Staycation : Little Japan

Happy Friday everyone! (: Sorry for the lack of post as I was away for the long weekend on a staycation with the Mr at Daylesford! I decided to give myself a break from doing anything and just concentrated on spending quality time with the hubs. I have to say, it was awesome! We were so excited as it was our first time going on a staycation and also exploring Daylesford, doing touristy things and trying the different cuisines they had to offer. I really couldn’t ask for more.

Because we had such a great time, I am going to use the next few posts to share with all of you what we did during the 3 days in the beautiful spa heaven, Daylesford. Hope you will enjoy and let the journey begin! (:

For those who don’t know, Dayeslford is just slightly more than an hour drive away from Melbourne. We were so blessed cause the day we drove up, the weather was just beautfiul – cloudless blue skies and the sun was shinning brightly! The long weekend couldn’t come at a better time.

The mr found and booked the most beautiful place for our stay : Shizuka Ryokan. It was like Japan hidden within Hepburn Springs! The moment we arrived, you could tell everything was going to be authentic! The architecture, the stone walkways and the best thing is, many of their staff are people from Japan doing holiday work! They were all really polite and warm, making us feel welcomed the moment we walked through the main door.

To get to our rooms that are behind glass doors for privacy, we had to walk through the lobby and dining area where breakfast would be served every morning. I absolutely adored the round hanging lights that covered the whole ceiling! If our lights weren’t fitted in when we bought it, I would have gotten similar ones. hehe

The rooms surrounds this beautiful zen garden that looked like it’s been worked o everyday just to make sure it stays perfect! Just looking at it makes me feel happy. Don’t really know why but I like it! hehe

Shizuka Ryokan is a spa retreat that customers go to relax, rejuvenate, indulge (in the spa treatments and food) and just be sucked into the tranquility of the environment. Because of that, the rooms are not equipped with television or any other form of distraction. It was great cause the mr and I were allowed to have heart to heart talks. Definitely something every couple should do!

I have to admit, when I first entered the room, I was a little shocked at the size of it. It is definitely smaller than your usual hotel room, but I really loved how cosy it feels! The whole room was covered with soft tatami mats and behind the delicate shoji screens was a small balcony that opens to a really pretty private garden. I couldn’t stop smiling and just kept snapping away on my phone! No doubt my favourite part of the room! (:

Our room came with a spa bath that we could use anytime before 10pm to not disrupt other guests’ rest. It overlooks the garden as well so while you enjoy the jacuzzi, you also get to enjoy the greens. The ultimate tranquility. We were also given lavender salts to use while having a bath. It definitely smelled amazing! Love how calm lavender makes you feel. The hotel also provides sandalwood bar soaps. Definitely super pampered this trip!

Once we settled in, we were served with some hot green tea and some matcha short bread. The short bread was delicious, I wish I had more! haha But that’s because I am a sucker for short bread. I think it’s the butter. Just love how it melts in your mouth, and these leave a delicate matcha flavour on my tongue after! YUM! Did you see a small white box at the corner with ribbons? Our package came with a box of famous truffles from the Chocolate Mill! WHEEEE! (: Will talk more about that in my next post! hehe

So back to the hotel. hehe We were booked in for a massage later that afternoon before dinner, so we had an hour to burn before our 60 minutes of bliss! hehe The mr started reading his book and I continued snapping photos. haha This is the shot I love of the mr #likeaboss! (:

Of course I couldn’t take any shots of when I’m getting my massage, but let me tell you. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. As I wrote on my form that I felt tightness on my shoulders and upper back, she really tried her best to help me feel less tension! Plus although we were booked in for just a normal relaxation massage, they used hot stones to help release the tension too! Amazing! Hot stone massages are my absolute favourite! I also learned an interesting fact, the area just abvoe your first ear piercing is connected to your shoulder and upper back. So when feeling sore, give it a soft squeeze and it would release that tension. Interesting aye? hehe  So I was super happy and felt totally relaxed after and definitely was ready for our 4 course banquet dinner (:

When we returned to our room, our room was transformed and shifted our tables to the side, to set up the traditional japanese futon beds! How comfy does it look? If not for the banquet, I would have just slept through the night hehe

So just in case you’re wondering, how come there is no food picutres, here they come! The package the mr got for us included a japanese feast, not to mention a bottle of champagne and red wine! haha We were given a choice to either have it in our room or in the dining area. But we chose to have it in the privacy of our sleeping quarters. hehe Course by course, the staff would politely knock on our doors, before serving us and explaining each course to us in detail.

Our first course was a selection of sushi and sashimi with a side of soba salad with sesame dressing. It was too pretty to eat if you ask me! And it felt like ages since we had sushi in this form, cause those you get from sushi sushi is a whole roll. These are much more delicate. It was actually my first time having inarizushi (sweet beancurd skin) and I really liked it! It wasn’t just stuffed with plain rice, but seasoned with seaweed and bonito flakes I think! Delish!

The second course is a medley of vegetable and prawn tempura. The batter was thin, light and really crispy. It was accompanied by a side of dipping sauce with grated ginger and daikon. As a kid, I used to only order tempura when I dined at Japanese restaurants. So when there was a course of tempura, I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I couldn’t stop chomming down everything. hehe

The third course was the hotpot course of beef sukiyaki, so I was expecting burners, raw food and cooking it on our own. haha But it was served all cooked and ready to be eaten! All that was needed to be done was to crack the egg in the bowl, beat it and dip the tender beef pieces into the egg before enjoying them. The beef pieces were so good, but I did think the broth was a tad bit too sweet for my liking. But it’s not just the one from here, I think that of all sukiyakis I’ve had. hehe

Our final course is no doubt something sweet to end the night on a high note : a trio dessert plate ! My favourite was the lemon lime cheesecake as it had a kick to it, the citrus flavour really stood out! The red azuki meringue had red azuki paste folded through the meringue so when you cut through it, it was actually pink on the inside! Really pretty. hehe The mr loved the chocolate and ginger ice cream! hehe I think he just loves anything ice cream to be honest, our freezer would be a judge of that. hehe

We were definitely super happy by the end of the first day. (: You could just tell from our smiles! hehe So if you’re deciding on where to go for a short trip, do consider staying here if you want to have a feel of staying in Japan! You won’t be disappointed!

PS : Just wanna thank the mr for planning this staycation. We both really needed it and it was really awesome being able to spend time with you with no distractions! 

Stay tuned for more eating and exploring adventures! Have a great weekend everyone! x

Remember to always cook and bake with love.

The Good Loaf Sourdough Cafe

I love roadtrips. I don’t know bout you, but I ALWAYS look forward to going on one. Regardless on how far or near they are. When my parents were here, they decided to head to Bendigo, since it’s different from the usual Great Ocean Road or Mornington Peninsula we usually go to when they are here. I was super pumped!

It was a really great day for a roadtrip. The sun was shining brightly and there wasn’t a single sign that it might rain at all. The 2 hour drive was really smooth (and straight!) The mr had alot of fun driving there. His first roadtrip drive since he passed his driving!

We made sure we left my place in time to try out The Good Loaf Sourdough Cafe in the city of Bendigo! It was showing on a program in Singapore, and was one of the places on the “have-to-go” list. haha

The Good Loaf Sourdough Cafe

Add : 404 Hargreaves Street  Bendigo VIC 3550

Tel : (03) 5444 2171

And we made it just in time! They open till 3pm on Saturdays and close Sundays! So remember to make your way down to Bendigo a little earlier cause this place sells the most amazing freshly baked bread! They sit nicely in a corner and is not like the older squarish buildings, but round! (:

We saw all the bread that was displayed and couldn’t resist buying them. We bought pumpkin sourdough bread as well as the raisin and walnut loaf! Amazing when warmed up and with some butter. NOMS!

So so true! I found this quote in the toilet. haha But I totally agree! Who could resist freshly baked bread? I definitely can’t! The Good Loaf serves amazing breakfast/brunch too! There are quite a number of choices to choose from and also a Saturday special : French Toast with caramelised bananas and vanilla mascarpone. Let me tell you, the special is SO GOOD.

Yes I know it looks sinful. But after a 2 hour drive and working at for the past 5 days, you should reward yourself with this sweet treat! Worth all the calories. haha (: Besides, you don’t have this everyday do you? hehe

We also ordered their bacon and tomato frittata with a side of salad and it was so good. They made bacon cups and had a whole egg in the middle. It was like a kid eating Kinder Surprise and finding a toy in the middle; I was beaming when I cut into it and found a whole egg! hehe Their salad was really yummy! It had a combination of barley, red quinoa, walnuts, capsicum, avocado, raisins and rocket leaves! So gonna try making this at home. hehe Yummy and healthy. Best combination!

Even though this looks like a normal sandwich, this bacon, egg and homemade pesto sandwich was delish! The adding of pesto was just genius! Brought this sandwich to a whole new level of yums!

The Mr picked the savoury muffin and it was delicious! Really different form the usual sweet muffins we have. Having it is making me want to bake my Broccoli and Cheese muffins! mmm!

Butter just goes well with everything aye? (:

This is something that caught my eye the moment I looked on the menu board. Indian baked beans! A slight tinge of curry powder and chilli with a dollop of yogurt! Something different but in a good way! Not the usual tomato based baked beans. We all really enjoyed it!

I love love love how they serve their milk in an old school milk bottle! (: Mum loves her long black with warm milk. She said if the milk is not warm, then her coffee would not be as hot anymore! haha

Of course, I had my chai soy latter and it came with a packet of honey! I have to say I’m very reliant on my chai latter. It’s one of my morning essentials. (:

So if you’re a bread lover like me, it’s definitely worth the roadtrip down to Bendigo and try their breads! (: You and your bellies will not regret it! You have my word!