Browsing Category

Australia

A postcard from Farm & Co.

Farm + Co reminded me of driving through the Tuscan countryside spotting sunflower fields from afar and frolicking amongst them in absolute joy (although we more so walked through them, and they were quite easy to find – courtesy of the signs and Instagram geotags). There was something about being out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but natures goodness and beautiful, bright eyed people. Farm + Co was the perfect place to snag some photographs of the happiest flower and if I could of, I would have loaded up and bought all of their organic fruit & vege produce along with some take home flowers to put in my room. Sunflowers are my absolute favourite and I am filled with so much light that I was able to see them so close to home (although I still wouldn’t mind jumping on a plane to see them thousands of kilometres away from home). For now, Farm + Co has filled my soul with all the joy sunflowers can give.

All the love in the world,

Soph xx

Rogue Bar + Bistro, Newstead

Before trying out a new café or restaurant, I always check out the menu to see if it tickles my fancy (maybe I don’t live life as close on the edge as I had thought) and my first reaction was ‘silly buggers forgot to upload the other side of the menu’. But it’s definitely the case of quality over quantity here. Rogue Bar + Bistro offers a selection of 9 breakfast options and even though my first impressions were a bit on the gloomier side, I was reverted back instantly when I saw just what those 9 options were – hello truffled scrambled eggs and red velvet waffles!

Being mine & my sister’s birthday week, we had arranged to have a family brunch to catch up with each other and celebrate our 22 and 24 years of life. From the get-go everything was beyond flawless – the interiors were beaming with natural light, the service was impeccable and the food, well, I would have died the happiest person after those meals (and yes, meals is meant to be a plural). When we have a brunch for a special occasion, it is our family ritual to have a dessert breakfast, whether it be shared with one other person or amongst the table and no matter how full I may be from my first breakfast, I can always find some extra space for some sweet goodness. So I definitely feel as though I got a good taste for my buck and can certainly speak for the 9 others on the table when I say it was breathtakingly good.

I would highly recommend the mushroom & truffled scrambled eggs – it just melts in your mouth and everything on the plate compliments each other so superbly (note: we swapped out the pancetta crumbs for avocado to make it vegetarian friendly). If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, or fancy getting amongst the ritual of a breakfast dessert, the pancakes with blueberry, salted caramel and chocolate ganache is a serious work of art and will not have you with any regrets!

To give you a little preview of the service you can expect from the lovely gents & ladies at Rogue I will tell you about my experience and how one of their staff members really put the icing on the top of the cake. Although it was quite obvious that it was mine and my sister’s birthday’s (bulk present unwrapping and card reading) she had the initiative to go out of her way and organise for sparklers to come out on mine and my sister’s meals. Everyone on the table looked back and forth at each other, thinking, ‘who on earth organised this?’ and well, we were all shell-shocked. Although there was no Happy Birthday song (she did excuse herself), it was so spectacular to see somebody go so above and beyond to make a customer’s experience extraordinary. I wish I had grabbed her name, but there was so much happening that I never even thought about it until now, but kudo’s to the mystery, bright-eyed girl. You are a true gem to the Rogue team.

It has been three days since I dined in at Rogue and I am already looking forward to heading back for dinner, or even just ducking in to grab some truffled scrambled eggs and top quality coffee. If you do head there, please be sure to comment your thoughts and share what you had!

Stay bright, light and colourful.

Soph x

Ozshot Mag Instameet – Snapper Rocks

On Sunday I lost my Instameet virginity and it was everything I had hoped for; exciting, nerve-racking and rewarding. I have been wanting to go to one for so long but there has always been something standing in the way, whether it be for the fact that I wasn’t able to get access to my sister’s car, being called into work at the last minute or surprisingly a bad dose of social anxiety.  Well last weekend, I made sure I put it all behind me when I found out about Ozshot’s first ever Qld Folk Instameet just an hour and a half drive away from me at Snappers Rock. I posted on the Facebook event page, requesting a lift and within the hour I had received multiple offers. The kindness of strangers right? Now you might think one would be mad to jump into a stranger’s car, let alone a stranger’s van, (because duh ‘stranger danger’) but as I have gotten older I have been so much more willing to risk it for the biscuit, and this biscuit was damn tasty and extremely worthwhile.

Sarah (@thisissarahs_photography) picked me up from my place at 1pm in her decked out van and with snacks at the ready we began our drive down the coast to Snapper Rocks. There was something so seemingly beautiful about the drive. Before 1pm we were just two strangers, alike you and I, alike the person waiting before you for their morning get-me-up coffee and alike your best friend once was to you those many years ago, but within the minute we were connected on this incredible level all because of photography. This got me so thrilled for the afternoon that was ahead of us – I was just itching to get out there and meet fresh faces. We had left plenty of time to cater for traffic, wrong turns (and yes, we missed our turn off even though Sarah is practically a local) and a coffee hit, but somehow with the 30 minutes spare we were still racing to get down to the rocks in time (which was probably due to deciding to get acai bowls to go along with the coffee #noregrets).

According to Facebook the event started at 3pm, but it wasn’t until 3:30pm that most had arrived. We gradually broke off into smaller groups and got into our groove. I will admit, it took some time to warm up to the idea and to work out how to photograph other people when they are trying to do the exact same, but eventually it became second nature with most people tending to match up with those that shared similar photography styles and techniques, making it a lot easier to get the balance between being the photographer and the photographed.

I paired myself up with Jackie Dixon (@hellojackiedixon)- a bright eyed, bubbly girl that was radiating with so much natural beauty and had come to the Instameet on her lonesome. Alike with Sarah, Jackie and I clicked within moments of meeting each other, whether it was for the fact that I loved her skirt she was wearing or that we shared a similar sense of positivity and joy for life. We took turns in photographing each other, sharing creative ideas and embracing the splendour of the sun that was happening right before our eyes.The very beautiful @hellojackiedixonCome 4:45pm, we had all scrambled down the rocks and towards the beach to photograph the sun’s vibrant reflections on the wet sand (passers-by probably thought we had all originated from the jungle). I asked Jackie to go out and twirl in the distance, creating the most beautiful dreamscape with the moon dimly lit above her and the Gold Coast scrapers hazy in the background. There was a solid 15 minutes where I just couldn’t stop photographing the gradual descent of the sun, but I eventually took some time out so I could really take it all in without being distracted by my camera.Once the sun snuck behind the horizon, the steel wool twirling began. The contributors at Ozshot Mag had prepared at least a dozen sets of steel wool so we could all get some unique night shots and have the help needed from the professionals to improve the photographs one after the other. I didn’t end up taking any photographs of the steel wool for a few reasons, with one of those being that I had struck up conversation with Alex Spurway (@spurwaya), a Brisbane creative sponsored by Canon that I had serious Insta envy over and well, still do. I asked him question after question about his success on Instagram and felt so blessed that he was so willing to share and help me on my own journey.

As day turned to night, we had run out of steel wool, people were slowly dispersing off the beach and well, I was frozen head to toe after having the waves crash over me in process of taking a feet photo and was very ready to get back into the van to get into some warm clothes (and eat the Malteasers we had saved). Before saying my goodbyes, I made sure to add the majority of people on Facebook so we could plan to meet up again and writing this a week on, I am thrilled to say that I have actually kept in touch with those that I exchanged details with and have already arranged to meet up for an adventure this coming Sunday.  

A huge shout-out to Ozshot Mag, the contributors at Qld Folk and their sponsors for putting together such an impressive afternoon that is still bringing me so much joy and fulfilment. I can’t wait to get myself down to the next one – fingers crossed it’ll be an astro shoot!

All the love in the world,

Soph xx

 

 

Sunrise atop The Glasshouse Mountains

 

I will gladly admit that I am a morning person, but I definitely find waking up much more enjoyable when there is something to forward to, like an incredibly radiant sunrise and an extra strong coffee. Thankfully this was the case for this morning’s 4am wake-up call and I was more than happy to have my friend Bec stay over for that extra motivation to get out of bed quicker. We left the house at 4:30am in the pitch black and ventured on our merry way up the Bruce Highway and onwards to the bottom of Mt. Ngungun to begin our very exciting adventure. I have been wanting to watch the sunrise from the top of Mt. Ngungun for quite some time now as my last attempt didn’t quite go to plan (side story: James and I woke up at 3am to watch the sunrise there back in November last year and just as we turned off the highway with about 15 minutes to go, the car’s engine light came on so we decided that the smart option was to head on back to Brisbane because better safe than sorry, right? Well, the sunrise that day was incredible and we couldn’t even stop to take it all in, just in case the car wouldn’t start back up again. You can definitely say that it wasn’t a highlight of my year). So in saying that, I had some really high expectations for the sunrise this time round. In just under an hour, we had arrived at the small carpark at the bottom of Mt. Ngungun and with my camera strapped to my neck and our very dim lit IPhone torches at the ready we began our trek through the dark, breezy forest. I was quite happy to see two other ladies that had arrived just a few minutes before us, so being my true scared self, I tried my best to power through the first half of the walk to get as close to them as possible. I’m really not a fan of being in isolated places, especially in the dark so this was detrimental for my enjoyment of the walk, not too sure about Bec though. In about 20 minutes we had reached the summit of Ngungun and first light still hadn’t shown so we luckily got to watch the day start from scratch, it was simply mesmerising. We picked our spot along the rugged edge and waited patiently for the sun to creep up over the horizon and shine through the thick clouds. Over time, more people made it to the top for the main event but it definitely wasn’t crowded. I could imagine that this would be very different for the sunset and on weekends. There was even a lady that carried up a body bar with weights and had a mini ‘I MADE IT, I’m so strong’ photoshoot at the top (You go girl!). I could have easily spent hours upon hours sitting up there looking out along the coastline and down onto the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, but our stomachs were rumbling and being my half organised self, I forgot to pack spoons for our packed breakfast. So onwards it was for our coffee pit stop/plastic spoon pick-up and breakfast by the ocean. We decided to make our next stop Moffatt Beach, just north of Caloundra due to both the proximity and peacefulness of the location. It’s more of a locals spot and isn’t as busy or popular as the nearby Kings Beach. I also knew that we could grab a guaranteed good coffee from the lovely ladies and gents down at The Pocket Espresso which is conveniently located right across from the beach. After devouring our chia seed puddings that I had made the night before (see I am somewhat organised) we continued on to Mooloolaba, but not without a quick cuddle with some of the local pups that were hanging out by the beach with their owners. Unfortunately, the weather had completely turned by the time we arrived at Mooloolaba so we sacrificed the sunbathing and swimming for second hand book shopping and I picked up the sweetest book full of happiness quotes for a few dollars. Strangely enough, we both were ready to head back home before it even hit midday, I think it was mainly because we knew that a nanna nap would be in order. I feel so much happiness and light in my life right now and I am so glad that I am surrounded by like-minded people that embrace it as much as I do.

 

All the love in the world,

Soph xx

A night at Gold Coast’s finest Boutique Hotel: QT.

I hate to admit it, but even the most seasoned travellers get over having to share a bedroom with 13 other people sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the hostel life; its’ great to be able to meet so many different people and to actually be able to afford to travel and see the world but there does come a point in time when you just need a guaranteed hot shower, a warm cosy bed and to not have to worry about whether your valuables will make it through the night (it also means you can sleep naked, booyah). So when I do get to stay in hotels, boy do I do it well…I’m talking ocean view, romantic packages and of course breakfast included. Just like the hostels I stay in, I endeavour to find the funkiest and most reputable hotels to ensure that every part of me is happy with making the bold move to spend as much as I would on a week’s accommodation for one night in ultimate luxury.

After a month of intense travels, a 24-hour journey home and not having seen James since I left on the 13th of January, I couldn’t have pictured a better way to spend our first night back together than with a stay at QT Gold Coast. From the open and stylish interiors of the lobby to the bubbly and bright staff members that made you feel like you were right at home, the experience was nothing short of amazing and sure did make some killer first impressions. So here are my 5 top reasons as to why QT Gold Coast is your one stop shop for your accommodation for your next beach vacay!

  1. We were able to check in at 9am and check out at 12pm all FREE OF CHARGE. You ask how this is possible? Well, we simply just called up on the morning of check in and voila, room was all ready to rumble, no fine print at all. I am sure that this would vary depending on how busy the hotel is, but what an incredible way to get the very most out of our limited time. What made it even better was that the staff were more than happy to go the extra mile to make this happen, making us feel welcomed and looked after from the get go.We stayed in the Ocean View Twin room which was perfect. Everything was so plush, clean and felt uber fresh. I am surprised I managed to snag a quick photo of it before James jumped on it! 
  2. The food. Hoooooly smokes. Their dinner and breakfast spread is out of this world and you can usually snag some great value with their ‘bed and breakfast’ deal. Feast your eyes for them when you are booking as I am sure you will not regret it when you are 3 plates deep and going in for your 4th. Although I didn’t have dinner this time round, I have experienced the culinary evening delights prior to my stay and am positive that it will send you into a food overdrive. They cater for all, with a strong emphasis on vegetarian and gluten free diets and have plenty of healthy food options like chia seed puddings, freshly squeezed juices and a cook to order omelette station for breakfast. With this in mind, they do also have those guilty pleasures like bottomless choccy milk, waffles, pancakes and dozens of French pastries.
  3. The Romantic Package. Remember how I said that I don’t go easy when booking a hotel? Well, this is one of the reasons why. For just a small price, we were able to add on the Romantic Getaway package which is available for weekend stays. With this, you get chocolates, champagne (I’m talking a full bottle, not just two glasses), robes to keep and that winning breakfast all included. The price difference will vary depending on demand, but we paid just $40 extra, which is such a steal when the breakfast alone is $32 per person!
  4. The superb location. Although it may not be beach front, QT is situated just a 2-minute walk to the beach, making it super accessible for those morning sunrise walks. It has the proximity of Surfers Paradise only being a 10-minute walk away whilst giving you that little bit of peace and quiet that you find when staying in a top notch hotel. The beach is just as sublime as the hotel and is supervised by life savers making it safe for all. With the help of a little bit of zoom, this was the view from our balcony. We ended up bringing fish and chips back to the room and sat outside watching the waves tumble upon each other. 
  5. The quality and designs of not just the room but the whole hotel, even the lifts! QT prides itself on its quirky yet stylish and modern designs, and this sure does come alive as soon as you step foot into the lobby. From the brightly coloured décor and abstract art to the vintage dressed and very enthusiastic staff members, QT hits you with all the feels to bring you back in time. The room’s mini bar stretches to include portion size Mumm Champagne, sunscreen; because slip, slop, slap and games like dominoes and matchsticks for those cosy nights in. There really is something for everybody! I couldn’t think of a better way to wake up, than to wake up to the sun rising over the ocean. How beautiful is this?! So worth the extra money for an Ocean View.  These danishes were unreal. It felt like I was in a French Patisserie not a hotel buffet breakfast!  This was our little platter included in our Romantic Package. The only thing to fault was that there was only ONE STRAWBERRY. Who on earth wants to share a white chocolate dipped strawberry?!? Okay I sincerely apologise for not putting in the effort to frame this photograph of my breakfast but I was so hungry! Featuring quite possibly the best scrambled eggs ever (sorry Mum), homemade tomato relish, vegetarian hash browns, creamy mushrooms, dark rye toast and a perfectly poached egg. This went down like a treat! The lobby’s decor went as far as hundreds of colourful lollies in a humongous jars. You can eat them right?!

I was so hesitant on leaving QT and am definitely going to be a hotel snob after staying here – I couldn’t fault an absolute thing! If you are heading to the Gold Coast for a romantic getaway, family vacay, girls weekend or anything in between, QT has it all sorted for you. You can head to https://www.qthotelsandresorts.com to book your stay now, I am 110% positive that you will not regret it.All the love in the world,

Soph xx

Where will 2017 take me?

 

With 2017 coming to a quick start, it’s important, but also very exciting to think of what is ahead of me for the upcoming 365 days (minus the 3 that have somehow already passed). I don’t know about you all, but regardless of all the Kikki K planners and diaries I buy, I am still notorious for setting New Year Resolutions and not following through. So here is to kicking absolute butt and smashing all that I want to achieve AND more in 2017 (fifth time lucky, right?). My ultimate plan of attack was to settle, save and have serious envy over some of my favourite full time bloggers – Polkadot Passport, Gypsea_lust and Littlegreybox_phoebe – thats you! However, things seem to be oh so changing. I have recently scored a full time job as a travel consultant with Flight Centre and booking other people’s travel has been exciting to say the least, but has given me the itch to run away to the land of the unknown and pack my trusty ol’ backpack once again. So, I have set out some must do’s for travel next year, both domestically and internationally and oath do I want to tick em’ all off.

I have always been mesmerised by New Zealand’s natural beauty, friendly locals and thrill for adrenaline (I love a good bungy jump), so it seemed best suited that my first international trip for 2017 would be a camping road trip with my older sister Hayley, going from the North Island  to the South Island of New Zealand. Think lots of jumping off and out of things, scouting for the best wineries and some goddamn jaw dropping photographs featuring myself, my sister and landscapes dotted with turquoise lakes and surrounded by a plethora of greenery. I hate restrictions but unfortunately with annual leave, I will only have two weeks free in April to explore. Better than nothing though, right?

Next up is my annual family trip…this time..TO INDIA. For the past two years we have resorted to European destinations so it’s going to be very cool to take our newly formed tradition into a totally different continent. I literally cannot contain my excitement for this trip and have been dreaming of travelling to India ever since I could appreciate the divine cuisine (okay, my brother went there in 2014 and made me fall in love through his stories and pictures, but my new found love for Paneer curry is just as good of an excuse). As of yet, it will only be a short trip, but who knows…by June 2017, I may be ready to take the plunge to temporarily leave Brisbane and head off on another backpacking trip. I have been spending quite some time looking into some absolute must do’s, but I still feel like I am going in blind. So please send ideas or links to your blog posts my way so I can create some dreamy looking itineraries and WOW my family.

After being away from home soil, I have grown a desire to explore my surroundings, hence my idea of ‘settle and save’. Thankfully, I have some brilliant friends that love coming on small day trips whether it be laxin’ on the pasty white sands of Burleigh Beach or days that just pack a punch. I have only been living in Brisbane for about two years – so I feel like I have barely even scraped the surface, so here to is to a year filled with domestic travel goodness. I’m super eager to get out and about with a 4WD in Fraser Island as well as venture off to Stradbroke Island for a camping/reconnecting back to nature trip. Sounds pretty bloody good to me.

I really want to work on expanding my blog and adding that extra touch of creativity this year. So, as a New Years treat for myself, I went out and bought a GoPro ed.5! So expect to see some vlogs, travel videos and fresh content coming your way, but beware, I get really goofy when I am put in front of the camera. I’m so happy that I finally have a camera that I can finally take to the beach without freaking the hell out overtime the wind blew.

I know for a fact that this year will be filled with adventure, happiness and spontaneity. I sure hope it’s the same for all you beautiful people.

Lots of love,

Soph xo

An afternoon spent in absolute awe of Noosa’s coastline

I’ve had a busy few weeks with completing final assessments to get ready for graduation (hooray)– so finding a day completely free to myself has deemed to be quite the task. I have however managed to find a few afternoons spare, so onwards it was to Noosa, one of my favourite beachside towns, to soak up some sunshine and float in the crystal clear water. Thankful for the brilliant company from James, I had one of the greatest days off in a very long time and has made me so excited to get back up the coast to see what more there is to offer in Noosa and the surrounding areas.

Beach Beach Beach The Coastal Track along Noosa’s National Park is as scenic as it gets. It is a must do even if you only have limited time in your day, as this beautiful spot was just 30 minutes walk from the main carpark. Beach _mg_3789 At first I thought it would be so cool to hop under this hollow tree. That didn’t last long however when I began to think about all the snakes that could be hiding in there. James was sure to remind me constantly about the possibilities of one falling on top of me whilst I was crawling in. I sure don’t look comfortable, but it’s safe to say that I came out unscathed. Beach Beach James scaling down the rock face to get to our own little hideaway seat at Hells Gate. Beach Koala It may have taken me a few minutes to spot this fella even with dozens of people around pointing it out,  but I am so happy to have seen a koala in the wild. It’s been a long time coming. Beach Beach Nature Beach Food at 10 Hastings streetSo I may have broken my vegetarian diet (#noregrets) to have this calamari and paw paw salad at 10 Hastings Street. It was so worth it and I would 110% recommend it if you are looking for something light to freshen up your summers day even more. BeachGet away from the crowds and go to Noosa spit for a swim. It’s a short walk from Hastings street but is so worth it for the serenity (and large quantities of beautiful, playful dogs). It’s considered a locals spot, meaning less tourists and more relaxation.

Unfortunately that’s it for now. Until the next adventure,

Soph xx

 

 

Photo of the week: Sunset at Wellington Point

The last few weeks have been non-stop as I have officially entered ‘crunch time’ for the last time at uni. This means more studying and less blogging and adventuring, which I really don’t approve of. I have been trying to fit so much into my days but it is definitely taking it’s toll on my energy levels. I mean, I could most likely fall asleep at any given time in the day, no matter where I may be- which is hands down one of the best tricks I picked up from long distance travel (cheers to the 12 hour bus and train rides).

On Sunday I met up with some friends that I haven’t seen in over a year and ventured out to Wellington Point to walk out along Kings Island at low-tide and eat ice-cream at sundown. The weather was absolutely perfect, the pictures turned out incredible and the company was even better!

I hope you are all having a happy Tuesday wherever in the world you may be.

All the love,

Soph xx

Sunset

 

I’m back Australia!

It seems that every year that passes, the quicker it goes. I can’t believe that I am actually back in Australia after what was hands down the best year in Europe. My blog has been very inactive the last few weeks as I am trying to get back onto my feet with juggling uni, part time work and maintaining a somewhat decent social life (the social life is definitely lagging and the Olympics binging is a lot more prominent) so apologies to my followers. Over the next few weeks I will try and get some content uploaded. The posts will vary as I have aloooooot of catch up to do with my European adventures so stay tuned for a solid mix of European travels, study abroad tips and what it’s like to be back in the land of all things that are beautiful(/can kill you). But this post was basically done to say, yes, I am alive and I did survive the dreadful 40 hour journey home despite almost losing my laptop, multiple flight changes and almost missing out on an actual seat on my flight out Manchester. I might also throw in a video (once I actually get the video back) of my surprise visit to Liverpool for my boyfriend’s 21st birthday…the look on his face and the swear words that came out in front of his parents will probably be my favourite memory of the past year.

Sisters I’d like to introduce you to my lovely, older sister Hayley who will be featuring in the majority of my posts now that I am back in England. She is what some would call ‘my main squeeze’ and by far my favourite person to go adventuring with. Even though she works some gruelling shifts as a neonatal nurse, we both have promised each other to go on bulk adventures on days off. Brisbane This is me, excited to be back in Australia with a lot of my jet lag showing. Kiss the berryThis felt heavenly. My favourite place for breakfast/brunch/lunch- Kiss the Berry. They do the best tasting acai bowls…ever and in the last week I have had a total of 3. Saving money, what? 

Stay tuned lovely travellers,

Soph x