I am one of those people who fully embraces and endorses holiday dressing.
Brightly coloured, tropical numbers for Bali. Tick.
Splashes of lemon print for the Amalfi Coast. Tick.
Red and blue stripes in Paris. Tick.
So, it will come as no surprise to you that the minute I set foot in Byron Bay that my inner boho queen takes over and I march myself straight to Byron’s spiritual home of boho, Spell and the Gypsy Collective, and buy me this number (pictured below) so I can twirl around on the beach and feel at one with my surroundings.
In fact I felt at one with my very fabulous surroundings the entire extended weekend that was Byron Bay girls’ weekend.
There is something special about Byron Bay. And something very special about staying in a stunning home with 200 degree views from the lighthouse to Clarkes Beach. And it was in this special situation that I found myself with four of my nearest and dearest girlfriends.
We’d been planning and budgeting for the trip for a year but nothing prepared me for the moment we stepped into Ayindi. It felt like stepping into the pages of an interiors’ magazine.
Architect Philip Corben and interior stylist Lucy Purchas bought the block of land that Ayindi sits on back in 2008. All that was on the block was an old fisherman’s cottage. The couple first built next door (Ayana) and then completed Ayindi in March, 2017.
I love that it’s clearly a beach house but a beach house with a magical blend of sophistication, style and comfort that just works. I fell hard for its grey/white/charcoal/timber interiors, the head-turning artwork and beautifully styled decor pieces but it was its welcoming charm that has me wanting to return. Stat.
The four-bedroom home is built over four levels and each room can be made into either a king bed or twin singles, making it so versatile for group bookings up to eight people. It’s not a house available for parties, with strict rules and regulations around this – and a $2500 bond required a week before arriving to stay.
And it’s a holiday house that you will not find yourself heading out to the shops to buy extra wine glasses or cutlery. I’ve never seen anywhere so well appointed. Right down to the tap that magically produced cold soda water.
My other big tick is the location. Not only is it a three-minute walk out the back door to the beach but you have such a beautiful view through shuttered windows to the beach that you will be very ok with staying put instead of venturing out.
And a lot of staying put we did … taking in the sunset, watching movies with the fireplace on, reading books on one of the many day bed/lounge situations, drinking Rose and eating cheese on the deck and having dinner come to us (see below).
I did head out every morning for either a walk or a run because, hello, BYRON BAY. The great outdoors doesn’t get much more beautiful than Australia’s most easterly point, especially on spring-like, sunny winter days. There were whales sighted, oh yes there were.
And of course, a girls’ weekend is not a girls’ weekend without a little shopping.
Where we shopped
Where we ate/drank
We ate in two of the nights. Night one was a wine and cheese platter situation, with this amazing Salt + Graze platter delivered to us in time for sunset drinks.
Night two, we dressed up and ate in, while the fabulous Grapevine Catering duo created and served up a super tasty, three-course dinner. AND they did the washing up. We BYO-ed our own drinks and didn’t have to Uber home. Winning.
Night three, when we did Uber out ($28 home for a 2km trip!), we headed to the recommended Mez Club and was not disappointed in the Mediterranean share plates we ordered and promptly devoured before walking up to the pub for a dance. Because did you really have a girls’ weekend away if it didn’t involve a boogie? Thankfully people get into the dancing spirit early on a Saturday night at the iconic Beach Hotel, which meant we were still home and tucked up in bed by 11pm. Party. Animals.
After checking out on Sunday morning, we headed home via The Farm. The place was packed and deservedly so. I can highly recommend the Sunday barbecue, especially if you’ve not booked a spot at Three Blue Ducks and don’t have the 45 minutes to wait for a lunch table.
So, tell me, have you been to Byron Bay lately? Where did you stay? What did you get up to?
We booked and paid our three-night girls’ weekend escape through Alluxia. Ayindi gifted me one extra night’s accommodation. I often book through Alluxia, as Sally Scott and her team have done the “hard” work of finding all the best of the best luxe accommodation options around Australia. You can book Ayindi HERE. We independently booked the platter through Salt + Graze and catering through Grapevine Catering.
Why travel insurance is as important as your passport
For me, I don’t book a holiday without first taking out travel insurance. Often the time of booking flights and accommodation can be long before the time of travel and you can never be certain of what might happen between then and showing your passport at customs.
I then want to take off knowing that if someone in my family needs it, I’m backed up with help from my travel insurance company. For my last three international trips – to Europe, Hawaii and to Bali – I’ve chosen and paid for Allianz travel insurance. I also take out Allianz travel insurance for any domestic travel like this girls’ weekend or road trips we do.
Obtaining Allianz travel insurance is a simple and easy process. I select and purchase my cover online. I’ve found that the insurance cover is competitive in price for the inclusions I select.
For me, it’s about having peace of mind when we travel. I want to know that if anything goes wrong that my family is backed up through medical help or simply help with extra accommodation or replacement belongings should something be stolen.
When our son was sick six years ago while in New York, we weren’t concerned by the potential expense should we need hospital treatment. And when I book holidays in advance, I do so with the knowledge that if unexpected cancellations occur, I’m covered.^
In short, I don’t leave home – or book a holiday – without it.
Book with Allianz Travel Insurance online HERE. Enter STYLINGYOU to receive up to 10% off Comprehensive Travel Insurance*
*Discount based on standard premium rates and applies to International Comprehensive policies only. Please note some discounts may have already been applied to premiums when a product is purchased through a certain channel (for example, online) (Original Discount). In such a case, the greater of the discount offered under this voucher and the Original Discount will be applied. Discount applies to standard premiums only. No discount will be applied to other premium components such as pre-existing medical condition cover.
Allianz Travel Insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631, trading as Allianz Global Assistance, on behalf of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708. Any information or advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at allianz.com.au before buying this product.
^Terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions apply. Please see the Product Disclosure Statement for more information. Any information or advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. If you purchase a policy, Allianz Global Assistance receives a commission which is a percentage of your premium – ask them for more details before they provide you with any services on this product.
My 10-step packing guide for any destination
For me, the holiday planning is all part of the excitement and anticipation of being on that escape. I love nothing more than going down the rabbit hole that is the internet looking for inspiration and ideas for what to do at the chosen destination but also for the types of clothes and accessories that will best suit that destination at the time that I’m travelling.
The formula I use for packing is one that can be adapted and applied to every destination and type of holiday. It’s not complicated. If you follow all the steps it’s quite liberating. I can’t ever imagine returning to my bad old days of throwing everything into a suitcase, sitting on said suitcase to get it closed, and hoping that I’d packed what I needed.
Want to get that formula? It’s all in my e-book.
Last year I released my e-book, How to plan and pack for your next holiday (confessions of a reformed over-packer) and I’m excited to let you know that it’s had a 2018 update and an expansion with some new chapters.