Happy Holidays!

holidays inexplicable wanderlust blog
Just dropping by to say thanks for a great year and wish you the happiest of holidays!

It’s been a big year for me and this humble little blog! If you’re a regular reader (hey mum!), thanks for following and coming on this journey with me. And if you’ve only just discovered Inexplicable Wanderlust, welcome – I hope you stay a while longer.

I’ve got some exciting plans for 2016, but for now I’m on holidays and taking a short break from blogging. But if you just can’t get enough, I’ll be hanging out on instagram most days – come say hi.

No matter what it is you celebrate at this time of year, I wish you a happy, fun and relaxing holiday season surrounded by friends, family and mountains of food.

See you on the other side!

– Bec x

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Summer Cocktail Series: The Highball Express

highball express cocktails canberra

Let’s take a trip together. It’s Friday afternoon, you’ve just finished work and the warm evening air welcomes you to the weekend as you walk outside. Enter, the Highball Express – Canberra’s newest bar that’s flown in just in time for the summer.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Highball Express was the nickname for the plane that took wealthy Americans to Cuba during the Prohibition years. On board, they would drink cocktails in highball glasses, excited for a weekend full of sunshine, Cuban rum and everything that Prohibition America wasn’t.

So about that trip. The Highball Express is an easy, breezy, laid-back bar that will whisk you away to Cuba with the first sip of a rum cocktail. Located on the top floor of the Melbourne Building (above Smith’s Alternative on Alinga Street), the shady open balcony that looks out to Black Mountain is the perfect spot for a warm Friday afternoon.

highball express cocktails canberra

When it comes to the contents of your glass, rum cocktails is where it’s at. The team behind the Highball Express are serious about their rum. So serious that they’re even barrel-ageing cocktails.

It was a warm but rainy Friday night when I visited with some friends a couple weeks back. As I came in off the street dripping from the rain, I couldn’t have been more ready for a rum cocktail or two. As we sat on the balcony watching the rain come down, we sampled more than a few on the list and loved every one.

highball express cocktails canberra

If you’re into interesting and unusual drinks, the carrot-flavoured cocktail is surprisingly good. And if you’re with a group, I recommend ordering a rum punch from Peggy, the cute little punch trolley.

I am so glad the Highball Express landed when it did. I can see it quickly becoming a summer favourite – sitting on that bright and breezy balcony, sipping on some rum and enjoying the warm weather.

If you’re keen to jump on board and see what all the fuss is about, fly up the stairs at 82 Alinga Street in the City or check in to the Highball Express on facebook or instagram.

– Bec x

highball express cocktails canberra

highball express cocktails canberrahighball express cocktails canberra

highball express cocktails canberra

Roadtrip Detour: Stone & Wood Brewery, Byron Bay

stone wood brewery byron bay

Visiting craft breweries became a bit of a habit for us on our east coast roadtrip. First up, it was Murrays Craft Brewing Co in Port Stephens, and today I’m going to tell you about our quick pitstop at Stone & Wood in Byron Bay.

Stone & Wood was born and raised in Byron, and very proud of it. We visited their original brewery in the industrial part of town, home to their cellar door and tasting room. In 2014, at the ripe old age of 6, they had grown too big for their boots and had to open another brewery about 45 minutes north of Byron. Now the only brewing that happens in Byron is exclusively for their special release beers. Fancy.

At the Byron brewery, they run tours twice daily and we rocked up right on time for the 11am start. Maybe it was the earlier time of day, but we were the only people there and had the whole place to ourselves. In my opinion, it’s never too early for beer when you’re on holidays, so we started with a schooner of the Garden Ale before a quick whip around the brewery and a tasting of 5 of their beers – all for $10.

Of course, my favourite was their limited release Cloud Catcher, which is no longer available. However, a close second would have to be their Garden Ale – and the good news is that it’s part of their core range and available all year round. Easy drinking and perfect for those summer nights spent drinking on the balcony with friends.

If you’re a beer drinker and in the area, drop by the brewery and say hi to the Stone & Wood boys. They are super friendly and more than happy to talk beer and Byron with anyone that comes in.

You can find them at 4 Boronia Place in Byron Bay, or on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

stone wood brewery byron bay

stone wood brewery byron bay

stone wood brewery byron bay

stone wood brewery byron bay

stone wood brewery byron bay

Canberra Cafe: Urban Pantry, Manuka

urban pantry manuka

It’s Steven’s birthday today and we are of course heading out for birthday brunch to celebrate. But I thought it appropriate, on this day of celebration brunch, that we share our latest Canberra cafe feature – Urban Pantry in Manuka.

It was a few weeks back that Steve and I spent a Sunday afternoon sussing out the newly revamped mainstay of the Manuka cafe scene. Urban Pantry has been kicking around Manuka for a while now, but it had been a long time since either of us had visited and we were keen to check out their new digs.

Their fresh new look is just that – fresh. They’ve gone for a Hamptons inspired interior, it’s laid-back, very white and a space that you want to spend time in. My favourite addition is the new deck outside, where Steve and I were seated after a short wait. It seems we weren’t the only ones who wanted to see what had changed that day.

urban pantry manuka

The menu has had a makeover too and we were faced with a tough choice. In the end, we both went for all-day breakfast and chose the two most indulgent items we could find. I had the madeleine ricotta pancakes ($16) with green apple, fresh berries and vanilla bean yoghurt, which came out light, fluffy and just the right amount of sweet. Steven ordered the brioche French toast ($16) with maple bacon, cinnamon mascarpone and toasted pecans, and by all reports enjoyed every last bite.

But the real hero of the whole revamp, in my opinion, is their new drinks list. With a big range of juices, smoothies, chilled organic teas and house made sodas on offer, they have something refreshing for everyone this summer. Their spiced chai house made soda is my pick of the bunch – an interesting flavour for a cold soda, but if you’re into your chai tea, then you’ll be into this.

Urban Pantry is located at 5 Bougainville Street in Manuka, they are open every day of the week and do all-day breakfast on weekends. You can also find them on facebook and instagram.

Oh, and happy birthday Steve! Love you little bro.

– Bec x

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Head & Heart: November 2015

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Summer. She’s here. With her sunny disposition, warm hugs and never ending supply of margaritas, my favourite season has finally come to the party and I couldn’t be more excited.

But before we pop the bubbly, let’s talk about November. The last month has been a roundabout of teasingly warm-cold weather, fun events and too many late nights. And no, not too many late nights because of the fun events – too many late nights because I’ve left too many design projects to the last minute. Not the kind of sleep I like losing.

So November was a month of highs and lows, but in the end, I think I came out on top. Here are my reflections on the month just gone.

Grateful… for family and friends that always go above and beyond in their support and love. You know who you are and I can’t thank you all enough.

Thinking… about the year that is almost over and the new year to come. 2015 has been a year for new beginnings and I’m hoping 2016 will bring some focus, consolidation and growth.

Drinking… rosé. It’s the perfect wine for this warmer weather and there are a few local wineries producing some killer rosé at the moment – Eden Road and Mount Majura are my picks for the 2015 rosé vintage.

Winning… a burger making competition. Well, technically I haven’t won yet, but that’s where you come in.

head heartHere’s the story. At the opening of Hoi Polloi, the new restaurant at Old Parliament House, I went up against 11 foodies to create a politically-inspired burger. My burger, “The Full Yard”, inspired by Bob Hawke, is a real down-to-earth Aussie burger – beef, cheddar, grilled pineapple,beetroot, caramelised onion, iceberg lettuce, mayo and tomato chilli jam on a milk bun.

As a vegetarian, I can’t try it, but apparently it was delicious because it came in the top 3 and is now on the menu until mid December. If it’s ordered more than the other two, it’ll become a permanent fixture on the menu. So if you’re into your beef burgers and want to help your girl out, head along to Hoi Polloi and try “The Full Yard”. You know want to.

Excited… for everything summer – sun-kissed skin, long warm evenings, cocktails with friends and parties on our balcony.

Counting… down the days until end of year holidays. I plan to catch up on sleep, swim in the ocean and spend quality time with family and friends. 18 days…

Originally created by Helen of Lime Tree Bower, Head & Heart is a monthly ritual where I take the time to reflect on the month that was. If you want to share, I’d love to hear from you – how did November treat you?

– Bec x

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