Saturday, 14 July 2012

5 months into life in Sydney

Morning all

We just thought we would give a little update after being here in Sydney for 5 months.

We're fully settled into the flat now and we've kitted it out with all the essentials, and we even ordered a dozed canvas prints of our travels, which is a nice reminder of the places we've seen and people we've met.

Sarah is going yacht racing every Saturday with the team out of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and most Sunday's we are off doing something and seeing different places.

We said goodbye to James' parents (Joanne and Ted) a few weeks ago who were here on and off for 2 months so the flat does seem a little quiet.

During that time we've also been to several music festivals, Hamilton Island, Hunter Valley, Bondi, Manly, Coogee, Palm Beach, plus exploring the local suburbs of Sydney (local restaurants and bars!) Sarah saw Lady Gaga a few weeks back and we saw Flight of the Conchords last week, we've also booked to see Ben Harper at the Opera House which is cool.

We plan to go to the Blue Mountains soon and are in the process of booking a big trip to Mudgee Wine area with our friends for a weekend away. So life is good and full of exciting people and things to see.

In October Sarah is heading back to the UK for her Birthday (27th October to 9th Nov)... So watch this space... Lawton party on the 4th November!!! Yehaa!

That's all for now!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Lady Gaga

Sat 23rd June

Disclaimer note: James has nothing to do with this and will not be associated with lady gaga...

So Sarah got her outfit courtesy of mother-in-law Joanne going on a mission to Oxford street in Sydney (aka red light district).. Black V neck leotard worn over black lycra leggings)... oh yes!

After a couple red bulls and a tonne of hair spray it was lala la la la la time...


We then headed out to Oxford street afterwards for lots of drinking!

4am home... oh dear... Good times though!!!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Coogee to Bondi Walk

Weekend 16th-17th June

We try and pack lots into the weekend so friday we had a gorgeous Vietnamese in Surry Hills with our new found friends Mark, John and Ardon (BYO with a few bottles of red from the Hunter Valley- perfect!!).

Saturday Sarah went off sailing on the weekly yacht race from Kirrilbilli, which was a 'no race' due to no wind which was a shame, while the Leys went to the local fish market to buy some prawns to cook on the new BBQ.
After a successful BBQ, we headed over to the weekly big fireworks display over Darling harbour, which was cool.

Sunday: Coogee to Bondi Walk!

Sunday was great weather so we got our walking hats on and did the Coogee to Bondi walk (and back) with a picnic in Bronte half way! The walk is 6km each way and follows the line of the sea along the cliffs and beaches.

We passed the cliff-top grave yard.. and watched the surfers on the big pacific rollers!

We finished the day off with a Moo burger in Coogee (Kangaroo and Beetroot or Beef and brie)! Brilliant!

We only have one remaining weekend with Joanne and Ted so next weekend will be big!

The Hunter Valley

9th-11th June 2012

Following on our love of wine we had organised a weekend away in the Hunter Valley, the closest wine region to Sydney.

It was the long weekend so we packed up the car early on Friday afternoon and headed off. Unfortunately so did the entire of Sydney! it took us 2 hours to drive 10 km's......After almost 4 hrs on the road we finally arrived in to the Hunter Valley and found our way to our golf club resort where we were staying.

We settled in and around 10 pm Rowena and Dan and little Jasper arrived to share the weekend with us, needless to say it was a bit of a late night and we made our way through quite a few bottles of wine.

The sun was shinning on saturday morning and it was a great day, we were able to walk to the wineries from our resort, so by 11 am Sarah and I were on the wine! Our first stop was Tempus Two, the 2011 Pinot Gris was good here, we also enjoyed Wild Chardonnay 2011.

We visited 1 more winery (McWilliams) before we had a picnic lunch in a the park, while some bathed in the sun and had a sleep others ate and played in the park.

The afternoon saw us visit 3 more wineries. (McGuigan, Brokenwood and Tamburlaine)

We then made our way clinking with all the wine we had bought back to the resort, eventually we got a lift from the resort shuttle bus back to our resort.

Dinner was to be a bbq cooked on the new Webber purchased the day before, we had several bottles of wine with dinner and settled in for a long night!

The next day the weather was certainly not as good as the previous day, with clouds over head we ventured out in the cars. Our first stop was up to a viewing point where we could see over most of the Hunter and out to the coast.

Next we headed to the Mount Pleasant winnery, here we tried quite a few different wines and sampled some of the Phil Ryan exclusive range soon to be no more as the wine maker leaves after 40 years of service.

We then moved on to Ivanhoe, a small family run winnery but perhaps our favourite of the weekend.

The wines had been made with a different ideology to most other vineyards in the area. they always seemed to ask the question how can we do things differently. So they may have had an oaked shiraz, or a very soft shiraz, really clever wine making.

We sat in the vineyard and layed out our picnic, within 10 minutes of doing so the rain arrived, it was light and in true British style we stuck it out!

After visiting a few more wineries that we decided were not up to scratch to our pallets :-) we headed back to the villa. Once again the evening would consist of a lot of wine, and ...spirits! We ended up playing "Black Marriah" one of mums games. Even though Dan claims he had no idea what was going on or even how to play it he white washed everyone! Sarah was pre occupied by playing and dancing to the 'Time Warp' and 'Crystal maze' so claims her mind was not on the game but still finished second.

On the final morning it was clear the weather was now turning against us, we all made the decision to leave early and headed back to Sydney. Half way back the heavens really opened and it poured we could barely see the car in front and the traffic came to a stand still. After 3 hard hours we arrived back to a very wet and windy Sydney.

Here is a list of the wines we really enjoyed. They cost between $20 and $35.

Mcguigan -2003 Bin 9000 Semillon was good

Sarah invested in 2005 Personal reserve Chardonnay!

Brokenwood - Recommend Semillon and Oysters

2011 Sangiovese was great and Nobilo,

We bought 6 bottles on the 2009 Mclaren Shiraz it was so good

Tamberlaine - Verdelho (Pinot Gris like) was nice,

Sauvignon Blanc from Orange was a good recommendation.

Chambourcin from the Hunter and the Syrah from Orange

Mount Pleasant - Phil Ryan verdelho, Chardonnay 2010, Shiraz 2009

IvanHoe - 2011 Chardonnay \ Semillon blend

2011 Chambourcin,

2010 Oaked Shiraz

Monday, 14 May 2012

Hamilton Island Paradise

11th-14th  May 2012

With Friday and Monday booked off work, we headed to Hamilton island with the family.

Hamilton Island is one of the largest islands in the Whitsunday isalnds, otherwise known as paradise!

The island airport is pretty small and the runway tiny, we must have landed 1 meter from the sea and by the time we finally stopped we were a meter from the sea at the other end of the runway!

As soon as the plane doors opened we were greeted with a more humid 25 degrees! Ben was also our chauffeur and was waiting with our golf buggy. The 'bug' would be our mode of transport for the next 4 days, as there are no cars on the island and everyone drives around on golf buggies.

Friday afternoon we headed down to the beach for a swim, Ben and James were the only ones brave enough to head in for a swim in the clear blue water (even though the sea was warm).

We finished off the day with a bbq on the terrace and a good few bottles of wine.

BBQ and Beers!

 The view from our Balcony!

Saturday 12th was our 10 year anniversary of when we first became a couple, for an anniversary we were returning to Whitehaven beach, the location we got engaged 6 years ago. We got a catermaran out to the beach, we went a shore and had time for a walk up to a viewing point to take in the entire view of the island and beach.

Joanne, Ted, Ben and James donned their stinger suits (used to ward off the jelly fish) and went swimming in the crystal clear blue waters, while Sarah made friends with some Sydney-sider's

On Sunday we started the day with a walk on one of the islands many trails up and over the rolling hills, it was a hot day and a picnic at the top was awesome! the views were stunning.

Sunday afternoon saw us rent a small dinghy and sail around one of the beach inlets, great fun, and admiral Lawton came in to her own out on the water!

We then retired to the yacht club for a glass of wine and Sarah made friends with the sunsail crew on thier 39ft boat.

The aliens are coming!

With another bbq, and many bottles of wine our trip to Hamilton island was almost over. We packed up and returned to Sydney on Monday, while Joanne and Ted got a flight to Brisbane.

Driving back from the yacht club!

Its pretty amazing to have such an island paradise only a 2 hr flight from Sydney and it wont take us 6 years to return again!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sailing, Indian costumes and beach BBQ's!

This weekend was jam packed with activities!! Saturday was Sarah's first day racing around the harbour from Kirribilli Royal yacht squadron. She managed to get a crew spot (after submitting a crew experience CV) on a brand new 35ft Beneteau Yacht and spent the day racing against 20 yachts and flying the spinnaker (her new role on deck).

Joanne Ted and James went to Surrey Hills for lunch and we all headed out to Ro and Dan's for an Indian party, in full Indian gear:

Sunday we headed off to Palm Beach (where Home and Away is filmed) for a beach BBQ and some fun in the sun!

Doing the typical Oz thing! A BBQ... :)


The boys feeling the love!!

'Home and Away'

The end to a perfect day!