A luxury crafting weekend, thanks to Aquabelle


Isn’t this the most welcoming sight on a Friday night? This was what greeted me last weekend when Aquabelle in Rye generously hosted a little bunch of bloggers in their luxury apartments. It was the second time I’ve taken part in an Aquabelle weekend (hardly a difficult task!) and it goes without saying that this time was as fabulous as the last. Thanks to my terrible sense of direction I got slightly geographically embarrassed on my way down to Rye after work but Cecylia‘s homemade pasta bake soon brought my stress levels back down – and a soak in the tub before slipping between the sheets certainly helped too…

aqua2And after a dreamy night’s sleep, what a beautiful morning I awoke to on Saturday! Check out the view from the apartment Lilli and I shared…aqua7Luxury weekends are all about relaxing, I know, and I had also brought a few craft projects along with me as I was imagining sitting on the balcony and stitching away. But first, how could I resist a run on the beach in such glorious weather – especially as Aquabelle is only a few steps from the foreshore.

SWbeachSWbeach3The scenery made proper running a bit tricky because I stopped every few seconds to take photos!


SWbeachrunI did a bit of beachcombing too and was delighted to find this, seeing as I’d just made up a silly joke about this exact object the other day. What’s the most affectionate animal in the ocean? Yes… a cuddlefish… hehehe…


Despite having been down along the Mornington Peninsula a few times, I’ve never noticed this limestone kiln – it’s great when you can learn a little bit about local history on a morning run.


After my run I met up with a friend who is as crazy about op shopping and vintage as I am – and being a peninsula local, she knows all the cool spots! (She has a stall at 1546 Vintage – if you’re after authentic Scandinavian ceramics, glass and cool stuff in general, drop in and ask for Tonianne!). We didn’t make it as far as 1546 but we did call in at Look at That which is a vintage treasure trove…


I love how somebody went crazy with the Bedazzler on these gloves! Might just have to copy them on my next crafting trip…

Tonianne also took me to what is essentially the local tip’s retail outlet – inside this shed is a whole lot of stuff that has been saved from landfill. Yay!


There were some uber-cool bamboo armchairs and excellent retro sideboards out the back going for about $20, but I resisted temptation seeing as I’m moving house and have no idea if even my current amount of stuff is going to fit! That doesn’t mean that you have to refrain though… if you’re a vintage fan, Aquabelle is a great base from which to explore a multitude of op shops and antique/collectibles stores as there are so many on the Mornington Peninsula. I only cut my visit short because of this…

VJVolpWhat blogging weekend would be complete without a long (delicious – of course) lunch? The food came courtesy of Volpino in Mount Martha. The company came care of Iolanthe, Alexia, and the two ladies in this shot with me, Lilli and Cecylia (plus the two men in Cecylia’s life!).


With about 80 per cent of ingredients used at Volpino being locally sourced, our tummies were happily propping up the Mornington Peninsula economy. After supporting local producers by sampling delectable starters and salad, we gave them our vote by selflessly downing slices of woodfired pizza such as this one with prosciutto, pear, fior di latte and gorgonzola (aka Little Boy Blue pizza)…volp2

And then I discovered the dessert cabinet, which looked like it could do with a serious show of support…


Choosing just one dessert could have been seriously challenging, but a potential crisis was averted when the staff cleverly dished up a selection for us to share, along with coffee.


My favourite was the light-as-air chocolate mousse… or was it the deliciously creamy tiramisu… no, the tartly tempting apple cake… oops, can’t forget the port jelly cheesecake… yes, I tried them all, and experienced extreme contentment all afternoon (and was also quite glad that I’d gone for a run that morning)!


Seriously satisfied, it was back to Aquabelle for more pampering, this time at the hands (literally) of Elle Bodo of Ellegant Youmassage

It’s lovely going out to get a massage, but even lovelier when someone comes and sets up a little haven of relaxation in your own apartment (or in this case, Aquabelle). We were all treated to massages incorporating a variety of techniques including kodo which is apparently an Aboriginal massage. Elle is such a talented lady that she also does makeup and pamper parties among her services. Definitely something to keep in mind for a touch of luxury on any girls’ getaway weekend!


The rest of Saturday night was spent feasting and chatting and dagging around in pyjamas because we were all feeling rather laid back after our massage (hence the lack of photos – we felt like we’d earned a night off!).

On Sunday morning I made the dining table my office to catch up on a bit of work (and a lot of looking out the window at the view, I admit!).

aqua11 If I hadn’t had places to go, I would most likely have ended up out on the balcony – what a beautiful spot to read, sew, crochet, knit… or simply sit and look at the sky. aqua13

I was, however, expected at Peninsula Hot Springs for a friend’s birthday (wasn’t she efficient, organising to celebrate there when I was only a few minutes down the road!). I’ve been to the springs several times and regardless of the weather, it’s always enjoyable, but on a sunny day like this one, it was simply perfect, as these views will attest (no, that’s not one of the baths!).  PHS1PHS2We made it all the way up to the hilltop pool, accompanied by little wrens along the way and met with this stunning scenery.PHS4

Having lived in Japan for nearly 10 years, I’ve soaked in my share of hot springs! But it’s pretty rare to find anything like Peninsula Hot Springs where you can wander from pool to pool in such a beautiful bush setting – with more than 20 different pools, there’s something for everyone.


We spent hours in the waters, gossiping and catching up on each others’ lives. Sure, we see posts on Facebook and social media and kind of know what everyone’s up to, but nothing beats a proper chat in person – if anyone has the winter blues, I can definitely recommend lots of laughing combined with a long, long soak in the springs to snap you out of it. I had such a laidback weekend I didn’t want to leave (maybe I should buy a little place in Rye? Then again…), and I admit I was maybe too relaxed as I took a wrong turn AGAIN on the way home even though I’ve travelled that route countless times. Fortunately I was so calm after all the pampering that it didn’t faze me at all!

What’s that? You want to know about the crafting bit? Um… it didn’t exactly happen because I was too busy eating and relaxing. But it’s the perfect reason for another trip down the Peninsula (as if you needed a excuse). Aquabelle, Volpino, Ellegant You and Peninsula Hot Springs, you will definitely be seeing me again (hopefully with my blogging buddies) – thanks for a wonderful weekend!