“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!
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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 ❤
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!
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!
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” ❤
Winter in Australia is very different than winter in France. I really enjoy walking in the parks and I am always surprised to see so many lively colours during this “cold” season. In Europe, we say that during winter nature needs its beauty sleep before going to the spring ball but it seems than in Australia the whole year is a never ending party with an explosion of green, yellow and red!
In Australia, winter starts on 21 June and I can’t recommend you enough to pay a visit to Carrick Hill to celebrate it! The park and gardens are so beautiful with a large diversity of trees and flowers. The view is fantastic and it is so poetic to walk in this romantic atmosphere surrounded by the sweet music of the Aussie birds. Australian birds look so exotic to me: some are white with a yellow head, some are green and red and one is black and white but produces the most amazing sound I have ever heard!
I spent a wonderful day end of June at Carrick Hill with my two lovely friends: Nasim (from Iran) and Jessica (from Mexico). We sat on the grass during hours enjoying the view, chatting, dreaming about our future, making plans… We took many pictures also and there is even a video of me dancing under an arch of trees (crazy girl). We also enjoyed an afternoon tea outdoor, we like to do that sometimes! Generally we order 3 different cakes and then share and then discuss about the flavours, texture and colours and decide which one deserve the 1st rank in our heart!
There is also a beautiful mansion to visit and interesting stories to hear about. I highly recommend to take part to the guided tour (if you are lucky, Naomi will show you around, she is an absolutely charming tour guide). It was the previous home of an eccentric couple: Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward! They were important art collectors and have decorated their home with pieces from all other the world (but mostly from UK and France). They were famous for their eccentric lifestyle and used to host big parties with controversial artists, good food, wine, music, amazing conversations and dancing! Their home was always filled with laughter but above all with love because they were soul mates sharing the same passion for life and art! A true romantic love story ❤
46 Carrick Hill Drive
Springfield SA 5062
Ph: (08) 8433 1700
(Free Admission to Gardens & Grounds except for Special Events)
I really enjoy walking in the parks around Adelaide: there is always something nice to discover! A couple of days ago as I was walking in the North Adelaide Nantu Wama park, I suddenly noticed a hut made of wood. I could not resist getting closer and visit this secret little place! I am always fascinated by children imagination and creativity. It was nicely built and there was a whole little world inside: a door, a window, a bench and even a pot with “food”!
I must say it was a pleasant surprise and it reminded me of this artist I am crazy about at the moment. Her name is Johanna Basford and she became in a short time very popular with her colouring books for adults! You have probably heard about “Secret Garden” or “Enchanted Forest”… or maybe not?! Well they have been sold out in NO time and it is very difficult to find them in stores especially abroad (the artist is based in UK).
I must confess I have never heard about this artist when I was living in London! Actually I had to come here to Australia to discover her amazing work! One day, my Spanish teacher, Ana (from Colombia) offered me a postcard with a beautiful garden scene drawn by Johanna Basford and I really felt in love with the design! I like the poesy she puts in her drawings and all the tiny details that make all the difference. It makes me dream and I wish I could create a little universe full of wonderful creatures and splendid landscapes 😉
So have a look at Johanna Basford’s lovely books and maybe next time you are walking in your garden or in the forest, you will start to see the world differently! A simple hut made of wood would become a secret and poetic hideaway in the trees ❤
“Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus
This is my first Autumn in Australia and also my very first Autumn in March when my family in France is embracing spring time 😉 The weather has changed in Adelaide and it is getting chilly. I am glad I have a fireplace in my living room: it is so cosy! I love to hear the crackling sound and the smell of the wood burning. I enjoy gazing at the joyful flames dancing on the logs, warming slowly the atmosphere. What a lovely setting to curl up comfortably on the sofa under a wool blanket with your favorite book!
It is also the perfect time of the year to enjoy nice walks in the crispy air. Put your boots and your jeans on and have a peek at all these wonderful colours where the trees enter an enchanting parade. Don’t you think the gold, brown and red leaves are just beautiful? Adelaide Hills is the place to contemplate this magical scenery… if you have the chance like me to go to Stirling, your breath will be literally taken away. This charming village only 20 minutes away from Adelaide CBD is a real gem!
It is full of cute houses, shops and gigantic trees celebrating gloriously autumn season at the moment. My Australian friend Ann took me there and it was absolutely delightful. The fresh air was so energizing, so pure… I liked the feeling on my cheeks! We enjoyed a hot beverage in a fancy place called Red Cacao chocolatier and I indulged myself with a cup of chili cocoa, one word: delicious! This is the perfect place for chocolate connoisseurs: they offer a wide range of exquisite high quality chockies (Aussie slang for chocolate, sorry guys I could not help it). Well this is the place to go to spoil yourself!
I also do believe that it is very appropriate in this season to enjoy hot and comforting drinks! You can be creative at home like my friend Nasim (from Iran) and add fruits and Haigh’s chocolates on the side: all Adelaide flavours in a cup of tea!
Chocolates, nice walks, chatting with a good friend, reading and snuggling: this is definitely what I like about Autumn season ❤
Have you ever seen a zombie walk? Basically it is a social gathering of people dressed as zombies walking around the city! It is becoming more and more popular and a lot of cities such as London, Montreal etc… are hosting a walking dead procession around Halloween time! I have seen a zombie march when I was living in Montreal and I must say despite the cold it was really entertaining some people were really into their “characters”.
I moved to Australia early September 2014 and when I heard there would be a zombie walk in Adelaide CBD in October, I decided to make it count! This time I would not just watch, I would be one of them: walking crooked, looking disconnected, groaning… But first, I had to find a costume, a character that would express my story… how did I become a zombie, what was I doing last before being bitten? Since I had just moved to Adelaide I did not have much (no accessories or clothes to trash) so I decided to go to a charity shop or like they say here an “Op shop” (opportunity shop)! For less that $10 I found a girly pink top and a dress that made me think of a gardener apron… I decided that it would be perfect since there were some gardening tools in my fully furnished house that I could use to complete my costume! Now I had my story: I was a garden lady taking care of my roses when I got suddenly attacked and bitten by a crazy zombie! Then the trick is about make up, then laminating my costume (using a cheese grinder!) and make it look dirty like I spent weeks wandering in the streets of Adelaide (I scrubbed it on the pavement and in the grass outside)… the result was absolutely perfect!
Then I joined my peers and it was really good fun. Some costumes were unbelievable and very realistic! I could swear some people have been zombies in previous lives… if it does make sense! Thousand of zombies got together to raise funds for Foodbank SA which is a noble cause (you can donate money or non perishable food)! The event is very well organized with policemen closing the roads where the march takes place (East terrace, Rundle street, Pultney street and Pirie street)… it is hilarious to see people faces when you are walking down the streets: some are curious, some are excited and others are totally speechless because they have no idea what is going on, why all this blood and these strange faces… I am still smiling when thinking of this old couple who nearly had a stroke when they saw me 😉
I think it is so cool that Adelaide can compete with other major cities by hosting a really amazing and entertaining zombie walk with thousands of walking dead marching on our streets! When you think it all started a couple of years ago with a few people who were passionate about it and decided they will make it happen no matter what… at the beginning it was a really discrete and small event but as the years go by it is getting more and more famous and important and I think it is wonderful to be part of it!
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden”
Do you have a secret place where you enjoy going to dream and clear your mind? A poetic place where you feel free and inspired?
I know a lovely garden in Adelaide that is an invitation to inspiration. It is as beautiful as it is peaceful with its enchanting trees and flowers. It is a Japanese style garden celebrating religiously the beauty of nature. I like to walk slowly surrounded by the sound of silence on the stepping stones so I can admire every tiny detail. I enjoy gazing at the calm water of the lake and listen to the birds singing happily in the deep blue sky. I love the sound of the chanting waterfall melting poetically into the beautiful landscape. Everything is in harmony with nature and my heart feels at peace here.
I like to kneel in front of the magic stone bowl and feel the fresh water on my hand and my face. It is said that the holy water will purify your spirit and your soul: it is like leaving all my worries behind me and starting from fresh with a humble attitude.
I like to contemplate the sea of sand. It is the perfect spot for contemplation thinking of the immensity of the sea, the waves, the continents. If you close your eyes, you can hear the sea… As Buddha said “With our thoughts we create the world” and it is up to us to make it beautiful!
I could spend hours in this enchanting garden: dreaming, reading, having a picnic, doing yoga… but suddenly I hear the ‘clack” of the Shishi-Odoshi: a large bamboo tube filling with water until horizontal and then emptying causing one end to hit a rock with a deaf noise. It brings me back to reality: happier, rested and aware of the beauty and power of nature… already time to go but I will be back soon, I promise 😉
Adelaide is so lovely at the moment… it is not too warm, not too cold, it is perfect time to enjoy beautiful walks in the city and reward yourself with a nice iced tea sitting at the terrasse of your favorite cafe enjoying the sun and the life going by!
I wish summer time could stay a little bit more… When I used to live in the north hemisphere the 20th March was a happy day for me because it was the first day of spring and I could already think about the nice places in Paris where I would go, the outdoor restaurants by my work place where I would eat, the cute summer dresses I would buy, the markets, the beautiful flowers and the lovely sun on my face ❤ but now it is different I live in Australia and today it is the first day of Autumn! What does Autumn look like in Australia… I have no idea… it is my first time here!
I have been told that after mad March, Adelaide needs to recover and it will be very quiet. People will stay at home, cook and relax! I am not sure I want to do that… I enjoy walking around, exploring the city, going to the beach, spending time with my new friends! I guess I can still do that even if the weather is colder… right?!
So here are a few activities I intend to do now the weather is getting cooler:
Rent a free bike and ride next to the beautiful Torrens river!
Go more often to the Food Court in China Town (by the way I love Mum Kimba Korean cuisine), so nice and yummy!
Buy nice teas at T2 on Rundle street and enjoy the new comforting flavors (Choco Tchai with almonds milk mmm).
Climb on Mount Lofty, in the hills, everywhere… Sport is good for your soul and your body!
Take the train more often and start exploring the surroundings (I wish I could go back to Peninsula Fleurieu, so beautiful… and in autumn the colours must be lovely).
Do more shopping at the Central Market and buy cheese and bread (when winter is coming I generally start to dream about “raclette” or “fondue”: French dishes involving a lot of CHEESE).
Treat myself with some mouthwatering milk rocky roads from Haigh’s chocolates: they only produce them during the cold season and they are to die for!
Find a cosy cafe with a fire place where I can read new books and write beautiful pieces… hey wait a minute, there is a fire place in my new house in the living room 😉 I am already picturing myself with a cup of tchai latte and a nice blanket… too bad I don’t have a cat to complete this perfect winter scene!
Well… it sounds like a good plan to me! What about you? What are your favorite activities when the weather gets colder? What do you recommend me to do in Adelaide in Autumn?
PS: maybe I am being a lit bit too dramatic… Autumn does not seem very cold in Australia… actually this weekend is going to be very hot with 27 degree on Saturday and 32 degree on Sunday… I think I can still wear my summer dresses… the umbrella, the boots and the pullover can wait, YOUPI 🙂
When I am passing by this house on Wright street in Adelaide CBD, I feel afraid and curious at the same time. There are mutilated dolls hanging in the trees in the garden. It is so creepy but I can’t help looking at it each time and wondering why it is here for? What does it mean? Is it the masterpiece of a lunatic? or some garden ornements that I don’t get?
I still remember the day when I tried to take a picture of it. Some grating noises started and got louder… and there was no way I could tell for sure if somebody was trying to scare me (and having good fun) or if the house was haunted or something… maybe it was just the wind and the trees were rubbed against the metallic gate… but it did not feel right and I was unable to take a good picture of it!
Another day, I went by and the garden gate was opened and there was a glass of water on a small table under the porch… so I assume somebody lives in this place. If I am correct then I am wondering why some dolls are hung in the trees, with screws in the head… Maybe the work of a twisted mind…
I had a discussion with my brother about it and he told me that it reminded him of “la isla de las munecas” (the island of the dolls) in Mexico. I have googled it and what I found is pretty scaring… Basically there is an island there full of terrifying dolls hanging all other the place: some are injured, others are decapitated or blinds… supposedly to honour the spirit of a dead little girl. If you dare you can visit the place but be prepared to be followed by soulless eyes…creepy… creepy…. http://www.isladelasmunecas.com
But back to my story or should I say my unsolved mystery… I was so intrigued that I looked on the internet if I could find a ghost story or strange events about Adelaide.. but I could not find anything related to this house facing Whitmore square on Wright street.
I had absolutely no leads, no evidences, no clue! So I decided to let it go… Afterall I am not Veronica Mars and I am here to enjoy my time in Adelaide and not try to investigate on some strange dark secrets.
I sent the picture to the City newspaper (just in case) and I moved on… both literally and figuratively. I stopped “obsessing” about it and anyway I moved from CBD to North Adelaide …so the creepy house is not on my usual path anymore.
I had actually nearly forgotten about it… but a couple of days ago it came back to my mind and it was quite unexpected! I was walking in North Adelaide charming streets, gazing at the birds and the trees when suddenly I have seen this horrible and scaring painting on the pavement leaning on a tree!
Four white little kitties standing on a shiny blue sheet: the simple idea of having a painting like that hanging in my living room is already giving me a headache. But there was even more scary to come… somebody used a black pencil to blind the cats, like they were crying blood tears or something… they looked like satanic cats… I could not help wondering if the owner of this painting made it himself?! Then you can imagine his wife complained about it so he decided to get rid of the painting in the street hoping somebody would appreciate his sense of home design… Or another scenario is that a simple passer by or a psychopath decided to ruin this kitty scene to spice up its day… You never know, can you?!
Don’t worry for me, I still sleep very well at night. And despite these 2 creepy scenes, I still think Adelaide is a charming city… like I said before, there is always something new to discover here and it is impossible to get bored!
By the way, if somebody knows anything about “el jardin de las munecas” (the garden of the dolls) on Wright street, I am definitely interested 😉
Thursday morning was absolutely lovely: sunny, nicely warm but not too much… so I put my hat, my sun glasses and my sun cream on and I have decided to go for a nice walk in the south east part of the CBD!
Here is a little bit of history about Adelaide: “In the late 19th Century, people from all social levels lived in the south eastern corner of the city. The wealthy occupied mansions on East and South Terrace, the growing middle class lived in Victorian villas in Halifax and Gilles Streets, while the intervening small cottages were filled by workers who were able to walk to work or work from home.” (source Adelaide City Council)
Many victorian mansions, villas and cottages are still here… some have been renovated, refurbished, extended… I think they are really pretty! It is interesting to look at these houses, their architechture and to imagine their history.
I really enjoy walking in Adelaide and I think it is a nice way to explore my new city. There is always something new to discover. The streets are so peaceful and so quiet… no wonder that Adelaide is called “The village in the city” – I can’t agree more on that!
The walk starts in the east part of Carrington street and there are exactly 28 stops along the way. A map and a detailed description is provided for each stop so you learn about the history of some interesting mansions, villas or cottages. The tour is supposed to last 1 hour and a half but if you are like me, getting lost, taking pictures… make it double time!
You would think how can you possibly get lost with a map and in a small city like Adelaide… awkward… but true! It happens to me quite often actually… Hopefully Adelaide CBD is not huge so I don’t get lost for long. When “desperate” or in a hurry, I consider using my Iphone and I find my way rapidly… see I am not hopeless! But you know what, I actually enjoy to get lost because you never know what you can find out.
“Getting lost is just another way of saying: going exploring” – Justina Chen, North of Beautiful
I want to get lost in Adelaide, I want to see more of this beautiful city, I want to know the names of all the streets, I want to be able to name the different birds and flowers I see… there are so many things I still don’t know.
Someday I will know Adelaide like the back of my hand. Someday I will live in a charming Australian villa like the one on the picture. I particularly fancy the verandas and the balconies… so elegant and also so romantic!!! When this day comes, you will find me sitting under the porch in a wooden rocking chair reading a book with a home made iced tea… Why don’t you join me? 😉