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Two Thousand Twelve

30 Dec

Can you believe it… 2013 is just a day away. It brings about reminiscing the year that was 2012, and what a great year it was. One of the best. For us, there were many personal milestones (travelling the world) and professional ones (taking the next steps in our careers back home) with lots of very special moments in between. We’re so very grateful for all that the Universe has given us this year and the promises that 2013 brings. Here are our highlights of 2012:

London Night Out

Canary Wharf Pub

{Hanging out with good mates before they jump on a plane back to Australia.}

Paris

{Spending our second wedding anniversary in Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate it.}

D&M Hens and Bucks

{Celebrating others’ milestones and friendships – there were plenty during 2012, including Derrin and Mariska’s wedding.}

Our London Home

{Our London home was so special to us during 2012 as we tried to soak up as much as we could of the city and our suburb during the last six months of the year.}

St Paul's London

London at night

Olympic medal!

{Being one of the first to run in the London Olympic Stadium.}

London Egg Hunt

{The Great London Egg Hunt and the interesting trips into streets and suburbs we hadn’t even stepped foot in.}

Amsterdam

{Our trip to Holland in the Spring. We will never forget the ‘amazingness’ that is the tulip fields of the country. Just stunning.}

Banstead Woods

{Our trip to Banstead Woods. The first time we heard of the bluebells that pop up in these woods, we couldn’t resist making the trip to take a look for ourselves. In the shade of the dense foliage, the bluebells make for a pretty sight.}

Ministry of Sound

{Experiencing a night at the famous nightclub Ministry of Sound.}

With Mum at Harrods

With Mum in Edinburgh

{My Mum making the oh-so-long plane trip to see us in London and experiencing Scotland with her.}

Matt playing at St Andrews

{Matt experiencing a game of golf where the game itself started… St Andrews Golf Course in Scotland.}

Melk

{Seeing one of the most beautiful monasteries in the whole world, Melk Abbey in Austria.}

Chelsea Flower Show

{Visiting the famous Chelsea Flower Show.}

London Summer Days

{Soaking up the very first Summer day rays in London for the year from one of the most beautiful spots in the city – Primrose Hill.}

David Guetta

{Seeing David Guetta at Alexandria Palace – an amazing DJ and an amazing venue.}

Diamond Jubilee

{Being in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.}

Wimbledon

{Going to Wimbledon.}

Saying goodbye to London

{Saying goodbye to friends we were leaving behind in true British style… by dressing up in the Best of British.}

Friends

Matt at Aston Martin

{More goodbyes as we say farewell to work and our amazing colleagues.}

Last day in London

Tower Bridge

{Spending our very last day in London by revisiting those sights we will miss the most. Such a sad day!}

{The amazing countries we travelled through on our trek back to Australia…}

Prague

{…Prague.}

Krakow

{…Krakow.}

Budapest

{…Budapest.}

Slovenia

{…Slovenia.}

Croatia

Dubrovnik

{…Croatia.}

Rome

Lucca

Bologna

Venice

{…Italy.}

Noni and Gez Wedding

{… including witnessing and celebrating the wedding of Noni and Gez in the Cinque Terre.}

Egypt

{… Egypt.}

Jordan

{… Jordan.}

Dubai

{… Dubai.}

Singapore

{… and Singapore.}

Flying over Toowoomba

{Flying over Toowoomba on our flight back home.}

Sunshine Coast

{Going back to visit the place we use to call home – the Sunshine Coast.}

Family Christmas

{Spending Christmas with our family again.}

HAPPY NEW YEAR from M&M x

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The countdown begins

25 Mar

Ok, take a deep breath. Breath in slowly… breath out. Breath in slowly… breath out. Here goes… as the end of March approaches, Matt and I have come to the stark realisation that we have only three months left in London. Yes, we knew we were only going to be here for a limited time but where did that time actually go?? Last we checked it was Christmas and we were on a sleigh getting pulled along the snowy ground by mighty husky dogs in Sweden and saying ‘six months left’. It seemed like forever. Now, all of sudden we’re researching shipping companies to ship home our accumulated goods, looking into renewing our travel insurance for the last time and making plans for the trip home. We’ve even booked our flights back to Oz (shock horror!) and now there’s no turning back. Or is there?

Lately we’ve been thinking about how lucky we’ve been in our lives in the UK, or more specifically, London. London has given us throngs of possibilities, opened doors for our careers and thrown us into some of the most memorable experiences we’ll ever have, all without even asking for it. I don’t know how people feel back home, but I don’t think Toowoomba, or even Brisbane, is going to live up to the benchmark that London has set for us. Where in Brisbane will we be able to meet a Prince, shake hands with celebrities on more than one occasion, walk past the most beautiful century-old buildings on the way to work (hell, I even work in one!) and experience exclusive ‘London only’ opportunities like running in the brand new London Olympic Stadium (six days to go!) and to be official photographer at some of the most prestigious events for one of Britain’s ‘2012 CoolBrands’. For some reason I’ve walked across Waterloo Bridge quite a lot recently and every time I look to the skyline and see the magnificent dome of St. Paul’s cathedral, I sigh and feel sad about the thought of leaving a place that is so stunning and that has been so good to both of us.

But then I think of what awaits us back home. Without a doubt, the one key thing about going home is the chance to see all our family and friends again. We have four babies to meet – some yet to be born – and missed witnessing the marriage of friends. There’s no explaining how much we have missed these experiences and more importantly, the very important people in our lives to the point that we feel it has really come time to leave. We are also excited about the possibilities in terms of work – our CVs have been enriched by our experiences here and we cannot wait to settle down and make a home for ourselves again. For the chance to drive and to visit the beach and to experience sunshine for more than one consecutive day in the row will be absolutely lovely to make part of daily life again.

However, I cannot help but take notice of that nagging question still running through my mind… what if we stayed just a little longer? Now don’t go getting all ‘up in arms’, you don’t have to worry, of course we are coming home and I don’t think we would change our minds at this stage. I just think that it’s taken this long for us to actually feel part of the city and we’ve gotten to know it quite well. Sure we’ve merely scratched the surface of things to do here but it takes time to immerse yourself into a city and to set up a life. Only now do we feel that we’ve gotten to that point and it makes me wonder what our lives would become if we were here for a couple more years. Where could London take us given the chance? I guess my consolation lies in the fact that we could always come back, alas not on a working holiday visa, but perhaps if we get to the point where we could be ‘highly skilled immigrants’. The enticement of further possibilities in London will mean that we may never really rule that possibility out. At the moment however we are on that plane back to Australia and are very much looking forward to it. But in the meantime, we’re making the most of our last three months in London and we cannot wait to make it the best three months ever!

An update from London Town

30 Nov

It’s been a while since we last wrote a blog. Perhaps this is an indication as to just how much we’ve been up to of late and how we always seem to find ourselves out and about doing something in London. So I’ve spent my entire tube journey to work to update you all on the happenings in London town.

A big occasion happened with the departure of Kristy when she felt the need to pack up her bags, post a massive box of personal possessions home via boat and fly back to Australia. We ended up at Opal, the same bar we went to for ‘hello’ drinks when we first arrived (yep, it was the very day we arrived and we walked along The Thames to get there and the weather was beautiful!) We were happy for our friend to be moving on and getting set up back at home, but there were some tears as the realisation hit that our time over here is coming to a quicker than quick end and all the travel and mischievous fun we had as a group was now going to have to continue minus one prominent member.

In the lead up to Kristy’s goodbye, we found ourselves busy every weekend while we tried to make the most of our time left. We celebrated Halloween in style at Canary Wharf (I’m sure you’ve seen the Where’s Wally pics on Facebook); I partied (sans Matt) and finally experienced the institution that is The Church (don’t ask); we did what every Australian loves to do to celebrate the very English tradition of Guy Fawkes night and set off our own fireworks. We also lit and released floating Chinese lanterns with wishes of good luck and heartfelt goodbyes written on it for Kristy (we got off to a rocky start but we didn’t set anything within our surrounds on fire so we think it was a success!). To keep celebrating, we also saw the most fun fireworks display money can buy in London at Battersea (they are professionally choreographed to music); and for a double-whammy celebration, we went to Roller Disco for Amy’s birthday as well as another ‘must do before we say farewell’ for Kristy. Yes, you skate around to disco music into the wee hours and there is even a bar with alcohol – dangerous much? But with all the neon clothes, it’s fun to dress up and try to dance while on skates. It was such a busy month, I’m not sure how we managed to fit in work, and sleep for that matter.

Most recently we’ve been busy once again with numerous work events and social outings to keep us occupied. I’ve started back on the running following my aversion of it after completing the Wild UK Challenge (doing no exercise was my reward!) I am again building my fitness up for an 8km run around the new Olympic Park come March – I was lucky enough to have my name chosen as one of 5,000 that get to run! I’m really enjoying a good run around London with Jaime and Amy. Funnily enough we always run to a cafe and reward ourselves with brunch and coffee before heading back home – it’s a great incentive to keep running until you reach delicious food! And Matt is busy as usual with his camera’s view finder almost permanently glued to his eye. He upgraded recently and is learning all new settings and ways of taking photos with his new D7000. He will have to learn quickly with a travel photography course he’s set to do this weekend.

And before we know it, it will be the night before Christmas and we will be snug as can possibly be in the heart of Finnish Lapland, where we will also be spending Christmas Day with Amy, Troy, Jaime and Gerri. We are busy making sure we have as many warm layers of clothes we can carry in our backpacks to make we don’t freeze in the sub-zero temperatures. It will be the trip of a lifetime! We hope everyone’s Christmas will be just as magical!

Till next time,

M&M x

Girly fun in Portugal

20 Oct

There are a lot of places that we would absolutely love to visit but will probably never get the chance to while we’re still living in London. There is just too many places on the list and let’s face it, we’ve had to prioritize our ‘must-do’ list. But when Kristy and Amy suggested a girls weekend to Lisbon, Portugal, famous for its Portuguese cock (no… a symbol of a rooster… just think Nandos!) in a bid farewell before Kristy returns to the brown land indefinitely, how could I say no? Another city to explore and another country to experience, if only for a weekend. Sorry Matt for leaving you at the airport again, but you just wouldn’t fit in on a girl’s weekend!

We were glad we had all made it to Portugal in the first place after our weekend got off to a stressful start. With Kristy nowhere in sight, Amy and I reluctantly got on the early tube to Heathrow. When we eventually had service on our mobiles, Kristy revealed she had slept through her alarm and was only just leaving her house, whereas we had been on the train for half an hour. Thinking that three may become two, we prayed she was able to make it to the airport on time. Out of breath and incredibly thankful, Kristy made it to the gate just before we boarded.

It still amazes me that we can reach colourful destinations all around Europe within the space of a couple of hours from London. Before we knew it, we were making our way to our hostel in the middle of all the action in the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Even though it’s small, it really does offer a lot as a city… It has a riverside location and close proximity to the beach, temperate climate, gorgeous tiles that decorate the city’s buildings, peri-peri chicken, delicious wine, old-school trams that still run through the city’s old streets, an active nightlife and a beautiful and colourful cityscape to goggle at. It’s a chilled out city, as well knowing how to party into the wee hours, and we could have easily spent more than just a couple of nights there.

The hostel we stayed at offered pub crawls starting at the respectable time of midnight. The nightlife begins late here. Of course we took advantage and allowed ourselves to be shown the best pubs and clubs that Lisbon had to offer. We put on a bit of glam and danced the early morning hours away; repeating this on the Saturday night. For good measure and of course what every girl’s weekend needs, we threw in sightseeing and (a lot of) shopping in between our nights out. Sleep didn’t really come into the equation much, but when you’re in a city for such a short amount of time, something has to give.

We made a trip to the seaside town of Cascais, which also is the closest beach. It was tiny at that, but there was sun, sand and water. We ate olives, fresh-as-can-be bread with mouth-watering cheese and wine to wash it all down in the afternoon and ate peri-peri chicken for dinner. We visited Belem, a short tram ride from the centre of Lisbon to let our taste buds experience one thing, the delectable warm custard tarts that are famous in Portugal. They are said to be made with a secret ingredient and whatever it is, they taste absolutely incredible with a crunchy pastry on the outside and warm custard filling. Definitely worth the trip. We also went on a tram ride through the old town and got a taste of the hilly and cobbled streets. We walked from the bottom to the top of Lisbon for views over the city and chilled out for lunch with refreshing drinks when the weather got a little too hot. On our last day we visited Sintra, a town in the hills not too far from Lisbon. It’s like the hinterland of Lisbon with a craggy castle that sits atop the biggest hill. It’s a gorgeous town with beautiful buildings including a palace and other mansions.

But alas, before we knew it, we were back on the plane heading to London. That thing that has four letters and begins with ‘W’ was beckoning. Well, we do have to fund our girl’s weekends away somehow… where to next?

Everybody likes a bogan

14 Jul

One sure way to get our dose of Australia from half way across the world is to play bingo, Bogan Bingo. We went for a laugh the other week (and PS, I won!), but you’ll have to read my article to find out what Bogan Bingo is all about!

So long, farewell (but not forever)

2 Jul

Well the time has come, we’re jetting off overseas to begin the adventure of a lifetime. Challenges so far: attempting to pack our life into 60 litre backpacks; saying ‘see you later’ to all our family and friends; facing the unknown. Joys so far: travel and career opportunities awaiting us; experiencing this adventure with two great mates; meeting new ones along the way.

Our excitement is growing by the day as all the details we have had to finalise this last week come to an end! We’ll be spending our last weekend in Australia partying with our friends and family in good ol’ Toowoomba town.

We can’t wait for our adventure to begin. First stop: JAPAN!

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

I am the world's oyster

Photography, Aviation, Nature, Culture, Nikon, Canon, Qantas, Airlines, Emirates, Airports, A380, 747

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Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

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w a n d e r l u s t .

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Matt & Hannah's Overseas Adventures

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Our London come Toowoomba Life

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