Monday, March 31, 2014

Milton: Somewhere on the South East Coast of Australia

Milton: Somewhere on the South East Coast of Australia

As you drive around the country side in Australia, on route to your ultimate destination, it is not unusual to pass through lovely little towns, catching glimpses of the interesting retail shop fronts and cafes, which grace the main road.  It is only occasionally, when you stop the car, get out and wander round, that you can see the true beauty and diversity, the Australian country side offers a weary traveller.  And so it is with historic Milton.  Bursting with historic buildings, good quality cafes and bakeries, organic food stores and lovely antique and retro stores, believe me it is worth parking the car and getting out, in this cute little town.

And it's all only 5 minutes away from this, the white sands of Mollymook Beach.  Recently, we made a weekend of it and had a great time, with two other families in a beautiful beach house with a view, in Mollymook near Milton.

With home cooked breakfasts like this, prepared by our resident ex restaurateur Darrin

 and views from the balcony like this, it was difficult to leave home, but Milton was worth the trip.

As well as some very interesting retro and antique stores in Milton, the art scene is alive and well too.

The Heritage Bakery is definitely worth a visit, with lovely pies, cakes and artisan breads for sale.

You can pick up beautifully fresh and locally sourced produce from Merry Maidens Veggies in one of the arcades at the northern end of Milton.

We had a fabulous dinner at Tallwood in Mollymook. I think the best way to go here is the shared menu.  The food was really outstanding and a tribute to chef and part owner Matt Upson and his "simple honest food" philosophy. We absolutely loved it.  Details below.

Crisp artichokes, jamon, oregano chill, garlic and lemon.
Whole roasted lamb shoulder with 2 sides
Tallwood ice cream plate

I have featured my favourite homewares stores in the photographs, but there are also some lovely fashion stores to browse in as well.

My absolute favourite store was Nikki B's, with an eclectic combination of colourful pieces and gorgeous reproduction 1950's dresses.   This store is completely delightful.  Nikki does not have any online presence at all, so if you are interested in any of her fabulous stock, you will have to go to Milton.

Take a look around Milton.  All the important details regarding where to stay, eat and play, are at the bottom of this post.

So here's what you'll need to know:

Location: Milton on the Princes Hwy. Located on South Coast of NSW, Australia.
 Mollymook Beach is a 5 minute drive off the Princes Hwy, to the east.

Distance from Sydney CBD: 220km from Sydney and about 3hrs by car along the Princes Hwy. 

The vibe: Think bustling Australian township with a big crowd out on Saturday mornings doing coffee and shopping for supplies.  Milton has some lovely historical buildings, in varying states of repair and some quirky antiques, fashion and homewares stores,  There are some funky main street gourmet cafes as well.  Milton seems to take great pride in it's culinary offerings.

Restaurants: Tallwood in Mollymook was excellent in terms of cuisine and value. It was the best meal I have had so far this year. Embracing the culture of food sharing, I absolutely loved dining here. Bookings are essential in peak season.
2/85 Tallwood Avenue
Ph 61 2 44555192
Peak season trading hours:
Open Wed-Sun from 8am.  Check for other times  in the winter months.

They also have a Sunday Tapas and red and white Sangria event, with live music.

Pubs: The Commercial Hotel and The Star Hotel, both on the Princes Hwy.

Accomodation: A comprehensive list of where to stay, can be found here.

Parking:  Good amount of free on street parking. 

Public Transport: No, private transport is required to get to Milton

Views: Beautiful rural vistas across to the west, toward the Great dividing range, with expansive ocean views to the east.

Other attractions: The Beach at Mollymook.  To the west is Pigeon House Mountain located in the Morton National park.  The mountain can be climbed.

Milton Village Markets take place on the first Saturday of the month in the town centre. (They may also run on some long weekends.)

Milton Theatre hosts local productions and international artists.

There is a vibrant music scene and all the current events can be sourced from this Facebook page. 

  • Milton Show Feb/March. Apart from all the usual agricultural activities, there is also a rodeo included in the event. Check here for specific dates.  Milton Showground Croobyar Road. 

  • Escape ARTfest: Sept 19 to 5 October 2014 featuring art, poetry, music, theatre and film.  This is an event showcasing the work of emerging artists  Check here for more details and dates for other years.

Homewares Stores: My pick,was Nikki B's 76 Princes Hwy Milton, don't miss it

In general: Milton is a thriving rural community.  Being only 3 hours drive from Sydney, it is a fabulous short break destination, offering a coastal country vibe, with good quality accommodation, cuisine and activities for the whole family. 

I have recently gathered more travel stories and day trip ideas in one spot,  read them here.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

I am giving away lots of paint here.  Have you entered yet?
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Friday, March 28, 2014

A Beautiful Beach House on the Northern Beaches of Sydney

G'day from the Beach House, this wet and rainy morn.

I think we could all do with a little house porn today, don't you? Having woken up not feeling completely ship shape, I know I could.

With loads of glass creating vistas from almost every room, this deep waterfront would be a beautiful home in which to spend your days.  Park your boat out front and settle in for the wonderful lifestyle, that residing on Pittwater affords.  If you are a serious player in this market, you will find more of this lovely home's details here.

Just to be clear, incase you were wondering, these are not sponsored posts.  I just love sharing some of the beautiful homes in my area, with you each week.

I will be sending out the Desire Empire newsletter later today.  You can sign up here to receive a precis of  my posts every 10 days, straight into your inbox.  Lots of recipes, travel ideas, restaurant reviews, home style make overs and more beautiful Northern Beaches real estate.

And for home decorators, I am giving away some lovely bright paints (colours of your choice) here..  If you have a small furniture or household project which needs tackling, you might want to check it out and enter.   

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Kiama Blow Hole A Great Day Trip from Sydney

Kiama Blow Hole A Great Day Trip from Sydney

The south coast of New South Wales is well known for it's natural beauty and I was reminded of that last weekend, when we stopped at Kiama for lunch, en route to a weekend away with friends, further south.  

I was keen to stop in Berry, but Mr Beach House loves doing the opposite of what I ask and so Kiama it was.  As much as it pains me, I have to concede this time anyway, his choice was definitely on the money.

Famous for its blowhole, Kiama is very much more than an eroded opening in a coastal rock shelf.  So very much more.

Showcasing lovely homewares stores, smart cafes, stunning coastal vistas, great diving and fishing and surrounded by surfing beaches, this is a town I want to spend some more time in.  I also think a community which keeps its public buildings in mint condition, says alot about the kind of place it is.  I am very much looking forward to going back there for a whole weekend, just to explore the beauty of Kiama.

Everything you need to know for a great day out in Kiama is down below.

These girls let me take their photo cooking an Aussie BBQ with chop sticks.  The Australian 'melting pot/fusion' metaphor, was not lost on me.

And if my kid sees a serious risk of death or injury warning,

then there is no stopping him.

The Pilots Cottage Museum is located next to the Kiama Visitors Centre on the Headland. 

The lovely Pilot's cottage was built by a forebear of Andrew Ettingshausen, of football fame.  A fact, which the charming curator seemed very proud.  It was a beautifully crafted cottage inside and out and suggests the harbour pilot had a very distinguished role in the community.

They don't build banks like they used to.

So here's what you'll need to know:

Location: Kiama Harbour and Headland, Blowhole Point Road Kiama. Located on South Coast of NSW, Australia

Distance from Sydney CBD: 120km from central Sydney and about 1.5hrs by car along the Princes Hwy.  Or take the coastal road along Grand Pacific Drive.

The vibe: Think pretty coastal township with lots of historical buildings, lovely walking tracks and promenades, viewing platforms over the blow hole, sidewalk dining and cute shops.

Restaurants: Offering a good range of cafes and restaurants.  The pick of the bunch is Hanoi on Manning, described as "Some of the best Vietnamese on the planet", by a friend of mine. 

Parking:  Good amount of free on street parking. 

Public Transport: Yes, take the lovely coastal train journey from Sydney (Wynyard) to Kiama station. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours by train.  Check here for timetable options. The blowhole is within walking distance from the station (750m)

Shade: Yes there are plenty of trees on the Kiama headland 

Views: Magnificent in every direction.

Other attractions: The Pilots Cottage Museum, highlighting the local history of Kiama and some famous people who have called the town home.  Not the least of which is writer, Charmian Clift. Entry fee was $6 per family of 4.

Golf, fishing, diving and tennis at the Blowhole Tennis Courts. 
General arts, crafts and collectables market on 3rd Sunday of each month  9am-3pm.
Produce market on the 4th Saturday of each month 8am -1pm both at Black Beach Terralong St, by the headland.

Homewares Stores: My pick, DeerWillow at, 12 Manning, Kiama, is a beautiful store and there are many more homewares stores to tempt serious home makers in Kiama.

In general:  Kiama comes from an Aboriginal work, meaning "place where the sea makes a noise". Although the blowhole was not really blowing on the day we were there, it did get noisy as the swell rose towards the hole.  If you would like to see the hole blowing at its best, choose a time at high tide, on a day with a big swell to visit.  In all other ways Kiama is a peaceful, well maintained seaside town, with more than enough attractions to keep everyone happy and entertained for a day trip, or a weekend visit.

I have recently gathered more travel stories and day trip ideas in one spot,  read them here.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

I am giving away lots of paint here.  Have you entered yet?
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Monday, March 24, 2014

How to Paint a Rusty Surface and a Paint Giveaway

This post is brought to you by White Knight Paints
How to Paint a Rusty Surface

Part One: The Before
I picked up this vintage drinks trolley at the local charity store, some time ago and have wanted to make it over for a while.  It is going to become a lemonade stand and be the central feature of the littlest Beach House Brat's birthday party, later in the year.  She has been wanting me to make it over for months, but as there seemed alot of work required to bring it back from the brink, somehow it has gone on the back burner.

Whilst it waited for a bit of Beach House love, it had become a bit of receptacle for shopping bags waiting to go back to the car, wet swimming gear and sunscreen.  As you can see from the jumbled mess, the time had come to bring her back to life.

As far as restoration of this piece is concerned,  there are two aspects to it, timber and metal.  Very rusty metal indeed. Living on the coast, rust is a big aspect of our lives.  So when restoring furniture, it is definitely worth doing right the first time.

Some of the loose rust could be removed with a wire brush, but the most effective method was to paint on White Knight Rust Guard  Rust Converter and wait for it to work its magic.  Although the wheel is very tarnished, you can see that the rust has by and large been removed.

In order to then get a smooth surface over which to paint the wheel, I used the White Knight Rust Guard Metal Primer.

It went on smoothly and although my painting skills are not brilliant, it was already a big improvement from what the wheel was to begin with.

Then it was time to harness the 'skills'  of the girl who so wants to be involved in everything. The lemonade stand is for her, so it's only fair she gets a piece of the action. Note to self, never leave her unattended when sanding.  I forgot to tell her to sand the trolley tray in one direction with the grain of the wood.

After rectifying that little problem, it was time to apply the White Knight Rust Guard All Purpose Primer, which can be used on timber, metal or masonry.

And so to complete the preparation phase, the trolley went from this, to that.  After all the procrastination surrounding this project, I was pleasantly surprised at how effortless the whole process actually was. Initially, I had roped Mr Beach House in to help me,  because he is a painter extraordinaire, but that never eventuated, as he was busy running around after clients all weekend.  

I could wait no longer and did it all myself.  Being rather effortless, it has now inspired me to tackle a few other projects that need some love around here.  

I do have to say I am a fan of the spray can.  It makes the job so quick.

I think this product would be particularly great to make over industrial furniture, but works equally well with timber.

When you next see this trolley, I hope to have brought you a beautifully painted and styled lemonade stand.
Until then Beach Dwellers, why not enter this giveaway,

Today Desire Empire and White Knight Paints have a range of paints and preparation products to giveaway:

This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to the winner is Kirsty Girl. Please contact me in 7 days from today's date 12.5.14 in order to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone else for your entry.

To validate your entry, you will need to:

Head over to the White Knights Paint website to check out the Squirts range of aerosol coloured paints. Click on the "show available colour range" near the top of  Squirts page. To validate your entry, leave me a comment below, letting me know which is your favourite colour from the Squirts range of paints and what household item you would paint, using the Squirts cans.

Giveaway Terms and Conditionns
This is a game of skill.  
You MUST enter the giveaway on this BLOG by leaving a comment here. You do not need to have a Blogger account.  Just sign in as anonymous and leave an email address.  
This competition is open to Australian Residents only. 

There is only one prize package and only one person will win it. The prize is as follows:

1x 500ml White Knight Rust Guard Metal Primer
1 x 300g White Knight Rust Guard All Purpose Primer
10 x 310g White Knight Squirts(Colours of your Choice, subject to availability)

This prize is not redeemable in cash.
This competition is open from now until 2 May 2014 12pm Australian EST.
The winner will be announced on this blog,  Desire Empire Face Book and Desire Empire Twitter accounts and I will contact you, as long as you have left a valid means.  The winner will have 7 days to respond, otherwise the prize will be reassigned.
Good Luck. 

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every 10 days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

Today I am linked up here
Great Aussie Giveaway
Metamorphosis Monday
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Pittwater Waterfront Home

Pittwater Waterfront Home

I have long admired this beautiful home from the water.  As Mr Beach House and I chug down Pittwater in our little boat, he admires the yachts, whilst I am more in awe of the real estate.  This stand out property is expansive with 8 bedrooms, a boat house, a sun drenched pool and the choice several outdoor entertaining areas.  This property would suit a multitude of uses and is one of the finest homes in the district.  To find out more of her details and check out her floorplan go here.

Have a great weekend.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

Today I am linked up here
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