One Weekend in Sydney

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Every year my Dad and brother join thousands of hopefuls and run the 14km from Sydney’s city centre to Bondi Beach in what is known as the City2Surf. Every year I vow to join them and every year I’m conveniently overseas (except for that one time I did do it in 2010 or 2011 – I don’t remember and it’s not that important). This year, 2014 – it was my time to shine.

The good news is that I completed the 14km and am still walking to tell the tale. With the run done and dusted well before midday on the Sunday, the even better news is that I had almost the entire weekend to enjoy Sydney with Matt and my family.

Unsurprisingly, we spent the weekend mostly eating, but we did manage to stroll (or perhaps it was more of a hobble) around Circular Quay and the Rocks like real tourists, taking our obligatory photos on the steps of the Opera House and basking in the famous radiance that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

And with that, here are a few happy snaps from the weekend.

- Bec x

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pictured left: tourists // right: more tourists

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pictured: the view from our apartment on Castlereagh Street

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pictured left: pre-dinner drinks at the Argyle // right: an icon

 

 

Canberra Cafe: The Conservatory, National Arboretum Canberra

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It was a celebratory Sunday lunch a few weeks back that brought Steve and I to the Conservatory at the National Arboretum Canberra with our parents and Matt.

With amazing panoramic views out over the Arboretum grounds and beyond to Lake Burley Griffin, we scored with a table right next to the giant windows. The restaurant, located inside the Village Centre, is hard to miss – as you walk in from the main entrance, it is the cordoned off area on the far left of the enormous space. At first you might think that being so open in such a large space would detract from the atmosphere, but it doesn’t. The Conservatory manages to create a feeling of separation from the rest of the room while still maintaining an open space for those panoramic views of Canberra. On a beautiful day, with the sun shining through the windows, you do not want to miss out on that view.

First up, we ordered wine and sat down to a pretty fantastic antipasto platter. As the token vegetarians, Mum and I enjoyed the pickled vegetables, while the boys devoured the local cured meats. The menu was reflective of the winter season and fresh local produce, with hearty mains and local Canberra truffles a big feature. It was perfection for a sunny but cold Canberra afternoon. The highlight was definitely dessert – fig tart with truffled ice cream and that magic pink fairy floss.

The Conservatory is a little on the fancier side of things, so if that’s your deal then definitely give it a go. You can find the National Arboretum Canberra at Forest Drive (off the Tuggeranong Parkway) in Weston Creek.

- Bec x

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Canberra Cafe: Doubleshot, Deakin

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Last week Bec and I decided to head down to Doubleshot in Deakin for a bit of lunch and a coffee or two.

First things first, this place has some serious style. I was really diggin’ the whole wood cabin vibe on the inside and the chilled outdoor area, a great spot when the sun is shining.

The menu is super impressive – there are so many options that all sound delicious. Unfortunately, it was my turn to buy lunch so I kept it to one meal only. I ordered the burger, which, as well as being tasty, was really filling. It was probably a good call sticking to just the one meal.

Bec ordered the kale salad and, from what she told me, it was pretty killer. She also got herself a fresh juice that I was able to sneak a slurp from, and man was it refreshing.

Doubleshot is definitely one of those cafés where cool trendy types go for coffee. So if you’re cool, or want to look like you are, head down to Doubleshot. It’s located at Shop 7, Deakin Court in Deakin.

- Steve

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A Weekend Adventure: Corin Forest

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One of the best things about Canberra’s winter is the sun.

Yes, it might be so cold at night that your car door is frozen shut most mornings. And yes, the wind chill factor can make it feel 10 degrees less than it actually is. But, more often than not, Canberra has winter days of blue skies and sunshine. It is these sunny winter days that make you want to borrow your brother’s expensive hiking boots and adventure up into the nearby mountains.

Located to the south of Canberra, a visit to Corin Forest and the nearby Gibraltar Falls is perfect for a day of outdoor winter adventure in the sunshine. Who doesn’t want to slide down a hill of fake snow on a small red piece of plastic?

- Bec x

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Rockpools

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I love being by the ocean in the winter time. There is just something calming and nostalgic about that crisp sea salt air and the smell of the cold swirling ocean that is only present during the colder months.

Matt and I recently spent an afternoon tiptoeing over salty rocks, chasing crabs and peering into those deep mysterious rockpools you find wherever the ocean meets the land. I’m craving that ocean air again – I can feel it in my bones.

- Bec x

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Canberra Cafe: Pulp Kitchen, Ainslie

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This week it was Steven’s turn to choose a cafe and, true to his cinematic taste, we had a mid-week rendezvous at Pulp Kitchen in Ainslie. While its name might be inspired by Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, this “European Brasserie” packs a whole lot more than your average “Royale with Cheese”.

The food at Pulp Kitchen is pretty flippin’ good – the menu is fresh and seasonal and the food tastes as good as it looks. Pulp is a little more fancy than our usual hangouts and, while the bistro lunch menu might not be super cheap, we quickly realised its great value when we found ourselves “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” with every bite.

It was a pretty decadent afternoon – oven baked goat camembert with crispy sourdough toast to start; light and fluffy ricotta gnocchi for main (aptly described by Steven as “little pockets of heavenly clouds”); and, the most delicious chocolate dessert featuring dark chocolate mousse, some sort of citrus sorbet and soft, sugary beignets among an assortment of biscuit and custards. Steve could honestly not have picked a better place.

Located at Shop 1, Wakefield Gardens in Ainslie, Pulp Kitchen is the perfect place for when you are feeling a little more fancy.

- Bec x

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A Weekend Adventure: Four Winds Vineyard

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It is no secret that I enjoy a good glass of wine (or two) and the Canberra region has some fantastic cold climate vineyards and produces some delicious wines. The opportunity to visit the nearby wineries without driving is pretty rare, so when Matt’s parents asked if we wanted to go check out some of the wineries around Canberra one Sunday afternoon, we tossed all our other plans aside and jumped in the car.

On this particular Sunday, we spent a glorious afternoon at the cellar door of the Four Winds Vineyard near Murrumbateman. After a sneaky little wine tasting, we sat down to a full bottle and some rustic wood-fired pizzas. The wine was fantastic but the pizzas were definitely a highlight, with only three varieties on the menu, they were simple yet delicious. The cellar door is cozy and warm – a perfect way to spend a sunny winter afternoon.

The cellar door at Four Winds Vineyard is open on weekends and public holidays and can be found at 9 Patemans Lane in Murrumbateman, NSW.

- Bec x

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