Feb 15, 2018

Lovin' Life 15/2/2018: Surprise Staycation.

The weekend is a distant memory...

but at least I have this little memento in my bathroom to remember it by.

After several busy weekends, Master SSG and I took a break from getting things done and spent this last weekend exploring the city.  It's been more pleasant getting around on foot now that the light rail construction is almost finished along George Street.  The calm seems to have encouraged the weekend crowd to return as well so there was a happy buzzy of shoppers and visitors on the streets from quite early in the morning.  

I was touched by a miracle too.

Behold the line for takeaway coffee at The Groundsof the City on Sunday morning!   Barely there at all.

After placing our order, I took a little walk along the lenght of the store to have a closer look at its decor.

It's usually hidden by a crowd at least five deep.

The deep green awnings, brass finishes and homely window displays crammed with produce give The Grounds such a distinctive presence in the grey marbled arcades of The Galeries.

Apologies for the photo overload and gilding of The Grounds lilly but I'm having too much fun rediscovering my DSLR right nowl

After a bit of window shopping (literally one window), it was time to head to the hotel for lunch.

Atelier is the Sofitel on Darling Harbour's restaurant.

The hotel itself only opened late last year and the entire establishment is a visual treat. There's all sorts of contrasting textures like unfinished wood against glass and the soft furnishings in each area of the hotel are just a bit different in a low key luxe kind of way.

There's a champagne room to the side of the main dining room.

It wasn't open when we visited but I did a lap of honour all the same.

The champagne bottle arrangements were broken up every once in a while by beer taps that were literally ice cold.

Back to the champagne...

What I liked most about the restaurant's design was the space between tables and how peaceful it was.  The bustle of Darling Harbour was nothing but a blur of colour and commotion from where we were seated.

Service was friendly and knowledgeable.  There is a kids menu which Master SSG loved.  He was even able to read what he wanted to order.

The entrees were actually large enough as a main for lunch.

The prawn and lobster salad.

The chicken liver pate with brioche.

Both were beautifully presented and tasted as good as they appeared.  From memory, both were just under $30 each.

This is the actual size of one serve of the mini cheeseburger sliders from the kids menu.  Those French Fries were perfect.  There are different hand cut chips with the fish and chips also on the menu.  I rate those too.  Kids menu items are between $12 - 16.

I know.  Not a bad view or infinity pool for that matter...

The pool area is gated off from a general sun deck area which features a full bar and range of hot menu options.

I addressed my pastiness as I nibbled my blackberries from the Kings Cross Farmers Market.

While Master SSG played, lazed (briefly and for the novelty of being wrapped head to toe in striped beach towels) and swam.

Sydney, you're pretty fabulous in summer.  Even in the city.

From poolside to changeroom chic.  The Lanvin toiletries available for your post swim relaxation.

It was hard saying goodbye.  I hope we get to return soon for another staycation.

Have you staycationed at a fancy hotel in your city recently?  You definitely should if you haven't.

Feb 13, 2018

The King's Cross Saturday Farmer's Market. The Pyrmont Bridge.

There's a silver in every technology-related rain cloud.

My shaky iPhone camera drama and the subsequent 'they want how much for the new iPhones?!?!' eyebrow raise have both made me dive into my spare things drawer in search of my DSLR.  Miraculously, it's in good working order and I still have all its lenses.  Unfortunately, I have lost its USB cable but $40(!!) later, that's been sorted out too.

It's been an interesting few days getting back into the routines and processes of using a 'proper' camera to take photos.  I'm enjoying being able to manipulate light and focus to improve my images and I love that satisfying double click as a photo gets taken. Using my camera has made me rediscover the excitement of collecting images and editing them to tell a story rather than capturing moments to share immediately on social media.

Saturday saw Master SSG and I take the train to Kings Cross for breakfast at The King's Cross Saturday Farmer's Market.

Open every Saturday from 8am until 3pm, the market is held at the Fitzroy Gardens, an easy walk from Kings Cross Station.  I'm both too old and too boring to appreciate the nightlife that the area has to offer but the people and pace of life of King's Cross on a Saturday morning seems to be just my kind of thing.  The store holders are friendly and charismatic 'all hail the kale' spruiked one of the organic vegetable stall holders and the crowd is an easy mix of families, tourists, glossy inner city beautiful people (it's the hair...  it's impossible to ignore) and the flamboyant yet earthy locals who love a good punnet of organic berries as much as they love their performance art.

 Great Wheels of Cheese is a must visit stall.  Its staff are charming and their aprons bear all sorts of cheese related puns 'It might sound cheesy but I feel grate...' was the print on one lady's apron.  But most importantly, their cheese toasties are next level.

$12 gets you a sea salt dusted luxury sandwich filled with the creamiest and richest cheese with lean ham.  I ordered the Prince Will-I-Ham for Master SSG to have with his babycino and there were no complaints.  Except when I claimed a quarter of the sandwich for myself.

My breakfast was a bacon and egg roll ($7.50) from Bowan's stall.  A smooth assembly line at the back of the stall fries bacon and eggs from right to left all of which are then scooped onto a soft white roll.  It's all made to order and efficiency is helped by the fact that no variations are offered and you get to sauce and season your roll yourself.

This is the view from where I stood with my coffee down and brown paper bag ready to receive my roll which I slathered in barbecue and tomato sauces as well as a few grinds of pepper.

What can I say?  Life is nothing but good when you get to eat all this for breakfast on a Saturday.

I had no room to sample anything from the baked goods stalls but I'm already pencilling in a return visit for a sweeter breakfast.

There's a separate lane of international streetside type hot meals and I have plans to bring my mum when she's back to try the roti.

I love browsing farmers markets.

 Seeing all the lovingly produced foods and the people who work so hard to get them to us, the general public makes me appreciate the food I purchase and eat just that little bit more.

Several punnets of berries from one producer came home with me and they do taste a world apart from what I find at the supermarket.

I'm really impressed with how my camera's been able to draw out the colour in the photos I took around the city.

We then took a walk along Darling Harbour to the Pyrmont Bridge.

Despite living in Sydney all these years, I had no idea that the Pyrmont Bridge closes and opens on a regular basis throughout the day.

Gates swing across to keep pedestrians safe and the opening of the bridge takes about a minute to open to 83 degrees.

The swing bridge operating schedule is managed by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.  The bridge itself was made a National Engineering Landmark in 1992.

It is lovely being able to spend days like this as a tourist in your own city.

Have you learned anything interesting about any of the tourist attractions where you live lately?


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