It’s arduous to consider it’ll be two and a half years since Christina and I travelled internationally, however in the end we’re heading yonder into the massive blue on the finish of the month.
And though I managed a fast journey again to the UK for my dad’s birthday in May, it was a far cry from what we often rise up to. So watch this area for deets on the place we’re going and what we rise up to.
In this Edition, we’re speaking the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France and the premier journey occasion of the yr, the launch of Sydney’s Italian movie competition and our night time with Billie Eilish!
We hope you take pleasure in this Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
This night, Christina and I are celebrating the approaching Rugby World Cup in France subsequent yr with a soiree on the ballroom of Sydney’s Sofitel Wentworth with over 350 different friends.
It’s an extravagant occasion of French aptitude and hospitality, with Mumm Champagne flowing freely, and several other Wallaby and Les Bleus legends within the crowd.
The humorous factor is Christina and I are at completely different tables on the opposite aspect of the room to one another!
I’m on the desk of the fascinating Christine Gee, who not solely represents the attractive Guest Apartment Suites on Ile Saint-Louis in Paris, however simply completed the biography of her late husband, the writer Bryce Courtney.
Christina is sitting along with her pals from Accor Hotels, one of many main sponsors of the 2023 Rugby World Cup and a French icon in itself.
This is the largest and most illustrious journey occasion of the entire yr. My desk has some unimaginable writing and PR expertise seated at it. The likes of John Borthwick, Jane Corbett Jones, Mike Gebicki, Jana Frawley and Christine McCabe stand tall within the journey trade.
We additionally hear from a spread of audio system just like the very entertaining Patrick Benhamou (pictured), the director of Atout France Australia—the principle tourism physique of France—Wallaby star Mat Giteau and Eric Jeunemaitre, president of the Paris Region Tourism Board.
Along with infinite French wine, the meals at this soiree is impeccable. Delicate ceviche adopted strong steak and an enormous slab of pate de foie gras, the meal has a definite Parisian vibe.
We additionally hear from the inimitable Peter Hook. Peter has been an expensive good friend of ours for a while now, however that is the primary time we’ve seen him actually activate the attraction for such an enormous viewers.
With dessert—an ambrosial almond meringue with almond paste inside and a drizzle of salted caramel—comes one other spectacular speaker: Peter FitzSimons.
Of course, Fitzy’s speech is bracketed in 18th and nineteenth Century historical past, however his expertise as a Wallaby legend brings an interesting perspective to the night.
We’re additionally entertained by a cabaret/acrobatics performer from Lido Champs-Elysées. And as it is a journey occasion hosted in one in all Sydney’s premier accommodations, her equipment is appropriately a porter’s baggage trolley.
It’s an unimaginable efficiency.
There are additionally some wonderful prizes for just a few fortunate winners. Unfortunately neither Peter Hook nor I received this: a nebuchadnezzar of Mumm Champagne.
This huge bottle of bubbly holds a mammoth 15 litres and is 20 instances greater than a daily bottle. Astonishingly, it’s not the largest bottle you will get—apparently it goes as much as a melchizedek, which is 40 instances the dimensions of a daily bottle, although these are very uncommon.
It’s all Peter and I can do to restrain ourselves from ‘borrowing’ this one.
Today, we’re taking Christina’s mum out for a fast spherical of golf for her birthday!
Because of the rain, it’s been a very long time since any of us has performed, but it surely’s good to get again into the swing—if you happen to’ll excuse the expression. Without fail, Jeanette hits the ball straight down the center. She’s so comfortable to be again on the course.
I solely handle to lose one ball—a file for me and my southpaw slice.
This night, we’re in Leichhardt—Sydney’s little Italy—for the launch of the ST. ALi Italian Film Festival.
Things kick off with an excellent meal at Capriccio Osteria, a very Italian eatery, and share a meal with Erika Gallon, the consultant from Santa Margherita Wines in Italy. The vineyard began making Prosecco in 1952 and have turned it into an artwork kind.
It’s additionally the seventieth anniversary of Santa Margherita’s Prosecco—buon compleanno!
This Italian glowing from Veneto—the standard homeland of Prosecco—is great and goes so nicely with our antipasti of house-made focaccia and arancini. And one of the best information of all is this Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore Di Valdobbiandene DOCG Brut is barely $19.99(RRP) from Dan Murphy’s and BWS.
The subsequent course—tender beef carpaccio with pickled beetroot, aioli, rocket and Jerusalem artichoke, and a plate of roasted broccolini, fetta, and fermented chilli lemon—is served with Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC from Trentino simply north of Veneto.
Sommelier Samantha Payne, who has additionally joined us for dinner, talks us by this surprisingly wealthy and full-flavoured wine.
Pinot Grigio is often seen as fairly a gentle, low-impact wine, however this one, which is extra conventional, has loads of texture and physique, and has deep savoury notes that come out after the preliminary fruit flavours relax.
Also a discount at $23.99 RRP, I’ll positively maintain my eye out for this subsequent time I’m in a Dan’s.
To end off the meal, we’ve a selection of spaghetti alla puttanesca or saffron pappardelle with ragu osso buco. As you’ll be able to see Christina has gone with the pappardelle (as have I). It’s a luxurious dish, good for a cool night.
And with it comes Santa Margherita’s Chianti Classico DOCG. This wealthy, medium-bodied Sangiovese goes completely with the strong pasta and slow-cooked pink meat.
Also out there at BWS and Dan Murphy’s—$27.99RRP.
When our plates are lastly empty, we filter of Capriccio Osteria (however we’ll positively be again) and head to the following a part of the night: the cinema!
At Palace Cinema Norton Street, the centre of the Italian Film Festival, we seize a few images on the media wall and even take the chance to have one other snap with our mate Arrnott and his mate Fuzz.
You may recognise these guys from the latest MKR season, however Arrnott can also be the expertise behind vogue and way of life web site Rogue la Vie.
On the opposite aspect of the wall is among the greatest crowds we’ve been in because the begin of the pandemic. It’s fairly overwhelming.
Everyone’s right here to see the beginning of the movie competition, which is good, however we’re not used to this many individuals in a single place or for this cinema, which is often fairly quiet, to be so busy both!
Thankfully, there’s nonetheless loads of Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore being poured, so we try to discover a quiet spot and luxuriate in our bubbles.
We lastly make it into our seats, the place we hear from the brother-and-sister crew Benjamin and Isabella Zeccola, whose household began and nonetheless run the Palace Cinema group.
They announce the beginning of this yr’s ST ALi Italian Film Festival and introduce what seems to be a really humorous heartwarming Italian comedy referred to as Belli Ciao. It’s a movie that’s set partly in Puglia in Italy’s southeast and it instantly makes us need to get again to Italy.
It’s a narrative of two childhood pals who develop up within the Pugliese countryside, however one strikes to the massive smoke, setting himself up as a financier in Milan.
A narrative of friendship, greed and redemption, the movie presents the cultural perspective of the seemingly international rivalry between the north and the south.
Today I (Christina) am heading to Aalia restaurant in Martin Place for the Australian launch of AHC skincare. You might need already heard of this cult model on Tiktok as a result of it’s the #1 skincare model in Korea. One of the AHC Real Eye Cream for the Face sells each six seconds in Korea! And now it’s right here at Adorebeauty and shortly to launch at Priceline too. I can’t wait to attempt it and report again.
Also so as to add that Aalia is a beautiful area within the metropolis, within the newly renovated MLC centre underneath Cabana Bar and can be a wonderful spot for a Middle Eastern lengthy lunch.
Tonight we’re ramping up our stage of crowd coping mechanisms much more: we’re at a live performance!
Thankfully, we’re fortunate sufficient to be within the VIP company suite with our pals at Accor Hotels, so the ‘crowd’ is proscribed to simply 20 of us.
Things kick off with a tremendous assist act from Sampa the Great. This Zambian-born rapper and songwriter has essentially the most unimaginable voice and vary, and is now primarily based right here in Australia.
But as you’ll be able to see, we’re actually right here to see another person!
This is the final night time of Billie Eilish’s time in Sydney, but it surely’s additionally her seventieth efficiency on this mind-boggling world tour. And with simply 5 extra gigs to do, that is additionally the closing stage of a marathon for her.
Even although she should be utterly knackered after such an extended marketing campaign, Billie Eilish nonetheless performs with such unimaginable vitality. It’s a sell-out crowd and the lights from everybody’s telephones under makes for an actual spectacle.
Billie takes the uncommon alternative to have a sit down and does a few songs subsequent to her brother Finneas.
This is a tremendous partnership, with Finneas creating a lot for the music that Billie performs, and she or he offers him a lot credit score too, which is gorgeous.
The live performance ends with an enormous ticker tape confetti drop that fills the Qudos Bank Arena and remains to be falling even after Billie and co have left the stage.
It’s such an amazing efficiency and she or he manages to maintain up that loopy vitality for the entire night with out a break.
At one level, Billie seems in a cherrypicker crane in the back of the stadium, singing and dancing because the arm extends out as much as the midlevel stands.
When the track finishes, she climbs out of the basket and makes it again to the principle stage by the corridors in underneath 40 seconds. In the meantime, she’s already began singing the following track.
It’s been a busy week, so Christina and I end with a little bit of silliness and a few beers round Balmain.
The street-side beer backyard on the London Hotel is the proper spot to start out issues off… till I see one thing in my pint!
We hope you’ve loved this Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx