Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
21Trip End Jun 08, 2013
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Where I stayed
St Kilda, Gisborne
Winnie and Lee live in Gisborne which is about an hours commute from the city of Melbourne in a fairly new estate - they have a lovely house. After chatting in the car for a while we arrived at their house only to be greeted by the cutest and friendliest miniature poodle named Lucy! (You'll see by the amount of pictures we have of her we fell head over heels her and her brother Lucky!!).
The next day they took us for a yum cha for Sam's birthday at an amazing restaurant called Golden Leaf
While I was getting back into the daily grind Sam was living the retired life with Winnie, having a ball. They become real buddies, out in the Ferrari, playing golf and lunching everyday! We went for drives with Lee and Winnie and we saw so much that we definitely wouldn't have seen if it wasn't for them.
One weekend we went to Kurweeton, to visit Jo and Tony (Jahil's god mother) on their farm
Eric was going away for a month and we were lucky enough to stay in his flat for that time. It's a great little place on Barclay Street in St Kilda. It was perfect for us and really cool to just be able to walk down the road and have bars, restaurants and even a beach! The food scene in Melbourne is amazing and I think that this made us even more excited about living there. For my birthday we went to a great restaurant called Cutler & Co and it was so good, every dish was so delicious! Beryl and Malcolm had us over for lunch the day before my Birthday and Beryl made the most delicious lunch and they all spoilt me with presents!
Whilst staying in the city we met with Bruce (Jahils dad) and Leonie, we went for dinner in Brighton at the old sea baths and it was lovely! It was really good to be able to spend some time with them both and hear what they'd been up to since the wedding. Also, I never get tired of hearing funny stories about Vanya and Jahil when they were younger :)
Sam did a guest chef appearance at a place called Small Holdings in Malmesbury, he cooked for 20 people including a few of Winnie and Lee's close friends
Just around the corner from us was Cutler & Co's other restaurant called Golden Fields which was equally as amazing and a bit more a chilled vibe. We went to the Taste of Melbourne in Albert Park with Amy & Nick a few days before heading back to Gisborne and it really was a brilliant day, lots of great food and great company to go with it.
Once we got back to Gisbourne Sam went to work at Loam for a week and I even went and worked for a day as front of house which was very daunting at first but soon got used to it. The restaurant is in Drysdale which is about 2 hours from the city, it's situated on land that's owned by an agricultural college - it's beautiful. Sam loved working there and I can imagine that if he one day was to open a restaurant he would definitely like it to be similar to Loam. Once Lee and I had dropped Sam off t the restaurant we went to Portarlington, Indented head, St Leonard's, Queens cliffs, Ocean grove and Barwon heads
Whilst Sam was hard at work Lee and I went to work on Sandra and Craig's Vineyard, Barfold Estate. We were lifting the wire and after about 20 rows we went inside and bottled red wine vinegar and labelled all the bottles. It was a really good day and I found it so interesting! The Vineyard is beautiful and Sandra and Craig do all the work by themselves! Sandra made us a delicious lunch after our 'hard' work and we even had a bottle (or two) of their wine!
Vanya arrived back from South Africa and it was so nice to get to spend some time with her. We went to see her friends band at the Cherry Bar and went along with her and some friends to a great cocktail bar in Northcote which had a 40's vibe, we had some of the best cocktails I've ever had. We wish that we would have stayed in Melbourne a bit longer but I'm sure it won't be too long before we're back!
A few days before we left Vanya Sam and I went to visit Lee at Parliament and she gave us a tour of both houses and treated us (again) to a really tasty lunch! It was brilliant to see where she worked and to meet some of the people that we'd heard so much about.
Lucky enough Loam said that we could have a table the following Saturday lunchtime, it was a welcome home and a Bon voyage lunch. The views from the restaurant are so cool, looking out over the olive grove and a dam that Sam had been catching yabbies in when he worked there. Front of house really looked after us and after 10 courses, champagne, cider, red wine, white wine and pedo Jimenez we were well and truly satisfied!
We cannot thank Lee and Winnie enough for putting us up for so long, they really made us feel at home and we felt like we were leaving England all over again when we left for Sydney. We're so happy that we got to spend so much time with them and meet all their lovely friends. By the end of our stay in Melbourne we were even known as 'the adoptions'. They really spoiled us for the duration of our stay and we hope that they know how much we appreciate everything they did for us. We will definitely be back to Melbourne soon!
Alex and Sam
Ps.. We miss you all !