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travel

Lifestyle

Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate in Cairns

22nd October, 2021

Now that travel is once again on the cards I’m on the hunt for great travel destinations for families. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat, particularly when it comes to the long Christmas school holidays at the end of the year. Earlier in the year we took a trip up to Far North Queensland and paid a visit to Port Douglas, followed by Cairns and I can’t recommend both highly enough. With any spot we are planning to visit as a family I like to make sure that there’s plenty of things for the girls to do, activities that the four of us will enjoy together and something fun for the adults whether it’s a great restaurant or luxe day spa. If you’re looking for a tropical holiday close to home, check out my travel guide to Cairns below.

Where we stayed

We stayed at Bailey which opened in 2019, and it’s a gorgeous hotel located in the heart of Cairns’ CBD. We found it to be a really central location from which to base ourselves. We always try to be within close proximity to amenities such as cafes and restaurants whenever we stay somewhere as when travelling with kids it’s important to make getting from A to B as easy as possible. The rooms are fresh and modern, and I loved all the cool art around the hotel and in the rooms, Bailey also plays host to different exhibitions and activations. One of the things I loved about Bailey is their focus on sustainability. All the bathroom amenities are recyclable or compostable, there are also no plastic water bottles or straws and things such as room key cards and accessories are made from recycled wood.

The girls enjoying the lobby at Bailey

Heading out as a family

Enjoying the pool

What we did

We always love destinations that have lots of things for kids to do and this trip we were able to check out a range of different locations. We went to Cairns Aquarium which is only a few minutes’ walk from Bailey. It’s a great spot and something that I’m sure most kids would love to check out. Another fun place to visit is Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome. It’s a wildlife sanctuary which plays home to crocodiles, koalas and more. Plus there’s also an indoor ropes course which features everything from climbing walls to swings and even a zipline. It’s great if you’re after a bit of an adrenaline rush!

If however you just want to take things easy, definitely take a walk along the Esplanade Boardwalk. It’s quite picturesque and the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll. The kids loved the big stingray sculpture, which as you can see, they couldn’t resist taking a picture on.

If you want to explore a little further afield then you most definitely cannot miss seeing The Great Barrier Reef. We did a day tour and it was incredible. Pictures just don’t do the Reef justice. We ended up snorkelling which was a lot of fun. We weren’t able to do it from Cairns this trip but one thing to definitely add to your list is a day trip to see Daintree National Park. We went there from Port Douglas which is where we were before Cairns, but we would visit again as it’s just beautiful. The kids had a great time exploring and swimming.

Doing the ropes course at Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

Taking a stroll along the boardwalk

Where we ate

When we discover a place we like to eat while we’re on holiday we tend to be repeat customers. And it was no different this trip. We went to dinner at Rocco and Paper Crane, both restaurants at Riley, a lovely hotel that’s across the road from where we were staying and really rated the food there. Rocco is a Mediterranean restaurant with rooftop bar. The view is great and the food even better. While Paper Crane is an Asian Fusion restaurant, with a Japanese, Korean, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese inspired menu. Both delicious and both menus the kids really liked.

Sampling the local fare

One of the many delicious meals we enjoyed

This one too!

 

This post was produced in collaboration with Crystalbrook

Fashion, What I Wore

What I wore this week (on location)

24th June, 2021

I’m on holiday in Port Douglas this week so I replaced my usual winter gear for one of my favourite types of clothing: resortwear! It’s warm where we are staying so it gave me the perfect reason to pull out some new additions to my wardrobe, including some great swimwear and cover-ups. I love dressing for balmy weather as outfits feel so relaxed, yet they can easily be glammed up with the right accessories. I’m quite partial to doing a bit of beach glam as it’s such a fun way to mix and match some of my favourite pieces. Here’s what I wore this week… on location.

One of the things I’ve been using as a staple look this week is a swimsuit or bodysuit paired with easy, relaxed separates. These white pants are so fresh and perfect for balmy weather. I paired it with my trusty Loewe basket bag, because if you can’t wear a basket bag on a beach holiday then when can you? I finished off the look with a chunky gold necklace and sunnies as the final touch.

Credits: Bodysuit, Venroy; Pants (similar), Seafolly; Bag, Loewe; Sandals, Gucci; Necklace, Manning Cartell; Sunglasses, Le Specs

I always pack a wrap like this whenever I’m doing a beach holiday as it’s great to wear as a skirt, and also something to throw on after a swim. Bondi Born always do really practical, yet elegant separates that are made for a holiday destination such as far north Queensland. I paired them with my fave Ray Bans and trusty white Gucci sandals.

Credits: Swimsuit (similar), Seafolly; Wrap (similar), Bondi Born; Sunglasses, Ray Ban; Sandals, Gucci; Bag, Loewe

We were heading out to dinner so I wanted to glam it up a bit. This cami is such a great piece as it’s so lightweight that it barely takes up any room in my suitcase, but it’s also just the thing to elevate a pair of linen pants. The pearl straps are just delightful and such a fun touch to this outfit.

Credits: Cami, Cami NYC; Pants, Seafolly; Bag, Sparrows Weave; Sandals, Gucci

I absolutely love this set by Venroy. It’s super comfy and the contrasting thin and thick stripes achieve an interesting effect that give this look some personality. They’re also perfect worn on separately and worked back with other pieces so I can double the use of them while I’m up here.

Credits: Top and shorts, Venroy; Sandals, Gucci; Bag, Loewe, Sunglasses, Ray Ban

Loving this textured swimsuit by Monday Swimwear. It’s a great colour and I like the ribbed effect as it adds a layer of interest to this ensemble. I paired this with my Bondi Born wrap, and this printed Aje bucket hat. These Karen Walker sunglasses have been a fun addition to my sunnies collection, they’re an interesting shape and I love the geometric silhouette as an accent piece.

Credits: Swimsuit (similar), Monday Swimwear; Wrap (similar), Bondi Born; Hat, Aje; Sunglasses, Karen Walker

See? What did I tell you about these shorts? I paired this with a one shoulder swimsuit for a glam look for the day and proved I did some great strategic packing. I always make sure that any pieces I bring when I travel can be worked back with other items I’m packing and turned into a variety of different looks. Topped off with my fave basket bag and sandals, I can’t think of a better tropical look.

Credits: Swimsuit (similar), Bondi Born; Shorts, Venroy; Sandals, Gucci; Bag, Loewe; Sunglasses, Ray Ban

Beauty, Lifestyle

My pre-holiday beauty prep

20th February, 2021

When I go on holiday I like to keep it as low key as possible when it comes to beauty maintenance. Whether it’s overseas (remember overseas holidays?) or somewhere closer to home I prefer to just focus on getting out and about and making the most of each day as opposed to having to spend time grooming my eyebrows or doing my nails. To ensure this happens, I focus on my pre-holiday beauty prep and make sure I get all the beauty maintenance I need scheduled in before I depart.

I’m sure a lot of you have a similar checklist give or take a few steps but these are the key things I always get done before I even pack my bags

Get a spray tan

A spray tan is always a must for me before I go away on a trip. My favourite place to go is Bronzalicious in Sydney’s Neutral Bay as they always get the colour spot on. I find when you’re bronzed you don’t need to wear much makeup plus you just generally feel more confident with a little bit of a glow, especially if it’s a beach holiday and you’re in swimwear a lot.

To help with maintenance while I’m on holiday I’ll take an exfoliator to get rid of excess colour from my spray tan and a bronzing mousse for top-ups.

Get a mani/pedi

I like neat, tidy nails when I’m on vacation so I make sure to squeeze in a manicure and pedicure as part of my pre-holiday beauty prep routine. I usually go sans polish on my fingernails because I hate chipped nails and don’t want to have to worry about getting them done when I’m away from home. On my toes I will get Shellac so it lasts a couple of weeks and will usually either get a light shade such as OPI’s Bubble Bath or a deep burgundy such as OPI’s Malaga Wine.

Have my eyebrows shaped and lashes tinted

A visit to Amy Jean Eye Couture in Sydney’s CBD is a must. I get my eyebrows shaped and eyelashes tinted and curled. I always curl my eyelashes so this way I don’t have to worry about it and I’m set for the day. If my brows and lashes are looking good then I find that I can get away with minimal makeup as it helps me looked polished.

Refresh my hair

I’m usually very good at having a regular cut and colour so I always make a point of booking a session at Valonz in Sydney’s Paddington right before a trip. I get my hair recoloured and cut so it looks fresh for my trip. It’s a bit of running around getting all my beauty prep done before going away but it’s all worth it in the end as I can just focus on enjoying myself and not have to worry about a thing.

What are your pre-holiday beauty prep essentials?

 

Lifestyle

How to get that overseas travel feeling at home

8th February, 2021

I know most of us would be missing overseas travel after so long without it. I definitely am! We always like to go away on family holidays and are lucky to be able to jet off to different spots yearly, so we’re looking forward to being able to go away just as soon as we’re allowed. In the meantime, I think it’s always nice to tap into that holiday feeling at home. In lieu of being able to jet off on a plane, here are some things you can do to help ease those feelings of wanderlust.

A scented candle

Scent is such a powerful thing—I know for me, a particular perfume or even just a certain dish cooking in the kitchen can bring memories flooding back. So if you are craving that holiday feeling, why not light a candle with a scent that brings you back to a favourite getaway, or even one that you’re looking forward to.

Watch a film set in an exotic location

Let a movie take you away, even if it’s just for a few hours. Film is such a vivid way to escape the every day and the best thing is you can head off to all corners of the globe without ever leaving the comfort of your couch.

Order in the cuisine of the next place you want to visit

Italy holds a special place in my heart, so whenever I am enjoying any Italian food I always feel transported back to my fave holidays there. So I think a great way to have something to look forward to is to order a meal (or cook one!) from the country of the next place you want to visit. Enjoy the flavours and really savour it and remind yourself that one day hopefully very soon, you’ll be eating an authentic meal locally.

Read a travel-themed book

There are so many travel tomes out there, from Eat Pray Love, to Into the Wild and On The Road, there’s nothing quite like embracing a good novel and allowing it to take you somewhere far, far away.

Have a themed dinner party

Why not invite some friends around and have a dinner party themed to a particular travel destination? Whether it’s a Parisian themed soiree, a Mexican fiesta or an amazing sushi spread, this is a way to let food take you on a vacation for an evening.

Plan a travel TV binge

When you’re in binge watching mode, tune into a great travel TV program. There’s nothing like an episode of a travel themed show, whether it’s an Anthony Bourdain series or chef David Chang traversing the globe in Ugly Delicious, to help you soothe those travel pangs.

Enjoy an exotic drink from your fave travel spot

I always love trying local drinks whenever I’m on holiday, whether it’s a cocktail or wine from the region. So why not go on a little round the world trip one sip at a time? And the sky’s the limit. Take a trip to Spain with a jug of sangria or head to South America with a delicious caipiroska, there’s nothing like an exotic drink to take you away.

Learn a new language

Play the long game and really take the time to learn a new language to prepare for your next big holiday. There are so many online programs, apps or even good ol’ fashioned books to help you learn a new language. It’s such a great way to truly immerse yourself in the experience of visiting a new country by being able to speak the local dialect.

Do something you always do on holiday

Is there something that you always do when you’re on a getaway? Whether it’s hitting up the spa for a treatment or ordering room service and relaxing in a bathrobe, tap into holiday you and indulge in a little vacation behaviour.

Plan your next trip

I am already dreaming of what our next holiday will entail. I can’t wait to be able to jump on a plane and end up somewhere far away. So, it’s been great to check out some dreamy locations and hotels to help us start planning what our itinerary would be. It’s definitely given me something to look forward to and is a great way to help deal with those travel pangs.

What have you been doing to ease the longing for overseas travel?

Lifestyle

My guide to the Southern Highlands

28th October, 2020
Bowral in the Southern Highlands. Pic: Destination NSW

Given travel is restricted right now, travelling too far afield isn’t really on the cards for most so it’s a great opportunity to explore regional Australia. One of my favourite spots in NSW is without a doubt the Southern Highlands. We have a farm in the area so we’ll often pick the girls up from school on a Friday and drive down for the weekend. And you’re guaranteed to find us there most of the time during school holidays.

It definitely holds a special place in my heart as my family and I have spent so much time there over the years but I also love coming back time and time again because there’s so much to see and do. From the great food and wine to fantastic shopping and beautiful surrounds and spending time in the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re in Sydney like I am, it’s only and hour and a half drive but when you get there it feels like such a different world. So, if you’re looking for your next weekend away, check it out, and be sure to stop in at some of my fave spots to shop, eat and have fun. Here’s what to do in the Southern Highlands.

Where to shop

Suzie Anderson Home

Located in Moss Vale, I love going here to go furniture shopping. So many great pieces.

The Bronte Tram

If you’re into antiques definitely check this place out. I’ve found so many hidden gems.

Dirty Janes antique market in Bowral Pic: Destination NSW

Dirty Janes

This is an amazing antique market located in Bowral which has the best in vintage pieces. There are over 50 dealers and you can find everything from furnishings, to ornaments and jewellery.

Lydie Du Bray Antiques

I’d described this as a treasure trove of antiques. If you love antiquing then the Southern Highlands is definitely a great destination for you.

Where to eat

Eccetera

This is my favourite place for a casual dinner. It’s family-friendly and the food is delicious! My kids love the pizza and pasta and not to forget the Nutella pizza for dessert! 

Caffe Rosso

We go here for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s Italian and the food is great. It’s also right next to Harris Farm so I always stop in before or after my weekly shop.

Station Coffee House

Our property is near Mittagong so we often go to the Station Coffee House for breakfast or lunch. From burgers to salads it’s the prefect casual cafe lunch spot.

Bernie’s Diner

for the authentic burger and shake experience. the kids love it with the old school booths and diner.

Berkelouw Book Barn at Bendoley Estate, Berrima. Pic: Destination NSW

Berkelouw Book Barn and Cafe

Located in the Bendooley Estate winery, we love stopping for a pizza here and perusing the books in the book shop. 

Highlands Merchant

Located in Moss Vale, this cafe does great coffee and is right next door to Suzie Anderson Home so it’s always a good place to visit. 

Toshi’s sushi

This restaurant has a Japanese style dining room so it’s a a fun way to eat with friends. Everything on the menu is delicious. 

The ground of Mount Ashby Estate, Moss Vale. Pic: Kramer Photography; www.kramer.photography

Mount Ashby Estate

This is my favourite for Sunday lunch. I love stopping by for a cheese or charcuterie platter and a glass of wine. It’s particularly nice on a beautiful day. Book a table outside and let the kids run around the beautiful lawns. Onesta Cucina is the restaurant onsite and it’s my go-to for a special occasion dinner.

Centennial Vineyards Restaurant

I love this spot as it’s perfect for a long Sunday lunch. It has a cellar door too, so it’s perfect for wine tasting too. 

Gumnut Pattisserie

I can’t go past this spot for amazing pastries and cakes. Everything’s so tasty that don’t be surprised if you’re back for repeat visits

What to do

Horse riding at Rosthwaite Farm

We keep our family ponies here and love taking the girls whenever we’re in the area as they have such a great time riding. They offer riding lessons, trail rides and/or riding camps so perfect for keeping the kids occupied.

Trail walk at Fitzroy Falls

Going for long bushwalks is something we like doing as a family and I highly recommend this spot. It’s so beautiful and the waterfalls are breathtaking. 

Visit Farm Club Australia

Parents usually are often big fans of this spot as they have animals for the kids to pat. There is also a farm shop, organic market garden and grass-fed cattle butchery, if you want to pick up some beautiful, fresh produce.

Spend an afternoon at the Burrawang Village Hotel

Grab a drink and settle down for the afternoon. It’s a good spot for lunch too. And the scenery is just gorgeous.

Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Social

What to see, where to stay and what to eat in Port Douglas

25th July, 2020
Beach time with Sophia

During the recent school holidays we went up north for a family holiday in Port Douglas. When possible we like to get away from Sydney for a change of scenery and healthy dose of warm weather seemed to be just the thing we all needed. We’ve always been a fan of beach holidays so it was nice to have the opportunity to visit beautiful Queensland, particular after months of being in iso. If you’re thinking of heading to Port Douglas one of these days, here are a few tried and tested places that got our tick of approval.

Where we stayed

Anywhere we stay when we’re on holiday definitely has to be kid-friendly and the Sheraton Mirage was just that. It was really great for the girls, as there were plenty of facilities for them to swim and splash around, particularly the sand lagoons which they enjoyed. There are hotel rooms as well as villas so there’s definitely accommodation options to suit any size group. It’s also positioned really well in that it’s close to Port Douglas’ major tourist attractions, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Sheraton Mirage
Grace enjoying the sand lagoon

Fave places to eat

We love exploring different restaurants and cafes whenever we’re away and there are a handful that we tried that we would highly recommend.

For breakfast we loved The Little Larder which was centrally located and did good coffee. We tried out a few spots for lunch, and really enjoyed On the Inlet, which is a seafood restaurant and bar. And Melaleuca which is a modern Australian restaurant, which is open for lunch from Thursday – Sunday (we also went here for dinner and it was great). They had a singer there when we went over the weekend for lunch and the atmosphere was relaxing and really enjoyable. We spent most nights out at dinner and could recommend Watergate, Zinc, Sassi La Cucina and Bar and Salsa Bar and Grill. We also treated ourselves to dinner at Nautilus one night which is a little more high end and perfect for a date night. No kids under eight are allowed so if you’ve got the option for a babysitter, then it’s definitely worth visiting.

What’s a tropical holiday without beautiful seafood?
Spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat

What we did

We did the Quicksilver Barrier Reef day tour which is on the pricier end but such a fantastic, kid-friendly way to see the Great Barrier Reef. You can choose to dive or snorkel our you can view the marine life from the underwater viewing platform or the semi-submersible submarine. It’s such an unbelievable site and definitely worth seeing.

One of the things we loved doing was hiring bikes and riding on the sand (the sand is hard so it’s quite an easy ride). It’s beautiful in the morning and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of dolphins playing in the surf.

Riding bikes on the sand

We took the girls to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures which is 25 minutes out of Port Douglas and loved seeing all the crocs. Definitely do the boat ride as you can see all the crocodiles being fed in the water.

Up close and personal with a croc at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures

If you want a relaxing way to spend a Sunday, then check out the Port Douglas markets. The produce is great and so fresh. Definitely worth wandering around to check out what’s on offer.

Checking out the fresh product at the markets

Fashion, Fashion & Beauty

My week on Instagram

8th December, 2019

My family and I have escaped the craziness in the lead up to Christmas this week and have had such a fun time in the US. We took the girls to Disneyland for the first time and they had an absolute ball. They dressed up in their favourite princess looks and got to meet their favourite Disney characters, not to mention check out all the rides (the teacup ride was a fave!). We also headed over to Aspen for a spot of skiing. It was great to introduce Grace to the sport for the first time. She was a natural on skis and was zipping around in no time! It was also a particularly beautiful spot to spend my birthday. I always love a destination birthday

This week I also shared my top tips for buying Christmas presents for the little ones in your life. If you’re still on the look out for the ideal gifts for the kids on your Christmas list, then definitely check this post out — hopefully it’ll help you tick off a few more names!

Not long to Christmas now… I hope you’re all enjoying the most wonderful time of the year.

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Happiest place on earth ❤️ @disneyland

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Birthday lunch ❄️ @lukericketson

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Fashion, Shop, What I Wore

What I Wore: Field of Dreams

15th October, 2019

During a recent photoshoot at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley the picturesque setting was the perfect time to showcase some of my favourite spring looks. Enter this gorgeous Aje dress. There’s nothing I love more than a crisp white look which has a relaxed yet polished vibe that’s perfect for this time of year. The beautiful wattle pattern on this dress adds a slightly rustic feel, which is perfectly offset by the modern cut-outs on the dress. I’m all about a statement sleeve these days and these blouson sleeves add a soft, feminine touch to my overall look.

Whenever I’m wearing something that’s quite pretty in its silhouette, I like to add accessories with a little more grit. Which is why I opted for these Louis Vuitton ankle boots. They help ground the look and cut through the softer elements of the dress. To let the frock take centre stage I decided on simple jewellery, adding a Dior necklace as my final finishing touch.

Photography by Sophia Athas, Hatrik

Shop the Look:

Dress: Mimosa Cutout Midi Dress, Aje

Shoes: Silhouette Ankle Boot, Louis Vuitton

Fashion, Fashion & Beauty

My trip with Helen Kaminski and what I learned about sustainability

12th September, 2019
Taking in the sights at the Jackalope Hotel on my trip with Helen Kaminski

A little while ago I went on a trip with Helen Kaminski down to Victoria to celebrate the launch of their Pure Merino Wool collection for A/W 19. The aim of the trip was to learn about their sustainability journey and the way they’re now incorporating beautiful Australian merino wool into their hats, using an innovative new technique. I’ve long been a fan of the brand, and have worn their pieces a lot, so I was interested to see the direction they were steering this collection.

We stayed at the beautiful Jackalope Hotel in the Mornington Peninsula, which was purposely chosen for their sustainable initiatives on site. Some of their practices include collecting rainwater for use, using solar panels, and an on site waste water treatment and recycling system, not to mention the ‘farm to fork’ principle used at all their restaurants. We were even able to forage in the kitchen garden to help us discover more about the local produce and how it ties into the sustainability ethos of the property.

My favourite part of the trip was having the opportunity to visit Barunah Farm where we were able to check out sheep being sheared and learn more about how Helen Kaminski is using Australian merino wool in its collection. In their pledge to be fur free by 2023, Helen Kaminski has worked with partners to innovate a new grade of wool felt that is comparable to the lightness, softness and appearance of fur felt hats. Pure Merino wool is 100 per cent natural and renewable, plus is biodegradable in soil so it ticks a lot of sustainability boxes. Given that 80 per cent of the wool used in fashion globally comes from Australia, this is heartening to know as it’s one way to help reduce our impact on the environment.

The hats itself are gorgeous. So soft to the touch and lightweight too, making each piece a true pleasure to wear. Felt hats are a constant in my winter wardrobe, and I wear them to autumn racing events often so it’s good to know that there’s an alternative to hats made using fur, that’s comparable if not more superior. I also like the fact that it’s one way to support the Australian wool industry and a great way to help the in our important and pressing quest to act consciously and more sustainably.

Wearing my beautiful Helen Kaminski hat
Capturing the action at Barunah Farm
Sheep shearing in action
The beautiful finished product
Fashion, Lifestyle, Social

My week on Instagram

8th September, 2019

I spent some time in Melbourne this week to attend the Vogue American Express Fashion’s Night Out (VAEFNO). The shopping extravaganza is an event I always look forward to for the great shopping, the fashion and beauty installations and also being able to hang out in the American Express Lounge. And this year, it once again didn’t disappoint (I may have snapped up a new purchase or two as well!

It was also the week for fun, new looks. The dress code for VAEFNO was New York City block party so I snapped up a fun look for the event incorporating a Balmain blazer and silver MSGM skirt. Whilst I also had the opportunity to rock my new fave—a Camilla and Marc skirt suit which I can see being a constant in my wardrobe this season.

I also had the opportunity to end my week in the most gorgeous way—seeing Sophia perform in her first dance concert. She was thoroughly excited by it all and I was so proud seeing her on stage!

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Monday moment ✨ @fendi #fendi #fendipeekaboo

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