Thursday, 26 May 2016

What a crazy week!

I'm having one of those weeks to be cherished for the rest of my life!

Monday: Macau
Tuesday: Hong Kong
Wednesday: Paris

When I'm in the old people's home with a grin on my face 
it will be because of weeks like this...

The world is a beautiful place and the contrasts between the smelly dried fish of Macau
and the linesmen in their designer cardigans at Roland Garros yesterday
gave me a little, ok a massive:
 "life's good" moment!

But can't stop we're off to the tennis again today.

Have fun, whatever you're up to,
 I'll be over to visit you when I get off cloud nine!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The rich fabric of life in Hong Kong

Shhhhh Let's get Wordless!
Street decorations in Central
New suit for Mr Wren
Cat alley stairway Central
Hong Kong Island skyline reflected in the windows TST, Kowloon side

Anyone have any ideas?!
Dolphin Plaza TST
Pink flamingos amongst the skyscrapers Kowloon Park
It is always a pleasure to be back in Hong Kong!

Thanks to Sue at Wordless on Tuesday


Monday, 23 May 2016

Paris here we come!

It seems the whole world loves Paris and a French theme.

We're in Macau a Special Administrative Region on the southern coast of China

Famous for it's Portuguese tarts (both the edible and the not so savoury!) 
and gambling.

Macau is bigger than Las Vegas for gambling,
becoming the world's largest gambling centre in 2006.

 At the time I was working for US casino giant Las Vegas Sands. 
Our work was all about bringing Venice in the shape of the Venetian to Macau.

Fast forward a decade and Macau has changed big-time.
It is a vibrant resort destination that never ceases to amaze and impress.
Since we were last here, a half scale replica of the Eiffel Tower has appeared.

This Paris-themed casino is at the heart of Sands, China
newest developments. Ultimately Macau will be a 100 billion market.

It's exciting to think that by Wednesday we will be able to wander along 
admiring real Eiffel Tower!
Linking with My Sunday Photo thank you Darren

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Flying the flag for Australia

Dami Im wins the Eurovision frock contest!

There's none so funny as life itself...

Within weeks of Britain voting on whether it wants to remain in the European Union, Australia it appears, quietly snuck in through the backdoor.

And with a massive 12 points all round 
Our Sunrise breakfast TV was calling it as a 
'Dami Im victoryin Eurovision2016...
That was until the popular vote came in.

At the point of 'By Jove, I think she's done it'
Dami was interviewed and asked what she would do if or when she won?
Her reply, that she would 'have a lemonade' with her support crew,
had us all Down Under rushing to the morning-after-the-night-before fridge 
to see if by chance we had any lemonade to celebrate with her - fat chance!

Put the Aussie flag up we've won Eurovision .... no take it down!
For those in the know, The Eurovision Song contest
it has been around for 60 plus years. 
It is the European singing competition featuring
 a great deal of mickey taking, some outrageous backing singers, 
some highly questionable outfits and maybe even a fiddle or two.

It was one of the most important days on the drinking calendar....

Look okay in Australia, we are as bemused as anyone,
 as to how we should get into Eurovision? For the second time, no less!
Let alone be on the cusp of winning the thing. 
Australians were not brought up on the Terry Wogan jokes 
and his 'nul point' quips.' We were as the hashtags proudly pronounce are #inittowinit!

If you were watching Eurovision tonight you would have seen
Dami Im our  ex X-Factor winner belting out with gusto her 
'Sound of Silence' song 
Our beautiful songstress in that frock that she couldn't move in.

Back in Australia we're waking to the breaking news!
We cut to the 8am newsheadlines and the big announcement that Dami Im
has lost out in the popular vote. What?????
Where were the BoatyMcBoatface voters when we needed them?

Oh, of course, they were off their faces 
having had one too many in the drinking games...

So we last see Dami, sobbing into her frock
'I don't understand what happened?' she says.

Ermm welcome to Eurovision2016 Dami.
The tradition continues...
Linking with Our World Tuesday
My Sunday Photo - thanks to all the hosts

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Happy Wet Wordless Wednesday Melbourne!

All the above photos were taken in my local park yesterday.
There is still quite a bit of colour around,
even if it is beginning to feel a lot like Winter!

Hope you are staying dry where ever you are in the world.

Thanks to Sue at Wordless on Tuesday


Monday, 9 May 2016

Wander Victoria A to Z challenge reflections

'A', you're Adorable, 'B' but you're beautiful, 'C' you're a cutie, full of charms'... It's hard not to hop around the place feeling pleased with yourself after finishing the 2016 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

We've been asked to write a post to tell about our A to Z experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the stats show that I had a 325% increase in my readership during April which I am pretty happy about.

Unlike more seasoned participants, I was not organised with every post planned and penned ahead of schedule, but then you probably guessed that of me, didn't you?! Indeed, my whole thought about participation was relatively last minute. I started at Blogger number 1600-and-something on the challenge sign-up but by the end of April, I was in a final  position of 1184th out of 1344 Bloggers who completed the challenge. Yes, that's a massive amount of other bloggers out there, so there was a great 'in this together' team spirit, amongst fellow bloggers.

My A to Z Challenge was on the theme of Wander Victoria, my home state here in Australia. At the start, we were asked to identify our category. I'm not sure I ever ticked the box as a travel post as I often feel I fit a broader category. I had animals, some history, some lifestyle and social, some personal, loads of photography, it is sometimes part memoir and I always hope for a little a dash of humour. And I wasn't sure whether I was going to be in need of the adult content disclaimer, in case my language deteriorated into a few bleedin' this and that's, but in the end I think I held it together reasonably well!

So my first reflection is that yes as those in the know will say from their previous experiences in the past six challenges, it is important to plan ahead. However, I don't ever want to end up with everything written ahead of time as I think for me that would make me feel too removed from what I loved, the challenge of blogging (almost) every day.

My second point is that had I been slightly more ahead I would have had more chance to visit and connect with the other thousand-plus participants and that would be something I would like to be better at in future years.

I was not aware of masses of new readers through engagements on my blog, although as I mentioned I was thrilled to see my monthly stats doing very nicely thank you. But I was immensely heartened by seeing my fellow regular readers and bloggers commenting either on the blog or by e-mail, many of whom commented each post, an equally big marathon for them, which was inspiring for me to see it through to Z!

The biggest impact the challenge has had was helping me reflect on the future direction of my blog. It appears to me that my Australian content is always well received, perhaps better than my overseas posts and that this perhaps should be the mainstay of the blog. I am also keen to review the blog layout and the possibility of moving to Wordpress. I am aware of the problem of commenting through Google+ and would like to rectify that. 

My A to Z challenge concluded with a Staycation focused on helping my blog grow. In particular, the Mentoring session with Julie at Girl on the Move was very valuable. 

A combination of all these things has meant I have signed up for my first ever Blogging conference on the Gold Coast in September (I know whoop whoop Little Wandering Wren is off to Queensland with her blog! )

On a couple of occasions, when I couldn't find myself haha what's new?! I'm sure the  A to Z Challenge support crew were rolling their eyes at this, I was in e-mail contact with the organisers and the responses were always quick and helpful. I really appreciated the ABC graphics which I used daily.

So all in all, a massive thank you to all the organisers and I would encourage all fellow bloggers to consider joining next year. I am already thinking about the next one!

In case, you missed out on any of the posts and would like to visit you will find them all below!


Sunday, 8 May 2016

A few gifts for Mum

I've just been given an Avocado Shark for Mothers Day 
Only in Australia!

My favourite meal is brunch with smashed avo
which is exactly what we had this morning.
In my previous post All Australians' Adore Avocados
I talk about why this dish perfectly suits my personality!

We were woken by lots of noise in the kitchen, this morning.
Probably as in many other households all around the Country!
'I DO hope they're smashing my avocado, not my best china!'
I think as I roll back under the covers...

This is the life!

I love the way that even though they are now grown up
I still get a hand drawn card...'To our Favourite Wren!'

'Thanks for being the best Mum and always so caring 
even though we're adults'

Isn't that what all Mother's do until they fly the nest?
They say the average age kids leave home these days is thirty-four or something ridiculous.

After brunch I am presented with a series of special gifts!

The Avo Shark is great - one tool to cut, de-pip, scoop, slice and mash. When you eat as much avocado as we do, that will see good service! 

The mango cutter equally as clever a gift. I don't do mango! It is to replace my other mango cutter, my son who has in his tender nineteen years perfected mango! He is about to leave on a seven week European adventure.

Do you like the luggage tag for my upcoming trip?
That's because at my age, 
I'm in my 'should have gone to SpecSavers' phase of life.
They are hoping it will be easier for me to spot my own bags to stop me from removing everyone else's luggage from the arrival conveyor belt.
 I did this twice on the last family holiday much to the surprise of the other passengers whose bags I grabbed and to the mirth of my kids.

They keep telling me I could get a job in baggage handling any day
...I'm a real pro they say, the way I whip those suitcases off at baggage reclaim is no one business! 

Have a gorgeous Sunday wherever you are celebrating!

Linking with My Sunday Photo 
Thank you Darren

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Keep Calm and wander on!

I am having a brilliantly busy week.
For one, we have just booked a surprise trip to Europe in a couple of weeks.
The surprise is I thought I was going in August!

So I'm in that pre-travel panic planning mode.
You know, the one I go into
 whenever we leave the kids (all adults, I know, I need therapy) 
home alone, looking after the Crazy Poodle.

I buy up a years supply of toilet rolls 
and enough dog dental chews for every pooch in Melbourne...

Domain, Auckland
I know, what a wonderful life I lead.
I mean, really what IS the point in unpacking my suitcase? 

So here I am dancing around celebrating the fact
for the second year in a row, I'm going to avoid Winter.
Don't you think life is good if you can live in a perpetual Summer?

Domain, Auckland Statues
When out of nowhere, 
I get a notification on my blog that I'm a winner!
Not only that, 
it's from Betty in New Zealand, some of you will know Betty
through her blogs photographing New Zealand.

Glasshouse flowers, Domain, Auckland 
Well I'd literally just touched down 
from a beautiful trip to Auckland last month.
Sorry, if you felt you missed it, 
it's just that we were all so busy gallivanting around Victoria at the time
it was hard to mention!

 I've won the most beautiful New Zealand paua shell necklace.
It's described as Hei Matau which is a highly stylised fish hook 
typical of the Maori people of New Zealand.
The swirl on the side is a sign of life.

New Zealand Paua shell necklace
It means Good Luck or safe journey.
How absolutely perfect, or as Dame Edna would say:
'It's spooky Possums'

Thank you so much, Betty. I will be thrilled to be wearing 
my Hei Matau necklace on my travels.

Hei Matua - necklace
You might be interested to read one of my most popular posts
about a necklace:

I bought it the foothills of the Himalayas 
when I was visiting my 16-year-old son who was at boarding school there.

Before I go here are the links to  Betty's blogs below.
 I hope you will stop by and tell her a little bird sent you!
Linking Warm Heart Wednesday - thanks to Jenny
Wednesday around the World - thanks to Betty
Our World Tuesday - Thanks to all the hosts

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Arts Centre Melbourne

A is for Arts Centre Melbourne
                                                 ...only joking!

Shhhh Let's get Wordless

Welcome to Australia's largest performing Arts Centre

Thanks to Sue at Wordless on Tuesday


Monday, 2 May 2016

Blogging from A to Z Challenge Survivor

Giveaway announcement

Where did April go?
I seemed to lose it somewhere between the avocados, the 

Not only was I whizzing around all over Victoria
I also had a quick trip to New Zealand in April
Oh the wonders of modern technology
unless you saw a few sneaky pics on Instagram
you would have hardly noticed!

All the comments were added up, one entry for every comment on Facebook or the blog
Thank you to everyone who has joined me on the April A to Z Challenge
and for all your encouragement along the way.
I am delighted that you have enjoyed Wandering Victoria with me.
As promised all your comments have been entered into the Giveaway

Names in the hat!
I did make a little video of the Crazy Poodle helping me with the draw
but I am having a few technical difficulties
which I hope will be resolved later to enable me to add to this post
later in the week.

But in the meantime, drumroll, please
The winner is Fiona Miller
I will be in touch!