Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A 25th birthday celebration

A couple of weekends ago I turned 25.

I remember when I was little I had so many predictions about how my life would be when I turned 25. I used to think I would be married and have babies by now! I crack up laughing thinking about this now!

I am definitely not married and no where near ready for bambinos, but despite all of that I had one of the best birthdays to date.

I wasn't even sad about turning 25 this year! I keep thinking that my life keeps getting better each year and new and exciting things keep happening so I'm not that afraid to turn another year older. (Although, ask me again before I turn 30 - I'm sure I'd have changed my tune by then!)

This birthday Travis and I spent a night in the big city of Sydney. Now that we live so close to the big smoke I wanted to take advantage of all the great things the city can offer.

We stayed at the Sheraton On The Park right in the city on Elizabeth Street. I'd stayed here with my parents before so I knew what to expect, but it was Trav's first time so it felt special sharing the fancy hotel with him for the first time.

[Checking out the view from the top floor of the Sheraton
| Loving the complimentary bathrobes at the hotel - I could have stayed snuggled up all night in this thing!]

We had drinks and nibbles the night before my birthday at the hotel bar before we made our way down Pitt Street to Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant. I was so super excited to eat here. I love Jamie Oliver as a chef so I knew we would love the food. Plus, Trav is half Italian so the menu was right up his alley.

I was so glad we had pre-booked our table as being a Saturday night there was a long waiting list of anxious people hoping to get a seat. Apparently there was a rumour that you couldn't pre-book tables at the restaurant and I'm here to confirm that this is un true (unless it has changed since!) I booked online and it was the easiest process ever. If you do plan to visit the restaurant, book in advance!

The restaurant looks tiny from the street but is actually quite large and long, and boy can they pack the patrons in! The atmosphere is quite raw and industrial, a bit like Jamie's approach to cooking, the lighting is low and the wait staff are quick to get you in and get your orders under way.

[A bad shot of inside the restaurant looking back towards the entry and bar.]

For entree Trav ordered the bruschetta which was one of the nightly specials and it was fan-bloody-tastic. I have never tasted anything so good! I ordered a slab which included an assortment of cured meats and some pecorino cheese and chilli sauce. It too was incredibly delicious.

The main course was the excitement for me. I love a good pasta and having been to Italy I was so keen to get something close to authentic. I ordered the spaghetti Alla Norma which was a Sicilian dish with a kick of chilli. Trav ordered the lasagne, and he practically licked his plate clean.

[Spaghetti Alla Norma. Delish.]

I couldn't stop smiling the entire night. It was the most perfect dining experience and the company was great. I love how simple things like eating amazing food and tasting great wine with someone you love can make you so happy.

I was super spoilt this year in the gift department. Besides Travis shouting me the weekend away in the city, my parents put some money towards my most recent net-a-porter purchase of a Diane Von Furstenburg handbag. Its black leathery heaven. I am in love.

The morning of my birthday before we headed home we made a quick stop down to Bondi beach to walk along the water and get our feet wet. Although the weather was sunny and warm, the water was freezing so I wasn't keen to get in! It was just nice to see the beach and walk along it. It was perfect.

The whole 25th birthday experience was perfect. I am loving life right now and am so keen to tackle 2014 head on and see what surprises are in store!

How is your 2014 shaping up so far? Any new and exciting surprises already?

Take care friends,
E, x

Monday, January 20, 2014

Everyday grateful

Last year was a big year for me in so many ways. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, moving in with my boyfriend... just to name a few big events. I have been on a mission for some time now to become a more positive person as I have previously been known to be a pessimist and being negative is no fun!

Don't get me wrong, trying to be super happy and smile about things when all you want to do is cry or sloth around with the grumps is hard. Making a conscious effort to wake up everyday and not groan about going to work is challenging, but I've found just focusing on the positive and good things in my day can make facing each day that little bit easier.

I think it is so important to try and be as positive and happy as we can be because we are constantly reminded everyday that life is too short to be anything but happy.

A friendly reader of my blog contacted me about compiling a post about what I have been grateful for over the holiday period and to share a little bit about her inspiring story.

Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma at age 36, only three months after giving birth to her daughter. Pleural mesothelioma is a disease which affects the lung's protective lining in the chest cavity and is a life-changing condition. She was given 15 months to live!

Heather with her husband Cameron and daughter Lily Rose.
Photo courtesy of Heather's Facebook page.

Heather and her husband set out to find the best doctor possible to help her fight this condition and she found Dr David Sugarbaker whom is a renowned mesothelioma surgeon. Heather agreed to have a new surgical procedure with Dr Sugarbaker that would bring hope to her and her family.

Now, seven years on, Heather is a mesothelioma survivor hoping to spread word about this disease and her story of courageously beating it.

Heather has a wonderful website which you can view here and you can read more about her story and mesothelioma.

Now, for my 'grateful' today...

At the risk of sounding corny and all mushy, I wanted to mention how thankful I am to have my boyfriend, Travis.

Trav has been my biggest support and rock for the past two years. He has come to know me very well and knows when I am  sad, anxious or stressed and why. He and I started our relationship as a long distance one (as most might know if you follow me on Twitter and/or have read my blog before) and it was super hard.

As anybody who has been in a long distance relationship will know, we really had to focus on getting to know each other over the phone. Building a relationship mostly on conversation is hard. Travis is not a big talker either so that proved to be even more difficult! (Luckily I can talk ALOT! hehe)

Despite the distance and the tears and tantrums (mostly from me) about being apart, he stood by me and we pushed through it. I am more happy than ever to be in my relationship and I know we can talk about anything together. He is my biggest support and I am so grateful to have him in my life.

I would love any readers to post something they are grateful for in the comments if you feel you want to share! It may be something small, or something a little 'corny' like mine, but it's nice to reflect on something or someone that makes us happy.

Thank you Heather for contacting me and reminding me that life is so precious and we should be grateful everyday for our health and happiness.

E, x