Sydney

It is an epic journey to reach this great continent but what a great city welcomed us. The weather on arrival was not dissimilar to the London drizzle we are used to so that was a little disappointing and did determine what we got up to for the first couple of days. We were staying in the The Four Seasons Hotel on George Street which is an excellent location and our rooms had the most stunning harbour views.

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The excitement of a new city and seeing Immie kept us all going and we quickly changed and dashed out. First stop was the area around the Rocks which is steeped in history. There is a very good little museum here and lots of information about where to go and what to see. The Quay itself was quite dwarfed by the most enormous cruise ship. The scale of this was so great that it appeared in the Sydney newspapers the next morning as ‘The ship that ate Sydney Bridge’!!!

A quick coffee at George Boy’s Coffee Bar kept us all going until supper. The culinary culture in Sydney is fantastic. Mr Wong managed to accommodate us for a very late dinner and it was well worth the wait although they had run out of the very famous duck and we were too exhausted to try the deep fried ice cream! We will be returning in January and hopefully will be able to get a table at this very popular spot which I recommend.

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Miserable weather determined that we did our indoor activities so investigated some of the shopping opportunities in Sydney. Safely inside The Strand Arcade which was designed by an English Architect, John Spencer and built in 1891 this is one of the first Victorian Buildings in the city.  There are still some of the more historic retailers trading here such as Strand Hatters with such a selection of hats I could have bought many. The graphic designer in me also was drawn to the Bespoke Letterpress stationery stall outside which was a treasure trove of letterpress style paperwares.

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The Queen Victoria Building occupies an entire block on George Street and was originally erected as a municipal market in 1890. Restored in 1986 it is now a popular and prestigious shopping centre and boasts a central dome and original 19th century staircase and stained glass. Here we discovered Joe Bananas menswear. A collection of bright and vibrant colours draw you into this shop. Joe Banana designs high quality textiles using beautiful linens, silks and cottons for his shirts. The tailored jackets are all using hand died threads and the weaves are inspired by Australia’s great nature. Granites and Opals are just some of the organic inspirations behind these bespoke jackets. This is a family business and the vibrancy of the designs are transferred to ties and a selection of brightly coloured trousers to compliment the look.

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For the final touches to mens grooming there is Men’s Biz founded in 2006 in Melbourne. I loved this Barbours shop which also sold an amazing selection of men’s blades and groooming products. The company ethos is of sustainability so all in stylish but very eco friendly packaging.

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