Queenscliff Beach

Queenscliff Beach is effectively the northern fringe of Sydney’s famous Manly Beach. Enough said.

Queenscliff Beach looking towards Manly

Queenscliff Beach looking towards Manly

Sydney.com the official tourism site for Destination NSW states that Queenscliff Beach is ‘possessed of an offshore “bommie” which can handle waves up to seven metres’ Kowabunga!!

To a surfer this would excite and entice. To a professional sun baker it barely registers.

What is a bommie?

A few clicks on the keyboard and I discover a ‘ bommie’ is slang for Bombora, an Aboriginal name which describes an area where large sea waves break over a submerged rock shelf, reef, or sand bank that is located off the shoreline and surf break.

Who knew this 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign could be so educational.

And on the day I soaked up the sites of Queenscliff Beach the ‘bommie’ was certainly not going off….but bag pipes were!! And I’m a sucker for this instrument.

Who doesn’t love sand on their feet, the salt through their hair and the sounds woodwind instruments filling the air?

 

 

 

 

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Venice Beach, California

The 12 Beaches of Christmas 2018 campaign goes international!! Woo Hoo!!

Earlier this year I did travel to the West Coast of the USA. I left Sydney the morning of the 7th of February and arrived in Los Angeles on the morning of the 7th of February. Jet lag is a bitch.

But beaches or pools, be they located on the West Coast of Australia, the South of Spain or a backyard in Bondi are always worth travel time.

So to Venice Beach, California. As a 22-year-old backpacker I first encountered this place best described as weird, wonderful, mystical, magical, confronting, confusing. The kind of the place a 22-year-old backpacker would fall head over heals in love with. So much so that she felt the need to declare this love in ink form at the base of her 22-year-old spine – click here for further details

As a mature and motivated ( and sober) 39 year traveler to Venice Beach I did return. And with certainty I stand by my original description of this stretch of coastline, the place remains weird, wonderful, mystical, magical, confronting and confusing.

Yet hangover free I could venture far and wide, explore the Venice Beach canals ( what a delight) appreciate the street art ( note picture taken of humping bunny graffiti in homage to 2001 inking session), sample the local cuisine and marvel at the craftsmanship involved in deconstructed coffee ( yep its a thing)

 

Venice Beach – it was too long between visits.

Jet lag is a bitch but you my friend Venice made it worth it.

 

Children’s Wading Pool

Having returned to the South Coast for the festive season I have ample beaches and ocean pools at my disposal.

Yet the walk to the beach is turning into somewhat of a mission. With countless locals returning home from far flung places – Sydney, Singapore, Saigon the usual 5 minute stroll to the water can now be calculated at around 42 minutes and counting – catching up is time consuming work ‘How have you been?’ ‘ Where did the year go?’ ‘ So good to see you again’

With so much chatter lucky the 8th Beach of Christmas resides on my parent’s front verandah – a beautiful Bunning’s Hardware Store purchase – a Wading Pool ( $19.95)

Wading Pool

Wading Pool

‘ I love coming to your place Nanny’ remarked Ms R as she splashed around in the green plastic bath tub-sized water carrier on Thursday with her little sister Ms A.

Loved it so much that after a midday nap the pair spent the afternoon frolicking in the water some more – hours and hours of fun.

Ms R and Ms A - Wading Pool Fun

Ms R and Ms A – Wading Pool Fun

Anyone with kids knows that an excursion to the beach is a mission – packing the car with all the necessary ingredients for a seaside dip can exhaust and deplete.

Enter the Bunnings’ Hardware Store Wading Pool – a green plastic bath-tub sized water carrier, $19.95 worth of endless fun and no sand, salt or seaweed to contend with.

P.S Sun, Salt and Seaweed being everything I adore about the beach!! But I’d willingly sacrifice all this and more to see the delight on Ms R and Ms A in their green bath tub.

 

 

Fairy Bower Pool

Having just returned from an early morning dip in the ocean pool at Austinmer it seems only fair that I pen a blog post about the delights of summer swimming.

In November a fabulous friend did visit from interstate. The four days that followed could best be described as intense – fun-filled, memory making, adventure packed, sunshine, unicorn and rainbow rich days. A concert, a heat wave , a lightning storm, countless catch ups, coffee, cocktails and birthday cake, train, bus, uber rides, fire alarms, tattoos, laughter.

And the Fairy Bower Pool Manly.

Fairy Bower Pool, looking north towards Manly

Fairy Bower Pool, looking north towards Manly

A ferry ride on a sunny Sunday morning after a cafe breakfast. A short stroll only the Manly promenade and there you find her – the Fairy Bower Pool, a triangular ocean bath complete with the ‘ Sea Nymph’ sculptures that sit along the rock edge.

This little ocean sanctuary was the perfect antidote to our action packed Sydney adventure. It provided the perfect setting to take stock of all had come before and all that would follow.

Fairy Bower Pool Manly – you are magic.

Just like the friendship I share with my interstate bestie xx

The Sea Nymph sculptures, Fairy Bower Pool Manly

The Sea Nymph sculptures, Fairy Bower Pool Manly

 

 

 

Chowder Bay

An early morning ferry ride to the Taronga Zoo wharf.

Alighting and then walking north along a footpath with views of Sydney harbour, hidden beneath a canopy of Eucalypt trees, keeping pace with the bestest of friends – a perfect Sunday stroll on a crisp winter’s morning.

The stuff dreams are made of.

THAT view

THAT view

The 6.5 km walk ends and Balmoral Beach ( reviewed in 2014) and at every turn truly breath-taking scenery.

None more so that Chowder Bay.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services describes this oasis best ‘ It’s ( Chowder Bay )  a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. With plenty of facilities and large grassy areas for the kids and spectacular harbour views, it’s a fun and relaxing day out for the family without leaving town.

From the picturesque palm-dotted beach, you’ll gaze across the scenic waterways to South Head. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the calm waters and unpack the picnic hamper on one of the shady tables. The nearby historic military buildings and Clifton Gardens Wharf now house lively cafés and restaurant’

Chowder Bay

Chowder Bay

I was there in August. Though the sun was shining bright the water temperature left much to be desired.

Summer is here, it is time to head back to Chowder Bay with my bestie!!

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Bombo Headland ‘ The Boneyard’

Bombo Headland ' Boneyard'

Bombo Headland ‘ Boneyard’

I won’t pretend to know this stretch of coastline well. Having spent the first 25 years of my life a South Coaster I rarely ventured out of the Northern Suburbs.

But as an adult the desire to explore the greater Illawarra has been a driving force behind the 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign. It has forced me out of my comfort zone and the likes of Austinmer Beach and Macauley Beach, Thirroul to far-flung places!

Bombo Headland or The Boneyard is one such place.

Having traversed Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Coastal walk countless times it is with shame I admit to NEVER having walked the Kiama Coast Walk. That was until this year.

This 22 km track of pristine coastline is breathtaking. It is broken down in to three sections and on a crisp winters day my parents and I walked section one ( 8.4kms ) from Minnamurra to the Kiama blow-hole. The walk took 3 hours, we ate a picnic lunch at Bombo beach and caught the train home.

One of the beaches that caught my attention that day was Bombo Headland or ‘ The Boneyard’ – a plentiful place where the Dharawai and other Aboriginal groups gathered to catch and collect marine life. With the onset of colonisation it would later became a loading dock for the blue mental industry.

A committed group of Landcare volunteers have since returned this area to its former glory and the regeneration of many native plants and wildlife continues to this day. And to them I say thank you.

I recall reading a plaque about a local surfer, who had surfed at ‘ The Boneyard ‘ for most of his life and as I took in the glorious view that day I could see why one would return everyday to this inlet paradise.

Bombo Headland

                       Bombo Headland

Another 16 kms of the Kiama Coast Walk awaits – expect that to feature in the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2020!

 

 

 

 

Peacock Point, East Balmain

Peacock Point, East Balmain

Peacock Point, East Balmain

It is THAT time of year again!!

12 Beaches of Christmas 2018. Exciting times await, adventures to be had that will include sun, sand, surf, salt water. Friends, family, suncream, summer fruits – mangoes and peaches, long light filled days, endless laughter.

The discovery of new stretches of coastline, inlets of water, rock pools and streams.

Peacock Point, East Balmain falls into this category.

Taking a Sunday stroll with a friend we literally stumbled across this harbour side gem. The locals of one of Sydney’s premier picnic spots looked up suspiciously from beach towels as we gazed in amazement at ‘our’ discovery.

Whilst it remain questionable as to whether you could indeed swim in this part of Sydney harbour, one lady in a red bikini implied that it was possible.

Simply stunning. So refreshing to find yet another reason to fall in love with Summer in Sydney.

Peacock Point, East Balmain embodies the spirit of the 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign – revisit the familiar or venture far to discover something new – whatever you do – dive in deep to the ocean blue.

Peacock Point Reserve, East Balmain

Peacock Point Reserve, East Balmain

 

 

 

My Friend Bindi

She tells tall tales but more often than not they are true.

She lives an intensely passionate life in tandem with her perfect match.

A truth speaker. Thrill seeker. Dance like no one is watching kind of gal.

Open hearted and fiercely protective of those in an inner circle than spans the country, the globe.

A women who will dares to dream big and then with utmost conviction walks the extra mile to make her inner most desires a reality.

It’s hard not to be impressed. It’s hard not to smile. It’s hard not to laugh.

Most of all it’s hard not to love.

A women who lives her truth – inking it onto her body:

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and make a change

Michael Jackson ‘ Man in the Mirror’

The Breakfast Club

I recently watched the film ‘ The Breakfast Club’ for the first time.

Considering it was released in 1985 I am left wondering why it took me 33 years to get around to this?

Yet I admit I watched in two parts and for the first 43 minutes I had not a clue why this film was revered a cult classic.

The movie had nothing to do with breakfast, rather a group of teenagers from different walks of life enduring a Saturday morning detention at their High School.

As I near middle age I found it difficult to relate to the characters personal struggles to relate to one another and to the indifference they showed authority figures.

I did not understand, I was bored, I turned it off and went to bed.

Awaking the next morning I was determined to see the film out. Yet before I picked up where I left off I did a bit of reading in an attempt to find out why all the fuss

  • The movie was written, produced and directed by John Hughes. And John Hughes wrote, produced and directed Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – my all time favourite film. My heart warmed
  • I read the film premise and came to terms with the fact that the kids would not be going to a cafe for brunch. They were way cooler, members of ‘The Breakfast Club’ – the nickname invented by students and staff for detention. My heart warmed.

And as the remainder of the film unfolded I was won over and then some.

A bond began to form between the group of teens whose paths would NEVER have crossed had it not been for the Saturday lock in. As they divulged deeply personal secrets they were forced to reevaluate their preconceived ideas and stereotypical judgements about one another, themselves and their place in the world ( yes it was THAT epic)

When I was in the UK in 2013 I ate numerous times at the ‘ The Breakfast Club’ cafe chain. Prehaps that’s why I associated the orignal film with bacon and eggs? I was only 7 when the original film came out and fell hard and fast for Ferris and Edward ScissorHands at 13 so there was little room in my life for Claire, Andy, Brian, Allison and John Bender.

But fast forward 33 years and it seems I’m ready to appreciate the mastery and wonder of the teen comedy drama. All 97 minutes of pure cinema genius.

They only met once, but it changed their lives forever. They were five total strangers, with nothing in common, meeting for the first time. A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.

The Breakfast Club, first viewing September 14th-15th 2018. Life changed forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Coat of Many Colours

'The' Coat,  Sydney. 2018

‘The’ Coat Sydney. 2018

Of late my mind has drifted, wondered back in time.

Kings Road Chelsea London to be precise.

I am 22 and I am wearing a fabulous coat that I purchased in an Op-Shop in Willesdon Green, North West London – the Borough I called home for 5 months in 2001.

I am wearing this green and pink wool number down Kings Road, Chelsea feeling very pleased with myself. In its heyday Kings Road was synonymous with cutting edge fashion and although it had long since been gentrified, 17 years ago as I strutted along the pavement I felt I was honouring a bygone era in my thrift shop purchase.

And it did not go unnoticed. A colleague who worked with me in the retail store commented one morning ‘ I saw this young women walking down the road in a coat of all types of fabulousness – and then I realised it was you!!’

This made my heart sing, my head swell. My colleague was a true Londoner, born and bred, edgy and cool.

Me, I was a from a small coastal town in NSW, population 2000 people. I had only ever been to Bondi Beach once in my life time ( 4 days before boarding my flight), so that when UK residents asked me about Australia’s most famous beach – I could say I had been.

Those were special times.

I have fond memories of Kings Road Chelsea. I worked for the High End Furniture brand ‘ Heals’ earning 5 pounds an hour, serving supermodels and listening on the tunes of  Kylie Minogue and Gabrielle. To this day, the ‘ Rise ‘ soundtrack by Gabrielle and ‘ Light Years’ by Kylie are amongst my all time favourites.

17 years ago. Seems but yesterday. And it can be when I put on my coat of many colours and indulge my taste in music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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