Saturday, July 27, 2013

some thoughts on packing

^^ a phone snap from my road trip to hay this weekend, excuse the bird poo on the windscreen :)

I've learnt a bit about packing these last few years, well I've learnt a few things in the last few months
and the rest of the time, I've been winging it with inappropriate luggage and minor travel incidents involving extreme hunger and sunburn.

since we moved to wagga, we've been driving to canberra and melbourne for a few short city breaks as well as back to sydney to visit family and friends. last year we even went on our first aeroplane holiday in a very long time and with work, there's the occasional overnight driving trip and sometimes a week or two in the city.

after many a packing incident/disaster, I'm slowly starting to feel like I know how to pack. here is what I know:

  • always pack snacks. once our car kind of blew up on the highway (the head gasket exploded, our steering went a little, there was smoke and tony yelling 'run!' after he managed to pull the car over) and we were stranded for about 3 hours, waiting to get towed to the next town.  we hadn't packed any food but thankfully a family who stopped to help us insisted on giving us their snacks. they were hilariously kid-like, and included a bottle of mountain dew, a small bag of tiny teddies and a lunchbox sized packet of pizza shapes.
  • nuts, fruit and a big bottle of water will stop you eating fries and lollies on the road. I love fries and lollies but they always make me feel pretty tired and gross while I'm still in the car and even worse when we get to our destination.
  • homemade cake, slice and cookies are good though!
  • pack gum. just in case it's a long time between chances to brush your teeth. yuck.
  • pack nice tea for after work/travel. most motels have black tea but it's so nice to have a cup of your favourite tea at the end of the day.

  • luggage is expensive, so I've done a lot of trips with lots of little zip up and calico bags or with my giant suitcase that I bought in uni to go overseas. both were pretty impractical so I finally invested in a good bag (and by invest I mean I went to a factory outlet, waited for a super sale and returned when the bag was discounted even further...)
  • I bought a light weight backpack/shoulder bag/carry bag like this one, only mine cost $60. it's big enough for a few days away, has a separate compartment for shoes/toiletries and is not as bulky as a suitcase. it also limits how much I can pack :) 
  • but if money wasn't an issue, I'd love a wheely/carry bag like this one because I'm not very strong and usually take a train rather than a taxi if I travel to a city. and if I flew a lot or had a baby, one of these cute bags would be good too! 
  • I pack fold up bags with zippers that fold up into little squares in case I bring anything home. 
  • I also try to leave a spare phone charger in my bag so I don't have to remember to pack it every time.

bathroom & beauty
  • I really love miniature bathroom products but they're probably not that good for the environment, despite their cuteness. I also rarely find the products I like in mini size either. I've tried lugging full sized shampoo etc around but that's just silly.
  • so I bought a bunch of mini refillable plastic bottles from daiso, filled them up with my usual products and now my toiletries bag is a quarter of the size and weight that it used to be. phew!
  • I always have sunscreen for my face and a few make up basics like a nice lip gloss, foundation compact and blush. a mini beauty kit with nail clippers, tweezers etc is helpful too and stops me from buying tweezers on every trip.

clothes & shoes
  • I usually pack a pair of cons and one other pair of shoes. I've stopped packing shoes that hurt to walk in after 6 or so hours. 
  • comfy home/hotel shoes are good too. one of my friend's packs ugg boots in winter (!) but I'm lazy so I pack those thick socks with funny gummy/traction bits on the bottom or thongs in summer.
  • I'm really bad at packing clothes, I usually forget to pack something super warm and get caught out. I always try to take my parker because it has a hood and is lightweight and black and have learnt that you should always pack a few tshirts, no matter what the weather forecast is. 

  • I used to travel with lots of books but now I try to bring one book, one magazine and my iPad. I preload my iPad with a movie or two if I'm organised.
  • podcasts are the best for long driving trips and I usually like to save up episodes of this american life (their app is awesome, you can save shows to listen to when you have wifi or stream on the road), finetooth radio for music, 360 documentaries, conversations with richard fidler and anything else my lovely work friends recommend. I have one of those radio/charger iPhone things that plugs into the cigarette lighter of the car, so it charges as it plays music - yay!

and I try to have a home cooked meal in the freezer for when I get home, because it's hard to cook when you're sleepy and chances are I would've eaten lots of fancy city food/bad roadside food during my trip.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

happy home.

my bag stayed stubbornly unpacked for a whole week after we arrived home and our fridge remained pretty empty until yesterday afternoon. it takes a little while to settle back into non-holiday life but thankfully we've been helped along all week by friends.

last sunday when we drove back into town we were greeted by a card and bottle of wine on our doorstep and were also given a whole homemade lemon cake. the girls at work chipped in to buy the biggest bouquet of flowers I have ever seen and most nights, we've been tucking into the fancy chocolates my brother and his wife gave us the night before we drove home.

I had no idea engagements meant so many nice presents and well wishes, it's really made the moment feel really special.

and then on friday night, after a late finish at work some friends came round for dinner, only we supplied the house and they brought food with them. dinner was a massive homemade lasagne that tasted nostalgically like the spaghetti sauce my uncle used to make and salad leaves from their garden, along with two baby snails that were promptly relocated to our mini garden. one of our friends will be designing and making my engagement ring, along with our wedding bands so that night there were sketches and ring fittings and lots of decisions that were left unmade.

and though we looked at a neighbourhood during our sydney trip where we thought we might be able to afford to buy a little apartment in a few years, coming back to wagga wagga definitely feels like coming home.

 ^^ my gift wrapping supplies were replenished in sydney, now I just need more people to have birthdays!

 ^^ sophie's been giving me little yellow gifts all week. here are her homegrown jonquils and eggs from her parent's place. there was also the aforementioned lemon cake, a yellow ice cream shaped cookie cutter and some yellow sprinkles.

inspired by everyone's generosity this week, I made some baby sourdough loaves to give to friends.

today's a home day but yesterday we went out to try the refurbished cafe in town. it was nice and bright and tony and I sat in the window, drawing pictures of rings and staring at the cars that were stuck at the traffic lights.

we watched the nick xenophon episode of kitchen cabinet (I love that show so much) and I finished cheryl strayed's wild. it's easily the best book I've read all year.

I hope you've had a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

six photos from a very special day.

last wednesday was a good day. even though we were on a mini holiday the day started early. tony kindly drove me to an early ballet class in town. when we lived in sydney I used to take the same class on a friday night, an absolute beginners class that is surprisingly invigorating and fun for a clumsy person like me.

after class, I walked through circular quay and went to meet tony in chippendale for lunch. it was our old neighbourhood and I took a little detour on the way so I could visit the first house we shared. it's the green house in the middle, only when we lived there it looked more like the house on the right, white and pretty run down.

we had the yummiest lunch at brickfields bakery, I spied lemon pi in the kitchen and we shared a pork belly and slaw sandwich before digging into a slice of pear and ginger cake.

later we stumbled across an amazing documentary about koori radio at carriageworks and eventually found our way to the art gallery of new south wales where we saw anne landa award, which this year was called 'the space between us'. the video work that won was beautiful and moving and added to all of the small things that were making my day.

we made one last stop at a pretty bookshop before heading home to get ready for dinner.

we went to a new little italian restaurant in enmore for tea and I only have three poorly lit photos from the night because midway through dinner tony asked me to marry him.

I said yes and immediately lost my appetite from excitement. actually, I was lost for words and had to nod my reply. tony said that he knew I was really happy because my glasses started to fog up.

^^ the couple sitting behind us saw the whole proposal and sent over some champagne which was really lovely. I hope I get to do something similar for another couple one day.

^^ I tried to take a photo of tony from our table but it was dark so you can just make out his smile!

I loved that we got engaged in sydney because it meant that we could spend the next few days sharing our news with friends and family. tony even managed to open his first solo exhibition in sydney before it was time to drive back to wagga wagga.

and now we're home and happily engaged, though we can't wait to get married next year.