Friday, 31 May 2013

Fancy a coffee in a secret garden?

Across the Waverton train station you will find a very special place to have coffee, breakfast or lunch, the Botanica Garden Cafe.
Almost a year ago Ann and Nathan bought this cafe, which was completely run down and not very popular amongst the locals. It took them 5 months to renovate and to realize their dream to have a cafe which suits their personality completely. They wanted to create a place which feels very far away from the hussle and bussle of the city, which has an outstanding service and a very friendly face. They tried to bring back the old days where people would forget about the noise of the city and could completely relax. Well, they succeeded! This gorgeous cafe has a very special natural atmosphere. It has a secret garden where they grow their own herbs, it is decorated with bright vintage furniture and has a lovely pond with fish! All is recycled and eco friendly which give this lovely natural feeling. Besides the nice and the bit quirky decor, most importantly, the coffee is divine and the food fresh and delicious!
Botanica Garden Cafe, 61a Bay Rd, Waverton

Friday, 24 May 2013

Charming, cute & colorful!

I'll definitely write more about the pretty suburb Kirribilli, but I just cannot keep this gem away from you. The other day I walked from Milsons Point towards the Harbour Bridge and suddenly passed a very charming, colorful, tiny, cute shop. Of course I entered. This shop, named Ginger Flower, is very popular with the locals but it's time for more people to get to know this hidden treasure!
It is full of gorgeous surprises. They offer different goodies from all over the world. Sue, the owner started selling most items from India but currently also sources in Japan, Italy, UK, France and of course Australia. You can find kimono kaleidoscope's, secret books, comfi colorful French slippers, organic bath and body products from Salus, Italian knitwear, cuddly blankets, Japanese bowls, candles by Ecoya, cards, kites, cushions and so much more! So, when you need a 'pressie' for a birthday, Christmas or just want to spoil yourself, check this one out!
Ginger Flower, 9 Broughton St., Kirribilli

Friday, 17 May 2013

Let's do Balmain!

While exploring Balmain I prepared a walk for you, to enjoy it as much as I did!

In the early days Balmain was very industrial with a large working class, living in tiny cottages. Currently you still feel this down to earth workers vibe when you wander around this pretty suburb. It remains very local and still has the highest number of pubs in the innerwest. Very popular amongst the locals are The Royal Oak, The Monkey Bar and the London Hotel (The Don), but visitors mainly come to Balmain for their fashionable boutiques, some of city's best cafes, the galleries and the markets.

Start your walk by taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Balmain East.

Coming from the ferry you enter Darling street. Walk this beautiful leafy street upwards and you will notice the modest workers' cottages, which give you the immediate feel of the colorful working-class heritage atmosphere.

Don't forget to peek in the little side streets and notice the gorgeous water views.

Turn into Kileen Street and take a seat on the grass of Ewenton Park. You will be treated by a beautiful view of Darling Harbour and the CBD high-rise.

On nr 179 (across the street) you will find the Balmain Watch house. This former police lock up was built in 1854 by the well-known colonial architect Edmund Blackett. It is open for visits only on Saturday afternoons.
A few meters further you can take a break at Viva's. In the early 60s the place was called Johnny's and people came in for late night milkshakes and cakes till 4 in the morning. Since then it has been a diner (the booth diner seats are still there). On Friday and Saturday they serve seasonal menus. 189 Darling Street.

Across the street at nr. 212 you will find Ciao Thyme, a small corner cafe owned by chef Courtney Bracks (who also owns Viva). What's nice about Ciao Thyme is the comfy atmosphere. Just sit, relax, have a coffee while leisurely browsing the Sunday paper. They serve delicious breakfast, lunch and of course divine coffee.

On nr 240 you will find a nice Tea Merchant named Elmstock.
This family owned business from Perth sells different fine teas from Asia, Africa and Europe.

When you pass the roundabout you will find the fashion boutique Sofia Londero.
She opened her doors of her first boutique in Balmain, in 2007, with a love of fashion and an eye for quality and eclectic design.
Commited to providing the latest trends, she presents her customers with a vast collection of exclusive designers and European collections.
Brands: American Vintage, Nolita, Desigual, Maison Scotch, Odd Molly, NU, Rare and much more bohemian chique fashion brands.

Graving for a nice lunch or to grab a delicious ice cream? Go to Bertoni Casalinga (across the street at nr 281). This Sicilian daytime deli and cafe serves delicious fresh food, coffee and gelato!

The best patisserie of Australia is in Balmain! Adriano Zumbo.
His creations are unique in conception and execution, you won't find anything else quite like it in Australia.
Being a chef in Masterchef Australia, his shop is so popular that the waiting times can be tremendous!
A few doors further you see a beautiful World Heritage building where the Gourmet Grocer Balmain is located.
In 2011 they have been awarded 'Best Cheese' in the SMH Good Food Shopping Guide. This independent deli sources the best local and international food. They have an outstanding cheese collection as well as charcuterie, olives, antipasto, special oils and vinegars.

Fancy a nice lunch in a front rose garden? Or a private dinner in a rear terrace? The Cottage, on nr 342 is the place to be. There's a bar, a dining room, an upstairs lounge and a huge brick oven which makes delicious pizzas. The Cottage is housed in a traditional, double fronted cottage and has gorgeous mismatched furniture, cozy lounges and old fireplaces.

The boutique Johnston & Bell has the most vibrant storefront on Darling Street. This mid-priced fashion shop sells stunning tops, darling dresses and beautiful accessories.
The founder, Jenny Bell, relocated her design business from London more than 10 years ago and designs these fashion items, which are organic friendly as well.

Cross the street and turn right into Young Street which leads you to beautiful Elkington Park.
This park has a lovely playground and picnic area and gorgeous views overlooking Cockatoo Island.
Next to the park you will see a natural pool named Dawn Fraser Pool (after an Australian Olympic winner).
When you are ready to go back, walk through Lockhart Avenue to the Balmain West Wharf and take the ferry back to Circular Quay.

Hope you will love Balmain as much as I did!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Just love to travel!

Before booking a holiday, I always love to search for the best accommodations, the nicest beaches, great local restaurants and the best way to get there.
As I am often asked for my itinerary when I return from a holiday, I better also share them with you, right?

Make sure to follow me as I'll write about Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, Spain, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and of course Australia!

Where do you think this photo has been taken?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Is hiking your thing?

My love for hiking actually has started in Hong Kong but luckily Sydney is into hiking as well! It has many walking tracks and most of them along the harbour and the ocean, oh yes! One of my favorites is the Mosman to Manly hike. It starts at the Spit Bridge in Mosman and ends on the Manly wharf. It's a 3 hour walk and you will be treated by gorgeous views, a great variety of terrain and a large selection of different beaches to swim or relax. But the greatest reward you will get when you have finished: a good coffee or delicious lunch in one of the great cafes Manly has to offer!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

My favorite cafe now also at Balmoral beach!

A few weeks ago The Boatshed on Balmoral beach was closed due to renovation.
When I went there again I discovered that The Boatshed was taken over by The Boathouse... Yes, the same owner as my favorite cafe in Palm Beach!
I have to say it has the most perfect location on the Lower North Shore.
Right at the beach which gives this rustic cafe the beachside setting we are used to. It has a very large deck where we can enjoy the gorgeous views towards the ocean. Coffees are great and the food delicious. Again a nice place to sit back and relax!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Why Sydney is the place to be?

My first post! How exciting! Well, let me first tell you why Sydney is so amazing before I go into all the nice treasures I have found here.

Sydney is a unique city you can’t compare to any other place in the world. It has a cosmopolitan feeling without being hectic at all. The gorgeous harbour and the many beaches give breathtaking views that make you fall in love with this beautiful city straight away. Sydney consists of many suburbs and each suburb has a different feeling. From hip and trendy to multi-cultural to laid back to bohemian and fashionable.
The locals are used to a very high standard. You can’t go wrong buying a coffee or having a brekkie. They will be made to perfection! For children Sydney is also a dream to live in. The schools have a very high standard and the kids are always outdoors. Playing in parks, doing sports or going to the beach. What more do they want? The nature in and outside of Sydney is gorgeous. Sydney itself has the most beautiful beaches and national parks while within 2 hours driving you can be hiking in the Blue Mountains. Whether it is the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge or the very friendly people, I definitely fell in love with this amazing city and cannot wait to tell you more about it!