What seems like a lifetime away, now, I travelled to Australia with my husband to meet up with our daughter who was studying there for a university exchange year. This has been a dream of mine since we lived in Hong Kong and spent our holidays in Australia rather than coming back to the uk; added to the mix, I was born in Australia and feel a strong affinity to the continent. The relaxed lifestyle, the sea/water and swimming culture, the food, the wine, the beautiful landscape, as well as family who looked after me when I went as a very green 17 year old for 6 months, all add up to more than the sum of the dream parts for me.
So a return trip has long been on my wishlist, which I had revitalised tentatively last year when I turned 50, but which was brought abruptly into reality by my daughters unexpected year there. By chance our eldest son was also able to join us as he managed to get a job starting later that expected, and had time to kill. Where better to do that than the warm embrace of Australia, and your parents wallet!
Family time is precious, especially now we are officially empty nesters, so it was particularly wonderful to be able to enjoy the dream trip with two out of three of the kids (sadly our youngest was at uni). Highlights of a magical trip were an unexpectedly gripping trip to Sydney Opera house to see Faust; the ferry to Manly and walking the Manly to Spit Bridge home; and meeting up with some friends for a delicious lunch at Bather’s Pavilion on Balmoral beach, plus time spent hanging out at beaches, cafes, walking, reading, chatting, laughing. It felt full of the wonderful barefoot relaxation that Australia so uniquely offers. And it felt a world away.
Swimming is one of my huge passions and I took inspiration before the trip from the beautiful book my daughter gave me for Christmas – Places to Swim. I must have read it four times over. These are my absolute favourites from a dream cast of over 10 beautiful spots we found. The North Sydney Olympic pool, just under the harbour bridge, was a first for me – my husband swam there every day while covering the Sydney Olympics and had tormented me with the beauty of it; it did not disappoint. He insisted we had to do brunch each day as that was the vibe. Who was I to complain? My other favourite place in Sydney was Bronte Beach – as you swim to the end of the sea pool a wave may crash over. And you can pause to watch the surfers after a good swim and dream of a parallel life as a surf chic…. When I find it hard to sleep, back here in the UK, I remember swimming at Bronte with the ocean surrounding me and it bridges the gap from awakeness to sleep and sweet dreams (I also really loved the pavement art above the beach). And although Sydney is my favourite city in the World, The Margaret River holds a special place for its raw beauty, with beautiful beaches and award winning vineyards just inland. The beach we stumbled on was a hive of weekend family activity and just that endless stretch of water to swim in. I can still feel the sea water on my skin and the heat of the sun warming me after a long swim.
And of course no trip is without the most important everyday luxury of jewellery. What better place to try out my dreamcatcher collection than 2 weeks in the country of my dreams. What was interesting is how they really worked so well together, layering up or down, adjusting from walking, to beach; café to restaurant; vineyard to mountain walking. My go to pieces were;
Earrings the Cowrie pearl studs, my favourite hoop with pearl drop (just the right boho vibe for Australia, something I’ve brought back with me) and ear threads (which look great with the Circle of life pearl ring necklace)
Necklaces; both Circle of Life pearl rings; I wore the smaller one choker style layered with the dreamcatcher pendant; the Angelina necklace similarly at choker length but layered with the longer Circle of Life pearl ring necklace; my world is your oyster was my daily wear, along with the Favourite hoop with drop.