Anna and Amy

Until recently, I never really understood the hype around Amy Schumer. I just thought she was another funny girl trying to crack into the elusive female comedian market of Hollywood. I had also read some bad press about her when she was in Australia to promote Trainwreck, the box-office hit that she wrote and starred in (this interview in particular comes to mind). Consequently, I hadn’t consumed any of her work because I thought I didn’t like her.

A few months after Trainwreck had been released, Holly and I were in our Las Vegas hotel room, curled up in the foetal position with PCD (post-Celine depression). We had been to the Celine Dion concert the night before at Caesars Palace and because it was such an incredible experience, we were feeling rather dull the next day, as surely, there was nothing we could do that would be better than Celine! The concert itself was so emotional, as Celine had just returned to The Colosseum from taking time off to look after her sick husband (she showed a slideshow of her family and everyone in the audience was in tears!). We had gone out to get breakfast and coffee and came back to the room to spend the day in bed watching movies. Neither of us had seen Trainwreck and because we both needed a laugh, we decided to watch it. We were in stitches! Both Holly and I absolutely loved it and loved Amy. Considering we paid forty Australian dollars to watch it (why are hotel on-demand movies so expensive?!), I am so glad we did love it!

Safe to say that ever since that Sunday in November 2015, I have adored Amy Schumer and her work. I also don’t need to tell you how much I love and respect Anna Wintour (you need to see The First Monday in May if you haven’t already!). When US Vogue released their July issue with Amy Schumer on the cover, they also made this priceless video that shows Amy and Anna swapping jobs for the day. Hilarity ensues and it makes me love both women even more.

Jonathan Van Meter’s corresponding Vogue article on Amy is also worth the read.

Funny, right? It goes to show that Anna is not in fact a devil, but someone who is actually quite funny (that mic drop at the end!) and willing to laugh at herself. And Amy with that massive coffee cup and those sunglasses? I die.

x

 

Highlands Merchant

Walking into Highlands Merchant is like walking onto the set of a Nancy Meyers film (and we all know how much I love those!). All of my It’s Complicated, The Intern, The Holiday and Something’s Gotta Give interior fantasies came true when I walked into this Moss Vale eatery. Duck egg blue walls, pink French doors with leather handles and superior soft furnishings immediately made me contemplate living in The Hamptons, as surely, this is what it would be like. RIP me because I actually died when I saw the black and white window shutters as well as the giant peony mural that adorns the outside wall of the store.

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Exquisite interiors and exteriors aside, Highlands Merchant offers the best produce and products (yes, they sell homewares too!) the Southern Highlands has to offer, plus the all important Allpress coffee. Think preserves and honey, books, candles, handmade soap from Mittagong and organic chicken bone broth from Bowral (I feel healthier just writing that).

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With an ‘Everyday Basics’ menu as well as daily ‘Superstars’, Highlands Merchants utilises local and fresh produce to create meals worth waiting for (the pineapple relish on the bacon and egg roll deserves an Academy Award for best supporting role). And wait you will, as the line was continuously out the door when we visited on the weekend. Give your name and number to the owner, Lisa and take yourself to peruse interiors heaven next door at Suzie Anderson Home whilst you wait (a surprisingly quick 10 minutes). Or, you can stand in Peony Lane and get your friend to take 23 a few photos of you in front of the floral mural (who me?). It’s definitely worth braving the cold for this Insta-worthy capture.

If time’s not on your side, or you simply want to grab something to eat at home whilst you binge-watch Netflix, Highlands Merchant has a range of sandwiches, salads and freshly baked goods to take away that are oh so delicious.

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BRB, just going to ring my mate Nancy to let her know that I have found the set for her new film.

Highlands Merchant is located an hour and forty-five minutes away from Sydney at 405 Argyle Street, Moss Vale. It’s well worth the drive!

Open Wednesday to Friday: 8am – 4pm and weekends: 9am – 3pm.

Waikiki Travel Guide

After Sydney’s endless summer, autumn has finally decided to show up. Except it’s more like winter because it is freeeeeezing. (It doesn’t help that our house doesn’t have heating yet either.) Last week, in the midst of a cold day, Jetstar released their annual birthday sale. For the past couple of years, we have always tried to book these birthday sale flights and organise subsequent holidays but it never eventuates because the flights sell out so quickly. Not this year though. I was stalking that website like the eagle stalks Kevin the dog in The Proposal and it finally paid off. I texted one of my besties, Holly, to see if she wanted to go to Hawaii in November and because she finishes her Bachelor degree in October, she agreed to go! Mahalo Jetstar for the return flight to Honolulu for $440 (I’d definitely recommend checking to see if they have any birthday sale fares left)! After booking our flights, I was searching accommodation options online when it dawned on me that I never ended up writing about my last trip to Honolulu. Better late than never, right?

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Stay

We stayed at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, and we could not have been happier with this option. There are a number of reasons why we chose this resort, including its central location to everything that is on offer in Waikiki (mainly the shops and the Honolulu Cookie Company!), the beachfront access, room configuration, affordability and other guest’s reviews. In terms of the room, we stayed in a partial ocean view room with two double beds and a double sofa bed, which was perfect for the three of us. As Australians, I think many of us get used to hotel rooms having certain amenities (such as kettles and fridges), but these are considered luxuries in hotels and resorts in the United States. This was something to be mindful of when booking our accommodation and the Outrigger had both, not to mention a balcony, which was a bonus! At the time we stayed, the Outrigger also didn’t charge a resort fee (which most hotels in the USA do), so that was another benefit of staying there as it saved us about $30 USD a day. However, they have since introduced this fee. The Outrigger resort is also home to Duke’s Waikiki Restaurant that serves the best waffle fries you will ever have.

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The view from our balcony.

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Eggs and coffee with a view? Yes please! Breakfast at Hula Grill Waikiki at the Outrigger.

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Funny story about this photo! On our last day, we realised that we didn’t have a photo of the three of us. We were in the lobby of the hotel and asked a man walking past to take our photo. Turns out, he was a photographer with the National Geographic, so he crouches down, tells us to look away and then on the count of three to look at him and smile. The result? Well, you can see for yourself (I look like I’m crying because I was. Crying of laughter.)

Eat

  • Afternoon tea at the Moana Surfrider. As a little treat to ourselves, Prudence and I enjoyed afternoon tea under the banyan tree at The Veranda. It was a lovely afternoon and I’d highly recommend it. Tip: order less than you need. We ordered 2 serves of afternoon tea but we should have just ordered one + an extra tea because the servings were huge.

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  • Duke’s Waikiki Restaurant for the aforementioned waffle fries.
  • The Cheesecake Factory restaurants are located all around the United States, but it’s an affordable and delicious eating option. Tip: the lines at traditional lunch and dinner times are crazy! People can wait up to 2 hours for a table, so we went at around 4:30pm, we beat all the queues and could choose where we wanted to sit. The servings at The Cheesecake Factory are huge, so I would definitely recommend sharing. Prudence and I got a meal each but only ate one between the two of us. My favourite cheesecake? Hands down, the Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake.
  • Honolulu Coffee. Finding coffee in the USA that is up to Australian standards is difficult but we loved the coffee at Honolulu Coffee. The cafe was outside the Moana Surfrider and next door to the Outrigger, so we’d pop in before we started our day.
  • Honolulu Cookie Company. My gluten intolerance goes out the window when I am visiting the Honolulu Cookie Company. Their white chocolate and coconut cookies are the best. They have free samples in store, so feeling a little peckish? Drop by! (Also conveniently located next to the Outrigger.)
  • Issy popped over to Waikiki for the weekend and was adamant we go and eat pizza from this guy in a carpark. Whaaat?! My thoughts exactly. At the time, I had no idea what it was called or where it was located because we just walked a few blocks back from the beach and walked until we found it. I have since done some research and discovered it’s called Agostino’s Pizza. It’s such a funny little set-up. It’s completely outdoors in a carpark with a tarp overhead, plastic tables and chairs and paper plates and cutlery. The line was huge and it was incredibly delicious. Definitely worth the walk to the carpark if you want a pizza fix in Waikiki. From their Facebook, it seems like it is permanently closed but the address I found is 2463 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu. I’m praying it hasn’t permanently closed down.
  • Bills Hawaii. We didn’t get to eat here, but from eating at Bills Sydney and Granger & Co. in London, I expect nothing but the best with a side of Aussie-made coffee. I’m excited to try it in November!

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Prudence and Issy at Agostino’s Pizza.

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Honolulu Coffee.

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Huge servings at The Cheesecake Factory.

Do

  • You can’t go to Honolulu without visiting Pearl Harbor. What an incredible and eye-opening experience to be able to tour Pearl Harbor and the various memorials. My number one tip for Pearl Harbor is to do your research! We were advised that the only way of going to Pearl Harbor was to do a tour, and because we all really wanted to visit, we paid over $150 USD each for a six hour tour (which also included a tour of Honolulu city). It was convenient as the coach picked us up from our hotel and drove us directly there and we were able to easily go to each memorial and site. We had trouble when visiting the USS Arizona memorial though, as the wind was too strong to hold guests, so we were unable to see it. The USS Arizona memorial is only accessible via boat as it sits above the sunken USS Arizona and is included in all guided tours. Due to the weather, we had additional time at Pearl Harbor and Prudence went to speak to guest services about ticket prices. The shock to us though, was that admission is free, but because it’s the most popular site in Oahu, they sell out incredibly quickly. Pearl Harbor itself suggests to visit on a guided tour as you’re guaranteed entry to all memorials. I’d read all of the information here before organising your visit.

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  • Hire a car and drive around the island of Oahu. Little villages and towns scatter the coastline. The North Shore of the island is home to Turtle Bay Resort, which is a gorgeous place to stay or just to spend the day. We had a lovely lunch there before exploring the resort. It’s a completely different atmosphere to Waikiki, so I would recommend spending a few days here if you can. Another must on the North Shore is Scoop of Paradise ice-cream store in the historic surf town of Haleiwa. Scoop of Paradise serves homemade ice-cream with freshly made waffle cones (RIP me). Get the pineapple flavour! It’s the best ice-cream I have ever had. I’m salivating just typing about it. It’s worth the drive to the North Shore for this ice-cream alone.

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  • Hike Diamond Head and wear appropriate clothing. Lots of climbing and stairs! Go as early as you can because it gets incredibly hot, but the views are absolutely worth every step.

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  •  A trip to Honolulu (or anywhere in the United States) would not be complete without shopping! We were lucky that the dollar was incredible when we last visited Hawaii, so the deals were better than ever! Honestly, I have never seen such amazing sales. The US economy is stronger because of us (they can thank us later). We literally shopped all day, every day. It also helps that the majority of shops stay open until midnight every night. A dream come true for shopaholics like Prudence and myself. In terms of shopping, there are three main destinations I would recommend. The first is Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki, which is the main street in Waikiki. This street backs onto the beach and is where the main hotels and resorts, restaurants and shops are located. There’s everything from Chanel to Sephora to ABC convenience stores. A quick fifteen minute ride away on the pink line of the Waikiki Trolley is Ala Moana Center, Hawaii’s premier shopping and entertainment precinct. Many of the shops at Ala Moana can also be found on Kalakaua Avenue, but as we experienced, the shops stock different items. At one stage, we went back and forth three times until we found what I wanted (#soznotsoz). I have saved the best until last! Waikele Premium Outlets! My word, these outlets are my happy place. On one of our first days in Honolulu, we went quickly for the afternoon so the boys could buy their Nikes. Prudence and I used this hour to go around the outlets to suss out what was there and to figure out our game plan for when we would go back for the day. I am so glad we did this as we were able to get a grasp on the cost and what was available at the outlets versus what was available in Waikiki. We hopped on a shuttle a couple of days later and spent the whole day there. From Polo Ralph Lauren to Nike to Adidas to Calvin Klein to Coach to Converse, everything was there! The bargains at these American outlets are unmatched to those in Australia. In Adidas alone, I bought a pair of sneakers, three pairs of tights, a jacket and a gym bag (which still goes unused ha!) for $123.00. Not joking. The whole day was like this. Our shopping took up six seats on the shuttle going back to the Outrigger. Across the road from the outlets is a traditional American mall with stores such as Target (different to and better than Australia’s), Gap and Old Navy. Tip: As soon as you get to the outlets, head to the information desk and show your passport. They will give you a visitor booklet with extra discount coupons!

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I like to workout and by workout, I mean shop. This was just from one day at the outlets.

  • Relax! Honolulu’s laid back atmosphere provides its visitors with the perfect conditions to sit back, relax, drink mojitos and eat waffle fries. Waikiki Beach is incredibly accommodating and most resorts have chaises, umbrellas, beach chairs and inflatables to hire as well as surfboards and paddle boards.

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Well, this post is longer than I originally thought but hopefully it helps you on your next trip to Honolulu! I’m super excited to head back in November and add to this guide. Honolulu offers the perfect combination of shopping, sightseeing, relaxation and adventure; there is something for everyone!

Have you been to Hawaii? What would you recommend or add to this guide? I’d love to know for my next trip! Mahalo!

x

Home Tour: Anna Spiro

I love Anna Spiro and I’ve been an admirer of her work for quite a while now. Among other projects (including a book), she is the very clever decorator behind Halcyon House, which I am dying to visit (hopefully this year at some point!). The way she incorporates colour, texture and pattern to create beauty in every room is astonishing. I was just going through the projects she has listed on her website and I could literally pin every single photo because I am obsessed! Hashtag serious goals.

One of my favourite things to do is to read and view home tours on blogs. I could spend hours pouring through image after image. Mackenzie features home tours on her blog quite often and I am always a fan of the homes she delivers. When I saw Anna Spiro’s house come up on Country Style, I knew I had to feature it here on Bonjour Olive.

Apologies to the monochrome lovers and minimalists out there; you may wish to sit this one out 😉

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I originally saw the photos on Country Style and Homelife but all the above images come from Black & Spiro.

Do you love the home tour as much as I do? Make sure you check out her other projects here! (I die.)

x

The 88th Academy Awards Edition

Hello… It’s me.

Long time, no blog post! Sorry about that. Big news though; I moved to Sydney! I’ve officially been in the state’s capital for ten days and am loving it sick. The traffic? Not so much.

I thought it was appropriate to make my return to my blogging about one of my favourite yearly events… The Academy Awards. This year marks the 88th ceremony and whilst it was hard to narrow it down to only five, I have included my top five best dressed celebs, below.

Alicia Oscars

Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton.
Winner: Actress in a Supporting Role: The Danish Girl.

Cate Oscars

Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive.
Nominee: Actress in a Supporting Role: Carol.

88th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Julianne Moore in Chanel. Julianne kills it every single time she makes an appearance on the red carpet.

Margot Oscars

Margot Robbie in Tom Ford. I appreciate that she has dressed in theme and actually looks like an Oscar.

Rachel Oscars

Rachel McAdams in August Getty Atelier.
Nominee: Actress in a Supporting Role: Spotlight.

Who do you think deserves best dressed celebrity?

Next time, I promise not to leave it so long between blog posts.

x

Images: Alicia / Cate / Julianne / Margot / Rachel

Pumphouse Point, Tasmania

I have been dying to go to Tasmania for a while now, simply because I wanted to spend at least one night of my life at Pumphouse Point. Pumphouse Point is located at Lake St. Clair in the middle of Tasmania (aka the wilderness), and is definitely not somewhere I would usually be inclined to visit. However, the incredibly serene environment combined with the promise of good food and wine lured me to the heart of Tasmania in winter to experience this luxurious, welcoming and idyllic accommodation. You can read all about Pumphouse Point’s history here, but essentially, the original building was constructed in 1940 to house water turbines for the State’s Hydro Electricity Scheme. Built 270 metres into Australia’s deepest lake, Pumphouse Point is now home to eighteen rooms across two buildings (The Pumphouse and The Shorehouse). Our stay at Pumphouse Point surpassed all my expectations, and quickly became the highlight of our Tasmanian adventure.

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Room Five 

We arrived at lunch to a warm welcome from Renee and Josh, the General Managers of the boutique property. A quick buggy ride later, we were in The Pumphouse, surrounded by water and completely in awe of where we were. The whole concept and execution of the room (and entire property) was out of this world. The colour scheme, heated bathroom floor, rain shower, Grown Alchemist amenities, Samsung tablet, the view and most importantly, the BEST mini-bar I have ever seen/tasted make Pumphouse Point a bucket list item.

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Lounge Areas

To be honest, I’m not too sure about The Shorehouse, but The Pumphouse had two communal lounge areas that visitors could utilise. Everything your heart could desire was accommodated for in these areas – incredible wine, good books, soft furnishings, board games and open fires. Brianna and I spent a heavenly afternoon by the fire playing Scrabble (and using the free wifi to Snapchat everyone, in order to make them jealous).

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The Details

Getting there

Pumphouse Point is located in the middle of the wilderness and is mainly accessible by road. There is a helipad if you’re that way inclined (if you are, I am incredibly jealous and can we please be friends?!). It was a four hour drive from Stanley (on the northwest coast of Tasmania) and two and a half hours from Hobart.

Eat

Breakfast is included in the nightly rate (see below) but dinner is an additional $50 per person for a two-course dinner. Dinner is served communally in The Shorehouse with the other visitors. Initially, I was a little apprehensive about making smalltalk with strangers, but it turned out to be a fabulous evening! I was seated next to a Singapore-based TV anchor and food/travel reporter, who was doing a story on Tasmania. Naturally, I was in my element and girl-crushed on her for the remainder of the evening; I must’ve asked her one hundred questions (#soznotsoz)! Dinner was delicious and was made up of fresh, Tasmanian produce. We were treated to orange and honey glazed ham with creamy mash potatoes and seasonal vegetables followed by a beetroot and chocolate brownie for dessert (ah yum!).

Breakfast was a delectable selection of Tasmanian produce (do you sense a pattern here?), which included fruit, yoghurt, muesli, eggs, toast, ham, fresh juice, tea and coffee.

To Do

Pumphouse Point is ideal for any traveller, especially the adventurous type, which I admittedly am not. Because Brianna and I were only there for one night, we didn’t really venture far from the bar or lounge areas (ahem) but there is plenty to do, such as grabbing a complimentary bicycle to explore the grounds on. Click here for information on the activities that Pumphouse Point has to offer. If I were to stay again (which I will!), I would stay for two nights in order to spend ample time exploring Lake St. Clair, whilst also putting enough time aside to give the bar and lounge area my undivided attention.

Cost

We paid $320 for one night in a ground floor room at The Pumphouse, which included breakfast. The Shorehouse is not as expensive, at $240 per night. Dinner is an additional $50 per person for a two-course meal. You will also want to eat and drink everything in the mini-bar, so make sure you allocate funds for that!

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Staying at Pumphouse Point is an extraordinary experience that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime!

All photos taken by me, unless stated otherwise.

Dubai Dreaming

Last year when Anna and I jetted off to London and Paris for three weeks, we stopped over in Dubai for a few days on the way home to Sydney. As you can imagine, Dubai is an incredibly decadent city. It’s an ideal destination for any traveller as it effortlessly combines adventure and relaxation. One day you could be skiing on the slopes at Mall of the Emirates, and the next day you could be indulging in some serious pampering at one of Dubai’s luxury hotels (such as Per Aquum Desert Palm and Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa).

Let’s not forget how fashion-forward Dubai is, either. Remember that time last December when I met the ultimate Queen of Fashion at Bloomingdale’s in The Dubai Mall? The ultra-modern destination was one of the first cities that Sarah Jessica Parker launched her shoe collection in and a lucky few (hundred) were able to meet her upon the purchase of a pair of her fabulous shoes. My SJP-signed shoes are probably my most valuable possession!

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 3.54.58 pmMeeting SJP in Dubai and discussing everything that BFFLs would!

After our whirlwind stop-over in Dubai, I am now telling everyone to go to Dubai. Not as a stopover on the way to/from Europe, but as a destination! Champagne brunches, desert safaris, climbing 828 metres to the top of Burj Khalifa, sightseeing, skiing, exploring Old Dubai and the vast array of souks (textiles, gold and spice) and shopping at the largest malls in the world are just some of the many things Dubai has to offer.

Dubai Essentials

  • Dubai is a very warm city (as you can imagine), so pack light. We were there in December (their winter) and it was around 30 degrees celsius everyday. Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates are more conservative than Australia, so make sure you pack clothes that cover your shoulders and go to your knees. This Witchery Tie Shirt dress is ideal as it breathes well in the Arabian heat and can be styled in lots of different ways.
  • We flew with Qantas to Dubai last year and it was only a 14 hour flight. Magazines (such as the Emirates Woman), Malin + Goetz skincare products and monogrammed luggage tags are in-flight essentials.
  • If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Dubai on a Friday, make sure you attend a champagne brunch. A perfect way to either start or end your holiday! The SJP Collection ‘Fawn’ pump is the ultimate shoe to help you drink endless amounts of Moët!
  • Anna and I went on an Arabian Adventures ‘Sundowner’ desert safari and we had the best time! Although our 4WD got stuck on a sand dune (I was in the front seat and was FREAKING OUT), our guide was an absolute hoot! Every time we stopped (for the falcon show, to see the sunset or dinner at the campsite), he made sure he took a million photos of us. Not just any ordinary photo though, he styled us as if we were models “bend your knees, look slightly towards the left” – hilarious; we could not stop laughing. If you want to be a model for the day, a good camera and sunglasses are obvious essentials for this must-do Dubai experience.
  • Don’t forget your credit card because you will literally want to buy one of everything at Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall.

Follow in our heels