An Autumn day at Breenhold Gardens, Mount Wilson

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson
Laburnum Steps Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson
Laburnum Steps Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Autumn
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Autumn
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Autumn
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Autumn
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Autumn
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Flowers
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Flowers
Breenhold Gardens Blue Mountains NSW
Breenhold Gardens Blue Mountains NSW
Breenhold Gardens Blue Mountains NSW
Breenhold Gardens Mount Wilson Flowers
Breenhold Gardens Blue Mountains NSW

Breenhold Gardens, 29 The Avenue, Mount Wilson NSW 2786 Australia. Visited in April. Photos taken by myself and Hai with my Canon D70 DSLR
Entry fee: $12.50 for adults; $5 for children (12 years or older); Free for children 12 years and younger. EFTPOS available; Free parking on site.

Ah, isn't Autumn beautiful? It's honestly my favourite season. The yellows, oranges and reds of the leaves makes me so happy. I love hearing the crunch of them beneath my feet and when the air starts to feel crisper. It is most beautiful when you're driving through country NSW when you see quaint houses framed by the colourful trees, grounds and a bright blue sky.
I like to stick my hand out of the car window to feel the cool air on my fingertips while humming to whatever is on the radio. Roadtrips are my favourite escape.

The Breenhold Gardens is a wonderful destination in Autumn. Its a huge 45 hectares filled with gardens, shrubs, native bushland and fauna. It's easy to spend hours here exploring the grounds and that is what we did. It took us two hours to circle around, and that's not including eating our packed lunch. Take a map from the front and this will make your life much easier because there is so much to admire.

I visited this place more then a year ago. I had planned to come here again in 2020 but yeah, lockdown happened. I hope everyone is going well and trying to stay safe.
I managed to gain some of my sanity back after I was allowed to work in the office three days a week and from home two days. This happened for about three weeks and I was coping.
NSW was doing really well and we were able to start resuming life almost as if a pandemic had never happened.

Then a week ago we had 2 confirmed Covid-19 cases in one of the pubs ten minutes drive from my house. Some of my co-workers frequent this pub and they got tested (they got a negative test result) but now because I live so close to this pub, I have been ordered to work from home indefinitely. My residential area is now a 'hot-spot'. And now I've been shunned from the office. My office closed its borders to me! TT

When my boss called me and told me to stay home forever I was not prepared so I told her to wash my coffee cup because I thought I would be returning the next day. Now I'm stuck at home with a bunch of work documents I wish I didn't take home. At least I still have my good calculator.
I then went to my bedroom to sombrely pack away all my nice office clothes and bring out my UGG boots again. Not looking forward to going back to my old routine of the past three months - "Same Bottoms, Rotating Tops" and eating sandwiches due to laziness. 
I am so not cut out for Work From Home. I need human interaction and I get lonely. I didn't know this about myself before lock-down and I was almost prideful that I like to be independent and enjoy my own company/ But I need my friends,especially face to face contact. It's endearing to know this about me but its not endearing when I actually have to be in lock-down.

So, I spent the rest of my evening preparing more Walkman playlists to listen to while I'll be working from home. The connection I feel from listening to music somehow pulls me through. I like to discover new artists and consume their whole discography for the whole day. I'm currently doing that with BTS and I have no regrets.

 I'll continue to keep up my blogging to remind myself of my life before lock-down. I cant believe we   missed out of the entire Autumn of 2020 and I barely got to see Winter. Wish me luck.

A Night at 2 Foodies Restaurant

Monday, July 6, 2020
2 Foodies Mount Pritchard

Dinner at: 2 Foodies in Mount Pritchard. Photos taken by myself with my Canon D70 Camera.

Hello, hey, hi. I really hope everyone has been well and healthy. And that you've been taking it easy and continuing to take care of yourself.  ....2020 has been so crazy so far, right? January is like night and day compared to July since the Covid-19 pandemic took over the world. I feel really small these days; like a little blip in the world.

I haven't posted anything since January because of a few key events.

In summary: Australia was ravaged by devastating bush fires from December to January where homes and lives were lost. So I spent a few weeks helping to collect donations for those that lost everything in the fires. 

My dog Sokchea passed away as well in January. She was the sweetest dog and I miss her everyday. I got a tattoo on my ankle in dedication to her. 

Then Australia started lock-down in late March and I started working from home since April. Mentally it's been challenging for me and I felt so isolated the entire time. It's been a lot of ups and downs and at the end of 3 months at home I was about to crack. 

I'm trying to take it day by day. Hai got me a new laptop so I could work better from home. As I was transferring my files over I realised I have not blogged in over 6 months! I think I forgot what my life was like before lockdown. So to bring me back to some sort of normality, I'm pulling some photos from my past outings pre-lock down.

A few months ago I drove ten minutes from my house and found myself walking into 2 Foodies. Some friends of mine recommended it to me claiming it was the best pho around. That was a tall ask especially since I grew up eating pho from all around Cabramatta (Sydney's little Vietnam). I've also eaten at pho restaurants in Vietnam and I'm married into a Vietnamese family who own their own traditional family recipe.

OK, so my first thoughts when walking into 2 Foodies: 

- I drive past this restaurant attached to a petrol station every day, never noticed it

- I'm pretty sure this used to be a Subway and they kept the same shop fittings

- Yes, this was definitely a Subway shop, they serve the pho where you're supposed to pick your subway ingredients

-Wow, why is this restaurant playing old school Eurobeats inspired Vietnamese music, I kinda like it

-And WOW, the smell of the pho broth is bloody fragrant and amazing

The restaurant appearance isn't five star, lets be clear. It's practical with simple decor, mismatched chairs and tables but it has a warm and welcoming vibe.

The owner was so friendly and he knew we were newcomers, he greeted us with a huge smile. The menu is simple: beef pho, beef stew, satay beef roll, pork crackling roll, sizzling noodle salad. I ordered the beef pho (regular size) and the owner insisted we also try his home-made satay chilli sauce. It really packs a delicious punch and is super spicy. Proceed with caution.

Now let's talk about the pho. The biggest critic I know is Hai. In the six years I've known him, he has always pointed out to me he won't eat any other pho other than his mum's because it just isn't the same.

No broth is as fragrant and as tasty as his mum's. He always talks about his days of walking through his front door and all you smell is the broth that he knew his mum has been brewing for hours. He always calls his mum's pho 'Home'.

Well I took Hai here and insisted he tried the pho at 2 Foodies. Hai was impressed. Finally. He called called the food here 'HOME' (yay after many attempts at lots of other restaurants!!) and that means that he approved of the 2 Foodies broth. 

And it's true, its fragrant, clean and smooth with a delicious beef taste. The noodles were cooked perfectly and not soaking up the broth when it's been overcooked. The meat (which includes sliced beef, meatball and tendons) was generous, soft and tender. The usual fresh beansprouts, herbs and lemon was also on offer to add as toppings to your pho. I usually taste the broth before I add the hoi sin sauce, soy sauce and sriracha, and I found I needed so little (in fact maybe I shouldn't have added  any since the broth was so nice but its just my habit). However I always have to squeeze a little lemon, thats my preference. 

After our meal I finished it off with the Vietnamese iced coffee, which I swear tasted like liquid Kopiko (a coffee flavoured candy I loved as a kid). No complaints here it was really yummy.

I highly recommend this place. When lock down laws lift I hope you get to try this amazing food and support your local small businesses and spread the word. 

Stay Safe everyone x

Social Hideout Cafe

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Brunch at: Social Hideout Cafe in Parramatta. Photos taken by myself with my Canon D70 Camera.

One of my best girls Erin is travelling to Canada for five weeks to spend time with her boyfriend. We are super happy for her so we went out for a small farewell brunch at Social Hideout.
Catching up, we had little baby Rosie being passed around and we let her suck on our fingers as we suspect she is teething. Jaye updated us on her work adventures and she and I share inside jokes on Critical Role (we play Dungeons and Dragons together). Betty shows us her new fresh haircut and giggles watching Rosie's cute reactions. Erin lets her dog Cody be posh and we discuss her holiday packing. I talk about my new hair colour and how its a new look for 2020 (new year, new me?), with camera in my hand ready to capture memories.
We all talk about the men woes in our lives; and we all agree they are hopeless at getting ready on time. Then we spend a good fifteen minutes trying to pick out what to eat, debating pros and cons of each dish. And staying true to our tradition, we unanimously agree that we would have dessert afterwards no matter how full we got.

We ordered The Green Frenchy (matcha french toast with berries, caramelized banana, mochi and red velvet cream), Red Velvet Benedict with added Smoked Salmon (poached eggs with baby spinach and hollandaise sauce, on a red velvet croissant) and The American (breakfast burger with bacon, eggs, hash brown, avocado). We topped the order off with green tea lattes and coffees.
Delicious food with a beautiful floral backdrop.
Then, we decided on the Panna Cotta Granola Bowl for dessert. This was my favourite dish - berries, nut and granola sitting in purple taro milk then topped off with the smoothest and creamiest matcha panna cotta.

At the end of the meal, it was clear we over-ordered, but it could've also been that we stopped to chat so much that we were just distracted.  I love these girls. They are the best.
We gave our goodbye hugs and left with full happy bellies, knowing that we would see each other again in 6 weeks, ready to hear about Erin's adventures in Canada and hopefully get some cute maple syrup treats.
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