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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

Three quick and simple tips for maximising your frequent flyer program

I was pretty dubious about frequent flyer programs for a long time - but in the last few years I feel like I have cracked how to choose a good frequent flyer program.

So why even have a frequent flyer program? I know a lot of people think they are a waste of time that are only valid if you’re a business person who flies every month. I can honestly say that Mike and I fly about once a year (more if we can manage it) and manage to get at least one flight free each time. Now to be clear - we don’t have credit cards we run up each month to earn the points and I don’t make ANY purchases I wouldn’t otherwise make in order to make points.

Important: I personally use Virgin Velocity points so when I’m talking about my decision I am going to reference that program. I am not sponsored by Virgin in any way (I wish I was)- it’s just easier to talk about this in reference to my choice and it is a choice I’m pretty happy with.

Choose an airline you want to fly with

I mean obviously right? The first frequent flyer program I was with was one of the big airlines in Australia (If you’re Australian you’ll probably guess which one). It’s a well respected airline but I really didn’t like flying with them - I only did it because I didn’t understand much about airlines and they were (and are) a well known airline.

When we moved to Queensland I knew our life would change and we would be flying a lot more and so I actually started to research airlines and try them out. In the end I realised our favourite was Virgin; they were a really easy airline to deal with and I never had a bad experience with them. In the meantime my other frequent flyer membership languished in a drawer.

You are going to try a lot harder to earn points if you love the airline and want to fly with them regularly.

See who they are affiliated with

My biggest reason to sign up for Velocity was Virgin linking up with Singapore Airlines - when we fly long haul we always fly Singapore so it made total sense to sign up and take advantage of all the points. If you’re debating between different airlines have a look at what other airlines you can claim points on.  

Work out where else you can claim points

Once you start unwrapping it there are so many places you can grab points from. I definitely don’t recommend buying things you don’t need or shopping places you don’t like just to earn points but so far I’ve worked out that I can claim points from petrol, wine (through their subscription service) and even our electricity bill.


How to entertain yourself on long flights

Spending hours on a plane has limited ability for excitement. Sure initially it’s fun but that wears off quickly. I am fiercely determined to occupy myself on any flight I get on - being bored on a flight really does make it go approximately one thousand times longer. Here are my current favourite ways to entertain myself on a flight:

Podcasts

We all know that I am a podcast obsessive and you can check out my favourite podcasts right over here. When I travel I download a bunch of episodes so I can listen whether I’m near WiFi or not (I use the Stitcher app). I also sometimes resist the urge to listen to episodes from my favourite podcasts in the lead up to a trip so I have lots to listen to when I’m away.

Colouring

My favourite thing to pair with listening to podcasts is colouring. So far I’ve taken big colouring books on flights but I recently discovered small colouring books (I mean I say discover like they were hiding from me but obviously they weren't) and I’m excited to give these a go next time because I think it will be more convenient; for both me and the people in the seats around me. I use Derwent pencils (which are so fancy) when I colour.

I’ve also started using a colour by numbers app; there are a ton out there, and a lot of them can be used without wifi (I cheat and just “start” a bunch before I get on the plane so it downloads the image). It’s a good work around for short flights if you don’t want to be lugging your art supplied with you.

Games

There are tons of really awesome games you can download to your laptop these days - not just games like Candy Crush but adventure and puzzle games as well. My current favourite is the Nancy Drew games - they are just difficult enough to hook me in without being so difficult that I get frustrated. I’m so excited to download a game (or two) to play next time we fly.

Read

I love books and I always take at least one with me on the flight. I try and make it something a bit lighter that will suck me in rather than a more serious tome. I also buy a few magazines (favourites include Peppermint, Gourmet Traveller and Collective Hub). Lately I've also been really into Audible for non-fiction books.

Write

I always journal when I travel but lately I have also been taking my laptop with me on flights so that I can do more free-form writing. As much as I love the idea of having a beautiful notebook that I could write in between staring pensively out the window and sipping a martini the reality is my handwriting is awful and as a leftie I end up with stains on my hand. A laptop removes those obstacles and lets me pour out ideas.

Music

When I’m reading or writing I like to listen to music. Spotify is my app of choice for listening to music. I always make sure I have at least one playlist downloaded so I can play it offline. Normally it’s something atmospheric and peaceful, some of my favourites are:

TV & Movies

Most airlines these days have some pretty awesome choices of television shows and movies. I do recommend leaving TV and movies until you have exhausted all your other options. It’s much better to do all of the more “active” entertainment choices first and leave movies and TV for when you are just too exhausted (inevitable on a long haul flight) to do anything else.