I’M MOVING!!!!

Hey all! I know you might be wondering WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED to all the blogging that used to go down here. Well, things have changed a whole hell of a lot for me recently and I have closed http://www.eightlife.co.uk and shut the doors on my nutritional practice to focus on a bigger picture.

The good news is that everything on the site, as well as this here blog, will be moving over to WWW.FAITHSHORNEY.COM in September because I’m starting an awesome new project.

In summer 2015 I will be taking on a momentous challenge to travel the 18,000 miles from London to Cape Town by human powered modes of transport (swim, bike, run, kayak, row etc) all in the name of humanity and sustainability. I will be attempting to break a few world records along the way and will be making an epic documentary about innovation and sustainability in Africa. In the mean time I will be taking on a bunch of smaller challenges and taking you all along for the ride, so please do come over, follow the journey and get involved.

Dream

So… keep your eyes peeled for awesome updates about what’s going down. You will be able to follow my journey from December when the website should go LIVE. I will be documenting my training right up until the day I leave and we’ll be running some pretty rad contests on the site too so don’t miss out! There will be heaps of nutrition and training information and you can track my movements next year and all the awesome programmes we’re putting together to get people healthier and more active; there will be daily blogs as well as a daily video log so you can all laugh at me or cry with me as I attempt to take on these crazy challenges. Hope it inspires, or least entertains.

If you want to get in touch in the mean time or you have questions about what I’m up to, just fill in this here form thingy and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

 

EIGHT LIFE – The Dream

It’s been a long road but somehow I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the last few weeks have been incredibly busy and I am finally beginning to look like I may need a holiday. In fact, scratch that, if I DON’T get a holiday some time in the very near future I may just crumble. Recently – as you may have noticed by the lack of posts – I have been otherwise engaged. I’ve been quietly working away at a project I feel very strongly about indeed; it’s the culmination of my passions into a unique company (my own business) which serves to provide the highest level of Nutritional, Fitness and Health solutions to it’s clientèle, act as an outlet for more of my weird and wonderful ramblings (a more fitness related blog) but which will also serve a higher purpose by providing a community space where people can come together, share ideas and information, create new and inspiring projects and work together to find ways of achieving their goals and help others.

EIGHT

Along my journey over the past 8 months I have met some incredible and inspiring people; people who are not only immensely knowledgeable and talented at what they do, but who genuinely want to help others through their work. In an industry filled with ‘pretenders’ and narcissists, I find it comforting to know that there are so many people who are real and who want to make a difference. It’s restored my faith in the human race and in the health and fitness industry; I want to do my bit to further this by bringing these people together and finding ways in which we can use our combined knowledge and strength to make positive changes. Not only to tackle issues in sports, health and fitness; but also to find ways to tackle bigger global issues which we feel passionately about. There is strength in numbers, have no doubt. There are isolated communities within the sporting world who are immensely strong – now imagine if they could come together, how strong would they be then?

‘I have a dream!’ – This is all going to sound so very cliche; yes, but it’s true. I have a dream, that one day bridges will be built to secure the future of the human race and to improve the outlook for the future of our planet; not for our sakes, but for the sake of our children. There are such a vast number of issues facing us every day, human issues and environmental issues, social, economic issues and global issues that are detrimental to the human race; to our health and well being and to the future of our planet. It amazes me how much time we spend worrying about ourselves when we could be helping others or helping make a change to our surroundings that will enable future generations to live better lives than we do. We forget that what we have is incredibly precious and that it is fragile; we see the world as a robust giant that will weather any storm, and we view our bodies the same way – as indestructible forces which can sustain all the abuse we inflict upon them. We take for granted the natural gifts we have been given; our bodies, our food, our lives and the natural beauty of the world around us. Perhaps we ought to do a little more to preserve these things so that we can enjoy them as they were made to be, and so that there is a chance of a future for our race and our planet?

Below you will see my ‘intention-wall’ or ‘manifesto’ which explains what we’re all about! Oh, and the website will be live soooon! eight life

manifesto

Spin, Lift, Eat. @ Lomax PT

Last week a few of us girls were treated to an amazing day out Lomax PT – one of favourite little gyms in South West London. After a 45 minute Real Ryder spin class and a short workout in the gym, we were then treated to an amazing healthy lunch and delicious smoothies in the cafe – all in all, a pretty good Girls Day Out, and a nice chance to catch up with two of my favourite fitness and fashion bloggers Charli Cohen and Kaisa Larkas – check those ladies out, they are both pretty awesome! So, a little bit more about the gym in question, since I think you all should know.

LOMAXPT

If you don’t know what Real Ryder is, you should. If you live in London, enjoy working out  and you don’t know Lomax PT, which rock have you been living under? Gyms are gyms, and personal training studios are like micro-gyms with less stuff, fewer people and more personal attention. Lomax PT in Chelsea, London, offer a uniquely different take on things. There are no membership fees, there are no half-educated gym instructors and there are no waiting lines for machines; in fact, there aren’t really any machines to speak of (unless you count the spin bikes). The gym itself is designed in pods, each one containing everything you need for a balanced workout from free weights, a squat rack and bench, to TRX bands, olympic rings and a whole list of functional kit that’s really easy to use. The beauty is, all this comes in at £10 per hour for individual’pod’  hire and you will never have to wait for another machine again! Not only that, but the trainers who work here are the best team I’ve ever met, their unique and combined knowledge is unsurpassed, and their enthusiasm and love for what they do shows in their work. The group classes here are the most fun you are ever likely to have in a gym; they offer a unique ‘Blast Class’ with up to 4 people in each class, which means you get the personal attention of the instructor. They also offer Reformer Pilates and the now infamous Real Ryder spin classes (keep reading below) as well as a long list of complimentary therapies such as massage, acupuncture, osteopathy,  life coaching and professional nutritional therapy. Then there’s the Cafe; the food here goes beyond ‘healthy eating,’ it’s mouth-wateringly good while still maintaining completely balanced nutrition and a variety which caters to all possible dietary requirements. The ethos here is spot-on; it’s all about “Bespoke Fitness, Nutrition & Wellbeing.”

RealRyder1

What’s Real Ryder, I hear you ask? Spin classes are old school, old hat, boring and tedious, right? Not so! Lomax and Real Ryder are bringing the sexy back to spin classes, these bikes move, shake and make you work harder than most hardcore gym classes out there, while they put your core and your coordination to the test. What you’ve got here is a bike that moves from side to side and has adjustable resistance to ensure that you are getting the closest possible workout to actually being out there on your bike, only you can do it from the warm and comfortable confines of the gym. In winter, in London, that is a HUGE plus. Depending on whose teaching, the classes do vary – my devil-in-disguise, the gorgeous Hilary Bass-Rifkin, is probably my favourite PT in London and is a demon on a Real Ryder bike – be warned, this lady will put you through your paces. This is an all over workout that you really need to try and even if you really hate spin classes, this will probably change your mind. When you’re done there you can sneak upstairs and try one of the blast classes, have an hour long PT session or just hire a pod and hit the weights all on your own. Then when all that’s done, head downstairs for a post-workout pleasure indulgence in the cafe. The food at The Cafe at Lomax is amazing. I don’t care if you don’t even come here to work out, at least come and check out the goodies on offer. They have smoothies, juices, salads and the best damn turkey meatballs and pasta-free lasagne (made with aubergine layers) in town.

Lomax

LOMAX BESPOKE FITNESS, NUTRITION & WELLBEING | www.lomaxpt.comthelomaxway@lomaxpt.com | 08715 120 770

 

Paris by Night, and Day

A weekend break to a romantic city is always going to be good but my mission, as I see it, is to do these things differently; think bigger, better, more indulgent and on a tighter budget. It can’t be done, they say. I beg to differ. There are magical places to be found in Paris, and if you look hard enough you might find something that literally astonishes you. I hadn’t been to Paris for quite some time and I thought of doing a little research prior to the trip but then decided that I would take everything as it came. I started my planning by booking into a hotel I had stayed at previously; The Saint James Paris is an institution among Parisians and it houses a members club for locals and regulars, it’s pricey but if you travel at the right time and scour websites such as Booking.com or Expedia, you might just find yourself a deal – on this particular occasion I managed to grab a room for 50% less than normal AND I was upgraded when we arrived. This, my dear readers, is how it’s meant to be! The Saint James has it all; a superior fine dining restaurant, wood pannelled bar, creative interiors, beautiful garden and a listed library. Not only is the interior and the history of the building astonishing, the service here is what really makes this place shine – it is, without a shadow of a doubt, some of the finest hotel service I have ever experienced; on our first night the valet even entered the address of the restaurant we had booked into the sat nav before bringing the car round for us – it’s the meticulous attention to detail that just adds that special something you might not find anywhere else.

Paris1

Next on the priority list is food. Restaurants in Paris are tricky; there are a lot of restaurants, granted, but only a small handful worth eating at. I love French cuisine, but you’ll find more authentic French food if you look outside Paris. That said however, all hope is not lost. If you are after a traditional French Brasserie steeped in history and class, look no further than Brasserie Bofinger; a timeless classic that sits quietly in the Bastille area, it is almost 150 years old and its history, charm, the old Belle Epoque decor and its star studded guest list, continue to draw people in from all near and far flung reaches of the world. The food at Bofinger is exceptionally well done, very traditional French brasserie fair; nothing fancy and reasonably priced, served up by waiters in tailored uniform with impeccable training and decorum. It is neither too much nor too little and you would feel comfortable here in an opera gown or a pair of jeans and a semi-smart shirt. It’s one of the only true ‘Brasserie’s’ left and it is a shining example of true Parisian history and style. Don’t expect too much from the food, this is no Michelin starred restaurant and it does not pretend to be, it is warm and wholesome and perhaps even a little romantic, in that way that only a Parisian restaurant can be. I recommend the traditional French Onion Soup, it’s the best I’ve ever had. The food here is fresh and well done without being complicated; the sauerkraut dishes are the house specialities, but even if you’re not much of a sauerkraut fan there is plenty to tempt the taste buds and the dessert menu is pretty punchy, if somewhat over indulgent.

Paris2

So after our first night in Paris dining at Bonfinger and sleeping in our uber-cool hotel room we decided to keep the next day pretty mellow, not least for the simple fact that I was sick with a cold and in no fit state to be running around town. A walk up to a local cafe for a light brunch / lunch, a further walk getting slightly lost and stopping to indulge in pastry and coffee at the first patisserie we spotted, followed up with more walking and a little shopping trip for my own foodie indulgence at a local speciality food store; the varieties of Fois Gras on offer was simply mind blowing (this is Paris remember!). After a quiet nap to recharge the batteries we set out for our second dinner, which also happened to be a surprise for me; I hate not knowing what restaurant I’m going to as I find it frustrating and this generally spoils the whole affair, but on this occasion I was more than pleasantly surprised. Chez Paul is honestly one of the most beautifully rustic and friendly restaurants I had ever been to (yes you heard it right, a friendly restaurant, with friendly waiters, IN PARIS!!). I over indulged, but it was so worth it. Undoubtedly so. The food was rich and filling and cooked as though it were made in a French country kitchen, it’s the kind of food that makes you feel warm and incredibly happy, and you just know there was love somewhere on that ingredient list. The restaurant was busy and the service sometimes a little slow but the atmosphere and the food made all the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I love over ambitious fine dining establishments, but I love authentic food just as much; perhaps sometimes I love it even more because, like this, it is served in a place that has character and soul.

Paris3

Our last morning in Paris was a slow and quiet one but we definitely ended on a high note; it was my turn to show off a bit of a rustic old haunt that I particularly like. Chez Prune on the Canal Saint-Martin is a local hangout and definitely one of the best relatively cheap and definitely cheerful brunch spots in Paris. It’s quirky interior and haphazard restaurant and bar area make it something of unique spot, not to mention the view over the canal. This is not a tourist attraction, it’s a little off the beaten track and it can be challenging if you don’t know a little basic French or at least make an attempt at it. It’s busy and loud and colourful, the brunches are good in a sort of French-take-on-the-English Breakfast kind of way, with a few interesting additions. It is pleasant and the coffee is reasonable, the atmosphere and general artistic vibe to the place make it a fun and interesting place to spend a Sunday morning, and I hear it can be quite lovely in the evening too. After brunch you can walk along the canal and find several interesting shops and local stores and it is really quite beautiful in the spring and summer. Paris, unlike any other city, is both dirty and breathtakingly beautiful all at once. It does rustic as well as it does refined and there is very little middle ground. I implore you, if you have never been, to go, as soon as you can. It is a wonderful city for walking and exploring and it is, without any shadow of doubt, the city of love. Especially if you love food.

Balthazar Brunch

Sundays in New York City, even in winter, are always a breath of fresh air. Sundays in London consist of pub lunches, hang overs and really crap television; whenever I find myself in New York City I feel as though Sundays begin to take on new meaning, I end up eating out at beautiful restaurants that serve ridiculously good brunches, having interesting conversations with strangers in coffee shops, or wandering the streets just people watching and passing the time. New York has an energy about it, particularly on a Sunday, which makes everything seem brighter and a little more refined than it might do elsewhere. My favourite brunch spot, and I’m sure it’s a favourite of many, is Balthazar’s on Spring street; located between Crosby street and Broadway in Soho, a stones throw from Bloomingdales. Quite by chance, and very conveniently, located only a few hundred metres from my hotel. Perfect then, for a lazy Sunday afternoon brunch. Sundays are meant to be lazy and I take Sunday relaxation seriously; I find that I relax to the point where the week melts away and I can begin again with a clean slate and a clear head, better prepared and ready to tackle whatever Monday decides to throw my way. So, as part of proper Sunday relaxation one should always, without fail, indulge in fine food and a good movie or book of choice, take a long walk and sleep as much as possible.

Balthazar 1

Yesterday’s brunch was definitely a winner, and just in time to be the perfect warm up for a week of Christmas festivities and indulgence. I arrived without a reservation, a silly mistake on my part as Balthazar’s is famously busy on Sundays; to top it off I only managed to squeeze through the door around 1pm, slap-bang in the middle of the Sunday lunch rush. I spoke sweetly to the lovely young gentleman managing the bar area and ‘cafe’ and was seated at the bar within mere moments, he even made a point of ensuring I was properly looked after and came back to check on me after dealing with an impatient couple at the next table. The staff at Balthazar are, and always have been, exceptionally warm and welcoming. I’ve never been to a restaurant that makes me feel so at home; this is perhaps the reason I love it so much. The food is of course another game changing element. I decided quite quickly on the ‘Eggs Bella Donna’ – Poached eggs on Polenta served with pancetta, parmesan, grilled cherry tomato, mushrooms and spinach. It has to be said, as far as brunch menus go this one is yet to be beat in my books. While it looks simple at first glance, the descriptions printed on the menu do not even begin to describe the flavoursome and lovingly prepared meals which eventually end up on the plate. Be prepared to fall in love. The eggs were cooked to perfection, the polenta was soft without being runny, the vegetables were cooked ‘just-so’ and the parmezan cheese gave everything a nice salty but sweet finish. Its nothing fancy, it’s just a properly cooked and well thought out brunch plate that delivers.

Balthazar2

Having settled in nicely with a stomach full of food, now mid way through a deep conversation with the barman about coffee, I decided it was time for my second ‘soup bowl’ of Cafe au Lait. Though latte’s are usually served in longer and taller glasses, the coffee at Balthazars is presented in an actual soup bowl – coffee novelty at it’s best! I wasn’t much in the mood for dessert and I certainly didn’t have the space for it but after careful consideration, coupled with a full-on attack of lethal persuasion tactics from all three bar staff, I finally settled on the highly recommended Banana Tart. I have NEVER seen fruit served in a more decadent dish; I’m talking layers here, all piled high in a perfect circle. The bottom layer was a crisp and crumbly, tightly packed circle of biscuit which gave the dish a firm base. The next layer was made up of sliced banana topped with a layer of thick banana and vanilla ice cream which was then sandwiched closed with a thick, dome shaped burnt-sugar crust – something akin to a thick creme brulee crust. Scattered around my perfect tart were thin slices of banana floating in a sea of what can only be described as one of the best caramel sauces I have ever tasted. This dessert, although probably far too big for one person and definitely too big considering the enormity of the brunch I had devoured only moments before, was one of the best damned desserts I’ve ever had in NYC. It was truly an American-French fusion of delicately prepared over indulgence; I finished the entire dish and I’m not even a little bit ashamed to admit it.

Balthazar | 80 Spring St  New York, NY 10012, United States | +1 212-965-1414 | balthazarny.com

A Girl and Her Pig… And THAT Burger

April Bloomfield, co-proprietor and Head Chef of hip New York eateries The Spotted Pig, The Breslin Bar and Dining Room and The John Dory Oyster Bar, has been making a name for herself in the Big Apple ever since she arrived in 2004 to start up life there alongside her business partner and co-owner of all three restaurants, Ken Friedman; prior to which she spent the summer of 2003 at the legendary Chez Panisse in California. Both the Spotted Pig and Breslin have earned Michelin stars over this time and this food loving Birmingham lass doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. April hails from the kitchens of The River Cafe, the breeding ground of many a great chef; her many years of hard work and study in some of the worlds finest kitchens, including Bibendum and Kensington Palace, have earned her a place on the foodie wall of fame. Having recently released her new book ‘A Girl and Her Pig’, April Bloomfield is fast becoming one of the worlds finest, most respected celebrity chefs; and not the annoying ‘tv-chef’ type either, she is a true celebrity among her own, among the foodies and chefs who flock to her restaurants from all over the world to eat her food and admire her craft. It’s no surprise then that on her recent visit to London, her 2 night pop-up at The St John Hotel was packed to the rafters and sold out almost two months in advance; it was really by chance that I was even there.

I first experienced April’s cooking on a whirlwind trip to New York back in 2008 where I tried her infamous Spotted Pig burger during a night out in in The West Village; since then I really have struggled to find a better burger, and believe me, I have tried. There have been a few which have come close; Clarke’s Dining in Cape Town makes a down-and-dirty burger that packs a real punch and The Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney does a Wagu Burger to die for; full of flavour and well rounded, if a little pricey. There’s just something in the way April makes her burgers that is truly unique and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It might be the Roquefort cheese or the sumptuous meat she uses, or maybe it’s the smoky char-grilled buns, or perhaps there’s some secret ingredient I’ve yet to discover; in any case, it’s still one the finest burgers out there.

A few months back my mum and I went for dinner at the St John Hotel in Soho, London; we’d both been dying to check it out and both have an admiration for Fergus Henderson and his ‘use-it-all’ policy and offal themed menu, which ensures that not only is every part of the animal used, but you are guaranteed to find some rather intriguing dishes on the menu.  I love good offal, and I love the St John restaurants, so when my mum told me she had booked us in for a surprise pop-up dinner in the coming months I was already excited, even before I heard who the guest-chef would be. I’ve heard that Fergus and April are good friends and often do guest-spots in one another kitchens during their travels, so when I eventually found out that she would be cooking her legendary burgers at the St John Hotel in October, AND that we had a table, I was almost beside myself.

To a non-foodie that might sounds like an over-reaction. I can assure you, this is a perfectly normal reaction; I know people who have travelled the long and expensive journey all the way to New York JUST for THAT burger. Now, for those of you who know April Bloomfield’s restaurants and her cooking, you will know that there is a lot more to it than just the burger; bucket loads more in fact; on this particular evening I also indulged in the devilled eggs (a standard favourite) while my mother worked her way through not one, but TWO starters, both of which were delicious but probably far too much to eat if you’re having a burger as a main meal. We ended on an extremely sweet note; now I’m not the biggest dessert person, but April’s banoffee pie is, quite simply, spectacular. Back to the wonderful Miss Bloomfield and her cooking though; I’m not going to prattle on about it, I will just tell you instead to buy her book.  A girl and her Pig is a fabulous exploration of one woman’s obsessive love of food; the perfectionism in her preparation and reverence for sourcing only the finest quality produce, coupled with her charm and the personable manner with which this book has been written, only make it that much more enjoyable a read. If you happen to be in the area though, try any one of her three award winning restaurants; I assure you they will not disappoint. If you are in London and fancy a little nose-to-tail eating, any of the St John restaurants will serve up equally good fair and with exceptional service – I’ve been surprised on both occasions and will definitely be back for more.

The St John Hotel |1 Leicester Street  London, Greater London WC2H 7BL | 020 3301 8020 | https://www.stjohngroup.uk.com/

 

Sydney City Guide

Where to start? Well first of all I should probably start with a BIG thank you to the wonderful people of Sydney for making my trip so incredibly special and to my host for his  hospitality. I started out needing a break but what I got was an experience that changed my life forever, and which gave me the strength I needed to start over and make the changes I’ve been needing to make for a long time. For the first time in as long as I can remember I suddenly felt like I could breath. So, before I get carried away on a personal journey through healing and self-discovery, I should get right down to the nitty gritty and tell you about all the wonderful places I discovered on my journey – just in case you ever happen to be there. I do this whenever I travel, I make a list before I go, I try to get through it while I’m there although mostly get a quarter of the way through, and then I make a list after. Weird, I know, but somehow beneficial to me; it also serves to keep me entertained on flights and ensures I’m busy wherever I go.

So let’s start with a little bit of the good stuff – FOOD! Breakfast spots in Sydney are in abundance; there’s the infamous Bill’s; brain child of chef Bill Granger and home to his world-famous breakfasts. This place is ALWAYS packed so I suggest booking in advance. Bill’s flagship store is located on Crown Street in Surrey Hills and there are plenty of awesome little eateries nearby if you don’t get a table – try Fifi Foveaux’s which is a little further down, opposite the Crown Street Grocer; The breakfast we had here was definitely worth going back for, and the coffee was superb. Heading in the opposite direction towards Oxford street you will find Kawa, another local hot spot, and although I only grabbed a juice and snack I must note that it was really delicious, the menu here looks interesting and people seem to love it, so much so that there was a 14 person waiting line outside when we left. Four Ate Five is another Crown Street favourite and TimeOut magazine rate it pretty highly too. If you are willing to travel a little further then The Pantry in Manly does a mean Eggs Benedict, has the best view of any restaurant in Sydney, and their lunch menu is to die for.

Then there is the question of coffee; something you may be aware I am very particular about. I had several recommendations and a whole list of my own to try so we started with the basics. Campo’s coffee is well known in Sydney and they have been roasting here for a long time; it’s never just about a good roast though, baristas make up 50% of a good cup and Campo’s flagship store in Newtown have some great staff who can knock out a pretty special coffee. It was good. It was really, really good. Big thumbs up! Another notable one is the coffee at Max Brenner the chocolate specialists, especially their Oxford Street store in Paddington. My favourite coffee came from Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville – this tiny store has the best baristas East of Italy and their own blends are roasted right there on the premises. The mind simply boggles. I drank in silence and watched them in awe.

While in Marrickville we also happened to stop in at the Yeeros Shop; this place has been around for decades and the namesake traditional Greek dish is served up to local patrons by the younger generations of the Greek family who have owned the store since they first landed in Australia – talk about authenticity. Nothing has changed apparently, and although this is simple street food, it’s damn good. Other must-see, must-eat lunch spots include Doyles (either Watsons Bay or The Fish Market) for serious seafood, Sea Bay on Pitt street and Yoshii for sushi (or Sushi Train). Darling Harbour has great restaurants, as does Bondi – be careful with your choices though as a lot of it is the same. There are some great little gems in Sydney, you just have to look for them. For instance The Grounds in Alexandria is absolutely fabulous, you just have to find it!

Evenings in Sydney are always magical, especially if you are there in summer (although I don’t know why you would go during their winter). If you are on a budget and want very good but simple Seafood there is Nick’s Seafood in Darling Harbour; if you want simple but well cooked, melt-in-the-mouth ribs try Hurricanes in Bondi (or Darling Harbour) – I would suggest sticking with the ribs and chicken here as the steak is not that good. Food in Sydney is pricey for anyone holidaying here, no matter where in the world you are from; if you have the budget though, there are some really top notch restaurants in Sydney and a few of them are still on my to-do list for my next visit. For French fair and reasonable prices try L’Etoile in Paddington. If it’s more of a fine-dining experience you’re searching for then my suggestions are Quay which has an incredible view over The Rocks, Momofuku Seiobo at The Star, Rockpool Bar and Grill in the city and Porteno in Surrey Hills. Make bookings before you head out, a lot of these places get really busy. If you don’t know where to go, try heading out into Paddington, Surrey Hills or Newtown; filled with great restaurants and hidden gems, these places come alive at night and can make for a great spontaneous evening out.

If you’re after an evening tipple and fancy something underground and a little more interesting than the loud bright city bars, there a few quiet corners of Sydney where wine and cocktails can be found served to the beat of some rather interesting music. A host of bars have opened in recent times, paying to the speak-easy / underground bar scene which is currently so popular. My first suggestion for cocktails would be The Baxter Inn on Clarence street in the city (or their sister bar The Shady Pines Saloon in Darlinghurst). Next up on the list is wine; The Wine Library on Oxford Street is pretty cosy and has a fairly substantial and well chosen selection which is followed closely by William, a wine bar on William street in Paddington. Nights in Sydney can be a whole lot of fun if you know where to look.

Sydney seems to be the kind of place you go to relax, eat, drink and wander around in the sunshine among the scantily clad, perfectly toned locals. Its a tourist hot-spot and a rich kids playground all at once; I am particularly fond of the old architecture and terraced housing, it has a sort of New York meets Cape Town feel to it and yet still maintains a uniquely Australian vibrancy. I only managed to get through a quarter of the things I wanted to do during my time here and I hope to get back to Sydney very soon.