in and having lunch! Yes, Mike has a portable stove, pots and pans, and everything! Sausages, hard boiled eggs, bread, strawberries… yum!

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First selfie of the trip!

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After lunch we headed out to explore North Stradbroke Island.

We started with walking along the roads where we passed by a skatepark.

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We sooned turned off the road to walk along the beach instead. First up, Home Beach (refer to map above!)

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Beaches were pretty much empty except for a few families scattered here and there

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We’ve reached Cylinder Beach! One of the few places to swim with lifeguards.

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Beautiful Cylinder Beach

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Leaving Cylinder Beach…

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Mike taking a break

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Looking back at Cylinder Beach

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Looking ahead to Deadman’s Beach

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We saw a manta ray cruising underwater while taking a break!

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Deadman’s Beach

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Really interesting to the see the variations in volcanic rock formations and colours as you go from beach to beach.

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Frenchman’s Bay!

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Heading up to the road because you couldn’t really continue onward by the beach

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Looking back down at Frenchman’s Bay

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As we walked along the road to the Gorge Walk, we saw humpback whales! Unfortunately, they were really far out!

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The beautiful Gorge Walk!

Breathtaking North Gorge

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We really kept our eye out for dolphins and sharks, but only saw sea turtles and manta rays unfortunately. Still amazing though!

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View of South Gorge and further ahead, Main Beach!

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Endless Main Beach as far as the eye can see!

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We didn’t swim at all today. Decided that we would hike the coast again tomorrow and go swimming and visit Main Beach then. With that we headed back, returning to Adder Rock just missing the sunset! Boo, but that’s okay, we’ll make sure to catch it tomorrow!

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Getting a fire going… just because 🙂

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Smoked out a huntsman spider!

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Easy dinner! With wine, fruit and other snacks on the side.

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We retired to our tent early with our headlamps and spent the night playing Monopoly Deal Card Game (thanks for that Vy!) and reading Dan Brown’s Inferno. Good end to our first day.

Hiking @ Noosa National Park (Part 2)

Following up with my previous post, we were halfway through our hike when we finally reached the gorgeous Alexandria Bay.

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How beautiful is this? And what was even more awesome, barely a soul in sight – especially compared to the Main Beach. Absolutely stunning!

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Group picture with Xuan and Mabel!

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Of course we had a dip in the ocean! The water was cool and super refreshing after the walk! The waves weren’t too bad although some sets definitely got salt water up my nose but hey, clear sinuses!

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After a snooze under the sun, we continued on with our journey! We proceeded back in the direction we came in via the Coastal Path (#4 in blue).

Noosa map

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Our first stop was at Hell’s Gate – amazing panoramic views of the great blue ocean!

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Pretty Mabel!

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Xuan… perhaps pondering the mysteries of life?

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We then continued down the Coastal Path back to the park entrance with great views of the coast along the way back.

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Before we knew it, we were on the road heading back to Brisbane with the sun quickly setting beside us… 🙂

Hiking @ Noosa National Park (Part 1)

Finally went hiking at Noosa National Park yesterday!

After a long drive, we were greeted with such gorgeous weather that it was definitely going to an awesome day for hiking.

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We started with the Noosa Hill track (#3 in yellow), a 2.4 km that climbed steadily up through open eucalypt woodlands and shrublands to the top of Noosa Hill.

Pictures of course! 🙂

Heading in!

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Once in a while you can glimpse the blue waters just through the thick vegetation

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Pretty remnants of once green leaves

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Colourful lichen

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Last bit of elevation before reaching the top of Noosa Hill

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Do you see a horse too?

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I think we added a good foot to the “official” height of Noosa Hill

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Then made our way back down…

Lots of interesting textures to see

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Xuan found his special place in a tree

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Markings made by the larvae of the Scribbly Gum moth! You see these tracks all over the Scribby Gums (Eucalyptus haemastoma) and according to Wiki: Eggs are laid between layers of old and new bark. The larvae burrow into the new bark and, as the old bark falls away, the trails are revealed. The diameters of the tunnels increase as the larvae grow, and the ends of the tracks are where the larvae stopped to pupate.

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Gorgeous red crystalized sap on the Scribbly Gums

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We eventually reached the end of the Noosa Hill track and continued on another 2.8km via the Tanglewood track (#2 in orange), a meandering trail through cool rainforest.

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Found a turkey! We unfortunately didn’t see much wildlife except for turkeys and birds!

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Found the Eye of Sauron

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The trail eventually gave way to woodlands…

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… as we reached our much anticipated destination: Alexandria Bay.

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One word: Stunning.

Stay tuned to see more of this gorgeous place!

Byron Bay over Easter weekend

We rented a car and drove down to Byron Bay for the day over Easter Weekend.

The weather was a little gloomy but luckily it rained everywhere else but on us! 😀

Made it safe and sound. We were worried it would be very crowded over the weekend but no such thing! Happily walking along the beach. It was also low tide so you could go really far out and the water would still just be lapping at your ankles.

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Raining over there! Crossed our fingers and hoped it wouldn’t come our way.

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Heading towards a look out point

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Someone left their necklace behind…

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The ocean wasn’t too cold with gentle lobbing waves. Watching all the surfers really makes me want to try someday soon! So many surfers, they make it look so easy…

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Looking out

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Woo hoo, the rain didn’t make it here! Believe it or not, the sun came out on our side shortly after this photo was taken. Lucky indeed 🙂

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We also drove up to Cape Byron Lighthouse but didn’t take any pictures! Hunger called and we were more focused on getting food in our bellies 🙂

Good day trip! It was also pretty cheap to rent a car, so perhaps we will go on more adventures in the future!

Our One Week Vacation in Vietnam

Hey everyone!

I’m so terribly sorry for not blogging during vacation! It turned out a lot busier than I expected, would get in late and get up early – no time to blog 😦

I have sorted my pictures and arranged them into a Facebook photo album – along with dates and descriptions. Please take a look! 😀

Click here: SANDRA’S VACATION IN VIETNAM PHOTO ALBUM

It took me hours to upload because Facebook is such a pain and I kept getting errors while uploading – but it’s finally done! I had a really good time and saw many little things I wouldn’t have known if I wasn’t traveling with my mom this time, so thanks mommy!

I also have a whole bunch of short video clips I’d like to share, which I will upload at another time. Unfortunately, I’m going straight into my next rotation (General Practice) so will probably not have time to write individual blogs about my experiences. Should that be the case, I hope this album records it well enough!

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Halifax Day 6: Yacht Club, Crystal Crescent Beach and Homemade Alfredo Sauce

December 09, 2012

We had a late start today. It was raining, I blame it on the weather. 😛

We did follow through with brunch plans though!

Laura was at a meeting but Matt took us to eat the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (yacht club on the Northwest Arm of Halifax Harbour).

Tidbit I didn’t know: RNSYS lays claim to being the oldest yacht club in North America, with its beginnings dating back to the establishment of the Halifax Yacht Club in July 1837

It’s too bad it was raining, the views would’ve been lovely!

I had the best (albeit first) seafood chowder ever! My grilled lobster sandwich was such a loser… trying to contend beside the bowl of chowder. 😛  It warmed me up inside, especially on such a gloomy day. Thank you Matt!

On the way back, we stopped at York Redoubt:

“Established in 1793 on a bluff overlooking the harbour entrance, and expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries, York Redoubt was a key element in the defence of Halifax Harbour.”

Unfortunately, it was SO foggy, you could not see a thing. I’d never been so close to fog before, it was pretty exciting. Don’t judge, I’m serious!

Love!

We headed back to Matt and Laura’s. They were soon leaving for Florida so we hung out until Laura got home from her meeting to say our goodbyes. I hope you guys had a great trip!

It was already afternoon… but the sky was clearing up… so we had to get to the beach!

Michael decided we were going to visit Crystal Crescent Beach:

“Crystal Crescent beach is one of the best known beaches in the Halifax region.  What is less known is the coastal trail that originates from the beach called the Pennant Point trail. The trail is an amazing coastal trek.  It is a 13 kilometer loop that hugs the coastline for most of it.  The trail is a lot of fun for rock climbing and scampering. The landscape is amazing…”

LOVED IT.

We were too cold to go very far along the trail, but this is one place I would definitely want to come back and see during all 4 seasons. What a beautiful place!

Unfortunately, my panorama photos failed horribly, but here are some other shots

Shadow hug!

We headed back into the city after this. Stopped for a snack of delicious onion rings at A&W before going home. Ended up just chilling at home reading and watching TV before heading over to Mike C & Christine’s for dinner!

They have a lovely home! My favourite thing about their house is this little closet/room that Mike C had renovated into a ‘personal room’ for Christine. A place just for her to go and escape from everything and get lost in her music… how sweet!

For dinner, Christine made pasta with an amazing alfredo sauce… she makes me want to try to make my own sometime as well 😀 There was also salad and bread and lots of sugary deliciousness for dessert, including some chocolate cake we brought, and Mike C’s baked goods.

We had a really nice time at their place (I haven’t played Foosball in so long!) and I’m glad to have had the chance to get to know some of Michael’s great friends 🙂

And that marks the end of Day 6! I know, I failed at taking people pictures… again. However, FULL ALBUM HERE

Photo #285: Iron in Water

December 09, 2012

One of my favourite places I visited in Halifax – Crystal Crescent Beach. Such lovely views and scenic trails! You can see a little stream (pond?) in this picture with dark brown water, apparently from high iron content. I thought the contrast of blue and brown water so close to each other was neat.

Nov 14: Visiting Byron Bay for the 1st time

I have to dedicate this post to Fiona – for being so lovely and planning this little road trip for us to Byron Bay. Not only was it a great time hanging out with her, Christine, James and Andrew (too bad Kristen couldn’t make it) – Mike and I also got to visit a part of Australia we’ve never been and always wanted to see. 😀 Thank you dear!

Couldn’t have asked for better weather or better company! 😀

On the road bright and early! It was also during the solar eclipse, which we could sort of see with our naked eyes 😛

We arrived shortly after 10am (NSW time) and first stop? Enjoying the sun and a dip in the ocean (at Main Beach or Clarkes Beach I believe), what else!

We also drove up to see the Cape Byron Lighthouse – Australia’s not only most powerful but also most easterly light! During the walk up to the lighthouse, you can see Tallow Beach – absolutely gorgeous!

A beautiful day with hot weather demands an ice cream break

Will never understand why James prefers to go barefeet

Most easterly point of the Australian mainland

Chilling for lunch

There were dolphins!

A stop at Wategos Beach on the way down

And finally, a drink at Beach Hotel to end a great day before heading back to Brisbane! Love you guys!

Full album HERE!

FADU: Happy 50th Birthday Mommy!

August 20, 2012

Very lucky to not only be able to celebrate my 25th birthday this year with my family in Australia, but also my mom’s 50th!

Mike and I took my family down to visit the Gold Coast and have lunch at the Four Winds Revolving Restaurant. Although the food was quite lacking (I rate this restaurant 3.5/5), the view was amazing and definitely worth the visit.

Waiting for the train to Gold Coast!

Taking pictures at Surfers Paradise 🙂

Fourwinds Revolving Restaurant at the top of Crowne Plaza Hotel

In the lobby of Crowne Plaza

The restaurant, lovely views!

Elevator shots! 😛

Cake, cards and presents at home!

Chocolate lime cupcakes – I’m sorry your cake isn’t as extravagant as it deserves to be mommy!

So sad… our last activity together! 😦 My mom and siblings are now somewhere across the Pacific Ocean back to Canada… miss them already!

Photo #150: My Man

July 28, 2012

Meet Michael, he’s wonderful and we have a by-the-book-corny story of how we met:

I had finally landed in Australia and had just arrived at my temporary accommodation complete with 3 large and 2 small pieces of luggage (don’t judge me). The receptionist declared I needed to see the facilities and meet the other Canadians who had already arrived. Michael was the first person I was introduced to (and Yoni). She then told Michael to help me upstairs with my luggage and the rest they say, is history… 😛

Sidenote: Today is my birthday! I’m a quarter century old, woo hoo! We took our family up to Sunshine Coast to visit Noosa Heads Beach – what a lovely day with beautiful weather! And I received such lovely gifts at the end of the day, will share more in a future post!

Vietnam Weekend 2: Thurs, Nov 3 – Sat, Nov 5, 2011

Off to Nha Trang!

The 3 of us booked flights to Nha Trang and back for the weekend. We flew with Vietnam Airlines, nice planes, good service and super cheap, it was less than $100 for a return flight. The flight itself is so short that once we reached cruising altitude, the flight attendants barely had time to race down the aisle and pass out water bottles to passengers before the pilot announced for everyone to be seated and prepare for landing.

DAY 1:

Nha Trang is beautiful, one of my favourite places in Vietnam. We stayed at Prime Hotel for both nights. It’s located in a small alley (Ton Dan St) right behind and parallel to the main road (Tran Phu St) by the beach. Beautiful view of Nha Trang Bay and a lovely rooftop pool.

We arranged for airport pick up with our hotel and arrived in the morning. Unfortunately, rooms were not ready for check in so we decided to head to the beach until afternoon.

Went down to Louisiane Brewhouse (LB) right by the beach… for my first Eggs Benedict ever! And it was delicious 🙂 LB has its own microbrewery so Kristen and Mike were excited to come back later in the evening to try out their beers!

Breakfast was followed by a lovely stroll down the beach.

This was also the beginning of ‘Sandra, Kristen & Friends – Jumping Adventure across Vietnam’

After checking in, we went to visit Po Nagar. Unfortunately, none of us were dressed appropriately (long pants and shirt with sleeves) to enter the temple, so we only took pictures from the outside.

View into Nha Trang from Po Nagar

Making display sculptures using only sand

More pictures by the towers

The afternoon ended at the famous Thap Ba Hot Spring and Mud Bath. Amazing! We bought a package that gave us a mineral mud bath, hot mineral bath with herbs, foot massage, and swimming with waterfalls. We paid a little over $25 for about 4 hours of awesome relaxation. They also provide towels, water, fruit for free.

I’m so sad that we didn’t bring our cameras into the baths! We were worried about leaving them unattended and only realized after that it was really easy to keep them with us at all times.

You start with a mud bath in a tub that can fit 4 people. The tubs are drained and rinsed out in between each use. Once you are directed to your tub, the faucet is turned on to fill it up. The mud is not too thick and green in colour – hehe. Soaking in the mud turns you green like The Hulk! The mud is just warm, I would’ve preferred it to be a little hotter. Your skin goes pruny really fast, probably why they don’t recommend staying in the mud bath for longer than 20 minutes. The mud is really nice, you can also just lean back and float in it – definitely can’t drown!

After the mud bath, you can get out and soak in the sun on lounge chairs before showering. You are then directed to the mineral bath area where fresh fruit and water awaits you. Each bath is sectioned off, so you get privacy and again, an employee will fill up the tub once you arrive. Our hot mineral bath had these awesome spice bags that kept the water warm and smelled so good!

You soak for about an hour before your masseuses show up, one masseuse per person. The package comes with a 45 minute foot massage. Upon the completion of the foot massage, the masseuses then try to force you into a full body massage in exchange for tips. Although you can pay them as much as you want for a body massage, I really did not like how they tried to force you into receiving one. During the foot massage, they spoke Viet to me and tried to tell me how they were poor, and had children in school, etc. I refused the extra massage based on principal but Michael and Kristen both enjoyed it. 🙂

After massage comes swimming, which we weren’t able to do because the pool was closed for renovations. 😦

Dinner at the Sailing Club (another popular restaurant by the beach, close to Louisiane Brewhouse) followed by drinks back at Louisiane Brewhouse. Apparently the microbeers were quite tasty!

Ended the evening booking a 4 island hopping tour for the Friday morning.

DAY 2:

I woke up the following day with every tourist’s worst nightmare – Traveler’s Diarrhea… eww gross I know, sorry.

Needless to say our island hopping trip was canceled and we ended up lounging around Nha Trang beach and nice restaurants for the rest of the trip.

DAY 3:

Before heading out to the airport, we decided to find the highest rooftop view of Nha Trang. The 2007 Lonely Planet guide told us it was City View Cafe at the top of Yasaka Hotel. We finally found it only to be disappointed. The restaurant was long past its prime, with not a single other customer and surrounded by higher, newer buildings.

View from City View Cafe

We ended up staying for dinner before heading back to the hotel when we saw a huge banner (that we somehow missed earliler) in front of Sheraton Hotel declaring it had the highest rooftop bar in Nha Trang with the best views.

Obviously, we went up to see!

Waiting for our flight back to Saigon. Can you see Michael in the crowd watching the soccer game?

And of course, can’t forget: Thank you to Ong Ut for dropping us off and picking us up from the airport!!! 🙂

FULL ALBUM FROM NHA TRANG HERE!

First trip to the beach since winter

Sooo nice.

6 of us went up to Noosa this weekend, stopping at Eumundi Market on the way. We bought 3 huge tubs of strawberries for $5 to eat on the beach – still eating leftovers!

Great day at the beach, albeit very windy and the water was not the warmest. So good to relax before getting into full-study mode.

A few pictures from Eumundi Market

If you look closely, you can see Stacy, Janet and Brayden!

Some stands with Asian products

This man was making music and putting on a puppet show at the same time

Really pretty tree!

Neat handmade button jewellery

Love this tree, great way to hang/display jewellery