May business idea ka ba pero kailangan mo ng gabay? Wala ka pang pondo pero gusto mong mag-baka sakali at sumubok? Paano ba magsimula ng negosyo sa South Australia?
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My personal experience staying for two nights at the McLaren Vale Studio Apartments was a great introduction to the unique and exceptional offerings of the McLaren Vale wine and dine region. Truth be told, it felt like I was holidaying somewhere far that I almost forgot that I was staycationing just 30 minutes away from my own house.
With the pandemic forcing and encouraging us to somehow stay within our own localities, I almost lost the drive and inspiration to travel elsewhere. Although I still enter a state of wanderlust from time to time, exploring my own backyard and doing domestic travel will do for now. After all, you will never run out of good holiday options here in South Australia.
Last summer, I was invited by the very gracious hosts, Carmel and Paul, to stay in one of their villas, the Wirra Wirra, at the McLaren Vale Studio Apartments. With six beautiful themed villas located within their property, the Studio Apartments offers a combination of not just accommodations, but a complete McLaren Vale experience altogether.
With two bedrooms, a lounge area, a kitchen, a dining, and a deck, the Wirra Wirra Villa I stayed at was both comfortable and spacious. As an ode to one of the most exceptional wineries in McLaren, our villa was named after one of the oldest and most premium wine maker in South Australia, Wirra Wirra. And as a welcome gift, the Studio Apartments also provided us a bottle of the Wirra Wirra Church Block, a bold fusion of Cabarnet, Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot wine.
As part of the Studio Apartments experience, they also helped arrange an exclusive premium wine tour and personal luxury chauffeur services with the affable Greg of Wine Diva Tours. Aboard his Mercedes van, Greg spent the whole day narrating and presenting to us a brief history of the McLaren Vale region.
By the end of the tour, I was happy-drunk. Migrating and living in South Australia widened my knowledge about the art of drinking high quality wines. I never knew there were so many more variations and fusions you can do with each grape type. Never knew too that the type of soil will affect the quality of the fermented grapes as much as the area’s climate. Living so close to the wine regions is indeed a blessing.
P.S. More videos about this trip will be uploaded soon!
It was one sunny Summer afternoon when the Gelista team came knocking on my front door carrying a box of ice creams which they happily handed out for me to try.
The timing was perfect as I was craving for something sweet and cold that day. They say it’s always best not to expect so we don’t get disappointed, and so I had little expectations about the ice creams I’m receiving from them.
Although I must also admit, I’ve always glanced at Gelista whenever I pass by the ice cream section of any grocery stores. They look really gorgeous, and I always have eyes on anything premium-looking *wink, wink*. Never had the chance to buy one though, so this was a fulfillment of my dreams.
I opened the box they’ve passed to me with gusto and discovered 17 unique gelati flavours inside:
Ricotta, Fig & Honey, Strawberries & Cream, Mint & Dark Chocolate, Lemon Myrtle & Macadamia with Toasted Coconut, Lightly Salted Caramel Macadamia, Salted Caramel with Crunchy Toffee Pieces, Apple & Guava with Salted White Chocolate, Dairy Free Vanilla Bean, Peanut Butter with Chocolate & Caramel Swirl, Blood Orange & Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Coffee & Cardamom with Mocha Swirl, Coconut with Raspberry Swirl, Peppermint Double Choc, Classic Chocolate, Chocolate Almond Fudge, and their newest flavour… Durian.
I was beyond delighted as their ice creams look so interesting to taste.
I immediately opened the Durian flavour (aside from the fact that I also miss eating the actual fruit back in Asia) and was pleasantly surprised that it was really smooth and easy to eat. For those who haven’t tried any form of durians yet and are automatically turned off by its potent smell, I’m betting my life that this will be manageable to try. I actually loved it.
As I’m also trying to watch my weight these days, I quickly scanned their product bar code for my macro tracking. It was only 25g of carb, 2g of fat, and 1g of protein per serving. Not bad! Also, I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t too heavy, not too creamy, and not overly sweet. Just about right.
As I had tons of Gelista ice creams to try, I invited my friends to come over the following weekend to share the fun.
My personal favourite by a mile is the Salted Caramel with Crunchy Toffee Pieces, but hey, they do have tons of flavours to choose from. Whether you want something fruity or chocolatey, you’ll definitely find something that’ll suit your taste buds.
When was the last time I wrote a blog post where I wasn’t bound by any content-specific restrictions and timelines? I can barely remember.
The South Australia-wide lockdown these past few days helped me concentrate a little bit to complete a few personal tasks and chores which I wouldn’t normally quickly finish if I wasn’t “forced to stay at home.”
You bet, I’m a home buddy, says nobody.
A few days before the lockdown, I was up and about hanging with friends by the beach, eating pies in bakeries, and sipping glasses of wines in various vineyards the next day. Thank god I’m not in any way involved in the state’s contract tracing activities, otherwise my very own “cluster” would have involved many individuals. Well, probably an entire community.
Can’t blame me — people in South Australia have been living an almost normal life for many months now. Last week’s disruption was indeed a shocker for everyone. It never crossed my mind it can actually happen again.
Life’s ironies: just a few days ago before the lockdown, I thought I was in the planet’s safest space.
Normanville has a long stretch of soft, white powdery sand set against a calm almost turquoise-coloured sea and gentle rolls of glistening waves. And when the sun’s up, grabbing a cold one is is always a great idea.
Growing up in Southeast Asia, we have been very spoiled with the best beaches in the world. Can’t help but compare what we have here in South Australia. For one, you can’t really swim far from the shore as sharks here are plenty.
But by far, among the SA beaches I’ve already visited, Normanville has become a new favourite (Silversand is now a close second). Having access to cafes and a small town are a major plus. Also, Normanville is just a one and a half hour drive from Adelaide. Easy peasy!
It has always been a challenge organising an excursion for a group of people, more so if they are much younger, if they come from different cultures, and also if you barely know them. But heck, having fun shouldn’t be that hard, right?
I’ve waited far too long for Summer to arrive, and now it’s just around the corner. Hopefully COVID will shoo away by then. Calling Astrazeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna to join forces please.
Spent an artsy Sunday afternoon at Vintage Van Gogh (1/71 Goodwood Rd, Goodwood SA 5034) with friends and thoroughly enjoyed exploring our creative sides.I chatted with Vintage Van Gogh’s co-owner, Adam Rankin, to learn more about his flourishing business.
Hey Paolo: What inspired you to start Vintage Van Gogh?
After seeing a friend open a similar business in New South Wales, where “paint & sip” as a concept is already massive, we thought we can bring the idea here in South Australia. Joe Royle and I are huge fans of all kinds of art, from live music to visual art. But getting started with something like acrylic on canvas can be intimidating and we wanted to change that. Opening the studio for BYOs (bring your own food and alcohol), keeping class sizes small, and ensuring that our lessons are easy to follow for beginners are all conscious decisions to make that barrier for entry as low as possible.
Hey Paolo: What are the typical classes/workshops that you offer?
We have a growing list of famous and original artworks that are taught in each class. We run a few public sessions per week which you can join alone, with a partner, or with a small group of friends, as well as private events for larger groups.
Hey Paolo: How do you help local artists through your business?
Although our focus is more on making art accessible to the general public, we’re always open to collaborations with artists and we also participate in the Goody SALA festival every year. Fingers-crossed, Fringe Festival will be going ahead next year too because we would love to host a few events in the festival gardens.
Hey Paolo: Can you customise the workshops? What are the most special/unique classes and events you’ve held so far?
We can and we often do. Favourites so far have been paintings of wedding bouquets for hens nights, surprise portraits of the birthday boy or girl, and of course, life (nude) drawings which are always a blast. I think my personal favourite so far is the “faceless portrait” style painting that we’ve done for a hens.
Hey Paolo: What should you bring to a class?
Just your preferred brand of liquid inspiration and any nibbles you want to bring along for the session. The only thing you need to prepare for is three hours of good music, painting, and fun with a bunch of likeminded people. Don’t stress if you’ve never painted before. The usual level of experience is year 8 art class.
Hey Paolo: How has the arts scene evolved in Adelaide these past few years?
Adelaide has obviously always been an incredible nexus for the arts with the Fringe and surrounding festivals throughout Summer. We’ve only been around for a year and a good chunk of that has been taken up by COVID, but it’s been super exciting to see the increase in enthusiasm for visual art and we’re hoping that in 2021 we can participate in that community in a bigger way.
PHOTOS FROM OUR PAINTING CLASS AT VINTAGE VAN GOGH:
Adelaide is now home toAustralia’s largest luxury floatariumswith the opening of Blue Lagoon Float and Spa’s second branch at Hyde Park.
I’m a big fan of spas and I don’t think I’ll survive a single month without getting my deep tissue massages. For some, going to spas is nothing but leisure and luxury. But for me, it’s more of a routine of wellness. As I always say, if I don’t get my monthly massages, I’ll probably fall sick. Like, seriously.
I’ve been to various types of spas including luxury wellness resorts, but a couple of months, I’ve tried something for the very first time: “floatation therapy” at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa (132 King William Rd, Hyde Park SA 5061).
It was something unorthodox for me: a new age form of relaxation, floating in a pool filled with magnesium sulphate, aka pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts. The therapy aims to help relieve stress, anxieties, insomnia, and body pain among others.
I came to their spa with my friend, Kyzeen. We were greeted by their very gracious owner, Trina Tramarchi, who ushered us to our floatation room. While walking inside, I was simply amazed by the general vibe and interiors of Blue Lagoon — it was clean, cosy, and stylish.
The floatation room itself was quite spacious with a couple of showers and a pool designed for a maximum of two floating people. Read: floating, not swimming.
I didn’t get it at first. What do you do once you start floating?
Kyzeen and I spent about 45 minutes in the pool with some relaxing music in the background. We were meant to be silent while floating, but both of us, chatterboxes, couldn’t.
Although I needed to moisturise my skin too after getting marinated in a pool of salt, fascinating enough, I felt “lighter” in every aspect of the word immediately after the session.
On the Blue Lagoon Float & Spa’s website, they’ve listed these floatation therapy benefits:
Whoever said it’s hard to make friends when you’re older surely hasn’t tried hard enough. Well for one, they should try living in Adelaide.
When most people get contented circling around the same set of friends as they mature, I just keep collecting new ones along the way.
I get it: small circle of friends solidified over time = quality, solid connections.
But I wanted to try and prove a different theory. For the sake of metaphor, let’s like our story to a fisherman: the more you fish, the more mouths you can feed. More chances of winning.
Lucky to have been blessed with new, good friends in the past one year and half here in South Australia. Give me a few more years, and I’ll probably need a park to host my birthday parties. I won’t mind that.