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Bondi Winter Wonderful

Bondi Winter Wonderful, blonde on the beach at Bondi, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

Anybody else loving life in Bondi right now?

We’re enjoying brilliant blue skies, crisp air, a laidback vibe and shorter coffee queues.

Saturdays at the Bondi Farmers Markets have never been busier with fabulous food stalls alongside a huge lawnful of happy locals lounging on picnic blankets.

I’ve just updated the long list of events on the winter horizon with details for 14 community cultural offerings such as art, theatre, fairs, festivals, awards, music & walks.

One such event is the launch on 22 June of a significant Street Art Mural, celebrating Social Justice for Indigenous Australians at Chapel By The Sea.

On a sad point, the Bondi Ice Rink won’t be running this year on the beach. Something tedious about sponsorship. Let’s hope it’s back again next year…

If you’re up for a fancy weekend or just want a sticky beak, the new Adina Apartment Hotel on Hall St have opened and are offering a special rate from only $159 a night.

And for those who love Bondi, Food and Hunky Bondi Bachelors (aka chef Guy Turland), you can’t get better than Bondi Harvest, a weekly cooking show featuring seasonal recipes and local produce from our very own Bondi Beach. 10/10 from me!

As we head towards EOFY, those of you with big bank balances and/or big hearts, there’s no better way to avoid a tax bill than to give to charity…donate to WAYS here.

For those of you with kiddiewinks wondering what to do in the coming weeks again, there are some great local options on offer at The Bondi Pav School Holiday Program.

There’s also been some big events for some of our local biz. Congrats to PaperPlanes who enjoyed their 1 year anniversary recently. Also to Mamasan who are set to expand their restaurant into the space next door later this week (think Moulin Rouge meets late 20s Shanghai!). And we look forward to seeing what’s on offer when the Adina shops all open…

Yours in winter wonderland … x andy

 

Bondi Doing Good

Surf Patrol lifeguard training at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia Andy Solo

Some people revel in the stock market, others have a passion for cooking, accounting floats some boats and crafting a cashmere cardigan is the domain of a creative few.

I’ve had a long-term passion for the wellbeing of society and have worked for many years in the philanthropic and community sector. That’s just how I am.

Life is pretty good for most of us. We mainly just deal with first-world problems such as the price of organic veggies and finding time to squeeze in a facial. But sometimes people like me feel the need to remind you that there’s still some real shit that needs fixing in the world.

The thing is, it shouldn’t make you feel bad. All you have to do is take notice of people doing AMAZING inspiring things and just back a few of them every now and again. Even just by Liking a Facebook petition or sending a few words of encouragement.

For a start, it’s Reconciliation Week from 27 May – 3 June. This year’s theme is Let’s Talk Recognition. So I found this great website that is chock full of interesting facts and perspectives from Indigenous Australians including these crazy facts I wasn’t fully aware of.

And here’s some more fabulous folk doing a gaggle of great good…

 

Who: Maxi & Jesse, Lifeguards from Bondi Rescue

Mission: taking off on a gruelling 2,500 km ride on jetskis

Cause: mental health research, prevention and support services

Read more and/or support them here

 

Who: Scotty & Luke, Bondi trainers from My Kitchen Rules

Mission: judging an MP cake decorating comp at Parliament House (eek)

Cause: cancer research, prevention and support services

Read more and/or support them here

 

Who: Scotty & Luke, Bondi trainers (again)

Mission: Black Dog Institute City2Surf running team

Cause: depression/bipolar research, prevention and education

Read more and/or support them here

 

Who: Dominic Wykanak, NSW Reconciliation Council

Mission: supporting multiple reconciliation events across Australia

Cause: Indigenous Reconciliation Week 2013

Read more and/or support him here

 

Who: Me and heaps of other people!!

Mission: Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians

Cause: Indigenous Respect & Reconciliation

Declare your support in a couple of clicks!

 

Yours in support of inspiring super stars … x andy

 

Bondi Scotty Gooding Luke Hines My Kitchen Rules for Charity  Jesse and Maxi Bondi Rescue boys for mental health charity Headspace Dominic Wykanak for Indigenous Reconciliation at Bondi Beach

 

Bondi Magic Mums

Mothers Day Mums at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

Funny. I initially wrote the title accidently as ‘Bondi Manic Mums’. Which is possibly not far from the truth.

You see, when you spot mums of the eastern suburbs cruising around in the sun with adorable kiddiewinks in their prams you only see a thin slice of their life. For those in the know, it’s a tough gig.

I’ve had a multitude of tough jobs and hard knocks in life but few come close to the trauma of taming a toddler. Yes, they’re cute, we’re absolutely grateful, we love them heaps and we wouldn’t have it any other way but, man, it really takes it out of you, constantly, day and night, for a really long time.

So, hats off to all mums this week as we head towards Mother’s Day on Sunday. Even if you don’t always feel like it, you’re all amazing…

And you deserve to win a fantastic pressie! Head here for details.

Yours in the magnitude and magnificence of mothering … x andy

Shore Mum at Bondi Beach with baby toddler, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy SoloMums at Market at Bondi Beach with kids, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

 

Bondi Work Life Balance

Work Life Balance sculpture at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

I see Work-Life Balance as one of the greatest challenges of recent times.

It’s a tough gig finding sufficient stress-free time for family, productive work, creative pursuits, exercise, deep friendships, 7.5 hours quality sleep, loving partnerships, optimal health, raising great kids, inner peace, enriching travel, philanthropic giving, community connections, shopping, meditation, cleaning and dancing.

It’s exhausting just thinking about it, yes?

So, last night when I had a moment of pure happiness I was able to instantly double my joy in the context of how bloody hard it is to actually stop and smell the roses of my life.

And what does this have to do with Bondi Beach? Well, our sunny seaside village essentially allows me to multi-task (whilst simultaneously attempting in-the-moment mindfulness).

Simply taking my son down to the Bondi skate park for a couple of hours with my camera in the afternoon allows me to manage at least 10 things on the long list above. And that doesn’t even include dancing.

Bondi offers a photogenic, colourful community with sunshine, a healthy lifestyle and a constant holiday vibe. It’s close to the city, full of facilities and positively brimming with options for fun and wellbeing. And for those of us lucky enough to live here, there’s also a great sense of community, culture and connection.

So, here’s to Bondi. Thanks for providing such a bountiful backdrop for a beautiful, balanced life.

Yours in good times and gratefulness… x andy

ps… sorry I’ve been slack getting my blog out – adding full-time work to my regular mix meant something had to give. I’ll continue writing but it will be less consistent, you know, work/life balance and all that… x

 

Bondi Youth

Young skater at Bondi Beach skate park, Sydney NSW Australia, pic by Andy Solo

Even though there seems to be kids everywhere in Bondi, we only have a third of the national average of tweens and teens (they sure come in droves when they’re older though – we have triple the number of 25-35 years olds).

National Youth Week, for 12-25 year olds, runs from 5-14 April and I say we celebrate the occasion big time for our Bondi Beach youth.

These vibrant village-goers are our future. They’re gutsy and gung-ho. They’re kind and creative. They’re spirited and special.

Our youth face one of the most challenges phases of their lives. They need our support and they deserve our attention. How we treat these amazing individuals will shape how our communities progress (and, in turn, how well they’ll treat us when we lose our aging minds).

There’s many ways you can support youth this week…

Head  to the Bondi Markets this Saturday 6 April for the Bondi Creative Youth Fair and buy some of their creative wares or support their musical talents. Pass on the word to any youth you know about the Bondi Blitz Festival on Saturday 13 April. Or provide extra help for those kids who are doing it tougher than most via WAYS Bondi or Youth Off The Streets.

And if you can’t help on a practical level, how about just focusing on the strengths of our youth – show respect, applaud their efforts and celebrate their spirit during their journey into adulthood. We’ve all been there… (and good on you if you’re still there!!)

Yours in long lost youth… x andy

Young adults, blonde girls at Bondi Beach Sydney AustraliaBondi Skate Youth at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

 

Bondi Easter Bunny…

Bondi Easter Bunny and eggs at Abode, Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

I love Easter.

For me it’s about great food, friends, family, fun, freedom…and chocolate.

Most people consider me a pretty nice person but, I’m not even kidding, if you so much as eyeball my Lindt bunny things are going to get ugly.

And if chocolate induglence isn’t great enough, there’s also hot cross buns. Who made up this holiday? Good Friday. No shit! It’s awesome.

These days, Easter focuses mainly on Jesus Christ’s resurrection and/or the sheer joy of a super-long weekend, but it actually originated from Germanic pagan celebrations.

Most of the food and traditions come from these ancient festivals that commemorated the Goddess of Spring and fertility, Eostre. Who knew? See below for more random Easter facts, food and fables.

So, whether your focus is on the Passions of Christ, Pagan festivities, Passover or hangovers, I wish you all a very safe and happy holiday.

Yours in choc bunny bounty… x andy

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The Bunny: The deity Eostra was the goddess of Spring and fertility and pagan feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate. The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published.

Eggs: Spring also symbolises new life and rebirth. Like rabbits, eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility and continue to be today, (for obvious reasons).

Hot Cross Buns: These date back to the pre-Christian era when small cakes were offered to Eostre. It is thought they were marked with a cross to signify the four quarters of the moon. Later the cross came to symbolise the crucifixion of Jesus. Traditionally, hot cross buns baked on Good Friday were said to have magic powers.

Fish: Many superstitions and traditions are associated with Good Friday, but perhaps the most widespread Christian custom is using fish as an alternative for meat to show respect for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Roast Lamb: This traditional Easter Sunday dinner goes back to the first Passover of the Jewish people. The sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten in the hope the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm. Christians often refer to Jesus as ‘The Lamb of God’.

Fuuki Bunny Bondi street art at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy SoloDJ Bunny Bondi at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

 

Bondi Harmony…

Woman wearing a hijab on Bondi Beach, Harmony Day, Sydney NSW pic Andy Solo

It’s Harmony Day this Thursday 21st March.

It’s a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home, from the traditional owners of this land to those who have come from many countries around the world.

Bondi Beach has always had a history of welcoming people from different backgrounds – in fact only 47.3% of residents were born in Australia. FYI, The most common countries of birth are England 9.0%, New Zealand 4.3%, Ireland 2.5%, South Africa 2.2% and the USA 1.5%.

Harmony Week also offers a chance to take another look at our Indigenous history and progress towards true reconciliation. There are 46 Bondi Beach residents who identify as being Aboriginal Australians (as per the 2011 Census) and I hope they feel truly respected and a vital part of our community.

To get in the spirit, check out the wonderful new exhibition at the Bondi Pavilion Gallery by Damian Broomhead, How to Draw Ghosts, that depicts early interactions between the British and the Indigenous inhabitants of the Sydney region.

Or head to Australia’s oldest (and best) Aboriginal art gallery, Coo-ee, to see some of the most outstanding established and emerging artistic talents in the country.

There’s also a number of great Harmony Day events in the area, including Deliciously Diverse, featuring 26 restaurants offering meals for $15 and under from Mon 18 – Fri 22 March.

Or head here  for your chance to sample some of the finest international food in Bondi Beach – for free!

Yours in happy harmony… x andy

 

Bondi Autumn Ambience

Bondi Autumn Ambience at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

Who else is loving life in Bondi right now?

As we settle soothingly into Autumn we’re enjoying wonderful weather, warm ocean waters, spectacular sunrises and a return to our regular laidback village vibe.

We continue to welcome lots of visitors to our cafes, restaurants, boutiques and seaside services and the late afternoon ambience down at the beach park and promenade is postcard perfect.

There’s some lovely community events on the Autumn horizon, some great exhibitions and theatre on right now and, shockingly, I guess we can even start thinking about the Bondi Winter Magic Festival 2013 – here’s a little virtual tour of the 2012 ice-rink to get you in the mood (turn off your sound if need be).

Yours in amazing Autumn ambience… x andy

Bondi Over Icebergs at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, pic by Andy SoloBen Buckler Spectacular at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

Bondi Body, Mind & Soul

Bondi Mind Body Spirit yogi sun salute at Bondi Beach Sydney

Despite being famous for it’s laidback lifestyle, Bondi can sometimes be exhausting.

Shopping, eating out, openair cinemas, theatre, exhibitions, events, fun with friends, crowds, media hype and a constant buzz of activity.

If you need a break from this world teeming with temptation, Bondi offers many options to peace out and nurture you mind, body and soul…

Wonderful walks

Peaceful parks

Quiet galleries

Saintly solitude

Perfect pampering

Yoga, pilates & meditation

You can also enter our competition to win a new book, Kundalini Meditation, by lovely local Kathryn McCusker if  you need some guidance on a ‘path to personal transformation and creativity’ (trust me, the book is beautiful)!

Yours in Bondi balance… x andy

Bondi Soul Surfer at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy SoloBondi Meditation, at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy solo

Bondi Mates…

Bondi Rescue Lifeguard Mates Maxi and Gonz, Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW

Things have felt beautifully blokey this week in Bondi.

We’ve had a stack of hunky Bowl-a-Rama skate pros around town. The worthy surf has pulled a swell of men from near and far. And who else totally can’t wait for the leggy lads to arrive for the Dainty Dune Dash at the Drag Races this Friday?

But above all, I’d like to tip my hat to two of our finest local lads, Maxi and Gonzo (above, as if you didn’t know), who are taking part in the awesome Mate V Mate challenge at the upcoming Top Gear Festival Sydney.

Maxi and Gonzo will take each other on as part of Cancer Council’s new initiative to fight cancer in men. They share their reasons for getting behind Mate V Mate (and spill the beans on who got a post-rescue rose on Valentine’s day). Read more…

Yours in Bondi buddydom… x andy

Bondi Rescue Lifeguard Gonzo with car from the Top Gear Festival SydneyMate V Mate Cancer Council NSW

Images courtesy of the Cancer Council NSW.

 

Bondi Up and Away!

Bondi Up and Away at Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia, Andy Solo

Has anybody found this year a little slower to get going than usual?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m busy working away, jogging at the crack of dawn, eating well, out and about, and all the usual stuff. But all this only got into full swing recently (like, yesterday).

So, heading towards Autumn and with a whole, long, fresh year ahead, I’m feeling like booking in a holiday already. Does anybody else do that?

Whether it’s a short road trip, an interstate jaunt or an international extravaganza, I like to have at least something penciled in down the track to give my suitcase a sense of purpose.

I know its ridiculous wanting to leave our beachside paradise for greener pastures but everybody needs a break from there normal routine, no matter how fabulous it is.

So imagine my joy when I discovered a new concept store in Bondi – the Travel Café – with gorgeous furnishings, fine coffee, delicious snacks and everything you need to research and book a holiday!

Head here to win one of 10 Travel Café dining vouchers or head to any of the following local services to sort your travel:

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The Travel Cafe, 163 Glenayr Ave

02 9130 1345, info@whitestartravel.com.au

www.whitestartravel.com.au

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Flight Centre Bondi Beach, 17 Hall St

02 8374 8588, www.flightcentre.com.au

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Gullivers Travel, 139 Curlewis Street

02 9130 3192

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Peter Pans Travel, 110 Campbell Parade

02 9365 0790, www.peterpans.com

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Yours, up, up and away… x andy

 

Bondi Valentine

Stick Surf Love street art at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW

Ah, love is in the air…

Or is it?

I’m apparently spending my night at a compulsory school info evening. Totes romantic.

I read from some statistician that the dollar amount spent on our Valentines has officially surpassed the combined perceived total value of our love. He’s clearly not bitter at all.

For those of us lucky enough to have a gorgeous Valentine, I say celebrate. There’s a lot of sadness, loneliness and challenges in the world and research (by a much more upbeat fella) says the energy created from focused positive vibes can have a very real impact on healing, wellbeing and outcomes.

Bet let’s perhaps focus on more meaningful pursuits instead of money. Make a card, take a romantic stroll on the beach, have a dusk picnic in a park, get the kids to do a show on the topic of love if you can’t go out. And if you go out don’t make is stressful. Cheap Thai, a bottle of BYO and a movie (perhaps Silver Linings Playbook instead of Zero Dark Thirty) can be just as enjoyable than spending $300 in a fancy restaurant. Do whatever makes the two of you happy and connected – not what the media has sold as the perfect evening.

Having said that, there’s some pretty great deals in Bondi for a romantic dinner:

The Bucket List – All-day Aphrodisiac Share Platters + Drinks

The Rum Diaries – 4 courses $60 p/p

Chapter One – 4 courses + matching wines $99 p/p

Ravesi’s – 3 courses + flute of Chandon $70 p/p

Brown Sugar – 3 courses + matching wines $80

And we’re lucky enough to have one of the most gorgeous florists in Sydney. Head here.

There’s also some great gift shops in town or, better still, head here for your chance to win a $150 voucher to spend on your Valentine (or, hey, yourself).

And if you’re cynical or single, why not join like-minded folk at an Anti-Valentines Dinner.

And here’s a very funny love letter from local lass, Jana Hocking, to her sweetheart, Bondi…

Dearest Bondi,

Yes, it’s me. I know we had our ‘break’ but I am back and ready for your embrace once again. It has taken some effort, and let’s face it, a pay rise, to return to your shores, but this time I know it is for good. Read more…

Yours, lucky in love… x andy

Peachy Couple strolling along the sand at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW pic by Andy SoloI Heart 2026 stencil by Bondi Beach street artist 2026 at Sydney

Made with Love in Bondi

Our Big Kitchen Smiles, cooking with love for the homeless at Bondi, Sydney

When good friends of mine said they were going to have a function at the place they met to host their combined Hens/Bucks party, I had visions of tacky tiara’s, too much alcohol and too little clothing at an eastern suburbs pub. In my experience, nights like this always end up ugly (on so many levels).

But no, they were having their party at Our Big Kitchen in Bondi.

If you haven’t heard of it, not-for-profit Our Big Kitchen is a community kitchen that cooks meals for those in need. Suddenly getting stonkered at the Beach Road sounded like way more fun.

But yesterday I spent some of the best few hours I’ve had in ages. About 40 of us donned aprons and nervous smiles and set to work cooking hundreds of delicious, nutritious meals for homeless men at Matthew Talbot Hostel.

There was laughter, bonding, empowering productivity and so many feel-good vibes I thought we were going to spontaneously bust out into a heartfelt rendition of What a Wonderful World.

We were there for the upcoming nuptials of two beautiful people and while I was busy labelling the food “Made with Love at Our Big Kitchen’ I was taken with how true that really was.

I enjoyed the morning so much I’m compelled to highly recommend you head there for yourselves for the perfect kids birthday party, corporate team building, school community program or any other function you can dream up.

Because bonding over a salad bowl is sometimes better than bending over a porcelain bowl.

Yours in warm n fuzzy foodie feelings… x andy

Bonding with friends and family at Our Big Kitchen in Bondi SydneyMeals made with love at Our Big Kitchen charity in Bondi Sydney

 

Bondi Kids Away!

School Time, Sydney, NSW, Australia, by andy solo

I love spending time with kids. Really I do. But how good is school?

Who else has been excitedly unpacking uniforms, sewing labels, shopping for lunchbox-friendly food and buying new stationery (and ALL this just late yesterday afternoon) because school started TODAY?!

For those of you without children (or even if you do), head here to see how you can win a double pass to Bondi Openair Cinemas.

For those with whippersnappers, here’s a stack of great local options outside of school hours (or before they start) to get your kids engaged, fit, happy, healthy (and, let’s face it, entertained by someone else too!).

 

Martial Arts

Capoeira for Kids & Toddlers, www.capoeirabrazil.com.au

Kyokushin Karate, www.karatebondi.com

ROOTS Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, www.brazilianjiujitsu.com.au

Shinbukan Ninjitsu & Karate, www.shinbukan.com.au

Shotokan Karate, www.shotokankarate.com.au

Sydney Aikido, www.sydneyaikidodojo.com

Tae Kwon Do, www.taekwondo.org.au

 

Art, Music & Dance

Action Atelier Theatre www.natalierichards.com.au

Art ‘N’ Move, www.artnmove.com.au

Baby Ballet Academy, Bondi Pavilion

Big Steps Little Feet, www.bigstepslittlefeet.com.au

Bondi Dance Co, www.bondidance.com.au

Bondi Wave Music Course  Bondi Pavilion

Einsteinz Music, www.einsteinzmusic.com.au

GymbaROO, www.gymbaroobondi.com

Dein Perry’s Tap Pups, www.tapdogs.com

Tango Chicos, www.patiodetango.com.au

 

Sport & Fitness

Let’s Go Surfing, www.letsgosurfing.com.au

Bondi Icebergs, www.icebergs.com.au

Bondi Standup Paddleboard, www.bondisup.com.au

Nipper Intensive Training, www.surfsports.net.au

 

Yours in cool kiddie capers…

x andy

 

Bondi Four-legged Friends

Walking a happy dog along the promenade at Bondi Beach, Sydney

One of the wackiest ways to spend your time in Tokyo is in a cat café (trust me).

Yep. Due to the high number of apartment dwellers and their penchant for cute fluffy things, Tokyoites spend big bikkies for the privilege of lounging in a room with 10 or so cats.

So this week I’d like to pay respects to the cats and dogs of Bondi Beach. I’m so grateful you can prance along the promenade in the fresh ocean air in our gorgeous seaside suburb instead of being couped up in a kooky city café.

If you lack feline or canine company like me, I hope you enjoy these pics of our local leggy set. And if you’re lucky enough to own a furry friend, here’s where to get your local supplies and services…

Bondi Veterinary Hospital

Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital

Bowhouse Bondi

The Dandy Dog

Yours in prancing pooches… x andy

(perhaps the pooch in the papoose below isn’t the prancing type?)

Beach Pooch poodle dog at Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW pic by Andy SoloBondi Fetch dogs running at the park in Bondi Beach NSWMan and his dog playing soccer down at Bondi Beach, SydneyHappy Cat sitting in the sun on a window sill at Bondi BeachDainty Dog puppy sitting happily at a cafe at Bondi Beach SydneyPapoose Pooch dog in a carrier at Bondi Beach

Bondi Reflections

Bondi Reflection graffiti, street art, at bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy solo

I know many of you are well and truly back in the rhythm of life but I’ve taken a little more time than usual to kick things off this year. In fact I’m only up to reflecting on 2012 (I’m blaming it on the laidback Bondi Beach lifestyle).

So as we gear up for another great year, I hope you enjoy some of my favourite photo moments from our wonderful, colourful, diverse little village.

Yours in happy reflection… x andy

ps… head here to see how you can win one of the photos framed.

Deco Delight art deco building at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW pic by Andy SoloBondi Skate Park at Dusk with a lone skateboarder in Sydney NSWPink at the Park, girl looking at the view at bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy soloBondi Winter Walks around the town, promenade and coast cliffs to Bronte including guided tours in SydneyBondi Rock Face rugged cliffs at Bondi Beach Sydney NSWBondi Poppy, skater girl at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy soloWild Waves, at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy soloLong Blonde surfer chick at bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy soloBondi Kids, girl on scooter, at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy soloBondi Good Times people having fun at events at Bondi Beach Sydney pic by Andy SoloThe Grab, at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy soloSplash Shallows, bondi beach, bondi, beach, gallery, black, white, monochrome, photo, picture, image, sydney, nsw, AustraliaDad and son surfing in the waves at dusk at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW

Sizzling Summer

Hot summer sunrise sun at the ocean shore at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW

After a couple of summers with lacklustre performances from the sun, this year is shaping up to be an absolute corker.

I’m pretty sure everybody is aware its hot today but is this usual for a Bondi Summer? Are we breaking any records? Do we start getting a little more concerned about global warming now?

Here are a few little meteorological morsels…

The highest Sydney temperature ever recorded was 45.3 °C (113.5 °F) on 14 January 1939 at the end of a four-day heatwave across Australia. Ouch.

The BOM also reported that 2002 through 2005 were the warmest summers in Sydney since records began in 1859.

If we reach the forecasted 43°C, it will be the third-highest temperature ever recorded.

And it is said to be the most dangerous day Sydney has ever faced in terms of fire danger.

Did we all go a little overboard hoping for a hot summer this year? Hey?

Fear not though, it should be back down in the mid 20s again tomorrow.

And surely that deserves a few cold drinks and a dip in the cooling Bondi waves in the mean time.

Yours in sizzling summer… x andy

 

Bondi New Year!

Dusk and birds over the ocean waves at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW

Well, it’s the start of a new year and, yes, I’m working. Lucky I love it.

In fact I love this time of year altogether.

Ordinarily I’d worry about all the unattended emails, the amount of food I’m eating, the domestic duties I’m ignoring and the To Do List I’ve dumped.

But I know you’re probably doing much the same.

Suddenly all the things that seem so important and urgent can just wait a week or two. Chill a bit on the chores, technology and communications already.

But after the parties have been polished off and the holidays had, it is time to look to the future a bit. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions and although the odds are stacked against us for success, it’s a great opportunity to take stock and consider the things you’d like to change or improve.

One of the most popular resolutions is to attack the muffin tops, blitz the beer gut and tone the toosh. So head here to score a personal trainer to help you get there…for free!

And even if there isn’t anything inspiring on the horizon, it’s a great time to just take a break, be grateful and gear up for another great year.

So a very Happy New Year to you all.

Yours in rest and resolutions… x andy

Art Deco building at Bondi Beach at dusk in Sydney NSWDad and son surfing in the waves at dusk at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW

 

Merry Bondi Xmas!

Christmas street art graffiti at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW pic by Andy Solo

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Yes, all of you. Whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Pagan, Jedi Knight or any other of the 4,000-odd religions around the world.

Because it doesn’t really matter. And I’ve been reminded of that in Japan where apparently 70–80% of the people tell pollsters they don’t consider themselves believers in any religion.

Now lord knows I’m not Christian, but I consider myself to have a healthy sense of spirituality, functioning moral compass, common sense, compassion and desire to love and help others.

Regardless of your beliefs, this time of year should be about things like family, friendship, food, fun and love.

Granted not all of us are fortunate enough to enjoy these things – so this is where gratitude, compassion and giving come in – read here for a quick, wonderful way to help bring joy in the local community.

So amongst Japan’s dazzling illuminations, decorations and secular Christmas craziness, I wish you a very safe, warm and joyful silly season… x andy

 

Bondi Silly Season

blog about the silly season during christmas and NYE at Bondi Beach Sydney

Well I’m still in chilly (awesome) Japan but I hear things are heating up in Bondi.

I assume you’ve all been to at least 7 Chrissy parties by now. A bunch of BBQs, endless drinks, shopping heaps and playing hard. ‘Tis the season after all.

Well you know it’s going to get even better. And one of the biggest and best constitutes just 3 little letters…N…Y…E.

If you haven’t starting organising things now is the time. And we’re going to try and make things a little easier for you…

Simply head here for a heap of chances to score free NYE tickets worth a total of $1000 – at the click of a button!

Yours in easy peasy party mode…

x andy

Party Bunny street art at Bondi Beach Sydney NSWStick Surf Love street art at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW

Bondi Skate

Bondi Skate Park at Dusk with a lone skateboarder in Sydney NSW

I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about skateboarding.

I know its cool. I know its crazy (aka wheels + concrete). I know you can hurt yourself (boy do I know). I know many of the tricks defy biomechanical logic.

It can stop your heart, churn your stomach and leave you holding your breath for too long.

I’ve lived through the broken bones stage of my brother. The mega scabs of my son. And the mad antics of my old-enough-to-know-better husband.

And yet I love it. I can’t help but watch. Like a bird-eating spider documentary, or a car crash scene or that bad show about weird body part surgery (I’m lying – I totally can’t stand to watch that).

I love seeing the camaraderie and backslaps of support. I love that it’s a healthy outlet and bonding sport for energetic youth.

And what a skate park Bondi has.

It hosts regular community and competitive events. And although it’s for capable skaters only, I’ve seen it used and enjoyed by everyone from 2-year-old girls to 60-year-old guys.

If you want to know more: head here for a page on skate events and rules, or here for local skate clubs and lessons and here for an article on local skate legend Poppy Olsen.

Yours in skate respect…

x andy

ps… Apparently the first pic below is of Alex Hayes who the young female audience assured me was “totally famous on facebook”.

Facebook Famous Alex Hayes at Bondi Skate Park Bondi Beach SydneySkate Motion teenage skateboarders at Bondi Skate Park Sydney NSwSkate Posse teenage gang at the Bondi Skate Park Sydney NSWScooter Dude at the Bondi Skate Park Sydney NSWSkate Chick at the Bondi Skate Park Sydney NSWBondi Blue Sky and Skate Park Bowl at the beach Sydney NSW

Bondi Summer Lovin’

Bondi Summer people at Bondi Beach ocean scene Sydney NSW

Wooohoooooo! Summer is here!!

And what better way to celebrate than to leave. To a cold country in winter. And the snow.

Yes summer-loving bumpkins, tomorrow morning I’ll be jetting off to Japan. Don’t feel bad for me though. For a start, that’s one more space on the beach for you to lay your towel. One more sunny sidewalk spot for you in a hip Bondi café.

Seriously don’t feel bad. Japan is one of my favourite countries in the world. And those of you who know me know that, as much as I love my Bondi home, I have an unquenchable desire to travel.

I’m not talking about enjoying a holiday break as most people do. I mean every fibre of my being is in a constant state of compulsion to move. All the time.

Not a day goes by where I don’t think about taking off exploring the world, engaging in other cultures, tasting different foods, seeing new events, being amazed and challenged. I thrill in the task of finding the perfect place to stay, stretching resources and getting from A to B in a unique way.

I love being overwhelmed by the diversity of our world. And grounded by the common threads that run through all societies.

I’m coming back soon of course. Life is a little more complicated than continually being free to roam the world. Or is it? I’ll be exploring these concepts in a project called Gyspy Gene if you’re interested (or indeed inflicted in the same way…).

I’ll still be sharing the Bondi summer love each week as usual. We have some great giveaways coming up, including $1000 worth of tickets to 3 fantastic New Years Eve events, and a bucket load of Bondi hip happenings, as always.

So slap on the sunscreen, slip into the summer and think of me gallivanting blissfully across the globe!

Yours in winter wanderlusting… x andy

Bondi Bucket List Summer at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy soloBondi Grassy Knoll at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy solo

 

Happy Bondi Birthday!

happy anniversary birthday bonanza for atbondi.com

Happy Bondi Birthday to us!!

Yes, the atbondi.com baby was born on the first day of summer, 1st Dec, a year ago.

It was as exciting as flicking a switch, literally, but it was also the beginning of a fabulous life journey. Not in an I’ve-just-won-X-Factor kind of way, but pretty good regardless.

So I just wanted to send huge thanks to all of you who have supported atbondi.com with kind words, encouragement and visits to the website (over 20,000 uniques a month now).

Thanks also for all the Follows, Likes and Comments on Facebook, the Blog, Flickr, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest!

And a special shout out to those generous businesses who’ve either advertised or donated to the weekly giveaways. You’re my absolute BFFs. All of you.

Speaking of which, what better way to celebrate than to give! Yes, this week we have the atbondi.com (insert excitable cheesy voiceover) Mega Bonanza Bonus Birthday Giveaway.

We’ve given away over $7,500 worth of prizes to stacks of happy winners so far and to celebrate, there’s another 20 chances to win over $1,500 worth of local goodies this week!

Head here for details on how to enter

Yours in winning & grinning and humble thanks…

x andy

 

Bondi Backpackers

Bondi Backpackers on the Beach at Sydney NSW pic by Andy Solo

I have to say straight up that I am pro-backpacker.

Because about 25 million years ago I was one myself. Though these days a private bathroom, carrying more than 2 pairs of underwear and eating meals beyond bread and cheese is more my style.

Backpacking is a unique and wonderful way to explore the world. It’s about culture and engagement. Learning and appreciation. Adventure, fun and people.

Backpacking forces you to be resourceful, practical and imaginative.

No matter how grounded and competent you feel in your everyday life, if you truly roam the world in this way you will be taken out of your comfort zone and this is where you begin to learn about yourself.

How long can you share a studio bedsit with 8 other people? Is it sensible to hitchhike from Mexico to Guatemala? How hard is it to fly for 12 hours on a plane with food poisoning? Should you take a photo when an angry elephant is charging you? What happens when you’re caught with bullets in your bag crossing the border from Israel to Egypt? How much vodka-flavoured benzene can one person drink?

Ah yes, so many ways to challenge oneself in the big wide world.

So, next time you see a backpacker around Bondi, firstly thank them for supporting Australia via their big spending (over $3 billion a year) and then take a second to appreciate their journey. They are the ones fostering global cultural understanding, whether they do it with a beer in their hand or not.

And if you’re visiting Bondi Beach, here’s details on our hostels.

Yours in crackalackin’ backpacking…

x andy

ps. I have the answers to the above questions if you’d really like to know…

Girls playing the guitar on the beach at BondiFringe Fashion bag at the Bondi Beach Markets pic by Andy Solo

 

Bondi Film Fest

Bondi Openair Festival summer cinema from January to March 2013

The warm weather in Bondi is a magnet for more than just beach lovers and café cliques.

We’re totally choc-topped full of culture too!

In just 2 weeks time, we enjoy a run of fantastic film festivals down at the Bondi Pav.

First up is the 12th Annual Bondi Short Film Festival on Sat 24 Nov. With sell-out crowds, great prizes and a focus on the filmmaker, this festival has firmly established itself as one the finest short film festivals in the country. Head here for your chance to win a coveted double pass!

Next up is Flickerfest. Renowned as Sydney¹s first outdoor beachside cinema, it kicks off on 11 Jan for 10 days, screening some of the best short films from Australia and abroad in a unique, relaxed summer environment.

Lastly, Bondi Openair Cinema (above) sets up under the stars from January to March with an eclectic mix of classic hits and popular flicks, gourmet food, great music & licenced drinks (note: I blatantly stole, manipulated & re-published their photo. But isn’t it pretty!).

So grab your friends, shine your specs and head to Bondi for a film festival extravaganza.

Yours in corn-popping anticipation…

x andy

Bondi Short Film Festival 2012 showcase event at Bondi Pavilion Sydney Bondi Openair Cinema movie film festival from January to March 2013 Flickerfest Short Film Festival 2013 at Bondi Pavilion Sydney NSW Australia

Bondi Best Bites

Blog about Beachside Bites at The Bucket List at Bondi Beach Sydney pic by Andy Solo

With summer upon us, most people are busy pounding the footpath and pumping iron.

Being a fashion rebel from way back, I tend to turn to food at this time of year. And I think you should all join me in exploring the vast, delicious offerings in our seaside suburb.

(Just trying to look after your health and wellbeing, mind you. Nothing to do with bikini beach body sabotage. At all).

I’ve just done a little number crunching in the atbondi.com Directory and have found we have about 150 food outlets for your dining pleasure.

No wonder people are coming here for more than just the beach these days. I’m putting it out there that Bondi Beach has officially become one of Sydney’s top dining spots.

But where to start? It’s the question I’m most asked – where’s the best place to eat in Bondi?

Now I’ve eaten out a lot over the years to provide you with the lowdown on the best local nosh (such a martyr, I know) so here they are below, my top tips for dining out in Bondi.

Yours in gastronomic gluttony…

x andy

 

Asian Tasty Tapas

Mamasan, 57 Beach Rd (Glenayr Ave) tantalizing Asian tapas in gorgeous, quirky surrounds

Paper Planes, 178 Campbell Pde (Gould Mall): classy & tasty ‘Tokyo Pop’ dining experience

 

Beachside Bevvies

The Bucket List, Bondi Pavilion at the Beach: brilliant vibe for beachside drinks & events

Bondi Icebergs Bar, 1 Notts Ave (south beach): a classy, killer view over the beach to Bondi

 

Secret Squirrels

Café Zohara, 38 Wairoa Ave: one of Bondi’s best kept secrets, gorgeous café with heart

Café Lilliputien, 112a O’Brien St: locals love this cute café at the top end of town. Shhh…

 

Crackin Cocktails

Miss Chu, 178 Campbell Pde: the food’s great but I’m ALL about the Vodka Lychee Crushies

 

Perfect Pizza

Mad Pizza, 15 O’Brien St: My regular dinner spot – brilliant mix of service, food, music & vibe

 

Café Charmer

Gertrude & Alice, 46 Hall St: cosy bookstore café with character and heart, always packed…

 

Authentic Asian

Hobbit’s Café, 262 Campbell Pde: amazingly tasty Malaysian Mon-Thu in a cute corner café

Nina’s Ploy Thai, 132 Warners Ave: affordable, authentic & tasty Thai with old school decor

 

Wine & Cheese Feast

Chapter One, 34 Campbell Pde: classy rustic charm with quality charcuterie, cheeses & vino

The Shop, 78 Curlewis St: for those in the know, quality wines with warm afternoon sunshine

 

Sensational Seafood

Bondi’s Best, 37 Campbell Pde: fabulous, fresh seafood fare up on the hill at the north end

Deli Bottega Tuesday Might Mussels, seriously scrumptious. Make sure you book. Trust me.

 

Fine Fast Food

Gourmet Slice Pizza, 87A Gould St: delish, crispy gourmet pizza slices to take to the beach…

Thaina Box, 148 Curlewis St: design-your-own pretty damn tasty Thai. In a box. You know.

 

Best Places I’ve Never Been

Beach Burrito Co, 252 Campbell Pde: I’ve tried and tried but it’s always packed = awesome

TruckStop, Level 1 Beach Rd Hotel: perfect mix of Japanese food & street art. Must try soon.

 

Super Service

Bondi Trattoria, 34 Campbell Pde: honing their service for 25 years has sure paid off here

 

Delicious Desserts

Sean’s Panaroma, 270 Campbell Pde, delicious everything but the desserts are to die for…

 

Sumptuous Sushi

Raw Bar, Cnr Warners & Wairoa Aves: classy surrounds and fresh, fabulous Japanese cuisine

Sushi St, opening today (Nov 6) – can’t wait to try the sushi in this cute n classy place (+wine)!

 

Drink & Dine

Anchor Bar, 2-8 Campbell Pde, The Canteen, 180 Campbell Pde, Rum Diaries, 288 Bondi Rd

Drinks with the Bondi cool set isn’t my area of expertise but I’d try these spots first if it were

 

White Cloth Café

Trio Café, 56 Campbell Pde: when you’re after a touch more class with your coffee…

 

Great All-rounders

34 Degrees South, 34 Campbell Pde: fab views, food, service & music (Wes Carr, Nov-Dec)

Ravesi’s Hotel, 118 Campbell Pde (cnr Hall St): as they say, great place to eat, play and stay!

 

Go the Fro Yo!

Twisted Frozen Yoghurt, 36 Hall St: delicious and (kind of) nutritious frozen yoghurt fun

 

Fab for Families

Moo Gourmet Burgers, 70A Campbell Pde: family-friendly fun, fine food and a top spot

 

Top Notch Newcomer

The Atlas Kiosk, 14 Hall Street: Great food, service, space, wifi, coffee…the list goes on

 

Super Sanga

Club Sandwich, 2a Jaques Ave: gourmet sandwiches on Luxe sourdough. Top coffee too…

 

Happy Hippies

Earth Food Store Café, 81a Gould St: fine fresh, organic, wholefood heaven to eat and shop

Funky Pies Café, 144 Glenayr Ave: chunky, funky food with fab philosophies & friendly charm

 

Best Bakeries

Organic Republic Bakery, 98 Glenayr Ave: laidback local vibe, great bread and tasty treats

Tin Pin Organic Bakery, 296 Bondi Rd: gorgeous gluten free & organic breads, friendly service

 

Lunch with Locals

Jed’s, 96 Glenayr Ave, Harry’s, 136 Wairoa Ave & Luigi’s, 154 Glenayr Ave

Always packed with brunching & lunching locals (and so popular they don’t need websites)

 

Alrighty then. Seems like I’ve covered nearly every one of the 150-odd options to wine and dine in Bondi. What can I say? They’re all pretty damn good…so which is your favourite?

 

Holiday Accommodation

Holiday Accommodation at Bondi Beach accomodation options hotels apartments backpackers

For a spot as brilliant as Bondi Beach you’d think there’d be a stack of places to stay.

However, great accommodation options seem to be as rare as local ice-cream joints. I’m joking of course, there’s frickin HEAPS of those.

Here’s a list of sites to check if you plan to visit (or indeed if you have family coming from out of town that, well, you’d rather enjoy their own space. Because you love them. Really. They deserve to enjoy their own space in Bondi).

atbondi.com: a great selection of options from backpackers to luxury ocean view pads.
atbondi Top 10: the best options in each category. Though I haven’t stayed everywhere.
Bondi Beach Rentals: (tell Vanessa I sent you): options in Bondi and surrounding ‘burbs.
Stayz: the No.1 way to book holiday rental accommodation properties online in Australia.
Air BnB: the latest, greatest way to book private accom…there’s quite a few Bondi pads.

One of my favourite places is the Bondi Beach House who are generously offering a free night in one of their gorgeous suites to one lucky reader. Head here to find out more.

We’ll soon have more exciting options to lay your sun-kissed heads too…

The first will be Adina Bondi on Hall Street.  Due for completion mid 2013, it will offer 111 apartment-style hotel rooms with an outdoor pool and spa, gym, yoga room and parking.

And due for completion about 2016, is Pacific Bondi which will comprise a 69-apartment boutique hotel and two-level retail and restaurant complex.

At least the boffins at these places obviously put a great deal of thought into the number of apartments. Here’s hoping they’re gorgeous and amazingly cheap (you never know).

Yours in the lap of hotel luxury…

x andy

Adina Apartment Hotel at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW Pacific Bondi Apartment Hotel at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW

Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi                            Pacific Bondi Apartment Hotel

 

The Bondi Pavilion

The Bondi Pavilion under glowing night lights at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW pic by Andy Solo

Overlooking the beach in prime central position, sits the iconic Bondi Pavilion.

It has morphed many times from the early 1900s, but has always figured large in the local landscape. It has housed everything from a military club to kids capoeira classes, from bathing sheds to ballrooms.

The Pav is the proud centrepiece for most local events. It showcases superb art in the Gallery, cutting-edge shows in the Theatre and shines at night with glittering lights in winter.

But the harsh light of day exposes sadly neglected and underutilised spaces. And, ugh, don’t get me started on the toilets…

This will all change once the new Plan of Management is finalised over the coming months. Have you had your say? Here’s the Council’s 5-10 min survey to complete.

If you find filling out a government survey about as exciting as, well, filling out a government survey, you can send a direct email to bondipom@waverley.nsw.gov.au and rant on about anything you like!

(Note: bondipom refers to ‘Bondi Plan of Management’, not the local British backpackers. Those crazy cats at the Council…).

From what I understand, the majority of community views put forth so far centre around restrictions from concerned citizens…”ditch the debaucherous Bucket List, no volleyball on the beach, no outdoor seating, further restrict local licensing”, etc. So, for the love of fun in the sun, please have your say or we’ll be stuck with the consequences for 10 years!

Read a bit more about the grand ol’ dame here.

Yours in Pavilion politics…

x andy

The rear view of the Pavilion at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW pic by Andy SoloReflection on the Pavilion rear view and amphitheatre at Bondi Beach Sydney pic by Andy Solo

Sculpture by the Sea

Bondi Sculpture Splash Sculpture by the Sea art event at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW 2012

I feel like I keep saying the same thing every week but this time I mean it (again)…we have one of my FAVE events starting this week… Sculpture by the Sea!

Melting ice-cream trucks, giant tyre turtles, skeleton conductors and leaping lemmings. There’s not much fabulous, freaky and fascinating art we haven’t enjoyed in Bondi over the years.

As if the stunning coastal walk and parks weren’t lovely enough, when you add a spattering of sculptures every few metres, life doesn’t get much better.

Oh hang on, yes it does because the event is also FREE!

If you can’t make it along this year (sucks to be you), below is a little reminder of the kind of quality coastal culture you’re missing.

And if you can’t get enough art here’s a list of galleries around town from a previous post.

Yours in arty infatuation…

x andy

Soaring Kiss Sculpture by the Sea art event at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW 2012 pic by Andy SoloMagic Mosaic Sculpture by the Sea art event at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW 2012 pic by Andy SoloSenior Sculpture Sculpture by the Sea art event at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW 2012 pic by Andy SoloSculptured Stare Sculpture by the Sea art event at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW 2012 pic by Andy SoloCoastal Elk Sculpture by the Sea art event at Bondi Beach Sydney NSW 2012 pic by Andy Solo

 

Bondi Jobs Oct 2012

Bondi Jobs, employment at bondi, bondi beach, sydney, nsw, australia, andy solo

Bondi Jobs: October 2012

There’s another spate of job ads up around town. Get copies of your resume and hit the streets! Here’s a selection:

- Raw Bar Japanese, Assistant Restaurant Manager

- Le-Paris-Go Cafe, Experienced Chef

- Noah’s Backpackers, Front Desk Receptionist

- Sejuiced Juice Bar Cafe, Counter Staff

- Boost Juice, Counter Staff

- Fresh at Bondi, Counter Staff

- The Pitstop Juice Cafe, Counter Staff

- Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, Experienced Waitstaff

- Wet Espresso Café, Experienced Chef

- La Macelleria Butcher, Chef & Service staff

- Blow Dry Bar, Hairdressers & Apprentices

- Sushi Street (coming soon!) 76 Hall St, Chef staff

- Gourmet Slice, Pizza Chef

- Bondi Pizza, Pizza Chefs

- Truckstop Restaurant, Young chefs & apprentices

- New Zealand Ice Cream, Counter Staff

- Hurricane’s Grill/Express, Kitchen Staff

- Busby on Bondi, Salon Junior/Assistant

- Beauty on the Beach, Beauty Therapist

- Inch Hair Salon, Hairdresser

- Lamrock Café (opening soon), Chefs, Baristas

Simply enter the business name into our Search Bar above to find contact details – or email me on andy@atbondi.com.au for further info. Good luck!