Author: Jacqueline Langford

Dog Friendly: Saddles Restaurant, Mount White

Located in Mount White on the Central Coast (and a good halfway stop point between Newcastle and Sydney) you’ll find Saddles Restaurant, Bakehouse and Garden Centre. With an average Google rating of 4.4-stars (out of 5) by more than 380+ reviews, it’s not just us that love visiting this place – many others vouch for their superb dining experience too. Situated on 10-acres of bushland with stunning views all around, Saddles is a relaxing oasis offering both indoor dining by a fire place, and outdoor dining on their expansive verandah, overlooking a picturesque lake. As its name states, ‘Saddles’ was originally inspired by an artisan saddler, Heath Harris, who worked with John Singleton crafting saddles for his nearby Stud. Inside this restaurant, you’ll find uniquely designed saddle bar chairs in the main dining area, plenty of natural lighting and soft sandstone interiors throughout. What’s more, is that your pooch can join you too; both indoors and out. Yes, you read right, surprisingly indoors as well. The first time we visited, I was so chuffed that …

A Visit to the Bilpin Cider Co. Brewery

As we start exploring around our local areas a little more, Bilpin Cider Co. popped up in my newsfeed featuring a ‘Bilpin Archibald Cloudy Apple Cider’ in their post. It got me thinking, wondering what to do for the weekend – we have these craft beers in our fridge every now and then, so maybe we could pop in for a visit? Looking it up on the map, Bilpin Cider Co. brewery was actually less than an hours’ drive from Sydney’s north-west and it mentioned it was open to the public. Sometimes you feel places are far, but I was quite surprised that this was the same amount of time it would take us to also drive to Sydney’s CBD. So the next weekend, we planned a visit to the Bilpin area. It was our first time to the brewery and the vibe was buzzing as soon as we stepped out of the car, plenty of people enjoying their Sunday afternoon all around the property. It was like a hidden gem of the area, tucked …

Love Cabins: Enchanted Cave in The Blue Mountains

This experience is out of this world – it’s the perfect Blue Mountains retreat – and only a 1 1/2 hour drive from Sydney’s CBD. Set amongst 600 acres of private bush surroundings, the Love Cabins are a group of individually crafted cabins located near Bilpin in the Blue Mountains, designed by award winning local builder Lionel Buckett. When you stay in the Enchanted Cave or the Treehouse cabin, it does come at a high price tag (in comparison to most hotel stays), but what you’re about to experience is one-of-a-kind in Sydney. It feels like such a magical place. A secluded hideaway with no other interruptions; a relaxing haven for two, surrounded by endless wilderness and breathtaking views all-round. Expect to completely switch off in the Enchanted Cave in Berambing. There’s minimal human interaction during your stay, limited/no mobile reception or internet/data capabilities, coupled with the stillness and silence of nothing but nature – and just yourselves. Staying here is as though you’re living in a completely different era. The front door entrance reminds …

Asian Dumplings Cooking Class Online with Elaine from Dash of Soy, Seattle

Over the last few months, everyone’s lives have changed in one way or another. I’ve had a new found love for Online Experiences by Airbnb, striking the balance of living in isolation yet also still feeling somewhat socially connected with other people. Whilst searching Airbnb, I stumbled across an experience listed as: ‘dumpling making from my family recipe’. It had a solid 5-star rating, already garnering 50+ positive reviews – which I thought was pretty good. You can’t go greater than 5-stars, so surely this cooking class must be an experience to try?! A few days later, my online cooking class is scheduled to start, so I sign in to a Zoom meeting and get connected with a bunch of newly acquainted cooking buddies. I’m met by Elaine, our host and chef for the day, the founder and creator of Dash of Soy Culinary School, based in Seattle, USA; a group of college friends who have joined from different locations around the US; a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary; families preparing this meal together; and …

The Best Pandesal in Western Sydney: Starlight Bakery, Doonside

Growing up as a Filipino kid, I recall pandesal from the bakery to be an absolute favourite in our household. Warm, soft, fluffy bread with a little bit of sweetness.. the perfect almusal or merienda snack.. mmm, I love pandesal so much, even when I’m just thinking about it. Finding a Filipino bakery in Sydney though is not too common, so when my food cravings kick in, I make the drive to Starlight Bakery in Doonside (near Blacktown) for my fresh pandesal fix. If public transport is preferred, you can take a train to Doonside Station and Starlight Bakery is less than a 100m walk away. While you’re here, make sure you check out a handful of Filipino eateries such as Mix & Match, Pinoy Kitchen Doonside and my all-time favourite, the Pinoy Stop supermarket. Recently having visited the bakery, there was a sea of people lined up out the front – I’d say at least 20+ people queued outside their entrance. I waited nearly half an hour before I made it inside the shop …