Are We There Yet?

For those of you who might not know, Andrew and I decided to hire a car in LA and drive it down to San Diego, and then all the way up to Seattle.

We have our mountain bikes with us, and this seemed like the most logical and cheapest way to transport them to Whistler. Once we hit Seattle, we’ll take a bus to Vancouver and then another to Whistler (to avoid extravagant costs for taking a car over the border).

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“Jessicar Rabbit”

So, now you’re informed, I can start my rambles about how awesome road trips are. I just LOVE them. Benefits include:

  • More space for all of our baggage,¬†plus we literally haven’t touched our bikes since we loaded them into the car
  • Road trip snacks
  • No queues for boarding planes or trains
  • Not having to be at a station at a specific time
  • Getting to see the sights along the way, there are some incredible things we’ve come across that we would have otherwise missed
  • In’n’Out on the road (although I don’t really get the hype)
  • THE LIST GOES ON AND ON

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Back to our trip. We left our tacos and friends in San Diego, and started heading north. We vowed not to drive more than four to five hours each day, mainly for our sanity and to prevent a murder-suicide situation. Which brought us to Pismo Beach; a sleepy little beach town which was an absolute gem!

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Wandering along the pier before dinner, we stopped to watch some surfers catching waves (it was freezing and I definitely thought they were crazy). As we turned to walk away I overheard someone say “Oh, are you going to take photos of the whales?”. Yep, there were mother flippin’ whales hanging around the beach. It was the perfect night with my perfect human.

The next day we hopped on highway 1, taking crazy turns through mountain ranges and cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If you ever get the chance to take this drive, please do. It’s breathtaking, and scary, and unbelievable.

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Salmon Falls

I wish we’d had time to stop and take in more of the highlights, but we did as many as time would allow. Our final pitstop was Santa Cruz, to check out the original store and the sweet little town. I’d spend another day there in a heartbeat.

We hit San Francisco later that night and were completely overwhelmed with people, traffic and one way streets. I think we adjusted to the quieter towns a little too well ūüėČ

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Toodles for now, hope you’re all as well and happy as we are.
Hanbel
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Doesn’t It Mean Saint Diego?

San Diego, definitely not a whale’s vagina [Mum, that’s an Anchorman reference], definitely a taco lover’s paradise.

This Californian city is so close to the Mexican border [you can literally see it from Imperial Beach] that it’s heavily influenced by the food, language and culture. We’re staying downtown in a quarter that has fairy lights in every single tree, jacaranda trees in full bloom and happy hour on every corner.

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We’ve spent our three days here chilling with Andrew’s awesome mate Rico, checking out some coastal towns, eating lots of tacos and visiting our first Walmart.

IMG_0303IMG_0307Imperial Beach…¬†The mountains in the background? Yep, that’s Mexico.

Karena’s Mexican gave us our best meal, their ceviche was out of this world. They also served up some¬†sensational bean tacos and satisfied Andrew’s michelada cravings.

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We spent one morning walking through La Jolla, which was my favourite area. The ‘Coastal walk’ takes you from one beautiful beach to another, lets you get up close and personal with seals and sea lions and shows off with some¬†breathtaking views.

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We even managed some exercise in this trip, going for a run around the Marina. I do not suggest doing this post-tacos. I managed to keep them down… just.

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We’ve now jumped back into Jessicar to¬†head up the coast, and start our journey north. Holy guacamole, I underestimated how difficult it would be to drive on the other side of the road and car. I honestly feel like I’m learning to drive all over again, and giving Andrew a heart attack in the meantime. Let’s just say that it’s best that he drives through the big cities.

I’m also trying to source some healthy food which is a S-T-RUGGLE in this country. However, they do have the biggest range of protein bars and peanut butter flavoured anything, so I’m happy for now!

IMG_0325Must. Stop. Eating.

Til next time,
Hanbel.
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California Here We Come

So, this is officially my life from now on;

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and apart from the limited outfit choices, I kinda like it. There’s nothing like being back on the road, in the air, on a bus travelling somewhere new, and this is bringing back some gooooood travelling memories.

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Our flights were smooth and non eventful, we managed a few hours sleep and plenty of movies. For an added bonus, making our way out of LAX took around half an hour, and I’m pretty sure Mia Wasikowska was on our flight. #celebspotting

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A HUGE thank you to my girls for the care package they put together for me. The slippers, hydrating mist and lip balm saved me during that 12 hour flight.

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Now, we’re chilling in cali. But literally chilling, because it’s way colder than I thought and I keep forgetting to take a jacket with me. We hit up Venice beach and Santa Monica on day one; eating tacos and riding bikes through the beach, trying to stay awake as long as possible and beat the jet lag.

I’m digging the states, and Venice is so chilled out, but otherwise LA is not my cuppa tea. I’m trying not to judge too harshly, but I really have no interest in going back. Having said that; the city has one saving grace…

DISNEYLAND!

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The happiest place in the world that requires no explanation.

We spent the whole day running around like 5 year olds, the next morning soaking up the last of the LA sunshine and after packing up our hire car (Jessicar Rabbit) we were on the road; San Diego bound.

Stay tuned for more southern cali adventures.

Hanbel.
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Like Peas and Carrots.

I KNOW, I’M SORRY. In my defence, I have been away from Wifi for a week. We had back to back weddings down south, so decided to stay for a week and soak up that beautiful southern region.

I’ll go through all my photos ASAP and pop some up here for you to peruse. For now, I just wanted to gush a little.

Just to give you a little insight, I never really “plan” blog posts. They just kind of happen when I feel like it. Particularly when I’m feeling a bit emotional about something, the best thing for me to do is write about it. I don’t know what it is about getting my hands moving across the keyboard, but it’s cathartic and eye-opening and provides closure whenever I need it most.

Yep, you guessed it, this is about Andrew.¬†The way we work as a couple is to NOT spend all of our time together. We are so different in sooo many ways, and have different interests. So it makes sense for us to do our own thing, and then meet up again at home and tell stories of our adventures. Having said that, we do a lot of things together and are teaching one another how to enjoy the other’s favourite things (mountain biking, reading, enjoying food).

Nevertheless, the thought of spending a week as just the two of us was both parts exciting and daunting. I really didn’t need to worry though, we had the best time ever. Sometimes it just takes a little break, some time away from home and the routine we’ve built up to help you appreciate this human that you’re doing life with.

It’s snuck up on me, this love I have for this boy. I’ve always had a thing for him, even when I shouldn’t have or when we were in completely different places (literally and figuratively). The way we are right now is so much better than I could have ever imagined.

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I blame two weddings for making me feel so much right now, and the fact that the day after we got home, Andrew flew out for work. I think what I’m trying to say is that I had a really good week away, and it has cemented all of my decisions for the next two years.
To Andrew: travelling with you is going to be a breeze, thank you for making life as fun as it is right now…

BRING ON CANADA!

Hanbel.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, Can I Please Have Your Attention?

Remember that one time I wrote a blog post about my last day at work, and how I promised to give you more details?

This isn’t it.

Jokes, I can’t keep secrets very well. Or do practical jokes. I get a serious case of the giggles and give it all away.

Anywhooooooo… THE NEWS.
After 4 years back in #corporatelyf, I’ve decided that being an adult is very overrated, travelling is the best thing in the world, and it’s time for a change of scenery. Therefore… [drum roll please] … Andrew and I are moving to Canada!

 

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I am now a “woo girl”. WOOOOOOOOOO!

In case you have any questions about my aforementioned statement, here are the basics, in a nutshell. With a cherry on top.

  • We’re heading over in April, right after Andrew’s sister’s wedding!
  • The final destination will be Whistler
  • Yes, I know there are a lot of Australians there
  • The trump card is that the Mountain Biking season is 6 months long [compared to 3 in all other resorts]
  • Plus they have a ski lift we can use for biking too, hells yeah!
  • We have a 2 year visa, and are hoping to stay for the duration
  • Yep, I have left my job with three months to go
  • I had an offer too good to refuse, and now I’ll hopefully get some cafe experience and sell all of our stuff in my spare time
  • We’re taking our bikes over, wish us luck
  • WE’RE SO EXCITED

I will be continuing the blog even after we leave, I love it so, and Andrew has also started up a little creative outlet of his own; Punk Rides.

So, stay tuned for updates and fun times.

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I don’t think I’ll be smiling when this baby is full, but this will be my life !!

HOORAY!

Hanbel.
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New Year, New Mug

In a time of fresh starts, new beginnings and resolutions to be made, I’m feeling a little lost. I spent the last two weeks on “holidays” running around like a mad woman, picking up and preparing food for Christmas day, organising costumes for various events or recovering from those days.

When I did sit down to relax I felt guilty, like I should be organising something or socialising with someone I haven’t seen for a few days. I honestly couldn’t switch off, but at the same time got bored very easily.

I think I’ve been so used to be horrendously busy, that when the time came to wind down my mind flipped the hell out. Enter moodiness, feeling fidgety and over-eating. Also, a lot of “taking it out on the ones you love”.

Now, back at work I’m sitting here wondering why I didn’t take advantage of those days off. I did enjoy myself, don’t get me wrong, and this was the most wonderful Christmas with my beautiful family. I think I’m just regretting some of the grumpy days. Anyway, following on from last year’s lessons, here are mine for 2016:

  1. Whenever you’re on holiday but you don’t actually go on a holiday, book yourself a massage! Budget for it in your Christmas spending and let it be your present to yourself.
  2. Similarly, write a list of things you’d like to do so that when you get bored you have something to inspire you.
  3. Let yourself binge on Netflix shows, it’s okay to be lazy sometimes.¬† Especially on 40 degree days where an air conditioned lounge room is the only place to be.
  4. Find friends with pools. They should be your best friends. I failed on this one, miserably.
  5. Find new outdoor activities to try out; stand up paddle boarding is actually pretty awesome.
  6. Keep up your current hobbies, but if yours is mountain biking please make sure you wear knee pads. If you think you don’t look “cool” in them, come and check out my knee. I’m not cool anymore.
  7. Get in the kitchen and create! Whether it’s cooking a “sorry for being so drunk and annoying last night” dinner for your boyfriend or a batch of cupcakes to palm off to the in laws – get creative!
  8. Cut your hair, change up the style or dye it a bright colour. Holidays are the best time to freak out over a huge change.
  9. Go nuts on the fruit mince pies, Christmas ham, boozy trifle and stuffed turkey. These treats come around but once a year, and what’s a new year without a truckload of guilt?
  10. Make sure you have a new mug to take to work, it’s the one thing that will brighten your day. (Thank you Brianna!)

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In addition, I’d like to give a shout out to one pretty awesome dude.
I’m sorry I’m so grumpy and you have to put up with my bad moods, but I do bake you cupcakes, so I hope that makes up for it a little?

You were the best part of my 2015, and I know you’ll be my 2016 highlight.

Happiest of years to you all!
Hanbel.
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Cuppa Tea Love?

Welcome 2016, it’s very nice to meet you. Minus the lingering hangover, I like you already.

I’m very excited to see what you have in store for me, and for Andrew.

We have kick-started our year hanging out at home, watching Star Wars and packing up the Christmas decorations. For the first time, I’m actually not too sad about Christmas being over, because I’ve got a good feeling about what’s coming next.

Before, we get into any of that though, let’s reminisce a little.
Christmas morning was spent at Andrew’s parents place with coffee in hand and nibbling on potato cakes topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Lunch at Mum’s house was perfection. The food was spot on and absolutely delicious, with just enough for leftover packs. We spent the afternoon sipping tea and watching the Grinch until we were ready to do it all over again.
Dinner with Andrew’s loud, crazy, lovely family means a huge secret santa game of stealing and swapping, more food than you could ever imagine and so much laughter.

I hope you all had just as amazing day!

A few friend-related events, many busy days and exercise attempts later, brought us to New Years Eve. This year, Andrew organised for us and 22 of our closest friends to take part in a small ‘tour de fridge’, with just 5 stops very close to one another.
Each house had a loose theme, and we picked two drinks accordingly. Our house became the British house with Pimms and Gin & Tonic on offer. Never one to shy away from a theme, I wanted to go one step further and try out a new cupcake recipe I stumbled across.

Enter The English Breakfast Cupcake.

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Thanks to Cupcake Jemma (friend of Jamie Oliver) I whipped these up yesterday, and despite having a lot of elements, it was a fantastic recipe to follow.

  1. Lemon curd: Combine 2 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks and 3/4 cup caster sugar in a saucepan. Then, place over the heat and add the zest and juice from 2 lemons along with 1/3 cup chilled butter. Keep stirring until thick and strain into a bowl to use for later.
  2. Tea Milk Mixture: Pop 6 english breakfast tea bags into 150ml of milk and heat on low for 3-4 minutes. Pop to the side, with the lid on until cool.
  3. Biscuit base: Ground 150g of your choice of biscuit (usually one you’d have with a nice cuppa – I went with Maries), add in 50g melted butter and 1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup. Pop a spoonful of the mix into your cupcake cases and press down to firm it up.
  4. Cupcake batter: Combine 125g self-raising flour, 125g caster sugar, 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda and the zest of one lemon. Then pop in 125g butter and give it good zap in a mixer or hand-mixer. Add in 2 large eggs, mix for another minute before popping in 1 1/2 tbsp of that lovely tea milk. Whaz it all for another 30 seconds, and you’re good to go!¬†Pop a dollop on top of the biscuit base and these babies go into a 175degree oven for 20-22 minutes.
  5. Tea Drizzle: 5 tea bags go into 100ml of boiling water, to which 80g caster sugar is added and heated over a stove for 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  6. Icing: Mix 200g soft unsalted butter on it’s own until it’s beautifully smooth and light. Add in 450g icing sugar in four batches, mixing in between and finally 3 tbsp of the tea milk.
  7. Cupcakes! Assemble! This is the fun part…
    Once your cupcakes are cool make a little hole in the top (Jemma uses an apple corer, I just used a small cheese knife) and pop in a little dollop of lemon curd. I used a star nozzle, but it’s baker’s choice of course, to pipe that lovely icing on top. The last step is to drizzle the cooled tea syrup over the top.

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They were time consuming, but so much fun to make, and very well received. Not many can refuse a little sugar on New Years!

And now, I need to get back to exercise. Ha! Soon enough…

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Happy New Year everyone, wishing you lots of love and big smiles for this fresh year.
Hanbel.
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