Alive and Well

Yes, it’s been a while.

I’ve now finished uni for the year and it’s a great feeling.  I’m getting back into the routine I used to enjoy and it’s so good to have less pressure and more time.

Washington Square

Washington Square on a Sunday at twilight

I found the last semester fairly demanding as it involved five subjects and two different campuses and essays and exams and yes, another dreaded maths test.  When all of that wrapped up I had a weekend off and then started working in a rehabilitation unit at a public hospital.  With those weeks now finished, the only thing needed to complete first year is my results.  Apparently they’ll be posted just before Christmas.

Birthday dinner at Rauels

Birthday dinner at Raouls

The semester wasn’t all work and no play as I was able to organise a lightening fast trip to New York.  Although gone eight days, I had just six nights in the Big Apple that went faster than a New York minute.  I took Arabella with me.  We left on her birthday, flew into Los Angeles the next morning which was the day we’d already had so it was her birthday again, then landed in New York in time to go out for a celebratory dinner at a restaurant I’d booked four weeks earlier.

So fatigued - this must have been about 11pm

So fatigued – this must have been about 11pm

We landed at JFK and were pounced on by someone pretending to be a cab driver who then took us to Greenwich Village via a petrol station where he filled up and bought snacks like pots of yoghurt he ate with a spoon while texting and talking on the phone all while driving.  He ripped us off and demanded an enormous tip and all the drama made us 15-minutes late for our dinner reservation.  As we were walking in, our table was being swiftly given to an older couple.

Birthday dessert

Birthday dessert

Not knowing where else to go, we stood five-deep from the bar and waited and waited and waited for a table and every now and then were told it wouldn’t be too much longer.  At that point we’d been awake for about 30 hours so wouldn’t have minded a seat and finally, we were told we couldn’t get a table but they could seat us at the bar where we would be able to order the burger (and that apparently was an enormous expression of goodwill because the chef has a rule of making no more than 12 burgers a day).

Birthday dinner

Birthday dinner

So we had a lovely dinner that I didn’t photograph because it was impossibly dark and I was just beyond it with fatigue but the lovely gesture from the restaurant was that they had remembered it was Arabella’s birthday (I’d mentioned it four weeks earlier when I made the booking) and so they brought out complimentary profiteroles with candles.  That was a wonderful touch on a great birthday.  Arabella said it was one of her best birthdays ever – it was certainly the longest.

Washington Square

Washington Square

The restaurant is Raouls.  To me it was very ‘Sex in the City’.  I can highly recommend it but make sure you book and whatever you do, don’t be late or your booking will be given to one of many other walk-ins hoping for a table.

Glam Squad action

Glam Squad action

We were in New York for my sister’s birthday.  The party was on the Saturday night and we knew it would be glamorous so from Sydney we booked The Glam Squad.  A hair stylist and a make-up artist came to our apartment and glammed us.  They were so professional yet so much fun and they told us great stories about their experiences going all over Manhattan for work and the people they’d met and the experiences they’d had.  We were highly entertained.

The Glam Squad in action

The Glam Squad in action

I can definitely recommend The Glam Squad although, this wasn’t inexpensive.  However, we decided this would be the one indulgence of our trip and we had such happy time with the glammers that it was a definite highlight.  If you’re paying in Aussie or non-US dollars you have to factor in not only the fee and then the tax and then the 22% tip that’s automatically added to the bill, but also the exchange rate.  I’m just not going to look at that AMEX statement for a while.



The party was a sit-down dinner for 50.  It was held in a New York loft that was an empty space and then everything was brought in – tables, chairs, cutlery, food, drinks, waiters, etc.  My brother-in-law organised the night from start to finish and did an impressive job of making this a really special night for Em.



The only way to get up to the venue was via a lift that was like being in a bird cage – I’ve only ever seen lifts like it in movies where there’s an imminent murder scene.

The bird cage

The bird cage

After the entree and before the main course it was my moment to be on stage as I gave a speech I’d finished writing on the plane.  I received a standing ovation which completely took me by surprise.  Later Liev Schrieber came up and, thinking he was talking to a kindred spirit, talked to me about theatrical direction, timing and audience reaction.  I tried to appear very knowledgeable by nodding and agreeing and then he asked, ‘So what part of the industry are you in?’  And I said, ‘The public health industry; I’m a nurse’.  Hilarious!

Me and my bestie

Talking theatrics

Then he asked me when I’d be back in New York because he’d love me to come and see him perform in Dangerous Liaisons on Broadway.  Well…don’t stand by for that story because as tempting as that offer is, it’s going into the ‘Sadly-Very-Impossible’ file.

Live music

Live music

I landed back in Sydney with a thud with all the shimmer, sparkles and star-dust quickly vaporising as I returned to uni to receive dire marks and work on the wards in an unflattering uniform that makes me look like a shapeless bus driver.

All ready

All ready

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’m now looking forward to the Christmas season and in the next couple of weeks, if you’re looking for inspiration,  I’ll be posting a couple of fabulous recipes for the festive season.

Table setting

Table setting


Charlie xx


  1. Wow, what a fabulous whirlwind time in NY! Great to see you again and I am sure all your hard work will pay off with great results. Have a fabulous Christmas Charlie!

  2. What a great Trip!!!
    So good to read another of your fabulous stories. Congrats on your study year Charlie.

  3. Great to hear all is well and that even if those uniforms aren’t flattering, that you are calling on the glam squad for some fun, Will look forward to some festive recipes – enjoy your break!

  4. Wow! What a trip! What a coincidence, you left a great comment on my review of Raoul’s in 2012! A very good shoe tip, in fact.
    I saw that pic of you and Liev on FB and was very jealous, absolutely LOVE him in Ray Donovan! Would kill to see him on Broadway! Your sister hangs with cool peeps!
    Don’t worry about your uni results, I’m so proud of you that you went back, your courage and determination are an inspiration. You go girl!
    PS. I’ve missed you.❤️

  5. Welcome back! Congrats on your first year being complete. How incredible!! I remember following your NYC trip, but loved reading some of the stories surrounding the pics. Happy Christmas to you.

  6. Phyllis Ryan says:

    Missed you, but glad to see all is well.

  7. What fun! Or, not so fun. I had an experience with a non-taxi taxi myself. Learned a hard lesson there. Glad to have you back. Your daughter is growing into such a beautiful young lady with such poise!

  8. I saw that you had squeezed in a trip to NYC! So fun for you and Arabella. SO good to see a post from you—I have missed your updates!! xx

  9. What a fabulous trip!
    I was following your pictures on social media and wondered what the event was – you both look gorgeous.

  10. WOW! What a whirlwind you’ve been in this year and your recent NY travels! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you’re back online! Congratulations on the completion of your first year in nursing school. A belated Happy Birthday to Arabella! It was obviously a quite unique and enjoyable birthday and what an adventure! Liev Schrieber…I’m jealous! I love him as an actor. Great pictures and a fun post! Welcome back Charlie!

  11. So lovely to read a post from you Charlie, you are missed. WHAT a trip, sounds marvellous, congrats on your standing ovation, must have been a wonderful feeling. All good wishes for your results, fingers crossed for you. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Christmas and New Year and that you have a great break!

  12. Charlie – trust you to be ‘mum’ for half the year and then return with a glam bang 🙂 ! Glad to hear all well and those of us who will not let the ‘Facebook Genie’ ever out of the bottle again, like me, have got all the good news with possibly a few other posts to come. Hope the marks upon return were not too ‘dire’ !! All the best and see’ya!

  13. Hahaha! Oh my gosh, that’s an amazing story about duping Liev (you’re on a first name basis with him now, yeah? 😉 ) with your talents. Love it (and what an amazing birthday trip for Arabella!)

  14. Oh, Charlie, welcome back!!!!! Just yesterday I was thinking of you and actually checked to see if you had posted anything I had missed, but alas, no. And now this lovely post. I cringe at all the NYC rip offs, but after the elections I clearly don’t know what is going on up there. Yikes! So happy you had fun though. And Arabella. And you met LIev Schrieber. Whoopee!
    I, too, have been off the grid for far to long. My emails are stacking up (next thing to to go back to NQN as I am far behind). I have no good excuse except that I needed a break. And now I have had it and have no excuse. Sincere good wishes. I am happy for you that uni is going so well.

  15. I’m so glad you and Arabella got to be there for your sister’s birthday and give a speech too! I know how busy you are at Christmas and thankfully you’ll do it all without having to stop to study.

    i’ve missed you!

  16. Wow, Charlie, I feel like I’ve just entered and exited a magical make-believe world in this post. So different from the world I know, but fun to read about from your experience and perspective. What a lovely party for Em.

    Welcome back to blogging! And congrats on making it through uni.

    so exciting & glamorous.
    I’ve wondered where you’ve been, dear!
    And I can see “You Are Living LIFE!” xx

  18. Welcome back! Really good to see you post again. Sounds like a fun trip to NYC. That’s always a fun place, but always exhausting. Haven’t been there for a couple of years — itching to get there again! Fun read — thanks.

  19. Hi Charlie, you certainly have been busy. How wonderful that you and Arabella went on a trip together, the glam squad looks like fun. So glad everything is going well for you. Can’t wait to see what recipes you have for us.

  20. You both look very glam! Geez that taxi driver sounds like a complete nightmare.

  21. Charlie, what a phenomenal experience you and Arabella enjoyed, except for the so called taxi driver. Maybe one day I will be able to see the big apple, just maybe…
    Have a wonderful week and looking forward to your wonderful recipes.
    🙂 Mandy xoxo

  22. Ha hello Charlie. What an amazing trip. you must have so much more stamina for staying up after all your study!! i’d need six glam squads to fix me up. would love to have heard your speech. very well done!!!

  23. Welcome back Charlie and I am glad that all is well – if hectic with your studying. It sounds like your trip to New York was a welcome, whirlwind break among all the hard work! All the best for the Christmas season now and, I hope, a more relaxing summer ahead.

  24. So great to have you back – and just in time for Christmas. I saw you pictures of your New York trip on face book it looked amazing. Enjoy the holidays and the time off-ish. Have fun. GG

  25. What an amazing trip to New York, in spite of the dreadful cab driver. Sounds like you were very smart to take a break from blogging while you did school and life. Welcome back! 🙂

  26. You and Arabella looked fabulous, so glad you both enjoyed your time in New York. I hope your holiday season will be wonderful…look forward to hearing from you again soon as you’ve been missed.

  27. Congratulations on completing year one, Charlie. It’s good to have you back, if only for a short while. Illegal cabbies are like piranha at the worlds’s major airports. So sorry that you had the misfortune of hiring one. I am glad that you had such a wonderful time whilst you were Stateside. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  28. I hear that a lot has happened chez Charlie’s! Wat fun for you & Arabella! How cool that party was & that lovely male actor,…yum yum! Ha!
    I can relate of that nasty nurse”s uniform,…:(
    Good for you for doing all that & more! Thanks for the update,…I missed you,…heeps! xxx

  29. Oh my goodness, what a whirlwind of excitement! First, congratulations on your first year completion. I am beyond impressed with your stamina and determination.

    What a fun trip to NYC! As an American I feel the need to apologize for the jackass that picked you up at the airport and ruined Arabella’s dinner reservations. Horrible! Next time call ahead or have your sister call ahead for a care service.

    I say when Liev Schrieber invites you to one of his performances personally…going is a MUST! 😉

  30. My goodness, Charlie. You do know what to do on your vacations from school! I’ve never known a family to be more celebratory and I enjoy hearing about your family birthdays wherever they take place. It’s nice to hear from you again! You’ve been missed.

  31. Oh wow! How awesome and a Glam Squad to boot! Glad you made it through the semester ok and safely to and fro across the big ocean!

  32. Congratulations Charlie xx

  33. Lovely story, Charlie! I am glad that you had such a great time!

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