Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Bushfire Season #bushfireready

Living in the Adelaide Hills brings with it many wonderful lifestyle changes, but also some challenges and new experiences. Right now, me and my family are preparing for our first bushfire season here in South Australia.

Bushfire Awareness Week recently happened and I caught up with the County Fire Service (CFS) to learn some import details and ask some questions that would help us prepare and could potentially save our lives. 

Here's some pointers that are interesting to note;

1. Know your bush fire ratings and be aware of any fire bans.  Click HERE to see the CFS website.  

2.  Be prepared - clear leaf litter, dry bark and other debris (fire fuel) away from your house. Most import places are gutters, flower beds up close to the house and solar panels where leaf litter can dry out and stay lodged. Imagine embers blowing over your home and some of that debris catching light!  

3.  Have a fire evacuation plan and a clear idea of at what stage you leave. Will you stay to fight fire and protect your home?  Will the younger and elderly members of the family leave and go to a safer place. Remember the pets and livestock. Have a bag packed and ready to leave.   It's important to consider - if your route is blocked and it's too late to head for safer ground, you will need to know how to fight fire and protect you and your family.   Your local CFS can help you prepare for this instance - see the CFS website HERE for more important info and click HERE to get started on your Survival Plan

Having never lived in a bushfire zone, and wanting to be sure me and my family are as safe and prepared as we can be, I was interested to know;

1.  What should I pack in my emergency kit?  There are 3 types of emergency kits to consider; 

   1) Survival kit - to be used in case of emergency and when you intend to (or need to) stay and fight fire, 
   2) Evacuation Kit - to be packed with everything you need from your home that must be kept safe and transported with you when you decide to leave, 
   3) Recovery Kit - this will hold everything you would need for the next 24 to 48 hours after leaving home (remember, if your home is damaged by fire you will not be able to return there for some time.)

You can click HERE to see the lists of necessary items for each of the emergency kits mentioned.  

2.  Where is my closest safe zone?  Safe zones are usually located in ovals (playing fields) and areas away from dense forests.  Click HERE to see SA bushfire safer places.

3.  How soon to leave on a fire risk day?  You will need to stay informed - use the CFS website, follow ABC Local Radio (across Australia), Sky News Television as well as CFS on Facebook and Twitter.  If a fire danger day is predicted then, if your survival plan is to leave your property and not defend then you should leave the night before or very early the day.  

4.  How fast will a fire travel?  A typical grass fire during bushfire season could travel at up to 25 km per hour!  Of course there are many factors which change the way a fire behaves - click HERE for some interesting facts about fire behaviour.

5.  What are common reasons of bushfires occurring?  Human error is often blamed as the most common reason - perhaps someone is using machinery on a fire ban day and a simple spark sets a grassfire.  Or the disposal of a cigarette butt is careless.  There are many reasons for bushfires occurring and being prepared and preparing your property is the best way to stop a bushfire starting on your property - prepare now - be #bushfireready

Yes it's a scary time and yes me and my family still have much to do before we are truly bushfire ready!  But the best thing is that we are bushfire aware and we are busy preparing our house, property and the whole family in case of danger and in case we need to act in an emergency!  

For more information visit your local fire department website or drop into your closest fire department hq and ask for their information booklets, leaflets and you can also pick up a kid's activity book which helps the little family members prepare too. 


kisses and smiles from me xx :)

(the info I have shared is via the South Australia CFS website and guides but you can search for your Fire Department in your area on Google and get info local to you.  #bushfireready #staysafe

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Throw Back Thursday Post - A weekend in the sunshine

In the spirit of the Throwback Thursday trend I have took the decision to make a weekly post dedicated to something or somewhere from the past...

These Throwback Thursday posts will not have been previously posted - more often than not they will be something that I didn't get around to posting at the time - busy lives get in the way too darn often, hey!!  xx :)  Enjoy!

Today's Throwback Thursday post takes me back to August 2016 when I enjoyed an escape from the South Australia weather;

Adelaide to Cairns, a weekend in Port Douglas

My constant moaning about the terrible wet and cold weather in Adelaide had the desired effect when my hubby surprised me with a flight from Adelaide to Cairns!  We spent a lovely weekend in the Queensland sunshine at Port Douglas.

Packing up for my weekend I was freezing and shivering in my bedroom whilst trying on summer wear in order to decide what to take to Port Douglas in my carry on case. Not only decide what to take but check what I could squeeze into - the recent operation on my foot saw me immobile and gaining kg upon kg which I have yet to shed (more about the accessory navicular and big op another time...)

Of course I too needed a few new items and took this as a great excuse to escape the Hills and hit the City - well close to the City anyway!  I took a short drive down the freeway to Burnside Village - lots of wonderful stores in this mall to inspire me and see me updating my style, fashion and beauty purchases.  

At Burnside Village ... 

I like the Forever New store, Laura Ashley and Zara for clothes and accessories.  The stationery lover in me adores kikki K store and there are no shortages of coffee stops and lunch options xx ;)

What did I buy? ...

A Couple of off-the-shoulder tops from Forever New - these look good with shorts for a casual day out or can be dressed up for an evening look when paired with wide leg trousers or skinny jeans and heals.

The electric blue Forever New top
(thankfully, I have lost some kg since this pic was taken xx :))

Also bought a lovely pair of pink shorts from Zara - these are high waisted, silky cotton and fit me perfectly.  Again, when packing for a short journey and using just a carry-on case, these shorts are perfect to style up for evening wear and can be worn again for the hotel breakfast as a more casual look.

At Port Douglas ...

Quite a short flight from Adelaide to Cairns and a shuttle bus from airport to hotel saw us arriving at the Pullman Sea Temple Resort in Port Douglas.

The hubby and I are celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary this year so we spoilt ourselves to a beautiful apartment room with jacuzzi and roof top terrace. As a special welcome and celebratory gift, we were over the moon to find a bottle of bubbly on ice in our kitchen.

Seeing the view of the pool from our balcony we decided to explore and take a dip.

Just a short walk took us to the beach front of Four Mile Beach. Stunning views out to sea and of the tropical hillsides - which reminded us of Thailand views.

The Sea Temple Resort at Port Douglas is set quite a way out of town so the regular and inexpensive shuttle (mini bus) taxis are the way to get around best.

As there is only one restaurant at the Sea Temple Resort in Port Douglas, we enjoyed getting into town for a change of scenery.  One early evening we had drinks at the marina and another morning we took a stroll around the arts and handicraft market.

One particular favourite view was the cute little church by the sea

The average weather for Port Douglas in August is 20 degrees with the odd few rainy (but warm) days thrown in - a perfect destination to escape the cold and damp weather from Adelaide.

We didn't do many of the sights but intent to return with our boys to enjoy the tourist attractions like;
Sky railWildlife park, 

The flight we took was with JetStar and we could not fault the service or comfort.

The Hotel - my personal opinion

The Pullman Sea Temple Resort in Port Douglas is beautiful.

Here's my personal opinion scores for the Resort;

Cleanliness 10/10 lovely

Check in service 10/10 friendly, professional

Pool area 6/10 limited seating, loud pool bar, with crowded seating close to bar

Breakfast choice 8/10 usual selection at buffet with choice of eggs to order

Breakfast service 7/10 quite slow for any menu orders

Restaurant choice 5/10 just the one restaurant

Restaurant service 8/10 very good

Overall resort 9/10 beautiful, perfect for a quick and short break

I hope you've enjoyed my post and perhaps it will inspire you to jet off to the sunshine sometime soon - Or maybe you'll feel like treating yourself to a shopping trip to Burnside Mall to update your wardrobe or pick up some new season accessories!

Kisses and Smiles from me xx :)

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Cold, Rain, Wind 'n' Braving Winter in South Australia

Recently I have mostly been braving the Winter in South Australia!

I do not do cold weather!  Even the slightest chill leaves me 'freezing'. I'm certainly not one for a ski trip, I prefer hot beach hols with plenty of summery sunshine. So, when I've recently experienced my first winter weather in 5 years it was a real shock to my system!

With little to smile about when my toes are so numb I can barely walk and with my extremities turning blue (actually black - I was sure it was frost bite), all I could do was throw on another layer of clothing, be brave and hope for the best as I set out braving Winter in South Australia.

Living in Singapore until recently and suffering my last Winter back in France in early 2011, this South Australia winter 2016 has been one heck of a test!

one July morning - frost, hail and freezing winds
As I say, this was a shock to my system and totally unexpected.  I know South Australians will be laughing their socks off - I should have known something was a miss when, back in March, I announced I was cold and that I didn't think much to this South Australia winter because, other than looks of bewilderment, everyone was saying "wait until August"...I chose not to listen and truly believed they were having a laugh. 

I didn't believe (or perhaps chose not to believe) that anywhere in Australia would get 'soooooo wet and cold'!  In my defence  I have to point out that I never saw rain or wind in Home & Away and definitely never saw a long sleeved shirt or hat and scarf on Neighbours. I know these 'deceitful Aussie soaps' are not set in South Australia, but I have recently found out that both Sydney and Melbourne do indeed suffer from winter weather -  real, proper cold winter weather!  I have been totally deceived by Aussie soaps xx :)

Craig McLachlan wouldn't have looked quite as good in a wooly jumper in Winter

Tom and Pippa never braved the cold, wind and rain
and this cheery lot were never spotted in rain coats, hats and scarves
Ok, before buying our home and making the life changing move from Singapore to Adelaide, I did all the research on schools, where to live, how to buy a car, converting drivers licences, good restaurants, where to do shopping, how to apply for Medicare but what I failed on was checking the weather!  

So, after 5 years of not experiencing winter weather conditions,  I had to face the cold, smile in the rain, avoid the wind and just be brave!  So, as Spring dawns here in Adelaide, I am happy to report I survived my first South Australia winter xx :)

a particularly huge pine tree uprooted!
the pine tree fell across the road and into our paddock - barely missing the hay barn
We lost a few trees to the wild wind, but I didn't lose any toes to frost bite!  Now the weather is brightening, warming, drying and improving every day, Spring is definitely set to give me lots to smile about xx :) 

the colours of spring to brighten the days
Spring blossom buds bring happy endings to the Winter
I am informed that this 2016 Winter has been particularly bad - the most windy in the last 30 years, rainfall for July was at 415 mm (usually the full year only gives Adelaide 544 mm!) giving Adelaide its wettest Winter in 75 years, as well as hail, flurries of snow and regular frosty mornings.

So, fingers crossed this year has been an exception which would mean that 'normal' South Australia Winters are mild (and not so wet).  So, perhaps I can survive future Winters...I'll survive or I will hibernate from mid-April to early September xx :) 

With all this cold and rain, a winter-sun break was a much appreciated surprise from my hubby.  Celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary, we headed off to Port Douglas (near Cairns) for a long weekend of sunshine and relaxation.  More about that next time including a mini review of the Pullman Resort at Port Douglas, the restaurants we tried and the beaches we walked...

Visitors beware!


Adelaide, South Australia falls into Autumn in March through to May where visitors should expect cooler temperatures (lows of around 10 degrees C) and rainy wet days (around 25 rainy days in Autumn)

Winter in Adelaide starts in June through to August and visitors should prepare for low temperatures but also the wind chill.  Temperatures during the day with sun and no wind can be as high as 15 degrees C but the evenings and nights are particularly cold.  Frost and flurries of snow feature int the Hills.  The Winter months in Adelaide would, on average, have 45 days of rainy wet days.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Singapore opportunities, past 'n' I'm back

It's been a while!
It's been an age!
It's been 2 years and 10 months - blimey!

But I'm back...and ready to explain myself...

Why the radio silence?
Have I been doing nothing noteworthy?
Have I been doing stuff I didn't want to mention?
Have I been doing stuff of no interest?
Not at all!

From writing this little blog I was fortunate enough to be linked up with some exciting media people as well as some like-minded bloggers in Singapore.  So, while I was spending so much time 'working' and blogging, I was spending my free time away from my MacBook and doing other stuff!

Here's a brief look at what I've been up to since October 2013...

VANITY TROVE : I got on board with a Singapore brand named Vanity Trove - here, enjoyed testing beauty products for their online review sections and then fell into working as an editor on their mini mag.  I also took on some great review roles 'out of office'.

Vanity Trove - ready for subscribers,
Vanity mini mag (7 editions) written by me xx :)

I want to take this opportunity to thank the beautiful Camy who brought Vanity Trove into my life xx :)

TANGS : Through a certain staff member (previous) at Vanity Trove, I was linked up with an international advertising agency where I worked on one of their client's projects.  I was brought on board as Editor and Copy Writer for one of the biggest, and very prestigious, department stores in Singapore.  The Tangs magazine was an opportunity which was, not only so much fun, it really taught me a lot about the media business and how everything and everyone pulls together to make a marvellous finished product.

Tangs 'in house' magazine
I got to check out SEVIIN and signed myself as 'Editor' xx :)
I want to take this opportunity to thank the splendid Farhan who thought of me and brought me on board for that project.

BUBBAMAMA : I then met up with Katherine from BubbaMama.  This was THE most amazing opportunity I could have ever wished for.  Hitting it off from day one, Katherine brought me on board her team as Managing Editor at BubbaMama (and later Managing Editor at MartiniBlanc).  Together we had THE most fun anyone could wish to have (in a working environment anyways! :))

[our faces when leaving a media event when we BOTH bagged a Nespresso machine and Aerochino xx :) ] Loads of Happy Memories and smiles xx :)

While working with Katherine on both BubbaMama and MartiniBlanc, I worked on pretty much everything from reviewing beauty products (Body Shop, Lush, Fresh), to getting 'house best' theatre seats at many shows being performed at Marina Bay Sands Theatre.  I got to interview the stars, reviewed the shows and enjoyed the performances greatly (My Fair LadyLe Noir, Grease, Mama Mia).  We also bagged some tickets which made for wonderful giveaway prizes for our readers - giving always feels so good!

I was lucky to receive personal invitations to many prestigious events and happenings around Singapore too (Amber Lounge - Formula One weekend and many red carpet premier nights).

What was a great bonus was when I was asked to bring my boys along too - the three of us were welcomed to ride the Luge at Sentosa, take a preview tour at Madame Tussauds Sentosa, sky dive at iFly, preview the water playground at Gardens by the Bay and attend premiers of movies too - with free popcorn of course - my boys were super happy!

My boys will also remember well the hand deliveries we would receive : boxes and bags packed with treats for us to review (drinks and juices, cakes and bread, ice-cream and pizza) :)  My boys even made a video which is now on YouTube : the BubbaMama Sunshine Cocktail

White Moon, Tsubaki, iFly, Sinequanone, Gardens by the Bay
Blimey!  That all seems like a life time away!  What fabulous memories to treasure for another lifetime!

Sadly, I had to bid my farewell to Katherine and BubbaMama when my time in Singapore came to an end.  So I packed up my desk, kept my photo memories and now enjoy a Nespresso with 'frothy' milk regularly and think of happy times xx :)

You can read the parenting and mama lifestyle online mag BubbaMama HERE.
You can read the ladies lifestyle online mag MartiniBlanc HERE.
...and you can check out pics over on Instagram @bubbamama and @martiniblanc

My Fair Lady, Le Noir, Cavalier, SG50 celebrations, Formula One media call

I want to take this opportunity to thank the very gorgeous and truly fabulous, Katherine who trusted in me and gave me such an amazing opportunity xx :)

So, that's the Singapore opportunities past - now onto the here, the now and the future...

Life in Australia,
living the #farmlife,
You may have gathered I left Singapore - my family and I along with our 2 Mr Dogs flew out of Changi Airport in January 2016 and are now living in the very beautiful Adelaide Hills area of South Australia.

More of the present coming in the future (to follow....)

There's stories of stress and tears with Broken Bones and Runaway Dogs, as well as happy smiles when our dreams come true, finding grapes and wine tasting in our Shed, driving (the compulsory farmlife vehicle) the UTE, experiencing changing seasons, feeling the cold and sunbathing on the deck!

You are invited to follow me as I make the Adelaide Hills and Australia a part of my story.  Do come along with me as I explore and discover my new home, taste and trial foods, services and check out what's happening in and around the city of Adelaide in South Australia @visitsouthaustralia

Until the next time.

Kisses 'n' smiles from me xx :-)