Cherry Cottage in Leura, Blue Mountains

Cherry Cottage is a holiday rental in Leura, one of the prettiest towns in the Blue Mountains. Cosy, tranquil and well equipped, the cottage is situated in a picturesque part of the town, with Leura’s galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants a brisk 10-minute walk away.

There are three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, as well as a fireplace, central heating, modern kitchen, entertainment system and free WiFi. The hosts are friendly, efficient and provide great local area tips.

The biggest perk, however, is the daybed on the large decked balcony, which overlooks the stunning gardens – a perfect position for a read, wine or nap (or all of the above in one sitting).

Cherry Cottage is around 90 minutes drive from Sydney and you can stay from $295 per night – excellent value given the quality and location of the cottage.

Book through Stayz (where it has near perfect reviews) or Airbnb.

Bang On Podcast – Two Friends Talk Music, Art, Life and Stuff

When I hear Zan Rowe on ABC’s Triple J radio, I often wish she was one of my friends. She seems fun, down to earth, knowledgeable and could get you free tickets to the best gigs.

So I’ve been deepening my non-existent friendship with her by listening to the Bang On podcast she co-hosts with (bonafide) friend and equally as delightful Myf Warhurst, where they discuss what’s been going on that week in music, art, life and stuff.

In the latest episode, they discuss:

Listen to Double J‘s Bang On podcast on the ABC Radio app, or via iTunes, RSS and other podcast apps.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – A New Cookbook by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a new cookbook by chef, writer and teacher, Samin Nosrat. Designed to be your compass in the kitchen, the cookbook demystifies the four elements of good cooking – salt, which enhances flavour; fat, which delivers flavour and generates texture; acid, which balances flavour; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food – and shows that if you can master these, anything you cook will be delicious.

I can cook but I’ve largely been a follow the recipe type person.  I have high hopes that this will be the book that transforms me into one of those people that say: “I’ve only got these three obscure ingredients at hand but I’m going to whip you up something sensational.”

Trace – A New True Crime Podcast from the ABC

Trace is a new true crime podcast from the ABC. Mother of two, Maria James, was stabbed to death in the back of her suburban Melbourne bookshop in June 1980. Her killer has never been found.

Presented by ABC investigative reporter, Rachael Brown, Trace sifts through evidence to see whether police missed anything at the time, revisits suspects, and finds a new one of its own.

Two episodes in and I’m gripped. Warning: it’s gruesome and terrifying in parts.

Listen to the preview and podcast episodes.

Billabong Retreat – Yoga, Meditation, Nourishing Food, Only One Hour from Sydney

The vision at Billabong Retreat (located around one hour from Sydney CBD) is to create a healing space to reconnect with nature, ourselves and others, with the idea being that you will find peace of mind, contentment and discover wellness.

I know… it sounds trite (read about the wellness epidemic) but I did return home feeling more chilled and I credit that to:
(1) Getting out of town with a couple of girlfriends who rarely get the chance to drink tea and talk, uninterrupted
(2) Not having to get out of my activewear the entire weekend
(3) The beautiful organic vegetarian food
(4) Our enlightened, calm and wise yoga/meditation teacher who managed to convince us to carry on with meditation and gave excellent tips for how to incorporate it in our day. I’d go back just to be in her presence
(5) No wi-fi, patchy mobile coverage and alcohol being “strongly discouraged.”

There are plenty of accommodation options. The day spa offers a wide range of treatments if you want to amp up the experience. Check out the upcoming programs and book your stay.

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