Tag Archives: H & M

10 things to do in Sydney

Here are my favourite places to go in Sydney- a top ten list, if you will. Some of them may seem cliché, but there is a reason that certain places are deemed tourism worthy.

My number one place in Sydney is Taronga Zoo. I love animals and will go to any zoo at any given opportunity. Taronga Zoo is special because you can take a ferry to get there and it has the best views of the city from its grounds. You can even take a gondola from the ferry terminal to the zoo entrance and back again. I also like Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour for an animal fix. It has great shark tank viewing tunnels and they have beluga whales too!

The Botanic Gardens is the place to go for its iconic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I am lucky because I used to work close enough to the gardens to go for lunch time walks there. I always enjoyed seeing the tourists stopping to take pictures along the way as it reminds me what a lovely city I live in. In summer they have open air theatre shows for kids and they always seem to be setting up for a festival or opera on the harbour side.

The Opera House is the best place to catch a show- pretty much just because you are in the Opera House. My favourite bar, Opera Bar, is also here. It’s often crowded and hard to get a drink, but you can’t beat being under the Opera House looking at the Harbour Bridge while you sip your pre- show cocktail. For a more old skool pub, I also like The London in Balmain. Rustic and sturdy, they have a large selection of beer on tap and decent food. Plus, how can you not love a pub that welcomes dogs?!

One of my favourite restaurants is at The Deck at Luna Park. It has great Spanish style seafood share platters and is not too expensive. It’s also located in my favourite suburb- Kirribilli. I was fortunate enough to live here for a while and there is no place quite like it in Sydney. Lavender Bay is beautiful, the Harbour Bridge is above you and the city is just across the water. You also can’t beat walking to work over the Harbour Bridge.

The European clothing brands have finally landed in Australia! So my new favourite place to shop is the brand new H & M‘s that keep popping up all over Sydney. I must admit that I am a little addicted.

But the best way to see Sydney is to be on the harbour in a boat– preferable at the start of the Sydney to Hobart Race. The harbour is what makes Sydney special, and it is beautiful, so if you ever come here make sure you get out on the water.

Related posts: Sydney vs Melbourne, Cocktail Hour is Sydneytown, Kid at Heart, Degustation Delights

Slovenia, 2010

From Croatia, my husband and I caught the train to Ljubljana, Slovenia. Having been disappointed with our honeymoon hotel in Dubrovnik, we decided to splash out for our last stop so we stayed at the Hotel Slon. Here, we finally got a free honeymoon gift in the form of a fruit plater, models milled around the lobby and I was excited to discover that there was a H & M next door. The surrounding area also had lots of old bank buildings, each one different.

There were dragons everywhere in Ljubljana- on lamp posts, on the town hall spire, on the castle gates and in the National Gallery. I finally caved and bought a dragon of my own to take home. It was also was a town of pretty squares. There was the colourful Presernov square with a Franciscan church and a scale model of city; Mesti square with the Rome-like Robba fountain; Stari square with the Hercules fountain and Gornji square with the medieval houses. The New square was no so interesting after all of these.

There were many bridges to cross in the city- the famous Triple bridge, Cobblers bridge and my favourite, the Dragon’s bridge. We found a great market lining the bank of the Ljubljana River and were amused by the statues of queuing people at the museum entry. There was an interesting water feature on the ground in an alleyway and the door on the Cathedral of St Nicholas also had much bronze detailing.

We visted a wine bar, had goulash that was so good that we went back on another night, and just enjoyed being in such an unexpectedly cosmopolitan city.

Forsaking the funicular, we walked up Studentovska St to Ljubljana castle for a stroll along the castle rampart. We saw the pentagonal tower and the beautiful ornate ceiling in the Chapel of St George. The view of the city from Razgledni Stolp tower was fantastic.

We took a day trip to Bled and walked around the lake. Bled castle appeared to be perched precariously on the edge of a cliff surrounded by snowy mountains. Passing the castle baths with bathing swans we came upon many Swiss looking houses.

Bled island in the middle of the lake had the baroque Church of Assumption and the prominent south staircase to the Chaplains house. It was nice to pass by streams feeding the lake and we stopped at a bar for lunch halfway around.

Others had caught boats, swan gondolas, horse and cart’s or the train to get around the lake, but I was glad that we took our time to see things like the resting dragonfly that landed on my husbands arm. It was a very romantic way to end the honeymoon before we made a short stop in England to surprise my grandma who had been unable to make it to Thailand for the wedding.

Related posts: Luxury Istria, 2010, Pag and Buzet, 2010, Split and Zadar, 2010, Dubrovnik, 2010, Destination Thailand, 2010

It’s an English Thing

Whenever somebody asks me where I am from, I always pause to answer.

I was born in Weymouth, England to an English father and a Sri Lankan mother. We lived in and out of England for the first few years of my life, I went to pre-school there, and then we moved to Australia where I grew up in Berry, NSW and was brought up as an Australian.

However, my father never really lost his accent (I still pronounce garage differently to everyone I know), I received a UK passport at birth and have spent a few trips, including a gap year, back in England.

My grandmother never left Weymouth and I always loved going back to visit her. The green rolling hillsides, the little wishing well behind her house and the thatched rooved cottages. The typical English seafront, the rocky beach and the harbour filled with fishing boats. The gorgeous Dorset countryside of quirky towns, white cliffs plunging into the blue Channel and walks through fields picking blackberries along the way.

I also love the city of London. Red telephone boxes, double decker buses, Big Ben, the tube and my favourite Tower of London. I love the parks, the palaces, the plays and the feeling of being at the centre of the world when you walk down Oxford St. I like mixing with the hip crowd at Covent Garden, standing on the edge of Greenwich Mean Time and imagining what it would be like to live inside the houses of Notting Hill. I enjoy seeing the gold encrusted Buckingham Palace gates, Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square and the bustling Piccadilly Circus. It’s also fun meeting all your Australian mates in a London pub as they are living there temporarily too.

So of course, I am Australia, but I also identify with all things English.

I was brought up on Sooty and Sweep, Noddy and Blue Peter on the TV, Punch and Judy shows at the sands and reading Beatrix Potter and Rupert at bedtime. I enjoyed eating treats from grandma like Hula Hoops, Hob Nobs and Quality Streets.

It’s always fun to go shopping at Boots, Marks and Spencers, H&M and window shopping at Harrods. I love drinking at one of the many great traditional English pubs with the same names in different places like The Golden Lion, The Red Lion, The Swan, the White Hart, The George Inn, The King’s Arms; and running to get into a nightclub before lock out. I have seen people being out on the pull for a snog, have worn a thong on my bottom instead of my feet and flitted off to Europe for a long weekend to escape the long dark winters.

The English culture is not so different to ours which makes it easy to relate to and it’s those little details that help strike up a conversation with a visiting Brit come to Australia to escape the bad weather for a time.

So, I guess I’m not English, as you are from where you grow up. But it is nice to know that I have the experience and knowledge to morph into an English person if needs be.

Related posts: It’s a Spanish Thing,  Toys, People vs Place, England, 2006England, 1997