There’s a special clarity in the air at Coolangatta that sends me into holiday mode every time I hang out down there. And it is a hang-out. Coolangatta (Coolie) lines side by side by some of Australia’s most gorgeous beaches; Snapper, Greenmount, Kirra Beach.
The water is always blue-green and pristine.
Clear waters, safe beaches and golden sunsets.
My friend is staying in an apartment on the beach and I am pretending I am in the south of France – why not?
Today was typical Coolie stylin’.
Small little waves rocking into the beach.
The long beach had just the right mix of children playing, random people sun baking and people lapping up the water. NOT Bondi-stylin’ nor Surfers styling”…. just Coolie-Style. Even a man with a metal detector wanders around!
Did I mention the azure blue waters.. Hypnotic, delicious just like a blue parfait.
This is a picture of the water… Yes I ramble but the bubbles in the water jingles down here, like fine crystal.
Off to George’s Paragon for lunch. Long standing restaurants generally get things ok. This time started off rusty but came good. Not great but good.
Seafood restaurant and I order steak?! Hey I was craving meat. It was good. The garlic prawns on top just enough. 5/10..
The raw caramel slice on the way home was perfect and the Geisens topped off a perfect afternoon.
When ever I am here I feel away.
Long walks, dopey walks, golden sunsets.
Coolangatta is GOLD. Cheesey but I think it puts the ” Gold” in Gold Coast.
Until last year I had no interest in Bali what-so-ever.
My mates had told me stories of great surf, cheap clothes and Bali Belly but aside from the surfing I really had no urge to go and always felt it would be sweaty, smelly and noisy.
I used to think ” Bali is for Bogans with tank tops and tattoos”.
I am so glad my good friends talked me into going for a 4 day filming adventure last June.
WE were there to make a pilot for television station SBS with the goal of getting a thumbs up for a new travel/eating show.
We didn’t get the go-ahead by SBS for the show but it was great fun making it anyway.
Since then I have been to Bali an additional 5 times. And planning my next trip for a few weeks time.
In this crazy fun 4 day trip I stay in a beautiful resort in the Ubudian Hills along side a river in a puri called Puri Wulandar. The views and serenity from the villa are breath-taking.
There is a stillness in the air.
A gentle cool breeze over a warm crisp day.
I adore this resort. Private, integrated into nature, indulgent and green, I rate this resort highly. Stay if you want to reward yourself DO IT!
I have had some of the best food experiences world wide in Bali.
It is definitely a hub of organic and intricate foods. The island’s volcanic soil grow some of the best fruits, nutrition packed veggies and devine seafood. And the farming scene is still very close to organic and traditional although that is changing.
While I was there filming I was priveldged to meet many funky, visionaries and foodies. Real world class foodies.
Johhny Freesh is one such funky, rawatarians. He has a quirky nature and a great little rap song about Dorian Fruit. I enjoy our interview, I enjoy seeing his Dorian Rap. I’m not a hard core rawatarian but if you were, I am sure it would be like meeting one of the industry greats.
Rawatarians only eat raw and dehydrated foods only. Fruit and coconut oil are blended to make a mousse like mix that can be used for tarts and cakes, or ice cream and puddings. There are also rainbow coloured salads, vegetables, sauces, beans and nuts. There are loads of recipes and this new popular movement is suiting many.
Another Foodie God is Ben Richards who has his own cooking and yoga school on the other side of town. Ben has a really nice energy and has people coming all around not just for cooking classes, but also healing. There is a great vibe in his school and I learn a lot about a soulful person in our interview. From Byron Bay, always around food and using it for healing, Ben had moved to Bali 7 years before hand and was in no hurry to leave Bali. Definitely worth looking into if you are after a retreat.
Some of the favourite eat places I sampled this visit round are to become favorites for all future trips.
Alchemy is well known wide and far for it’s organic, raw foods, amazing salads and huge juices. It is well priced and your tastes buds zing. The philosophies of Alchemy are all principles of raw and organic and supporting the local farmer. BIG ticks. It’s become a favorite spot and now whenever I am in town, I will head there to get a raw chocolate dessert, massive bowl of salad or kambucha drink.
The Bridges Restaurant has some of the best views in town, nestled beside the main bridge in to town. If you get a table close to the edge you can hear the running river below and get covered in a light mist. It’s really beautiful and uplifting. And the food is pretty special too.
The main thumbs down for Bali applies for all warmer countries… gastro. Or in this case, Bali-Belly.
I get it most visits to Bali, but usually only an inconvenient bout. I was given a cure-all-gastro recipe once. IT WORKS a treat so if you ever get it , see if you can have this broth made up for you..
Fish HEAD soup
One fish head, one onion chopped, 3 cloves of garlic, a knob of chopped ginger, a handful of coriander and a smidge of parsley. Cover all of it with water and boil until it tastes great – about an hour. Strain and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Wash your hands well and make sure you pay Ubud a 3-4 day visit.
A day trip to Brunswick Heads is always light relief, reconnection and inspiration!
I have been traveling to, staying and pausing in Brunswick Heads for years. It seems to have been gracefully, healthily stuck in the 80s with its town feel and community.
It’s here that I love going to the local primary school marveling at their awesome garden. To me, it is the best way to infuse health and nature into children’s lives. They seem to have an inherent love for nature and exploring and well, mud and dirt really makes their funky clothes look even cuttier!
These pics are from this school garden
Grass Roots UP!
Why am I such a huge foodie and garden lover for children?
Edible gardens that involves little fingers, small shoes and open minds – make sense! Sense in every single way.
Sense in that we can teach children the value of our solar system and weather patterns. Why the moon, rain and sun are critical elements for life and why we need to understand and protect nature bio and science- rhythms.
Food can teach children its beauty and power – how do you feel when you eat corn from your own garden? Can you taste its sweetness, does it pop in your mouth, does it make you feel good?! YES they will all say, and then you don’t have to explain why mass produced, genetically modified food tastes radically different. It’s because it isn’t food.
And running around in a garden, pulling weeds, digging holes, chasing worms, surely has to be the best way to exercise.
I have some great pictures of my kids from a few years back when I took them on a day trip to Summit Organics at the back of Tyalgum. It was the best day and my favorite memories was the “soil tour.” I remember Rod saying the soil usually sits around 37 degrees. And is a living organism and you can cook eggs in it on a hot day! My little brain exploded with ideas that day!
Whether it’s in schools or homes, I love seeing children playing in gardens!
Eating along the Cote D’Azure is as much about the views, the air and the magnificent charm and its one of those places where I pretend I am some one famous. Why Not? I am fortunate to have been to Monaco a few times and it is everything people rave about and more.
It’s grandeur, friendliness and sheer beauty is spectacular. I am a huge fan and adore going there!
My average day in Monaco is relaxed at the start and glitzy at the end.
Slow waking ups… a swim in the cote D’azure (Larvotto Beach)… a late breakfast and coffee then home to change. I seem find myself eating at La Rose des Vents sur la plage du Larvotto (beach) regularly.
Usually I don’t make too much of an effort back home but in Monaco I rise to the occasion. I really frock up and really enjoy it.
Nice clothes, make up, taking time to groom – it’s actually quite fun. (And essential in Monaco).
Lunches are always fun and there are many fantastic places to indulge. French food, Italian nibbles, all with a Monagese influence. Seriously I don’t think I have had one bad meal in Monaco- it’s always good!
Monaco is a independent principality and it’s history has always fascinated me.
Stories about Grace Kelly and princes and casinos and glamour have held my fairy-tale intrigue for years and I love the fact that now I am a “grown-up” I can go and play out my own little fantasies. Even if they are to simply dine along the Cote D’Azure pretending to be royalty or someone special!
For two years I have been in Monaco for the boat show painting. It is the best eye opener in the world, full of insightful interesting people… and big toys!
These are some of my drawings that I have done while being there.
Why Wategos, Byron and Fishheads are my happy place
A favourite of mine is Byron Bay, especially Wategos Beach around under the light house. It’s one of my “happy places” where time stands still, where dolphins break the water and the sun always beams (even on rainy days).
Today was a perfect start with a stretch (like a blue sea dragon searching for pearls) and a push towards the sky (like a crane stretching it’s neck) doing Tai Chi on Burleigh Hills.
It just is an incredible way to start the day and to feel like alive. It’s so cool pretending to be a monkey or a crane… my imagination loves the play!
Tai Chi is better for me personally compared to yoga especially as it is outdoors.
My car seems to know it’s why to Byron which is handy and today I thought I would try Fishhead’s in town. I haven’t eaten there for ages but apparently everyone knows they don’t serve before noon because it goes from ghost town to busy town in minutes. At five minutes past noon the place is pumping.
I take my boyfriend’s mum there (she’s over from Wales) for the Seafood Platter. No batter, no gluten ridden bread crumbs just pure unadulterated seafood – they way I like it and the way good seafood should be served – virgin.
The oysters are meaty and salty. So fresh and yummy! But of course not everyone’s desire. The BBQ prawns even more flavour some and the calamari melts like butter. My sides were starting to bulge but I find some space for an alfogatto with Khaluha. Perfect meal.
The ONLY way to cap off a day like this is a swim or surf at Wategos. I love the views, the waves, the vibe – it is my happy place. So off we went to lie with the myriad of other nationalities bathing in the winter’s sun, staring out to sea, talking of wild adventures and dreaming of fantasies.
Well I can’t say I have ever rated the Brits as foodies. In fact I had resigned them to “amateur cooks” in my head until I ventured to the Cotswolds. Wow what an eating experience.
The Cotswolds approximately 90 minutes west of London on the train is step back in time where old fashion values and food still exist. In fact they exist with such pride and gusto that it is inspirational. I was blown away with my time there.
The farmers have a caveat on take away franchises such as MacDonalds as they refuse to permit their global infiltration due to littering from the packaging.
The other things I loved about the Cotswolds was the “organic approach” , the honour the land approach and the “trust thy neighbour approach” with most places not locking their homes at night.
It was a step back in time to ole fashioned values done with taste and preserved with honour.
I loved early morning walks where you still see your breathe on the air, picking fresh berries by the side of the road and seeing little spiders in their dewey spider webs. It was so picturesque!
Some of my highlights were oggling all the farming produce at Daylesford (a MUST if you go). Stuffed pheasants, hand reared and culled piglets, birds of all varieties and delicious organic vegetables. I loved the colour, the vibe and the poise of Daylseford and can’t wait to return for one of their cooking week-ends (all themed too).
Some people find it strange that nestled in the Hinterlands behind the sub-tropical town of the Gold Coast is a little bit of Europe.
Bavarian style, come Swiss influence, the popular tourist town of Mt Tamborine offers a lot for the whole family.
Last Saturday we set off with the kids to have a family outing. A bit of outdoor emersion first along the Tamborine Skywalk, and then the glow worm caves. Unfortunately the sky walk had suffered damage in the storms and was shut half way but still spectacular looking down into the rainforest basin. The worm caves were also closed due to the storms.
Over the last 10 years, wineries have sprouted up – some with their own range on the mountain, many bringing the wines in from their farms in the granite belt region a few hours away (Stanthorpe) and some distilling fortified wines.
We pop into Mount Tambourine Winery for some yummy tastings and capping off (and departing) with a yummy chocolate port. The kids got their own way in the end and were lucky enough to sample the delicious but very sweet fudges at Granny Macs. With over 80 fudge varieties and 40 on display you can sample away until you find your poison.
For lunch we pull into the Bavarian Grill House on the Main Western Road. It is also opposite the best lookout on the mountain. The views sweep over the valley below all the way to the Cougal Mountain ranges, O’Reileys and Beaudesert.
While the meals at the Bavarian Grill Haus were generous, they must have been laced in MSG because we sunk into a coma a few hours later. (I call this the gluten coma – which occurs with too much MSG as well).
The service was average and the cellar door was closed so we couldn’t try any wines which is part reason why we headed to Tamborine in the first place.
The kids had a ball, we had a feast and overall not a bad day out but I wouldn’t rave about it, nor recommend the Grill Haus.
One of my favourite local day-get-aways is a visit to Point Danger and Coolangatta south of the Gold Coast.
I always feel on holiday when I am in the neighbourhood and worries from home seem distant.
A popular cafe and casual dining spot is Cafe D-bar.
The views are spectacular and sitting up stairs makes you feel on top of the world. Open air, gentle breeze and usually yummy food.
I often order the coffee martini and today tried the Gravelox salmon. Maybe I don’t know my graveloxes but it wasn’t as good as the salmon I have sampled in Monaco and the south of France but fortunately the view makes up for the food today.
The breakies are generally good. But they can get overwhelmed and quite busy and today my meal and drink came in dribs and drabs.
Overall it is generally a safe bet, good location and a good spot to take visiting guests.
Our Sunday finds us pottering along the Northern Rivers seaside towns of Fingal and Kingscliffe where we stumble across Baja, celebrating the famous Mexican day Cinco De Maya. The day when the Mexicans beat the French.
The Giant Causeway at Fingal, named after the famous Irish Giants Causeway. Absolutely magic.
Before finding our lunch destination we swing into the quiet town of Fingal. Fingal Heads was discovered by Captain James Cook way back in 1770. But it wasn’t until 1872 when a light house was erected to veer ships away from it’s treacherous cliff rocks that Fingal was put on the map.
The causeway and light house make a delightful short walk and then you can meander to Kingscliffe, just as we did.
Baja lured us in with it’s vibrant colours, chilled atmosphere and the celebrator air. Today they were celebrating Cinco De Mayo. The day (really 5th May) when Mexico beat the French in the battle of Puebla. Complimentary tequila, $5 fish bowl sized cocktails, I instantly liked the Mexican remembrance day! A long way from Mexico, Kingcliffe Baja does OK.
The food was fine – not five star dining but ok. Crispy calamari, buffalo wings and a beer washed down nicely a sorjourn to another country.