Thursday, April 18, 2019

2 days in Port Stephens

The school holidays are on and we have just gotten back from a relaxing 2 day getaway to Port Stephens. We had such a lovely time!
 It was our first time to this area and we loved the relaxed vibe and gorgeous surroundings. 
We also loved the short 2.5 hour drive from Sydney.   

We arrived on Monday just before lunchtime and had a drive around to get our bearings and check out the scenery before stopping for lunch at the Shoal Bay Country Club in Shoal Bay. 
The sun was sparkling on the water and we got immediately into holiday mode.....

Great food and fab views of the water at the Shoal Bay Country Club..... 

After lunch we had a walk on the wharf and then drove a short distance to Fingal Bay where the boys had a splash around. The bay is perfect for families as the water is calm and clear and perfect for paddle boards and kayaks or just a swim and play on the sand.

We then drove to our accommodation at The Anchorage at Port Stephens. 
We had a one bedroom loft with a sofa bed downstairs for the boys. There was a little kitchenette + dining table and a gorgeous balcony looking out to the marina. I loved the coastal, Hamptons vibe of the resort. There were so many pretty spaces throughout the hotel.
(I have a video saved on my Instagram stories if you would like to see more.)

We changed into our swimming gear and walked along the boardwalk to the pool. The property has 2 pools. One for adults only and then the family one. Simon and I ordered a cocktail as we watched the boys swim. I love that its mid April and still warm. We were blessed with great weather during our stay which I think makes all the difference on family holidays! 

After the pool we had a walk around the marina, over to the little beach near the hotel and visited the little park next door with the younger 2 boys while Finn checked out the gym.
We had dinner that night at the hotel in The Galley Kitchen which is great for families. 

On Tuesday morning we had a buffet breakfast (which was included in our room rate) then grabbed our towels and swimming stuff and headed into town to SPLASH Waterpark which we had glimpsed the day before. The boys had so much fun and I laughed so much watching them!

We then grabbed a coffee and headed over to Oakvale Wildlife Park where our city kids could see and feed some farm animals. We also got close to some koalas and kangaroos and loved seeing the baby goats clamber over the boys. It was great to see the animals close up and active compared to just seeing them at Taronga Zoo. 

For lunch we visited Murray's Brewery. We had the most amazing ribs and burgers and Simon sampled a few of their beers. The brewery is set amongst the gum trees with plenty of room for the kids to run around and plenty of tables + umbrellas to enjoy a beer or a bite to eat.

After a full day we spent the remainder of the afternoon back at the hotel and had another wander around the property and onto the beach nearby. 
As we were still full from lunch we grabbed some sushi + nibbles from the local Woolies for  a light dinner in our room and Simon and I enjoyed a drink out on the balcony watching the sunset. Perfect!

We checked out and headed back to Sydney on the Wednesday but felt well and truly refreshed after our couple of days away. We loved exploring a new area and only got to experience a tiny bit of it.
We'd definitely love to go back and discover more.

Some other spots on my list that we didn't get time for.......

(on the central coast on the way there or back)

Mermaids at Shoal Bay for breakfast

Dinner at Port Stephens golf club (a tip from a local)

Accommodation - Salt at Shoal Bay

I'd love to hear any other places that you recommend in the Port Stephens area!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Easter Recipe - Salted Caramel Eggspresso Martini

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day when this recipe for an Easter cocktail from The Grounds of Alexandria came up on my feed.

How delicious would it be to serve this up to friends and family over the Easter weekend?

Lucy the manager from the Potting Shed Bar at The Grounds was lovely enough to share her
recipe. I've popped it below in case you want to give it a try!

200g Cooking chocolate
30ml Salted Caramel Vodka
15ml Flor De Cana Spresso (coffee Rum)
15ml Tuca
30ml Cold Drip Coffee
30ml Thickened Cream
Medium sized Easter eggs to garnish
Daisies to garnish

Melt chocolate using the double boiler method, coat the glass and tip it upside down to remove any excess, before placing it in the fridge to set overnight. Patience here is key, and the tip is to use quality cooking chocolate – your regular cadbury block unfortunately won’t cut it here (but it’s handy to snack on while you work).
Add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.
Strain into your pre-set glass.

Add a cracked easter egg and place on the side (we dare you to try not to eat the leftover). 
Top with coloured daisies and serve.

What do you think?
I definitely think I'm going to give this one a try!

Recipe and photos via The Grounds of Alexandria

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Decorating for Easter

With Easter coming up in a couple of weeks I decided to pull out our Easter decor and add a few festive touches around the house. It's mainly just bunnies everywhere! 

I've kept it subtle with just a few small items here and there but it has us looking forward to the Easter weekend and the chocolate ;)

Green bunny - Woolworths

Baby bunnies - Bed, Bath n Table

Little wooden rabbits - Bed, Bath n Table

White ceramic rabbit + carrots - Bed, Bath n Table
(similar at Kmart)

Wooden rabbit egg holder - Kmart

Little chick in nest - Bed, Bath n Table

Easter blocks - Kmart

Felt rabbit - Adairs

Wooden Easter Eggs - Adairs

EASTER white rabbits - Kmart

I'm so looking forward to the Easter holidays, it feels like it has been a long term! 
We are all ready for a break from routine and some relaxed days.

Have you decorated for Easter?
Any plans for the holidays?

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