May 23, 2011

Top End Thoughts and Images.

I have as confession to make. The thought of blogging about my 2 week break is overwhelming. Where do I start? How can I make the 600 or so photos that are all of food, the beach and my shopping into posts you'd like to read as opposed to roll your eyes at?

The inroom spa, Sky City Darwin, where I did some serious thinking this morning. Those bath tablets from Crabtree and Evelyn are fabulous!  So much easier to transport than Lush bath bombs.  Fragrance lasts for ages too.

The places my mind travels to as I have a morning soak, a chocolate and a cup of tea in the spa in our hotel room at Sky City, Darwin.  Sorry, wasn't meant to be getting you all rolling your eyes so early in my first proper post join a while.  I know, sitting in the spa with chocolate on a Monday morning?  I'm green with envy of myself just looking back at the photos.

Groovy slatted window in the bathroom that looks into the bedroom

Well, I guess all that reference to Darwin means that's where the travel memoirs will begin.

Darwin is an intoxicating mix of cultures and people all bound together by that Top End sun.  With only about a day's worth of sight seeing time, I barely scratched the surface of the city centre let alone the natural wonders that can be found beyond this.

All that remains of the Old Town Hall.

I took a very quick walk through the city on my first afternoon in town.  The heat got the better of me, as it tends to do a fair bit these days so I made a beeline for the pool at our hotel pretty early into my cultural walk.

Government House.

Thankfully, the city is a grid of 5 streets by 5 so people with a poor ability to read maps (like myself) can't get too lost.

I did find the Darwin Convention Centre pretty easily and isn't it fabulous?  I really like how the centre is embedded with areas that are mixed use.  There is a public swimming area in the foreground of the photo above and in the photo below, there are private apartments in amongst the hotels.

At weekends, the area comes alive with cyclists, swimmers and families taking in the open spaces.

I got used to Darwin time pretty quickly.

I mean, there were just so many places to just sit back and watch the world go by.  Or the edge of the infinity pool if you happen to be poolside at Sky City.  Which I was for a fair bit of my free time.  A shaded lap pool and a sun deck.  The pool practically had my name tiled on its bottom.  At least I think that's what it spelled.

If I wasn't to be found at the pool, it would be pretty safe to say I was lost in one of the casino's many restaurants restoring my energy stores after all those laps.  I think it would have been a special kind of suffering to inflict on the poor casino staff if I was to ask them to teach my how to play Keno....

Il Piato is Sky City's Italian restaurant and is the most un-casino looking dining space I have ever seen in a gaming complex.  Gets my vote already.

Mr SSG's pasta.

The food was fantastic.  Even for slightly jaded and world weary stomachs like mine.  People who live in Sydney tend to get a bit precious about eating in other Australian capital cities sometimes.  In my experience, travelling widely can help manage this superiority complex.

My Caesar salad.
I felt very Palm Beach eating on the deck in my bathers, sarong and sunglasses.  I just need a deeper tan and blonder hair, I think.

A cappucino and delicious biscuit to finish off our poolside lunch.
But perhaps the best food find at the casino was ... the $15 breakfast buffet at Sunset Cafe.  Which is technically an extension of the gaming area.

Yes, the salt and pepper shaker stand doubles as a Keno desk but look beyond this, readers.

You will be very pleasantly suprised by an instant tea machine that has three strengths of brewed tea as well as a fresh fruit platter that includes star fruit.

Tater Tots / Potato Gems!!!!!!!!!

Plus an amazing spread of both cooked and continental breakfast foods.  Oh, and everyone in the hotel is univerally friendly and helpful!

I was in the throes of heat stroke when I had my one fast food meal of the weekend, at Nando's.  The cap is Mr SSG's.  One of his Saks Off Fifth purchases in Hawaii.  Man, those were good shopping hours. G-O-O-D.

Okay, better add a few graduation photos.  They sort of relate to that Saks Off Fifth (SOF) business too.  SOF is an outlet store at Waikele in Hawaii.  I am eternally grateful to The Stylish Shoe Girl for the tip.  Will definitely write more about this later.

I found my dress at Saks Off Fifth.  It's by Marni and was those 2 words we love - Heavily Discounted as well as being those other 2 words we love - Designer Frock.  I think it worked out to be 80% off the full retail price because SOF and ever other store at Waikele was doing a further 25% of the lowest ticketted price thing when we were there.  No wonder I bought a spare suitcase whilst I was there....

The Gilberts from Jimmy Choo's 24-7 range.

I also added a contact to my rather short list of Designer Heel Contacts (NAP is the only other email on the list...).  Jimmy Choo at the Ala Moana Center in Hawaii probably does more Australian business than the Jimmy Choo store here in Sydney.  The lady who helped me find my heels knew how the game worked for intrepid Australian Choo shoppers.  She added me to their mailing list and said they did phone orders from Australia all the time.

I carried my old faithful black patent clutch.  I like a bit of contrast in my patent accessories...  May not be what Rachel Zoe advises, but I like it all the same.

It was thirsty work wearing that gown, bonnet and remembering to collect my degree from the podium. 

Graduation was great fun.  The College were very gracious hosts.  It was lovely to meet old friends from both Sydney and Perth.

I may never go back to my Louboutins.  I was still standing rather comfortably at sunset...

After the formalities, it was time to slip on the birkis, shorts and T-shirt to explore the Mindil night markets.

It was a magical mix of food, fairies, tarot readers and the sounds of the nearby beach.

I'm no longer feeling the plane trip love for my usual glossip magazines.  Give me a few home cooking magazines any day.  There are some great soup and freezer friendly recipes going around at the moment.  The Masterchef Magazine was a bit of a waste of time, unfortunately.
Such  a long catch up, sorry!  I'm nearly finished.  Today has been such a rush.  First, to get the plane.  Darwin time was forgotten as I gulped down my eye opening cup of coffee in the line waiting to board and miraculously didn't burn my whole oesophagus.  Then, the housework back log. I've decluttered a whole car boot's worth of stuff from the wardrobes and it felt good saying goodbye to it at the charity collection point today.  Oh, and the laundry!  Don't get me started on that.

Back to earth with a thud.  I feel like I've been home for weeks and it's not even been 12 hours.

Take care and hope you're all well.


  1. d y i n g

    Love the Choo's it's always a good sign when they are still comfortable after a period of wear.

    I'm tres jealous of your morning chocolate.... ! Going to have a square of dark Lindt mint chocolate now. I blame you ;)

  2. Darwin looks great - that convention centre is amazing! And that infinity pool! Love your new dress too - great colours to show off your tan! xxx

  3. Been missing your posts, SSG! Sounds like you had a wonderful time - I must get to Hawaii sometime soon. xx

  4. I so agree with Jimmy Choos over CLs too!! They are seriously the most comfy heels ever and I regularly where mine at The Office for 12 hours at a go. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE 'em!!

  5. Glad to hear you're back!
    Glad you had some luck at Waikele...very excited to see the rest of your stash...

  6. Congratulations on your graduation - it is a huge achievement and you should be very proud of yourself.

    Needless to say I love the shoes.

  7. Ohh you've been and gone! Hope you had a lovely trip - the weather wasn't as nice as it was earlier this month, but it's a lot better than it can be. Sorry I missed you - looks like you had a whirlwind visit.

    Congrats on the graduation!!

  8. Very far, very exotic-both Australia and Hawaii-looking from my part of the world.
    Following your blog is an inexpensive way of getting the best from both places. Thanks ; )!

  9. Dear Sidney Shop Girl,
    thank you for that lovely post and the beautiful pictures! It must have been a real treat for you - utterly great!

  10. Glad to hear you had a fabbo time, and congrats on graduating.

    Saks Off Fifth is actually Saks Fifth Avenue's outlet store (much like our DJs Warehouse at Birko) and am so glad you found some great bargains there!

    I've never understood the love for Loubies and i find them uncomfortable after a while (even in the Simple pumps) and always prefer my Choos to them, so I'm glad to hear someone has the same view as well!

    Also, we don't mind seeing all 600+ photos of your holiday :P

  11. Hello all,

    Choo fans unite!

    Many thanks for your kind words and thoughtfulness too.

    Miss Posy: so sorry to have missed you. Next time.

    Amy: my theory about Saks Off Fifth were correct! Don't remember seeing Saks itself anywhere. Regardless, both give DJ's some serious competition as does Neiman's.

    Mette & Britta: glad to have shown you both some photos of this part of the world.

    M: Lindt dark with mint is MEDICINAL!! Not an indulgence at all :-P

    SSG xxx

  12. Hooray, welcome back! I have missed reading your posts.
    Glad to hear you had a fab time and look forward to hearing about it - totally understand how overwhelming it is to try and get back on top of your posting AND condense a wonderful break into interesting and fun posts ... so good luck with that :)


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