Friday, 27 April 2012

Firewalking Update

Just a short post to update on the firewalking sponsorship - I gave the money to Scope today. Thanks to all who donated - Mum and Dad, Ashleigh, Nanna and Poppa O, and Nanna S. I made $60 (AUD), so to make it easier, I donated £60. Obviously with the exchange rate £60 is more then $60. It's about £38, so I donated about £22 or $34.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

I Survived Firewalking!!

Friday 13th April: Unlucky for some, but for me it provided one of the best feelings of accomplishment that I have had in a long time. the day start of ordinarily enough. M and I went to scope as usual. Her partner wasn't there, so we pretty much just spent the day together, walking into town twice to do a bit of shopping. After lunch M and some of the others at Scope did karaoke. At 3.30pm we headed to Bognor Regis to find out where the event was actually taking place.

After find the Bognor Regis Rugby Club we drove to the beach, and went for a walk. Well, tried to go for a walk M's chair battery was almost flat from walking into town twice already, and her chair was going VERY slow. So, I guess we did have some bad luck that day. We rang M's mum and asked her to bring the manual chair with her when she came to watch the firewalking. We gave up walking along the beach and then headed to McDonald's where we had an early dinner.

The fire! And buckets of water to wash our feet
in afterwards...
It was then back to the rugby club, arriving at about 6pm. I helped set up the raffle table, and also got there in time to see them lighting the fire that we were about to walk on! I can't admit that I wasn't a little nervous! The fact that the guy lighting the fire was wearing a full on fireproof suit didn't boost the confidence levels... Maybe a sponsored marshmallow toasting would be a better idea? Turns out a flat battery wasn't the only bit of bad luck for the day - my DSLR camera battery was flat! And only that morning I had looked at the spare one, wondering if I should pack it. Nah, she'll be right mate, I thought. LOL, jokes on me. But don't worry, I had my point and shoot camera with me as well :)

Just a tad nervous

The other side of the fire, you can tell which way the wind
is blowing.

Around 7pm we had a group photo of all the firewalkers (see above), followed by a pep talk by the guy who ran the firewalk. He was an ex marine, or army man, or something, who used to train guys to survive in harsh environments, such as the Artic, desert, etc. He talked to us about fears and how we are only born with two - the fear of being dropped, and loud noises. The rest are learnt, including the fear of fire/heat. From a young age we are told not to get too close to fire for fear of being burnt, but the science says that we are not going to get burnt if we just walk normally (of course getting burnt is possible, but there are other, cooler things [like the walls of an oven] that WILL burn you, even if you just touch them for a brief time).

We then did some activities to help relax us and get over our fears, showing that even though things may seem impossible, that may not actually be the case. First we had to teach a partner a crazy dance, and then we had to get really close to each other and play 'verbal pingpong'. Then some people broke a piece of wood with their hand, and others an arrow, by pushing against it with the pointy bits against their throats! After all that we had to sign a declaration saying that firewalking can be dangerous, and removing liability from the company should something go wrong :S

Feeling hot, hot, hot!
FINALLY it was time for the big event: FIREWALKING!!! This was it! We walked out of the changing room and to the roped off, firewalkers only area. We got into a line and the firewalking guy measured the temperature (a nice balmy 525 C), and then did the first walk to show us how it's done. Then Peter, the event organiser went first to a big cheer. Somehow I had made it to the end of the line, so I got to watch about 29 other people do the fire walk first - some of who were obviously burning their feet a little...

And then it was my go. I got a big cheer for being the last one to go (that was pretty cool :P). I took a breath, concentrated on where I was to walk, and then went for it... all four steps. OK, so it wasn't that long a firewalk, but it was a pretty awesome feeling to have completed it. And I didn't burn my feet - bonus! Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of people firewalking, as the person I gave my camera to didn't take any :( In hindsight, I could have kept hold of my camera for a bit longer, seeing as I was the last one to go. There was a professional photographer there, though, and he got me going across :)

After I had done the walk there was another group photo, which I almost wasn't a part of - I hadn't realised it was happening, so was talking to M and her mum. I think I managed to jump into the final photo that was taken, but I'm not sure if they will use that one or another one in the newspaper - possibly the 3rd bit of bad luck for the day? After the photo all the people who wanted to do it again went through in one big continuous line of firewalkers. That second time was really fun with everyone doing it all together, rather then one at a time.

We then hung around for a bit for the raffle, but M was getting tired. Luckily M's mum took her home, and I stayed till the end of the raffle. I didn't actually win anything worth writing about, but driving home by myself and coming home to a client who was already in bed made it feel like I had had a night off, but it was a night off doing something completely AWESOME for a good cause, so I went to bed a very happy girl!! :)

Remember you can still donate if you wish - As I said before the money is going towards Scope Chichester. Due to council funding cuts, instead of the building being rent free they now have to pay something like £12 000 a year. So, the money that used to go towards activities (including bus maintenance) for people with cerebral palsy is just going toward rent. Email me at for further information on how you can help. I will be presenting the money to Scope on Friday 27th April, so you have until then to donate :) Thanks!!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Happy 2000 views!!

So, after over a year of blogging, I have finally hit 2000 views (I'm not sure how many of them are from me :P). It's not that many really... But considering I have had nearly 700 hits in the last month and a half, it's pretty impressive - Yay for increased blog traffic :D You can see from my overall stats just how much more traffic I've had in March and April!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Scope West Sussex Fire Walking Charity Event

Hello all, I am interupting my holiday blog writing to ask a favour of you. This Friday, 13th April I am planning on doing a sponsored fire walk - you know where you walk on hot coals in bare feet!! All monies raised will go toward Scope West Sussex, which is a day centre for people with cerebral palsy, and can be collected up to two weeks after the 13th (given that this is kinda last minute, sorry!). My current client attends the centre once a week. They are raising money to avoid being shut down due to increased rent on the building they occupy. Scope gets people with varying degrees of disability out of the house, giving them and their carers a well deserved break. If you would like to sponsor me, please send me an email at and I will give you my bank details so that you can transfer money into my account, which I will then present to Scope West Sussex. Depending on where you are you can transfer into my Aussie or UK account :)

Thanks in Advance!!

Check out the Scope West Sussex website here:

Monday, 9 April 2012

French Food Tour

Or should that be Gastronomy – just to be fanciful and use big words :P I thought this one deserved its own post. While we didn’t try too much traditional food (like steak tartar or frogs legs), we did try macaroons, pastries and snails!

Pierre Herme's macaroons
Lets start with the sweets (cos life’s short, you know!). Firstly you can buy macaroons from McCafe – which is an entirely novel thing to us Aussies. The ones from McDonalds were very moist, and very sweet. We bought two boxes and couldn’t actually eat them all. On the way to Palais Garnier, Adam and I stopped by the Pierre Herme pastry shop. OMG, if I could buy this shop I would! The desserts looked A-MA-ZING!! Adam kindly bought some macaroons for us to share. WOW. They were only about a billion times better than the Macca’s Macaroons (see what I did there).

*Insert Homer Simpson impersonation here*
For some reason the two flavours I distinctly remember us getting (there was more then two) was the olive oil with mandarin, and milk chocolate and passionfruits. It’s probably because they were my least and most favourites. I don’t like mandarin, but I love passionfruit. And the thing with these macaroons is that they tasted exactly like what they were supposed to taste like. It’s like Pierre got the essence of fruits and intensified in into a small delicious biscuit (it is offensive calling macaroons biscuits?!) Check out the other amazing flavours by following this link. I’ve just found out that you can buy Pierre Hermes macaroons in London… I might need to take a visit!

Mum found Tim Tams!!
Another standout dessert we had was on our final day in Paris (I think it was after visiting the Pantheon). We found a little food stall that had a meal deal – baguette (also French :P), drink and a dessert, which we ate in a park, in the cold wind. Mum got some pastry thing, I had a lemon tart, and Adam chose a raspberry meringue pie. Oh they were yummy! Though I have to admit that I think Adam made the best dessert decision. That raspberry meringue was to die for!

Now onto the snails! We got a dozen to share between the three of us, so that meant four each. They came on a special snail plate, in their shells, with a garlic butter. We got some funky tools to eat with. They were okish. Kind of similar to mussels in taste and texture. I suppose I would eat them again if they were there, but wouldn’t go out of my way to order them (kind of like haggis, really).

Not too sure about this

In it goes...

Down the hatch...

All gone, that wasn't so bad now was it!

we cleaned those snails up

Mum got mussels for her main - there were sooo many of them

Adam and I had chicken for dinner

I thought I would end of dessert too :) Creme Caramel
And that concludes the French Food Tour and our time in Paris. Coming up next: More time in London :)

A New Year, a New Day in Paris

Sunday 1st January
We got up fairly early on new year’s day to climb the Eiffel tower – it was a good thing we got there early too, as the line was a LOT longer by the time we climbed the stairs to the first and second levels – all 704 of them. We decided to walk up the stairs for a few reasons: to say we’ve climbed the stairs, it’s cheaper, and the line was shorter. To get to the third level you have to take a lift from the second level. The view was pretty great, and it was funny seeing an ice rink in the middle of the Eiffel Tour. After making our way down the tower (we took the lifts down) we headed to the Arc de Triomphe and then had a walk along Avenue de Elysees, and through some more Christmas markets. Nobody does them like Germany though.

Mum looking happy to be climbing all those stairs!

Just a short queue

Ice skating on the Eiffel Tower anybody?

1st level view

2nd level view

Only 16962km from home!

Mum and I being... tourists

Back on the ground

The replica Statue of Liberty flame; Has since
become a bit of a memorial to Princess Diana,
as it it situated over the tunnel in which she died.

Standing in the middle of the road to
get a pic of the Arc de Triomphe
One of the statues on the Arc de Triomphe

Window decorations in some shop

Avenue de Elysees 

Christmas decorations

Finally back at our hostel

Monday 2nd January
We started the day off with a visit to the Louvre. As mum had already been in a previous visit to Paris she went off and did her won thing. The line to get into the Louvre was MASSSIVE. Although I was surprised that we got through as quickly as we did – ‘only’ about 40 minutes. We we went to see probably the most famous piece at the museum, I was amazed at how small it actually is. And considering how big the wall she has to herself, it probably makes her look even smaller. Although, I did think she looked prettier in ‘real life’. Every now and then we could see out the window at the line, which was now even LONGER. When we met back up with mum she told us that she had joined a walking tour, and they said there is actually a back entrance to the Louvre that nobody knows about – there is never a line there. It was a bit late to find that info out, but I think it will be a handy thing to know if I ever get back to the Louvre (Or if any of you, my readers, are planning on going Smile).

In the line

The roof of the Louvre

There she is!

Hehe, awesome 'fruit men'

Glad we're still not in that line :D

The lovebirds
After a couple of hours roaming around the Louvre, Adam and I went for a walk to the love lock bridge, where we witnessed a couple throwing away the key to a padlock they had just, well, locked. The main reason we went there is to search for the padlock that chained my uncle’s bike to a sign post outside a French police station. Read this post for a recap. For some unknown reason finding the ‘expensive, foreign made padlock that belongs to my dad’ has a become a running joke… one that’s lasted a very. long. time. :/ Adam and I then headed off to the Palais Garnier, where we re-joined mum. We had a look inside this time, rather then just seeing the outside. It really was quite spectacular. Adam was VERY pleased to see box 5 (I think that’s the right number, Adam?!)

The more locks, the greater the love?

Adam coming down the grand staircase of the Palais Garnier

On the balcony

After dinner, mum and I headed back out to take some night shots of Paris. We made our way to the Montparnasse Tower, where we had some great views of Paris, including its most recognisable object – the Eiffel Tower. It was great to be able to get some shots with the tower in it, something you obviously can’t do from up the tower itself. After Montparnasse Tower closed for the night we returned to Montmartre, where it was significantly less busy then the last time we were up there. :)

The tower twinkling :)

Sacre Coeur

Where we were for new year's, but less busy

Tuesday 3rd January
Sorry, this is turning into a long post, but it doesn’t really have a good place to break it up, without leaving a really short blog. Bare with me, this is the last day I am blogging about in this post!

For our last day in Paris we visited the Pantheon. There was a bunch of Christmas trees out the front, which were fun to roam around, pretending it was a great forest! The pantheon was originally constructed as a replacement church for the ruined church of Sainte Genevieve under the order of King Louis XV. During the revolution it was used as a mausoleum for the interment of great Frenchmen. In 1851, Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the earth by installing his namesake pendulum under the central dome. A Foucault pendulum still swings there today, with a marked ring to indicate the hour of the day. Great and famous people interred in the crypt under the Pantheon include Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, and Marie Curie.

Marie Curie's tomb

The pendulum