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Pedestrian.TV Ultrabook Blogster Awards!

September 10, 2013

 

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I am so pleased to announced that my blog, Live a Little have been nominated by pedestrian.tv in the Design, Media & Tech division in their annual Blogster Awards! I am so overwhelmed and it is such an honour to be considered.

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I (and Leo of course) want to thank all the readers, supporters, friends and family who have been a part of the Live a Little journey so far. I love writing, presenting, photographing and creating interesting content that everyone can enjoy.

If you would like to support Live a Little a little more, all you need to do is head to my profile here, and just press the ‘like’ button! That’s it! The judging panel consists of Intel, pedestrian.tv and a major media sponsor for each category (Mine is Desktop Mag!). They judge each blog based on the following:

25% Creativity and originality of content
25% Technology and innovation
25% Overall design and presentation
25% Audience engagement

There is the potential to win the category or even be crowed the Intel Blogger of the Year! What ever happens, I am so pleased that I am finalist. I want to wish all the other bloggers the best of luck!

Thankyou so much everyone and as always LIVE A LITTLE!

SOCIAL, STYLE, TRAVEL

Intelligent Fashion for Intelligent Women

August 8, 2013

Many women are out there living busy lives – juggling families, partners, jobs, education, so sometimes, we can find ourselves stuck in ‘style rut’. What does one wear for work? If you’re in a corporate scenario, does that necessarily mean that you have to dress boring? How do you inject style into business? To find out, yesterday I headed down to the stunning Sir Stamford Hotel in Circular Quay, and joined a number of ladies for a fashion focused and elegant high-tea.

Hosted by the ever incredible celebrity stylist Kelly Smythe, hair guru Joh Bailey and makeup expert Raija from Napoleon Perdis, guests were treated to a fashion show showing some ways in which they can update their ‘corporate’ wardrobe from top to toe (hair and makeup too!). Kelly, and her assistant Akira took us through eight different looks on how to style high-end fashion for the office and whilst the fashion show was going on, Joh and Raija shared some of their industry tips when it comes to makeup and hair.

The event oozed elegance and style. Set in the Elizabeth Room at the Sir Stamford Hotel, guests were treated to a delicious high tea. We feasted on sandwiches, beautiful canapes, dainty chocolates, macaroons and personalised cakes (high heels and handbags). I was suggested to try the Rose & Vanilla Dilmah tea, which was delicious and did have one (or two) glasses of Moet!

The Sir Stamford Hotel is beautiful. Standing proud on Macquarie Street, with the iconic Opera House in the background, it is the perfect setting to  hold a high tea. Elegantly understated and dotted with beautiful antiques and furniture around the hotel, the Sir Stamford momentarily took me back in time. Famous for their high teas, you can spend the afternoon nibbling on cakes and sipping champagne in their beautiful bar, right in the heart of the city. I have been fortunate enough to stay in the Sir Stamford before and was blown away by their attention to detail, knowledgable staff and impeccable service.

We were all given a gorgeous red rose from Roses Only and went home with a wonderful goodie bag with gifts from Any Time Fitness, I Love Lola, Bx Earth, De Lorenzo, Simple, Napoleon Perdis and Corban & Blair. All the guests were spoilt rotten and I saw many women leaving with big smiles on their faces.

It was a magical afternoon, learning some tips from some of the best in the industry. Kelly is an amazing stylist, full of so much knowledge. The high tea was delicious and complemented the fashion show beautifully.

Perhaps this has inspired you to update your look, trying something new or treat yourself to a high tea.. Go on spoil yourself and as always – live a little!

GASTRONOMY, SOCIAL, TRAVEL

Bubbles with Bimbadgen!

June 24, 2013

So a couple of weeks ago I got a very special delivery in the mail, something I’ve never received before – 2 bottles of delicious Bimbadgen Moscato!

I love wine tasting and I am a big wine drinker, so when the opportunity came to try and review I jumped at the chance. The Bimbadgen Estate, is based in the beautiful Hunter Valley, in Pokolbin, so I was so pleased to be trying and supporting a locally based winery.

The Bimbadgen Estate is a wonderful winery, with a restaurant, outdoor amphitheatre, modern tasting rooms and accommodation. The Estate produces a wide variety of wines from whites, to reds, to roses and sparkling varieties – including their Moscato.

Now the the taste, I love the description – “floral aromas of rose petals, musk and Turkish Delight“. It was full of bubbles, light and not over the top sweet. If you’re a Moscato lover (like me!), then you would definitely love this Bimbadgen variety. My house mate, Sarah also loved it and said it was the perfect sparkling to start a night out with – fresh, fruity and super bubbly.


I was so pleased to get the opportunity to try such a gorgeous Moscato variety. I’ve still got one bottle left, which I’ll definitely be cracking open soon! For more information on the Bimbadgen Estate, check out their Facebook here and if you’re planning a Hunter trip anytime soon, make sure you give them a visit.

In the meantime, make sure you crack a bottle open & live a little!

TRAVEL

Live a Little at the Gaya Island Resort in Sabah..

March 14, 2013

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Last month, I can legitimately state that I was indeed in paradise… White beaches, palm trees, ocean breeze and cocktails. 2012 was such a busy year and I needed to slow down for a bit, regenerate and really think about things. I was lucky enough to squeeze a quick break in Malaysia before really getting into 2013.

So why Malaysia? Well I have travelled to Thailand and Bali frequently and wanted to try a new country that wasn’t too far away (given the time constraint – I had 10 days max!). Malaysia is approximately an 8 hour flight, but because I was going to Sabah, an extra 2 and half hour flight from Malaysia’s main hub Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is a beautiful country, made up of bustling cities, jungles and gorgeous beaches. With a rich history, stunning scenery, exotic wildlife and kind natured people, it’s the perfect place to holiday.

I definitely needed to relax, so I booked myself into Sabah’s newest island accommodation, The Gaya Island Resort. Less than a year old, the latest hotel from YTL, is a short 15 min speed boat ride from the mainland of Kota Kinabalu. With a limited number of villas available, your stay is intimate, personable and definitely relaxing.

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After being whisked away from the hustle and bustle by your James Bond style speed boat, you’re greeted by your personal concierge who offers a delicious drink and cool towel whilst explaining the running of the hotel, activities on offer, how meal times run. Once booked in, they eventually accompany you to your room. The hotel itself is very green and environmentally conscious, which is so great to see.  You’re required to walk to your rooms, which for me, was very pleasant, however anyone who is elderly, pregnant, disabled should really request a room closer to the hotel as the walk is quite strenuous.

I figured the best way to share my experience at The Gaya Island Resort, is to split the hotel into categories – Accommodation, Activities & Leisure and Food & Drink. So let us begin!

Accommodation
Outstanding – in fact, the room was possibly one of the most beautiful I have ever stayed in. The villa was one of the last, perched high, looking over the resort. The room itself, was spacious, clean and modern, but still offered a touch of Borneo through certain design features. With wifi, flat screen television and a huge open plan bathroom, it felt very luxurious. However, the selling point for me was the breath taking view that I woke to every morning. 180 degree views of the South China Sea. Every morning was perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed having my morning tea watching the sun come up.

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Activities & Leisure
The Gaya Island Resort offers a range of activities, however for a number of them you do have to pay. There are many complimentary activities though. The best by far was the snorkelling that happened twice a day every day. The Gaya Island Resort is surrounded by beautiful coral and some amazing tropical species of fish. It was a wonderful way to wake up every morning – swimming with the fishes! Bush walks, nature walks, non motorised water sports, an inside/outside library and traditional Borneo games were also on offer. On an afternoon, if you just wanted to relax, there was a regular boat that took you over to a stunning private beach, owned by the resort. The chefs organised a beautiful picnic lunch with a bottle of wine. This was delivered to us within half an hour of arriving at the private beach. Surprisingly the cost was quite reasonable and it made our day just a little bit more special. Alongside the private beach, the resort has an outstanding spa, built within the mangroves of the island. The spa is a peaceful place, incredibly quiet apart from the odd chirp of a bird, or cry of a monkey. The spa rooms were beautiful, built on stilts in the traditional Bornean way. I enjoyed a Cocoa, Chocolate and Vanilla Spa experience – the products are made from natural products including cocoa beans, fresh yoghurt and chilli! It was a wonderful way to relax.

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Food & Drink
Since you are on an island, you are limited to the restaurants at the hotel (of which there are 2!) however, you can at any time catch a boat back to the mainland if you fancy a different scenery. For me personally, I didn’t want to leave the island, and managed to try all the different ways of enjoying lunch and dinner. The executive sous chef Len, is a local of Kota Kinabalu, but has worked all over the world including the  Middle East and Southeast Asia. This can be seen in the menus which offer a range of international dishes, Malaysian dishes and a fusion of both. Breakfast (included in your rate) is served in the main eatery called Feast Village – this is also where you can enjoy lunch and dinner too. There is also the option to enjoy your lunch and dinner at the Pool Bar and finally if you want to take it up a notch, you can enjoy your dinner at the roof top al la carte restaurant Fisherman’s Cove. All the meals I experienced were amazing. The food was so tasty and incredibly fresh. I must note how perfect the seafood was (obviously locally caught) and the fruit in the morning was always divine. There are plenty of drink options as well – complimentary water is always in your room, an extensive wine list and beautiful cocktails. I must note that the drinks were very expensive, but I can understand that Malaysia has very strict tax on alcohol AND I was on an island.

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The Pros

  • Privacy and quietness – there was barely anyone around and you weren’t fighting for pool beds, tables at restaurants or activities.
  • The staff are so friendly and beautifully natured. I want to note a lovely gentleman called Azlan, who looked after me at the Fisherman’s Cove restaurant. He went above and beyond and made our last night superb.
  • The location – views, private beaches, wildlife… Keep a watch out for Mimi the warthog on the Private Beach! She is very friendly, but is really only after your food.

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The Cons

  • Being so new – parts of the hotel were still getting renovated and this was sometimes a little off putting. 
  • The staff although very friendly, lacked a sense of urgency when it came to the restraurant. Perhaps nervous or lacking in training, they seemed a little slow with service.
  • The hills to the room – this wasn’t an issue for me personally, but as I previously mentioned it doesn’t cater for those disabled, elderly or pregnant.

Overall, my stay at The Gaya Island Resort was wonderful. I went there to relax and take in a little bit of the Malaysian culture, and I left feeling refreshed and a little more knowledgeable. If you’re after a little bit of luxury, privacy or perhaps want to try somewhere new, then I thoroughly recommend The Gaya Island Resort.

Go on guys, book a holiday to Malaysia and live a little!

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GASTRONOMY, TRAVEL

My Picks for Port Douglas!

November 10, 2012

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I sure love a spring wedding, but to make the celebration much more sweeter, I sure love a Spring wedding in Port Douglas! Last month, I attended my friends wedding and was so happy to be flying up to tropical North Queensland to be there for them.

If you have never heard of Port Douglas, its located approximately 50 minutes away from Cairns, Australia’s most northern major cities on the east coast. With regular flights out from Sydney, it’s an easy 2 and half hour flight. You can hire a car to get to Port Douglas or choose to jump on the shuttle, which is approx 35 into town.

It is a gorgeous place, built around one main street. However, the area of Port Douglas is surrounded by a range of accommodation, from luxury hotels right down to backpacking options. Offering adorable boutiques, bountiful numbers of restaurants and a number of pubs and bars, the atmosphere is lively and busy, but not at all overpowering. Port Douglas despite being a holiday hub, still has the Queenslander ‘laidback’ vibe. With beaches, a full-blown marina and plentiful tours and day trips operating, there is so much to do and see.

I have been to Port Douglas a number of times, all for different reasons. Family holidays, a quiet escape and now for a wedding! It’s one of those Aussie holiday destinations that is really moldable, and whatever you’re after, whether its family adventure, a couples retreat, party time with your friends or just time to be alone, there are so many accommodation options to suit your needs.

What I thought would be awesome for all my friends and followers, was to compile my top 5 for Port Douglas. I’ll share with you, my favourite accommodation, restaurant, boutique, café and day trip. So, you might look at it as Sophie’s picks for Port Douglas!

Accommodation: Mantra Aqueous
I wanted to find accommodation that was near town, had a little character and overall great value. I came across the Mantra Aqueous and was hit – the location was fantastic. Situated right at the top of Macrosson St (the main strip in Port Douglas), everything was in walking distance. The actual hotel was modern, bright, airy and had that ‘holiday’ vibe. It was clean, comfortable and offered everything you needed, considering it was relatively cheap. The staff are friendly and knowledgable and really go above and beyond to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The actual hotel is quite small, but the entire block is surrounded by 4 gorgeous pools, decking and BBQ areas. The room was decked out in a modern decor and was on the smaller side, but since we were on a budget, it was to be expected. The best surprise, was that we had a spa on our balcony! Every room offered this, which I thought was lovely – a small touch of luxury. If you’re booking last minute, or perhaps are on a budget, I would recommend the Mantra Aqueous. No frills, no fuss but you definitely feel like you’re on holiday!    

www.mantraaqeous.com.au

 

Restaurant: Harrisons
Harrisons is a fabulous, award winning, restaurant and bar that offers a fine-dining and lunch and dinner menu. It is slightly on the expensive side, but completely worth it if you’re planning to treat yourself whilst in Port Douglas. Whilst I was there, I was lucky enough to have both lunch and dinner. When I decided on Harrisons for lunch, the vibe was relaxed. With tropical plants and verandahs surrounding the restaurant, a lovely breeze blowing and chilled out music playing, it was the perfect way to unwind and enjoy a long lunch. The menu was all about small dishes, share plates and tapas, which I love more than anything.
Now, Harrisons at night, does change slightly. When I went for dinner, I noticed that all the tropical plants were suddenly light up with fairy lights, the tables were donned with candles and the whole atmosphere although still very relaxed, exuberated romance. Alongside this, the menu changed too. Slightly more sophisticated, the menu offered ‘main dishes’ that you would have on your own, which seemed to be a little more heartier and filling. The presentation was beautiful and the meals were delicious.

Not only is Harrisons food choice to die for, but they offer an extensive wine list and make fantastic cocktails. So, if you’re after a few drinks on a Sunday afternoon (Oh yeah – they have live music on Sundays!), a boozy lunch with your friends or perhaps a romantic meal for two, Harrisons cover every option and every avenue. Definitely a winner in my eyes!

http://www.harrisonsrestaurant.com.au/


Boutique: Moonshine
As I mentioned before, I’ve been coming to Port Douglas for a number of years and one of the best parts of Port Douglas, are the amazing shops and boutiques (so prepare yourself for plenty of shopping!). One my most favourite boutiques is a lovely little store called ‘Moonshine’. Owned by a gorgeous lady named Anna, Moonshine has been around for 11 years and has always had a place in my heart. Everytime I go to Port Douglas, I always, always, always make a visit to Moonshine. The store specialises in unique, hand-crafted and one off pieces of jewellery, clothing, accessories, bags and homewares. With pieces made by local designers and also pieces from all corners of the globe, you’re going to find yourself something unique, quirky and very special.

http://www.moonshinebay.com.au/


Café: While Away Bookshop Café
I came across While Away and fell in love with the concept of my two loves joining together – books and coffee. For me, it’s so important, whilst I am on holiday to find somewhere that does really great coffee, so as soon as touched down it was on my mind to source a great little café. Always busy, While Away does exactly what it says – sells books and makes coffee. The snacks are limited to cakes and sandwiches, but I don’t think the fans of While Away are there for food. The coffee was DELICIOUS! Whilst you’re waiting, you can browse for a book, or perhaps start one! Definitely a quirky place for you to enjoy your morning coffee! Ask for the soy lattes – wow, they’re good!

https://www.facebook.com/whileawaybooks


Day Trip: Great Barrier Reef Trip on the Aquarius
It is imperative, almost compulsory if you’re heading to Tropical North Queensland to go out on the Barrier Reef. It is a once in a lifetime experience, memorable and very special. However, it can be a little overwhelming deciding on how you want to spend your day out on the reef. There are so many tour groups, boat types, group types and all sorts to decide on. So I say to keep it nice and simple – If you have the money, it is worth it spending a little more to make your day smooth ‘sailing’ (ha ha!). I thoroughly recommend the Aquarius. A luxury 62ft vessel, that carries a max of 23 people. With plenty of snorkelling time, you’ll be given the space and the freedom to enjoy being out in the reef without the crowds. Not only this, you also go on an interpretative island walk, full of history, geography and interesting facts about the reef itself and the Low Isles. A delicious seafood lunch is offered, fresh fruit, tea and coffee and you’re consistently pampered experiencing the Great Barrier Reef. I can honestly say, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

http://www.portdouglascruises.com/


So there you have it! Sophie’s Picks for Port Douglas! I have chosen these picks for a number of different reasons, but they all offer something special and unique and most importantly all of them are worth the money.

Port Douglas is truly a magical place and I thoroughly recommend going there for a quick break or even a full blown family holiday. Offering a bit of  fun, a bit of relaxation, partying and romance, its a destination that suits any occasion.

Consider Port Douglas next time you want to go on holiday and live a little.

TRAVEL

Relax, Rejuvenate & Revive at Gaia Retreat & Spa

October 18, 2012

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I cannot believe that we are now in the middle of October. I feel that 2012 has whizzed by in a flash. It’s been an incredible year, full of surprises, big changes and achievements. However I must admit, it has been a busy one. I have always been a workaholic – Constantly working on some project or another, running around like a headless chicken! So when my mum suggested I should take sometime off and relax a little bit, I felt that it was very much needed. We booked the ‘Mother & Daughter’ package and decided to spend four days together at the stunning and incredibly unique Gaia Retreat.

Founded in 2005 by Olivia Newton-John, Gregg Cave, Ruth Kanlin and Warwick Evans, Gaia Retreat & Spa has moved forward very quickly over the past seven years, becoming highly regarded and winning a multitude of awards. Gaia Retreat & Spa is located on the highest point in the shire, surrounded by a majestic 25 acres in the hinterland of Byron Bay. If you’re based in Sydney, you can take the 9 hour drive (which is actually quite pleasant!). Or alternatively, you can fly to Ballina or Coolangatta. Gaia Retreat & Spa aim to provide their clients with everything they need if they are looking to lose weight, detox, de-stress, get fit or in my case, just relax and regain all your positive energy.

After being picked up by our driver at Coolangatta airport, we had a very relaxing 50 minute drive to the Retreat – you won’t be short of views let me tell you! As soon as we reached Gaia it was the surroundings that I was so blown away by. Everywhere you looked, there was a stunning vista. I almost instantly felt relaxed.

Once arrived, we were greeted warmly by management, had a delicious cup of tea and the whole concept of Gaia Retreat & Spa was explained to us. Since we booked the ‘Mother & Daughter’ package, we had a number of spa treatments included and these were to be spread out across the time of our stay. A very sweet and thoughtful touch that Gaia Retreat & Spa offer to their guests are these adorable little cards (given to you every evening of your stay) that outline how you can run your day. If you have spa treatments booked they remind you of the time and if you wish to undertake any activities they’ll let you know of the times. They even write the weather forecast for you!

With 19 forms of accommodation, staying at Gaia Retreat & Spa is intimate enough if you need your space, but also there are enough guests there to be a little social too. The heart of ‘socialising’ is Kukura House (an ancient Sanskrit word meaning ‘people’). This is where guests can meet and greet, the reception is housed here and where all meals take place. With relaxation lounges, a spacious deck and a wall full of books, games and DVDs, you’ll be sure to find something to make you feel right at home. It is encouraged that people treat Kukura House like their home. So it was lovely to see when we arrived guests having a nap, reading a book and playing a game of cards.

As previously mentioned, there a range of accommodation types. From studio rooms right through to suites. Our studio room (Layana) was stunning. It beautifully fitted and dressed and had a gorgeous bathroom. Once again, the little touches made the whole experience so special. Fresh fruit, a selection of herbal teas, beautiful bathroom products and we were even given a welcome letter and a special beauty surprise!

Depending on your purpose of stay, there are a range of activities that you can take part in. With yoga every morning and classes in Chinese Medicine, art classes, fitness, personal training, tai-chi and even boxing there is something there for everyone. It’s entirely up to the guests as how they wished to treat their stay – as full on or as relaxing as you like. I chose to take part in the clay sculpting class with the very talented, Suvira McDonald, an award winning artist. The class was incredibly liberating, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting creative and working with a brand-new medium. For $120, you can get your sculpture glazed, fired and delivered to your door. It’s due to arrive in November and I can’t wait to see it!

Alongside the classes, Gaia Retreat & Spa offers state of the art facilities. Gaia’s fitness centre was amazing. With top of the range equipment, boxing bags, skipping ropes, resistant bands, mats, weights, kettle-bells and more, I felt fantastic knowing that I could come up with some amazing workouts during my stay. Alongside the gym, Gaia Retreat & Spa offered a heated outdoor pool, spa, sauna and steamroom. The pool was just stunning. In my daily routine, I would spend a couple of hours a day having a swim and reading my book listening only to the birds around me. To find that sort of quietness can be so difficult in my life, so it was a really treasurable.

Now, I must highlight the food and beverage options at Gaia. First of all, the menu that the chefs came up with were amazing and so delicious (if the head chef is reading this, kudos to you!). With a focus on serving organic, fresh and healthy meals, you know that alongside your mind and soul being nurtured, so is your body. At Gaia, all meals until dinner are vegetarian. During dinner only chicken and fish are served. Starting with breakfast – think a bountiful of fresh fruits, delicious smoked salmon, buckwheat pancakes, roasted tomatoes, organic eggs and delicious freshly squeezed juices. Lunch time offers a creative and incredibly tasty vegetarian meal – warm salads, vegetable dishes, soups and risottos. At dinner, Gaia offer a three course meal, and this is the only time that meat is served. I have to say, that the food at Gaia was outstanding. It was encouraging and inspiring to see how creative you can get with even vegetarian meals! Gaia does allow alcohol after 4pm, so it’s not discouraged if you wish to have some wine with your dinner. When meals aren’t happening, there is always a vast selection of teas, muffins, nuts and dried fruits to snack on. Gaia Retreat & Spa are also very happy to work with any specific dietary requirements too.

The Day Spa was superb. An incredibly relaxing and inviting place. The Day Spa offered a range of beautiful treatments, and it was obvious that the therapists were of a high calibre – not only did I feel all the benefits from my treatments, but I fell asleep in all of them.. And apparently this is a good thing! On a serious note, Gaia also offers clients alternative treatments including Reiki healing, Chinese medicine, acupuncture therapy, astrology, counselling, naturopathic consultations and many more. Whatever healing, repair or aid you’re looking for, the Day Spa will accommodate and seek out the most appropriate therapy for you.

Gaia Retreat & Spa is so lovely and for me it’s the little touches around that make it so very special. The gorgeous artworks dotted around the grounds, the beautiful flowers and plants, the stunning furniture, the water features. Because you’re not racing around, you can take your time and notice all the details. I was so impressed.


The whole atmosphere of Gaia is warm, friendly but still allows for you to have your own space. It’s so quiet and gives you ample time to relax and really revive yourself. The whole experience as previously mentioned is flexible, so you can make your stay as strict and disciplined as you like. The staff are so helpful and pride themselves on making you feel as the best as you can be. I thoroughly recommend Gaia Retreat & Spa for your next relaxation escape. I managed to find my inner-glow again and felt 200% better when I left – physically, mentally and spiritually. Let’s put it this way, I certainly did live a little!

“This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men”  – Captain J. A. Hadfield 

GASTRONOMY, TRAVEL

Tassie Special: Enjoy some sweet treats by Kate!

August 6, 2012

Kates Berry Farm

“A unique and very sweet Tasmanian treasure..”

Pete and I accidentally found Kate’s Berry Farm whilst road-tripping, it was approximately 3km away from Piermont, the retreat we were staying at. If you’re staying anywhere around Swansea, make sure you check this adorable little treasure out.

With everything from tea, scones, jams, chocolates, dessert wines, sweets and treats, you can definitely feed your sweet-tooth cravings! Having been established since the late 80s, Kates Berry Farm has developed a reputation as a must visit when in Tasmania.

When you step inside the cafe, everything is warm and cosy. With lots of eclectic bits and bobs around the place, dressed and decorated beautifully, you feel right and home. I ordered a pot of English Breakfast tea and some scones. With a huge selection of jams to compliment, you are spoilt for choice. I opted for blueberry and strawberry, which were DELICIOUS. The scones were crumbly and the jams – sweet and very tasty!

Whilst you’re enjoying your snack, you are blessed with a beautiful view of the farm and further right out to the Great Oyster Bay  and the Fraycinet Peninsula. One of the most breath taking views I’ve ever witnessed.

With a huge selection of jams and relishes, it’s  a must to take some home with you. Kate offers everything from, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry.. The list goes on! You can have a little taster too. Kate also makes lolly sticks and
hand moulds some delightful little chocolates – my favourite were the solid fish!

Kates Berry Farm is a wonderful little tourist attraction and I wish her all the best with her farm and cafe. We were incredibly looked after and our food was simply delicious. A lovely way to spend a lazy afternoon, living a little!

Keep an eye out for my next Tassie special! 😉

Soph X

For more information check out: http://www.katesberryfarm.com

GASTRONOMY, TRAVEL

Tassie Special: Get some R&R at the Piermont..

August 4, 2012

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“Sea air, breathtaking views, privacy and seculsion..”

The East Coast of Tasmania is one of the prettiest places I have ever been fortunate to visit. Especially a gorgeous little coastal town called Swansea, which is where the Piermont Retreat is located (aprox 3km outside of the town). I had a wonderful 3 days at Piermont, which overlooks the Fraycient Peninsula.

Made up of studios, suites and cottages, you’ll find accommodation that suits every need. There is tennis courts, a pool and the option to hire canoes. With a big selection of DVDs, you can also snuggle up in your accommodation and chill out there. The Piermont also offers the option of organising breakfast baskets that are personally delivered. With a selection of pastries, yoghurts and local fruits, you’re guaranteed a wholesome, healthy and filling meal to start the day!

For the full coverage of the Piermont, check out my latest video review. You’ll be blown away by the amazing views!

The Piermont Retreat is a perfect place to relax and spend some time finding your glow. A perfect escape from the hustle and bustle and the daily grind. Don’t forget to try the 5 course degustation menu at their award winning restaurant too!

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and felt so at home. Although on the dearer side, you do get every cent of your moneys worth and I would recommend the Piermont Retreat to anyone.

So go on, treat yourself, book a trip away! – it’s always important to live a little!

Sophie X

For more information check out www.piermontretreat.com.au 

And a very special thankyou to Cary Lewincamp who provided the beautiful backing track to the review. We saw Cary playing at the Salamanca Markets and fell in love, so a very special thank you to you Cary!

TRAVEL

Tassie Special: MONA a house of craziness..

August 2, 2012

MONA

Controversial, in your face, a little bit quirky but downright awesome..

MONA (The Museum of Old and New Art), is one of the most obscure and bizarre galleries I have ever been to. With an eclectic mix of ancient antiquities, modern and contemporary pieces housed in $75 million dollar renovated structure, you guaranteed an experience that will shock you, make you smile or perhaps even disgust you.

MONA is located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart. For $20, I got a return ticket on a ferry out to the site. You can get a bus or a taxi, but the ferry runs regularly and gives you the opportunity to see Hobart from the sea. The view was spectacular, and on the ferry you can enjoy a Tassie wine or beer and some scrumptious snacks (I opted for some cheese and biccies – but watch the prices, this is where they get you!) At the ticket purchase point, I also bought my entry ticket. For anyone who is a resident of Tasmania, entry is free but for everyone else its $20 and $15 for students (not sure how I feel about this?). Either way, it’s a relatively cheap day out and trust me, you will get your moneys worth..

When you arrive, you queue up and are given an Ipod and headphones. At the gallery, none of the explanations about the art work are printed next to the pieces – you have to use an application that locates the ones that are close to you for you delve further into the artworks. If you’re not technologically gifted, this can be quite confusing and often I missed out on a lot of them. But with interviews and quotes from the artists and all relevant information all coming at you from the Ipod, it is pretty cool and you can take your time listening, viewing and reading. I did find it strange though that everyone in the gallery was silent, with their headphones on and completely wrapped up in these little gadgets..

I’ve given you a sneak peek of what to expect – these are some of my favourite pieces that I saw:

As you can see, the works range from pieces 2000-3000 years old right through to live, interactive installations. Some of the works are very confronting, sometimes even off putting, but still an incredibly powerful and intriguing place. One of the most amazing pieces I saw was Sidney Nolans ‘Snake’ – the first time it has ever been shown publicly (no. 8 in my pictures). It was definitely my favourite and the sheer size of the room was enough to make you feel very tiny.. Very cool experience.

Like the Salamanca Markets, the MONA Gallery is a must if you’re visiting Hobart! Be prepared and make sure you go with an open mind.

You can reach MONA by ferry, bus and taxi. Best way by far, is definitely by ferry, but I will give you a little tip. The last ferry is at 5pm and you have to book your spot. So bare that in mind if you’re going to stick around.

Get ‘artspired’ and live a little..

Soph X

GASTRONOMY, TRAVEL

Tassie Special: Viva la Salamanca!

July 30, 2012

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A little hip, a little trendy – the Salamanca precinct offers some of Hobart’s best restaurants, bars and galleries. However, the creme de la creme of Salamanca, are the markets. If you visit Hobart and happen to be there on a Saturday, you must check them out! It would be a cardinal sin not to!

With local produce, antiques, crafts and delicious goodies, the Salamanca Markets offers a bit of everything and anything. Just to the side of the Elizabeth Pier, Salamanca is a short stroll from Hobart’s CBD and I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours on a beautiful sunny Saturday to experience the true Salamanca.

Upto 300 stalls are magically erected, and you can happily stroll up and down and experience all that Tasmania and the Tasmanian people have to offer..

The Salamanca Markets run every Saturday from 8 – 3, unless the Saturday falls on Christmas Day and ANZAC Day.

Get out and about, hit the markets, find some bargains and Live a little!

Sophie X