November 1, 2014

Cyborg_78cm_RedAs the holiday season is approaching, many people are making plans for their annual vacation. Once the destination has been selected, choosing the correct luggage to accompany you on the trip is one of the most important decisions to be made. Whether it’s a long trip overseas, or just a short get away somewhere local, luggage is one of the most important items on your check-list.

When planning travel, luggage should not be thought of as a last minute item. The type of luggage selected, can make or break a travel experience.

Whether your trip involves a bus tour, staying at different hotels each evening and a lot of luggage handling, or a resort where the luggage is only handled on arrival and departure, will impact your decision on the style and strength of luggage to be purchased.

Knowing the rules at airports and understanding the role of airlines with regard to your luggage, is another important issue that can make the difference between a stress-free holiday and one fraught with security problems. Travellers need to research luggage options, weight allowances and security requirements.

Cyborg_78cm_BlueIt’s important to choose luggage that’s instantly recognisable. A bright coloured case is a better security option. The majority of travellers have black luggage which takes longer to identify on a luggage carousel, especially when tired after a long-haul flight. The longer the case sits on the carousel, the greater the chance for someone else to take off with it. Bright coloured luggage may deter thieves, as they are probably less likely to take off with an item that attracts attention.

TSA security locks are a must, as these locks enable security staff to access your luggage for inspection. Airline security at all US and UK airports hold a universal key. Security staff have the right to break non-TSA locks if inspection is required, often rendering the luggage defective.

If any damage occurs to your luggage, be sure to make a claim within 24 hours. Even without having travel insurance, you may be able to make a claim with the airline for luggage damaged in transit. The airline is less likely to resolve the issue if you wait more than 24 hours or have already left the airport.

Cyborg_78cm_Carbon 2When shopping for luggage, it makes good sense to tailor your luggage to your destination. Hard cases, such as Paklite’s Cyborg range, are the most stylish, durable and lightest option. They are ideal for air travel, keeping belongings safe when the case gets knocked about. Another point to remember is that they will look the part if you are staying at a 5-star venue, whether it’s a hotel, resort or cruise.

Soft cases, as the name suggests, can be a little bit more forgiving when it comes to squeezing between train seats, through narrow passageways and into aircraft overhead cabins. Once back at home, they can fold completely flat for easy storage.

Sandra Tiltman



November 1, 2014

Stillery gin bar - InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

Double Bay will soon be back on the international map again, with the opening in November of the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay. This exciting development will feature 140 guest rooms and suites, a rooftop pool and lounge, destination restaurant and concept bar, as well as pillarless Grand Ballroom and exclusive Club InterContinental lounge and courtyard.

I can’t wait to try Stockroom, the elegant dining room that will be located on the first floor. Executive Chef Julien Pouteau and his team will source fresh ingredients each day from best-in-class producers, makers and farmers markets in Sydney and across Australia.

Stillery, the first concept gin bar in Sydney, will also be located on the first floor. Inspired by the rich distilling history of the local area, Stillery will focus on a growing collection of high-end local craft, imported, vintage and rare gin, poured behind a stunning seven metre long pale marble and blue leather clad bar. There will also be a selection of other spirits, tonics, craft ciders, boutique beers and world-class local NSW, Australian and imported wines.

Sandra Tiltman    


November 1, 2014


One of my favourite north side venues, The Botanist at 17 Willoughby Street, Kirribilli, recently launched their new Spring menu, so I was eager to pay them a visit to sample some of their new dishes.

DSC04051I started the evening with an Elderflower Lychee Martini, made with elderflower liquer, vodka, muddled lychees and lime. This alone was worth the drive over the Bridge.

The Botanist has a cosy bar area as you enter, leading into the large open plan restaurant, where you have the choice of small tables or sharing at communal style high tables.

We shared a delicious entrée of calamari in a light batter. It was such a generous portion that we did not need another entrée.

We also decided to share our main courses of Crispy Duck, Pear Chutney & Sesame Caramel and Roast Lamb Rump, Toasted Couscous & Ratatouille. Both dishes were sensational, but I think the tender lamb won out as my favourite.

DSC04062During our meal, we could not help watching all the great pizzas that the waiters carried as they walked past. Next visit I shall have to try one of these.

We could not leave without trying their famous dessert, “The Botanist Flower Pot” served to resemble a Flower Pot garden of chocolate soil & herbs. This dessert was like no other and consisted of sponge cake with layers of lemon curd, chocolate crumb, black sesame pannacotta, white chocolate “grass” and micro herbs. I am not sure how they will top this dessert.

As I said before, it’s definitely worth the drive over the Bridge.

Sandra Tiltman         Photos: John Pond