As far as overseas travels go, Jamie and I have always favoured small, design/boutique hotels over large, fancy establishments. We’re super independent and self-sufficient travellers – mostly out of sheer necessity, always being on a shoestring budget and all that.
So it goes without saying that we jumped at the opportunity recently to indulge in a little staycation with the new Alex Hotel in Perth. We’re both such inner-city urban nerds and have a thing for innovative design and architecture, so we’ve been anticipating the opening of the new boutique hotel ever since construction started a couple of years ago.
Notwithstanding one golden nugget of advice every parent has given me so far; to learn how to do everything one-handed…and to do all the things you can now that might be difficult to do once the arrival of a baby flips our entire world upside down lol.
An itinerary was thoughtfully put together for our two-day stay. We’re both born and raised in Perth but rarely get the chance to (or never really think to!) do things like seeing theatre performances or spending an afternoon at the gallery.
After dropping our weekenders off and soaking up the incredible room that was ours for the night, our itinerary kicked off at the nearby Art Gallery of Western Australia (which I ashamedly haven’t visited since I was in primary school). They had this incredible video installation upstairs – a Screen Space – which was my favourite part about the whole experience. The installation that’s showing at the moment is a piece by Angelica Mesiti, who documents the individual and heartfelt performances of four migrant musicians. As someone who can’t stomach the patience to sit through a movie (I’m so Type A it’s embarrassing) I could have lost myself in Screen Space the whole afternoon. With the latter half of our itinerary spent having the most incredible dinner at Lot Twenty, then catching a live performance at the Blue Room Theatre next door, it was the perfect kind of mini babymoon we could have ever imagined, without getting on a plane.
I am such a homebody at heart though, so to be completely honest, having a chance to put our feet up at the hotel was never far from the back of my mind or from the agenda. We took the next morning really slow; having a little complimentary breakfast up on the amazing mezzanine, then heading downstairs for a coffee. The vibe and the thoughtful touches reminded me of the design hotels we’d stay at in Stockholm (Story Hotel was such a standout), as well as Oslo and Helsinki; adventures a million miles away but memories we’ll keep forever.
Travel has aways had a funny habit of making me learn more about home whenever I leave it, and our little staycation made me realise what Perth has been missing all along.
Photography by Michelle Lau | thanks so much Laura + Alex Hotel!
While we’re all traipsing the world in search for the perfect holiday, it’s so easy to forget that heaven’s actually closer than we think. Having spent so much of our travels in far flung places overseas, it was refreshing to explore the natural surroundings that have always been right on our doorstep.
Jamie and I were lucky to have the opportunity to head up to Broome for a weekend in August (staying at the luxurious Cable Beach Club and to attend the Broome Cup as a guest of Allure South Sea Pearls). It didn’t take us long before we were blown away at discovering how beautiful northern Western Australia really is – with all of its ochre red dirt, turquoise waters and fiery sunsets and all.
Each afternoon as the sun set before our eyes and the chill from the Indian Ocean softly blew in, it let us take in the enormity of what lies before us and appreciate what would be the last spontaneous adventure we’d enjoy with just the two of us. Something tells me the next adventure we’ll soon be embarking on will be the most life-changing yet. I can’t wait.
Wearing Allure South Sea Pearls jewellery, Hello Parry Isadora sweater and Morrison Pippin silk dress (available soon).
Styling by Michelle Lau | Photographed by Jamie Lau on location at Cable Beach, Broome.
Conversations with April prompted me to revisit a series of photographs from a road trip I took along WA’s south-west a few months back. It still amazes me that these photos were taken on the same afternoon (except for the Yallingup Bakery one) before and after the storm clouds rolled in.
As I sifted through these photos and devoured all of its sombre shades of greys and blues, it made me realise that this is the only place in maybe the world where summer is as photogenic as the winter. And that change – of the impulsive, heart-stirring, spontaneous kind – is always, always, a good thing.
Photographs by Michelle and Jamie.
Those close to me will know that my Benah zip pouch has never left my side since it arrived on my doorstep. I’ve taken to clutching it everywhere – from meetings and quick stops at the grocery store, to easy simple date nights.
With a mutual love affair in mind, Benah turned to me for a mini travel guide to Perth – my take on this ever-sunny, never-wintery kind of city. As some of you may know, I’ve compiled a more lengthy version here for my blog, but if you’d like to discover more of Perth’s secret spots head over to the Benah blog for a mini-guide to my home town.
Thanks for having me, Benah!
1. Under the Bridge / 2. Room 10, Potts Point / 3. Under the Bridge and a clear, blue sky. The weather was perfection. / 4. Sarnies at Room 10 (highly recommended!) / 5. Straight off the plane and to this view of Elizabeth Bay / 6. Breakfast at Bird & Bear Boathouse / 7. A view of Sydney’s icons / 8. Ginger & Lime Brulee tarts at Bourke St Bakery (as delicious as it sounds) / 9. Magnifique! / 10. “Relax”.
I was primarily in town for Vogue Fashion’s Night Out but decidedly set aside a day to explore a city I first fell madly in love with many years ago.
On the agenda: breakfast at Bird & Bear Boathouse, a little retail therapy on Glenmore Road, a pitstop for sweets at Bourke Street Bakery, exploring Surry Hills on foot, lunch at Room 10 and then spending the rest of the afternoon in good company with the Harbour Bridge and the perfect Sydney weather; before tackling FNO… but more on this shortly!
I’m missing Sydney already but knowing I’ll be back at the end of next month for a friend’s wedding is keeping the wanderlust at bay!
I’m a born and bred Perth girl, which means I waver between having this insatiable curiosity to uncover Perth’s best kept secrets; or simply spending my weekends learning to appreciate the simple things in life.
To many, Perth is sleepy and plain-Jane. To me, Perth is home and much like a very comfortable pair of slippers that you wear whilst enjoying some solitude on the couch with a mug of tea.
The list below is, by no means, a comprehensive guide (nor is it typically tourist-esque!) however it should definitely point you in the right direction. I have listed some of the things I like to do on the weekends as well as my go-to places to eat and drink. My recommendations are still a work in progress so I’ll be adding more to this list as time wears on.
Eat (in no particular order)
A slice of the lemon meringue pie at Jamie’s Italian.
The fried chicken at Miss Kitty’s Saloon.
Lamb & hommus burger and sweets at No 4 Blake Street. Also try the dinner degustation menu!
Breakfast at Cantina (I love their scrambled eggs). Be sure to return for dinner as their gnocchi is incredible.
Authentic Indonesian at Sparrow (I always order the beef rendang and gado gado).
Honest, Italian fare at L’Enoteca that is extremely reasonably priced. My favourite Italian restaurant in Perth.
The best buckwheat pancakes going around at Il Lido in Cottesloe.
The sticky black rice pudding with caramelised coconut & banana and the Campos coffee at Bib & Tucker.
The ‘manwich’ at Mrs S.
The red velvet cupcakes in Perth at Sherbet Bakeshop.
Nao to satisfy those ramen cravings in the middle of winter (be prepared to queue up though).
Adorable rosebud ice cream and French crepes at Marie Antoinette.
Rockpool, Jackson’s and Nobu for something a little bit fancy.
The Mussels Marinière at Bistro Guillaume.
The corn fritters (and the view) at Toast.
Pad thai and red duck curry at S&T Thai Gourmet.
Run Amuk for the best hotdogs in Perth.
Blissing out on a Sunday afternoon in the courtyard at Moore & Moore with a pot of tea.
Breakfast for one at Little Willy’s
Ace Pizza is also a must-try (lincoln lady, baby blue eyes and ms loren are my favourites).
A friend also recommends Solo Pizza in South Perth.
The Imp for some late-night sticky date pudding (the tea cosies are enough reason to visit).
The almond croissants at La Galette de France.
A picnic lunch from Smoults Continental Deli in Maylands.
The Apple Bar Daily & Eating House (amazing food – kind of like Gingerboy).
Arguably the best dim sum in Perth at Imperial Court in Como.
Tuckshop is unbelievably popular which you might want to try but I’m not a huge fan personally. Coffee is pretty decent, though.
Toastface Grillah – can’t get any more Melbournian than this.
Raw Pizza at The Raw Kitchen Cafe in Fremantle. One of my very favourites! You might want to leave the boy at home though.
The best Japanese in Perth at Kanta. There, I said it.
And Gogos Madras House in Mt Lawley for the best Indian.
Authentic Malaysian food at Tak Chee House.
Jaffle sandwiches at Love Thy Neighbour.
Tapas at Duende (save room for dessert).
Alfred’s Kitchen and Novembar’s for some of the best burgers in Perth.
Downey Cafe in Mt Lawley is also a favourite of mine for burgers (I usually come here to support the locals rather than head to Grill’d around the corner).
The apple strudel at Corica – an oldie but a goodie.
The muffin-tin house-made pies at Ootong & Lincoln. The interior is so lovely but I really recommend sitting out on the sun-drenched ‘porch’ (try the striped deckchair!) as the sun sets on a weekend.
I’ve had my fair share of fish and chips in my time but my favourite would have to be Nedlands Fish Tales.
Coffee (not many as I’m stupidly fussy about my coffee)
Milkd (I’m here almost every day!)
Mary Street Bakery
Hobart St Deli
Louis Baxter & Bib and Tucker (the only two places you’ll find Campos coffee here in Perth).
Studio Bomba – equal parts cafe/art studio.
Saturday mornings at Mondo Butcher and/or Elmar’s on Beaufort St.
If you have a car and have time to do a short road trip, I would highly recommend spending a week or so in Margaret River and WA’s Augusta region (also known as ‘down south’ or the South-West). I have never felt so relaxed whenever I head down south. Winter there is just as beautiful as summer, in my opinion.
Spend a day at Rottnest Island and hire a bicycle which you can ride around the island on. Pack your bathers, slap on the sunscreen and you’re sorted. The first boat arrives 9-10am and the last boat leaves 6pm. If you want to stay the weekend, keep in mind that accommodation is scarce and in high demand at Rottnest so plan ahead.
A visit to Perth isn’t complete without a dip at the beach – I personally love Port Beach, City Beach, Leighton Beach and Mullaloo Beach. Cottesloe Beach is also worth a visit however it can get really crowded during the summer months. South Beach is also lovely – a wonderful vast green lawn with a beachside cafe with views to the Indian Ocean.
I contend that the best picnic spot in Perth is Lowvers Lane in Peppermint Grove or Hyde Park, North Perth/Highgate. Do both, if you can! Bardon Park in Maylands is also really lovely.
Browse some really cool artwork at PICA – my favourite contemporary art gallery, and it also has free entry Tues-Sun!
Looking for a scenic route when walking or running? Head to Lake Monger, Mt Pleasant esplanade or Riverside Drive from the Causeway to UWA. I also love Hyde Park, especially at sunrise.
Explore the grounds of Fremantle Arts Centre – it’s perfect for a picnic on a sunny day.
If you have a few days or a week up your sleeve, take the obligatory roadtrip ‘down south’ to Margaret River, Yallingup, Dunsborough or Denmark. If you’re lucky to have some more time spare, continue all the way to Esperance – it’s a long drive but well worth it.
King Street, Perth
Beaufort St, Mt Lawley
Oxford St, Leederville
Napoleon St, Cottesloe
William St, Perth
Rokeby Rd, Subi (Ricarda & Emporia are my faves)
Whatley Crescent, Maylands (not recommended to go on a Monday as many of the shops and cafes are shut)
Wray Avenue, South Fremantle (start at Wild Poppy and go all the way up to Galati & Sons)
South Terrace, South Fremantle – lots of little boutiques and odds & ends.
As much as I love feeling the sand between my toes and the comforting, warm rays of the summer sun dancing across the ocean, nothing really compares to a winter sunset; the pillowed tufts of cloud forming across the sky; the air that’s so crisp as each day awakens; and the remarkable colour of winter light.
It’s the reason we escape to places like these. To capture incredible moments in time that we know may never come again.
This is Margaret River, one of my favourite places in the world, through my looking glass.
Just some outtakes from my Easter weekend with my favourite travel companions: my husband, our camera, mango macadamia ice cream, a blue sky, and perfect afternoon light.
There was no better way to spend Australia Day than by taking in this magnificent landscape that I’m incredibly lucky to call home.
As with 99% of all roadtrips down South, this one last weekend was planned on a whim. My husband and I have learnt to appreciate mini holidays like these; little trips that don’t require a passport, a suitcase or an itinerary. I love just being able to throw a few of my favourite things in a duffle bag and leaving with only a full tank of petrol to get us to one of our favourite places in the world.
I woke up on Friday morning, turned to my husband and told him that I had this sudden compulsion to spend the weekend at Rottnest Island. 24 hours later, we were on the first ferry en route to one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
This is how the day unfolded.
Sam Perry – spinning magic out of thin air with a loop machine
Tim Gordon – can be described as The Trouble with Templeton meets Angus Stone
Yeah, I think I could get used to this.
Can you believe I only live 30 minutes away from this little slice of heaven?
The silhouette of the Perth skyline along the horizon (the view from Rottnest)
We ended up cycling around the entire island, which (for me) felt more like exercising than leisure-ing. Why do I always think this is a good idea? Why!?!!
Sweaty pits yesterday, sore butts today.
I’ll give it to the two-wheelers though; without our rented bicycles, we wouldn’t stumble across places like these.
Don’t mind the helmet hair.