Mrs Romance talks Gen Z, a potato bake mutant and lunch in First Class

We’ve had a very complicated week here at Romance HQ – and I think that’s pretty well reflected in the title of this week’s IG Edition.

Lots happening and nothing really connected to anything else. A real scrambled egg of a week. The plus side to that is that scrambled eggs are delicious.

We’re also excited to share with you our latest feature outside of Mr&Mrs Romance! Over on Webjet’s blog, we’re talking about our favourite overseas destinations  some very interesting tips on where else there is to go in this beautiful world.

Check out Webjet’s post on 6 different bloggers’ favourite destinations here.

We hope you enjoy the rest of this medley of an IG Edition and we’ll chat again soon.

Jim & Christina x

This morning, we’re off on a mini roadtrip. Sadly it’s not the kind of roadtrip anyone would really want to go on; we’re going to a memorial service for our dear friend Max, who passed away 1 year ago.

Here’s a bit more about this truly remarkable man I wrote the week he died. He was a profound human, a complete gentleman, an eccentric, a genius and a wonderful friend.

Mrs Romance and I both feel very honoured to have known him.

The memorial service at Max’s property in a little town called Putty was lovely; a celebration in spite of the sadness.

Thankfully there’s comfort to be had from this beauty Elijah the Maremma Sheepdog. Max and his wife Jane got him and his brother as guard dogs, but I’m not sure how effective they’d be.

It’s hard to give these beautiful dogs any scale – but you can pat them as they walk past without bending down.

I think I’ve hit the sweet spot under Elijah’s collar though!

Today we’re running around Sydney on a photoshoot with the excellent Kris Ashpole for some new profile shots and photos we can use in our marketing and posts about – well, about us!

Kris is a great photographer and is doing a great job directing Mrs R. I wonder how she’ll go with me – known in the modelling industry as the Wooden Post.

Check Kris’s work out here on her website.

It’s Mrs Romance’s last riding lesson today. She’s been going to Sydney Horse since the start of the year and has learnt so much.

This is the beautiful Cecil, who’s a handsome 16-hand bay Thoroughbred, but today, Mrs R will be on Angus (a.k.a Centaur Eureka apparently. Angus is just as big as Cecil though – at 16 hands, but he’s a Thoroughbred Clydesdale gelding.

Mrs R can’t wait to get to the UK, where we’ve got friends who own horses.

Tonight we’re at the International Convention Centre Sydney to check out the finalists for this year’s Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Expo. Unfortunately we’ll be away for this year’s Expo, but it’s going to be a good one.

We’re excited to see our friends Stevie English of Stevie English Hair and Benny Risher from EcoHeads get into the finals this year. Best of luck to them.

Mrs Romance is up early again this morning doing her rounds along the Sydney foreshore.

She’s captured the perfect shot of another early riser – this gull – just as the sun’s coming up behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Couldn’t help including another of Mrs R’s sunrise shots from this morning. The Coathanger certainly looks pretty in the early morning light.

Along the Balmain waterfront are these colourful buildings. They’re the Waterview Wharf Workshops and are now home to an interesting range of small businesses.

They were originally part of the growing industrial scene in Sydney in the late 1800s and was first used as a timber mill site. Later this area was where the Adelaide Steamship Company repaired its fleet.

Before it fell into disrepair in the 1980s it was also part of the art scene.

This is the mutant potato bake.

It was the inspiration of 2 recipes I’ve mixed together and added my own touch to create a monster. A chimera of delicious!

The first part of this mouthwatering monster is the brainchild of our lovely friend Mrs Woog. We sampled her potato bake when we were round for drinks and dinner a little while ago. Here’s her potato bake recipe.

The other half of the inspiration is from Helen at Friends Family Food with her garlic and rosemary scalloped potato roast.

I combined the two excellent recipes of potato (standing up in the pot like Helen’s but covered in cream and cheese like Mrs Woog’s) then added the turbo boost of my own.

That’s right: bacon!

This morning, Mrs Romance and I are on the harbour making our way to Circular Quay. Mrs Romance has a speaking gig with AMP Capital – the retail arm of the financial and construction institution.

It’s a beautiful morning to be out on the water and we’re excited about this event.

Mrs Romance is talking to retailers about how they can communicate with the newest generation: Gen Z. This is the age group after the Millennials, who will be at full purchasing power any time now.

Like all generations before them, these guys behave completely differently and surprisingly, and it’s up to us to learn about them rather than they adapt to us.

It’s a challenge, especially with ever-new ways of communicating with them in the digital space. And that’s what Mrs R is here to do.

Now Mrs Romance has finished her solo talk, she’s joined a panel of the other 4 speakers to answer more questions about what makes Gen Z tick.

It’s a fascinating panel even though I’m not a retailer.

This photo is courtesy of the lovely Melissa Hoyer – today’s MC and mediator. You can see Mrs Romance at the back there next to urbanist Barrie Barton from Right Angle Studio. His insights into Gen Z were fascinating.

To the right of Melissa – in the middle – is Erica Van Lieven from Direction First, which delivers incredibly deep research findings on consumers, brands and clients.

Finally next to Erica is Natasha Ritz from cosmetics brand Lush who explained, from a retailer’s point of view, how this progressive and responsible company is dealing with and enjoying Gen Z’s custom.

After the event, we get chance to enjoy the view from 25 floors up in the AMP Tower overlooking the most famous part of Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour.

Can you imagine working here with this view?!

This afternoon we’re being treated to an amazing lunch from Cheapflights. We’re at award-winning restaurant Aria to hear from Nathan Graham – the regional Sales Manager for Cheapflights ANZ.

But first, wine!

It’s a very interesting group of people here this afternoon. We’re in very good company with people from the likes of Hawaiian Airlines and Emirates, to other top media people too.

And lunch is promising to be a real delight too.

Mrs Romance and I both chose exactly the same things from the menu this time, which makes it easier not having to share! We both went for the pork belly with charred corn and black vinegar.

The sprig of crackling is amazing – a bit like eating the most delicious pencil you’ve ever had!

For our mains, we both had the John Dory with cauliflower, pipis and red dulse. The fish was cooked perfectly and the pipis were salty and delightfully chewy.

The food and wine are both to the standard you’d expect from Matt Moran’s flagship restaurant, but the real reason we’re here is to hear from our hosts.

Every year, Cheapflghts releases its Compass Report. This is the findings from the millions and millions of flight searches made over the last year. It’s fascinating.

Last year, we had a look into the findings from the Compass Report and brought you these two posts: How to save money while travelling and How to escape the winter when you haven’t saved for a holiday.

Let’s see what comes from this year’s report!

Dessert today is this very neatly decorated chocolate cupcake! Thank you, Cheapflights! It’s been a fascinating afternoon. Just glad we didn’t drive here!


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.

I love the patterns the sea makes in the sand down at the beach. It’s like the waves have been frozen in time!

Mrs Romance keeps telling me this is the most Aussie things she’s ever seen! After a hard day’s yakka on the building site renovating the family’s beach house, my brother-in-law David and I are cracking a couple of beers in the shallows of the beautiful Stockton Beach in Port Stephens, NSW.

I can still taste that beer – my god it was good!

Stockton Beach is an amazing part of Port Stephens – only a couple of hours north of Sydney. As you can see by the tyre tracks, you can drive all the way along this beautiful beach.

Many families park up here with picnics and beach-casters for a day’s fishing. There are also amazing sand dunes here to explore.

Back from Stockton Beach in Port Stephens, the sand continues and forms sand dunes. These dunes are in fact the longest in the southern hemisphere and are quite magnificent.

Can you spot Mrs Romance at the top of the dunes? These are the Worimi Sand Dunes of the conservation lands at Stockton Beach in Port Stephens. You really feel like something out of Laurence of Arabia!

Exploring the Worimi Sand Dunes at Stockton Beach in Port Stephens north of Sydney is a lot of fun. It’s so other-worldly. The dunes are absolutely stunning – and the largest continuous mobile coastal sandmass in the southern hemisphere. So there!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s IG Edition. We’ve certainly enjoyed bringing it to you.

Speak to you again soon!

Jim & Christina x

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