Author: Jacqueline Langford

Operation: Fix my Filipino Christmas Star Parol Lantern

For many years, I have fond memories of my Christmases in the Philippines always involving festive family gatherings with never-ending food preparations, fireworks lighting up the local streets, houses filled with bright Christmas lanterns and nativity set decorations, door knocking of caroling… and the many days of laughter, and screams of “exchange gift” when the time was right. Pasko was such a happy time for families getting together and it was true joy when December rolled around each year. Living in Australia, I always wanted to bring those same traditions and festivities to our home during the Christmas period. The celebrations of pasko are not exactly the same in Sydney, but I was determined to include a token Christmas lantern decoration to our house – a Filipino parol. I searched Sydney far and wide to buy a traditional Filipino Christmas parol; calling Filipino grocery stores to ask if they stocked them, seeing if there’s any way I could pre-order a parol for the following year, or even contemplating a more modern, simplistic version not made …

Pop Up Picnic Hampers near Sydney CBD, with Delivery

A great way to organise getting together with family and friends is at a park with a well packed lunch. In light of COVID-19 regulations currently in place, sometimes you hesitate on what’s considered a safe option to come together with others, but a pre-made picnic hamper is the perfect idea, without having to organise the food preparation yourself. As a group of four, we placed an order with Pop Up Picnics for two-sets of the Pop Up Picnic ‘hampers for pairs’, available for pick-up from their head office location in Annandale, Sydney. Or, for an additional AU$20, the picnic hampers could be delivered within a 7km radius from Annandale, which is what we opted to do instead. Delivered on-time and as expected, all picnic inclusions arrived in two large boxes. At the time, we hadn’t read the instructions properly, so we packed our own picnic rugs. But little did we know, everything was already included in the box – and I mean everything. Settling under a large shady tree, we placed our own blankets …

Dog friendly weekend stay: Kims Beachside Retreat

I’m always hanging for another road trip – and better yet, when dog friendly stays are on the cards too. Just over an hour’s drive from Sydney’s CBD, you’ll find the beautiful Kims Beachside Retreat on the Central Coast, in the beachside town of Toowoon Bay. This accommodation caters for guests aged 12-years and over only, and is pet friendly. Yes, you read right a boutique beach resort, with suite or villa rooms, that only cater for adults… and allows pets. Can you believe it?! I certainly couldn’t at first. We don’t have children of our own and whilst I have no issues with them (quite a few of my friends have kids), it’s rare to find waterfront getaways that cater for just adults – and dogs can join too. On arrival, there are two main parking bays; the Terrace level car park is generally better parking (it was empty most times we left and returned), however you’re required to walk several steps down to reception and then on to your room. For anyone driving …

Deliciously good Filipino desserts, made by Tita’s Cakes in Sydney

Ever craved bite-sized, traditional Filipino desserts or cakes on-the-go? Located in Western Sydney is Tita’s Cakes – prepared by master chef and baker extraordinaire; Percy Morilla. I was first introduced to Tita’s Cakes through the recommendation of a friend, Jen. She knows I love desserts – well, eating Filipino food in general too that is – and boy what an awesome find. I’m not the best Filipino dessert maker at home, which is why buying these types of treats makes it all the more exciting. And when I find great places, it’s even more fun when I get to share the experience with others. Jen told me to keep a look out for Tita’s Cakes weekly Instagram story announcement (posted on Wednesdays), so I was onto it in a flash. The actual dessert menu changes for these mixed boxes each week, and the options are led by the team at Tita’s Cakes, so it’s an element of surprise where you don’t get to choose the individual cakes yourself. And bam… there it was… Calamansi Soufflé …

Jägerstube Essentials Market Day now in Schofields

Did someone say European markets? I’m in. Through the recommendation of a neighbour who recently visited the new Jagerstube Bavarian Restaurant, I was searching their Facebook page and noticed upcoming pop-up markets also advertised. Having recently relocated from Cabramatta to Sydney’s north-west in Schofields, the new Jagerstube Essentials Market Days are now in the area too, showcasing European food suppliers and their local delicacies & fresh foods available for purchase. It was their first opening at Schofields, and with only a handful of vendors – about 10 or so – you could comfortably walk around and peruse these markets within about 20-minutes. I first swooped into the line of homemade jars of delicious goodness by Gourmet Favours. There was a variety of honeys, jams, marmalades, pestos and chutneys to choose from that I was having difficulty deciding what to choose. So I asked the seller for a recommendation.. and what a win. Imagine crackers, cheese, and a thin spread of olive tapenade #mmm #yum.. coupled with an afternoon beverage.. ahh, yes please. I walked away …