Like last year, and the year before, Scott put together a DIY cider advent calendar for me. I think it was pretty hard to find new ones but he did very well, nearly all of them were ones I hadn’t tried before.

  • Little Woody Sparkling Oaked Cider – weird taste that’s hard to describe, not bad, dry, but not something I would probably buy 7/10
  • Mr. Little Genuine Apple Cider – refreshing, not too sweet, tasty 8/10
  • Simple Cider Cox’s Orange Pippin – sour, crabappley?, weird 5/10
  • Lychee Gold – literally juice as it’s low alcohol 5/10
  • Three Oaks Cider Adelaide Hills Crushed Apple – too sweet 6/10
  • Stowford Press Apple Cider – UK type cider, a little funky, fine 7/10
  • Oranjeboom – surprisingly nice, generic but tasty apple cider taste 8/10
  • Hills Cider Tropical Sour – definitely sour, mango-y, but too much pineapple for me 6/10
  • Mr Finch Premium Apple Cider – too sweet 6/10
  • Newton’s Crisp Apple Cider – too sweet 6/10
  • Mortimers Orchard English Apple Cider – traditional English type cider, ok 6/10
  • Scape Goat Crisp Apple Cider – too sweet 6/10
  • Old Rosie – still cider, one of the better flat ciders but still meh. comes in fun giant jug. good value? 5/10

(Clearly I don’t like ciders in clear glass bottles?!)

  • Big Shed Cherry Popper – actually not very cherry-y at all? not bad 7/10
  • Bilpin Archibald Cloudy Apple Cider – tart, dry, delicious! 10/10!!
  • Treehouse Cider – nice (I’d had this one before but they changed the label) 9/10
  • Two Birds Apple Cider – noice, lady brewery! 9/10
  • Forbidden Fruit Cider Apple Berry – legit like a juice box 7/10
  • Cidre de Fouesnant Pur Jus Manoir de Kinkiz – had a cork, strong tastes, oaky, smokey, funky 6/10 (I’d had this one before but forgot to rate it so I was happy to have a second go)
  • Henry Westons Oak Aged Vintage Cider – too funky 6/10
  • Flying Fox Original Cider – tasted better in the bottle than at the cidery, ok 7/10
  • The Apple Thief Pink Lady Cider – meh 7/10
  • Nightingale Bros Alpine Cider Pink Lady Dry – very dry!! 7/10

Overall not that many high ratings… perhaps there is a reason they’re not the easiest ciders to track down. However, I gave out my first ever 10/10 so that’s a win!!

This will most likely be the last DIY cider advent calendar as I think I’ve now tasted a good portion of all the ciders in Australia! Maybe next year I’ll get something easy and store-bought, haha.

Now that we don’t have to go to inspections and auctions every single Saturday I can do fun stuff like go to the Big Design Market and admire cool printed clothing and pottery and things. I really liked this market. Excellent place to do some unique Christmas shopping and also blow a lot of money. Everything was cool!!

I splurged on these cups as a housewarming present to myself. I also got a frog shirt for Myles, some cards and a print.

Uncle Scotty playing Uno Flip with da boys and April.

New high score!! *sweats profusely*

Jess, Scott and I went to a taping of Hard Quiz. It was my first time being in a studio audience. It was fun! Tom Gleeson was good, the contestants were weird, and the comedian guy warming up the crowd was funny too. We OOOO’d and clapped and laughed on cue. They had to re-film a few things but thankfully not too much so it didn’t get too tedious. Not bad for a free activity! And it helped us beat the crazy 45°C heat outside as well. The episode won’t be on until late next year.

Before and After bibimbap. Seriously one of my favourite meals ever.

So many kiddos!!! Cousin Christmas at Shaun’s place.

Typical Aussie Christmas plate: several types of salad, scalloped potatoes, ham, rotisserie pork and beef, plus cold bevvies.

Christmas Eve spicy cocktail before going to see Star Wars.

We had a relaxed start to Christmas Day. We slept in and ate breakfast chocolates and opened presents. I got a sewing machine and Ben Folds’ memoir. Scott got merino sweatpants, a video game, and a bunch of new board games (really they are for both of us). Then we headed to House Jorna for more rotisserie pork and salads and family time.

In the evening my friend Sophie came over with her brother to play some games. We played Ghost Stories (co-op game), Azul and Camel Up. I made burgers. It was almost like the Burger Friday’s we used to have in Vancouver with Lesley on our Eldorado apartment patio. I miss that!!

Boxing Day. We video chatted the fam in Ontario and then headed out to Lysterfield Park for a walk. I wanted to start identifying some birds with my new bird app. We walked 7 km and spotted eight types of birds, all of them are pretty common, but four of them I didn’t know the names before so that’s fun. (Eurasian Coot, Little Black Cormorant, Superb Fairywren, and Purple Swamphen). I’m excited to go camping in a few weeks and identify some more birds.

I took today off which gave me a sweet five day break from work. We really haven’t taken much time off this year so this felt nice. Still have a physio appointment, a birthday party, brunch, and the usual family dinner/work/training to finish off the year/decade.

Other unpictured stuffs:

  • Annual EH Christmas party with the old work gang. As usual great to see everyone and eat all the delicious food everyone brings! I brought 7 layer dip, which Australian people don’t know about! It was a hit. Scott got a pair of wireless headphones in the stealing santa game.
  • Scott turned 41. We got takeaway charcoal chicken and I got him a ricotta raisin cheesecake.
  • We waited an hour in line for Taco Bell. I think it was worth it. :P They had games and stuff and we won a couple pairs of taco socks.
  • We opened our new bank accounts and did a lot of mortgage paperwork. Riveting stuff, I know.
  • Had a games night at Pete and Melinda’s house. We played Articulate, Carcassonne, Machi Koro, and Camel Up. We’d played Machi Koro once before with Rosemarie in Vancouver and thought it was kind of boring, but this time was a lot more fun. Maybe because everyone had very different strategies?
  • Phoenix Christmas Hit Out and BBQ: I didn’t compete but went to watch and then we had a nice bbq afterwards in the tiny little courtyard out the back of the gym. The club got together to get Milos a new pair of lifting shoes. Milos is our oldest (age 76) and most helpful club member (he fixes leaks in the roof, maintains the drinking fountain and water cooler, vacuums, and fixes everything else that breaks). Milos is the man. His speech when presented with the gift: “I wanted to retire, and now I can’t.” :’)
  • Speaking of weightlifting, I am now training four days a week. It definitely took a couple weeks to get used to the extra work, but now it feels normal. Hopefully it helps.

Well that’s nearly it for 2019. Rosemarie requested a few different reviews so I’ll work on that this weekend, and I’ve just drunk the last cider of the final edition of Scott’s Cider Advent Calendar so I’ll post that soon too.

We bought a house!

We went to SO MANY inspections and SO MANY auctions together over the last six months, and then it turned out that Scott would have to go to this one on his own, while I was doing a weightlifting competition. He did great! It was one of our very favourite places out of the dozens and dozens that we looked at, and we stayed in budget. Yay!

The details: it’s a 2 bedroom villa about 3 km from where we are now. The living room/dining room/kitchen area is nice and big and open, and it’s got a 1.5x size garage. Scott can walk to work in 15 minutes, and I can go by bike or a short drive. I can’t wait to see it again irl because all we have at the moment is the real estate listing photos. We move in about a month!

I did not have a very good competition. I was very distracted. I snatched 40x/40/43, and clean and jerked 50/53x/54x. I missed my opening snatch for dumb reasons, which meant I didn’t get to try for any comp PBs even though I’ve done several more kilos in training. And then I got red lights on my last two clean and jerks due to pressouts on the jerks. :(

Besides my mediocre performance it was still a fun day, as the Ian Laurie Cup usually is. My weightlifting club organises it so almost everyone from the club competes, plus some surprise special guests. This year one of the guest lifters was Eileen Cikamatana, a phenom from Fiji who has now switched countries to Australia and is breaking world records left and right. She’s loud and powerful and really nice! It was really cool to see how easily she throws around big weights.

My coach forced me to take a rest week after the comp. I tried to sneak in and train and he told me to go for a walk!! Rude! :P

A friend from weightlifting invited me over to do lino printing. It was fun and he gave me a bunch of tools to do it on my own. Great, another hobby. :D

Us at Kathrine’s wedding in Emerald. It was a lovely day and check out that dessert plate!!

Other unpictured things:

  • Scott’s work put on a screening of Frozen 2 so we took April and Rory (and Jemma and Donna). I thought it was funny how much the kids in the theatre were laughing at the Olaf bits, like literally ROFLing hahahahaaaa.
  • I got to have a fancy spa massage where the lady exfoliated my back and stuff. It was nice and relaxing although maybe not as useful as the grit-my-teeth type remedial massages I usually get haha.
  • Scott got very sick again kinda like in France. He was given antibiotics and ate nothing but boiled vegetable soup for quite a while and eventually got better. We still don’t really know what it was though. :(
  • We had my work Christmas lunch at a restaurant in Kew. I got to have calamari, steak, both the brownie and the pavlova desserts, and a bit too much wine.
  • We went to the Malvern wine festival and saw lots of dronk Malvern ladies.

The last couple months have really revolved around trying to get a stupid house. We’ve upped our pre-approval amount, expanded our search radius, re-evaluated our criteria, checked out about 9000 apartments/villas/townhouses, but no luck so far. Some auctions go 200k over the listed price and we don’t even get a bid in, and a few times we’ve come second, which is even more heartbreaking. This weekend we inspected eight places! A few of them are good. Please cross your fingers for us.

I decided we should take a day off work to do something fun. We drove out the Peninsula Hot Springs and had a lovely time floating around in various hot tubs. I really love the cold plunge pools! It was excellent going on a weekday because it wasn’t very crowded. If anyone wants to go there please let me know because I’m down.

We went out for dinner at the Red Hill Epicurean. There are not that many places open for dinner on weeknights near the hot springs but this was still a good option. They had a nice roaring fire in the fireplace and our food was nice. We got the brisket special and a fancy margherita pizza. The crust was nice and thin and the brisket was nice and tender.

Red Hill Epicurean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I competed in a VWA Open comp. It went pretty well, I got 4 out of 6 lifts. I snatched 40/43/46x. The 43 was a 1 kg PB and the 46 was very nearly a huge PB but I stupidly let the bar drop behind me which is automatic red lights. I was very very annoyed with myself about that. I (power) cleaned and (power) jerked 50/54x/54 (1 kg PB).

Training has been pretty good lately. We’ve been re-introducing a lot of things that I stopped doing because of back pain and they’re not causing any problems this time! My main problem these days is that I’m weak AF and can’t stand things up. For example I can power clean much more than I can full clean. I have another comp in 3 weeks and then I think the plan is to not compete for a couple months and just work on all my weaknesses for a bit.

I got my hairs cut. Should have done it a long time ago tbh. Short hair is much better than a ratty ponytail.

We went to Scott’s friends house to watch the Grand Final. The game was a blow out but half time kick to kick was fun.

We made shortbread cookies dipped in white chocolate with pistachio to bring to the party. YUM. They were a hit.

I crocheted this bag. What do you think of Scott’s modelling?

Canadian election ballots are hilariously simple compared to Aussie ballots. I’m not sure our votes made it back in time. Next time I’ll get organised a lot earlier… if I’m still eligible to vote?

I decided to start practising drawing. I actually find it really hard because my hands are so shaky it’s hard to draw straight lines. I’m very curious to see if this project will make my hands get better or if it’ll just stay the same. Perhaps that will be my drawing style… wobbly.

October #SMAJ was a visit to the Cheese Festival with some of Scott’s work friends. Similarly to last year there weren’t a lot of actual cheese vendors there, but there were lots of food trucks serving cheese-centric meals. We had perogies (that weren’t really perogies imo, since instead of having potato in them they had halloumi + cranberry, vegetables, and chorizo fillings), and that pasta where they swirl the hot noodles in a cheese wheel. I enjoyed both. And we bought a lump of cheddar with those awesome crunchy bits in it.

Unpictured things:

  • Caught up with the old gang from my last job. More and more of them have also moved on. I wasn’t even there that long ago and it’s almost a completely different department.
  • Scott went to Sydney for work so we had a gym ladies night drinks at my friends house.
  • We had afternoon drinks with Scott’s work friends in Richmond. I got to eat tater tots.
  • We occasionally get the gang together for trivia.

I had a Minor Burger with a side of chips. I thought the burger was very good! The chips were ok but really really salty and in really small bits. Their house made tomato sauce was tasty.

Scott had a Redskin milkshake which he liked but I didn’t care for (I don’t like the lolly though).

Tuck Shop Take Away Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato