Be a sunflower, stand strong and follow the sun!

A post dedicated to my beautiful little sister, CG <3.

IMG_9206South-East Queensland has had some super cheeky weather of late. Typically February is the hottest, muggiest and most unpleasant month of the year for me. However, I actually wore a cardiagan last week which is unheard of!

So here we have bee, gloriously skipping along thinking for some reason or another Australia has decided NOT too cook us all alive. It turns out we have been lied to. Australia has been tricking us!

On Saturday I finally decided to head out West and go on the famed ‘Sunflower Trail’. I have left it much too late in the season but I just have not been able to go out west before this weekend.

Southern Queensland country = sunflowers. I have long wanted to visit them myself. When I lived in Central Queensland, we would often drive from Dysart out to Emerald and the sunflowers would face us on the way there and by the time we made the drive home in the afternoon, their beautiful yellow faces would be looking at us again on the way home. It is one of my favourite memories!

The most ideal time to go sunflower hunting in South East/West Queensland is December to February – BUT – I would say Feb is just a smidge too late. If you follow the ‘gram, you would have seen Jan as peak season for 🌻🌻.

Our trip started in South Brisbane and we drove our towards Toowoomba, with a couple of stops for coffee/loos/cuddles with my little (nearly) four year old Niece 😊.

Once we hit Toowoomba after a couple of hours we grabbed some lunch / picnic food and continued our drive out to Nobby, QLD. This took us another forty or so minutes. It was HOT!

IMG_9160We had our picnic in Nobby and had a lovely older gentleman come up and explain the towns history and he pointed out all of his favourite buildings. I think one of the sweetest things in the world is the pride locals take in their smaller communities. We had he pleasure of growing up out West and it’s there that you truly appreciate the saying “salt of the Earth” people. Have a chat with someone if you can, you will always walk away more knowledgeable and with a friendly smile and a wave.

After our lunch and playground evacuation negotiation skills with little L, we drove another five or so minutes out of town to the sunflower fields. Unfortunately we were far too late. They had dropped their last petals and were no longer beaming up at the sun.

IMG_9286At first we were disappointed but really, we had had an amazing day together and we knew we were pushing our luck given it was mid-Feb.

We jumped back in the car (which was no longer red and was more a unique dusty-brown shade) and as we were about to turn around we thought we would maybe just dive a little further.

Another five mins down the toad and we found some sunflowers! Not too many but more than we thought we would! One last little field. We walked up and down the edge of the field, took some pics, watched the cute bees and imagined the hardships our Aussie farmers face each season.

If I could mention something though (and I’m going to), it’s for travellers, grammers and visitors to be respectful. These are not wild sunflowers. These are farms. There are wonderful, hard-working people behind these crops. Don’t just stomp your way through the fields, grabbing the flowers and forgetting that this is someone’s crop. Be respectful. This is private property. If we could explain this to a four year old – then I think your group of ten stomping all over the field with drones and selfie sticks can also work that one out?

IMG_9260Ideally we would so this trip again in January. We would leave earlier in the morning and not pick the middle of the day. However in saying that, for a last minute spontaneous trip out west – I think it went pretty well!

See you next season Sunflowers 🌻.

x C x

For more info on our beautiful Southern Queensland Country click here.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and items, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – redhead_novaturient

 

Sydney in September <3

IMG_3037‘The greatest trips are the unexpected ones’ – Anon

Sydney is the type of destination which makes you think of the Sydney Opera House, the Botanical Gardens, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, insanely expensive coffee and hipsters by the barrel-full. It also makes me think of insane traffic, way too many people and a city which has a constant buzz of energy and activity!

G is originally from Sydney and he did his apprenticeship all around Sydney (think 17-year-old driving a van with a trailer on the back of it), so his driving and people-handling capabilities are far more advanced than mine!

After I surprised G with the news I had booked us a cruise in September, just a mere two days after sitting him down and going through our budget and determining we needed to cut costs and be responsible 30-somethings…. he leapt on board and confirmed that we would be doing it in style!

We booked our airfares and booked the Shagri-La for our pre-cruise stay. The Shangri-La in Sydney is divine, it has views like no other in Sydney and if you can afford to splurge and stay there, then I highly recommend it! We booked an Executive Grand Harbour View room, which although pushing $500 a night, does have views of the full harbour. The Sydney Opera House, the Rocks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the beautiful harbour in all her glory.

The bathrooms are like no other, think marble bath and shower and plush towels and bathrobes. 50sqm of pure heaven and the views, my goodness the views! The rooms are located on levels 22-29.

DSC06606My favourite thing about the Shangri-La is that if you do arrive before 2pm and your room is ready, you are more than welcome to check-in earlier than expected. There is a gym, all day dining at Café Mix, amazing food at Altitude Restaurant and the Blu Bar on level 36. My tip is to get up to Blu Bar well before sunset, because it does get packed and secure yourself a front-seat view to the orange beauty which is a Sydney harbour sunset!

I have some amazing girlfriends who live in Sydney and we often travel interstate to see each other a few times a year, so we were lucky enough to be able to meet up with a late lunch at Cruise Bar, which is in the bustling Circular Quay. The view is beautiful; it has an amazing selection of wine and cocktails and the house made flatbreads with dip and salt and chilli squid is delicious! After spending a couple of hours here, we made our way up to the Blu Bar (get the Thyming Tokyo or Yamazukara ;)) and enjoyed the sunset.

We then headed out to Harts Pub around the corner and enjoyed some sparkling wine and waffle fries and then it was time for us to say goodbye and head back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

Our dinner reservation was at the amazing Saké Restaurant at the Rocks and we had been looking forward to this dinner for months! It was like watching two kids at a candy bar once our amazing server handed us the menu! So, I won’t bore you with the details but our menu looked something like this: sashimi combo, spicy tuna rolls, Hiromasa kingfish, edamame, popcorn shrimp and the cape grim short rib bo ssam. You can go ahead and unbutton your pants and take a few deep breaths after reading that if you need to, we sure did!

Drinks consisted of the Hatori Hanzo (Bombay Sapphire gin, Yuzu sake, jalapeño pepper, cucumber and elderflower), E-momo-ki (cherry-blossom themed) cocktail, a Master of Malt Japanese whiskey tasting board (Mars Maltage Cosmo, Suntory Kabukin & Hibiki Japanese Harmony) and we finished with the phenomenal Miso Caramel Dragon Egg for dessert. We basically had to roll ourselves back to our hotel afterwards!

We spent an incredibly comfortable night in our amazing king-size bed and kept the curtains opened so we would wake up with the sun rising over Sydney heads. We woke up just before 5am and were lucky enough to watch our home for the next 8 nights make her way through the harbour and dock at Circular Quay. This was amazing to watch, from our bed with our room-service coffee!

The Shangri-La gym was our next stop and then we made our way to the famed breakfast buffet and before you know it, it was time to leave!

Matching flamingo shirts at the ready, we made it to the ship – dropped our bags – celebrated with some Prosecco and it was time to start our New Caledonia adventure!

Where are your favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney?

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and items, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – redhead_novaturient

x C x

 

 

 

Boxing Day – Exploring the Eastern Suburbs <3

Boxing Day was one of those days where we could have opted to stay in bed and sleep the day away, or hit the day and hit it hard.

So…we decided to get dressed, hit to road and walk the 8km from Darlinghurst to Nielsen’s Point, to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Sensible heads prevailed though and instead we caught an Uber to Rose Bay and walked the rest of the way to Nielsen’s Park. The walk took an hour or a so, but it was up hill the entire way. So any food and/or drinks from Christmas were quickly sweated out!

Watching the start of the race was so much fun and I was able to test out my new 24mm Canon pancake lens, it is going to take some getting used to but I definitely like it!

The walk was phenomenal but the difference in $$$ in terms of suburbs in Sydney was amazing! The Eastern Suburbs are something else! Have you ever seen a BMW Police Car? I have and I have to tell you it is one of the strangest out-of-this-world things I have ever witnessed!

Boxing Day-4G and I walked all the way along the Hermitage path back to Rose Bay – which was one hell of a walk! A LOT of stairs but so many absolutely beautiful spots to stop and try my new 24mm pancake lens!

After our walk we caught an Uber back to Darlinghurst and G went out to pick the kids up after their day with the other side of the family. I had every intention of doing some blogging but instead I found myself being woken up at 7pm by G and the kids – I had been asleep for nearly four hours!

Boxing Day-7I am not normally a big sleeper but I think when you are on holiday, the year catches up with you and you just need to wind down and rest!

We spent a lovely night together catching up and talking about Christmas and just enjoying each others company. Sydney is so beautiful, there is so much to do!

How did you spend Boxing Day? What is your tradition for the day?

x C x

Christmas Eve-Eve-Eve…and we are off to Sydney!

Good morning! Happy Christmas Eve-Eve-Eve!!! So I woke up and thought I would get a jump on my phone back up/last minute packing/trying not to stress about leaving my house for a week…..annnnd my Husband has just come out and told me that 5:30am is not awake time and I should go back to bed…

IMG_6681Anyways (I won’t be going back to bed) – I am sooo excited because today – we finally leave for our Christmas holiday/vacation! We are going inter-state for my Husband’s side of the families Christmas. My family and G and I live up in Queensland and his family lives in New South Wales…so it means many inter-state trips to Sydney etc., (and who could possibly be made about that?!).

IMG_6714Our trip this time is a little different and much more Christmas-on-steroids, because we will be sharing Christmas day with a very enthusiastic and kind 11 year old and a curious and sweet 9 year old. We have a few different things planned for them for the next week and I thought I would share them!

I had a bit of an incident with ‘Betty’, my beloved Canon 550D – the incident being she just stopped turning on (after I spent $80 on a brand new battery charger – of course). It was going to cost $200-$400 to have someone look at her to see what was wrong, but given she is nearly 8 years old and I could buy the same model for around $400-$500, sadly it just does not seem financially reasonable.

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So…my plans to purchase a new camera ahead of our Scandi-trip next year have been brought forward and I am now the proud owner of Dorothy (‘Dotty) – my new Canon 80D. Look I will be honest, Dotty and I haven’t quite worked each other out yet (in the words of Mariah ‘I don’t know her’), but I plan on becoming her BFFF over this next week (watch this space…).

Packing has been somewhat of a nightmare, honestly my own personal set of luggage scales has been an absolute life-changer!

We have some really cool things planned for Sydney, I cannot wait to share them with you. This trip is going to be really different because we are doing it as a family – so cannot wait to see how that goes in terms of activities and lines etc.,

Our flight leaves in a couple of hours, we will get into Sydney around lunch time and then we can make our way to Darlinghurst to check into our amazing lookingIMG_7816 Air BnB – its then time to Christmas the apartment up, before the little ones arrive tomorrow :).

Wising you all a wonderful December 22 – cannot wait to hear what you are all up to over Christmas!

x C x

 

Coffs Harbour – Our Roadtrip <3

Coffs Harbour, famous for its Big Banana, coastal resorts, mild climate and fishing – is located about five hours from Brisbane and six hours from Sydney. It is the perfect overnight stop on a road-trip journey from capital to capital.

G and I took off from Brisbane mid-morning on our journey down to Sydney for the week. Unfortunately, this was when the M1/Pacific Highway was still being road-worked and so our journey took 7 or so hours. THANKFULLY we are firm believers in multiple car snacks, singing to ridiculous music (okay that one is just me, not G) and enjoying the scenery as you go!

Coffs Harbour 4

We stayed at the Breakfree Aanukua Beach Resort on the very beautiful Diggers Beach (not to be confused with Little Diggers beach – the nude beach!). This tropical little resort is located 3km from Coffs’ centre and is a nice little break from the mayhem. We stayed in a garden room to save costs, ate at the resort and enjoyed roaming around the resort.

On our second day at the resort the weather was amazing, we watched a fantastic storm roll in across the ocean – check out these pics!

Coffs Harbour 2IMG_4463We went to the Big Banana the morning we were heading off to finish our journey to Sydney – it is great for families and has a stack of things to do, but we were pretty time-poor and it was school holidays, so it wasn’t a long stop!

We also made our way up to the Sealy Lookout / Forest Sky Pier, which has a phenomenal lookout over the Coffs Coast (it’s 15m high!).

IMG_0493On our way out of Coffs’ we (thankfully) came across The Clog Barn – which is described as ‘a little piece of Holland’ –  hello dutch pancakes and amazing scones! There is also a miniature town out the back and a shop full of delightful knick-knacks!

Coffs Harbour is a nice location on the coast, you have the Dorrigo National Park on your back doorstep, beautiful water activities on the front and banana’s galore! Bushwalks for days, a heap of food choices and a good excuse to take a break in your driving for 1-2 nights :).

Coffs Harbour 3

Where is your favourite overnight stop on a road-trip?

x C x