Warning!

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I wonder if these messages are written strictly for us non-medical citizens, or whether medical staff actually read this kind of thing before irrigating a brain.

We are taking a Cat Break this week, but never fear, those kitties are posing up a storm for future Fridays!

photos

Gold Coast To Tamworth

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Having spent much of the previous evening packing, organising and cleaning, and once again waking at the crack of dawn, we were on the road by 7am. This actually broke part of my plan. I had wanted to stop at the Thursday Plantation near Ballina on our way down the coast, but it was Sunday and they did not open early enough for us to visit. We had 635km to drive today so we were glad to be on the road early.

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We did not stop until we got to Grafton around 10:30am. We went to the information centre just for a quick bathroom break. This turned out to be a great choice because there was an artist there painting Jacaranda trees onto magnets and they were selling them as well, so Sephyroth grabbed one of those to take back to the US with him.

We planned to have lunch in Coffs Harbour. I had a few great local options but in the end we decided on Mcdonalds. Sephyroth wanted to try the create your taste menu and I had not ever made one of these myself in the several years they have been doing this.

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When we arrived we all went to separate screens to order our orders. Somehow mine – with loaded fries and no drink at all – ended up at nearly $17AUD. I forgot to take a photo of my burger – the one you are seeing belongs to Sephyroth. I’ll be honest – after eating Grill’d twice in the past week this burger was very average and I would not create my own burger a second time. I’d much rather have a Quarter Pounder with cheese, or a Big Mac.

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Our next stop was the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre. We did the free skywalk and part of the walk down into the forest as well.

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Dorrigo was gorgeous and we spent about an hour here but it could easily have been a day trip by itself.

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After leaving Dorrigo we got stuck behind a Blue Holden Cruze whose speed was all over the place and they were often driving partly on the wrong side of the road. I can’t remember exactly but it was one of two things – either there was nowhere to overtake legally for over an hour though vehicles behind us did get impatient and overtake illegally – OR anytime we would get to a place where you could overtake, they would suddenly find the accelerator as a surprise to themselves. I believe it was the first one.

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We passengers did not mind so much because the scenery was beautiful, but I know The Other Half was getting annoyed with the inconsistent speeds. Finally at 3:31pm we managed to get past them, at long last.

I’m going to do a separate post for our Tamworth Motel, next week. Spoiler alert – the floors were SO CLEAN! After 6 nights of unclean floors it was sheer bliss.

Snoskred Travels 2016

The Bin Theft

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Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house..

Not a creature was stirring, except for the mice in the chook pen.

The bin had been placed on the kerb with care..

In the hope that the bin truck would soon be there.

The Other Half and I were nestled all snug in our bed..

While visions of sugar plums danced in our heads.

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When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

but because we were asleep,

nobody sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.

Luckily the security cameras caught the bin thieves,

who rather stupidly live just up the street

and chose to use their quite recognisable 4wd to try and steal our bin.

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Because they took off like a bat out of hell,

This bin theft did not go very well.

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Because I use very recognisable bin bags,

we found our bin right where they left it.

Just between you and me,

The council replaced our broken bin for free.

And they would have provided our caught on CCTV thieves with a free bin regardless of why it went missing. Your results may vary depending on your council.

Perhaps in the old days before CCTV, people might have snuck out in the night to steal someone else’s bin if something happened to theirs, and the destiny of the bin would forever remain a mystery. These days, not so much.

Home

Gold Coast Day 5

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On our final full day on the Gold Coast, we mainly wanted to go for a walk around the Grand Prix track, and get ready to leave early the next day.

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In the morning, we saw whales from our apartment balcony. That was pretty cool. ;)

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We also ended up doing a beach walk. The weather was gorgeous as always, and we had a lovely few hours out and about, wandering.

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At some point this morning while we were getting ready, I said maybe we should try to organise a helicopter flight for today, as it was one of the “things you do” when you are on the Gold Coast, and it was something Sephyroth had never done before.

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I called Seaworld Helicopters and managed to organise a flight for 4pm that afternoon. We very nearly missed out entirely, though. This was the only opening they had for the day.

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It was fantastic. Those folks over there have everything running like clockwork, they know what they are doing and they are excellent at it. You can take as many photos as you want while in the helicopter, and they even have a spot where they get you to stand for a picture of yourself with the helicopter just behind you.

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You do not have to pay for theme park entry – they have an office at the side of Seaworld, and a staff member comes and gets you and takes you to the helicopter area.

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Here we are, coming back in to land. It felt like a great end to our Gold Coast holiday. But our trip was not over yet – we still had a night in Tamworth and two nights in Bathurst on the way home, plus almost two weeks more of time with Sephyroth before he flew back to the USA, during which we had a Canberra overnight trip planned to see the Doug Anthony AllStars, and my aunts and uncles were coming in from Adelaide for a local concert.

Next week – Gold Coast to Tamworth, with the most expensive hamburger lunch ever known to man, and a very annoying blue car with no place to overtake it, for over an hour.

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Savory Mince

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This one is an easy and super quick recipe we eat once a week or so. It is usually not the same recipe each time, if I have brussel sprouts in winter I will use those rather than frozen peas, and I will tend to use whatever veg I happen to have on hand.

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Due to The Other Half having high blood pressure, I dilute the oyster sauce with boiling water, which is what you see up top there. I do try to use the most low sodium oyster sauce I can find at the supermarket, which locally happens to be this one at 560mg per 20g –

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Remember I am rural though so you might be able to find one with less sodium than I can. Check the bottles and remember to try to compare the same amounts. The same goes for the soy sauce.

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The recipe is so easy and simple which is one reason I love it. I do not use amounts for this one. You simply sweat the leeks, capsicum and carrots for a few minutes.

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Add in your beef mince to the pan, I always add some red wine here before I put the lid on, for more flavour and to cook the mince slightly quicker. Up to you if you want to do that.

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Once the mince is done, you break it up, mix in the veg, add your soy and oyster sauce, let it simmer for a bit, defrost the frozen peas in the microwave then at the last moment add them in and stir through.

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I top mine with some Grana Padano and Costco Cheese – The Other Half only gets the costco cheese as Grana Padano is too salty for him.

Because there are two of us, we get half each and therefore we do not need to use rice underneath it. You may want to add rice either underneath or to the pan if you have more people to serve. You could add in cabbage if you wanted to make this stretch a little further without rice.

recipes

Gold Coast Day 4

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Sometimes you have an experience that you will forever remember, and today at Currumbin Sanctuary was one of those times. I will never, ever forget one particular moment from this day. But more about that shortly.

Our original plan for today was to go to Dreamworld, but they were closed still and would in fact remain closed for over a month. So we decided to go to Currumbin Sanctuary instead – not a place I would have chosen myself but we did have an American Tourist with us, and I thought maybe he should get to experience some of those classic Australian experiences that you never forget. Like holding a koala, and/or a snake, even though said American tourist was a little afraid of snakes.

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There you have a water dragon sitting on top of a freshwater crocodile.

Me, I completely am not scared of snakes. Once upon a time I was, but then I became a zoo volunteer and somewhere along the way grew to absolutely love them.

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As always, getting up at 5am tends to get the day started very early and we were in the car by 7:40am on our way to the place, whch opened at 8am. The place was already chock full of students from places like Japan and China, who had arrived early for the bird feeding which happens just at the entrance to the park, and they were now queuing to get into the park. Luckily this was a quick process.

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We wandered around the park mostly trying to avoid the other people while still getting to see the animals. That photo above is two male kangaroos having a bit of a fight. That is pretty normal behaviour for them – the volunteer nearby was a bit worried about the tourists getting too close.

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In trying to avoid the other people we actually stumbled upon my favourite experience of the day, the one moment I will never forget. We had found a place to sit slightly up hill near the crocodiles and were relaxing when two Eastern Water Dragons decided to have a bit of a territory fight right in front of us. Nobody got hurt but the posturing and circling was Quite A Thing To See.

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We decided to take in a couple of the shows – the free bird flight show was great, and the snake show even better. While waiting for these shows we decided to purchase some photo opportunities – The Other Half got a photo with an owl, and Sephyroth and I got a photo with a snake, plus koala holding photos for everyone. You get to hold a koala, and you get to hold a koala, everyone gets to hold a koala for a very reasonable price which I cannot recall but it was all packaged together for us very nicely.

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And there you see our new koala friend just about to be handed to Sephyroth. I have to tell you, I had a special moment with that koala. We talked. It was a thing of beauty.

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All up we spent about 4 hours at Currumbin. We were not sure what to have for lunch, nothing there appealed to us. We threw around a few options, then those zucchini chips called us and we decided to visit Grill’d at Pacific Fair again on the way back to the apartment. On the way back to the car, we visited HoneyWorld and bought some honey – which I have been mixing into my Greek Yoghurt for a good couple of months now.. There was also SurfWorld but that did not tempt us. Everything is a world, on the Gold Coast.

If we had gone to Dreamworld this day, we had planned to stop at NightQuarter on the way back. This was our one and only planned eat out at dinner time meal, so we decided to head out to Helensvale and keep our appointment with some Cronuts, which I had read about in advance. Cronuts are a cross between a croissant and a donut. They are awesome.

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But before one ate the sweets, one had to eat the dinner. That is a thing, apparently. There were samples of various things given out – Sephyroth and I ended up with two things we sampled, calamari and juice which happened to be right next to each other, while The Other Half went for a curly sausage of some kind.

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Both of these things were extremely delicious but so filling we did not have space for the cronuts. So we bought them and took them back to the apartment, where we cut them in half and shared different flavours.

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Cinnamon
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Salted Caramel with Chocolate

All in all, this was probably my favourite Gold Coast day. Though tomorrow, we did something pretty cool, which I will tell you about next Wednesday!

Snoskred Travels 2016

New Year, Same Goals

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Almost the same goals as 2016, because I do not really want to eat less than I presently am. I am aiming for 1200 calories each day.

Move more is back on the agenda after taking a break since late October when I injured my hip. At the moment I am aiming for 30 minutes on the treadmill each day and adding in a minute more of running each day.

Across 2016, I lost over 20kg – that’s 44 pounds. More importantly, I am a lot fitter than I used to be. It has made a huge difference.

This journey to better fitness has not been without problems – I had a big interruption in February 2016 when I had diverticulitis. In September I was diagnosed with thyroid problems – antibodies are attacking my thyroid as a surprise to myself – and I began taking a small dose of Thyroxine daily.

I only need to lose another 5kg to meet my goal weight and I would like to do that by mid-February when I have my colonoscopy scheduled.

The Other Half is having some health issues which required us to reduce our sodium intake. We ate much less processed food in December as a result, and I am cooking almost everything from scratch. Rather hilariously, I’m now having to make sure I get extra salt because I have the opposite problem of low blood pressure.

Happy New Year everyone! :)

2016 Goal, 2017 goal