Stanthorpe winery tour.

Our only real ‘planned event’ on our weekend away was a tour of some local wineries. We booked a twilight tour from 1-8pm with Filippos Tours. At $125 per person it wasn’t cheap, but when you take in to account that it finished with a three-course meal at a fantastic local restaurant, it was pretty great value. We had a lot of fun learning about the local wines and the Queensland wine industry – for example, did you know that more than 60 per cent of all wine consumed in this state is Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand? Guilty.

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There were 28 people in our tour, which was a little on the large side. If you can stretch it, I would recommend organising a private tour to make things a little more personal. Otherwise you inevitably end up with a couple of loud-mouthed yobs and spend a lot of the tour wishing someone would tell them to shut up. Or maybe that was just me.

The tour description says it takes visitors to three local wineries and a ‘place of interest’, which it purported clients could choose from a list of local attractions including a lavender farm, cheese making place, a bramble patch for local berries or an apple farm. We were pretty excited at that prospect, but our tour operator decided we would visit a fourth winery instead, because it was across the road from the third place and obviously more convenient. Still a fabulous day though. IMG_1757 IMG_1759 20130804-162428.jpgThe highlight for me was definitely Symphony Hill Wines – we were given a tour by the owner, before sitting in the barrel room with the winemaker for a brilliant tasting. The winery was only established in 1999 and had a lovely family-run feel, plus their sparkling and Sauvignon Blanc were incredible. Now I just have the find the right occasion to pop a bottle of it at home.

Also, fantastic fact – apparently every ‘real’ winery has its own resident pooch and there is even a book called Wine Dogs that features photos of all the different vineyard dogs around Australia. Symphony Hill had Merlot, a loveable border collie who stars in that book. I didn’t get a picture of Merlot though, because I was too busy patting him.

To finish the night we dined at Shiraz Restaurant and Wine Bar – a restaurant at Ballendean that exceeded all expectations. I couldn’t fault them on service, quality of food or atmosphere and they even had this guy across the road. Fruitasaurus.IMG_1765


laser tattoo removal is not as bad as you’d think.

In keeping with this post and my quest to right the dubious choices of my past, I had my first laser tattoo removal appointment on Saturday. No, I haven’t decided to go back to a clean slate, I just want to remove the script on the back of my legs. Every other tattoo is coverable, out of sight and just for me. The ‘one love’ on my legs sparks at least one conversation a week with some righteous weirdo or creepy random that I would prefer not to have.LTR-3

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high tea at Room With Roses.

high tea

On Saturday I went to high tea with three lovely ladies at Room With Roses in Brisbane Arcade. It was a delightfully girly affair full of laughter, cake and pastel colours.

Brisbane ArcadeThe setting is second-to-none. Brisbane Arcade is truly the best shopping arcade in our fair city and I felt so lucky to be seated on the second floor balcony overlooking shoppers below. The chandeliers and wood and marble decor made me feel as if we were in that decadent ‘ladies lunch’ scene from Titanic.

high tea room of rosesWe opted for the deluxe high tea which is $42 per person and includes a mix of ten ‘dainty delicacies’ each – both savoury and sweet, plus a tea or coffee. The food was beautiful, the coffee was perfect and the other drinks we ordered (fresh raspberry punch, plus homemade lemon, lime and bitters) were delicious, if not a tad expensive at $8-$10 each.

A wonderful day out perfect for girlfriends, sisters, mothers or even baby/bridal showers.

Here is the full menu:

  • Mini Raspberry Scone – served with raspberry jam and Chantilly cream
  • Mini Ginger Scone – served with lime ginger marmalade and Chantilly cream
  • Dainty Ribbon Trio Sandwiches – two of our popular ribbon sandwiches
  • Mini Corncake – topped with sour cream, crispy bacon and chives
  • Mini Salmon Cake – drizzled with dill cream sauce
  • Savoury Tartlet – varies daily based on our chef’s selection
  • Mini Chocolate Heaven Cake  – topped with chocolate ganache
  • Lemon Curd Tart – tangy lemon curd made to Vicki’s family recipe
  • Sweet Treat – passionfruit melting moment (yum!)

a quick review of our Christmas accommodation.

foxleigh1 For our first Christmas as a married couple, AK and I decided to rent a holiday house at the Sunshine Coast so we could spend time with both our families. Our prerequisites included space for Mia, room for 10-12 people and good outdoor space for Christmas lunch. After much searching, we came across Foxleigh house at Eumundi. foxleigh3The holiday house was more than we could have hoped for and we had a fantastic week relaxing, swimming, reading, eating, drinking, listening to music, sitting by the fire and playing lots of table tennis. At first I was quite stressed about the blending of families and friends, but by the second day I was able to sit back and enjoy a wonderful study in anthropology. For anyone thinking of a big family getaway, I recommend both the idea and this particular house.

Eumundi view Foxleigh Eumundi Foxleigh view mia fire Foxleigh pool

Foxleigh night view