Living in another country to your family is never going to be the easiest – there are challenges and times where I feel that I really need them around (like, properly – not through face time.) but its something that you choose to get on with and adapt to whilst living abroad! I know that it may not be everyone’s thing, but why would you not want to visit or live in different areas of the world? Even temporarily. Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to do the standard – work, settle, buy a home, have a baby etc.. but personally, I would hate to reach an age and wonder “what if I tried that? I wonder how that would have worked out..”
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
So, here we are!
I was truly spoilt.
& I don’t just mean by the beautiful gifts that I was given on my 24th birthday – I mean in general – living in Australia is one thing, but to have my mum, dad & nana able to visit me is something else.
Throughout studying, people would always ask what my goals were – and my main short term goal was always to live abroad, away from what I was used to. I never really knew how or where to start; but I knew that I would have made it work – and we have done just that.
Its funny, I still remember the day I first told my dad that I was going to Australia with Rick the following year without a return date – he absolutely did not believe me..
and I guess he certainly didn’t think that he would be visiting us in Sydney for almost 4 weeks that same year!
I have no other words to describe those 4 weeks with my family in Sydney as anything other than;
B e a u t i f u l
It sounds funny, but it really did hit me every time that I would leave my parents apartment to go back to mine; that soon I’d be having to say goodbye again for them to travel back home to the UK. I always tried to shut it out, but it was always there – I just hoped that the goodbye wasn’t as hard as it was when I first left the UK – because those emotions really were something else.
We had the most perfect few weeks together – and although I am still quite new to Sydney and have not yet acquired as much knowledge as perhaps I’d have liked – I still feel as though we really made the most of what Sydney has to offer and squeezed in as much as possible!
I’ve put together this post full of my highlights & fondest memories over that month..
..and what a dream it was!
(You can take the boy out of Essex.. but you can’t take the Essex out of the boy.)
This was the day of my 24th birthday and the day after my family had arrived – I clearly had a smile on my face the whole day.
We started off at Lavender Bay (my favourite picnic spot!), walked past Luna Park & up onto Harbour Bridge – across the bridge and ended up in The Rocks for lunch, soon followed by Circular Quay for cocktail o’clock!
‘Its the little things’
Birthday Breakfasts in my second Home
We spent a lot of time together in their apartment as it was just so spacious & wonderful. There was a large balcony which was perfect for sunbathing on – it genuinely became my second home for those 4 weeks! Of course, I absolutely love eating out at restaurants – but nothing beats a home cooked breakfast or dinner around the table all together in your own comforts!
Birthday cake on the balcony!
Scenic Walks around St Leonards
Botanic Garden Walks
‘Dining & Drinking’
The Grounds of The City
I still dream about those grilled butterfly king prawns!
Me, my mum & nana came here for a girls lunch during their first few days in Sydney. (Sadly, my dad came over with food poisoning on his first full day; so it wasn’t a great start for him! He spent this day at home depriving himself of food, whilst we indulged in wine & prawns!) Yes we all opted for prawns because they were d e l i c i o u s.
The Grounds is a beautiful bar & restaurant – I have visited 3 times and have equally enjoyed it each time. The glassware and decor is just gorgeous – so vintage and classy! The Grounds is said to be french antique & coffeehouse inspired – with not only an amazing food, wine & cocktail list – but a wonderful menu for coffees and cakes too! Oh, and a resident shoe shiner.. if that’s your kind of thing.
The World Bar
Quirky & unique; perfect for a pre-dinner drink in Potts Point!
The Butler (Must-eat!)
The environment, service & atmosphere is one of my favorites in Sydney!
From start to finish; beautiful!
The menu here is a sharing menu – which is perfect for get togethers and group meals!
Remember, it’s better to order too much food than too little! No one wants to go home hungry right?
This was actually one of my favourite nights during the trip – you know when you have had just the right amount of Sauvignon Blanc and you want to dance all night? (Literally, all night.) We ended up in Kings Cross Hotel on the rooftop and in the end, my dad & Rick had to actually pull me & my mum away from that dance floor! It was such a great night – and I must say, we make a great dancing duo. I feel that I should also point out that my nana climbed the stairs from ground floor all the way up to the rooftop.. but by the time we noticed that there was actually an elevator at ground level, there was just no point turning back.. Nan, you’re a Supernan!
Since arriving in Sydney, Darling Harbour has always been my favourite spot for food & drinks – the options are endless and I knew my mum would feel exactly the same way! We had an amazing night at Hunter & Barrel for my dads birthday, followed by drinks & a cigar at Cohibar afterwards! We also chose to spend our final lunch here and ate at the amazing seafood restaurant – ‘Nicks’! I cannot recommend the salmon any more – grilled & crisped to perfection!
Spiced by Billu
The worlds hottest curry (slight exaggeration) that me and my dad each powered through! Now I am a lover of extremely hot food and have quite a good pain tolerance when it comes to heat – but this was a bit of a test! Delicious to say the least.. you just can’t beat a good curry!
Chinese Garden of Friendship
It certainly isn’t possible to have a bad time here – the Chinese Garden really is one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited! Waterfalls, koi-filled ponds, exotic plants, pavilions and bridges – a place for pure relaxation & tranquility. I just love how the skyline creeps over the view of the pavilion & surrounding trees! We mooched around at our own leisure, took as much time as we wanted – and ended up with drinks in the cafe sat by the water! (FYI – they do not sell alcohol before 2PM – we were distraught! Ha.) Lime sodas for us!
A night to remember!
This was a surprise for my dad’s birthday (o.k, so it wasn’t really a surprise as he actually knew about this prior; thanks to me making it quite public in a previous blog post of mine!) However, despite my dad not feeling 100% due to food poisoning & the restaurant choices being dire inside the arena – what an amazing night we had! Nile Rogers & Lionel really were fantastic and we were up on our feet most of the night!
You hear a lot of controversy about zoos – why they’re awful and why we shouldn’t visit them.. and I get it. However, I am not an animal expert and refuse to preach or make anyone feel bad about their decisions to visit a zoo.. We can only hope that the animals are happy, healthy and there for the right reasons (such as the need for breeding etc.) Regardless, it was a truly beautiful day. Taronga Zoo is one of the prettiest zoos I have ever visited – with views of the city across the harbour – it truly is not a view that you would usually expect at a zoo!
I had never seen a real elephant before – so to see mummy with her baby was just beautiful!
Blue Mountains (Must-see!)
“The Grand Canyon of Australia”
I honestly cannot recommend booking this day trip enough!
We had the most amazing guide who showed us some real hidden gems that you would only find if you had a Blue Mountains expert on board! He knew absolutely everything about Australia, was super informative and consistently making everyone laugh from the moment we stepped on the coach at 8.30AM!
We booked this through Oztrails & from start to finish it ran seamlessly.
I felt like the whole trip was totally up my dads street – whilst we were touring through the National Park, he was always 10 steps ahead of us! The sights and everything that we saw this day were breathtaking and I am so glad that we were able to experience this all together.
As the day came to an end, our tour guide actually took the time to drive us to a spot where wild kangaroos could be seen and I am so happy that we got to witness this, as there certainly aren’t too many situated in Sydney CBD! Our trip also included taking the ferry home, which really was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
So, our little ‘family in Sydney’ bubble came to an end and it is back to reality for all of us! It’s always nice getting back into a routine after a long holiday – but I would do anything to have my family back here permanently.
I started to get used to them being here – especially as they were staying in an apartment only a short stroll away from ours!
These are memories that we will cherish forever – and I am certain that Australia exceeded all expectations for them!
I am counting down the days until I am returning home in August!