Holiday: Port Stephens


Longing for a seaside escape this summer? Why not spend a few days in Port Stephens just a half-hour drive from Newcastle Airport. Here’s my personal guide to the best spots to stay, eat and play in the region.

Photography Mark Zeidler (unless otherwise stated)



A couple of months ago my partner and I headed to Port Stephens for a short vacay. We started our trip at The Anchorage – its idyllic location overlooking the harbour is simply superb. Who doesn’t love a view of both water and boats?! It was our second time here and it was a nice surprise to discover they now have two pools – one for families and the other an adults only infinity pool (pictured above). Too bad it was too cold to enjoy a swim, oh well just another reason to come back in the summer! What I love about The Anchorage is the Hamptons-style exterior, its proximity to the beach, and the full buffet breakfast included – everything you can possibly imagine for breakfast is available, including champagne!


Our suite on the ground floor was amazing – really big in size, and complete with a patio with beach views. Not a bad spot to enjoy some wine and a cheese platter. Ahh, I could get used to this. With two onsite restaurants, a bar, two swimming pools, and a gym you’d be forgiven for never leaving the hotel. But of course with everything so close by (just a few minutes drive) you’ll want to explore the neighbouring areas for a spot of shopping, cafe hopping, or nature exploring (a hike up to the summit of Tomaree Head) is a must.

Bottom four images courtesy of The Anchorage

Bottom four images courtesy of The Anchorage



Photography of top four images by Anson Smart

Photography of top four images by Anson Smart

A trip to Port Stephens wouldn’t be complete without visiting Shoal Bay Country Club. It’s a total insta-worthy destination, at every turn you’ll find something to gush over! That’s thanks to interior design firm Luchetti Krelle who completely renovated the historic hotel last year. There are lots of different zones within the venue including Mermaids Cafe – a great spot to start the day with a delicious breakfast. Me and my partner had a tasty lunch in The Kitchen – situated upstairs overlooking the beach. I couldn’t think of a better location to enjoy fish and chips with a side of bruschetta. I totally recommend the fish and chips – it’s the crispiest batter in town!

Shoal Bay Country Club_umbrella_beach_port_stephens.jpg



Bannisters newest hotel is located in beautiful Port Stephens and oh my it did not disappoint. We stayed here for our last two nights in Port Stephens – a great way to finish our trip. With magnificent ocean views over Salamander Bay, the hotel has been completely renovated and extended. The infinity pool overlooking the sea is breathtaking. I really enjoyed the food too. If you’re a foodie, and love Rick Stein, you’ll want to check out his signature restaurant onsite. We dined at the informal Terrace Bar (overlooking the pool and ocean) for both lunch and dinner – the highlights included a Grilled Haloumi Salad with pear, candied walnuts and ruby grapefruit (pictured below) and the Fish Tacos with pico de gallo and chipoltle crema (also pictured below). Both were light yet super tasty – the perfect dishes to match those sea views. Oh and the interior in the foyer and adjoining Terrace Bar were equally as fresh – a colour palette of dusty pink and soft olive green was oh-so-delightful.

Image courtesy of Bannisters Port Stephens

Image courtesy of Bannisters Port Stephens

Image courtesy of Bannisters Port Stephens

Image courtesy of Bannisters Port Stephens


We also enjoyed a complimentary continental breakfast in Rick Stein’s signature restaurant. There was so much to choose from – muesli, yoghurt, fresh fruit, pastries, coffee, juices and toast. But if you want something more substantial you can order a cooked breakfast off the menu.


The rooms are super comfortable too, with most having ocean views and a balcony to take it all in. I loved that the interiors were pretty much all white, it’s just a beautiful, clean look that doesn’t compete with that amazing view. I’d totally recommend a stay here and even if you can’t stay the night, definitely dine at one of the restaurants on site (just be sure to book a table – it gets packed out pretty quick).




After hearing rave reviews about The Little Nel, we naturally had to pop in for lunch. With just about everything leaving the kitchen made in-house and from scratch, you can certainly tell when you taste the food! I had the Avocado & Tomato Bruschetta while my partner opted for the Braised Wagyu & Mushroom Pot Pie (both pictured below). He told me it was quite possibly the best pie he’s ever eaten, and mine was equally delicious. When I come back, I’d love to try the breakfast menu!




If you’re looking for fun activities in the region, a trip to Oakvale Wildlife Park is in order. Get up close and personal with a range of creatures – from kangaroos to lamas to oh-so-cuddly koalas. I could have watched the koalas all day – they are just the cutest – check out the picture below of the mother cuddling with her baby. Oakvale is a must for families and animal lovers (like myself).



Want to read more about Port Stephens and what’s on offer in this magical part of the world? Buy the new Coastal edition of Adore - in newsagents Australia-wide. Click here to buy online.



Summer is almost here, and with that, a new issue just around the corner. Yep our new Summer issue – The Coastal Edition is jam-packed with easy breezy interiors and outdoor spaces.

Our Coastal edition is filled with interiors that ooze relaxed seaside vibes. Our front cover home featuring the adorable Marcia Leone of website Not So Mumsy is serious house goals – I’m totally crushing on her casual boho style. We also have a jam-packed outdoors feature showcasing how clever use of just five elements can create a luxurious oasis in your backyard. Plus, our travel guide to the hottest spots to eat, play and stay in the Port Stephens region is a must-read. Trust me, I was lucky enough to experience the area first-hand myself a couple of months ago. Just a half hour drive from Newcastle airport, Port Stephens is a magical part of the world with its pristine beaches – think pure white sand, crystal clear water and the occasional cheeky dolphin. The Coastal edition will be in newsagents from November 29.

The Coastal edition is available now for pre-order (click here).
All orders will be sent from Friday 23 November.

Farmhouse Cottage Renovation


This transformed Brisbane workers cottage now evokes modern farmhouse vibes thanks to professional renovators ULIA Group. Joan Leahy shares how they did it.


ULIA Group renovate and flip homes for a living, so it’s no surprise then that their latest project has been beautifully transformed. Joan Leahy of ULIA describes the Camp Hill workers cottage as being in much need of some tender love and care. “It was very overgrown, untidy, mismatched bedroom colours and no built ins,” recalls Joan.

“I was attracted to the house as it was a workers cottage which are usually two bedrooms and one bathroom but this property was three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We added an additional bedroom as well as a double carport, and an extension with an extra living space, new kitchen, a back deck with a built in bbq and built ins as well as freshening up the two bathrooms.”

The farmhouse style kitchen is a definite highlight of the home – with the island bench painted in Dulux Sage Green.


When it comes to renovating, Joan cites outdoor spaces as being important to invest in. “Living in Queensland where the climate is warm I have to say I would add an outdoor dining bbq area to the usual renovation list of bathroom, kitchen and front facade.”

Colour is also important. “Always consider your theme colours to create uniformity and flow throughout the house. For example, in this home the living room windows look out to the trees and that’s were I came up with the idea of the sage island while keeping the rest of the colour palette neutral. You want that feeling of everything belonging together.”

She also suggests to stay clear of homes with asbestos – the less the better. “Because you have to engage a trade to remove asbestos, it can be expensive and it can lead to pretty much demolishing most of the house in some cases.”


So how much did it all cost? “I always find the question regarding budget a difficult one to answer due to the fact that we do a lot of the work ourselves,” replies Joan. We only engaged an electrician but the rest of the work is done by my superman builder... my husband Patrick. So appropriately our renovation would have cost approximately $200k.”


Love this home?
It’s up for auction this Saturday 24 November. See the listing on by
clicking here.




With the weather heating up, we’re looking at golden sundrenched tones of soft teracotta, blush pinks and earthy ochres. From interiors to fashion, it’s the hottest trend to come out of 2018.

Architecture:  Winwood McKenzie  / Photography:  Sean Fennessy

Architecture: Winwood McKenzie / Photography: Sean Fennessy

Get a handle on it

Once upon a time it used to be hard to find handles and knobs in any colour other than chrome. Nowadays we’re spoilt for choice. Here’s five Aussie brands with handles and knobs to knock your socks off.

1 LO & CO

Looking for handles and knobs in black, brass or copper? You’re in luck, Lo & Co have a drop-dead gorgeous array to choose from. Their handles, knobs, and pulls are made for contemporary spaces. I think the next home I buy and renovate, will need some of these handles, the only tricky part will be deciding on a style – there are so many to love – I’ve showcased a few of my favourite styles from their range here.

Screenshot_2018-11-08 Carlisle Pull Matte Black.png


Made Measure have a huge range of metal and leather wrapped cabinet handles, metal and leather recessed pulls, leather tabs, flat handles and hoops, and even entry door handles and coat hooks. All of their leather goods are designed, and handcrafted in their inner-city Melbourne studio. They even offer bespoke services if you can’t find what you’re looking for! If you’re looking to create a high-end look in your kitchen, bathroom, or any custom cabinetry throughout the home for that matter, Made Measure should be your first port of call.


Kethy’s Cornet handle  / Photography:  Annette O'Brien  / Styling:  Alana Langan  / Interior design:  Abbey Collective

Kethy’s Cornet handle / Photography: Annette O'Brien / Styling: Alana Langan / Interior design: Abbey Collective

Kethy have a massive selection of handles and knobs – and in almost every colour/finish/style you could imagine. Choose from stainless steel, black, timber, brass and copper. Their brass hardware are my personal favourites though. You can see their Cornet handle pictured above in Little Willow designed by Julia and Sasha. More of their beautiful range pictured below…



You’ve probably heard of Auhaus and know them for their beautiful architecture and interior design – but did you know they also have their own range of handles and knobs too? When I stumbled across their online shop of goodies, I was blown away! It might be a small range, but it’s certainly quality over quantity here, and now I’m lusting over those brass envelope handles pictured above. With just copper and brass finishes to choose from, it might restrict some shoppers – but I’m Team Brass all the way – so there’s plenty here to satisfy me.



Photography:  Mindi Cooke  / Styling:  Kylie Jackes  / Interior design:  Hailey McGinty, H&G Designs

Photography: Mindi Cooke / Styling: Kylie Jackes / Interior design: Hailey McGinty, H&G Designs

If you’re looking for a softer touch in the kitchen or bathroom – have you considered leather or suede handles or pull tabs? Sunshine-Coast brand H&G Designs produce a beautiful range that will give your cabinetry a bespoke look. Not only that, their leather strap shelves (seen pictured above) and picture ledges (pictured below - used as a recipe book holder) are clever storage solutions for the kitchen (or any room really).


Top Finds: Dining Tables

Looking for a new dining table? We’ve scoured the internet to find a variety of round and rectangle dining tables to suit almost any decorating style.

RECTANGLE dining tables

Close up of the Cubitt table from Barnaby Lane

Close up of the Cubitt table from Barnaby Lane

When considering a dining table for your home, you first need to assess the shape of the space and what will work best. In general, long dining spaces require a rectangle table. And there are plenty to choose from – it can be quite overwhelming. We’ve sourced most of the tables you see here in this blog post via the Adore Shopping site (click here to check it out yourself), it’s a great search tool if you don’t have time to go to individual online stores and then compare all of the options. Adore Shopping is your one-stop-shop for all things furniture and homewares.

But back to the topic at hand – we just adore the clean lines of this contemporary Cubitt table (pictured above and opposite) made by Felix Furniture for Barnaby Lane. If space is tight in your dining room, another thing to consider is using a bench seat along one side of the wall, like shown in the above image.

If you love marble, the Pavia dining table from Early Settler (pictured below) is a beautiful option – we also adore the matching Pavia dining chairs pictured with it – a perfect set don’t you think?

For something a little more industrial/masculine in style, you can’t go past Industrial M’s extension table (pictured above) – it can extend from 2m to 3m in length – super handy if you’ve got lots of guests to seat.

The Adam Court dining table from West Elm (pictured opposite) combines sleek lines with a dark mineral finish – the look is very contemporary with an industrial edge.

For Scandi fans, a timber table like GlobeWest’s Sketch Root dining table from Hunting For George (pictured below) might just be the right fit. With its elegantly curved legs and tabletop made from American Oak, we can see this dining table being a popular choice.


ROUND dining tables

Typically suited for smaller dining spaces, round tables tend to be better options for seating four to six people. A round table can also break up the monotony of straight lines in a home and soften the space. For Scandinavian style, opt for a timber table like this Finland dining table from Life Interiors (pictured above) - its Nordic feel is timeless and will pair well with almost any chair.

Leaning towards more contemporary in style, is the concrete cylinder dining table from Harpers Project (pictured opposite) and the Flex dining table from Coco Republic (pictured below). I love the unusual legs on the Flex, plus it’s quite graphic in style – doesn’t look great with black steel frame windows?

We’ve rounded up eight more great round varieties below, to suit a variety of styles.


Shop profile: Gold Chalk


If you’re looking for colourful homewares and special gifts, we’ve stumbled upon a hidden gem in Montmorency, Melbourne – Gold Chalk. We take a tour of this delightful shop and chat to owner Kylie Tyrrell.

Photography Sister Scout Studio


Property stylist Kylie Tyrrell has recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by opening her new retail store – Gold Chalk. Situated in the suburb of Montmorency in the North East of Melbourne, the boutique sells a carefully curated collection of art, cushions, throws, quirky decor and beautiful gifts. Having worked in the local real estate market as a property stylist, Kylie decided the area was a perfect fit for her shop.

“I have had the privilege of visiting and helping lots of locals to help get their homes sale ready,” explains Kylie. “Often I would hear the owners saying, I wish I had done this to my home earlier. They would fall in love with the space once it was styled. I love helping people add colour, texture and art to their homes – the shop really eventuated from there. I still get to consult in people’s homes, but now I get to offer them a further service of purchasing art and accessories for their home from the shop. The space is an extension of my personality – it is bright, colourful and has everything I love and know that works in homes.”

“Whilst it is still very early on in the piece, I have never been happier,” says Kylie of her new retail store.


Visit Gold Chalk in person at shop 4/39 Grand Boulevard, Montmorency