Following from Milan, mister and I took the train to Venice. The only times I had ever seen Venice were from other people’s holiday snaps or in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, however, unlike my favourite fictional character, I wasn’t prepared to see Venice’s underground pipes. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was in Venice! I looked around everywhere and took in as much as I could. Who knew when I would be back in this amazing sinking city?

Venice is just gorgeous. Just, simply, breathtakingly gorgeous. It’s quaint, quiet and in typical Italian style architecture. It’s quite funny when you actually get there, and if you’re like me you’ll be expecting to see cars, but there are no cars in sight. Even the police patrol with speedboats. No cars, no pollution. Maybe that’s the world’s solution?

There are churches everywhere! I suppose that’s what Europe is famous for. San Marco is quite a spectacular sight to see, however, make sure even if you do go there in summer, you still need to cover up. No bare shoulders and bottoms need to cover the knee down, out of respect of course. The Grand Canal is just amazing. Lots of people everywhere and street vendors selling souvenirs, it’s so clean and feels safe.
Wherever you go in Venice, do not leave without a map. There’s hardly any street signs so you really need a detailed map to find your way back to your hotel!

Where can tourists find the best food? Anywhere really. Because Venice is surrounded by water, seafood is with almost every dish on the menu!

I’m fortunate to be almost completing my travel bucket list, but make sure you do too and put Venice on your list. Friendly locals, great culture and architecture, it’s a spectacular sight for sore eyes!

Having fun along one of the many canals in Venice

Having fun along one of the many canals in Venice

San Marco church is just amazing to look at!

San Marco church is just amazing to look at!

The Grand Canal. Trust me, it's a lot bigger!

The Grand Canal. Trust me, it’s a lot bigger!

 

 

Ahh Milano, a fashionista’s paradise. And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Aside from the ridiculous amount of shopping I did in Milan, Mister and I had a wonderful time. Friendly people, clean city, and the food. OH. MY. GOD! It was 4 days of pure heaven.
Milan reminded me of Melbourne. Cosmopolitan city with trams. I felt right at home. One of the best restaurants Rossopomodoro has become a favourite of ours. Friendly, funny waiters play a games with visitors and it was easy for me as I can speak Italian. And then there was Duomo. A marvelous area filled with history, you just have to be there to appreciate it. Mister and I only spent a short time in Milan and spent most of it relaxing and wondering in and out of stores and alleyways. A second trip to Milan is definitely on my bucket list!

Milan's Duomo

Milan’s Duomo

Via Torino in Milan, the street where our hotel was located. Trams, just like Melbourne.

Via Torino in Milan, the street where our hotel was located. Trams, just like Melbourne.

Yes, that pizza is from Rossopomodoro and I was quite upset to be sharing!

Yes, that pizza is from Rossopomodoro and I was quite upset to be sharing!

 

 

I’ve done it! I finally made something seemingly hard, sugar filled and made a healthy version of it. Honey cashew chicken now available in a paleo version. Please note: experiment and use measurements that would prefer. i didn’t measure and added a little here and a little there and vola! Its quick and easy
Ohh happy days!

Ingredients:
Chicken thighs
Tamari
Apple cider vinegar
Rice malt syrup
Onion
Garlic
Brown rice
Activated cashews

Method:
Commence cooking the rice.
Brown the chopped notion and garlic.
Add the chicken with the rice malt syrup, tamari and a splash of apple cider vinegar (my only measurement!).
Add the cashews.

Once cooked, serve, enjoy and love the fact that its healthy.

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I think I have just discovered my signature dish? Perfect, on the healthy side, low in sugar and I made it! Yes I made it! It’s my Moroccan Chicken with Coconut Rice, Lemongrass, Kidney Beans and Chickpeas. I’m just impressed I made the coconut rice all on my own! Well, I had a little help from a fabulous friend of mine who told me how to make it but the fact that I did it counts, right?

Ingredients:

Chicken breast (cut into as big or as small chunks that you prefer)
2x teaspoons of mustard powder
2x teaspoons of mixed spice
2x teaspoons of ground cloves
2x teaspoons of turmeric
pinch of salt and pepper
Half an onion
1x garlic clove
1x quarter of lemongrass stick
1x can of chickpeas
1x can of kidney beans
1x can of coconut cream
1x cup of rice
1 1/2 cups of water

Method:

Combine, the rice, water and coconut cream in a pot and bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling, bring it down to a simmer.
Slice the onion and garlic as you prefer then brown in a frying pan. In a bowl combine the turmeric  salt, pepper, ground cloves, mixed spice and mustard powder.
Add chicken and cook.
Once chicken is cooked add lemongrass, kidney beans and chickpeas.
Immediately after add the combined spices and cook for 5 mins.

Vola!

Moroccan Chicken with Lemongrass, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas and Coconut Rice

Moroccan Chicken with Lemongrass, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas and Coconut Rice

For a fine dining experience one simply cannot go past KoKo Teppanyaki in Melbourne’s Crown Casino. There you will witness some of the greatest chefs perfecting the Japanese cooking art of teppanyaki, throwing crockery and food.

Mister and I spoiled ourselves one evening to this great cuisine where our chef, Kevin, who perfectly cooked our chicken and fish meals right in front of our eyes followed by a delicious cocktail. Hay, when in Rome!

Our selection of food for the evening included squid, beef, chicken and prawns were perfectly seasoned and served elegantly on our plates. Watching Kevin literally throw his cooking utensils and catch them without fail was an amazing sight. It’s a kind of “dinner and show” experience for the whole family and if you’ve never had teppanyaki before I highly recommend this for your bucket list!

Go on, spoil yourselves on evening. And I personally recommend their “Hallucination” cocktail!

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Our chef Kevin

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The lovely Hallucination cocktail

Hello Amsterdam!

Wow, this is city is really a sight for sore eyes. The architecture will leave you in awe and the people will delight you. Mister and I continued on our European journey to Amsterdam and we were thoroughly impressed.

Being the typical history buff that I am we went to the Anne Frank House. I was not able to take photographs in there which I respected but gaining a further understanding of the horror that Jews went through during the holocaust. It made me thankful to be born in a country and era where I know an atrocity like that will never happen.
Amsterdam is filled with many canals and people on bikes. Everyone gets everywhere on a bike, Mister and I should have done it as well, however, we were content with using public transport.

Amsterdam is one of those countries where you don’t feel at all like someone is following you to pick your pockets because you are a tourist. After visiting the Anne Frank House, we conducted our own tour of The House of Bols. It’s a specialised alcohol that Amsterdam stocks and we were fortunate to go on a tour. I highly suggest not doing what Mister and I did and start the tour before you have lunch, on an empty stomach because you get free alcohol at the end. Yes free alcohol on an empty stomach. We stumbled out of there that’s for sure! The House of Bols will show you how their alcohol is made and the flavours it comes in. You can smell the flavours (yes smell them), try your hand at throwing a cocktail shaker and of course the free alcohol at the end.

The following day, Mister and I went to the Heineken Brewery (please don’t think there’s an alcohol related theme here), which was impressive. I don’t drink beer but this brewery was well worth the visit! You can see how beer is made, what ingredients are used and learn how to pour the perfect beer. Yes, throughout the entire tour you get free beer as well. I had one beer and then gave the rest to Mister but this time we had full stomaches!

The best thing about Amsterdam is that it’s one of those cities where you can just walk through street after street, not looking for anything in particular, but just wondering. I was even able to find the world’s biggest wooden shoe and was able to sit in it! There are cheese shops a-plenty! For all you cheese lovers out there you will sample some of the most delicate, obscure and delicious cheese flavours in the world.

If you’re like me and you like wondering and exploring strange cities without a map, then in Amsterdam you will come across the infamous Red-Light district. It is, however, pin pointed on a map but you wouldn’t know it until you were in it. During the day, it’s a footpath (no cars can drive in there) with people going every which way but by night, well, let’s just say it becomes something else. No cameras are allowed as there are scantily clad dressed woman who want to earn a living. If I walked a little in front of Mister and he appeared on his own, I could actually see he was winked at by the women. If you want to know more about Amsterdam’s Red-Light district it really is something you have to see for yourself.

Amsterdam is wonderful and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find the right words to describe it as it is indescribable. A remarkable, breathtaking city which I certainly plan on returning to in the (hopefully) not to distant future.

The visually stunning The House of Bols and their amazing drinks!

The visually stunning The House of Bols and their amazing drinks!

Me trying to shake and throw a cocktail. I'm clearly not made for the hospitality industry!

Me trying to shake and throw a cocktail. I’m clearly not made for the hospitality industry!

Me trying to pour the perfect beer at the Heineken Brewery. In the end I finally got there!

Me trying to pour the perfect beer at the Heineken Brewery. In the end I finally got there!

The best show in the entire world! It was love at first sight!

The best shoe in the entire world! It was love at first sight!

 

 

 

This post is a little different today. I’m not particularly a soccer fan (for overseas viewers, its football for you), however, Mister is. Actually, he is a tragic Arsenal fanatic. Seriously, there are many times when Arsenal has come first. So naturally when we went to London it was a tour Mister was not going to miss out on. He was like me when I went to the British Museum, totally in his element and nothing was going to take away the ethereal glow around him that he was where God wanted him to be; right at home at Emirates Stadium.

How does a non-soccer fan describe Emirates Stadium? Well, let’s just say I was impressed. It is a magnificent stadium and even if you don’t know what soccer, or football, is it really does impress. Red seems to be the theme behind this team. I’m not really sure why but Mister loved it. And of course we have more pictures of him in front of great Arsenal memorabilia than me.
When the tour starts, we are taken into the Chairman’s boardroom where the highest paying Arsenal executives watch the game and enjoy the finest food and drink. Entering that room made me want to work really hard so I could one day afford that privilege. There are past trophies on display, paintings of Emirates Stadium (in case you weren’t sure where you were) and the most magnificent views of the pitch. Any closer and you would actually be on the pitch watching the players “bend it like Beckham”.

Next on the tour we are taken into the player’s locker room. Mister could not contain his excitement! Player’s jumpers were on display to show us whose cubicle belonged to whom. Of course Mister had to have his picture taken in front of all of them. A tour guide let us in on a little piece of information; the opposing team’s locker room has shiny floors to try and injure them before any game commences! Nice little trick I think!
After the locker room, we get to experience the rush of being an Arsenal player. We get to run (or walk) through the tunnel leading us onto the pitch. I should have just taken a movie of Mister doing it with the amount of pictures I took of him inside the red tunnel. I think he secretly felt like an Arsenal player. Out on the ground, you really get to feel the atmosphere of a game, it is really huge!

Following the locker room, tunnel and entering the pitch, there was something to keep me entertained, we entered the press room. There were children on our tour group so I had to let them sit in the chairs pretending to be interviewed by their parents. However, it really gave me an insight into sports media.

All in all, Mister left the tour feeling great like he had just ticked something off his bucket list. Entering the room of men he has admired since he was young he accomplished something other’s only dream of doing.

COME ON THE MIGHTY GUNNERS!

Mister in his element, at Emirates Stadium for Arsenal

Mister with Fabregas’s jumper. He does not play for Arsenal anymore, so this is a rare photograph.

Another rare photograph with Nasri’s jumper, who no longer plays for Arsenal.

Where tired and injured players do physiotherapy.

Entering the magnificent red tunnel leading out onto the pitch.

Mister was so excited to be there, he didn’t know where to look!

 

One evening in mid 2010 I had come home late from university and Mister was already home. He was on the computer and I could tell by the look on his face, he was very preoccupied with whatever he was doing. I asked him if he was alright and he replied simply with “Air Asia is having a massive sale and I have just purchased return tickets for us to go to London”. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement. Mister had certainly won some brownie points! He had just purchased tickets for us to go to London and from London all other European cities are so cheap to get to, therefore we could travel anywhere. Mister was really happy to have found this sale as his brother, let’s call him JJ, had moved over to London and it was a chance for them to catch up. Neither of us was able to sleep that night due to the excitement that this time the following year in 2011 we would be on our way to Europe!It is now June 2011 and the day has arrived and we are about to make our way to Melbourne Airport. I said goodbye to my family (my grandfather was in tears, bless him) and we were London bound! We arrived in London around 11.00pm and were just exhausted so went straight to the hotel to sleep. We stayed around the corner from King’s Cross Station. The following day our European adventure began! We trekked to Emirates Stadium as Mister is a tragic Arsenal fanatic. I’m not really interested in soccer but I must say, this stadium is quite impressive! We took plenty of pictures, went into the gift shop and purchased tickets to do the official tour. The tour would take place in the following days and Mister could hardly wait!
From there we went on to a hop on/hop off double decker tour bus in London. These tours are great because you can get off wherever you like and every 15 minutes another bus comes to pick you up. We went right around Hype Park, Buckingham Palace, drove past Margaret Thatcher’s, Roger Moore’s and J.K Rowling’s homes. I was quite taken with Buckingham Palace; I told Mister that it will be our next real estate purchase. I have seen the palace plenty of times on television  and in pictures but to see it in front of you, it is really an experience. It is spectacular and huge! We watched the changing of the guard which is quite impressive because it actually stops traffic. Can you believe it? If your in a hurry to get to work, bad luck, the queen’s guards need to be changed!

After Buckingham Palace, we got on the bus again and went around the river Thames. It made me happy to see that not only Melbourne’s Yarra River is brown in colour. We went past Big Ben, the London Eye and London Tower. As I have mentioned I could still not believe that I was in the same vicinity of these buildings because I had seen them all before in pictures. London is a fantastic, beautiful city and the people are really friendly. And yes, I even did the touristy thing and had my photograph taken in front of a telephone box. Love London!

I really felt sorry for Mister as I am a huge history buff and I made him go to the British Museum. For me, entering the museum was an ethereal moment in my life. For so long the museum has been home to many treasures discovered from another time, another era. I had been waiting all my life to go to this museum and I was finally here. I certainly was experiencing an out-of-body moment. The pinnacle of the visiting the museum was viewing the Rosetta Stone. It was one of the greatest archaeological discoveries whereby the explorer who discovered it was able to decipher ancient Egyptian script for the first time in history. If you are a history buff you can certainly understand my excitement of seeing this stone. I purchased a replica of it from the gift shop and hung it in my house. There were also many other ancient Egyptian artefacts on display and the museum as a whole was simply mesmerising and not at all in a commercial way. It paid great tribute to many civilisations and cultures that once existed.

London is such a great city; don’t ever change who you are! Visiting the British Museum was certainly my highlight of London. Stay tuned for more great British and European adventures next time!

My official first day in London, what a beauty!

Mister at the front of Emirates Stadium, which impressed me as well!

Me in front of Buckingham Palace which will one day be my home!

River Thames with the London Eye in the background

Big Ben

Me at the entrance of the British Museum, a significant moment in my life

The amazing Rosetta Stone, what I have been waiting my whole life to see!

 

Fibre is one of those elements we need to consume but just don’t get enough of. And I usually find with myself, no matter how much fibre I think I’m eating, I should probably be eating more. Are you the same? If you are, well I may have found the answer.
Recently, I slept over my uncle and auntie’s house as I was babysitting my cousins for the night. Mister stayed at home and watched the footy all night long! In the morning, I was helping my aunt make breakfast for the kids and then for us. I asked her if I could have a fruit salad as I love having fruit for breakfast. I find it keeps me full all day long and I have the energy of 20 men, even though I’m only a little thing! My aunt gave me a banana, frozen blueberries, apricot and yoghurt. Then she asked if I wanted to drizzle some passionfruit over it. I’m a sucker for those passionfruit seeds so I said why not.And then she asked me if I wanted to put some Fibre Toppers on it. Fibre Toppers, what on earth is that? Well from Kellogg’s I give you All-Bran Fibre Toppers, these little pieces of fibre bran which is perfect with fruit and can also be added on salad’s plus it provides you with 33% of your daily fibre needs. They taste great and go so perfectly with fruit. When I went home that day, I went straight to the shops and bought it! Mister was unsure in the beginning but once he tried it, he loved it!

Thanks Kellogg’s!

From one fruit nut to another, make sure you purchase Kellogg’s All-Bran Fibre Toppers for a little more “kick” in your day!

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If you ever wanted to see a beautiful sunset, Bali sure is the place to go. I would purposely leave our hotel room and have an “early” dinner around 5.30-6 just to watch the sun turn the sky orange. It was the most breathtaking sight I have ever witnessed.
My Balinese adventure with Mister was far from over. We still had to trek to Ubud and go the volcano. It was quite strange because Kuta and the surrounding towns were hot, sticky hot, and then you visit the volcano on the same day in shorts and a t-shirt and its freezing. It’s a very different atmosphere there. We had also booked to go white water rafting. There’s nothing like water sports in Bali. Because they don’t have many rules and safety guidelines to follow, it is quite possible to have a dangerous water adventure. Nonetheless, I was always cautious. I have only have one life but I want to live it well. Fly fishing was amazing.

It’s not what you think and I certainly thought it involved actual fishing. Luckily for me, all I had to was hold on tight lying down to a sort of square shaped biscuit. It was attached by a rope to a speed boat and due to physics, which I am such a master at, as the speed boat gathers momentum, it pushes the biscuit in the air. Looking down, it makes you hold on tighter because it is a long way down into the water and you are not strapped into anything. I’m not scared of heights but this was the ultimate adrenalin rush.

When visiting Bali, do not miss out on Waterbom Park. Yes it’s another water park but a water park in Bali, so again, rules are a little relaxed. At one point before going down a slide on a biscuit with Mister, he was asked by the lifeguard if we wanted to go backwards. Mister “accidently on purpose” forgot to tell me and before I knew it I was going down a waterslide backwards in the dark and feeling my stomach turn. Luckily I wasn’t sick!

Sadly, our adventure was coming to an end but before we left we went to Uncle Norm’s Bar. Put this one on your Bali bucket list. Uncle Norm’s is a good-time place, where the music flows, customers can dance anywhere and the food and drinks just keep coming out. Uncle Norm is always there and will dance with you if you ask him. Such a friendly place and person, Uncle Norm will take care of your needs. The staff are fantastic! They will not only serve you your food and drinks but play card tricks, tell jokes and get involved in the good times.
The days following Uncle Norm’s, Mister and I took it easy as we were heading back home. It was a solemn feeling when we were boarding the plane. I truly had a fantastic time wanted to stay. That’s the thing about holidays; I never get over them and want to live everywhere. I haven’t been back to Bali, however, rest assured Bali I will return!

It's actually quite cold at the volcano site.

MIster and I getting our pose on before we go white water rafting.

You better believe it! Mister and I are lying down only holding on to rope and the biscuit is going higher and higher!

Mister and I going down a waterslide at Waterbom Park

Me with the friendly and hilarious staff at Uncle Norm's Bar. See the humour?

With the world-famous Uncle Norm, we had just finished dancing!