Category Archives: australia

Looking beyond the horizon

“Being happy does not mean everything is perfect, it means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections” – Gerard Way

My friend Jessica (Mexico) often says that people come to your life for a specific reason. Sometimes it is to teach you something about life or yourself, sometimes it is to bring you love and kindness, sometimes to challenge you… and you have to embrace this feeling!

There will be sometimes, when living abroad, when you will feel frustrated, like nothing is working the way you want and you don’t really understand why because you are trying your best. It is a strange feeling that many foreigners experience because we are far away from our country, our culture, our family… and everything is new and different. The key is to learn to adapt as quickly as possible which is not always easy. But you can’t do this alone, you have to surround yourself with true friends. Friends who will become your second family, friends you choose because they are “like” you, friends who will show you the way when you are lost, friends who will be there for you no matter what. These people will make a big difference not just in your day but also in your life and you will do the same for them too, sometimes without even realising it!

Picnic time in the grass

I recall once I had a “perfect” day with my friend Liliana (Venezuela) and it felt really nice. We did not do anything “spectacular”, we were just 2 girls sharing a nice picnic together, taking pictures/selfies, enjoying a good conversation! But it was sooooo good. Sometimes you think that you need complicated things to be happy and you can feel frustrated thinking that it is going to be hard to get them but thinking of it most of the time it is the simplest things that make you really happy. Think of it, try to remember when was the last time you really felt happy and I am sure  you are going to realise that it was something very simple.

When France meets Brazil, it’s crazyyyyyyyyyyy! My Brazilian friend and I, partners in laughing crime.

It can be a smile, a compliment, a nice walk, something nice to eat, a beautiful bird passing by… you don’t need your day to be perfect to feel it is perfect, you just need to collect moments, those who make a difference in the rest of your day and will accompany you the rest of your week. And sometimes, total strangers will make a difference too without knowing it, just because they are genuinely nice and friendly when you need it the most.

So yes, all in all it does not have to be perfect and does perfection really exists anyway? The most important is not to be fooled by imperfections, not to focus on them but rather look beyond them, what really matters and enjoy 🙂

Life is beautiful like a nice walk on the beach

Let’s go crabbing!!!!

What could be better than sitting on the Semaphore jetty, catching crabs, drinking beers and having fun with a bunch of good friends?! That’s called a perfect Aussie summer day 😉

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Let’s go to the jetty!

Last Friday, Kim (Vietnam) came up with the perfect and most original idea: “Let’s go crabbing at sunset”, she said! It is something that none of us have experienced before. We thought, yes sure, why not, let’s give it a try! Jessica (Mexico) believes that each week we should do something totally new in order to embrace our new Australian lifestyle and make some good memories.

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Sometimes it feels like your own private desert island!

I must confess I was a bit confused about the technique and was picturing myself running on Semaphore beach, lifting (small) rocks and chasing (or being chased) by crabs and running even faster should this happen to me! I thought, yes well, worst case scenario I would enjoy the beach and maybe even an ice cream.

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Catch me if you can 😉

But actually, I was wrong, crabbing is easier than I thought, all you need is a jetty, a bucket to hold your catch, a fishing basket with line and a little bait to attract crabs such as fish heads… mmm I know yummy! Like fishing, it requires some patience, so the best way to make the time flying by is to enjoy this activity with some crazy and lively friends!

So lucky to be surrounded by my international friends!

Our friend Kim (Vietnam) was the best instructor ever. She gave us many instructions how to throw the fishing basket far far away. You need to keep if flat and be careful with the strings attached to it because you don’t want to end in the sea with it eaten by the crabs. Three, two, one, GO and fly away!

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Thank god, I have been working out lately and it shows!

We were pretty successful and we managed to catch something like 12 crabs. Actually we caught more but we had to release the little ones. Everybody was super happy and Peggy’s kids (Taiwan) were so proud and they had so much fun. It is definitely a good idea for a family/friends activity.

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Summer time can be so hot in Australia, sometimes the temperature is so high that sleeping at night becomes nearly impossible despite a good air con. Some people prefer instead to spend the evening until late at night on the jetty crabbing. There is a cold breeze coming from the sea and as the sun is disappearing the temperature is dropping. Actually I recommend to bring sweaters, socks, trainers as it can get pretty cold on the jetty… As it was a first time, many of us did the mistake to come in their beach gears, not the best idea especially at sun set, it was “freezing”!

We spent a really good time together and stayed at Semaphore beach from 6pm to 10pm. We also had like a little picnic there because the sea, the air, the activity make you very hungry! Kim was thrilled, I must say some crabs were HUGE and Liliana tried to make me pause with a crab on a picture but I was a bit scared (she is a naughty girl haha). All in all it felt like being on holidays somewhere else. Sometimes you don’t need a lot of money or being in fancy hotels to enjoy life, simple things can actually feel even better. Best Friday, since a long time, I really enjoyed it ❤

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But the fun did not stop there. Crabbing is something and eating crabs is something else! And the party went on at Kim’s house. She invited us in her beautiful home and taught us how to cook the crabs. She also made some delicious sauce to go with. It was fun, because we learnt how to eat a crab, breaking it in small pieces and sucking the flesh out of it… does it sound like a zombie/vampire thing?! I must say it was delicious and we all enjoyed it very much and we can’t wait to go again crabbing!

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I would have never imagined that eating crabs  that I caught could be so much fun!

These moments make me realise how important it is when you are abroad to be surrounded by amazing and generous people that you can call friends. They will make you smile, welcome you in their home and share some part of their culture with you. This is the beauty of living overseas, getting to know new people, bonding with them, discovering new places, opening your heart to new experiences and so much more. The more you are discovering about what is surrounding you, the more you are learning about you ❤

Who could have imagined that crabbing could be so deep 😉

 

Happy Mauvember!

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When Spring looks like a French Autumn, the only thing you can do is put a hat on, grab your bestie and chill out with a latte! Nasim (from Iran) and I are always on the same page when it comes to enjoy life at its best!

Spring has been so lazy to come this year. We experienced a lot of morning showers, grey sky, wind and some severe storms in September and October. In one hand, it was a bit depressing + there was a “major” water leaking in my house (one morning I woke up and water was coming from the ceiling, click here for the full story) but in the other hand, it is really good for mother nature because the trees and flowers look amazing right now with beautiful deep and lively colours. I guess you can’t have it all!

These past few days, spring is back on the track and it feels good to wake up with a big bright sun in the bedroom. I like to ride my green bike in the parks with this beautiful weather and explore new places whenever possible. In Australia, you have to wear an helmet (it is the law) and I must say when the weather is warm (sometimes around 40 something) I miss to feel the refreshing wind in my hair when biking! But again, I know this is for my own good so I am just going with the flow…

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A romantic vision of a young girl with a white dress walking on the Jacarandas’petals on a sunny spring day.

Maybe you will think I am a fool but one thing I was really expecting was to see the Jacarandas blooming! They are my favourite trees and their romantic purple flowers appear the first weeks of November announcing that spring is here and summer is only a month away. This year, because of the strange weather, the Jacarandas only started now to spread their vibrant colours in the whole city. Their mauve flowers petals are falling on the pavement like confettis and it brings a “je ne sais quoi” to the streets of Adelaide. Someday when I will own a house with a garden I will plant a Jacaranda tree to gaze at it!

At the moment, my friend Jessica (Mexico) is encouraging me to practise “mindfulness”. I started doing it in London with my yoga teacher and I must say it is a really calming and grounding state of mind. We are so busy with our everyday lives sometimes, worrying about the past and the future that we forget to fully live the present moment. Maybe it will seem odd to some of you but sometimes just taking the time to stop for a minute and gaze at a tree or a flower can make a big difference  in the rest of your day ❤

Just try it and tell me in the comments below how it felt!

Bikeway To Hell

Sometimes I have crazy ideas and luckily for me I have always awesome friends to follow me in my euphoric projects. So it is no surprise that when I decided to go to Henley Beach by bike to celebrate my birthday, my friend Nasim (from Iran) was part of it! For those who have been following me and paying attention, last year, for my birthday I got a beautiful green bike that became my fav. transportation mode to go to work, school, activities, market etc… So it makes sense that this year I wanted to take it to the next level and go on a bike trip from Adelaide CBD to  the beautiful Henley beach.

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Adelaide’s parks are full of surprises. Look at this party setting with permanent balloons floating all around! Happy birthday to me I guess!

The river Torrens Linear trail is known to be pretty easy, flat and scenic. Imagine yourself biking along the river, in the parks, with the beautiful and majestic trees swaying in the breeze, the enchanting colourful birds singing along the way (have you ever heard a Cockatoo?! not very melodious lol) and the nature surrounding you like a comforting cup of tea on a Sunday morning. I really believe, this is worth giving it a try and we are so lucky to have many bike trails here in Adelaide. It is a good way to discover a city and its surroundings. Besides it is very easy to rent a City Bike in Adelaide for free, so no excuse!

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Nasim, in a very sporty attitude, ready to hit the road, no stop signs, no limit, nobody to slow her down on her bikeway to hell 😉

Nasim and I met first at San Churro for breakfast. I guess we both  needed a good dose of sugar to boost our bodies before hitting the road. At the beginning, everything was really nice and we really enjoyed it. Nasim was even considering buying a new bike to do that more often. I mean it is an healthy and fun way to exercice. We stopped many times to take funny pictures, to gaze at the landscapes, to relax… But what I did not consider is that even if this trail is said to be easy, it is quite long and you need at least a bit of practice. So basically I think it took us about 3 hours (maybe more) from the CBD to reach Henley Beach. When we arrived there, I think Nasim was about to collapse.

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I think at this stage, Nasim had enough… this pic was taken sometimes between her collapsing and then having lunch.

We rested a bit, walked on the beach (well deserved), took some more pictures and ended up in a restaurant with a view on the seaside. It was good to relax and chat about this little adventure. Despite the fact that we were both exhausted, there is no doubt that this bike trail is wonderful and the feeling you have when you arrive closed to the beach: awesome! All these little houses facing the beach, the white sand, the blue sky, this is the dream picture ❤

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Adelaide and its surroundings are so beautiful. Sometimes I can’t believe I live here!

As we started to make our way back, it appeared that Nasim had no more juice. Her body hurt, she was not feeling well and soon riding her bike became a nightmare. We tried many things, we switched our bikes, I encouraged her… but when the body shuts down, there is nothing that can be really done. And sadly for Nasim, this was over. I was getting a bit worried because it was in the late afternoon and the sun was slowly vanishing on the horizon and I started to worry picturing us, walking in  the dark woods next to our bikes, the gloomy shadows of the trees, the scary sounds  of the nocturnal birds and the silence of the night surrounding us like a dark trap. BOO!

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The power of the mind is funny sometimes, what was magic a few hours before became suddenly scary. I started to feel bad because this was my whole idea, what on earth was wrong with me, we are talking about maybe 23 km and it is not like that we are used to ride our bikes that much. Nasim suddenly quit cold turkey and called her husband to pick her up in the middle of nowhere. There was not enough room in the car for 2 bikes and I felt I had enough energy to go on and reach my home before the night comes. So it was me all alone against the clock haha!

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Last smile before scratching my belly on the tree (natural scrubbing… yes you bet!)

As I was riding back to the CBD, I could not help feeling grateful to Nasim for joining me in this crazy but funny bike trip. I felt really happy about the whole day. All in all it was one of the best birthday activities I have ever had 🙂 I liked it despite of its unexpected events:  Nasim thought at some point she had broken her bike, a lady advised us to be careful with the Magpie attacks, a guy asked me for the time and I thought he wanted to steal my bag, I scratched my belly climbing in a tree for a scenic picture… and all those km that obviously we were not trained enough for.

It is all those little moments that make also good memories and you know what now looking back at it, Nasim and I really enjoyed this beautiful day together because we laughed, we had fun and we experienced with delight our very own bikeway to hell. Life does not have to be perfect to be fun, it is its imperfections that make us smile and stick to our minds forever… Life goes beyond the beautiful pictures and selfies that we post daily on social medias… it is living the present moment, experiencing feelings, the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, the laugh and the tears. It may not be always perfect but it is the REAL deal and it is up to you to make it count! I am sure if we had to do it all again, Nasim would jump on her bike in a matter of second to join me 😉

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect” ❤

Follow the white rabbit!

Wonderland is never far away and sometimes can be closer than you think. Just pay attention when walking in the West End and look for the white rabbit on the eclectic Hindley Street. Maybe for a minute you will think you are lost, it can’t possibly be there but keep going and you will be surprised like Harry Potter discovering the platform 9 3/4!

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I love to chill out outside with a latte on sunny days!

Right in the middle of the buildings and the busy city life, appears like magic, Peter Rabbit café and its beautiful garden. It is so tempting to just sit here outside on one of these colourful chairs and enjoy the beautiful weather. Come with friends for some lively conversations or all alone to relax with some readings in this friendly atmosphere.

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Chaï latte and almonds croissant ❤ all beautiful!

But let’s not stop here, why not  indulging your coffee cravings?! You got me, if you are a coffee lover, then this is the place to be. My friend Ana (from Colombia) is an expert when it comes to coffee and she confessed that the Cuppa is really beautiful. Last time I was there with her, she had a black from Colombia and she loved it!

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Painted  lady in the background (Australia) staring at Nasim (Iran), who is gazing at Jessica (Mexico) who is looking at me (France) while I am myself observing Nasim! That’s 4 continents sitting at the same table 😉

The staff is really friendly and I love the attention to details they put into the decoration but also when serving coffee. If you want to pet some rabbit, just go at the back of the café and you will make some good friends ❤ As for me, I was so enchanted by this little wonderland that I could not help sharing this secret place with some other friends.

So next time, you find yourself walking in Hindley street, and you happen to see a white rabbit, with a waistcoat and speaking English. Don’t hesitate, follow it, open the garden gate of the hidden Peter  Rabbit and enjoy the journey!


Peter Rabbit

234-235 Hindley Street

Adelaide SA 5000

Tel: +61 4 2813 2704

Sunny one so true, I love you!

For an Asian street food vibe, Sunnys’shop located on Prospect road will blow your mind.

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Spring time is the perfect time for some street food vibe!

Prospect is full of surprises and today was no exception. It is so closed from the CBD, it takes me only 35 minutes to get there with my bike (and I go very slow) so no excuses!  Each time I go, I discover a new shop or a cafe that I fancy a lot! And today Sunnys’ shop took my heart away 😉

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“I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine, take me away, a secret place, a sweet escape…” at Sunny’s place 😉

As I parked my bike, I could not help noticing this lovely dark pink and blue frontage. It reminded me a bit of the cafes and restaurants in the Grenadines islands. It felt so welcoming with these cute and lively colours, a holiday spirit was floating in the air.

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Soft inside, crunchy outside. God I love Bahn Mi ❤

I ordered a chicken lemon grass Bahn Mi ❤ It was DELICIOUS! In a very quick and short way, it is a vietnamese baguette sandwich but in an authentic and poetic way it is so much more. A Bahn Mi is the fruit of love of two distinct civilisations, the Viet and the French. For the history note, France colonized Vietnam and Cambodia forming the Indochinese Union in 1887, which was the start of the French influence in Vietnam for the next 70 years to come! Let’s say that the French baguette was part of the happy legacy from  that time.  So when you think of a Bahn Mi sandwich, you have to picture a fresh and crunchy French baguette filled with the colourful beauty of Vietnam: Fresh herbs, carrots, chili, a bit of mayonnaise and then you can add chicken, roasted pork or meat. It is so tasty and so aromatic, it is in my opinion the best sandwich!

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A lovely gem born in Prospect!

Sunnys’s Bahn Mi is wonderfully fresh and tasty, soft inside, crispy outside. The staff is super  friendly and the vibe in this little shop is soooo good. I checked the menu and there are so many dishes I wish I could try because everything looks so yummy and the price is reasonable. I wish next time I turn up to this restaurant, they will be serving Vietnamese coffee (my new found passion)!

So all in all a really good experience and now I can’t get this song out of my head:

“Sunny, thank you for the sunshine bouquet,
Sunny, thank you for the love you brought my way
You gave to me your all and all,
Now I feel ten feet tall,
Sunny one so true, I love you” – Boney M.

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Sunnys Shop

106b Prospect Road

Prospect Adelaide 5082

Tel (08) 8420 08 88

www.sunnyshop.com.au

Good morning Vietnam!

At the moment, it seems that I have a thing for vietnamese food and I can’t get enough of it. When you think of it, it is not that surprising, Vietnamese and French cuisine have history.

It all started in the 17th century with the arrival of Catholic missionaries in Vietnam. But it did not stop there, then France colonized Vietnam and Cambodia forming the Indochinese Union in 1887 which was the start of the French influence in Vietnam for the next 70 years to come! So naturally when you stay that long in a country, you leave pieces of yourself in several ways: be it architecture, culture, words, names and of course cuisine. I find it fascinating to discover (and taste) the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine (the tasty baguette sandwich called Bahn Mi is one of them). For sure it is different comparing to what I am used to in my home country, and sometimes it is hard to make the link between the two countries but there is something magic about all these flavorful dishes and I can’t help being attracted to them (maybe it is in my DNA).

For those who know me well, I often go to Central Market in China Town. Most of the times to buy herbs or lemon because the quality and the price is much better than what you would get in the supermarkets and also the atmosphere is really nice and friendly.

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In the mood for vietnamese food 🙂

Last time, I went there, I remember it was a beautiful day and as I was feeling a bit hungry I thought I should pass by Little NNQ and see if it was not too crowded. This is a vietnamese restaurant and it is quite popular so it can be tricky to get a good seat sometimes. This place has been recommended to me by John’s vietnamese friend, his name is Phong and lives in Adelaide (and John is American from California who happens to know a lot of people everywhere because he has traveled and worked in so many countries). Luckily the odds were with me and there was a lovely table by the window and the friendly waiter told me I could sit here. As it was a beautiful day, the large windows were opened so it was like I was sitting at the terrasse outside watching people passing by, cars honking and for a minute imagining I was in another country, in a galaxy, far, far away…haha. As things were going well for me, I decided to continue playing my luck and I asked the waiter to choose his fav dish for me. Besides, as I felt adventurous, I opted for the Vietnamese coffee. Normally I’m not the kind of coffee drinker type (I am more into chai or matcha latte) but I’m always happy to try new things and this was the opportunity to get the true vietnamese experience… besides one coffee can’t hurt, can it ?!

My dish was a combination noodle salads. It was very colourful, tasty, crunchy and pretty healthy I believe. So I really enjoyed it and I really recommend it! But I must confess, my favourite part was definitely the Vietnamese coffee as I’ve never had this kind of experience before. By the way, I apologise I have not a lot of pictures to demonstrate the technique but I think I was so overwehlmed by this experience that I completely forgot to document it, my bad !

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Time to relax and catch up as the coffee is slowly dripping into the condensed milk!

First the coffee was served in a slow drip filter tool. So basically, the coffee was slowly dripping into the condensed milk in the glass just below it (one drop at a time, so it is a long process). The waiter explained to me that in Vietnam locals would use this time to chat and catch up with their friends while waiting for the coffee to fully drip through. Once it is finished, all you have to do is to transfer the content in a glass full of ice cubes, and enjoy your ice coffee with a straw.  So basically drip coffee is the way Vietnamese people create and enjoy conversation with their friends or relatives. I ❤ the concept, I must say and I can’t wait to renew this experience with my friends next time!

Just so you know the Vietnamese coffee has a strong taste (always Robusta, twice as strong caffeine wise, so be prepared to jump like a kangaroo after that ). Once again, it is one of the many heritage from the colonists period. The French introduced coffee to Vietnam in the 1800s, they also brought with them condensed milk as they could not get fresh milk in Vietnam and they also brought phins which is a slow drip filter that sits on top of a cup. Since that time, it has become a tradition in Vietnam to enjoy coffee this way. It is more than just coffee, it is an invitation to relax and chat.  I think that the combination of the bitter coffee beans allied with the sweetness of the condensed milk and the cool refreshing kick of the ice cubes just work perfectly! I think I have officially became a Vietnamese coffee lover ❤

So next time you are in the mood for Vietnamese food, why not go and try Little NNQ with some friends and indulge yourself with a Vietnamese coffee while chatting remaking the world. Vietnamese coffee will boost your body while relaxing your mind, call it magic or mystique, the choice is yours 😉

Little NNQ

125 Gouger Street

Adelaide SA 5000

http://www.nnq.com.au/littlennq/