Winter in Melbourne

Currently in the realms of Winter, Melbourne is a very cold place to be. With wet feet, shivering limbs and a big woolly jumper that I now call home, it’s not exactly what I had in mind for my year in Australia. But hey, I shouldn’t dwell. If it was hot, I’d only be complaining about the heat – this cold, rainy weather is perfect for my pale Welsh skin.

So whilst I may not be sunning myself on the beach or wandering around bright green parks, I have found plenty more to occupy myself with in Melbourne. Check out below some things to do during Melbourne’s winter months….

Soup on Degrave’s Street

Melbourne is filled with nooks and crannies and alleyways hidden with cute restaurants, cafes and shops. Degrave’s Street, located seconds from Flinders Street station, is a favourite of mine. One rainy Saturday, fed up of the constant rain and wet feet (I really should invest in some shoes which don’t have holes in), myself and a friend made our way to The Soup Place. I tried the spicy Moroccan chicken soup, my friend the Greek style chicken and we sat outside, wrapped up against the battering rain and sipped on our soups, dunking in fresh bread and enjoying the contrast of deliciously hot soup and the wet and rainy street. The Soup Place also do a $3 pay it forward for the homeless which is a lovely way to think about all those people who are living outside in this harsh weather.

Musicals

There are so many musicals on at the moment in Melbourne. Matilda, Singing in the Rain, Rocky Horror, The Sound of Music….What better way to spend a cold day than warm and toasty in a beautiful theatre watching some great shows. If only they had Dirty Dancing here. My life would definitely be made.

Mulled wine at Madame Brussels

Usually, I save a space in my heart for mulled wine at Christmas time. However, spending winter in Melbourne, I have had to make extra room. What a shame.

Madame Brussels is a unique bar on Bourke Street specialising in fancy cocktails and winter warmers. You can stay snuggled up inside or sit outside on the roof terrace all the while warming yourself up with a teapot of mulled wine. What more could you want? They also do a whole range of tempting cocktails and delicious food! Definitely going to head there soon to test out the menu…

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National Gallery of Victoria

A gallery is always a good way to spend a few peaceful hours hiding away from the cold and this was no exception. I spent a quiet few hours here wandering around and learning more about the city I am living in. And what more, it’s free!

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Coffee and Cake

I love cake. And living here has forced me into loving coffee. Melbourne, famous for its coffee, is filled with cute cafes where you can spend time soaking up the coffee beans and enjoying delicious fancies. Melbourne has forever ruined me for cakes and sweet treats. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I go back to the UK.

Any who knows me knows of my love for afternoon tea. Upon my arrival in Melbourne, I came across Hopetoun Tea Rooms and knew it was a place I just had to go too. And recently, I finally had the chance to walk on inside rather than pressing my nose against the window and wondering what it was like. With colourfully delicious cakes enticing you inside, we queued (it’s a very popular place this) for little under ten minutes and were eventually led to a table where we sat down and promptly stood back up again to choose our cakes. Raspberry Sponge, Pear Tarts, Orange and Almond, White Chocolate and Chocolate Mousse, Carrot Cake, Red Velvet…the choice was overwhelming. We recently went back here for lunch too where we over indulged in burgers and soups before buying more cake. In our defense, we took it home to have later. Cake for dinner is always the best sort of dinner.

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Skydeck

The Eureka Skydeck, the highest public view point in the Southern Hemisphere, is, to be fair, pretty damn impressive. Standing 297m above Melbourne, this tower offers incredible views of the toy-town city. I went here one cool, crisp late afternoon and enjoyed the clear views of the city before the sun started to set and turned everything orange. It was beautiful and definitely worth a visit at sunset. Maybe not when it’s raining or cloudy though. Probably won’t be much of a view then. Pick your winter day wisely.

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So just because Melbourne is all kinds of cold and windy at the moment, doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors cooped up in your duvet. The best part of being cold and wet is the steaming mug of coffee/mulled wine or a bowl of toasty soup you can use to warm yourself up with! It’s all part of the Winter in Melbourne experience..

 

It’s Wine Time

I truly believe that wine is an essential part of life. And that is why as soon as I heard about the magical Yarra Valley and its wine tours, I decided a trip out of the city was definitely in order.

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Me and my fellow travel buddy had booked a wine tour which promised spectacular views, free chocolate and of course, the most important part of it all, wine. Cafe Bus Winery Tours picked us up early from central Melbourne. This early start was true commitment from someone who cherishes their weekend lie-ins after spending the week waking up at 5.30am for work. The things you do for wine, honestly.

We were at our first stop by 9AM – Gateway Estate Farm House – a family run shop and cafe full of freshly made produce. After a brief tour of the strawberry picking and giant pepper trees, we traipsed back to the cafe where a spread had been put on for us. Boy, was I excited. Even at 9.30AM, I was able to fill up on meats and cheeses and crackers and grapes and chutneys and delicate servings of different alcoholic beverages. This was shaping up to be a grand day.

Next stop at 10AM was Napoleone. I loved it here – a peaceful building surrounded by acres of vines and greenery. It encompassed everything I never knew I wanted in life – a quiet and laid back family run estate full of charm, vine yards, cider and beer. What a life. Our little tour group were treated to a range of different beverages including apple cider, pear and apple cider, lager and pale ale. Then, we had time to wander around the estate taking in the acres of beautiful landscape and wondering how we could become creators of alcohol and live a life as peaceful as this.

Yarra valley

Yarra valley

By 11AM, we were at our third stop – the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie (and ice creamery). Like a bloodhound, I was magnetically pulled into the building by the delicious smells of melted chocolate oozing out into the countryside. Like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, this shop was filled to the brim with everything you could possibly want in a chocolate shop. After ambling around, my mouth watering, I decided the prices were slightly too high so stocked up on the freebies at the front of the store. A girl’s gotta eat.

This Chocolaterie was again in such a beautiful location, I didn’t have time to question my decision not to buy any chocolate. Surrounded by fields, rolling hills, we had a pleasant time enjoying the view and blue skies in the little bit of sunshine which was starting to make an appearance. The ice-cream was also extremely tempting with lots of interesting flavours – pancake and maple syrup, rocky road…however after a rather boozy breakfast and one too many scoops of the free chocolate samples, I simply had to say “no” (I just don’t know who I am anymore).

Yarra valley

Next on our adventure was a stop at Dominique Portent winery. This winery again is a family run establishment in the heart of the Valley with a father-son duo keeping everything, especially the wine, running smoothly. With the day still clear, we partook in a game of Petanque (a game a bit like Boules) which offered the chance to win a free bottle of wine. This was my time to shine. I mean, the only time to be competitive is when free wine is at stakes right? However, I failed in an abysmal fashion. 

Then, it was time for the wine tasting. We were introduced to some exquisite wines which we enjoying swirling around and taking delicate sips before knocking the whole thing back (old habits die hard). After a spot of lunch, it was time to leave to go back to the cafe bus and head to our next port of call.

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We arrived at Rochford Winery and were instantly shown to our wine tasting session. Sat at tables, we listened to the holder of the wine as he told us of the history of the establishment and what kinds of wine we were going to be sampling. We enjoyed a Chardonnay, a Cerberus, a Pinot Noir and even a dessert wine, the Rochford Rutherglen Muscat. They were all beautiful and nearly almost tempted me to stop buying the $5 stuff I got from Aldi and instead try and be a bit more sophisticated. That was until I saw the prices of course. Aldi, you’ve always got my back.

Rochford Winery was also a restaurant and store with lots of lovely knick knacks and books. There was also a balcony which you go up too to catch some incredible views of the Yarra Valley.

Our last and final stop was possibly my favourite of them all. However, I am looking back at my notes whilst writing this and I seem to have not written down the name of this particular establishment which is annoying but just means that you will have to go and find out for yourselves..
This wine tasting was hosted by a super friendly and informative guy who chatted easily to us whilst his enthusiasm for his wine shone through. We tried four different types of wine, each as tasty as the last, whilst overlooking the endless vines and catching glimpse of the kangaroos which were bounding between them. We stayed at this spot for a while, enjoying some snacks and watching as a herd of kangaroos jumped through the vines as they escaped a dog walker and his dog. Oh Australia.

The day was beautiful. Filled with chocolate, wine, stunning views and enthusiastic and friendly wine connoisseurs, I would whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone who is after a day of exploring. If you are a lover of wine and of chocolate, you can’t really go wrong with heading out of the city, delving deep into the countryside and experiencing the true authentic tastes of Melbourne.

In fact, I am more than tempted to never leave Melbourne, and stay in the Yarra Valley drinking wine and eating cheese and watching Kangaroos. Now, that’s the dream.

Yarra valley

I’m A Social Mess

I’m a worrier. I’ve always been a worrier. My head is constantly whirling with thoughts and concerns – what I need to do, what I haven’t done yet, what I’ve done wrong. Sometimes it renders me incapable of being myself in a social group. I get nervous, anxious, like the spotlight is on me. And then I blush. No no, not a cute little blush which gently sprinkles my face with a rosy hue – it’s a full amber alert which heats up my entire body and dampens my face which of course people comment on which in turn makes me flush an even deeper colour. Call it social anxiety, call it shyness, call it me just being stupid, but I can’t stop myself from turning into an anxious, mute, red-faced goon when I’m faced with new people. It’s probably me being an over-thinker – I think too much about what other people are thinking – what response will I get if I say this? Will they think I’m weird? Funny? It’s exhausting. I’ve never really been the type to care too deeply about what other people think of me – I have my friends, I have my family and that’s all I’m really concerned about. It’s just the whole meeting new people that I have this internal struggle with. I admit myself, I’m probably not the most interesting of person when you first meet me – I turn into an awkward and fumbly mess of a human being which makes people think that I’m boring and got nothing interesting to say.

Thing is, I don’t remember feeling this feeling as great as I do now. I was shy I guess in school, I was slightly awkward and not someone who was full of confidence but I don’t recall having a constant overload of thoughts whirling around my head. I guess I first noticed it fully when I went to university. The whole being in a big group thing terrified me. I was surrounded by people who shone confidence, who were funny and quick witted and able to join new social groups quickly. And I found that difficult to do – I found it difficult to integrate myself that quickly into something new and it slowed me down. I’m much better at finding my feet first, meeting a few new people, forming attachments, rather than hurtling myself full speed into huge groups of people.

Being in Australia is amazing. And in some ways it has improved my confidence but it hasn’t really improved on my social awkwardness. But I am out here for another 8 months and I am working on it – I’m trying to do new things, and I’m trying not to let my head control my social interaction.

However, it’s getting to that point where I should start thinking about applying for jobs for when I get home. It’s not going well. I read job descriptions of the particular industries I want to go into and I tell myself that there’s no point in applying for that – I won’t get anywhere, I’m not confident enough, haven’t got that charisma, that charm.

Overthinking is never good and anxiety is awful. Your brain works a mile a minute forcing you to believe that you’re not good enough, that people don’t really like you, you’re going nowhere. I don’t want to be this person anymore. I want to be that person that has confidence shining from their pores, who can walk into social situations and be charming and full of fun and laughter. I feel like I’m throwing myself a little pity party at the moment. I guess everyone overthinks. And not everyone is as confident as they perhaps portray. I just need to get a hold of myself – there’s a world out there which I am going to be part of someday. I will be that person. It might take some time, but I am working on it. Or if all fails, I’ll just live out my days in the Australian outback. At least then you won’t be able to see my blush through all the sunburn….

A Night at the Theatre

When we first arrived in Melbourne, we started making a bucket list of things we wanted to do there before we left. Granted most of them included restaurants or cake shops or roof top bars, but the very first one was a trip to the theatre to see Matilda The Musical.

And last night, we finally got around to doing it.
Matilda the musical

We bought tickets a few weeks ago and at only 55$ they were quite a bargain. We were told they were on the ground floor close to the stage but had restricted seating. However, upon arrival we found that we had a pretty clear view.

There can’t be many people who don’t know the story of Matilda, and having grown up with Roald Dahl books myself, I was excited to see how they produced a play from a much loved children’s book.

Tucked up with our grapes and sweets (we’re really working this whole “balanced diet” thing), we eagerly waited for the lights to go down. And as the chatter halted and the lights started to dim, some shadows approached on the stage, the first note of a song, and Matilda had begun.

The show was full of laughter, music, and not a dull moment was had. Tim Minchin is a genius who can create a story out of a song and make it catchy, funny and memorable. The cast were all enthusiastic and you could just tell they were having a great time. Honestly though, it’s just unfair how talented these kids were – what happened to my talent? Why wasn’t I cast in an international play as a child?

Throughout the play, there was barely a minute to pause for breath. Each second was jam packed with music, movement and laughter. And it was great. I found myself staring at the stage, unable to tear my eyes away for fear I would miss a crucial moment. I love how even the sad parts of the book, the loneliness felt by both Matilda and Miss Honey were still prominent but dealt with in a light-hearted and comical way.

The characters were definitely brought to life throughout the play and you found yourself rooting for each and every one. Even Miss Trunchball who is cast as the evil enemy got one of the biggest cheers at the end of the play only reinforcing the fantastic way the story was adapted.

It’s always tricky turning a much loved book into a film or play but this performance just aced all my expectations. Children and adults alike were grinning from ear to ear throughout the night and the whole theatre echoed with cheers and laughter in every scene.

Seriously, leave your house right now and go see it. It’s amazing. And it’s only here in Melbourne for a few more weeks! Quick! Quick! You’ll only regret it…

Matilda the musical

 

The Great Ocean Road Trip

So I just got back from a little place called The Great Ocean Road. And it was pretty darn Great.

A windy day on the Great Ocean Road

Me and my fellow road trip buddies set off in our rented car late Friday afternoon all bushy-tailed and bright eyed, equipped with camping gear – albeit limited camping gear – snacks and more importantly, a cheeky bottle(s) of wine.

With darkness approaching, we found a campsite in Anglesea and set up for the night. We all piled into one tent and sat around our piles of snacks and wine munching away and gradually getting sleepier by the minute. We retreated to our respective tents and squeezed inside and fell asleep listening to the sound of the wind and the sea and in my case, the sounds of some pretty hefty snores coming from my tent buddy. Just adding to the camping experience…..Beaches on the Great Ocean Road

We awoke the next morning ready and excited for the day.

But then we looked at the sky.

The grey grey sky stretching for miles which threatened rain and oozed general misery. Fab. What a good start.

We set off and alas, the rain came. Our first few stops comprised of soggy views and soggy feet but to be fair, if in the rain the views looked like they did, can you imagine what it would look like with blue skies and dazzling sunshine? We decided to see the silver lining of the rainy situation – I mean we are road tripping down the Great Ocean Road. We shouldn’t really complain. There are worse things we could be doing.

12 apostles We gradually made our way up to the 12 Apostles and by that time, the rain had stopped and the skies had cleared up oh so slightly. The 12 Apostles are a defining feature of the Great Ocean Road’s landscape so of course some obligatory tourist photos were in order. Because if you don’t take photos and put it on social media, did you even go there?

Rather than setting up camp there, we decided to start driving back down to Apollo Bay so that we would have more time in the morning to check out the things we missed at the start of the Road because of the rain. Upon arriving at Apollo Bay, we took our tired and freezing limbs to a local pub where we enjoyed a well deserved beer and some pizza. That went down very well, I’ll tell you that for nothing.

beach at sunsetWe found a cheap campsite and quickly set up our tents like the camping pros we are before retreating to the car to drink wine and eat crisps and talk about life. And of course scare ourselves silly by looking into the darkened trees and convincing ourselves there were people standing in them. Thanks for that Beth. We eventually admitted defeat and took ourselves to our tents and settled down listening to the fierce sounds of the waves which honestly felt like they were about to rip through the tent walls. Rather cosy sounds though, the sounds of waves is one of my favourite sounds. See? Silver lining.

 

We left bright and early the next morning eager to check out the areas we missed out on before we had to return the car. stones on the beachWe were happy to see that the sun had decided to make an appearance and there was even a sprinkling of blue skies peeking out between the clouds. We set off happy and excited and marvelled at the beautiful beautiful beaches which looked like they had come straight from a holiday catalogue. After a brief stop for breakfast in a cute little cafe by the Wye River to fuel up and prepare for more Ocean Road antics, we continued on our journey.

We caught up on the Erskine waterfall, more amazing beaches, the Great Ocean Road sign and a trip to the golf course in Anglesea to see the kangaroos. The kangaroos which were oh so laid back but also rather menacing at the same time.

kangaroos at AngleseaThe Great Ocean Road is definitely worth a trip. With great company, amazing views, good music and sufficient wine and food, there’s not a lot that can go wrong. Even if it does rain and the skies are grey, there’s still some stunning views which are pretty hard to forget.

Can we go again please???

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Brunching in Balaclava

Sunday mornings call for a spot of brunch and a good cup of coffee. Which is exactly what my Sunday morning consisted of.image

Aftet extensive research into good Melbourne brunch spots and a vigorous scroll through Instagram, we finally, finally decided on a local St Kilda place called Lava in Balaclava.

Firstly we ordered coffee which arrived almost instantly and we casually eyed the menu, as we enjoyed our caffeine hit. There was a lot of menu choice – from muesli and yoghurt to pancakes with fresh berries to bacon and eggs. And that was just the breakfast options…

Lava in Balaclava, as well as offering all day breakfast, also offer a huge number of lunch and dinner options and even fresh smoothies and juices. Situated on Carlisle Street in St Kilda, this is a great local place and only a short five minute walk away from where I live. The staff were all attentive and food service was surprisingly quick despite the busy-ness of the place. They even do a delivery service which is potentially dangerous news for two people who enjoying eating food as much as me and my flatmate.Lava in Balaclava

Since leaving the UK, I have lived without bacon and eggs. It’s been tough living without but today at Lava in Balaclava, I finally got the opportunity to indulge in my favourite fatty friends. Bacon and fried eggs with croissant French toast and a small dish of maple syrup. If I’m having brunch, I’m going to go all out.

The food arrived quickly and it really was delicious. My brunch buddy ordered the Eggs Benedict with salmon and I hear that that too, was also rather tasty. We greedily scoffed our food – the sweet maple syrup against the salty bacon and fried eggs really was something else and mopping it up with the French toast just added to the taste sensation.

Pushing our plates away, we agreed that brunch at Lava in Balaclava was definitely a good Sunday treat and definitely worth spending money on. Even though we are not supposed to be spending money. And I’m supposed to be eating healthily. But who can say no to brunch? Sod the diet. I want my bacon and eggs dammit.image

But anyway, Sunday calories don’t count right?

 

Rococo, Acland Street

Rococo restaurant St KildaI may have mentioned that Melbourne is jam-packed full of delicious looking food. It’s everywhere. There’s literally no escape. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I should probably say bad because I seem to be eating it all but at the same time, come on, who am I to say no?

As I’ve said, I have decided to settle in St Kilda for a few months before I can even think about being able to afford to travel up the East Coast. I say that like I will be able to afford it after a few months but with the amount of money I’m spending on rent paired with my inability to say “no” to food, it looks like I’ll be heading home poor and slightly on the chubbier side. I’m choosing to think positively that maybe I’ll start to get sick of all the cakes and the donuts and the brownies and the burgers and the paella and the noodles. Doesn’t seem likely though.

Anyway, I am going greatly off topic……….

Whilst settling down for a few months has given me a chance to relax and unpack my bags, it also means there’s not much travelling for me to write about on this so called “travel blog.” Therefore today will be a post on a delicious meal out at a local St Kilda restaurant that I’m still dreaming about.

My fellow travel buddies parents were in town and they decided to treat us on a meal out in St Kilda. Having walked past on many an occasion and commenting on how nice it looked, we made a bee-line for Rococo, an Italian restaurant on my favourite street of them all, Cakeland Street. Ahem, I mean Acland Street.

St Kilda Rococo

Inside it was lively and busy with windows opened onto the people-clogged streets outside. Despite the business of the restaurant, the atmosphere was great. Lots of people – friends, family, co-workers, couples – talking animatedly and enjoying their meals as tasty smells wafted from the kitchens.

It took some time to decide what we all wanted to eat. There was seriously a lot of choice and making a decision on what to eat is always a tough one for me. It’s up there with deciding what University to attend and what I should be doing with the rest of my life. Don’t want to make a wrong decision and then be jealous of everyone else’s meal. Don’t lie, you do it too. We decided on a starter of mixed dips with fresh bread which was divine and definitely warmed our stomachs up for the big event: main course. Washing our starters down with fresh, crisp white wine, we all (finally) decided what we wanted to indulge in next.St KIlda Rococo 2

I went for the pumpkin and caramelised onion risotto. And my God, I don’t mean to brag, but it really was one of my best decisions. I’m fascinated with Australia’s love for pumpkins. It’s everywhere here. Unless I’ve just been completely oblivious to it in the UK, the only dish I know of that has pumpkins in is pumpkin pie. But here, it’s all over the place – I see it advertised in literally every place I walk past. Where are all these pumpkins coming from? Are they even in season? Is the vegetable of Australia..the pumpkin? I should do some research on the matter.

Anyway, this pumpkin risotto was literally perfection. It was flavorsome and gooey and all kinds of yummy. I tried to take my time and savour every mouthful but it was hard to do that when the food is as good at this pumpkin risotto.

Too full for puddings, we regrettably finished our wine and pushed our cleared plates away from us, each of us repeatedly claiming how delicious our dishes were.

Rococo is a lovely little place for a nice dinner with family and friends. The staff are so friendly and know a lot about their wines – I was tempted to apply for a job there but thought I wouldn’t get very far into the process due to my only knowledge on the subject of wine is where to get the cheapest ones. (Aldi – $5. Bloody delicious. You’re welcome).

So with a lively ambience, gentle chatter filling the room, helpful and friendly staff and great company, this restaurant is one that I will definitely be attending again. There were some pretty good pastas I was eyeing up….and those puddings….

Till next time Rococo.

A special thanks to Christine and Nigel for wining and dining us two lowly travellers. Very much appreciated!

Making Memories in Melbourne

So things are finally looking up here in Melbourne. My fellow travel buddy and I have both found jobs and a place to rest our heads on a more permenant basis. Albeit a slightly expensive place to live but still, a place to live. And it’s in Australia. Right by the sea. So, whatever. In other good news, I haven’t got horrifically scarred by the rays of the sun in, I don’t know, at least a week. And I’ve even taken up jogging and reduced my Tim Tam intake. I don’t know who I’ve become.

It’s been a few weeks since we arrived in Melbourne and we have decided to settle in St Kilda – a sea side city just out of Melbourne CBD. It’s a place that is literally a 10 minute walk from the ocean where we can go in the evenings to watch beautifully magical sunsets and then promptly spam everyone’s Instagram with pictures. But pictures don’t really do the milky skies and purple velvet sea justice. Not at all. I mean, come on…. image image

Home in St Kilda

St Kilda is a truly lovely place to live. There is always something going on – from festivals to Sunday markets to strolls along the beach, it’s hard to be stuck for something to do. And as mentioned above, living by the sea is pretty damn awesome.  There’s a huge amount of cafes and bars overlooking the sea and one of my favourites is The Boardwalk – a place we found on one of our first days here and which we’ve frequented for breakfast on many occasion.

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St Kilda pier offers some incredible views of the city and is also home to some dapper little penguins. We headed there after the sunset one day and managed to catch a glimpse of the little guys waddling around and making some pretty terrifying noises. Other than that, they were adorable.

 

imageAnd then of course, there’s Acland Street. Or Cakeland street as I like to call it. It’s lined with deliciously tempting bakeries and cake shops all with colourful displays which call you in and practically force you to buy a slice of something sweet.

So apart from sunset gazing and penguin watching, we have been exploring as much as we can of Melbourne and its surroundings. Here’s a few of my highlights so far…

Queen Victoria Night Market

Being a huge foodie, the Queen Victoria Night Market was first on the agenda. Having heard rave reviews about this place, we thought it was definitely worth a visit. And my God, was it worth a visit. With live music, a lively atmosphere and endless amounts of food, this place is literally my idea of Heaven. All food is made fresh meaning the air is filled with different exotic aromas, making the decision of what to eat all the more difficult. From Thai to Indian, burgers to calamari, Spanish to Greek, the market basically has it all. And having gone three weeks in a row, I am well on my way to tasting it all..

Beachin’ it at Brighton

Brighton Beach – a short ten minute train journey from St Kilda and the perfect way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon. Golden sands and sparkling seas, this is another of Australia’s gorgeous coast lines that just had to be checked out. With rainbow coloured beach houses each with their own unique design lining the beach, this place is the stuff of dreams. Who doesn’t want their own beach house overlooking an endless ocean? Although I bet the beach house painted with the Australian flag is regretting their decision due to the array of tourists who come to take their photo with it….(yes of course I was one of them…)

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Melbourne CBD 

Melbourne is a vibrant city filled with character and liveliness. There’s not a street you can go down which doesn’t have some sort of street artist on performing music or doing tricks. The city is covered in incredible street art making for colourful alleyways telling vibrant stories.

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There’s a huge supply of great rooftop bars and eateries meaning that this is a great city to have on your doorstep. Not if you’re trying to be good and healthy though because there seems to be Nutella donuts and giant slices of cake around every corner as well. I really need to stop following Melbourne food accounts on Instagram – it’s making my life a misery.

There always seems to be something going on in Melbourne – from Australian Open, to the White Night to exciting festivals, Melbourne is a city which is rarely still. And come on, look at it..

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I don’t know how I could possibly live here for another 6 months…

 

Little Cupcakes, Melbourne

So as I may have mentioned, there are a lot of temptations in the form of food over here in Melbourne. Lots of temptations in the form of cakes and pastries and donuts and cakes and more cakes….it’s playing havoc with my waist line that’s for sure. But the diet starts on Monday. Maybe. Probably not.

Anyway, we are slowly but surely testing out a few places on the food bucket list and a rainy Thursday afternoon definitely called for cupcakes and coffee.
cupcakesLittle Cupcakes is a deliciously divine little store selling well, you guessed it, little cupcakes. Very appropriately named I think. They also do a great range of coffees and hot chocolate – something we definitely needed after feeling our first windy chill since we left the UK.

We edged inside the small store, our eyes widening with glee at the array of rainbow cupcakes on offer. We “oohed” and we “ahhed” for a good ten minutes before finally settling on a mini red velvet and a mini salted caramel. They’re mini so the calories don’t count, right? RIGHT? With our respective lattes and Belgium hot chocolate (I mean, I may as well go all out), we settled down and dived right in.

Cupcakes are scrumptious at the best of times. But mini? With that perfect ratio of icing to sponge? With red velvet and salted caramel? Mmm. As I greedily wolfed my two halves down, I eyed the counter and saw that they do boxes of cupcakes – boxes of 6, boxes of 12, boxes of 24 – can I just box up the whole shop? Man, I love cupcakes. Can you tell?

With various stores around Melbourne, I am bound to make this place my second home over the next few months. A cupcake for any occasion – actually thinking about it, it’s my birthday in March. Maybe I can buy myself a box of cupcakes or five.

Little Cupcakes – full of all things nice and all things that make you want to smash the glass counter they are kept so lovingly in and stuff every one in your face (I wouldn’t really do that. Obviously. I’m a lady) – is the perfect way to treat yourself on a not so sunny afternoon.

Although treat day seems to be every day for me recently…..

 

 

 

Making a life in Melbourne

MelbourneI’m officially unemployed in Australia. I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that I have blisters all over my feet from walking around job-hunting all day, the fact that I’m probably going to be permanently sunburnt from being in the sun all day, the fact that I’m getting ill again a WEEK after just getting over the last cold, or the fact that I’m unemployed and surrounded by all kinds of amazing food?  I imagine Hell to be a big old Nutella donut or chunky piece of carrot cake with creamy frosted icing sitting on a plate in from of you and you’re sitting there not being able to eat it. Seriously. Everything just looks incredible. Burgers, Thai, Chinese, sandwiches, cupcakes, pastries….Fitzroy Garcens Melbourne

We have started to make a bucket list of places we need to visit, before we leave Melbourne, which is growing steadily by the day. We’ve also stated on a number of occasions that “Ooh we’ll have to go there to celebrate once we finally get a job.” But we’ve just started going anyway to cushion the blow of being unemployed on the other side of the world. You know, “treat yourself” and all that…

There have been many a time where we have stood outside a cake shop window staring longingly at the food like Oliver Twist waiting for scraps, wondering whether we really should spend money on “treating ourselves” when we don’t have a steady income….The answer is always yes of course. I’m being slightly dramatic – we have our savings of course. It’s not like we came all the way to Australia with a pair of sunglasses and a knotted hankie but you know, there’s that feeling of guilt when you know you shouldn’t be spending your money on something but you just HAVE too….

City Heights melbourne

I’m complaining, but I guess there are worst places in the world to be unemployed. I mean, at least in Melbourne I can sit at a rooftop bar at 2.30 in the afternoon and enjoy a glass of Pimms, or sit down by the river, taking in the view and people watching or spend an afternoon sitting in the sun (read shade) in some gardens and read a book. Yeah, I shouldn’t complain really.

So fingers crossed for us two sunburnt Welsh girls trying to make it on the opposite side of the world. Please, employers of Melbourne, take pity on us.

We’re really good, honest.

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