Farewell Sydney!

Hi all!
It has been quite a while since we posted an update – don’t know where the time has gone, but we’ve been really busy getting ready for our move back to the US. We can’t believe it, but we actually fly out two weeks today for 8 days in Japan which we’re so excited for, and then we get to LA on December 15th. We’re all moved out of our apartment (we’re living with mum and dad for the next few weeks) which was actually really sad as we’ve loved living there and have so many great memories with Leonora there too (including all the pee stains on the carpet 😉 ). We’ve found a tenant who moves in on December 1 which is great as that’s one less thing to worry about!

Last night we had a farewell party which really made it real that we’re leaving – we’re super excited for the next adventure, but it is definitely sad to be leaving all our friends here, and of course my family – we’ve loved being just a few minutes walk away, and Leonora gets so excited going to Oma’s house. The party was great fun though – we had a blast with everyone. Anthea, one of mum’s friends who makes amazing cakes, made a beautiful Australia cake for us as a surprise which was so lovely (and delicious)!

Farewell party - with our delicious Australia cake from Anthea

Farewell party – with our delicious Australia cake from Anthea

Last month Bonnie and Lou came to visit for two weeks which was so lovely. Lou hasn’t been for 7 years since Jacs first moved here and we were living in a share house with friends, so we’re so happy that he could make it so see our lives here, and our home – and see what a great setup we have. Since they were coming all the way to Australia though, we decided to make a real holiday of it, and had one weekend up in Byron Bay, and one weekend down in Melbourne – I flew from Canberra direct, so we had Thursday night – Sunday evening in each so we really got a chance to enjoy them.

In Byron, we rented a house on Air BnB and had an amazing time. It is always so great to visit Byron since it has such a nice feel, and the weather was gorgeous and we spent hours each day on the beach, or checking out the lighthouse or strolling through town – but just generally relaxing and hanging out together. Our last day there before our flight we drove up to Surfers Paradise, and wow, that is a different experience! It is intense and touristy – makes me think of Vegas on the beach almost!

The weekend in Melbourne was heaps of fun too. We used some Hyatt points to all stay at the Grand Hyatt right in the middle of the city. Mum and dad came down one night too. It was so convenient staying there and being able to stroll around town… and of course take advantage of the lounge for breakfast, evening drinks, and views over the city. We caught up with our friends Stuart and Mai from Singapore, and Byron as well who has been living there for a while. We also saw my good friend from BCG Luke, who we haven’t seen for a while between both of us going away to business school and then working in different cities. We also spent lots of time with my cousins – Pasq and Paski, Wendy and Ray – and Auntie Sheila and Uncle Frank. It is always so much fun hanging out with all of them so really glad we got down there one more time before moving. We got to check out Wendy and Ray’s house and wonder around their area (Fitzroy, which is a funky and fun part of town). We also had a lovely lunch as a family at the Stables of Como which was set in beautiful gardens so Leo could run around, and a delicious dinner at Feast of Merit in Richmond (another cool part of town) which was awesome… and gives all of its profits to charity too.

Other than all of that, our weekends always seem to be jam packed with catching up with friends and family, and trying to spend some time just us, as well as lots of time at the beach since summer is coming… although you wouldn’t guess it today with the gloomy windy weather! We’re really trying to enjoy our last little while in Sydney as much as we can – taking advantage of the beaches and checking out events like Sculptures by the Sea which is always really cool, and eating at all of our favourite restaurants. Still can’t believe we only have 2 more weeks here!

See lots of you in the US soon!
Ben, Jacs and Leonora

SurfAid cup – thanks for all of the support

Last Friday was the SurfAid Cup at Queenscliff. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had an awesome time surfing, although we didn’t make it through the quarter finals… all part of the fun! The sun was out and it seemed like Spring was in the air.

Thanks so much to everyone that donated to our team to support this great cause. The event raised over $150,000 for communities in remote Indonesia – and our team did an amazing job raising over $8,000 of that putting us in 5th place out of 18 teams!

Click here to read more about the event.

Hope you’re all well!
-Ben, Jacs and Leo

SurfAid Cup 2015 – Support a great cause!

Friends and Family,
Once again this year, three friends/colleagues and I have entered a team in the SurfAid Cup in Queenscliff on September 18th. The Cup is a fundraising event to raise funds for SurfAid, a non-profit humanitarian organisation. As a team, we have committed to raising $5,000 for this great cause, and I’d appreciate your support to reach that goal.

If you’d like to donate, please click here! Any donation is much appreciated!

Here's a photo from last year! Thanks for the support :-)

Here’s a photo from last year! Thanks for all of your support this year :-)

SurfAid’s core mission is to save the lives of women and children in remote areas of Indonesia – areas connected to us by surfing. They specialise in working in very isolated villages where the maternal and child mortality rate is extremely high.

SurfAid was started by a group of concerned surfers in 2000 who were struck by the needless suffering and preventable death in the Mentawai Islands. Today they are proud that more than 95 per cent of program staff are Indonesian nationals who work hand-in-hand with the communities of Western Sumatra, Sumbawa and Sumba, to bring about positive, sustainable health change while respecting the unique culture and customs of these islands communities.


SurfAid Surfer

Summer in LA

It’s been a couple of months now since we last posted! Where has time gone? Other than our trip to LA (more on that in a moment), Jacs and I have both just been busy with work in Sydney, but were also enjoying the last of Autumn before the cold of winter arrived – it is actually quite cold here right now! Here are a couple of photos from the last few months in Sydney. A couple of highlights have been:

  • A beautiful mother’s day hike from Coogee to Bronte
  • For our anniversary we had a delicious dinner at Sepia (one of the best restaurants in Australia and then stayed the night at the Sydney Park Hyatt with a room looking out at the Opera House which was all lit up for Vivid Sydney
  • Leo has been super cute (she’s almost 18 months) and is learning more and more words, and running around and playing like a little kid. She isn’t a baby anymore! We’ve been having a great time with her :-)

So, back to the LA trip. We got back last week from a lovely 2 weeks in sunny, hot LA, staying with Jacs’ family there in Altadena. It was actually a whirlwind trip since we arrived just in time for Vikkee and Mike’s engagement party at the house, followed the next day by Grandpa Lou’s birthday / Bubba and Christy’s reveal (it’s a girl!!! woohoo!) / Father’s Day (I get 2 in the same year again), and then the following week with Bubba and Christy’s house warming. One night Al even arranged for all of us to go and see Nicki Minaj perform at the Staple Centre – we had a box and had a really fun night partying together… even if Nicki was a little disappointing.

We had Keiren and Will come and visit from New York, which was wonderful, as well as our friends (and Leo’s storm parents), Chris and Jordan, who came down from San Francisco for a couple of days. John and Shirley (my storm parents) came to visit too from Lake Tahoe, so we really kept ourselves busy!

It was so lovely staying with the family and spending time with them, as well as heading down to the beaches, catching up with friends and exploring LA a bit. Bon and Lou enjoyed their time being Nonna and Grumpo with Leonora, and Leo had such a lovely time in the huge backyard on her John Deere tractor. The dogs were a little scary at first, but she soon loved playing with them :-)

After that whirlwind of a trip, we’re now back in freezing cold Sydney and back at work which was a shock to the system, although today is beautiful and sunny. Last night we celebrated mum’s birthday with a lovely Italian dinner followed by drinks at ours, and we’re now just enjoying a nice quiet weekend at home.

Here are a couple of photos from our trip (if you didn’t already see them on Facebook!).

Hope that you’re all well
Ben and Jacs

Bula from Tokoriki Island

Bula! (Hi in Fijian)

First things first – we have big news to share. Our family is getting bigger! Mike proposed to Vikkee and they’re getting married this time next year. Not only are they getting married, but they also bought a new house and moved in. A huge congratulations on both big life events. We’re super excited for them both, and look forward to having Mike join the family!

We’ve spent this week on the gorgeous Tokoriki Island in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. It has been an absolutely amazing trip – we can’t believe it has taken us this long given that it is only a 4 hour flight away and then Tokoriki is a 1 hour boat ride away. The day we arrived, we stayed one night at the Westin in Denarau Island on the mainland (a nice resort area, but lacks the crystal clear blue waters of the islands), before getting the morning boat out to Tokoriki. Luckily we had just missed Tropical Cyclone Pam that had come through the area, and unfortunately caused serious damage in Vanuatu, but the winds were still high so we had an exciting ride out to the island in high seas!

It was all worth it though, and when we made it to the island and checked in, Jacs turned on the charm and got us upgraded to a beach front room which was incredible – we overlooked a gorgeous view of the other islands and could hear the waves rolling up on the shore! That was home for the next 4 nights. The weather quickly improved, and we spent our days relaxing, having drinks by the pool (and in the room since we’d brought along some wine and gin and tonic :-) ), snorkelling, playing pool volleyball, and eating lots of delicious food in the hotel restaurant. We had made friends with a couple on their honeymoon too, and so hung out with them a bit as well. All of the staff were incredibly friendly and just loved Leo and were great with her. She was having such a blast in the nice warm water and exploring the resort.

Sadly though the trip came to an end on Thursday and we headed home (the boat ride was a completely different experience in the beautiful calm waters with the sun shining down!), but are now enjoying a nice quiet weekend at our place as a family.

Since our last post, we’ve also spent a lovely weekend down in Nowra (about 2.5 hours drive south), where the Clarke’s kindly invited us and a few other friends to their family holiday house on the river for some hanging out and water skiing. Leo’s friends Molly and Sammy were there too so the 3 of them had a blast together.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for this blog, but here are a couple of other photos of Leo from the month :-)




– Ben and Jacs

Two big birthdays and two exciting visits

It’s been a few weeks since our last post and boy have we been busy. I’ll keep this short and let the photos speak for themselves, but here is a bit about what’s been going on in our world.

I turned 30. Yep. You heard it here first folks. It was a glorious celebration of an incredible three decades organised by none other than my gorgeous husband. We hosted about 30 or so of our closest friends at a Moroccan restaurant called Afous down at The Spit. If you haven’t been you must check it out! We all headed back to Karang Sari afterward for a swim by the pool.









It was a really special and fun filled day. I couldn’t have asked for anything better and I just want to say thank you again to all of those that helped me celebrate. The best birthday gift of all however, which will always take the cake, is Leonora.

Mom arrived in Sydney shortly after to celebrate another big birthday – Leonora’s first. It was a momentous occasion marked by a Hawaiian Luau and pool party at Karang Sari. Luckily for me, Mom arrived when she did as I was struck down completely for four days with a case of mastitis (yep…again!). It was horrible, but Mom came to the rescue and took care of me and Leonora. It was such lucky timing as I couldn’t have done it without her. So we celebrated despite my condition and had a blast. Leonora was joined by lots of her friends and couldn’t get enough of the pool. Thanks again to everyone that came along to celebrate…err should I say Mahalo? :-)










Mom’s trip was relatively short, but as soon as I was better we hit the beach for walks, the playground for the swing, a few restaurants for some delicious fish, and the shops for a bit of retail therapy! Looking forward to Mom coming to visit again when I’m not so ill! Thanks again Mom for taking such good care of us.

A few days after Mom left, our good friends from business school, Chris and Jordan Brown arrived to visit. We lined up the babysitters so we could show them the town (thanks again Siena, Ian and Tk!). We had quite the schedule – Manly Beach for a swim, a ferry to dinner at Cafe Sydney, Shangri-La for cocktails and the Glenmore for another rooftop pub. The next day we hit Bondi bright and early, did the Bondi to Bronte walk, went shopping in Paddington where we found a live band at an Irish Pub, and then headed to Bathers Pavilion for dinner that night. They headed to Hayman Island during the week, but were back for more debauchery on the Friday.



We hit the Chuck Close exhibit at the MCA ( a must see…this guy is seriously a genius) before cruising the city and having lunch with Ben at a delicious Ramen joint by his work. That night we headed to Potts Point for dinner at Ms Gs and drinks at about five or six different bars and clubs in the area. We topped off the night with dancing at O’Malley’s (La and Em you would have been proud). Saturday was a bit of a slow start followed by a day at Balmoral before taking the ferry to Circular Quay for drinks at Palmer and Co before a spectacular Valentine’s Day dinner at Spice Temple. We hadn’t been in a few years, but it was better than ever. They were off the next day, but we squeezed in brekkie at the Boathouse and a swim before taking them to the airport.







It was an awesome visit and we had such blast. It was so sad to see them go, as the visit made us realise just how much we miss them and all our friend from B school. We’re looking forward to visiting CA again soon and our eventual move.

That’s about it for the last few weeks, again it has been full on. We’re gearing up for a fun Autumn and promise to bring you all the latest and greatest, so stay tuned. :-)