Sunday, April 18, 2010

6 years on....

Amidst the chaos and manic-ness that consumes me, it proved to be a good opportunity to take some time to reflect on what has been a rather amazing journey....

March 26, 2010 marked the 6th anniversary of my move from Melb to Akl. I know I already sound like a broken record but for those who don't know, this was a move that I never wanted to happen and was by no means an easy one. However, 6 years on and my preconceptions have been proven oh so very wrong on many levels. So where DO I start???

Let's go with work and let me just say, " I LOVE MY JOB ". I couldn't have asked for a better job with better perks and a better boss. It is everything I could have asked for and more. two fifteen is now 16 months old. We opened up in Jan '09 and survived our first year, the critical year of any new restaurant. We've gained a good amount of regulars and things are looking up for us as we continue into our second year.

Myself, along with my boss and another boy are the ones chained to the stove 5 days a week and too many hours in a day. Out the front we have two full time staff and bout 3-4 part timers. Oh and let me not forget our AMAZING kitchen hand!!! It has taken many bum jobs and crappy employers over the years to have landed this God-sent job (and I'm not exaggerating!!).

I basically get to treat the place as if it were my own; I determine how many hours I work. Should I have errands to run or appts to get to during the work day, I'm allowed to shoot off for as long as I need to. We all get a long like a house on fire; no work day is a dull one, it's like a comedy fest on a daily basis (it actually amazes us that we manage to get any work done with the amount of crap we talk!!!). We are more like family than work mates and it's more like home than work. It's the first job that I have thoroughly enjoyed each day and not felt like I needed to look for a new job 3 months into it....what a blessing to not hate your job but love every aspect of it. May it long continue.

With the few remaining hours I have left of the week while I'm not at work I can be found either at the dance studio, pilates/physio studio, out on the trails, yoga studio or the pool....and before you say anything, don't worry, it even surprises me just how much I can fit in a day! In my defence, as the saying goes: "Work hard, Play harder"

Running has unfortunately taken a bit of a back seat this year due to a related injury. I have missed it very much and my feet are getting very itching at the prospect of an upcoming series which kicks off on May 16 and runs through winter. Fingers (and toes) are very much crossed in hopes that I'll be ready to dawn the running shoes again by then.

The fall back of not being able to run has meant that I started swimming. I've been swimming 2-3 times a week since Feb and much to my surprise, it's going better than I ever thought it would. The fitness I had gained from running made the first swim a blast and consequently I've kept at it. It has most certainly helped suppress some of the running-hunger and kept the fitness up. It does look like I'll continue with the swimming even when I'm back running as part of some cross training but prob not as often as I currently am.

Something else that doesn't take up as much of my time as it used to is yoga. I do try to make sure that I take a class once a week but since I'd decided to invest more time in pilates/running/swimming, it's proven a little difficult to give more time to yoga. On top of that the travel involved in getting to the studio does require quite a bit of planning; each class I decide to attend takes up a total of 3.5hours of my day. That may not seem like a lot most ppl's days but seeing as I don't particularly have much spare time lying around, that is a significant portion of my day and week. Hence the decision to only take one class each week.

We've had 1 term back at dance this year already and it went really well. I'm looking forward to starting term 2...this year is looking great with competitions, auditions, exams and workshops lined up already!! I'm in absolute bliss with so much to work towards. Current timeline is exams in June and workshops, auditions and competition in July. It'll be a lot of hard work and prob a lot of nerves too but there is nothing I thrive better on than adrenalin. So, BRING IT ON...

Being in and out of physios/osteos has very much been apart of my life for a long long time. It's part and parcel of being a (ex)gymnast. A year ago, I was referred by a friend to a bio mechanical-based physio practise, bioSPORT, and it's been the best recommendation EVER! Part of my ongoing treatment/maintenance is pilates sessions twice a week, something that looks so easy but do not be fooled!!! I do enjoy the 'torture' and hard work and in a sick way, I find it good has been beneficial physically as well as personally. Through this practise I've gained some incredible relationships and this is testament to the ppl who own and work at bioSPORT. They have a great community of clients, which again reflects on the ppl that they are.

Flowing nicely from my last point is the single biggest reason why the last 6 yrs have been so amazing: the incredible ppl I have had the privilege and honour to be around and get to know. It is with the utmost sincerity that I say thank YOU to everyone who has been along for the ride no matter how small a part YOU think YOU may have played. YOU have helped shaped me into who I am today. I couldn't have asked for a better last 6 yrs and it is all thanks to YOU......

Friday, January 01, 2010

Milano & Verona in detail....

Thought I'd go into a little more detail of the trip so far...

Milan: So flights etc getting to Milan were all pretty good. Everything went smoothly and all in all, can't complain. We even arrived into Milan a whole hour earlier than scheduled. Once we got through customs and picked up our baggage, we got tickets for the shuttle to get us into town. Til then, everything was going rather smoothly....and then it kinda went to custard just a tad. There were a few options to get to the hotel; either get the local underground or taxi or walk. I didn't know how expensive the taxi would cost so thought it best to catch the 'train'. What I didn't realise was that there was a difference between the underground system and the main railway system. So I paid E219 for what was suppose to be 2 stops down the round in the underground. Just my luck that there was a city called Loreto as well as a Loreto square (which is where we were headed!!!!!). So after actually finding out what was going on and waiting in a huge line for a refund, we caught a taxi (which ended up being only E8) and got to the hotel. After the day's events, we fell asleep only the get up for dinner. Original plan was to go to a family restaurant owned by Gaetano's parents. Gaetano owns O'Sarracino back in Akl. Unfortunately, there were closed til the next day. So we ended up having dinner by the hotel, our worse meal to seafood and soggy pizza.

The next day we were off to Verona. Everything seemed to be gooing to plan until we were about to baord the train and I reliased that I had lost 1 of the 4 tickets!!!! So it was a mad dash to get one more ticket and onto the train we got. 2 hours later and we arrived in Verona. I was still very jet lagged and ended up sleeping for the next 15hrs!

Verona: We were here for 2 nites. Once we sorted ourselves out and had breakky, we hit the streets to visit the sites in Verona. We caught the bus into town with the 'Verona card' (gives you complimentary access to most of the main sites and use of busses). First site we visited was the Arena. That was a pretty spectacular site!!!! One way to feel ridiculously small...Me explaining it just won't do it justice so you'll have to wait for photos. Following the Arena we headed to the Castelvecchio. Along the way we walked through some amazing side streets and passed some pasticcerias (pastry shops). I was totally loving the quaint European atmosphere. So this castle we next visited featured a lot of art work and sculptures based on Christianity history of a certain era (I'm useless at that sorta stuff so you won't get details from me). We even got to head up to the towers of the castle and walk along the perimeter giving you a great view of the city. The rest of the morning we navigated the various sites along the way, a market square, through some more side main attraction was Juliet's house. Here we took the mandatory tourist photo with the statue of Juliet....Within the house was various artists' interpretation of the different scenes. For lunch we were determined not to have lunch at the main square where prices were very obviously tourist prices. We wondered off the beaten track and stumbled across this family owned restaurant and had a rather good lunch. Favourites were dad's order of Bacala(salted cod) with polenta and my polenta with gorgonzola and sopressa (local cured meat, similar to salami). After lunch we headed to the Roman Theatre. Another amazing site....venturing through the ruins and the rooms with rows and rows of artifacts displayed. It was getting pretty late in the evening so we decided to head back to the hotel. We were all pretty knackered that we fell asleep and didn't even get up for dinner that nite!!!

Next stop: Venezia....

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Italy so far

After a ridiculous amount of flying and transiting, we finally made it to Italy. First stop was Milan. Didnt get up to much there apart from trying to get over jet lag so we pretty much slept the arvo away after Jean did a major stuff up at the train station. (Will go into more detail when Im back). The next day we set off to Verona, home of Romeo & Juliet.

First day in Verona was again, spent sleeping off jet lag. The next day we ventured the streets of Verona and spent a good 5-6 hours walking visiting the various sites/ monuments of the city. The main arena was my way to feel extremely tiny!!!!! Other highlights were the mandatory Juliets house and the Roman theatre. Pretty awe-inspiring. A day and a half in Verona was our stay....

Next day, ie today, we left Verona for Venice. We got in mid arvo. Once settled, we hit the streets for some dinner. The atmosphere is rather festive, left over from Xmas and in preparation for the NY celebrations.

Food so far has been pretty good. Nothing to say 'wow' about but we have only had 1 rather below par meal (which was in Milan). I also had my first gelati tonite...pretty yum! Can't wait to try the local 'vin brulee' which we are guessing is mulled wine.

Anyway, best be off...til the next update!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a long time since...

...I last posted. Yes, I know I have been rather slack. But seriously, give me a break!! :) Seeing as the end of the year is fast approaching and I am going away for 3.5 weeks, I figured it was a good opportunity to reflect on the year that was.

But where do I even start?? I guess the beginning of the year would prob be good...

In Jan I started another full time job at twofifteen. We opened in early Jan and it's been a great year. It was my first job where I was part of an entirely new operation getting everything setup from the ground up (an experience in itself). This also meant that I was working for a new boss, something that I'm sure most ppl find rather nerve racking, and I was no exception. As the year went by and we got to know each other better, it has proven to be the best move/ decision I've made to date. We get on like a house on fire and I couldn't ask for a better boss. I look forward to going to work each day along with the banter that comes with it. (I guess it wouldn't be hospo if there was no 'piss taking'). All in all, a great year it has been-for the business in general and for my career. Most def looking forward to what next year might hold for us.

Aside from running, I've managed to get copious amounts exercise back into my schedule. I took up dance as an extra curricular activity to keep me sane towards the end of last year and am glad to have kept it up this year. It was nice to be part of more than just 1 dance in the year-end show but also to be able to help out with the girls from the younger group. If this year is anything to go by, next year will be bigger and better!!! Í'm still going strong with yoga, though not as often as I used since starting pilates as well. SO yes, the old Jean is most def back with a vengance.....fitting in crazy amounts of sport/ exercise on top of work.

This year also marked 5 years since I left Melb and moved across the ditch. As most may know, it was a choice I made begrudgingly. However, as years have gone by it is def becoming a little more like home each day and this year has proven that.

Earlier in the year, a friend reffered me onto a physio-friend of hers and it turned out to be the greatest thing ever. For starters, I finally found an amazing physio practise, bioSPORT, along with INCREDIBLY down-to-earth and talented physios/ biomechanist/ business owners. Secondly, we finally figured out why I've had a sore back for as long as I can remember and have been able to keep it under control. Most of the time, I am fairly pain-free!!!!! Thirdly, I found a long lost friend...Through pure coincidence, a friend that I used to do gym with back in KL when I was prob bout 8yrs old, happened to be apprenticing at this physio studio. It was pretty incredible to see her and reconnect with her again. Fourthly, believe it or not...I started running, off road running. For someone that hated running to now voluntarily hitting the trails and loving it...pretty amazing, I'd say. And lastly, the relationships I've made with the staff at and through the practise. An incredibly talented yet down-to-earth bunch of ppl!!

With this current being only my second full time stint, it was also a year of self discovery; it was by no means easy and even now, I'm still juggling church, work, social life and various other activities. One thing I've def gotten better at this year is making sure I give myself enough 'me time' and what better way to do so then by heading to dance, yoga, pilates or hitting the trails with other mad ppl...

This pretty much sums up the year I've had...not very exciting but it was good to take some time to reflect. It has been by no means been an easy year but has most def been a GREAT year! As for next year, I will continue to work at

twofifteen . I am currently waiting to hear as to whether or not I will receive an educational grant. I don't hear about it til Jan 30 so I'll post about it when I receive the news, either way. In terms of plans to return to Melb, there are no current plans. It is one of those things that will happen when it happens and I'm rather comfortable and at peace about it.

So til the next post....have a safe and fabulous festive season. Italy, HERE I COME!!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Today I received, what I think, is a beautiful quote from Jonathan...

"Cooking is a language through which all the following properties may be expressed: harmony, creativity, happiness, beauty, poetry, complexity, magic, humour, provocation and culture."

...And this is why I do what I do.

It is by no means a glamorous profession but I wouldn't trade it for the world! I love it despite the long hours. I love it despite the crap pay. I love it despite being is almost constant pain from a stuff body. I love it despite the often crude comments/ conversations that go on around me. Most of all, I love it because it is a gift I have been blessed with and it puts smiles on people's faces.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Xmas/New Year/Life as it is...

Rewinding to life after my last Dec post...

The remainder of my holidays were good. I was invited to lunch with the Powell's which was great. It had been a while since we last had a meal together and so our time together was def one that I really appreciated. And as always, the food was fab!! There's never a bad meal in that house...

That same weekend I was invited to go white water rafting with Heidi, Brent, Josh, Rachel & Jo. Seeing as it was the last time I'd be able to do something crazy with Josh, I decided that I'd give work a miss and head down to Kaituna with the lot. I must initial thoughts were rather positive. I wasn't stressed or worried. Even when we got there and got kitted out I was rather calm and excited. The crazy thing is, the only time I felt nervous was just before we left Auckland. Why and over what? Well, as we all arrived at the Bowlin's that morning a thought suddenly entered my mind..."Here's me, an introvert, spending an entire day with a bunch of extreme extroverts!!!!". Stupid, I know...but nonetheless, I survived and had the time of my life. (Photos are on facebook, so check them out there. I'm still having issues with uploading photos on my photobucket page. But I will get there soon.)

The following week I was house sitting in Sandringham. Since I'd been given time off til after the new year, I decided I'd utilise the facilities in the house to it's full extent! It had a woodfired oven. So I had a pizza party cum farewell for the Bowlin's on Boxing Day. It was great...About 25 ppl turned up and it was a fab time of fellowship.

For New Year's Eve, I was able to have a bbq with some friends. I really enjoyed it and def appreciated the fact that I was actually able to do so. The previous year, I was working! Not impressed... After dinner we headed to Devonport and watched the fireworks from the waterfront. It started the spit a little during the drive up but it cleared off when we got there and stayed dry for the remainder of our time there. It was sheer bliss...

On New Year's day, I spent it at the beach. The day was absolutely gorgeous...What more can I say; beach and a beautiful day = perfection

The following few days consisted of me sorting myself out for another of house sitting back at Sandringham and also getting ready for work. Yes, I've started work and I LOVE it!

The second week of house sitting was extremely timely as work was only a 5mins drive away. So I was quite pleased to have been asked to house sit again.

Work...well, where do I start. We started by giving the place a little bit of a clean down on Sunday. That only took a few hours so that was nice. On Mon we got stuck into our prep with whatever little produce we had to work with. Needless to say, it wasn't a very long day as there wasn't much to work with. By this time, the prospect of having to open our doors on Thurs was really starting to freak me out!!! Tues was another not so long day, though it was still slightly longer than the previous day. More prep, but still not enough. Again, Jean freaking out even more!!! Wed was our opening nite, where my boss had invited a whole bunch if friends, family, suppliers etc etc that have helped got the place up and running. It went alright; free food and alcohol generally go down well with the punters. Still we were WAY behind in our prep for the following nite's big opening to the public. Man was I in a state and a half!!! Thurs must have been longest day of the week by far. I pulled a 16hr shift that day...Considering our prep situation at the beginning of the week, our first nite was pretty good. It def could have been better but for what we had to deal with earlier in the week, we did well. The remainder of the week was def much better and we were all able to finally breathe a little.

My boss is brilliant; a nice guy in and out of the kitchen. He's just a straight up, no bull shit kinda guy but in a really nice way that doesn't make you feel 6 inches tall. My other work mates are really nice too. So it's def been a good start to this new job and I'm really starting to feel like this really was a good step forward.

So we all survived the first week, though business was a little slow. But we're hopeful that things will start to really pick up and start to buzz. Despite the lack of sleep, I am in good spirits and as long as we all remain as nice as we were to each other this week, I'll keep loving the work!

On other news, I've noticed that I'm really beginning to enjoy my own space and time to be alone. Having had the last 2 days off and spending it mostly on my own, I actually haven't hated it. Of course I would have loved to have spent some time with some ppl that I haven't been able to see for ages but that's besides the point. I went window shopping on my own on both days and on Monday I was able to use a gift voucher I received as an Xmas prezzie. I got 3 books and still have money left!!! I went on a walk on both days, on my own and prior to the new year I'd also gone on a couple of walks on my own.

It'll still be nice to get into a proper routine soon though. I'm def hanging out for that; work to settle down and get into a rhythm, getting back into yoga and having set days each week that work for both Moni and I and just life in general. I'll very much feel like myself again when that happens...til then, I guess I'll just have to learn to cope and grow in that experience. :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Chef of the Month feature article

I will post a proper New Year post in the coming weeks but here's the article I have been feature in...

Just this week, I started my new job at Two Fifteen Bar & Bistro. We officially open on Thurs, Jan 8 so it's currently a little manic and extremely busy. So when things settle down, I'll be able to update everyone on my adventures the few weeks prior to Xmas and into the New Year.

But til then, I hope you all had a fab Xmas and New Year!!! Here's to a great 2009...