3 Jan 22: Oh my aching head

Up and at um! Peter’s up at 6 but I took a while to get to sleep due to caffeine withdrawal headaches and am trying to get an extra few minutes. Which turns into 60! So I’m up at 7am in time for the lemon water. We get weighed and measured before breakfast. Breakfast is a smorgasbord of mueslis, quinoa pear with strawberries, mixed fruit, and a selection of crispbreads with spreads. Peter’s first foray into soy milk …drum roll…he survives! I go down the quinoa pear route with a ‘you can’t believe it’s not butter and not vegemite’ topping.

We get straight into the exercise with a walk to the front gate, where we take advantage of the phone signal and call grandma…clearly there’s too much going on at her place as she doesn’t answer. We head back trying out a few of the exercise stations on the way, step ups, balance beam, and various stretching…which I need as I found I’m 1cm shorter than I used to be.

Next on our agenda is an information session where we learn about the Complete Health Improvement Program – and receive our text books and pedometer (oh no we didn’t get to include our steps from this mornings walk). Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.

Straight after the talk Peter and I are off to aqua where we work out our upper and lower bodies – especially getting in and out of the spa pool which is no mean feat. Also we couldn’t wear our pedometer in the pool so no steps yet.

Hmm the smells coming from the kitchen are delicious…but we have to wait until lunch time – which arrives on time at 1pm. The main dish is the chickpea curry but the supporting acts are excellent salads and more crackers with unbelievable toppings. Dessert is a sesame cracker. For our after lunch constitution we think we will tackle the Forest Walk, we head down the track but when the going gets tough ie. the track is not very visible we think we’ve ventured the wrong way and head back – no we had following the right way it’s just a bit overgrown. We try a different route and make sure we get our pedometers to 1500 steps before heading back to get ready for our “treatments”.

Hmmm, that was nice, a therapeutic massage for a whole hour, don’t be sad Peter had one as well. I rested and drank some water and then jumped (well slid gracefully) into the spa for some afternoon exercise and relaxation. It was me v’s the extreme jet…I managed to hold my own doing frog stroke. back to the room for some cramming before our next information session – before that I have a foot massage and delicious meal to endure. Life is tough here at Cedarvale.

The foot massage was heavenly. The delicious meal included pea & mint fritters with aioli, a mixed berry lassi with, of course some salad and fruit…I managed to overcome my addiction to the not butter not vegemite on seed crackers. I’ve been mixing around the seating so making new friends and influencing people along the way.

Was relieved at my restraint when we learnt about heart disease and Atherosclerosis – shocking stuff – should be X-rated. They put forward a strong case for a plant based diet…but meat is so yummy!! Off to bed to dream about legs of lamb with roast potatos, pumpkin, sweet potatos, beans and lashings of gravy. yummmm. sweet dreams. If only that pesky headache would go away!

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2 Jan 22: Checking In – or is that Out???

The big day has arrived, a last minute trip to the Chemist for medication and RAT tests and we’re ready go. All too soon we leave the M7 at a rate of knotts and get stuck in holiday traffic around Menangle. With our 30min buffer all but gone we do some wending and weaving around the back of Bowral courtesy of our GPS (should have read the directions provided on the Cedarvale site!!). A few hairpin bends past Fitzroy Falls and we arrive at Cedarvale “ohmmmm”, feeling more relaxed already!

We check-in to Cedarvale and out of the rat race…the credit card barely felt a thing! We are in room 1 – which, very handily is closest to the drinks stand…peppermint tea here we come. A quick tour of the lodge and we find that joy of joys we are close to the Guest Laundry – Peter is in his element. The Gym, Spa Pool and Treatment rooms hold delights which I will save for later days…don’t want to burn out on the first blog.

We are treated to a 4WD tour of the property, which is predominately temperate rainforest and very hilly, though it is hot it is cool in the shade of the forest (also we have air conditioning in the car!). As well as the rainforest and magnificent Cedar trees we see the orchards and farm area, natural spring which powers the hydro and the solar farm…did I mention this place is literally off the grid?

Golden soup for dinner, it’s figuratively glistening in the pot. Some delicious home made crackers and spreads to accompany – highlights are the “Love your Heart Butter” – you won’t believe it’s not butter! Viva La Veggielike – you won’t believe it’s not Vegemite and the Basil Pesto – you won’t believe it’s not ‘not pesto’….

The evening is a relaxing blend of casual chit chat and informative talks – A focus on COVID. Peter and I are allowed to sit on the two seaters as we are sharing a room! Masks must be worn in shared areas. Tips for strengthening the immune system against COVID – eat well, get some sun (Vitamin and UVA), keep hydrated – with water and herb tea not coke or coffee!!!! make sure you get good sleep and plenty of fresh air.

Talking of sleep and fresh air – an early night is welcomed by all….sweet dreams

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Day One: Gone Cruisin’

Brrrrng Brrrrng….the alarm wakes us on the morning of the cruise and it’s excitement all around. Bags are packed, paper work is ready, the fridge is emptied and it’s time to go! The mini-bus arrives at 11am to pick us up, and after a few laps of the local area and with all (13?) seats full it’s off to the Overseas terminal…or so we think. It seems that some ships also leave from White Bay. When we arrive there it is pouring rain, and the passengers heading on the P&O short cruise (3 days off Sydney) look like drowned rats as they drag their luggage along to the White Bay Terminal.

Things are a bit brighter at Circular Quay as the rain has stopped and a few rays of sunshine are peeking through the clouds. Even so none of us notice the red nose on the bow of the ship as we are too busy organising our luggage. Our plan to carry-on as much luggage as possible has backfired, almost everything has to be checked-in. We will be able to carry it off ourselves though!

Then it’s up to the next floor to open our cruise accounts and get our sail and sign cards…then through customs and off to the tax refund booth where a hold up meant that I got separated from everyone else and missed the ‘Boarding the Ship’ photo….last port of call was the luggage check and then off to the cabin to drop the hand luggage and explore the ship….first stop the La Playa Grill (Deck 9) for lunch.

Lunch is an international affair Peter selecting Chinese food, mum & dad Italian, Lara joining the queue for ham and pineapple pizza and I went for the salad bar & Italian fish.  – Since it had been a long time since breakfast we made a trip to sweet treats where Lara discovered that in the cold jelly v’s warm plate challenge the jelly will lose. There was plenty of fresh fruit, cake pops and cream, but there was disappointment when we found the unlimited ice-cream was soft serve and there was no Blueberry Cheesecake flavor!!

A quick look around the upper decks and then back to the cabin to begin unpacking.

Didn’t get everything done and at 3.30pm it was off to the Fountain Café to join the ships tour with Rowley. Lara is very excited to find there is a library onboard and is hoping it is full of Manga…At 4pm Lara and Peter have to leave the ships tour to check out the kids clubs. The tour continues to the shopping area, casino Serenity Deck (adults only!) and then up to see Green Thunder, off to the Spa – where we got to try seaweed skin mask…then off to the Gym…where we find out that on average passengers gain 3kg each on a seven day cruise! We did not win the spa credit.

Back to cabin to finish unpacking as it is nearly time for dinner – the cabin still looks like a bomb went off when the alarm sounds for the COMPULSORY emergency drill. Off we go down to Deck 3 area B to check out our life boats and uh-oh we find it is the Italian Capt and realise we must pay strict attention as the last one hit a rock and the ship is still laying there! So now we are late for dinner & no time to unpack – it is all go on the cruise.

We head to the Empire Dining Room (Deck 2, Aft) and meet Aaron, our Head Waiter and his off-sider Bagous (otherwise known as Bali Boy) we also meet the bread delivery guy – who I am sure we will remember after a few days. We are at table 170 which is toward the edge of the room – not quite a window seat though. About 6:40pm during the mains we notice the ship is moving…Hurrah we are on our way. Three courses take a while to eat so it is after 7:30 when we leave.


Peter and Lara head to kids club visiting the library on the way (where Lara discovers that there are no Manga books and Peter finds out you have to sign over your 3rd born to borrow anything). The rest of us check that the accounts are set up properly and then swing past the daily photos, which we decide to leave as not everyone is in them L and head back to cabin.

No excuses now it is time to finish unpacking and put the cabin to rights. I visit Mum and Dads cabin (7166) to check out their extra space. When I head back to our cabin Lara has arrived back from kids club and is already in bed. So we get her up, I try out the shower – which has good pressure and temperature) then we all head off to the Welcome Aboard Show at 9:30pm. The Pharoahs Palace (Deck 2, Fwd)  is very impressive, and as you might guess is decorated in an Ancient Egyptian theme. The show is just a short one with a few songs by the ships entertainers, short performances by the comedians that are on board for the first few nights, and a bit of an introduction from the Cruise Director (Stu to his friends). There are plenty of other activities available but we are knackered so it is back to our Cabin and into bed.

For Dinner Tonight…..

Lara  – Prawns, pearch (with chips), jelly & ice cream (dessert only kids menu)
Peter –  Propical fruit plate, linguine, crème brulee
Ginger – Tropical fruit plate, perch, crème brulee
Colin – Beetroot capacciao, spaghetti , Black forest cherry cake
Jane – Salmon plate , Lamb Loin, Orange Cake

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Home-Sweet-Home Day – Sunday 24th July

Had to finish packing and checkout by 10am, still trying to finish jigsaw before leaving, return cd’s,dispose of ‘sharps’ and pay….hmm it’s a big day – take a deep breath.

Somehow my belonging have expanded and no longer fit into my suitcase and backpack – so off to pay and see if there are any plastic bags available (if only I’d popped in the expandable bags that the G gave me for Christmas – lesson learned). Plastic bag is of the small bin liner variety – but will have to do. Running a bit late but run into a fellow Hopewoodian and we dash to the Gym to do 10mins on the equipment – every little bit counts. Back to my room and 15mins to go……manage to get everything packed, including several sets of clothing for the days activities in the ‘black bag’. Hand in key and dash off to the “listening to your body  seminar” – only a few minutes late. Listen to my body and it’s telling me I need to finish the jigsaw – run into my jigsaw buddy and we give it a last burst of effort – get it finished!!! yayyy. Okay another thing ticked off. Lunch is next –still on the buffet but looking out for low carb uncooked food – yummy salads –  pea, asparagas and advocado, green salad with walnuts and for hot food lentil and carrot loaf – yummmm (and now I have the receipe).

Lunch is dealt with, now to get ready for the last Aqua class – Apart from the people the pool is the thing I will miss the most! Make it a memorable last effort and then sprint for a shower and head back to the office to hand in my robe and pick up my luggage (including hairbrush). Hair is wet and wild but when I get to reception I see Blackish…and then Peter and Lara! yeah they are here. After a big reunion we load the car and head off to Baulkham. Peter has bought 3 juicy steaks for dinner…….

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