Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Noosa Incentive Trip Days 4 - 5

Day 4 - Saturday

It was up bright and early on the Saturday morning as our tour bus to Fraser Island left at 6.30am. There were 17 of us on the bus - more of a bussed-up 4WD really. And what a great day we had.. it was super windy on the ferry crossing between the mainland and the Island, but once on Fraser we had a really good run. I loved driving at 80kms on the "highway" - what the locals call the highway is known to most people as the beach. Our driver, Tim, knew so much about Fraser Island it made my head spin. We headed up the east coast of the island and then about half-way up we headed inland making our way towards Lake MacKenzie. It was my 2nd trip to the lake, and it never loses it's appeal - crystal clear fresh water and the whitest sand imaginable. Here are a few shots:

The Ferry Crossing to Fraser Island

Me and Georgina braving the wind

The "highway"

This is the first view you get of Lake MacKenzie as you walk down towards it

The girls at the Lake. From left: Myself, Georgina, Theresa, Shelli, Yvonne, Kerri and Kim. Somehow I managed to miss Jacque who was also there.

Me and my friend Kerri

Just me.. how blue is that water?! Just amazing!

On the way back from the Lake we stopped at a place called "Pile Valley" - we went for a bit of a bushwalk and checked out these Satinay trees - they are massive.

And here is our whole Fraser Island group... we had so much fun and it was really a fantastic day! From left at back: Sterling, Shelli, Martin, Yvonne, Kim, Warren, Aaron, Dave, Georgina, Myself, Geoff, Kerri, Jennifer. In front: Gerard, Jacque, Theresa and Paul. I hope I got everyone's names right - sorry if I misspelled anyone.

We crossed back to the mainland and I lost count of the number of dolphins we saw. How wonderful to see so many! Then we stopped at the Coloured sands for afternoon tea. A quick cuppa and some lamingtons, some photo opportunities and then we were on our way again.

We had to be back at the hotel by 3.30pm so we were rushing a bit to get back. But then we had to quickly get ready for our Farewell dinner - it was a big secret, with only the vaguest of hints as to where we might be going. Some of the girls thought they knew where it was (I had made a guess of my own, but I was completely wrong!) We boarded a bus at 4.30pm and rode out to the little town of Cooroy, inland from Noosa. As we rounded the corner to the town's pub, we were greeting by the sight of a fleet of vintage cars waiting to take us to our destination! Such a fantastic surprise. In my car (a Merc) there was Georgina, Sue M, Claire D and myself. Our driver was Scott and he answered all our questions about the car and anything else we cared to ask. We arrived at a place called "The Plantation" (click to see it) and as we entered the gates you could see paper bags lining both sides of the long driveway - in each bag were pebbles and a tea-light candle. So beautiful - especially as the evening got darker. We were helped out of the car by our driver and then shown into the main house - we could wander around and explore the house. There were drinks and fantastic nibblies brought around on trays. Then we were seated for dinner - the tables were covered with red roses and other flowers in beautiful arrangements and at each achiever's place setting was a cream fringed wrap - another gift. Dinner was wonderful. I got to share the evening with Georgina, Tanya, Theresa, Jayne & Gareth and Dave & Jennifer. Great company and such a fitting end to a wonderful few days. Here's a couple of snaps for you:

The Vintage cars lined up outside the hotel.

The tables waiting for us at dinner. So pretty!

I was pretty slack on the final morning... I didnt take any photos at all, except on my morning walk. Truth be told I was stressing just a little about fitting all my stuff into my suitcase - thankfully SU had provided us with a fantastic overnight bag as our gift waiting for us in our hotel rooms on the Saturday night. And also thankfully my roomie Georgina had helped me out with the packing too, and had organized to carry some of my additional baggage as carry-on luggage. Wow! I sure bought or received a LOT of stuff! That would be in part the legacy of all the shopping that I did. Oh well. If you cant shop on holiday, when can you do it?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Noosa Incentive Trip Days 1 - 3

Well Im back.. did you miss me? Not only back from the most wonderful 5 days in Noosa courtesy of Stampin'Up (thank you SU - you guys are awesome!!!) but Im just starting to feel that I am also getting back into life generally. Getting stronger every day. And I finally have my internet back on, so hooray to that!

So.. I thought I would start by showing you some photos from the past week on the Incentive Trip, and then I can get back to posting some of the creative efforts that I've been coming up with over the past weeks.

Here we go...

Day 1 - Wednesday

We headed off bright and early on the Wednesday morning - Georgina and I were travelling together. How wonderful is it when your upline is also your friend? We met up with the Perth and ACT girls at Sydney airport and boarded our flight to Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. From there we were transferred to Noosa and arrived at the Sheraton Noosa Resort where we were met by the SU Events girls - Janiel and Angie. What an amazing job those girls do! As we arrived we were handed our coconut wine glasses (you know the kind made from real coconuts) with a yummy tropical concoction inside. The best bit of these trips is catching up with the other girls and their partners - we get to see each other so rarely, and it's just great to relax in each other's company and really get the chance to talk. Georgina and I found a fabulous cafe that did amazing salt and pepper Squid, coupled with happy hour cocktails... yum! Here is our room, looking out towards the pool...

Almost as soon as we arrived Georgina had commandeered the desk to work on her swaps.. and they were beautiful too:

The afternoon was at leisure - shopping, coffee, chatting etc - and then that evening we shared the most wonderful welcome dinner at the hotel. SU know so well how to do these kind of events - we were all made to feel very special. Dessert was out of this world! This was the place card at each place setting:

When we got back to our rooms there was a suprise apron and chef's hat awaiting us - this was to be taken with us on the following day. With it was a lovely thank you card from Shelli - here it is:

Day 2 - Thursday

The following morning I got myself up bright and early for a walk along the boardwalk towards the National Park. I love Noosa - it brings back lots of wonderful memories for me - in fact this was my 4th trip there. The first two times were with a girlfriend in the early-mid 90's and the last time was 12 years ago for my honeymoon. (I mentioned this to Aaron who is the BDM for SU Australia and he was horrified - of all places to take you Linda! But actually I thought it was the perfect place to be - like completing a circle IYKWIM?) After a wonderful walk we went out for breaky before all meeting at 10am back at the hotel lobby from where we caught a ferry up the river towards Noosaville. The colour of the water was amazing! We were taken to Ricky's restaurant where we were formed into teams to take part in a wonderful cooking school - each team making a different course for our lunch. The food was unbelieveably good! Dave (Marelle's husband) managed to burn his finger quite badly whilst using a blow torch to caramelize the top of the brulees. Ouch! Here are some of the snaps:

Boarding the ferry for the trip upriver to Ricky's Restaurant

Looking up the river towards the Glasshouse mountains.. how gorgeous is that water?

Here is our group prepping the quinces to make the quince paste to go with our Chorizo and Manchego Croquettes.. they were fabulous! You can see Tanya and Theresa, and also our cute chef Paul who guided us through the finer points of making the perfect Croquettes.

And now for some cute apron shots:

Emma and Sean from NZ

My wonderful friend Vanessa Webb (Ness)

Myself with Ness and the fabulous Jayne Mercer

Once again, we spent the afternoon doing whatever we pleased. I managed to do quite a bit of shopping on this trip, which is unusual for me, but it was wonderful to be able to shop guilt-free. Part of the incentive trip reward is some spending money to use for meals, but I didnt come close to using it all, so I was very happy to allocate some to guilt-free spending. Hooray!

That night (Thursday) was Kareoke down at the Surf Club so a large group of us went down there, and I think nearly everyone got up that night onto the stage. Sooooooo much fun! Highlights of the night included Aaron and the boys doing an excellent rendition of Midnight Oil's "Beds are Burning", and all of the girls getting up to do ABBA's Dancing queen (which is easily changed to "Stamping Queen"). There wasnt a blank space on the list all night - I think that Kareoke guy never had it so easy. I wish I had taken my camera, but alas I left it back at the hotel. There are plenty of photos out there in cyberspace though if you care to look... other blogs and Facebook are just two places that I have spotted incriminating photographs of lots of different people. To say that it was fun would be a gigantic understatment. Cant wait to do it again down the track. :-)

Day 3 - Friday

On the Friday morning I slept in which is very unusual for me, as anyone who knows me well would testify. At 9.30 we heading down to the outdoor area near the pool for our Makes and Take and Swap session. The swaps were, as always, absolutely fantastic! I love having access to all those ideas - only problem is that sometimes I see the swaps and then suddenly feel that I have to buy those stamps sets so that I can do what they did too! Sigh. Then we got stuck into our Make and Takes - and I think that these projects were the best ones that I have done at any event - whether that be Regionals, Convention or the past IT. Just lovely. The previous night our room gift had been what we were using for our Make and Take session - and its all beautiful new stuff out of our upcoming Summer Mini (to be released in December) so that means that sadly I cant show you what we made or the gorgeous new stamp set that we played with. I can tell you though that I believe it is a completely new set - not seen even in the US, and I LOVE it!!!! You will too! There were other new items that we got to play with too - but I cant show you because then I would have to kill you. You'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that it looks as though the next Mini will have some very exciting stuff to play with!

Here's a couple of snaps from the session:

All busy swapping

Group Photo

At the end of the session "Morning Tea" was served - an Ice Cream/Gelato cart arrived with lots of different flavours of Ice Cream, as well as things to add to your bowl - smarties, freckles etc. A bit like the Cold Rock idea, but we just helped ourselves. That afternoon we just relaxed and did what we wanted - whether that was shopping, the pool, a Nanna nap, reading, cafe-ing or whatever. It was completely up to us. Gotta love that!

That evening some of us went back to Ricky's for cocktails (thank you Dave!) which was fantastic. We were a party of 8 - Gareth and Jayne, Dave and Marelle, Therese and Tanya, and Georgina and myself. It was just such a fantastic night. Although every night was great, this was actually my favourite night on the trip - the company of these 7 people was just perfect and I enjoyed every minute. And I laughed so much - that's got to be a good thing right? After the yummiest of cocktails, we moved on to the Mexican Restaurant next door. We declined menus, and Georgina asked if they could just bring us whatever food they thought was the best and keep it coming! So that's what they did - and it was absolutely fabulous. I'm not always a massive fan of Mexican - but this was truly exquisite food. With plenty of Sangria to wash it down... just perfect.

After this we wandered back to the hotel and then we camped out in Theresa's room with home-made Rocky Road (thanks Theresa!), gelato, chocolate and Ricadonna. We were joined by Nicki Tidbold and Vicki Dean and it was just really relaxing and fantastic company. A perfect ending to a fantastic day.

So I will be back with Days 4 & 5 tomorrow. I wanted to get this up there as I am aware that lots of you have been waiting anxiously for photos. I had problems with my camera, so lots of my photos didnt come out well, but even so, there are lots that I didnt include here. I will upload more onto Facebook for any of you who visit me there.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week, and I'll be back with more soon.


Saturday, 22 August 2009

Quick Noosa Update

Good morning guys... I hope to make it here again later today, but given that we have a very full day ahead, Im not sure that I will make it. So......Im checking in here to let you all know that I am having a wonderful time in Noosa (on the Sunshine Coast) and it has been the most fabulous few days. I will be back with photos later! Today we are off to Frazer Island with some of our group, and Im really looking forward to it as I think its about 15 years since I was there last. And it's one of those beautiful places you never forget.

I am so glad to be here! It's been the best Incentive trip for me - something so much more relaxed and even more enjoyable than last year's. I think it helps that I know a lot of the girls much better this year, and I've had lots of time to get to know some of them better. It's been unbelievable. Highlights for me have included the Karaoke at the surf club on Thursday night, the cooking school at Rickys restaurant, and last night a group of us went for cocktails and dinner (at a FANTASTIC Mexican restaurant!) and it was a blast. I dont think I've laughed so much in years. The back to one of the girl's rooms for drinks and ice cream and chocolate. Does it get any better?

Other than that, I've shopped my feet off (well it feels like it anyway) and just spent 4 days doing whatever I want... sure I miss the kids, but it's nice to do something just for me, without at least one person going "Mu-u-um... I want....."

Aaaah, bliss!

Better go get ready for Fraser Island... more later!


Sunday, 9 August 2009

Missing in Action

Yep, that's me.. MIA. I have now been without Internet for over a week, and I have to say that for someone who uses the Internet in a BIG way - to stay connected and to do business - it's been a big challenge for me. Like having your arms cut off. Well, maybe not quite that dramatic, but challenging all the same.

So I am currently sitting in McDonalds, using their free Internet, and so I've just been wading through lots of emails and other information. If you have sent me an email in the past week, then there is a good chance that I havent received it. I am hoping that Telstra will be able to rectify the problem very soon, but until they do, I am very limited in what I can achieve here. However, I have been finding some time to create, so in the next couple of days I will take some pics and get back down here to Macca's and put some cards up for you to check out.

Other than the phone and Internet, our move went very well. We were blessed with wonderful weather, and I am getting all the boxes unpacked gradually. Hopefully by next Sunday's launch/house warming (see previous post) I will have it all done, and will just be able to relax a little. The kids are loving the new backyard and the trampoline, and Im enjoying the convenience that the location offers. It's taking less than half the time to get to school now, which is a big bonus. Yesterday, I wandered with Emma and a girlfriend to the shops and had coffee and a look through the lovely giftshops. I love living walking distance to the shops!

Have fun and get creative!

Linda H