Sydney’s Hidden Eateries

1. 1821 – Made in Greece

I can unreservedly proclaim that 1821, located at 122 Pitt St, Sydney, is the most glamorous, opulent and satisfying dining experience on offer in Sydney’s central business district.

Over three levels of Athenian inspired interior design, paying homage to the Greek revolution against the Ottomans, designer Dimitris Economou has established a unparalled and awe-inspiring venue that is both opulent and sophisticated. Paying tribute to the traditions, heritage and future of Greece, attention to detail is obvious in the design and execution of the interiors, food, staffing, etc.

“I employed a designer from Greece and flew him in to design it,” Kospetas says. “He is a highly regarded in Greece. The whole essence of 1821 is that we want it designed and built in Greece so it actually is a Greek interior.”

Backer Jim Kospetas — who drove the opening of the successful Alpha restaurant in Sydney’s CBD Hellenic Club — says the fitout costs are climbing but added that he is confident the project will have a midyear start.

“It’s been very expensive,” he says. “I don’t think we’re going to get much change out of $2m. It may even get up as high as $3m. But we’re taking Greek food to the next level.”

 The Daily Telegraph

The stunning high ceilings, powerful columns, detailed white horses mounted to the venue entry and wide windows creates an unrivalled eatery appropriate for formal gatherings, and/or casual Friday night drinks with colleagues.

Whether you are enticed by the delights on the desert menu, the finger-licking good main dishes or the reasonably priced (yet ever so fancy) beverages, 1821 has to be next on your ‘to go‘ list!

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph. (02) 8080 7070

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2. Gemelle Ristorante Italiano

Hidden in the side streets of Liverpool sits a fine-dining white tablecloth experience that will not disappoint you (or your purse strings). During a weeknight, Gemelle provides sensational dishes thriving off fresh ingredients, attention to detail and exceptional unobtrusive customer service. On a weekend, Gemelle has proven to be a suitable location for parties and events, oozing an undeniable sense sophistication and charm. Frankly, Gemmelle is the George Clooney of the suburban Italian food restaurants.

Recent interior upgrades such as the addition of stone walls, an impressive glass clear on restaurant floor and winding staircase leading to an upstairs function centre are individual features of the eatery. Down-lights and jazz music add to the flair and up-scale ambience of the restaurant, particularly on busy Saturday evenings.

Whilst dishes are arguably slightly dearer than counterpart restaurants, the overall dining experience and quality of the produce and foods are unrivalled, transporting you from the back streets of the western suburbs to the most elegant eatery in Sydney. In the event that you are searching for alternative locations for a date night or event outside of the central business district, ensure 79 Bathurst St, Liverpool is at the top of your list.

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph: 02 9602 5294

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3. The Public Dining Room

Okay, so perhaps this suggestion is cheating as Balmoral’s The Public Dining Room isn’t necessarily ‘underrated‘, however, on the basis that I knew nothing about it until the moment I ate at the restraunt, for arguments sake, it’s underrated.

The Public Dining Room is an incredibly upmarket venue that boasts unobstructed breathtaking views over the picturesque Balmoral Beach. Having only eaten at the restraunt on Valentine’s Day 2016, of which I cannot recall whether there was a set menu for the evening, the lasting impression of the food was that the kitchen delivered.

Whilst prices are on the higher end, The Public Dining Room is not a venue that one would dine at on a regular basis, instead it would be reserved for special occasions. Considering the beauty of the venue, the professionalism of staff, abilities of kitchen staff and opulance of the interiors, one can make an exception and for-out $40(ish) dollars per meal every so often.

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph. (02) 9968 4880

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Happy dining!

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Styling Menswear

Throughout my years of retail experience, I have met men from various walks of life who have different levels of competence when ‘outfitting’. As a result, I felt it necessary to share some helpful hints and tips I have aquired from my 2.5 years working in men’s fashion.

1. Trans-seasonal Layering

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Tran-seasonal periods are when both men and women have the opportunity to exhibit their personal approach to fashion.

Unlike the warmer months, it is hard to dress with style in mind when your primary concern is not melting in the heat. Personally, I believe that during the colder months one can layer high street pieces into a decadent (yet stylish and affordable) outfit that both looks and feels incredible.

The best tip that I could ever offer is to invest in staple pieces.

Whilst fast fashion can be riveting and playful – certain items of clothing should not be compromised for trends. A classic investment piece of clothing can be worn hundreds of times without looking worn and tattered. Whether it be a wool jacket, suede desert boots, a comfortable pair of boat shoes, high quality yarn knit-wear or a cashmere scarf – pay attention to the fine details of your clothing investments, as these are the pieces your outfits will revolve around.

Now I know what you’re thinking – I bet that you’re scrolling through your phone or sitting behind your computer screen rolling your eyes thinking… “yeah okay, and how much do you expect me to invest?“. Well, the truth of the matter is that high fashion companies are lifting their game – no longer do luxury materials and well fitted pieces have to be purchased from the luxury market. Newsflash, in this competative market, quality garments and expensive price tags are no longer mutually exclusive. Everyday accessible brands such as Connor, Tarocash, YD, Industrie, Saba and Country Road can offer fantastic alternatives to designer clothing, with a similar finish.

When investing in basics, pay close attention to the fabric content and don’t be afraid to ask the sales associate of the best ways to clean the garment, or how it will wear over time.

Alternatively, if you own a classic coat that needs updating, take that coat to an alterations shop and taper the shoulders and waist to flatter your figure. The smallest details can be the difference between items looking mass-manufactured and made for you.

2. Everyday-wear

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Working in men’s fashion you quickly learn that every sales assistant gravitates towards different styles, so much so, that as colleagues we direct customers to one another if we feel our personal style aligns with a customers. If you are after trend-driven casual streetstyle that revolves around fresh sneakers, I could blindly assist you with sizing and not much else. On the other hand, if you are after a collared shirt, fitted chinos and boat shoes – I’m your girl.

For everyday outfitting, I suggest that you consider what appeals to you most and working from there. Determine whether you appreciate sportier styles, trend-driven streetwear styles, or anything in between. Once you know the look you are trying to achieve, it is easier to shop for individual items.

The ‘preppy’ look always spoke to me – the timeless blend of comfortable everyday clothing with a touch of formal flair. This appreciation inspired me to style the model (pictured above) in a quintisential preppy look appropriate for university, casual fridays in the office, or weekendwear.

3. Work-wear

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Dressing for work isn’t too complicated. If you stick to a few golden rules, there’s not much that can go wrong.

Firstly, always match your belt and shoes (and workbag if you so wish). Far too many times men have come into the mens-wear store I work at with the intention of purchasing a semi-matching belt for their work outfit.

I’m sorry, but no.

There are some things in this world that are fundamentally wrong…this is one of them.

The purpose of wearing a belt other than for functional reasons, is to tie the details of an outfit together to achieve a polished look. If your belt and shoes do not match, the proportions of the outfit are scewed and you are better off untucking your shirt and sporting the shoes on their own.

I note that whilst in this image the workbag is black and the other accessories are a deep chocolate brown, the subtle hardware of the bag paired with the brown patch detailing on the strap ties the outfit together.

Further, do not fear the ‘dress chino’. Whilst a lot of mens fashion brands are yet to jump on the bandwagon, I am a great believer in the versatility, practicality and beauty of the dress chino. This is a pant that can be worn for work and paired with a different top, can be transformed into an everyday pant for casual day-to-day life. If purchased in a subtle color such as black, navy, ink, camel or sand, the dress chino can be the perfect addition to a capsule wardrobe (whilst still looking professional and polished).

Whatever your style, experience or confidence with men’s clothing, we all have to start from somewhere. Thanks to my delving into clothing styles, I have progressed from the completely inexperienced 19 year old to a reasonably well-versed near 22 year old – I have no doubt that you can do the same!

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Travel Tips & Tricks: Cruises

 

I went on a cruise.

Now there’s something I never thought I would say/write.

Whilst I have always loved travelling (if you couldn’t already tell after reading Honestly, Is Travelling In Your 20’s Really Worth It?), I never really gave crusing a second thought. For me a holidays correlated with planes, trains and everything in between, bar boats.

I suprised myself in agreeing to book a quick little getaway with my partner on the Pacific Jewel, and at the other side of the trip, and I readily await my next cruising experience (and when that time comes, I will be sure to return to this post as a refresher).

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1.Calculate your expenses using the cost-per-day method

When determining what cruise to book, calculate the cost per-day expenses.

Whilst it may seem daunting to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few days of excitement, when you break down the daily costs and what those funds include, the value of the cruise really speaks for itself.

Sidenote: Seems that the cost-per-wear ideology is trickling into other areas of daily life!

2. Make a standing reservation for dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant

The Waterfront Restaurant was honestly one of the highlights of the cruising experience!

My partner and I determined by the end of the trip that if we were to dine at a restaurant in Sydney for four nights in a row, our bill would amount to more than what our cruise fare was.

The Waterfront Restaurant is a gorgeous dining experience where a large selection of fine-dining meals are available and included in your cruise fare. The Waterfront to me felt like a date night every evening – with the impeccable service, food, decor and attention to detail, it was easy to forget the fact that you are actually on the high seas.

Every day our anticipation grew throughout the day, wondering what we would indulge in that evening. Needless to say my extra 2kg of weight on my frame was well worth the experience of the Waterfront Restraunt. I am happy to run on a treadmill for a few weeks for my few days of unrestricted indulgence.

If you are cruising on the Pacific Jewel, as soon as you get on the cruise liner, head to level 7 and make a standing reservation for each evening at a consistent time… thank me later!

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p.s if the images do not look appealing, blame it on the photography – in reality the food was flawless.

 3. Bring an empty flask or water bottle

My biggest concern before boarding the boat is quite possibly the most ridiculous concern anyone could ever have – I was concerned with the tea situation. My browsing history was all kinds of odd – I neurotically googled and enquired whether there was tea available onboard, whether I was required to purchase a ‘drinks package’ and whether it was humanly possible to sneak a kettle in my bag without detection.

One of the better decisions I made was taking one of my valentine’s day presents on board with me, that being a T2 tea flask that keeps drinks hot for 6-8 hours on average. I quite literally probably spent more time on level 12 where the tea dispenser was than I did in my room.

If you on the other hand are not a tea fan and you are wondering how you are to have water onboard (because let’s be real, who wants to spend copious amounts of money on water), I recommend brining an empty water bottle and filling it up onboard. Whilst it is asked that you do not directly place your water bottle under the water dispenser, I filled cups of water and poured that water into my bottle to ensure I was hygenic and respectful to other patrons and that I was not going to die of dehydration.

4. Prepay your ‘Cruise Card’

Two words – accountability and security

Call me paranoid, but I prefer to keep my card details to myself, rather than share my financial details with business and corporations. Whilst I acknowledge that there is little chance of banking details falling into the wrong hands – I will take any and every precaution I can take.

Further, why not keep yourself financially accountable and stay on-top of your onboard spending habits?!

I know that this is a tip that the cruise liner would prefer you not take, and might I note that we were not informed that there were pre-paid cruise card options onboard, but be sure to ask about the option when boarding the ship.

5. Schedule your daily activities the night before

Cruises are fantastic not only for their great service and culinary delights, but also for their on-board experiences. With the amount of comedy shows, dance classes, tournaments, trivia games and movies on offer, it can be difficult to schedule in everything that you want to experience within the hours available.

As I was travelling with my partner, we had to compromise with one another and determine what our daily activities would be the night before. P & O Cruises leave the daily schedule for the next day, ‘Good Times‘, allowing you the opportunity to pre-plan your onboard experiences.

We sat with a pen and initialled the activities we wanted to be involved in and debate why we should choose one over the other… (ladies, you know you’re onto a good thing when your partner agrees to take two dance classes at the cost of their table-tennis tournament).

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6. Get to know the cruise staff members

Cruise staff work ridiculously hard, they are always so chirpy and helpful and should be recognised for their amazing service and professionalism. Say good morning when you pass them in the hall, take the time to talk to the entertainment staff and find out about their stories – after all, that is the beauty of travel.

7. Forget about the internet (and WIFI for that matter!)

Yes, you will feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway without internet.

Yes, you will survive. No, the ‘free wifi’ will not work, even in public spaces.

8. Pre-purchase your adventure activities prior to the cruise

Moreton Island is a beautiful destination, yet given the stringent time frame allocated for activities on the Island, I am so grateful that we booked our adventures before the cruise commenced. If we were to book on the Island, the time lost in determining what adventures we wanted to take and organising the experience would have eaten away a chunk of the day that would be better spent in the water.

Note that there was no price difference in our experience between repurchased activities and those that could be bought on the day.

9. Pack a capsule wardrobe

A golden rule for any travels is organising a versatile capsule wardrobe.

Packing Rules:

1. Do not pack anything you don’t absolutely love–you won’t wear it. Like an capsule wardrobe, you wan’t to focus only on what you adore. Instead, you’ll re-wear the things you do love, and will have wasted space for nothing. (If you don’t love something, why do you own it anyway?)

2. Pick a color scheme, and stick to it. Every single item you pack must also match every other item you pack. This results in dozens of outfit combinations and virtually zero effort required to get dressed every day. Sticking to classic basics also ensures you won’t look back at photos and think, “GOD what was I wearing!?” Remember, there is nothing chicer than all-black.

3. Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes. There’s a reason most capsule wardrobes limit footwear choices, you really don’t need that many!

A Travel Capsule Wardrobe: Your Ultimate Packing List

10. Take a power-board with you

With two power ports in each room and multiple appliances to charge, packing a powerboard was an ingenious idea!

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day has always been a special event in my eyes. Albeit, I acknowledge that the day to many is merely driven by consumerism and Hallmark’s advertising team. To me on the other hand, it is a day of love, celebration, sentiment, romance and perhaps a cheeky rose or two!

My partner, ever the romantic, outdid himself this year.

Leading up to the big day, I pitied my lover and the mammoth task set-out for him of beating last years celebrations. Needless to say I was touched that he organized a stunning hot air balloon ride for us to experience sunrise together, followed by a buffet breakfast, an intimate picnic lunch and dinner at the location we had our first date.

Safe to say he has his work cut out for him next year!

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Whilst I appreciate that I am incredibly lucky, everyone has experienced a lonely and painful valentine’s day. For that exact reason, I think it is incredibly important to think of both your friends and family and what their experience of valentine’s day will be like.

Whether it be a simple text letting them know that they are in your thoughts, a coffee catch-up throughout the day, attending an anti-valentine’s day event with them or gifting a basket of goodies that you know they would appreciate – it’s important to think outside of merely your romantic relationship and show platonic love to those who also matter to you!

Sending love to all this valentine’s day,

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Wesołych Świąt!

To the Poles, much alike other Eastern Europeans, Christmas Eve (Wigilia) is one of the most important days of religious observance in the year.

The meaning and traditions of Wigilia are representative of the Roman Catholic faith, the significance of family, the perseverance of traditional customs and carb-laden hearty foods.

Wigilia along with the rest of the festive season is a time of year that I always idealised and continue to look forward to. I distinctly recall as a child my mother  preparing beautiful and indulgent foods in the kitchen, whilst the rest of the family obediently cleaned the house (including the dreaded windows). I have come to value these menial tasks and memories with age and hope to uphold these values in the future with my future family, in hope to preserve the Polish culture in my life and in hope that my children will love the festive period as much as I do.

With that said, I would love to share with you what Wigilia looks like at my home and how traditional European customs and the modern life we live in Australia intersects, creating our hybrid ‘Wigilia’.

Oplatek

Breaking oplatek with your beloved family and friends is an ancient tradition, whereby
communion bread is broken by the head of the family (traditionally the husband to the wife) and well-wishes are shared between the couple, to be continued with the rest of the table. These well-wishes are strictly to take place before the sharing of the Christmas Eve supper.

The Christmas wafer symbolizes the unity of the family,[8] which many consider to be the main pillar of society. According to beliefs, the bond of unity should exist between family members. The father is seen as the link in the unbroken chain of One Body, One Bread, One Christ, and One Church, while other family members join him in this eternal procession. The wafer also symbolizes forgiveness and reconciliation.

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Whilst my best-friend and I dreaded the awkwardness that the oplatek brought, and the
inevitable “I hope you get good grades at school” line – I have come to appreciate these moments as an adult, as honestly, how often do we take time out of our day-to-day lives to appreciate our families and wish them well in their future endeavours?

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Christmas Eve Supper

Tradition dictates that there is to be at least twelve (12) meals at the Christmas table, representative of the Twelve Apostles, the twelve days of Christmas and the twelve months in the year.

Wigilia dinner is to be strictly meatless, influenced by the practice of fasting to show respect. As a result, seasonal foods such as boiled potatoes, pickled herrings (sledzie), mushroom soup, beetroot soup, kompot (recipe available at Eastern European Christmas Classics: Kompot) , beans and sauerkraut (groch i kapusta) and other heavy food groups are used.

Polish people also are to prepare spare cutilary, cups, plates and enough food for an extra visitor. This empty place at the table is to represent those who are far from us on this special day, the less fortunate and those speding wigilia alone.  My favourite memory is when a man dressed as santa walked through our neighbourhood wishing everyone a Merry Christmas was invited into our home to share in the Christmas Eve dinner and celebrations.

Bombki

Hand painted and designed bym-iw-bombkaaubles play a significant role in Bombek.JPGaccessorising Wigilia and the family Christmas tree.

This year my partner surprised me with a personalised hand-painted bauble with our names on it. This gift is something I will always hold close to my heart due to the strong cultural influences of hand-made bombki, and the fact that this is a sentimental object that we can continue to use into the future. He further outdid himself by both reading and gifting me the Zimmermann Circular Link bag I discussed in both Christmas Gift Guide: Women who have Everything! and the Luxury Addict Tag (lucky me).

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….

Niech czas Bożego Narodzenia upłynie w atmosferze radości i miłości, a Nowy Rok spełni wszystkie wasze marzenia.

Work Christmas Party Outfit

Tis the season ladies and gents.

With every candy cane and Christmas carol comes another right of passage for this time of year –

Christmas work parties!

Having attended my Christmas party in the week past, I encountered the ever so common conundrum of deciding what to wear. In my pursuit of trying to put together the perfect outfit, I came to the conclusion that outfit choice is actually pretty important.

Whilst colleagues are accustomed to one another in  corporate wear , Christmas parties allow you the opportunity to express yourself and your love for fashion.

Having conceptualised the significance of choosing a fun and playful outfit, I too dug through my closet and put together an outfit that I really enjoyed wearing. I would encourage you to dig through your wardrobe and pair items that you are passionate about, yet never had the opportunity to wear.

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Shop my look:

Dress: Romeo and Juliet Couture dress available at Trade Secret and/or online.

Bag: Gucci ‘GG Blooms’

Shoes: Furla (available at Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre)

Bracelet:  Hermes ‘H’ Cuff

 

Other outfit inspiration I put together are also available here:

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Happy experimenting (and merry christmas), xx.

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Sydney’s Underrated Shopping Spots

A shared hobby between my mother and I is (and always has been) travelling to all corners of Sydney to find quaint, undiscovered shopping hubs. When our days off would align, there was never a question as to how we would spend the day – a mother, daughter bonding of sorts.

Throughout the years, our love for eclectic fashion and a good bargain has allowed us to uncover and explore various marketplaces, shopping complexes and outlet centres. As a result, we would love to share our agreed upon ‘ultimate underrated shopping spot’ list.

  1. Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre

Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre is by far one of my favourite spaces is Sydney. Boasting a picturesque waterfront backdrop in the heart of Drummoyne, the Outlet Centre offers designer high fashion and affordable everyday-wear alike.

This bargain hotspot offers high-profiled designers such as Oroton, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein at a premium price.

On a side note, after a few hours of shopping when you need to refuel, you’ll find plenty of hubs that can accomodate you taking some time out from that busy shopping schedule to indulge in a coffee and some cake, whilst enjoying the inner city view.

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    2. Direct Factory Outlet (DFO), Homebush

Homebush Direct Factory Outlet hosts near all the same stores as the aforementioned Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre, and more. In my opinion, Homebush caters more towards women searching for corporate wear, as there are many mid-range designers. I find when my workwear wardrobe needs more options, Homebush DFO is a great one-stop-shop!

Homebush DFO also houses homeware stores, Swarovski, Lacoste, Fossil and Sass and Bide.

Whilst the view might not be as picturesque and the traffic to and from can be painstaking, Homebush provides a wide range of stores that are jam-packed in one central family-friendly location.

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3. Zimmermann Outlet

Located at 2E Hayes Rd, Rosebery, the Zimmermann Outlet is a Godsend.

Zimmermann is notorious for its whimsical and elegant style, as well as for their fine materials and craftsmanship. Whilst their pieces can easily devastate your wallet, the Rosebery outlet store provides on trend pieces at a fraction of the retail cost.

All I’m saying is, if I can leave the outlet with six pieces in my bag at the original retail price of one piece ($500/600), then I’m onto a good thing.

Although the trading hours are limited and finding a park feels like a scene from the Hunger Games – I promise you that the product and price point are worth it.

Thank me later.

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4. Fashion Spree Outlet, Liverpool

Located in the heart of South Western Sydney, Fashion Spree Outlet is a new direct factory outlet style facility that boasts a solid mid-range fashion repertoire.

Whilst some of the stores in the complex are lack lustre, the addition of Mimco, Bardot and David Lawrence makes the Fashion Spree a must visit.

Fashion Spree Outlet also has plenty of unregulated all-day parking, meaning this complex is a perfect shopping district during the festive holidays when all other shopping centres are unbearable.

    5. Bowral Streets

Bowral is a quaint village located within the Southern Highlands, over an hour out of Sydney.

We adore Bowral for one-off finds, including beautiful silver and leather works. Bowral is traditionally a high socio-economic area that accomodates mostly an aging population. As a result, the fashion pieces and homewares are both eclectic and traditional for local residents.

If you’re seeking  individual pieces made of high quality fabrics with fantastic finishes, it’s time to fill up your tank of fuel, pack some snacks for the trip and head down to Bowral.

   6. Bondi Streets

Shock horror, we all know Bondi is a fabulous shopping destination.

However, I would recommend that the next time you are in the area, stray away from Westfield’s Bondi Junction to explore the back streets of Bondi!

What I love about Bondi is their ‘op shops’, more commonly known as second-hand store.

As an appreciation of designer fashion, I was incredibly excited to uncover (and to share with you) that there are two luxury consignment stores just off the main street of Bondi.Whilst I haven’t had the opportunity to explore the rest of Bondi’s side streets any further,  I hope to sometime soon.

   7. The Queen Victoria Building (QVB)

I know, I know – the QVB doesn’t necessarily constitute an ‘undiscovered’ space, however, I honestly think that people overlook the Queen Victoria Building when ‘city’ shopping. Whilst I acknowledge that the structure of the QVB and the decadence and lavish nature of it can be imposing, don’t let that scare you away from more affordable retailers hidden in the building. Yes, the QVB does hold some expensive one-off stores, but I do find that if you are patient, you can find a bargain, or at the very least, a beautiful one off piece.

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