I know it’s the sign of poor conversation skills to start talking about the weather, but wtf is happening in Sydney at the minute?
One moment it’s a million degrees, the next it’s cold, windy and raining so hard brollies are useless against it.
And the weather’s timing’s been the worst too.
Like the day I decide to walk 20 minutes to lunch it’s so hot I barely stop sweating by the end of the meal. Or the day I had appointments in the city it rained so hard I’m still drying out my shoes now.
It’s just been crazy.
Anyway, this week’s IG Edition takes you to:
– a launch of a new cool Sydney rooftop bar
– to an amazing education event about sustainable programmes in hair salons
– on a tour of one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world
– a rooftop garden in Redfern to learn about a brilliant new online sustainability concept called Ripe Near Me
If you thought it sounds like a busy edition, you’d be right!
But we hope you enjoy our latest IG Edition and we’ll see you again soon!
Jim & Christina x
This evening we’re at the newly finished International Convention Centre (ICC) right in the middle of Sydney’s Darling Harbour. The views from the balcony here are amazing, but that’s not what we’re here for.
Our friends Paul and Ewelina, who own Sustainable Salons Australia, are hosting an event to educate hair salons about environmental action and sustainability. These guys are so impressive and the work they’ve done is extraordinary.
We’re here because of Mrs Romance’s capacity as Hair Romance by the way.
It looks like it’s going to be a great night – S Event is all about learning how hair salons, which have a lot of waste, can recycle and can even end up helping the environment.
Paul Frasca, who co-founded Sustainable Salons Australia, is up on stage explaining how hair salons can recycle so much of the waste they produce. From the foil that’s used in colouring hair to the hair itself (which goes into long sock things for soaking up oceanic oil spills), there’s so much salons can do.
The weird things that come from salon recycling bins can also be turned into a multitude of things. This is also part of the S Event – a show about wigs made out of rubbish. It’s a lot of fun but it also shows that, with a bit of creativity, you can make anything out of anything. Very MacGyver!
Today we’ve been invited aboard the very posh Silver Whisper cruise ship. She’s part of the Silversea fleet and is pretty amazing.
She’s in Sydney after beginning her World Cruise starting from San Francisco, which lasts over 100 days and finishes up in Monaco. Not a bad way to spend a third of your year!
Sadly, we won’t be leaving port on her though. And the pool is looking very inviting on our walk round – it’s incredibly hot today.
This isn’t your ordinary cruise ship. For a start she’s much smaller that most with only 382 guests on board, so there’s always going to be space by the pool. There are also 302 crew here, which means there’s almost a member of staff to each passenger!
This is the formal dining room. Looks pretty grand, doesn’t it? The ship’s designed to make every experience as private as you want though. And if you don’t feel like eating in public, you can just have your butler bring you each course to your suite as room service, which is complimentary.
This is the Whisper’s bar. It’s called The Bar, which makes good sense. I can imagine propping this bit of this ship up on long sea voyages – and the best thing is it doesn’t close while there are people still drinking. That’s my kind of watering hole!
The feeling of the ship is one of luxury but also of a home away from home. Of course your every whim is catered for here, but you can also do things like decorate the door to your suite if you like. And every time you sail on the ship, your room plaque is updated with the years you’ve traveled. It’s the 5th voyage for these guys!
My favourite part of the ship, this is The Humidor. That’s right, it’s even got a cigar room! And in the corner a walk-in humidor with an incredible selection of fine Cuban smokes.
To the side there’s a cabinet full of superb whisky and cognac, and those Chesterfields would be perfect for sitting back and enjoying a Cohiba or Montecristo.
Finally we’re led into Le Champagne – our own dining room – to sample the food. It’s a beautiful room full of wine and quotes about champagne, and there’s a sommelier onboard,who has matched wine to our lunch…
The food is just amazing. These are our hors d’oevres of lobster and mango, king scallop, foiegras in a cone and a porcini cappuccino. Amazing.
Next are the entrees – there are two of them! First is this beautiful caviar plate. This large serving of farm-raised caviar comes with buckwheat blinis, tender Jersey potatoes and other traditional accompaniments like egg and chives.
So opulent and so delicious.
The second entrée is even more incredible. The waiter pours the most heavenly lobster bisque I’ve ever tasted over pieces of poached lobster tail… it’s just overwhelming.
As if there hasn’t been enough lobster this lunchtime, Mrs Romance has decided to have the lobster thermidor as her main. She tells me it’s exquisite – but doesn’t share. I don’t blame her.
For my main, I’ve gone for the venison pie… or ‘Cerf en Croûte’. I believe I’ve chosen wisely. For a start I don’t enjoy lobster as much as other people seem to. Plus the venison is cooked so perfectly, I barely need a knife and the pastry is buttery and crumbly.
And also the port wine sauce, the caramelised onions and marinated cabbage are divine.
Dessert comes with its matching sweet wine and the waiter fills the delicate soufflé with a Grand Marnier custard. This is a signature dish of Silversea’s – to the point where they’ve even register trademarked it!
And no wonder. It’s absolutely perfect.
To think this is how people eat all the time on board this ship – and it is. I asked. This would be a regular dinner served to the customers and all part of the price.
The Silver Whisper finally sails away to her next destination with 382 very lucky passengers.
This round-the-world cruise sounds amazing and very luxurious – though there are other options with Silversea. Their expedition ships that sail to places like Antarctica and the Galapagos sound awesome.
You get the same level of service but you’re in ships that hold 100 and that have Zodiac tenders that take you ashore these remote places to explore. How good would that be?
After yesterday’s scorcher, today couldn’t get more opposite! This looks more like something out of an Edgar Allan Poe tale than Sydney Harbour! It’s raining so hard the ferry I’m on keeps having to swab the decks for people to get on and off.
And the umbrella I’ve got might as well be made of sugar.
This really sums up today. It’s a day to be inside with the TV on and snacks close to hand. Definitely not out on the water.
Mrs Romance is out and about today catching up with our lovely friend Sammie from The Annoyed Thyroid. They’re at the Palace Tea Rooms in The QVB. Looks pretty, doesn’t it?
The funny thing about Sammie is I’ve known her for years – we used to work together BB (Before Blogging). Now we’re both writing online and the number of crossovers in the industry – our friends who know Sammie but don’t know we know her – is kind of amazing.
Mrs Romance and I are out in the city this evening. In fact we’re back in Darling Harbour across from the ICC where the S Event was earlier in the week.
Tonight though, we’re checking out Zephyr, Sydney’s newest glam rooftop bar. Overlooking Darling Harbour and out to the west, this balcony is a cracking place to come for fireworks (most Saturdays in Darling Harbour) and sunsets (most nights).
It’s part of the newly refurbished and established Hyatt Regency. I think we’ll be coming here quite a bit!
How about this for a place to sit and enjoy a cocktail? Zephyr really is one of the most amazing rooftop bars in Sydney at the moment.
This lunchtime, Mrs Romance and I are on another rooftop. This one doesn’t have quite the views of Zephyr (it’s in Redfern), but within its walls is a beautiful hidden garden and an amazing lunch banquet spot.
This is garden is part of the 107 Projects, which is a beautiful not-for-profit organisation focused on supporting and promoting the idea of local community.
The idea with Ripe Near Me is that you don’t have to go to the supermarket to buy your fresh veggies – and in fact, they’re probably not that fresh anyway.
Ripe Near Me lets people share the produce they grow in the back yards and community gardens. Sometimes it costs, sometimes it’s free. But it’s always fresh and it’s locally grown too!
When you’re using Continental’s website for recipes, you can search for any missing ingredients on Ripe Near Me at the same time. And if you’re already using Ripe Near Me, you can work it the other way round and search Continental’s enormous range of recipes too.
As well as learning about this amazing resource literally in our own back yard, Mrs Romance and I are getting a gardening lesson from MrGreenthumbshimself Charlie Albone from Selling Houses Australia.
We’re finding out how to repot herbs and plant seeds. It’s not as complicated as it looks… though I’ve got a feeling I’ll still get it wrong. I’m not much of a gardener. And neither’sMrs R. She knows all the plant names but kills anything green.
She even killed our succulents.
After our bit of gardening, we sit down to what promises to be a delicious lunch. I’ve only ever thought of Continental for things like cup-a-soup, but I think there’s going to be a bit more to it at this table.
The first dish out – and I think everyone’s favourite – is the roasted cauliflower bites with pine nuts and sour cream dressing. It’s amazing. The Continental part to this is Chef used the Continental Tomato Simmer Soup as a base for the cauli!
There are also delicious Portuguese chicken skewers on the table (I’ve eaten about 3 already) made with the Continental chicken stock powder… and a little piri piri I think too.
In our gluttonous mood, Mrs Romance and I decide not to take photos of any more food and just eat, but there’s also an amazing rosemary and pumpkin gratin where the Continental aged cheddar, parmesan and chive pasta pack was used to delicious effect.
There’s a slow-cooked lamb shoulder that’s so tender we just use tongs to pull it apart – the kitchen used the Continental beef stock on that one. And there’s a coconut rice and quinoa salad that I was surprised how much I liked. This was made with the Continental Thai coconut and lemongrass rice pack.
To finish us off, we’re presented with these beautiful little rosemary and lemon cakes. I’m totally stuffed, but I still manage one. Or two!
Just before we head off to nurse our full stomachs, Mrs Romance grabs a photo opp with Charlie Albone. I don’t usually trust gardeners as a rule – I think making things grow like that must be some kind of evil witchcraft – but he’s actually a good bloke.
He’s even inspired Mrs R to try and grow a couple of plants – though he recommended one called a Zanzibar Gem. Apparently it hates being watered, hates being in the sun… I think this might be the plant for us!
And just for the record, I didn’t take this photo. It’s out of focus but it’s not my fault.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s IG Edition. If you like any part of it especially, feel welcome to tell us! We love hearing your thoughts!
Jim & Christina x