do :: catch ups!

It’s been a long, loooong while since I last posted regularly, so it’s one of my resolutions to start writing on my blog more often!

Life has been busy. It always is, but in the last 6 months it’s been especially so; I’ve taken a month long vacation overseas, moved house, had a promotion at work and been overwhelmed with my husband’s newly-diagnosed serious health issues.

Understandably, we’ve had super high highs and fairly low lows, but it’s made us appreciate the fun times and especially catching up with friends (old & new)!

Here are a few photos from recent nights out with those we hold dear:

Mexican with the crazy work crew:

We met at work 15 years ago and some of us have moved on to new jobs, but we still come together for weddings, birthdays, dinner & drinks.

15 years of friendship!

Left to right: Karen, Juan-Carlos, me, Robin, Shookie & Jay

12 years apart! Top 2004, bottom 2016
 

Girls night out!

We’d love to catch up more often, but it seems the older we get, scheduling a night out with all the girls takes longer to arrange! When we finally make it together, we drink, giggle, gossip & dance the night away!

Kersti & I
me, Gab & Sue
Gab, me, Sue, Mel & Virginia
Cheers!!!

The best kind of stranded:

A weekend on an island with my two best friends is the best kind of soul food!

We spent a couple of nights, mid-summer-heatwave, and cooked, strolled around the island, played scrabble, read aloud, cuddled the dogs, exchanged Xmas pressies and generally chilled.

Harley & Pedro

Harley ran around like a crazed dog and Pedro chilled out wondering what the fuss was about.

Dangar Island is a special place; only accessible by boat, and with no cars or stores on the island you bring what you need. There is a little coffee shop so we wandered down there each morning to get our caffeine hit. Leon, the ever active man, even discovered a running club (of 2 people) and proceeded to show them how the mainlanders do it!!!


The house was simply amazing; large, open plan, floor to ceiling sliding doors and lots of eclectic treasures like old LP albums of the Beatles & Led Zeplin as well as an iPad full of all genres of music which we explored. An amazing catering style galley kitchen for cooking feasts, and separate sleeping quarters with an amazing view of the harbour. So much wildlife and tranquility, it was a restorative weekend.

Xmas Party!

My husband’s works Christmas party is the best of the year! With over 3000 people attending they always make it the biggest & best party! We danced most of the night away, getting very drunk in the process. I even broke my shoe on true Cinderella style!

Syaz & I
Jay & I

Xmas Day Lunch

My favourite family came down for lunch. We made food, sat around our little old apartment and ate on the floor and then talked, read & napped. It was super chilled and super good.

The Dawes

New Years Eve

We moved in two days before NYE. Jay was working but I had some time off and it was a difficult move but achievable. It was a 40-degree-C day of the move and we were sweating but the two guys I hired were brilliant. Everything was done in 6.5 hours and I managed to unpack 90% of the apartment within 36 hours.

We had a little soirée with Neen, Ian, Syaz & Brendon coming over for drinks, nibbles, BBQ & to watch the fireworks from our terrace.

Jay on his BBQ

Ian & Jay posing unhappily!
me & Neen & Veuve!

Fine dining in Sydney | Bennelong Restaurant

Bennelong restaurant interior inside the Sydney Opera House
Bennelong restaurant interior inside the Sydney Opera House

Showcasing the most beautiful view of the Sydney city skyline across Circular Quay, Bennelong is an impressive restaurant.

A visit to the Opera House always feels special, whether you are attending the ballet, symphony, music / comedy / drama performance, or simply going for a photo wander, the Opera House has the most grandeur feeling about it. It’s beautiful, artistic and a quintessential Australian landmark.

Bennelong is the perfect establishment to showcase fine dining in such a fine location.

From the moment you enter the glass door with that oyster shaped logo, you know your in for a special dining experience.

Bennelong entrance
Bennelong entrance

The Maître d’ is friendly and efficient. Our coats are taken and we are seated smoothly and quickly. We have the most amazing seats; right on the peninsula of the glass sail, looking back over the city skyline and Circular Quay.

Everything about Bennelong is smooth, calm, efficient, friendly but unobtrusive. Our waiters are knowledgeable regarding the wine list and menu, without having to ‘get someone else’ or ‘check with the kitchen’; a small touch that I love about fine dining that adds to the customer experience.

View from our dining table
View from our dining table

Surprisingly there are a good choice of wines for under $100 a bottle. We started an aperitif of a glass of Charles Heidsieck, then moved on to a bottle of French Bernard Fouquet from the ‘Future Champions’ list, which is a chenin blanc (similar to pinot gris?) with ripe melon and floral notes; light and perfect with our seafood meal choices.

My handsome husband
My handsome husband

The menu is succinct and all looks so tasty that its a tough choice! The food is light, Modern Australian; not pretentious, just beautiful plates with quality ingredients and imaginative pairings that work so well.

Dinner
Dinner

Everything we ate was deliciously amazing; Prawn raviolo & Tasmanian squid for entrees, Wild caught fish & Suckling pig for mains, and Crème caramel & mille-feuille and cheese plate for dessert. My only regret is the cheese, as it was a bit dry from lack of accompaniments (could do with quince or pear paste or a bunch of grapes).

Prawn raviolo organic radishes, fermented chili & prawn jus
Prawn raviolo
organic radishes, fermented chili & prawn jus
Today’s wild caught fish roasted palm heart, parnsip, bone broth
Today’s wild caught fish
roasted palm heart, parnsip, bone broth

It was my husband’s birthday and before they served dessert, they served a birthday cupcake with a single candle; soft, buttery vanilla cake with butter icing. Such a lovely touch.

Birthday Boy!
Birthday Boy!

Seriously, this restaurant is wonderful and you really can’t go past it for an amazing dining experience, especially if you’re dining for a special occasion.

table candle and card
table candle and card
The Williams post-dinner
The Williams post-dinner

Bennelong | Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW Australia

mornings

I recently heard an interview with a chef on a random radio station (can’t remember where or with who!) but I loved the questions enough to write them down when I had a chance.

Here’s my answers to these fun quiz questions!

What time do you get up?

  • weekday exercising it’s 6.15am, otherwise 7am for work and on the weekend I sleep in as long as possible!

Coffee or tea?

  • coffee coffee coffee coffee. there is a time for tea but in general I prefer the black gold

coffee from my local Fix in Crows Nest
coffee from my local Fix in Crows Nest
How do you have your toast?

  • when Im eating grains, I have sourdough with avocado and squeeze of lemon with salt & pepper. delish!

avocado on sourdough
avocado on sourdough (pic via cupofjo.com)
Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch?

  • Lunch. I’m not particularly a fan of breakfast food; it’s just not that exciting.

Favourite restaurant in Sydney?

  • Gowings Bar and Grill

Gowings
Gowings (pic via Gowings website)

Dine @ Gowings
Dine @ Gowings (pic via Gowings website)

our lovely waiter pouring my fave beverage!
our lovely waiter pouring my fave beverage!
What’s the only thing that’s always in your fridge?

  • butter and wine! can’t really make a meal out of that combination but it’s what’s always present in my fridge!

***

Now, what about you?

Happy Thursday!

#putoutyouronions


Malcolm Turnbull will become Australia’s next prime minister after defeating Tony Abbott in a vote for the leadership of the Liberal Party, winning with 54 votes to 44, last night.

Arguably the worst PM in history, this man set Australia back 30 years with his sexist (3 women in his cabinet), misogynist (appoints himself as Minister for Women, consistently winks and condescends female journalists), racist (“Stop the Boats” is his most common catch phrase), anti-environmental (underhandedly trying to sell off the Great Barrier Reef to the mining industry) and anti-marriage equality agendas.

Good riddance to this out of touch and arrogant man.

It’s not all positive though, this is our fifth Prime Minister in five years. Both main political parties continue to ignore the Australian electorate’s democratic choices, to treat the Prime Ministership as a revolving door. We’ll see if this new incoming PM changes the direction of the leadership and introduces policies more in line with the majority of the Australian public’s opinions on critical issues such as immigration, same-sex marriage and the environment.

These are my fave memes circulating social media! (I put together The Simpsons #hailants meme!)

hailantstontabbottzerolikes

#putoutyouronions

31 random observations

  1. split ends are the most noticable when bored on a conference call
  2. Jay’s surliness is proportionate to the amount of lapsed time since his last meal
  3. one’s cheerful demeanour is directly related to the number of stupid questions one gets asked during the day
  4. cheese = happiness
  5. Saturday winter afternoons are best spent internesting (nestling in a blanket cocoon while reading the internet)
  6. Harley and possums do not like each other
  7. I am the missing link in Amy Shumer & JLaw’s BFF squad
  8. a red sock will almost always end up in the whites load
  9. Moths operate by osmosis. how else could they possibly end up in the unequivocally-airtight flour jar?
  10. Cow and the Moon gelato in Marrickville deserves a Michelin star
  11. everyone on Instagram has a better life than me
  12. you never correctly insert the USB on the first try
  13. routers only break when the William’s IT support is unavailable
  14. the older you get the more bedgasms you have (that euphoric feeling you get when finally falling into bed at night)
  15. Stating the obvious here, but Australia desperately needs a new Prime Minister
  16. successfully opening a coconut is a distinguished talent!
  17. you’ll desperately need to pee just as the last movie trailer before the actual movie starts
  18. when you have to leave early from work, a senior manager will always bail you up for ‘just a couple of minutes’ as your rushing out the door
  19. life’s greatest epiphanies come when your drinking Old Fashioneds at 1am in the Shady Pines Saloon
  20. there is no situation in which its OK to talk to me about work before I’ve had my coffee
  21. fading chicken pox spots look like acne 
  22. tights are not pants.
  23. zoodles (zucchini noodles) are the greatest health food creation
  24. Russian food is underrated
  25. you can never have too many pairs of ankle boots
  26. three year olds say the darnedest things!
  27. Delta Goodrem is way cooler than she gets credit for
  28. one really does sound awesome singing in the shower!
  29. knuckle rings from Lovisa are the new favourite
  30. the corniest line in the universe is at the end of the film ‘Letters to Juliet’ (“can you move?”…”only my lips”)
  31. cereal makes a perfectly acceptable dinner, no matter what your Mum says!

green acres, kangaroo valley

last winter, we had the pleasure of staying at Green Acres homestead in Kangaroo Valley in the NSW Southern Highlands.

our little getaway group consisted of our friends King & Pete, who researched and discovered this little holiday gem, Misch our lovely, rambunctious Georgian, Skelly our passionate little pocket rocket, my bearded hubby Jay, our furry loud cavoodle Harley and I.

the drive from Sydney to Kangaroo Valley is simply stunning. as soon as you make it down the winding valley, the lush green valley floor opens up into kilometres of green fields spotted with grazing cows. there are crystal rivers to cross and an abundance of wildlife to spot amongst the trees (this is the place where you will see koalas in the trees!).

Green Acres can be booked through Stayz.com.au or directly from their website. The amount you pay depends on how many people are staying; the place sleeps 8. We used all four rooms for the 6 of us. It has a fully equipped kitchen (coffee machine, toaster, baking pans, wine glasses, etc), a spa bath, a BBQ, swimming pool, stereo with speakers throughout the house & outside, indoor fireplace, lots of couch seating, heaters in the bedrooms & all linen.

While you should probably bring all your groceries from the city (variety is bigger & price is cheaper), the property is about 10 minutes out of the village of Kangaroo Valley, so it’s close to amenities should you forget anything.

  Kitchen

 Lounge/dining   Lounge/dining

 Dining table   Bathroom with spa overlooking the backyard

 Fireplace, TV, stereo  One of the bedrooms

*****

there is an abundance of art on the walls, all eclectic pieces that are unmatching and each tell a seperate but beautiful story. I always think that artwork tells you about its owner. This art is a little left of field, quirky and tends to insight the imagination to sexy stories of Africa. They seem well traveled. (There is a mural of a hot naked man in the bathroom which is a nice touch!)

  Artwork

 Greenacres at night

  Woodpile in the backyard

 Our dog Harley exploring

 Friendly horse on the property

*****

We arrived Friday afternoon and left on Sunday, spending the time cooking, drinking vino, talking, dancing, laughing and stargazing.

There were some beautiful little touches left for us; fresh eggs from the nearby neighbours, a bottle of local wine & detailed instructions on how everything worked.

We loved how secluded this place was, we didn’t feel like we needed to keep the noise down, and being pet-friendly meant we could include our little furry guy Harley.

I love this place and I can’t wait to go back!!!