holiday daydreaming

This is how I like to waste my time on Friday afternoons.


the rise of the aussie dollar

Is it bad that when I look at this I feel it is not expensive at all?

Perhaps I am just in a haze since the Aussie dollar has gone up. Everything overseas feels cheaper.

July 2010 – Woolshed Cabins, Near Blackheath, Blue Mountains

A car full of girls. A girly weekend in the mountains. A pit stop at the bottle shop. Free tacky alcohol promo hats. Yes, our mini break was off to a good start.

To get away from the stress of the city, we decided to venture out to the tranquil blue mountains. Or at least ruin the tranquillity with boozy arguments and drunk Uno laughter.

The Woolshed Cabins are a short drive from Blackheath, down in the Kanimbla Valley. I would suggest arriving during daylight as driving at night on a small windy road, that turns into a dirt track, that turns into someone’s driveway was a little sketchy at times. However, we made it there in one piece, and could feel the beauty of this private oasis even in the moonlight.

The cabins were designed by the award winning Eco Design Architects, and promises to be environmentally friendly with recycled materials and existing frameworks of an old shearing shed. The cabins are roomy enough for the five of us, with a large kitchen and lounge area surrounding a toasty fireplace. Which was basically on the entire weekend!

Things I love about the Woolshed Cabins

The view – nothing quite prepares you for the view when you wake up in the morning. You are literally in the middle of a valley, surrounded by farms and towering mountains. The dirt track drive was worth it.

Toasty – did I mention I loved the fireplace? The cabins were warm and toasty all weekend which was a perfect compliment to the many bottles of wine and wheels of cheese that were consumed.

Things I don’t love

– NO HAIRDRYER. Honestly, in this day and age do I need to bring my own?

Woolshed Cabins

Near Blackheath, Blue Mountains

April 2010 – Cypress Lakes, Hunter Valley

The land of wine and cheese. You really can’t go wrong with these foundations. If it wasn’t for the booze you could make it a day trip from Sydney as the drive isn’t too long. However, to enjoy the wines of the region, you need to stay somewhere overnight.

In my opinion, the Hunter valley has long been overpriced and over hyped. Yes it is pretty, and I always enjoy myself however I never feel like I am getting value for money.

The Cypress Lakes Resort isn’t looking as shiny and new as it used to, but it is still hanging in there. The rooms are basic and pleasant, and I am always impressed by the size of the villas. And the two-bathroom arrangement is great, particularly if there are two couples staying there. We were only one couple but with one being an ensuite to the bedroom, and the other next to the lounge room and couch, (where we were enjoying frequent napping time) we made use of the whole place.

The wine lovers package came with a half dozen of “dry red” and a half dozen of “dry white”. I suspect that if one were truly a wine lover they would not even be bothered to accept these. Nonetheless, as we frequently purchase cleanskin wines, I don’t think we are in a position to be judgemental.

Things I love about Cypress Lakes

The buffet breakfast is outstanding for two reasons:

1. They have every breakfast food imaginable on offer, and it actually looks appetizing and tastes good.

2. The dining room reminds me of the Kellermans’ resort in the ‘Dirty Dancing’ movie, so I end up singing along to the soundtrack “daytime, night-time, any hour, whether rain or shine, games and lectures, jokes and music happily combine…….”

Things I don’t love about Cypress Lakes

– Visiting the hunter Valley is really a great winter activity – however the lagoon pool acts as a reminder that I should come back in the summer.

Cypress Lakes resort – Hunter Valley

15 Thompsons Rd
Pokolbin NSW

February 2010 – Latitude 34, Gerroa

To celebrate the 30th birthday of my Cro-asian besty, a weekend away on the gorgeous South Coast of NSW was on the cards. While the weather was working against us (a massive thunderstorm upon arrival), nothing was taking away from the breathtaking beauty of the Gerroa coastline – and the luxury house we were staying in for the weekend.

Latitude 34 is pretty much everything you would want in a holiday house. Amazing views through the floor to ceiling windows, a large outdoor entertaining area with an infinity lap pool, a huge kitchen and great comfy couches. SOLD. Being self sufficient (and a good Croatian lady), I went overboard with the catering which meant that we spent oodles of time in the kitchen preparing meals – which is my ideal way of relaxing! It also meant that each meal was all about stuffing our faces, enjoying too much Veuve & Moet and sleeping it off. Well, it was a special occasion after all!

The bottom level of the house has 2 comfortable bedrooms – one with a double bed, and the other with two singles. But the money shot is reserved for the upstairs area. The room features a queen bed and ensuite and makes you feel like you are waking up on the ocean – the views are outstanding.

The house also comes equipped with some great DVDS to keep you entertained – like the Sydney 2000 Olympics ceremony. We really enjoyed watching that. Hmmm… otherwise, there is Foxtel.

Things I loved about Latitude 34

Furnishings – usually in a rented holiday house there is more Ikea and reject shop furnishings than anything too classy. But this place does not hold back and stocks you with a full kitchen of good utensils and gadgets, comfy couches, elegant dining tables & chairs and great bathrooms. Yes, some of the details in the bedrooms are a too much “I went to Bali last year”, but overall the house looks and feels great so who cares.

December 2009 – Prince Hotel, Melbourne

A weekend away trip with my work wife to celebrate our 2009 birthdays, The Prince hotel was the first place on my list to try out. As I have friends and family in Melbourne, I don’t often get the chance to experience the hotel delights on the city. A girly weekend was the perfect excuse to surround ourselves with luxury, excess and lots of crap gossip magazine reading.

Let me just say this: I love the Prince Hotel.

The room décor is understated while still conveying a strong sense of luxe. Crisp white sheets with subtle hotel branding, soft lighting, a large bathroom with more than enough room for two ladies and their hair straighteners. The dark wood furniture begs you to unpack your suitcase and make full use of it – and I dutifully complied (and then wished my cupboard at home looked so neat). I thought I had perfected the weekend away capsule of clothing and then I realised my work wife’s bag was the size of my handbag (shamed) and Melbourne’s unpredictable weather meant that I wore most of my clothes in a mismatched way as I constantly needed to be wearing a cardigan (ruining my summer dress/playsuit plans).

But it was the simple details that I like the best – the hot pink Arne Jacobsen Egg Chairs next to the elevator, the plush carpet in the hallways, the covetable Aesop toiletries, the generous sewing kit in a tiny case. All of these things made me smile…

When it gets down to night-time action, The Prince is perfectly located to sample some of the fine fare of St Kilda, however I always like to find out what the hotel staff think are the best in the area. We received two recommendations from the hotel for a great local Italian place. Upon arrival at recommendation number one we realised that the fancy menu, wine list and clientele was probably not the best choice for our jeans and thongs attire. So we turned to the second recommendation, Cicciolina, which gave way to a wonderful night of fabulous food, lots of wine and a short stumble home. Perfect.

Things I love about the Prince Hotel

– the breakfast. As you know, I am not a fan of the old school buffet breakfast so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Prince Hotel breakfast is served in their restaurant and outdoor terrace with a café style breakfast menu to choose from. When have you ever had eggs benedict in a hotel and enjoyed it? And proper coffee. PROPER NORMAL COFFEE?

Things I am not so happy about

– The hotel pool area is not the best, as the indoor pool probably suits the unpredictable Melbourne weather but does not make you feel like lazing about next to it all day. Luckily, the rooftop area has several day beds that you can sprawl out on in the afternoon sun, or order a few drinks and watch the Fitzroy st people walk down to St Kilda beach*.

– apparently they have now stopped doing the Aesop toiletries pack. Sad face.

*sorry, I am from Sydney and I cannot call the St Kilda’s water area a ‘beach’. It is a natural body of water masquerading as a beach.

Prince hotel

2 Acland st

St Kilda, Melbourne