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Travel 101 – TAKE TO THE SKIES WITH MOLTON BROWN’S EXCLUSIVE TRAVEL COLLECTION

As summer is upon us and temperatures are souring, there are many of us that are taking to the skies to relax and unwind!

Molton Brown is renowned for exploring the world in search of the finest exotic ingredients to create its luxurious range of bath and body products. This jet-setting process makes Molton Brown the ultimate authority when it comes to travelling in style.

 

With eight kits in the collection, these handy sets contain travel-sized versions of Molton Brown’s signature skin care, hair care, bath and body favourites, including:

Frequent Traveller – London Edition – RRP $85

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This unisex collection provides a touch of indulgence for the avid traveller. Rebalance and revive with this set of six travel essentials in flight-friendly sizes, to refresh your skin and soothe your senses. The lavish kit comes complete in a clear travel bag and features:

  • Energising Seamoss Bath & Shower (100ml)
  • Ultrasmooth Coco de Mer Body Lotion (100ml)
  • Travel-reviving Cempaka Bath & Shower (100ml)
  • Renew Ambrusca Wash & Scrub (30ml)
  • Relaxing Yuan Zhi Sleep Ambiente (30ml)
  • Sleep Cedrus Temple Soother (5ml).

 

Women’s Traveller – London Edition – RRP $85

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The perfect travel companion for the ultimate globetrotter, the Women’s Traveller helps you to really escape the daily grind, relax and enjoy your travels. This kit features six travel sized treats, housed in a clear travel bag to refresh and scent from top to toe. It also includes:

  • Relaxing Yuan Zhi Bath & Shower Gel (100ml)
  • Relaxing Yuan Zhi Body Cream (100ml)
  • Renew Ambrusca Wash & Scrub (30ml)
  • Indian Cress Purifying Shampoo (100ml)
  • Indian Cress Purifying Conditioner (100ml)
  • Hydrate Desert Bloom Intense Hand Rescue (15ml)

 

Molton Brown’s travel collection is the ideal jet-setting companion, ensuring your travels are filled with a little luxury wherever the world may take you.

 

http://www.moltonbrown.com.au  

The Molton Brown Travel Collection includes:

  • Frequent Traveller – London Edition, RRP $85
  • Women’s Traveller – London Edition, RRP $85
  • Men’s Traveller – London Edition, RRP $85
  • Unisex Jetsetter Stowaway, RRP $98
  • Women’s Jetsetter Stowaway, RRP $98
  • Men’s Jetsetter Stowaway, RRP $98
  • Unisex Travel Stowaway, RRP $98
  • Men’s Stowaway, RRP $98

 

The Molton Brown Travel Collection is available now, from David Jones, MYER and online at www.moltonbrown.com.au

 

Stockist: 1800 670 540 and www.moltonbrown.com.au

 

WHAT’S ON – Sydney 101 – Celebrate all that is Australian this Australia Day…

Whether it’s your first Aussie Day (January 26th) or if it’s your 30th, there is absolutely no reason not to get involved.

There are so many cool activities taking place across this lil’ ol’ country that we call home.

When I first arrived in Sydney four years ago on the 23rd January, I had no idea that there even was an Australia Day, no less when it was! Little did I know that it was in 3 days time, and that it would be one of the best days of my travels yet!

Back in 2009, we started at Hyde Park with a crate of Pure Blonde, then we headed to The Australian Hotel in The Rocks. We then ended our day watching the fireworks at Darling Harbour – they were spectacular!

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before! So here is a little gift from me to you, to let you decide how your perfect Australia Day will be spent:

1. Bronte Beach BBQ (all day)

Avoid the hustle and bustle of the city and head to the quaint Eastern Suburbs beach between Bondi and Coogee. It is one of the few places where you’re allowed to drink in the open and it has grass, sand and BBQs to complete a relaxing day at the beach.

2. The Rocks – Glenmore and The Australian Heritage Hotel (all day)

This was suggested by one of Sydney Social 101’s Facebook fans as a ‘must-see’ for Australia Day – You can enjoy Emu and Kangaroo pizzas at The Australian, then wander a mere 20 metres to The Glenmore for spectacular Sydney Harbour views. A great option if the weather isn’t 100% as The Glenmore now has a retractable roof to ensure that rain, sun or hail, you can enjoy a schooner with a view!

3. Bondi Rocks – North Bondi (12pm til late)

If you fancy a lively day with beer, sounds and shapes, head to Bondi Rocks in North Bondi – One for all the hipsters (or wanna be) out there!

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4. Festival of the Voice – The Rocks (12pm – 8pm)

A great suggestions by another SS101 Facebook groupies 🙂 They advised their pick would be to head to The Rocks this Australia Day for a free celebration of music and song.

There is also a twilight concert with Australian artists in Dawes Point Park. Again you’ll be able to take advantage of stunning Harbour views.

There are also concerts at First Fleet Park and ‘Song Street’ (George Street). If you’re talented with regards to vocal gymnastics, you can even make sweet music on the karaoke stage in The Rocks Square.

5. Darling Harbour – Australia Day Fireworks

Like I did on my first Australia Day, join thousands of people at Cockle Bay, hear an official address from the NSW Premier and witness the grand finale of Sydney’s Australia Day celebrations—an exhilarating symphony of light, sound and pyrotechnics. Perfect if you’re looking for things to do with the family!

6. Party hard with the best of them with Keystone!

Cargo Bar, Cargo Lounge, Bungalow 8 and The Loft have a list of celebrations to suit all tastes this Australia Day here in Sydney, from 25 – 28 January!

They are all hosting a four day festival at the four iconic harbour-side venues on King Street Wharf! With over 50 different DJs and live acts, plus activities, games and more, ‘Oz Fest’ is a celebration of Australian icons with all the jam-packed excitement and entertainment of a festival! Including Minx She Can DJ tour, Sosueme DJs, Strummer & heaps more!

Sweethearts Rooftop Bar is hosting Aussie celebrations from 25 – 28th January! There will be $5 tinnies and great Aussie food ALL WEEKEND

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The Sugarmill will be hosting a massive Australia Day party across four floors from 10pm – Kings Cross

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Gazebo – 26th January from 12pm

Peter Allen Party with DJs from 4pm, celebrations from 12pm for a massive AustraliaDay Celebration.

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Manly Wine – 26th January from 3pm

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7. Rave the night away at Pacha at The Ivy – Saturday 26 January from 6:30pm!

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Now there are no doubt many events and activities I have missed out – If you have any suggestions, please post a comment below!

Hope you all have the best Australia Day ever!

Day Four** Rhiannon Fish, Brian McFadden, Natalie Bassingthwaighte And More Reveal Music Choices For THEIR Favourite Christmas Moods

Christmas music given a shake-up as stars from around the World share their own Festive/holiday playlists with fans on rara.com to celebrate free trial. On the fourth day of Xmas the way to dance around the tree… is listening to my fave star’s playlist on Rara.com for FREE

Sydney Social 101 is excited to announce that a music streaming service has overhauled traditional Christmas playlists in favour of more modern mixes created with the real moods of the festive period in mind; reflecting the different ways we all celebrate Christmas in 2012. We’re HUGE fans of Xmassy songs here at SS101 HQ and we love a sneak look into the musical tastes of our celebs, so this is right up our street!

Rara.com the easy-to-use instant music service – has enlisted the help of global music stars and names from the worlds of fashion, food, sports and entertainment to update its festive playlists. These famous faces have created hand-crafted compilations inspired by their own festive experiences, to give their fans a glimpse of exactly what they’ll be listening to this Christmas

Whether that’s giving their fans tunes for a hip-hop inspired Christmas party (thanks to UK rapper Tinchy Stryder), songs to enjoy with friends during the break between Christmas and the New Year (courtesy of Home & Away actress, Rhiannon Fish), giving their fans tunes for a hip-hop and dance inspired NYE party (thanks to Actor, Model and CelebrityDJDidier Cohen and Actor &MTV VJ, Keiynan Lonsdale) and even a high-energy playlist to help shed those pounds after all the excess of the party season (created by music artist and XFactor judge, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, as well as Urban Pop artist Timomatic), these new playlists have it covered, whatever mood you’re in.

Other playlists include music for driving home to see family during the festive period (put together by Australia’s Next Top Model judge, Charlotte Dawson), songs to recharge after NYE and get ready for 2013 with (compiled by Media Commentator and Entertainment Editor-at-Large at News.com.au, Melissa Hoyer), and even tunes to reflect on the good times from 2012 (from musician Brian McFadden).

The move comes as rara.com gives the gift of music and launches its seven day free trial so these playlists – and many more already created by some of the biggest rock, pop, and urban artists in the world – are available to all completely free of charge.

Nick Massey, CEO, rara.com said, “We’re really excited to be working with all of these big names who are all passionate about music, to deliver an early Christmas present and celebrate the launch of our free trial this December. As a music service that offers songs for every moment and mood, we wanted to create interesting, hand-crafted playlists that fit how people are really feeling at this joyous, hectic, crazy time of the year. As well as these quirky festive-themes playlists we also have others curated by global music stars from all genres for our listeners to enjoy all year round.”

Until January 31st anyone can find, play and share unlimited music from millions of tracks available on rara.com, completely free, for seven days. Just log on to rara.com online and use voucher code HOLIDAY2012. After the seven day free trial rara.com is just $0.99 (AUD) and $1.99 (NZ) per month for the first three months, then $7.99 (AUD/NZ) per month after that.

rara.com is also available on-the-go via apps for  iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, and Windows 8 devices. Online and mobile costs are $2.99 (AUD/NZ) per month for the first three months, and then $12.99 (AUD) and $13.99 (NZ) each month.

 

WHAT’S ON – IGNITE THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS WITH OVER 1.25 MILLION LIGHTS AT HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS

Over 250,000 lights have been added to this year’s Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens ensuring that the event, with over 1.25 million lights in total, will be the best yet! The Gardens will be filled with vibrant colour, incredible light and sound displays every night from Friday 9th November, 2012 until Saturday 26th January, 2013 (excluding Christmas Day and night).

In its sixth year, Christmas Lights Spectacular is the largest lights display in the Southern Hemisphere, making it a must see for the entire family and a great way to kick start that festive season.

The much anticipated event has won the prestigious Hunter Region Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Festival or Event’ for 2009, 2010 and 2011 earning it a place in the Hall of Fame within this category.

Hunter Valley Garden s General Manager, Kyle McKendry says, “This year will be bigger, brighter and better than previous years. We’ll have live entertainment for all ages, delicious food and wine and more Christmas lights than ever illuminating the Gardens.”

The Twelve Days of Christmas music and light display in the Border Garden, the cactus musical extravaganza and the three mega trees that are an incredible 12, 9 and 6 metres high are sure to amaze visitors. There are also light and music displays throughout the Storybook Garden and the greatest story ever told at the nativity scene.

Embrace the Christmas spirit with harmonious tunes, millions of glittering light displays showered across the spectacular grounds of Hunter Valley Gardens and jolly visits from Santa, (photos available).

Gates will open nightly from 6.30pm, with pre-lights entertainment and food stalls. The lights display will commence at 7.30pm.

Entry to Christmas Li ghts Spectacular:
Adult $20.00
Children (4-15 yrs) $15.00
Children 3 yrs & Under FREE. Each child will receive a FREE glow stick.
Family (2ad+2chd) $60.00
Extra Child (with Family Pass) $5.00
Day/Night (Return) Adult $35.00
Day/Night (Return) Child $15.00

Annual Pass (unlimited entry to Hunter Valley Gardens)
Adult $85.00
Family (2ad+2chd) $225.00
Child (4-15 yrs) $60.00

To find out more about the Christmas Lights Spectacular, please visitwww.hvg.com.au or call 02 4998 4000. In the event of wet weather, please visit our Facebook or Twitter page or contact Hunter Valley Gardens to find out if the Christmas Lights Spectacular will be open.
Christmas Lights Spectacular accommodation packages are available. For bookings and enquiries please contact Harrigan’s Irish Pub and Accommodation on 1800 800 522.

Anaconda iii sailing and diving Whitsundays tour

So I’ve spent the past three days and three nights sailing around the Whitsundays with Anaconda iii.

It was an amazing tour, which consisted of four dives, including one night dive!

Sydney social had an amazing time! Thorough review to follow, here’s a snap shot in the meantime!

I’m off to go sunbathe 🙂

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Byron Bay delivers

I’ve been in Byron Bay since Friday and it’s amazing! Here is a snap shot of my travels so far, full post to follow!

Big thanks to Summerhouse, Byron at Byron, Cape Byron Kayacks, Woody’s Surf Shack and The Beach Hotel!

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Want a a fabulous, fun-filled Sydney long-weekend? Read on!

Here at Sydney Social 101 we certainly are gearing up for what is set to be a fabulous, fun-filled long weekend!

Tonight we’re off to Cantina and Corner Bar in Balmain as guests to sample the amazing news menus! Full reviews to follow over the weekend – we’ve been told to look out for the Espresso Martini at Corner Bar and a Twisted Margarita at Cantina Bar as they are the way to go apparently! Sounds like a plan!

Tomorrow is just as action filled! At 12:30pm we’re heading off to Bucket List for a reservation to sample the lunch menu for Spring, with perfect panoramic views of Bondi beach, and uber crowd and beers on tap – we can’t imagine that we’ll be disappointed!

Bucket List – Night time exterior

Following on from Bucket List, we’ve been invited to review The Island Bar on Cockatoo Island – which is renowned for its harbour views and yummy cocktails, my biggest highlight however is the water taxi over to the venue – life’s small pleasures hey, ha! Sydneysiders and visitors can enjoy Harbour Bridge views from iconic Cockatoo Island, just a 12 minute ferry-ride from the city, in the comfort of an exclusive custom-designed bar space with great drinks and food, and cocktails served either by the glass or in jugs perfect for sharing on a warm afternoon. If you’re keen to head this weekend, check out the website: http://www.theislandbar.com.au/

To complete an action packed Saturday, Sydney Social is heading back to our Manchester roots and celebrating all things Northern Soul as we head to Hard Rock Cafe as part of the Soul Weekender celebrations. If this is your bag and you want to catch up with like-minded people, check out this link here

On Sunday Sydney Social, along with half of the Eastern Suburbs is descending into Manly to celebrate a Monday off work! First port of call is Manly Wine as they have a chocolate wheel at the venue all weekend – hello please!

We’ll also be swinging by 4Pines, we LOVE their own brews and will be sampling the following in celebration of Oktoberfest Fest – German Pils 5.2% | 42 IBU’s, Märzen 5.2% | 23 IBU’s, Dunkelweizen 4.8% | 17 IBU’s and Doppelbock 7.2% | 21 IBU’s.

Another Manly FAVE is In Situ, the most amazing cocktails, live acoustic performances and chilled out crowd, if you’re heading manly-side – pop this on your hit list, stat!

However if you’re heading this side of the bridge (bt this side I mean East J), there are some great celebrations at Gazebo at Potts Point. They plan to transform the already quirky and beautiful Gazebo into a celebration reminiscent of Gene Wilder’s chocolate factory, complete with chocolate fountain and three-course bubblegum*.Held over the entire October long weekend, this promises to be an amazing event for young and old. There will be a chocolate fountain (YUM!) Fri – Mon, a chocolate installation will be installed staff dressed in purple themed outfits.

There will be a few chocolate inspired beverages – one where the bar staff will use the chocolate fondue. We will also have the chocolate wheel spinning all weekend!

Over in Surry Hills, The Winery will be celebrating all things Surry Hills! For three whole days! Street art! Fashion! Food! Wine! Stay!

All in all, you simply have no excuse to not go out and get involved!

Happy Long Weekend everyone! Have a good en’ and stay safe x

I WISH!

Plans for the long weekend? Look no further

 

Sydney Social 101 will be posting number of suggestions for this long weekend, for now here are some fab suggestions from Keystone Group:

RIO CARNIVAL AT BUNGALOW 8 SYDNEY – Sep 29th – Oct 1st
Dance to the sounds of Samba, experience the flavours of Rio and watch as the colours of Carnival come to life in one big Bungalow 8 street party!

Keystone’s festival of Festivals presents Rio Carnival at Bungalow 8 – inspired by the amazing street parties and outfits of Carnival in Rio. Bungalow 8 is transforming this October long weekend to bring the vibrant costumes, music and street performers of Rio to Sydney for 3 days in a celebration of Samba.

The festivities begin on Saturday of the long weekend with an amazing line up of entertainment throughout the day into night. Featuring live Samba performers dressed in traditional Samba outfits, special entertainment throughout the day and night plus a great line up of local DJ’s to get your booty shaking including NAD, Turbo, Crofty plus live drumming performances from Paris Jeffrees and Warren Jackson.

The Rio Carnival continues throughout Sunday and Monday with more great live acts, body painting and face painting for kids and adults. For anyone that’s wanted to experience the amazing feeling of Rio’s biggest calendar event of the year Bungalow 8’s Rio Carnival is the place to party this October Long Weekend.

About Bungalow 8

Bungalow 8 is probably most famous in Sydney for its huge annual parties including Summer Garden Party, Social diary events, member’s parties and NYE celebrations. Taking inspiration from the flavours of the south pacific and boasting favourites like the whole suckling pig and coconut cocktails, you can’t help but kick back and relax in bungalow 8’s sun-drenched beer garden.

Relax by day and party by night! Escape to Bungalow 8, a harbour-side oasis under the city skyline.

OKTOBERFEST SNOW PARTY AT CARGO BAR – SEP 29TH – OCT 1ST
45 tonnes of real snow, a huge toboggan ramp, an all-star DJ line up, beer’s and German sausages!

This October Long Weekend one of Sydney’s most iconic venues Cargo Bar is transforming into an Oktoberfest themed ski-resort! To celebrate Cargo Bar is building a huge snow ramp packed with 45 tonnes of real snow open to anyone who dares to take the challenge of tobogganing down the steep incline.

The festivities begin on Saturday 29th as Cargo Bar celebrates with a massive snow party from 8pm. Featuring a live VJ set from DJ Flagrant – The National Red Bull Thre3style Champion 2011 – and some great tunes on the decks from Lucia, Stu Turner, Jono Watkins, Richie Carter and more, this party is set to say goodbye to the Aussie snow season with a bang!

For those heading down to the Cargo snow fields on Sunday and Monday you can expect more great tunes from all-star DJ’s Rob Kay, Daigo and Heke plus live performances throughout the day. There are heaps of giveaways and prizes including Electric snow gear, sunglasses, a snowboard, G-shock watches and more throughout the weekend. Plus for those looking to get an Oktoberfest feed there’s the big German breakfast available all day, every day of the long weekend!

The Oktoberfest Snow Party is part of Cargo Bar and Smirnoff’s Wrong Weekender experience – the first in a series of long weekend events for the venue that strive to transform peoples long weekend experience into something spectacular. This event is also brought to you by the Keystone Group’s festival of Festivals running this October long weekend.

About Cargo Bar

Cargo Bar is probably Sydney’s most famous bar. It’s been partying for 12 years and hasn’t slowed down. The venue has been host to Prince Harry, internationally known music acts and Australia’s finest TV personalities. Within the highly competitive Sydney bar and restaurant scene, Cargo Bar and Lounge continues to stand alone. The position, ambience and outstanding service attract a diverse crowd from the CBD, greater Sydney and the local and international tourist markets.

A Weekend Away to Melbourne – Review

Last weekend I had the ultimate pleasure of heading to Melbourne. Whilst I am a Sydneysider through and through, I felt it was only fair to provide an insight into the city that is Melbourne.

Having been to Melbourne when I first arrived in Australia, I have very fond memories – I stayed in St Kilda in a Hostel, the name escapes me, very cool roof top terrace! I did what any self respecting Brit does and headed to the Neighbours night and met my idol (Disclaimer: he isn’t actually my idol) Karl Kennedy and got told I looked hot by the cute dude that played Ned Parker – Result. I also remember being in awe of a little takeaway establishment called Cone Heads – Think hot chips and ANYTHING you like – I opted for cheese and gravy – yuuuummmm! Then off I headed on a Groovy Grape Tour of the Great Ocean Road en-route to Adelaide and kangaroo Island….

This trip however was to be very different, no better or worse, just catered to a slightly different demographic. For the young professionals that are looking to escape Sydney for the weekend, or the travelers that want a cultured weekend away, Melbourne is your gal!

I often have referred to Melbourne as the personality and Sydney as the beauty, which I still stand-by – but don’t be disheartened to think that Melbourne isn’t stunning in its own unique way! Instead of beaches and Sydney Harbour, there’s hidden little laneways, delicious eateries and enough museums and art galleries to shake a stick at!

I was treated by the lovely team at Vibe Hotels to a complimentary night at their Vibe Savoy Hotel – Perfect location, next to Southern Cross Station and walking distance to shops, the bars and South Bank.

In addition to the accommodation and breakfast, Vibe Hotels also treated me to trial Look Polished @ Vibe* accommodation package which  features four limited edition travel sized nail polishes that will see women pampered across Vibe’s seven sensational locations.

From just $199*, the Look Polished @ Vibe package includes:

  • Overnight accommodation for two adults in a vibe-rant guest room
  • One set of four mini Vibe nail polishes in this season’s hottest colors – I particularly like the Refresh-Mint colour – bang on trend for pastels this SS 2012, 2013.
  • A delicious full buffet breakfast for two at curve cafe  – (Which is YUM, I actually has four plates!)
  • Late check-out at noon to catch up on beauty sleep

So we had the accommodation sorted which was the first step and helped us out greatly. Next stop – itinerary!

There is honestly so much to do in Melbourne, so-much-so that I would recommend asking family and friends and researching (on blogs such as this – check!) where the popular venues are and the hidden gems are located off the beaten track! Now I know everyone has their own tastes and interests,  so I’ve just provided a number of venues/ activities that I really think will suit most tastes – If you like good atmosphere, reasonable prices and yummy food and beverages – you can’t really go wrong!

SIGLO Located at Rooftop, 162 Spring Street, Melbourne

First stop after we freshened up at the Vibe Savoy, we headed to Siglo to meet our friends (we were there to surprise our mate for his 30th!). It’s located on the roof top of the Supper Club, which is another venue you simply must frequent – opulent leather interior with deep mahogany furnishings, it’s the perfect venue for pre dinner aperitifs or to head to after a large meal for a quiet digestive (of the drink variety, not the biscuit!). Siglo is a Cigar Lounge and Cocktail Bar, which looks over Parliament House.

I’d head to Siglos if you want deep conversation with friends along with tasty cocktails and a great atmosphere! (Note: If you don’t like cigars or smoke, it is probably not the place for you, or get in early to sit inside!)

We stayed at Siglo until the wee early hours, about 2am and then decided it would be a great idea to head to China Town for midnight dumplings (as you do).

CHINA TOWN

China Town is located just around the corner from Spring Street and connects all the various hubs of the city, there’s Karaoke and restaurants on every corner and it’s surprisingly lively at 2am on a Friday night.

Little Bourke St is where most of the restaurants are but it’s worth exploring the laneways that run off it for some interesting alternatives that are less well known.

Top (cheap) eateries include:

  • Hutong Dumpling Bar – 14-16 Market Ln, Melbourne
  • Shanghai Dumplings – Gnd & Flr1, 23 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne
  • Supper Inn – Level 1, 15-17 Celestial Ave, Melbourne
  • The Flower Drum – 17 Market La., Melbourne (Is a bit more exy but def worth it!)

After China Town we headed home for some much needed sleep!

On Saturday we had a busy itinerary planned as we didn’t want to miss out on ANYTHING! So after our delicious breakfast we headed to meet the rest of the group.

Curtain Bar’s Rooftop Bar – Located at Level 7, Curtin House, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne

 

In addition to being a roof top bar, it’s also a cinema – V cool! As we headed up to the 7th floor we were greeted by astro-turfed floor and bright colour furniture and… sangria! Ole! My favourite!

The bar has amazing views of Melbourne and definitely has a great atmosphere that isn’t at all pretentious!

MADAME BRUSSELS – Level 3, 59-63 Bourke St, Melbourne

Ahhh the lovely and quaint Madame Brussels, if you’re looking for cute cupcakes, tasty cocktails, little snacks (think sausage rolls) this is the place for you!

The whole place I feel channels Alice in Wonderland with the bright colours and fairytale feel!

Three Little Birds on Madame Brussell’s roof top

It is a must-see when in Melbourne!

Next up…

CHILL ON – Southgate Complex/Building Mid Level MR6, 3 Southgate Ave Southbank 3006

I was approached by the PR company to experience Chill On, Melbourne’s very own bar made of ice! You can enjoy a cocktail (included in the $30 cost for 30 mins, along with the warm clothing) in minus 15 degrees C temperatures and surrounded by ice sculptures. It is a cool (pardon the pun) experience that you wouldn’t expect from Melbourne!

Following a day of bar hopping and more than a few drinks, we had a reservation at 9pm, so we headed back to the Vibe Savoy to get ready for an evening of amazing food, wine and company!

HELL OF THE NORTH – Located at 135 Greeves Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Ahhh where to begin, just stunning, food is amazing, service is even better and the decor is perfect!

Image taken from: http://www.hellofthenorth.com.au/gallery.html All rights reserved

You can’t miss the gigantic yellow door as you approach the venue! A you enter you’re welcomed into an inviting bar, its comfortable seating and the intoxicating smell of the food greets you!

Image taken from: http://www.hellofthenorth.com.au/gallery.html All rights reserved

We had the private dining room booked for our friend’s 30th, there were 12 of us in total! It was the perfect size! We all had the set menu which was $75 each, which consisted of about seven courses!

Whilst it may sound expensive, for what you get and the quality of the food, it is second to none! The French inspired menu will have you salivating before you’ve even popped your napkin on your lap. A few examples of the food are:

  • Cured meats with bread, pate and pickles
  • Cheese platter
  • Beef tartan
  • Braised Beef
  • Grilled fish
  • Crepe Suzette

Image taken from: http://www.hellofthenorth.com.au/gallery.html All rights reserved

To name a few! I can’t recommend Hell of the North highly enough! (Also we had 12 bottles of wine between 12 of us and the bill ended up $115 each – a complete bargain!).

We stayed until about 1am drinking wine and putting the world to right!

After a night of well rested sleep we headed out for breakfast, to the place the ultimate place in Melbourne for hidden gems – Degraves Street! An endless laneway of cute little cafes and eateries that serve pastries, coffee, breakfast lunch, wraps, pasta – the list is endless. It gets quite busy there so it’s more a case of looking for a cafe that has a seat rather than going on recommendation, as they’re all fab!

Suffice to say, my weekend in Melbourne was all I expected and more! If you’re looking to get out of

Sydney or you’re pulling together an itinerary for your time in Australia – I urge you to head to

Melbourne – You will not be disappointed!

The Look Polished @ Vibe Package is available at all Vibe Hotels, located across Sydney (Sydney,

Rushcutters Bay and North Sydney), Melbourne (Melbourne and Carlton), the Gold Coast and Darwin.

To book (best online rates guaranteed) visit vibehotels.com.au or call 13 VIBE (8423).

* Package starts from $199. Rates may vary between hotels. Subject to availability. Package includes overnight accommodation for two adults in a guest room. One mini Vibe nail polish sets per booking only. Bookings from 13/3/2012 – 30/9/2012 for stays from 1/4/2012 – 30/9/2012.

Perisher Valley – Shoop, Shoop!

Last weekend my friends and I took a trip to Perisher, it was organised by the boys! It was a great trip and also great company; we are all from the same hometown back in the UK and some of us have known each other for over ten years.

If you’re visiting Sydney or you live here, it’s a great place to get away from the city for a few days. I don’t know about you guys, but when I pictured Australia before I moved here, I never, not ever pictured vast snow topped mountains that you could ski on. It turns out, that there are plenty of these, you just need to drive six hours south of Sydney, that’s all, ha!

We set off at 3pm on the Friday morning to ensure two whole days of skiing, it was a mega early start, we had two designated drivers make sure we didn’t suffer the effects of fatigue on the roads!

I had booked my clothing and equipment hire online at www.perisher.com.au, (TIP: if you book 7 days in advance via the online booking system, you get a 10% discount) which we picked up after checking in at the hotel. The clothing hire was $123 and included goggles, boots, skiis, gloves, clothing and poles. The lift pass for two days was $200 and the lessons were $86 for two, two hour lessons.

Yes this is Australia!

Ahhh the hotel, where to even begin, not in a good way I might add! As a general rule, I have the philosophy, if you haven’t got anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all – well on these occasion my friends, I’m afraid I can make an exception.

I might event dot point the issues with the Perisher Manor, as there are quite a few!

  1. The rooms are $500 per night for a twin room – not too steep you might think as you’re directly at the bottom of the slopes, so you don’t have to worry about getting to the slopes in the morning, you’d be wrong.
  2. The rooms look worse than some hostels I’ve stayed in. The beds were tiny, the bedding looked like it was from the 80s. The floor space was similar to that of a king size bed, with a tiny sink in the corner. The bathroom was attached with a toilet and shower, the usual size of a wardrobe – which the room didn’t have! There was no TV, no audio system and not even a phone to call reception. I must add that breakfast and dinner is included in the price however, but we’ll come onto this shortly.
  3. Parking – There is no parking allowed in Perisher Valley, a rule from the National Park and not the hotel. This isn’t my gripe – what is my gripe is that this wasn’t communicated to us clearly before we made our booking. This meant that we drove our car to the hotel, which cost us $27 to enter the national park. When on the slopes in the afternoon in we were advised (be a fellow skier, not the hotel) that we couldn’t leave our car in the car park overnight and that we’d have to drive it down to the Ski Tube station and get the ski tube back – at $70 return person, per day I might add. Fantastic!
  4. We called upon the help of one of the members of staff of the pub, not the hotel to drive us to show us where to park, we paid them $60 for their time, which also paid for them to run us back, which saved us a bit of money. The interesting thing is that the Ski Tube is actually in the middle of nowhere, so we parked our cars in Jindabyne, the nearest town. If we wanted to get the Ski Tube to pick up our cars, we would have to get a taxi to the town as there is no public transport from the Ski Tube – makes sense? Nooooooott!
  5. Now what bothers me is that a hotel that charges $500 per room per night, doesn’t have a shuttle service for its guests to pick up their cars – which would save them an additional $70 per person per day, nor do they think that they should have to. In addition, they also don’t believe that they should have the mention this fact on the phone, due to the fact it’s in the small print of the booking confirmation, which you receive AFTER you’ve made your booking. So even if you wanted to change your mind, you can’t without a $200 cancellation fee.
  6. The staff at reception was rude and not understanding in the slightest at our predicament! When having to book a taxi to take us to get our car on the final day, we were advised that it would cost us $160 to get to our cars – fabulous!
  7. The $500 per room per night included breakfast and dinner for guests, which to its credit wasn’t bad at all. The choice was somewhat limiting for dinner, there are two choices for starter, main and desert. On the second night when the choices were veal or Thai Green Curry, both of which I don’t like, the staff were very helpful and allowed me to choose something from the kids menu, adult portion of course. This I thought was very nice of them!
  8. All in all, a complete rip off, which is in need of a massive makeover and revamp and a note that we’re now in the 21st century! The accommodation (including parking and taxis) ended up costing $1000 for two people for the room and meals, $27 for national park parking, $100 for parking in Jindabyne, $60 for the staff to run us back and $160 for a taxi to take us for our car – so per person it was $673.50 for two nights – It would’ve been cheaper to stay in Jindabyne and get the Ski Tube daily, rather than pay for the ‘luxury’ of being on the sloapes!

Anyway, back to the positive as Perisher valley is actually an amazing place, the skiing and snow is unreal and it literally goes on forever. I plan to go back again very soon!

There’s a great mixture of green runs for beginners, blue for intermediate and black for experts. It’s also home to the longest ski lift in Australia.

My favourite run was Pretty Valley! Wide and not too steep! There are also many hidden bars, coffee houses etc in the mountains, which are a great rest spot with the most amazing views you’ve ever seen!

Night skiing is also amazing, we only got one run though as it isn’t included in your lift pass for the day, it’s an additonal cost. It was very nice of them to let us try it for free!

Night skiing!

My friend and I actually got on the Pretty Valley double ski lift by mistake after our second lesson and we didn’t quite realise how high it was! My friend has an inexplicable fear of the ski lifts and actually forgot to get off this particular one, to the point where she was still sat in it when it spun around to go back down the mountain – hysterical isn’t the word as she had to get helped down, ha!

In terms of lessons, I paid for two lessons that were two hours each that cost $86 for both. They’re great as you don’t have to wait in line for the lifts and it acts as a great refresher (especially if you haven’t been skiing for 14 years like me!).

In terms of entertainment, there is a bar in the main complex that is open until late, where you can enjoy a wine or a game of pool or darts and music.

If you’re looking to get away for the weekend, or a few days I couldn’t recommend Perisher highly enough – just don’t stay at the Perisher Manor!

Echoer – Featured Blogger

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