Tessellated tiles creep upwards, steam curls into the air before you as you exhale into the heat of a giant bathtub – fragranced with incensed oils. The only sound to impede upon your solace comes from the soft popping of the bubbles that luxuriate around you, and the patter of rain on the roof. Your own private souk.
This is how I began the second day of the Aquablogger getaway in my luxurious Aquabelle studio’s opulent ensuite, featuring the most incredible giant stone bath and gleaming wall of mediterranean-blue Moroccan tiling. If you haven’t read about our first day (featuring more luxuriating, natch, and bloggers you’ll love to meet), get up to date here. Starting the day with a bath while outside the waves churn and the skies turn grey is probably the perfect way to enjoy a wintery ocean getaway – something I did after a brisk walk along Rye beach and its iconic pier. Underwater divers bobbed along under the green waters, one of them waving at me as they descended (I assume I had struck a slack-jawed expression of wonder at their adventurousness and laissez-faire attitude to the weather).
Aquabelle’s kitchen and dining zone, where I enjoyed my morning bowl of porridge oats and banana while cheering for the Socceroos at the World Cup. It’s good to holiday in a place you can invite friends over for a proper breakfast (as my fellow-Aquablogger, Cecylia enjoyed) or afternoon tea in comfort. The full kitchen has all you’d need to bake up scones for an oceanic high tea, or even a whip up a roast come to think of it.
Enter the Aquabelle-souk. Morocco via Rye.
Wearing: Target dress and healthy glow that comes from a good night’s sleep lulled by the crashing waves on the seashore.
My perfect Aquablogger Breakfast: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 cup full cream milk, sugar and cinnamon to taste. Sometimes I add raisins or candied orange peel for extra sweetness. Bring your concoction to the boil and let simmer until the oats are softened to your liking. Don’t be getting those oats that are ‘quick cooking’ – for ultimate roughage use the whole oats. I don’t often get into intestinal health on the Ruby Slipper blog, but trust me – your belly will thank you!
The treats just kept coming on our Peninsula getaway, with an invitation to dine at popular new Mount Martha restaurant Volpino Pizzeria. Headed up by Chef Nathan Torrens, this traditional-style pizzeria also does a mean line of perfect home-made fresh pasta dishes, contorni and primi. As the rains lashed the cute shopping village of Mount Martha, us Aquabloggers settled in for a leisurely lunch trying an array of Volpino’s fare – starting with this tasting platter of cured smallgoods (oh gosh, that jamon was so damn jammony!), anchovies ( my favorite) and cheeses. We rolled out of Volpino, stuffed with pizza, pasta, beautifully prepared seafood and creamy desserts. Thankyou to team Volpino for treating us Aquabloggers so kindly!
Top: With Lilli of Frocks and Frou Frou, Leeyong from Style Wilderness and Cecylia of Cecylia.com. Middle: Volpino’s wood-fired pizza in bianco with fragrant ham and basil. Bottom: With Alexia Petsinis of Pascal et al.
Chef Nathan Torrens joined with us after our meal, telling us about the provenance of his fare (most of which is local), his culinary influences and the story of Volpino. Having just celebrated its first anniversary, Volpino is popular both with local diners and weekend tourists.
Kindly, Nathan even invited us into the kitchen (I’d never been in an industrial kitchen before). Just check out his bad-boy of a woodfire pizza oven! It was piping hot, the coals still glowing and smoking – the perfect environment to craft a crispy-yet-juicy Volpino pizza.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of our resident thrifty goddess upon whom the spirits of designer goodness shines. On-point in outfits almost entirely altered by herself (often enhanced with designer goodies uncovered at op-shops and markets), Leeyong of Style Wilderness channels A/W’14 Paris Fashion Week in a long plaid skirt and OTT accessories … including earrings from her new label Wilderness Bazaar – fashioned from bombshell casings in Laos. Ultra light and packing maximum tribal-fashion punch! Get your paws on a pair via her online shop.
Next time you’re on the Peninsula, try Volpino in Mount Martha on for size – it’s only a quick drive from Aquabelle and you’ll be rewarded with delicious Italian fare to rival anything in Melbourne inner-north. You can stay up to date with Volpino on their Facebook page, too.