Time – how quickly it flies. Was it really nearly three weeks ago that me and a group of Melbourne blogger lasses temporarily took over the Mornington Peninsula? If you didn’t catch my first post of the ‘Bloggers on the Peninsula’ series, click here. On our second day, we woke bright and early to a sunny beachside morning, snug in our Aquabelle beds (comfy, by the way).
Despite it being cool and crisp, a morning of alfresco Calligraphy Yoga (image below, zen eh?) followed by soaking in the steaming Peninsula Hot Springs was just the thing to warm up in the autumn sunlight. If you’ve never been to the Peninsula Hot Springs, you’re missing out on a good *and relaxing* thing. Only an hour and a half up the freeway, a few hours soaking with your girlfriends followed by lunch at a winery – weekend getaway done! While at the Peninsula Hot Springs you can also indulge in gentle Calligraphy Yoga ( kind of like tai chi mixed with gentle, flowing yoga) or take advantage of the extensive spa facilities. There is also a hammam onsite which is delicious to steam away in before dipping into the cool plunge. Ahhh!
After all that physical activity and bathing, our little tummies were grumbling. Off we went on our next pitstop – The Alley Cafe and Felix in Dromana. These two conjoined businesses were undoubtedly the ‘find’ of the weekend.
The Alley is like the best bits of Brunswick East’s make-do vintage cafe aesthetic mixed with Gertrude Street’s breakfasty delights. Decorated richly (how beautiful is this hootin’ tastic wall of bird images?) and enjoying a small-but-perfect menu of foods suitable for brekky, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and all that’s in-between, our group enjoyed breakfast bagels stuffed with salmon, a particularly delicious egg and bacon brekky roll, muesli, croissants, wet polenta cakes, muffins…. I need a lie-down just thinking about it.
How sweet is The Alley’s gorgeous host Jasmine? If you could package that kind of style and Anne-of-Green-Gablesness, I’d buy it.
Cecylia and Leeyong grinning like cheshire cats at the prospect of the table-load of treats from The Alley to come. We discovered from Tani (right, below – he’s an ex-scientist dontcha know) that most of the produce is sourced locally. Local bacon (man, it was crispy), fruits, cakes made by Mum (let’s face it, Mums make the best cakes and muffins) and a solid local-batch coffee.
I hope these two have some kind of Frankie-tastie wedding and lots of beautiful babies. Jasmine and Tani are poppets and The Alley is undoubtedly the place to have breakfast when you’re down on the Mornington Peninsula. Six out of five stars! Extra for their cuteness.
Max is the dapper young gent who runs Felix – unique, antique, boutique. Felix is in the same space as The Alley, making for a fun morning or afternoon of nomming and browsing. Filled with antiques, chintzy charming ephemera, new takes on seaside artwork (see the Dr. Who style wall features below!) and all kinds of sweet stuff, Felix is a gem. They have an amazing range of Olieve & Olie-brand skin products including an olive-oil body bar that left my skin lavender fragrant and soft.
After all that eating, it was definitely time for a walk. Luckily, Aquabelle is literally across the road from the Rye pier and beach. A brisk walk ensued!
That afternoon, everybody did they own thing. Some napped (being a proper girls sleep-over, we stayed awake far too late into the night before), others ran or exercised, some watched Collingwood on Foxtel *ahem*, others wrote. It was nice to have some quiet time before our dinner at the Mornington Peninsula’s newest and most popular new pizzeria – Itali.Co. The motto of Itali.Co? “Eat pizza with your hands – it’s sexy!” Frankly, who am I to argue?
Itali.Co is positioned perfect in Sorrent on the corner of ‘main street’ overlooking the bay. Mr Ruby Slipper and I have been to Itali.Co several times over the Summer just past, enjoying their coffee, panini and challenging one another to games of ‘Scopa’. Itali.Co have also just opened a sister-restaurant in St Kilda which has received excellent reviews. Leeyong and I (Leeyong in rather amazing jewellery – she’s quite a dame!) look happy – about to enjoy salads enriched with buffalo mozzarella, pizzas with tender-yet-chewy crusts (I had the bunga-bunga, Berlusconi style) and obscenely delightful desserts.
When bloggers visit a restaurant, a mini-takeover can sometimes occur. Fellow-diners looked shocked at our happy snapping festival – but really, with food this lovely and photographic, who could resist?
Desserts include fresh gelato topped with persian candy floss and – my favorite – Nutella pizza with a blog of vanilla gelato on the side.
Make sure to visit Itali.Co in Sorrento next time you’re on your very OWN girl’s weekend at Aquabelle on the Mornington Peninsula. I may or may not have taken one of these big-boy Nutellas home with me. Kitsch ornament for my casa AND tasty goodness for months to boot.