Folk Byron Bay

1/399 Ewingsdale Rd, Byron Bay NSW 2481

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WEBSITE


You’ll mistaken this charming cafe as somebody’s home, with a cool blue roof, white wooden panels surrounded by some leafy greens. Folk is a well-known, frequently Instagrammed cafe in Byron Bay, just a few minutes away from Belongil Beach. There is not much information on Folk through their website, however their value and commitment is to serve local and ethically made vegetarian meals, whilst also being environmentally conscious.

Visited Folk for brunch, on an empty stomach and coffee-free, to ensure I get to taste what they have to offer. I came across Folk through searching online and Instagram, cafes most people had visited. Folk was no exception to an ‘Instagrammable’ cafe, from their colourful, healthy-look bowls and bohemian-styled seating areas. Plus, I heard their coffees were pretty decent. Parked on the side of the road, walked in with no reservation and sat down at an empty table out on the veranda. The inside was gorgeous, splashed with wood, patterned rugs, hanging plants and white paint, it made Folk a truly relaxing place to start the day. There is plenty of space inside, limited and a bit narrow on the veranda. There’s a little picnic spot in the front, that’s filled with pattered pillows, a floor table which I’m sure so many people have taken pictures for their social media.

Service was friendly and not surprisingly laid-back, with our coffee coming out first and our food following shortly after. The ambience as you can already guess was calm, filled with friends and couples who dressed typically of people who visited Byron Bay. You’ll see what I mean, just do a quick online search! I love the timber bench tops and stools against the white finishes, it really fits the feel of the place. Oh did I forget to mention its next to a holiday park? I’d imagine it would get busy during the holidays or when there’s a festival. The menu is mainly filled with vegetarian bowls, with cheese and eggs making a side feature. Aside from locally-produced bowls, there are dishes that can be eaten at anytime of the day and are quite filling. Although, I did find my dish lacking in flavour. You won’t be disappointed with the coffee milk options here, from full cream, almond, almond, cashew and more! The cool thing is that you don’t have to pay extra for the milk type too. Priced on the mid-range, which is not surprising if they’re using organic and local produce and ingredients.

Folk is a charming, sun-filled cafe that is contemporary and with the times of catering nutritious, wholesome and locally produced vegetarian meals. With plenty of outdoor and indoor space to offer, away from a busy road but not too far away from points of interest, Folk is a beaut of a place to dine, chat and relax. Nothing beats a cafe that ticks all the right laid-back boxes.

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Estate 88 – Premium Coffee

5/171 Power street, Glendenning 2761 NSW

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WEBSITE


Estate 88 is a coffee bean supplier, that sources 100% Arabica beans. Estate 88 aims to ensure high quality coffee is served to its customers, where its Single Origin is targeted for black coffee lovers and their Signature Blend is catered for milk coffee lovers.

Estate 88 is set up within a creative lounge space in the west of Sydney, Glendenning. They claim it to be the ‘first specialty coffee lounge in Western Sydney’. A bold statement that is well deserved, as the choice of placement could not have been better. The cafe is set up gorgeously mixed with concrete, washes of clean white and straight lines. The space is further filled with handmade timber furniture which are softened with the comfiest cushions. The added greenery adds to the softness and natural aesthetic of the creative space.

We ordered two iced black coffees to start the day ahead. I did not have any beans I wanted necessarily, just a strong iced black. The barista delivered, the espresso was extremely dark yet smooth. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember the coffee to having slight hints of fruity fragrance adding to its richness. Although dark, it was not overbearingly bitter. The Nutella-filled donut and chocolate croissant, I felt came short to my taste buds. All were moderately priced and I probably won’t be ordering these two pastries in the future again. There was not a great selection when we came in.

Although the space was small, it felt comfortable. Sitting in a well-thought-out space in arms distance to a passionate cafe, I can see Estate 88 becoming a cafe staple in locals’ coffee books. A little treat for interstate and international travellers alike.

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Bondi Booty Bands

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BONDI BOOTY

Since we’re all at home and have all these restrictions in place, makes visiting a gym impossible. That shouldn’t stop you from working out though! To add the challenge and resistance to my glute workouts, I needed a range of strengths.

I actually came across this set from an influencer, who had highly recommended this product. From inside the small black bag, came 4 types of resistance bands, all in different colours. The lightest is the 25kg, then the 40kg, 60kg and lastly which I find difficult to use is the 75kg.  All the bands came in their own plastic cover and I find the black bag to be super useful, you can just pack your bands and in it and go! In the purchase, I was also given free access to Bondi Booty’s ‘Bondi Building Bible’, which contains recipes and exercises. The bands are 100% made out of pure latex, which helps the band not slip.

The tension of the bands are perfect for me, because it provides the challenge I am looking for. You can really feel the difference in tension between the bands, so the fact that they are so noticeably different, you are able to build your strength with this set. I’m between the medium and heavy at the moment, where medium is used for high rep workouts and the heavy band is used when I’m doing low reps. The bands are not extremely stretchy, so I find it great to use for glute workouts, thighs and maybe for some top exercises. Not being too stretchy is actually awesome, as you can really feel the intensity of the resistance. I’m not sure with the measurements, but if you lean on the thicker side, the circumference of these bands might be too narrow for you.

I’ve been using these bands religiously and I don’t think I need a new set anytime soon. The resistance strengths between the bands are spread out perfectly for me, I can’t get past the heavy band! The quality is great, no tears and the width helps it not scrunch up when being used. I find the width perfect for me, because it helps provide the resistance to target the glutes. I would definitely buy this again and maybe gift it to someone who does not have a booty band set yet. The price was insanely affordable for such a quality product.

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Chatkazz

Shop 4/14-20 Station Street East, Harris Park NSW, Parramatta, New South Wales

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WEBSITE | FACEBOOK


Chatkazz is located next to the bustling Parramatta CBD, in Harris Park. There is limited parking; I recommend taking a train to Parramatta station, as the walk from the station is only about 2 minutes.

The restaurant specialises in Indian street food, from chapatta chat, south Indian, chatkazz de parathe, pizza, Mumbai roadside specials and Bombay Chinese dishes. I forgot what dishes we purchased that night, but overall the quality was delicious! The sweetness in the dishes were tastefully done right. The texture of the curry was creamy and had so much flavour and fullness to the taste. I really appreciate fresh watermelon juice and the juice I got was perfect. Service was attentive, friendly and the dishes came out in a timely manner. With so many dishes to choose from, definitely pace yourself and try a few! I love seeing the orange, reds, yellows and brown colours of Indian cuisines, it just looks so appetising.

Chatkazz has two branches, the other in Bella Vista. There are plenty of tables, both inside and outside the restaurant, great for families, couples and friends to dine in. On a busy night, the restaurant sure does get loud, but it adds to the almost homeliness ambience of the place. Price is mid-range and serving size of most dishes is perfect for two people.

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A-Team’s Kitchen

4/52 Rooty Hill Road North, Rooty Hill NSW

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FACEBOOK


Located along Weston Lane, you’ll find ample parking and it’s less than a 3 minute walk from Rooty Hill station. I believe A-Team’s Kitchen has been at the current location for 2+ years, however have re-branded and re-named the restaurant. I liked the relaxed feel, simple interior reminiscent of food eateries in the Philippines.

Specialising in authentic Filipino meals, desserts and has a coffee-maker for coffee lovers! I would have loved to taste their own version/creation of taho. The mass-produced taho lacked in sweetness and freshness. Though can’t complain, it melds well after a heavy feed. You will find all the classics here, from rice meals, main dishes and BBQ meat sticks! It was glossing in oil and surprisingly it didn’t taste oily at all, it was sweet and tender. Just scroll through the glorious food below, try not to drool.

Averagely priced, it has positioned itself as an ultimate food stop, when you’re craving for that comfort food! I highly recommend their turon, it was amazing! Sweet whilst being soft inside and it’s a decent size. A-Team’s Kitchen is the type of restaurant you’d come back to again and again.

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Burger Head

17/98 Henry St, Penrith NSW

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WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM


I just love when Western Sydney picks up its food game! When this little gem opened up, offering burgers, chips, beer, tasty beef  and ample seating, I was super excited. The feel of burger point is similar to food establishments you would find in the CBD, however its menu definitely considers the crowd out west.

I did forget what I ordered, so I’ll give you a general idea of what they offer. You will find 4 basic yet scrumptious sides to start your meal, such as their mash and gravy, crispy tenders, shoe string fries and their liquid cheese. I found their gravy ok, it is more on the lighter tasting side with more mash. I do remember the burger I had was definitely satisfying, the bun used was soft which just paired smoothly with the filling. The beef was done perfectly, was juicy and *sigh* just good. Loved the shoe string fries for sure! You can add extras if you need a bit more and they have smaller burgers for the kiddies.

Burgers are priced from $15-$18 and sides from $4-$8. Food came out within 5-8 minutes, mind you the time we went, it was pretty packed. Make sure to bring your ID if you plan to buy a beer or two.

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The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

7/3 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW

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WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK


Right on the popular and ever bustling town of Byron Bay, you won’t miss it, is Balcony. Make sure to book prior and request to have a seat on the balcony.

After going up a flight of stairs, you will be greeted by a beautiful open floor setting, white rustic furniture and busy waitstaff. The place is filled with beachgoers, laid back but trendy diners, either celebrating a day out on the beach, a birthday or a social gathering! I went during dinner, just when the sun was setting, so it was oozing with bright colours but with a romantic touch.

Balcony’s menu offers a wide selection of oysters, seasonal flavours,  tapas, salads, charred and bone pieces, lamb, crab… just check out their menu here.They serve during breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got ourselves some oysters, which was delish by the way! Ordered their broccolini, chicken lollipops, cauliflower popcorn and the salt cod croquettes. By the time we got our new york cheesecake and coconut sago, we were overly satisfied.

I’d say overall the food items were done right, it was all tasty and not overly oily or fried. It was a perfect balance of softness and crispy. I now look back and wonder, gosh we ordered way too many fried items. If we were to go back, I’d try their lamb shoulder or crispy skinned ocean trout! The most memorable is their oysters and the sauces that came with it. Their cheesecake lacked unfortunately the “cheesiness”, was a bit over it after 3 bites.

Food and drinks were served on time, the setting was tastefully done and shout out to our waitstaff that night Jay! Do try their cocktails, nothing beats cocktails after a day exploring the area.

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Rain Forest Apartment・Binna Burra

Binna Burra, NSW, Australia

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VIEW | 1 BEDROOM | 2 BEDS | 1 BATH


Peacefully perched in the hinterlands, imagine sleepy hills and a single road lined with trees. It was a perfect sanctuary from the lively Byron Bay. It will take approximately 15 minutes to drive to Byron Bay and you are also situated around lovely historic towns.

After greeted by the host, a quick run down was provided, showing where important items are located, supplies and that the outside lights are to be switched on as it is pitch black at night. Your car won’t be covered, as the car can only be parked literally in front of the apartment. Everything was thought of with this apartment, from the torches, hangers, towel heat rack, beach chairs, umbrellas, basic morning food and extra towels. We were greeted with a cute little blackboard greeting us, along with white wine! The apartment is perched under the main home, so you can hear muffled footsteps above. Though I do think they were aware of this, as it was not frequent. Newspapers were provided to check out what was happening during our stay. You literally did not have to bring anything, but yourself to this gorgeous apartment.

What I loved about this apartment, was the tranquility, throughout the day and night. Also, that the hosts provided us with complete privacy. The queen bed was heavenly, I appreciated the separate vanity table and the spacious floor space in the bedroom! The only thing I would suggest is putting some curtains/blinds in the living room, because if you’re like me who is afraid of looking out into the dark, this will freak you out a bit.

You can see from the images below, the interior was purposely thought of.

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Federal Coffee Palace

350 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000

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Whilst on the hunt looking for a brunch cafe, we stumbled upon this place after a not-so-quick stop at H&M. Federal Coffee Palace is located under the elegant, grand arches of Melbourne’s GPO.

We sat outside nearby the warmers, whilst being attended to by the friendly staffs. They had an array of choices, which is not too different from other cafes. Their coffee though was perfect! Nothing too fancy, but was an easy fill before the long day ahead.

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Hers: Grilled Vegetable Melt – with romanesco sauce and Tasmanian brie

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His: Belt Burger $12 – Turkish bun with bacon, tomato relish, fired egg and iceberg lettuce

RATE: 2/5

Ettalong Beach

From the 10th to the 12th of July, E and I decided to squeeze in a little vacation to a spot in Central Coast, Sydney. We decided to check out Ettalong Beach, where it was blissfully calm and relaxed, different from the concrete maze of the city. Even though we planned to go on a trek, didn’t happen, because we quite enjoyed the comforts beneath the sheets in a new town.

It was a change that was needed, from the constant hustle and stresses of appointments who wouldn’t want to relax? For me, it is important to have these “time-offs” with only people you trust, it can be anywhere really.

There will be a future post of the apartment we stayed at as well as the restaurants/cafes we stopped by. It is a quiet town, where you instantly feel safe. From what I saw it was majority elderlies and some young adults. The area where we stayed at had a town centre, where their only cinema was located [quite small but beautiful inside] and elegant restaurants inside. It was the market that was held on the weekends, that brought vibe and colours – it was breathtaking inside!

VLOGhttps://youtu.be/gyo7hl08RNg

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~ MJ