Nice to see you!

Three major events occurred for me last year (2010), all in the space of about 2 weeks. I turned 50. The following day I got married. Two weeks later, my oldest daughter became pregnant with her first child and my first grandchild.

Most middle-aged people will tell you that in their minds, they still feel 20 something. It's the same for me.

Wasn't it only yesterday that I was planning a night out with guys from the surf club? That gorgeous new perm. Flaired, cuffed denims and the red t-shirt with the off-the-shoulder frill. Corked platform wedgies. **sigh**

Suddenly I'm looking in the mirror and wondering how 30 years can flash by so damned quickly!

So here I am in cyberspace, sharing my genuine shock and horror with anyone who'll listen and maybe I'll even meet some other over 50s who find themselves in the same predicament!

Welcome to my dilemna!!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Model Material

I met Bubbles this morning for a shopping trip.

She is attending a formal engagement party in Brisbane next month and needed a dress for the occasion, so for her birthday (which is in a couple of weeks) I bought her some new clothes, including a beautiful purple and black ombre maxi dress.

We spent two hours in a shop called 'City Chic' which caters to plus size young women. Bubbles fit perfectly into the 'extra small' sizes of their fashions and looked amazing in their outfits. She stayed in the fitting room trying on about 25 different outfits, while the salesperson waited on her hand and foot.

We bought 2 dresses, a bolero, 2 tops, a pair of black jeggings, a beautiful blingy belt to go with the purple dress and two bras. She was beaming from ear to ear when we left the shop carrying two full bags of clothes.

I must say that when she tried on the purple dress and opened the curtain with that huge smile on her face, it brought a tear to my eye. It was almost like a 'wedding dress moment'. She will look amazing for the engagement party.

Unfortunately, she had to leave for work at lunch time, but that gave me a couple of hours to shop for myself.

I found a black boot which had been marked down by 50% and then had a further 50% markdown on top of that! The saleswoman, however, couldn't find the other boot! So I created a drama filled moment in my silly kind of way and walked off pouting .. a few moments later, she came up to me and said "There are other shoes missing their partner and I think they may have been taken for shop displays, so if you wait around, I will go searching and hopefully I'll find the other boot for you."

Sure enough, twenty minutes later, she appeared with the other boot! So I got a fabulous pair of black leather ankle boots which had been marked down from $260 to $130 and then down to $65. Ya gotta be happy with that!!

I found some nice jewellery in the 'Tree of Life' store, a couple of tops in a shop having a 50% off sale, another handbag and a few other odds and ends.

This afternoon, I had to find a post office to send off a box of goodies for the Chicklet family and a box of goodies to myself because they wouldn't all fit in my suitcase!

BGWLBH and I caught a taxi to the Sharkies Club this afternoon. She had coffee. I had wine. Things sure have changed there since we moved from Sydney and there is so much construction and work happening, I hardly recognised the place. We might have a decent motel to stay in next time we come to Sydney!

Soon after that, we headed back to the Miranda RSL for dinner. The meals are delicious there at a great price, which you can probably tell because we've eaten there three times this visit!

That's about it for our day.

Tomorrow we go our separate ways and head home back to reality.

I know I've said it before, but it's been a fantastic holiday. I've enjoyed every minute of it (oh except for those two dodgy rooms that we stayed at in Coffs Harbour) and am so glad that I decided to do it. I came so close to deciding NOT to go this year and now we are already planning the next one.

Now, we need to sleep because we both have a very early start tomorrow.

Nite all.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Big Smoke

Well, here we are in Sydney.

Two more sleeps and I will be home in my own bed .. I must say that I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed!

It seemed like a very long drive today. Five hours on the freeway is long and boring. Our trips prior to this have been on the back roads which are much more interesting than long straight freeways. Today felt like it was never ending.

I have to mention a lovely little cafe named Rosie's, at John's River. We were in need of a coffee and there was a sign on the freeway between Port Macquarie and Taree promoting Rosie's, so we took the turn off and BGWLBH ordered her coffee while I checked out the gift shop.  I didn't buy anything, but BGWLBH LOVED her coffee so much, she told me to mention it here in the blog.

After the long freeway trip, we were very grateful for google maps getting us through Sydney today .. made it so much easier .. and we were lucky with all the traffic lights and barely stopped for the entire trip from one end of Sydney to the other.

It was a huge relief to finally pull into the carpark of the Metro and after we checked in ... guess what we did?  YES!! We shopped some more.

We met Bubbles at the Miranda RSL and had dinner there. I had the veal scallopini this time round and it was delicious. I probably had one too many wines and I think that I'll sleep soundly tonight.

We're a bit sad that the road trip has come to an end, but excited about shopping til we drop tomorrow.

BGWLBH and I both agree that this has been the best road trip yet. Thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end. We are also exhausted! My food options have not always been favourable and I think I've gained a couple of kgs so I'm looking forward to some healthy, organic meal options and some bone broth, which I've missed a lot.

Meanwhile, I need some sleep tonight.

Nite all.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Moving On

It got worse.

The bathroom and shower had mould, the air conditioner barely worked and the cabin was like an ice box all night. The bedding didn't make up for the lack of warmth and we both had dreadful nights sleep. One of the front windows was actually broken ... somebody had obviously tried to break in at some point and bent the frame of the window, which meant it couldn't close properly. We went out for dinner, leaving thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment in the room, not to mention jewellery and other valuables and anyone could have climbed in the window and taken it all.

We both rose with the sun ... it was the longest night ever, and we couldn't wait to get out of the place.

I'll be sending them an email when I get home and I'll be putting an unfavourable review on the website.

We decided to head out to Coffs Harbour Yacht Club for breakfast. It was a beautiful sunny morning so we sat out on the deck and enjoyed bacon and eggs and tea and coffee in the sun.

We were excited to get out of Coffs after our two disappointing accommodation experiences, so we quickly headed towards our next destination .. Port Macquarie .. where last night, I booked us a room at Rydges.

We stayed at Rydges a couple of years ago, when Adoring Husband booked it for us on a return trip to Griffith, so we knew it was going to be warm, clean, comfortable and a little bit luxurious, with a great restaurant and close to shopping and clubs.

We arrived early, but our room was ready, so after a quick (and delicious) lunch in a little cafe, we checked in earlier than expected and went on a shopping spree. More jewellery for me .. because you can never have too much jewellery .. remembering that I threw away an entire shopping bad of old jewellery before I came on holidays! Also, it's the only thing that I can fit in my suitcase to take home!!

There were food markets across the road from our motel this afternoon. I wished that we had a kitchen in our room and that we were staying for a couple of days, so that I could buy food and do some cooking. Beautiful fresh fruit and veg. We bought some freshly squeezed orange juice, which was AMAZING.

It was time to freshen up and head out for some more fun.

The Bowls Club entertained us for about an hour and then we decided to come back to the motel for dinner in the restaurant. It turned out to be an excellent decision because there were a couple of singer/musicians in the corner entertaining quite a big crowd in the bar/restaurant.

It's quite chilly tonight and it had been raining when we left the club, so the fireplace in the restaurant was very warm and welcoming.

The very friendly barman, Ryan, recommended a nice wine for me and BGWLBH enjoyed a Sangria while we waited for our dinner. I ordered a quinoa, beetroot and rocket salad with prawns, while BGWLBH had steak and vegetables with peppercorn sauce.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was very happy and relaxing and the music was from our generation with some Paul Kelly thrown in for good measure.

We were back in our room before 8pm and spent half an hour watching the previews for movies that we haven't seen yet and making a list to watch them when we get home.

I'm hoping for a nice sunrise tomorrow. There is a little cloud about, so with any luck, it could be pretty.

As I write this, I'm sitting up in my comfortable double bed watching an old movie on TV, but I think it will be an early night for both of us, considering our last two nights of broken, uncomfortable sleep. Got to catch up on some shut eye!

Nite all.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Ranting Time

We've had a good run, so I shouldn't complain really... BUT ... today is day ten of our road trip and until now, our accommodation in every town has met, or exceeded our expectations. 98% of our meals have been above average and the holiday has been exceptional.

Coffs Harbour, on the other hand, has been pretty dismal. We left the last motel because it was dingy and old and uncomfortable. They tried to charge us $18 a head for breakfast, of which we took one mouthful and walked out of the restaurant refusing to pay. Powdered egg, tough slimy bacon, rock hard stale sausages, soggy hash browns and coffee out of a crappy little machine. $160 per night. Not worth it.

So we got online and spent an hour searching for other accommodation - short notice in school holiday time, difficult I know, but we found this resort room for $190 per night and figured that it had to be a step up from the last place.

Well, the roof gutters are falling down, the front porch is covered in dirt and dead leaves, the walls inside are patched but not finished, half of the power points don't work, we can't get free to air TV (I wanted to watch Kyrgios tonight) and minimal foxtel channels, the windows are filthy, the fly screen in the toilet is covered in dirt and mould, the toilet doesn't flush properly, there is no phone in the unit and it just cost us $16 to do two loads of washing.

Glad to be moving on tomorrow and hopefully will find something better in Port Macquarie, or wherever we decide to stop.

At the last motel, we did meet a lovely couple who are travelling around in a mini van. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in February and the woman turned 70 years of age today! Her husband shouted her a night in the motel for her birthday. We've met some really nice people in our travels.

After abandoning our breakfast, we found a nice cafe and bought a take away coffee, then spent the morning shopping. I bought a beautiful tree pendant with amber stones mimicking fruit. I also found some t-shirts that I've been searching the world over for the Bare-chested Chef, so I grabbed a couple of them while I had the chance.

We found our way to the big shopping plaza and discovered a great little cafe (wish I could remember the name of it) that served up the most delicious chicken salad I've ever tasted. I then spoiled myself and bought a piece of gf orange and almond cake, which was very nice, but I couldn't eat it all.

While we ate lunch, we searched online for our accommodation - I took my laptop into the cafe with me. There wasn't a lot on offer obviously. Aside from it being school holidays, there is a big soccer tournament on in town, so that doesn't help. We have about 30 soccer kids accommodated in the units beside us. They've been pretty quiet though. I imagine they would all be exhausted from playing sports all day!

The weather here is significantly warmer than Armidale! The maximum in Armidale was 12C. The maximum here today was 24C. Beautiful.

Anyway, I'm off to sulk in my bedroom since I can't watch the Kyrgios tennis match tonight.

Nite all.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


What a ridiculous start to the day!!

We didn't start early, because it was a very cold and foggy morning and knowing that we would be driving up the mountain to Dorrigo, we decided to delay our departure until there was a good chance that the fog would lift.

Last time we drove to Dorrigo, we turned a corner and drove into thick fog with misty rain and we were terrified for the entire trip, with a semitrailer right on our tail and BGWLBH alternating between praying to god and apologising profusely to the truck driver behind us.

So we took our time getting ready and packing the car. Once we were ready to go, I went to grab the cabin key from my bag to lodge at reception and I couldn't find it! I emptied my handbag with no success. Checked the pockets of the coat that I wore last night, checked under the car seat, double checked the cabin, looked in my computer bag ... and meanwhile, BGWLBH was checking through the car and in her handbag, on the off chance that she grabbed it by mistake. Nothing.

I decided to get my suitcase out of the boot and take it back into the cabin to empty it out. FINALLY, I found it in the most obvious spot .. in my jewellery travel bag .. where all shiny sparkly things should be!

We packed everything back into the car and I climbed into the passenger seat and said "Where are my sunglasses?"

We looked at each other and BGWLBH rolled her eyes.

I emptied my bag, with no success, checked the floor of the car and in the door pocket. Checked the glove box. Looked in my toiletries bag and a couple of other bags in the boot. BGWLBH said "Go empty your suitcase again". I replied with .. "It won't be there, I just looked there for the keys! I probably left them at the Club last night."

So I dragged my suitcase out of the car again and took it into the cabin to empty it out. Halfway through the 'emptying out' process, I found the damned things in the middle of my clothes!

Luckily, we were in no hurry and we both had a good giggle about it .. I will never live it down and BGWLBH will have something to tease me and laugh about for years to come!

We had to fuel up the car, so we drove back into Armidale and then on to the shopping mall where we had bacon and eggs at The Coffee Club and did a little shopping for necessities. It was about 11.30am before we finally made it onto the open road.

On the drive, we saw a signpost for the town of Wollomombi and decided to turn in to check it out. We recognised it immediately because we had bought the worst coffee in the history of the universe at the little shop (which is now a post office) on the main street last time we were there. Our memories were obviously struggling this morning.

So on we drove to the next stop, which was Ebor. We've been to Ebor twice before. Ebor Falls are quite spectacular, but we didn't go there today. We stopped at the little coffee shop called 'Fusspots' and BGWLBH got herself a Mocha. She also spotted a very appropriate sign that said "I finally got it all together and now I can't remember where I put it!"

Dorrigo was our next stop. We had a bathroom break and went for a stroll around the town. There was a lovely little boutique where I bought a vest and another gift shop where BGWLBH spent some money.

We noticed a sign for 'Dangar Falls' so we decided to head in that direction and found another beautiful waterfall very close to the town. We also noticed that the closer we got to the coast, the more tourists were about. Lots of kids and noise. Not our idea of a fun holiday.

So on we went.

We didn't get very far on the other side of Dorrigo when we saw a sign for Dorrigo National Park with a skywalk lookout and decided to go for a sticky beak there. Soooooo many people and kids! We checked out the skywalk .. well I did .. BGWLBH is terrified of heights. We started off on the walk through the rainforest hoping to spot some birds, but there were kids running and jumping and making a hell of racket, so we decided to turn back and have lunch at the restaurant near the skywalk instead.

BGWLBH had a pulled chicken toasted sandwich with gf bread and I had a giant bowl of Chicken and Corn Chowder. It was the biggest bowl of soup I've ever seen and as yummy as it was, I could only eat half of it. The gf sourdough toast that came with it was pretty disgusting though.

I should mention that we decided overnight, not to go to Kempsey today, because the accommodation looked very unsavoury and a quick post on facebook brought us enough negative comments warning us not to go there.

We chose Coffs Harbour instead.

We drove through to Bellingen and discovered a beautiful little coffee shop on the edge of town nestled in the side of the mountain. An old style home converted into a coffee shop/cafe. There were people sitting at tables out the front playing chess .. it looked to be a couple of elderly gentlemen playing chess with some young teenagers and a young man.

We walked through the shop to the side doors and stepped out onto a verandah where we chose a table and then ordered a wine for me (it was after 3pm) and another mocha for BGWLBH. I set my laptop up on the table and searched for accommodation in Coffs Harbour and booked a room online. The view from the back of the cafe was breathtaking with green fields, the huge trees lining the river and then the rolling hills in the background.

We could hear entertainment up the road. It sounded like fiddles and banjoes and crowds of people yelling for more. Such a great atmosphere.

When we hit the road again and drove through the main street of Bellingen, it was obvious that there had been markets on all day and they were packing up. There were lots of hippies and colourful people with dreadlocks and musical instruments and a crazy big colourful double decker bus with music blaring and the driver obviously bopping along as he drove.

I felt a little disappointed that we missed it all, but we certainly drove through a very happy atmosphere and Bellingen is obviously the place to be on the weekends!

Finally we made it to Coffs Harbour and were excited to see that our Motel had a lovely restaurant with a great menu and we planned on eating 'in' until we realised that it is closed on Sundays. Of course it was!

Luckily, I had overheard the receptionist telling a guest that the Coff's Exies had a courtesy bus that picked people up from our motel, so we booked the bus and headed to the Club for dinner instead. It was a beautiful club with a big friendly smiling man at the front door to welcome guests as they entered. He did all the hard work with the computer sign in for us and explained where everything was in the club.

The staff were all very friendly and helpful. The club was huge and looked almost brand new. There was a little coffee shop area and then the bistro which had it's own bar. The meals were huge and the food delicious and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time for a couple of hours until the courtesy bus brought us home when we were ready.

It's been a long, eventful, interesting and fun day.

Time for sleep.

Nite all.