Self Portrait in Three Colours

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wow, what a weekend!

So on Wednesday Aaron and I made the split decision to travel up to Sydney for four days. Well, there was a little bit of coaxing on my part, but it was because two of perhaps my most favourite things in the world were coinciding on this weekend and I would most likely have regretted it if I hadn’t have gone.

Firstly, Cassey Ho of Blogilates was making an appearance in Mosman on Sunday. I have written about her a few times (can’t remember if it was on this blog or my Tumblr or both) – pretty much she got me into Pilates when I never ever thought I would and she is amazing. I’ve been doing her videos on and off now for a few months and absolutely love the idea of a no-equipment, costless workout that really focusses on loving your body while absolutely working it to the bone (in a good way!!) I never ever thought I would get a chance to meet her as she lives in the states, and when she announced her Australia trip I hardly thought twice about it because she wasn’t coming to Melbourne…

Secondly, the Harry Potter exhibition has been in Sydney since November and I made Aaron promise me we would get there before it finishes in March. The realisation that it’s now almost mid-Feb and that we’d better start thinking about getting up there, coupled with the fact that the experience of meeting Cassey and doing a Pilates class with her would be incredible, AND the fact that I’m about to start uni and would have less time to drive up to Sydney, made us think, screw it, let’s just do it.

So on Wednesday we called Kate & Brad to see if it was alright to stay with them this weekend. Thankfully all the stars aligned and it was, so on Saturday morning we drove up to their place in Dee Why.

The Pilates class on Sunday morning was such an amazing experience. It was so surreal to meet this inspirational girl in real life, who had motivated me to take a different approach to exercise and health, if only through the internet and YouTube. Suddenly I was having a conversation with her, and she was hugging me because I was from Melbourne and had driven all that way for the class, and then it was her and me and 24 other POP Pilates ladies all pushing ourselves to the extreme! It was an hour long class – over half an hour longer than what I had ever done – and because she was right there in front of me I couldn’t pause her to take a break!! Plus the class was being streamed live on the internet and, as my family in Melbourne informed me, I was centre stage, so I couldn’t really give up half way through.

After the workout finished (I was shaking so hard from exhaustion!!) we all had a morning tea and got the chance to get pictures and have a chat. I love the photo I got with Cassey! There were loads more photos taken as well, which will apparently be up online soon, so I can’t wait to check them out too. I came home from the class with a huge smile on my face, wanting to relive the whole morning over and over (except I think my muscles would hate me). It was so super awesome and I am so glad we made the effort to come up to do it.

After resting my poor muscles back at Brad & Kate’s during the middle of the day, we went for a drive, aiming to get to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and walk it. We didn’t end up doing the walk because it started raining, but we did stop at a place called Sirius Cove and walked a track that backed onto the Taronga Zoo. It was right next to the water but up high and surrounded by bush. We got down to a little beach and watched a huge ship pull out, then headed back. We did get to the Sydney Harbour Bridge after a bit of detouring, but we didn’t stay long because of the rain (and because we were hungry!)

Sirius Cove

The beach we ended up at!

For dinner we went to a beautiful Lebanese restaurant down at the Dee Why beach, called Wood & Stove. We ordered dips and bread and mixed grills and shared it all. Great service and great food! I was so full I could hardly walk home πŸ™‚

On Monday morning Aaron & I got up, walked down to Pittwater Rd and caught a bus into the city where we went to see the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum! It was so good to have this to look forward to after my awesome morning on Sunday. The exhibition itself was great. The people working for the exhibit all had beautiful English accents, which made it feel really authentic. I just loved how they made it feel real, the extra effort they put into it. Not only great for huge Harry Potter fans (meeeeee!) but also for children experiencing the exhibit – it didn’t just feel like a museum, it felt like a magical world, and that’s so special.

The Sorting was hilarious – the guy playing that role did it really well. And I loved walking past the Hogwarts Express with all the smoke and the girl with the lantern. Walking into the start of the exhibition, it was so cool seeing the moving portraits, especially the Fat Lady! And then started the different exhibits, highlighting different characters, classes, rooms and scenes. All of it was better than what I expected – the detail that went into every prop and costume, and the fact that the actual items that the actors had used and been around were sitting right in front of me, and the few interactive settings they had (Quidditch, Herbology) – I just loved the whole experience. We were in there for about an hour and half – I had the audio tour so I took a little longer than Aaron to go through the exhibits – and then spent about half an hour in the gift shop just trying to find out what we were going to blow our money on!! In the end I got a Ravenclaw scarf, a beautiful Ravenclaw pen (far too expensive but totally worth it), a Chocolate frog and a pack of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Aaron bought Voldemort’s wand!! He’s going to use it to conduct our primary school band, they are going to LOVE it!

We both had a really great time. I was surprised how much Aaron enjoyed himself – he’s listened to me blab about Potter and been dragged along to the movies for four years and although he’s been totally awesome about it, he was never a HUGE fan. But I think he’s getting into it! He wants to watch all the Harry Potter movies again so he can practice holding his wand like Voldemort πŸ™‚

We had a quick lunch at a takeaway-style restaurant before we hopped back on the bus to go back to Dee Why. We met Kate & Brad at their new office – very nice! – then walked home to chill out for the rest of the day. We watched part of The Bodyguard before forcing ourselves into bed cos we had to get up at 5am for our drive home!

Aaron was really clever with our drive home. He refused to just do the Hume the whole way home (I agree, it’s so boring) so we actually decided to take Lawrence Hargrave Drive through to Wollongong. It was beautiful, right along the ocean – it was a little bit like the Great Ocean Road actually!

Sea Cliff Bridge

Looking over to Wollongong

We had breakfast at a cafe in Austinmer overlooking the beach and took the Macquarie Pass up to Roberston, past the road we went down to get to Fitzroy Falls and back on to the Hume north of Goulburn. A really enjoyable detour and didn’t cost us heaps of time either!

Our view from the cafe in Austinmer

We were able to stop a couple of times and we still made it home by 6. It was just such an awesome trip and I’m really glad we made the effort to go up. It set us back a little bit financially but the experience was so worth it!

On another note, I promise to write a bit more in the next little while. We’re already back to school and orientation for uni is this Wednesday! (It’s a little scary how that’s crept up on me, haha). So there will be lots to report. Until next tiiiime!



So it’s been a couple of days since I’ve written (okay, a week). First it was cos we were a little bit busy (SHOCK HORROR) and then it was cos we were so incredible not busy that there was nothing to write about. We’ve had a couple of 24 marathon nights since I last wrote – my whole family, including Mum & Chelsea’s boyfriend Harry, came and stayed on Thursday night (Mum sat in our room reading and playing Rummykub on her iPhone, she had a great time!) – and then we went down to their place on Saturday night. We’re two episodes away from finishing the first season – quite an achievement for only four different sessions. 24 is a TV series that I could watch over and over again and still pick up new things and be mildly shocked when something happens that I’d forgotten. What an amazing example of great television programming πŸ™‚

We also got our air conditioning put in last Friday! We actually had to have it on the heater the day we got it installed because it was so cold (um, hello summer?!?) but since then we’ve had a few warm days where it’s come in handy. Like today – it’s been 31 degrees (really the top end of my comfortable-ness with heat) and it’s kept the lounge room a balmy 25 degrees – beautiful. Also we went with Denese to Spotlight the other day to pick up all the materials we needed for curtains. We even got one up in our bedroom the other day, so no more waking up being positively blinded by the sun. The others are yet to be done, cos we had to get more screws to put in the window frame. Finally, yesterday we went to pick up our new (second hand) entertainment unit and coffee table that we bought off Gumtree. The coffee table we’re not using because it’s too big, but it was part of the deal. The entertainment unit, however, is gorgeous.


It’s huge – it takes up a great deal of the space in our lounge room, but it’s so beautiful that we deal with it. Plus it’s got oodles of storage space, so it makes up for it being big.

Today we took Denese and Peter to the airport for their trip to Tassie, and we haven’t done much else all day! I’ve been reading lots, I just finished My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – one of the most intensely emotional books I’ve ever read – and now I’m reading a book called Daniel’s Not Talking by Marti Leimbach, about a boy with autism and his family’s struggle. Interesting so far.

We’ve been trying a new healthy eating thing today (well mine started yesterday), which we are keeping up for exactly a week (and hopefully further on). I’ve been finding it really hard getting back on track with eating healthy and exercising, and it’s mainly because I let myself have things that I shouldn’t. I know that when I’ve been eating healthily for a period of time I don’t want any of that stuff, but because I’m in the habit, I can’t break it, even when I promise myself I’ll only have a little bit of [insert desirable food here]. So for one week I am not allowing myself anything unhealthy. Water and tea (and the occasional coffee, I decided today) is all I can drink, and the main portion of my diet will consist of fruit, vegies and grains. There’s not much we can do about dinner because we’ve already bought BBQ meat and pasta sauces in bulk (it’s cheap!), but I’ve just been having smaller amounts. Day 2 and I’m going strong πŸ™‚

We went for a walk this evening, after dinner and watching a bit more of Lord of the Rings. We were just going to walk the driveway like we usually do, but as we were walking we noticed a patch of bush off the track where the grass and the shrub wasn’t as super thick as everywhere else. We decided to check it out – it’s been so long since we’ve been bush-bashing. It was just nice to see somewhere different. Our property is so big and we hardly get to see any of it anymore because everything has grown so close together and is still relatively small after the fires. We’ve noticed it starting to thin out recently, though, which is very exciting. After a short stint of exploring in the bush, we continued up the driveway and stopped at the old gate so Aaron could rake out some of the loose gravel. I took the opportunity to check out the old stairs that were there for years before the fires and that we worked hard to bring back to life afterwards. When I say stairs, by the way, I mean just indentations into the hill, no man-made materials, just created with a shovel. Anyway, the last time I saw them, the section halfway up the hill was completely bare and would get slippery and muddy every time it rained. Now it’s completely overgrown and I had to be careful in sections so I wouldn’t trip down onto the next step. At the bottom, the blackwoods and wattles have completely taken over. It reminded me of the secret gardens for fairies that I used to read about, it was so dark and mysterious in there. The small birds love it.

After climbing back up the hill I went for a wander down the trench that filters water off the driveway when it rains. It’s one of the only other spots that you can walk without getting attacked by trees, and it extends down maybe 100 metres or so. I stood at the end and looked up at the big trees silhouetted in the sky, their branches bare of any leaves after the fire. With the sunset as a backdrop, it looked beautiful. And it reminded me how important it is to get off the beaten track whenever you can, in all areas of life. Sometimes you’ll see things you never thought you’d see, things that make you think about life differently. It was an eye-opening walk, however simple and “uneventful” it was, and it was extremely beneficial for my mental health.

Aaron has been organising our budget so we have a little bit more in spending money every week for the last stretch of the holidays. We’re thinking we might go down to Williamstown tomorrow or the next day and eat fish and chips on the bay. We haven’t done anything like that in a while so I’m really looking forward to it πŸ™‚

Now, in the spirit of eating healthy, I’m going to go and make myself a smoothie for dessert!

My arms ache. My legs can hardly support themselves. My abs are burning. My whole body is cursing me.

But I feel amazing!

This morning, despite the sky threatening to pour on me (it didn’t, thankfully!!), I put on my runners, grabbed my iPhone and my hand weights and pushed myself up the driveway. It was the first time walking with my new hand weights from Aaron for Christmas, and it was sooo much hard than what I was expecting. My thoughts were, okay, kill two birds with one stone – I’m getting my cardio in as well as toning my arms – but it worked out my entire body. I had to walk much slower than I usually would because my heart rate was way up, and I actually felt like I had weights on my legs too, because they were burning way more than usual. I only went once up and back – I figure I need to regain some stamina to start going twice, and also my stomach cramps were starting to kick in – but when I got back I was feeling so good that I decided to get in some ab workouts! Once again, Cassey Ho of Blogilates comes to the rescue with an amazing Intense Ab Workout. She’s not wrong when she calls it intense! Once again, I couldn’t quite manage every single move, but the fact that I made it to the end of the 10 minutes without dying is enough for me πŸ™‚ By the end, despite the fact that my every molecule was screaming, I felt so good for having actually done it.

I have to remember this for the days that I feel unmotivated and lethargic. Like yesterday – I had the whole day at home, with nothing on the agenda, and I didn’t write or exercise, and I literally had to force myself to do the dishes in the kitchen, only because we didn’t have a single plate or bowl left in the cupboard. And I didn’t feel any better for being lazy, either.

Not only does my body feel great after having done this exercise, I’m much more motivated to get stuff done (like write this blog post!!). We’re going to my parent’s place tonight for dinner and another 24 marathon, and then we’re going out for dinner with Clare tomorrow, so we won’t actually be home until tomorrow night. So I’m going to make sure we’ve got everything we need for staying overnight (it feels so weird to actually have to pack stuff to stay at my family’s home!!), we need to get washing and water containers organised to take there, I might do some dishes so the kitchen is clean for when we get home, and I might even just tidy up a little bit around the place. Funny that this motivation might have come in handy yesterday when I had the whole day here! πŸ˜‰

I’ve just been browsing through some of my old posts on here (once again I can’t believe how much I actually used to update, I feel like I’ve only written like five entries since I started this blog) and there were a few that really stuck out to me, as an example of how much my life has changed recently. At the end of 2009 I was trying so hard to just to make it through every day after the events of that year. Beginning of 2010 I was feeling so cramped in my parents’ house and starting a uni course that I whole heartedly believed I would be completing (incidentally, 2012 was the year I was supposed to be finishing, sigh). I also whole heartedly believed that we would be living with my family for at least the next four years as we waited for the opportunity to build our own place. I found it difficult to keep up with blog posts because I didn’t feel like I had my own space to write.

Fast forward two years and we’re living in our own home, we have our own space, we are dealing much better with the loss of loved ones (it never leaves you, by the way, but your heart can heal in ways you never thought possible) and my uni path has taken a whole new direction. We no longer have to worry about cleaning stuff up just because we’ll be told off otherwise. That pile of dishes is still sitting there from yesterday and I don’t even care, because we’ll do it in our own time. I don’t have to worry about practicing when I feel sick. I don’t have to worry about people breathing over my shoulder when I’m writing, because instead of just having a bedroom to sit in, we have a lounge room, all of our own. I feel completely satisfied with my career choice, and totally pumped to get started. I am just so happy with my life the way it is right now, and it’s nice to finally feel that way, after everything we’ve been through.

Here’s to amazing year in 2012!

But it was soooo worth it.

Earlier today I fooled myself into thinking that I would actually survive a 30 minute Pilates workout not geared for beginners (like the POP Pilates for Beginners Total Body Workout – which I love by the way). I clicked past the 7, 10, 15 minute workouts – yep, I was definitely ready for 30 minutes, bring it on! I thought.

I completed part 1 and part 2 of the POP Pilates Summer Slimdown. But only just. And with numerous modifications. And some cursing. And a lot of almost-giving-up. BUT I DID IT, I ACTUALLY GOT TO THE END. The relief, exhilaration and sheer exhaustion that followed was enough emotion to deal with, but as soon as I attempted to pull myself up off the floor, my muscles were screaming at me as well. Even now, more than 8 hours later, I can hardly lift my arms, my legs are a wobbly mess and don’t even get me started on how my abs feel.

Despite all the pain, I feel amazing mentally, and the soreness is just a reminder of how hard I worked. To me, it’s enough that I actually made it through having done most of the moves – now I can’t wait for the day when I can make it through the whole thing, no modifications, no “little breaks”.. and maybe with the same enthusiasm as the trainer Cassey (that might take a little longer though..!!!)

I am really on board with this pilates stuff. My aim is to eventually do some form of pilates every morning before breakfast with some cardio in the afternoon – at the moment my goal is every two days, with a walk on the off day. As lazy as I’m being so far this summer (cricket, internet and playstation are pretty much my only endeavours at the moment.. yeah, lazy) I think I can make this happen before I go back to work/uni. I’m doing alright at Day 4, anyway πŸ˜‰

So apart from ripping my muscles apart with the pilates today, I haven’t done a lot – I watched Michael Clarke get his 300 and Hussey get his 150 in the cricket (we’re a day behind, watching it on foxtel with no ads, woohoo!), I did an hour of homework and I purposely avoided washing the huge stack of dishes in the kitchen. We had amazing hamburgers for dinner and we’ve put on Lord of the Rings, which we’re watching in stages cos neither of us have the attention span to last the whole 50 3 hours of the movie. Aaron’s been racing on Gran Turismo but actually I think it’s about time we got back to the movie otherwise we’ll be up all night watching it πŸ™‚ Until tomorrow!

.. my family really are my best friends.

I’ve found it hard to connect with people since finishing high school. I’m not sure what it is – maybe it’s just that I have differing values to all the people I’ve met, or maybe it’s just cos I’m a little bit awkward. Anyway, my shortcomings in the social department are for another post – I do happen to love my family because we have so much fun together πŸ™‚

It hasn’t always been like this. I mean, we never hated each other, and we’ve always gotten along (to an extent haha) but in the last few years, as everyone’s grown up, we’ve learnt to really appreciate each other’s company. And since then we’ve done some pretty great things together.

I think it’s partly to do with the addition ofΒ  Aaron – his family has always been super-close, going on camping trips together and hanging out – so his (and my) effort to bring that to my family has resulted in just that. Our insistence that we spend more time together and go on family holidays made us all realise that we can have fun without other people (friends etc) having to be there.

It also has to do with the fact that my brother and sister are now in their mid-teens and can understand and participate in more “adult” jokes. To be honest I always wondered how my parents would cope with them growing up, because they always appeared to be on the conservative side, but they’ve actually embraced the change and now make these jokes themselves- which makes us hanging out all the more fun!

Because of the kind of person I am, I always feel more comfortable when it’s just me and my family hanging out. I can just be, and not have to worry about trying to make a good impression all the time.

At my 20th - family and Denese & Peter (who may as well be family)

We’re a good team and I feel very lucky that we can not only laugh and be stupid together, but that we’re all there to support each other through anything. I guess that’s what family’s for, right? πŸ™‚

What brings all this sentimentality on? Well, Dad, Chris & Chelsea stayed the night at our place last night, to play Gran Turismo and watch numerous episodes of 24. I realised as we were cooking the BBQ and just chilling out outside that I was lucky to have a family that I could call friends. I have no idea who I’ll meet at uni this year – I might make some really amazing friends (I hope I do!!) – but it’s awesome to know that no matter what I’ll always have a family to go home to, and that’s the best part about all of this πŸ™‚

I can breathe again πŸ™‚ I have to say I love the cooler temperatures in summer, it makes it so much easier to get stuff done. Already this morning we’ve done about an hour of cleaning – all the dishes done, clothes put away, vacuumed, rubbish ready to be taken up to the bins – and I did the Blogilates Muffin Top Meltdown workout (I love this girl, she is absolutely amazing – I want to try every single one of her workouts!!) and now my arms and obliques and abs are all slowly dying inside me (but I feel great!!)

Dad, Chris & Chelsea are coming over this afternoon so I want to get a couple more things done before they get here – we need to finish cleaning our bedroom, and I want to get 30 minutes of homework done because I’m depressingly behind and probably won’t be finished by the end of these holidays now, blearrrgh. But I need to get myself back into the routine so starting with 30 minutes isn’t a bad effort πŸ™‚

I also want to get back into eating healthy and exercising. This is not a new years resolution because I’ve recently come to realise that they are just a bit cliche and don’t tend to hold more than a few weeks – it’s just an ongoing goal of mine. I was doing really well late last year, and was even noticing the differences in my body and mood, but the end of the year and Christmas put a dint in my progress and I’m finding it hard to get back on track. Unfortunately we have an abundance of soft drink, chips, chocolate and alcohol in our house at the moment because of Christmas parties and gifts, and I haven’t had the motivation to get back into the exercise, but today I’m feeling good after the pilates workout. Of course, tonight being our 24 night I’ll be drinking but I’m going to try and keep the rest of the unhealthy stuff to a minimum. I might even get my sister to come for a walk with me (she’s been into the healthy stuff recently too). Anyway, I’ve definitely had a good enough break from being super strict and I think it’s time to jump back into it – it’s all in the mind, because I feel amazing when I’m eating clean and working out. πŸ™‚

Cricket’s on and I’m enjoying watching Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke strut their stuff out there, they are my favourite players because they seem like such awesome guys and they are so exciting to watch. I’m getting into cricket much more these days – although I can’t do what Aaron does and just sit in front of the tv for hours watching it, I just like having it on while I’m doing something else (like writing this blog!)

Well I know this post has been a little bit all over the place but I don’t care cos it’s my blog πŸ™‚ And so far my writing schedule has greatly increased and that’s the point πŸ˜‰

I'm Monica - a 21 year old Aussie girl trying to understand life. Teaching music and studying to be a primary school teacher. Blogging about everything and nothing!


  • Maybe I’ll use this again. 7 months ago
  • "I don't want to go back to class and watch the movie. I want to stay here with you and play flute all day." My students make me happy πŸ˜ŠπŸŽΆπŸ’• 1 year ago
  • I am finally watching Game of Thrones. And I am belatedly furious about the fate of Ned Stark. WHY. WHY WHY WHY. 2 years ago

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.