Top five harbour beaches

To be honest I’m sick of all the famous gorgeous beaches in Sydney – Bondi, Manly, Coogee blah blah blah. God, so DULL.  Full of the usual beautiful people lying on the golden sands, honing their perfect bodies by actually knowing how to surf in the pristine blue, clear water. Hateful.

I propose you get away from all this loud beauty by trying out some of the quiet, calm and cute as a button beaches instead. Just as pretty as their big sisters but not quite so brash, it will be surprising that you’re still so close to the big, bad city.

Pack a picnic, a book, a map and follow me.

Camp Cove

Camp Cove

Take the ferry over to Watson’s Bay, leave the seagulls and tourists at the pier and take yourself down to the end of Cliff Street. Here you’ll find a little bit of paradise called Camp Cove (stop sniggering).

Waters calm enough to swim in while you contemplate the view back over to the city, and plenty of room to stretch out on your beach towel afterwards. Lovely.

Balmoral Beach

Balmoral

Like the name suggests there is a bit of old world elegance to Balmoral beach with its stone bridge and pavilion.

Wander around the rock pools at low tide and watch the sun go down with excellent fish and chips from across the road.

Milk Beach

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Totally hidden away in the gardens of Strickland House in Vaucluse, Milk Beach is one of the most lovely, secret beaches in Sydney. Which I’ve just ruined by blabbing. On second thoughts just forget it, I never said a thing. Milk Beach? Nah, it’s crap, don’t go.

Castle Rock Beach

Castle rock beach

Castle Rock Beach is nestled amongst the bush in the middle of the Sydney Harbour National Park and is only accessible by walking track.

Smack bang in the middle of the epic Manly Scenic Walkway which starts at Spit Bridge and meanders around the National Park to emerge in Manly, this beach is a welcome sight for sore feet. Cool off in the clear water after eating your well-deserved sarnies.

 

 

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The Inappropriate Selfie

Anyone with a smartphone and access to Instagram has been tempted to pull the odd duckface #selfie from time to time.

The thing is that after the horrific experience of seeing the results you realise that the selfie makes you look a) unattractive and b) stupid, and you vow NEVER to do it again. Until you run out of sunset pics to put on Instagram of course.

Unfortunately, there is a special breed of person who just can’t stop the selfie. You know the type; they take selfies in what you would normally consider to be a photography no-go area like public toilets and changing rooms in clothes shops. Then without giving it one millisecond of consideration for other people who might have just eaten, they stick it on social media.

In their effort to document everything they can, some people get a bit overexcited and don’t think before they post. Welcome to the world of the ‘Inappropriate Selfie’.

Fire

Fire

He looks like he should be on holiday on the ski slopes in Aspen. But instead he is standing in front of raging inferno.

 

Car Accident

car accident

This is all kinds of wrong.

 

Chernobyl

Chernobyl

It’s not so much the pic itself (again what is the appropriate face for visiting a nuclear disaster site?) what gets me is the pithy one liner and 😛 emoticon. He didn’t even use #respect.

 

Berlin Wall

Duckface

One, two, three, DUCKFACE!

 

And the bonus ‘Generation Gap’ selfie…

What are you doing

‘Young man, why are taking a picture of yourself using the ‘V’ for victory sign, in a public convenience?’

‘’Sup gramps, I’m totally gonna put this awesome pic of myself on Instagram #selfie #potd #japaneseschoolgirl #toilet #oldies #mirror.’

‘f#@k off.’

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Exam results types

Results day is finally here! After today you will be FREE to continue with the rest of your life without carrying around HSC stress.

But what type of person are you when it comes to exam results? Are you the social type, wanting all your mates near you, clutching each other’s hands in solidarity as you look? Or do you prefer to be completely alone to take in the results and absorb the implications before telling everyone?

Either way you might recognise one or two of these types.

The ‘couldn’t give a shit’ type
‘Oh yeah, I totally forgot it was results day’ is what you can expect to hear from this character. Don’t believe them for a second, they’re just as scared as everyone else.

shit just got real -- math

The screechy type
Usually found in packs, the screechers will uniformly shriek at anything on results day; their own results, other people’s results, the word ‘results’ and possibly anything beginning with ‘r’. This will be accompanied by a weird fast running on the spot dance, as if they suddenly need the bathroom very badly.

The ‘I want to be alone’ type
You won’t see these people on results day, as they prefer to scuttle away into a dark corner and pore over their results by themselves. They will emerge and communicate when they are ready.

The crying type
Bottom lip trembling, shaky and red-eyed, these people will be crying buckets whether they get good or bad results.

The puking type
A little green around the gills and very quiet, they will periodically disappear throughout the day. This is because they are blowing chunks in the bathroom.

The secretly confident type
Identifiable by constantly saying ‘I did so badly in my exams, I hardly studied at all!’ and also ‘I’ve definitely failed, I’ll end up working in Maccas for the rest of my life for sure’. But listen closely and you’ll realise that there is no genuine fear in their voice. They know they’re going to be fine.

smart puppy

The ‘I can’t – you look’ type
They will go to any lengths to avoid looking at their results by themselves, preferring to give that task to anyone else in their vicinity, even their pet cat.

‘Oh god, I can’t look – you look for me.’
‘Really? Are you sure you don’t want to see for yourself?’
‘No I can’t, really, you do it’
‘Ok, if you’re sure. And your results are…’
‘GIVE ME THAT!’

Cat success

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No invite? No problem

For a very brief period of time a few years ago, I had a press pass from the university student newspaper. It was only supposed to be used for the films I was reviewing at the local cinema, but the fine print didn’t exactly specify any of that.

So I did what any self-respecting poor person would do with a ‘golden ticket’. I used and abused it at every opportunity I could until I got caught out. Sad day.

But what if you don’t have a press pass and you really want to go to the VIP party? Or, for the adrenaline junkies out there, you just want to see if you can do it? Try out some of these tips.

Do your homework

I’m not talking blue prints of the building or trying to map out where all the CCTV cameras are – you’re not trying to pull off an Ocean’s Eleven style heist here (hopefully).

Just find out as much as you can about the event – time, duration, dress code, whether it’s invite only, or a ‘plus 1’. Most importantly find out how many entrances there are and figure out which one will be the busiest.

What should I wear?

The trick here is to not stand out from the crowd. You want to look like you absolutely belong with these people, not stick out like a sore thumb.

Is it a black tie event? Dress glam but not to epic Lady Gaga proportions.
Is it an exclusive nightclub? Then you have to dress like a rock star.

Perfecting the I-don’t-give-a-shit cool look is the key here.

Confidence is key

images
You’ve already picked the busiest entrance, which means there is pressure on the door person/bouncer to make some quick decisions. Remember they are not expecting you to NOT be invited, so don’t give them any hints to the contrary.

Smile, act natural, like you’re obviously supposed to be there. Take every opportunity to be friendly to the door person, remembering to smile and shake hands when you leave.

Chances are they’ll remember you and it will be easier to get in next time.

Have a back-up plan
If at first you don’t succeed, part with a smile and try another entrance. If all else fails, gather all your confidence and try to walk in there like you own the place.

If you get stopped, say that you need to meet someone before they leave.

You’re in!  mocha-dad-friday-night-party-on-twitter
Hurrah! Now all you have to do is work the room, get the free stuff and dance the night away! Job done, right?

Well actually, for me, this is the hardest part. You know the Ocean’s Eleven style homework you did? Well now it’s time to bring out the back story.

Why are you here?
Who do you know?
Where did you get that fabulous outfit?

You need to have all the answers and think quickly on your feet. Bit nervous? Start small. As you order a drink at the bar, start up a little conversation with the person next to you at the bar and ease your way into it from there.

Right all the hard work is done. If you manage to accomplish all of the above, you’ll never have to do it again, because next time you’ll have an invite.

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The ‘best’ Christmas ads

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Loved ones gathered together to eat, drink and be merry with laughter and white wine in the sunshine.

It’s a time when you can forget all the darkness that you’ve experienced this year, like the Miley Cyrus ‘Twerking’ incident and the ‘Red Wedding’ episode of Game of Thrones. Shudder.

So in the spirit of generosity I’ve found some glorious festive ads from days of old to really get you in the mood for Christmas. Enjoy!

Bats

Like a nightmarish version of the Dambusters, nothing says Merry Christmas like little children dressed as jockeys riding giant bats into the sunset. I have no idea what is going on here but it might have involved too much Christmas acid.

Christmas tree

George really hates it when those little pine needles fall into the carpet.

Disturbing Christmas

These ads actually ran in US newspapers in 1939 during the great depression. I shit you not.

Head

 

 

Wow. Sexist AND horrific. Merry Christmas ladies!

Santa Byrhh

 

Byrhh is a wine-based aperitif which used to be very popular with Santa, just before the prohibition, when he used to try and lure unsuspecting young angels onto roofs under the pretense that he needed ‘saving’.

 

 

 

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Pun-tastic Shop Signs

I dedicate this blog post to the joy of the pun. Where would pet store owners and hairdressers be without this fantastic linguistic innovation? Certainly not on social media anyway.

But contrary to what you may think, hairdressers and pet store owners did not invent the pun. Nope, the pun has a long and illustrious history having been used throughout time by various Ancient peoples – Egyptians, Mayans and Iraqis to name but a few. The pun has also been used to great comic effect by less ancient but still dead people like old ‘Shakey’ Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and George Carlin.

Besides hairdressers and pet stores, the pun is also used in contemporary society by fish & chip shops and junkyards.

Hairdresser

Curl up and dye

You know that moment when you’re getting a hair-cut and the hairdresser stops asking you about your holidays and goes quiet? This is because they’re thinking about hair puns – “’I dread locks’…no, not quite right…’hair we are’…maybe…’comb on over’…”

Fish and Chips

A Salt and Battery

Oh stop carping on about fish puns. If you can think of a better one, just let minnow.

Pet Grooming

dogue

Pawfection. This dog parlour can be found on Oxford Street in Sydney.

 

Bottle Shop

Planet

I can’t find anything to wine about here.

DIY

William

This is a good, solid pun. And the concrete wheelbarrows out front are a very welcome added bonus to an already pretty impressive shop.

 

Second Hand

Junk

You could get a pretty suite deal here.

Sheets

Holy Sheet!

For all your heavenly linen needs.

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Christmas gifts with a twist

And so the season of giving is once again upon us and the age old festive question plagues us – ‘should I buy presents that I think my friends/family will like or presents that will entertain me…?’

Being quite selfish, I always opt for the entertainment factor. After all, people might think they NEED socks, but what they really WANT is socks that play Christmas Carols. See?

Here is a selection of the weirdest, wackiest and most wonderful shops you can find in Sydney. Rejoice, for you will never again be stuck for a Christmas pressie. And that is my gift to you. You’re welcome.

Seasonal Concepts

There must be someone in your life who would appreciate a bird’s nest for Christmas. Maybe for that friend who has everything? Well, I bet they don’t have a bird’s nest. This little gem of a shop in Redfern sells all manner of wacko including avian dwellings. The one thing that isn’t for sale is Roger, who is a giraffe and resides in the shop. Seriously.*

http://seasonalconcepts.com.au/

birds nest

Holy Kitsch!
This shop had me at ‘Day of Dead Skeleton Artist Cut Bunting’ (word of advice – be very careful saying that out loud). This fantastically nutso shop specialises in exclamation marks and…well I’ll let them speak for themselves:

‘A kultural gallery of Mexican home wares and Mexican gifts, antiques and contemporary culture the most eclectic most beautiful shop in the random universes! Thank God for Holy Kitsch!’

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

http://www.holykitsch.com.au/

The Dolls Hospital
Where dolls go to die. I mean, get repaired. Whatever.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I find dolls creepy and therefore this shop gives me the heebie jeebies. On the other hand if you’re really into dolls and doll related paraphernalia (or a nutter someone you know is) then this shop is heaven. Shiver.

http://www.dollhospital.com.au/

Doll

Reverse Garbage 

This place is every student’s dream come true and is the very definition of ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’.

You can find ANYTHING here and that ANYTHING will cost next to nothing.  Of course, it is highly unlikely that you will find anything that you actually need, but where’s the fun in that? Excellent for utterly random Christmas presents. Giant polystyrene lettering anyone?

http://reversegarbage.org.au/

*Roger is stuffed. They also specialise in taxidermy.

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I’m boooorred!!!

‘Spare time’ is a commodity that should be treasured for the rare and precious thing that it is. Personally, I don’t understand why people are obsessed with filling up every minute of their lives DOING stuff. Just stop it. What’s wrong with spending yet another Saturday morning ‘pottering about’ or ‘meandering’?

So, instead of JOINING things like those hideous fitness Boot Camps that force you to get up at the crack of sparrows fart, here’s my guide to being a bludger.

boot camp

Watch an entire season of your favourite TV show.

There is nothing more indulgent than lying on the couch all day and watching your favourite TV show from episode 1 to episode 12. Go on. Give in. Watch the next one. And the next one after that.

To do this you will need an ample supply of snacks. Like vegemite and cheese puffs:

Spread vegemite over a sheet of puff pastry
Sprinkle on grated cheddar (pre-bought, obvs)
Roll the pastry up and cut into bite sized snacks (like party sausage rolls).
Stick puffs in the oven for about 15 mins on high.
Eat loads of them.

Chill out baby

Read a trashy book

I mean you could read some great works of literature, but they are usually too heavy to put in your beach bag and quite frankly, it might give you a headache. What you need is tried and tested trash, like these:

–          Twilight Saga,  Stephanie Meyer  – affectionately known as ‘Twiglet’ to me and my friends, the Twilight series is a truly compulsive read which completely negates the need to think at all. If you do start the cogs turning you might start to question its gender politics and that would be bad. Best ignore them. One thing – surely, SURLEY you would choose warm-cuddly Jacob over cold -dead Edward? Just sayin’.

–          50 Shades of Grey, EL James – I’ve heard this is good trash. I wouldn’t know for sure, because I’ve never read it. Ahem.

–          It, Stephen King – a classic for the horror fans. The book that spawned a thousand cases of coulrophobia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coulrophobia

People watch

This may sound creepy and possibly it is, but it is also highly entertaining. This is particularly true if you combine it with ‘eavesdropping’ another of my favourite past-times.

Choose a busy tourist spot like Circular Quay or find a good vantage point in a café. Then sit back, watch, listen and learn as all of humanities foibles unfold. From the tactics people use to avoid a Greenpeace employee with a clip board in the street (‘no, sorry I’m terribly busy’ translates as ‘don’t even think about it, hippie’) to people’s reactions to militant seagulls (from squealing horror to stoicism). It’s all there for you.

 

 

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Christmas on the cheap

I love Christmas. For me there is nothing more heart-warming than seeing tinsel melting in the heat of the Sydney summer.

I know that there are some people out there who hate Christmas and go on about how commercial it all is and how Santa-was-invented-by-Coca-Cola blah blah bah humbug. You know the type – they don’t have a Facebook account and talk about ‘living off the grid’.

So how about attempting to get the humbugs into the Christmas spirit by involving them in making some really dodgy, crap Christmas decorations? Entice them with eggnog. Personally, I’ll do anything for a bit of eggnog.

And obviously making your own decos means that you save money! Which you can then spend on getting more eggnog.

Here are some truly terrible Christmas decoration ideas that might just work:

Paper Plate Angels

Crap Angels

They say: ‘You can make a full chorus of angelic little statues, a great decoration for a centerpiece or tree.’

You will need: a 6-inch plain paper plate, an angel pattern, a paper punch, and a utility knife.

Instructions: Get your paper plate. Draw something that vaguely resembles an angel. Cut it out. Punch some holes in it. DONE! Phew. Pass us a mince pie.

Wine Bottle Candle holders

wine-bottle-decorations-1209-s3-medium_new

They say: ‘Stick candles in clean, empty wine bottles for a dramatic display of warm, holiday light’.

You will need: Lots of empty wine bottles, some candle, wrapping paper, ribbons.

Instructions: Drink lots of wine. Clean the bottles. Stick a candle in the top. Wrap some paper around the label bit. Drunkenly attempt to tie a ribbon around the whole lot. Sober up. Adjust the ribbon. Light the candles.

CD Decorations

cd decs

They say: ‘Tired of that CD from the 1990s? Repurpose it as a unique Christmas ornament and showcase some family photos or cute designs.’

You will need: CDs, glue, photos, ribbon.

Instructions: Look up ‘CD’s’ on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_disc. Find some mature students to see if they still have any. Print out some pictures of you and your housemates from Facebook. Glue them onto the CD and hang them around your house.

Edible Spray Paint

Edible spray paint

They say: ‘World’s first edible spray paint transforms a plain meal into a feast of colour.’

You will need: Some EDIBLE spray paint. .* Any food.

Instructions: In a frenzy of abandon, spray paint the shit out of your food. Done.

I know right, edible spray paint! Merry Christmas!

*I feel I must repeat that – EDIBLE spray paint.

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Craft Beers

Some people take their beer very seriously, and when I say some people, I mean me. I refuse to drink that foul-tasting, piss poor excuse for beer that is VB or Toohey’s New. Hideous. Give me a lovely fruity bottle of Little Creatures any day.

But even I am not as bonkers about beer as the people who run the Sydney Craft Beer Festival. They are truly the kernels of the nuts when it comes to beer. ‘Beer is the drink of the masses and craft beer is the very best of it!’ they declare. With that in mind they have put together the 5 commandments rules of craft beer drinking.

The rules on how to read the rules:

Firstly, go to a good local Bottlo and purchase any or all of these beers http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/bars/features/12740/ten-craft-beers-you-should-be-drinking…right-now.

Secondly, open them all and subject them to these tasting tests:

Rule # 1 Thou shalt not drink from the bottle

The only way to drink a good beer is from a glass and there is no excuse for sipping from a bottle. Even if you are marooned on a desert island with your bottle and you have to whittle a cup from the bark of a tree, there is still no excuse.

This is because your olfactory nerve (nose) loves the beer and you will be starving yourself of a vital beer sense. And you wouldn’t want to starve yourself of beer would you? No, thought not.

Beer tasting

Rule # 2 – Thou shall get some head

The head on beer is full of air and is how you smell so much of the heady spectrum of scents. Get as much of it up your nose and in your mouth as possible to really appreciate those flavours. It doesn’t matter if you think snorting beer is disgusting, some things are more important than social niceties. Like beer.

Rule # 3 – Thy glass matters

Just like wine, the type of glass you drink beer from matters. Again, it’s all to do with your schnozzle and how much of the smell you get as you simultaneously employ your taste sense. There are many different types of glass and they are designed to accentuate the beer smell in a myriad of ways.

belching beaver

Rule # 4 – Thou must not beer too cool nor too hot
The optimum temperature for craft beer drinking is room temperature. Too cold and the flavours will not be properly released. Too warm and it’s just unpleasant and overpowering which means, in the words of the experts, that ‘the whole flavour orchestra goes out of tune’.

Rule # 5 – Thy shall not covet your neighbour’s tasting notes

Meaning that everyone tastes their beer differently and there is no right or wrong flavour. Unless it’s crap beer in which case it always tastes terrible. Your particular glass of beer is your own special unique experience to be enjoyed in your very own way. As long you follow the rules. Cheers!

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