Passport pics: a beginner’s guide.

So, one of the big events of the past year is that I finally got my Irish Citizenship.

When I say ‘got’, I always ‘had’ it. I just had to fight my way through incredibly restrictive consulate hours (10-1 on weekdays, I mean come on…) and mountains of paperwork to actually CERTIFY it. And that was just my registry certificate for citizenship.

Fun fact: for the certificate application, you could get everything authorised by a PRIEST, but not a Justice of the Peace. Oh Ireland.

So, as happens when one is a citizen of a country, I am also entitled to a Republic of Ireland passport. That was a whole process on its own. You’ll be pleased to know I didn’t stick with my creepily photoshopped pics either.

But one of the best parts of this whole process was the ‘What not to do’ when posing for your passport pic.


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So no selfies. Ok. That seems fair.

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No cute backgrounds. Or scarves. Harsh.

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No transitions lenses. Passport AND fashion advice?

And then I got curious. Here are some others from around the world.

1. Sashaying into South Africa.

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POINTER: Do not do a group shot for your passport in SA.

If it was good enough for Josie and the Pussycats and the Riverdale Transit Authority…


And whatever you do, don’t get your picture taken from a suburb away.

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2. Joining in with Germany.

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Step back you’re dancing kinda close, lady.

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…Seems unnecessarily cruel. How are you meant to deal with that? I have a big head. I missed the whole cute hat thing and I’m pretty sensitive about it if you don’t mind. Poor kid. You’re not alone.

3. Let me in, Lithuania.

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Why this wouldn’t be approved is beyond me, it is literally flawless.

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…With hat.

4. Find a place for me, France.

France has potentially been my fave. And if you’re thinking of grabbing yourself a French passport, heed these guidelines carefully.

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Pictures taken at last week’s BBQ are not acceptable.

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And finally?

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Your kid’s only allowed in if his dad is Daniel Craig.



A fun analysis of European lodging, in pictures.


Well, I’ve been a busy bee.

I’ve been looking into accommodation for #tbt (which I’m stealing for ‘The Big Trip’), and what a fun exercise in the internet this has been.

Anyway, I was going round and round in circles, just trying to find a place to sleep in these cities I’ve never been to. What if they’re gross? What if they have bed bugs? What if it’s like staying in Penrith?

Trip advisor has not been my friend. I’ve spent more time on that website than I care to think about in the last few weeks.

I’ve had post-booking regret. I’ve learnt the currency conversion lesson the hard way. I’ve learnt the word for toilet in Spanish (Indoro!)

But most importantly, I did think it was worth sharing a few highlights with you, if you care to see them.

1. Women Bed.

Paris, France. Women Bed. Picture that.

Paris, France. Best name ever. I also imagine a big bed made out of ladies.


2. Another Paris Hostel.

Still at Women Bed. Sadly, I decided to stay elsewhere, but I like escaping boys. And looking human.

At another Paris hostel. Sadly, I decided to stay elsewhere, but I like escaping boys. And looking human.


3. The Generator Hostel, Paris.

BONJOUR SALVADOR. Imagine waking up to that every f-ing morning.

BONJOUR SALVADOR. Imagine waking up to that every f-ing morning.


4. My hotel, Amsterdam.

Hahahaha butt hotel (I'm staying here)

Read: I’m staying on a giant butt.


5. Airbnb, London.

In London now. I saw character house and had this horrible fear I'd be lodging with furries. What's a furry? Don't google it at work.

In London now. I saw character house and had this horrible fear I’d be lodging with furries. What’s a furry? Don’t google it at work.


6. Where I decided to stay (The Mandarin).

Where I looked at staying.

Fancy. And only like $650 AUD p/n for the cheapest room.


7. Reality.

Where I am officially staying.

Where I am actually staying in London.

8. And… Conscious Hotel.

And finally, Amsterdam. Thank you for being creepy and ridiculous in equal measure.

And finally, Amsterdam. Thank you for being creepy and ridiculous in equal measure.

Wish me the best, and I’ll do the same for you next time you’re booking beds in foreign countries.

(Should I take my own pillowcases?)




Victoria, Dec 2014. Highlights, Lowlights, Insights, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a little bit of travelling, as this time of year calls for. I trust you all had full glasses and tummies over the past few weeks, and are all making resolutions to find your runners and locate a gym near you.

So I thought before I get into the panic that will be my appalling currency conversion estimates and backpack dilemma (this is a real thing), here are some highlights from the last few weeks.

Domestic travel, practise journey #1.
SYD – MEL – Meredith Music Festival.

My flight to Melbourne was at 10.20am. We sat on the runway for 20 minutes. This totally ruined the “this time in an hour we’ll be about to land” routine I have down pat, but it wasn’t the biggest problem of the day.

Mid-flight, the turbulence got so bad that the flight attendants said they had to stop serving drinks. I had one hand on my armrest and one on the seat in front, and with every bump I was cursing myself for getting on this stupid excuse for transport.

So, the guy next to me started laughing and then just said to me “Nahhhh bro (?) don’t worry, it’s like a roller coaster. It’s fun.”


F off.

Anyway to my genuine surprise, we landed. I ran into the airport more excited than ever. Slightly troubling for the amount of sedation I’d had.

Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover.

Before I get to the whole story, I hired a campervan for this particular weekend, which upon serious deliberation was baptised “Vanereal Disease.”

It was from Jucy Campers (first red flag), and it was grossssssss. The mattress had been stapled together (and was splitting apart), they left a mouldy tea towel in the van, and there were stains everywhere… That I didn’t care to identify.

Here’s a blurry picture of the mattress, which accurately represented how I saw the world after a night’s sleep in this hell wagon. To their credit, they refunded part of the cost, but I don’t know how I go about chasing them up for pain and suffering.

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So don’t say I didn’t warn you, adventurers.

Meredith. The dusty jewel in the festival crown.

If you haven’t been there, it’s hard to explain what makes the Meredith festivals so dang good. And there’s no way I’ll be able to do it justice. Just know that it’s a great place and is run by very good people.

With my pals Ash and James and Ash’s bro + pals, we set off. First stop? A Werribee Servo, where thankfully, they have a wall dedicated to the quotes of great orators. Complemented by a stunning bug zapper. Straya mates.


Coincidentally, they did an amazing bacon and egg roll. Seriously.

So we set off to the Golden Plains Shire to our beloved Meredith. Ash and I took a wrong turn (or didn’t make the turn) and ended up heading towards the Great Ocean Road or something, which I actually wouldn’t have minded – but doesn’t help when you’re in a convoy. We blame each other for the missed exit. I actually really blame the van for everything.

But we got there, and it was glorious. Well we queued for a little while, but that’s part of the fun.


8am. Aka the view from Tinny Time.

Too much to say.

It was a great weekend. To make the whole review palatable, I’ve broken it into highlights and lowlights.


  • It was so dusty… that after one morning, I could remove my thongs and a dirt outline of them remained. But it was kind of cool, let’s be honest. Also, we were sneezing dirt for days after. But I’m okay with that too. Souvenirs?
  • Some chick brought a full length mirror. My camp witnessed her dragging it out of her car and into her tent. I mean to each their own but really. REALLY.
  • Shower tokens. They only last 3 minutes. But that’s okay, it’s a lesson in what you can achieve in that time. And it’s a surprising amount.
  • Dickheads. I personally witnessed a group of dickheads doing beer bongs. The beer bongs weren’t the problem. The problem was they were singing Drake while their mates drank. So everyone was subject to rounds of  “Started from the bottom now we’re here” while their pals downed VB through a traffic cone.


  • The music, obviously. War on Drugs, Mark Lanegan, The Harpoons, Augie March, Ghostface Killah and De La Soul crushed it… along with the City of Ballarat Brass Band, of course.
  • (It’s) The vibe. Cheesy as it may sound, Aunty Meredith and her townsfolk make you feel very welcome. And it’s always nice knowing you’re buying a bacon and egg roll or a snag off the Meredith Cricket Club or equally lovely local organisation.
  • The food. Man, people don’t think about a festival being DELICIOUS but seriously, from the veggie burgers to the Beatbox burgers, it’s a winner.
  • The company. I was with awesome people, and quickly saw other pals which was nice. But most importantly, Ash and James got engaged! LITTLE CUTIES. Also we met some guy who had half a beard, which was interesting. He said it was a compromise between him and his wife. Shrug.
  • Meredith. From the music to the sunsets to the people to the housekeeping to the BYO alcohol, you are the best.


Aaaand that about does it. Back to Europe freakouts next blog.

PS – When I was in Melbourne CBD waiting to go back home I saw the lamest coffee sign ever.

… Warning…

PPS – I drove back, and I got to pat this cool dog on the way.



It all started when I was born.

Well, okay, it started when my Grandad was born. In Ireland. Before he moved to Australia. And since that happened, and apparently Ireland will let anyone be a citizen, I am entitled to citizenship there too.

So I got into my ‘getting-shit-done’ mode. I hadn’t had an Australian passport since some ridiculous year, and had always been meaning to get the right bits and pieces to get myself into the Irish consulate to sort out my Irishness. Both of these things, as you’d expect, require proof of ID in the form of authorised, unflattering, passport photographs.

My self-esteem was high. I was getting everything I needed sorted. I even left home early for work one day (a rare event) so I could get my picture taken when I was looking as fresh and sparkling as possible.

It was the usual process. I went in. Got hair out of my face. Sat awkwardly low in front of a white screen. And the dude taking the pictures did his thing and told me to collect them at lunchtime. I proudly paid and set off, ready to succeed at being an adult like I had that morning.

Then, it happened.

I went back to pick up my photos, keen to finish my applications. As I opened the little photo envelope, I couldn’t wait to see those little 45x35mm pieces of success so I could join in on all the jokes about “how crap my passport photo is, ahahaha.”



Here is a picture of me that I just took. It is one of the most unflattering pictures of me ever on a humid summer day, with no make up, and my hair undid, but it is my ACTUAL face shape.

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Here is his version.

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Not only did he give me gills on my neck, he brought my eyes closer together. Did something to my jawline. And I can’t even explain what happened to one side of my face.


I hurriedly took the photos and ran away, only to return a day later asking for my money back. He was pretty annoyed too. When he asked why I said? “DO YOU THINK THIS LOOKS LIKE ME?!” and held it up next to my face.

And HE said, “I just try to make you look better.”

Oh. Okay.

After that, I spent approximately 12 hours examining my eyebrows in a mirror.

Now I know how supermodels feel.

Why Contiki isn’t for me.

While exploring my options, I did vaguely consider doing some sort of tour. Being a first timer on this sort of trip, I thought – like everyone does – that it may be a good way to see the sights. Intrepid looked nice. But apart from the fact the age group for Contiki is 18-39 (Or, the place where Toolies go when everyone else is in school), there was something else that ruined the idea for me.

I had just graduated high school in Canberra. And while  my hometown lived up to the stereotype of many-a-public-servant, there was also a fairly strong Defence Force contingent hanging around the Nash Cap.

So one day, innocently enough, I found myself at one of the heavily Irish-themed pubs in town with a couple of friends. While we were there, a group of young men who were in the Army, and doused in Lynx Africa, asked if they could join our table.

We politely obliged – still excited about being able to drink Vodka Cruisers in public.

It was nearing summer, and talk quickly turned to the kinds of holidays we were all going to be on over the Christmas period. I was doing my usual Canberra/Sydney/Newcastle jaunt to see all the relatives. A friend of mine was heading off to America to work as an au pair. But then this guy, turned to me with a huge grin, and goes…

“I’m goin’ on a chuck ‘n’ f*ck.”

I was like:

And he was like: “It’s called Contiki, apparently everyone just roots each other and you go to all these places in Europe and yeah, PAAAAAAARTY.”

He offered to buy me a drink after that. In shocking news, I said no.

Now look, I know there are exceptions to every rule. And I know that my friends and family have done these tours and loved (or hated them), or even met their future spouses on them.

But for me?

I think doing my own thing will do me just fine.



Yeah, so.

I always had this goal in mind that I would go to Europe before I turned 30. It was just this milestone that I had in my head, and if it didn’t happen, I was a loser.

For a trillion and one reasons, it hasn’t happened yet.

It being travel. Outside of Australia. Since I was a lot younger.

I blame the GFC.

But, this year, a very good (and very accomplished) pal of mine, Lauren, used her ~mad skillz~ to get me a very decent ticket into Berlin and out of Dublin.

In March.

Two weeks after the big 3-0.

For 26 nights.

The rest is up to me.

How are you feeling about it all?

I’m pretty much sitting here in a bubble of overwhelm, having personal crises about whether I’m too old to stay in a hostel (private room, thanks), whether I should catch trains or fly through Europe, or whether I’ll get arrested on the plane for having a meltdown mid-flight thanks to a pretty solid fear of flying.

What countries are you going to?

Good question! I actually don’t know yet.

What I can tell you is that I’d worked out I could spend 3 days in like… 8 countries (maths) and I would be a European hero.

But I was talking to a friend*, and to paraphrase, she was like, “Bitch, calm down. You can go to Europe any day. People who do Europe right, do it in stages. Like me. Because I’m fierce. Stop stressing. Enjoy. Live. Laugh. Love. Om.”

What’s your next move?

Figure out how much money I can make from all of my possessions to cover the GBP exchange rate, take half-arsed French, German, Dutch, and British lessons on YouTube, and probably have 50 mental breakdowns.

Why are you blogging about this, you psycho?

Because it just feels like the right thing to do. After all, if you can’t be cathartic on the internet, where can you be?

(Plus I paid $18 for a domain name.)

Stay tuned.