The Beach Club @ The Cottesloe Beach Hotel

Cottesloe Beach is – hands down – one of my favourite places in Perth.

Whenever overseas friends and family come to visit Western Australia, we ALWAYS take them to the iconic beach. To drink coffee. To eat ice cream. To devour fish and chips. To walk along the beach. To swim. To play in the play ground. And most of all, to watch the spectacular sunset over the Indian Ocean.

Last week I was invited to a special event at a brand new eatery called The Beach Club at The Cottesloe Beach Hotel, which yes, overlooks Cottesloe Beach.

The event was a Menu Tasting, specially organised for local food bloggers (and me), where we also met the Executive Director of the Cottesloe Beach Hotel, Gary Gosatti, and food consultant Russell Blaikie, of Must Winebar and Bistro fame.

I felt a little out of my depth surrounded by hardcore food bloggers. Here I was… a fashion-crazy, cycling fanatic, in the depths of kid-wrangling, paleo eating and a fitness program.

And here they all are – absolutely lovely people – chatting passionately about the *best* places to buy pandan cake. I’m thinking – “OMG I haven’t eaten pandan cake in years. Sugar! Food colouring! Wheat! It’s so bad for you!!”

Haha I realised that THAT kind of attitude was totally unacceptable in these circumstances. So I decided to shut the hell up, lighten up, abandon all, and just ENJOY THE MEAL.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel

Oh before I get into the food.

I have to share my other loves. Fashion and gorgeous graphic design. Check this out. My canary yellow, peplum dress matched the food menu AND the bar stool that I was sitting on. Howzat!

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Feta whip, dukkah, Aussie olives, and bread by Jean-Pierre Sancho – $14

The first dish to arrive was the crusty bread. This made me laugh because I’m trying to eat less wheat. Nonetheless, I tore off a crust and got stuck into it, like a real foodie.

The feta whip was lovely, smooth and creamy, with a good feta bite to it. Then when mixed with the crumbly dukkah… it was delicious. I would have eaten more, but I discovered…

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel

…the olives. Oh god, I love eating good olives.

I knew that I had eaten too many, when I found myself fingering the jar like a monkey, trying to get the blasted ones that were stuck to the bottom of the jar.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Fried squid with Turkish pepper & tzatziki – $16

Oh hello there. I thought you were shoe string fries. But no. These were the softest, juiciest and most tender squid rings that I have ever eaten. Damn they were good.

My 9 year old son and I share a love for fried squid. We have been restaurant hopping in search of the best squid rings… and these might be it. I will definitely have to take him here to see what he thinks.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Spicy lamb meat balls with tomato sauce & yoghurt – $9 for a plate of 5

These lamb meat balls were quite different. Usually lamb meat balls are chewy, meaty and with a strong lamby flavour.

But this meat ball was really soft, fluffy, and it kind of crumbled when I bit into it. It was so light and flavoursome, that it filled my palate with mild spices, while the sweetness from the tomato sauce and the tang from the yoghurt made my mouth explode with happiness.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Pancetta, gorgonzola, spinach and and bechamel pizza – $24

Next up were the wood fired pizzas. Hmm. I’m a bit indifferent to pizzas nowadays. I make pizzas at home, once a week. So when I go out to eat… I prefer not to order a pizza. If I do… it had better promise to taste fricking amazing and be made by magical elves to make it worth my pain.

As I reluctantly munched my way through this slice – hallelujah – it was awesome!

Pancetta and blue cheese pizza? YUM. Can’t really go wrong there.

I sunk into my seat with pleasure, revelling in the magic of four simple ingredients. So simple. So good.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel

Prawns, chilli, Borello bocconcini, and basil pizza – $25

I love eating prawns. And chili. So this pizza totally hit my happy spot.

Speaking of prawns.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Grilled Carnarvon tiger prawns, pineapple, chilli & lime salsa, bean sprout salad – $34

This dish was the big winner for me.

It looked like a mess, and it was a bit hard to see the prawns… but the aromas, oh my! The smell of the nuts and the lime and the hot prawns and chili… ahhh it was sooooo goooood.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel

I was bouncing around on my seat as I ate this. The prawns were so fresh! Bean sprouts! Mint! It was all so yummy!

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel

Lastly, we tried the Arkady Margaret River lamb and Mount Barker chicken cooked over charcoal served with giant tabouli salad & tzatziki – $27

I was pretty full at this point. I think I ate too many prawns. I should have paced myself properly. Such a newbie error.

The meats were gorgeously, soft and juicy. They were slow roasted on the woodfired rotisseries, and you can choose to order either the lamb, chicken or have them mixed up, served with giant pearl couscous.

The flavours of the tabouli went well with the meat. But I’m not a big fan of pearl couscous. I’m more of a salad or salsa kinda girl.

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Photo courtesy of The Cottesloe Beach Hotel

We were given a tour of The Beach Club, and I adored what I saw.

There was a fresh mix of different dining spaces – modern lounge chairs and low coffee tables (I saw a few families with kids in that area), normal table seating for a sit-down dining experience, bar stools and high tables for a more pub-style gathering, really nice corners to sit and chill out with friends… and you can even sit outside in the open air, under beach umbrellas (out of the wind!).

The Beach Club @ Cottesloe Beach Hotel

It was fantastic to see a place like this emerge in the beachside Cottesloe area. It was stylish, sophisticated, breezy, relaxed and definitely more “grown up” than its former life as an old beer garden.

The food was superb too, offering patrons a well considered menu for modern Australian dining.

It is definitely a place where I would take my family for a meal, meet a girlfriend for coffee, take a big group of friends for dinner, or just sit around with friends sharing nibbles and a beer.

And if you’re a visitor of Perth, make sure you check out Cottesloe Beach, go for a walk, have an ice cream, watch the sunset, then visit The Cott Beach Hotel for a meal to end your day. It’s just opposite the main beach car park.

Wearing Yellow to the The Beach Club

And lastly, just so everyone doesn’t forget that I like to mix up fashion with my food… this is what I wore to the The Beach Club.

I was probably a bit over dressed when I arrived (6pm) because there were lots of women wearing sun dresses and beachy tops and shorts. But I didn’t feel awkwardly over dressed at all.

By evening (8pm), there was a big after-work corporate crowd, lots of women in evening party dresses, and still lots of people in casual summer clothes and sandals! I love the laid-back beachy fashion mix!

The Beach Club
Cottesloe Beach Hotel
104 Marine Parade
Cottesloe, Western Australia

www.cottesloebeachhotel.com.au

A big thanks to The Beach Club for the invitation and dining experience.

(All photos of the food are my own. Taken with a Nikon D90 and 35mm f1.4 lens.)

The Beach Club at Cottesloe Beach Hotel on Urbanspoon

Jewellery To Get Attached To

I want to introduce everyone to one of my new sponsors!

Forin is a new fashion jewellery store that lets you create your own bracelet (or necklace) using beads and charms.

You’ve probably seen the concept before – think Pandora and Swarovski Chamilia. But Forin offers a more affordable price point, while still using high quality sterling silver alloys (and not silver plating over lesser metals).

If you’re not familiar with the details… Pandora and Swarovski also use high quality sterling silver for the majority of their beads and charms.

Ok, so…

…when the team at Forin asked whether I would like to try out some of their products, I was really hesitant.

Firstly, I am a lazy. I like to buy something that someone else has already designed like these mens weddings bands for sale. I don’t want to spend time thinking up a design for myself. Sigh, who has the time for that?

Secondly, I didn’t think all those charms and beads were quite my style. I always gravitate towards classic designs, or funky-bold statement jewellery.

Thirdly, I’m not that sentimental with my jewellery. I will wear something everyday for months and love it. Then I find something new, and stop wearing the old stuff. I move on. Quickly.

However, I figured… hey why not, these “Design Your Own Jewellery Concepts” are really popular, I’ll give it a try and see how I go.

I was really honest with the Forin founder. I said to her – “I am not a fan sorry!”
I even tried to make plans with her on how I was going to send the samples back to her!

Anyway, I picked out a few bracelets, charms, glass beads and Swarovski Crystal beads. They arrived beautifully packaged in a velvet case.

Forin Jewellery

I sat there for a good length of time, playing with different design variations, trying them on my wrist, feeling them jangle about.

This clustered variation (pictured above) had most of the beads and charms that I chose from the website. It looked quite cool!

I discovered that I liked the “busy clustered” look, rather than just “one or two beads” on a bracelet chain.

I also realised that I chose too many “blue and turquoise colours” and should have chosen more blacks and silvers – which is a bit more of my style.

Forin Jewellery

So this is me wearing my clustered bracelet, stacked up with my other daily wrist wear. Looked pretty good.

I wore my Forin bracelet everyday for a week or so. I changed the designs every 3 days. Tweaking it to how I like.

I made so many mental notes!

“I really like the Paw Print Charm, it’s so cute! I must get myself another one.”

“I’d like to get a few more black Swarovski Crystal beads, so I can alternate them with the silver charms. More black!”

“There needs to be more repetition in the pattern, to make it look a bit more balanced.”

“I’d be so nice if I could wear a charm that reminds me of each of my children.”

Yes, I was designing my own bracelet. And yes, it was quite fun.

Forin Jewellery

This was another variation that I liked. I wore it like this for a while. It was very easy to wear with my daily outfits.

In fact, this was my favourite design and bead arrangement.

(Although I’d like to swap all the blue crystal beads with black crystal beads.)

Forin Jewellery

And this is yet another variation. This time I bunched up 5 charms and beads together, with no separators, showing off more of the bracelet chain. This design was nice too. I’d like to try a bracelet full of charms and beads all the way around!

Anyway…

During my “testing phase”… can you believe it, I walked into a Pandora and a Swarovski store to compare the quality of the beads and charms. My bracelet passed with flying colours. Its charms were just as bright and shiny. Its crystals were just as glittery and sparkly. Its weight and the sound it made when it jangled… was just as nice. (That’s right, I like to listen to my jewellery, don’t you? :P)

And so I walked out, being very pleased with my Forin products.

I emailed Jace (Forin’s founder) and told her how happy I was with her products, that yes, I would love to do a review, and yes, I think I’m a fan now!

I’ve realise that after wearing it for a few weeks, I adore my little bracelet. I really, really like that all the little elements in its design was chosen by ME. I have become quite attached to it!

So I guess I’m not so lazy… I guess that beads and charms can suit me… And I guess that I can be a bit sentimental with my jewellery after all :)

I’m now happily planning away at how I’m going to add to it. A few more black crystal beads. A few more cute charms. And some charms that remind me of each of my children.

I’m looking forward to wearing it after I’ve *really* personalised it.

The Forin website is very easy to use. Pick a bracelet. Choose some beads. Some charms. Add some stoppers and clips. And you’re good to go! Or you can check out their ready-to-wear collection.

Check out all the whole collection of beads here and all the charms here.

Special Discount!
Forin has offered a S$10 discount for every purchase that is over S$100. Just use the discount code “10OFF” at the last step of the checkout process to enjoy this discount.

This promotion is valid till the end of next month, 28 Feb 2013.

Enjoy a browse and I hope you find something you like!

xxx

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.

Current/Elliot Jeans, Diva Jewellery and My Honeybees Thongs

It’s Friday and I’m very excited about sharing some new bits and pieces I have!

currentelliott

I bought some Current/Elliott Red, Skinny Snakeskin jeans. Ahh I love them so much. They are just the right mix of effortless rock and roll statement, bold colour, with a cool pattern that I am drawn to :)

They are insanely comfortable, and soooo soft and stretchy in all the right places. I could slip them on in the morning, wear them all day, lounge around on the couch in the evening, then slip them off at night, so I can have a shower before bed. In fact I did that for 2 days straight (I know, it’s a bit gross)… and I would have gone longer still, but the weather got too hot for wearing jeans during the day :P

I’m wearing a size 25 and they fit perfectly around my thighs. I do have to wear a belt, to make sure that they don’t ride too low and show off my daggy knickers. But I prefer to wear belts with my jeans anyway, so no loss there. Or maybe I should just wear nicer knickers? Maybe not.

I’m now lusting after another Current/Elliott pair from Shopbop, namely the “Stiletto Jeans” which are still on sale!!

ALSO.

My 7 year old son made a colourful, wooden, bead bracelet for me. I’m showing it off in the photo above.

Basically he got really bored one day, so he decided to – secretly – crack open my craft box. He strung together a pretty little gift for me, wrapped it up and made a card. No occasion. Just because! What a sweetie!

I’ve been trying to wear it with the rest of my arm swag whenever I go out. And it looks so cute!

necklaces_diva

Look at this jewellery haul!

The other day, I walked into a Diva shop and discovered that they were having a closing down sale – where everything was selling for $8, $6 or $4. Bargains galore!

(Top) Turquoise and gold spike necklace was $30, but I got it for $8.
(Bottom Right) Statement Diamante Necklace was $35, now $8. Diamante Ring was $15, now $6. Rhinestone earrings were $10, now $4.

Now the other two items, were not from Diva.
(Bottom left) Stunning choker by Collette Dinnigan for Lovisa – on sale!
(Also bottom left) Yellow flower earrings from Pigeonhole.

thong-honeybee

Lastly I was given a pair of these cute thongs from My Honeybees.

They are a company striving to raise awareness of the Australian honeybees, while selling these stylish thongs. For every pair they sell, they donate $2 towards research into keeping bee populations happy and healthy.

They have lots of pretty and vibrant colours to choose from – including aqua, lilac, hot pink, lime and champagne. I like them a lot!

Ok, that’s all for now. Hope you have wonderful weekend!

xxx

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.

Say Hello To My New Lamp

For months, I’ve been trying to find a table lamp for my house, so I can light up a particularly dark corner of my living room.

And at last, I found this very pretty (and well priced) lamp from Freedom – it’s perfect for my little table.

lamp-freedom01

I really like the shape of the lamp, size of the lampshade, the pattern on the base, and how the glaze-wash over the ceramic is messy and puddled a bit here and there.

Oh and it matches my paintings. I painted about 12 abstract landscapes (oil paint on stretched canvas) in 2007, when I was part of a group art exhibition. I managed to sell some, but the rest are not for sale. I can’t part with the remaining few. Instead they are dotted all around my house :)

lamp-freedom02

This painting is actually 1 of 4 square canvases (a quadtych?) inspired by my scuba diving days and swimming in the deep ocean. The sea sponge and driftwood were found objects from our beach holidays. The white vase and tea light holder were gifts. And the silver reindeer figurine is from my Christmas decoration-collection, that I decided not to pack away.

You know, I LOVE flipping through interior design magazines. I sigh at all the stunning rooms and beautiful objects, and I appreciate fine design and craftsmanship… but being a one income family, we simply can’t justify spending thousands (or hundreds!) of dollars on pretty furniture.

So… alas most times I make and restore things myself. I find secondhand furniture and objects (from the tip or thrift shops) , I clean them up, give them a bit of paint, or sand them back to create an antique look that I adore.

And this lamp… is the first homewares item I’ve bought in a loooong time!

Wearing Grungey and Moody Prints

Prints are still on trend for this season and the next.

Especially mirrored digital prints and prints with a “grungey” and “moody” edge. For example prints with dark colours, black and white prints that are geometric or messy… and angry/angsty images – like wild animals! Think wolves, bears, tigers, owls, bulldogs, sharks.

romwe_tunic

I found this cool, Retro Style Dress (from Romwe) with a scarf-style print and a very 60’s mod shapeless style.

I’m actually not sure what the picture is? A flower? An astronomical chart? An ink blot for a psychological test? No idea, but it looks nice and not too in-your-face.

It was great quality for the price I paid. It had a nice weight to it and the material had some quality to it. But when I tried it on, it was really short. It’s like a big t-shirt – a very different shape to the other dresses I own.

So I wore it out with little black shorts underneath and felt much better about wearing such a short dress! I really like it. I’ll be wearing and layering it up with leather pants or leggings in winter.

Actually, there’s some pretty amazing printed clothes over at Romwe. Tshirts, blouses, jumpers, jackets, skirts, leggings. All very affordable and with prints that I’ve never seen in the shops or other online stores before. Worth a look! I did a search so here’s a quick link to the clothes with prints results. Enjoy!

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.