Coffee Catch-Up #16

If we were having coffee I would tell you what an interesting week I’ve had. Working less opens up more exciting opportunities that I would have normally missed out on.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about Parramatta Toastmasters 50th birthday celebrations on Thursday night. It was a special night with stories from Russ Walkington, the gentlemen whose ideas and  hard work made it to happen in the first place. What a dynamic speaker. He said it took a lot of convincing however once Parramatta Toastmasters Club started in September 1966 it had been a great success.  I was a little surprised however that for the first 25 years it was a men’s only club, with women not allowed to join until August, 1990, actually 2 days before my wedding. The women joining of course brought them even more success and in 1996, Parramatta Toastmasters Club was recognised as the fourth top Toastmaster club in the world.

Also at the dinner were many past members who have gone on to do great things as well as a few charter (original) members. One of my favorite thing was the parade of past Presidents of which there were 19 of the 49 present on the night. They were piped in by one of the current club members wearing his kilt and took up 3 lines on the stage.

Happy Birthday Parramatta Toastmasters Club

Happy Birthday Parramatta Toastmasters Club

If we were having coffee I would tell you how exciting it was to hear Toastmaster’s 2016-2017 International President Mike Storkey, DTM speak at Parramatta’s 50th Birthday. He was an inspiration and encouraged everyone to focus on the future not just  live on past successes. I agree. Life is definitely a journey, with the more interesting views coming after a challenging climb.


If we were having coffee I would tell you what a great day I had on Friday at Better Homes and Gardens Live. Better Homes and Gardens is  Australia’s favourite TV show and magazine, which brings together ideas for renovating, decorating homes and gardens as well as advice about pets. From the shows stars I learnt about chalk paint —making furniture restoration fun, quick and easy desserts and how to cook the perfect roast pork. Once we have finally settled into our new home, I look forward to testing out these and other ideas from my day out.

Education aside, I would have to say the most fun was had at the end of the day with Fast Ed attempting to make pigs fly. He attached helium balloons to his pig shaped shortbread cookies and willed them to fly. In the end it took 3 helium balloons to finally get lift off and they kept going until they rested on the ceiling.

Flying pigs



If we were having coffee I would tell you about supporting my husband yesterday by going to the cinema with him to see The Beatles Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years. This documentary by Ron Howard  made sense of the Beatles Journey. Prior to this my knowledge of the Beatles was minimal however they really were game changers in more than the music scene. The movie is based around their 815 shows in 4 years performed around the globe. It was fascinating to see from old footage, the impact The Beatles had in a very different world and to consider problems like early crowd control. At the end of the movie came half an hour of seeing the Beatles live at Shea Stadium, New York concert. It was the biggest ever concert at the time involving 55,000 people. Amazing results, especially when you consider that they couldn’t hear where they were up to in the songs because of the loudness of the fans screams. If you get the opportunity, even if your not a big Beatles fan, take a break from today’s world, travel back 50 years and take in some history. Its well worth it. Ron Howard, you did a great job.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.

Share Your World 2016 – Week 36

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later)

Choosing a name for a boat or yacht depends on it type. My father used to have a Hood 23, which he cleverly named Child. The rowing boat attached was called Baby. I loved it.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey) Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be?

I think I am a mixture of Doc and Happy although there are times when I am tired that I could definitely be called Dopey. In my world the 8th dwarf would be called Techno. Although just for fun I asked my girls and their suggestions was Attitudy.

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life?

I find music very powerful and the following soundtracks have been with me since they first hit the charts in the 1970’s. They have both gotten me through many hard times and remind me that I can do anything I set my mind to and to keep moving forward.

Complete this sentence:  I like watching…

PEOPLE! They are so interesting.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week I was grateful that the transition from Sydney to Newcastle is going so well with few hiccups. This week I am looking forward to getting some ideas for our home renovations from the Better Home and Gardens Show.

Share Your World – 2016 Week 36


Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

Life on the edge of the Yangtze River is very busy. It was amazing to see people living on, feeding off and working on the world’s third longest river. It is stated that 1/3rd of China’s population live on this mighty river.

Coffee Catch-Up #15

If we were having coffee I would tell you how strange it felt returning to Sydney yesterday after living and working in Newcastle for the last 2 weeks. Sometimes I forget my current home is still in Sydney as Newcastle feels so natural to me as it is my childhood home. On the train as I approached Sydney, I was suddenly aware of people. They were everywhere which is very different to slower paced Newcastle with its population of  about 400,000 compared to Sydney’s 5 million people. The irony is that Newcastle is actually the 7th largest city in Australia and New South Wales’s second largest city.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how 2 possums got caught in one of our courtyards at the hospital on Friday and couldn’t get out. This meant we had to call in the a special possum wrangler to catch them and hold them for the day until he could release them into the bush in the local area later that night. He said he couldn’t release them earlier as they are attacked by other animals. His job was quite tricky, giving him a good work out, however after a few attempts (our possums put up a good fight) he caught them without injury.

Tom Possum

The photo above is of the possum who comes to visit us at home occasionally not the possums caught in the courtyard at work.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it was weird doing night duty again for the first time in 12 years however I surprised myself by actually enjoying it. I am sure working more than one night in a row may be too tiring in my old age but who knows we’ll see if the opportunity arises. Working casually does make it harder to plan one’s life but it is also giving me more spare time.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was to watch my AFL (Australian Football League) team GWS Giants defeat the Sydney Swans (minor premiers) yesterday in their first finals match ever. The Giants are only a young team who played their inaugural game in 2012 and I was fortunate enough to be at their first game. Back then they were described as the easy beats because they lost most games but over time they have grown into a force to be reckoned with.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that my husband and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary since our last coffee catch-up with a nice lunch and a visit to our Newcastle house. It was only brief as although it is empty we have not had it officially handed back from the real estate yet but dreaming and planning for our future extensions was fun.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.

Feedback Sandwich

When I think about a sandwich I don’t think about food but a way to deliver difficult feedback. I start by telling the person something they do well. Where possible I try to make it as close to the topic we are discussing. After we have discussed this for a minute or two I then introduce my difficult feedback. Where possible I look at the big picture of the issue discussing how the problem impacts the person and others. If appropriate, I will also give some ideas to help the person to move forward and make the changes required. To complete my feedback I would ask the person if they needed anything from me and remind them of the positives of what they are doing.

Often feedback is very difficult to hear but I find the more open the discussion, the better the outcome. By using the feedback sandwich, the person becomes less defensive because the news has been softened by positive feedback. It is a system that works well and has an overflowing impact of developing respect between the people involved.

A win/win for everyone, the feedback sandwich is:




Coffee Catch-Up #14

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was to welcome my 800th follower to my blog this week. My current goal is to have 1000 followers by the end of 2016. I enjoy my blogging community and I have learnt a lot over the last 2 years as I’ve visited your blogs. We are all unique and together we make each others world’s brighter.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I enjoyed working at my new hospital. They are a great team although they use a slightly different system to what I am used to. However, I quickly settled into my new rhythm and was lucky enough to work a few more shifts than I was originally booked for, which helped expedite my knowledge of how things are done.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I enjoyed my birthday last Tuesday. My husband made me breakfast before he had to leave for work so I took myself shopping.  I even managed to get myself a $20 birthday discount when I bought myself some new clothes. Bonus! I then caught the train home with my daughter who taught me how to hunt Pokémon before cooking me dinner. The one thing that I was looking at when shopping was a Fitbit however I have yet to decide if I would use it enough to justify the cost. If you have one what has been your experience?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was grateful on Thursday night after Toastmasters to be able to watch the Semi Finals of the Toastmasters International Convention 2016 from Washington DC. What amazing speakers. It was also exciting to be able to cheer on one of our fellow members, David Griffiths who came third. It was hard to pick the order of the winners although I do think that the 3 people who placed were the best speakers.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have enjoyed the bits of the Olympics that I have seen and was particularly excited to see some of the people my children used to compete against, do personal bests and in some cases come home with an Olympic medal.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last night we enjoyed cooking pizzas in our outdoor pizza oven and chimney. The smokey flavour was awesome. One problem we found with the pizza oven was that it was too small to cook the bigger pizzas in. We solved this problem by using our chimney but it wasn’t nearly as effective at cooking them as the pizza oven. So with our new-found knowledge, when we move we have decided to buy a new, bigger pizza oven that takes all pizza sizes. We also secretly hope to be able to cook other foods in it using our various sized camp ovens. Cooking over fire – there is nothing like it.

2016-08-20 19.37.06

2016-08-20 19.37.22If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare


036 - The Veiled Virgin

037 - The Veiled Virgin

040 - The Veiled Virgin

As this weeks photo challenge calls for something rare I am reposting my photos of The Veiled Virgin. I couldn’t believe that her veil is made of thin marble. She is so beautiful.  If you ever get the opportunity to visit St Johns Newfoundland, Canada, go out of your way to immerse yourself in her presence. It is a rare and memorable experience that will leave you smiling.

For more information about The Veiled Virgin please click on my earlier post below.

V – Veiled Virgin # A – Z Challenge

Share Your World – 2016 Week 33

Would you travel into outer space?

Sure why not, however I do have one condition. I must be a passenger. I don’t want any responsibility for getting us there or back. Mechanics and science aren’t my things but I am up for adventure and floating around with no gravity would be fun for a bit.

Which country/city in the world (that you have never been to) would you most like to visit and why?

The top country on my bucket list is Iceland. I love natural beauty and the volcanos, geysers, waterfalls, hot springs and glaciers really interest me. The other thing Iceland has is aurora borealis—the northern lights. What a sight they would be.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

What could you do to breathe more deeply today?

Running a marathon would do it, however at the moment I think I will stick to running in 100 metre spurts. You never know one day 42 kilometres might be an option but I sincerely doubt it.

Complete this sentence:  This creamy peanut butter sandwich could really use some …

processed cheese slices, then it would do my husband for lunch.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

During this week I had a birthday and I am always grateful to celebrate another year of wisdom and longevity. Next week I am looking forward to the blessings the universe has install as I transition into my new working life. Each day brings new beginnings.

Share Your World – 2016 Week 33

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun

When I think of fun, I think of Disneyland. It is so exciting to immerse myself in the characters, places and adventures I grew up with. I love that Disneyland was designed as a place for adults as well as children and that it is constantly evolving. I first went to the original Disneyland on my honeymoon during its 35th anniversary, which was amazing. The day and night time performances are etched in my memory forever.

The following photos are from our recent fun trip to Hong Kong’s Disneyland. I can never get enough of Disneyland and I am looking forward to visiting Japan’s Disneyland next year. Mickey and friends are universal so I am sure language won’t be a barrier to fun.

Coffee Catch-Up #13

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am looking forward to my first shift at my new hospital on Monday. It’s been 8 years since I have worked as a nurse on the floor helping patients and I didn’t realize how much I had missed this special contact.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I meet with the collaborator of my book last Monday for the first time in 3 months. I was pleased she loved the changes that I had made because it gives me confidence that my thoughts on the book progress are true. Although, it feels like the end is getting closer, I know there is still a lot of work to be done. However, I am still aiming to finish my part by end of this year.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I had a fun time at the supermarket this morning seeing if I could guess the amount of sugar in the foods I normally eat. I was pretty accurate so I think I will be able limit my sugar intake to 24 grams daily most of the time. If you are confused by this statement you can catch up here Today is day 3 and I am feeling good this morning as I slept so much better last night.

If we were having coffee I would tell you this week I that to insert my drawings into my book this week I discovered that I need to draw them in Microsoft’s Paint program. I have never used it before but as I get better at using it, this program will leave me with a more professional drawings, which will be good. I would also ask if you have used Paint and have any tips for me. Just for fun I’ll show you my first very basic drawing on Paint.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I won my Toastmasters Club Table Topics competition last week. This is an impromptu speaking contest where you are giving the topics literally seconds before you speak to it. I think my blogging experience helped me and now I move to the Area competition at the end of September.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.