Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas 2008

Both Jason and I got to finish work around midday on Christmas Eve which is a great treat. It was a totally hot day so we hid indoors for the afternoon though. That evening Jason and I picked up Fiona (fellow kiwi from Work) and her sister Evelyn and went to Melanie's (also from my work) mums house for their family Christmas Eve dinner. It was nice to be included in a family dinner and we were even given presents!! Melanie warned us that her family was loud but both Jason and I didn't think that would be a problem given our families... however- 4 sisters can make a hell of a lot of noise we discovered. We had a good evening though and it was nice to be amongst family mayhem again even if it wasn't our own family.

Christmas Day 2008 was totally different to any Christmas that Jason and I had ever celebrated. For the first time in both our lives we were totally on our own. Just the two of us. We were woken up about 7am Christmas morning to our first of a few Skype Calls. Jason's dad saw that we were online and decided to give us a bell. Next up was my family for their call. Its good to see the family when talking, although it does make it a little hard at times as well.

Jason and I were very lucky to get some great presents this year... here is what we got:

  • Remote control helicopter
  • Damascus steel 16.5 inch cooking knife
  • Coffee pot
  • New shirt and cufflinks
  • Bonsai book
  • Multi tool
  • Diamond earrings
  • Ipod Nano
  • Beautiful jewelery- two necklaces, two bracelets and a pair of earrings
  • Vase
  • Cactus
  • Cirque du soliel tickets
  • Yummy Christmas Cake
  • Yummy homemade tomato sauce and relish
After all the calls to family Jason and I still had three hours till our lunch so we decided to go to the beach. This was perhaps the wrong thing to do. We were surrounded by hundreds of large groups of people enjoying the day and celebrating. There were groups everywhere with Champagne and food. There we were just the two of us, it really hit home then that we were alone. I considered joining a massive group and seeing if anyone noticed :-)

After observing for a wee while we decided to head home as it was a bit hard for us. When we got home we both went our separate ways for awhile... just reflecting I think and trying not to be down. I watched some Grey's Anatomy on the laptop and Jason played some games on his PC.

Finally it was time to head to lunch... in fact 12.00 was on us and we were still at home. We both quickly changed and headed down to the Matilda Bay restaurant... here it was easier than at the beach. There were a few more tables of two so we weren't the only orphans.

Here is the restaurant from the outside:
And the beautiful view of the Marina with the iconic Perth city skyline in the background.
Here we are...Jason looks drunk but he hasn't had a glass of wine yet :-)
Jason checking out our little presents from the restaurant...a little box of yummy lollies... and our yummy bread with REAL butter (mmmm) and great olive oil and dukkah.
We had a great little tasting plate with 4 bites on it to start with (sorry no photo though). I had the crayfish for my entree and Jason had the feta, zuchinni and mushroom tart, We both totally enjoyed the Wagyu steak for our main course...Jason sure does love his knives :-)Mmmmm steak!
For dessert I went the refreshing lemon and lime route....And Jason went the double (well triple) chocolate route...All in all it was a great lunch and well worth the money.

Later in the day we washed down lunch with a great swim in the sea and played in the waves. Christmas day was rounded off with some hot oven fries for dinner and an early night for us. Well that's all for now. I hope you all had a great Christmas day, we were thinking of you! Till the next post!

Picnic in the Park

Last Sunday night Jason and I decided to have a picnic in the park for dinner... it was just too beautiful a night to miss being outside. We heading down the road to Freshwater Bay. It was an absolutely stunning evening and I am really pleased we made the effort. Here is our stunning view that we got to eat our dinner in front of.
Jason enjoyed the picnic as well, even though all we had was bread rolls, wine, strawberries and crackers. Here we are just hanging out...

There's not much more to say other than how much we are starting to enjoy the Perth lifestyle. Western Australians spend a lot of time socialising in the parks and near the water... it always seems like there is so much going on. As we headed home that night we reflected on how nice it was to just purely enjoy a simple meal in the beautiful outdoors... what more could we ask for!

Perth Christmas Light Tour

Last week Jason and I decided to do a drive around Perth visiting some of the best Christmas lights. We have been trying to make sure we do lots of things and not just go home and sit in front of the television after work... its not that hard actually as the Aussie TV is some of the worst I have ever seen and really there is nothing on at all to make us want to watch! However we do probably use more internet as a result.

Anyway we went for a drive up the Coast to check out the lights. It took a bit longer to get dark that what we originally anticipated so we went to the beach to watch a sunset to try and pass some time...

Here we are at the beach:

Here is the sunset that we got to experience while waiting to see the Christmas lights.As we were driving further north after our sunset stop I took a photo from the car as the sky was still looking just beautiful.

Our first stop on our Christmas lights tour was a whole street of Christmas lights. Every single house was decorated! This street was raising money for Guide Dogs and they should have been making a killing with the amount of people that were here!!
Here's a shot of one of the houses as we drove past :-)
My camera was really running out of battery so we only got a few shots that night... annoying! The next shots were from a house raising money for the Children's Hospital. They even had their own radio station, and the Christmas lights were synced with music. It was pretty cool... we went back and visited this place again to show some workmates on another night!

Anyway...that was our Christmas lights tour.... well as much of it that we could capture on the camera anyway. It was nice to get out and about after work and see a bit more of Perth.

A review of 2008

Although 2008 has not ended yet, I thought that it was timely to sit down and review our 2008. It has been a massive year for us with some major achievements and changes to our lives. Here are the significant things that have happened in mine and Jason's lives month by month...
  1. January: Jacinda- Tauranga Half 30 - 34 Age Group Champion, 9th place overall including pro women. Jason- bought his very first Motorbike: a Kawasaki KLX320
  2. February: Jason- swum the length of Lake Taupo (Taupo Foreshore to Little Waihi in Turangi) in 12 hours 38 minutes. Jacinda- got a new bike froma sponsor.
  3. March: Jason and his Dad- built a 30 metre retaining wall up our garden path (I helped by buying copious amounts of coke, beer and baking scones). Jacinda- Qualified for the World Champs after a less than perfect build up (viruses, strep throat and impaling my arm on a tree requiring stiches)
  4. April: A very quiet month for both of us... I concentrated on preparing for the World Championships and Jason on recovering mentally from his swim (still)...
  5. May: Jacinda- Won the 2008 Rarotonga International Triathlon. Both: We became an Aunt and Uncle for the third time to little Hudson Hayek.
  6. June: Jacinda- came 10th at the Standard Distance World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver Canada for the 30 - 34 Age Group. Both- Toured Canada including Vancouver, banff, Lake Louise, and Calgary.
  7. July: Jacinda- Started a new hobby... buying a Canon 450d Camera.
  8. August: Both- we celebrated out 4th year wedding anniversary... hard to believe that much time has passed already.
  9. September: Jason- Officially became a godfather to Lawrence and Nicci's beautiful son James. Both- Rented our house out, packed up our whole house mid september, left New Zealand on the last day of September and ticked the new migrant box as we arrived in Australia.
  10. October: Both- Arrived in Perth Australia on the first day of October, both starting new jobs. jacinda at the WA Independent Market Operator ( and Jason at Yambay ( We found a new place to live in Perth.
  11. November: Jacinda- Returned to NZ for the first time for Megan and Tony's wedding. Both- We bought a new car- life in Perth got a little easier after that. PLUS our furniture arrived from NZ!!! Finally.
  12. December: Both- finally got our Medicare and WA Drivers Licences sorted, bought a bike for Jason to commute on and celebrated our first Christmas by ourselves.

So looking back on 2008 we realise how far we have come, and what we have achieved. We couldn't have done this without the support of all our family, friends and each other.

2009 looks to be just as busy (although we won't be shifting countries during 2009 I can promise you that!).

A very Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes for the New Year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Busselton and Ironman WA

Jason and I went to Busselton to meet up with some NZ friends, watch a bit of Ironman Western Australia and do some sightseeing. Busselton is about 3 hours from Perth and is essentially at the top of the Margaret River Wine Region.

Busselton is a beautiful seaside town. One of the key feaures is the massively long jetty... its about 2km long which makes it perfect for swimming around for Ironman.
Ironman day starts early for all... competitors and spectators alike. We arrived at the jetty around 5.55am. Look how beautiful it was with the calm sea and the beautiful sun making the sky a pretty colour.

While we were walking to the start line the pros started their long swim. It was 15 minutes between the pro start and the age group start so we had a bit of time to take some more photos and get a good spot on the Jetty.

It was sucha beautiful morning, here is a shot of the sun rise reflecting in the windows!
And the sun rising itself...
At about 6.15am the age group competitors were off... i must admit to having a slight pang of jealousy not racing! This is a good sign I think!
Arghhhh the sight of a triathlon swim... it can inspire fear in some competitors... I love it! The awesome thing about watching was seeing where the current pulled competitiors... so if I ever (thats a big if) do Ironman WA I know where abouts I should be swimming.
Here's a little more biffo in the swim...
After the swim had been going for a while jason adn I treated ourselves to a nice brunch looking out over the swim course.... there were swimmers spread out for mailes!
Here is a shot of the eventual women's pro winner- Gina Fergusson from NZ. She came in under 9 hours! An awesome effort and inspirational performance.
Here's Matt Illingworth, ex Brit, ex Wellingtonian, now Perth resident on his way to smashing the bike course record!
Here's Matt again... looking very fast!
This shot is designed to show you how hot it was... check out the heat rising from the road surface! I felt quite sorry for those racing as the day wore ona nd got hotter and hotter!

All in all we had a great day and it was nice to get down and see another iconic Ironman race! Well worth the trip and the sun burn that we suffered :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cape Leeuwin

On our trip down south Jason and I made sure that we made it all the way down to Augusta and Cape Leeuwin. The Cape Leeuwin lighthouse is on the most South Western part of Australia and it is where the Indian and the Southern Oceans meet. Two of my favourite shots of the day are below... just showing the beautiful colours that we had down that way:

This was a little further round from the Cape but the colours were just stunning and I am glad that our camera did it justice.
Ok... so back to our day trip. We started out in Busselton early Saturday morning and made our way to the Margaret River Wine region. We stopped in for brunch at Providore ( Here we were treated to a stunning array of fine food, it was really hard to pick what we wanted to eat it looked so good. Whats more is they had a number of totally yummy samples to try from breads, olive oils, dukkah, dips, cheeses, jams, sauces and chutneys to name a few. Mmmmm a great way to start the day.

After that we headed of to the Yahava KoffeeWorks for Jason and picked up some great coffee and chocolate coated coffee beans which were meant to be a treat but only lasted for the rest of the trip :-)

From here we decided to do a drive down to Augusta and I am really pleased that we did. It was STUNNING down there, just a truly beautiful place to be honest. On the trip down here we were treated with some of the most spectacular coastlines blending in with the lovely National Park (way nicer than normal Aussie bushland). In fact in places I swear we could have been in NZ!

Down at the lighthouse we were greeted with some great rock formations and wildflowers.

The lighthouse was pretty awesome as well.... apparently it is one of the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere. We didn't pay the $12 entry fee to go inside it though and in hindsight I wish we did. Especially as we drove up the Coast and saw more of the stunning scenery.

The rocks, bush, water and sky all combined to make some stunning vistas...

Finally... one of us. Its been a while sine we have done our signature shot. I spend more time behind the camera these days!

The clouds in the sky were doing amazing things and they looked great with the rock formations.

Here is a closer shot of the lighthouse from outside the barricade... we were not allowed any closer as we didn't pay to get in :-(
From here we drove a little further up the coast and utilised our 4 wheel drive on the car... I was a bit nervous but Jason had it under control and we got to visit an amazing secluded bay!

It was just amazing down there I really can't describe how beautiful I thought that it was... The water was so clear and it was so nice, warm & sheltered. We even had a little swim.

Here's another shot just showing you the clearness of the water...

A photo inspired by one I saw of Natalie and Deano's holiday shots in Mooloolaba, a great idea for a photo.

Here's Jason refreshing himself in the swim...

Now for the meaty 4 X 4 shots from our off rd experience.... not. I was totally scared adn it doesn't even look like it was that much at all!!!

A long range shot of the lighthouse... I can imagine that you could get some spectacular shots if there were some waves off the cape.

The last few shots are from bays further round the coast demonstrating the the beauty did carry on.