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Feature Story

Christmas Cruisin

On August 2013, we decided that we will spend Christmas 2013 on a ship. We have never been on a cruise before and Christmas time seems to be the ideal time to start. We had mixed experiences. Celine was not bothered by seasickness at all. Jeanne had one bad day. I had one bad morning […]

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South American Adventure (2012)»

These series of blogs were written whilst Jeanne and I were touring South America with 18 other friends. Although all of these were written a day or two after the events – I haven’t been publishing them and had “on purpose” ;-) left posting it in my blog after we’ve returned home to Australia. This is not an attempt to document the travel itinerary but rather to capture the stories on how I remember this trip.

Tuptim Highlights – King and I (2007)»

On September 2007, Celine played Tuptim in a production by The Holroyd Musical and Dramatic Society. It caused a pleasant stir in the family circle, with some just realising how involved Celine is into performing arts. Celine continues her learning with a private tutor at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts School and has taken workshops at NIDA. She is also a full-time student at the Sydney University, pursuing a degree in Speech Pathology.

Back From Thailand (2012)»

After a crazy start to their holiday, Jessica and Celine is back from a week long R&R in Samui, Thailand.

Bali and Kuala Lumpur (2013)»

After 5 days in Bali – Indonesia and 3 days in Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia, Celine and Jessica brought home with them photos and stories of their travel. It still amazes me seeing these 2 fine ladies grab hold of life and enjoy being sisters. This is their third trip together, with no one to rely on – but each other. On this trip Jessica celebrated her birthday in Bali, snorkelling, jet skiing and para-sailing.

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Jul 21 2014

Getting Back To It

by • Category: Blob

There are so many things I wish to write on this blog. The truth is – I also have the time to write it but not the heart to do it.

I need to write about what happened on the 12th of March 2014. The day a faithful event had changed my life and has given me perhaps the greatest challenge I’m to face.

This is the first step.

Feb 23 2014

Lion King – The Musical

by • Category: Sydney Living

Rafiki and Celine

Rafiki and Celine

For Mother’s Day last year, Jessica gave her mum four tickets for a February 2014 show of the the Disney’s Lion King playing at the Capitol Theatre. These tickets are great seats – center and just 3 rows away from the stage. We are so close to the stage, we can see the sweat off Simba and the spit when the actors belt out a tune :-)

One thing with Disney’s production is that you can always count that they are sensational. We have seen this musical when it first played here in Sydney in 1997. The girls were still very young then and in their primary school. Jessica was not able to make it to that show because of school priorities. Back then the girls already have a keen sense of priorities. Choosing to miss a favourite play because of a conflicting school requirement or activity. We ended up giving the ticket to Celine’s classmate Irene – who, because of this experience, had also continued to enjoy going to the theatre as an adult. Years later, Jessica eventually saw the play in one of her travels to New York.

Thus, this is our first time to see the play as a family. Everyone has a favourite. I even started rooting for Scar – the villain of the show with a voice ala Jeremy Irons – the original cartoon Scar. The opening number was always going to be elaborate, well choreograph and they deliver. Rafiki is a very strong Afrikan singer which is a delight every time she comes on the stage. The shadow play and the puppetry are what makes this musical worth seeing again and again. The scene where Mufasa came out as a 3D image in the sky was truly a master work of stage art.

Lion King is that Disney movie that my daughters grew up with. We watched it in the cinema in the 90s, more than once. Had the VHS version when it came out and was watched a lot. Jessica also bought the Diamond Edition BluRay+DVD after watching the play in Broadway. Celine knows all the lyrics of the songs, I’m impressed that she was able to contain herself from singing along for the duration of this play – or did she ;-)

Feb 16 2014

Weekend at Bowral

by • Category: Sydney Living

Dining at Biota

Dining at Biota

A short drive (105 km from home) is the town of Bowral. We stayed at the very historic Berima Manor, once owned my a female doctor in 1925, a rarity in that age, and then donated it to the Red Cross in the 1940s ala Downton Abbey Season 2 style.

Before heading to our hotel, we dropped by the Centennial Vineyards where we had some free wine tasting of their award winning Pinot Noir. I was tempted to sign up to their wine club but eventually held back. They have a very gourmet looking restaurant but was fully booked for lunch. For a while, the manager was seriously contemplating to fit us in but we decided not to take the risk.

On the way to the hotel, I spotted the Biota Dining Restaurant. I tried to book this restaurant before leaving the vineyard but I was told they were booked and advise that they get booked about 4 weeks in advance. They have a lounge menu which we were welcome to try.

Anyway, we were still too early to check-in and so we walked across to Biota, thinking lounge menu may not be so bad. When we got there, I asked if there is any last minute cancellation we could swoop in – and what do you know – we’re in luck. We had the 3 course degustation and we were given fresh sourdough bread and salmon jerky on top of it. Jeanne loved the bread. The service is great and the food is as expected as well. I saw a lot of mixed reviews for this 2-hat restaurant which perhaps made me lower my expectations but I would certainly bring Jessica and Celine here given the chance.

Berida Manor Lobby

Berida Manor Lobby

Centennial Vineyard Restaurant

Centennial Vineyard Restaurant

For the rest of the afternoon, we took a quick nap then went for a swim on their indoor pool. The weather outside is a bit gloomy and was raining. At the spa we met a couple, Steve and Joan, and were friendly with. Just as well we met them again at dinner at the hotel that night and breakfast the following day.

Jeanne and I also borrowed a bluray of “Olympus Has Fallen” and watched that when we went back to our room.

The Knight and Sir Rommel

The Knight and Sir Rommel

The next day, it is again pouring. After breakfast we drove back to Centennial Vineyard to buy a bottle of Pinot and a Maggie Beer cookbook for Jeanne. Then we drove to Mittagong to see a Model Train exhibit. We didn’t stay long because I notice one of my rear wheel is half-flat. This is very disconcerting because I use nitrogen on my tyres and the only reason why they would get flat is if my tyres have a slow leak. I spent some time ringing tyre companies nearby and all of them are closed on a Sunday.

We drove back to Sydney with my half-flat, stopping on a service station to pump it back. Just before reaching home, I swing past the regular tyre service shops we use and they are all closed on a Sunday – sooo frustrating :-(

Feb 06 2014

Open Air Cinema

by • Category: Sydney Living

Open Air Cinema

Open Air Cinema at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair – Sydney. The Opera House and Harbour Bridge on the background.

In early December 2013, Ivor asked me if I wanted to experience watching a movie on an Open Air Cinema. It is held in Sydney in Mid January to Mid February each year. At that time I reluctantly said yes and chose a film. The photo in the brochure looks enticing and so I said why not.

At the time we attended it on 5-Feb-2014, I was pleasantly surprised with the experience. Ivor has already reserved 4 seats with our names on it. There was a bar to order wine, beer and some non-alcoholic drinks. A fully catered dinner with lots of choices and fast service. There were tables and chairs for a sit-down dinner.

The main attraction, however, is a giant movie screen against a backdrop of the skyline of the best city in the world – Sydney. The iconic Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the Centerpoint Tower all within view.

As soon as it turned dark, the patrons were all seated to enjoy the movie. Half-way into the movie though, it started drizzling. Jeanne and I came prepared for a drizzle with our jackets having hoods and are water repellants. The drizzle became a light rain though and that’s when we thought of bailing out. Looking at my back though, everyone is in white uniform ponchos. That’s when we realised that the organisers were prepared for this weather and started distributing the ponchos. We got one ourselves, put it on and continued to watch the movie. Another great experience living in this wonderful city.

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