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Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Darling at The Star, Sydney: HOTEL REVIEW

Staying at The Darling at The Star in Sydney's Darling Harbour ticks ALL the boxes if you're wanting a true Sydney staycation.

If you're a dedicated Sydney-sider, but don't get on a plane much (thank you life and deadlines!) The Darling is truly THE place to go for a five star place to rest your weary Sydney.

More on the Josie's Juice hotel stay, but first, feast your eyes...

The Darling foyer:

And, the penthouse at The Darling:

The Darling is located on the edge of Sydney Harbour, and is one of the first hotels in the world to achieve the global mark of excellence in luxury hotels, The International Five Star Hotel Standard.

We will let that rest with you for a minute.

Five star luxe in your hometown, Sydney people! (Or, if you're a visitor, we have found your Sydney home away from home. You're welcome).

And somehow, The Darling still feels utterly accessible, with staff supremely approachable, and there is such a relaxed vibe throughout, from front desk to porters to room service to... everyone!

A little kit to help you enjoy stay...

Breakfast at Sokyo... it's a must!

Room service - late night nachos! SO good!

With the gorgeous Diane Glasson from The Star, at Sky Bar Terrace:

The Darling has been designed as a stand-alone hotel, with its own arrival experience, and when you arrive from the outside entrance (as opposed to via The Star itself) it truly does feel like you're sliding seductively into the sexy-as hotel precinct, with a masterfully designed foyer which is intended for lolling about and reading the paper and using the fantastic light and the arty props as a perfect foil for your selfies (oh... that's what WE used it for).

And then, the rooms...

I won't lie.

The last time I stayed overnight at The Star was eons ago and those hotel rooms do still exist inside The Star (when it was called Star City) and are lovely and comfy and beautifully appointed. (Plus there are three new bespoke rooms which are themed and beautifully appointed, and a romancer / gamer / 70s aficionado's heaven...)

The Darling, though, is another level.

From the 400 thread Egyptian cotton sheets and hand-picked pillow menu (gosh I love that in high end hotels), to the the holistic day spa and and handpicked furnishings inside, The Darling is aesthetically beautiful and we've got to admit, has you feeling super glam.

The Darling won world-wide acclaim after it was named the Best International New Hotel for Construction and Design at the prestigious International Hotel Awards and was included on the coveted annual list of the best new hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveller.

Gosh, take a bow The Darling! What an accolade.

The Darling is also the first Sydney hotel to be awarded a prestigious Forbes Five-Star rating. A Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating is the most coveted award in the global luxury travel sector. Properties awarded Five-Stars are considered outstanding and are often iconic with virtually flawless service and facilities.

Knowing this, and knowing this award was bestowed soon after Josie's Juice stayed at The Darling made us feel uber glam and special.

The Darling is two-part in its design. Having a distinctive inverted glass tower resting on a sandstone podium it features 171 of these stylish, spacious rooms, suites and penthouses, an infinity pool, gym and a 13 room luxury spa.

The rooms and suites are perfect only for the Sydney staycation-er, as well as guests visiting for business, as well as the discerning interstate or overseas holidayer, looking for a memorable world-class five-star experience, in one of the most unforgettable cities (and harbour precincts) in the world.


Head to Sokyo, a contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar.

We had a truly delicious breakfast here (after spending a fantastic night at the Skybar Terrace (open during the warmer months and perfect for drinks in the evening before or after dinner, or get substantial food or bar snacks), and some cheeky but delicious room service (pulled pork nachos, SO good, and white table cloth service style, wheeled in).

You simply must try the eggs benedict with hollandaise miso (oh yes, as good as you imagine - see below) from the menu, and indulge in the Japanese style breakfast smorgasbord (think traditional brekkie staples with a Japanese twist, and lotsa matcha), and languish on the banquettes (while deconstructing your big night before in the beautiful beast that is Sydney).

The Sokyo breakfast menu

Founded by Executive Chef, Chase Kojima, Sokyo turns seriously sexy at night, and features more than 80 unique, hand-crafted dishes designed to share. Sokyo has won:

- One Chef’s Hat – The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2017, 2016 &amp

- Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants – Australian Financial Review 2016 &amp

- Two Goblets – Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year 2016 &amp

- Chef of the Year: Chase Kojima – Tourism Accommodation Australia Awards for Excellence (NSW) 2015 Chef of the Year: Chase Kojima – Australian Hotel Association 

- National Awards for Excellence 2015 Award of Excellence – Wine Spectator Restaurant 

- Wine List Awards 2015

- Certificate of Excellence – TripAdvisor 2015

So, if you want a place to stay that is central to the fun in Sydney, so you can walk and explore the city centre and its surround, The Darling is your place.

Likewise, if you want a hub where you can do it all, and keep coming back for a refresh and a nap and go back and do more, Josie's Juice cannot think of a venue in Sydney other than The Darling where you can do just that.

See a show at the Lyric Theatre, get dressed up and enjoy dinner at Balla or Black, go jeans style and have a pizza and aperitivo at Pizzaperta (tell chef Donzelli we said hi!), food court it with style at Flying Fish or Gojima, sexy drinks at Black Bar and Grill, or at Cherry (with stunning views across Sydney Harbour and city skyline, or kick back and enjoy live music venue Rock Lily (with one of the largest selections of tequila in Australia!), or put on dancing shoes and go to the in-house nightspot, Marquee, a nightcap at Latitiude (menu + classic beverages), or put on your big girl pants and go eat big at Harvest Buffet.  Or Momofuku Seiōbo (David Chang's first restaurant outside of New York City). Or Asian food heaven at The CenturyThen go to The Darling Spa, revive and do it all again.

Phew, it's all here. Five out of five stars for The Darling!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Eva Longoria is pregnant!

Eva Longoria and husband Jose Bastón are expecting a baby, her rep confirmed to E! News. This will be the couple's first child together.

Eva and Jose. PHOTO: Getty

Longoria has been very open about wanting to have children of her own, while also praising being a stepmother to her husband's three children from a previous marriage, in past interviews.
And, her rep confirmed her baby is a boy!
"If it happens, it happens, if it's meant to be it would be a blessing," she told Ocean Drive magazine last year.
The 42-year-old has also said neither she nor her husband feel as though they've been missing out on certain aspects of parenthood simply because they hadn't had a child of their own.

"[My stepchildren] have been such a gift in my life," she told People magazine. "I don't feel like we're lacking because we don't have a baby."

Eva and Jose had a whirlwind wedding in May 2016.

HOLA! was first to break the news.

Eva was marred to Tony Parker from 2007 - 2011, and to Tyler Christopher from 2002 - 2004.

Here is the latest pic from Eva's Insta:

A post shared by Eva Longoria Baston (@evalongoria) on

Khloe Kardashian confirms pregnancy

It's official!

Khloe Kardashian is pregnant!

Her partner Tristan Thompson.

She confirmed the pregnancy on her Instagram page moments ago:

My greatest dream realized! We are having a baby! I had been waiting and wondering but God had a plan all along. He knew what He was doing. I simply had to trust in Him and be patient. I still at times can't believe that our love created life! Tristan, thank you for loving me the way that you do! Thank you for treating me like a Queen! Thank you for making me feel beautiful at all stages! Tristan, most of all, Thank you for making me a MOMMY!!! You have made this experience even more magical than I could have envisioned! I will never forget how wonderful you've been to me during this time! Thank you for making me so happy my love! Thank you to everyone for the love and positive vibes! I know we've been keeping this quiet but we wanted to enjoy this between our family and close friends as long as we could privately. To enjoy our first precious moments just us ❤️ Thank you all for understanding. I am so thankful, excited, nervous, eager, overjoyed and scared all in one! But it's the best bundle of feelings I've ever felt in my life! ❤️❤️❤️
A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Cobb & Co Boutique Hotel, Mudgee: HOTEL REVIEW

Josie's Juice is now a regular in Mudgee, and this beautiful hotel - Cobb and Co Boutique Hotel - has become our home away from home.

Owned by the ever friendly Ian Newton and his wife Judy Hall, don't be surprised if you get a full rundown of the hotel and its history when you check in. Everyone knows your name, cares about where you've come from, and wants to make your stay a pleasant one. If you want to know where to go while you're in Mudgee, just ask the staff who are knowledgable and helpful. Likewise, if you'd like to be left to your own devices they leave you be and you can have the kind of private time the hotel and location lends itself to. Ian and Judy are formerly proprietors of Oakfield Estate.

Erin Molan, guest at Cobb & Co Boutique Hotel, with Ian Newton

The history of Cobb and Co Boutique Hotel is obvious, and it's obvious as soon as you walk into the cobble stone courtyard.

It is here the horses were stabled in the days of stagecoaches, with original staircases leading up to the rooms.

The inviting ambiance of The Wine Glass restaurant stationed inside the courtyard makes for an easy choice for dinner, as well as their beautiful breakfasts, and lunches, and cheeseboards and drinks after an afternoon walking through Mudgee.

Once upon a time the upstairs loft was used to store fodder, and the hotel is expert at combining the modern with its beautiful heritage, plus a dash of good ol' fashioned service.

All of the rooms at Cobb and Co are furnished in glorious period style, complete with vintage fittings and fixtures, as well as beautiful vintage style furniture. Even the line is top notch.

Every room is a 'good one'! Each one has a Nespresso coffee pod machine, mini bar with a lovely selection of snacks, and you'll get premium Belgian chocolate on your pillow handmade by Judy herself, who is a master chocolatier. You can buy extras in the mini bar in your room, too!

The two bedroom apartment allows you to dine on your private balcony, with the room recently been re-decorated in impeccable taste by Judy (who also owned Oakfield Country Store on Sydney Road in Mudgee until 2008).

Want to cook? Both the one and two bedroom apartments contain a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities, perfect for cocooning couples and families. The hotel can also provide a breakfast package upon request, containing bread, bacon, eggs, juice and basics.

The location is central (walk through to Market Street, where some of the best restaurants and boutique shops are located) with a beautiful landscaped park across the road with a great playground for kiddies. It's also close to a supermarket, bottle shop, and local pubs and clubs. But, it's quiet and far enough from the main Mudgee hustle and bustle so you get good night's sleep. It's SO quiet and relaxing!

Come Saturday you can go to the nearby markets too and there are many festivals throughout the year to enjoy.

Local wineries are no more than 20 minutes' drive, and the staff can assist in booking tours if you'd like. Our fave, Gooree Park Wines, is not far at all.

Gooree Park also hosts one of the biggest Melbourne Cup race days in Australia, and certainly in the region, and this was our place to stay during this exciting time!

The hotel can also provide a complimentary airport shuttle upon request (which is subject to availability).

Always looking to improve the hotel, while maintaining its original charm, they have undertaken renovations in their new reception area, so guests feel extra welcome.

Want to know more? Check out the hotel site HERE.

Here are some photos from our stay here, and we can honestly attest - we LOVE Cobb & Co Boutique Hotel in Mudgee and will be back when we are next in Mudgee, in a heartbeat!