Poached Eggs, Paddling & Pinot Gris

All of my friends and family are sick of me. Even friends of friends are blocking me from their newsfeeds.

They’re tired of the constant Facebook updates, tweets, pins and blogs about my amazing job. They’re entirely fed up.

If I’m not driving Larry and Kylie around in a Mustang; modelling for a Valentine’s Day campaign; learning to make the perfect cuppa (Dad was pretty impressed); or volunteering my time at a dog rescue shelter, I’m having two days off work to celebrate my birthday…


It’s part of the RedBalloon Employee Experience that every “RedBallooner” has their birthday away from the office. It was pure dumb luck that I also happened to have an extra Happy Holiday up my sleeve to spend during summer – this was awarded to all RedBallooners when we met our 2012 targets. So I built myself a fabulous four day weekend!

I’d been wanting to go kayaking in Manly for a long time. I live only a couple of clicks up the road, but had never managed to get around to it. I managed to convince husband Damon to also take my birthday as leave from work so we could spend a day paddling and swimming.

Being one chromosome away from albino status, I made sure to slip, slop, slap (and wrap) before we headed out for our day on the water – fuelled by a delicious breakfast prepared by said husband. He asked I pay particular attention to the amazing culinary feat that was the poached eggs…

We arrived at Manly Wharf, claimed a double kayak and stocked it full of picnic goodies – wine, towels and a litre of sunscreen. The double kayak in hindsight was a stroke of genius, as I was able to sit back, relax and put my feet up while Damon – member of the original Oarsome Foursome surfboat crew ranked second in Australia in 1990 – and his glorious shoulders did most of the grunt work.

We stopped first at Collins Beach – a private, secluded little number that can only be accessed by foot through the Sydney Harbour National Park. I had flash backs to boot camp sessions years ago when we used to fill our sandbags on this beach and run back up through the bush to the road. That was hell. This was much more pleasant. Damon also had a wonderful time modelling his life vest and Worzel Gummidge inspired cowboy hat…



After a quick swim at Collins Beach, we paddled on toward the Quarantine Station (Q Station). From the 1830s to 1984 migrant ships arriving in Sydney with suspected contagious disease stopped inside North Head and off-loaded passengers and crew into quarantine to protect local residents from illness. I know what you’re thinking. Romantic, eh? After an average time of 40 days, most passengers were released to settle as Australian residents. The location is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of former staff and patients and is regarded as one of the most haunted sites in the country (insert eerie soundeffect).

Haunted shmaunted! On my birthday it was glorious! We enjoyed a picnic under the Morton Bay Fig tree and another refreshing swim before setting off again.


On the last leg of the journey we enjoyed pretending to be the Olympic K2 team racing maxi yachts, dodging ferries and seeing the odd peculiar site on the water…

One more stop at Shore Beach on the paddle back and our four hours was up. But that wasn’t the end of my birthday experience! After returning our kayak we trudged along the wharf to Hugos restaraunt where Damon had reserved the best seat in the house with a view out over the Harbour, where we watched the ferries come and go between mouthfuls of oysters, fig pizza and chilled wine. You can see our furbaby Indi in the background of this photo looking rather unimpressed  to be tied up while we dined.

Thanks RedBalloon for giving me the best birthday gift I could wish for – a happy holiday with my beautiful little family.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted March 12, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Why don’t my poached eggs ever turn out like that???

  2. lauren
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Ha ha – you need to make vinegar your friend!

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