Ramen Champion, Sunnybank Brisbane

If you’ve been before, you will know that it is seriously difficult to choose where to eat in Sunnybank! You’re surrounded by delicious, authentic asian restaurants at very reasonable and competitive prices.

My friend and I felt like ramen (when don’t I? Let’s be honest) and went in search of some. Ramen Champion was lit right up so in we went!

A fairly classic fit out as far as ramen restaurants go, although a little more modern, clean and spacious than the ones that try to imitate the unique spaces that are authentic or in Japan. I ordered the black champion ramen with vegetables, flame grilled pork and garlic sauce. My friend ordered the Veggie Champion. Luckily, Ramen Champion’s vegetarian bowl actually has vegetarian stock (we were both expecting it to be a pork base) which made my friend very happy.

The bowl was delicious but not the best I have had. I wouldn’t go back there on my next visit to Sunnybank (because there are a hundred different delicious choices like dumplings etc) and if I was craving ramen, Taro’s in Brisbane city or Ramen Dando in Gold Coast would be my go-to’s.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this place, I would just prefer to eat better food in Sunnybank and better ramen somewhere else.

Ramen Champion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Girls Getaway at Coolum Seaside Resort

Girls getaway!

Jill, Kaia and I have been planning to get away to the coast for weeks, with our busy lives it took us a bit longer than we had hoped but it was so worth it!

We hit the road at 3pm on Friday and headed to Coolum Seaside Resort to check out our 2 bedroom apartment we had booked for the night, right in the middle of town.

Sandie, the lovely host, welcomed us and we found our spacious apartment tucked away in lush gardens. We quickly checked out the beach right at the end of the road ready for the morning. Kaia was quick to pop open a bottle of sparkling rose on the balcony and we sat down to enjoy the sunset and catch up. Once the sun was set we were up and off to Canteen, a buzzing bar just a block and a half away for cocktails!

Canteen has a funky area out the front where you can lounge on cushions watching the world go by as you sip on your bevvies. We had booked Harvest for dinner, only a 5-minute walk down the road. Everything is close by in Coolum, with bars, restaurants and shopping along the central strip, right across from the beach.

Harvest had been recommended by a few friends and while it wasn’t what we had expected when we arrived, the wine list and entrees surely made up for it. You can read about that here.

After dinner (and dessert) we strolled to The Coolum Hotel. Hot tip: do NOT wear thongs (jandals / flip flops) if you want to get in. With that option out of the way and the knowledge we had another bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge, it was an easy decision to chill out back at the apartment.

A few glasses of bubbles later and some green tea, (could have cooked a feast in the massive kitchen!) it was bed time.

We woke up fresh and hungry, devoured breakfast at My Place, with a view of the beach and great food.

Hitting the pool (one of the three), spa and tennis court were next on the agenda for the getaway. We jumped in the first pool, had a spa and tried out the outdoor shower where a little lizard friend wanted to get in on the action. The next pool and spa were my favourite, right next to the tennis courts so you can watch the game while you soak in the spa and then cool off in the pool. There was a great BBQ area there too, if I was staying another night I would have bought in some food to enjoy poolside with a nice, ice cold beer.

I learnt very quickly that I’m terrible at tennis. Hilariously, I managed to hit three out of our four balls into the pool in about 20 minutes. Amused, I sat the last one out so the girls could have a proper hit without my …. lack of coordination.

There’s a gym and a business centre at the hotel too but they didn’t fit in with our champagne and spa schedule this time. Although I did have good intentions and had packed my runners. Will have to be on my next visit, as I am definitely going back!

Hamilton Island, Day One

This is my 6th trip back to the Whitsundays – I adore Hamilton Island!

This area of the world is just breathtaking – flying in is gorgeous.

My two tour guides, Liz & Shara met me at the airport with our golf buggy to start exploring. They’re friends of my cousin, Melissa who was at work.

After a quick change (into a bikini of course) we went for a spin around the island. And by spin, I mean crawl – the golf buggy really doesn’t go that fast.

We stopped for a cocktail at One Tree Hill lookout then headed to the beach to chill int he sun and swim before picking up Melissa a few hours later.

We had dinner at my fave place, Coca Chu. Delicious food!! My fave is the lobster wrapped in betel leaf.

I love being back on the island, it’s such a relaxing place. It was meant to storm the entire time but now the forecast isn’t looking too bad!

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Lauren’s visit: Friday

After a huge Thursday, we tried to sleep in but weren’t very successful.

Starting with brunch at Manchester Press, I was shocked to find no egg on the menu. What?! They had a range of other great options but all included lactose so I settled on avocado smashed with feta on a bagel. It was okay, just not what I was craving.

We trammed to St Kilda, I wanted Lauren to see as much of Melbourne as possible. We walked out along the pier, wandering among the boats. That’s probably my favourite place. Although I wish I was lying on one of the boats sunbathing rather than staring at them. Anyway…

We stopped at Republica and enjoyed a drink in the sun – it’s such a wicked venue. We continued along to Acland Street, pausing to browse the local boutiques and emptying Lauren’s wallet.

South Melbourne Markets were my choice of the day for lunch so we wandered the stalls looking for inspiration. Whenever I’m there I just want to buy a boot load of food and host a dinner party! The cheese, the olives, the seafood, the produce, the grains aarrgghhhh I want it all.
Unfortunately I chose a not so great dumpling place. We ordered the ginger and pork dumplings and the vegetarian dumplings and we ate neither. I do not recommend Linx BBQ. Thankfully, the fresh juices and sushi we had grabbed weren’t as terrible.

Most of my friends go shopping and come back with bags of clothes. Me? I come back with bags of cheese! I love the stuff. There’s just so much variety at the markets, I get a little carried away.

Back in the city we went to the hotel to change as I wanted to show Lauren the nightlife.

First things first though, dumplings. I’d heard Shanghai Street Dumplings on Little Bourke was awesome and boy were they right! We had to wait a little while to get in and then we ordered 2 plates of dumplings and one of noodles. Some of the best I’ve had, not to mention the cheapest and biggest meal I’ve had in a while! We had to leave half of it behind.

We started our bar tour at Gin Palace. Didn’t last long. It’s beautiful but very intimate and not the place to start a potentially big night so we jumped over to The Carlton where we headed upstairs for a cocktail. I went to go to the bathroom and discovered another set of stairs. Turns out there were two more levels.

We settled on the roof top bar, skyscrapers overhead and Lauren finished off both out cocktails, I still had a chest infection and was on antibiotics so was laying low. That’s when we met Emmanuel & Andrew. Two charming men and Emmanuel wooed us with his coin trick. Smart man – chicks dig magic.

The boys cajoled us (not that it really took much) into joining them at Miss Collins. Miss Collins is another wonderful venue, if heard it was quite pretentious but I didn’t have a problem. We danced and chatted the night away, it was the perfect end to the evening.

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Friends – how do you meet them?

Wherever I am in the world and whoever I speak to people are always telling me how they would like new friends but they can’t meet them.

It seems that everyone would like someone more on their wave length.

Just tonight I read a blog about someone who had just moved and wanted new friends and spoke to a friend who would like new friends.

Then there’s my friends who are always telling me how much they miss me and want me to come home – understandable really, I am pretty cool.

There’s heaps of dating websites and apps to help you find new prospective dates but what is there for finding friends? There’s apps where you can decide if someone is hot or not that is in the same area but how do you find a friend that also likes long walks on the beach but not in a romantic way? Perhaps I just don’t know about them? I did hear of one called Meetups but I’ve never really taken the time to look into it and don’t know how popular it is in other places like New Zealand or Australia.

These days it is unusual to strike up a conversation with a stranger. In fact, when it does happen, we often tell people about it as it is such  an unusual occurrence.

A little friendly convo at the bus stop or waiting in line for coffee can make someone’s day or make someone really uncomfortable – how do you tell which is which? I think it is usually the former but people seem to be so suspicious of people’s motives these day sometimes they assume there is another reason.

Personally, I have never had an issue with meeting people and making friends. I guess that comes with travelling often and just being open and receptive to other people. My best mates are generally people that I have lived with or worked with – you get to know these people on another level. Highs and lows – you’ve shared them.

Since I moved to Vancouver I have met friends in all different ways and places. I have an amazing close group of girls (all bloody Aussie’s mind you but nonetheless) here – we all met at an Australian Club watching footy. I have met people through work and living situations but I’ve also met people in other situations. For instance one chick I met at a club – it’s unusual for a drunken-you’re-my-new-best-friend liaison to pass one night but 3 months later we still hang out. I met a wicked Kiwi chick at my fave shop – she is the manager there and picked up on my Kiwi accent. I have met numerous people through twitter – I am reasonably active on it and have been invited to a few meet-ups through it.

How do you make new friends?

Ps. I have found that wine sometimes helps 🙂
Pps. By sometimes I mean always.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. C. S. Lewis

26 and on a budget

Well this is new.

For those of you who don’t know, Australia pays exceptionally high and Canada pays exceptionally low. So from a fairly decent wage in Oz I’ve gone to half of that in Canada.

When I was first offered my contract (I work in Digital Marketing) I was actually offended. I had prepared myself for a low figure but the figure on the paper was 7grand less than even that. Add to that only 2 weeks holiday, down from 4 and I was shocked.

I negotiated for the company benefits (which kick in at three months) to be added into my salary as I already had comprehensive health insurance as a condition of entry to Canada with my Visa.

I also had it written in the contract I would get a salary review (verbal that it will increase) and a potential role change from Account Coordinator to Account Manager at 3 months.

AND did I mention I have to provide my own phone and laptop? Walking to and from work with my laptop over my shoulder each day is going to cost me in massages. It’s only been a week but I can feel it already.

I do get some great perks though. They have ‘Friday Lites’ which essentially means we work from home from 9-1 at home on Friday then we are done for the day.
I get to attend some cool events. For instance on Thursday I have Centre of Gravity festival in Kelowna so I get to go away from Thurs-Mon and hang out there learning PR.

Getting my head around having a budget is really difficult. Especially when I had it so good before. My spending habits are different to when I was at uni working three jobs 5 years ago.

So now I am learning to budget all over again. I earn enough to stay here, play and travel but that’s about it. Definitely going to be a challenge.

In that respect I’m glad it’s not for too long!

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