30 July 2017

One Day. Exploring Yarra Valley With BMW

Growing up in a family associated with the car business, I’ve had the opportunity to drive many vehicles in my time. Some good, some bad, some even requiring a push start, but that’s another story… One thing’s for certain [and a surprise to many people], I’m definitely a bit of a rev head. I LOVE a good set of wheels. It makes every excursion like a little adventure.

27 July 2017

Suitcase. Relaxation In Port Douglas - Niramaya

I find it hard to relax. I’ve been blessed [or some might say cursed] with one of those minds that just never stops. I’ve tried meditation and yoga… but whilst I’m supposed to be breathing deep and clearing my head, my mind always seems to trail off on its own – deep breath, ooh what’s that smell? Incense? Perhaps Sandlewood. It’s lovely. I really must buy more scented candles for home, particularly before my friends come for dinner on Saturday. Speaking of, I need to do the grocery shopping. Now, what will I make for dessert?…

23 July 2017

Suitcase. Discovering The Daintree

Growing up on the Gold Coast, I felt rather familiar with the rainforest as we would often go for walks at Springbrook or Mount Tambourine. Naturally, the Daintree was high on my list so we spent a full day exploring the tropics whilst in Port Douglas.

20 July 2017

Suitcase. Totally Tropical – A Week in Port Douglas

If you’ve been following my Instagram this past week, no doubt you would have seen that I traded in chilly, raining Melbourne for a taste of the tropics. Who can blame me? After a nasty bout of laryngitis that completely stole my voice (I was OK with not being able to speak but my inability to sing in the shower really got me down!), I was more than ready for some sunshine and humidity. Despite growing up in Queensland, the northern region of the state is virtually unknown to me. Having never visited Port Douglas before, I decided it was time to see it for myself.

We stepped off the plane to a welcome blast of 27degree heat and made a beeline for our hotel – The Sheraton Grand Mirage. With a recent renovation, this 30 year old property is spectacular.

This new blue bikini is a total steal from Zaful, but I've also popped some alternatives below.

Boasting more than 20 hectares of ungated pools, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere – it really is a sight to behold. The beach waves lap in the background whilst the palm trees rustle from above. Each day I walked the gardens, falling particularly in love with the striking red lipstick palms.

Life has a slow pace up here, which is exactly what we desired. Other than a journey out to the reef and a day exploring the Daintree, we spent much of our time wandering the beach or poolside, devouring our books.

This series of books is a particular goodie – I honestly couldn’t put them down.

The town of Port Douglas itself is sleepy and quaint. Its main street Macrossan is dotted with boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Venture all the way to the end and you’ll find the marina, Rex Smeal Park and the charming St Mary’s By The Sea. This church was originally built in the late 1800’s and suffered several beatings thanks to tropical cyclones. Nevertheless, the locals caringly rebuilt it each time, restoring her to her former glory.

If you’re in town of a weekend, be sure to take a trip down to the docks and pick up some seafood fresh off the trawler. We enjoyed some delicious prawns, oysters and scallops. This town is seafood heaven.

A venture up the hill to the lookout is also well worth it. You’ll find a clear view down the coastline where the reef meets the rainforest.

With an abundance of food, wine, salt air and swimming, Port Douglas truly is good for the soul. Most days we woke to the calls of the Kookaburras and fell asleep to the soothing whispers of the waves. For this beach baby, it was heavenly.

Book your own stay at the Sheraton here.

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Photos by Krissie.

13 July 2017

Plate Up. Quick & Easy Chowder

"It is bloody cold."
I catch myself saying this to people a lot lately. People often think Australia doesn't really have a winter, but in Melbourne we certainly do. I was out late the other evening when the mercury hit -1. Brrrr.

Lucky I'm off to Port Douglas this week. My toes really need to thaw and, more importantly, I really need a tan. It's hard to believe it can still be 26 degrees in northern QLD at this time of year. To beat the chill back home, I've been busy whipping up all manner of hearty recipes, and this chowder has become a fast favourite.

Now I've never been to San Fran or Cape Cod - home to apparently some fantastic chowders which I can't wait to try, but I must say that I'd hazard a guess that this humble little recipe would do pretty well to compare.

What you'll need (serves 4)
Olive oil
a small bunch spring onions, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
kernels of 2 corn cobs (use a knife to gently slice them off)
1 sprig fresh thyme
750ml chicken stock
400g your preferred white fish (you can really use anything, I opted for budget-friendly basa)
150ml cream

What to do
Take a large saucepan and heat your oil on the stove. Add in the spring onions and potatoes, seasoning well. Ensure you're stirring them, otherwise they tend to stick. Cook for about 5mins. Add in your corn kernels, then your thyme and stock. Lay your fish in as a whole and pop the lid on. Leave to cook for 15-20mins or until the potato feels tender. Then add the cream and pop the lid back on, cooking for a further 5mins.

Time to serve. It really is impossibly simple, isn't it? A great one-pot dish. Use a ladle to gently break up the fish and spoon into bowls. Serve with fresh bread or toast.

See, you're warmer already aren't you?...

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Photos by Krissie.

9 July 2017

Eat Me. Tacocat, Windsor

Friday nights are my favourite night to go out. Everyone's happy, they're in celebrate-weekend mode, and possibly the best side effect of going out on a Friday eve, is that the weekend seems so much longer!

Now that a couple of my London bestie's have moved to town we've been busy hopping from hotspot to hotspot- drinks... dinner... both!... Last weekend we stumbled upon a relatively new addition to the Melbourne foodie scene in Windsor - Tacocat. Interestingly enough it's spelt the same backwards - your brain just said 'woah' didn't it?

This spot is great if you love margaritas, plus it serves up some pretty tasty little morsels as well, all with a Mexican-fusion vibe. With a menu inspired by the owner's world travels, there is everything from corn on the cob to grasshopper tacos (for those who are really game! And no, that's not me.).

We kicked things off with the ceviche tostada - super light and refreshing with melt-in-the-mouth fish. One of my favourites to order when eating this style of food...

Before digging into a selection of tacos including pork and crackling, Japanese fried chicken and soft shell crab. Told you, it's a worldly menu!

Then just when you think you can't stuff in anymore, you can try their signature dessert. A deep fried tequila shot. Don't worry, it's not as wacky as it sounds. They haven't found a way to solidify tequila and fry it, instead it's soaked sponge that's been battered and fried til golden. The accompanying lemon sorbet is the chaser. Smart.

I guess I might see you there for Friday night margaritas! Walk on in during the week but best to book on weekends.

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Photos by Krissie.

6 July 2017

Plate Up. Prosciutto & Melon Salad

This recipe makes a great summery salad for those of you in the northern hemisphere right now. But if you're in chilly Australia like me then I think you'll find it also makes a great refreshing starter before you dive into something heartier. Either way, it's a win-win.

2 July 2017

Must Have. Baby It's Cold Outside...

In light of the Antarctic conditions that have swept through the south this weekend, I thought there was no time like the present to round up some of my favourites for winter. As much as a brisk chill isn't always the most fun, it does allow for some great styles to be worn - luxurious coats, fashion-forward hats, long boots. Which of theses are your favourites?... Click to shop below.