A day as a tourist in Surry Hills

As we approach the Bank holiday on 4th August I am reminded of the same day last year and it brings a smile to my face. With both kids still heading to daycare for the day, my husband took the day off work to join me on a ‘date day’ to explore Surry Hills through the eyes of a tourist.

We began the day with breakfast at Bills on Crown Street. Being a Monday it was super quiet, just a few people grabbing their morning coffee. Our food was great- the crab, chorizo & house kim chee fried brown rice is not your usual breakfast option but it was my highlight.

Surry Hills¬† has such a great vibe and is great for people watching; exploring the many boutiques full of unique and vintage clothes; shops full of interesting and different curiosities; cafes, bars and restaurants with fantastic designer interiors as well as those with a more hipster vibe full of repurposed furniture… it is a feast for the senses!

Continue reading A day as a tourist in Surry Hills

A weekend at Blues on Broadbeach 2014

The end of May was my Mum’s 60th birthday. She, like most mums, is always going out of her way to support her friends and extended family so this year was our opportunity to do something special for her.

For the last few years mum has celebrated her birthday by spending a weekend away at the Blues on Broadbeach music festival on the Gold Coast. Mum’s original request was that the whole family join her and her friends for the weekend but, mum being mum, she didn’t want my brother and I to go to the expense of travelling to the Gold Coast with our respective families. So… My brother and I decided to surprise her and left partners with the kids back at home in Sydney.

I had no idea how many great Blues musicians were on the bill at the festival and I was completely blown away that not only were there internationally renowned artists but it was all free! From Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges to Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Russell Morris to Juzzie Smith the quality of the music was amazing.

The stages are dotted around the outdoor malls in Broadbeach and music runs from 10am, throughout the day and into the night so there is always something to see. I was, however, one of the few festival goers with no grey hair (I guess I was there to celebrate a 60th birthday!) but it was fantastic to see so ‘mature’ people able to enjoy the festival without a heap of young people overwhelming them in the crowd.

The weather was amazing so we chose to mix roaming the festival stages with walks along the beautiful Broadbeach, browsing the beachside markets and fish & chips on the balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

On our final night we dined at Mecca Bah. This was the second time I’ve dined here and it did not disappoint. I love Moroccan food & the banquet was delicious!

Although it was only a long weekend, it felt like much longer. It was such a great time with family and with cheap flights to the Gold Coast, shared accommodation, free music festival, markets and the beach it was still a very economical weekend away and a great way to celebrate my Mum’s 60th birthday

20140715-211304-76384914.jpg
Enjoying a drink in a bar by one of the stages
20140715-211305-76385221.jpg
With my brother & parents in our ‘Blues on Broadbeach’ Blues Brothers hats
20140715-211304-76384591.jpg
Mum really enjoyed the surprise
20140715-211304-76384751.jpg
Juzzie Smith- a regular at north coast NSW markets- performs at the festival
20140715-211305-76385067.jpg
The view from our apartment

A spontaneous Adventure in the Blue Mountains

What started as a whim after seeing an ad in MX, turned into a great spontaneous adventure. Scenic World in the Blue Mountains was advertising a sculpture walk and given it was Mothers Day, I made the request that we go as a family on a day trip to discover the sculptures in the beautiful bush surroundings of the Mountains.

But, once we were in the 2nd hour of our drive west, the idea of coming all the way back home after our visit became less & less appealing and the idea of finding some cheap accommodation to stay overnight quickly became the preferred option!

It was freezing in the mountains and the girls were excited as soon as we got out of the car & into the chilly, fresh air. The adventure was made all the more exciting with the ride on the cable car to travel beneath the canopy. They loved rugging up and exploring the trails dotted with gorgeous sculptures- half the fun for me was watching them discover the different artworks and listening to their take on what they meant.

A quick trip to the supermarket provided supplies for dinner & Big W supplied emergency pjs. After all the excitement of the day it didn’t take much for any of us to get to sleep in our warm cabin that night!

The next morning we got up & went for a short bush walk to view the megalong valley in the early morning light and were greeted with a beautiful lyre bird scratching around in the undergrowth. The girls were also convinced they had found a fairy hangout when they found an old wishing well. After a play in a nearby playground we headed to Leura for a hearty breakfast with a view & a wander around the little shops. One more bushwalk after breakfast, a mountain market with some live music and then the journey back home.

Links
Blue Mountains
Sculpture at Scenic World
Cabins at Katoomba Falls Tourist Park
Leura
Blue Mountains Markets

20140713-130039-46839100.jpg
Exploring the bush tracks that open to expansive views
20140713-130039-46839260.jpg
Unexpected sculptures set among the bush

20140713-130039-46839864.jpg

20140713-130038-46838942.jpg
Looking for fairies in the well

20140713-130039-46839654.jpg

20140713-130039-46839442.jpg

Bluesfest 2014

Complete with 5 days tix to Bluesfest we headed out to day 1 with the kids. Traffic congestion due to the Pacific Highway upgrade aside, we arrived at the festival site super excited to introduce the kids to some Blues.

The girls loved the festival atmosphere and were keen to explore the many stalls and stages. It wasn’t too long before they found other kids to dance with and enjoy the music.

20140713-132215-48135657.jpg
The kids found the live music exhilarating
20140713-132216-48136312.jpg
Face painting is just one of the great activities for kids at the festival

 

 

20140713-132216-48136912.jpg
The girls wanted to get up close to the music
20140713-132216-48136652.jpg
Great entertainment as well as great music
20140713-132216-48136808.jpg
Lots of great food to choose from or else you can pack your own
20140713-132216-48136488.jpg
Getting close to the action

Sydney Festival 2014

20140713-132307-48187176.jpg
The whole family loved the light experience
20140713-132307-48187414.jpg
The bars down near the Opera House did a great job being family friendly throughout the festival
20140713-132307-48187931.jpg
It took everyone a little while to work out the optical illusion, great fun!

I love the buzz of a good festival & the Sydney Festival is always great for fun family days out as well as date nights. Summer in Sydney is special & the Sydney Festival just adds another element to enjoying the harbour city in the sunshine. Darling Harbour, Hyde Park and Circular Quay are the best spots for free activities during the day for kids and they always enjoy exploring the different activities. If you go on a Sunday you can also take advantage of the Family Funday Sunday tickets and get around really cheaply on public transport. 20140713-132307-48187032.jpg 20140713-132307-48187283.jpg 20140713-132307-48187737.jpg

Lennox Head

Lennox Head holds a special place in my memory bank. For many years our family holidayed at Lennox Head Caravan Park- we had a permanent caravan there & I spent many summers among the pandanas trees and flitting between the beach and then washing off the salt in the Tea Tree lake.

In later years we lived in Lennox Head and I remember unsupervised weekend parties at our unit in the township & late night walks along the beach, fires in the wood bbqs at the Lake & sing-a-longs.

Since having kids of my own it has been really special to start building new family memories of Lennox Head. Walks along the beach for a swim at the boat channel, ice-creams at In the Pink, sand castles in front of the surf club but always washing off in the gorgeous Lake Ainsworth. It might have something to do with the grandparents being on hand, or maybe the general vibe of NSWs far north coast, but I always feel immediately relaxed when I arrive for a holiday.

Things to do & places to go
Lake Ainsworth
In the Pink ice-cream
Harvest Cafe
Bungalow Markets
Crystal Castle
Minyon Falls
Summerland House Farm
Victoria Park
Fig Tree Restaurant
Macadamia Castle
Pighouse Flicks
Lennox Markets
Lennox Headland


20140713-101628-36988484.jpg
Seven Mile Beach

20140713-101628-36988947.jpg
Pandanas Trees

20140713-132347-48227286.jpg
The beach to ourselves

20140713-132347-48227579.jpgThe amazing Christmas lights at Sanctuary Village Van Park in Lennox Head

20140713-132347-48227889.jpg
Exploring Minyon Falls

20140713-132347-48227736.jpg
Victoria Park

20140713-132348-48228053.jpg
Bushwalk at Minyon Falls

20140713-132347-48227425.jpg
The fantastic Juzzie Smith busking at Bangalow Markets

20140713-132348-48228984.jpg
Exploring Crystal Castle

20140713-132349-48229147.jpg
Checking out the aboriginal art at Crystal Castle

20140713-132348-48228216.jpg
Squiggly Gum in the National Park

20140713-132349-48229481.jpg
The gorgeous Fig Tree Restaurant in Byron Bay

20140713-132349-48229973.jpg
Barefoot Bowls At Lennox Bowlo

20140713-132348-48228808.jpg
Spotting Goldfish at Crystal Castle

20140713-132349-48229315.jpg
Bush tracks at Crystal Castle

20140713-132348-48228595.jpg
Just stunning!

20140713-132348-48228396.jpg
Minyon Falls