365feministselfies 2014

At the beginning of 2014 I saw a challenge – to use selfies to show life as a feminist. I didn’t take a huge number of selfies before, some, but not a lot. Selfies are often derided as narcissistic but hey, people have been having their photos taken for as long as there have been photos – and before that it was portraiture for those who could afford it. Digital technology and camera phones have just made it easier and cheaper to record so much of our lives. I knew I was never going to manage to take a selfie every day, and then there were also days when I took several. Some are flattering, some are not. Looking back over them they capture the things that have been important in my life in the last 12 months – my family, derby, work, travel, friends and family and their babies – even sometimes when you don’t see the people, they are there in the event I am dressed up for or at. As those of you who follow this blog (or any of my other online presences) know, this hasn’t always been an easy year. Some of the bad times are reflected in here, although this captures more of the fun moments, and a lot of the mundane ones. A lot of these pictures have stories behind them – some very complex, some more simple – and some of them just capture a moment in time, or a moment of boredom. A lot of the stories to the pictures have been told elsewhere on the blog, or on Instagram or Facebook.

Enjoy the pictorial story of the year – I’m happy to fill in the gaps – but you can see that this is the year of one feminist. There are many others, we all live different lives, but we believe similar things about how society needs to change.


Weeks! #30: delegations, derby and more sickness

2014-07-22 10.54.47The beginning of the week was dominated by a visit from an important Indian delegation. It is nice though when you are on good enough terms with the Indian leader of the delegation that he asks you solicitously about the health of your children when you have to excuse yourself to tend to sick people. Judewas at home sick, and James and I were playing tag team parental care because we both had work obligations. Modern parenting.

2014-07-21 11.11.15The sick boy himself, clad in his Tigger onesie. Medium sick days can involve quite a lot of computer gaming.

2014-07-21 18.23.26Before going out to dinner on Monday night with the Indian delegation, I also managed to pick up Sebastian from his hockey training for the ACT team. Hockey pick ups also serve as excellent fodder for conversation with Indian delegations – several of the Indians had themselves played hockey, so there was lots of comparing of notes. I can be always grateful for my knowledge of hockey and cricket because it is a major upside in the Indian diplomacy space.

2014-07-22 19.07.54-1Here is a gratuitous Zachary in his dragon onesie shot. He has become very fond of wearing this at home and to bed and now the challenge is removing it to wash it.

2014-07-22 19.07.59-1Jude had recovered enough to go to school on Tuesday – and practice the viola.

2014-07-23 08.07.13On Wednesday it was up early and off to Melbourne for more meetings with the Indians and others. They had given me a beautiful scarf as a present, so I wore it.

2014-07-23 08.35.20I also wore my fishnets.

2014-07-23 08.29.29The offices we were in in Melbourne did have a spectacular view. Apparently there are attempts to introduce AFL to India so the MCG was a double discussion point.

2014-07-23 12.29.04I had been getting increasingly sick with a coldlike thing during the week. It was particularly annoying that I went straight from the gastro to a cold, but such is life. I struggled into work Thursday morning for a couple of important meetings, but by lunchtime-ish I was completely smashed and essentially went home to pass out in bed. And I stayed there for most of Friday with George as company. Except when I went to the doctor and he told me I had a nasty respiratory infection and to take all the antibiotics and ventolin.  I had kept hoping right up to 6pm that I would be well enough to make training and hence play the next day, but it was not to be. Not even close.

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I was spared Saturday morning sport due to sickness, but was out of the house in the afternoon. We went for coffee with Jude and Sebastian while Zachary was at his skating session. You know I am sick when I drink tea over a hot chocolate.

The boys’ training spot had moved to Woden CIT. I liked the wall-art.

2014-07-26 15.50.15And then it was the big boys’ turn at skating.

2014-07-26 15.51.49It was then off to Tuggeranong for the VDL double header. While I was far too sick to skate, I did manage to line-up manage for the co-ed bout. James bench managed the other team. My team (red!) won.

It was weird to watch the other game from the stands and to have no active role to play. And we won convincingly. At least I got a star biscuit with my name on it.

2014-07-26 20.30.49-1Sunday I continued to rest. The respiratory infection meant there was no chance of training. while I was resting though, others cooked and we ended up having a lovely dinner with Helen, Sean and the two Andrews.

Weeks! #29: Sri Lanka and sickness

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So on Monday morning I got on the lane I thought I was catching all along,even though I should already have been in Colombo. Oh well.

It all went smoothly and there was time for a massage and breakfast at the Qantas First Class Lounge.

2014-07-14 10.11.13And then a gin and tonic between flights in Bangkok.

2014-07-14 20.03.18The view from my hotel room was fabulous.

2014-07-15 08.27.58Although apparently I wasn’t supposed to photograph it.

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As I had to pack a three day program into two days, it was pretty busy. The main reason for my visit was to speak at a conference on vocational education and then I was fitting in a bunch of meetings when I had a free moment. I loved the campaign the Sri Lankans were developing to show people that skills study is a good option for young people.

We also got to see some spectacular dancing at the conference reception.

With me in Colombo were Melinda from one of the Industry Skills Councils, and Markeeta who was last year’s Aboriginal ad Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year. After the dinner, we went to a place they had spotted the day before (they caught the right plane) called the Ministry of Crab.

I ate the chilli crab which was delicious but hot hot hot.

2014-07-15 20.54.05-1 - CopyThe old Dutch Hospital complex where the restaurant was, was also home to a number of other restaurants and bars. We found one that served mojitos which helped to deal with the aftermath of too much chilli.2014-07-15 22.05.58-1The next day started with meetings, had conferencing interspersed with more meetings. I did have to leave the hotel for some of the meetings and got to see the sun sinking in the sky from the back of a hotel car.

2014-07-16 17.49.04 - CopyI was also pleased to fit in a quick swim – some time to float in the pool, listening to the sea and allow the stress to ebb away. At least a bit – and then the English school boy cricket team came and started doing synchronised jumps into the pool. On the upside, it was a big pool.

Free from official responsibilities, Melinda, Markeeta and I headed back to the Dutch Hospital for dinner and more mojitos.

The restaurant had super funky light-up menus.

And mojitos!

2014-07-16 22.08.20Here we are.

2014-07-16 22.01.46Then it was Thursday morning and time to fly home.

We had six hours in Bangkok. At the end of hour two, I started vomiting.  I did that regularly for the next four hours.

2014-07-17 17.18.51I can assure you that gastro and international flights are not a good mix. For the first time ever on an international flight I did not watch anything, eat anything or drink anything. I lay there and slept or tried to sleep. The Qantas staff were lovely and looked after me. I felt terrible.

Then arrived in Sydney and heard about MH17 before I was even off the plane and decided mine wasn’t the worst flight experience of the last 24 hours.

I couldn’t believe that there was a reporter waiting a international arrivals who asked me if I’d flown in from Malaysia. I couldn’t even.

Anyway, once I got back to Canberra, I spent the day in bed. I was supposed to be going to Sydney the next day to line up manage our final 5×5 game against S2D2 on Saturday, but there was no way I could stand for that long.

I did manage to sit at the football and watch Jude though.

The boys had a lego-a-thon over the weekend.

It was still very cold.

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And George was pretty relaxed.

2014-07-19 17.56.48-1By Sunday afternoon I was well enough to bake a banana cake.

2014-07-20 16.58.27-1And then, inescapably, work beckoned – I had to frock up and head to dinner at the Indian High Commissioner’s residence to welcome a delegation of Indians we were hosting for the next week. The gastro had gone at least, but a cold was emerging, but work…

2014-07-20 18.38.00

Weeks! #27: life and broken bits

2014-06-30 19.31.45Games are big in our house, and no game is a more important staple than Unexploded Cow. The boys are even starting to learn strategy.

2014-07-01 10.18.11Gratuitous George photo. I was having a sick day.

2014-07-01 19.11.52While I was away, Sebastian managed to convince his father to buy him a zebra onesie. It results in no end of amusement.

2014-07-02 13.09.22James and I managed to find time for lunch together at Loading Zone. Delicious lemon tart.

2014-07-02 15.08.49Exciting new stockings!

2014-07-02 19.39.15Things continue a little stressful in life. So the odd Lindor Ball and glass of wine is necessary.

2014-07-02 20.05.28Maybe two Lindor Balls.

And there is nothing better for relieving stress than killing a few monsters.

2014-07-03 08.19.05Thursday morning and I was walking Jude and Zac to school early for choir.

2014-07-03 20.13.52Zac has started to expand his cooking skills and here was helping me make cupcakes that he could take to school for his birthday.

2014-07-03 20.37.24Gratuitous selfie.

2014-07-04 08.42.24The last day at school was pyjama day. With added pillow for watching movies.

2014-07-04 12.26.54Derby shirt Friday involved Oberon Roller Derby this week.

2014-07-04 21.05.40Despite not being 100%, a bit of derby training was good for me. This appears to be the story of my life at the moment.

2014-07-05 13.09.56Saturday morning was Zac’s birthday party and the Labours of Zac-ules. Here he is slaying the hydra. More about this separately.

2014-07-05 15.42.34I started a new book while at junior derby. So far am really enjoying it – it is beautifully written.

Sunday morning we road tripped up to Sydney for the first Capital Carnage bout. Mum and Dad had arrived the night before, so Jude and Zac opted to stay and hang out with their grandparents while Sebastian decided her wanted to see James play. The first half of the game went well – while SMASH were still up, Carnage were holding their own. Then, early in the second half, James went down. I was concerned, but then he got up and skated back to the bench. A couple of minutes later I saw that he was waving me to come over and had a first aid person with him. His collarbone was broken.

There was pain relief and ambulances and the whole lot. Eventually James went by ambulance to Bankstown Hospital nearby and Sebastian and I drove over to join him. Fortunately the break was a reasonably clean one which was touching and should heal ok, so no surgery was required. After some time, and medication and observation etc, I drove us home from Sydney. Wasn’t quite the end to the week we were hoping for.

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Weeks! #26: change and Korea

2014-06-24 10.30.34All staff address. Considering the number of structural changes are Department is going through, it was timely. I have lost a number of colleagues at my level recently and from 1 July my Branch has two new sections with new responsibilities and overall a slight change in direction. Interesting times, as they say.

2014-06-24 19.45.24-2We got exciting new plans for our house. All going well, by this time next year our current house should have been razed and our new house under construction.

Sebastian got a belated birthday present from Rachel which included moulds for chocolate spoons so he whipped us up a dessert creation of his own invention.

2014-06-24 21.05.21Heading off to Seoul I needed a new book t read. I decided it was time to read The Quarry. As it was Iain Banks’ final book, I had been saving it up a little It was a lovely book and I read it before I left Seoul. A simple well told story with beautifully rendered characters. So sad to know it is the last new novel of his I will ever read.

2014-06-25 09.28.16This is my grumpy face. This is what my face looks like after i have struggled through two packed days of work feeling super-sick on the thought that I would have a nice relaxing Wednesday on the plane flying Business Class to Seoul after breakfast at the First Class Lounge only to get down graded. Yes, down graded. My whole do-you-know-who-I-am-Platinum-Frequent-Flyer persona kicked in. I was not happy. Flying economy is not the end of the world, but it was the gap between the sustaining expectation and the reality. And I didn’t even get breakfast because I had to wait around until the last people had checked in to get everything organised. No First Class Lounge. No Business Class. And, as it turned out, my reading light on the plane didn’t work nor did they have video on demand. I am not sure I am rushing to recommend flying Qantas code-share with Asiana to Seoul from Sydney. Though the flight attendants did put on a whole magic show mid flight.

2014-06-25 21.27.48Nighttime view from my hotel room window…

2014-06-26 08.32.50Daytime view! My hotel was in a great spot about ten minutes walk from the Australian Embassy and just across the road from the Town Hall. Pretty funky too.

Breakfast view!

2014-06-27 08.54.40And there appeared to be a portal to infinity in my bedroom. Along with the Nespresso machine.

In between meetings on Thursday I got to have a bit of a wander around the nearby area.

2014-06-26 12.07.22Said hello to my very favouritest building in all of Seoul, possibly in all the world.

And also saw one of the near daily protests.

2014-06-26 15.25.28Most of my meetings n Thursday were at the Australian Embassy.

The Town Hall lawn opposite the hotel were taken up with commemoration of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry and the death of over 300 mostly school students. Apparently the disaster has had a significant impact on the psyche of the Korean people, and protest against the government over its role are visible as well as signs of mourning all over the city.

2014-06-27 10.53.14Friday started with an early lunch meeting with Human Resource Development Korea at a restaurant on 32nd floor of a building with a spectacular view of the city. At the moment all the public servants are slowly getting relocated out of Seoul – mostly to Sejong City which, apparently, is a created city “like Canberra.” The HRD folk, however, have been moved even further away to Busan which is Seoul’s second largest city and an industrial centre, about three hours away. Jinsil, one of the HRD people I have dealt with most closely over the last year, told me that she still commutes there – her family is living in Seoul., although sometimes she stays overnight in Busan with friends or colleagues. I can’t imagine a three hour commute even on a fast train.

After lunch I went and gave my presentation – the main reason for my visit. The visting French expert and I were then taken away by Dr Cho from KRIVET (Korean government research body on vocational education) who I have known for about a year now for a wander around another part of Seoul, including a visit to the cathedral.

This was my favourite.

2014-06-27 17.46.19Dr Cho also bought us traditional summer ice confection – red beans on shaved ice. I was a bit dubious, but it was actually quite delicious.

A lovely dinner with the folk from the seminar followed where a lot of Australian wine was consumed (not sure how my French colleague felt about that, but he was unfailingly polite). It was only a short walk home – the town hall is an excellent landmark.

2014-06-27 21.32.23The next day I had a day to myself which I will blog about separately. A big part of it was a visit to the DMZ which is a kind of surreal place – a landmined part theme park zone of defence activity and conflicted ideas about the North. Weird.

2014-06-28 10.26.37After a busy day it was off to the airport for the flight home. Fortunately no downgrading this time.

2014-06-28 19.39.26Home again – my inevitable duty free purchase included Bombay Amber which I am looking forward to trying.

2014-06-29 11.52.21

Weeks! #25: life in the fog

Bit of colour coordination for derby training and giving my Van Dieman Rollers t-short a bit of a skate.

2014-06-18 08.16.03The weather had truly turned cold and horrible. Lots and lots of fog.

2014-06-18 08.21.05Didn’t stop me riding to work with an attractive combination of Converse and fishnets.

2014-06-19 08.25.01Or walking, as rugged up as possible.

2014-06-18 09.22.54Trying to work through a lipstick decision-crisis.

2014-06-18 13.15.10Lunchtime pilates helps get through the day.

2014-06-18 17.15.55And post-work beer also helps.

2014-06-18 19.46.53Some Sherlocking-Cthlulu killing.

2014-06-19 14.09.48Catching up on work at the hairdresser. Honetly, it is the best place to get through my in-tray – no disturbances. This time though I even had to make my poor EA bring me things to sign and clear because we were at end of financial year crunch time.

2014-06-19 16.18.26Resulting hair was fabulous. Of course though, damp day and my hair meant the beautiful waves didn’t last too long.

2014-06-19 17.29.41George likes to stay up-to-date on the iPad playing.

2014-06-20 12.12.53Forgot my bike lock. At least my office is big enough for my bike to happily sit inside.

2014-06-21 10.09.01Another foggy morning.

2014-06-21 12.35.08Here I am, ready for Saturday sport.

2014-06-21 13.35.59Zacky got a player of the round award and, almost more importantly, a snake.

Skating Saturday!

2014-06-22 10.58.55Sunday I was supposed to be going to Wagga to scrim, but I felt too sick to even really get out of bed. George kept me company (so did Zac, but he was mostly off elsewhere in the house).

2014-06-22 13.12.36I did manage to drag myself out of bed briefly to walk to the shops and get some lunch foods. I didn’t mind when Zac wanted to play at the park. I needed the rest.

Weeks! #23: birthdays and birthdays and Adelaide and other stuff

2014-06-02 08.39.37Starting the week walking the boys to school. Zachary and Jude are still impossible to separate from their new jackets.

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Monday also had the joys of Senate Estimates. Here I am in the waiting room. Our Department makes sure it keeps us in lollies. Fortunately, no questions for me this time round.

The boys had taken to the loom band thing with some enthusiasm.

2014-06-02 20.25.12The results weren’t half bad either.

2014-06-02 20.25.45The weather is getting wintery so it is all coats and tights and woollen dresses.

2014-06-03 08.50.23Some Canberra public art appreciation.

2014-06-04 17.47.11On Sebastian’s actual birthday he was abandoned by his parents do they could go and consume a game degustation at Pulp Kitchen. (Delicious by the way)

2014-06-03 19.17.33We made it up to him the following night with dinner at Jamie’s Italian.

And a week really isn’t complete without some sort of opportunity to slay horrible monsters.

2014-06-04 20.41.34Sebastian and I headed off to Adelaide Thursday morning for our great TGSS adventure.

But before TGSS, time with family. Parents’ favourite pub (of course).2014-06-05 17.58.19

Sebastian was very keen to go to the beach. And I can never resist the ocean, so Mum and I took Sebastian to Henley Beach for a wander and lunch. We even walked the jetty.

We had afternoon godparent (or equivalent) get together with godson (or equivalent). Also best friends.

It was then out to dinner to the co-celebration of Sebastian and Emilie’s birthdays!

There was also some quality cousin hanging out time to be had. Sebastian played many games of hide and seek amongst other entertainments.

For Emilie’s birthday party on Saturday, Sebastian helped with preparations, assisting Lucy with the cake and the lolly bags and various other tasks, while popped over to the Great Southern Slam to pick up my pass and say hi to folk.

I returned in time for the big party. Emilie seemed to enjoy it almost as much as the adults, and she certainly appreciated her cake.

I was lucky to get my own belated birthday present from Sam and Tracey which included awesome new skate laces! I resisted for a bit but eventually had to lace up my skates, party or no.

Once the children had all gone to bed, some of the adults still kept partying. Given I was playing the next day, I had stuck to water for the afternoon, but I was still required to participate in sibling sing-along to the War of the Worlds musical and Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (predictably).

2014-06-07 22.12.25-1And then Sunday was all about TGSS

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Weeks! #21: Sydney, sports, books and other literature

2014-05-19 09.20.21Up early on a Monday morning and off to Sydney to talk to migration agents. Fortunately it was not a super early flight.

The migration agents meet at Cockle Bay, so I had a chance to catch up on work at the Lindt cafe and enjoy some chocolately goodness before I had to speak.

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Nothing like a sunset over Botany Bay as you are about to fly home.

2014-05-19 18.39.03And who can object to a 2004 Rockford Cabernet Sauvignon?

2014-05-20 11.23.56SebastVarious stresses and tiredness lead to the need for caffeine and chocolate.

Our second high school open night – this time at Campbell High School. Jude came along too as he is only a year off high school contemplation himself. I liked the feel of Campbell – smaller than Lyneham and the principal seemed more dynamic plus there was a lot of engagement by students. We are lucky though because both are good schools and the boys will be in a good place whatever their choice. Sebastian and Jude’s very good friends Oscar and Ezra were also there so we did our own tour together.

2014-05-21 08.15.54Foggy autumn morning. I walked Jude and Zac to school in the fog, while James and Sebastian headed off to a day of schools’ hockey.

2014-05-21 19.38.58Both Jude and Zachary are doing enrichment writing this semester at school. Here is a poem from Zac, though he insists it isn’t a poem but sentences. But it feels like a poem to me.

2014-05-22 08.12.06Another early morning walk to school with Jude and Zac for Thursday choir. I think Jude still has some of his breakfast on his face.

I was back at Turner later in the morning for the 5/6 book awards. It was a lovely little event, and the award winners won beautiful hardback versions of classic children’s books. Jude was nominated in the category of Best Plot. Sebastian’s best friend Oscar won his class award – even before he won I loved to see how proud Sebastian was of his friend’s work, telling me he should read it. Each of the winners read a little of their “novella” and there was some really lovely writing. The ‘Turner Children’s Book Council” did very well.

Sebastian and Jude were off with the two Andrews for a Magic tournament Friday night, so it was an early dumpling dinner for us all.

Then I went to training. Which was hard work. But fun.

2014-05-23 20.54.35Saturday morning football. Jude scored the coach’s award for player of the round for his dogged persistence particularly in defence.

Then, off to Zac’s football…

And straight from there to junior derby training.

I didn’t have to catch up on any work, so in between watching the boys skate, I had some time for reading.

2014-05-24 15.36.25This was a lovely book which I think Lucy gave me for Christmas. I started reading it on Monday and finished while I was sick in bed on Sunday. Written in the form of a series of letters, it balanced romance and humour with some fairly dark history particularly of Guernsey during German occupation in World War II. I wouldn’t claim that it is a work of towering literary genius, but it is a completely engaging read with an interesting story and an insight to a corner of WWII history I knew almost nothing about. Definitely worth it.

2014-05-24 16.49.21After the day of almost non stop sporting action, it was time for a trusty g&t.

2014-05-24 18.25.12Sometimes I think George just really wishes he could handle a Wii controller himself.

2014-05-25 12.15.46Instead of going to training I stayed in bed because I was sick. George decided to join me. Later I slept for three hours on the couch, which was when I felt reassured that I wasn’t just being slack, I really was sick.

2014-05-25 22.40.12And because I finished my last book, I am now onto Century Rain, but this means I need Alastair Reynolds to write new books because I think this is the last of his novels I have to read.

Weeks! #17: days off with a bit of work in between

2014-04-21 12.17.43The presence of Easter meant Monday was a holiday so we walked into town to see The Lego Movie. Which we all enjoyed a lot. The grown ups were especially big fans of Batman.

There were beers (for grown ups) and food at Shorty’s post movie before heading home for our own Lego construction extravaganza.

I was particularly proud of my construction effort.

2014-04-21 18.15.40The boys also discovered stop motion animation apps and became completely absorbed in the effort of bringing their Lego to life. Some of their efforts weren’t half bad either.

2014-04-21 19.12.50Tuesday I stayed at home to hang out with the boys. We had the compulsory stop at the park after visiting Ainslie shops.

Then Jude and Sebastian had Oscar and Ezra over for an afternoon of boy hanging out. Strangely I think it was entirely less of a hassle to have five boys in the house than it was to have three. There was lots of Magic, stop motion animation and hitting each other with swords. As you do.

George was not amused.

2014-04-22 15.38.46The boys went and stayed at Jackie’s house Tuesday night, so we took advantage of the opportunity to go and finally try out Pulp Kitchen at Ainslie. Food was fabulous and we had a lovely time.

I have more than the usual number of excellent scotches at home at the moment. Have tried out both the Talisker Dark Storm and the Jura Superstition recently. Can report that they are both very drinkable.

2014-04-22 21.24.19This week we tried Eldritch Horror rather than Arkham. I believe we were horribly consumed by Cthulhu.

2014-04-23 20.22.42This week we tried Eldritch Horror rather than Arkham. I believe we were horribly consumed by Cthulhu.

A blue day!

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I had Japanese visitors at work recently and they gave me a lovely ikebana calendar. I finaly got it up on my wall this week. I  do love ikebana – I did classes at school nearly once a week while I live in Japan and was very close to achieving what was essentially a black belt in it before I left.I will never forget my ikebana sensai who spoke virtually no English but pounded into me the three basic elements of ikebana arrangements: shin, soi, juushi.  I still love the sparseness of these flower arrangements so much more than most Western arrangements. Anyway, nice to have a reminder on my office wall.

2014-04-24 12.17.07Friday was ANZAC Day and we headed off to the Blue Mountains (see previous post for all the photos).

2014-04-25 10.24.45The traffic once we got to the Mountains was dire – completely crawling, so eventually we pulled off the highway at a nearby town for some hot chips.

Once we got to Blackheath where we were staying it was time for afternoon tea and hot chocolates…as you can see from Zachary’s markings.

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With some local advice sourced from Twitter, we found a very nice breakfast venue in Katoomba the next morning.

2014-04-26 09.17.04

After some sightseeing chronicled earlier, it was off to the roller derby venue for the afternoon. The boys found ways to enjoy themselves including balloons and facepainting.

The next morning it was hipster brunch in Blackheath before the drive back to Canberra. The boys wore their derby shirts.


Blue Mountains Glory

2014-04-25 13.58.40

We were heading to the Blue Mountains for the latest 5×5 round. Having never been there before, thought it was worth taking some extra time to see some of the sights.

We were staying in Blackheath and after arriving went for a walk.

The end point of the walk was Govett’s Leap, with some spectacular views.

By the time we were walking home, the evening fog had well and truly rolled in.

The next morning our first sightseeing spot was the Three Sisters.