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lifeofmissb

The travel life & Adventures of me; Brooke. 30 something. Loves to Travel ✈️. Drink scotch. Eat good food. Workout.

I got it from my mama!!!

A few weeks ago after more than a few wines on a girls weekend away I signed back up to online dating. I chose to return to my old stomping ground of POF and Tinder.

I’ll be honest I didn’t feel ready to go back out there. I felt like I was dipping my toe in. I didn’t want to commit 100%. I was terrified of what might happen.

I’ll say this… it’s tough out on these streets. So far I’ve fallen back into a rabbit hole of “Hi Sexy”, “where do you live” (code for: how far away are you so I can come over for sex), “hey”, “when you free”, and my personal favourite, “hi beautiful, how’s your evening. What are you up to?”, usually sent on a Saturday evening around 10pm. More than once I’ve been tempted to respond with, “oh nothing, just lying here in my silk negligee, waiting for a handsome man to come ravish me…”, AKA all breathy Southern Belle like. But I suspect my sarcasm would be wasted on them. It’s the same old fuckboys looking to get lucky with minimal effort.

Now before we get all grumpy I’m not lumping all the men into this category. Some are lovely. Some want to get to know me. They’re interested in me. They’ve read my profile, rather than looked at just my pics only. I’ve even been asked on my first date…. though that’s a story for another time.

A funny thing has happened to me since my breakup. Because I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced real love; I’ve become picky. My standards are higher. I expect more and when someone tries to over sexualise I ignore them or delete them.

Of course I still have my moments of weakness. Case in point: early 30s guy contacts me. After some small talk he offers me a massage. I think to myself… he’s cute, why not? I’m a woman in her 30s who can do whatever and, whoever I want. However, I ignore his offer to swap numbers as I’m not too sure. A week passes and he reaches out to me again. I give him my mobile. The conversation continues. He offers a massage and I say yes. Then he says I’ll bring the prosecco & I realise he means to come to my house. I falter. Then I think, “why not, it’ll be fun”. But I’m still thinking it over. So I eventually text him to tell him I’d rather meet him in a bar for a drink then we’ll see what comes of this…. it’s not a hard no, it’s a maybe, for now.

He comes back with: I don’t want to take you out. I’d rather wine & dine you at home.

I’m not impressed. But I appreciate the honesty so I tell him simply it’s not my thing.

He then responds with a series of passive aggressive messages telling me not to lead people on, he thought I was looking for something casual, and in future I should be clear to say what I’m after.

Seriously?

I mean seriously? My profile outlines I’m looking for a relationship. Also, I’m allowed to change my mind. His response tells me I dodged a bullet. That he would’ve been in my house throwing a tantrum if I decided to not let him “‘massage me”. As for “leading people on”… this is a red flag to me. If this is his honest opinion then I’m pretty sure I know why he’s single.

Thank goodness for my mum. She’s always instilled a strong sense of self worth into my sister and I. She tells us to never settle. She wouldn’t put up with this BS and nor will I.

Who else is online dating at the moment? Any stories to tell? Good or bad I wanna hear them. What about those of you who aren’t dating… best date you’ve ever been on???

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Same Love

Love is LoveHeya blogmates! For my US readers you’ve probably not heard about how the Australian Government is currently running a Same Sex Marriage (SSM) postal vote to determine the public’s opinion as to if we believe it’s a good idea to change the law to allow same sex couples to marry.

I wasn’t going to get involved in this matter. Aside from my vote I didn’t really want to step in and share my thoughts. I don’t have very strong political views; to be honest my attitude is that all politicians are kinda a-holes. My opinion of the whole SSM postal vote is that it is a total waste time and money for the following reasons:

  1. The postal vote isn’t actually compulsory (unlike local, state and federal elections where voting is a requirement for all registered voters over 18 years);
  2. The results aren’t enforceable. If the result is a resounding YES (I hope it is) the law won’t be automatically change. The current Prime Minister in power has made it very clear he isn’t supportive of SSM, so I’m sure he’ll be opposing any changes to the law.
  3. It’s costing tax payers approx. $122 million dollars to find out the results. Money that could be spent elsewhere.

Let me be clear, I 110% support SSM, it’s just the law, a simple change. Marriage has very little to do with religion; it’s a legally binding contract between a man and woman. An update to the law will change this to a legally binding contract between two people.

I support SSM for the following reasons:

  1. It’s equality. Gay couples are classed as De Facto couples and have to be taxes as a couple; however they don’t get the same rights as straight couples to stand up in front of their loved ones to declare their desire to marry the other.
  2. Legal rights. Spouses have a lot of rights that a de facto partner doesn’t. The right to be with their spouse during medical treatments is one that is so very important. Not to mention rights concerning property jointly owned by a gay couple.
  3. Supporting the community. When I was old enough to know what I like; I knew I liked boys. I knew one day I would have the chance to get married and have children (if I met the right man of course). I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be when you realise you like the same sex or both sexes. All of a sudden the idea of marriage and kids seems unlikely. For young people who are at their most vulnerable this idea may be soo overwhelming they become depressed or even harm themselves. If the YES vote helps save 1 person from this then I’m totally onboard.

So far the survey has managed to show the ugliness of society. I’ve read disgusting comments criticising the LGBTIQ community and encouraging violence. I’ve seen the NO campaign pay for advertising over prime time advising people it’s ok to say NO and linking SSM to the Safe Schools Program (which isn’t the case at all). I’ve read about a Yes campaign person head butting a former politician. I’ve heard of families being torn apart by their decisions. I’ve been surprised by close friends with their decision to vote NO. I’ve had gay friends advise they are feeling so anxious, depressed and not coping with what they’ve experienced during the voting period.

What we need is less a waste of money survey and more compassion and understanding. A little empathy for a community that has always been marginalised. A community that has suffered violence, prejudice, and former laws that sought to stamp out their choices. You may not be comfortable with the LGBTIQ community (it’s your loss if you are) but they deserve the same basic rights as everyone else. Love is Love.

The words of my favourite rapper (I’m even tempted to watch the Australian Rugby League Grand Final this weekend to see him perform) Mackelmore sum it up perfectly…

A little crush

So a man came to my house to drop off wine for me. Free wine. Wine he’d saved to give me because I mentioned in passing I like wine. He’s cute but I have no idea if he’s into me or just friendly. I’m sure it’ll all work out … either a little crush that will become a good friend, or something more.

How did I greet him? Like a virginal teenager who isn’t allowed to have boys in the house. We chatted for 30 mins outside my house … I didn’t invite him in. Ugh! I am so not ready to date!

What do you think???

Ps. Did I mention he’s Scottish? With an accent!

14 months

It's been 14 months since I last posted… I'm so sorry. So much has happened. There's been love, laughter, tears, dancing, 4 holidays (more on those later), three house moves, one job redundancy, one new job, one crashed car, one new car, one heartbreak, and one heart slowly healing.
In the immortal words of Game of Thrones, "…let's begin, shall we…"

B and the very bad no good week 

  

 
   
It’s the end of what has been a fairly horrid week. I’m eating ice cream straight from the carton (thank god for cookies and cream) and contemplating a scotch. 

This week has been a corker of bad things starting with:

  • My boss at my day job lost his job in a management restructure. I’m still in shock. Not only is he an excellent manager he is also an exceptional human being. FYI it looks like my job is safe. 
  • My neighbour affectionately known as FF (you can take a guess what that stands for) is back on the, “your dog barks, it’s ruining my life” bandwagon. As a result she’s trying to ruin my life….tonight she dropped by to let one of my flatmates know that the dog barked today…. FFS give me strength, dogs bark, get over it! 
  • A little family drama with my nana having a fall and cracking a rub so bad she’s having a long weekend in hospital. 
  • My WiFi is in cohorts with my neighbour and is ruining my life by not working properly….first world problems yes, but it’s added to the shitstorm of this week so it’s being added to the list. 
  • I ordered new pants from a shall remain nameless national retailer and when they arrived they didn’t fit… Now I know I’m eating ice cream from the carton but I’ve got pants in a smaller size that fit perfectly from this same retailer and I’m sick of inconsistent sizing. 
  • The barking collar I ordered for the dog to spray citronella every time she barked is broken after being used once….I can only assume it’s because my dog doesn’t like having crap sprayed in her face when she’s just doing what comes naturally to her. 

That’s about it, not much really and all minor things when you consider global warming, refugees, people starving but right now without this ice cream I suspect I’d be a hot mess crying. Thank you ice cream. 

It might not be noble or selfless when you have a bit of a rant when you’ve had a crappy week but it does help to unload the burden. I’m telling myself tomorrow is a new day and I’m planning a shopping trip to buy new pants! 

How was everyone eles’s week? Good, bad, indifferent…Anything amazing happen? 

Welcome to 2016 #happynewyear

Happy New YearHappy New Year! Welcome to 2016! Another year over, a new one just begun.

I know I’m a little late with the New Years message but truth be told I’ve been struck down by the filthiest cold/cough. Literally I feel like I’m dying….Or trying to cough up a lung.

The cold/cough beast arrived just in time for New Years Eve. I was feeling a little run down after Christmas and figured it was due to all the travel. Really it was due to all those wonderful hugs from my mum and sister who have been suffering from this beast too. At first I just thought I could fight it with green tea, loads of water and some early nights. But by new years eve it was upon me and Mr Forrester whisked me off to the late night pharmacy to get some proper drugs to fight it.

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So my new years eve was one of the quietest I’ve had in a long time. Just Mr Forrester and I wandered down to the beach (me dressed like a bag lady in layers to keep me warm – in the middle of summer and he dressed in shorts, t shirt and flip flops) to eat wood fired pizza and watch the early fireworks. Then it was back to his for another glass or 2 of mimosa (I figured I was doing the right thing mixing champagne with orange juice to up my Vitamin C levels) while watching Fargo on NetFlix. Seriously I am in love with NetFlix and how good was Fargo season 2?

We saw the New Year in back down on the beach with fireworks again and a quick kiss on the cheek so not to pass on the dreaded cold. Then it was back home quick smart for bed. I know you almost can’t believe how hard we partied, right?

It’s always good to look back on the year that was. Reflect, celebrate or take stock. My 2015 was all about travel, work, family, coco pop the dog & of course meeting the wonderful Mr Forrester. I know I blogged a lot less than previous years as I was too busy living life to update the blog – I’m very sorry about not keeping you all in the loop!

In total I wrote 34 posts, I have 143 followers (thank you), and 4053 views (phew)! My top 5 posts as voted by you are:

  1.  Bachie Files #7 The subtle art of ghosting
  2. Mr Grey will see you now
  3. Bachie Files #5 The tale of 2 dates
  4. Of Monsters and Men
  5. A day in the life

My, my, my what a mixed bag that is! It’s really cool to see what you’ve enjoyed the most this past year.

My personal favourite posts for the year:

  1. 34 I do love a good birthday
  2. The Bachie Files #8 Exclusive
  3. 4 Another year with my Coco Pop
  4. Paris & Paris Part II
  5. Of Monsters and Men

If you don’t already follow me on instagram (why not) you will have missed my Best 9 photos:

BEST 9

I’m not really into New Years resolutions. However I do have some goals for the next 12 months:

  • Save, save, save money for more travel and just in general (did I mention my washing machine died last week? Guess what I got for Christmas…A new washing machine)
  • Reduce debt on my credit cards
  • Travel More, Worry less
  • Laugh hard, love with my whole heart

 

I had an amazing 2015 and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!!!

What about you? How did you celebrate the arrival of the New Year? Do you have any resolutions or goals?

4

On the 19 end of October it was Coco Pop’s fourth birthday. I call it her birthday but really it should be called her forever home day… It’s the date she chose me. It’s been 2 years since she came home to live with me. I try and write a piece on the year that was to remember her forever home day but this year the words didn’t want to come easily….

Goodness I had such grand plans when I brought my girl home over 2 years ago. I had visions of us wandering off to cafes for breakfast, daily walks by the beach, doggy play dates at the park, and of course my pocket princess would be perfectly behaved when we were out in public! If you’re not laughing at the above then you’ve never owned a dog!!!

The reality is coco pop is perfectly imperfect dog:

  • She hates cafes (I’ve tried a few times and it’s been so awful for both of us I don’t whether to laugh or cry);
  • Doesn’t care for children;
  • Considers ibis birds a national threat and it’s her sworn duty to chase and bark at them;
  • She is either indifferent to other dogs or she tries to dominate them;
  • She has a particular issue with black Labradors;
  • If lunging, barking, jumping around, trying to pull off her halti, and cutting other people off while walking is considered good public behaviour then Coco Pop is a star!

Even though she is imperfect, she’s perfect for me. This crazy dog who was such a timid girl when she arrived has blossomed this past year. I’ve spoken to experts, asked friends, reached out via Facebook, and even done a bunch of my own research to address some of Coco’s behaviours; specifically her barking while I’m at work.

Despite 2 big walks a day, sleeping inside my room of a night, and a weekly visit to doggy day care it would seem that the pocket princess likes to be kept company all day. I don’t blame her; it gets boring when you’ve only got yourself for company. Unfortunately until my work agrees to become a pet friendly hotel I can’t take her to the office with me and home she must stay.

Thanks to some great feedback I’ve brought Coco Pop a radio for background noise when no one is home, she’s the new owner of a range of fun interactive toys including the foobler where she pushes it around until food falls out of it, plus we’ve been doing some new training. The awesome trainer/owner at doggy day care told me that unless Coco Pop is going with me I should walk her before I get ready to leave, then feed her and put her outside, shutting the door and telling her goodbye. Then I get ready; he said she’ll know I’m in the house but she isn’t going with me. So far these techniques are working and the barking has stopped.

This past year has helped me to find my feet as the person of a crazy GSD too. I’m still working on remaining calm when things don’t go exactly to plan……I don’t care what people think when they see me trying to walk her and she’s too busy trying to lunge at a seagull, I love that she snuggles into me and tries to lick my face when I’m sad, I like that she barks when people come up to the front door (she’s just saying hello),  my favourite thing to do is to take her to the beach and let her run wild (she used to be terrified of the water) and chase pesky seagulls, I laugh when she yet again destroys another stuffed toy or chases around her ball, and every day (even on the days when she wakes me up at 4am to play) I am so thankful she chose me. She is my perfectly imperfect dog and I’m her perfectly imperfect person.

Perfectly Imperfect Photos of the pocket princess

Coco Pop, River, Mr Forrester and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year x

Christmas tree 2015

Rob over at the V-Pub inspired me to write about my Christmas tree. I put my tree up on the 2 December, I wanted to put it up before the start of December but my Flatmates insisted I wait. 

I’ve got an artificial tree I brought a few years ago. I know real trees are better but fake trees don’t require so much cleaning.

Here’s the tree set-up:

 

Coco wanted to be a part of Christmas too: 

 

Gosh this dog loves me, she let me dress her up and take photos. 

This is also the first year Mr Forrester put up a tree…. Not a bad effort:  

How cute is River???

Who else has their tree up??? 

The fear is real

I have to tell you guys this story from the weekend…. For those of you don’t know I have a phobia of spiders. A serious; wouldn’t touch one for a million dollars, phobia…Well maybe for 2 million. Actually no. I can’t.

 

So I noticed a few weeks ago my emoticons in my iphone updated and I got a few new things: more food, a unicorn and a freaking spider…. WTF?!

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So I posted this on twitter because I can’t even. When I see this I quickly swipe left so that I don’t have to look at the little creepy spider. In my opinion the only good spider is a dead spider. Period.

I have my house especially pest treated for the purpose of killing all the spiders. I can handle cockroaches (they are gross though), moths, snakes (I once had an ex-boyfriend who had a pet python and I used to wrap it around my neck), bats…Pretty much anything that doesn’t have too many legs.   I think it’s the legs, the eyes, and the creepy sideways way they move that freaks me out the most about spiders. Ugh! They are horrid. In Australia we happen to have a bunch of large and hairy spiders. The most venomous are funnel webs, then red backs, white tails and Huntsmen. Well truth be told the huntsmen spider isn’t really venomous; it’ll probably hurt and you won’t feel too great but you won’t die if you don’t treat the bite like the funnel web and red back.

So one of my friends saw my post on twitter and decided it is her job to help me overcome my fear of spiders…..This is what she sent me:

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I love Anna; but on Friday she was pretty much dead to me. I can’t even look at the pictures she sent me without getting shivers up my spine.

Then yesterday Ridge Forrester and I went shopping for Christmas gifts for our families (we’re having lunch with his family, dinner with mine) and I spotted this in Kmart:

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This was in the kid’s toys section of the store. Who would give a child that? Mr Forrester (who is well aware of my spider fear) thought it would be a great gift for me….I told him if I unwrap this Christmas morning he is never having sex with me again. I feel I’m completely justified in making good on my threat.

FYI next year I’m doing all of my Christmas shopping online! We were at the mall for over 3.5 hours. It was chaos. But we survived as a couple, so yay! Go Mr Forrester and I.

How about you? Do you have any phobias you want to share? More importantly have you completed all of your Christmas gift shopping?

Paris continued (Part II)

I didn’t sleep all that well on the first night in Paris. I woke up a few times throughout the night as my body clock reset itself. I know I was nervous about sleeping in…Today was the day I was finally headed to Giverney (pronounced Ghe-Varn-ey) the home of Monet’s garden.

Now for those who aren’t aware I’ll confess that I’ve got little sense of direction when it comes to places that aren’t familiar to me. I almost got lost on the way back to the hotel the night before. So I was pretty proud of myself for finding my way to the tour office (opposite the Louvre) from my hotel on foot. Once I saw the Seine I knew I would be fine.

Once again Viator came to my rescue in picking a tour to Giverney. I knew by booking a tour I would be guaranteed a speedier entrance to the gardens and Monet’s house than those who simply arrived on the day. My tour was a half day Private Giverney Tour. This means that you are transferred out to the estate in a private van with 6 other people – It’s not a private tour of the estate. You get to share that with around 100+ of your closest friends from other tour groups. It was raining when we arrived and I hadn’t had time to grab an umbrella (despite spotting stores selling them the night before); luckily the tour guide leant me hers. We were given a little over an hour to explore the gardens and the house where Monsieur Monet created his masterpieces such as the water lilies series.

Giverney has been a dream of mine since I found out about Monet. He is my favourite impressionist artist and I may have cried the first time I saw his paintings at the Musee D’Orsay. I can say now the dream lived up to the reality as I wandered about in awe of the gardens. The area around Giverney is all woodland so Monet and his family would’ve spent years creating the beautiful gardens.

When I got back to Paris I promptly brought 2 umbrellas for Renee and I. Renee arrived from Bordeaux in the afternoon sore but triumphant from running her first ever marathon – Marathon Du Medoc. We found a little Thai place nearby our hotel for a late lunch and I got to cuddle a random American family’s 6 month old baby (he was very sweet and a total ladies man cooing at us).  That night we found a nearby restaurant offering a 3 course meal special. We toasted Paris and Renee’s marathon debut with a glass of champagne and then washed down our meal with a bottle of the lightest Rose.

Our last morning in Paris we walked the streets of the Quarter lost searching for H&M to indulge in a little retail therapy. After finding the store and picking up 2 items (a khaki maxi dress and black shell top with ruffles: both very on trend) we made it back to the hotel and then loaded up bags to carry down the stairs and towards the train.

The Saint-Michele/Notre Dame train station was a very short away from the hotel. Unfortunately not all Paris train stations are luggage friendly and there were a lot of stairs to get down to the platform headed to the airport. It was just 10 Euro to get from the city to the airport – cheaper than a taxi or Uber by miles! Once at the airport we battled the security gates coming off the train platform. We watched other travellers try to drag their cases through the small laneway between the gates only to have the gates shut before they could get their cases through. The best solution? The bags went over the gates and the other person caught them on the other side. Aside from this little hiccup I would recommend the train to anyone looking for a budget friendly way to get out to the airport.

Side note: the Air France terminal at Charles De Gaulle Airport was pretty nice. I was impressed. Not a massive heap of food options (Paul or mini market) but I liked the bliss zone where you could get a massage or mani/pedi before boarding your flight. We didn’t have time to investigate the cost for this as we were running a little late. Next stop FLORENCE. ITALY….

Have you been to Giverney? Would you visit Paris now?

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Japanese bridge Monet’s Garden

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Champagne to celebrate

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Paris 2015

Vital stats

  • BNE – ADH (Brisbane – Abu Dhabi) Ethiad Airways
  • ADH – CDG (Abu Dhabi – Paris) Ethiad Airways
  • Where I stayed: Hotel Saint Andre Des Arts
  • Rate: 250 Euro (approx $415 AUD)
  • Highlight: Day tour of Giverney
  • Lowlight: our room was on the 3rd floor and as almost always in Paris there was no elevator (almost 50 steps either way)

In light of the horrific attacks suffered in Paris last month I’ve finally finished my post on my travels to the city of lights back in September. I sat in my car that Saturday morning (Australian time) reading what had happened in my beloved Paris and cried for the innocents who lost their lives all in the name of terrorism. I know it is scary to travel with so much un-rest and the threat of terrorism but please, please make sure you visit Paris soon. Take in the wonder of the city and don’t let the fear and hate stop you from living.

I’ve been told Paris is a city you either love or you hate…. The lovers tell you; it’s beautiful, the gardens and city are so chic, the galleries are outstanding, the city oozes romance and seduction at every turn, and as long as you remember hello, goodbye, thank you in French they will be delighted! The haters tell you; the city is dirty, the residents are arrogant, and it’s expensive.

My love affair with Paris began over 8 years ago on my first ever overseas trip. My ex Harry Potter (he bore a striking resemblance to the actor Daniel Radcliffe) and I had 3 nights here. From the moment I spotted my first French balcony I was hooked. Then that first night we stumbled across Notre Dame and I swore to love Paris forever.

I last visited Paris on a whirlwind 4 years ago onboard a Topdeck bus tour. We arrived into the city late one evening and were given a tour of the city ending under that famous tower which sparkles through the night. We literally had 1 full day there and I spent it well visiting Versailles, the Musee D’Orsay, fitting in cream brûlée and wine at lunch, then a picnic style dinner under the Eiffel Tower, and finishing in style with a River Cruise on the Seine.

When planning this trip Paris wasn’t on my list. I was planning London and some UK, followed by Italy and Greece. Of course plans changed and when I saw a flight Brisbane to Paris I knew I had to take it. Picking a hotel wasn’t easy! Paris hotels are notoriously expensive especially in central arrondissements of the city. Having just 2 nights in the city I was determined to stay as close as possible to the city rather than waste time travelling back and forth on the metro. Also I figured my almost non-existent French would be tolerated in the city centre over the outer areas. After pouring over TripAdvisor reviews and trying to keep to a realistic budget I finally selected the Latin Quarter as the place to stay in the 5th and 6th arrondissements at Hotel Saint-Andre des Arts.

I’m not going to lie; if you want authentic Paris, then the Quarter is probably not the place to stay. It’s very touristy with oodles of shops selling umbrellas with “Paris” printed all over them (a must in the city which always seems to rain), lots of street vendors selling prints of Paris monuments, and restaurants offering the meal of the day as a hamburger with French fries. Despite this, and maybe because I’m a lame tourist, I liked the Quarter; I find the touristy shops charming, and if you ask for a menu at a restaurant you’re sure to find something other than a hamburger. Plus it’s helps that you’re a short walk to Notre Dame, the Seine, and the Louvre.

There’s all the hallmarks of Paris too – the beautiful balconies with wrought iron railings curling gracefully, cobblestone streets, cafes with hundreds of forward facing chairs to take in the city as it bustles around you, the beautiful gothic architecture of the buildings.

Arriving into Charles De Gaulle airport you could be asking yourself how is this Paris? For one of the most fashionable and chic cities in the world it has an ugly airport. I treated myself to a transfer from the airport to my hotel rather than battle the train. I knew I wouldn’t have the stamina after an almost 24 hour travel time to get here. Thanks to Viator I was able to pre-book this and it was a pretty smooth experience with English speaking drivers.

I arrived at the hotel and after making my way up the multitude of stairs (elevator, anyone?) I gave myself a nap to help recover. Then I was ready to explore. Europe in early Fall means long days – the sun doesn’t set until almost 9pm! I had a rough idea of where Notre Dame was and after about 10 minutes I spotted it. I snapped a few pics at Magic hour of this beautiful cathedral before heading over to a nearby café for a glass of champagne (thank you Adventurous Kate for the suggestion that when travelling alone a glass of champagne is always a good idea)! I must’ve looked the part as a Frenchman bid passing on the street bid me good evening before asking something in French. I smiled and offered back; “Desole monsiour, non parle Francois” (sorry sir, I don’t speak French). The wait staff were a little rude despite my smile and Bonsoiree as I walked up to claim a table. I simply gave them a raised eyebrow and ordered fromargie from the menu when they asked if I would like a hamburger for dinner.

The cheese platter was lovely and washed down with a glass of French red made it even better.  I love crème brulee so I had to have some for dessert….Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as I’ve had before. The wait staff and I became brief friends when I left as they almost forgot to add my glass of champagne to the bill – my honesty earned me a smile and Au Reviour Madame as I wandered back to the hotel…..

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To be continued….

Have you been to Paris? What did you think – love it or loathe it? Best experience you had there?

Leaving on a jet plane …. 

What does one pack for 3 weeks in Europe in Spring? I’m a desperate over-packer (fuelled by my fear I’ll miss out on wearing something lovely) so I decided to consult the experts in packing my Europe holiday wardrobe. 

The seriously stylish Nikki from styling you went to Europe at the start of the European summer. Being a helpful woman she listed all she packed (you can see her wardrobe here). I followed her advice and voila here’s my choices….  tops… from left side and clockwise:  sports girl wanderlust t-shirt $29 (grabbed on sale at end of season), witchery white sleeved blouse $129.95 (this season), grey asos v-neck $24.95 as a two pack (this season),  cream (this season $39.95) and pink t-shirts  both witchery, white H&M tank, and witchery cream tank (last year).  

Bottoms from black left then clockwise: $20 target soft joggers (this season on sale when I got them), Sussan black drapey pants $59.95 (last season), witchery shorts (last year), Kmart shorts (last year).  

Casual/day dresses (left to right): unknown brand (brought in Byron Bay a few years back by dear friends for my birthday), unknown brand (picked up in a boutique at Currumbin post breakfast one morning), Eb & Evie dress (last season – grabbed on sale at birdsnest).  

Dinner/cocktails dress: pink witchery dress (last summer nabbed on sale) and black cotton on midi dress (this season & a total bargain at just $19.95).   

My something extra: a jumpsuit from a few years back from Ally that I picked up for less than $40! 

 
Swimmers from bottom left: capriosca rash vest $95 (this season from sequin and sand), capriosca one piece (last summer picked up on sale for $109 from sequins and sand), tie dyed wrap (cotton on – a last summer steal for $10), black bikini top $24.95 (cotton on body this season), $29.95 per item for bather bottoms (all cotton on body last season or later except for the black and white stripes which is this season). Since taking this pic I’ve put the pink/purple bather bottoms back in my cupboard. 

FYI: we’ve got 6 nights on Santorini in the Greek Islands so I needed loads of swimmers!   

Workout gear from bottom blue centre clockwise: blue tank and pink patterned tank both cotton on body (last year), black ronhill tights (last year from wiggle), black Kmart tights (last season). Sports crops from Lorna Jane  

 
Shoes: you’re not seeing double, I was just too lazy to re-photograph all the shoes together! I packed them all because I couldn’t choose between the nude and gold sandals or the silver ballet flats. As I had the room both went in. 

Nude/gold sandals: next UK, they were a gift from a family friend. With a small heel they are surprisingly comfy. 

Nude flat sandals: ASOS! An all leather bargain for less than $40. 

Silver flats: Rubi shoes last season purchased on sale for around $15.

Black joggers: Witchery leather joggers this season $129.95.

Running shoes: Adidas. They’re over a year old and were a gift from my parents.   

Extras: target beach bag $10, target black flip flops $4, Witchery leather cross body bag (last year), forever new scarf $15 (last season), a travel journal and glossy mag to keep me amused on the beaches in the Cinque Terre and poolside in Santorini! 

I’ll keep you posted on my travels ….who else is going on vacation? 

Of monsters and men #stopviolenceagainstwomen

Warning this post deals with domestic violence.

Update 25 November 2015: today is white ribbon day. It’s the day we pledge to stop violence against women. This year we’ve seen more than 1 woman per week is killed by an intimate partner. I resubmit this post in honour of the victims and the survivors of domestic violence. 

ABCs documentary hitting home was broadcast over the last two nights. I watched tonight’s episode and was heartbroken by what I saw. As of tonight 78 women have been killed by domestic violence. We must band together as a society to stop this epidemic. Keep conversation going! To ask our government to please dedicate more funding to this matter, for refuges to shelter those in need, for lawyers in legal aid, for further training for our police to handle domestic violence, for an update to national education standards to teach this generation and those that follow that we must treat each other with nothing but respect, and for support for the people who perpetrate these heinous acts in an effort to ensure they don’t commit these offenses again. 

I’ve been sitting on this post for a long time! Months in fact. Sitting and waiting and thinking about how to articulate my growing horror over the domestic violence epidemic we are witnessing worldwide. As of this morning 62 Australian women have been killed by a man who was known to them (be it a lover, husband, father, or ex). The average is 2 women per week are killed by a man known to them. Oh. My. God. What has become of this world?
Last week a young mother was brutally attacked by her ex partner. She died on Wednesday night due to her injuries and he has been charged with murder. I won’t detail the horrors she encountered – you can read them here. Yesterday morning a woman was shot at a McDonald’s by her estranged husband (before he turned the gun on himself), she died on the scene…They have 4 children – who now don’t have their mum or their dad. Both of these woman died within 1 hours drive of my house.

A few months ago some girlfriends and I were chatting about all things life. We were attempting to change the world after a few bottles of red. I was telling the girls about my views on the global epidemic domestic violence is.  I kept saying I was blessed to not have experienced this in my life. One of my friends corrected me, “You’re not blessed. That’s normal. We must stop thinking people are blessed to not have domestic violence in their lives, this is normal. It’s what everyone deserves.” Truer words have not been spoken.

One of my friends corrected me, “You’re not blessed. That’s normal. We must stop thinking people are blessed to not have domestic violence in their lives, this is normal. It’s what everyone deserves.” Truer words have not been spoken.

Despite the lateness of the hour and the bottles of wine we’d consumed we didn’t have all the answers on how to solve this horror of human behaviour. I believe it must be a multi-faceted approach but first & foremost the victims are the priority.

More support for women to leave their abusive partners. Better legislation to protect them from violence and to punish the perpetrators.

In the case of Tara Brown who died last night she approached her local police station seeking advice on how to leave her abusive partner showing them threatening text messages he had sent her. They sent her away; they couldn’t help. The police officer who turned Tara away in is now under review due to Tara’s death has died. Before she died Tara had moved out from her partner and was trying to rebuild her life. But he found her and now he has killed her.

I remember the night I went to my local police station to find out what my options were because I was scared my ex-partner was going to harm me. He’d sent abusive texts and had verbally threatened me indicating he world physically harm me. He also destroyed items I owned in anger to upset me. The police officer I encountered that night was so lovely. I stood there bewildered, scared and angry (holy shit I was angry – how dare someone threaten me). I kept repeating to her, “This isn’t my life. I have a great job, friends and a family who loves me.” She responded with, “It isn’t meant to be anyone’s life. We see women from all walks of life in here with domestic violence issues”. She explained carefully what my options were: an apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO). I would apply through the police for this and then my ex would be served, there would be a hearing and if the judge found there was suitable evidence an order would be imposed. As a result my ex would have to obey the three order conditions always included:

  • Assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or interfering with the Protected Person;
  • Intimidating the Protected Person; and
  • Stalking the Protected Person. Anyone in a domestic relationship with the Protected Person is also protected by these conditions. This may include your children.

She advised me it could take weeks for a hearing to occur and I knew he was moving out in a matter of days. Once he was gone I knew I would do anything to not see him again. I decided against this. I didn’t want to see him again. Truth be told I also felt these orders were for far more serious issues than mine.

Of course if my ex had have physically assaulted me then the police could’ve charged him with assault and remanded him in custody until someone bailed him out. After he was out though he could still legally approach me until the ADVO was in place. Not much protection is it? How much help is a piece of legally binding paper when you are in fear for your life? This is what victims of domestic violence face.

Rosie Batty (an amazing woman and the current Australian of the Year…You can read her story here) is determined to see domestic violence change in Australia. She’s an anti-domestic violence campaigner who overcame a great personal tragedy to bring domestic violence out from the shadows into the mainstream so it can be addressed. Her vision is that…

Together we will give victims a voice and demand our leaders act.

We will stand with the victims of family violence so that they are supported in the community and have a powerful voice in the corridors of power. That’s my mission – but I can’t do it alone.

Please stand beside me and every woman and child who experiences family violence.

Rosie Batty

I support Rosie Batty’s goals – one of which is to start teaching respectful relationships in kindergarten. Once we have provided support for the victims of domestic violence we must then provide support/rehabilitation for the men who commit the violence. I may not get likes for this belief but we must address their behaviour and attempt to shift their psyche in order to potentially stop them from abusing again.

We must also support the next generation of younger men and women so they know that violence is not the norm. It’s not acceptable. It doesn’t just happen. We have to create a ripple effect to change the view that domestic violence is a way of life…. That rape jokes and violence against women jokes are ok and funny (they’re not). It’s a major cultural shift to move beyond the frame of mind that what people do behind closed doors isn’t any of our business if they choose to ‘touch up’ ‘smack around’ their partner we shouldn’t get involved.

We must educate our children on appropriate behaviour. I’m not a parent and I’m terrified to expose children to the horrors of domestic violence so I can only imagine what parents think. Do you more often than not turn off the news or tell them not to worry about it if they see something that is awful. I’m not advocating that we should invite that horror into our homes. But don’t think domestic violence is something that happens to other people. Educate your children on how it’s never ok to hurt another person. Tell them when they ask why the lady on the news died; that someone hurt her and how that is evil and wrong, and you mustn’t ever do harm to others.

So I ask this of you: Don’t shy away from the topic of domestic violence, talk about it openly without humour (there’s nothing remotely funny about people harming each other), educate your loved ones about how it is never appropriate to harm another person, refrain from making domestic violence and rape jokes, and if you overhear one of your friends making fun of domestic violence educate them of the horrors of this epidemic. Talking about domestic violence in the open is the first step to addressing the epidemic.

Finally, if someone you know is a victim of domestic violence offer them help (even if you’re scared and it might be against your ‘better judgement’). Tell them you are there for them and if they need anything you’ll do what you can to assist. Tell them their live is worth more than the violence, that they are loved, and no matter what you are there to help.  Don’t judge them for staying too long or going back; just be there. I believe support is vital in assisting women leaving domestic violence situations.

If you or someone you know needs help for domestic violence:

Never Alone – website featuring assistance information

Lifeline 13 11 14

Post Note: Since I drafted this post the Queensland Premier has vowed to fast-track laws offering greater protection for domestic violence victims. You can read the good news her

34

birthday brooke
Me enjoying a drink or two

better

It was my birthday last month. I turned 34. I started writing a post about being 34 and the fact that I decided to spend my birthday in Melbourne with my BFF rather than Ridge Forrester. But I got distracted and the post never made it out of draft….Because well, Life. I’ve been so busy living I’ve been neglecting my blog which isn’t good. I’ll try to be better from now on.

So here’s my updated draft on turning 34…

I love birthdays. I believe they should be celebrated. A true Leo I delight in my special day and being feted as the royal lion I am.

Last year I was dumped the night before my birthday by Manly Matt. Though in retrospect you could say as we weren’t actually in a committed relationship (we were just dating…He treated like a sport, I was trying to make a go of it) it wasn’t really a breakup (it still hurt though). Despite this I put on my glad rags and invited a bunch of people to dinner at a local restaurant (read the recap here and here)… I didn’t need a man and celebrated my birthday surrounded by loved ones.

This year, despite my romance with Ridge Forrester, I decided to book my annual sales trip to Melbourne over my birthday week. I did this in part to take away the birthday ‘pressure’ I put on myself when I’m involved with someone. What will he get me? What if he doesn’t get me anything? So much stress!! Then when it worked out Mr Forrester would be overseas on a pre-Brooke-booked holiday when it was my birthday it felt like the right decision. There’d be no chance of me stressing/moping miss him as I’d be too busy visiting vibrant Melbourne to do so. Not to mention I could catch up with my best friend R. You can read my recap on Melbourne 2015 here plus some handy travel tips!

cocktail state of grace
birthday cocktail State of Grace Melbourne http://www.stateofgracemelbourne.com.au/

I found this little quiz on Facebook today and I thought I’d answer it as a 34 year old.

A- Age: 34
B- Biggest Fear: Death of my loved ones.
C- Current Time: 11.40am
D- Drink you last had: Hot Chocolate from Zaffaras
E- Easiest Person To Talk to: My mum.

F- Favorite Song: A Sunday Kind of Love
G- Ghosts, are they real: Yes. But feel free to believe what you want.
H- Hometown: Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
I- In love with: Mr Forrester
J- Jealous Of: Beyonce’s bootilicious body!

K- Killed Someone? Not yet.
L- Last time you cried?:  Over a week ago
M- Middle Name: Anne
N- Number of Siblings: 2
O- One Wish:  That refugees find sanctuary
P- Person who you last called: My Dad
Q- Question you’re always asked: How’s your day?
R- Reason to smile: Mr Forrester, Travel, Friends….Life x
S- Song last sang: Marvin Gaye (Let’s Marvin Gaye and Get it On)
T- Time you woke up: 5.50am
U- Underwear Color: Pink
V- Vacation Destination: Europe (in 4 days)
W- Worst Habit: Talking over people (I can’t stop).
X- Xrays you’ve had: My Left Foot.
Y- Your favorite food: Wine.
Z- Zodiac Sign: LEO

I’d like to use this again and again on my birthday….Who know’s what the next year will bring?

Oh and in case you missed it; I’m in love with Ridge Forrester.

He is truly so lovely, respectful and kind, thoughtful, funny, handsome, good to his mother and sisters, as well as a tiger in the bedroom (sorry mum TMI). From the first date it’s been so good and right; and things just continue to get better each day. He’s never far from my thoughts and he admitted last night I’m not far from his. He’s been telling me for weeks that I make him happy and I’ve secretly been thinking; ‘You make me love you’ in my mind. Last night he murmured into my ear that he is falling in love with me….Don’t worry RF, I’m already there and I’ll catch you.

Fraser Island Ferry
Mr Forrester and I enroute to Fraser Island

It would be amazing if you could cut and paste the above A-Z questions and re-post with your answers. I promise it’s really easy, quick and relatively pain free. Just comment below with a link to your blog with the answers if you feel like trying it. Go on, it’ll be fun and I can’t wait to see your answers.

Melbourne 2015

Melbourne 2015

I travel to Melbourne once a year for sales appointments for the day job. I spent a week in the city back at the start of August! Here’s my recap plus travel tips….

Highlights & lowlights of Melbourne:

Highlights:

  • A special birthday dinner with my gorgeous best friend Renee (State of Grace had divine cocktails mixed with hit and miss service)
  • Good Food & Wine (read my review of my special birthday lunch at The Press Club here)
  • Quirky lane ways with street art and cafes offering a hot cooked breakfast plus coffee for less than $15 (bonus: Free live music and the bustle of the city passing you by)
  • Catch up with lovely friends (Colin and Marc. Bethany, Chloe, Dean & Mark)
  • Time to reconnect, chat and laugh with my beautiful bestie R (not to mention her taking me to Gold Class for Magic Mike XXL…I’ve got some thoughts to share on that soon)

Lowlights

  • cold, cold days (seriously nothing above 13 degrees Celsius)
  • Getting lost on the trams and/or the streets and feeling frustrated…. Melbourne I swear I’ll work you out one of these days
  • Less than warm welcomes with some of my work meetings (side note: kindness costs nothing)
  • Not being able to relax at some meals due to wait staff constantly checking if I needed a new drink (before the previous one was completed) 
blue cafe pizza
Pizza from Blue Train http://www.bluetrain.com.au/
choc mousse dessert
Chocolate mousse dessert from State of Grace http://www.stateofgracemelbourne.com.au/
cat cafe
I visited a cat cafe! http://catcafemelbourne.com/

Travel Notes:

  • I flew Virgin Australia from my home (Gold Coast) to Melbourne return and racked up more FF points. I love how they give you a snack on every flight now plus a free entertainment system through an app on your tablet or smart phone. Not to mention I was lucky enough to have a spare seat beside me on each flight!
  • I stayed at my faithful Punthill Apartments on Flinders Lane, it’s my second year staying with them and I keep returning for the location and the funky decor (black, white and purple reign supreme). Located in the heart of the CBD just one street away from the iconic Flinders Street Station and Federation Square plus 2 blocks (my tip: take the shortcut through those famous laneways filled with cafes and shops) away from the shopping Mecca that is Bourke Street Mall.
  • Do sign up to the direct guest program (it’s free) on Punthills website. You’ll have access to special rates and free wifi. The apartments are semi self contained with a full kitchen (there’s 2 supermarkets within walking distance of the complex) if you need a break from Melbourne’s food scene (as if).
  • My nemesis the Melbourne trams now offer a free tram service around the city centre from Flinders Street Station and up to Queen Victoria Markets (where you can grab everything from the finest fresh produce to a leather jacket)  as well as out to Docklands and Treasury Gardens on either side of the city making it easier than ever to get around. The free tram zone map can be downloaded here: PTV_FreeTramZone_Map
south bank Melb
Southbank Melbourne

Overall my week away reignited my love for Melbourne. From its quirky laneways with street art, the river that snakes through the city centre, the shopping, to the food (oh my god, the food), my lovely friends who live there and make the effort to catch up with me, and finally those silly trams who I can’t seem to spot the right stop for every time! Melbourne I heart you real hard.

Have you been to Melbourne? What are your favourite things to do in the City?

 

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