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I love Australia!

I love Australia!

For most of Australia, yesterday’s public holiday was just an extra day off work.

Enjoy the sun, have a few drinks and a bbq and spend time with family and friends.

Then the Prime Minister lost her shoe and not only this country, but the world was once again distracted by the uncomfortable history that surrounds 26 January in Australia.

Because ‘Australia Day’ will never be just another public holiday. Created as a way to mark the anniversary of the arrival of the first convict boats, it will forever be also known as ‘Invasion Day’.

There is nothing Australia can do to change its past. Of course it must recognise the struggle of the indigenous people of Australia and apologise to the descendants of the Aboriginal people who were treated without respect by those who arrived here. It can continue to acknowledge that Australia is Aboriginal first. Australia can continue to give Aboriginal people, as well as everyone who lives here, a voice in the future of the country.

Because Australia should belong to everyone now. We should celebrate what it means to be Australian no matter what background you are from or who was here first. Let’s enjoy Australia Day today and look forward to its future. Celebrate the fact that people from hundreds of different backgrounds now live here and call it their home. That I can be one of those millions who came to live here and feels a part of the nation.

Yes, there is still work to do to give indigenous people a proper and rightful place in this country. And as a Brit, my experience of finding my way was always going to be easy. But don’t let the world only hear about the protests, the disagreements and that lost shoe.

Let’s share the positives of Australia Day. The traditions of communities coming together all across Australia for events and good times.

As the official Australia Day slogan summed up so well this year ‘Celebrate what’s great.’

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picture of rain

Is this all we have to look forward to this weekend in Sydney?

It’s December in Sydney and the sun should be shining!

But sadly, our plans for the beach, barbecues and outdoor beers are on hold as the rain is predicted to set in for the second weekend in a row.

So, what to do? Here’s my top five suggestions for making the best out of the miserable weather this weekend:

1)      Sushi and songs

For the perfect all-in-one dinner/drinks/late-night entertainment venue that saves you having to bar-hop through the rain, head to Mizuya on George Street. This underground restaurant serves up delicious, fresh sushi in cozy surroundings, far away from the disappointing weatheroutside. The hot pot with wagyu beef is a favourite of mine, and the various meat and fish skewers are addictive. Better still, you get to order your dinner on a touch screen at your table, meaning you can keep going back for more until you’re stuffed!

Oh, and once you’re full of sushi and sake, simply head down the corridor to the real reason Mizuya was created – karaoke booths where you can gather all your mates into a sealed room, belt out your favourite songs until the early hours and even order more sushi if you wish!

2)      Head to an Irish Bar

That’s right, what better way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon, than settled down in a traditional Irish Pub with some hearty grub, a live band or two and perhaps a pint of Guinness. There’s plenty of options in central Sydney including PJ O’Brien’s, Durty Nelly’s, Scruffy Murphy’s and Paddy Maguires.

For the ultimate Irish experience however – and a venue I can’t recommend enough – head to Mulligan’s restaurant in Chippendale. You’ll enjoy the best comfort food in Sydney, in surroundings which feel like you’re in the living room of a cuddly older relative.

3)      Pretend you’re in the UK

For an ex-pat, Christmas in Australia has meant swapping many of the traditional wintry fayre for light, summery bites in reflection of the warmer weather. So this weekend, why not head to Lindt Cafe at Darling Harbour and indulge with a warming hot chocolate and marshmallows, or snuggle up at home with a hot mince pie, brandy butter and your favourite Greatest Hits Xmas CD.

4)      Get cultural

Time to explore all the museums, art galleries and other interesting parts of Sydney that it just seems wrong to visit when the sun is shining. First stop could be the new Picasso exhibition now open at Art Gallery New South Wales where you’ll get to see more than 150 pieces of his work.

5)      Get out of Sydney and catch a flight to Melbourne

Four words that need no further explanation: Topshop is now open. What better reason do we need to escape Sydney for the weekend than a chance to explore one of the UK’s most successful fashion chains now open at its first location in Australia. Prepare yourself for chaos and queues, but it’ll be worth it when you get to swan into work on Monday in your brand new Topshop clothes.

Who needs sunshine!

What are your weekend plans?

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