It Feels Like Home

A Boston girl goes Hollywood then chucks it away for a life in OZ… these are my adventures and general musings.

Sydney Harbour March 27, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 10:00 am
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I’ve been snapping away. Here are a few pictures of Sydney Harbour for your viewing pleasure:


Busy Weekend Ahead March 26, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 2:30 pm
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Tonight, the Hubs and I are off for a lovely harbourside dinner and then we’re on to the Sydney Theatre Company to see the comedy, Concussion.

Tomorrow, my bestie (as the Aussies says) and her husband arrive in Sydney and will be with us for a week long whirlwind visit of Sydney. Can’t wait, yay!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!


Hunter Valley Wine

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 8:00 am
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One of our favorite things to do out of Sydney is to head to the Hunter Valley, Sydney’s wine country. It’s just a short two hour drive from the city and the perfect weekend country escape. We made sure to visit some of our favorite wineries including Gartlemann, Ivanhoe and Piggs Peake.

Gartlemann is a small boutique winery nestled in Lovedale. On the day we arrived, they had live music playing on their outdoor patio. After a tasting inside given my the winery owners, Jan & Jorg Gartlemann, we grabbed a bottle of sparkling shiraz, ordered a cheese platter and enjoyed the music on the patio.

Ivanhoe is another boutique winery that has the quintessential winery location with the idealic scenery of rolling hills and vineyards with nothing else around. Ivanhoe is one of the very first wineries we ever visited when we first went to the Hunter Valley back in 2005. Every trip, we find ourselves going back again and again.

Piggs Peake, while not having the greatest country setting and a rather off-putting name, is another boutique winery which by far produces the best wines we have ever consumed. The House of Bricks Shiraz is outstanding and our absolute favorite. While we were in Sydney, we were members of the wine club and we made sure to always get a case of the House of Bricks Shiraz delivered to our door. This time when we went back, the winemaker, Steve, (who remembered us, yay!) had just released the 2008 House of Bricks Shiraz and of course we had to snap up a case immediately.

Steve was also kind enough to take us back to where he makes the wine and showed us some of his processes. He was in the middle of making zinfandel and allowed us to press some of the grapes and taste it. He had recently added sugar the mixture allowing it to ferment. It tasted really good!

Of course after tasting all that wine, we needed to fill up our bellies and so we went to our favorite place in the Hunter, Leaves & Fishes. It’s a unique, sylish, family owned establishment producing top quality cuisine. It’s chic without being pretentious and is always our go-to place when in the Hunter. Of favorite thing to get there is the seafood platter of prawns, oysters and crab complete with a trio of dipping sauces and a bottle of local wine. There’s nothing finer than dinning on their outdoor patio on a glorious weekend.

We were in heaven the entire weekend… so relaxing… ahhhhh.


Opera House March 25, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 5:50 pm
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I snapped a few pictures of the sun rising above the Opera House on one of the first days we were here. Jet lag had us waking up at 4:30am so off for an early walk and brekky we went.

A few shots later on in the day:

And here are some city views of the Opera House:


Driving on the Other Side March 24, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 3:42 pm
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When Paul and I went to the Hunter Valley this past weekend, we had to hire a car and drive ourselves there. We hadn’t driven on the opposite side of the road in over a year so at first it was a little daunting especially trying to get out of the city during peak traffic on a Friday.

Fear not, thanks to the Hub’s superb driving skills, we arrived safely without any snags. I was the designated navigator and speed camera spotter. In NSW, they have speed cameras all along the roads in which if you are going above the posted speed limit, you are automatically ticketed. I hate speed cameras and personally think they cause everyone to slam on their brakes as they approach the cameras whether or not they were speeding or not. Most of the time, everyone goes with the speed of traffic but at times, that can be faster than the posted speed signs. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not crazy drivers who speed all the time. We keep up with traffic and like I said, some times it’s a little faster than the posted limited. So, Paul drove and I had my eyes peeled for cameras. Time will tell if my speed camera spotting paid off or not.

After I let the Hubs break in the driving a bit, it was my turn to give it a go. I drove back from the Hunter Valley to the city. I did well even driving over the bridge but of course, I went through a toll booth that had no toll taker so I had to then ring the RTA and pay my toll fee over the phone. They have a service where you can do this within 48 hours without getting a fine. So, it’s paid, the car was returned to the rental agency and all went well for our first overseas driving adventure in almost a year.


Fine As Wine March 22, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 4:02 pm
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The Hubs and I are back in Sydney after spending a lovely weekend in the Hunter Valley. We sipped on gorgeous wine and noshed on delicious Aussie seafood platters. The weather continues to be warm and sunny with a gentle breeze. Overall, it was a fine weekend, in deed.

We visited some of our favorite wineries, including, Gartlemann,

Piggs Peake

and Ivanhoe.

They are each wonderful and deserve a separate post of their own, which I will eventually get to.

I haven’t been posting many pictures just yet because I decided to leave my laptop at home in the US. Instead, I am using internet cafes when needed, therefore, it makes it a little difficult to get the pictures up and running. I promise, there will be some pics soon.


Getaway! March 19, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 4:03 pm
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I am feeling better today. I’m still not completely well but definitely on the mend, I hope. Despite not feeling the greatest, I refuse to be cooped up in our flat when it is so lovely outdoors. Last night we saw Mozart’s Magic Flute at the Opera House. It was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tonight we leave the city for a weekend trip in the Hunter Valley with a stopover in Terrigal along the Central Coast. The Hunter Valley is Sydney’s wine country and we’re looking forward to visiting all of our old, favorite wineries, again. Of course we’ll be purchasing some wine and I cannot guarantee that it will all make it back to the US. We have to enjoy the fruits of our travels, ha! We’re also having dinner at two of our favorite places, Leaves and Fishes and The Letterbox. It should be a lovely weekend for us both.

I hope everyone else has a lovely weekend, too!