Learning to Surf

This summer I’m learning to surf. I have a brand spanking new Speedo wetsuit, a new product line for Speedo, neck to ankle to wrist to keep me warm. I have a suite of surfboards to learn with compliments of Mr M. And I have Bondi Beach at my doorstep.

And so, last Sunday (yes, I know it’s not summer yet) I sat on a surfboard for the first time in my life. If anyone is Sydney remembers last Sunday it was overcast, starting to rain, windy and the water was choppy. There were no other learners around… and for good reason no doubt!

But Mr M has faith in my ability and this day was just for me to get used to sitting on the board and to feel the ocean. Which is exactly what I did. I felt the ocean, sand and salt in my ears, my nose and somehow it managed to get between me and my wetsuit. I didn’t think anything could get in there. I don’t think I’ve felt so naked and exposed in public for a long time!

Sitting on the board trying to figure out where to put my limbs meant I did not even feel the cold. Or think about sharks. I have an irrational fear of sharks but I’ve since learned this can be rationed away by the power of the ocean and the elements and learning a new skill.

We floundered for a while and I did managed to catch a wave in, lying down of course. But by the time I realised I was on the wave an on my way to shore I noticed I was heading towards the wall of the North Bondi sea pool. I dawned on me I had no idea how to steer (a very easy lean to the left would have done the trick!) so I bailed and was swept up with the dumping wave.

After I washed ashore and regained my balance and sense of direction I felt proud to know I’d taken my first step to being someone who ‘surfs a bit’.

Excited for the next time I hit the waves… it can only get better!


Rocking Out At Big British Sound #bigbritish

Tonight I’m at the Gaelic Club in Surry Hills, Sydney. Not my usual haunt but tonight is the night of the Ben Sherman (yes, the clothes brand) Big British Sound gig. Featuring local unsigned bands this place is rocking with tight jeans and flannel shirts and a good vibe in the air: one of casual cool hipsters, rocking out on a Thursday night.

For the second year running I’m helping out my lovely friend Miss J with social media activation. Last year in Melbourne we did everything ourselves, the two of us. This year we have an awesome team capturing interviews with the bands, photos for Twitter and Facebook and filming footage of the gig.

It’s a passionate crowd… everyone who is here are here because they’re a fan.

Check out the videos on their YouTube channel, check out their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter @BenShermanAU so you can join in the #BigBritish fun next year!

Rock on.

Boy In A Box covers I Fought The Law

Oriental Tea House + Hu Tong = Delicious Chinese in Prahran

There are two fantastic chinese restaurants I’ve tried in the past two weeks. The first was during Chinese New Year and an oasis in flash flooding: Oriental Tea House in Prahran. The restaurant is set in a tea and homewares shop and the dishes are few but precise and a little more expensive because of its boutique positioning.

We shared dumplings, fish, buns and dessert while being treated to traditional dragon dancing. It is wonderfully colourful and very loud with the drums and yes, I am still scared of the dragon and the bald man mask who are integral stars of the show. I think it stems back to my cousins chasing me around our Chinese grandfather’s house wearing the dragon costume many years ago.

The other place is, I suggest, the best yum cha in Melbourne I’ve tried so far: Hu Tong on Commercial Road also in Prahran. It’s one of the fancier (read: quieter, less crowded) yum cha places but still competitively priced. And the quality of the food ranks this yum cha experience above others. It’s fresh and the servings decently sized. We shared 5 dishes, had tea and a glass of wine and split the bill at around $30 per person. And we almost rolled out.

I would recommend both places, probably Hu Tong first but Oriental Tea House is well positioned on Chapel Street and closer to the action.


[Note: pictures to come… I’m having trouble uploading to the computer!]


The Fighter + The Blind Side = Movies Worth Sitting Still For

In the past two weeks I watched two movies which I loved and managed to sit still for the entire way through. I enjoy movies but I don’t watch a heap at the actual cinema as I tend to get distracted by my will to be active and move around or by thoughts of the week ahead. So it’s always a joy when I watch a movie that captures my full attention from start to credits.

The Blind Side features one of my all time favourite actors, Sandra Bullock, who plays an extraordinary woman in this true story of selflessness, love, dreams and family. Michael Oher is a homeless boy affected by life; his drug addicted mother, absent father and a childhood you wouldn’t wish for anyone. When he is adopted into a wealthy all American family his life is changed forever not only in his journey to becoming a celebrated football player but in becoming part of a family who love and care for him as their own. The strength of the characters in this film had me close to tears (note: those of you who know me know that I never cry in films!).

The Fighter is showing now so it’s not too late to get out there to watch the true story (hmm… I see a pattern forming) of boxing brothers Dicky Ecklund and Micky Ward, the latter played by Mark Whalberg (LOVE him). The title refers to the career of pro boxer Micky and his fight (literally) to get to the top overcoming the smothering love and emotional abuse of his family, and his brother’s descent as a crack addict. But I feel it some may see the film as belonging to Dicky.

Christian Bale is brilliant as Dicky who is as loveable as he his is frustrating. I feel there is a deliberate overshadowing by Dicky of Micky. Micky drives the story and brings all the characters together but with an underlying pull that is perhaps best portrayed in the last screen where he is sitting along on the couch, shoulders slumped … even though it is all about him.

I recommend seeing both films if you haven’t already. I was also lucky enough to see The Fighter in Gold Class cinemas at the Jam Factory (Prahran, Melbourne), my first Gold Class experience – love being able to get lost in the giant recliners!


Experiencing the MCG and Twenty20 Cricket

Last Friday night I had my first MCG (the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground) experience and my first live cricket attendance; and what a great way to do it – at the Twenty20 International with Australia defeating England in a close game.

Living within walking distance to the MCG is a blessing when living in Melbourne …well, so I am told by those who actually go to sporting games and events at the stadium which is pretty much everyone as this is where the AFL is played. I’ve avoided going, not because I haven’t wanted to but because there hasn’t been anything I felt passionate enough to go for.

Friday’s adventure was with work (thank you Edelman!) and my client Dave from Shoplist came along too. Dave’s well versed in the art of attending the MCG and good company at the company event. We sat third row from the front eagerly awaiting the pyrotechnic feature flames that blazed for sixes and when people got out.

About a third of the group had not been to such an event before and we had a great time dodging inflatable balls, swooning over old-timer Brett Lee, eating stadium food, drinking out of plastic cups and cringing at the random dancers in white.

And the cricket was exciting too, as cricket goes, when the last few balls decided who won. I’ve watched plenty on TV before but the atmosphere of being there live was enough for me to agree to get down there next AFL season.