2015: Travel Highlights

Thursday 31 December 2015

I began 2015 wandering down the quaint streets of Brugge indulging in exquisite chocolate and absorbing all the pretty little details of this picture-perfect town. I can't quite believe it's been almost a  year to the day since that trip and looking back over 2015 makes me feel elated and grateful.  Four continents, eight countries and countless flights molded into one wonderful memory of a year that encompassed new adventures with friends and family. It was the perfect combination of visiting new places for the first time and feeling mesmerised by sheer beauty and returning to other cities for the second time and seeing it in a new light. New years are for new beginnings and new opportunities as you really never know what's around the corner. If someone had asked me a year ago whether I'd be living in Austin now my answer back then would have been no. In celebration of surprises and unforeseen adventures from the year I've created a bucket list of 15 special moments from 2015 to do in 2016. Happy New Year everyone! 

1. Climb all 366 steps to the bell tower in Brugge, Belgium.

2. Visit Lake Ballard in the middle of Western Australia.

3. Spend a weekend village hopping in the Cotswolds, England. 

4. Go to Paris for the French Open. 

5. Enjoy mint tea while over looking the rooftops of Marrakesh

6. Wine tasting in the Chianti Region

7. Spend a day cycling around Rottnest Island

8. Look out over NYC from Top of the Rock.

9. Enjoy cream tea in the English countryside.

10. Watch the sunset over Monaco.

11. Attend the centuries old Il Palio in Siena, Italy

12. Fall in love with Chefchaouen, Morocco.

13. Watch the sunrise over Nambung National Park, Australia.

14. Visit London in the Spring.

15. Move to a new city.

Austin: brunch favourites

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and Austin has no shortage of breakfast and brunch spots for those idyllic weekend mornings. A recipe for a wonderful morning includes coffee, *insert any breakfast option here*, and a pretty space to relax and read the morning's paper. Here are a handful of some of my favourite Austin spots for the most important meal of the day. My family arrive into Austin this weekend for Christmas and I can't wait to share a few of these gems with them over the next few weeks. 

1. Cenote

I adore how quintessentially 'East Side' Cenote is. This cafe is set in an old house with creaky wooden floors and traditional features with a huge patio to enjoy the year round warm weather. I would recommend getting the breakfast burrito {stamp of approval from my other-half} or a breakfast sandwich which are bigger than expected and would keep you full until the afternoon.  

2. Blue Dahlia Bistro

Blue Dahlia is located about 100 meters from my apartment and lures me in regularly with its parisian baguette sandwich. Any item with the words baguette and dijon on the menu are a winner, and luckily for me, this is the tastiest baguette sandwich I have eaten outside of Paris. For a lighter start to the day, try the parfait or fruit cup {photographed}.

3. Café No Sé

Café No Sé takes me back to Perth, and for that reason I absolutely adore it. The combination of rustic white-washed walls and light wooden features mixed with turquoise tiles and bright open windows is reason enough to get brunch here. To top it off, the food is delightfully tasty. Both Matt and I ordered the granola which was the perfect ratio of granola to yogurt to fresh fruit with a subtle ginger taste for an added kick that makes it stand out from other granolas I have tried.

4. Elizabeth Street Cafe

I'm naturally drawn to quaint little spots that remind me of pretty European cafes and Elizabeth Street Cafe is one of those rare gems in Austin. Typically, I order one of three things when I venture out for brunch: breakfast tacos, eggs, or granola. In this instance, I looked no further than item #2 on the menu and my mind was made up. There is no better combination of yumminess on earth than nutella, banana, creme fraiche and candied hazelnuts. Furthermore, to eat all of this deliciousness within a single fluffy crêpe is a breakfast-lovers dream. I can't comment on any other item on the menu at this time as I have eyes only for the nutella, banana and candied hazelnut crêpe.

5. Rockstar Bagels

I'm a bagel fiend. Give me a toasted bagel with {jalepeño} cream cheese daily and I'd be happy. This spot in east Austin is great for breakfast on-the-go or to pick up and take home. There isn't much seating available for a slow morning of reading the New York Times but the bagels are tasty and cream cheese comes in abundance. My only criticism is the lack of cream cheese options {*cough* jalepeño cream cheese} but the chive cream cheese is exquisite! And, if my mind serves me correctly, I seem to remember Matt drooling over the bacon cream cheese. Happy bageling.

6. Hillside Farmacy

Another local favourite of mine both for its food and decor is Hillside Farmacy. The different shades of green, mirrored walls and old wooden cabinets rekindle memories of its original use as a pharmacy during the 1950's and give it a special vintage vibe. We ordered the granola, BLT Benny and 2 coffees - a recipe for happy brunching.

7. Launderette

I visited Launderette recently and despite the wait {approx 15 mins} I instantly adored it. For the first time ever I actually welcomed the wait as it gave me the opportunity to explore the boutique shop conveniently located on site in an adorable airstream and home to little treasures {i.e. prints, jewelery, gifts, candles etc.} I went with two friends and between us we ordered buttermilk pancakes, cold smoked slamon and fried oyster florentine. To my surprise, my favourite of the 3 options were the buttermilk pancakes. I've been raving about them to anyone who will listen and I can't wait to take Matt there for brunch so we can enjoy a simple, yet delicious stack of fluffy, delicious pancakes. Another winner was the cream cheese filled Danish pastry - I've been daydreaming about it since last Sunday and I'm hoping it will make another appearance on the pastry menu soon!

8. Breakfast tacos

Taco Deli {photographed} & Cisco's. No caption needed - breakfast tacos speak for themselves.

Café No Sé

Tuesday 1 December 2015

I've been exploring the Austin coffee scene for a few months now and this is by far my favourite aesthetically. As superficial as it sounds, I love a space that is appeasing to the eye and makes you feel as if a lot of detail has gone into planning it. Even my boyfriend who doesn't {always} take notice of pretty subtleties said this café was 'an intagrammers day dream' - and yes, I couldn't agree more. The space made me feeling instantly happy and light, a retreat where you could easily spend hours browsing through the large selection of magazines or tucking into a good book. 

Upon entering I instantly fell in love with the large communal dining table sitting pretty in centre stage above a sea of turquoise tiles giving the place a laid-back, beachy vibe. The white wooden chairs and rustic white-washed walls took me back to Perth. I felt I could have been eating breakfast at Cottesloe beach on one of those perfect Australian summer days. 

Most importantly, the food and coffee were delicious. Matt and I both ordered the whole grain granola + greek yogurt and honey {avocado toast was a close second}. The seeds gave it a crunchy texture that blended well with the creamy greek yogurt and honey. The subtle taste of giner mixed with fresh raspberries, blackberries and strawberries was the perfect combination for me and a great choice when you're craving something fresh and light to start the day. I will certainly be going back for seconds. 

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