Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Travel Regrets

We scrimp and save to buy our house. We want the best of the current Apple or Samsung range.  We buy that pair of shoes ... but do we buy that ticket to Crete or Uruguay? Unfortunately, we don't. 

Not travelling or not travelling enough is (generally) the biggest regret people have. It's the experiences missed out on, not the objects missed out.

I tell many of my friends who are umm'ing and ahhh'ing about their possible travel plans, that you will NEVER regret the travel you do, good or bad.  Its the stories to tell when things go awry, the tales of meeting interesting characters and the exotic food we long for after our trip is over.

I recently came back from a trip to the United States. It was never really high on my list of places to see, however, New York was up there. What happened when I was there?  Hurricane Sandy is what happened.  House bound, no access to public transport, no power. I don't regret going at that time, I don't regret being holed up in my apartment for 2 days and I don't regret all the camaraderie and bonds developed with the New Yorkers knowing that we survived!

Go book that trip, see that monument, meet those people. It's never a waste of money and you're never going to regret that trip!

Inspired by:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Welfare for Single Parents

It's hard & an expensive job raising children these days.  I can imagine it so much more difficult financially when its a single parent family.

It's not getting a lot of air-time but today legislation will be put forward by the government to reverse a budget decision that will put single parents (predominantly women) receiving Parenting Payments onto Newstarter Allowance (aka the dole) when their youngest child turns 8 years of age.

I'm all for the push to get people into employment, however, this is ridiculous.  It is unfair & a bad change considering how hard it is a) to find a job b) one that is flexible to suit the needs of primary aged children.

In my opinion, children should not be left at home alone till 6pm.  Children under the age of 12 let alone 10 should not have to be forced with the responsibility to open & lock up their home or to carry their house keys.  Children under the age of 12 should not be operating ovens/stoves/gas without adult supervision. Children of that age need someone to help them with homework, preparing snacks & someone to talk to at the end of a school day.

What would be more reasonable would be when the youngest child turns 12 or is in High School. The child is slightly older but also more mature.  They are more responsible & have more knowledge in how to handle sticky situations.
The government's plan would cost parents $60 to $100 a week & save the government $728 million over four years. This is the price they are putting on savings, not realising that in the meantime, single parents will have to pay for before & after school care & other childminding arrangements for school holidays.

Surely there are other savings that the government can obtain? Or at least push the age of the youngest child up.  We need to nurture & encourage our vulnerable children & to give single parents the OPTION to parent.

  Sources & Pics http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/mps-up-in-arms-over-wheat-and-welfare-20121008-279cp.html#ixzz28ktHncvj http://img.ehowcdn.com/article-new/ehow/images/a08/72/2t/children-child-abandonment-laws-texas-800x800.jpg

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

US Presidential Beers 'n' Bears

You can tell it's election time when the candidates try to relate to the common voter.

At present, there is a clear leader in this respect.  Enter US President Barack Obama.  Unlike his opposition where word has it that Mitt Romney doesn't even pay taxes on his millions.

A couple of things have caught my eye recently about Obama.

1.  Obama is not afraid of moving forward with his agenda, despite strong opposition. His Medicare plan is in and he wants all Americans to have access to basic health care.

"...The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. "  Ironically, this was said by an American, Hubert H. Humphrey in 1977.

2.  The Bear Hug.  Everyone one to be embraced like that. It's even better when you're caught on camera & seriously look like your enjoying it.  It's a pure bliss photo. No issue or judgement by the fact of who it is, Where he comes from &/or his gender.  I love it ... makes Obama feel like one of us.

3.  Obama not only brews his own White House beer, he's comparing notes & sharing his recipe with everyone. Now everyone has access to White House standard Beer.

Pour me a glass & put it on ice ... I'ma coming!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Rape & Society

No one asks to be raped, assault, or harassed or even robbed. 
Feminists & others say that regardless of what we wear or what we do, no one should be raped or assaulted. Agreed. This is obvious.  However, what we fail to recognise is the fact that there are people out there who will rape & harass, assault & steal, despite education & knowing right-from-wrong.
Education to change views & society wide interventions may eradicate some but not all instances.  I agree, that more education & awareness campaigns needs to occur, especially in the realm of date rape & understanding what exactly consent entails.  However, until these measures start gaining results or at least have a wider awareness through our society, it is naive to think that this will not happen.
Those who are or potentially are guilty of these crimes should know 100% what they are doing is wrong
Fact is, to a certain degree, we do need to dress a certain way to avoid leering & sexually based comments.  I feel that if you show tonnes of cleavage & wear tiny skirts, you are (to a certain extent) warranting attention of the sexual kind.  It is definitely not a signal to the world that you want to be raped or you're "up for it" however it is naive to think this will portray an asexual image of you & you will not be at least leered at.  

I like to go out, I like to explore new places, even going out at night.  However, it is naive to think that I will be safe walking through places like Hyde Park or a street in Redfern alone at night.  There are countries that it is unsafe to go to due to domestic conflict, it is naive to think that you can hold your own & walk down a street in Syria or Afghanistan without the potential of being harmed.

It's not an excuse, these issues should not be issues for us & should not be happening in our society, however this is idealist & naive.

Referenced from:



Its scary knowing that a few days after I wrote this that a Melbourne woman was raped & murdered on her way home from a night out.  Again, I'm not blaming the victim, I do this myself, however, it is naive to think that these things will never happen. Precautions should be taken & when travelling at night, alone as a woman.

Monday, September 3, 2012

... Spend a little time with ME.

There is a concept that my sister and I follow. Its called a "Me Day". A Me Day is when you plan to go off on your own and be your own best friend. It's liberating and can be quite an eye opener too.

I have had Me Days where I go off and explore a different part of Sydney.  I sometimes go off & have a coffee and read a book.  Some Me Days I go shopping, swim at the beach, watch a movie and I even travel by myself.

I have told many people that I often go to the cinema and see a movie by myself. Some people feel awkward, they feel sorry for me and some even say that I should call them if I am going solo. I figure that you dont really talk to someone during the movie and the only time you do interact with others is right before and right after the movie.

The first time I went to the movies by myself was on a Saturday night. It was terrifying and at the same time it taugh me a lot about myself, especially that no one really cares if you are alone at the movies and if they do see you alone, it only stays with them a few seconds.

I do sometimes feel self conscious eating by myself but it's nothing that a book or communal dining can't solve.

I'm travelling again in a few weeks ... yeah, sometimes I wish I could share my oohhhhs & ahhhs with someone else but travelling by myself pushes me to interact with more people.  I strike up conversations & often am motivated by the fact that I'll never see them again or they can blame me for being a tourist.

My biggest concern when travelling is who will take photos of me?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hijabs and the Olympics

Saudi judo competitor Wojdan Shaherkhani (left) arrives with her father at Heathrow airport in preparation for the London Olympics.

"Hijab outlawed: Saudi judo competitor refused permission to wear head scarf" (SMH 27/07/2012)

What should have been the article: Celebrating the fact that women for the first time are competing from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.
Instead ... we get this, fuelling sentiment that Hijabs are not welcome even on the international arena.

I understand that it is in relation to safety, but it's the way it is phrased and presented.
Why cant the Olympics be inclusive and allow her to wear what Cathy Freeman wore when she ran in 2000?
Some women go to great lengths to maintain their right to wear a Hijab and cover their head and then on the international stage for the Olympics there is no alternative? Must they choose either to expose their head or not participate? It's not very in the spirit of accepting all athletes to the Olympic Games!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Drinking while Pregnant

The title of this article ... "I can't serve you.  You're pregnant" struck a chord with me.  A real conflict of values question... As a pregnant woman, can you be served alcohol?
If I was serving in a pub/restaurant, what is my duty in accordance with my RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol)?  If I'm hosting a party, what is my responsibility to intervene if a woman is pregnant and requests a wine or spirit?

Is it straight forward as being black and white? No alcohol while you are pregnant?  What if its the odd drink for a celebration? Is an expectant mother free to drink as she chooses? It's a question of Freedom to act Vs Whats best for the baby (who doesn't have a say).

I can't really comment on the recent research or the current stance of various health departments, I haven't researched it. I know women are entitled to consume as they wish. They can even smoke while pregnant. (I guess the same question could be asked, as a pregnant woman, can you be served cigarettes?)

It's a bit of a conundrum ...

In a licensed establishment, I would probably refuse service. (I would also want to see what the premises policy is on serving pregnant women).  I know I may unknowingly serve a pregnant woman alcohol, but if i can see it, I probably won't serve her.  As to giving a friend a drink if she were pregnant? I would say something? Probably, but I would ultimately serve her. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The F-Word at Work

I'm not one to use the F-word. It's quite a harsh sounding word and is somewhat uncivilised.  It's overused and since I've become an adult, it's become so common place to use it. Seriously, its EVERYWHERE.

I accept that people use it, I even laugh if it's in a joke, however, there are few instances when I think it is completely inappropriate to use. 

It's inappropriate to use it in the presence of children (so they don't learn your bad habits), when speaking with elder people (it's quite disrespectful) and at work.

Swearing at work is very unprofessional.  Some words could even be regarded as workplace harrassment, however I find that it is the F-word that people feel that they can get away with saying it within certain context.

To me, you don't get away with it. I remember those who use it at work and think that they're slightly less professional than the others.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seats on Buses and Trains

I'm quite picky when it comes to who I sit next to on public transport.  That is, until its a choice of sitting versuss not sitting. 

I find myself drawn to sitting next to people who are reading or have a book. 

I'm not sure if it's an observation or it's now a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, It's occurring more and more and not just initiated by me, also by the other person who is taking their seat next to me.
Sometimes my neighbour will surprise me and will pull out their book half way through our journey.

Either way, look for us up the back.  We're the intellects on the bus reading.

Picture taken from:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Half-Mast for What?

I follow the news. I know what's generally going on locally and internationally. However, there are days when I feel that maybe I have been living under a rock.  My under-rock-living days include the majority of  times when I see the flags across Sydney's CBD at half-mast.

There has to be a way of communicating to people and informing them that this is why we are lowering our flags. A neon sign is tacky, but maybe a more tasteful sign?  Or have a section on the front page of newspapers? Maybe there is an app. for that?

There is nothing more frustrating when you want to know whats going on and google or SMH don't really help.

Photos taken from:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just Drive!

I'm quite patient these days, except when it comes to driving. I'm frustrated at how slow people are, how people just cannot keep to their lane & how everyone seems to always be on their phone while driving.

At times and over the years, I wanted to take things into my own hands.  One way I was thinking about taking things into my own hands was to have a collection of some signs/placards that I could flash up as I'm driving past. 

Some of the most needed signs I need are as follows:

1. Stay In Your Lane (Yes you in the Barina.  It's so small as it is, I don't know why its so hard for you)
2. Put Your Headlights On (Doing a public service, not really helping you)
3. Get Off the Phone (I don't really care what he/she said last night, you're going to kill someone)
4. Just Drive! (Stop being so conservative and hit the accelerator, it says 80!)

So if you see a sign being waved towards you on Sydney roads, chances are, it's probably me. So get on with it and just drive normally!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ball in my Court

In relationships, (from the little I know) I realised that sometimes when the ball is in my court, the ball is not where I really want it & sometimes, if given the choice, I wouldn't have the ball in my court at all.

I just moved the ball from out of my court & I cannot tell you how much more peaceful & less stressed I feel. 

In the lead up to it, I was umm'ing & ahh'ing what should I do? Should I do it now? Do it later? ... Tomorrow?

Now that the ball is out of my court, I know that whatever the reaction is I'm going to be comfortable & at peace.

Maybe its a mixture of not procrastinating, making a decision or not having to worry about something 'to-do' as it's done.  Either way, a weight has been lifted, the ball has been returned & now I feel that I can move on.

Picture taken from:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Great Friday!

It's been a Great Good Friday.
It felt very peaceful walking & driving around today.  People were out and about, cycling, picnicking, strolling & laughing. Being outdoor was a MUST for today.

Is it something to do with the fact that the shops are closed? That most restaurants are closed? There is no scheduled team sports?  The crazy drivers aren't rushing around? (It's double demerits this weekend).

The Sydney people/tourists we crossed paths with were friendly, relaxed & it seemed that everyone was just revelling in the sun & carpe diem'ing.

It was nice not having any agenda, knowing that you have to also pick up eggs & milk from the shops & run some errands. Its not too often that you can relax, let your hair down & feel totally at ease in Sydney. 
Today was one of those days & I really relished every moment!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Going Solo

Trend has it, that over time, more & more Australians (even around the world) will be living alone. Winners will be those who cater for the single dweller in the house & those who go out & about, alone.

Recently, I was in Melbourne & the name of this trendy restaurant kept popping up. It initially caught my attention as it was mentioned to cater to the solo traveller. (which was me!) It's hard walking into a place & asking for a table for one, even harder walking in to a place that's super trendy and full of people.

So I walked into Cumulus Inc.
I was seated at one of the bars, food portions were scaled back to suite the solo dinner, the wait staff were attentive, a little chatty & they gave me a copy of their cookbook to flip through.

Great food & great experience ... can't wait to get enough nerve to walk into another cool place.
It's hard but glad I did it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Art-y Farty

I went to public school, I was never really exposed to art unless it was through my parents & more through my father.
My first trip to see an art exhibition was to see the Turner exhibition in Canberra.

Lots of pastels, big old-school nautical ships and assorted watercolours. To 10 year old .... boring but also a bit of a novelty (the audio phone part before mobile phones).

Flashing forward to last weekend, I was in Canberra to see the Renaissance exhibition. A highly publicised exhibition displaying the works of Raphael, Botticelli & some others.  It was good, not as vast & diverse as I thought but glad that I saw it. 

Going to Canberra "to see the art" got me thinking, when did I start to appreciate art? And more importantly ... am I forging a hobby in art snobbery?  (But then why else would you go to Canberra?)

Recent exhibitions I have been to were the Masterpieces from Paris, Van Gough, Turner to Monet. I've also been to the Rijksmuseum, The National Art Centre in Tokyo, the Van Gough Museum.  A lot of my art appreciation came from travelling however, its also the colours, vibrancy and at times the sheer scale of some of the canvases.

You can tell that I'm a Van Gough/Monet girl. I can't describe it too well, but its just the colours and seeing the world through a delicate lens.  It also helps that the bulk of the paintings are inspired by France and French lifestyle.

One of the clinchers for appreciating art is when you "get it" or it amazes you or you want to be a character or in the painting.  I felt that when I first really looked at Klimt's The Kiss.   It's the stuff fairytales are made of - as a romantic female, I wanted to be that woman.

However, I also get that feeling when I see the big blockbuster art pieces like Monet's Waterlilies or Da Vinci's Mona Lisa & you want to pinch yourself. You can't believe you're seeing this major piece of art with your own eyes.   It makes you awe struck. It makes you feel insignificant.  It makes you want to buy the $10 version in the gift shop & decorate your walls with it.

Images taken from:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Fave Brands

I love my brands. True marketing aficionado.  Here are my top 5 fave brands and why  & in no particular order.


1.      Nivea – the customer engagement (online and offline), the freebies, the good products and range. Just wish their soap/body wash lines was better.


2.      Apple – not for the products, purely from a marketing angle. Different colours, the business model of bringing out something ‘must have’ every year/ two years, the in-store customer service & dedication, engagement with customers (tribalism).


3.      Aesop – Love the products but also they are seen as understated. They don't do a whole heap of marketing so you feel you use something exclusive and natural yet ... they are stocked in quite a few places so its easy to access it now. (they shouldn’t do too much more though cos then its everywhere). I like how they are GLOCAL.... they have product packs called Melbourne, Tokyo etc.
It’s an Aussie company with great sense of design and aesthetics.

4.      Ikea ... really LOVE their business model, the idea of design and buy in bulk and pass it on to average consumers. I like how they move away from the stereotypical “Ikea look” over the years. Now you can walk into a room and not see that immediately that everything is Ikea. I love it how they lure the customer in for a day long experience, you cant escape/ leave early, you cant really leave without buying something, its family friendly – something for the whole family, lots of unique/cheap food items.  No matter where in the world – it looks and feels the same. 

5.      YKK – good quality zips.  They are EVERYWHERE! (check your fly right now!)   What advertising they do create, it makes you feel that unless you use YKK in your zips, you're zip is not quality and good. Good push for the environment .They are understated again as a brand but great market penetration.  As a consumer of fashion, if my product has a YKK zip ... respect!

Pictures taken from: