Quick update, I’m going to get around to doing a full blog post soon about things but here’s a cool 15 minutes of a nice Manly Sunset from Queenscliff shrunk down into 15 seconds of enjoyment.
Welcome to Earth little baby Oscar!
Baby’s first sunset over Sydney
If everything goes to plan in the next few days we’ll have a new little member of the G2007 network! The spare time might be decreasing soon so I thought I’d get this last post out with what we’ve been doing!
We’ve been really busy planning for a baby, I had to move out of working from home and get an office and also start full time on my own enterprise, BuiltWith!
New Green Themed Office
Everyone is welcome to come and visit it is on East Esplanade opposite Manly Wharf.
Last November Amy and I went to ARIA for Amy’s birthday, it was a good night, the food wasn’t as good as I was hoping as it was supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Sydney but we had a good time anyway, and we got free drinks as they took so long bringing them to the table -
Amy and me at Aria Sydney
Also in November we did a trip to Paperbark Camp for our one year (paper) anniversary. It was a really nice camp in the forest at Jervis Bay, the camp was luxury camping, with no TV and limited power, but it was really good fun and we didn’t have to set the tent up ourselves (would have taken a week).
Amy outside the Paperbark Camp
Near the end of November Chris got a Groupon deal to go on a taster cruise from Sydney harbor on a huge cruise ship. It was good fun but felt like it was teetering on a riot as everyone was getting the most out of their one night special cheap cruise.
Chris and I in cabin on our taster cruise
For Christmas we headed up to Brisbane and spent it at Taryn and Wade’s house. The rest of Amy’s family came over on Christmas eve. I got some new bike lights and a inventors kit which has an Arduino board in it, which was awesome!
Wade also let us drive is Range Rover around Brisbane which was really good fun.
Zara, Cooper and Ali opening their Christmas presents
New Years was spent at Simone and Stuart’s (who just had a baby) which is right on the water in Manly, perfect for the 9pm fireworks. Amy didn’t want to walk so I drove over which was a mistake because there was not a single parking space for miles, I almost drove home and walked!
Well that is about it for updates hopefully I’ll get more going soon!
Another year and another change to the categories of “best of”, which shows the pace of change mostly in technology in the world. Album of the year is now gone as buying albums are a thing of the past and has been replaced with Mobile App of the year.
Mobile App of the year – Spotify
Having Spotify on the IPhone and the computer has opened a whole new world of music, as well as a new way to listen to it. At home I can listen to friends playlists or what they are currently listening to or use the playlist radio feature to generate recommendations for me. This means I’m constantly exposed to new music which is fantastic!
Cinema Trip of the year – Argo
This year didn’t have as many cinema trips as other years, I think because of AppleTV and QuickFlix means we get as many movies as we could possibly want already through the post. The other movies I did see weren’t as good as I was hoping, Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus weren’t as good as I was hoping they would be. Argo is a fictional (but based on reality) story of getting some US embassy workers out of Tehran. It’s a really interesting story and recommend the movie.
TV Show of the Year – 30 Rock
It’s awesome when you find a TV show that has been running for a few years but you never watched, it means you have hundreds of episodes to watch. 30 Rock is one of those shows, it stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin and is based on running a TV show at NBC’s NYC offices at 30 Rockafella Plaza. It’s extremely funny and I’m sad their last season is currently being filmed. A close second is Homeland, which we’ve also loved as well as the continuation of last years top TV show Boardwalk Empire.
Game of the Year – Ski Safari
This little mobile app game lets you control a little guy as he skis down a mountain. He jumps on the back of yetis and can do loops in the air. All of which get you various different rewards. It’s super addictive and great fun. It’s lack of “buy credits” options makes this an original game where the developers goal of making a decent game without all of the tricky ways other apps try and get more money out of you is refreshing, hence why it’s a popular game and in the top 20 apps on the app store this year.
Website of the Year – Gmail
I’ve never featured gmail as the website of the year as I’ve never thought of it as a website. The tab I have open on the web for the majority of the time is Gmail, so it should get the accolade at least once!
Purchase the Year – Focus Bike
I only got this at the end of the year but this bike is awesome. It has hub gears and disc brakes and is great to take out on bike rides around Manly. The lack of metal chain means the ocean won’t rust it as quickly with a bit of luck.
Restaurant of the Year – Margan
Margan was the venue that Amy and I got married at last year, we were really pleased with it. Recently we went back to the Hunter Valley for a weekend and we went back and had lunch there. I had Pork Belly for the main and a delicious dessert, the food is so good for a restaurant which is practically in the middle of nowhere. We also went to Aria this year which is supposed to be a top restaurant in Australia but I found it pretty disappointing from a food/service standpoint. A lot of online reviews say the same.
Trip of the Year – Kyoto
Amy went to Japan for work and I went along with her. We had a little bit of time away from work so we made a trip down to Kyoto on the bullet train. I love Japan in general but Kyoto was also really awesome and one of the highlights of the trip. I definitely hope we can make it back there again sometime soon. We made some other awesome trips, Bali, Fiji and Uluru and Paperbark Camp to name a few!
2013 has a very high possibility of being totally different from the previous few years so watch this space!
Last weekend Lorraine and Matt were kind enough to invite us down to Helensburgh (pronounce Helensberg) for the weekend. Lorraine and Matt moved there a few years ago and have taken a lot of the Woolloomooloo crowd down there with them, Gaétane, Andrew, Chris, Esther, El, Al and their entourage of children.
Helensburgh is about 1.5 hours drive from Manly or about a 1 hour train journey from Sydney, making it within commuting distance if you work in the big city. Manly to Helensburgh feels like a long journey though because you have to go through the city and put up with all of the traffic that brings so it actually feels like a holiday by the time you arrive.
We arrived on Saturday morning and Matt gave me a tour of their house, Amy has already been down twice but this is my first visit to Helensburgh save for weddings and trips to nearby Stanwell Park. It’s nice to have a house with lots of room and a garage where you can put things like bikes and cars! L&M also have this chicken that doesn’t actually do much egg laying apparently -
Matt and Lorraines Chicken
It was my job to feed the chicken, which wasn’t very hard, I just had to chuck food off the upstairs balcony into her pen. At lunchtime we headed off to the Helensburgh fair that was by chance happening that day, we bumped into all of the people we knew down there which was great and really nice to see them all again. Helensburgh fair had a “free books” stall where the books were free and Andrew got lots for his collection.
Afterwards we headed over to El and Alex’s house for a cup of tea and to see their new place which they’d recently moved into down in Otford. It was a beautiful sunny day and a great opportunity to take advantage of the large balcony and garden they had!
Gaetane had organised a PechaKucha at the Otford tennis court hall that evening, which is basically where you do a 6 minute presentation with 20 slides on the topic of your choosing. I was getting ready to meet lots of new people and it turned out the majority of them were people I knew which was strange for a place I’d never been to before!
PechaKucha at Otford Tennis Court / Village Hall
That evening Lorraine and Matt had prepared a fondue, El and Alex also came over and we enjoyed cheese fondue, followed by steak and salad followed by dark chocolate Fondue, followed by Cognac. It was delicious and really good fun -
Matt doing Fondue prep work
The next day we headed down the coast to Coledale Markets, where Gaétane and Andrew were running their stall - Plat Du Jour – La Crêperie. It was great seeming them at work and to finally taste one of their crepes. I had my eye on the salted caramel one since the beginning and I give it 10/10.
Gaétane et Andrew à l’étal de nourriture Plat Du Jour – La Crêperie
The Coledale markets had a cool sitting area and we sat in the sun and drank some coffee and tea with Matt and Lorraine before heading up the coast to checkout a pub and watch some hand gliders at Stanwell Park. Matt had asked if I wanted to try it out and I said I “wasn’t ready” – we went down the beach to watch some landings and I filmed some on my phone. It wasn’t actually windy enough for hand gliding apparently but one guy on a performance hand glider took off. Matt said to us, the worse thing that can happen is you land in the ocean. So we watched this glider come down the beach and then… crash into the ocean. He was lucky he was so close to shore and the life guards could help him as the seas were 4-5ft!
Here’s a panorama I made on the new iPhone 5 of Stanwell Park and the South Coast from the top of Bald Hill.
iPhone 5 Panorama at Stanwell Park
That afternoon we popped in to see Chris and Esther at their new place in Helensburgh (5 mins from Matt and Lorraine) and then headed back up the coast to Sydney, popping in to Potts Point to visit Marcy and Chris and see their new car and then go to Chiswick restaurant to belatedly celebrate Chris’ birthday (and give him his birthday gift).
A great weekend and looking forward to our next trip down the South Coast! Thanks for the hospitality Lorraine and Matt!
I’ve finally updated amy-gary.com to be post-wedding rather than pre-wedding. It was an awesome day and hopefully the pictures and video can take you back if you were there or see what happened if you were not -
A few weekends ago Amy and I went to Uluru, which is a rock in the middle of Australia (it’s actually more to the left of Australia) and it is just about in the Northern Territory, but very close to the Western Australia border.
We got on the plane and saw another guy get on with us who had two bags of cheeseburgers. They sat in the overhead locker for 4 hours and were then handed out to his Qantas ground crew friends on arrival, who then tucked into them as if it was Christmas. It was disgusting to watch.
Central Australia Landscape
The scenery across Australia is incredible, you see the green of the coast, fade into the blue mountains and slow but surely it gets more and more red and crazy looking like that shown above.
We landed at Uluru airport which basically welcomes you to Ayers Rock Resort, as there’s not that much out here. It was lucky really as I hadn’t really planned anything and didn’t know how we were going to do anything. We went straight to the place we were staying which was called Longitude 131, which is 15 little tents that look out over the rock. The service there was fantastic we arrived and were told the itinerary for the days we were going to be there (which included some very early starts). Here’s Amy outside of our hut -
Amy outside our Tent at Longitude 131
That day was already planned out and we went on a base walk of the rock. It was fun getting on the bus and travelling to the rock which is incredible from a distance as well as standing right next to it. At the end of the tour we came across a little area where some drinks and canapes were setup for us which was really nice.
Ayers Rock and Me
Having water all the time was required because the air was so dry, it was like being on a plane for 3 days in a row but with more leg room. That evening we went to the fantastic restaurant at the resort and had some delicious food before going back to the hotel room and falling asleep as early as possible as it was a 5:45am start the next day for our trip to the Kata Tjuta, which is another rock nearby which kind of loses out to Uluru but is just as impressive from a tourist perspective.
We walked down one of the nooks of Kata Tjuta and saw a Rock Wallaby and also some Camels, which ever since they arrived have taken over central Australia apparently.
Amy and me at Kata Tjuta
Although it was 30 degrees in the day time it was really really cold at night (and at 5:45am) hence why we had pullovers and ponchos to keep us warm!
That evening we did dinner under the stars, which was basically an area setup away from the resort where we had dinner around a table with all of the other guests and got told about the stars, although there was a full moon the entire time we were there which meant we didn’t see too many stars but it was still fun.
We opted out of any other early morning starts as we just wanted to do a bit of relaxing, although when I booked the trip a free helicopter ride was a part of the package. It was just a 15 minute flight over towards the rock and back again but it was really good fun and a great way to see the place.
Uluru from the Helicopter
That was the end of our package adventure and the rest of the time we just spent relaxing, talking to the other guests and I even jumped in the pool (it was freezing). One of the things that amazed me about the area was how green it was, apparently they’d so much rain the past two years it was unusual for it to be as green as it was.
Everything at the resort was all-inclusive, so the mini bar and the main bar at the hotel was all totally free, if you were into drinking you wouldn’t have been able to walk out of the resort at the end of it! Every day the room keepers replenished the cadbury chocolate bar supply in our room, which I would then take out and put into my suitcase, hidden under some clothes. On the last night I went to pack my bag and found one of the bars had been eaten by some sort of creature with claws! That was pay back for me stealing the chocolates I think -
Chocolate eaten by a creature of some sort
It was a fantastic trip and I would recommend it to anyone, we really didn’t want to leave which is amazing considering it’s the middle of nowhere!
Last weekend Amy and I had a long weekend away to Uluru. Which is a famous rock known as Ayers Rock in the middle left of Australia, in the Northern Territory, which means I’ve now (and Amy) have visited every state in Australia; New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand.
Here’s the video for the trip -
Full blog post coming soon!
Last month we went to Bali for the second time! We were lucky enough to stay at a friends hotel/villa in Seminyak, sort of the same area that we stayed in last time. This time we came out with Lorraine, Fi, Ilissa and Greg. Lorraine lives in Manly but the others all came in from Hong Kong and are friends with Martin who part owns the place. Bali has undergone so much development since we last came that it was hard to see old locations we recognized as lots of new restaurants and buildings have appeared.
We flew into Tuban airport which is about 6km away from Seminyak but takes a good 1 hour to get to thanks to the infrastructure issues. We got through customs really quicky thanks to some pre-arranged meetup we had and headed to Seri Villas to meet up with the HK crowd, it was quite late when we arrived so we had a few drinks and then went to bed. I got myself re-acquainted with Bali and remembered all of its funny quirks, like not having pavements for pedestrians but instead just open holes and gutters and loose bricks that if you didn’t concentrate on where you were going results in injury. Sometimes I’d walk around annoyed at the westerners that take their children on motorbikes without wearing helmets as if because your on holiday it’s totally safe to do that!
Typical Bali Street (dangerous)
The shops are fun in Seminyak, you can’t really tell which ones are legitimate or not, for example one shop I found was called AVEDA, I visited the exact same shop in Japan and we have some of their shower gel and shampoo in the bathroom but this one didn’t sell anything like that, just dresses wrapped in plastic bags. I didn’t take a photo of this store but this guy did.
One of the first places we visited as a group was Ku De Ta, which is a well known beach hangout in Bali, it is really good to go to for a drink and something to eat. We had some day time cocktails on our first day which was really nice. The next day I did a marathon walk down the beach with Greg and Ilissa down to Kuta (which is a bit like Benidorm but for Australians) and they made me eat in a dodgy restaurant, luckily though I didn’t get food poisoning. That night we hit the W hotel, which was really cool. There was a wedding on the roof and so later in the evening they had some “throw safety out the window” fireworks display which was good because we got to be really close.
Everyone at the W Hotel Seminyak
The next day was my birthday! The hotel staff knew because we gave them our passports and I also think Amy might have told them. They were really nice and got me a cake with a personalized message on top, it was very nice although the chocolate cake was so huge it lasted us the rest of the holiday!
Birthday in Bali with my Bali T-Shirt and the really nice staff
That night we went out to a restaurant called Living Room which was at the bottom of our street and really nice.
The next day we went out to meet up with Lorraine’s friends who live in her building, we ended up having some nice drinks at a bar looking over the beach with their other friends who was here with his brother, who turned out to be one of the guys from 4 Poofs and a Piano, a group that used to sing on the Jonathan Ross talk show when it was on the BBC!
We made a trip to Ubud and also Kintamani which I remember last time being truly an amazing site. Even though it takes hours to get there and you do the obligatory stops at temples along the way it really is amazing to see Mount Batur which last erupted in 1968 and as you can see from the picture the lava flow is still visible (black bits on the mountain).
Amy, me, Lorraine and Fi at Mount Batur
One of our favourite places we went to for dinner was a new restaurant at the bottom of our street called Petitenget Restaurant, Petitenget was the name of the area and this place had some of the best food. We went there for dinner on our second night and decided to go back a few times for breakfast.
Breakfast at Petitenget Restaurant
We could feel the end of the holiday getting closer, and the HK arrivals were leaving a couple of days before us. So before Fi left we went up to Bvlgari Hotel which is in Uluwata and a hour drive from Seminyak. It was a really nice hotel and although it wasn’t quite the same vibe as Ku De Ta or Potato Head it was a great place to have cocktails, enjoy the view out to see and have some amazing tapas food.
Here’s Amy and me enjoying ourselves there -
Amy and me at Bvlgari Uluwata
Bali was an awesome holiday once again, the food was great and it was sunny and warm the entire time. On our last night we went to a fantastic more family orientated restaurant where we had wine, starters, main courses and two deserts for $20 each which living in Australia is impossible!
Can’t wait for trip number three to Bali someday
A few weeks ago Amy, Lorraine, Fi, Greg, Ilissa and I went to Bali for a couple of weeks. It was a really good fun to go back to some summer weather so quickly after visiting Japan. Here’s the video of some of the highlights of the trip -
Full post with pictures is coming soon!