Saturday, 6 May 2017

Lux Life's April 2017.

April was probably my busiest month this year so far, it was such an awesome one though! Here in Australia we had three, four-day weeks because we had two Easter bank holiday weeks, and then the Anzac day week. I made the most of this by heading back to Perth for a week over Easter, and then flying up to Asia for a week in three different counties; Singapore, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. I also had not one, but four visitors from the UK in Australia, with two in Sydney and two in Perth!!

The month started with Andrea here. She was originally supposed to be here for just a couple of nights, but due to storm Debbie up in Queensland she arrived a week early and we had a wonderful week of eating out, nights out, beach days, and catching up! 

On her last couple of days here Jasiminne arrived, and with just three days in Sydney I was desperate for Jasiminne to experience the best of Sydney. Sadly I had to work during the day, so I gave her a rough idea of where she should go and what she should do, and then in the evenings we met up for some great meals out. 

On her first night, myself, Jasiminne, and Andrea took ourselves to Restaurant Hubert for a London blogger reunion dinner. Restaurant Hubert is one of my fave places in Sydney for a good steak, but unfortunately the service wasn't as good as it usually is, which was a bit disappointing. We went back to mine and had champagne and inspected Jasiminne's surgery scars (Andrea found it fascinating, I however, am super squeamish so recoiled in horror) and had a really good girlie evening full of gossip, champagne, and chocolate!

The following evening Andrea left us to head back to Hong Kong, and Jasiminne and I jumped on the bus and went all the way down to Coogee for dinner at Coogee Pavilion. With Autumn officially here the evenings are dark really early now, so unfortunately Jasiminne didn't get to see the incredible ocean views. We had a lovely meal though and it remains one of my favourite restaurants for seafood.

For her final night I took Jasiminne to my favourite Chinese restaurant in Sydney - Mr Wong. Part of the Merivale group, which also owns Coogee Pavilion, it's super cool, always has a massive queue to get in, and the food is amazing! As I predicted, Jasiminne loved it, and you can see her review here. After dinner we walked round the corner to Establishment for a cocktail, and then down to Barber Shop for more cocktails! 

Jasiminne was leaving early the next evening, so we had lunch together opposite my office in Surry Hills, at Blacksmith. Blacksmith is so. freaking. dreamy. Srsly. The food here you guys. It is SO GOOD. I'll be writing up a review in a few weeks' time (soz for it being so far away), as I want to get all of my Asia posts up first!

That weekend I had a girls night out at The Carter, the Beyonce and JayZ themed bar and club in Sydney's CBD, and then had a quiet one in my PJs to recover from my busy couple of weeks before my big trip. I packed my suitcase, got last minute bits and bobs, and watching heaps of episodes of The Good Wife (thanks for getting me addicted to it Andrea, tch). 

The following week was pretty quiet, I had some work stuff to finish off and blog posts to schedule, and then on the Thursday my housemate and I threw a house party! My flight to Perth was at 6am the next day, so I had to leave for the airport at 3:30am...I left my house with the party still going and guests still there, and rocked up to the airport *ahem* pretty drunk. I was freaking out that they wouldn't let me on the plane, but luckily no one suspected a thing, mwahaha.

I landed in Perth at 9am Perth time and got a taxi to my aunty and uncle's house, where my brother Chris, and his lovely girlfriend Hannah were also staying! I hadn't seen them since I left London last September - seven months! It was so great seeing them again and we had loads of adventures while I was there. 

As it was Good Friday the car rental place wasn't open, so we got the bus into Freo and then an uber up to Leighton Beach for some beach time. After that we got an uber back to Freo and met up with Hannah and Dan for a wander round the Freo markets, and then a late lunch at Little Creatures. Because of my cray cray night the night before, we had an afternoon at home and I went to bed at 7pm I was so exhausted haha.

The next day we had to get up early to pick up the hire car, I always use Bayswater Cars because they're so amazing! I've used Hertz and Thrifty in the past, but Bayswater are hands down my favourite. If you get the bargain $8 a day (max $56) insurance, they make everything just so easy for you, and I highly recommend them if you're visiting Australia. So anyway, we picked up the car and took Hannah on an adventure. She'd never visited Australia or even flown long-haul before, so my brother wanted to show her all our favourite places.

We started by driving up to Floreat Beach for brunch at The Kiosk and a walk on the beach. From there we drove over to Freshwater Bay Yacht Club so Hannah could see where we used to sail, and we walked along the river before taking her up to the Bay View lookout. I decided to take them to a little secret place I used to go to a lot when I was younger with my first boyfriend. It's actually the location where I unluckily got bitten by hundreds of mosquito's when I was 17, and my legs were literally covered in so many mozzie bites they looked diseased :/ 

This little cove on the river is perfectly secluded and ideal for picnics where you're not competing for space with everyone else in the area on a sunny weekend! It was super hot but we forgot our bathers, so we had a paddle instead. Afterwards we went to Claremont Quarter for a bit of shopping and I bought my new camera (Lumix GF8 to replace my GF5), and then ran to Coles to stock up on food for Easter the following day. We spent the evening up at Hannah's for a little birthday BBQ for the two of us, which was lovely!

The following day was Easter Sunday, so after exchanging Easter eggs, I went to church and was reminded of why I never attend church in Australia. Honestly it's embarrassing. It's not something I talk about often, but I'm Catholic and quite traditional in the type of mass I like to go to, and Australian churches are not's all bad singing of rubbish/modern hymns combined with a headache-inducing tambourines and trumpets, and just ugh. I like my traditional masses like St Peter's in Vatican City and the Duomo in Milan, which is why I always make sure I go to church when I'm in a European city. Anyway. Soz. It just really annoyed me. 

After mass I walked back to the house and we drove up to Blue Duck for an Easter brunch. Blue Duck is one of my favourite brunch places in Perth, but I hadn't been for years. It hasn't changed one bit, the view is still epic, the food is still incredible, and oh my days you just can't beat their iced chocolate! 

We had some beach time at Cottesloe beach, but it got a bit chilly so we headed home and I started cooking Easter dinner. I was SO proud of myself! I cooked an entire lamb roast dinner with all the trimmings, and it tasted bloody amaze. I even made my own yorkshire puddings as Australia don't sell them, and they would have been delish but I left them in the oven too long so they were a bit hard :/ After dinner we went to the local pub with Aunty Wyn, Uncle Gray, and David for a drink or three before Uncle Gray left for a work trip the following afternoon. 

On Easter Monday we woke up early so we could all have a ride in the Ferrari before Uncle Gray left for his work trip! I've been in his Ferrari's a few times before (he has a 2009 F430 and a 1980s GTB 308), so I left the others go first, and then I went last (don't tell the others but this was mainly because I knew I'd get to ride in it the longest by going last ;)). 

Then it was time for a roadtrip! We drove to Caversham so Hannah could meet some of the Aussie wildlife, and after stroking a Wombat, holding a snake, and stroking a Koala, we fed the Kangaroos and went on a selfie mission. Unfortunately Kangaroos aren't a big fan of selfies and don't really understand what to do. But nevermind. 

After a couple of hours at Caversham we drove out into the hills, stopped off in Mundaring for a meat pie, and continued on to the first inland town in WA, York. This is one of my parents' fave places, it's super cute and is filled with antique shops and coffee shops. They also have a great old fashion sweet shop that sells traditional hard tablet fudge (very rare to find in Australia), so I bought a bag of it and shared it with Chris and Hannah.

We headed back to Perth and went to Coast Port Beach for a relaxed dinner on the ocean. The pizzas were great and I really do love it there. It's great for a no-fuss meal with quality food and amazing cocktails (and mocktails).

And then it was my birthday!!! I turned 26 and was super upset about it. I'm officially moving in to my late twenties, and I honestly found this really difficult so was a bit miserable. It was also very different to my usual birthdays, usually I have a wild debaucherous party with 15-20 of my nearest and dearest friends, but with most of my Perth friends now spread out over East, it was a more relaxed affair this year. 

In the morning we went to Point Walter for an iced chocolate and a cheeky and walked along the sandbar. The tide was in so we couldn't get all the way along, but it was really warm and the water was nice and cool, so we wandered out until the water was up to our knees and then turned around. 

After our little Point Walter walk we then drove up to South Cottesloe beach for beach time! It was in the high twenties, so spent an hour or so sunbathing. It definitely wasn't a bad way to spend my birthday! Afterwards we went to Caitlin's to see her and hang out. She'd had her house broken into and her bag and phone stolen over the weekend so I couldn't see her when I first arrived in Perth as she was dealing with all the police business. We spent the afternoon together and walked round to the deli to get some late lunch and a Cocowhip (coconut ice-cream which is dairy free/vegan). 

We drove home after and Aunty Wyn presented me with an incredible chocolate orange birthday cake. Love them so much, they're the most generous thoughtful people ever and have been such a big support through my life - every time I go back to Australia they're always amazing and so helpful and supportive. I lived with them for six weeks when I first moved over last year, and it's now a running joke that I'm their adopted daughter, lolz! Even their best friends Gary and Linda are referred to as my other parents as I've known them for so many years haha. 

We then charged our phones before heading back up the coast to Clancy's Fish Pub for a little birthday dinner with a couple of the friends who are still in Perth; Hannah, and Andrew. Andrew has been on this blog a few times before, including one time in Vegas! We've been friends for nearly ten years and there's a bit of a funny story behind our friendship. 

We met when he was mine and Chris's sailing coach, and we made friends as he and I were the same age. As time went on I started dating one of the other sailing coaches, and Andrew covered for us numerous times haha. My parents actually thought it was him I was dating, and Andrew went along with it for us as I thought my parents would be angry about my actual boyfriend because he was a couple of years older. Fast forward nine years, and that boyfriend of mine and Andrews' ex-girlfriend are now engaged and getting married later this year. Weird or what! 

Anyway, so we had a lovely relaxed dinner at Clancy's - because I was feeling so miserable about my birthday I didn't want anything special or fussy, I literally just wanted fish and chips. I'm such a loser. But anyway I really enjoyed it so that's all that matters! Also, Andrew wore the t-shirt I bought him for his birthday about eight years ago haha - we were both obsessed with Dad's Army and bonded over our mutual love for it, I even used to call him Pike (those of you who have seen it will know). I was so impressed that he still has it all these years later!!

The next three days I was working in our Perth office, which is in Subiaco. My brother and his girlfriend went to Rottnest for two days while I was working, so I spent my lunch breaks going to Claremont and Floreat Beach, and then on the Friday we had a team lunch and I got to know the Perth team a little better. 

What I love most about working for a global agency is having the opportunity to work in different offices around the world, getting to meet the other teams, and saving some holiday days! I'll be working back home in the London office for three weeks in July, as I only get 20 holiday days a year and all my friends and family back in London work full-time, it makes sense for me to work too and then see them on lunches/evenings, and weekends. 

Anyway, on the days I was working I went to Caitlin's after work one day and we had dinner and catch ups, and then the next day Chris and Hannah were back from Rotto, so I picked them up and we went into Freo for dinner. I won't mention where we went as it was shit and such a letdown, but anyway.

The following evening was my last evening in Perth, originally we were gonna go for dinner at the new Ku De Ta, but I read so many awful reviews online I just couldn't be bothered. I messaged my brother in the afternoon when I was at work and basically said; "I just want pizza, do you mind if we go to my fave pizza place then go for a dirty night out?" he was pretty happy with that so I met them after work at Mack Daddy's in Mount Lawley, we had the biggest most epic pizza (they do huge greasy NYC style pizzas that are literally amazing)!

Afterwards we went to The Classroom for epic cocktails, and then to Eve at the Casino for that dirty night out. The only problem was I wasn't drinking because I was driving (I just had one cocktail at The Classroom), and I'd never been to Eve sober before. Well. I won't be making that mistake again. Like WTF. Omfg that place is so grimy and has the weirdest dodigest crowd ever!!! HOW did Anna and I ever think that was always a good idea when we were drunk!? :O 

The next day I dropped off my hire car, and Chris and Hannah picked up theirs and drove down to Margaret River. Caitlin picked me up and we went to the beach for a coupla hours, and then she drove me home, I got my suitcase, and she kindly drove me to the airport (that's what best friends are for, right?!). The flight up to Singapore was pretty great, aside from the really old plane with the TVs that were circa 2004. 

I had one night in Singapore and then four hours the following day to explore the city, so I checked in at Conrad Centennial (I'm a diamond Hilton Honors member so will usually stay at a Hilton/Conrad property if I'm somewhere for a short amount of time - I don't tend to review them though). The next day I managed to do a fair amount, but I'll save that for the blog post next week ;) 

Later that afternoon I flew to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and met my old work bestie Clare! Our transfer picked us up and we were whisked away to the gorgeous Intercontinental Phnom Penh (full review coming soon!) for our two night stay. We learnt about the harrowing history of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, visited the national museum and Grand Palace, and saw the most incredible sunset from our hotel's rooftop swimming pool! 

After Phnom Penh we then flew up to Siem Reap, and had three nights in the Belmond (again, full review coming soon), where we spent our time exploring the temples of Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and Angkor Wat (with a failed sunrise - too much cloud), relaxing by the pool, and eating delicious $3 food. 

After Cambodia I then flew to Hong Kong for two nights there with my travel buddy Jasiminne. We did almost everything on our list, and even managed to fit in two fabulous dinners at Felix and Aqua which I'll be reviewing soon. My friend Kiran from London (he's been in a lot of blog posts in the past) was also in Hong Kong the last night we were there, so he joined us at Aqua (you can see below how happy he was about this... haha) and then we all had a cray cray night out! I can't wait to share with you how we managed to fit in so much in such a short amount of time! 

Sorry I'm not saying much about my Asia trip in this post - I'll be doing individual blog posts about each place so I want to save everything for those :P

I finished the month by flying from Hong Kong to Sydney, via Singapore and Perth. Don't ask. Basically the way all the flights and return flights worked out I had to fly via Singapore and Perth, so instead of an 8 hour direct flight from HK to Sydney, it took me 20 hours to get back. My last flight landed at 8am Monday morning, and I got a taxi straight into the office. See, my life isn't all beaches and holidays ;)

Phew, what an epic month!!! Sorry this is so long haha, it's just been one of those crazy months where everything happens at once! I have a really quiet couple of months now before I go back to London at the end of June for a wedding and three weeks in our London office there.

Keep an eye out for my Asia blog posts! I'm soooo excited to share everything from that trip with you guys! 

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  1. What an INCREDIBLE month!

  2. It looks like you had such a foodie and adventure-packed month! It's always fun to travel with friends - I love that you got to spend time with Andrea and Jasiminne for a blogger reunion!

  3. Ahhh this recap makes me so nostalgic for April even though it was only a week ago. I can't believe we squeezed in as much as we did in Hong Kong and I'm amazed that how much we did in Sydney despite me being there during weekdays! x

    Melbourne, Australia: St Kilda - Posh, Broke, & Bored


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