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Jökulsárlón, Iceland

there is something spiritual about floating on a glacier lagoon, air so cool and crisp it literally takes your breath away.
once we made it away from the shore and the rubber dinghy’s engine cut, it was silence… interspersed by the occasional call of birds overhead and the cracking of the icebergs as they swayed, creaked & settled on themselves on their slow journey from the glacier to the sea.
we witnessed lines of time in the layers of ice; thousands of years right in front of us. ash from past volcanic eruptions.
harshest winters of clear ice and warmer summers in cloudy colour.
a kaleidoscope of time and an environmental barometer.
Iceland is literally the land of fire & ice.
it was one of the best adventures we’ve had.
and eating a chunk of thousand year crystal ice fished straight from the lagoon was incredible!
my view…Jökulsárlón icebergs

this is me…. @thisismelly

wild coast, NZ

today we hiked over a mountain to the most beautiful, remote & rugged shore.

near Jackson’s Bay, on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, we discovered wild blue ocean waves, foaming white as they crashed into the rocks stoically standing along the shore.

my husband has been teaching me to drone. he has a DJI Mavic 2 Zoom which is a marvel of machinery. it fares brilliantly in the windiest of conditions and takes epic photography and film footage.

Queenstown :: Mt Nicholas Station

What a fun experience visiting a working sheep & cattle station!

The boat ride over to the farm, cruises through the most spectacular scenery. The boat’s Captain provides some historic info & interesting facts about Lake Wakatipu. Did you know that, with five rivers feeding the lake and one river exiting, Lake Wakatipu has a tide and can rise & fall over 20cms every hour!

Seating on the boat is warm and comfortable and there are amenities like toilets and a snack/drink bar.

It docks at the one end of the lake, on a beautiful, grey pebbled shore. Our station tour host & guide greet us, and we start with a visit to the wool shed where the knowledgeable Gail explains the sheep’s lifecycle, how & when they are sheared, how wool is graded, the process for sorting, cleaning & treating, and where the wool from the Mt Nicholas Station ends up. It’s very interesting and the smell of the wool shed is definitely unique!

We head over to see a few farm animals, including the most gorgeous, well mannered (retired) dogs Belle (who is on heat) and Khan (who really wants her), some pigs, chickens & sheep. The dogs can’t wait to give us a demo of their former trade; rounding up the sheep. We even get to see a lot of Khan chasing Belle around trying to mount her! It’s all incredible to watch.

Gale takes us on a bus ride to see a tiny bit of the 100,000 acres of the property. It’s the most spectacular scenery and she gives us some great history and knowledge of the current station owners & workers. She is interactive and easy to listen too.

We arrive back where we started for some Ploughman’s Lunch; some homemade soup, meats, cheeses, bread, pickles and sweet treats before the boat arrives to collect us for our return journey.

All up, it was a fun, informative and beautiful hands-on experience, that roughly took about 3 hours in total.

Definitely a recommended activity when you’re in Queenstown.

afternoon delight, honey

it’s not what you think, sorry!

my husband’s colleague has a hobby farm that produces the most spectacular honey, straight from the hive.

we were fortunate to get a little container of this gooey, sweet, golden goodness and on a warm winter’s afternoon in Sydney I created the most delicious platter to accompany this nectar of the gods (aka bees).

I also grilled up some delicious prawns with a chilli & lemongrass dressing, to make our afternoon fare a little more substantial.

Wollombah Ridge Honey

see for yourself on their instagram pages @wollombah_ridge_honey and @wollombah_ridge

a sweet & delicious afternoon in the Sydney winter sun!

@thisismelly

Secret Parisian Bars & Divine Delights

We’re in Paris for my upcoming fortieth birthday!

I found the restaurant on Instagram and just had to go…

No bookings mean we have to wait for a table, but how joyous to do so! We have a drink downstairs in the speakeasy. You are given no directions, and clandestinely enter through a “no entry” meatlocker to find a dim, red velvet walled bar. The menu suggests a flight for the tastebuds; sweet, sour, acidic, dry…a cocktail to match. Relax & chat while you wait listening to some hip hop chill.

We get a text message that our table is ready! Dinner is fun; the servers are friendly and happy to help with recommendations. They don’t even mind our lame attempt at ordering in French.

We have prosciutto & melon to start which is light and sweet and delicious. For mains he has the steak with roast potatoes and cheesy polenta which he exclaims is heaven on earth. I have the Instagram pizza which is large and delicious; bubbly, fluffy woodfired dough and wafer thin slices of ham and mushrooms. We have a side salad that is so big it could feed a herd of rabbits! We ambitiously order a bottle of red wine, but have some green tea to help digest while we share a heavenly dessert; a slice of some godly creation where tiramisu meets banoffi pie. Divine.

Seriously, there is nothing bad to say about Pink Mumma. Go, eat, drink and save room for dessert.

cook | eat

this salad has simple yet sophisticated ingredients that are really so effortless to pull together.

we had this on a Friday night after a long week at work. we wanted something light yet decadent, and we didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen; relaxation, wine and chats were needed, and this dish pairs perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of watercress; washed & trimmed
  • Prosciutto; roughly torn
  • Camembert; the best quality you can afford
  • Fresh figs; washed, dried, halved and grilled for a couple minutes each side (2 per person)
  • pistachio nuts; shelled and dry toasted in a dry pan (handful for two)

All these ingredients don’t really have measurements; just add to taste or increase/decrease according to numbers of people eating.

No dressing is needed because the figs caramelise on the outside and stay juicy on the inside which lends a lovely liquid to the salad.

Method:

Assemble in pretty layers of ingredients, the smaller more delicate ingredients towards the top. Serve with or without a glass of crisp, slightly sweet rosé or a mature Blanc de Blanc champagne.

kaiseki :: sasaki, sydney

Ma. The concept of Japanese minimalism. Shibui. The aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.

Everything about Sasaki is delicate, minimalist, has beauty and purpose, and of course, the finest ingredients are precisely and proudly cooked, plated and presented.

We had the “omakase” menu, which translates to ‘leave it up to you’, the chef. A degustation of sorts.

Plump pretty oysters (Oyster, Akazu & Mandarin), silky subtle scallops(Scallops, Celeriac & Kombu), a joyously wobbly savoury custard with poached prawns (Egg & Prawn), delicate slices of fish with dipping sauce & condiments (Bonito, Apple & Ponzu), crunchy tempura asparagus with farm fresh corn purée (Asparagus, Corn & Matcha), pinkest of fish with pops of row and mushroom rice (Ocean trout, egg Yolk & Ikura), rare duck – not my thing – (Duck, soy, leek) with soup (egg in bonito broth) and choice of desserts (choux pastry and mango sorbet).

It’s a true, Tokyo-esque kaiseki style restaurant in a hidden inner Sydney city laneway.

Kanpeki. 充実. Perfection.

//melly files//

[existential detective]

CITY LIMITS I moved to Sydney when I was 20. I dropped out of university to followed my heart. My parents were upset, but I had always been an independent kid. It paid off though, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and I married that guy; my high-school sweetheart.

Sydney Sydney

MY VALENTINE I’m not really into Valentine’s Day. It’s too commercial to have meaning. Usually my husband will send me roses the day before just to let me know he loves me but he refuses to buy-in on being told to demonstrate his love. We started a tradition a few years ago of seeing a scary movie on V-Day; the bloodier the better. I still remember the year we saw My Bloody Valentine in 3D. It was a total trip! This year we’re going on a double date with close friends The Williamsons to see 50 Shades. It’s not…

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Summer in a glass; Fruity 5 Seeds Cider Cup

There’s not much more refreshing than an icy cold, crisp apple cider on a balmy Sydney summer’s eve.

In my little nook of the world, as the city traffic noise starts to wane, the golden glow of dusk streams through my apartment windows, my fave tunes waft over the stereo speakers, and my little shadow Harley the cavoodle excitedly follows my every move, it’s time for a refreshing cocktail. Nothing too complex; just good ingredients, and something with a clean & refreshing taste.

5 Seeds have released a new lower sugar cider, just in time for Aussie summer!

With the same clean, crisp apple taste, 5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider is just as refreshing and satisfying as their other ciders, but with less sugar.

I’ve got an idea to pimp it up a little; adding vodka as it’s neutral flavour won’t interrupt the apple cider, and some summer fruit to compliment the apple theme and get it looking colourful in mason jars.

Ingredients

  • 5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider; bottle per person
  • your fave vodka; 30ml per person
  • cubes of ice

summer fruit;

  • ripe mango, thinly sliced
  • plump passionfruit
  • slices of juicy watermelon
  • fat, round strawberries
  • green pear, sliced into wedges
  • white nectarine, sliced
  • crisp apple, sliced thin for the cup and thicker for garnish
  • ribbons of cucumber
  • sprigs of fragrant mint

Method

  • in a mason jar or other glass, place ice, pour vodka, layer fruit then top with the sparkling 5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider
  • garnish with mint, colourful stirrers threaded with apple & a festive straw
  • serve*

*best shared with a lover or friend overlooking the sunset

outtakes with Harley the cavoodle: