Australia and Fiji!

Hey Everyone,

We’re just back from a wonderful vacation filled with family, adventure, fun and even some relaxation.  Here’s a little overview of the trip and a handy guide for Sydney in case you’re headed there soon.

After three flights and 24 hours we arrived in Whyalla, South Australia!  This is home base for the fabulous Ford family and we had 5 days of really fun family time.  Here we are trying to have a family portrait done, hopefully the photographer got one shot where we’re all looking at her?

After Whyalla we hit Sydney.  I have to say that Sydney could be one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to, I could live here easily.  It’s a beautiful mix of city and beach culture, amazing food and even better shopping.  I returned with a big stack of Australian home magazines, they are so well done.

We stayed in the Woollahra neighborhood at The Hughenden Boutique Hotel on Queen Street.

This was the perfect home base for us, the neighborhood was amazing.  Tons of shops and cafes in walking distance and very easy access to public busses that took us everywhere we wanted to go.  And their restaurant was fantastic!

While in Sydney I attended a gift show called Life in Style.  I’ve always wanted to carry more Aussie product in the shop and this was an exploration into that.

It was a beautiful show, very well curated.  I wish I could have ordered more, but with the Aussie dollar almost even with the US dollar, and the exhorbinant cost of shipping and customs I was a bit limited.   Never fear though, there will be some amazing pieces in soon!

One of my favorite Aussie artists is Samantha Robinson.  Her ceramics are so beautiful, every piece hand made.  Look for these to arrive at Gum Tree in time for Spring…

 

The window of her shop in beautiful Double Bay,  and a wall full of her signature teacups…We’ll be carrying these, plus her vases, some incredible votive holders called Illuminators and her famous Watermelon bowls.

http://samantharobinson.com.au/

Do not miss the Double Bay neighborhood for shopping.   They also had a wonderful little Farmer’s Market on Friday mornings with a petting zoo, pony rides and a bounce house.  It was a highlight for Lily for sure.

Back to the Woollahra/Paddington neighborhood…

Shopping and Dining—

Donna Hay is the Aussie version of Martha Stewart and her magazines Delicious and Donna Hay are incredible resources.  Here’s a peak inside her new General Store.

We’ll be carrying a selection of her new cookbooks soon.

Along Queen Street there are some beautiful little shops…

Body by Dainy Sawatsky , I bought my new favorite dress here.

http://www.body.com.au/look-book

Terrace Outdoor Living

Best outdoor furniture, dinnerware, hanging planters, umbrellas.  It was very inspiring.

Seed, This is a darling shop for both women and kids.  Their kids clothes are to die for and I snapped up some adorable shorts for myself.  It’s a small chain so you can find them throughout Sydney.

 

A couple of our favorite eateries…

Bill’s Woollahra….Bill Grainger is a fab Aussie chef and the food was delicious, open for breakfast and lunch only.

Spicer Street Cafe…. this was Will’s favorite, so simple with perfect coffee.

In fact we had perfect coffee everywhere we went.  It was uncanny, those Aussies really know their coffee and not a Starbucks in sight.

Big Mamma”s… a wonderful Italian restaurant we accidentally wandered into for dinner one night.  Probably the best authentic Italian food I’ve had since living in Florence in 1996.

On Oxford street in Paddington…

A couple of iconic Aussie brands have shops here, this used to be a great shopping neighborhood but is now a little dated.  Having said that, it’s still worth it to check out these spots…

Country Road carries clothing and homewares, I wish I could have brought back the salad bowls and glassware and rugs, simple and clean and cool.

Dinosaur Designs carries resin jewelry and housewares.  They have a shop in New York and I always loved to window shop there too.

Paddington Market…Saturdays from 10-4…you’ll find lots of cute inexpensive clothing and a smattering of real gems.  I bought a pillowcover  made out of a vintage tea towel for baby Will’s room, and a gorgeous leather clutch handmade in Sydney, fingers crossed we’ll have these in the shop soon.   The little food market toward the back is so so good.  Juices and pressed sandwiches, thai food and a cute hipster girl playing the yukelele while you sip your perfect flat white.

Love Supreme…this is a pizza place with some of the yummiest Pizza I’ve ever had, perfect thin crust, great wine and fun atmosphere too.

Westfield Bondi Junction…this is one of the best shopping malls I have ever been in.  It was raining so that was my excuse for being in a shopping mall while on vacation!

If you’re in this mall don’t miss Kikki K.  I love this paper store, i’ve never seen anything quite like it and I wish we had one here in LA.  Check out www.kikki-k.com.

Family Fun—

Do not miss the Taronga Zoo!  Take the ferry from Circular Quay and make sure you go early as you could easily stay there all day.

You catch the aerial tram up to the top of the hill and then work your way back down to the water.  And the views of Sydney Harbor cannot be beat!

Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens…We walked through here in the late afternoon and just at dusk the fruit bats come out in full force.  Lily is still talking about the fruit bats, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Bondi Beach…fun to hit this iconic spot.

I’m sure there are more mellow beaches to go to, but when in Rome…  The kids loved it.  The water was warm and the people watching was great!

Now I know this is not the insiders guide to Sydney..but with 2 kiddos and only 5 days it’s a quick guide to work from and we had a blast…

And now onto Fiji…A quick 3.5 hour flight from Sydney we loved Fiji!  Thank you to everyone at Treasure Island for making our vacation absolute perfection.  I don’t think we’ll take a family vacation without a Kids Club again until they’re teenagers!   We had 6 days on this perfect tiny island and could have easily stayed for 6 more.

http://www.treasureisland-fiji.com/

And that’s it for now.  Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Think Globally, Shop and Eat Locally!

Lori