STAY | Bannisters Pavilion, Mollymook

Mar 29, 2016

Bannisters Pavilion Mollymook - Beachside Chic with a Touch of Scandi 
It’s no secret that Mollymook is my ‘home away from home’. There is so many reasons why this has become a special place for my family. Perhaps it is the unspoilt beaches, the crystal clear waters, the moody weather, the friendly locals or the proximity to the rolling green hills of Milton. Probably all of these things combined with the addition of so many family memories made here - engagements, weddings and first baby milestones. The original property 'Bannisters By the Sea' holds a ‘special place’ in my heart after discovering it by accident 11 years ago and later marrying here. To be honest I wasn't sure how I would feel about staying in the brand new Bannisters Pavilion, situated in the local shopping strip of Mollymook. I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised, and have now found our ‘new’ family holiday haven for those much needed city escapes with the kids. 

Bannisters Pavilion, launched late in 2015, is the stylish new accommodation option in Mollymook. Only a short drive from the original 'Bannisters by The Sea', the new Bannisters Pavilion offers 32 stylish guest rooms and 2 luxurious penthouse suites, with a stunning backdrop of eucalyptus trees, and just a short walk to North Mollymook beach. The hotel on Tallwood Avenue, is the hot new South Coast address, set just off Mitchell Parade and Beach Road. Conveniently located just 900m away from Bannisters by the Sea, guests of Bannisters Pavilion can also use all of it’s facilities including the horizon pool bar, Rick Stein at Bannisters and the Bannisters Day Spa. Everything across both properties can be charged to one central account too, so you can enjoy the two properties if you like, taking in the culinary delights and pampering at one, while relaxing by the pool at the other. 

Of course my favourite feature of Bannisters Pavilion has to be the sun drenched rooftop pool bar, lined with sun beds, funky yellow striped umbrellas, private lounge spaces, and a spectacular suspended pool. After a long rooftop breakfast, you can set yourself up by the pool and soak up the morning sun, take a dip, read a book, and ease your way into lunchtime. The new rooftop area is perfectly designed to allow guests to seamlessly move between the pool, bar-and-grill and lounge areas. The sharing menu is inspired by Mediterranean, Southern Californian and Mexican flavours, with some fabulous cocktails and craft beers on the menu. We loved the pulled pork belly sliders, soft shell crab tacos, and the tortilla chips with Mexican guacamole. And while Bannisters Pavilion is wonderful for couples looking for a few days to chill out with a magazine and a cocktail, it is incredibly family friendly too, so that if you do bring the kids, you will still feel relaxed.

While there is no direct ocean views from Bannisters Pavilion, the fabulous sunny rooftop pool bar and the close proximity to the beach more than makes up for this. The bedroom finishes are sleek and modern, with wonderful king beds and a touch of scandi style. The beautiful penthouse suites on the first floor are perfect for a larger family stay, a girls weekend or special event, with two spacious suites to chose from, just a short step up to the rooftop bar. The spacious lobby is light and bright and beautifully decorated with white, cream and black, with a lovely quiet reading corner and some super cute bikes out front ready for you to explore the surrounding areas. 

The new Bannisters Pavilion property is actually much closer to the waves (scoring points with one surfer husband), and of course 'North Molly' our family favourite for late afternoon swims. This has to be one of the most perfect places on the South Coast - the headland protects the water, making it a beautiful and calm place to swim in emerald green waters.  (Shhhh don't tell anyone). And when you have had enough sun and surf, you can take a short drive to nearby Milton village for some retail therapy and coffee.

Photos by Natalie Hayllar, Eat Read Love

I cannot wait to return to Bannisters Pavilion with the family for a few days and continue with our Mollymook traditions, enjoying our regular spots, while always discovering new hidden gems. I wanted to share some of my favourite things to do for a weekend in Mollymook:-

For weekend escapes
  • Take an afternoon swim at North Mollymook beach
  • Bike ride along the beach path on Mitchell Parade down to Sth Mollymook.
  • Walk or jog up to the Golf Course and down to Collers Beach. 
  • Take an afternoon drive along Croobyar Road into the beautiful rolling green hills behind Milton. Grab a pie at the Milton Pie Shop on the way back. 
  • Enjoy a long lunch at Cupitt’s Winery - a taste of France on the South Coast, Cupitt's often has live jazz and growers markets here, a beautiful way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the vineyards
  • Coffee at the Treehouse Cafe in Ulladulla, perfect for a pre-movie visit
  • Dine at Tallwood restaurant, right next door to Bannisters Pavilion, gorgeous local produce and super friendly staff. 
  • Sunday night pizza at the Bannisters by the Sea horizon pool bar - you might spot some whales passing by if you are lucky. 
  • Espresso Martinis poolside at the Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Pool
  • Retail Therapy in Milton - plenty of homeware shops, local providores and cafes for an afternoon stroll. You might pick up some vintage, homewares, clothes and organic produce.
If you are spending more than a week in Mollymook with friends and family then these are some nice day trip ideas too further South:
  • Take a short 30 minute drive down south to Bawley Point and Pretty Beach, plenty of Kangaroos, local wineries and beautiful unspoilt beaches 
  • Narawallee beach has a wonderful inlet for the kids to swim if the tides are ok
  • Lake Tabouri is a gorgeous place for swimming with the kids, with some fun sand dunes to slide down. Great for stand-up paddle boarding too. 
  • Mogo Zoo is a great day out - you can also visit nearby Guerrilla Bay for a beautiful swim or picnic. 
  • Take a bush-walk on the 'Adventure Trail' in Murramarang National Park on your way to Depot Beach. 
Bannisters Pavilion Guest rooms start from $255 and Penthouse from $398. Non-guests can also use the rooftop bar grill, a popular place for the locals and travellers to dine as well. 

*I was a guest of Bannisters Pavilion. 

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EAT | The Paddington Sydney Merivale

Mar 23, 2016

Looking for the best roast chicken and chips in Sydney? I have found them.  Merivale’s newly opened The Paddington, is sure to please. One of three exciting new properties on Oxford Street, located in the centre of the historic inner-Sydney strip, The Paddington (formerly The Paddington Arms) serves a rotisserie-led menu by the brilliant Executive Chef Ben Greeno, impressive cocktails by Palmer and Co.’s Sam Egerton and Toby Marshall and wine curated by the award-winning Franck Moreau and Adrian Filiuta.
Justin Hemmes, Merivale CEO, said: “We are extremely excited to open in Paddington, I have very fond memories of what Oxford Street used to be and we are looking forward to bringing some of that magic back to such an iconic part of Sydney. Ben is an undeniable culinary talent, arguably one of the best in the world, and he is going to deliver something truly special at The Paddington”.
Greeno, whose CV includes Momofuku Seiobo, Michelin-starred Sat Bains and the world’s best restaurant, Noma, has moved from the rarefied air of fine-dining to lead the culinary charge. The Paddington has been designed entirely around his vision for the menu and the style of cooking he loves.
Rotisserie proudly takes the lead with specially-imported, custom-made French rotisseries forming the centrepiece of the pub. Think dishes such as lamb rump with red pepper and almonds; wagyu beef with artichokes, pickled mustard seeds and watercress; whole fish stuffed with olives, lemon and thyme; and of course, roast chicken with French fries. The rotisserie will be accompanied by a delicious selection of small plates including octopus, potato, confit tomato and black olives; smoked trout with English muffin and duck egg; spelt, roast cabbage, kombu and prawns; and parmesan custard with sprouted pulses.

Ben Greeno said: “I want to create food that lends itself to a good time, dishes that can be shared amongst friends. I thought, ‘why don’t we do rotisserie?’. There’s no reason why the food can’t be as good and complex as a high-end restaurant, even though it’s served in more casual surrounds”.

The Paddington will also be home to an impressive cocktail bar, led by Sam Egerton and Toby Marshall, the talented team behind the award-wining Palmer & Co. The duo has designed a cocktail list focused on the world’s most-loved classic cocktails. Over 600 cocktails were blind-tasted to create the final selection.

The Paddington has been brought to life by a design team including Kelvin Ho and Emilie Delalande of Akin Creative, stylist Amanda Talbot and Justin and Bettina Hemmes. Designed as if it was an old local butcher, it boasts a relaxed, quintessential British charm with white glazed ceramic tiles, painted timber panelling and dark timber furniture. Upstairs the space becomes more intimate with booth seating, panelled walls, a leather-fronted cocktail bar and mirrored tables. The private dining room is surrounded by a floor-to-ceiling distressed landscape mural painted by local Sydney artist Desmond Sweeney. 

The Paddington is the perfect Friday meeting spot for lunch, the menu is great for sharing, the service is fast and friendly, and its directly opposite the site of the Paddington Markets. Its great to see Oxford Street buzzing again, and with the addition of this and more Merivale properties nearby, it is sure to bring back the old vibe that we all miss from this famous and special Sydney strip. Drop in for a quick lunch, or stay for the afternoon. Trust me you will love the Roast Chicken. 

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EVENT | Style Me Merivale IVY ballroom

Mar 9, 2016

Style Me Merivale - hosted by Vogue Living's Editor in Chief, Neale Whitaker, join the creative geniuses behind Merivale's most iconic and well loved venues. 

Words by Hannah Mars. Photos by Merivale. 

The venues under the Merivale brand are known just as much for unique, impactful interior design as they are great food and service. Part of the 8th annual March into Merivale festivities, Style Me Merivale was an event that delved into the brains behind the beautiful styling and stories that contribute to making each Merivale venue a place that people actually want to hang out. Editor in Chief of Vogue Living Neale Whitaker played host, prising interesting tidbits out of Justin and Bettina Hemmes, architect Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative, and stylist Amanda Talbot. A running theme was how interior design can actually impact the way people behave in a space, playing a key role in shaping the atmosphere of a bar or restaurant. For example, deep, squishy couches might be avoided, as “people would get too lazy,” (according to Justin). 

Rather than follow a regimented formula across the Merivale brand, the panellists said that they take each venue as it comes, letting the property itself determine the direction of the venue’s story and aesthetic. The eclectic mix of lamps, plants, and armchairs upstairs at the Coogee Pavilion Rooftop for example, were inspired by a ‘crazy scientist’ character the design team imagined used to live there – a fantasy tale that becomes the actual design brief. Other times, styling is inspired by the personality chef of a restaurant. For example, for Ms. G’s, Justin was influenced by Dan Hong’s love of sneakers. He told architects to imagine that the restaurant was a garage in New York that had been rented by a couple of guys on a shoe string budget – resulting in graffiti and street-style motifs throughout the space.

What: Style Me Merivale, Hosted by Editor in Chief Neale Whitaker, Vogue Living
Where: Ivy Ballroom
When: March 7 2016

For more incredible events be sure to visit the March into Merivale official site. The Coogee Pavilion Foreshore Festival is next on my list. 

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Marks & Spencer Australia Launch Party

Mar 5, 2016

Marks & Spencer launches the Australian online store in Sydney this week, with a glamorous poolside soiree hosted by Bec Judd. 

British retailer Marks & Spencer (or Marks & Sparks as it is affectionately known around the world) has launched an online store just for the Australian market. With Australia top performers in the M&S online delivery market, it makes sense for the UK retail giant to expand their online business within Australia. And while there is no definite plans to launch 'bricks & mortar' store in Sydney, the fact that you can now purchase some of your favourite Marks & Spencer goods online in Australia is sure to delight long term and loyal fans.

Thursday night's swoon-worthy launch was styled to perfection in a super glamorous private home in Sydney's leafy Woollahra. With Moet flowing freely, and canap├ęs a plenty, fashion and lifestyle bloggers gathered for a frenzy of poolside selfies' before wandering through the beautifully styled rooms to get a glimpse of the new collections. Collaborating with some of Sydney's top style icons, Kate Waterhouse, Bec Judd and Nadia Fairfax have each chosen their favourite pieces from the online collection. 

At the event I was asked about my first experience of Marks & Spencer. I had flashbacks to those early days as a backpacker travelling to the UK for the first time in the late 90's. These visits to 'Marks & Sparks' became a regular occurrence and I couldn't believe the things you could find all under one roof - from thermal underwear to pre-packaged gourmet food, this was the ultimate one stop shop on any UK trip. So it is great to now have this available at the click of a mouse. I can already hear cheers of joy all around Australia from my passionate UK expat friends who miss shopping at Marks & Sparks.  

Thank you to Shopping Links for hosting this wonderful event. 

You can shop the Marks & Spencer Australia collection online now.


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