Travel

Bula!

12.06.19

We have recently returned from one of those family holidays I know the kids will remember forever. It’s the first time Mark and I have both come back from a break and said ‘let’s try and make that holiday a yearly tradition’. The magic of Shangri -La in Fiji will do that to you. We met people who were visiting for their second, third, even fifteenth year in a row. Nestled on the private Yanuca Island, Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort offers the essence of an exclusive island hideaway yet is conveniently connected to the mainland by a bridge. It has been recently revamped and one of the highlights for me was the quality of the dining experiences.  I’ve got to be honest, Fiji hasn’t really been known for it’s cuisine (in my opinion anyway, I’ve been five times to various resorts over the years), but I can honestly say the food we had at The Shangrila-La was on completely new level. 

Room service was a fun novelty for the kids so we had dinner in our room for a few of the evenings (I highly recommend the chicken curry), but we also dined out a handful of times at the ‘special restaurants’, including the Golden Cowrie Coastal Italian Restaurant (delicious and traditional italian food with a great cocktail menu). We also feasted on Modern Asian twice at the gorgeous Takali Terrace (make sure to check out the extensive Gin menu, it’s epic). We frequented the breakfast buffet at Takali in the mornings, as the ambience/interiors of the restaurant is so stunning, and it was  also positioned right next to our favourite pool. Tip: Catch the ocean tide from the tiny beach outside Takali right around to the main pool, it’s magic!

We spent a lot of time poolside with a book while the kids swam (simple holiday heaven for the kids), and it was handy that kids could eat free from The Beach Bar & Grill, which was also a favourite spot for yummy and casual lunches. The kids visited the free Kids Club a few times too, when they wanted a break from all the swimming. Sunday’s favourite activity was definitely the Water Park which is a big inflatable floating park positioned close to shore. We also snorkelled and canoed around this area – the fish spotting was amazing! Mark also had a morning on the 9 hole golf course, while I had a gorgeous massage at the stunning Spa, CHI. We had an afternoon at the Put Put golf course (which Sunday loved) and that night was great – it was spent at the Polynesian show they hold at the village site. We witnessed fire walking by local villagers and feasted on a traditional Fijian banquet feast that I will never forget.

Below are photos from our trip that summarises the essence of our truly blissful 7 nights away:

Tiny brown feet on the sand after finding coral one morning on an empty beach. We made swimming at this beach a daily habit as it was such a quiet area of the resort. I can’t believe how lucky we were the weather while we there. An average of 30 degrees every day!

Sunday living her best life – the water really is that clear all along the coral coast of Fiji!


Sunsets were enjoyed almost every night outside our 2 bedroom Lagoon Bure, where we would enjoy drinks at the iconic Bilo Bar (pictured above) while the kids played in the sand.

Mr Curly Locks was treated like a Prince by the beautiful Fijians the whole week. Rafferty quickly developed his own daily habits which included an outdoor shower after swimming all day, and daily collections of Hermit Crabs in his champagne bucket.


Weddings are (obviously) popular on the island. Sunday and I went exploring one morning and walked around the beautiful chapel which looks over the ocean. She is wearing her new Coco and Ginger dress, which was perfect ‘resort wear’ for my little fashionista.

A definite highlight of the holiday was early one morning the four of us met Moses from the sustainability team on a small beach, and we spent time collecting washed up shells and coral to build our own ‘fish house’.  A few days later, we paddled out to the regenerated coral reef that Moses has created, and our (numbered) house joined 400+ other fish houses. The idea being, when and if the family who built a fish house return on holidays, you can go snorkeling and spot your little build in all it’s glory with its new and continued coral growth. Such a nice experience for all of us. (this regeneration activity only happens via word of mouth, so if you’re ever visiting Shargri-La, go and see Moses at the Marine Centre).


These two images encapsulate my holiday week the best. A lot of time in the water, and many delicious cocktails. Doing a whole lot of nothing but recharging and taking in the beauty of Fiji.

My only complaint was 7 nights wasn’t long enough. Argh! Take me back!

Briar x

Fiji Holiday

25.10.15

IMG_6369We’ve just returned from the loveliest little family holiday to Fiji. All the stars were aligned for the 8 nights we were on the friendly island, and I can honestly say we returned truly relaxed. If we weren’t poolside, we were on mini (child friendly) tours exploring Fijian culture.

PreWe found some great tours through Adrenalin Fiji, which included a visit to a local village, where we checked out the church and nearby primary school. We also visited the abundant produce available at the growers market in the centre of town, and spent the morning covering ourselves in mud at the very refreshing Natalau Hot Pools in Sabeto. Sunday also made up her own adventures – she became obsessed by the gorgeous flowers and creatures she spotted everywhere she looked – there was certainly no shortage of frogs and geckos.

We spent a day out on South Sea Island where Sunday was in heaven searching through the sand for shell treasures and we took a quick ride on a semi-submerged submarine where ‘Finding Nemo’ was the aim.

IMG_6461 IMG_6977Our water baby would have been happy if we’d permanently set up camp pool-side (as long as she got her hair braided), but when the heat got too much – I quite liked retreating to our very comfortable self contained apartment at The Sheraton Villas…we even managed to read some books (from cover to cover). I’m not going to lie, our level of relaxation was reached with the help of the amazing kids club, and a delightful nanny that Sunday instantly warmed to.

We were able to dine quite a few times at Flying Fish (definitely my favourite restaurant) kid free because of the great ‘dinner program’ they run at the Kids club. I’d be sipping on a mocktail* checking out the view and spot a very happy Sunday a few metres away on the beach searching for crabs with her nanny and the rest of the kids. Talk about perfect.

I hope you all had a great weekend, I’m still unpacking!

Briar x

*Easily the hardest thing about the holiday was not being able to indulge with a few cocktails because of baby being on the way. There is always next time!

Canberra

02.09.15

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIn the middle of spending a week at my parents house on the south coast last week, Mark and I had a quick 2 hour road trip  to Canberra, while Sunday stayed busy back at the ranch with her Nanny and Poppy. We crammed a lot in to 36 hours.. Here’s a wrap up – as seen through my iPhone. And, it’s official…Canberra is cool!

We stayed at the fairly new and very hip Hotel Hotel – which is in the middle of the NewActon village. We had a light dinner (after a big lunch – see below) at the very close A. Baker and enjoyed a yummy breakfast at Monster kitchen and bar (I highly recommend the home made crumpets). Definitely a great area to bunker down when visiting our nation’s capital, there is just so much happening in this precinct.

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The big lunch I mentioned above was a decedent spread at the delicious Asian fusion restaurant, Akiba. We chose the ‘just feed me’ option where the kitchen selects 8 of their favourite dishes. We weren’t disappointed. Pictured above are the kimchi pancakes and the pork belly bun with slaw. Hooly dooly – these dishes are worth a trip to Canberra alone.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetCulture came to us in spades with visits to the following landmarks:
Australian War Memorial – pictured above is the beautiful domed ceiling in the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Old Parliament House
National Gallery of Australia – pictured above is my favourite painting of the day, the sweet work by Margaret Preston, ‘For a little girl’, 1929
National Portrait Gallery – just a short stroll from the National Gallery.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThere wasn’t a huge amount of time for shopping, but after a tip off from a lovely Instagram follower, I’m so glad I managed to visit Tip You’re It – a brand new kids lifestyle store in Braddon (just up from the restaurant I mention next). It was stocked to the gills with all my favourite brands, and all styled so beautifully – definitely worth stopping by (the store will be also online soon too).

4A definite highlight was the delectable meal we enjoyed right at the end of our whirlwind visit….a traditional italian feast from Italian + Sons. I want to go back!!

I hope you are all having a great week,

Briar x

 

Melbourne – Where I Ate

13.06.15

I spent a busy few days in Melbourne last week sourcing for a few projects I have on. I packed in a lot of things in a short time, and I thought I would share a wrap up of what I loved on the blog…I’m breaking the photos (iPhone quality – apologies, but my Canon was too big to take around in my bag) in to two posts. Here’s a wrap up of what I ate. And yes, it was a lot…hope these tips help for anyone visiting the chilly city soon.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetCoda was a tip off from a good Sydney-based but Melbourne born and bred friend, and it didn’t disappoint. Right in the middle of the city, it’s basement setting in an iconic laneway serves ‘French-Vietnamese’ style food, with influences from all around the world, including Italy and India. Definitely worth a visit for a special dinner and a delicious cocktail.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI know it isn’t hard to find a good coffee in Melbourne, but I have to be honest and say the one I had at Duke’s Coffee Roasters was one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot of coffees).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI treated my little sister for her birthday (who is based in Melbourne) to a lunch at Supernormal. We had a table at the long and open kitchen  bar which was great to watch the clever chefs do their thing. Super hip and super delicious Asian cuisine.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI spent a lot of time exploring Collingwood, so an iced coconut drink was just what I needed from Phamily Kitchen – a traditional menu (but contemporary in looks) vietnamese eatery with the cutest and most colourful restaurant fit out I’ve ever seen.

IMG_2189The last pit stop was at one of George Colambaris’ restaurants, Gazi. Holy wow, talk about delicious. I love greek food at the best of times, and was so impressed with the Taramasalata, I’ve thought about it a few times since (tell me I’m not the only one who does that…flood flashbacks?).

Not to be forgotten, but unfortunately not pictured is the dinner I had with two of my sisters on the Friday night (Essie was also in Melbourne for work) at Pope Joan.  The meal felt like I was visiting a friends house who was a really (really) good cook – all seasonal produce, it was comfort food at it’s best – which suits me fine. Safe to say that Melbourne is still acing the whole food game!

I’ll be back soon with a summary of the great shops I managed to visit.

Briar x

Easter Weekend

07.04.15

Mudgee03Easter with the family in Mudgee was an utterly indulgent affair, and looking through the photos from our lunch, I want to do it all again. My sister made the genius decision to have the gathering catered for, and turned to her favourite caterer, Rachael McCarthey. The clever chef is also a favourite of mine, and is who I used at our Mudgee wedding 5 years ago. Rachael’s food is contemporary and hearty, and she always uses seasonal and often local produce….I only wish she was in Sydney too!

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We also managed a long lunch at The Zin House, which is a fairly new restaurant to enter the Mudgee food scene. I didn’t have my camera with me, so didn’t get to capture the lovely interiors in the modern farmhouse that has been converted in to a restaurant, but it’s really the food that you’ll want to go for. The restaurant specialises in weekend lunches – long and leisurely ones, and the owner/chef Kim Currie uses produce from the 1,000 acre organic and biodynamic Tinja farm (where the restaurant is based). I think I’ve got the perfect combination for a lovely weekend getaway: Combine a meal at this restaurant, a visit to my sister and brother in laws winery, Logan Wines and rest your weary head at The Perry Street Hotel. You can thank me later!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter,

Briar x

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