Monthly Archives: December 2014

The one with a holiday hiatus

Barr and I are in the midst of a trip to New Zealand en route back to the states for Christmas and New Year’s, hence my lack of posts over the last week! I’ll be enjoying some radio silence through the holidays, but will be back before 2014 is over 🙂 In the meantime, you can follow our Kiwi adventures via Instagram – and a few shots below, too. Happy holidays! Until next time…

Pink sheep spotted on the North Island

Pink sheep spotted on the North Island

View from our room in the Bay of Islands

View from our room in the Bay of Islands

A rainy boat trip, but dolphins were spotted, so all in all: a success!

A rainy boat trip, but dolphins were spotted, so all in all: a success!

Having a bit of fun at a Maori cultural demonstration

Having a bit of fun at a Maori cultural demonstration

Onto the South Island: Queenstown

Onto the South Island: Queenstown

Summer in Queenstown

Summer in Queenstown

First helicopter ride - incredible!

First helicopter ride – incredible!

Lake Wakatipu from Bob's Peak

Lake Wakatipu from Bob’s Peak

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The one with the grand finale

Even though it was our last weekend in Western Australia, we didnt slow down. In true Blanton fashion, we moved (again), but this time into our true final stop: a hotel for the next few days before we head off to New Zealand for 10 days and then onward to the states for the holidays! So yes, Saturday was spent tidying up the rental townhouse and packing away clothes in boxes for shipment all before our grand finale on Saturday – it was jam packed!

Some our friends told us about Polo in the City, which is exactly what it sounds like: a polo match held in the heart of the city. 🙂 Luckily, there is a fabulous green space right between Perth’s CBD and the Swan River called Langley Park, where the polo was played (and where we also attend Taste of Perth a few months back) – and even more lucky, the weather this past weekend here was perth-fect (hehe).

Abbys Roads Perth Polo in the City 2 Abbys Roads Perth Polo in the City 10

 

This was our first polo match, but kind of like when I went to ascot in October, we didnt watch too much of the ponies (much to Barr’s dismay) – it was very a “see and be seen” kind of event, with lots of socializing, champagne, and sun. My main takeaways from the sport were:

  • The horses tails are braided
  • Not getting hit in the head/accidentally hitting someone in the head with the mallet would be a skill in it of itself

Abbys Roads Perth Polo in the City 3

 

Abbys Roads Perth Polo in the City 8

During the divot stomping, I stopped to play with some pups. Because why not?

During the divot stomping, I stopped to play with some pups. Because why not?

After a quick nap, we rallied for the Perth’s Christmas Parade downtown. Our friends, Toni and Nuno, hosted a lovely BBQ at their flat beforehand and then we headed down to watch Santa roll through Western Australia (I was super impressed that Perth was so lively post-9PM!) 😉

Santa! I know him!

Santa! I know him!

And just to really round out this “all over the place” post, here are some delicious peppermint (not bubblegum – don’t let the color fool you) macarons that my girlfriend Becca and I whipped up! She’s a baking whiz – I had to learn from the best.

Abbys Roads Perth Polo in the City Abbys Roads Perth Polo in the City 1Merry merry, indeed! It was a memorable last weekend in Perth. Until next time…

 

The one with PerThanksgiving

Even though it doesn’t really feel like it in Australia, the holiday season is upon us! 🙂 We didnt make it to the states last year for Thanksgiving either (kind of a long and expensive flight for turkey), we were again blessed to spend the holiday with good friends (we miss you, Virginia!) And we did miss our pup as well, but don’t worry – he looked like he was enjoying the meal back in Houston with my sister:

Patiently waiting for a single crumb to fall

Dash patiently waiting for a single crumb to fall – bless his heart! 

For our second expat Thanksgiving, we escaped Perth and headed south to Margaret River, land of wine, beaches, and kangaroos. A very organized couple rented an absolutely amazing house for five couples and six children…a very full house! We even managed to snag a good ole’ Texas style deep-friend turkey – it’s the little things. Everyone brought a few goodies for the big dinner (a few days delayed from actual Thanksgiving Day, but memorable, delicious, and happy all the same), and the guys even did the dishes 😉

Yummo!

Yummo!

Putting the finishing touches on the meal

Putting the finishing touches on the meal

A fabulously set table - true red, white, and blue!

A fabulously set table – true red, white, and blue!

And it wouldn’t be a trip down to Margaret River without excessive kangaroo sightings! The kids loved it (and who am I kidding, the adults did too).

Perth Thanksgiving Abbys Roads33 Perth Thanksgiving Abbys Roads22On our last morning there, a group of us got up waaaaay too early from a post-turkey coma to surf. Thankfully, we did have a former professional surfer in  the group who had plenty of tips for a first-timer like me (as well as an excessive number of surfboards). It was a bit like what I would imagine being stuck in a washing machine would be like, but I’m so glad I tried. (Barr, of course, is a natural).

Perth Thanksgiving Abbys Roads69 Perth Thanksgiving Abbys Roads

 

Western Australia is unfortunately well known for shark attacks on surfers, so I was a bit apprehensive , but there are always the helicopters scouring the coast for any suspicious shadows (sharks are also tagged and monitored just for this purpose).

Can you see the helicopter?

Can you see the helicopter?

It was such an ideal weekend and Thanksgiving, and I am especially thankful for the wonderful friends we’ve made here in Perth over the last few weeks and months….as well as for views like this:

Perth Thanksgiving Abbys Roads53

Until next time…

 

Gift Ideas for Under $100 for Friends & Family

My_Favorite_Things_Linkup_2014
It’s the last week of the Favorite Things link-up with Cheers Y’allA. Liz AdventuresMiss Dixie, and Southern Style with the topic of gift ideas for under $100 for friends and family. Merry merry! Gift Ideas for Under $100
1 Lara Casey Notepads (the perfect size with the sweetest messages)
2 Thermapen (great for both girls and grillin’ guys – just maybe not in pink!)
3 Headphone Ear Muffs (for the winter runner in your life – I have several)
4 Languiole Steak Knives (who doesn’t love rainbow steak knives?)
5 Waterproof Speaker (a nice addition for your TSwift shower-singing friend…or husband)
6 Charitable Gift Donation (an incredibly personal and powerful gift)
 7 Personalized Children’s Puzzle (love this one for kidlets!)
And although these have been about gifts and things, always remember the true reason for the season. Until next time…

The one with the tunnel tour

About 20 minutes south of Perth CBD is the fabulous city of Fremantle. Home to  Western Australia’s largest collection of heritage listed buildings, “Freo” (yes like the Dockers) is named after Charles Fremantle, a British naval officer who took formal possession of the mouth of the Swan River in the name of King George in 1829.  Almost 186 years later, Fremantle is fresh, bustling, artsy, historical, and home to the Fremantle Prison.

Fremantle Prison (image via One Perth)

Fremantle Prison Tunnel Tour Abbys Roads8

The prison was opened in 1855 to house convicts sent to Australia from England, and it was still operational (for maximum security prisoners no less!) until 1991. It was ultimately closed following two massive prisoner riots – the fact that the Fremantle Prison was the last prison in the developed world that still used the bucket system probably didnt help with prisoner unrest.

The sorry aftermath of the 1988 Fremantle Prison riot (image via Wikipedia)

You’re probably wondering where the tunnels come into play. Your patience is going to pay off. 🙂 Beneath the prison grounds is a large network of tunnels built by the prisoners beginning in 1852. Now you’re probably wondering if the prisoner-built tunnel system was built for the purposes of escape, but actually these tunnels were dug to create a fresh water supply for first just the prison, but was ultimately utilized for the entire town of Fremantle.

The tunnels are now part of the Fremantle Prison Tunnels Tour for those individuals older than 12, in fairly good physical condition, and it is not for those with any semblance of claustrophobia or fear of heights. Case in point:

The shaft we climbed down to access the tunnels – yikes! You’re strapped in though.

I don’t know who these peeps are – we weren’t allowed to bring anything down the tunnels with us so no pictures of us actually in the tunnels – but it gives you an idea of how tight the tunnels are! (image via VisitFremantle.com.au)

You also get to wear some pretty sweet gear:

Proof we actually did the tour

Proof we actually did the tour

Once you have descended into the depths of the tunnels, your guide (the two we had were so great!) explains the history of the tunnels, how they were built and for what purpose – I can’t imagine how the prisoners spent 15+ hours down there each and every day.

One of our favorite parts was when we approached the deeper portions of the tunnel, where the water was very deep: pairs of us lumbered into these teeny canoes to continue to paddle through the tunnel network. At the end boating portion, the guide stopped the group and asked everyone to turn off their headlamps to “see” what it is actually like to experience complete and utter darkness – the term “light at the end of the tunnel” has never meant more to me.

If you ever find yourself in Fremantle, I can’t recommend the Fremantle Prison Tunnel Tour enough! It’s an incredibly unique experience. If tight tunnels and heights aren’t your thing (or you’re with a younger group), the prison offers some other tours that may be up your alley. Until next time…