It’s been the best week this week. Apart from this amazing sunset, we’ve been busy celebrating birthdays (mine included), attending an excellent conference in Bondi, and exploring some of Sydney’s hidden spots and fun food festivals.
And for my sins, I’ve just joined Snapchat. I’m at @jim.butcher if you’re into this kind of thing. I’m still trying to work it out, so no judgements (or trolling) please!
Hope you enjoy this week’s edition of our Instagram Diary.
The sky today is absolutely stunning. I can’t believe this is May. Usually this time of year in Sydney is cloudy, windy, cold and rainy. Not this week though. Today it’s quite hot, and the sky’s full of these amazing high-altitude clouds.
Every year, our agent The Remarkables Group runs a conference to bring all the other bloggers they represent together. It’s so good to see everyone. Everyone’s so spread out across the country, it’s pretty much the only time we get to catch up.
We’re all staying in the latest QT Hotel in Bondi, but tonight we’re out for dinner at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. The sunset’s impressive – hopefully dinner will be too!
Mrs Romance makes for pretty good foreground for my sunset shot. Thanks for the scale (and making the sunset even lovelier), Mrs R!
Dinner is almost served! Such pretty setting for our meal. Can’t wait to see what the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is cooking up for us.
[Ed. the food was absolutely excellent!]
And today’s my birthday! Everyone’s been lovely and wished me lots of happy returns. I’ve tried my best to avoid the Happy Birthday song, which I dislike somewhat (putting it mildly!), but I’ve not had much luck.
I’ve put Carly from Smaggle.com in charge of protecting me from that dreaded tune. She’s done a great job for the most part, but I don’t think there’s really any way of avoiding it completely.
Breakfast this morning is at Bill’s in Bondi. The food’s always good at all of Bill’s restaurants and today’s no exception. Yesterday I had the corn fritters at Trio Cafe – also at Bondi Beach – so I thought I’d have them again here at Bill’s to do a bit of a compare and contrast.
It’s hard to say which are better. Trio’s were absolutely enormous – like the size of a side plate enormous… and there were two of them. They tasted excellent though the salsa they put with most of their dishes at Trio and also sell it in jars at the tables seemed a bit out of place.
The fritters at Bill’s are a lot smaller but with lots more corn in and they’re crispier. There’s less bacon though, and I really don’t like the grilled tomato. Tough call which one’s better though. Hmm. Maybe I’ll have to go back again. Do over!
The conference is being held in Icebergs at the southern end of Bondi Beach. It’s pretty much the best office view I’ve ever had – just hope it’s not too distracting for us all!
There are some really interesting people talking to us throughout the conference, but the keynote is with Deborah Hutton. She’s an impressive lady and her frank, down-to-earth manner has won all our hearts. She’s tough, energetic and clearly takes absolutely zero shit. Love it!
It’s been a great conference this year, but it’s also The Remarkables Group’s birthday this week, so we’ll be celebrating that during the conference too. They’ve been going for 4 years now, which is really exciting.
We’ve eaten SO much food over these past few days. But it’s all coming to a head now. Our last lunch together before everyone goes their seperate ways is at Bistrot Gavroche in Chippendale.
This incredible industrial space has been redeveloped into a beautiful French style loft restaurant and fits perfectly with the aesthetic of Chippendale’s facelift.
Here’s cheers to an excellent conference. We’re all drinking a brut champagne from a monstrous double magnum (or was it a Jeroboam?) sized bottle. There was enough in there for everyone to have at least one glass anyway!
These oysters! What a way to start a truly delicious lunch. If you’re looking for somewhere for a romantic meal, a catch-up with friends or even a swanky business meeting, think about Bristot Gavroche. It’s a bit of a winner!
Tonight is my best mate Anton’s 40th birthday! We’re both feeling a bit pickled and exhausted but we wouldn’t miss this for the world. Also, Anton’s organised a party at the Dove and Olive, which I’ve partially hijacked! Thanks for organising my birthday party, mate!
Funnily enough it’s also my dad’s birthday today too. Odd coincidence.
Today, the sky’s immaculately blue and the sun’s come out to play. It’s so unlike mid-May weather it’s totally confusing everyone. We’ve popped in to see what’s going on at Pyrmont today.
It turns out Mudgee Food and Wine Festival is on. There’s so much food and wine going on here… just wished we hadn’t gone so far over the last few days. Still, the festival’s excellent and I’m sure we’ll force down a few bits and pieces!
We love Mudgee and we’ve written quite a bit about it. Here are some of our faves.
This morning, Mrs Romance and I have decided to head out and about. There are so many places along the Sydney Harbour foreshore to explore, this is where we start.
We’re thinking of checking out the Mudgee Food and Wine Festival again in Pyrmont, then heading over to the Sydney Fish Markets. Should get our steps up for the day!
Sure enough, we’ve walked for hours! We’re just crossing the Anzac Bridge now. It’s the first time either of us have walked across it. It’s a bit noisy but being able to see the bridge like this is so unique. A great end to a fantastic week!
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.
We love Venice… I mean, if you don’t, there’s something wrong. If you’re sick of the crowds though, head to the other side of the Grand Canal across from St Marks Square. This is Giudecca – south of the main island.
There are some excellent hotels here – including a very fancy Hilton – but the waterside cafes have some of the cheapest Aperol Spritz we’ve found anywhere. And we’ve done extensive research!
These beautiful townhouses in Paris always look so stunning. Sometimes we’re so busy looking up, it makes getting lost in the city of Romance very easy. But that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re here!
The Flatiron Building is probably my most favourite building in New York City. I don’t know why, but I just love it. It was one of the first things I wanted to go and see when I first came to NYC. The list’s pretty long though!
Here’s our Ultimate First-Timer’s Guide to NYC if you’re heading there soon.
The rolling hills of Tuscany just blow my mind. And these dead straight rows of vines make me even happier!
Driving around Tuscany is the best way to explore the region, but if you want some more pointers, you should read our post on how to spend a week in Tuscany. There are some great tips here!
We’ve always loved this shot. I think it really sums up what we’re about, who we are and why we’re still so in love. We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Instagram Diary and travel recap. It’s been a lot of fun making and writing this one!
What have you been up to? How was this week for you? Tell us in the comments!
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
Love that pic of you and Anton! I went to the original Bill’s for the first time this year, now I want to go to them all, especially now I’ve seen those fritters!
It’s a good one, isn’t it, Sammie? Glad we could be there for Anton’s do – if nothing else to catch up with you and y’man! Yes, Bill’s is good, isn’t it? Though I’ve had the very rock bottom absolute worst service at the Surry Hills one in the past. Amazing how important good – or at least non-snooty service can be. Definitely get stuck into those fritters as soon as you can though. Otherwise they’ll consume your mind!
It was SO great to see you guys and to be able to spend your birthday with you, Jim. Miss you both already. x
Absolutely awesome to spend time with you and to catch up, Sonia. Always a pleasure! Miss you too.