Goodbye to one of the most formative, blissful and charmed years of my life.

Goodbye to one of the most formative, blissful and charmed years of my life.

This year we were some of the last people in the world to reach 2014. I watched my friends in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Italy, Thailand (and even in New York) celebrate the end of 2013, and then finally it was my turn to say goodbye to one of the best years of my life so far.

2013 has brought me so much happiness and love. I finished pastry school and got a job as head pastry chef in an awesome restaurant next to my house.
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My Farewell Melbourne Party.

My Farewell Melbourne Party.

My farewell party (and last 24 hours) in Melbourne is something I will remember forever. I was so amazingly lucky to have so many people come together to create such an amazing farewell from my beloved home.

Earlier in the day we had all brunched, eaten cloudberry jam on ice cream, visited Swedish Christmas markets – when finally it was time to head home, pack my last few belongings into my bags and boxes, and get dressed to head over to the venue for my party. You can read about the earlier part of the day here.

I put on my party dress while Eric and Peter played Rockband, and Angela set up our wine and cheese lunch. After a glass of wine and a Daisy snuggle we all piled into the car to drive up to Brunswick to Habitat Lounge for the party.
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Melbourne from the sky and down below.

Melbourne from the sky and down below.

My time in Melbourne is coming to a close, and Edward left for Tasmania today. We spent one last day in the city together. Biking around Albert Park Lake, we head towards a surprise lunch location.

I’d been booked in weeks before, but it wasn’t until we walked towards the tram restaurant stop that I put two and two together.
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Tourist in my own hometown.

Tourist in my own hometown.

In the days leading up to my departure, I’ve tried to live life in Melbourne with as much vitality and energy that I can muster. I’ve filled every day with life, love, laughter, dancing and exploring.

Today was a CBD day. Melbourne CBD is full of so much positive community spirit. Buskers, public areas, art, flashmobs, exhibitions, street food – you can find anything on the streets of Melbourne. We spent the day wandering the streets, taking photographs, visiting the famous Library reading room, the shot tower in Melbourne Central.
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Our local pub.

Our local pub.

Most photos below are by the beautiful, talented and magnificent Stina.

On more than one occasion, my friends and I have commented on the fact that our lives are like a sitcom.

We are always at each others houses.

We are always eating out.
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Making Korean Gimbap + my introduction to SoMac (Soju bombs).

Making Korean Gimbap + my introduction to SoMac (Soju bombs).

One of my favourite things to do is to cook with friends, and I have been blessed with friends from all around the world in Melbourne. This has the excellent side effect of cooking nights with every cuisine imaginable.

A few months back, my Persian friend Pouya taught me to make a number of dishes from Iran (post on that night here), and tonight, Edward, who previously lived in Korea, set up a cooking night with his Korean friends. We were making Gimbap, steamed white rice rolled with various fillings in dried seaweed.
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Once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the bathtub.

Once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the bathtub.

So, a few weeks back Angela mentioned that there was going to be one more Underground Cinema before I left the country. We had always intended on going, so we thought we should get tickets for this one once they were released.

Underground Cinema is a secret immersive live cinema experience: their tagline is ‘taking cinema out of the cinema.’ It is held at undisclosed locations throughout Sydney and Melbourne, and it is generally around a four hour experience where you are immersed in the world of the film, and then at the end you are taken to one of Melbourne or Sydney’s classy old theatres to watch the film itself. Every time the film is completely different, the whole production is set up for a few days only with huge locations, props, full sets, bands, tonnes of actors.. it is a guessing game throughout the night to try and determine what the film will be.

So, anyway, Angela and I were planning on going to this as our first (and my last) time. But once the information was released, we were a little skeptical. The theme was water – the dress code was gumboots. The page had a picture of a crocodile, so I was thinking along the lines of Rogue. So we decided not to go.

But something was pushing us to go still – Angela messaged again and reminded me it was my last chance, maybe we should just go and if it is bad we can leave. I agreed, we bought tickets, and that was that.

Until the day of the film. I decided to look at the event page with a closer eye, so I put on my gumboots and my rain jacket and sat down to read. Something clicked in my head – I called Angela and said ‘I think the film tonight is my favourite movie in the whole world.’ I was starting to get super excited.
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Fishing for trout.

Fishing for trout.

It’s my last weekend working with Joint Councils Access for All Abilities – it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed at a job (almost 3 years), and it’s the only one I have loved from beginning to end. JCAAA really launched me into my culinary adventures. My interest in food came early, but my jumble sale of a career of culinary adventures combined with media was instigated by my appointment as program coordinator of the community kitchens. I went to pastry school because it was the same price as a food handlers license. I started a blog because I was cooking so much I wanted to record my recipes. And the rest is history….

On top of that, I met my best friend there. Our Abbott and Costello party routine would go:

‘How do you two know each other?’

Angela: ‘Well….’
Lani: ‘Don’t do it!’
Angela: ‘She’sssssssss..’
Lani: ‘I’m not!’
Angela: ‘She’s ma bawss!’

*both laugh hysterically while question asker giggles mildly uncomfortably*
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An evening in Brunswick.

An evening in Brunswick.

It isn’t often I head north of the river – it has a very different, grungy, hipster vibe than down south, and I love to visit because it feels like a different city.

Tonight my friend Nick invited me to a dinner party at his AWESOME converted warehouse apartment. He definitely has the coolest house out of all my friends. On top of that he is a great cook, and we were planning on going out to the LuWOW to see a ska band afterwards. Oh, and I LOVE Nick. Spending time with him is always so ridiculously fun and nice. We always do super cute things, like bike rides along the river, picnics in the botanic gardens, afternoon tea with home baked scones, or going to the promo launch of Legally Blonde The Musical.
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