the stork has arrived!

I know, it’s been a bit quiet on the fly girl front – brewing a baby really took it out of me. Not to mention that he stayed in to cook for an extra two weeks! But he’s finally here, so I’d love to introduce you.

little Stirling Alan

little Stirling Alan

All the clichés are true. How can you not wake up every morning wanting to do more, be better, and feeling absolutely inspired (even on a couple of hours’ sleep!) when you wake up with this little face beside you?

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it’s fat belly curry night

Well this is fast becoming a food blog, clearly. When you buy a house and can’t afford to jet away constantly you need to find a new outlet… Mine is stuffing my face, I think. But in an artsy, look-what-I-did kind of way, hopefully.

Anyway, tonight was curry night.

I’ll be honest, hubby did most of the work. I just stood around and looked good (duh). And fetched beers.

Last night we marinated some chicken in a Madras sauce. I thought hubby was being lazy by leaving it in a casserole dish and baking it but alas, he is a genius. The meat was perfectly tender and completely packed with flavour, just like you would get at an Indian restaurant. Took about the same time as it would on the stove top but with amazing results.

Served with roti (slightly toasted), raita (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and a little bit of mint), mango chutney and lime pickle (my favourite!)… I was actually dancing up and down the hallway with excitement while it was cooking and it didn’t disappoint. The below photo probably will though; I’m a food eater, not a food photographer.

Hit me with your favourite curry making tips. I promise I will gobble them up (insert creepy wink face here).

 

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resolution shmesholution

Ugh, it’s resolutions time. I have some I would like to make, but I also have some bigger ideas that I thought were worth sharing too. Maybe rather than make specific resolutions I probably won’t keep, I should make broader observations about how I can improve my life and focus on them instead. For example, last year I told myself I was a hard person to be friends with and that I should make attempts to be more social and it worked! As opposed to the one where I was meant to cook one new meal per week… yeah, that definitely didn’t happen. Nor did I stop biting my nails or cease online shopping.

  1. Make a plan for my life… and stick to it.

 

It doesn’t have to be concrete but it does have to be a vague idea of what I want, where I’m heading and how I’m going to get there. I’m good at the detailed “five-year plan” but I’m not good at sticking to it as I have a short attention span.

 

  1. Understand that life doesn’t go according to plan, and learn to adapt accordingly.

 

As above, I need to be more driven and not throw in the towel at the first sign of difficulty. Which leads to…

 

  1. Have more GRIT.

 

I was watching a TED Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth about students’ learning styles and how measures of IQ, backgrounds etc don’t have that much bearing on a kids success, but rather their stamina and attitude determines whether or not they graduate. I realised this is true, and can be applied to everyone, not just youngsters. I am guilty of wasting intelligence and talent because I don’t see things through and I don’t seem to have the stamina to follow something to completion when the goal is too long-term.

 

  1. Stop burying my head in the sand.

 

This is a gradual one; I see improvement has been made but I’d like to step it up a notch. I’m notorious for ignoring bad things, hoping they’ll go away… Newsflash: they don’t. They get worse.

 

  1. Exercise my brain… Not just at work.

 

Work exhausts me because I’m constantly problem-solving and having to practice my ‘lateral thinking’. It’s a great challenge, but sometimes we need other challenges to ward off the otherwise inevitable insanity that comes with such jobs. So, I’m considering taking up French again, or maybe some other class once or twice a week. Which brings me to…

 

  1. Exercise in general.

 

I know, boring. But this year I’m not going to get all funny about my weight and fitness. This year, I’d like to embrace some activities that are fun bit that just happen to get me moving. Sticking with volleyball will be good but also perhaps adding ballet or another form of dance… Just a new outlet that will keep me occupied and be a nice stress release.

Facing my fears at Île aux Cerfs

Being married to a thrill-seeker sometimes means I’m put in situations that make me uncomfortable; often this infuriates me but every now and then (don’t tell Logan) I wind up doing something I thought I would never do and feeling very chuffed with myself.
I think I’ve mentioned this before but I never used to be a big scaredy-cat – it’s like a few years ago this switch just went off in my brain that told me to be afraid of heights, speed and anything people might consider fun, so now rather than taking risks and being the first person to get out there and do something, I’m constantly alert to danger. Some people might call this “becoming an adult” but it’s pretty frustrating!
Anyway, today we went out to Île aux Cerfs, which is a small island off the east coast of Mauritius. We sailed out on a 35ft catamaran complete with all the food we could possibly eat, plenty of local rum and a bunch of hilarious South Africans (who are an Aussie’s best mate when traveling in Mauritius).
On the way out to the island I was sunning myself at the front of the boat when Logan disappeared for a bit and I figured he was just fetching some beers. Wrong… he was arranging for us to parasail without telling me! Parasailing used to be something I’d wanted to do but lately I’d been way too scared. He had now forced me into it.
We hopped into a small boat and made our way out to the platform in the middle of the sea; Logan got excited while I quietly hyperventilated. Shit-scared, I let them strap me in at the front while Logan sat behind with the ‘controls’. I won’t go into massive detail from here on but I’ll say this: DO IT. It was incredible. Once I was up in the air I calmed down and enjoyed the ride and here is what we saw:

There was no other way to experience this view but by parasail and now I can say I saw it.

The best bit though? When it was over and I was back on the catamaran, I was ready to have one of the best days ever because I was so proud of myself that I felt bulletproof. By the end of the day I’d made friends with everyone and I was even jumping off the boat (haven’t done that in years!)

wedding bells

A while ago, I wrote that I was planning on taking Boyfriend to Fiji sometime. Well, there have been some developments since then!

Firstly, I am very happy to announce that Boyfriend is Boyfriend no longer… He is Fiancé! As much as I should stay calm about it, I have to admit I’m at a pinch-myself-is-this-real level of excited right now, particularly for the next bit…

We’re getting married in Fiji! We wanted something relatively low-key that gave us an opportunity to be “us” and Fiji is perfect. Our little white chapel on the beach also gives us the perfect compromise between the church wedding I want and the beach wedding Fiancé wants.

Planning it is sometimes hard, confusing, frustrating and all the rest… All I want is to stand in front of the people who matter most to me and tell everyone how much I love him, and for them to be there with us as we promise our lives to each other. I don’t care about the details!

I know it will be magic, and the countdown is on. I can’t wait!

here it is – where we will be getting married!

how flygirl got her groove back

Fiji is a popular destination for my clients. Whether it be a honeymoon, quick getaway, quality time with the kids or cruise stop, it usually gets rave reviews. It is also a popular destination for backpackers.

Occasionally, however, if I happen to suggest it to a client I may get a reaction such as “BORING!”, “but there’s nothing to do there” or “but it has no real culture” etc… I have also, on many occasions, caught my colleagues referring to Fiji as a ‘flop and drop’ kind of destination (see my feelings on this term here) and reinforcing these myths that really couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every country has culture and Fiji is no exception – it just isn’t what we busy westerners think of when we consider what may define one. I believe that this magnificent country and it’s beautiful people deserve to be known for more than just pretty stretches of sand.

My love of Fiji goes back to my 21st birthday. I had had a rough year: two close family members passed away in an accident, I broke up with my boyfriend of four years, and some strong friendships ended. It was pretty tough. For my birthday, my parents gave me a whole bunch of money (oversized novelty cheque to boot!) to go away. I was thinking Egypt but my parents laid down some conditions: it had to be a “real holiday”. Read: sun, beaches and boys. Fiji it was.

I ended up at Beachcomber Island (above), and then Octopus Resort on Waya Island. Sure, I partied – a lot – but then I settled into the island life routine. The true magic of this place lies in the resounding “bula!” you get everytime you walk past someone – like everyone is truly happy to see you, like it’s a big deal you’re there – and the way everyone makes you feel like you’re just meant to be there. They don’t ‘dumb down’ their way of life for you, instead they show you how to embrace it and in turn, they embrace you.

I have since been lucky enough to go back to Fiji for work, and I plan to take Boyfriend sometime soon. I will also one day take my children as it’s a place little ones can learn a lot from – they can explore, relax, and learn about the world in a vibrant, friendly and safe setting.
flygirl’s top experiences:
  • The Nadi Faces and Places tour. It includes the Hindu Temple, a local vllage and a delicious lunch.
  • Island hopping: if you’re staying on the mainland (Viti Levu), head out to South Sea or Beachcomber Island for a day.
  • A Sunday church service – Fiji Style: even if you’re not religious, it really is awe-inspiring.
  • A river and waterfall tour: there are several variations but it’s a great way to see the interior of the country rather than just the beaches.
flygirl’s top places to stay:
  • Denarau: Sofitel, Radisson (this one’s for the kids)
  • Mamanucas: Beachcomber, South Sea, Mana, Liku Liku
  • Yasawas: Manta Ray, Octopus, Viwa
  • Coral Coast: Mango Bay (a ‘flashpackers’!), Outrigger, Shangri-La, Warwick or Intercontinental

In the words of a song played on the ferry to Beachcomber: “Where the girls are easy and the boys are hard to get – that’s the Fiji Island way!” (Disclaimer: I saw none of that.)
                              
Local church, Viti Levu
Local village, Viti Levu

Fun on Beachcomber Island

how i knew

I sat in the Beach Bar at Byron last weekend, taking it all in. The rugby was on and All Blacks were playing Ireland. Boyfriend is a Kiwi and thus a mad All Blacks man and I’ll admit it makes for tense World Cups.

For some reason though I wanted them to win. Even though I’m of Irish heritage (who isn’t these days?). Even though my favourite color is green. Even though Kiwi pride bloody annoys me!

I realised it’s because I’m so in love with Boyfriend. It’s puke-worthy. It’s gross. It’s “Un-Austrayan”. But he’s so cute when his team wins and it’s the best feeling in the world to see him so happy.

So go All Blacks! (until the next World Cup anyway)

kicking goals



On the 23rdJune 2011 (exactly a year ago tomorrow) I sat down with my manager at the time and penned some goals I hoped to achieve. Today I found these while clearing out my computer and I was a bit surprised to see how things have changed.

Sure, there were some I definitely didn’t achieve, and there were some that I’m not even heading towards anymore because my priorities have changed. But what surprised me was the legitimate shock I felt when I looked at the ones I had achieved. Admittedly, I missed the deadline on some of them, but I have achieved them all the same – it just took a bit longer than expected. But some of them I made with eight months to spare!

I have been struggling a lot lately with a feeling of not being good enough or never being able to do enough or compare to everyone else. Logically, I see that this is really a complete load of BS but the mind isn’t always 100% rational.

Looking back on this time last year I can finally see just what I have managed to achieve. I’ve started a life with the person I love (which I think is the most important of all), I’ve forged a career and been promoted, I’ve seen some amazing parts of the world, I managed to buy a new car, I’ve dealt with some really tough times and come through the other side much stronger and wiser, and I’ve met new people and made new friends who make my life so much richer.

You have good days and bad days, good months and bad months, good years and bad years. What I think I’m finally starting to learn is it all comes out in the wash…

And “I get by with a little help from my friends”!



an "inspirasianal" escape



The time has come to make a decision on what to do with my annual leave in August. We were originally planning on spending some time in China and Hong Kong (both places Boyfriend has been to but I haven’t) yet for some reason, as much as I knew it would be a great trip, it just wasn’t exciting me as much as it should have been.
Now, we have decided to cut back on the budget as we’ve had some big expenses this year and we would like to start planning for the future a bit more (we know there will be more massive expenses to come!) so back to the drawing board we went.
Working in my industry has some advantages and disadvantages. It’s great because I have so many options and resources at my fingertips, but it’s hard because the last thing I want to do when I get home is plan a holiday. Work kind of sucks the fun out of that! On top of this, after the last 12 months I’m not sure I can even be bothered getting on a plane… but the important thing is to spend time with Boyfirend, explore the world together, grow as people and create new memories. So that’s what we’re going to do.
It seems we’ve settled on Cambodia. No matter how many times I visit South East Asia, it seems I cannot escape it’s pull. It’s toxic – in the nicest possible way but, in some cities, the literal way too. The way affluent Western influence merges with centuries-old Eastern traditions and beliefs never fails to enthral me. The happy-go-lucky attitude of its people and the way no question is off-limits makes me feel so alive and complete.
I will never forget as an 18-year-old who had never been overseas walking in to Ben Tanh markets in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City so unprepared for everything I would experience over the next two weeks. Not least my first full conversation with a Vietnamese person: she simply grabbed my boobs with both hands and asked, “why so big?!” I really had no answers to give her.
A lot has changed in six years. I’ve grown up a lot and had a lot of experiences, both at home and abroad. I feel I understand people better and I understand cultures, religions and ideas better than when I was 18. I embrace differences and I like to make the best of them.
I’m looking forward to getting away again; to spending time with Boyfriend and experiencing new and exciting things with him, and also to learning about myself some more. I think that really is the most important thing in life because if you don’t know yourself, who do you know?


how to build a bridge



Everyone knows the saying “you can’t pick your family”. Usually, my response to this gem would be “well, why would you want to anyway?” I am very close to my family, although I don’t see any of them as much as I’d like to, but I don’t need to see them every day to know that they’re there for me whenever I need them, and vice versa.


Well it turns out maybe some are more than others!


I hate fighting with family. It makes me feel absolutely wretched. Recently, I had a bit of a tiff with a couple of members of my family over something really trivial. Yet, three weeks on I still think about it every day and get hurt and angry and upset all over again.


I’m usually the kind of person who forgives very easily (my Mum would even say too easily) but never forgets. But this time, there’s been no closure to the situation and every day I feel more awkward about it. I don’t want to alienate myself from the people I love over something so small but I’m honestly finding it really hard to let go.  I feel like the whole thing was really unfair and unnecessary and I hate that there seems to be nothing I can do about it.


I want to go over to their houses and just give them a big hug and tell them I love them, but pride stops me dead in my tracks. I don’t want this to be seen as an apology or an admission of guilt for something I didn’t do! I don’t want to let them win and I don’t want to let poor behaviour win.


Yet something in my brain tells me to grow up, be the bigger person and “build a bridge and get over it!” It’s the classic Angel v. Devil type scenario. 


Another argument between the two sides is this: one side says I might as well apologise because no one else will and the responsibility to make everything okay again always rests on my shoulders, and let’s face it, I probably did do something wrong because I usually do; whereas the other side says: screw it! Stick up for yourself once in your bloody life, woman!


I don’t think I’ll build that bridge just yet. Maybe I’ll build a canoe instead and head downstream…


You can’t pick your family, you can only fly away from them!