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Cookbook suggestions needed!

18 May

In order to complete number 14 on my Life List (Cook every recipe from one cookbook), I need suggestions on which cookbook I should use!

So, any ideas??

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Not on my list but . . . Bungy Jump

22 Apr

So this was one of the must do’s that Ollie and I said that we had to achieve whilst on our round-the-world trip! And even though a year has passed since doing it, I still can’t tell you if I enjoyed it or not!!

Much like the skydive, I had no real nerves building up to the jump, until I got on that platform!! Actually, thinking back, I did have to go for a last minute wee before walking out onto the platform, but other than that, none of it seemed like it was actually happening to me, and I think that maybe I was just on a major adrenalin high!!

Anyway, once out on a wooden platform, 47 metres above a river in Taupo, New Zealand and it all becomes a bit of a blur!! I remember a very nice man checking my harness (thank goodness for that!!) and attaching the rope to my ankles! Oh, and on that point, wow that rope is heavy!! As soon as it is attached and you start shuffling to the edge, it just feels as though it is going pull you off the edge itself!!

Once on the edge, it all happens very quickly in that you are told to look up, with your hands above you, in a diving position, then you slowly lean forward and . . . . . . .

Aaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhh

I screamed so much I think the whole of Taupo came to a standstill!!!

And what was it like? I unfortunately can’t give you much of a description as I had my eyes closed for the whole thing!!! Only opening them when I heard someone say they were coming for me!! I briefly opening my eyes to see an inflatable boat below getting into position, closed my eyes again and waited to be lowered into it!!

Reliving it by writing it here, I’d have to say, never again!! But, I would also say it’s definitely something you should put on your Life List/Bucket List!!

 

Ride an Elephant

20 Apr

ImageIn Chiang Mai, Thailand was were Ollie and I got to experience a day with the most AMAZING animals!!  For a whole day we rode and bathed elephants belonging to a hillside Mahout tribe!!  After much research, we found a trip that did not involve sitting on a seat on the elephant (which we had read, to train them to allow people to do so, the elephant’s “spirit is broken”), did not involve the elephants performing tricks for us, and did not involve the trainers beating the elephants to make them perform.

Our trip was a very relaxed day, which involved a pick up from our hostel, meeting our fellow companions (3 Aussies), and an hours drive north to the mountains.  Upon arriving, three elephants were making their way down to meet us, and upon closer inspection we soon realised that it was actually four!  One of the elephants had given birth 7 months ago, and had baby in tow!!

Before arriving we had stopped off at a market to buy some bananas, and these were supposed to last the whole day!!  However, these clever animals had seen these tourists arrival many times and realised exactly where the bananas were kept, resulting in a couple of them trying to devour the lot, even while they were still in their bags!!  After much wrestling however, the trainers were able to rescue at least some of the bananas to be able to use as a treat later, as well of course as the bags!!!

With little time to become acustomed to the huge beasts, we where instucted to climb aboard our elephant and were walkd up to the tribes home, where we were then given a brief background to the tribe, and then thrown back into climbing aboard and learning the Mahout instructions used to direct the elephants.  We then set off on a little trek around the bush, leading back to the tribes base where lunch was waiting for us.

After a lazy lunch, and a bit of a play with a couple of the elephants, it was time to trek up to the waterfall for a bit of bath time!!  This was hilarious as one of the elephants we were with was still fairly young, and so when getting to any stream would suck up some water and throw it over his Australian passenger, and of course always wanted to be first and so upon finding the waterfall and pool, plunged himself and Emma the rider straight into the water! Our elephant, thankfully, was far more graceful, and allowed us to disembark before submerging!!

Cleaning the elephants was amazing, well in fact the whole day was amazing!  Just being able to stand, looking into the eyes of these magnificent animals was out of this world, and something we will remember forever!!

My Life List in Pictures

18 Apr

So I have had a little play with Pinterest, and I LOVE it!! It is so fun, and maybe a little too addictive, but I have created a board displaying my Life List in pictures!! Please take a look: – http://pinterest.com/sashalwatson/life-list/

I have also created a few other boards (all of which are works in progress, and a means of seeing exactly what Pinterest can do), so please feel free to have a look at those too: – http://pinterest.com/sashalwatson/

High Tea but not in London

11 Mar

I’m off for High Tea today with my mum and sister, but we are in Sydney and not London, so I guess I will just have to class this as a warm up to crossing off something on my list!! :0)

First step to “Loving Fish”

13 Dec

So just over a week ago I took my first (big) step in attempting to “6 – Learn to LOVE eating fish“!

I ate some without throwing up!!!!

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t eat fish or nuts!  Nuts, I am allergic to, and fish makes me want to throw up, just from the smell!  But I have so wanted to like, even love, eating fish! Not only because of the health benefits, but because when eating out there are often meals on the menu that look as though they would be delicious, but then they end up having some of those nasties in them!  Yep, seafood!

A trip to Port Macquarie to catch up with friends resulted in a trip to the harbour and a fish and chip meal.  Knowing that I was not yet ready to venture into eating a whole fillet of fish I opted for the battered savaloy, with everyone else ordering crumbed fish to accompany their chips!

Arriving freshly cooked and wrapped in paper came the time for me to take the plunge!  I tore a small lump of the white flesh away and popped it into my mouth before I could think too much about it, and well, it wasn’t at all bad!!  It was actually ok!! And so I tore another lump and ate that too!!  Just how amazing am !????

Well that was enough for me anyways, I don’t want to be running before I can walk, and so tucked into my saveloy and chips proud in the realisation that I am on the road to loving to eat fish!! Next step is to eat more fish, but I think I may need to try something that has a sauce on it to help me!!

Sky Dive

21 Nov

So, I can now tick off the first challenge off of my Life List!

On Saturday I completed what I can only describe as the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life!! I sky dived!! And I can quite honestly say I hated it!

I had some nerves before hand, but on the whole I was pretty calm throughout the build up. Ollie and I arrived at the drop zone at 8:30am to find a large group of people had already arrived, and I was relieved to see that I was not the only female. The majority of those taking the plunge were of course backpackers, but unlike us, the majority of them had most definitely hammered the goon the night before, and were looking very worse for wear.

After signing in, we were directed inside to watch a DVD of a terrified girl doing a tandem jump, and then a crazy South American doing a solo jump, after which we could choose which jump we would like to do. Watching the solo jumper having to climb out of the plane and then hang off of the wing strut there was no way I was going to even think about doing that one! I needed to know that I had someone else with me, who would be in control, and who would also be able to get me out of that plane!!

Then came the long wait! An hour in and my name was called to get my jumpsuit on and it seemed as though it was all going to be happening pretty imminently, but it wasn’t until four hours after arriving that I finally got the call to get into my harness. This is when you get to meet your life saver, i.e. the person that will be strapped to your back, who will pull the parachute open and get you to the ground safely (you hope!). My tandem professional was Sam, quite a strapping man, not particularly chatty, but seemed to know his stuff. Plus I had seen him do at least two other tandems that morning, so I knew for sure he had definitely done this before!! Sam secured me into my harness, and made me hang from a couple of hooks to teach me what I needed to do while plummeting towards the ground. And it all seems relatively straightforward – arch, keep your head back, arms crossed and feet tucked up behind you, then when prompted you can uncross your arms in we’ll be doing some smiling and thumbs up to the camera before the parachute opens at just under 6,000 feet. Simple right?!

As Ollie and I were both having our jumps filmed, we needed to go in separate planes, and so with Ollie’s crew all ready he was escorted off while I was still going through my training. Then with training done, we just had to wait for the pilot to finish his sandwich and we could head off!! At the plane you go through the jump simulation once again before climbing into the tiny plane and sitting on the floor. The plane is so tiny that there is only room for four people plus the pilot, and so there were five of us in this plane, me, Sam, my cameraman, the pilot and a girl who was getting her sky diving licence, and I am suddenly very aware that I am the only person there not wearing a parachute!!

We were signed up for jumping at 14,000 feet, but there were strong thermals which meant that the plane could not get above 9,000ft, but to be honest, that was more than high enough for me!! Up at 9,000ft we had to circle for some time as another plane was in our airspace, and then along came a para-glider who got in the way a little, but finally came the time when I was told to shuffle to the front of the plane so that Sam could hook himself onto my harness. At this point you get VERY VERY close to your tandem jumper, and you can feel each other breathing, but hey, at least you knew he was definitely there!!

Then it was thumbs up all round from the pilot and the airplane door was opened, with little time to think I was shuffled forward by Sam and I was very quickly sitting on the end of the plane with my feet dangling over the edge, then it was a signal to cross my arms a count to three, and we were out!!!!!

This is where it all went from being a fairly fun day out, to the most terrifying day of my life!!! All of a sudden we are tumbling 9000ft above the ground and falling at 115mph, and I go straight into panic mode!! All that simple “arch, keep your head back, arms crossed and feet tucked up behind you” etc etc training received on the ground went totally out of the window! Instead I formed the foetal position! Only really moving out of that position slightly when the cameraman dived down to be level with me in an attempt to get me on film! It wasn’t pretty!! Finally, after what feels like a lifetime, but was in fact only 20 seconds, the cameraman waves goodbye and Sam opens our parachute. At which point the air pressure and noise around you comes to a sudden stop and there is total silence.

Sam then asks how it was! My reaction?! “It was terrible! Please just take me down as fast as possible but do it slowly and smoothly!”

Sam: – “You didn’t like it then?”

Sasha: – “I think I’m going to be sick!”

Sam: – “Time to grab your sick bag then”

Yep, that’s right, on your harness you have a little pocket that houses a nicely folded sick bag! Unfolding the sick bag I then spent the next 10 minutes of the floating down to earth reaching and heaving into the bag, but thankfully not producing any sick! Sam was fantastic and got me down as soon as he could, but with the thermal activity it meant that at times you just couldn’t lose height, but I finally hit the ground in a somewhat heap like mess, and I have never been happier to have been on solid ground. Ollie had made it down well before me and was there to meet me and just says that I was as white as a sheet!

And so would I do it again?! No bloody way!!