Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Wollongong Minibreak

Last Friday James and I had another overnight holiday.  James was at work so I left the office early and met him in the Gong to stay at the Novotel.

I booked the Mystery Deal on Wotif, but since there are so few hotels in the Gong I knew which one I was getting.  It was only $120, which I thought was an amazing deal - cheaper than the Metro in Sydney ($130 for the room) and much nicer!

We had a Queen bed, which is a much  better option than a King because Kings are usually two King Singles with a big sheet, whereas Queens tend to be an actual Queen.  The advantage of that is that you won't wake up lodged in the gap between the two mattresses in the middle of the night.

We'd planned on going out to the CBD for pizza and drinks, but that went out the window when we found out about the $60 Seafood Buffet in the hotel restaurant.  We love seafood and we love buffets, and we also love not having to go very far.


Cold foods

The chicken on the right was really amazing, it had a creamy sauce that was kind of bland yet somehow delicious.  Like a bit of a coronation chicken maybe?

This plate contained the aforementioned chicken, some asparagus, smoked salmon (lovely), crab, Balmain Bug and a mussel topped with onion, tomato and lemon.  I loved the mussels, but annoyingly they didn't have any of those long metal thingies for getting the flesh out of crustaceans.

I also sampled the creamy tomato penne and calamari and wedges.  These are obviously the options for children and the unadventurous, but both were absolutely outstanding.  The calamari rings were cooked perfectly, tender and firm at the same time and free of stringy bits, and the batter was so crispy and not greasy at all.  The other thing is a bit of fish stuffed with smoked haddock and other stuff and it was AMAZING.

At this point I had a plate with mountains of smoked salmon and cold prawns, which was probably the savoury highlight of the night.  I was too overwhelmed by deliciousness to stop and take a snap, but I suppose everyone has seen prawns and salmon before.


We weren't crazy about the cakes (the chocolate was quite dry actually), but those little cups of chocolate mousse were super tasty.  The thing that looks like a bowl of whipped cream was actually a sort of spongeless trifle/parfait, with jelly, fresh raspberries and custard.  It was amazingly delicious and after sharing a mixed tasting plate of desserts with James, I went back for a big plate just of the jelly.

Cheese and fruit

I was pretty full after all the jelly but James wanted to have a cheese course.  They had a great selection of cheeses so it was pretty good.  I also tasted a bit of dried apple, holy crap it was so gross!

Afterwards we thought we would go out for a drink, but instead we just walked over to the lobby bar.

French Martini, $12

$20 jugs! 

This was some kind of passionfruit cocktail, it was beautifully Summery.

There were a lot of people in the bar, and some definitely weren't staying in the hotel.  I guess it's just a popular hang for the locals?  I'm not surprised really, it was a great little bar.

All the Novotel staff were delightful to deal with too, professional but friendly and very helpful.  My only complaint about the entire experience is that my pillow was too squashy, which isn't a huge issue.  I had a wonderful time and I'd definitely go back.  Thanks Novotel!

On Saturday we went for brunch at lee&me cafe, which I learned about from Cate of All Cats Are Grey At Night, who eats there a lot.

We sat outside and it was freezing so we ordered some hot drinks.  I had a yummy hot chocolate and James had a coffe, which he said was really good.

Steak Sandwich

The Roll

This was a really oustanding bacon and egg roll with avocado, spinach and a lovely tomato relish.  I would have preferred cooked spinach to raw, but it was great nonetheless and only $12.

Then we did some shoppin'!

Mini straighter from Cotton On Body, $5!  I've wanted one of these for ages.

I bought this Trinny and Susannah book for $5!

We had a look around DJs, wow.  It wasn't as fancy-looking as the ones around here, but gosh it was good.  When we walked in a lady was handing out perfume samles, she gave me this nice Bottega Veneta one and James got a Diesel one that actually smells really good (most men's fragrances make me feel sick so I'm pleased we found one that doesn't).

They had a L'occitane shelf and on it was a basket filled with samples of a lovely rose-scented body lotion for people to help themselves!  They don't have things like that at Miranda.  I couldn't believe my eyes so I asked the saleslady (yeah that's right, I could actually locate a salesperson in the store!) and she ended up giving me some Jurlique handcream samples too.  Awesome!

Outside there were three young guys in a band playing awesome covers of Top 40 songs.  Their rendition of that One Direction song - what's it called again, You Don't Know You're Beautiful? Or maybe just Beautiful? Anyway - was one of the best things I've ever heard.

Last stop was a brewery where we had this tasting trio of beers.  The pale ale was fruity and delicious but the aftertaste was too bitter.  I didn't care for the others either.

And that was it.  What a lovely trip.  Snaps for anyone who's still reading!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

City Minibreak

James and I like to go away in the Winter holidays to somewhere warm, but this year we didn't have time so we decided to have some one-night minibreaks instead.  Yesterday we went to stay in the city at the Metro Hotel on Pitt.  I didn't take pictures but it's a good hotel and our Superior Deluxe Queen room was very nice.

I met James on the train and we travelled to the city together.  First stop was Cupcakes on Pitt!

James had Jaffa Orange and I had Raspberry.  I hadn't tried this flavour before but I loved it so much, I will definitely get it again.

After we checked in we went to the Shark Hotel for a $3 drink.  I don't know what people have against this place - it's quite nice inside and the drinks are decent.  We had gin & tonic.

We were planning to have dinner at Lucio Pizzeria in Darlinghurst, which we just love, but unfortunately it is closed on Tuesdays! Noooo!

But instead we went to Menya for delicious noodles, so I wasn't really sad.  I love Menya.  We had gyoza too but I forgot to take a picture so just use your imagination.  Or Google Images, if you need to.

Our first trip to Menya was in about 2009, when James took me for a surprise birthday date.  Back then everyone who ate there was Japanese and the staff didn't really speak English.  James heard about it from our Japanese friend Yuto (hello if you're reading!), who worked there.  It's right near Town Hall and costs about ten bucks for more food than I can even eat, so we've been back many times.

Afterwards we walked to the Lindt Cafe in Darling Harbour for dessert, but it was a bit expensive and also not very enclosed, so I thought it would be too cold.  We walked all around the harbour looking for somewhere to go, and ended up at Pancakes on the Rocks.

We shared this Macadamia Madness - maple syrup, macadamia nuts and icream.  It was really delicious.  I will try to make it at home.

We got the Bed and Breakfast package at our hotel, which was $30 extra and included a buffet breakfast, a 2 for 1 drinks voucher at the hotel bar and a bottle of wine.  Naturally we stuffed ourselves at the buffet.

Most of the food was really good but as you can see above, one of my pieces of bacon turned out to be a piece of SPAM! Ugh!  I didn't eat it.

After checking out we strolled around Myer, then went to Silks Cafe for a Cola, where we were overcharged.

Then we went to visit my lovely friend Sarah E (hello if you're reading!) in her and Matt's new flat.  It was really nice!  She had a couch delivered while we were there.

For lunch we had been hoping to go to Malibu, an awesome sandwich shop, for a late lunch (because we were stuffed from breakfast, and because they are super busy at lunch time).  Just before we hopped on the train I looked up their opening hours and realised they had closed at 2.30, and it was already 2.45! 

We had both been really excited for sandwiches so we were pretty down about that.  We decided to go to Jamie's Italian instead though, and fortunately we didn't have to wait at all.

We both had the same thing, the burger.  It was really delicious, with lovely tomatoes (I don't eat tomatoes so if I enjoy them, you know they're good), garlicky mayo and other nice burger fillings.  It was pretty giant and cost $19.50.

We also had these "Funky Chips" ($5.50), with garlic and parsley.  V tasty.

And James had a coffee with this cute coffee art.

Then we came home on the train.  Thanks for a fun trip Jimmy!

Driving Miss Daiso

James came back from Melbourne the other day and he brought me all these treats from Daiso, the Japanese $2.80 Store.

I looked up what the best Daiso products were and came across a recommendation for this powder foundation.  I didn't think James would know the right one so I didn't bother telling him about it, but amazingly he just happened to choose it!  I really like this product but I think the colour is a little dark for me so I might try to get my hands on a lighter one.

I also got these flashcards for Japanese children learning English.  James thought it was stationery.  I'm not really sure why but they are pretty cute anyway.

This nailpolish is in the shape of a loveheart!!  As you can see it's very sheer but it has a nice shimmer that I think will look really good over another colour.

Disposable underwear.  Hilarious.  Who would actually wear these?

I love this fuchsia and lime green vegetable peeler.  It has a magnet to put it on the fridge too, in case you don't have drawers in your kitchen or something.

I can't really tell because most of the writing on this package is in Japanese, but I think this hairbrush is a special heat-resistant one for blowdrying.  We will soon see.

This "lip cream" (lipbalm) is really moisturising, I love it.  The "jelly" (lipgloss) is good too, just like any other lipgloss.  It's neither overly sticky nor castor-oil greasy, which is good.

And these cute elephant and monkey paper clips will be fun for this coming semester.

Thanks James for all my presents!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

18 and The World's Best Pide

Last night I went to my cousin's 18th!

This was my cousin from the Turkish side of my family.  Everyone thinks I am making this up but they are real people, I swear! I am not Turkish but my uncle (my Dad's sister's husband) is.  I love hanging out with my Turkish family because there is so much delicious food.

Mini  cheese and onion quiches made by Mum.


I was so busy photographing the food that I forgot to eat any of this bhuja mix!  Noooo!  It's my favourite snack so I'm kicking myself now, but thank God, I just remembered we have Soy Chips in the kitchen.  That'll do.  Anyway.


We always buy Mrs Quick's sausage rolls from the supermarket, they are by far the best.

We had pide from some place at Haberfield.  Oh my God.  This stuff was AMAZING.  I will never again enjoy Westfield kebab shop pide.

There were heaps of flavours and I grabbed a bit of everything.  One had some kind of meat that I was told was like a Turkish salami.  I don't like salami at all but I tried it anyway and I'm so glad I did, it was fantastic.  One of the best things I have ever eaten. I wish I knew the actual name of it - does anyone?

BTW, if you pronounce this so it rhymes with "ride", or try to be accurate by calling it "pidday", click here.

Mum made these butterfly cakes, they were lovely

Gelato cake!

My lardburger plate.  The other thing is a ricotta cheesecake from some place called Papa's.  It was really yummy, tasted like homemade.

Dad always buys this English beer for my Grandad.  I think it's gross but whatever.

Shall we do some outfit snaps now?

Betty in a Glassons top over a Supre tank dress with SES pleathe jacket and Siren shoes, $30 down from $170.  I loved how she did her hair.

Me in my red Kmart dress ($29) and Target leopard shoes ($10.88?), with Equip gold bangles (part of a huge set I got in a 3 for $10 sale), the Bee Ring and a necklace stolen from Betty.

Ready for a close-up?

How cool is this crazy mirror?

Mum in a Basque sweater dress (40% off, this weekend only!) and my Aunty in what is probably a really thrifty outfit, knowing her. 

As you can see, everyone in my family is as greedy and stingy as I am.

Happy birthday Addi!