Westfield Chermside 

Today and over the weekend, celebrations which commenced yesterday will continue @westdieldchermside.  All in aid of the grand opening for the new incredible spaces Westfield Chermside now has to offer.  


Be sure to check out the huge selection of restaurants and shops now available. Whilst there, drop into the champagne pop up bar to refresh yourself before you taking advantage of these fantastic end of financial year sales.

Everywhere eye catching lights, reflections, and something new around every corner will take your attention.

The new area boasts green space complimented by an amazing array of new shops.  Take some time to visit and check out the selection.   Here you will definitely get in your 10 000 steps for the day!

Kallangur Twilight Markets

Markets pop up in many locations.  The Twilight Markets are held in Kallangur Tavern carpark on Saturdays over winter, starting mid afternoon to about 8pm.

Good thinking on someone’s part as winter days can generally have more predictable pleasant weather in South East Queensland, than the summer months.

A good variety of stalls, majority with reasonable pricing, and not too many to become confusing.   Free entry, now that is something I feel is a necessity for markets, most people are looking for a bargain so charging them to enter can be detrimental to the cause.  One general spends more when entry is free, and less when you have to pay to enter.

A happy train driver was operating his wheeled train around the edge of the Markets,  During our time at the markets, there seemed to be a number of smaller patrons with adults in tow, entjoying a ride.

Bric-à-brac, fresh Fruit market and a very good variety of food stalls were among the good selection of stalls on offer.

These candles in martini and champagne glasses were displayed in one of the eyecatching stalls. Very clever work on someone’s part.

Continuing with that cocktail feel, this intriguing stall was full of donuts with injectable flavourings.   As explained by the stall holder donuts become soggy when filling is left inside.  By leaving the filling in a plastic syringe to inject when you are ready to consume this delectable treat, the soggy factor is taken out of the equation.


Over the winter months, if you’re looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon, or feel like calamari, Japanese, or perhaps an indulgentdeep fried mars bar or donut, then stop by the markets to check them out.  Enjoy your choice of meal to accompaniment of  some background live music,  Pleasant in itself as not being too over powering.   A number of tables were in front of the music, however seating appeared to be few and far between.  Perhaps take your own chair if you’d like to stay a while.

The Crofthouse Town Kitchen & Bar

Situated on the ground floor of the Sebel Brisbane, the Crofthouse is a result of a restaurant makeover around a year ago.   With a choice of indooor and outdoor dining, as welll as a mix of dining suite styles, you will are sure to find something to suit your tastes and wile away some time.


The Crofthouse  opens from early to late, catering for all daily meals as well as bar, snack and chacutierie menus.   

Lunches are $16, with a choice of two types.   Choose a protein meal and match to the interesting mix of salads at the bar, or choose an a la carte meal.    Today we both chose an a la carte option.

Mine was the Mushroom Risotto which had a some juicy mushroom pieces scattered throughout.   A nice mild meal, which suited me perfectly.  No spices, just herbs and goats cheeese making for a very enjoyable lunch.


Hubby chose the Flathead meal today.  Accompanied by chunky chips, I’m told the meal was tasty and enjoyable. As far as $16 meals both of these represented very good value for their cost.  Keep in mind too, if you are an Accor plus member, this restaurant accepts the accorplus card giving you discounts on your meals.


Wile away some time here, you may even find free entertainment outside the window.   We were lucky enough to be treated to a reverse parking display which took close to ten minutes from beginning to end, quite entertaining!

Should you feel the need to stay in the city, the Sebel has apartments and rooms available.   

Check the menus here as you pass by, there might be something which will catch your attention and provide you with the opportunity to stop off and relax.

Catalina Bar & Restaurant, Novotel Brisbane Airport

Having been a few times to breakfast, I finally had the opportunity to visit this lovely venue for lunch recently..

The floor to ceiling windows accentuate the high ceiling above, giving you wonderful views over the beautifully maintained lawn outside.   

Pre lunch drinks arrived while we perused the menu.  This delightfully refreshing bubbles with citrus  added was superb!

The menu here has some tantalising lunch specials as well as full restaurant menu.  My choice today was to be the Ceaser Salad with added smoked salmon.

A filling lunch, with just the right amount of dressing mixed through the dish.  Crunchy croutons and crispy bacon mixed well with the softer salmon.  Egg presentation was certainly unexpected, adding to the initial visual appeal and colour.

This dish though completely stole the limelight with its gorgeous presentation.  Peppered seared yellow fin tuna nicoise, layered over potato, green beans, olives, tomatoes and a cute wee quail egg. Not only a delightfully visual dish, but I’m told also extremely tasty.

Service here never disappoints and this particular day was to be no exception.  Added bonus for me is the acceptance of the Accor Plus card which gives 50% off a meal for two.  Also the fact that lunch starts at eleven, was appealing on this occasion, fitting in well with other appointments.

Located át the DfO complex, this would be a wonderful place to take a break in your shopping or end your exhaustive shopping day with a bit of luxury.!

Smoked Paprika

Located on the busy Macgregor Terrace in Bardon, one of Brisbane’s, inner Northen Suburbs, the airy and bright Smoked Paorika Cafe was this weekends breakfast choice.

An intriguing all day breakfast menu, detailing some interesting sounding choices, which, make the final choice of meal all that more difficult.Friendly staff brought chilled water and glasses to the table taking an upfront drinks order, then leaving us to peruse the menu.Loose leaf tea on the menu here, which makes a nice change from teabags.   However the hot chocolate above is certainly an eye catching drink.  Wonderful chocolatey blissfulness, topped with cream and marshmallows, this hot drink was akin to sneaking in a dessert before your meal!

Simple surroundings, with a nice touch of hessian sacking and neatly written appealing blackboards adding to the friendly simple ambiance. 

With the appealing presentation of the hot chocolate raising the bar, one was left wondering what delights were to follow with the meals,  could they match or exceed the bar?   Suffice to say, we were not disappointed in any way.Omelettes come in a number of forms, this particular spinach, goat cheese & mushroom filled Omelette was divine, especially with the tantalising mix of macadamia pesto combined in the dish.  Blistered cherry tomatoes were an added extra of my choice.  

Two of the other meals at our table, included a special of zucchini fritter with an enticing beetroot lending not only a generous dash of colour and fragrance to the dish, but also providing a pleasant accompaniment to the meal.

Chorizo spiralled over the delicious ratatouille dish above.  Presentation topped off with smoked paprika drizzled around the plate, as in the other dishes.  A nice touch given the cafes name.

Now this mammoth looking meal was Hubby’s breakfast choice. A superb melt in the mouth slow cooked brisket, served with crispy Haloumi chips, and his additional choice of lamb sausage and chorizo.  

Dessert choice today, soft Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes, drizzled with maple syrup, hiding delightfully velevty caramelised banana, finished with honey macadamia mascarpone, and finally, dotted with mixed berries.  A truely heavenly dish.

With the menu choices being so enticing, we will return to taste more of the delights on offer. Drop by and check this cafe out.  I would highly recommend you do so!

Dineon19 Taree RSL & Golf Club

Whilst road tripping recently, we stopped off for lunch at Dineon19 located in relaxing surroundings with vistas across the Taree Golf Course.   In this NSW town, the RSL & Golf Club are combined, which is quite simply, a good idea.

The wide verandah boasting inviting table settings, wraps around the outside of the bar and restaurant. A wonderful looking  place to relax as you enjoy the surrounding greenery, punctuated with the odd golf club onto a ball, or birds singing.  

The  procedure here to sign in as a visitor is quite sophisticated for this smaller town.  Your licence is scanned, which in turn prints out a day pass for you.  Having visited many clubs in other areas, this was the first time we had seen this system.  Quick, simple and effective.


Members prices and non-members prices are quite clearly listed in the large menu. After choosing your meal, head up to order and pay..   

We surprised how quickly the meals came out as the venue had a steady stream of patrons.  My choice today of the vegetable satay, not only looked appealing, it really was.

The vegetables were tasty, not overdone, nicely cooked.  Tender enough to eat, marrying beautifully with the creamy satay. 

Hubby today chose one of his signature choices, lambs fry & bacon.  Again the presentation of the dish was very appealing.  

I was impressed with the tea, for such a simple green tea, the presentation and thought into this wa appreciated.

No doubt the locals aware aware of what a treasure they have available in their area, however if you are visiting or passing through, take the time to stop and enjoy not only food and beverage on offer but also the wonderful relaxing atmosphere, coupled with friendly helpful staff.   We will certainly stop in the next time we head this way.   

Two Tails Wines Bed and Breakfast – Nana Glen NSW

Prior to the Easter break, we made the decision to stop midway on our return from Newcastle area to Brisbane.  Unfortunately when you travel at Easter prices tend to go through the roof.   The Ibsis Budget we stopped in for a brief break on the way down, was worth the small amount we had paid for the night, but not double the price expected for Easter Sunday.  Hello google, lets see what we can find.  

Presto, up came a B & B in the Coffs Harbour Hinterland.  Loved the look of the room with the chandelier and warm inviting feel.   We touched base and as the room was vacant on that night, so it was decided to give our first B & B experience a go as it all sounded so reasonable.

Arriving at the Winery late afternoon, just in time to catch a wine tasting, we immediately clicked with the owners Madonna & Barry, who were so genuine, inviting and welcoming.

Now keep in mind. Hubby had been a bit like, oh winery well what will I drink??   Not being a wine drinker, except the odd sweet wine, we had thought a trip to the pub might be necessary to satisfy his thirst.   Apparently not.   The selection here is fascinating.   Dry wines to sweet, including blueberry, raspberry and wonderful fortified wine called Lizards Blood.

By the end of the tasting, Hubbys seclection of choice was more than mine!  Oh well, looks like we will have to drop back down this way to keep the wine fridge topped up.   Best thing was, of the ones I tried, there were no bad choices.   

Have to mention the bubbles, wonderfully light small bubbles, very easy to drink.   Love to enjoy some bubbles on occasions and both of the Two Tails Bubbly Wines have now made the favourite bubbly list.This small vineyard is a credit to the owners, with neat tidy rows and vines.   Take a stroll around when you stay there, Madonna & Barry have no problem with that.   Definitely they have a little slice of paradise here, and its pretty awesome.

The room has a large bathroom including spa bath, nice tidy kitchenette with a bar fridge, microwave, electric frypan, toaster, jug and basic kitchen essentials.   Breakfast was waiting in the fridge for the next morning, with bacon eggs, bread for toasting, even a couple of cereals there if you desired as well.  Everything was neat tidy, clean, and very inviting.

The large country style verandah outside the door, has a BBQ as well as outside dining setting and a small coffee table setting.   We were offered the choice of sitting on the wonderful verandah outside the winery door as well.  Next time, I think we will, it certainly looked like an awesome place to wile away some time whilst kicking back enjoying a vino or two.  Not that there was anything wrong with the the verandah at the house, a nice relaxing place to watch the world go by.

If you give plenty of notice, check the website as your welcoming hosts give you some bbq dinner options.   We decided a couple of weeks prior to have  T-bone steak meal each.  Great decision that one.   The Tbones were huge, fantastic butcher quality steaks.   Complimented by the tasty salad and fresh buns, not forgetting a drop or two of the Two Tails Wine and you have a restaurant style meal.   Even better maybe as you get to cook that meat to your suit your palate.   All the condiments were provided too so you can stop here without bringing food at all.   

There are a couple of local pubs too, and two interesting looking cafes close by.   Certainly wont go hungry or thirsty in this area.  

We really cannot recommend this place highly enough.   As our first B&B experience with the owners onsite, it was simply fabulous.   Your hosts are friendly intriguing and we enjoyed sharing some time with them.   Certainly an excellent choice of venue to which we will return.

Even if you cannot stay, at least drop in and check out the winery.  If you really dont want to try any wine, Barry has a fridge of beer varieties at the cellar door as well as some non alchohoic drinks.   There is something here for everyone.

Perhaps you’re wondering where the name came from, Two tails came about because of the two tailed lizard.  Plenty of interesting facts to find out.   

Keep an eye out for updates on the two new rooms, restaurant, annual music festival, and oh so much this go ahead winery has to offer. Keep in mind the affordability of this venue..in no way is anything overpriced.

Enjoy your time and have a chat with the hosts, Maddona & Barry.   We had some hilarious conversations.  Thank you both for a fabulous experience.    We are definitely coming back!

Ibsis Bdget – Coffs Harbour

To live is to explore the world around us.  Too many are caught up in everyday routines, or staying with the familiar.  Why not, change tact every now and then.

With Easter on the horizon, we set off on a road trip from Queensland into New South Wales.  Nothng better than a few days away. Road tripping,  love it.

To break up the 9-10 hour trip, we decided to stop about halfway, at Ibsis Budget Coffs Harbour.  Reviews had slammed this place as being budget accommodation.  I’m not sure what these people missed but I’m pretty sure that was obvious in the name!  We were arriving late night, leaving early morning and to be fair, I’m not prepared to pay good or top dollars for a place you when don’t have time to enjoy the amenities on offer.

Ibsis Budget it was. Yes that came from Accor Plus membership , but here you cannot use your points, or gain points. No problem, to be honest for about $80, two people, room & breakfast, we are not complaining.  Although many have.

Om a side note here, Accor have their basis covered. For sure.  From basic accommodation to the best, they have it, and would have to say, good thnking.

The room is basic, as we expected.  In saying that it was sufficient.  Bed, TV, private bathroom, even basic coffee facilities and bar fridge.  We needed no more, particularly when you roll through the door late at night just to sleep and freshen up.

Not only sufficient, clean, tidy and the added plus of friendly helpful staff.  Even a phone call to check how we were travelling before they closed reception at 10pm.  Don’t panic if you do go over reception time.  They will call you, give you a code to enter a locked box outside, which will have your room key in it.Plenty of car parking, yes you probably look out onto a carpark, no balconies here, but as I said, we were just passing through for a few hours. It really doesn’t matter.

Buffet continental breakfast.  Again not sure why some expected a full cooked breakfast or a kitchen to open, as it was clearly advertised. Certainly again sufficient to top up after your snooze and refresh.

You cannot top service or cleanliness.  The young lady on reception and gentleman on buffet, were both friendly outgoing, helpful and very down to earth,   Most impressive service for budget accommodation.  Well done.  

Sure, I would not recommend staying here for a holiday, however, to break a road trip with a brief stopover,  highly recommended.  

Cafe Nui – Toowong

Stopped in here for a weekend breakfast recently.  Plenty of room at this venue, with big solid wooden tables, huge verandah area, good service and what could probably be best described as solid hearty meals.

Situated at the end of long ramp, overlooking a car parking area, the general vibe was quite pleasant.   Look for the umbrellas outside, framing the Cafe Nui sign.Menu choices had interesting names with various choices.  With a solid drink selection to pair with your meal, there shouldn’t be too much problem finding a beverage to suit your taste.  Maybe a Chanel Juice (watermelon, pineapple & mint), or perhaps The Hottie (carrot, ginger & pineapple).


Time to choose breakfast.   Today I thought I’d give the McKay a try.   Advertised as Haloumi, onion rings, avocado, poached eggs on Turkish bread, it certainly sounded appealing.

Not only did this sound appealing, it looked appealing and definitely provided a good solid food base to the stomach,  The Haloumi was nicely grilled, not tough, stringy, in fact one of the better grilled haloumi’s I have had.

Savoury mince on toast was Hubbys choice today.   A breakfast which he did enjoy, stating everything was fresh, and nicely cooked.

Corey was the name of the Potato Rossi dish,   A simple meal overall, I’m told was nice but not completely to the taste of the person consuming.   Presentation was simple, with meals still looking appealing.   The only issue we had was the delay in one of the meals, arriving when the rest of the party had finished around half of their meals.  Apart from this, service was fine.

Why not finish breakfast with a dessert?   This one might be becoming a habit, however the Canadian style Oliver pancakes were most definitely worth tasting.

WIth alcoholic beverages available, this venue would make a nice lunch venue or somewhere to wile away some time.   By the reviews on their page, this one looks to be a popular local hangout.   If you’re not a local though, head past and stop in for visit.   

Hong Kong – What to See & Do

Following on from my previous Hong Kong and Macau blogs, this one is to let you know what there is to see & do whilst visiting Hong Kong.Starting on the Tsim Sha Tsui side of Hong Kong, my first surprise was to find the Avenue of Comic Stars.   Easy to find with these delightful statutes and coloured stairways marking the entrance to the Avenue and park above.

Plenty to see up here with all types of Comic star statues as well as garden areas, dwarfed by the massive high rises in the area. Best of all there is no charge to stroll around or take selfies with Comic star heros.There is so much to see and do in Hong Kong.  The harbour is a wonderful place for a stroll, day or night.  Photo opportunities abound here.Hong Kong harbour at night is breathtaking.  Even in bad weather, fabulous pops of colour make for eyecatching scenery.  Here one of the Duk lings brightens the night with its impressive shade of red.

At the time of my visit, the construction around the harbour area was huge.   Avenue of movie stars was closed for renovations, as was a large amount of the harbour frontage.   Garden and art displays were still dotted around walkways.   The one above, depicting the vanishing polar bear, tore at the heartstrings.

Remember the Big Red Bus I referred to in the Hong Kong – “What to Expect Blog” , well it really is a great way to see the islands and tourist spots.  Stop at the tram to head up The Peak.   An impressive structure, atop the Peak awaits you.  The tram ride is steep, with plenty to see along the way.  It will look like a crowd of people but don’t worry too much, you don’t seem to have wait much more that about 10-30 minutes with tram arriving about every ten minutes.  Definitely worth doing, especially if you choose a Big Red Bus ticket which includes the tram ride.

View from the tram as you head up to the PeakIf you enjoy riding escalators you are in for a treat in Hong Kong.   They love their escalators here!  This impressive display of escalators gives you an idea of how many levels are contained within the big space boat design of the Peak.

Wth a huge variety of shopping and restaurants, including Bubba Gump Restaurant, Madame Tussaud’s, even a Hard Rock Cafe shop, and market stalls, you won’t be short of things to do.   Dining next a window overlooking Hong Kong harbour, is nothing short of exhilarating.   Oh and if you settle on Bubba Gump Restaurant, all themed in the Forrest Gump movie, highly suggest the clam soup.  I actually went back for another meal just to have this dish again.  By far the best seafood chowder ever!  Oh and choose a cocktail or drink where you keep the glass.  A nice new one will be delivered to your table before you leave.Shopping abounds in Hong Kong, this culture is built around shopping and mass consumerism.   Even you dont wish to shop, just going through the shopping centres is an experience on its own.   Many brand labels but who knows what types of shops you will see.Ride the ferries and other boats around the harbour, explore the streets, visit the Golden Buddha on Kowloon, or the markets.  Plenty of tour options are available too.  The one I chose for the first night through Buffalo tours, included a harbour night light cruise – unlimited drinks included, plus a trip by private transport up to the Peak for dinner at Bubba Gump Restaurant and a few minutes soaking up the view from the outside viewing platform.   Our final part of the tour was to stop at the night markets.  For me this guided tour was enough to give me an overview of how this city was laid out.  After that I did not need any tours as it was so very easy to navigate around by myself.

This photo above was taken around 10pm a night, to give you an idea of how busy the streets remain.   Certainly one of those cities which never sleep.   The clock and fountains, also in the harbour area are beautiful and make a great photographic background.   Good luck though finding a time to photograph where there is no-one else in the shot!   One comment I heard here, was “everyone is a model”.   Certainly seemed like it with the many photo shoots I came acros whilst exploring.

Overall it does depend on what you want to do with your time.  If like me, you are happy to wander and see what comes along, well, you are most certainly going to enjoy this city!   Don’t forget to leave your postcard to Hong Kong at the harbour.   Loved this piece of art too!