What being “Pilbara-ised” means to me …

Last night I went to the local pub for a drink to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  I wore heels … gorgeous black and white satin heels.  It seemed like a great idea at the time … but after an hour (ok five minutes) it just made me feel sore and awkward.  And it got me thinking about what it means to be “Pilbara-ised”.  My girlfriend and I laughed at the fact that all we wanted to do was go home and take off our heels … we laughed at the fact that we would rather be wearing thongs … or worse still, steel capped boots.  OMG who am I?  And what happened to the girl that moved here nearly 2 years ago?

To explain where I came from, I’ll quote a sentence or two from the “about” section of my blog … which given the events of the past 2 years, perhaps needs to be brought a little more up to date!

I love champagne, cocktails, anything sparkly, stilettos are my best friend and I wouldn’t be caught dead in tracksuit pants.  I only drive automatics and need my nails done every second Saturday.  My mobile phone is as much a fashion accessory as it is a method of keeping in touch with friends and family … and I need at least 2 take away coffees a day just to keep the bitchiness at bay.

Now, add to this … would not leave the house without a full face of make up, would never be caught dead wearing a hat of any description, had to wear a huge assortment of jewellery on every finger, arm, neck, wrist available at all times and I think you should just about get the picture …

Fast forward nearly two years and here I am … I haven’t worn stilettos in who knows how long (I didn’t even wear them on my wedding day … yes I know there are red stilettos in the photos, but I only put them on for the photos, I was really wearing ballet flats – oh oh secret’s out!), I no longer have acrylic nails, I love my Akubra hat, I only wear a watch and only put my engagement & wedding rings on to “go out” (you know, to Woolies and stuff), I have a coffee machine at home (no take aways here) and I OWN A MANUAL CAR – yep, remember how good I am at driving them?  I do still like make up, but don’t wear anywhere near as much as I used to.   Oh how times have changed!

I did love getting all glammed up for my wedding day … I got eyelash extensions and at least an hour’s worth of face paint.  I loved every second of it, every second in my gorgeous pair of ivory ballet flats 😉

Now Mr W. would argue that there are definitely still some “city princess” traits lingering … like the fact that I HATE it when he drives with the window open … 10 hours of wind is not good for my hair, hence I have to take my Fiorucci Scarf on long trips to ensure my hair stays tangle free … it’s more about the knot factor than the actual asthetics, trust me.  I still have designer handbags (didn’t you know that Oroton goes really well with black thongs?).  But given the fact that I would now rather squat on the side of the road rather than use some road house toilets*, even he would have to agree that I’ve come along way!

pp xx

* Remind me to tell you a really funny story about using the side of the road as my personal restroom … trust me, it’s a good one!

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High Vis Princess

It wasn’t so long ago that I arrived in sunny Newman (and yes I am saying that in a sarcastic tone) … with my acrylic nails, stilettos, face full of makeup … I would never be seen without my pink designer bag … or make up for that matter.  Well, fast forward 9 months and check me out now!  Thought I’d share a few photos that I took at work last week …

This is me at work ... just hanging out ...

I’ve replaced my stilettos with a pair of super comfy steel caps (accompanied by Mr. W.’s socks of course!).

just in case you missed it the first time ...

And back to that “sunny” thing for just a minute … can you believe that when I got in my 4×4 (yep, there’s no “car” anymore) this afternoon it said 50 degrees on the temperature gauge … can’t talk … melting!!!

pp xx

The Gibb River Hilton … Part 1 “In The Beginning”

On Monday, Mr W. and I will be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime … an adventure which has inspired me to write my first series.  Actually, perhaps we should call it an epic, it might be more fitting.  Four weeks camping in the outback is certainly more than just an adventure …

And so before we set off I thought I’d fill you in on all the details …

Gorgeous Mr W. has provided his princess the most luxurious of camper trailers to rest my pretty head in.  I’ve named it the “Gibb River Hilton”.  Seriously, both Paris and Nicole would be proud of this one!  Being the big strong man he is, Mr W. has fitted out the “Gibb River Hilton” with all the essentials … a gourmet kitchen (seriously, wait until you see photos … which I will post at our first stop … you see, he’s so organised he’s already packed it away and I’m not allowed to open it until we get there!!), a queen size mattress (for all the snuggling we are going to be doing … not!), a tub for bathing (um excuse me?  a tub?  Do I look like I bathe in a tub??), plenty of toilet rolls (I actually asked Mr W. what all of these were for, I mean, don’t most camping grounds have ablution facilities.  He just giggled and walked away.  Apparently trees will be my friend) … we’ve even got a kitchen sink, I kid you not!

I’ve also added my own essentials (and some of these will be news to Mr W.).  I’ve traded in my beautiful designer handbag for a backpack, yes you heard it here first.  This backpack contains a now not so secret stash of chocolate*, disposable toothbrushes, make up wipes and perfume, battery operated hair straightners … hey you never know who you’ll meet in the outback … perhaps Hugh Jackman will be re-visiting the set of Australia?  And of course, there will be all those romantic nights with Mr W. under the stars … just me and him, spending quality time together.  There certainly won’t be any repeats of last Tuesday night, that’s for sure (although I’ve hidden the panadol deep in my backpack, just in case).  I’ve also stashed a carton of my most favourite red wine in the 4 x 4.  I can see it now, gorgeous sunsets at Cape Leveque, red red wine.  Yes I know, I’m dreaming again aren’t I.  I’ll be too busy trying to find suitable trees to be admiring the sunset!!

I’ve been advised that stilettos will have no place on this trip, however that I will need a pair of “good” shoes, should we head to the pub whilst staying in little towns along the way.  Now, my argument is that stilettos are “good” shoes, in more ways than one, and therefore should be allocated cargo space.  Mr W. and my definition of “good” shoes obviously differ.  He suggested I bring a pair of Dunlop volley type shoes that I had purchased as part of a fancy dress outfit.  You can imagine the look of horror on my face.  Well, after weeks of debate, and anxiety on my part, we have come to a compromise (a word Mr W. has quickly learnt the meaning of lately) … my “good” shoes will be a pair of low heeled black Zu cowboy boots.  However, it has been stipulated that they remain under my jeans.  My skinny jeans have also been denied cargo space on this trip … but I managed to sneak chocolate in, so leave that with me.

I’ve even put the word out to see if anyone knows of a manicurist in Kununurra … cos my poor old acrylics will need refilling by the time we get there.  They really aren’t red dirt resilient.

It’s going to be one epic tale … so make sure you subscribe to the Pilbara Princess so you don’t miss any of our adventures.  We are going to doing things like chopper flights, visiting the Wolf Creek Crater and staying at Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek.  Not to mention all the stories that Mr W. will provide me with.  Don’t miss it!!

*after reading this blog post … Mr W. ate my “not so secret stash of chocolate” … guess I’m off to Woolies again tomorrow.

I think I’ve grown fish scales …

Yes it’s true, I think I’ve grown fish scales …despite the fact that I’ve never lived so far from the ocean!  (you know the ones I’m talking about … they drive you nuts with itchiness and have that white flakey skin going on!!!  yummy)  I thought I would share with you a tale of my “Pilbara Makeover” …

Most of the time we have make overs to make us look more appealing … change our make up, hair colour or style, wear trendier clothes.  Well, in this case I would say that I have done the  complete  opposite (although I have to say that Mr W. is more than happy with the results, aren’t you honey?)

It all started with the fish scales … a direct result of  all the calcium in the  water here  (there’s enough calcium in the water to grow another arm or leg … just ask my shower screen) … but also the fact that it’s actually cold at night  ( and you know, there is no one to keep me warm coz Mr W. isn’t the most cuddly person in the world, well, unless … well you know!!!)  and so you have boiling hot showers and then when you get out of the shower you’re soooo cold that you can’t be bothered to moisturise … let me tell you this is a vicious cycle with to no end … in fact the only end is the fish scale effect!!!  And don’t get me started on the effect that it has on your feet … I mean, we are talking cracks you can put 20c pieces into … like I said, I really think that Mr W. is more than happy with my Pilbara Makeover, he just can’t keep his hands off me …

My daily make up routine has been somewhat reduced … once a smoky eye kinda gal … I now get by with just the basics, foundation and mascara … cos I mean ,  who needs blush when you have red dirt everywhere, all the time.  (and they say theres no dust in Newman – feel free to bring your white gloves and do the Michael Jackson test at my place)  I mean you are literally covered with it.  It gives you that healthy, just been on holidays  in Bali glow … not !!!!!

White is totally out of the question.  I found this out the hard way.  My crisp white singlet suddenly turned pink…… literally before my eyes).  And not even nappy san can resurrect those stains.  Oh and that’s not to mention my white sneakers … which are now a beautiful shade of, you guessed, pink.  At least I can prove that I do exercise up here … well I did once or twice anyway lol.

My corporate wardrobe has had a huge makeover.  I’ve gone from skirts and stilettos to fluro orange high vis shirts, jeans and steel capped boots (I’ve steered clear of the camel  / tan coloured suede favoured by most and gone with a more fashion forward black … lace up to the ankle … come on peeps, ankle boots are so hot right now  but on the bright side the heels don’t get caught in anything ).

Actually talking about boots … I’ve actually lost a few inches … no seriously … my stilettos have been banned  (I think Mr W. is a little embarrassed to be seen in public on a Saturday morning with me while I’m wearing them actually) … and in their place I have thongs … not just one pair … a “crap” pair for around the house (these thongs are well worn, about 3 years old and very very comfy).  And a “good” pair.   These ones are for “going out  for a night on the town (can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?) … and feature a little diamonte on each one … despite the fact that they too are well worn, about 3 years old and very very comfy.  Gosh … I could write a whole post on thongs … hmmm watch this space …

in a while crocodile
pp xx

Breakfast at the Tropic of Capricorn

I’m woken up by Mr W. suggesting that we head out for breakfast.  The thought of a good breakfast perked me up somewhat, despite the fact that I was awake at 5 am on a Saturday morning and I’m feeling a bit hungover from drinking too much wine at the footy club the night before (although I would never admit it).  So I hauled my seedy ass out of bed, showered and got dressed (leggins, leopard print tunic and denim vest, just in case you were wondering).  Mr W. raised his eyebrows at my attire (come on there were stilettos involved, I really didn’t see the problem) … but the thought of a good eggs benny and double skinny latte had lifted my mood beyond caring.

And so we set off to drive the 15km or so from Newman to Capricorn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropic_of_Capricorn) … the “Cappy” Roadhouse as it’s known around these parts.  The Cappy Roadhouse is a popular “trukkie stop” which also doubles as a restuarant and a pub.  And so in we go.  We are greeted by a typical roadhouse set up.  I checked out the menu on the counter … no eggs benny in sight.  I ordered bacon and eggs and Mr W. ordered the “Cappy Special” … which is basically everything.  I already had my sights on his hash browns.  I then proceeded to ask for a latte … before I knew it I was holding a yellow mug containing a teaspoon of instant coffee.  I could hear a voice in the back of my head “toughen up princess, you’re in the Pilbara now”.  Swallowing hard I took the mug and wandered over to the urn.  With my steaming mug of instant coffee … I stood there searching for the milk.  Hmmmm I stared blankly at the space next to the urn, hoping it would miraculously materialise.  A truckie happened to walk past at this point, so I asked him “excuse me, but do you know where I would find the milk?”.  He pointed at the bar fridge that I was standing in front of, before casually asking me “dye job?” (obviously referring to the fact that while I might be a brunette, he clearly thought I should be blonde).  I couldn’t help but chuckle at his quick wit.

And so, with my milky coffee in hand I headed into the restaurant section to find Mr W.  Now, I must admit, I was quite taken with the place.  There was a well stocked bar, pool table and lots of retro signs and paraphenalia from a time gone by.  I got my ass kicked at pool while we waited for our brekkie to arrive.  It was pretty cool, we had the whole place to ourselves.  Good music on the telly.  Good lord it took all my strength not to jump the bar and crack open a tinnie.

And then brekkie arrived … and what they put in front of me was waaaayyyy better than any eggs benny!!  You can check out the photos for yourself.  Whatever they do to that bacon works …

Mr W.'s "Cappy Special"

My bacon & eggs ... BEST bacon ever!

best cure for a hangover ... I'm not shy ... ate the entire thing! plus Mr W.'s hash browns ... YUM!

Now before I go, I have to share this next photo with you because it has provided me with endless hours of giggles.  When we finished brekkie, I noticed one of the girls was “setting” the table next to us … now all I have to do is find out what the hell I have to do to be a VIP at the Cappy Roadhouse Breakfast Table cos god knows even a princess needs to feel special once in a while.

Now, if you think the fun was over, you’re wrong.  A few kilometres down the road on the journey home, Mr W. started to slow down.  I was too busy facebooking to see what was going on, however was soon alerted to the fact that the road was being taken over by a herd of station cattle … excitement was a bit of an understatement … I had the camera out before they hit the bitchumen.  You can’t get anymore outback than this.

pp xx

Life Lessons of a Pilbara Princess

Well … I’ve been here nearly 3 weeks and in this short time I have learned so many lessons … many of which I will carry with me forever.  I thought I would share some of them with you … just in case you ever find yourself a bit north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

  • Apparently once you get a manual into 5th gear it is NOT like driving an automatic.
  • And while we are on the topic of gears and clutches (and no not the evening bag kind) … driving bare foot is much easier than in stilettos … or even thongs for that matter).
  • Always make sure you have alcohol in the house for any ocassion which may arise.  The fact that you cannot buy wine prior to 12pm may be hinderous to pre-lunch drinking sessions otherwise.  Just something I’ve learned.
  • Wine Time comes earlier when you live North of the Tropic of Capricorn … no seriously it does.  Something to do with the sun?
  • When your partner is on night shift and has only been asleep for 45 minutes … don’t burn your toast, thus setting off the smoke alarm and waking them up … they really don’t appreciate it.  However if you’re bored while waiting for them to wake up around 2pm, then the smoke alarm thing is always an option.
  • If someone tells you not to touch the settings on the washing machine, DON’T TOUCH THEM.  A flooded house will usually be the result and you will then have to spend an hour soaking up the water with towels when you realise the drains are blocked.
  • If you’re really unsure of the car you’re driving (mainly because it is a dirty great big four wheel drive with gears) and you’re worried you might kill someone upon entering the local Woolies carpark, then it’s best you park at least 1 km away at, say a local visitors centre, and walk into town.  This will avoid any minor, or major mishaps.  Although at some point you are going to have to go into that carpark … the weekly shopping will not carry itself that far.
  • Getting “dressed up” may have different translations depending on how far North you live.  Wearing jewellery to Woolies is definitely not essential … and stilettos are forbidden.
  • The wearing of stilettos to job interviews is also a bone of conention up here … if in doubt carry your thongs in a bag and swap them whilst in a quiet isle in the supermarket.  Just don’t get caught.
  • Sometimes the local supermarket runs out of meat, sometimes they run out of vegetables … and sometimes they run out of both.  It certainly makes for creative cooking.

Well … I hope these help you if you’re ever up this way …

pp xx