Tag: luxury

Manfredi at Bells, Killcare NSW

Manfredi at Bells, Killcare NSW

The purpose for perfection.

I was in a meeting the other day in which the theme was focused on Motivation. What is your motivation to get out of bed every day? What is your motivation to do the work you do? I sat there, contemplating, and just like everyone else, could not come up with an answer. If you are within a Leadership team, in which you feel like you don’t belong, what are you doing there? If you cannot find your motivation to be a part of that meeting, are you in fact, not wasting that moment in time?

Moments in our life time are simply too fleeting. If you love your life as much as I love mine, there are no moments to waste. What are you doing sitting in a meeting for which you have very little care for, when there are moments out there just waiting for you to find them?

Every moment of your life should be about love. Love for that moment, in some way or another. Love for the person you are with at the time and of course, love for what you are experiencing. When was the last time you were sick with longing? I can truthfully say that every day that passes and I am not doing what I love, it is not only a moment missed but a moment I am beyond doubt, sick with longing. Longing for what was. Longing for what could be and longing for a moment when time stands still and all is right with the world – if not just for a moment.

This is what its like to be at Manfredi restaurant.

Located within the beautiful grounds of Bells at Killcare, Manfredi Chef’s Hat restaurant shines like a diamond in an area where even gemstones are rarely found.

Having worked in many fine dining establishments over the years, food to me is not simply a means to an end. Food is to be smelled, sincerely tasted and enjoyed for all its complex layers. Great kitchens and chef’s, create dishes that are more an art-form rather than food and should be appreciated slowly and sensually so that your taste buds are aware of every single flavour the chef has lovingly infused.

Ask yourself… what are you eating for? When dining at Manfredi, the answer should be nothing less than an orgasm. Have you ever had a culinary orgasm? If the answer is no, then you haven’t eaten at Manfredi.

From the moment the maître’D seats you at your table, the dance begins. Fine dining at its best is represented here from the crisp white linens, to the wine list you could and should, swim in for days. You will never get through it all, so don’t even try and simply buy the best bottle from their epic wine room money can afford. It’s the only way to do it.

If I could win a competition to spend a day in their kitchen observing the art come to life and figuring out at least some of the tricks that takes food and turns it to magic, I would do whatever it took. Just to stand quietly at the back of the ultra-clean kitchen and watch the magic unfold, would be a dream come true. If by chance, the sommelier would then take me into their wine room and explain the food and wine paring, I think I honestly just might die. Is it possible to die of happiness? I would be willing to find out if that was indeed the moment to test the theory.

If one eats simply to be satisfied, ask yourself what is your level of satisfaction? Should it not be more than just to have a full stomach? Why do we so often rush through our meals without ever fully appreciating what actually went into it in the first place?

Manfredi Restaurant is the quintessential orgasm on a plate. And being a Chef’s Hat Restaurant, they may not be happy with me describing them this way. However I cannot think of a better compliment than this. There are chef’s that strive their whole lives to be this good. And there are chef’s that will work their whole lives to simply try to be in the same league. But whatever magic Mandfredi has, is firmly locked within the stainless steel walls of the endlessly spotless kitchen. I have tried many a time to stand at the pass and get a glimpse of what goes on behind. But just like magic, all the tricks are hidden from the naked eye and the waitresses seem to direct you to your table so the chef’s never reveal any of their supernatural powers.

Please don’t go to Manfredi if you don’t care for the food. Don’t go there if you don’t care about the obvious love and attention that goes into each and every bite. And please don’t go there if you are not going to appreciate the staff – each and every one of them. This restaurant knows how things are done and there is a reason why they are rated so highly amongst their peers.

This is a one-of-a-kind experience and you should value such a culinary sensation. When we waste so many moments in life not caring about what we are doing or where we are, take yourself to a place where every single morsel of life matters. Oh and try the steak – not a morsel – its massive – and I guarantee you will enjoy every single bite and never want the moment to end. There, is savouring a moment!
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Manfredi at Bells Restaurant
107 The Scenic Road,
Killcare Heights NSW
P: 4349 7000
http://www.bellsatkillcare.com.au/manfredi-at-bells-restaurant.html

5 Good Bubbly’s for $15

5 Good Bubbly’s for $15

A Bubbly Sunday Experiment

I am not sure whether living on the same block as a bottle shop is a godsend or a problem. Either way, it makes a bad day a bit easier when you simply have to walk next door to make yourself feel better – albeit until tomorrow. Whilst we are lovers of fine wine, there is always those days when you just need a good drop of bubbly to put a little fizz back into your day.

So purely in the name of research, we toddled off next door and brought them out of bubbly, in order to give you the best 5 Bubbly’s for under $15. Paired with a nice Mezze plate, we sat on the balcony in the sun, enjoying a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes, the hard work just simply has to be done!

At $15 or less, all 5 of these lovely wines, will definitely cheer you up after a bad day at the office or make a Sunday afternoon with friends a bit of an occasion. Don’t get me wrong… I love the finer things in life! But sometimes the finer things don’t have to cost the earth. Let me prove it to you!

And while we did rate these bubbles from 1 to 5 (number 1 being our favourite of course!), do understand that there was half a point between each, so not a big difference in the love-factor overall.

Coming in at Number 5 is the Jacobs Creek Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2015. This beautiful and quite serious drop from a very affordable vineyard is a great “bad day wine”. It’s boldness lets you sink into it and relax after a hard day and would be great paired with some hot and spicy Thai food! This is a great Hump Day drop when you can’t be bothered to cook and get take-out and watch The Bachelor, laughing at all the silly girls!

Number 4 on our list is one of our all-time favourites! Henkell Trocken Sparkling Wine can be found in our fridge on any given day of the week and the lady at our local bottle shop even quietly lets us know when it’s going in special so we can buy up in bulk! Henkell is a zesty, fun, lively bubbly with an everlasting citrus flavour that is just too easy to drink! Really… A bloody nice wine!!!

Our Number 3 is one of the prettiest wines I have ever seen. The Yellowglen Vintage 2015 Bella Pink Moscato is decorated with beautiful packaging and makes it perfect for drinks with the girls on a Friday afternoon. This lovely wine is like a super-sweet nectar that tickles the end of your nose as you sip and is good old plain fun! If I have a night at home alone, you will find me on the couch with a bottle of Yellowglen Pink Moscato and a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with caramel topping. Paired with a great girly movie and Mr. George Clooney, it feels like a naughty night in. But don’t tell KAM!

Number 2 was a bit of a surprise package! Living with an Italian, I have enjoyed my fair-share of Prosecco’s, but the Porta Dante Prosecco in my opinion is one of the best (and one of the most inexpensive). This lovely wine is smooth, sophisticated, and gentle – just like a good Italian should be! I could easily sip a Sunday away with a bottle of this lovely bubbly with KAM. Although I do wonder…. Are two Italians too much to handle at the same time?!

And finally our favourite! As we were conducting this experiment we tried not to taint the results, however with a bottle of Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon in the mix, it was hard not to be bias. The Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon is pure sunshine in a glass and makes all your bad days disappear like the fizz that escapes from the bottle as you open it. This beautiful bubbly is summer at its best and showcases the Hunter Valley Semillon’s with class, style and grace. Happy songs start to play in my head as I sip a glass of this spectacular wine and I remember all of the beautiful meals KAM and I have shared with a bottle of Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon on the side. This wine is simply the best money can buy at around $15 and in my opinion is worth much more – but don’t tell Bimbadgen I said that or they might up the price!

So there you have it! This list proves that for under $15 you can enjoy a little luxury at any time of the week without breaking the budget! But don’t take our word for it… Try them for yourselves. After all, life would be boring without a little experimentation, right?!

Bells at Killcare

Bells at Killcare

All the Bells ring!

Every girl dreams of the ultimate proposal. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or whether you have been married before. When you know you have met Mr. Right, the thought of the perfect proposal is always in the foreground of your mind. Talk of marriage has been bantered around for a while and you have an inkling that he has purchased ‘the ring’. You don’t care how he asks you or where it is, just as long as it is romantic and as perfect in real-life as it is in your mind. Enter… the beautiful Bells at Killcare.

Turning down the drive, you literally have no idea what you are in for. You really have reached Heaven on Earth. A place that meets all of your desires and bathes you in the lap of luxury every single moment you are within this hidden paradise.

The gardens at Bells are lush and beautifully manicured and the soft sound of running water is constant from the number of fountains and miniature rivers dotted around the property. The buildings are all designed in East Coast Hamptons style and the main house, which includes Manfredi’s restaurant, is the height of elegance.

We recently organised a two night stay in one of their two story spa cottages. Really, for no reason at all – we didn’t really feel like we needed an excuse to return to Bells. Neither of us can say we have enjoyed a hotel stay more than this and for 3 days bathed ourselves in the simple luxury that ‘Bells’ seem to do with ease – as if its second nature.

Each of the staff are highly trained and perfectly professional in every aspect of their role. You can tell that Bells expects a certain standard from them and they seem happy to oblige, always aiming to please. Welcomed by each and every one of them you feel like you are being invited into a big family home with beautiful amenities, a Chef Hat Restaurant, and possibly the best wine room I have ever seen. KAM found me a number of times just standing at the glass staring at all the beautiful wines I wanted to experience while there.

The weekend of our stay, the weather is cold with sleeting rain a constant on the landscape. This suited us perfectly as the cabin has a big slow-combustion fireplace which KAM gets cranking. Each of the cabins here are like a secret hideaway, completely hidden from other guests by careful placement and well-designed gardens. The cabin is roomy but homely and there is a beautiful large bed gracing the top floor, draped in expensive linens and big soft pillows. My favourite spot is on the covered balcony watching the rain and enjoying a glass of wine with the most beautiful man I have ever known, sure that this moment will be one we will treasure forever.

The bathroom has a big corner spa which I recommend enjoying with a glass of bubbly. I did and enjoyed getting myself ready for dinner in such a luxurious space. Just as I am ready for dinner though, I exit the bathroom to find the lights off in our cabin and the whole space lit with soft candlelight. There is music playing – Lior, This Old Love and I wonder why KAM is pacing back and forth with his back to me.

The moment he turns to face me, there is a knowing in my heart and as he begins to say the most beautiful words I have ever heard him speak, he gets down on one knee and says “Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?” Of course I say yes (a thousand times over and over again) and he reaches for a beautiful Gregory’s box on the coffee table. Its only then do I see it for the first time and the two glasses of champagne strategically placed next to it! I wonder how I never saw it when I first came out of the bathroom!?

After enjoying the moment, I realize we are now running very late for dinner. It’s the only problem with Bells. Time seems to slow to a point of almost standing still. There is magic in the air as we walk across the lawn towards Manfredi’s and although this is my favourite restaurant of all time, KAM and the excitement has haltered my hunger for a while. I am sure once I see the menu though, my appetite will come roaring back! Nothing a beautiful bottle of wine won’t fix, I’m sure!

The team have taken care of everything and have arranged for us to have the verandah to ourselves. Seated at a big table with comfy cushions and blankets, we gaze out over the garden and reflect on the moment just passed.

But from here on in is a whole other story, for another time. Bells and Manfredi’s are each two amazing experiences in their own right and deserve their own chapters. So you will just have to wait for the next installment in this amazing property.

In the meantime, thanks to all at Bells with all of our hearts. This remains one of our favourite stories to tell and one which we can’t wait to experience again. We were made to feel ever so special and the memories we made that weekend, we will treasure forever.

But please don’t take our word for it – pick a weekend to write your own story of love, enchantment, and luxury. Who knows…. There may just be a proposal on the horizon for you as well?

Bells at Killcare
107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights
P: 02 4349 7000
info@bellsatkillcare.com.au
http://www.bellsatkillcare.com.au/

Smart & Snazzy Traveller

Smart & Snazzy Traveller

Travelling can be tough. I know when KAM and I travel, we are rarely in one place for very long (unfortunately) and are sometimes only home for a couple of days before having to repack and go again.

This means that you not only have to be a smart packer, but an organised one too. I have 3 different types of luggage and depending on where I am going and how long for, will depend on which one I will pack. It is essential to have a variety of good luggage, not only for practical reasons, but so you look good at the airport too!

So, I have a large hard case Flylite Quartz (Approx. $240). This suitcase is large enough for a long trip, but not too large that I can’t roll it along. It is white with a slight glitter finish and is perfect for getting on and off planes and knowing your goodies are all safe and sound.

My Guess set is beautiful and bright lolly pink with bling. It is a 2 piece set (Approx. $500) including a medium roller case and matching carry-on which is the best for packing a LUGGAGE INSERTfew extras in case your luggage gets lost in Thailand somewhere! I always feel beautiful when carrying this set and given how much I have used it, it still looks brand new! Quality lasts!

My last piece of essential luggage is a large classic Country Road Duffle Bag (Approx. $80). This luggage will never date and is perfect for a more relaxed few days away. KAM can easily carry this for me too, without looking a little strange – he can’t get away with that so much when carrying my bright pink Guess set! These smart duffle bags fit a lot more in them that you will think and can be thrown in the washing machine if they get dirty (or full of sand, if you are lucky enough to be heading to the beach!).

Whilst every trip is different, there are a number of essential items that I never travel without. To ensure you look good, no matter where you go, these die-hard items are:

  1. A pair of long boots
  2. A pair of short boots (preferably with heels)
  3. Dressy Jeans
  4. Jewellery to dress up or down an outfit
  5. A simple black dress
  6. A cross-body bag
  7. Nurofen, Band-Aids, baby-wipes and Aloe-Vera
  8. Swimmers and thongs
  9. Black leggings
  10. A couple of clean plastic bags (these can be used for any number of things, but are great for separating your dirty washing as you travel so you don’t have to do it when you get home)

My last suggestion for smart, regular travels is to have a spare make-up bag that mirrors the one you use every day at home. It’s too hard to pack and unpack your everyday items and not forget something. Trust me, I know! The amount of toothbrushes I have had to buy on the road is ridiculous! I promise having a make-up bag already packed and ready to go will be a godsend when needing to travel in a hurry.

Girls always over-pack – that’s a fact. So just make sure you have sexy luggage to roll through the airport or into a fancy hotel lobby. And whilst sexy luggage is definitely important, my all-time favourite essential travel item that I absolutely refuse to leave home without, is a sexy man with big muscles! It helps that he can lift my luggage for me, when I have brought too many clothes while travelling and had to sit on my suitcase to get it to close! Besides… Pink is definitely his colour!