A Puglian reunion in Sydney and holiday plans

Mr & Mrs Romance - IG Edition 01 - Sydney Sunset

It’s Christina here, taking over from Jim for this week’s IG Edition. I’ve got lots to share about my reunion with the wonderful women I met in Puglia and our plans for the holidays.

It’s funny writing this week’s update now as you’ll be reading it on my birthday!

Something feels different this year…the weather is a bit unpredictable, Christmas is coming too fast and I haven’t even watched my favourite Christmas movie yet (for the record, it’s “Die Hard”). It can be tricky when your birthday is close to the holidays so I’ve decided to shift celebrations to the new year when we can all relax and catch up properly.

So today’s birthday celebrations will be pretty low-key and I’m looking forward to finishing up work and taking a break over Christmas. More on that below.

First up, let’s take a breath and relax amongst the spectacular settings of Wendy Whiteley’s secret garden

Wandering in Wendy Whitely's gardens Sydney

Wandering in Wendy Whitely's gardens Sydney

A quick ferry ride from our place, halfway between Milson’s Point and McMahon’s Point, you’ll find Wendy Whiteley’s secret garden.

If you’re in Sydney, this lesser known spot is a great place for a picnic with lots of alcoves to sit and relax. It’s open to the public for free and is a gorgeous place to explore with lots of hidden things to discover.

This beautiful oasis in the city is my first meeting point with my crew from Puglia.

Almost all of our original group from the photography tour in Puglia are reuniting in Sydney for another workshop with Carla Coulson. With the group flying in from WA, Qld & Victoria plus Singapore, we make a weekend of it and we have so much to catch up on.

Brunch at North Spoon Cafe Sydney

After exploring the gardens, we find ourselves hungry and wander up towards Blues Point Rd. We don’t have to go far to find a perfect spot at the North Spoon cafe, complete with a view of the Harbour Bridge.

We’re happy to find an all-day breakfast menu that still serves wine. There’s lots to toast and celebrate, plus lots to reminisce about as we share what’s been happening since we travelled together in Italy.

But that’s only the start of an amazing afternoon…

Boat trips on Sydney Harbour

Next we take to the harbour (thanks to the lovely Kim!) who has arranged a harbour cruise for us. After some less than great Sydney weather, we’re blessed with perfect skies as we tour the harbour.

I never get over how pretty this city is, and how grateful I am to have connected with such a beautiful group of women. I remember my nervousness about booking the photography course and when I look around at where I am now, I know that it was a priceless experience.

Back to the boat, our seagull friend, Sally, kept trailing us trying to steal our snacks…

Our seagull friend on Sydney Harbour

As any group of photographers are likely to do, we spend the afternoon shooting every angle of the harbour – in between talking, reminiscing and drinking champagne.

When we first met on the course, I had some personal goals to grow my photography skills, but I had no idea that the real value would be so much greater. Within the classroom, I was inspired by their photography and learnt so much from studying their work but beyond those walls, I learnt so much more.

We shared our stories, and those real truths have opened my world. I met an incredible group of strong women that believe in themselves.

I’m so grateful that our friendships have continued to grow, and have brought us back together.

(We missed you Lisa, Kay & Jilly – you were always on our minds!)

Photographers at the Opera House

Boat trips on Sydney Harbour

Anzac Bridge Sydney

Barangaroo views of Sydney

I love being out on the harbour because you get such a different view of our city. It’s a photographer’s dream and the time flew as we watched the sun set over the Anzac Bridge.

Since our time together, we’ve been sharing pictures on a group message and I loved this shot that Petra captured of me and Michelle under the Harbour Bridge.

Boating on Sydney Harbour

After disembarking from our sunset cruise, we headed out for dinner at The Apollo in Potts Point. As usual, with eyes bigger than my stomach, I suggested a share menu. I’d recommend only ordering “The Full Greek” feast if you’re really hungry.

There was so much food!

But my favourite part of the night was receiving a text from Michelle as she stopped by Gelato Messina on her way home. This girl is my gelato hero.

And before you start worrying about poor Jim, he was hardly suffering…

Cigars and Whisky in the back yard

While I was sailing around Sydney’s beautiful harbour with my wonderful friends, Jim was stuck at home. And by ‘stuck at home’ I mean he was having a ball!

I bought him a book on Winston Churchill recently – one of his heroes – and he’s not only reading it, he’s living it! A Cuban cigar and a glass of whisky. Well done, sir.

We waved to him as we sailed past.

Carla Coulson workshop

Carla’s workshop was the drawcard on Sunday and it was a full house for Get Published.

Held conveniently next to Archie Rose distillery, we headed next door for a drink to catch up more. I didn’t want this weekend to end!

Carla Coulson Puglia workshop reunion

Thank you, Carla, for gathering together such a brilliant group of women. Your work has attracted some of the kindest and most talented people I’ve met and I’m so grateful to know them.

Here’s to the next reunion, where to next…? Singapore? Italy? Wherever it is, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Peekaboo Bar Woolloomoolloo

The week didn’t stop there for some of the Puglia Crew and I caught up with Mandy & Julie for a final drink and dinner. We stopped by Peekaboo Bar and headed to Stanley Street for dinner.

I also had one of those “NO WAY” moments meeting Julie’s nephew, Ben. We were chatting about Cuba, as he just visited in December, and I wanted to find out how things had changed. Only later did I mention I blogged here and it turns out that Ben had used our Cuba travel posts to research his trip! How amazing is that?

Flowers and feet #bloglyf

But back to real life and work doesn’t stop. I feel like it’s ramping up all the way to Christmas this year.

I’ve had the best clients this year and am working on more videos with Schwarzkopf this year for Hair Romance. Jim is doing double duty behind the camera and being editor extraordinaire. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

Hair Romance filming for Schwarzkopf

Big thanks to Grant for being a legend for these videos! They’ll be up on Hair Romance this week. Make sure you check them out here. They’re set to be my best vids yet. Grant is so knowledgeable and so funny.

Even Jim was entertained while he filmed us… and – as he says – he has ‘limited’ interest in hair!


Drinks and hijinks at the Royal Albert Hotel

And to make it up to Jim, I keep him company as we hit a few more Christmas parties, finishing up at the Royal Albert‘s Pro-HoHoHo-ibtion party.

Mick keeps us laughing with these funny coasters (check out the photos below), which we think make an excellent stocking stuffer for Christmas. Or maybe I should consider a beard…?!

Drinks and hijinks at the Royal Albert Hotel

Drinks and hijinks at the Royal Albert Hotel

And if you’re still reading after those terrible pics, we have a treat for you…

More updates from the super cute Raven! She had her first trip to the beach and loved every second. It was so much fun that she slept for about 4 hours when she got home.

Cutest black labrador puppy ever!

We can’t wait to catch up with her over the holidays. She is the actual best.

And a final shot from our office this week. We are going to take a break over the holidays but might still pop in with a few updates.

Sunset views of Sydney

Keep an eye out for a new video post before Christmas (it’s just as good as this one of Italy we published last week) and regular posts will be back on 9 January 2018.

Hope you enjoyed this update from me, and Jim will be back with his regular tales.

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