26th Birthday in London

The blow of turning 26 on April 3 was somewhat eased by my lovely boyf. who decided to whisk me away to London for three days to celebrate (he’s very good like that).

Now I’m back, I thought I’d share a few photos with you about what we got up to and show just how I celebrated my birthday. 

We travelled down to London on Thursday lunchtime, made our way to the gorgeous Marlin Limehouse apartments, before heading to the Palladium to see Cats (my absolute dream come true, I may have cried – I’d also play Jemima FYI).

On Friday I awoke to a birthday breakfast of pancakes and syrup, got ready and travelled to the London Dungeon for an hour and a half of spooky London history. I was also locked in a cage by one of the actors, much to the boyf’s amusement.

It was then lunch at Yo! Sushi, a spot of shopping (Lush and Primark) on Oxford Street and a rainbow cake birthday treat from the Hummingbird Bakery in Soho.

Friday evening saw me taken up 72 floors for sunset at The Shard – with champagne thrown in, and an amazing meal at Gaucho on Tower Bridge.

Thank you boyf. 

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Marlin Limehouse 2 FINAL

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Cats 1 FINAL

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26th Birthday in London

Birthday 4

Birthday 5

Birthday 7

Birthday 8

Birthday 15

Birthday 9

Birthday 10

Birthday 11

Birthday 16

– love Stef x

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Melbourne, VIC: Queen Victoria Market

Our time in Melbourne was limited, but it has given us the perfect excuse to return to the trendiest city in Australia!

Our first stop was the huge indoor market, which is definitely a must if you are heading to Melbourne.

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The rows inside are endless, we spent hours mooching about the stalls.

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You will find anything and everything you can imagine, from their very own version of Cath Kidston goodies…IMG_1074  … to antiques and collectables!

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Aboriginal art is heavily featured, each with their own story of who created the artwork and what happens with the money once you have handed it over. IMG_1019

Melbourne just wouldn’t be the same without a bit of the weird and wonderful, and I can safely say I have never seen a bag like these, and I probably never will! IMG_1016

After hours of wandering the stalls, I found my gem, a writer’s dream. Handmade Australian leather bound notebooks. All stunning, and each one uniquely different.

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I just couldn’t leave without buying one – mine’s the brown one on the right 🙂IMG_1025

We didn’t come across the same stall twice, you can literally find everything from handmade shoes to knock off designer handbags and dirt cheap prices.

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Melbourne is known for its graffiti art – the police have even stopped prosecuting, so take a stroll through some of the amazing alley ways and you will never see the same artwork twice – it literally changes daily. (And on the day we went wandering through alley ways we cleverly left our camera and phones in the hotel. Smart.)

But we found a photographer selling his stunning images of said alley ways, and if we hadn’t already reached our baggage limit for our next destination a few of these would have come home with us.

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The Queen Victoria market should be on your ‘To Do List’ if you are even in Melbourne, I just wish we had had more time in the city, but as I said – perfect excuse to return!

Have you been to Melbourne, or are you from Melbourne? Can you recommend any other places to visit?

Check back tomorrow to see the little penguins at Phillip Island!

– love Carla x

 

 

Sydney, NSW: Phillip’s Foote BBQ, The Rocks

We had been in Sydney a few days, and realised we hadn’t had one barbecue. To rectify the problem we headed down to The Rocks and found the coolest barbie joint in town.

Down at Phillip’s Foote Restaurant the rules are simple: select your cut of meat and get it on the barbecue – just be careful you don’t over cook it!

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The meat is a high-quality and it’s all in the taste. Season it how you wish, oil it up and load up with veggies and salad! I’m not one for the BBQ, normally the boyfriend does it, but I just had to have a go!

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And it was SO tasty! I had a good piece of sirloin, the boyfriend had T-bone and all in it was around $70 (£35 – £40) –  not bad considering all of the other goodies are all you can eat.

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The place itself looks tiny on the outside, but once you are in it is a maze of steps and quirky hidey holes.

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And then there’s the homemade desserts. This is Blackforest heaven on a plate.

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I loved the evening there, and being very small on the outside as I said, you could quite easily miss it if you walked too fast.

Because of the location it’s a nice stroll down to the harbour once you have eaten yourself stupid, so head on down for the best barbecue in Sydney!

– love Carla x

Sydney, NSW: Palm Beach

As I said when we went off to Bondi, a lot of the locals we ran into told us to head up to the northern beaches, and as a fan of Home and Away, it had to be Palm Beach.

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As you can see the weather absolutely did not disappoint! It was New Year’s Day, and the sand was so hot we were bunny hopping all the way to the sea.

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Unfortunately, as it was the holidays there was no filming going on, but it didn’t stop me doing the tourist thing. As you can see some of the ‘Summer Bay’ signs are permanent fixtures in Palm Beach.

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And the Surf Club literally looks exactly the same as the show! I was practically giddy by this point – much to my bf’s dismay.

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Does anyone recognise the Bay yet?

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Around the corner of the main point of Palm Beach are the calmer waters that surround the Bait Shop and the Diner, which is a real café, however it was closed so I was a little gutted.

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But as you can see it didn’t stop me in my tracks, and a lot of the afternoon you could hear my cries of: “Babe, take my picture here! Babe, can you see Alf? Babe this is where the fit doctor goes canoeing!” Needless to say, “babe” was not impressed…

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But I managed to coax him into one last picture of me on the pier where many a cast member has ran, sat or cried!

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By far this was a highlight of our trip, and though there wasn’t a Braxton in sight, I still had fun and managed to top up the old tan.

If you plan on heading down that way I would suggest taking some lunch with you – there is only the kiosk, which sells drinks and ice cream, or the café of course (when it’s open), but the view is so stunning. I wish we had taken a disposable barbie with us!

There are some communal barbecues (very cool), but as it was New Year’s Day and there is really nowhere close by to eat, they were all full up. I only wish I had know that sooner!

– love Carla x

New Year’s Eve in Sydney

With the weather sitting at 34 degrees, it was hard to believe Christmas was just six days ago…

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New Year’s Eve was upon us, and it was the main reason for our visit to Australia. We were lucky enough to get tickets for the best vantage point in Sydney from The Point in the Royal Botanical Gardens, and it was worth every penny.

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As this was a ticketed event with limited numbers, we didn’t bother queuing all day (or all week like some had to secure a good free space). I honestly am glad I spent the money so I was able to have a whole day in Sydney and have an amazing view without having to sit a queue in the summer heat!

The doors to the event opened at 6pm, and closed at 7pm. We rocked up at 6.30pm and were handed a gourmet picnic and tickets for free water. The foodie stalls were also included in the ticket price, but as we had spent the day filling our faces with gelato and other goodies, we were just too full. Instead we just munched on our little picnic of pepper, ricotta and thyme tart, Cypriot grains and chargrilled vegetables with wild rice and a selection of cheeses and dried tomatoes.

We got chatting to some people who had queued since lunchtime to get in and secure a good seat, and as I said, we walked in at 6.30pm and sat next to them. There is no such thing as a bad seat here, I would only recommend going a little early if you are in a large group which wants to sit together.

We snapped some pics as the sun went down and it was lovely and warm, despite my wearing a jacket it was still around 25 degrees but it gets a tad breezy!

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Then for the main event, 12 minutes of utter magic! And as you can see, it really was the best view in Sydney!

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As a lot of the roads are closed off in Sydney for New Year, the only way to get back into the city is to walk, and luckily for us it was only a 20-minute walk to the Menzies Hotel. But walking against a rumoured 1.6 million people added to the journey – it felt we were the only ones heading back in to the city!

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sydney nye 2015And there you have it, New Year 2015 in Sydney! It was quite a night, and something you just can’t put into words.

Despite all of the people, Sydney is the cleanest city I have ever seen – I think the locals would be mortified with London.

Have you been to Sydney for New Year? Where did you watch the display from?

– love Carla x

NSW Australia: Sydney Harbour and The Rocks

Sydney is hot. Like really hot. Since the boyfriend spent yesterday on Bondi getting burnt, we decided to relax as we had a long and exciting night ahead of us, so we headed down to the Rocks and Sydney Harbour.

The Rocks is very “old Sydney” with many of the buildings being made from local sandstone – it is perfect for the history buff in you. With Harbour Bridge on your right, and the skyscrapers of the city dwarfing the old buildings, it’s quite a view to take in.

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There are souvenir shops aplenty heading toward the harbour, with some very cool Aussie eateries dotted up and down the streets – but more on the food later…

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We headed straight for Harbour Bridge in search of the perfect view of the Sydney Opera House.

As you walk along the bridge there are towers on either side where you can pay $8 and get a spectacular and undisturbed view of the harbour.

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So being the tourists that we were, the first thing we did was take a panoramic pic.

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Unfortunately we didn’t get to the the official Bridge Climb as it was New Year’s Eve and the bridge was wired with thousands of fireworks, which we were lucky enough to see.

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Sydney is a city I am already head over heels in love with, I just didn’t want to leave. I recommend it for anyone who loves a good beach and a spot of shopping. They even have a Westfield Shopping Centre, which is home to the Tower restaurant and some lovely designer shops – absolutely worth a visit!

Have you been to Sydney? What did you think of the city? Do you live there? Can you offer me a job? Please?

– love Carla x

Sydney, NSW: Bondi Beach

The day finally came! I had been waiting a very long time to get my tootsies into the soft sand of Bondi Beach, and it happened – it was magical!

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We were staying very central during our time in Sydney, so luckily we were able to get a train and a bus straight to Bondi Junction, which took around 30 minutes altogether from Martin Place. (I recommend purchasing an Opal card from a local store – it’s basically an Oyster card that is new to NSW – as some buses such as the Bondi Express don’t take cash and will only take the card).

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When we got off the bus, all you could see was the 1km stretch of beautiful Bondi at an ambient 32 degrees and it wasn’t even lunchtime!

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I’m also a fan of Bondi Beach Rescue, and while there were no rescues that day, we did catch them filming one of the lifeguards. By the time I got down there they had finished though – b00!

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Bondi is a massive tourist destination, and almost all of the locals we ran into told us not to go to Bondi, but to try one of the more northern beaches (more on that coming soon), but it was on my bucket list, and well, it was absolutely worth it!

Yes it was crowded, but it’s a big enough beach for everyone. If you do plan on visiting just remember one crucial thing, SWIM BETWEEN THE FLAGS! The lifeguards and said flags are there for your protection and not to be ignored, there is a very strong undercurrent that even the best swimmers get dragged out in.

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I would absolutely recommend Bondi Beach, even if you only go once it is something you have to see for yourself.

– love Carla x