The one about the last time we tried to head to Byron involving The Gent and an Uber driver named Barry. Oh, and there’s a new whisky recommendation.
Just got back from a sneaky mini-break to Byron Bay. The bloody Hemsworth's would not take no for an answer to their dinner invitation. The constant emailing, WhatsApping and texting with the praying emoji finally wore us down, so off we went (leave me to my fantasies I don't judge yours).
Hemsworth spotting aside, a couple of kid-free nights without Joan Rivers and the QE2, immersed in the organicy, hempy goodness of Byron Bay was just what this mamma needed and so I was packed in about five minutes. The Gent is still in chryo-freeze with shock that I packed just ONE pair of shoes for the entire weekend. This is in contrast to my usual four pairs assigned to resort-style destinations; flat sandals, wedges, runners and blingy thongs. I survived on a lone pair of clogs that I cleverly matched with every outfit I planned for the trip (ok I did pack the blingy thongs).
We were remarkably on our way to the airport on time last Friday, when I remembered the last time we went to Byron Bay for the weekend.
Here comes another Jaq flashback.
Two years ago we were invited to a glamorous 50th birthday of a friend. We still scratch our heads as to what was in it for this couple by having us there on account of their shadow-casting fabulousness. We assumed we were the community service component of the guest list, but we enthusiastically accepted anyway and were grateful for the invite. It was to be two nights with a super fun group of people, black tie dinner, breakfasts, lunches, lying by the pool - the whole nine yards.
All we had to do was turn up.
Have I mentioned that travelling with The Gent has historically not been the easiest of exercises? Put simply, the same level of physical endurance and a belief in higher celestial forces are required to travel with The Gent as is necessary for executing an Olympic bob sled run.
We left the house with The Gent in his usual state of panic packing, conference calls with the team, random door and window checking for the one hundredth time and noisy exhaling from me, which is code for, 'For the love of our children will you please get in the bloody car.'
We were finally on our way, teetering on the edge of my allowable buffer time allocation for such frigging about. We would arrive, check in and get to the Virgin lounge with enough time for fruit and coffee. I was thankful the girls weren't travelling with us to draw disapproving stares from fellow travellers as they held up the pancake maker and created a mile long queue. Damn Virgin airlines and that sodding pancake maker.
Arriving at the airport I began to calm at the thought of things falling into place, however the euphoric buzz quickly blew up. Just visualise the rings of dust around the Death Star (ok that may be a slight overreaction). Running from the car to the terminal we both spy a random bloke carrying a suit bag. We instantly looked at each other - The Gent had left his brand sodding new tux at home. Yes that very flashy black tie dinner party for 45 would see The Gent throwing off the aesthetic in his jeans and polo shirt.
Me: 'Oh f*&k-a-doodle-do.'
Luckily for us Joan Rivers was still as home with a free first period off school, so The Gent was straight on the blower.
The Gent: 'Hi Joan Rivers it's Dad.'
Joan Rivers: 'What did you forget?' (She knows her father all too well).
The Gent: 'Can you check if my dinner suit is hanging in my wardrobe.'
Joan Rivers: 'Do you have it with you?'
The Gent: 'No.'
Joan Rivers: 'Well I would suggest that's where it is.'
The Gent: 'Just look please wiseaker.'
Two minutes later.
Joan Rivers: 'Shocker, yes it is. '
The Gent: 'I am sending an Uber.'
All this verbal to and fro is going on while we are checking in, going through security and heading to the lounge. It is at this point I make the conscious decision to tap out. I refused to take any further part in The Gent's travel travesties. After years of local and international travel with lost phones, laptops, sports jackets left in cabs, credit cards being chewed up, airport, hotel and restaurant staff being chewed out, you name it, I disengaged and chose to leave him well and truly to it.
I grab my coffee, breakfast and a magazine and relax into one of those comfy chairs, all while The Gent runs in and out of the lounge dispensing breathless commentary and status updates on the arrival of his dinner suit.
The Gent: 'The Uber driver has just picked up my tux from Joan Rivers at the house.'
Me (while eating warm berry compote): 'Really? That's interesting.'
20 minutes later.
The Gent: 'The Uber driver, Barry has just turned on to the Tulla.'
Me (sipping my double espresso); 'Oh.'
10 minutes later.
The Gent: 'Barry is about to turn off to the airport.'
Me (flipping through Vogue): 'I do not care.'
Five minutes later, and they are calling our flight.
The Gent: ' I am now going out the front to meet the Uber.'
Me: 'Say hi to Barry for me.'
As usual The Gent skates his dinner suit in by the skin of his arse.
Fortunately this trip to Byron boasted an enjoyable beginning, middle and end and despite our uncool dorky factor, we were allowed back in to one of the coolest places in Australia. For an all-nature loving, outdoorsy, well-being, touchy-feely nut like myself this is as close to heaven as it gets.
Apart from the scenery and the weather, I love so many of the local designers, foodie hang outs, bars and places to sleep so thought that I would share a few in case you are in that neck of the woods.
Ethereal, flowy frocks and all sorts of magical designs with an edge, that make you feel quite lovely. Their amazing store also has a serene courtyard with a swing seat that I availed myself of for about 20 minutes rocking back to forth enjoying the surrounds. The Gent was at a meeting.
It won't surprise you to learn that myself and the owner and designer, Shelly, became fast friends by the time I left. I picked up a couple of treasures from here, but give yourself time to hunt around and look at everything, there's loads to get through.
Boutique 4, Jonson Street, Byron Bay
Just send all my forwarding mail here please. Oh so relaxing and classy without being pretentious with all the little details that make being away from home, being away from home. I could have set up shop inside one of the adult pool cabanas and been perfectly happy. Right on the beach and set in acres of bushland, it is peaceful and reflective. The staff are all lovely if not a little unsettling good looking (gift with purchase bonus).
I have one request. When I die, I want to be embalmed in this stuff. Oh my giddy aunt! If I wasn't already in a bit of a tizz when I turned up to the Elements breakky buffet with all its chia-vegan-gluten-free goodies, I then spy this gear. 'GET IN MA BELLY', I said to myself. After my first shmear I was a goner. The Gent had to stage an intervention which became embarrassing for all but oh so worth it. I am signing up for their frequent-nutter program.
You know when you arrive at a walk up restaurant and they say the wait for a table could be 30 minutes and you should take a seat at the bar, and all of us too busy to be cool city slickers do the collective groan and eye roll, look at each other tossing up whether to stay or go and in the meantime we could have had a bloody table with all our tooling about? Take a seat at this bar and mop up a coconut margarita and quit your sniping, coz this place is peaking. Stepping in makes you feel on holidays with its relaxed Mediterranean feel. The food is vibrant and perfect for sharing. You must go!
Of course this would not be a Jaq column without whisky, and as you would expect I sniffed out (literally) a ripping place that did not disappoint. The Bolt Hole has over 300 whiskies, organic wines and artsy fartsy gins and beers as well as being experts in smokehouse BBQ. A bit blokey but very cool and the staff make great recommendations. I tried a 10 year old Bruichladdich Octomore that blew my mind. Tip: a dash of water or one cube of ice, this drop is a kicker, wowsers!!
So there you have it. So many other places I wanted to try but will leave that for next time, because I also didn't get a chance to have guitar lessons with Bernard Fanning. What's not to love about Byron Bay?