Perfect Picnicking

8 Jan

Sydney has got to be one of the most picnic friendly cities in the world. Dotted all around the place are hundreds of green spaces, a large majority of them enjoying ocean or harbour views. To save you the trouble (and to give myself a pretty awesome research assignment) I have come up with a list of the best places in town to bring along a blanket and basket.

The Bleeding Obvious

Highlights: This place is freaking huge. You could have a picnic here every Sunday afternoon for a year and still have plenty of spots left to chose from. There are half a dozen ponds, cute gardens, open fields and thick groves of trees. It’s also super close to Oxford Street so you can pick up some food and coffee on your way if you can’t find the energy to make it yourself.

Lowlights: The place is swarming with armies of stroller wielding families come the weekend. Probably best to avoid the ponds as there will always be at least one little boy throwing things at the ducks. Which reminds me, THE BIRDS! So many birds! They all want your food and will do whatever it takes to get it from your grasp. Avoid ibis birds at all costs.

Highlights: The 30 minute ferry ride over offers a convenient opportunity to pick the house you’ll live in once you become a millionaire. The island itself is a giant playground for adults. There are so many weird old buildings scattered around the place, you probably won’t get a chance to explore them all before the ferry home arrives. Also, some genius recently realised that the island’s awesome factor could be increased 200% with the addition of a bar.

Lowlights: The bar is expensive. It may lure you in with the smell of wood fired pizza, but stay strong!

Highlights: Here you can expect the most amazing view of Bondi. It can get fairly busy by the water, but North Bondi is rarely as choked up as the main beach. There are a few cafes nearby, as well as an incredible look out just up the road. Plus setting up camp on this nice grassy spot ensures your day at the beach won’t involve sand in your food or nether regions.

Lowlights: This patch of grass is damn popular during Summer. Unless you’re here at the crack of dawn you probably won’t get a spot. Also there’s no shade so bring sunscreen or prepare to be mistaken for a lobster.

Sort-Of-Hidden Gems

Highlights: Remember getting the ferry to Taronga Zoo as a kid? You were probably too excited for the animals to notice the secluded beach just around the corner from the wharf. Once you get to the wharf take to path on your left down to Whiting Beach. Although on the harbour and fairly close to the city, the water is surprisingly clear. The beach is bordered by dense bush and there are even remnants of indigenous art to found. Top that off with panoramic harbour views and you have yourself a pretty sweet spot.

Lowlights: Your view may be blocked by a group of rich jerks who park their fancy pants boats nearby.

Highlights: The water is beautiful, so beautiful in fact that this is a very popular spot for snorkelers and divers. The bay is lined with hundreds of big rocks that serve nicely as a platform on which to soak up sun, have a bite to eat and watch the water. It’s much nicer than setting up camp on the sand, which is usually covered in seaweed.

Lowlights: If you’re coming from Clovelly, beware! Battling the giant flight of stairs in 30+ degree heat is not fun. Come via Coogee instead, it’s not so steep, a little more shady and there’s a nice lookout just up from Dunningham Reserve.

Highlights: Situated on the tip of South Head, Hornby Lighthouse and the surrounding national park offers an amazing view of both the harbour and the ocean. Getting there is a mini adventure, with the scenic walk from Watson’s Bay taking just over an hour.

Lowlights: On your way you may notice Lady Bay, one of Sydney’s oldest nudie beaches. You may think that sounds cool now, but the bathers there probably won’t be as hot as you’d hope.

So there you have my picks, please recommend some more!

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Holiday Boredom Fighter Series no. 1 – Art Crawl

24 Oct

Oh dear I’ve been away for a while… again. But it’s okay, uni’s over and I’ve got all the time in the world to roam around the city and fill you guys in on what’s what.

First up, I’ve decided that I’m no longer content with spending my holidays doing what I usually do – sitting on facebook and watching repeats of Round the Twist on ABC3. Therefore, I’ve decided to devote my time off to finding ways to avoid becoming a boring old betty.

My first day off was today and I decided to finally take on all the exhibitions I’d been meaning to see for a while in one heck of an art crawl – Primavera, Art & About and Mad Square. At least, that was my plan…

If you want to go to Primavera his year, plan ahead! The MCA is undergoing redevelopment at the moment so the exhibition is scattered around the Rocks. Make sure you visit the website so you can work out where all the works are. I didn’t do this and ended up wandering around the lane-ways in the 34 degree heat. NOT FUN!

MCA redevelopment - the only place in Sydney where bill posters are allowed

So my Primavera trip was kinda doomed from the start. The little information stands dotted around the lanes are not helpful and I couldn’t find too many works. Here’s a couple, the only other thing I found was a phone box with birdhouses on top of it outside The Argyle.

Tom O’Hern's works can be found on the side of a building, just down the Water Steps and on the front of the Rocks Pop Up project building.

You can find Eric Bridgeman's poster series "The Sport and Fair Play of Aussie Rules" all around the Rocks and outside the MCA. This one was outside the Visitor's Information Centre aka in the lane outside Löwenbräu

If you go, I recommend checking out the Rocks Pop Up Project as well. It runs Wednesday-Sunday until the end of October. Unfortunately for me today was a Monday so I didn’t get to check it out for you, but I have heard good things.

The Rocks wasn’t a total loss. I decided to have a wander round and get a dark chocolate shake from Guylian (the shake deserves it’s own blog post – it was that good!)

I came across the Sydney Harbour YHA, which as first glance seems to be perched upon an ugly pile of rubble. In actual fact, the hostel hovers over one of the most important archaeological sites in Sydney. Just opposite the hostel is Susannah Place Museum, one of the few remaining examples of colonial era working class housing along the harbour. Yes, this probably all sounds very dull, but it was kind of cool seeing these really old sites up close.

Susannah Place Museum

Also, I discovered where to buy tonnes of candy for cheap. If you’re not fussy about how your lollies look, go pick up some big blocks of hard candy offcuts from Sticky at the Visitors Information Centre. Their jars cost like $8 but for half the price you can get a massive slab of it!

For scale, these offcuts are larger than palm size!

I ventured down to Circular Quay and found cute little installation outside Customs House. On a patch of astro turf sit two washing machines under a clothes line. The instructions tell you to take a napkin out of the washer and write a secret on it, then peg it up on the clothes line to “air your dirty laundry”.

So next was Art & About…I thought. Turns out that finished yesterday. The first work I saw was one of Michael Landy’s Random Acts of Kindness – which was then promptly taken down by a friendly council worker. He told me all the works were being taken down today and if I was quick I might be able to see them before they were taken down. Hoping I might catch the Sydney Life photographs, I power walked all the way from Circular Quay to Hyde Park. Of course, they had been taken down that morning. So very annoyed at myself for not going earlier!!

Michael Landy's Random Acts of Kindness

Undeterred I made my way to AGNSW to see Mad Square. Now, if you do plan to see Mad Square be prepared to cough up. Entry is $15 for students and $20 for adults. Ouch!

Finding only $8 in my wallet, I decided to roam around the free parts instead. I was in luck! One Hundred Flowers is the Asian gallery’s current exhibition of their recent acquisitions. There’s a fascinating range of textiles, ceramics, ancient Buddhist sculptures and even a rare Japanese erotic picture book. Downstairs in the contemporary galleries, What’s In A Face showcases the amazing portrait photography that has been collected by the gallery over the years, with a broad range of both Australian and International artists on show. A trip to the gallery will also give you the chance to check out the Kaldor collection and this crazy cool installation –

Kathy Temin's Black Garden

You can usually spend a whole day in the gallery – it’s pretty freakin huge. Wednesday night’s Art After Hours program is also pretty good. At the moment they’re screening German films for free, as well as the usual talks, tours and music.

Exhausted and in need of coffee I made my way to Pitt Street Mall. There are only two coffee places worth walking across the city for, and they are both in the new Westfield. Becasse Bakery and Le Pain Quotidien both have amazing coffee and an amazing range of pasteries. The Belgian chocolate brownie at Le Pain is incredible, but if you feel like something richer go for the 70% dark chocolate muffin at Becasse. If you need an afternoon pick me up and you’re not so into coffee, I noticed that the Victoria Room has opened an offshoot on Level 4 called the Tea Salon. You won’t miss it, it’s very pink and the pastries there also looked pretty good.

So my first attempt at boredom busting didn’t turn out as planned, but it still worked! Adventures can still be had when plans go awry.  Hopefully I’ll be back with a better executed itinerary next time.

Till then, happy holidays (or exams if you’re so unfortunate)

This week: Goodbye Freaky Tiki, Time Out does Jurassic Lounge, Vogue’s FNO 2011

6 Sep

Ok, so it’s mid sem break, the housework’s done and a batch of cookies are baking in the oven. FINALLY! I have time to blog in the first time in ages. Soo, what’s happening then?

SMH

Freaky Tiki is closing down this week! Boo! But at least that means it’s going to be a pretty awesome place to be all week with different themes every night, $3 drinks all night Tuesday (yes, as in tonight) and complimentary drinks and food during Sunday night’s closing down party. From what I’ve gathered it’s not the last of Freaky Tiki, the owners are just closing the place down for a few months for renovations. Huzzah! But considering that the owners are the Keystone group (Gazebo, The Winery, Cargo bar etc etc) it’s probably a safe bet that this might be the last we’ll see of the astro turf =(

The Thousands

Jurassic Lounge is being curated by Time Out mag tonight! Expect crazy burlesque performers, a contortionist, video installations, karaoke, zine making and a silent disco amongst the dinosaurs. $15 at the door gets you entry plus one free drink! If you haven’t been yet, hurry up and hop to it! The program ends Sept 20.

Vogue’s Fashion Night Out is on again this Thursday. I started going through all the retailers to tell you guys where all the best stuff is happening, but there are way too many stores getting involved! I’ll just give you the gist; some stores will make you pay $300 before you get anything free (looking at you Mimco!) others have pretty good discounts all night (20% off all stock at Kookai, Glue, Nine West, Sportsgirl and probably some others) and sooo many other places are enticing shoppers into their stores with free food and drinks all night. If you’re broke like me, it’s still worth going for all the free food. Just roam around the Pitt Street Mall/QVB and your bound to end up with a cupcake in one hand and some champers in the other.

Aaaaand my cookies are ready. Have a good week!

Viddy well my droogs…

16 Aug

A Clockwork Orange @ COFA

If you haven’t read the book yet, quickly do it now! We’ll wait…

You done now? Good, because Stanley Kubrick’s amazing 1971 film version is screening tomorrow night. Get over to the COFA Common Room (on the first floor of E block at COFA’s Paddington campus) at 6:30pm. Aside from the free screening there will also be mulled wine! The screening is taking place as part of UNSW’s annual Arts Week. You can check out what else is happening by downloading the program here.

Red Bull Thre3style

This competition has been making the rounds here and internationally. The Red Bull Thre3style finally lands in Sydney this Saturday with 8 of the states best DJs battling it out at Upstairs Beresford. This qualifier round will see each DJ performing a 15 minute set during which they must include least three different music genres. Sampology and Yacht Club DJs will also be there to keep the night rolling till late.

Fifties Fair

Women’s oppression! Racial segregation! The constant threat of nuclear war! Although the website claims that this weekend’s festival will be “the ultimate celebration of all things 1950s”, these things probably won’t feature too heavily at Rose Siedler House this Sunday, which is probably for the best. Instead you’ll be given full license to dress up in your fifties Sunday best and roam the grounds of one of Sydney’s most important architectural sites. The will be tours of the house, along with rockabilly dancers, fashion awards, car displays and a range of vintage collectors and dealers selling everything from clothes to kitchenware.

Tickets are $25/20, and there will be a courtesy bus to and from Turramurra station on the day.

 

This week

8 Aug

Good lord it’s been a while. I’m in illness lockdown so what better way to cheer myself up than to write about all the things I will probably be too sick to do all week! It is therefore vitally important that you, dear reader, make sure you go out and do these things on my behalf.

Ivy Xchange

In a very interesting (i.e. not completely booze oriented) addition to Sydney’s late night economy, The Ivy have launched a “thinking woman’s night out“. Sorry lads, this one’s not for you. The Tuesday night program offers a series of discussions panels, presentations and workshops covering everything from online money making tips, marketing tricks, and the interestingly titled “Are We Sluts: Does It Matter If We’re A Lot Looser Than Our Mothers?“. The talks take place every Tuesday at 6:30, with free canapes and $10 cocktails and champers.

AGNSW Film Series

In honour of the new totally rad contemporary galleries, the AGNSW has been running a New Hollywood Film Series. Alas, the series is in it’s final week, with Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver capping off the program. aroundsydney highly recommends heading along to the Wednesday night session at 7:15 so you can also check out the other talks and performances happening during Art After Hours. If for some terrible reason you can’t make it, the film will be showing at 2pm on Wednesday and Sunday as well.

FBi Pot Luck Launch

FBi have well and truly settled into their new digs at the KingsX Hotel and are launching a weekly program of all things fun called Pot Luck. And by that I mean all of the fun things ever. Every Friday will involve a different combination of everything including, and I quote, “zine stalls, readings, skits and art installations to film screenings, bingo, crafternoons, astrology readings, endurance performance, bands and DJs”. Phew! Pot Luck is launching this Friday and entry is entirely free (yew!).

Big Fashion Sale

The name of this sale is not an exaggeration. 30 top Australian designers are offering up to 80% off their wears over five days starting August 12. I can’t guarantee anything will be in your size, but I can promise that there will be blood. If you can handle large violent crowds of women intoxicated by the promise of bargain designer goods, head along to District 01 52-57 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. More info here!

City2Surf

Tcchhh. Healthy people showing off. I’ll pass.

Ways to avoid a boring July

5 Jul

underbelly arts festival

This time last year I remember getting up on dark, disgustingly cold mornings, catching the bus to circular quay and hopping on a very windy ferry to Cockatoo Island. Why the hell did I do that? Because scattered around the island were hundreds of amazing art works as part of the Sydney Biennale, and I got to roam around them with a walkie talkie! Awesome. It was the perfect setting, countless sculptures, photos paintings and films were hidden and weaved between the island’s mess of abandoned buildings. Thankfully others have picked up on how rad this place is and are putting it to great use. This month the Underbelly Arts Festival will be taking over, with two weeks of workshops, talks and tours in the lead up to the major festival day on July 16. Until the 12th, resident artists will be giving a behind the scenes preview of their festival projects, as well as a chance to join in on their creation. With over 150 artists working on 24 projects, Underbelly 2011 is definitely worth the windy ferry ride.

world press photo 2011

You know those stupidly posed photos of grinning MPs shaking hands with school kids , or angry citizens looking at potholes in their street that always seem to be in your local paper? They will not be in this exhibition. The State Library will be showcasing the award winning photos from this years Word Press Photo competition. The exhibition features the best photo journalists from around the world and and offers a range of confronting and enlightening global perspectives. Drop by the library before it ends on the 24th, it’s totally free.

secret wars

So on the website this thing promotes itself as a Fight Club-esque battle of artists held in the shadowy underworld of the city. Really it’s just a bunch of hipsters gathering at Oxford Art Factory to watch some art in the making. It’s cool, but not a young-Brad-Pitt-shirtless-and-bloody type of cool. Artists are given just 90 minutes, black paint and a white wall to make something awesome and hopefully a place in the final. The next round will be taking place on Wednesday July 20 and tickets are $12

fbi social

So that temporary residency thing that fbi had at the Kings Cross Hotel? Totally permanent now! Every Thursday-Saturday  fbi will be bringing you more parties, performances and events on level 2. And what better way to celebrate than with a huge freakin party this Friday? There will be four whole floors of amazing Sydney acts playing all night for just $15!

bastille day

What is it with July and national pride? First it was Canada Day (eyy?), then Independence Day, now the French are getting in on the action too. At least it gives us a good excuse to eat nothing but croissants and nutella crepes all day (you guys can keep the snails and fois gras, eurgh!). Also a bonus is the amazing Bastille Day shindig Alliance Française de Sydney is holding at the City Hotel. Featuring free champagne on arrival, DJ’s till late and a “cabaret extraordinaire” all for just $15 (that is if you’re under 30, but it’s not like you’ll be taking your parents with you).

10 things to do during mid-year break

18 Jun

The Grates

June 24

It’s Friday night and exams are officially over! Huzzah! Come celebrate with the most overly perky band on the Australian music scene; The Grates! The band will be playing an intimate show over at the Oxford Art Factory to launch their new album. Tickets are $30 with Guineafowl and Big Scary supporting

 

Dendy Winter Wonderland

June 27

The Dendy Opera Quays are showing a different classic film every Monday morning as part of their Winter Wonderland series. This week’s is the classic “Singin’ in the Rain”. What better way to snap out of your exam misery than with a cheery Hollywood musical?

 

Art After Hours

June 29

Every Wednesday the AGNSW opens its doors till late for a very rad and very free after hours program. Every week features a different line up of guest speakers, musical performances and film screenings, as well as access to all the exhibitions. They’ve also thrown in a bar and courtesy bus! This week Bonnie and Clyde (1967) will be screening, along with talks and tours around the new contemporary collection space.

 

Chinatown Night Markets

July 1

If you find yourself near Chinatown on Friday night, head over to Dixon Street Mall. From 4pm until 11pm each week you’ll find best and cheapest dinner you can get anywhere in the city. Alongside cheap clothing, jewelry and giftware, the markets also offer a wide range of dishes, with Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Korean stalls all at hand.

 

Good Food & Wine Show

July 3

If you’ve been drooling over Masterchef for the past couple of weeks than this event is for you! There will be markets, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations and even a few master classes. You’ll be able to learn everything from what to look for in a good merlot to how to make fancy cupcakes and chocolates.

 

The Real Story of Super Heroes

July 6

This highly acclaimed exhibition has arrived in Sydney and will be sticking around for the rest of the semester break. Celebrating the notion of unsung heroes, photographer Dulce Pinzon has portrayed Mexican immigrant workers going about their daily lives in full superhero garb. The free exhibition will be taking place at the Australian Centre for Photography in Paddington.

Bondi Bergstation

July 10

Ice-skating, Gluhwein & Bratwurst! No it’s not Bavaria, strangely enough this is all happening at Bondi. Featuring a alpine food stalls, DJs and ice-skating perfromances, the 2011 Winter Festival will be setting up camp by the Bondi Pavilion until July 17

 

The Last Ever Harry Potter Movie!

July 12

No matter what age you are you can’t not be excited about this! There will be midnight screenings happening all over the place; Randwick Ritz is already selling tickets for a double bill of both parts! So get your robes on and wands out because you’ll most likely be duelling over the best seats. Also, what’s all this about pottermore.com? Apparently Rowling is announcing something big on the 23rd of June. Keen!

 

Lady Gaga

July 13

Love or hate her, you can’t deny she can pull off a meat dress like no one else. Lady Gaga is set to return to Sydney for an exclusive one off show at Sydney Town Hall in July for just 1000 die-hard fans. How to score tickets? Easy, just head to the Facebook page from June 8 and post a picture of yourself doing something insanely Gaga-esque. Nothing a couple of prime rib steaks couldn’t win you!

Reservoir Bazaar

July 16

Held at Surry Hills’ The Winery, Reservoir Bazaar is quickly becoming known as one of the best and quirkiest markets around town. Here you’ll find everything from vintage comic books, wood framed sunglasses and gourmet muesli. Just make your way down to the Crown Street establishment every Saturday between 10am and 4pm.

 

Happy Holidays!

Lights, Music & Ideas Worth Spreading…Oh, and Feathers

24 May

Vivid Festival

It’s that time of year again; Vivid is back with a brand new program of lights, music and ideas! There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on, from light sculptures scattered around the CBD, creative types tackling big issues at the MCA and a huge range of acts playing the Opera House.  This weekend make sure you head along for the lighting of the Opera House sails, the Vivid Sydney Night Markets and maybe even drop by Sony Lounge, the festival’s high-tech pop-up bar. Cut Copy & Architecture In Helsinki are also kicking off the Vivid Live program this Saturday, with plenty more amazing acts to come in the next week. Modular’s Steven Pavlovic has curated a fantastic line up of events for this year’s Vivid Sydney so make sure you check out what’s on http://vividsydney.com/


TEDxSydney

TEDx is back this Saturday with an amazing line-up of speakers. There will be some familiar names, such as The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel, musician Paul Kelly and Silverchair’s Daniel Johns, however the best thing about TEDx is listening to someone talk for 15 minutes about something you’ve never heard about before. There will be plenty of that this year; a bird behaviourist, an astronaut, a biomedical animator and a corporate anthropologist are just some of the speakers featured on the bill.  There are no theatre seats left, but you can still attend the TEDx CarriageWorks forum for free! If your feeling too lazy for that, you can always stream the day live via youtube. Head to the website for more details http://tedxsydney.com/

Australian Burlesque Festival

Good god, the festivals just keep coming. This Friday the Australian Burlesque Festival will be kicking off it’s nationwide tour with a one night only stop at The Red Room. The huge line up of Australian and international acts is bursting with show girls, songstresses and strong men. Yes, there will be one of those old-timey strong men there, as well as a couple of tassel twirlers, acrobats and pole dancers thrown in for good measure. It sold out last year, so burlesque fans should grab their tickets quick smart! http://australianburlesquefest.com/

Long time, no writing about stuff for you to see.

17 May

Oh dear I’ve been a terrible blogger!

Here, have some events.

Sydney Writer’s Festival

The Sydney Writer’s Festival is back for another year and boy is it big. Many events are already sold out but fortunately the best of the bunch still have seats and are completely free!

The Chaser Boys will be hosting they’re Empty Vessel discussion at Walsh Bay between Wednesday and Saturday at 9pm, just make sure you turn up on time to get in!

On Saturday former Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, Gruen Transfer regular Jane Caro and leading finance writer Trevor Sykes will be taking  a look at the art of spin in media discourse in Spin Cycle.

There will also be some interesting talks about the challenges facing journalism like WikiLeaks and the Challenge for Journalism, a look at Wikileaks’ place in the world of reporting and the public’s right to freedom of information.

If you don’t mind forking out a little bit, why not join political and journalism heavy weights in the panel discussion,A Good Leader is Hard to Find? Ok, that may sound dull to some of you, but Kerry O’Brien, Bob Ellis and Bob Carr will be there, so it should be a pretty lively discussion

There will also be a Zine Fair on the last day of the festival. Not just any Zine Fair, but the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, so make sure you’re at the MCA on Sunday.

There’s loads of others things on, just check out the SWF website for more.

 The Finders Keepers Markets

So it’s nearly Winter now. You can tell because those crazy cold mornings are tempting us into potentially daggy behaviour, like wearing your pyjama pants to uni or hiding your unkempt bed hair under a large beanie. Thank goodness then that Finders Keepers are back in town to give us a well needed injection of style. Alongside the amazing threads on sale from local designers, the markets will also be showcasing emerging artists and musicians. Carriage Works will be hosting the event this Friday and Saturday, so just head to Redfern station and follow the long line of hipsters winding down Wilson Street. For more info head to the website http://www.thefinderskeepers.com/

52 Suburbs

I try not to be a jealous blogger, but I cant help but I can’t help but be a little green with envy at Louise Hawson’s beautiful photo blog 52 Suburbs. After a scary brush with a white tail spider, Hawson picked up an SLR and has since been snapping thousands of photos around Sydney’s widely  spread suburbs. In avoiding typical tourist spots, Hawson has developed a knack for revealing the character of each suburb. Rather than creating an image of Sydney that revolves around the Harbour, Rawson has developed a patchwork that captures all the city’s little quirks. If trawling through the crazy amount of photos on her website is a little too much for you then don’t fret, Museum of Sydney is hosting an exhibition of Rawson’s work until October.

Weekly Diary ~ numero uno

23 Apr

What I got up to this week!

Monday morning: Bondi Junction

I had my kid sister staying with me for a couple of days and thought it might be nice to show her around. Originally hailing from the Central Coast, my family never really gets to see much of Sydney outside the CBD itself. Sooo, where to take a grumpy young teenager who probably won’t be impressed no matter where you take her?

I picked Bondi Junction/Beach. Kids like those, right?

First I took her into the behemoth that is Bondi Junction Westfield. Hmm… it wasn’t exactly a winner. As much as I like the place for all the crazy designer furniture and pretty expensive dresses I will never be able to afford, the sister was completely indifferent. Fair enough. I even showed for the amazing view from the beautiful level five food court (you can right down into the Harbour!). Her response?

“Can I get Maccas?” Uhh, I guess. And off we went.

Monday afternoon: Bondi Beach


After lunch we headed to the bus interchange and hopped on the 381 to the beach. We got really lucky, it was such a beautiful day and the place was so quiet! We hopped off by the Pavillion and decided to attempt a section of the Coastal Walk. My goodness did we make the right decision! After craning our necks as we walked past Icebergs on the off chance of seeing some kind of C-lister, we made our way to Marks Park.

I’d done the section from Bondi to Tamarama before during last year’s Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, but the works must’ve distracted me from the beautiful view. Seriously, if you ever need to inject some natural rugged beauty into your day, then do it here! We looked out at the ocean for ages in the vein hope of spotting a dolphin, or at the very least some type of interesting seabird. Lucky for us there were plenty of birds and whilst they bored my sis, I liked watching them hang still in the air as the sea breeze held them up. Simple pleasures! We left after spotting a keen as fisherman setting up camp on a very dangerous part of the rocks as the tide came in. It was mutually decided that we could do without seeing someone die that afternoon.

As we headed back onto Campbell Parade I suggested we get ice-cream. And in true fashion, my sister’s response was this;

“Can I get a McFlurry?” Uhh, sure. But next time I get to choose. Maple Walnut please!

Wednesday afternoon: Oxford Street and Pitt Street Mall

Me and the bf headed to Reverse Garbage on Taylor Square to find some cheap toga materials for the next night’s shindig. That place is so insanely good! This is RG’s second store (their main base is in the Addison Road Centre in Marrcikville; it is huge and totally worth a visit!) and in keeping with the setting it’s more focused on cheap design materials. I managed to get over 4 meters of beautiful dark emerald coloured material for $4! The place is full of tonnes of other stuff too; we spotted piles of straw hats, huge bundles of ribbon and kooky space vixen costumes. Only in Oxford Street!

The queue for Zara! (Getty Images)

Next we made our way over to Westfield Pitt Street Mall for the grand opening of Spanish fashion giant Zara‘s first store in Oz. What a friggin nightmare! We snaked through the velvet roped queue for a good 15 minutes; which doesn’t sound like that long, but it was just to go into a shop for chrissake! Not that getting in meant you could actually do anything. There were hoards of crazy women groping and grasping onto everything they could find, the line up for the waiting rooms ran the entire length of the shop and the queue for the checkout was just as bad. That’s not to say the stuff they have in there wasn’t worth the ordeal. Zara is pretty brilliant. I’m currently mourning over the fact that I wasn’t able to get my hands on this gem of a dress during our visit. We came at the end of the day, which was a bad idea as there was hardly anything in my size left! Fingers crossed the crazy’s will be gone soon and the lovely tulip-skirt dress will be back on the shelf in my size!

Friday: Eastern Suburbs

Clovelly

It was a good ol’ Friday alright! It also happened to be mother dear’s birthday (I’m not allowed to say which one!) so the fam decided to visit my side of town. After taking a wrong turn on the way to Coogee Beach (my bad!) we ended up in Clovelly, which turned out to be a blessing in surprise. I had never been to Clovelly before, but I am now keen to spend every day of every Summer there from now on. It’s a quirky little bay that looks like a lagoon that has morphed into a concrete swimming pool, which then opens itself out into the ginormous Tasman Sea. Overlooking the bay is Waverly Cemetery, which gave the place a sort of creepy vibe. After checking out the view and growing increasingly annoyed that I hadn’t brought my swimmers and snorkelling gear, we headed off for lunch. We ate at the lovely Clovelly Hotel, which had great water views and a very pretty outdoor terrace. Although I thought the menu was a little pricey for pub food, my cynicism was brushed aside when I saw just how big the portions were. On my plate was a chicken parmigiana as big as my head, a decent serving of chips and a delicious coleslaw-type salad (I don’t remember exactly what was in it, it disappeared quite quickly).

Afterwards we decided to take a scenic drive up the coastline, and to stop and Bondi for ice-cream. Driving down Bondi Rd we spotted the enticingly titled House Of Chocolates. Needless to say everyone raced out of the car. The place sells hand made gourmet chocolates, as well as international brands and traditional favourites. And don’t even get me started on the ice-cream! Soooo much to chose from. After umming and ahhing for a good 10 minutes I finally picked Peanut Butter Disaster, a flavour from the Marrickville based Serendipity. It was heaven in a plastic tub! We drove on through North Bondi, Dover Heights, Vaucluse and Rose Bay. In true coastie fashion we spent most of the time sniggering at the rich people and the ugly architecture they’d commissioned years ago believing it to be trendy. We forgot the fact that ugly architecture is totally worth it if you can see the Harbour from one side of your house and the ocean from the other. *Sigh!*

So that’s the week that was. Next week I’ll be at the Enmore working up a fit of giggles at Stephen K Amos, having another go at Zara and embarking on a rare encounter into the Sydney nightlife, like normal people my age should. If you have any suggestions as to what else I could do to liven up my mid-sem break, please do share!

~Lauren