28 August 2013

Sydney, here we come! (Help me, please!)

With the moves we've made over the past few years, the stuff I've found the most dislocating hasn't been the change in housing or climate or language. You'd think it would've been all that big stuff, but it's actually all the little day-to-day things. It's figuring out how to pay your electricity bill; what your postal address is (this can be trickier than it sounds!); and where to buy fresh flowers without the need for a second mortgage. It's finding a doctor, a hairdresser and, perhaps most importantly, a waxer you can trust. (Seoul failed me completely on that last one. Hong Kong however delivered in spades.) 

Right now, it's only three more sleeps until we make the big move (!), and whilst I know a bit about where to shop and where to eat in Sydney, there's a lot of day-to-day stuff I don't know. So Sydnesiders - I need your help! Please, please share your Sydney knowledge with me! Got a favourite place for a cuppa, pizza or yum cha? A trusted GP? Know the best (or best value) mani/pedi in town? Tell me, please! We'll be living in the inner east, but I'm happy to travel, especially if there's food involved...

Here's some of the things I'm after: 

- A hairdresser that knows a thing or two about hair dye. Especially one that does not worry about trying to make blonde look natural. I'm not a natural blonde. I don't want to pretend I'm a natural blonde. I want cold, near-white, clearly fake tresses. From my experience there are far too many hairdressers in the world obsessed with hair looking natural. I do not want you, natural guy. 

- A good (flat-ish) bike path or three. Actually, back up a step - a good place to buy a bike. I want one of those retro looking ones in a cute colour like turquoise that you could probably buy for under three dollars in China. And I want a basket on the front big enough for two dachshunds. The basket will need to have restraining devices. And sedatives. 

- A good dog park or three. Oh! And a dog beach or three! 

- A good GP. Even better would be a good GP that specialises in women's health. 

- A dentist that doesn't make me feel like crying as soon as I walk in. Or who at least shows some sympathy when I do sob uncontrollably as soon as I sit in the dentist's chair (true story!).

- A yoga teacher who has the right balance of compassion and working you until you cry. A yoga teacher who mixes things up and adapts routines to the changing seasons and the moods of the group. 

- A good gym. One with machines that work, decent air conditioning, clean locker rooms and a non-judgemental vibe. 

- A running path that's mainly flat (I'm not ready for hills yet, and there's a lot of hills in Sydney!).

- A pedicure where the polish lasts for a solid three weeks. And where they don't make me feel like a goose for not knowing anything about all those lady type things (gel nails? what? and how do I get one of these kind of manicures? I am clueless...). 

- Somewhere to get a massage that strikes the right balance between clean, comfortable surrounds and price. A place that doesn't make you feel like a 'happy ending' is part of the standard services, but that also doesn't make you break out in a sweat when you see the bill.

- Some kind of club or group or something. To do with photography or craft or books. Preferably involving nice people, baked goods and cups of tea (or possibly glasses of wine). That would be ace. 

- The best yum cha in Sydney. We will travel for good dumplings. 

- And maybe a real life friend or two, to have the occasional stroll / dog walk / coffee /  gelato with. 

- And...anything else you think I should know about the sparkly gem that is Sydney!


  1. I've never been here, but how damn good does this sound?! http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/eat-out/review/restaurant/lotus-dumpling-bar-20130827-2snrr.html

    1. I may have drooled a little reading that review! YUM! Thanks for the link :)

    2. I had substandard Chinese just after posting that for you... was going to have a salad sanger, but at least had to try to capture some of that Chinese goodness. Oh well.

  2. I wish I could help but I know absolutely nothing about Sydney… apart from you know… the big opera house and bridge they have. ;)

    Hopefully the move and transition will go smoothly.
    Thinking of you

    1. Thank you lovely x (I'm surrounded by boxes, dust and packing tape as I type this!)

  3. No actual bike suggestions, but if you have any plans to ride regularly or longer distances, go to a proper bike shop and get them to fit you for your bike. I get numb hands at the end of a ride, because my bike isn't quite right for me. Of course I can't help with anything Sydney-specific!

    1. Good tip! Never would of thought of this...

  4. I'm not a Sydneysider but I do like the Tamarama to Bondi Coastal walk, nice and flat and stunning scenery.
    Best of luck with your move and hoping your little dachshunds don't find it too stressful!

    1. Oh yes, that is gorgeous! I've managed to make it to Sculpture by the Sea a few times over the past 6 years, which is basically set up along that walk, so beautiful! Sydney's natural beauty is one of the things I'm most looking forward to living with again :)

  5. Our favourite place to eat in HK is Din Tai Fung - they have 3 restaurants in Sydney too (we want them to open in Melbourne)

    Otherwise, I can't help you, sorry.

    Have an easy, smooth move. It is so exciting, I look forward to following your new adventure. Cat xox

    1. Love Din Tai Fung! I've had it in Singapore and it was super tasty. They have one in Seoul too but we've been there a few times and it was SO disappointing (No soy sauce! Seriously! And terrible spring rolls too - inexcusable!). But I bet the Sydney one is tasty :)

  6. I second Din Tai Fung - there are two outlets in the city. Amaaazing.
    But if you want cheaper and more authentic grungy vibe - check out Shanghai Night in Ashfield (inner west). Great Yum Cha can be also be found at Zilva in Haymarket near Central station.

    For the other requests: (I'm an inner-westie) so you may find me a bit skewed to that side of the city...
    1. Bike: Reid Cycles http://www.reidcycles.com.au/
    2. Dog Park: O'Dea Reserve in Camperdown
    3. Flat jog: there's always the Bay Run, but closer east side is certainly Centennial Park
    4. GP - if you find a good one, let me know!
    5. Dentist: my friends have one in the CBD who is specialises in dental anxiety and is quite liberal with the happy gas. I can find the name for you if you want...
    6. Gym: There's a great council gym in Marrickville that has glass walls that open up to the park and overlook the swimming pool - but could be a bit far?
    7. Massage: There's a lovely chain called 'Nature's Energy' they have a few locations - all again inner west - they generally can fit you in and their therapists are great.
    8. Pedicure: there are tons and tons of Nail bars all over Sydney now - Sydney now seems to be awash with nail bars and fro-yo outlets so I reckon just try a few until you find one you like.
    9. Hairdresser: I haven't personally been, but my more follicly adventurous friends go to Ambo Ars in Newtown - nothing natural happenin' in there! http://www.amboars.com.au/
    Just my two cents

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This is so awesome and so helpful! The massage chain sounds perfect, as does the hairdresser! And a dentist that's heavy on the happy gas? YES PLEASE! Shoot me an email if you don't mind - jorpins_blog@yahoo.com.au (I tried to reply via email but no luck...so hopefully you pick this comment up)

  7. There are more and more bike paths in Sydney.
    Info here - http://sydneycycleways.net/
    The inner east may be a bit hilly but that may be OK for you. (sorry just read back and you asked for flattish!)
    You can do little rides in Centennial park and Sydney park.
    There is a great ride from Olympic park to Botany bay which you can join at places like Tempe.
    A bit further west is a nice ride around Iron Cove.
    Yep, but first you need a bike!
    Welcome to Sydney : )

    1. Hello! Thank you! That website is so great, very helpful! Bookmarked + I'll definitely be using it (once I get my bike!!!)

  8. The best hair colour I've gotten is at Doppleganger Hair in Newtown. They are not cheap but they will do any unnatural hair colour thing you want and it will last and look awesome! And the stylists are lovely. :) http://www.doppelgangerhair.com/‎

    I go to the GPs at Your Doctors, who have practices in both Summer Hill and Leichhardt. I see Linda Taoube, but I've rarely seen a GP there I didn't like. They run a great practice and appointments are nearly always on time. I know they have a few really lovely women's health GPs so you could probably find one that suits you. http://www.yourdoctors.com.au/

    Welcome to Sydney!! Have fun getting to know our lovely city. :)

    1. Thank you! These both sound fabulous (especially the hairdressers)!

  9. My food tip - check out the eveleigh markets if you love food.
    Photography classes check out Australian Centre for Photography!
    Enjoy getting acquainted with Sydney!


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