Friday, July 18, 2014

Smart Living Tip: Steps to Independence

What does it mean to be independent? Does it mean to be grown up? From another perspective, what does it mean to be grown up, anyhow? I am feeling quite philosophic today; thinking a lot about things. 
  • Source of income $$$
A friend is having trouble becoming fully independent from her parents, mainly financially. You don't want to cut ties with your folks completely but don't want to have to ask them to open their wallets every time you talk to them, either.
  • A place to lay your head
With money coming in, you will get to have a place to call your own. You don't have to live by yourself but I think it's important to be living away from your parents' place. To learn to cook for yourself, clean after yourself, to form a schedule that is yours. 

You may be a couple living together but don't fall into the trap of becoming too dependent on him or her. Another friend is trying to become more independent in her relationship with her boyfriend. To have more 'her' time with her friends, to help more with the housework, and especially cooking, which has always been mainly his role thus far. He wants more help - fortunately, she agrees, so no big drama there.
  • Healthy body and mind
Everyone needs downtime. Exercise, meditate, read. Discuss and exchange ideas and opinions with others. Eat well - learn to cook. Plus, being sick costs money.
  • Freedom of movement
With a healthy body, you are capable to get to places by yourself. Walk, cycle, bus/train. Get a driver's licence, just in case. It will become handy, even if you don't drive often. Only if to have another form of official photo ID.
  • Free access to information
Knowledge is power. Read heaps, get to know the world, watch the news from time to time. The Internet makes information so easy to obtain - literally at the touch of your fingertips, on your cellphones and laptops, your constant companions.
  • Friends and family's support
I thought I was pretty independent but at times I find myself not so grown up. I don't know if I will ever feel fully mature. I am still forming my own opinions about myself and my choices, which may - and frequently do - clash with my peers' and parents' ideas. But I do know what kind of an adult I want to become, and want to be true to myself and not conform to what they think is right; even if I understand where they are coming from. Whether it be fashion or lifestyle choices. Stand up for yourself, but don't make enemies of your friends and family, either. To be independent does not mean to be lonely.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Melbourne: Melbourne in Three Days

  • Day 1: City centre. Start at Federation Square (free wifi), across Flinder's Station. Head to the Laneways - Degraves St (restaurants), Centre Place (cafes and space invader), Hosier Lane (graffiti)!!   Bourke St mall (via Royal Arcade if you want) is always full of buskers, which is cool. Finish the night around Southbank, across the bridge from Federation Square - it's the best spot in Melbourne at night
  • Eatery suggestion for day 1: Cookie Bar on Swanston St. Swanston also for your souvenirs and postcards
  • Day 2: Fitzroy and Brunswick for cool vintage shops, cafes, hipster scenes. Naked Satan for tapas and roof bar. Lygon St for Italian food, Brunetti for dessert
  • Day 3: St Kilda beach. Take the tram 96 from Federation Sq. You can buy a Myki tram card from the Fed Sq Info Centre. St Kilda beach and Fairie penguins at the end of the pier (go at sunset); night markets during summer
  • Fresh fruit and vege from Queen Vic Market. Otherwise Coles supermarket
  • A must when you're in Victoria, a road trip along the Great Ocean Road!
  • Afternote: when you get out of the airport, get out of the right hand side door and take the red bus into town

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paris: In Three Days?

Friends of a friend is going to Paris for a few days - lucky them! Here are a few suggestions I gave them last week:
  • Start from Arc de Triomphe on Champs Elysée and walk straight towards the Louvre museum.
  • There’s another museum next to it on rue Rivoli called Les musées des Arts Décoratifs that has design and fashion exhibitions that are less crowded.
  • Also on rue Rivoli is Angelina’s, a very popular café with the best hot chocolates and desserts. Have lunch at St. André des Arts, it’s a street with lots of restaurants.
  • St-Chapelle on Ile de la Cité is amazing, and worth the wait to get in. You can also visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Shakespeare & Co (a famous bookshop) across the street, and have a wander around the Latin Quarter. Another great church is the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre.
  • Have a picnic dinner on Friday nights on Pont des Arts with the Parisians! Rue Mouffetard on the 5th arrondissement also has many bars and lots of Parisian students and tourists come here in the evenings.
  • Still in the 5th arrondissement, you can enjoy mint tea and Arabic desserts at the Mosquée de Paris on 39, rue Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire. This is the place shown on the movie, Je t’aime Paris. On Saturday mornings visit the Bastille Market (Bastille metro station). It’s one of the biggest markets in Europe, selling fruit and vegetables, bread, flowers, clothes, etc.
  • If you want crêpes from the streets, make sure they are 3 euros or less. If there are more than 3 euros, they are too expensive. One good crêpe restaurant is L'Ebouillanté, on 6 rue des Barres. It’s in the 4th district, which is also le Marais and is the Gay district. It’s teeming with hipsters. There are lots of interesting shops here, especially op shops for second hand clothes.
  • Best falafels can be found L’As du Fallafel on rue des Rosiers, which is the Jewish part of le Marais. There’s always a queue but it’s not that expensive.
  • The two most well-known macarons shops are Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. Ladurée is more girly and has more traditional flavours. I like their smaller shop on rue Napoléon, which is less crowded than their Champs Elysée shop. Pierre Hermé is more modern and has experimental flavours. They are around the same price wise.
  • After notes: Rue du Cherche-Midi also has many restaurants for lunch (the street name literally means ‘find-noon’, because it’s where the Parisians can be found at noon). Musée Rodin has a garden at the back with lounge chairs that not a lot of people know about. It’s a great museum, as well.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Christchurch in pictures

Flight from North to South Island.
Favourite cafe: C1, cool and eccentric; wifi and late closing.
Demolitions still ongoing in town.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sweet place: La Belle Miette

Almost hidden amongst the rows of people in cafe chairs and tables crowding the street, La Belle Miette on Hardware Lane serves those pastel coloured French delicacies I so adored in France. Macarons of traditional and newer flavours in varying degrees of sweetness will taunt you to give them a try, or at least to take some away for your girlfriends.
There are so many La Belle Miette chains around Melbourne. This is only one of them. I liked the pistacchio - the traditional - and also the scone and jam - the not-so-traditional. I loved how they had Mariages Frères tea - Marco Polo, my favourite!

La Belle Miette 
30 Hardware Lane 
Melbourne, VIC 3000
La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 7, 2014

Travel Tip: How to get to Wellington Airport

  • Take the 91 Airport Flyer bus to the Wellington Airport. From the CBD, you could catch it near the Wellington Train Station, or Cuba Street, or Courtenay Place..
  • Three zones' travel will take around 20 minutes from the CBD to the airport. 
  • Price is 9 dollars for adults, and can be purchased onboard. 
  • From Wellington Station, the service runs from 5.50am to 8.05pm, every 10-20 minutes.
  • There is free wifi on the bus, though sometimes the signal is too weak to be connected to. 
  •  The bus stops just outside the arrivals/luggage carrousels. Above the escalator is the departures area, where you will meet Gollum...
  • ...and Gandalf!