I love the start of a year. Each day has that new car smell and it feels like there’s just so much more possibility out there.
We’re still catching up on what’s been going on so far this year, which means this IG Edition is all about the last fortnight – the first two weeks of 2017.
Earlier this week, we published our first post of the year, which was part 1 of this monster IG Edition. If you missed that one, here it is!
It has been a lovely start to the new year though. We’ve been meeting up with a lot of old friends – I even bumped into an old school friend I’ve known since I was about 8! He lives in Germany now and was on holiday in Sydney. So random – the last time I saw him was a trip back to the UK about 7 years ago!
We hope the start of the year has been good to you too, and we also hope you enjoy this – our latest IG Edition.
Speak again soon
Jim & Christina xx
We’re starting the year off the way we mean it to go on: great wine, beautiful views and aiming for that perfect work-life balance. This afternoon, we’re testing out one of our favourite wineries’ rosés.
Scarborough Wines – in the Hunter Valley – do great things with Chardonnay and their Pinot Noir is excellent too. And although their Rosé looks a little darker than what we go for, it’s actually delicate, dry and refreshing. Very pleased with our purchase!
We’ve worked with Scarborough Wines in the past and have a lovely relationship with this beautiful family. We’re proud to be able to call them our friends.
Things are finally heating up here in Sydney and it’s time for a dip. Mrs Romance is always working on improving her bomb form and I think she’s pretty much there.
Her hovering skills are hard to beat!
Meanwhile, I’ve discovered the virtues of inflatable chairs! This one is amazing.
It’s just a triangle of tubes with a clever bit of design that makes a headrest, but it’s very comfy and is a lot of fun to row about in! Look at how happy I am.
The start of 2017 is a looking to be a lot of fun for us. An old friend is back in Sydney from the UK. We met Charlotte in 2005 and even though she moved back England a while ago, we’re still good mates.
It’s lovely to see her again, though it’s always hard when it’s time to say goodbye again. Hopefully we’ll be seeing her again soon this year.
Charlotte’s here with some other old friends of hers… who have subsequently become great friends of ours too!
These are Charlotte’s friends Melissa and Peter. These awesome people live in San Francisco and we’ve been lucky enough to stay with them when we’ve been there.
We’ve had the best time hanging out with these guys. We’ve really enjoyed showing them around Sydney. There’s nothing like a good excuse to be a tourist on your own turf.
Just like with Charlotte, it’s going to be hard seeing these guys leave.
On one of our forays around town, we found our way to Sake in the Rocks. It’s a beautiful Japanese restaurant I’ve never been to before, but now wish I had. The food here is incredible.
Check out this sashimi platter!
Just to rub it in, here are a couple more shots of the food at Sake. This salmon and scallops dish was unbelievable.
Even this crispy salad was amazing. There were so many other dishes we all kind of lost count… until the bill came of course! Actually for the amount of food and drink we had, it really wasn’t bad value.
I always find it interesting when you discover good value and high quality in a tourist hotspot.
This afternoon, we’re at our friends’ holiday house. There are quite a few of them – not just Charlotte, Melissa and Peter – so they’ve found this incredible place in Bronte on AirBnB.
The views from the balcony are amazing – which is why this house would cost you a cool $8.5 million to buy!
See what I mean? This place is insane. And from the beach, you hardly notice this place… perhaps that’s because it’s next door to a house Heath Ledger used to own. Now that’s a swank pad!
It doesn’t take us long to get down to the beach – especially when the weather’s this good. Bronte is such a beautiful little beach. Can’t wait to get my toes wet!
But before we swim, we need to eat. Thankfully there are some great cafés along the street overlooking the beach. The 4 of us – Mrs R, Melissa, Peter and me – have sat down at The Bogey Hole for a bite to eat.
Everyone else has ordered this: the banana bread. It comes with ricotta, banana brûlée and macadamia, which sounds great. But I’ve gone for something different…
This is my avocado mash on rye with confit tomatoes, poached eggs and labne cheese. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
We’re now ready for a swim. Normally people say you shouldn’t swim right after you’ve eaten, which is a myth by the way. But if we hadn’t, there would have been a Jaws-like situation in the shallows when Mrs Romance hit the hangry!
Today, we’re having lunch in the beautiful, elegant Catalina at Rose Bay. This restaurant is an absolute institution and our lovely agent Gravitas is generously treating us, Smaggle and Woogsworld, who are also represented by the agency, to lunch!
The views from this place are incredible.
But, more importantly, the views of my plate are even better! My entrée of poached marron is superb and the attention to detail is exquisite! Look at the way the kitchen has made the marron claws hold the slices of radish.
Mrs Romance’s entrée is pretty special too. It looks like caviar, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. This is a serving of balsamic reduction pearls. And yes, that’s gold leaf on top.
The dish also comes with two of the most delicious slices of crumbed eggplant I’ve ever tasted.
Mrs R’s main (in fact a few people at the table had this) is amazing too. The butter poached Moreton Bay bug tails with safron tagliatelle is insanely good.
By the way, this is also dressed with a tarragon and lobster oil. How good does that sound?
I’ve gone for something a bit meatier. This is the grass-fed beef tenderloin with the most delicate potato rosti and an amazing selection of wild mushrooms. Yum!
Desserts at Catalina are amazing too. This is the restaurant’s take on a banana split!
Just check out the view from the deck. Catalina is right over the water and next to the seaplane wharf in Rose Bay. Such a stunning spot. No wonder it’s an foodies’ institution.
This evening, we’re at the Sydney Festival. The festival runs every year pretty much all the way through January. There’s so much happening in town at this time of year.
We’re at the Festival Village in Hyde Park to check out the new wine sponsor for the Sydney Festival: James Estate.
These guys are a Hunter Valley winery and their wines are lovely. I particularly like their chardonnay, but there’s plenty to keep you entertained at the James Estate tent!
There are lots of events at the Sydney Festival that are free. This hilarious show with Sydney entertainment legend Bob Downe is called The Hair Salon – which is right up Mrs Romance’s street!
It’s a clever mix of acrobatics, songs and buffoonery, and shows Wednesday – Sunday until 29th Jan at 6:45pm. The last show on 29th starts at 6:30pm.
But the show we’re here to see is the controversial ‘Briefs’. It’s billed as an Aussie Cirque du Soleil meets RuPaul’s Drag Race… or a ‘boy-lesque’ show.
It’s absolutely brilliant too. The Speigeltent was at full capacity the night we went (a Thursday) and we can’t recommend this show highly enough. Make sure you don’t miss this one. It’s brilliant.
Briefs: the second coming is on only until this Sunday 22nd Jan, so don’t miss it. Check the programme for the start times.
This week’s Travel Recap
Each week we go back in time over some of our favourite travel destinations using never-before-seen photos of our travels. Here’s where we’ve been looking back on this week.
The view from St Mark’s Tower in Venice is absolutely astounding. Venice is such a beautiful city, and we’ve got some amazing tips on travelling in this enchanting place.
This building is such an English icon, isn’t it? It’s pretty much the first thing you think of when you think of London.
The funny thing is people call this clock tower Big Ben, which is wrong! That’s just the name of the bell inside. The building is Westminster Palace and the clock tower is called the Elizabeth Tower.
One of the many amazing things about the Kimberley in Western Australia is the boab that grow here.
These trees grow really slowly – this one that Mrs Romance is trying to hide must be hundreds if not a thousand years old. These ones are native to Australia too.
Icebergs is a Sydney icon. It’s right at the northern end of Bondi Beach and is a public pool, a surf lifesaving club and a posh restaurant and bar.
The Duomo in Milan is impressive from outside, but you have to get up to the roof. It’s amazing to explore and you get a great perspective of the city.
We loved exploring Milan – here are our top tips for what to do in this famously stylish Italian city.
Mrs Romance is a real city chick and probably always will be. She’s much more comfortable in heavy traffic than on the open road and prefers a thronging street to a quiet village.
However, when we went to visit our friends in country New South Wales, we saw a new side to her! This is in one of the crop fields genius distillers Brian and Genise Hollingworth use to make their amazing spirits for Black Gate Distillery.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s bumper IG Editions. Next week we’ll be back to normal (whatever that is) with just one regular sized one for you.
Hope you have a lovely week and we’ll speak to you again very soon!
Jim & Chrissy xx