Lady Luck on our side: winning in London

January 25, quite a good date for me each year. Not sure why, perhaps it is wishful thinking. It stands out in my mind because it was around this time in 2000 that I was in California, and shy as I was, I used my tiny bit of 20-year-old media savvy to talk my way into Fox Studios and on to The X-Files set. So awesome. I still have that security pass! Hopefully my day at work will be ok, although I can’t imagine something that exciting would happen…

Although it did last week! On Tuesday we received a thank-you card from Victoria Beckham for some gifts and a letter I’d packaged up for her a week earlier. Très exciting! Then, on Thursday I randomly decided to listen online to Capital FM London and heard they were running a promotion for the new Harrison Ford film, Morning Glory, set in a Breakfast TV context. The following day was the last they were calling for stories on people who met in the workplace. As our old mates know, Cooper and I originally met in radio, and hosted a popular breakfast show for a little over two years, even winning a Radio Award in 2001! This is how we got to know each other, and our relationship was generally a secret, or so we thought… Anyway(long story short), nine years and an engagement later, I thought this would be a good story for on-air. I was shy to send it in though – I am not good with mornings now! However, an all expenses paid 5-day trip to New York was an enticing incentive, and when I saw a poster for NYC at the tube station on the way to work I knew it was a sign.

6.45am the next morning, I am in the shower and the phone rings… Fortunately they rang back to give me the heads up – I was a finalist!! The producer encouraged me to practice my story and be on stand-by at 7:15am. Loitering in the dark cold street outside where I could get reception on my phone, I nervously awaited a call back, cursing the bus that just pulled up as it was noisy and interfering with my line.

Phone rings, and I’m instructed to wait on the line. Listening to the ads and being on hold to go on air reminded me of waiting to do my Street Team ‘thunder’ crosses for B105FM in Brisbane lol. Anyway, was on air for about 2 to 3 minutes and think my cross went pretty well, for a rusty old radio chic. Oh, and we won the trip to New York!!!

I was madly trying to call Cooper to tell him, but of all days he left his phone at home! My email to him that day went something like:

“I seriously can’t believe you left your phone at home today. I won that trip to NYC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wooooooooooooooooooooooooooow. Happy dance happy dance happy dance xxxxxx”

Facebook lit up with well wishes and I couldn’t concentrate very well on Friday. We actually won this on Cooper’s lovely sister (Kiri’s) birthday, so I can only hope it is a good sign for everyone for the year to come.

NYC roof 230 Fifth Dscn2156 [800x600]

SB x



Dealing with disaster when you’re not at home

What a week it has been. This time last Monday, Toowoomba was about to be swamped by a freak inland tsunami (ironically sad, being that the Queensland city is just coming out of horrendous drought), and Brisbane, Ipswich, even my little home in the town of Withcott (just a few minutes outside Toowoomba) were about to be flooded to disaster proportions. To see it all unfolding on the news in the UK was distressing and upsetting. Our home, literally, in turmoil.

Dealing with disaster when you’re not at home

Through it all I discovered Twitter’s amazing communicative power, sourcing all my news and updates quickly and easily from #QLDfloods, even updating my mum in Brisbane city on power supply details. Sad though to see death updates streaming through.

Still, to be looking in, the Aussie spirit was (and is) alive and well. So much positivity and ‘mateship’, and everyone working together, from the Red Cross to the RSPCA. We will recover, and are lucky to have the resources to do so. A very sad week all the same.

Making the best of it: recent UK exploration 

By Holly HayesOnto our recent discoveries here: Last weekend prior to all this flood upset, we finally got to the British Museum. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere like it! So huge, filled with simply amazing historical relics, documents and artifacts from places like Egypt, Japan, China, South America, Africa, Europe and even Fiji, PNG and Australia. Like most museums here, it was free to enter and is definitely worth checking out. Oh, and the hot dogs being sold outside ARE as good as the smell!

In our 2011 mission to see something new each weekend, this past couple of days we headed over to the peaceful and beautiful residential precinct of Canada Water (offers a distinct Canadian feel, and is located by quaint streams and near The Thames); next stop up is the bustling, modern Canary Wharf– very yuppy (we kinda liked it).

My mate Nicola also suggested ‘the best kept secret in London’ – a lovely little precinct down under Tower Bridge, next to Tower of London and on the Thames, St Katharine’s Docks (pictured above, image by Holly Hayes). Quaint boats are docked here, and there are several coffee shops, restaurants and the delightful Dickens Inn pub – friendly helpful staff, nice food, three levels, free WiFi and beautiful setting. Seek it out for yourselves… (closest tube is Tower Hill).


Ticking off the ‘bucket list’ – Stonehenge

I wasn’t sure how this year would pan out regarding New Year festivities. We didn’t have anything planned, and usually because of this disorganisation, New Year’s Eve ends up being a little uneventful. Also, this time last year we were on a holiday in the UK and went to a fantastic concert to celebrate. It was like being in my world in 1997, but better…

Back to the present though: we woke up on Friday morning and didn’t even realise it was New Year’s Eve. For some reason we had it in our minds that Saturday was ‘party day’, so in our wisdom booked a day trip outside of London for Friday. You would think the date ’31st’ would ring bells, but no… As we were getting ready for our early morning start though, we did notice all the NYE news stories on television and it hit us – THIS was it! The last day of the year. How time flies. This time ten years earlier I had been celebrating with my mate Lauren at Disneyland in California, my first overseas adventure.

Feeling somewhat silly about our lack of preparation, we headed off for our trip. I was particularly excited to finally be seeing Stonehenge, and as it turns out, ticking an item off your Bucket List is a pretty memorable way to see in a brand new year. Those less enthused refer to it as ‘a pile of rocks’, but I’m far more respectful. This is an ancient monument, brimming with legend and history dating back to mythical King Arthur times, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to see. In fact, we were walking around marvellous Stonehenge at the moment our family and friends in Australia were celebrating their midnight hugs and kisses, and it was somewhat surreal to be Tweeting, texting and Facebooking them all simultaneously.

We also explored Salisbury and beautiful Bath during this tour – our second on Golden Tours which offer a range of terrific travelling options in and around London. The reason we chose a tour was because it actually turned out to be more economical (and convenient) than jumping on a train to Bath, or hiring a car and driving. If you’re travelling within the region, check all your options first.

Tired on our return home, but still keen to do something for New Year, we ended up venturing out into the cold to catch up with some Aussie and Kiwi friends who were enjoying celebrations at Bumpkin Restaurant and Bar in Notting Hill. From there, the night turned into one of those impromptu fun parties that ran until the wee hours. Still recovering, but thank God for the Bank Holiday tomorrow!

Cheers to an awesome 2011! S x

Stonehenge Sarah Blinco