Lighting: Kitchen Island Bench

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You might remember late last year we started our kitchen planning, and now that we’re close to building commencing, we’ve been trying to finalise our lighting choices to go through with the electrician. One of the key elements of the kitchen is the lighting over our island bench. While the lights in our inspiration picture (below – (image from Marsh and Clark) are from the US, I managed to track down an Australian supplier. Unfortunately, it turns out they are worth $2,500 EACH!! That certainly doesn’t fit our budget, regardless of how much I love them. So instead, I’ve been trying to find some alternatives. I’ve come up with a shortlist of these 6, and I think we’ve just about settled on the first option. They’re online only, so we’re going to have a look at the third option which are in store, they’re similar, but a bit bigger and at a much higher price point – but will give us a good idea of what they’re going to look like. Very excited to have ticked one more thing off the huge to do list!

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Discovering the Burleigh Heads food scene

As a child, every year at Christmas my family made the journey down to Burleigh Heads to spend a week in the sun and surf. Burleigh quickly cemented it’s place in our hearts, with its laid back atmosphere, village feeling and beachside parklands. Burleigh wasn’t the tourist mecca of the Gold Coast, and that was just the way we liked it.

However, as the years go by, obviously development happens and places change. While Burleigh has been fortunate to retain its village feeling, it has seen a number of incredible restaurants and eateries open up, replacing long tired or empty shop fronts along James Street. As part of our longing to spend more time on the coast as part of our (soon to be)  new lifestyle, I shouted hubby and I tickets for a Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours tour of Burleigh Heads. We headed out last weekend to check out the latest offerings at Burleigh.

Our tour group had 10 people, including the guide, which was a great number for socialising and enabled us to have a group table where ever we went. I believe they cater for up to 20 people in a group, but there is a minimum to run (not sure what it is, probably depends on the tour). We met outside the Burleigh Heads Bowls Club (probably one of the best located bowls clubs in Australia) and started with a brief historical overview of the Burleigh area before we got down to business.

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Stop 1: Stones Throw Burleigh

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Stones Throw dishes up a surprising menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner eats. Run by brother and sister duo Cameron Chartres and Melanie Windsor, we were told that Cameron has spent the last 20 years working around the world, including training under Gordon Ramsay. The menu has bold, exotic flavours, and we sampled a Beef Rendang with crispy egg, currently available on their breakfast menu. I would normally have never chosen this as a breakfast dish, but I was so pleased as it was absolutely delicious! The menu changes every now and then, and has just undergone a small revamp so it’s a great time to get there and sample the offerings. Word on the street is that they are planning on offering picnic baskets soon, so you can pick up a basket of goodies and sit back and enjoy them while sitting on Burleigh Hill looking out over the surf.

Stop 2: Golosi Food Emporium

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Golosi is a foodie’s wonderland, located at the top of James Street. “Golosi”, which means glutton or greedy in Italian, is a food emporium showcasing some of the finest local and international products available. Their produce is ever-changing to reflect the latest and greatest tastes from around the world, and especially those sourced from the local region. This food emporium is bursting with every type of gourmet provision you could think of, from a cabinet stocked with cheese, salami, olives and savoury pastries, to walls lined with oils, vinegars, sauces, spreads, condiments and pastas. We were greeted on arrival with a glass of champagne, and there were two beautiful platters of gourmet goodies on the table for us to sample. Some of our favourites were the Bush Berry Jam and the Roasted Capsicum dip – we may have even purchased a little pot of the jam to take home.

Stop 3: Gelateria Dolce Follia

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Sixteen flavours of homemade gelato and sorbet grace the chilled cabinet of Gelateria Dolce Follia in Burleigh Heads. This award-winning hole-in-the-wall ice creamery uses only the freshest ingredients and no artificial flavours or preservatives. Favourites among the locals are the Honeycomb Chocolate Crunch, the Chocolate Nutella Cheesecake gelato and the Coconut Milk sorbet. We were able to sample as many flavours as we wanted, before settling on one to have a serving of. I couldn’t go past the award wining Coconut Milk sorbet – so refreshing and tasty!

Stop 4: The Pocket Burleigh

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The Pocket’s food is Mediterranean influenced, with an emphasis on ‘Good food, simply delicious’, free range and locally grown produce, with as much as possible coming from the owner’s own farm. Well appreciated by vegan, paleo and gluten-free patrons, The Pocket’s menu offers smoky babaganoush, creamy hummus and labaneh, soft toasted pockets, and the best falafel in town. We tried a mezzo plate, which had a selection of homemade dips, falafel balls, marinated roasted vegetables, fresh salad and pickles and was served with pocket breads. We also got to try their incredible homemade fresh lemonade, infused with rosewater and mint – some on the tour said they would come back just for the lemonade!

Stop 5: Finders Keepers Bar

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With our stomachs stuffed full, we had one more stop on the tour. Finders Keepers Bar is a unique cocktail bar and restaurant, and we were treated to a cocktail making demonstration and a delicious chocolate dessert. When you arrive at Finders Keepers you settle in to a welcoming and relaxed environment, inspired by French provincial and coastal styles, and enjoy share plate dining from their ever-changing menu. Their quality ingredients are carefully sourced and respected, many from local businesses. The experienced bar professionals at Finders Keepers craft classic-inspired cocktails, as well as twists on contemporary favourites. They were mouth-wateringly good and we couldn’t help but stay here for a bit after the tour finished to sample a second cocktail!

Places we visited:
Stones Throw Burleigh
Golosi Food Emporium
Gelateria Dolce Follia
The Pocket Burleigh
Finders Keepers Bar

Honourable mentions:
We didn’t get to try these places, but our guide highly recommended we come back for a visit!
Justin Lane Pizza & Pasta Rooftop Bar
Zelotti Restaurant
Zullaz Bar and Eatery
Harvest Moon Burleigh
Harry’s Steak Bistro
Jimmy Wah’s

We’re at Council!

Hi there! It’s been a while since I’ve posted because quite honestly, it seems like NOTHING has been happening the last few months!

Since October 2016, it’s taken 3 months of back and forward with our builder and the developer to get our developer approval. However, we finally got the stamp of approval a few weeks ago and it was suddenly all systems go! As soon as we had that stamp, it was off to the engineers to do our engineered drawings of the footings and make sure we had a good enough plan in place for the slab. Unfortunately the engineer wanted to upgrade quite a few things, which meant an increase in costs again – but at least it wasn’t the $30k we were expecting and only came out at $6k.

So then it was off to Gold Coast City Council for approval. We’ve heard differing stories as to how long this part can take, but we’re hopeful for a quick turnaround. Our plans went in on Monday 13 February, and we actually heard back from them on Thursday 16 February – can you believe it! Unfortunately it was a rejection because, long story short, our waste water plan didn’t match up with the developers initial DA plan. After consulting with our waste water engineer, he had advised that the developers initial plan was no where near adequate and so we went ahead with our own plans. Council don’t take into consideration the waste water engineers report for some reason, and just saw that it didn’t match up with the initial DA plan and rejected our plans. Fortunately, hubby has been in touch with what seems like a million different people and we’ve found out that a DA amendment has been applied for and will be effective as of Wednesday. This means we don’t have to change anything and our plans will be allowed, we just have to wait for this DA amendment to go through and then reapply. All an unnecessary delay, but hopefully it’s an indication of a quick turnaround and we might have approval in a week.

Once that approval comes through, it’s building time! As per our contract, our site cut will take place within 10 business days of Council Approval, so I like to think that we are only a matter of weeks from commencement! It’s been nearly a year and a half since we paid our deposit, so we are pretty damn excited right now. I thought I’d leave you with some photos of the recent changes in our estate – there are at least 4 houses under construction in our stage and some are nearly ready for the owners to move in, so there is lots happening!

I’ll start posting more regularly now, there are lots of meetings, choices and finalising of plans happening and lots to update on!

Cheers,

L

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The most expensive house in America

While Hubs and I are focusing on getting the most bang for our buck in our build, I thought I’d take a look at what’s on offer if the budget was unlimited – and came across the most expensive house in America that is currently on the market.

Introducing Gemini – the $195 million tropical compound. Yes, you heard that correctly. $195 million compound.

The estate listing calls it a 15.65 acre crown jewel tropical compound, and a once in a lifetime offering of one of the world’s truly great and rare estates.

So what does $195 million get you?

  • 1 x large, elegant yet invitingly formal coral-clad 12-bedroom main residence, comprising large wings on both the ocean and Intracoastal sides, joined by a unique and irreproducible 15 foot wide residential gallery
  • 1 x 7-bed, 7.5-bathroom guest house
  • 2 x 4-bed guest cottages
  • 1 x manager’s office with work spaces and garages
  • There’s also a bird sanctuary, a botanical garden, and a butterfly garden
  • If you’re into sport, the sports complex features a regulation tennis court, half basketball court, Robinson Crusoe-style tree house and playground, miniature golf course and large-scale model train
  • For the boaties, there’s a private beach and a pier, too.

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Sounds like…. a lot of maintenance. But I suppose, if you can afford the price tag, you can afford a couple of cleaners and groundkeepers!

It looks like it’s been on the market for at least a year, so who knows what it will actually sell for, and if it will actually sell. Let’s just hope it’s built to withstand the weather, with Hurricane Matthew bearing down in the next few days. My thoughts are with all those in the path of Matthew – some of my favourite cities in the world are going to be effected and I can only pray that they come out with minimal damage. I’m keeping a close eye on the weather reports and hoping for a miracle.

xx

Kitchen planning + weekend fun

Well we still haven’t signed a contract for the build, but hopefully we’re very close.

This weekend we decided to start kitchen shopping as we’ve got the option of going with our builder’s cabinet maker or a kitchen company of our choice. I’ve found 4 companies that we wanted to check out, 2 of which are on the Gold Coast (the other 2 in Brisbane) so Saturday morning we jumped in the car and headed for Burleigh Heads. It was great to chat with both sides of the process – one place we spoke to the owner and the actual builder himself, and the other place we chatted with a kitchen designer. We already know fairly certainly what we want, but it was good to know that what we’re looking for is possible to achieve! I won’t go in to details until we have the actual drawings and are further along in the process, but this is our inspiration picture (image from Marsh and Clark).

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After spending 2.5 hours talking kitchens, we were both over it and given it was such a beautiful day we decided to swing by the beachfront and see if we could get a carpark and go somewhere for lunch. Luckily we only did one lap of the esplanade when we found a park and it was right in front of the best beachfront spot at Burleigh!

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We thought we’d push our luck even further and see if we could get a table at Rick Shores, a Pan-Asian restaurant headed by renowned Melbourne chefs, and managed to score the last two spots at the casual bar! Lunch was amazing, the flavours were so fresh and there wasn’t a bite that didn’t taste great. We had:

  • Chicken Popcorn, Meyer Lemon, Spiced Salt
  • Beef Brisket Bao, Smoked Ssam Jang, Cucumber
  • Massaman Curry, Lamb Shank, Potato, Pickled Onion
  • Miso chocolate parfait, with milo, peanut butter and malt.

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The cocktails were pretty amazing too!

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On our way home, we dropped into the estate to see if there was any building progress anywhere. Two lots have their building pads being levelled, so it’s likely we’ll see some construction there in the next few weeks. We had a hilarious story while we were there: we found a little pool in the nature reserve between us and our neighbours. It looks like it could be about a metre deep and it had a fair bit of water in it. We were looking at it and said wouldn’t it be great if there were turtles living in it. We got back in our car and drove around a couple of the other streets and all of a sudden hubby put the breaks on and said “what’s that?”. We got out of the car, and there was a turtle sitting in the middle of the road! It was really hot and the poor thing looked distressed. We’re not sure how it got there, or why it was there – perhaps it crawled up from a nearby creek and got stuck once it climbed down the gutter. I told hubby to pick it up and we would take it back to our little pond. Well, the minute we walked towards it, it ran and hid in the shade under our car! Hubby had to get an umbrella out of the car and he managed to get it to climb into an insulated cooler bag we had. We put it in the car and raced back to our block and managed to get it into our little pool! It was so happy, it swam around, ducking deep into the water and then finding a little ledge to rest on. Who knows if it will stick around, but at least the poor thing didn’t die in the sun!

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We spent a lovely day today celebrating our friends birthdays. Such a great group of girls!

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Did you know that it is only 91 more sleeps til Christmas? Can you believe how fast this year has gone? Have a good week everyone!

Meeting the neighbours + build update

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One of the key things hubby and I were looking for when we started looking for land to build our forever home, was a sense of community.

I grew up in a street where everyone knew each other and we stayed out playing in the street until dark when we’d run home for dinner. There were about 20 kids with a 10 year age range and we all got along. There was a park and a creek at the end of the street and we’d ride our bikes up and down the hill, with an occasional shout of “car!” signalling the scramble to get off the road. I lived in that house my entire childhood, and it was only at the age of 21 that I finally moved out of home – to a house a couple of streets away! At 29 I’m still in contact with many of the children that I grew up with, and many of the parents still live in that same street along with my own parents. Hubby on the other hand, moved around a lot as a child and moved out of home quite young.

While we both come from very different backgrounds when it comes to calling a place home, we both agreed we wanted to achieve a similar life as what I had as a child for our own children. And even for ourselves. I like the idea of getting home on a Friday and cutting through the backyard to go and have a drink over a back fence with a neighbour. Just knowing our neighbours will be a good thing! In today’s society we are becoming more isolated and don’t like to get to know our neighbours. We’re looking for a community, with similar goals and views on life.

We had strong hopes for this sense of community when we purchased our land, but needless to say we were very excited when we heard the initiatives that the developer has in place to help us all meet and get to know each other. The first of which was a ‘Meet The Neighbours’ evening at the estate, where we had nibbles, drinks, games and a bonfire. We met a number of our direct neighbours, and even a few who are a couple of streets over. It was a great introduction to the community and the first of many events they have planned – there was talk of movie nights under the stars and another BBQ type picnic affair.

In terms of where we’re at with the build. Well, we’re learning to be patient! It takes a long time to go back and forth with the builder and we still haven’t signed a contract, but we did receive what is hopefully the final drawings and changes to our plan today (with lots of highlighter colours and mark ups!). We’re hoping to quickly review and send back, so that we can get them to draw up the final contract and get it signed. Then it’s off to the bank for money, the developer for their design approval, and the council for building approval. Fingers crossed, we might be laying the slab in November. I’ll cry if we’re not!!

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New discoveries lately

Hey y’all! Life – it gets busy, doesn’t it? Well I’ve been out and about and spending time online and have a few new discoveries I wanted to share with you!

Enjoy xx

Globe West

I’ve started furniture dreaming lately, making plans for all the new pieces I am going to want to buy once we move into our home. I’ve found some great new companies, and fallen in love with some old favourites again too. While I love the furniture in Coco Republic, unfortunately my budget doesn’t stretch to the $13,000 dining tables. Globe West have some similar products at a better price point, so I’ve been doing some window shopping. How gorgeous is this Midnight Blue sofa!

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Flour & Bloom

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of supporting our local entrepreneurs. The concept of daily bunches of flowers has taken off over the last year and it’s so great to see small businesses popping up and delivering something new and creative. I’ve been a fan of Poco Posy and Poppy Rose for sometime, but another that I’ve recently discovered is Flour & Bloom. Their point of difference is that twice a week they offer a donut or cupcake with their flowers! I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful bunch from my husband this week. (P.S – if you’re in Sydney or Melbourne, check out my cousin’s business – Daily Blooms!)

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The Malty Grain

On the topic of local entrepreneurs, hubby and I decided to try out The Malty Grain recently. Opened in the first half of 2016, The Malty Grain is a beer house that has been created by the team behind the acclaimed Beard and Brau Farmhouse Brewery. Malty Grain’s main focus is food and beer done well and by all accounts it has nailed the concept. Tuck into a great menu of tapas-style eats such as chicken wings, Spanish tortillas, croquettes and charcuterie with morsels sourced from local providores, and quaff some of the exceptional craft beer and cider on offer.

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ASOS

It’s been a while since I checked out ASOS and I don’t know why, but I jumped online the other day to check it out. Low and behold, they’re having their 70% off final clearance sale! It must be fate. I quickly snapped up four new dresses for the summer (free shipping and they were here in two days!) and am loving them. Sale still on, check it out!