Monthly Archives: July 2014

What I learnt this week: Portu-Gals

(2 posts in a week-what!?  Yes, I will attempt to have this blog up to date by the close of business on Sunday.  Wish me luck!)

2 day working week. Woohoo! Then off to Portugal with Shelley, Ayisha and Josie for Optimus Alive Music Festival in Lisbon.  It was a girls long weekend in Portugal- hence the amazingly creative, yet dorky title!

Was a rocky start to the adventure, lots of transport issues. But we decided we couldn’t complain too much. We were on holidays to enjoy ourselves 🙂

Got to the hotel…eventually. Chilled, ate, swam. Headed out for an amazing dinner.   We ate at a beautiful rooftop restaurant overlooking the coast- sunset, fresh fish and the best chocolate mousse I’ve eaten in my life. It was all very ‘Sex and the City.’  Oh and if your wondering who I was- Miranda, of course.


Checked out a local market on the Thursday.  Wandered on the beach, read, lazed by the pool.  It was pretty tough! The next three days (4pm to 4am) were filled with musical craziness. There was a lot of fun, dancing and singing.

I saw:

  • Ben Howard
  • The Lumineers
  • Imagine Dragons
  • Kelis
  • Artic Monkeys
  • Jamie XX
  • Black Mamba
  • Bastille
  • Foster the people
  • The Black Keys
  • Sam Smith
  • MGMT

It was incredible!  My ears were so happy.


Spent the rest of the time eating loads of yummy foods! But no drinking. The girls did but I stayed true to my ‘100 Days Sober’ challenge.  It was hard but I was able to get a different perspective seeing everyone else drunk.  And the girls were really supportive, making sure I stayed on track.  Plus I still had loads of fun without the hang over.

What I learnt was related to complaining. I’d read an article about how hard it is to not complain. It seems we are conditioned to always go to the negative, not the positive.

As mentioned our little trip did not start as planned and we were whining until we realised that if we were negative we would make the situation worse. We changed our attitude and had an amazing time.

There will always be things that don’t go our way but we need to move past that. A quote I saw recently really  hit home on this: ‘As you waste your breath complaining about life. Someone out there is breathing their last. Appreciate what you have.’

Funniest moment:

  • Was about to get on the plane when my bag got checked for size.  The wheels didn’t fit in the stupid frame they wanted me to test it in.  I was ready jump on top of the bag and cram it in.  There was no way I was paying more for luggage!  Need be I would have worn everything that I had in my carry on.  And had I done that I would have been guaranteed to sit next to a hottie on the plane (Murphy’s Law and such).  That would have been a conversation starter…

What I did that scared me:

  • Stayed up til 5am, 3 mornings straight.  That was without the aid of alcohol!


  • Portugal.  Full stop.
  • Seeing Imagine Dragons live.  I have been listening to their album on repeat recently
  • TNT magazine agreeing to print an article about my ‘100 Days Sober’ endeavour


  • Trains in Portugal can be a little challenging at times
  • Food poisoning
  • Waiting 45 for a freaking kebab at the festival, when I was starving already.  That almost pushed me over the edge

What I learnt:

  • There is always something you could find to complain about.  But is it worth wasting your breath over?


What I learnt this week: A powerful chapter

Woah Nelly, what a week!!! (Still a tad behind on the blog).

Started my new job.  I’m so incredibly happy!

Was thrown into the deep end- started with a 6-hour meeting on my first day.  Met the project team.  Good mix of girls, guys and ages, even includes 3 Aussies.  Everyone is so switched on, friendly and supportive.

The whole week flew by.  It was busy learning, completing inductions and meeting new people at Hay Group.  I love my desk, I love walking to Hyde Park on my lunch break and I love the fact that Mike the Project Manager uses words like ‘delightful.’

On the social front things were hectic too- I caught 3 gigs!

Wednesday night- ‘The Naked and Famous’ at Sheppards Bush O2, with Zoe and Rochelle.  Had a wicked night singing and dancing.  No drinking, which was weird at first but once I let go and realised everyone else was drunk it didn’t really matter what I did!  I even plucked up the courage to talk to some cute boys 🙂


Thursday night was the Summertime Series in Hyde Park with Martine and Jess.  ‘Arcade Fire’ and ‘Jake Bug.’  Such a beautiful evening chilling, singing and dancing again.  Watching drunk people interact is a very eye opening experience!


3rd gig was probably the most amazing.  Back to Hyde Park on the Sunday to see ‘BACKSTREET BOYS.’  OMG!  I screamed like a 15-year-old girl.  I was so excited.  They were one of the first CD’s I ever bought.  Now we barely have CD’s lol!


Friday night was great; it had been a big day at work.  Met Nichole for a wander through Hyde park.  We sat and chatted, catching up on each others adventures.  It was a beautiful evening, as you can see below 🙂


Then I headed to Clapham for the first time- for Camilla’s Birthday.  Fun and Lebanese food- yum.


I was so exhausted by the weekend.  I needed sleep desperately!

On Saturday I saw ‘Chef,’ which I really enjoyed but made me so hungry, needed food after that!  Caught up on writing, exercise, friends and life admin for the rest of the weekend.

My theme this week relates to the power of connections.

I eventually got the job at Hay Group because I was the right person for it but it was through a connection.  Libby, whom I met through another friend in Melbourne- the infamous Daniel C.  He once was one of my loves, but we’re now just good friends.

He told me about Libby before I moved over to London.   9 months later I work with her.  The world is small.

I actually learnt where the term 6 degrees of separation comes from this week.  You should google it, as it’s a really interesting experiment.  I read about it in ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell.

It’s all about how ideas/concepts reach a point and then they suddenly explode.  He talks about how word of mouth works- partly through people he calls ‘connectors.’  These are people who have lots of connections and can help you out.  Dan is one of those people.  He knows so many people and he will always put you in touch with someone who can help you.

This idea of word of mouth/tipping point was also touched on in ‘Chef’.  Twitter is huge part of the story.  The power of social media is absolutely incredible these days.  And when used for good is good.

Through friends, acquaintances and/or social media, we can all be connected.  If we want to be…

Funniest moment:

  • Watching Zoe drunkenly feed Rochelle Macca’s like a mamma bird on the way home from gig number 1.

What I did that scared me:

  • Started a new job!


  • Meeting the project team
  • Singing Backstreet’s Back with the band
  • Taking time off for myself on Saturday


  • Absolutely exhausted
  • A little too much info overload
  • Rain on Saturday (it’s been beautiful all week)

What I learnt:

  • We are not just lonely beasts roaming the planet.  We are or can be all connected.


What I learnt this week: Be so emotional

Okay Dokay.  Since I’m still 3 weeks behind on blogster, I was going to try and keep this brief but when I looked back over my notes for this particular week it’ll be hard to do…

It was my last week at Prospero! It went by in a flash. The team and I were doing final prep for the long awaited audit. Oh the joy. That meant very early mornings and late nights.  I was so very happy once it was over.

Suddenly it came to Friday and it was time for me to say good-bye to everyone.  I was sad to leave the amazing people I’d met, but everyone was happy that I was moving to a new role.  One that I know will suit me better.  And be a new challenge.

More noteworthy new was that on Monday after waking up hung over again I decided I no longer wanted to feel that way.  But I didn’t know how to stop my sordid ways. On a whim I posted that I’d do ‘100 Days Sober.’  I’d seen friends posting for ‘100 Days Happy.’  I thought why not?  This was without realising there would be no drinking for the entire summer in Europe!

The response I got scared me a little…

  • ‘Don’t worry everyone, she’s joking!’
  • ‘What about V Fest? We’re going to be drunk, you’ll be bored!’
  • ‘Sally, that’s stupid. Drink like the French, just don’t be a bogan and get wasted!’
  • ‘What about Edinburgh Fringe Fest, did you think this through?’

Someone even posted a meme-

  • ‘I just got some juice out the fridge and I swear I heard the wine say what the f@#k?’

It was a very strong reaction!  One of which I totally didn’t expect.  And made me realise how much of our lives revolve around drinking.  Especially mine!  But I made my pledge and now I have to stick to it.

‘They’ (I never really know who we’re actually referring to when we say ‘they’) usually say the first part is the hardest.  Which was made harder on Monday night when Jess and I stopped at ‘The Castle’ for dinner.  Our meal was no good so we were offered a bottle of wine.  WTF?  Free wine!  As an Aussie you don’t say no to those things. But I did.  Scored free brownies instead!  Yum.

Tuesday night I went to Shoreditch with Jo, a girl I met on a walking tour who happened to be a writer as well.  Met a couple of her friends.  We checked out an art exhibition, which had free wine.  Why universe, why???

Wednesday night we had a flat dinner to informally ‘interview’ the potential new girl- Ellie.  She turned up with a bottle of wine.  And I really could have used a drink with audit being the next day.  I was a tad stressed! Instead we had a lovely Mexican dinner and chatted the night away.

Thursday night after audit we all went out for work drinks.  I wanted to celebrate and everyone wanted to buy me drinks.  However I stayed strong. What’s more a bunch of us went to karaoke until the wee hours.  Everyone was drunk and I was stone cold sober.  Still had so much fun- singing and dancing!


After a massive week I was ready to chill. But no rest for the wicked as they say.  I had to catch the train to Liverpool early Saturday to visit my friend Hannah Beard, whom I realised I hadn’t seen in 7 years.  We met in Vietnam in 2008.  Wowzers, time flies!

We had a wonderful chilled weekend.  I’ll dot point what we did, to make it easy on myself:


  •  Arrived in the rain, cup of tea and a catch up chat, met her BF Richard
  • Headed to the closest art gallery, checked out a Grayson Pearson’s  tapestry exhibition (amazing)
  • Huge vegie lunch at a hip local café
  • Saw a musical- ‘Dead dog in a suitcase’ (crazy)
  • Wandered around a few churches
  • Quick non-alcoholic bevy in an iconic bar (well the toilet was the iconic feature)
  • Home to cook a yummy dinner
  • Headed back out to an alcohol free bar- met some characters there!


  • Lazy breaky
  • Walk down to the marina area, in the beautiful sunshine
  • Beatles photo gallery
  • Bit of op shopping
  • Lovely roast lunch at ‘Redemption’
  • Tate modern- checking out the masters and some weird modern art


It was a brilliant weekend.  I actually didn’t know Hannah that well before.  However I could see we’ve both grown a lot as people since the first time we met.  We share very similar views of the world and how we live our lives.  It was wonderful not to do the small talk thing but to really chat with her.  Can’t say how much I enjoyed my time in Liverpool 🙂

What did I learn you ask?  Well…

It was connected to emotion.  It’s safe to say I’m a very emotional person.  But that’s not a bad thing. It’s healthy to have emotions, as long as you let them out and move on. Holding on to anger or sadness is dangerous. You gotta let it flow.

I saw a book whilst waiting for my train to Liverpool- ‘Emotional Intelligence’- learning how to control your emotion.  You can’t control your emotions!  Although I did have an ex who once said ‘don’t have your emotions.’  What?  That’s like telling me not to breathe.

If they’re there, they’re there for a reason. You need to listen to what they’re telling you! Don’t be scared of them.  And definitely don’t think they make you weak.  I saw a great quote from Zooey Deshanal.  It resonates so much with me and how I feel about this topic:

“Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things.”

Amen sister!

One more thing on emotions.  As a writer it’s so important to reach out to people on a deep emotional level.  If someone can connect with your writing, they will understand it and therefore it will stick with them.  

Think of your fav film and picture which scene you still remembered today.  It will likely be a very emotional scene, one where the character showed vulnerability- the moment of letting go, understanding, love etc.  We connect to this emotion and it’s a cathartic release for us.  Because we need to feel.  We are human not are not robots.  So go on, feel your feelings fully!

Funniest moment:

  • Falling over in the rain, beside the road.  Skirt flew up, along with  my umbrella.  Cars driving by got a front row ticket to the ‘Sally bum show.’  I should have charged big bucks…

What I did that scared me:

  • Gave up alcohol (for 100 days at least)


  • Tax return- yea.  There is my ticket back to Aus taken care of!
  • Vietnamese dinner with Jo and her friends
  • Liverpool- the whole weekend!


  • Wanting to drink
  • Audit prep stress (it’s a thing, you will know it if you have ever prepared one)
  • Sooooo freaking tired

What I learnt:

  • Don’t be scared of your emotions- let them flow!

What I learnt this week: FEARLESS

It was an eye opening week to say the least!  (Well 2 weeks ago it was, just a tad behind on bloggy)

I’ll begin with the social side of things.  Dinner with Kelly at ‘Yalla Yalla’ in Shoreditch on Monday.  Yummy Turkish food.  It’s been a while since we’ve hung out, so there was loads of catching up to do.

Then on Friday night we met for final drinks at Somerset House.  It was the last time I will see Kel before she sets off back to Aus…

Somerset house

Headed to the infamous ‘Walkabout Bar’ with Jess and a bunch of girls for the State of Origin on Wednesday night.  We had our own booth booked above the general riff raft 😉 Fun times.  Also caught the end of the Aussies playing in the World Cup.   So much sport, I don’t know how guys do it!

The big news was I quit my role at Prospero.  I’m moving on from my first job in London.  It has been a crazy ride.  I’m definitely not the same girl that started back in Oct 2013.  I’ve learnt resilience, confidence and how to stand up for myself.  I’ve grown, developed a team and I’m proud of my efforts.  But it’s time to start a new chapter.

It was harder than I thought to make this decision.  Even though I was excited by the new job I was scared to leave.  I hate the unknown.  I like routine, a little too much it seems.  But once I made the decision to leap, I was happy.

This leads in to the theme for the week.  I went to a workshop focusing on character mapping with Laurie Hurtzler on Saturday.  It was all about how fear drives a character and makes them act.  It was fascinating, especially when you realise how it applies to your own life!

I had a couple of teary moments when I saw how I’ve let my own fears hold me back in life.

One such moment was this week when I almost didn’t take the new job.  I guess I was scared of what would happen.  Scared that I wouldn’t be good enough.  Scared that I wouldn’t like it.  Scared of the absolute uncertainty.  But nothing in life is certain.  Nothing. And to make a decision based on fear is the a bad decision.

So I’m proud I faced my fear.  I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and boy do I feel good.  I walked through Somerset House on the way home on Friday night with the most amazing feeling of freedom.  I’m on a new adventure.  I don’t know where it leads but I’m excited to find out.

Funniest moment:

  • Headed to ‘The Chatty’ for a Sunday session and the moment was when I described to Rochelle that I wasn’t drunk after 6 double shots of gin.  I told her I didn’t feel anything just that my mouth was moving at a different pace to my brain.  Yeah that’s not a sign of being drunk at all…

What I did that scared me:

  • Quit my job!


  • Facing my fear and finding freedom in the unknown
  • Buying Kelis’ new album
  • Lunch with my team on Friday- burgers yea!


  • Saying goodbye to Kel 🙁
  • Stress at work
  • Still feeling sick

What I learnt:

  • Your fear can only control you if you let it.  If you take a leap of faith, you can open a new door.  It might lead to uncertainty but that’s the beauty of it.