I have already talked about my desire to visit Greece here

I blame it all on Sarah Yates… her honeymoon looked so beautiful and the hotel she recommended is going straight to the top of my list…

How nice?!

Here it is; The Melian

I think I may hvae persuded my Husband that a little break to Europe this summer would be nice, so now I just have to check availability!

Swoon!

x

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you must know my love for Americana influence… Halloween being one of their biggest holidays and with it being just around the corner I thought I would share some of the ideas going around…

We so wanted to have a big Halloween party this year but both my husband and I are just too busy right now… but I thought I would share a few party ideas and Halloween treats for you all and pretend I was having one!

I love this mask, a really cool start to an amazing costume…

Available from LME Masks

You gotta do Halloween right with Kiddo’s around how about these amazing ideas from Oh Happy Day? Click the link for How-To’s… there are the CUTEST

I would love to make this bright cocktail, and I adore her fancy mask…

Recipe and image from The Sweetest Occasion

I would totally go overboard with decor, using garlands like this cutie spooky one from Etsy…

Available from Couture By Ayca

Or get really scary… and make a big fake spider with a web…

Another amazing DIY from The Sweetest Occasion

Or get cute (and these you get to keep) and have little woollen pumpkins on display…

Available from Luna Cab Co

And these cushions also from Etsy are so fun!

Available from Elizabeth Michael

I would serve…

Apple and Chedder ‘Hand-Pies’

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I hope to have a party next year, I will change all my lights to  greenlight bulbs, hang lots of fake cobwebs, carve lots of pumpkins, serve fancy green cocktails, serve pure comfort food and ask everyone to dress up… with no theme!

Swoon Travel… Serbia

October 25, 2012

I love Ex-Press-O for travel inspiration but I have never thought of Serbia before these shots hit my inbox… how amazing does this place look?

I want to go!

Images – Ex-Press-O via …

So this is Sydney from the plane… I was a bit shocked at just how big it is… the city goes on for ever.

From the airport we jumped on the sky train into the centre as the very big old railway station was minutes from our hostel.

My husband loves to walk and explore, which is pretty much what we did straight away…

I love the mix of old buildings right next to glossy skyscrapers.

The Circular Quay and Rocks area are so good for shopping…

This bookshop was a stand out place, I had to pull myself out I certainly did not have room in my bags for books, or the weight allowance on the flights!

We found an amazing little market here too where we managed to get presents for our Mum’s and Gran all at once (beautiful handmade jewelery) and this mini cupcake which I couldn’t resist.

Swooning over Gucci bicycles… if only…

And as ever the Louis Vuitton window displays were very fun, this store had animals made from bags, the duck was cute but the croc was huge.

More lovely old houses near The Rocks.

And lots of big old churches.

We even went on a bus tour one cloudy day, which was fun for me to see all the city and get my bearings.

The famous Kings Cross Coca Cola sign is very cool…

Iconic, at night.

I really fell in love with the old Victorian Sydney houses in the centre. So pretty. Kind of a mix of English and American styles – which is how Australia feels to me in general.

We visited the fish market – a must do if you like seafood. See my full post here

We also visited the city’s own Hyde Park… which is teeny compared to ours!

You must visit the Queen Victoria Building… the shopping is pretty good around here but it’s the building itself that is worth seeing. So beautiful.

And the Christmas tree was so amazing… it reached from the top to the bottom of the building.

 
Stained glass and beautiful floor details…


We also ate dinner at the Westfield Tower, as a wedding present from one of Adam’s best men which was amazing. The tower spins round very slowly so you get a 360 degree view of the city.

I recommend splashing out on drinks here.

Thanks Nick!


Our last few days in the city were glorious sunshine that made us want to stay forever.

 
We left the same way we arrived, by train then plane. And off to New Zealand!

And so ends our whistle stop tour of Sydney… Next week I am getting too New Zealand!

Byron Bay was the next stop after Brisbane. We spent Christmas week here and it was insanely good. I absolutely fell in love with the place and can totally see why so many people get stuck here.

My husband had been before, the last time he was in Oz he was backpacking with a group of mates so he saw a very different town, form a sleepy surfers paradise to a more of a busy place. The fact that is so amazing has brought a lot of money here.

The centre is the cutest, almost like a wild west town.

The beach was ridiculous, I have hundreds of photographs.

We went for at least one walk on the beach every day, sometimes two sometimes three.

Sunset on our first night.

A perfect day with deep blue skies and fluffy clouds.

A dramatic sky. This beach had them all in that week.

I cannot get over how clean the Australian’s keep their beaches, we could seriously learn from them, not just in the way of litter (but they are spotless) but it’s not like anywhere else there are not shops or stalls or sun loungers or anything… just big stretches of beautiful pale sand, amazing clear water and huge waves.

And again lots of the cutest houses. There were some amazing ones in Byron.

We had a good week of eating here, the weather was great and we ate a lot of gelato.

As well as gourmet meals with beautiful Australian wine at St Elmo

 
Huge fresh mussels in a beachside fish and chip restaurant that used to be the ‘Bathers Pavillion’. Cute as.

Not so pretty desserts that tasted so much better than they looked, this chocolate pudding was so rich it finished me off that night.

The odd slice, also so good. Proper pizza.

It was too hot for Pies and the sun and the size of these pies scared me off but they looked great and the owner was lovely chasing after me with my phone I left on the bench outside one day.

In fact everyone in Australia was super friendly and lovely everywhere we went.

Drinks in so many amazing bars with the windows wide open and the breeze cooling us down after a hard day swimming (my husband) and sun bathing (me)

And our B&B; Baystay was the cutest, as were the family. They made or bought beautiful breakfasts every day as we ate them on the balcony upstairs.

 
We were even lucky enough to get to the farmers market, a Sarah Wilson must do.

Held in a space behind an old railway station you have to cross the tracks to get here.

You can find so much good stuff here, amazing the usual vegetables and fruit they had meat, seafood and deli goods.

To try to cancel out all of the good stuff we’d been eating we brought some vegan falafel and hummous.

And a chocolate beetroot and coconut cake. All delicious and so virtuous.

Another thing I really remember was the amount of amazing and crazy cars we saw… these are the top of the iceberg.

 
One must do was a walk to the lighthouse which we did several times… the first time we thought we were so unlucky as a storm brewed up whilst we were walking… but we got to see the rain come down from afar which is always awe inducing.

 
I love it when you can actually see the weather, Australia’s huge skies were made for this.

You can reward yourself at the top with great coffee and cakes, before you walk back the other side through the bush. It’s a great workout and our B&B owners did this everyday at 6am!


And what is with these scary birds? I saw them everywhere and they are not afraid of you at all. This one didn’t move for anything.


This was the path from our B&B to the beach, it was a mini-bush path and scared the hell out of me, so noisy with bugs you could just imagine all the Australian bugs and snakes and spiders in there.

But it’s so worth it, because then you arrive here.

I could have gotten used to that life, the beach is where everyone goes, to exercise, to chill, to meet up with friends, to get some sunshine, to cool off in the sea. It’s an amazing thing to have on your doorstep.

 I think I said amazing about 20 times in this post.  So much more to come.

Brisbane – Australia

May 17, 2012

 Our first day in Australia was spent recovering from our flight and chilling with our friends (who we were staying with in Brisbane) but on our second day we drove up to the gold coast and I saw the Australia I know from Home and Away.

I mean I literally felt like I was in Home and Away.

Australia’s beaches are so big and so so clean.

I really liked Brisbane, as you do when you are away comparing it to Home, to Bristol I felt there were similarities as well as differences. Really loved it here.

We ate amazing breakfasts at home and out.

Drank amazing coffee. Serious, Ozzies are so crazy for coffee, but only for good coffee. I don’t think I had an average cup the whole time we were there.

 
Ditto with the food, it seemed to be so good everywhere. Very little junk food really, or if it was junk food, e.g. pizza, pies and burgers they were still amazing. No one stands are crappy food in Australia it seems.

Ate at a restaurant dedicated to gyoza. A. Maze. Ing. I want one.

And ate the best sushi I ever had. Until LA maybe.

I loved Australia’s houses, again just like TV; Neighbours and Home and Away. The classic Queenlanders.


Cute details everywhere. I hope people didn’t mind me snapping.

 
Went to the beautiful Modern Art museum on Brisbane’s Southbank, which looks and feels so similar to London! Highly recommend this if you are. Just don’t go super hungover like we did. We didn’t last long.

We stayed with friends here for a week and it really was lovely, it was so nice to be in a home after 6 weeks away and be able to make food and drinks when we wanted, and eat snacks rather than meals. So lovely to see our friends who live here now, and we also hung out at their parents amazing house right the corner, swimming in the pool and hanging out on the deck looking out over the city.

 
More amazing food, the Ozzies are good at salads. Really good. I will share this recipe over on Full as an Egg – made by my friend Carla.


 Also the most amazing farmers market, it was HUGE. So much produce, the fruit was insane. And so many food stalls too. I was majorly jealous.

 

 
You could even get your eyebrows threaded!

 

We also drank a lot this week, what is it about catching up with old friends who you never see that makes you drink, A LOT. Many amazing cocktail bars in Brisbane.

A beautiful city.

On our last night before we drove down to Byron Bay we had this amazing sky…

And this amazing amazing amazing meal from Alex, Carla’s husband, I will also be making and sharing this on Full as an Egg soon.

 

It might not be a holiday destination but the Gold Coast is nearby (not my thing but lots of beaches and hotels) it has an airport and Byron Bay which is so lovely (post to come soon) is just under two hours away. Brisbane has amazing food, so many cute places to eat and drink again see Full as an Egg in the coming weeks and great shopping. There’s even a Chanel. Oh Yes.

My recommendations;
Sake
Sling
Salt
Super Butcher
Harajuka Gyoza

I have so much to say about Thailand, I have no idea where to start.

There are some thing I wanted to say… you’ll have to bear with me on this post, my thoughts might be a little jumbled and maybe not make sense to you at times.

I could start with superficial things… like the black forest ice creams I ate a lot… WHY do we not get these!?

Joke

We spent six weeks travelling around, and to be fair we didn’t get very far! We mostly hung out on islands and beaches and chilled out enjoying our honeymoon.

There is so much to love about the country, but I didn’t love it right away. That might sound ridiculous to those of you who do love it. My Husband has been to Thailand multiple times, he absolutely adores it there, all over, and the food is the kind of food he would eat every day if he had his way.

I wasn’t so sure. I take more time to work things out in my head, how I feel and how to deal with the things that are so different to the life as I know it.

I guess the poverty is what I am talking about. Being a tourist in Thailand is hard for me.

You arrive and compared to most people there you have so much. I have been to places like this before so it wasn’t new, but before it was different I wasn’t a tourist and the biggest thing in Asia that I found really difficult is how the super rich and super poor live side by side. I cried on more than one occasion.

This is the debate I had with my Husband all the time… you could say England, for example, has it right. You could say that is it better when you are walking around, for example London or Bristol that you generally don’t see homeless people. You literally see a handful day to day here. You change London to a small town or village and you see it even less.

What you do not see are the people who are living in poverty, whether they have a home or not. We are much more segregated. We don’t live side by side, we do not eat at the same places, we do not shop in the same places or generally work in the same places.

You could say this is better. In Thailand, for example, there are brand new five star hotels right next to temporary homes made from corrugated iron and whatever materials to hand. You can walk out of a mall of stores like Chanel and Louis Vuitton and there will be beggars with missing limbs, child beggars and market stalls selling fake copies of the bags you just saw in the store. You can drive around Bangkok in your brand new car and eat street food at a certain place next to everyone else because they do the best Pad Thai around. There is more mixing, this is normal.

I am putting this in a clumsy way, I hope you get my meaning.

It’s right there in your face.

Is that a bad thing? In England charity is a whole industry (chuggers anyone?), in Thailand it is just something people do. They are a very religious people and as part of that they look after people.

Problems are so much worse, don’t get me wrong I am not saying it is bad here compared to there, I know that we have a healthcare system for all and a benefit system and help for people and they do not. I am more talking about the attitude, that take it as that is the way life is and get on with theirs. If you watch a homeless person here in Bristol ask for money most people (me included) walk on by. In Thailand most people give something. It is a responsibility, and it gives them good karma.

The other thing I found interesting was the lassiez faire way of life. For example health and safety. It just doesn’t exist in Thailand.

We went to hot pools to swim and there was the most rickety wooden walkway that made me laugh, nails sticking out everywhere. But we were able to explore all around the pools. We looked at the mineral build up and where the stream came from. You can bet if those pools were here, or compare it to attractions here… we would not have been allowed anywhere near. Your safety is your responsibility. It was refreshing.

I imagine this is what life used to be like everywhere when most governments were lassiez faire.

I did grow to adore Thailand as well, it took me time and Bangkok was the place that took the longest. Without the beautiful beaches and mountains and sunsets I did struggle but it is an amazing place and the people make it so. A cliché maybe but so true. You are always welcomed and people smile as a general rule instead of scowling.

People are SO polite they won’t tell you no (which can be annoying… for example a taxi driver would rather drive around for an hour ringing friends than tell you he doesn’t know where th Royal Palace is, or maybe what you meant) and so warm.

They want you to love Thailand so much. I really did, and we hardly saw any of it so I definitely will need to go back one day.

I am simplifying massively, these are just my thoughts and I wanted to record them.

Another thing I learnt, I can drink tonic without gin, and it keeps the mosquitos away.

True story.

What are your thoughts?

Have you been to Thailand? Do you stay in your tourist areas, feeling comfortable, or do you challenge yourself? Do you ever get upset by it?