A Night at the Museum

On Friday night I went to my second Click + Connect event, held by Her Canberra. This time it was the Night at the Museum event held by the National Museum of Australia that was all about celebrating 50 years of Play School. The great thing about this event was that beforehand we got to mingle and meet new people around a table filled with lollies, champagne, fairy bread and party pies!

mmm lollies!
mmm lollies!

On arrival we were given glasses of champagne topped with fairy floss and completed with a straw! I’m not quite sure of the purpose of the straw but it was quite good for poking the fairy floss down into the champagne. It also a little volcano like with bubbles pouring up out of it after taking a sip.

I think I enjoyed this event better than the last one I went to as it felt a bit more casual. There was no sit down component and you weren’t stuck at the same table, you could wander around and meet everyone if you wanted. Plus there was a huge platter of fairy bread! I have to admit I had a few pieces of that. I don’t know who invented fairy bread but you can’t go past crunchy 100’s & 1000’s on some fresh buttered bread!

Champagne, extra full lolly bag and museum program
Champagne, extra full lolly bag and museum program

After a few glasses of champagne, some time to chat with the others and also to fill up our lolly bags we were given programs for the night and were whisked to the front of the line for entry to the museum. No queuing or tickets required! All very VIP.

Unfortunately as soon as we made it to the museum entrance everyone seemed to get separated and we didn’t enjoy the event as a group. It might have been that the 1 person who I wandered around with (I can’t even remember her name even though we had nametags on!) and I decided we needed to get on the jumping castle! It was a lot of fun but also quite tiring. My heart was racing after only 5 mins of bouncing fun!

People having fun hula hooping
People having fun hula hooping

There were little activities throughout the museum and we were free to wander around where ever we liked. I didn’t give hula hooping a go, I don’t think it would have been too successful.

Lower Landmarks - National Museum of Australia
Lower Landmarks – National Museum of Australia

It seemed like many people didn’t realise you could go further than the main hall as we basically had free rein over the other areas. It was nice to get to see the museum without having to move around other people and especially with no kids.

During one of the activities (that was held in a room that had twinkling stars on the ceiling) we met another girl, Vee, who had been separated from her friend group and asked if she wanted to walk around with us. She was really nice and I’m glad I made the offer, even if I only knew her for about 30 minutes.

The 3 of us then went and tried out kspaces which is an interactive exhibit where you become a time travelling robot that has to help in an event from the past.

They take your photo and for some reason my head/face ended up in a shark’s mouth. Maybe that is just how time travelling robots from the future are! I had a great time, even though it is targeted at kids. Part of the adventure involves a team of 4 having to control 1 mech which was difficult enough as adults, let alone as kids. Our team came 2nd (there were 3 teams of 4) and only lost by 5 points!

Quote on the wall
Quote on the wall

After kspaces my companions for the night had to leave which left me to walk around the museum solo. I didn’t actually get a chance to see the Play School exhibit (I’m not sure where it was as I did walk around quite a bit) and didn’t stay for the talks of the night as my feet really felt like they wanted to fall off.

I didn’t stay anywhere near as long as I expected to, I really wish I had another pair of shoes (and didn’t have to carry my coat around) and that the group had stayed together, at least a little, for the actual museum component of the night. It was fun though and I’m looking forward to finding out what the next Click + Connect event is.

Sarah

My Favourite Things – May 2016

Favourite Things - May 2016
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It’s time for the May edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month.

If you read my last Favourite Things post you will know I’ve recently gotten into doing cross stitch (updates on Instagram). I felt like I needed something to listen to while cross stitching and the answer was Welcome to Night Vale which I’ve been subscribed to in YouTube for years and, on occasion, have listened to the first 10 or so episodes but never gotten any further than that.

Welcome to Night Vale
Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale is a fortnightly podcast that is in the style of community updates for the town of Night Vale. It’s format is that of a community radio station show run by Cecil who gives updates on the news, local events and areas (the dog park which is not for dogs. Or anyone. Don’t go to the dog park, no one is allowed in the dog park) as well as the weather which is actually a song.

You get to meet characters, such as the beautiful haired scientist Carlos, the glow cloud (all hail..) and old lady Josie who speaks to angels, and Khoshekh the station cat, as they go about life in Night Vale. It’s really weird and strange and any other word that can describe odd but also amazing at the same time. Cecil Palmer is the voice of Night Vale (voice actor Cecil Baldwin whose voice fits the show so well!) and you get to see the town through his eyes (or voice as it may be). And just be glad you don’t have to intern for the station.

Since starting to listen to it at the same time as cross stitching I’ve been able to get through 50+ episodes (there are more than 80) and am still really enjoying it. It is definitely more enjoyable than my local radio station, that is for sure!

If you like things that are a little bit different and are ok with the idea that mountains don’t exist and wheat & wheat by-products are banned then I really recommend you give it a try, even just the pilot (linked above) and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Goodnight Night Vale, goodnight.

Sarah

Review: Shorty’s, City

Last week Jarrod and I went out for drinks (happy hour at Marble & Grain. $5 spirits!) and then off to dinner at Shorty’s. I’d classify Shorty’s as a Gastropub based on their offerings and pricing. On the night we went they had a $15 steak and drink (called Steak and Shake for some reason, even though there are no shakes involved) deal that also includes chips and salad.

Choc Flake ($7.50) & Golden Gaytime ($8.50) shakes
Choc Flake ($7.50) & Golden Gaytime ($8.50) shakes

We noticed they did have shakes on the menu though so decided to order a couple, even though we also had drinks included in the steak deal. These were good milkshakes but they were far too expensive. There was nothing overly special about them (that I could determine) and their combined cost of $16 (more than 1 of our meals!) made them even less so. Given the state of shakes at the moment, for $8.50 you would expect it to at least be a thick shake and maybe have something a little fancy on the top. Ideally, these should have been around the $6 mark. Fortunately, they were well flavoured and were good for what they were just a bit pricey.

Medium Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($15)
Medium Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($15)

Generally speaking, I will never order a steak from anywhere if there is something else I like on the menu. This was, in fact, the first time I have ordered a steak in my life as I’m not too keen on the texture. Over the last few years I have been exposed to some really lovely steaks though and, given I was recently diagnosed with an iron deficiency, I decided to get over my issues with steak and ordered one.

We both ordered our steaks medium (about as pink as I can take a steak being) and they came out fairly quickly. The mushroom sauce was quite good and I was surprised to see actual mushrooms in the mix. The steak was about what I expected for a $15 steak. It didn’t change my mind on steak and I wondered if getting such a cheap meal for my first ever steak order might have been a mistake however, I was a bit scared to buy something more expensive and also find it average. It was cooked to what I’d consider to be medium and was relatively soft but no where near as good as the ones I’ve had previously, given the price difference though this isn’t overly surprising.

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to go for dinner so you can easily be heard by your table mates, Shorty’s is probably not the place for you. The music was very loud and, although I had booked a table, we were at a high table that appeared to just be shoved in a corner to get the most out of the room they had. It was such a tight fit that I had to jump down from my chair and move it so the people at the table behind us could get out.

I could see this being a fun place to go for drinks (apparently the beer choices are good!) but, even though I’m keen to try their burgers and schnitzel nights, I’m not sure it’s somewhere I’ll be back to any time soon.

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Shorty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah

The Dreaded Pap Smear

Earlier in the year I realised it had been nearly 2 years since my last Pap Smear (which is apparently an out-dated term, Pap Test is the preferred now. What do you call it?) and I would need to book in to get it done shortly. Of course I put it off. I’ve never known a woman who has said “Oh I am due to get my pap smear done, better go do that right this second!” it’s usually “Oh, I need to get around to doing that” but the experience is so awkward we just keep pushing that date back.

One of the main reasons I’ve been postponing mine is that I don’t have a regular doctor that I visit and it seemed really strange to have my first meeting with a doctor be one where they inspect my cervix. I thought I might wait and see if I had to visit the doctor for any other reason first but that never happened so I sucked up my courage and made an appointment. A local medical centre has a female doctor who specialises in female and sexual health so I thought, although awkward (for me), she would probably be a good choice to see. I made an appointment online and tried to prepare myself for the whole thing.

I'm so glad these aren't metal anymore!
I’m so glad these aren’t metal anymore!

I arrived to my appointment, got to the front desk and was told that the doctor I had chosen doesn’t actually take new patients and I should never have been able to book her. Regardless of the fact that I had been able to book the appointment they weren’t going to let me see her. Although the receptionist did whisper “Is it for a Mirena implant?” and I wonder what the outcome would have been if I had said that it was for an IUD.

After being told I couldn’t see the doctor I had researched I was also told that there were no appointments with any of their female doctors for that day. My options were to see a male doctor or see no one. Given I’d finally made the appointment I figured I’d go with the male doctor, how bad could it be? It couldn’t be any worse than normal, right?

I took a seat and waited for the doctor to call me in. I tried to stay calm and relax as much as I could.

The doctor called me in and asked me what I assume are standard questions but kept pressing on when my last test was. I don’t know if he didn’t believe that it was 2 years ago or maybe didn’t think I needed it yet but he asked me multiple times and at that point I was still fully dressed.

Then it was time to remove all clothing from the waist down (I kept my socks on!), spread my legs and let a strange man inspect me. It was about as pleasant as you would expect what is basically a plastic set of tongs clamped open inside you can be and then he made it even less so by proclaiming that there was a lot of blood and how that wasn’t very good. He then asked me again how long it had been since my last test. TWO YEARS!

At this point I’m getting even more uptight and the relaxing of my muscles just isn’t working. I assume he can see how nervous I am but then, the phone rings. Given we were in the middle of a procedure and the speculum was ‘in place’ I never thought in a million years he would actually go and answer that phone but… he did. He went and answered the phone while I just lay there, legs wide, in shock.

Unfortunately, the appointment didn’t get much better and it ended with him shoving a bunch of tissues at me telling me that there was some ‘stuff going on there’ and pointed in the general direction of my crotch. Because this appointment hadn’t been humiliating enough.

Once I had gotten dressed he essentially dismissed me from the office without giving me any understanding about what the issues with the test may mean.

I walked out of the medical centre and raced over to the nearest toilets where I shut myself in a stall and cried and tried to process what had just happened. While I gave permission for him to complete the test I have never felt this way in one before and didn’t expect to feel violated when it was over.

Fortunately, they were able to process the sample he did get and the results came back normal. I don’t know if I would have been able to work myself up to getting it done again so soon if they hadn’t been. It makes me wonder if this is a common experience for women during pap tests and is one reason why women fail to get them done regularly even though they are important in detecting abnormal cells and cervical cancer.

Next time I think I’ll investigate a gynaecologist so I can then be confident that it is a common procedure they do all the time.

Sarah

Review: Social Bean Cafe, Belconnen

Winter has been slowly approaching us and that means I’ve been on the look out for somewhere that will make me excellent Hot Chocolate at a reasonable price. Last year I was going to Max Brenner most of the time and while that is tasty it is also quite expensive. I don’t really want to spend nearly $8 on a Hot Chocolate when the feeling arises.

Small Hazelnut Hot Chocolate ($4)
Small Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with awesome foam art! ($4)

One afternoon I was considering Max Brenner but I had no cash on me and they have an eftpos limit so I thought I might give Social Bean a try and hoped that they wouldn’t have an eftpos limit. They’re a bit hard to find if you don’t know where to look as they’re nestled under a government department building but they are worth hunting for. On this particular day I got to the counter and asked about an eftpos limit and my eyes lit up when the answer was “no eftpos limit” and that is when my love of Hazelnut Hot Chocolate began.

Another Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Awesome Foam Art!
Another Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Awesome Foam Art!

I’m so glad I decided to give them a try because the hot chocolate is one of the best I’ve found from a cafe. Generally places that make great coffee tend to make mediocre hot chocolate but that is not the case with Social Bean! It is hot but not so hot that it burns your face off when you first attempt a sip. As soon as it is handed to you, you can sip it and it will be perfect!

There is a good amount of foam (and if you decide to have it there it will have some great foam art!) and it actually tastes good. So many times I have bought hot chocolates and found they just taste like warm milk. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that over the last month I have been to Social Bean at least twice a week for a hot chocolate. This is quite a lot for me!

French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup
French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup ($13)

Now I’ve raved about the hot chocolate for 3 paragraphs I thought I might move onto the food. After finding their hot chocolate very good I thought I might see how the food was. It didn’t hurt that they would serve me French Toast for lunch as that is a thing I do now, apparently.

The food came out quite quickly and was pretty good. Nice and syrupy with a bit of a crunch on the outside and nice and squishy on the inside. There was also a good amount of maple syrup to dunk my bacon into. For some reason I always thought maple syrup and bacon would be a terrible idea. I’m glad I decided to try it because it is so amazing!

Chicken Burger with Chips ($15)
Chicken Burger with Chips ($15)

On my second lunch visit I decided to try the Chicken Burger and asked for it with chips (an additional $3, the burger alone is $12) which came out as a massive mountain! They were crispy and fresh and satisfied my craving for chips for the time being (it always comes back, chips are awesome!). The burger was also well made with grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheese, baby spinach, tomato and aioli. It came out on a massive toasted piece of turkish bread that I couldn’t actually finish. It was very tasty and also incredibly filling.

Social Bean also do salads (I’ve had multiple!) and wraps and some great little cakes and muffins! I definitely recommend checking them out.

Not only do they do all of the above but they are operated by the Belconnen Community Service and work to get people involved in the community, plus they have ‘suspended coffee‘ where you can buy an extra coffee and someone else who needs it can come and claim it. It’s a great endeavour that I’m happy to support – it’s an added perk that I get all the deliciousness in return!

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Social Bean Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah