Yoon-Mi is away in Singapore this week for some well deserved R&R. She has left me little Post-It notes around the house to remind me how loved I am. There’s Post-Its on food in the fridge and in the pantry. There’s Post-Its on the Tim Tams warning me not to eat them. There’s Post-Its beside the bed and hidden under pillows. I love them all:) We were in Singapore together in June this year; I remember I landed back from that trip and badly injured (rolled) my ankle training for an important run I had- devastating. It all went well in the end though! Anyway – all of this reminded me I never got around to sharing any photos from that trip. Laaa-aaazy me.

I had never been to Singapore and I had forgotten what humidity was – I should have remembered from my years of living in Sydney, but even so, Singpore is next level. We landed at about 3am and headed to the hotel where they shoved us in a twin smoking room for a few hours (I had quit smoking a year before that, so this was pretty disgusting) – we grabbed a shower and headed out for a walk around Fort Canning which I absolutely loved. In fact, my first impressions were of a very clean & friendly city. I loved it!

Musings left on the streets of Singapore

Musings left on the streets of Singapore

We spent a few days there, discovering Arab Street and buying fabrics (which is exactly where Yoon-Mi is now I think!) – we explored the Gardens by the Bay which is extraordinary. A photographer’s dream! Below the Mariner Bay Sands and with that weird Marc Quinn sculpture ‘Planet’ – bizarre. Anyway, I loved all of it, and I hope Yoon-Mi is having a ball. Wish I was there!

"Planet" by Marc Quinn - Marina bay Sands in the background.

“Planet” by Marc Quinn – Marina bay Sands in the background.

Oh, ran the 5k track this morning before work – still recovering from last week’s killer PT schedule, so it was a slow one. But what a wonderful morning in Perth. It’s going to be one killer summer!

In the news today

Photos from Singapore


flot·sam · ˈflätsəm · things that have been rejected and are regarded as worthless

Point Peron is my little haven, a rugged & rocky headland surrounded by fingers of reef that create protected bays perfect for snorkelling & swimming. I’ve taken hundreds of photos there over the years I’ve lived in the area, but in recent times I tend to leave the camera at home so I can enjoy the time with family. When the weather is wild, we walk around the limestone cliffs and explore some of the World War II bunkers and canon mounts. When summer is in its prime, it’s a paradise for swimming & snorkelling in the heat of early morning and just before sunset. Our diving gear is always in the car.

This photograph was taken late last summer (earlier this year) – a collection of the things I found when I’m diving off the  western shore. An anemone, some spirals that form the centre of large shells that have long since fallen to pieces… and a myriad of fishing gear. It’s quite literally everywhere at the bottom of the bay. I bring it all home so it’s not ghost fishing. The shells I bring home for Jasmine. This just seemed such a pretty little collection:)


“Flotsam” (click for full size)

High Tea and Pirates

A High Tea Adventure

One of the little things Flea has been missing since she moved to Australia is a good “high tea”. A friend of hers in the “Old Country” had done a bit of research and bought us some vouchers to “Maddison Cottage“; a little venue in Perth where such a thing can be enjoyed… one gets the feeling they might be few and far between. We enjoyed getting a bit dressy & had a lovely drive out to Guildford on a lovely rainy day; the first genuinely wet day of the year. We enjoyed a few different teas, made more lovely by a ‘free pot refill’. I’ll admit I did arrive hoping to find a good steak burger on the menu (I was a little misguided as to what was on offer at a High Tea) – but none the less, we were fairly impressed with the morsels.

The setting was lovely, although it felt a little cramped. The tables were clean and well set; and everything was well presented. Sadly though, it was all let down by awful restroom facilities (and after two full pots of tea, you can be sure you’ll need them before you depart). I’m not talking “Trainspotting” awful – it wasn’t filthy. “Functioning” is, however,  about the only positive thing I can say about it. No more than a household loo, it is directly adjacent to their kitchen & one can clearly hear every dish and sniffle coming from the pantry. Which means; they can hear you. I enjoyed listening to staff talking about customers for a few moments before we left. I didn’t use the hand towel provided (on the restroom floor) and left, hand dripping, through a maze of kitchen supply boxes and various other flotsam.

A pleasant enough venue, just don’t look behind the scenes. A real shame! However, Flea looking absolutely stunning and we enjoyed the adventure:)

Piracy & eternal damnation

We’ve been enjoying  a smorgasbord of television programming; Season 4 of Game of Thrones having been the most anticipated. But wow, how good is Fargo (Billy Bob Thornton / Martin Freeman) so far?! We’re loving it:) What else?

  • The Killing (loving it!)
  • Boss
  • Not Going Out
  • Fargo (loving it!)

I’m a bookworm who’s read all off George R R Martin’s books before seeing the show; Flea is watching it first. We’re both enjoying season 4 thus far; Arya & The Hound being my favourite story line. it was sad to not see them this week! No spoilers on this page (because you never know, Flea just might read my blog) – but I want at least 10 minutes of them in every episode this season…

Oh – Sansa and Petyr Baelish – at last! This is one story line I’m excited about:) Obviously they’re going to skip Petyr’s homeland for the TV series which is a bit of a shame, but it should still be great!

"...the only thing he wanted was what I'd given him the night before."

“…the only thing he wanted was what I’d given him the night before.”

Life Without a Cigarette

March 4th, 2013 – my first full day without a cigarette in as many years as I can remember. I can remember those first 3 or 4 weeks pretty clearly; I won’t lie, they weren’t easy. At times they were hell. And yet, somehow here I am a year later: happier, healthier, and I haven’t had a single ‘relapse’ cigarette. Not even a drag.

This isn’t a reformed smoker rant – I hate those people, too – it’s something that I truly hope just helps ONE person go through this crappy quitting thing. That would make me happy.

Before I tell you how I made it, I think first I’ll share with you who I was. I was the ultimate smoker. I’m sure every smoker says that, but I truly was. I believed I would die smoking. Quitting was way too hard – I had tried countless times – I enjoyed smoking so much, I had convinced myself dying from some crappy smoking-related illness was worth it. I had even started mentally preparing for it… I couldn’t convince myself I was “young” any more, but I could convince myself that I had had a pretty wonderful life, and it could end tomorrow and I’d be satisfied. I smoked a pack a day at my worst, and most of a pack any other day of the year. I smoked with coffee in the morning, and sometimes while I was making the first coffee. I smoked while I walked to the train station, and while I walked from central to work. I smoked another quick one before I started. I called morning tea “smoko” because that made it okay. I smoked several at lunch, and anything after knock-off was fair game. I smoked when I was busy, and I smoked to  kill boredom. I smoked to kill hunger, and later when I’d eaten, I’d smoke because I was too full. I smoked just before bed (but never IN bed) but occasionally got up through the night to have one. Some of that is shameful – but this is the honest me, and I know it’s plenty of other smokers, too.


Smoking makes you a heinous butt-breath’d chemical dependent zombie.

I don’t even know what triggered my very sudden ‘attempt’ at quitting a year ago. I had already tried so many times… the ‘cutting down’ method (that never works) – patches, purging — blah blah blah. I did the right things, but I never once thought the right things. Then, in March 2013, with no great planning, preparation or fanfare, I said a few things to myself.

I am sick of paying for cigarettes. I am sick of putting money in the pockets of rich men who keep making this shit for me. I am sick of scratching around for a few spare dollars when things are tight, only to spend them on smokes. I am sick of feeling so utterly desperate for something that I know will kill me. I am so utterly tired of remembering how fit and healthy I used to be, yet knowing in my heart I’d struggle to sprint 100 meters. I love smoking – but I’m just so utterly sick of needing it, wanting it, knowing I’ll die for it. I’ve had enough.

There were no grand plans or schemes this time. No promises, no goals, no pressure. I was done and that was that. That doesn’t mean it was easy; it was hell. The cravings came… but they went, too. They came hard and fast, but they went away, too. They left me sweating and swearing and raving and desperate – then suddenly they were gone. Ebbs and flows – those first three or four weeks weren’t easy, but that’s all it was. 28 days, and my body was free. Now I had to get that shit out of my head.

Well, I can honestly say 365 days later: I’m still not 100% there. Every 4 or 5 weeks I get a bit of a pang. I’ll walk past someone smoking in the street and my nostrils flare & my fingers twitch . And the loveliest thing about that is – I don’t want one. I still love the idea of smoking and I still don’t hate the smell of it (people are telling me I will – and I still don’t believe them!) – but I don’t physically want one, and there’s no way in hell I’d put one in my mouth. Like an alcoholic – I’ll be a smoker until the day I die – I just won’t smoke.

A year later and a few days shy of my thirty-seventh birthday – I am so damn proud of this achievement; because I alone know how hard the battle was for me. Now I’m running every morning, and I’m out in the ocean at least a few times a week. I’ve saved every dollar I would have spent smoking in a separate account, and let me tell you, it is absolutely vile how quickly that money adds up. I went to London and back on that money. I met the love of my life, and now she lives with me here in Australia, and with a little luck, I’ll live to have her beside me when I’m 102.

Quitting is shit – it’s among the hardest things I’ve ever had to do – but it’s not impossible.

If it helps, visit/call QuitNow in Australia 13 78 48 – personally, I ended up discovering that I had to do it by myself, for myself. All the support & encouragement in the world didn’t help until I realised how much I wanted it out of me for myself. All I want to say to you (or someone you know) is – it is possible, you can do it – I know this, because I made it.

So: go on, try again to get that shit out of your life. I’d say “don’t give up” – but I really want you to.

If you want to talk about it with me, or ask me for tips or how you can help a friend – leave a comment and I’d love to know I’ve reached someone, somewhere!

Sexuality – the Great Uneducated lead the way

Dr. Kevin Donnelly

Dr. Kevin Donnelly

Journalist Gareth Hutchens wrote an article published today titled: “Leave sex lessons to straight teachers, writes Pyne’s reviewer“. It explores a book written in 2004 by Dr. Kevin Donnelly (and commissioned by Liberal Party-aligned Menzies Research Centre¹) where Dr. Donnelly penned:

“The union argues that gays, lesbians and transgender individuals have a right to teach sex education … and that any treatment of sexual matters should be ‘positive in its approach’ and that school curricula should ‘enhance understanding and acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people’. Forgotten is that many parents would consider the sexual practices of gays, lesbians and transgender individuals decidedly unnatural and that such groups have a greater risk in terms of transmitting STDs and AIDS.”

The article explores what seems to be his fundamental belief that ‘only heterosexual teachers have a right to teach students about sex’. As I write this, I recall the first thing I read this morning was news of the passing of  Phillip Seymour Hoffman; that news shocked me. (I’ve become belatedly aware of his fight with addiction, but his image as a hard-working actor prevailed). However, not anywhere near as shocked as I was to read this article. It is utterly appalling me that someone so charged with shaping the education of our country’s next generation could propagate such  complete and contemptible ignorance.

I understand that some members of society struggle to accept people who identify as LGBT. It can be uncomfortable & challenging to accept things we don’t understand; things that initially seem so far removed from our own personal realm of experience. I felt much the same way studying History; many elements of our past beggar belief, some more than others. However, I have the fortune to have been raised by people who have taught me the difference between enduring a new concept, and encompassing it in who I am. Yes, I did grow up knowing people who didn’t share my ideas of gender and sexuality, and knowing them was my chance to begin understanding differences in preferences, attitudes & perception on many levels.

Of course, not everyone grows up with the same influences, educators and opportunities to experience what is human uniqueness. I have always been acutely aware & grateful of the opportunities given me. So, where some miss out on such opportunities, here it falls to community leaders & educators of all kinds to assist in our understanding of our society. I feel very strongly that these leaders & educators have a responsibility to teach openly, honestly, and factually. When it isn’t over-complicated, it isn’t difficult. When my 8 year old daughter asked me recently what ‘gay & lesbian’ meant, I asked her how she felt about a particular boy she had mentioned (at length) recently. Her smile was enormous, infectious; she looked dreamily over my head and told me she thought he was pretty awesome. I asked her to imagine that she felt that way about a girl. What did she think of that, I asked?

“Ah, well I can’t imagine feeling that way about a girl.” She replied. Fair enough.

“Well, some girls do. And some boys feel that way about boys. That’s all there is to it, it’s not complicated.”

“When I grow up, do you think I will like girls?” was her long considered reply.

“I have no idea – but I will love you and be proud of you”.

And that was it. She completely accepted the premise. Her understanding of relationships and human sexuality will obviously grow, but the simple premise that we don’t choose who we love was immediately obvious to her. And that was completely okay in her books! I’ve rarely been more proud; it’s a big concept for a young mind to start taking in.

So – why is this so ‘complicated’? Why aren’t educators comfortable with using simple, clear language like this? It’s complicated in our big grown-up society because, quite frankly, historically we’ve completely fucked up the social conversation, and are still doing so today. I won’t even touch what religion is doing to the issue. Shame culture, ‘fixing’ gays – it’s appalling that such a fundamental piece of human psyche – what attracts us to each other – could or should be considered ‘adjustable’.

Most appalling of all is that an intellectual leader in our community can’t read the histories & do that math on this himself. I utterly defend your right to believe what you want when sitting under your own Hills Hoist, but any community that continues to discriminate out in the street is completely unsustainable, and this starts with education, and that starts with people like you, Dr. Donnelly. Your suggestion that ‘only a heterosexual may teach our children about sex’ is insulting in the extreme to educators. For example – an educator doesn’t teach a child the deep and personal intricacies of playing a piano. They give the child the tools they need to play, and leave the passion and the connection to emerge & flourish itself. Recognising & encouraging that passion, of course, is the mark of a good teacher – and if any teacher discouraged my daughter from loving piano in a certain way because of their own preferences… well, would you stand for that, Dr. Donnelly?

Sure – it’s a rather simple little allegory… but why over complicate it.

¹ Source: Gareth Hutchens, article