Saturday, 21 April 2012


So arriving into Melbourne early evening, I was super excited to see my family. Nader was brilliant and dropped us off at my cousin Kevin and his wife Emma's lovely home. They live in an amazing area, they have the magical Botanical Gardens on one side of them and a bustling cosmopolitan vibe of Chapel Street towards the other way, plus it is only a gentle 20 minute walk straight into the city. Seeing the family is brilliant, as it makes me feel comfortable again and able to truly relax and take time to rest, talk and just be happy. Our first few days, we took it easy and caught up with the small things we needed to do, such as washing, organising and most of all...having plenty cups of tea! 

Melbourne is such a vibrant city, it has something happening all the time, whether it be sports, arts, music, everything and anything really. The weather was dull and a little wet to start with in our stay but thankfully the sunshine appeared and made our daily ventures even more enjoyable. There was always something to do each day in Melbourne, I grew so comfortable in knowing the area and even the people are so open and friendly. I even managed my first bit of exercise in a long time...a 3km jog around 'The Tan' a popular running circuit, I must admit it killed me, made me realise how unfit I actually am these days. Throughout our days in Melbourne we went the usual sightseeing and experienced some brilliant places, I particularly enjoyed my morning strolls through the Botanical Gardens, with the sun shining and lots of wildlife, it was such a calming place to be. The city is super cultural so everybody is different, people from all walks of life are friends and there is so much street entertainment happening, I love watching live busking music! 

As the time passed in Melbourne, a special day was approaching, this special day is my birthday! I decided to treat myself to a new pair of pumps, as my last pair had an awful odour, 2 holes in, ripped along the bag and generally excessively warn. So, the morning I woke up feeling happy, opening my gifts and cards, then made my daily journey through the Botancial Gardens to watch the ducks. Then we ventured into the city and had a lovely day out, heading back early to prepare for the long process. This is where I made myself feel pretty, borrowing Emma's lovely polka dot dress and with a pair of heels, I felt 'dressy' for the first time since being away. We enjoyed the warm evening heading down to Southgate, a really cool trendy part of the city right by the river. We enjoyed some nice drinks and chatting the evening away, then all of sudden I heard this noise. When I say noise, this is not just any normal noise, it is something I have used and still use to this day with my dad, we call it the 'Newman Whistle'. It's so funny, when I was a small child he would use that whistle so I could always find him if I ever felt lost and even on random days back home, we will jokingly do the whistle to each other. So, there I am sitting all glamous on my birthday, enjoying wonderful drinks with my family and I suddenly hear the 'Newman Whistle', I jolted up like a meerkat and as I spun around there was my mum and dad standing behind me. I was in total shock with happiness, I literally could not talk for at least 5 minutes and my face was beaming anf glowing with delight. I felt so emotional, one of happiness, surprise and love. We spent the next couple of hours, enjoying a delicious meal, sharing conversations and more opening of presents! Then, a surprise chocolate birthday cake popped out with the whole bar/restaurant singing happy birthday to me, my cousin and his wife Emma had treated me to this surprise. The rest of the evening, we graced an amazing skyscraper bar overlooking the city and then ended the evening dancing in the local pub close to home. This was one of the best evening's and birthdays of my life, one that I will cherish and never forget! 

The next week, we spent many days with my family, most of the time I was constantly with my mum and dad, dosing up on my time with them. It's mad I really began to realise how much I had missed them and it's the small things like conversations and popping the shops together, sharing dinner or cuppa's are the things I love. We ventured out to the city plenty of times, visiting lots of tourist attractions, luckily the weather was sunshine which made the days even better for all of us. As the time approahed, my mum and dad moved on with their own adventure heading up towards Cairns, so I got up at 6am to wave them farewell. I felt quite subdued, the day was cold and rainy and goodbye's are never really easy. Deep down though I knew I was happy to have seen them and that no matter what they are never really that far away. As my mum has always told me 'no matter where you are in the world, your only ever one phone call away' and that's something I believe greatly in. My mum and dad have always wanted me to go off on my adventure, go see the world, experience cultures, people, foods and embrace it all. So, I was ready to keep enjoying it all. 

Our final weekend in Melbourne was approaching and this was going to be a spectacular one. My family had bought me a ticket to the Melbourne F1 race for my birthday present. On the Saturday, we ventured into the city to celebrate good ole 'St.Patrick's Day', graced with an array of green, we enjoyed plenty of beers, good music and a lovely pie on the last train home. On the Sunday, we where all heading down to the race track to have a brilliant day out, see lots of cool cars and be prepared for the volume of the roaring engines. The day was once again filled with sunshine, which of course made me even happier, then we started off early, walking around the track edge, viewing different races. We observed the amazing planes in the sky, completing plenty of acrobatics and at one point a Boeing plane even joined in, flying low and tilting itself side to side. We managed to give Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton a wave, to which John swears they waved back once he shouted them! The race itself was on a while and the thrill of the sounds of those cars is wonderful. There is a real buzz in the air and everybody is out to have a good day out. After, a long day in the sunshine we ended with a pizza to go home and enjoyed a lovely chilled night at home. The whole weekend had been fun filled, eventful and a brilliant buzz for the whole city. 

As I reflect upon my time in Melbourne, I realise how great a city it is, it has the cool bohemian area of St.Kilda if you want to enjoy cakes and beach life. You have a buzzing night out around Tourak and Chapel Street, oozing with lots of funky bars and clubs. The city itself is a miss-mash of total uniqueness, where everybody is open and themselves. There is so much being invested here, lots of the people love living here and there is so much taking place in terms of arts, performance, festivals and music. I ponder a thought and shall leave this with you, a wise man once advised me that for everything that want, need, enjoy or love, it's all summed up in small phrase... 'Only in Melbourne' 

Enjoying the laneways of Melbourne

Morning walks through the Botanical Gardens

John heading into the cricket match at the MCG

Meeting Jamie Oliver and winning a $200 frying pan

Some brilliant street busking in the city
Saying a tearful 'farewell' to my beloved pumps

Opening all my cards and presents on my BIRTHDAY...

Morning birthday stroll through the Gardens

Stopping off at the art gallery, playing around with the water and kids...

Enjoying the beautiful city of Melbourne
The amazing night full of surprises, I am so happy...

All tucking into the tasty chocolate cake

Giving my dad a thank-you kiss

John super happy with his presents too

Out in the bars enjoying the live band playing sweet music

All having a laugh and dancing the night away

My dad's so funny in his scarf...all enjoying the night in the skyscraper bar overlooking the city

All having a wonderful night on my birthday

Off sightseeing the city of Melbourne

Enjoying the Moomba Festival

Up in the Eureka Tower, overlooking the whole city

My mum and John joking around, capturing a good snap too!

My cousin Kevin giving an interesting and comical tour ride around the city on the trams

My dad tucking into his cake at St. Kilda

All treating ourselves to cakes in St.Kilda after a tough day at the beach

Me and mum having a laugh up in Dandelong

Overlooking the fireworks in Melbourne

Enjoying my last cultural day out with John & Nader, reflecting on the city

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