So this is it! Our last Weekly Edition of 2019. Probably. There’s an outside chance we’ll have more to tell you after Christmas and before New Year’s Eve. Let’s see!
But in this Edition we’re looking at what Christina got up to on her actual birthday (after her gin-fuelled birthday party last weekend) and how a whole year’s worth of planning on my part went. Also, we have a barbecue for a very worthy cause – in the battle against cancer.
We hope you enjoy this Edition – and have a very happy Christmas.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
Today is Christina’s birthday! I’ve been planning today since about February and it’s time to see if a) the plan will work and b) she actually likes her present!
We start our day off with a truly impressive breakfast at Sydney’s newest waterfront dining venue: The Fenwick.
Right on the doorstep of the Balmain East ferry wharf and with the backdrop of Barangaroo and the Harbour Bridge through its doors, this is a wonderful place for a cafe. The old sandstone building its in has stood here empty for years, but now it’s finally open.
Even better than the view, the food is great here too. Christina’s very happy with her poached eggs on sourdough with halloumi, kale, avocado and mushrooms.
My eggs benedict with a merry amount of super crispy bacon has me smiling too!
The Fenwick is open for breakfast and lunch, and I have to say for such a beautiful unique location in a stunning old building with food this quality, the prices are very reasonable. In fact, breakfast here is the same price – perhaps even cheaper – as other cafes in Balmain.
You can catch the 442 bus all the way here from the city or a ferry from Pyrmont, Barangaroo, Milsons Point or Circular Quay – or there’s free street parking all over the place here too.
After breakfast, we hop on a ferry bound for Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House, but on the way, we stop at Milsons Point across the other side of the harbour.
And not just because the view’s good here…
I think it’s fair to say that Santa has the best spot in Sydney! Christina’s been talking about this grotto for ages, so we’ve stopped off to get a photo with ol’ St Nick.
Finally at the Opera House, we stop off at the bar for a cheeky rosé, to soak up the sun and to watch the anti-gull dogs do their rounds.
For the past year, there has been a dog patrolling the busy restaurant and bar area of the Opera House scaring off marauding gulls.
The greedy birds have taken so many people’s food from their plates that venues here have decided it’s more cost-effective to have the dogs here all day every day rather than pay for replacement meals the gulls steal.
And now on with the show.
Back in January, I saw The Australian Ballet were putting on the Nutcracker over summer. Knowing how much Christina loves the ballet, I thought this would be the perfect birthday present for her.
I think I got it right.
The show’s a sell-out. All 1,500+ seats are full for this, the last show of the Nutcracker of the year – right on Christina’s birthday.
Unfortunately photography throughout the performance is prohibited, but suffice it to say the ballet, the set, the music and the venue were all incredible. Such talent.
I don’t know who got more out of this present to be honest – Christina or me!
After a slow trip home and a quick beer in the local pub, I bring Christina out for dinner at Greek Door in Balmain. She thinks it’s only the two of us for dinner, but I’ve managed to get her family here too for a bit of a surprise party.
The food at Greek Door is always superb. Our first meal here was so good – you can see more food pics here – it was a no-brainer for this special dinner.
The table’s soon full of the best home-made taramosalata and pita, grilled octopus, wild weed pie, papoutsakia, char-grilled calamari, gigandes and prawn saganaki.
And then there’s the cake. Our brother-in-law David works for a commercial bakery and brought this rainbow layer cake in to make the celebration complete.
Sadly there’s no room for dessert this time – the bougatsa and the sticky apricots stuffed with cardamon cream here are amazing.
It’s been a lovely day and I think Christina’s enjoyed her birthday. Somehow all my plans came together seamlessly. And it was so good to celebrate with this lot too.
In a week that’s set a new average national temperature record, it’s been pretty hot here in Sydney. So we’re finishing up with a bit of a pool party and barbecue at ours.
Christina’s keen to show off her well-honed bomb techniques while I’m all about the air!
We’ve got our superb friends Glen and Barbs round with their truly beautiful little girls. It’s a lot of fun splashing around in the pool and catching up with these guys.
But now it’s time to get down to business.
We’re supporting and spreading the news about cancer charity Cure Cancer Australia’s latest campaign: BarbeCURE.
Since the start of the summer, Cure Cancer, which funds early-career cancer researchers, is raising awareness and donations via the greatest Aussie tradition: the barbecue.
By focusing on our young scientists who are working across all areas of cancer research, it’s a chance to find a brighter future and beat cancer for good.
You can register to host a BarbeCURE at any time – even if it’s just your mates having a get-together. Donations from your friends and guests all go to the million-dollar target Cure Cancer have set for the end of March 2020.
By the way these are the best tasting sausages we’ve ever had. They’re the Bangalow pork sausages from TJ’s Butchers in Balmain. Check them out.
Click on the infographic to learn more about hosting and raising money for BarbeCURE.
This campaign is supported by some amazing Aussie celebrities too.
The likes of Ray Meagher, Julie Goodwin, Lyndey Milan and Aussie legend – Paul ‘shrimp on the barbie that’s not a knife’ Hogan are all in on this brilliant idea.
Every 12 minutes an Australian is diagnosed with cancer. It’s time to put the burners on high on an illness that affects all of us.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Weekly Edition. Have an awesome Christmas and a wonderful New Year. See you again in 2020!
Jim & Christina xx