Tag Archives: holidays

And on the 10th day……..

3 Aug

…she rested! No exercise today but instead I could sleep in. Fine, except from about 6am onwards I was forever checking my watch for the time, wondering whether it was time to get up yet. Still it was nice not to have to get up and get ready for a run, the gym, cycling, swimming, etc.

As is traditional (and I’m all for tradition when it counts!) we went to St Ali’s for breakfast before I had to leave for the airport. Again I ordered the delicious granola, as it is something I don’t usually have at home. We saw Red Symons while we were there. Actually we have seen him there on several occasions so obviously he has good taste as well šŸ™‚

Then it was back to the apartment to finish packing my ever-expanding suitcase. I wasĀ absolutelyĀ certain my case was going to be overweight (oh I so know that feeling) and I even went on-line to see if I could purchase additional weight. However this has to be done at least 3 hours before the flight and so I was too late. I had resigned myself to paying extra for my shopping sins.

So imagine my surprise and delight when checking in my luggage to discover that it had come in under the 23kg. Omg, there is a god! Thank goodness it had been too late to purchase the additional weight, as I didn’t need it. Then while waiting for my flight I spent the time at Watermark books and cafe – my kind of heaven. The combination of books and coffee isĀ irresistible, and IĀ discoveredĀ they also sellĀ chocolate, so ofĀ courseĀ I bought a block of salted caramelĀ chocolate….for Mr N.

There weren’t too many passengers on the flight to Canberra. The pilot is his address said to treat it like our own private jet!

Now I’m home, have been to the hairdressers, grocery shopped, and unpacked. Already its beginning to feel likeĀ I’veĀ never been away.

Tomorrow: the plan is to run early then son #1 is taking me out for breakfast. Later in the day I may cycle.


Wednesday Wanders

1 Aug

This morning I decided to run to Albert Park lake & run the 5km running track that borders the lake. I ran up Clarendon St to the lake. This takes me through South Melbourne shopping precinct on the way to the lake. Past lots of little cafes that were opening their doors, with aromas of coffee wafting out. But I had a job to do and that was to run. No time for coffee!

It was a pleasant run around the lake on the dirt running track. There were a few people out running or walking on what was a lovely morning, by Melbourne standards! šŸ˜‰ Because it was quite chilly (even for a Canberra visitor) my long sleeved top stayed on & the sleeves weren’t pushed up. At one stage I passed cars banked up in traffic and felt immensely grateful that I was outdoors running and not stuck in a traffic snarl! Sometimes it is the little things.

I didn’t realize that I had literally run “up” Clarendon St to the lake, until my return trip, as I was running downhill back to the apartment!

Our wanderings today took us to South Melbourne markets (home of the famous dim sim) where we bought kale (and later made kale chips for dinner to go with the oven roasted pumpkin, onion & garlic soup) and had a coffee at Padre’s (home of great coffee). We also checked out Passion Foods, an organic health foods supermarket where they have an extensive range of gluten free foods, raw foods and organic meat, fruit & veggies. After lunch it was off to DFO at Southern Cross Station on a mission to find the perfect pair of boots. More like mission impossible. Lots of empty stores. We headed up Collins St on our way to Melbourne Central to check out more shoe stores. No luck – new season spring shoes were in. Finally we wandered along Block arcade and stopped for a much needed coffee at a cute little Italian cafe, Caffe Duomo.

Tomorrow, the plan is a weights session before breakfast and then I’m off to South Wharf DFO to buy boots. I will not accept defeat! The afternoon will be spent exploring some of Melbourne’s laneways before heading out to see Annie at Regent Theatre tomorrow night. šŸ™‚


Pump it

31 Jul

This Black Eyed Peas song was playing when I was doing weights in the gym this morning. So appropriate. Though when I got to the squat jumps/pushups/burpees/lunges circuit it was more like “cark it”! I take my hat off to anyone who can string together more than 10 burpees using good form because quite frankly, I suck at them!

After a really great coffee at Dead Man Espresso in South Melbourne (where you are well & truly spoilt for choice in cafes & great coffee), we met KT for lunch at World restaurant in Southbank. She is one truly inspiring woman who has had the goal of running marathons in every state/territory & will realize that goal in a month’s time in Alice Springs. And she’s doing Port Mac half ironman in October. And the best thing is it will be great doing this event with a friend!

Then it was back to the gym later this afternoon for my regular Tuesday bike intervals session for 45 mins. Those legs were pumping again! But it was a good workout. And I had worked up an appetite for dinner which was beef and red wine stew, followed by homemade apple crumble šŸ™‚ All part of my finely tuned, nutritionally balanced, elite athlete diet šŸ˜‰


Mmmm Mamasita

30 Jul

Today we had a great lunch at the Mexican restaurant Mamasita in Collins St.

But first things first. I was up bright and early to walk to the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre (MSAC) in Albert Park for a swim session, long overdue I might add. This was only a 15-20mins walk and a good warm up for my swim. I found out that I had just scraped in for early bird prices (before 8am I gather) and then the girl at reception said, “only the outside pool is available now”. Sorry? Did I hear correctly? The outdoor pool? It is winter….in Melbourne……not the warmest place at the best of times. She smiled ever so sweetly and said, “it’s heated.” What to do? it seemed madness to be swimming in an outdoor pool in late July but there were other people out there, swimming. And they weren’t wearing wetsuits. Ok, I’ll do it.

And actually it was ok. I didn’t notice the cool crisp air once I’d got in and started swimming. It was a 50m deep water pool. There was about 1-2 people per lane, so very civilized. It had been a while since my last swim session so felt a bit rusty and unco but managed 1.2km in total. Then after a shower and changing into dry clothes I walked home. Mission accomplished.

So as mentioned at the start we had lunch at Mamasita. They have a no bookings policy so we decided we’d get there soon as they opened for lunch, at 12 noon. We weren’t the only ones to have that idea as we were about 4th or 5th in the queue. This place is popular and we soon found out why. The food is amazing – full of fresh zingy flavours and very far removed from what a lot of people think of Mexican food. We shared a variety of small plates of foods, none of which required cutlery, beginning with elotes callejeras, which was “street style” chargrilled corn, questo, chipotle mayonnaise & lime, and was very moreish. This was followed by tostaditas de pollo (with chargrilled chicken, avocado, chipotle mayo & questo fresco), taco de pescado (soft taco with grilled fish, lime, achiole paste, red onion salsa & chipotle mayo) and taco de camarones (soft taco with marinated prawns, red chile & chipotle almond salsa). We finished with quesadilla de Cordero (braised lamb, queso criolla, mint & jalapeƱo herb sauce). Of course I couldn’t resist dessert & was talked into having the pastel de chocolate, a flourless choc cake with tequila white choc sauce & PX jelly. Fortunately it was a petite serve! šŸ™‚

This was followed by some serious retail therapy! Not in Collins St mind you (not the Paris end anyway where you’ll find the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace, Rolex……..you get the picture). My purchases came from my favorite boutique in Flinders Lane, Miss Lau. Beautiful clothes, many Australian labels.

Tomorrow: the plan is a weights session before breakfast, lunch with lovely Keren, and a bike session later in the day. SpartaJen should be happy with my efforts. šŸ™‚





Running the tan

29 Jul

Will I. Won’t I. Do I. Don’t I. Yes. No. I don’t know. These were the conversations I was having with myself this morning. A tight right calf also kept butting in ;). I even googled whether running with a tight calf was a good thing! Didn’t get a definitive answer. In the end I decided that I would run but with no predetermined distance in mind, but run according to how I feel. Radical notion I know!

I decided to run the tan this morning, a 3.8km track around the Botanic Gardens. It’s official name is the Tan Track, named either for the tan-colored stone aggregate surface, because it runs around the BoTANic Gardens, or because it was once covered in tan bark. Whatever. It’s a popular running and walking venue for Melbournites. This morning I ran 3 laps and with the run to get there and return, the total distance was 17km. As I was running up that hill for the 3rd time of thought of Liz and Steve who had run the tan ultra 100km a few years ago. I don’t know how you guys did it! Three laps was plenty for me.

An indulgent breakfast followed this run – truffled scrambled eggs (made with cream, butter and whole eggs no less) and smoked salmon. What a perfect partnering. This was an amazing breakfast but not one you could have very often – the seasonality and cost of truffles ruling that out, let alone the calories! But oh what a treat!

Not much else happened today – the cold, wet and totally crappy weather took care of that. We did venture out to the movies at lunchtime and then later in the day had afternoon tea at St Ali’s.

Tomorrow – the plan is to head off to the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centrefor a swim in the morning and then afterwards go shopping! We’re also off to lunch at Mamasita’s in Collins St for modern Mexican. They have a gluten free menu!



A few of my favorite things

28 Jul

St Ali coffee & breakfast, halva, fresh produce and organic meat from Queen Vic markets – these are a few of my favorite things when I’m in Melbourne. And maybe after truffled scrambled eggs planned for tomorrow maybe I can add black truffle from Madame Truffles to that list.

But first I had an hour bike session to do. There were sprints, there were hard gears and easy. It was a hard session but by changing it up every now and then made the time go by relatively quickly. To pass the time I watched the traffic on the Westgate Fwy – that’s the view out the window. One other person came in while I was there to use the treadmill. In the end I had cycled 25.7km.

We had breakfast at one of my favorite coffee and eating places in Melbourne, and it’s just down the road. St Ali’s – awesome coffee and great food. I had a gluten free granola with natural yoghurt and medjool dates – yum! It was very filling which was great because I was starving. Rob had scrambled eggs with bacon & toasted sourdough bread. The coffee was top notch.

Afterwards we called into Madame Truffles, a seasonal shop specializing in Australian truffles. In fact it’s last day is tomorrow, until the next truffle season. I have long been curious about truffle, not ever having it. I’ve heard and read about truffles, black diamond as it is called (Brillat-Savarin called them diamonds of the kitchen) and often wondered what all the fuss was about. This morning the lovely Bernadette gave us a brief lesson in truffle and had us smelling different ones from Tasmania, NSW, Victoria and WA. What surprised me the most was the variation in odour. But to describe? I can’t think of any words or make comparisons with other foods that really describes the truffle odour – maybe musty, earthy, and one had a smoky odour. Anyway I bought a small amount that comes from Deloraine in Tasmania, which was found by Rex the dog. It will be used in our scrambled eggs tomorrow. Can’t wait to try it!

Later in the morning we visited Queen Vic markets to buy some fruit & veg and meat. I can’t go past the halva & bought a small chunk. Not the healthiest I know (it was the chocolate one) but given I don’t have it very often, a little bit won’t hurt. Well actually maybe it wasn’t such a little bit…….

Tomorrow the plan is to do a 16km run before a truly decadent breakfast of creamy truffled scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. A meal definitely worth running for!



Endings & beginnings!

27 Jul

Last day of the week. Last day of the conference. The beginning of my leave commences. Woohoo!

But first things first, it was up early to go the gym for a weights workout. I could really get used to having the gym to myself!

A miserable morning weather-wise, typical Melbourne winter weather – umbrella weather. A great last day of the conference, an excellent key note speaker talking about poverty this morning. Attended other sessions on culture & healing, and child abuse & neglect. Finished with a panel discussion on child poverty.

Back to the gym later today to work off some of that pent up energy. Hot & sweaty work on the treadmill, bike and xtrainer – a total of 50mins. There was 3 of us in the gym this afternoon so other people in the apartment complex use the gym. I was beginning to wonder!

Finally, pizza for dinner. šŸ™‚

The photo below – this is a sign in the toilets at the Convention Centre! You gotta wonder!


Hello Melbourne

24 Jul

In Melbourne. In my happy place.

This morning I did a 40 min intervals session on my bike, on the wind trainer. It may have been 1 degree Celsius outside, but it felt a lot warmer on my bike. A good session.

The plan tomorrow is to check out the gym and do a weights session in the morning. And maybe a cardio session after a day at the conference.


Rails to trails run & other things

10 May

20120509-225811.jpgOur last full day in Margaret River. The weather hadn’t improved, not that it stopped us from doing things. As usual we started the day with a run. We ran the rails to trails again, going further this morning. The plan was to do at least 10km return, but we decided to reassess after 5, 6 and 7.5km. At about the 5km mark the rain bucketed down but there was nothing we could do except keep going…..which we did. We eventually turned at the 7.5km mark but really on those trails you feel you could run all day. It’s a beautiful running surface surrounded by forest.

After breakfast we headed into town for a coffee at Urban Bean – beautiful coffee though there was a fly encounter involving Ruth’s coffee ;). Following our coffee we visited the Fudge Factory which was very conveniently just across the road. The delicious and sweet smell of fudge greeted you when you opened the door to enter. There were shelves of fudge everywhere. Samples were available and sample we did though it required several samples to make up our mind about which ones to buy ;).

On to Stella Bella winery to sample some more wines including a Scuttlebutt Sauvignon blanc semillon and a delicious pink muscat (so pretty and girly and very easy to drink). Several bottles of the pink muscat found their way to our car! After a short visit to the winery, it was off to Augusta for lunch, a visit to Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and Jewel Cave. The last time I visited Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was about 18 years ago when the wife of the caretaker had bought a knitting machine I had for sale and so we delivered it to them (we lived in Busselton at the time). They had invited us to stay for lunch. Today there is no lighthouse caretaker but the weather, especially the wind, was how I remembered the place – wild and very windy (and today, also wet).

Jewel cave was absolutely amazing. So incredibly big with amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations. The tour took about one hour and involved 500 steps either up or down to see the various formations. The tour was well worth doing. After visiting the cave we stopped at Hamelin Bay for a quick look at the beach before heading back to Margaret River.

Our last dinner in Margaret River was at the Arc of Iris, a self-described small quirky restaurant with incredibly good food as we discovered. Most of the meals were gluten free and the ingredients are sourced locally. For the main course I had the pork belly with spiced red cabbage (truly delicious and reminded me of Christmas) and apple; Ruth had the rack of venison with potato mash, green beans, red currant jelly and sour cream; and Mr B had pan fried snapper. The wine we had with our meal was a Voyager Estate sauvignon blanc semillon. Being our last night we decided to have dessert – I had the gluten gree chocolate & walnut cake with choc sauce, raspberry sauce and vanilla bean icecream; both Mr B and Ruth had the apricot crumble with vanilla bean icecream. It was a delicious meal in a small lively restaurant which is obviously popular with the locals as the restaurant was full. Highly recommended!


Wine, chocolate & cheese :)

10 May

Another wet, cool day in the south west. At least our run was done before the rain. In fact there were fleeting glimpses of sun and blue sky. We decided to try the ‘rails to trails’ path not far from where we are staying. It’s a great surface, flat and with great tree cover as it winds it way through the forest. We only did a short 4km tempo run this morning so that we had time to get ready before being picked up for our wineries tour.

Our tour group was only a small group of 7 people with another couple joining us after lunch. We started our day at Watershed winery which is a huge vineyard. There we learnt about the correct way of holding our glass, swirling the wine and how to drink, rather than sip, the wine. I have decided that I definitely prefer Sauvignon semillon blanc and I’m not keen on viognier (though there was a sweet dessert version that I didn’t mind). While I’m not a red wine drinker I was determined to give it a go. Who knows, I may discover a red that I do like. Next stop was Leeuwin Estate, one of the original vineyards and which also known for its concerts. Beautiful grounds and wine, especially the Art Series Chardonnay. However I was passing on the reds by now – I am not a lover of red wine. Lunch was at Voyager Estate. More wine tasting (though I have to admit I was flagging at this stage!). Lunch was delicious. A few of us had the lamb shank with polenta and orange gremolata – the perfect dish for the wintry weather. I had briefly considered dessert but the main course proved to be very filling, along with all the wine and water I was drinking.


The afternoon was spent at The Venison Farm (just don’t mention Bambi), Olio Bello olive oil farm, the chocolate company where it was very hard to ignore the free samples (yes I know we were there yesterday!), the cheese factory and 2 boutique wineries (Woody Nook & Adinfern), where we tasted delicious fortified wine, among others. And then it was over and we were back at our accommodation. It had been a fun day of great wine, food and company. It was definitely worth doing and we highly recommend Margaret River Vintage Wine Tours. Tony is a great tour guide with loads of information about the district. If you want to be part of a small tour group of the local wineries and boutique food outlets, then this an excellent one to try.