Saturday, 27 May 2017

How ya going, mate? Part 1: Pemberton

How ya going? If I had to answer that, I'd say, "by plane and then car", but I think the expected response is "Good, how ya going?" Australian English is a riot, I tell ya.

I've just come back from a 9 day trip to Perth, Australia. It was a group trip and as always, I share (aka boast about) my vacation. Honestly, if I don't write about what I did, in a year's time, I won't recall many of the details. Such are the trials of a pea-brain.

I would describe this trip as a vacation where 8 people get very fat on cheese and wine.

Day 1

We flew in via cheap tickets on JetStar early in the morning and we quickly went through immigration (our passports can go through those self-automated lanes and it wasn't crowded at all!) and headed to the Thrifty car rental booth within the airport where we got our pre-booked cars settled (2 white Mitsubishi Outlanders with trunk space large enough for 4 medium/large sized luggage per car - shopping here we come!).

Like fatties, we immediately went in search of grub and drove to Bunbury Farmers Market where we ate pies and drank coffee from the little food stall within the market, and then over-ordered organic grocery like we had never seen food before.

Get in ma belly


Honestly all the vegetables were giant sized



We bought the whole shop. The boo wasn't satisfied with the meat he saw here (because he's a snob who thinks meat should only be bought at a butcher's, so 4 of us went off in search of a butcher after this grocery expedition, while the other 4 went to another grocery store (this time not organic, I think it was Woolworth's) to buy even MORE food.

Dan is obviously not a Fox brother but he looks like he's saying "welcome to my store"


The boo found Fox Bros Butchers which is a short drive from Pemberlyn House (the AirBnB rental we had found) but he calmly only bought a couple of lamb chops and steaks. Such restraint I tell ya.

Exhausted from grocery shopping, we quickly made our way to Pemberlyn House, a lovely homestay nestled amongst lush greenery. Apparently a kangaroo hopped past the house so that's how close to nature it is. It's a great place to be disconnected from the outside world because it seems pretty isolated and there's no wifi. So a great place to relax and unwind, or murder someone. Your pick.

The outside of the house. I clearly didn't take this photo as it's way nicer than what I could have achieved.

The view from the porch

I want to see a kangaroo!!

The house has 3 bedrooms, and a TV room that can be converted into a bedroom. Fully furnished with most amenities and necessities, it was a very comfortable stay (especially for me since I managed to score the master bedroom). However, I've come to realise that it seems no matter the size of the house, the number of bathrooms seems to be capped at 2.

Dining room and kitchen

BBQ deck but we didn't sit outside because it was cold

Porch for lounging and kangaroo spotting

Master bedroom

View from the master bedroom/shower area of master bedroom

There's a fireplace which we got cracking because it is COLD in Autumn, and there's a pool table upon which we ladies played the most epic pool game EVER. (We were so awful at the game, like SO awful. I don't know how long it took to complete.) I'd like to boast that my team (me and Leo) won, but it really doesn't come with the glory naturally associated with winning.


History was made here

Our first dinner in Australia was excessive. The boo grilled up the steak and lamb, but head chef Mims also served up a huge baked salmon, carrots, mushrooms, I'm sure I'm forgetting other things. Oh, and WINE. Our dessert after a massive dinner was cheese paired with drinking games that got pretty disgusting. I learned 2 lessons that night, the first is that Pi is 3.14159, and the second is that some people *coughdumbboyscough* take the idea of cheese and wine pairing to the extreme by dunking cheese in wine.




The pink cheese is wine and cheese and it's wonderful.

Day 2

I'm proud to say that despite the drinking of the first night (especially by Mims whose drinking game luck was absent), we were all sprightly and ready for action the next day. We drove a short distance to the Karri Forest, where we selected the Gloucester Tree Route, a 10 KM trek through the woods where one could get in touch with nature and smell burning trees, and then feast on 19074691426417 calories from scones and pancakes mid-walk because that's how all hikes go right?


This is a super tall tree with spokes you can climb all the way to the top but we didn't because hells no.

There is a  lot of this, would ya believe?

OMG A BRIDGE TROLL!!

Burnt trees
I'd give the hike maybe a 7/10 rating, it was nice to be in nature but the hike didn't seem so challenging with few upward inclines, nor any peaks or cliffs to overlook majestic views, and the forest was permeated with the smell of burning wood. I think they do a lot of selective forest burning. Also, did you see that scary bridge troll??

Anyway, back to the pancakes and scones. So mid-walk, we came upon the Lavender and Berry Farm (FINE. We actively looked for it after reading reviews okkkk!!) where we ate laksa. Kidding. We had lavender and berry pancakes and scones for brunch, silly! They were SO good.




Oh yeah, we had nachos and a vanilla milkshake as well.
Coming in second place in terms of awesomeness of the offerings at this farm were the animals! There were ducks in the lake near the outdoor seating area (but then I made the mistake of feeding them some bread and they came swarming like hungry little monsters. Don't feed wild animals, kids.) At the back of the farm were mini ponies, alpacas, and sheep!

One evil duck

What you staring at?

Too cool for your shizz

Resident hairstylist hard at work

Post-styling - this horse can join an emo boyband

What about meeee?
We finished up the rest of the hike after brunch. I'm proud to say I did a little light jogging and then not so proud to say I nearly made an older lady fall down because I came up behind her and gave her a fright.

After we left the park, we headed to a Truffle farm which made me miss my dog. Apparently during truffle hunting season, you can join a tour where their truffle hunting dogs will sniff out truffles, probably in a super cute way that'll make you wanna say "who's a good boy? You are!!" Sadly, it wasn't truffle hunting season and they don't just let those dogs roam around and sniff you like you may potentially be delicious edible gold.


Who's a good boy???

That looks disgusting guys. Who in the world first thought to eat it??
We needed the truffle oil and salt because we persuaded chef Mims to make us her famous truffle pasta for dinner. She did not disappoint. I think I had 3 servings. Dinner was, as you guessed, more overeating, especially since we still had so much produce leftover from the previous day's grocery run, and were leaving for Margaret River the following morning. The solution? All leftovers get made into soup!


Breakfast the following morning included soup, leftover pasta, steak and lamb, cheese toasties, ham, cheese, eggs, bean, yogurt and granola! EVERYTHING IN FRIDGE MUST BE EATEN!!
And like that, the stay in Pemberton came to a close. We packed up and shifted out that morning to make our way towards Margaret River.

Thanks for reading, part 2 of the "Fat on cheese and wine" trip to be continued in another post.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Spring in bloom















Wheeeeeee

Doing my best hair ad hair-toss

Then a quick change into something more comfortable

Greetings and happy belated Easter to all you spring bunnies! If you love flora but hate the heat, check out the air-conditioned indoor flower domes of Gardens by the Bay. I had a lovely lunchtime visit with my buddy Samson who sacrificed his lunch to take these photos. Check out his work at 7braidstrong.com or follow him on Instagram.

Spring is frequently associated with rebirth and renewal and it certainly feels like I’ve gone through some kind of rebirth of thought. Basically, I’m way crazier now. You can bandy around “dirty” words like “feminist”, “activist” and “eco-warrior” because I totally am. Or at least, I’m trying to be.
Am I pushing an agenda? Probably. But it’s my blog so get ready to be pushed.

I blame two people for my rebirth – David Attenborough, for his wonderful BBC Earth series that made me want to preserve the beauty of nature, and my tree-hugging friend Char who opened my eyes to the fact that we’re poisoning ourselves with chemicals. Being an idea extremist, I decided that I had to be tree + animal hugging so I’ve decided that aside from aiming for that organic eco-sustainable lifestyle, I also have to fight against animal testing so here I am, taking a very minuscule stand against wastage and big businesses who profit off products that are tested on animals – Goodbye Maybelline eyeliner! Goodbye Makeup Forever setting powder and eyebrow pencil! Goodbye my favourite Peter Thomas Roth CC cream (L)! GOOD RIDDANCE TO YOU!

What all this means is:
  1. I am phasing out products that are tested on animals as much as possible
  2. I am replacing said products with products that are preferably eco-friendly (eg. recycled plastic packaging, biodegradable, etc), organic, and not from companies that test on animals
  3. I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint by being more aware of my consumption habits and making small adjustments to reduce waste
  4. I am making more of an effort to reuse and recycle where possible
  5. I am becoming a larger pain in the butt by nagging at my family to follow in my footsteps, while also becoming increasingly unbearable due to my obnoxious bragging about my lifestyle change, which you are bearing witness to right now
I’ll be honest, I don’t think my actions will ever really make much of a difference, but I guess I like the idea that even though I’m not doing enough, I’m doing my best. At the end of the day, I just want to know that I’ve tried to take some positive steps in saving this planet and its creatures.

I hope you will consider joining me in this personal crusade, or at least spreading this message. So maybe together we can make a difference, or at the very least, we can discover and share kick-ass organic and cruelty-free products that make us ridiculously good-looking.

Thanks for reading!


Ps. If you want to join the cruelty free crusade, check out Cruelty Free Kitty to get started. It’s got a list of cruelty-free brands and suggestions on where to shop for products. On that note, check out iHerb for a buttload of organic products not just for your head and body but also for your home.