A mini travel guide to Mt. Tamborine

Recently we were lucky enough to go on a wine tour on Mt Tamborine with some of our dear friends, and I wanted to share that experience!

Important: This is no way sponsored, our friends bought us tickets as a gift for my 30th birthday, but I was genuinely so surprised with how lovely it was, I had to share.

Okay, with the disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive in. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously, I was born in South Australia, one of the premier wine regions of the world. So I have… let’s say strong opinions about wine. When I heard there were wineries in Queensland I was intrigued; it’s sub-tropical, and so pretty humid here, which isn’t exactly ideal for growing grapes for wine production.

Turns out, Queenslanders who love wine don’t let something like the climate stop them. Most of the grapes are grown further south near the New South Wales border, where it’s much cooler and less humid.

Now, I’m not going to mention the wine tour company we travelled with, not because they weren’t fantastic (they were) or because I wouldn’t recommend it (I would) but because I think you could have an amazing experience with any of the companies that operate out of the area, or even just head up there without a tour (though of course I would expect you to have a designated driver or another safe transport plan).

With that said, let’s go on a brief tour of our stops for the day:

A mini travel guide to Mt Tamborine || Miss Sweet Nothings

Mason Wines

I’ve actually been following Mason Wines on Instagram for awhile now (honestly, it’s how I keep track of places I want to visit in Queensland, I follow them on Instagram) and they did not disappoint when I got to go in person. I loved their cellar door, which had a balcony looking out over their vineyards (which don’t actually produce wine grapes but boy are they pretty to look at). If Clare Valley has Riesling and the Barossa has Shiraz, I would say the signature wine of Mt Tamborine is Verdelho, we had several on our tour and although I’m more of a red drinker, I found them all to be very good (in different ways). I would absolutely recommend the rose, it’s a beautiful light summer rose, perfect for a barbeque.

A mini travel guide to Mt Tamborine || Miss Sweet Nothings

Witches Falls

This is the feather in Mt Tamborine’s winery cap, an award winning winery that’s been rated one of the best in the world. It was the first stop on our tour (as our incredible guide put it - whilst we still had enough sense to really appreciate what we were drinking) and we had some really interesting wines, including the second chardonnay I ever found palatable. I wish I had the chance to try more of their reds, as they’re doing a lot of really interesting wild ferments, but I can 100% recommend the Saignee rose. It’s probably the most interesting rose I’ve ever tasted in terms of flavour profile.

Mt Tamborine Distillery

I don’t even know where to start to explain this distillery, except that I think if there was a fire it would go up in a ball of flames that could be seen from space. I’m pretty sure they make every liqueur, schnapp and mixer known to man. If there’s something you can have as a shot, they’re making it at the Mt Tamborine Distillery. It was probably the most fun cellar door experience we had, with blind tastings, an impromptu hokey pokey (which is when I discovered my husband has never heard of or done the hokey pokey in his life which blew my mind) and some frankly amazing liqueurs. I walked away with a limoncello, but I immediately regretted not seeing they had raki (a famous Greek/Turkish liqueur we drank in abundance in Greece) because it makes a great end of meal digestive. Ah well, one of my travel mottos is always leave something to do so you have a reason to return to places you love, so I guess we’ll have to go back.

Fortitude Brewing Company

Our last stop was also possibly my favourite? I mean the whole day was fun so I can’t really pick one over another, but any place that has live music, a cheese factory and a brewery is probably going to be a winner for me. It was a great place to finish up, we shared some cheese and biscuits and had a few different beers. Had we not been on a tour we probably would have stayed for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening, trying different beers and ordering pizza.


A quick guide of where to eat (and drink) in South Bank, Brisbane

We’ve been lucky enough to call Brisbane home for eight years now - and in the last three or four years I’ve become obsessed with finding the best places to eat and drink. It’s become a really fun hobby, and I always love recommending places to people.

With that in mind I wanted to share some of my favourite places to eat, drink and be merry in Brisbane. It’s a reasonably big city (hush now all you Sydneysiders - I know it’s smaller than Sydney) so I’ve decided to divide it into suburbs. I’ll also do my best to keep it updated as I discover new places (and say farewell to old ones).

Pre P.S. Most of the photos are going to be from Instagram as I rarely take my big camera out when it’s not an event - so apologies in advance for the photo quality.


South Bank is one of THE places Brisbane Tourism tries to spruik to tourists as being the place to go, and you know what? They’re kind of right to do that.

Of everywhere in Brisbane, South Bank reminds me the most of Adelaide, lots of casual dining and sidewalk tables, perfect for people watching whilst sipping a delicious beverage. I’ve seen a lot of places come and go in my eight years in Brisbane (RIP Fifth Element), but this is the current list of my absolute faves.

Ole and Sangria Bar

Ole is the place to go if you want to eat all of the tapas. It is a bit pricey, so it truly is best to go with a bunch of friends to help share the bill. If you want something more casual, next door is their Sangria Bar. It has a great range of sangrias and a smaller range of tapas, making it perfect for after work drinks. Be warned though - the sangrias will knock you on your arse, so consume responsibly.

The Plough Inn

The Plough is pretty much an institution in Brisbane, it’s been around since 1864 (which is quite old by the Australian standard for pubs) and has gone through many a facelift over the years. I’ve been kicked out of it more than a few times for getting a bit rowdy on a Sunday, but I’m sure you’ll be much better behaved. It’s the perfect place for a casual drink with friends and some solid pub food.

Mucho Mexicano

Personally, I would recommend going to Mucho Mexicano on two occasions:

  1. On a Tuesday for all you can eat tacos

  2. For breakfast on the weekend

I can say with absolute certainty that you won’t be disappointed on either occasion. Though definitely book a table for All You Can Eat Tacos because it definitely fills up quick.

French Martini

This one of my favourite “special date” spots in Brisbane. It’s a small restaurant serving (not surprisingly) French cuisine. It has a good mix of well known classics and surprise offerings, and the food is always top notch. As a Francophile I’m always looking for places to replicate my experience in Paris, and this place definitely makes the grade. Take someone special.

Big Little House

Housed in the old South Brisbane police station, Little Big House is a reasonably new pub in South Bank, having only opened in 2018, but it’s fast become one of my favourites. It’s got lots of tables to gather around and the drink selection is unusually excellent. After a few early misses, the food menu has definitely found its stride and has a good mix of classic pub fare and inventive new ideas.

Bourbon Street

This is a place I wish I could visit more often, because I love New Orleans themed everything (don’t worry - it’s on the list to visit one day). I’ve never eaten there… I think… Possibly I had a late night snack once? But the cocktail menu is great and the ambience is excellent.

Aquitaine

The other French restaurant on my favourites list, Aquitaine is less of a cozy French bistro (like French Martini) and more of a classy Michelin star vibe (without the star by the way in case you were worried about the price). We had a particularly wonderful Bastille Day dinner at Aquitaine last year which was amazing from beginning to end.

Stokehouse Q

After dinner walk over to Stokehouse Q for some post dinner drinks whilst looking out over the Brisbane River. Every time I go here I’m reminded how insanely lucky I am to have ended up in Brisbane. It’s nowhere I ever expected to make my home, but having a glass of wine and looking out over the city twinkling on the river, makes me so incredibly greateful.

Munich Brauhaus

Long awaited newcomer Munich Brauhaus is everything you expect from the name. Lots of German beer, lots of pig based meal options and waitstaff dressed in dirndls and liederhosen. It’s a really fun place to go for dinner with friends (just make sure you have an empty stomach - the food portions are enormous).

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

No night is truly complete without a stop at Max Brenner’s for a hot (or cold) chocolate. I still remember the first time we went there and I was blown away by the lines that will form just to get their sweet treats.


A quick guide of where to eat (and drink) in South Brisbane

We’ve been lucky enough to call Brisbane home for eight years now - and in the last three or four years I’ve become obsessed with finding the best places to eat and drink. It’s become a really fun hobby, and I always love recommending places to people.

With that in mind I wanted to share some of my favourite places to eat, drink and be merry in Brisbane. It’s a reasonably big city (hush now all you Sydneysiders - I know it’s smaller than Sydney) so I’ve decided to divide it into suburbs. I’ll also do my best to keep it updated as I discover new places (and say farewell to old ones).

Pre P.S. Most of the photos are going to be from Instagram as I rarely take my big camera out when it’s not an event - so apologies in advance for the photo quality.


I was lucky enough to work in South Brisbane for 6 years and it’s one of my favourite parts of Brisbane. I loved going to the museum and art galleries on my lunch breaks, or walking down to the park lands to laze around and read. It’s also home to a lot of my favourite bars and restaurants so let’s take a quick tour.

Fox Hotel

When I first moved to Brisbane The Fox was a hole - but it wasn’t long before it was bought and immediately renovated. These days it’s a great place to go to have some casual drinks with friends and order food to share.

Saccharomyces Beer Cafe

Oh SBC, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. This was my regular haunt when my office was in South Brisbane because they did amazing coffee, the best mac and cheese around and all the craft beer a girl could want. To this day it’s one of my favourite places in the whole world, and I’ll find any excuse to go back. They have regularly rotating range of beer on tap, as well as a great food menu and excellent taste in music. I love it, and I hope you will love it too.

Julius Pizzeria

Oh my lord, if you want an amazing pizza experience then Julius Pizzeria is the place for you. It has some of the best pizza in Brisbane (and possibly Australia). Anytime we go to an event in South Brisbane it’s our default choice for dinner. Their menu is seasonal so there’s always something new to try, and it’s fun to watch them make the pizza in front of your eyes. Be warned though - they don’t do bookings (aside from one lunch hour and one dinner hour) but they’re happy for you to sit at the bar, have some olives and a drink whilst you wait for your table to be free.

La Lune Wine Bar

If you want to have a fancy happy hour La Lune is the place to go. They have a rotating list of uncorked wine bottles to choose from, as well as an enormous list by the glass and bottle. If you want to treat a lover (or friend) to a fancy drink (maybe before dinner at Julius), this is the place to go.

Taro’s Ramen

Taro’s has a bit of a cult following, and I was so excited when they opened a restaurant in South Brisbane. I’m a bit of a ramen fanatic, and this is some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner.

NOM

If you want something a little healthier for breakfast or lunch, NOM is the right choice. It has a daily range of salads and wraps, along with a few cheeky baked treats. It was a favourite for the days where I forgot my lunch and didn’t want to indulge in the mac and cheese at Saccharomyces.

Gelato Messina

I’d heard about Gelato Messina long before it rocked up in South Brisbane - the queues it would attract in Melbourne were pretty legendary to the foodie set. I miss a lot of things about having my office in South Brisbane - but having a gelateria that did nothing but high quality, unique gelato made on site is up there.

P.S. Most of these places are in or around Fish Lane - and every year the Fish Lane Festival does its best to showcase the best the laneway has to offer. I’ve been lucky enough to go twice, and it’s great fun (though I do recommend getting in early before it gets too busy and crazy).


A quick guide of where to eat (and drink) in Fortitude Valley

We’ve been lucky enough to call Brisbane home for eight years now - and in the last three or four years I’ve become obsessed with finding the best places to eat and drink. It’s become a really fun hobby, and I always love recommending places to people.

With that in mind I wanted to share some of my favourite places to eat, drink and be merry in Brisbane. It’s a reasonably big city (hush now all you Sydneysiders - I know it’s smaller than Sydney) so I’ve decided to divide it into suburbs. I’ll also do my best to keep it updated as I discover new places (and say farewell to old ones).

Pre P.S. Most of the photos are going to be from Instagram as I rarely take my big camera out when it’s not an event - so apologies in advance for the photo quality.


First up is Fortitude Valley. It’s got a reputation as the place to party in the city - and that’s definitely correct, but it also has a great bar scene (including my favourite bar in Brisbane). So if you’re looking for a more chilled night out - this guide to the Valley is for you.

Greaser

I almost don’t want to tell you about Greaser because it’s my favourite bar in Brisbane and I like that I can always get a table. The theme in Greaser is The Outsiders (yes that book you read in high school) so the menu is heavy on burgers and fried chicken, the live bands are normally swing or jazz, and it’s got that speakeasy vibe (helped by the fact it’s underground and you have to walk through a creepy alley to get there).

Heya

Heya is inspired by the street food of South East Asia and the tiny bars found in the Golden Gai district in Tokyo. There’s lots of hidden corners to be found in the venue, and the odd secret bar as well. The food is really good - I recommend the cheeseburger spring rolls personally and there is a great range of alcohol behind the bar. It’s a fun place to go for drinks with friends on a Saturday night.

Les Bubbles

When I first moved to Brisbane I was surprised to learn that in the eighties and nineties the police were universally considered corrupt scum bags. All that ended with the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and that’s where Les Bubbles comes in. At its height the “bathhouse” where Les Bubbles now stands was a brothel and illegal casino where the high ups would come to - ahem - have “meetings”.

Les Bubbles (regretfully) would like to inform you that they are no longer a brothel - but their speciality is still meat - steak frites to be more specific. When I say specialty I mean it - they do one thing, but they do it perfectly. It’s probably the best steak you will eat in your life, and they serve it with bottomless fries, an amazing salad and a range of sauces. Don’t panic though if you’re vegetarian or pescatarian, you’re still welcome and they’ll happily tell you what the dish of the day is if you don’t consume meat. The ambience is perfect, the food is delicious, the wine range is excellent. Definitely don’t eat lunch before going so you can enjoy the experience fully. Bonus points if you head downstairs to the bathhouse for pre (or post) drinks. They still have the hot tub up and running and serve cocktails and snack food.

Bloodhound Corner Bar & Kitchen

I love Bloodhound for pre-drinks before heading out to dinner. It’s got a great cocktail menu and a rotating range of interesting beers on tap. It can get pretty packed on the weekend, so head in early if you want a table, otherwise you might have to accept standing around. The food is tasty, but expensive for what you get, which is why I don’t really recommend it as a dinner place.


One month European itinerary

One of my favourite things to do when we start planning our trip is plotting out our itinerary. I love sitting down with a map (lol - okay fine Google Maps) and working out where we want to go, how far it is between destinations, and how to make it flow in a logical way.

Our very first trip to Europe was kind of like a Contiki; we did a big loop of Western Europe, staying only a few days in each location. It was a lot of fun, but by the end we were pretty tired, and I was sad we hadn’t spent more time in a lot of the locations.

On our honeymoon I wanted to take a slower pace, visit less places and spend a little longer in them where we could. After a lot of thought I dropped Spain and Portugal from our itinerary. It added too much travel time, and I realised it would be fun to do them as a separate trip later on. I also dropped a visit further south in Italy to go to Pompeii - again because I could see us doing a Southern Italy trip one day in the future (probably in summer).

I thought it would be fun to share our full itinerary so you can get an idea about how we spent a month in Europe in winter. I hope it gives you some inspiration!

Pre P.S. We travel by train as much as possible because it’s in general the most economical way to travel (and a lot more fun than planes) so all times to the next destination given are based on train travel. It’s been a few years since we did this trip so I’m trying to do my best to determine what trains we caught.


Paris - 4 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 4 hours 30 minutes


Lucerne - 2 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 1 hour 49 minutes


Interlaken - 2 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 6 hours 30 minutes


Venice - 4 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 2 hours 5 minutes


Florence - 3 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 1 hour 30 minutes


Rome - 4 days

Weekend Getaway: Rome | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 1 hour 55 minutes (flight from Rome to Athens)


Athens - 2 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 50 minutes (flight from Athens to Crete)


Crete - 2 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Where to go, what to eat & Where to stay

Time to next destination: 50 minutes (flight from Crete to Athens)


Athens - 2 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings
 

Time to next destination: 3 hours 30 minutes (flight from Athens to Paris)


Paris - 2 days

One month European itinerary | Miss Sweet Nothings

The Perfect Weekend Getaway: Florence

I feel like in our stay in Florence we only got to scrape the surface of what it could offer, we were there in that weird gap between Christmas and New Years so a lot of things were closed or being repaired. I will say the food was the best on our trip, so I’m very excited to share the places we’ve found.

Perfect Weekend: Florence | Miss Sweet Nothings

Friday night

After checking in to your accommodation it’s time for happy hour! Head down to the cellar door for Spumantino Verrazzano. It’s been producing wine since Roman times and is the perfect place to sit and have a few beverages before dinner. Then head on over to Trattoria Nella for dinner. I personally recommend the pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) - it’s so hearty and delicious and (bonus points) is a local Tuscan dish.

Perfect Weekend: Florence | Miss Sweet Nothings

Saturday

Time for an adventure! After breakfast it’s time to head to the Galileo Museum. It tracks the history of science from the 15th century to the present day, and shows the instruments people (like Galileo) used to solve the mysteries of the universe (long before computers). It also has an incredible astrolab that has to be seen to be believed.

After stopping for lunch at one of the cafes along the river it’s time to cross the famous Ponte Vecchio which was the centre of trade in Florence for many years, and then go for a walk in the Boboli Gardens.

After relaxing in your accommodation for awhile it’s time to head for happy hour at Mangiafoco Cafe. Feel free to have cheese with your Aperol spritz, but make sure to save room for dinner because you are in for a treat. Dinner tonight is at Vini e Vecchi Sapori (make sure to book ahead!). It’s one of the most popular restaurants in Florence, and for good reason! The food is fantastic, the wine selection is really good and the owners are very friendly and determined to avoid becoming a tourist trap. Be warned you might need to share your table with someone (they only have 18 tables) but we found it just added to the experience.

Perfect Weekend: Florence | Miss Sweet Nothings

Sunday

After an evening out at Vini e Vecchi you might not be up for this - but if you can manage to get up and head down to the river to watch the sun rise it will be worth your time. It’s an amazing experience - you really understand what people mean when they talk about the Tuscan sun. Depending on how much time you have you could then either head to the Uffizi Museum or go for a walk to the Cathedral of Santa Maria di Fiore (or both if you have the time!).


The Perfect Weekend Getaway: Rome

I have wanted to go to Italy ever since I read “Jamie’s Italy” by Jamie Oliver in 2007. There is something about the food and culture of Italy that instantly captivated me. I’m so excited to share some of that magic in this guide to the perfect weekend in Rome!

Friday afternoon

After you check into your hotel or Air B & B it’s time to head out for the evening. The afternoon is the perfect time to check out the Vatican (from the outside at least). What I find the strangest about the Vatican is that you expect it to have a wall or a gate or something to separate it (I mean it is a different country after all). Instead it’s just a low chain fence that separates it from Rome. From there you can wander down to the Castel Sant’ Angelo and across the St Angelo Bridge and down to my favourite piazza to have dinner - the Piazza Navona. One thing about Rome is that if you’re open to the idea of having lots of pizza and pasta you can wander into almost any restaurant and be treated to a delicious meal.

Weekend Getaway: Rome | Miss Sweet Nothings

Saturday

If you have read a few of my perfect weekend guides you know that I love to explore a city on foot - and Rome really is perfect for wandering. We’re getting started with a pastry and cappuccino (preferably standing at the bar) of a cafe. Then it’s time to head to the trio of the Roman Forum, Colosseum and Palatine Hill. Start at the Forum - you can buy a ticket for all three sites at the Forum which will avoid one of the queues at the Colosseum.

Spend an hour or so try to wrap your head around how impressive the Forum would have looked at the height of the Roman Empire. Next up is Palatine Hill, a beautiful manicured garden above the Roman Forum. I had never heard of it, and it has a fascinating history (as well as being gorgeous). Last up is the Colosseum; and no matter when you go, be prepared for crowds and hawkers. Dodge the “Roman Centurians” roaming around outside and head off for a lunch break at one of the nearby bistros.

Weekend Getaway: Rome | Miss Sweet Nothings

After lunch it’s time to head to the Pantheon, but stop on your way to check out the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. It’s run out of the Largo di Torre Argentina ruins (it's where Julius Caesar was murdered - and legend has it that he was the one who introduced cats to Rome in the first place) and it’s a wonderful place to give some kitties a bit of love and feel generally good about humankind.

At this stage I imagine you’ll want to head back to your accommodation and have a rest before heading out again for dinner. If you want some dinner inspiration; Deb of Smitten Kitchen has a very helpful list.

Weekend Getaway: Rome | Miss Sweet Nothings

Sunday

On the last day, it’s time to choose your own adventure! Either head to Villa Borghese for a morning of wandering through incredible gardens, finishing by exiting near the Spanish Steps for a knockout view of Rome or head to the Capitoline Museums (the oldest museum in the world) to dive deeper into the history of Rome. Of course if you’re ambitious (or have the time) you can try and go to both!


A quick guide of where to eat (and drink) in Broadbeach, Gold Coast

Broadbeach | Miss Sweet Nothings

In November my husband and I went on a quick trip to the Gold Coast for our tenth anniversary (since we got together, we’re only up to our fourth wedding anniversary). I was really excited to explore a new part of Queensland. We’ve lived here for eight years, and we really haven’t explored much of this place we’ve made home, and I’m hoping this is the first step to changing that!

For a lot of people, when they think of the Gold Coast they think glitz, glam, bikies and Schoolies. I was determined to seek out a different side of the Gold Coast, and I’m happy to say I think I succeeded!

We stayed in Broadbeach, which is a bit further down from Surfer’s Paradise (what most people think of when they think of the Gold Coast) and cusps on the more suburban parts of the Gold Coast.

I will say - if/when we go back to the Gold Coast I would probably stay even further down the coast in Miami (no, not that Miami) or Burleigh Heads. All of the breweries we visited were down that way, and it had a lot more of that classic “Aussie beach town” vibe.

Pre P.S. We stayed at Ocean Pacific Resort. It’s a little more pricey than what I might normally have gone with (I mean it was our anniversary after all) but it was worth every penny. I can’t say for sure but I’m pretty sure it’s family run (it definitely had that vibe). It didn’t have a lot of the fancy bells and whistles that you’d find in bigger resorts (restaurants etc) but it was well cared for with a nice pool and spa and the rooms were really lovely.

Pre P.P.S. Despite me bringing my DLSR I mostly took pictures with my phone, so apologies for the photo quality.

Broadbeach | Miss Sweet Nothings

Little Mermaid

Little Mermaid has the chilled out vibe of a beachside cafe that has been running since surfboards were invented. It’s somewhere the locals go for brunch, or for a Sunday session. The brunch menu has a great mix of options to suit everyone and part of the reason we went more than once was because there were multiple things I wanted to try! I definitely recommend the breakfast burger or the haloumi mushroom stack.

Bam Bam Bakehouse

It’s a good thing you could walk straight past Bam Bam if you weren’t looking for it because if it was more obvious it would be constantly packed. As it is it has a bit of a cult status; Margot Robbie even started her hen’s day at Bam Bam! The croissants take three days to make, and they are worth it. They also make a variety of dangerous looking pastries that taste as good as they look (there’s nothing worse than food only looking good “for the ‘gram”).

Skull & Bones Espresso

We didn’t eat anything here - but word on the street is they do cracker bagels. We did stop here a few times for coffee, and it was really good - so if you’re a coffee addict like us, it’s worth it just for that.

Loose Moose

The Loose Moose has the kind of food that you need to skip lunch to make room for. The menu is full of hearty burgers, ribs and loaded fries; essentially comfort food at its finest. The ambience is really fun and friendly, it was a great place to start our Gold Coast adventure!

Roosevelt Lounge

Roosevelt Lounge is the exact opposite of its brash, loud sister; Loose Moose. The max capacity is probably barely 50, and if it gets too full they close the door (though if you ring the doorbell they might let you in - as we discovered on Saturday night). It’s the kind of place you go with a few friends or a lover for some fancy drinks and maybe some snacks. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable, and you feel so classy sitting on a plush red velvet stool sipping your drink and people watching. Also they have a live saxophonist every night which really adds to the ambience.

Soho Place

Soho Place really is hidden in plain sight. It’s behind an unassuming red door that looks like a London telephone box, in amongst Thai massage places and pharmacies. It’s the last place you expect a cute speakeasy style bar to be - which is probably the point. Decorated in an homage to everything London, it’s a fun place to go for pre-drinks or an evening with friends. It’s officially the first “small” bar opened in the Gold Coast (aka a bar with no requirement to serve food) - but I hope not the last!

Double Zero

Honestly, Double Zero doesn’t need me to sing its praises. I think every other foodie magazine and website out there has already said everything that can be said about this top notch pizzeria. It’s even officially approved by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana as selling true Neapolitan pizza! We went here for our anniversary dinner and it was a fantastic experience from start to finish. The wine list is incredible, the service is polite but not overbearing and of course there is the pizza. As my husband said, I could eat just the pizza dough without any topping, it’s that good! Even better is we had a great view of the kitchen, so I could watch the chefs preparing and cooking the pizza.

A mini brewery tour…

I’m really hoping we will be able to go back to the Gold Coast soon and do a proper brewery tour, so this is just a little taster. We spent an afternoon further south in Burleigh Heads doing a mini brewery tour. We started at Black Hops which is a tiny taproom in an industrial complex. They do a great range of beers and occasional ciders, the staff are really friendly (and know everything about their beers). Plus as a nerdy business person I love that they’re doing their best to share how they’re creating a craft brewery as just three lads in Queensland.

We also checked out Granddad Jacks, a distillery down the road. I love gin, and it is a beautiful space where you can go to chill out, have a drink and listen to some music. Pets and kids are welcome, and they even have a barber cutting hair in one corner of the distillery!

I’m sure you’re wondering what we ate to help line our stomachs for all this tasting. In probably the most genius business idea I have seen, Wholly Smoke is a small BBQ smokehouse that runs out of a small kitchen in the local area. If you’re at one of the participating breweries or distilleries you can text a food order over to them, and they’ll bike it over!

Most licensed venues have some requirement to provide food (as part of liquor licensing laws) but having a kitchen is a lot of work. Having Wholly Smoke supply food makes it easy for them to build their business and means the breweries and distilleries don’t have to worry about bringing in food trucks or having a kitchen onsite.

I found this little adventure incredibly inspiring to see how these businesses are working together to create a community in Burleigh Heads, and it’s the reason I really want to go back and explore properly.


The perfect weekend getaway: Paris

The perfect weekend: Paris

There’s something about Paris. I can’t explain it but the second I landed in Paris for the first time I experienced two different emotions simultaneously. The first feeling was one of belonging, in a way I cannot explain - though I have since read many people who have had a similar experience. The second one was a feeling of not really seeing Paris, of knowing there is more to Paris that I haven’t found yet. I still feel like that - and that’s what motivates me to go back to Paris.

This perfect weekend is a bit different from others because I’m not going to give any specific recommendations for places to eat. I don’t think I have found the best places to eat just yet,instead I have linked some helpful articles down the bottom to (hopefully) point you in the right direction. 

Friday afternoon

Once you arrive it’s time to check in to your hotel and personally I love Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais. Behind a sweet blue door (and just off the Rue de Rivoli) it is cozy and fantastically baroque. What’s great is one you’re checked in you can head out to one of the many bars in the Marais for a pre dinner drink. The French eat dinner around 8 so having an apertif isn’t just a fantastically French thing to do - it’s also a great way to pass the time until dinner.

The perfect weekend: Paris

Saturday

I hope you bought walking shoes because today is going to be an adventure, and the best way to experience it is walking. Weekends are a busy time for the museums of course so it’s important to get an early start. For breakfast I cannot suggest anything other than the breakfast at the hotel. It’s a bit expensive but it is the best breakfast I have ever had. You get a normal croissant, a chocolate croissant and a baguette (with butter, jam and honey). You also get a soft boiled egg, a kiwi fruit, some yoghurt and cheese. Oh and coffee that converted me from a mocha drinker to a coffee freak.

Properly satiated it’s time to walk down to the Louvre. The first time we went to Paris we were walking down to the Rue de Rivoli trying to find the Louvre, wandering past all these high street shops I turned my head and there it was. The Louvre was just sitting across from a H & M like it belonged there.

I tell this story because for an Australian, where no building in the city I grew up in is more than a few hundred years old, the casual clash of history and modern life was (and continues to be) the most mind boggling thing about travelling in places like Europe.

Anyway so the Louvre; it is definitely worth a visit but it is HUGE so pick your battles and don’t try and see everything in one go. In case you were wondering, seeing the Mona Lisa is worth it. I didn’t try and get close because of the crowd but it was more beautiful then I was expecting. 

After the Louvre it's lovely to go for a wander in the Jardin des Tuileries - in winter it’s beautifully barren and in summer it’s a leafy wonderland so you really can’t go wrong.

Then it’s time to head over to my favourite museum in Paris (and if I’m honest - one of my favourite in the world); the Musee D’Orsay. It has an amazing collection of Impressionist art, and it’s housed in an old train station. It’s a joy to wander through, plus the museum cafe is upstairs behind the old station clock. It’s the perfect place for a lunch break.

After lunch it’s time to wander back across the river; you can head to the hotel for a nap, go for another walk in the Jardin De Tuileries or maybe do some shopping on Rue De Rivoli. No matter what you do definitely stop at a boulangerie for some kind of afternoon pastry treat. Remember dinner isn’t until 8 so it’s totally acceptable to get an afternoon snack.

Perfect Weekend: Paris //Miss Sweet Nothings

Sunday

After the intensity of Saturday, Sunday is the day for a more leisurely pace. There are lots of sweet places to get breakfast (if you can drag yourself away from the breakfast at the hotel) and then it’s time to strap your walking shoes on again and go for a walk on the Siene.

The aim is to get to the Eiffel Tower - and yes this is quite a walk. But it is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. Once you get to the Eiffel Tower it’s time to find somewhere for lunch before wandering back. On your walk back you should take a brief detour to Notre Dame. Now - the cathedral is beautiful - but I’ll let you in on a secret. Underneath Notre Dame is the history of the island on which is stands, the Ile de la Cite. And there is a museum that takes you through the foundations of the Ile de la Cite. For those of you that are Vikings fans this is a must.

Lot of food inspiration

Wander Guide: A Weekend in Paris by Local Milk

Alex the French Food Guy filmed a love letter to Paris

Smitten Kitchen shared where she ate in Paris

Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl lives in Paris and shares some amazing articles


The perfect weekend getaway: Athens

The perfect getaway: Athens // Miss Sweet Nothings

I think since the Global Financial Crisis, Greece and Athens has gotten a bit of a bad reputation (or at least among my friends it has). So I was completely surprised by how much I loved our time in Athens. The Greek people are some of the kindest and most wonderful humans I have ever been lucky enough to meet, and Athens is home to so many incredible things to see and do. 

Friday afternoon

If you’re going to be staying in Athens you may as well stay somewhere with an amazing view of the Acropolis. And the Plaka Hotel is perfect for that. It’s nice, affordable and has a really great rooftop view of the Acropolis.

Once you’re settled in I suggest heading upstairs to the rooftop bar for a pre-dinner drink and the aforementioned view of the Acropolis. Then it’s time to head out for dinner at Efcharis; a fantastic restaurant with live music, enthusiastic helpings (seriously I thought I was going to die after our first meal there) and really friendly staff. If you’re lucky you might even get to experience their home brewed raki (I’m not certain it’s called raki in all of Greece but that’s what they called it on Crete).

This is also a good time to warn you - the smoking laws in Greece are pretty much non existent. Throughout Europe the laws are a lot more lax than they are in Australia but it was at it’s most blase in Greece. So if the weather is clement definitely sit outside if you don’t want to marinate in smoke.

Saturday

It’s time for a day of adventure! My personal recommendation is the breakfast buffet at the hotel (because if it’s not obvious from all of my perfect weekend articles so far I really approve of hotels where the breakfast is included). But if that’s not your speed there are some super cute bakeries right near by and Greek pastries are fantastic.

The perfect getaway: Athens // Miss Sweet Nothings

After breakfast it’s time to go to the Acropolis! You can buy a ticket that includes a lot of different sites around Athens; the Acropolis, the north and south side of the Acropolis (which is also very cool), Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Roman Agora, Kerameikos, Olympieion and Lykeion. You probably can’t get all these sites in over a weekend but it’s always good to have all these locations up your sleeve.

The best place to start is the Agora; which was the centre of life in ancient Athens. It has been allowed to return to nature which really just adds to the atmosphere. It’s a beautiful place and it’s really hard even when you see it to imagine the scale of it - trying to imagine it at it’s height, with Socrates lecturing and the market bustling.

After the Agora it’s really easy to head straight up to the Acropolis. Although there is a lot to see on the Acropolis, one thing to look out for is the Erechtheion, in high school my classics teacher spoke highly of the beauty of the columns (which are Greek maidens) because it is able to support the roof without making the women's neck look stocky.

The perfect getaway: Athens // Miss Sweet Nothings

After a morning of adventure it’s time for a lunch stop and then it’s time to hit up the Acropolis Museum. This museum is very unique; it’s built over an archaeological site and rather than cover this up the floor is glass to allow visitors to see the dig in action.

In addition the top floor is dedicated to a scale replica of the frescoes that surround the Parthenon (the largest temple on the Acropolis) which allows you to get up close with the incredible carvings.

Around now I imagine you’ll need to head back to hotel to relax before heading out for dinner. The street where Efcharis is also has a lot of other delicious dinner options; and they’re always happy to spruik their restaurant as the best which helps (or hinders - depending on your preference) you to pick a good place.

Sunday

First thing after breakfast it’s time to head to the National Archaeological Museum. In general the Acropolis Museum is more interesting but the one thing you shouldn’t miss in the National Museum is the Antikythera mechanism. It’s housed in its own permanent exhibition and is considered the first “computer” that was used in the second century BCE to calculate various astronomical phenomena. It’s incredible to see something so ancient that holds up to our understanding of science today.

After marvelling at one of the true wonders of the ancient world it’s worth trying to take in some of the remaining sights on your Acropolis pass; I liked Hadrian’s Library and the Olympieion (which is pictured below). They’re dotted all over the city so it’s a nice way to soak up some more of Athens; plus gives you lots of chances to stop in at various bakeries for snacks. It’s the perfect way to wind down your trip in Athens

The perfect weekend getaway // Athens