A Queenslander House Tour

Queenslander house living roomSince I live away from many of my family and friends, I thought it would be nice to give everyone an idea of my home. A lot of these people have not had the chance to visit, but I hope these photographs can give you a glimpse into my home while living abroad. But let me give you a bit of background.

Queenslander house stumpsQueenslander house breezeways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our house is over 100 years old (ghosts included) and is of the traditional Queenslander type. Queenslander houses are named after where they are found, in Queensland. Essentially, these are timber houses built on stilts (or stumps), allowing the cool air to pass through underneath, I guess it can be considered a pioneers air conditioner. Along with that technique of cooling, breezeways above doors are also characteristics of Queenslanders. My boyfriend calls these houses wooden tents, which is essentially true, as there is no insulation. Did I mention sound proofing is non-existent, which comes in handy when my boyfriend is “undathahouse” (aka under-the-house) working out and I need something from our deep freezer down there. I just stand over where I think he is and yell down.

Queenslander house sunroomQueenslander house washroomQueenslander house living roomOur house in particular is a worker’s cottage, as it is one of the smaller Queenslanders built with cheaper material. However, some Queenslanders can resemble villas. Another feature of these houses is the porches, which wrap around, acting as an extra room. To give you an idea, we just repaired the old pipe used to release the gases of the outhouse on the back porch. Don’t worry, all that is left now is a covered hole in the roof. Houses constantly move with the change in weather, some days we can’t shut doors, other days we might be hit with a bought of motion sickness as the floor slopes. The ultimate answer to all of this is, “the joys of living in a Queenslander”.Queenslander house living roomQueenslander house dining roomQueenslander house kitchenThey do have a lot of character, but with that comes constant upkeep. Although our house has a “new” kitchen and washrooms. You can see the traditional cream colour walls, along with chipped paint and original hardware. We have mini renovation plans, which includes painting everything white one day soon.
Queenslander house guest bedroomQueenslander house washroom

Queenslander house patio bricks

Original bricks from backyard patio

Additionally, this past summer the cooling technique did not seem to work that well when Brisbane hit record highs of 45 degrees. We have a modern air conditioner, but this type of house limits where it is installed (above the kitchen sink). Many homeowners now end up raising their house and enclosing underneath to add another level. This creates a great balance between the old and new, along with keeping all the elements out. We hang our laundry under the house, which is open to the elements of leaves and dirt, so the second a white sheet, towel, or shirt touches a post or ground, it needs another wash. As I am writing this I am realising how different this is to the Canadian way.

Queenslander house front porch

P.S. For information on furnishings please ask in the comment section below.

Get that Pen to Paper with these Travel Journals

I know these days a pen and paper have somewhat become things of the past, but I still think there is value in hard copy. That is why when I travel I carry a journal, although I don’t really journal in the formal sense. I use it to keep track of itineraries, new friends’ contact information, destination suggestions and much more. I am always on the lookout for good travel journals, pockets are key!

Anthropologie Globetrotter Travel Kit: This colourful kit offers the ultimate in personalization for one’s journey.
Moleskine Travel Journal: A classic with labels for personalization.
Kikki-K Leather Travel Journal: A little refinement for on the road journeys.
Storage.It Notebook A5: A travel buddy of mine introduced me this notebook, even though it doesn’t feature any travel prompts. It is the best I’ve found, as the whole cover is a plastic pocket, allowing a replaceable notebook when needed.

4 Simple Beauty Essentials

My second rule for beauty products while traveling is “simple”. A mirror might not always be handy, so simple application and quality results are necessary. My favourite simple products are…

Smashbox O-Glow: This offers the right amount of pink to cheeks, by simply using your fingers to pat it on. No mirror or brush required!
Benefit High Beam: I use this mostly around my eyes to subtly brighten them, by simply blending in a few dots of the highlighter with my fingers.
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lash Extending Treatment Mascara: One application provides a natural look and two applications give a more glamorous look.
Moroccan Oil Treatment: We all experience frizzy hair to a certain extent. Just a dime size amount of this product goes a long way to smooth and shiny hair, just by combing through with hands while hair is damp.

A Long Weekend in Edinburgh

A little while back, I was lucky enough to travel to London in April. Well my boyfriend and I had a few days off to explore some of the UK that we did not get a chance to see when we lived there. So we booked a last-minute trip to Edinburgh. I actually visited Edinburgh a few years earlier during the same time of year, but this time around I tried a few new places.
edinburgh_1Stay
We stayed at Double Tree by Hilton within walking distance to Edinburgh Castle. We were lucky enough to get upgraded to a suite overlooking the Castle, although our view only lasted while the sun was out, which is not that often in Edinburgh. To make up for the bad weather we were greeted with warm chocolate chip cookies, which I devoured on arrival. Our room was huge, unnecessarily so, but offered all the classic amenities Hilton Hotels and Resorts are known for, cleanliness, modern décor, quality furnishings. The staff was nice too, quickly offering directions when needed.
edinburgh_3See and Do
Edinburgh is an experience on its own, rich with history and character. Walk up and down the Royal Mile, perusing the local scotch and wool shops. Rose Street and Grassmarket in the new and old towns respectively, offer varying shops, bars, and restaurants. And wander through Princes Street Park for the best view of the Castle.
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Edinburgh Castle
The Castle is a must do, as it sits a top the Royal Mile overlooking the city. However, it is in need of an update, as the map, informational displays, and exhibitions are out-dated. At times I felt very claustrophobic, as crowds bottlenecked through the hallways. The best aspect of the Castle really was the view.
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The Scotch Whisky Experience
Now I am not a whisky drinker by any means, but we stumbled upon this on our way down from the Castle in hope of finding a warm place. We were pleasantly surprised, as I learned the most about any liquor from this tour. Although, it is a bit gimmicky with a “It’s a Small World” like ride in a whisky barrel to start, the calibre of knowledge quickly sets in when one views the world’s largest scotch collection. And as a bonus, one can take their scotch tasting glass home.
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Rabbie’s Highland Lochs, Glens, and Whisky Day Tour
My boyfriend is the scotch drinker in our household, so he desperately wanted to visit some of the distilleries. I searched far and wide for a day tour that offered the best taste of Scotland (no pun intended). This tour checked all the boxes, as we visited an old church, although the scones from the local bakery were my highlight; explored a hidden waterfall; toured an established distillery; and basked in giant lochs throughout the highlands. Our tour guide was perfect, providing enough interesting information, not to bore or overwhelm us.
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New Edinburgh Tours
I went on every one of the walking tours offered during my first trip to Edinburgh. Although it was hard to stay focused in the cold rain, they provided a good overview of the city for the best price. They got it covered with local history, even local ghosts, and most importantly, local pubs.
scotland_4Eat
Well for all of you who think haggis is gross, I say don’t knock it till you try it. It is no wonder haggis is the meal of choice in Scotland, it just warms one up instantly with rich spices. Here are some of the places we went for haggis and a few other local dishes.
The Albanach: The Cullen Skink Soup was recommended and did not disappoint.
Angels with Bagpipes: High end with all the Scottish classics.
Jamie’s Italian: I know I have recommended this in the past and it is not Scottish, but it is worth visiting even just for a drink, as the restaurant occupies the former Assembly Rooms.
Hula Juice Bar and Gallery: The cutest café, serving bagel sandwiches (my sweet spot).
scotland_5Go
We took the express train from London Kings Cross, which was easy enough taking 4.5 hours with nice scenery along the way. We even got first class tickets that were cheaper than regular tickets, go figure. When in Edinburgh, everything was in walking distance, but cabs still proved useful with our luggage in the rain.scotland_6

Toronto Photo Diary

Georgian Bay, Canada

Blue water of Georgian Bay, Canada

A big hello! I am so sorry I have neglected my blog for so long. I was having so much fun in Toronto, but now real life has finally sunk in. Anyway, I thought a little photo diary of my summer in and around Toronto would be a nice pick me up, since I am missing my favourite time of year in Canada, autumn (Happy Belated Labour Day). If anyone has any ideas on how to add touches of autumn as the heat quickly encroaches in Brisbane, I am all ears. I am grateful I was able to spend two months this summer with those I love. Living abroad can sound exciting, but it is definitely hard living so far away from family and friends. Here are a few highlights from my trip.

Kings Warf Theatre, Penetanguishene

Seeing the hilarious play, Run for your Wife, at Kings Warf Theatre in Penetanguishene

camping

Testing out our tent

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Finally getting to camp at the Bruce Peninsula National Park, only to be rained out

Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula

Tobermory Marina, Bruce Peninsula

fishing

Deep “sea” fishing trip with Sandy McCarthy (for all you NHL fans out there), and ending up not catching anything

60th Birthday

My parents’ 60th birthday party

60th Birthday

Photo-bombed by my brother

Australian Meat Pies

Obsessing over Aussie meat pies in Canada

Blue Jays, Toronto

My first Blue Jays game since I was a kid

Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, Canada

Canadian wildlife

Introducing my boyfriend to the local wildlife

Midland Drive In, Canada

Partaking in one of the few Drive-In Theatres left that I have gone to since I was a kid

Bakerbots Baking, Toronto

Walking to local ice cream shops for dairy free ice cream after dinner with friends

paddle board

Paddle boarding on the lake everyday

boating

cottage

Playing with my little cousins: go karts, The Game of Life, tie-dye, the rock (not pictured)

cottage

The Cousins Party with most of my cousins under one roof for the first time in years

Georgian Bay, Canada

Georgian Bay sunset

I also discovered a few new favourite places worth mentioning:
Swish by Han for an alternative Financial District lunch
The Ten Spot for your pampering needs
Crepes a GoGo has a new location