Our City Staycation at Holiday Inn Perth CBD

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I think the Holiday Inn has to be one of the best Perth hotels for a family stay in the city. Not only was the four and a half star hotel recently refurbished and is incredibly modern, it is also slap bang in the heart of the CBD, opposite the Central Park building on Hay Street, close to the pedestrian shopping malls, cafes and attractions.

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Chef, Little Chef and I were excited about our Holiday Inn staycation. I was there on assignment for Buggybuddys, Perth’s top kids website, who I also write for. We didn’t have time to travel anywhere for a break, so discovering our own city was a great alternative and we jumped at the opportunity to check out the Holiday Inn.

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We pulled our car up in the driveway at the side of the hotel, which is really convenient if you want to take advantage of their valet parking. We entered the lobby and were promptly checked in by the welcoming ladies at the front desk. Particular attention was paid to Little Chef, who was given an activity pack and told that there would be a special surprise if he completed the book, so he was totally on a mission to finish it!

Our Rooms

HolInnFamPic Credit: Holiday Inn Perth

We grabbed our overnight bags and electronic key and excitedly headed to our Family Room on the seventh floor. The Family Room features a massive king sized bed in the main area, which faces a large 48” flat-screen TV, perfect for lying in bed and watching a movie!

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There’s an adjoining separate bedroom (which we were stoked about!) with a further two single beds and a 32” flat-screen TV. There’s also a desk – where Little Chef quickly set to work on his activity book. It kept him entertained for ages!

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Honey Crème – Perth CBD

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Honey Creme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Perth’s love of ice cream and gelato just keeps on growing! Korean favourite “Honey Creme” is taking over the world and their very first Australian outlet has opened up in Perth’s CBD. Honey Crème, found on Barrack Street between the Hay and Murray Street Malls, is a soft serve lover’s paradise. While having a wander around the shops, Little Chef and I popped in to see what all the fuss is about.

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Honey Crème’s signature honeycomb flavour is unmistakably popular, though Little Chef had one of their special flavours in his sights. You’ll also find delicious (and wacky) flavours like bacon and chocolate, organic cotton candy, popcorn, cereal milk(?!), churros, tiramisu and macarons. If you’re feeling fancy, get a milkshake topped with organic cotton candy – the kids will love it.

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Little Chef devoured the scrumptious “Milo Reo” ice cream, a milo/oreo combo topped with a sugar cracker. He loved it, saying it was incredibly creamy and sweet. Their soft serve is made with premium fresh local milk and then sweetened with organic local honeycomb.

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It certainly beats a 50 cent cone, but priced from $5.50 they’re not as budget friendly! Essentially Honey Crème is a takeaway, but the tiny store does have two or three small tables inside if you prefer to sit and eat your ice cream.

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No matter which flavour you decide on, all of Honey Creme’s creations look just as good as they taste.

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Maison Staint-Honore, Swan Valley

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Maison Saint-Honoré Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s a truth bomb… for years I’ve been guilty of pronouncing the word “macaron” wrong! It’s “mac-a-ron” not “mac-a-roon” (coconut biscuit). Silly me…

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I had a #girlboss catch up with a couple of lovely ladies in the Swan Valley, coffee and notepads at the ready. I work from home now, freelancing with writing and social media, and these networking and “pep-talk” meetings are invaluable for sharing ideas and encouraging each other. Working on your own can be incredibly lonely!

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You Plate It

After a busy day working I often lose track of time. Suddenly 5pm arrives and I start panicking! What’s for dinner?!

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Perth small business “You Plate It” have made home cooking easy and enjoyable with their tasty recipes.

I had an email land in my inbox from the guys behind You Plate It – who deliver boxes of fresh local ingredients, along with recipes, so you can easily prepare a delicious meal in your kitchen. I was really keen to try out their concept and add a bit of excitement to our dinnertimes.

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How You Plate It works…

Delivery day are on Sundays, when everything we needed to prepare two delicious meals was delivered (for free!) right to our door. We were out at the time, but that’s ok, each box is insulated and has an ice pack inside, keeping the meat and veg very cold and fresh. The box is brimming with fresh produce, as well as recipe cards that include easy, step-by-step instructions and photos. The ingredients for each dish are packed in separate bags, so you just pop the bags in your fridge until you’re ready to cook it up a few days later.

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The ingredients are sourced from local WA farmers and family owned businesses, ensuring the freshest, highest quality produce available. You Plate It hand pick the ingredients, which are portioned, ready for adding to your recipe. As they say “Less mess. Less mistakes. Less waste.” Most of the You Plate It meals can be prepared in 35 minutes or less.

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Cooking With You Plate It

Cooking with You Plate It really appealed to me.

I’d love to tell you that I’m a domestic goddess, who has an exciting meal on the table each night. Nope. In our house we generally rotate between the same five or six meals – chicken salad, tacos, fish wraps, chicken curry, spaghetti bolognaise – you get the idea.

I don’t cook these dishes day in, day out because I love them (though I suppose they’re alright) I cook them because they’re quick, easy, healthy and Little Chef will eat them with minimum fuss. They don’t excite me. I choose “safe” dishes for the sake of a quiet dinner time without whining! I want to enjoy our family dinner time together, not have a battle at the dinner table.

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Choosing recipes from their website was so easy, everything sounded so delicious and not too difficult to cook.

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So what did I cook?

Dinner one, was balsamic pork medallions.IMG_8735

There’s not a lot of steps involved, I’m no Chef and I found the meal really easy to put together.

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The balsamic dressing, with capers and lemon really made it. I do admit I asked Chef to plate it up for me, as he would do a much better job!

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This had to be the favourite out of the two dinners, mainly because the crisp potato hash isn’t something I would usually cook. It was a big hit with all of us, especially the tasty pork fillet.

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Dinner two was a beef stir fry. This dish was so easy, as most of the veg was pre chopped.

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The step by step instructions are simple to follow.

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The meat isn’t your usual pre sliced stir fry beef, like you get at the supermarket. Here you‘re supplied with a juicy rump steak to slice up, ensuring a quality meal. We were really impressed with the quality of all the seasonal local produce, the meat in particular.

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And in no time we had a delicious tender beef stir fry, teaming with fresh veg and Asian flavours.

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Cooking with You Plate It made me realise that I don’t really mind cooking. What I don’t enjoy is thinking of what to cook each night and the monotony of cooking the same meals over and over again. You Plate It’s nutritionally balanced dishes change each week, so there’s always new tried and tested recipes that you’re guaranteed to love.

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What you’ll get out of You Plate It…

The boys really enjoyed our taste of You Plate It and I’d definitely recommend that you try it, they certainly take the hard yards out of meal preparation!

o   It takes the thinking out of meal planning.

o   Less time spent grocery shopping.

o   Preparation is a breeze with ingredients already portioned out – no wastage!

o   Hassle free cooking, with an easy to follow step by step method with pictures.

o   The feeling of organisation!

o   Experiment with a variety of cuisines and foods you haven’t tried before.

o   and best of all… bring back a little fun into your kitchen.

Thanks to the You Plate It team for letting us try your very tasty dinners!

To place an order or for more information on You Plate It, check out their website.

Find out if you live in their delivery area here… https://youplateit.com.au/delivery-areas

 

10 of The Best Hidden Coffee Spots in Perth’s CBD

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Where’s the best coffee in Perth’s CBD? You might have missed it! Down the city’s many laneways and arcades, you’ll find some hidden coffee spots that are not to be missed.

If you’re a street art fan like myself, and like a bit of culture with your caffeine, you will be able to spy some of Perth’s most vibrant works near some of these spots too. So follow the aroma of freshly ground beans and discover a favourite new coffee haunt today!

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Max + Sons

Head off the beaten track, down Rail Lane and you’ll find Max & Sons. Here, the friendly baristas are likely to remember your name after a few coffee runs. Their excellent coffee is a custom blend that is developed with Five Senses and the maple bacon and cream cheese bagels are not to be missed!

Find Max + Sons at 140 Perth, Rail Lane, Wellington St, Perth (behind The Globe).

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Uncle Joe’s Mess

At what first appears to be a King Street barber shop, head down a corridor and you’ll find Uncle Joe’s Mess, where they serve up their own “Joes Blend” roasted by Dimattina Coffee. At this cool little spot you can escape the bustling city streets and enjoy a chilled brunch with funky tunes.

Find Uncle Joe’s Mess at 76 King St, Perth.

More on Uncle Joe’s Mess here.

 

Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

You get the feeling that at Standing Room Only the baristas are deadly serious about their coffee, which is outstanding and many rate as amongst the very best of Perth CBD’s coffee spots. There’s nothing else to lose their focus, no food or fancy smoothies, just good honest caw-fee.

Find Standing Room Only at Piccadilly Arcade, Perth.

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Hopper Espresso

This popular little coffee shop in Shafto Lane, brews up a top house blend as well as offering four different single origin coffees. They even have a range of quality milks to choose from including local Banister Downs and Bonsoy. Their food offering is sure to tame those lunch time cravings too.

Find Hopper Espresso at 3A Shafto Lane, Perth.

More on Hopper Espresso here.

 

The Wolf Espresso

Wolf Espresso is found on Wolf Lane which is a mecca for vibrant murals by local and international street artists in the Perth CBD. Here you can indulge in a guilt free treat with your Veneziano coffee as there’s a focus on balanced and healthy food.

Find The Wolf Espresso at 800 Hay St, Perth.

More on The Wolf Espresso here.IMG_8416 Continue reading

Canteen, Trigg

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Kailis Trigg Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The old Trigg Island Café was transformed last year into a stunning venue overlooking the Indian Ocean. We’ve been spoilt with ocean side dining spots in the last few years and I was keen to try this offering from the Kailis group. There’s the upmarket Kailis seafood restaurant, as well as the casual Canteen next door.

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We rocked up to Kailis without a lunch booking just before noon, hoping they’d set aside a couple of tables for walk-ins. Unfortunately for us, the only seats they could offer us was the outdoor area that’s mainly used by patrons of Canteen. I didn’t see the point in paying a premium if we couldn’t enjoy the beautifully fitted out dining room. So I put that lunch on the back burner and we decided to grab a quick take away style lunch instead.

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Canteen has plenty of seating inside, but we chose to sit outside under the umbrellas. The sea breeze did get a little chilly, but the sun was shining down and it was such a beautiful view, so we braved it!

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My parents both ordered fish and chips. My Dad had the traditional battered fish and chips ($11.50). The chips weren’t very hot and with the wind blowing too, they were stone cold in no time.

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My Mum had the grilled fish and chips with greens ($14.50) and they both agreed that their fish was very tasty.

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As well as fish and chips, there’s a lot of fresh and healthy options at Canteen. The salads will go down well with the many walkers and joggers that pass by. I chose the King Fish poke ($15), which sounded intriguing. It’s a Hawaiian raw fish salad with Japanese condiments and I found it refreshingly tasty. Served with brown rice, the firm chucks of  king fish are bursting with tropical coconut, lime, chilli, pineapple and coriander. It was delicious, though I wish that the servings were a little more generous.

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Afterwards, we had a little walk along the beach. It’s these kind of days, hanging out with my parents, in a lovely location like this that makes me so happy to live in Perth.

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I could look at this view all day long…

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If you’re eating out with little ones there’s a play area near to the car park too, which really should be fenced. There’s also a breakfast menu on offer for the early risers. All in all, Canteen is a good spot for a casual bite to eat by the beach.

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A Weekend Stay at Seashells Mandurah

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Seashells Mandurah isn’t you average 4.5 star location… It’s a stunning beachside apartment retreat, which was our luxury base for our “Anytime Adventures” in the Peel region. Perfectly placed by the ocean, Seashells is seconds from the markets and cafes of Dolphin Quay and within walking distance of many of Mandurah’s main attractions.

As part of my collaboration with Buy West Eat Best and Peel Tourism, we were invited down to Mandurah for a weekend to experience what the Peel region has to offer a family of foodies. I was almost beside myself with excitement! Other than passing through Mandurah on the way to Margs (in the days before the Forrest Highway), I’d never stopped at the coastal city long enough to really explore what it offers.

The Peel Region – so close to home!

peelStaycations are becoming more and more popular with our busier lifestyles, tighter budgets and the realisation that WA has so much to offer locals. With a travel time of just over one hour, we were barely in the car long enough for Little Chef to ask “Are we there yet?”, before we arrived in sunny Mandurah.

Not only does the Peel region encompass Mandurah, but Jarrahdale and Serpentine to the north, Dwellingup and Boddington to the east and Waroona to the south. It’s a massive area with loads to see and do.

Staying at Seashells

Seashells is really well located next to the beach and also the popular Dolphin Quay, which is best compared to a mini Hillarys Boat Harbour. The friendly Seashells receptionist checked us in and handed us our room keys. As we headed up to the third floor, Little Chef practically ran down the hallway with his luggage he was so excited – and I wasn’t too far behind him!

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As we stepped into room 307 – a two bedroom Ocean View Apartment, we were greeted by the spacious, modern kitchen and beyond that a magnificent view over the ocean. Poor Chef and Little Chef were given STRICT instructions to leave their bags at the door and not to touch a thing, till I took photos! Haha

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There was also a wonderful surprise on the breakfast bar – a welcoming gift from the Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation of some excellent Peel wines. How lovely. And even better – they are all whites/rosé so Chef will keep his mitts of them!

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I’m looking forward to cracking these bottles of vino from Millbrook open, as well as a very tasty drop I’m familiar with – the Drakesbrook rosella, which is an excellent rosé.

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The spacious living area has a comfy lounge which overlooks the wrap around balcony.

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When you’re not gazing over the sea, the TV has some Foxtel channels as well as free to air. There’s also dining table for four and a desk. I really love the décor, it’s very beach chic and all the rooms have very vibrant artworks too.

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The kitchen has everything you’d need to cook up a feast, with an oven, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and more. We were definitely having the weekend off cooking, but it was handy to have the kitchen for putting together our breakfasts. It would be perfect for longer stays.

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There’s even a laundry hiding away behind some of the kitchen cupboards.

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Our ocean view bedroom was dominated by a king size bed and had plenty of storage space and a safe in the wardrobes.

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The spacious ensuite was well appointed with a deep spa bath and rainforest shower, as well as good quality toiletries.

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Little Chef was in his own bedroom which he was stoked about, a twin room, which also had its own bathroom with shower.

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There’s lots of other room features, we found these handy:

–        Free wifi

–        Dining setting on balcony

–        Nespresso coffee machine

–        movies on demand

–        docking stations

–        hairdryer

–        safe

–        reverse cycle air-conditioning

 

At Seashells Mandurah there’s also :

–        Free, secure parking

–        A stunning infinity pool, spa and loads of sun loungers

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–        Barbeque and outside dining area

–        A floodlit tennis court

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–        Easy access to the beach

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That pool… what a stunner. The heated pool has a shallow (40cm) paddling area at one end for kids, a spa and a view over the ocean. If our itinerary hadn’t been so full, I’d have happily lazed on a sun lounger with a girly novel while the boys swam in the pool. You really don’t need to travel far to get that relaxed holiday feeling.

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My Suggested Itinerary For a Stay in Mandurah & Peel

You could use a weekend in Mandurah to relax and get away from it all or get out and about and check out the Peel region. Here’s what I’d suggest you pack into your weekend in Mandurah:

FRIDAY

o   Take a cheeky afternoon off work and mosey on down to Seashells Mandurah, found on the beach, for a 2pm check in.

o   Pop your bags down and have a look around your beautifully appointed 4.5 star apartment, admiring the view from the balcony.

o   Then get your walking shoes on! Walk to Dolphin Quay (two minutes away) and over the bridge to Mandurah Boardwalk (an easy 10 minute stroll) for dolphin spotting with Mandurah Cruises on the estuary and canals – don’t forget your camera! Read more on our “Fish n Chip” lunch cruise here.

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o   Walk around Mandurah, have a coffee or Simmo’s ice cream in the foreshore park. Take the tourist fun train over the bridge to King Carnival and challenge your family to a game of Mini Golf – you might even get a hole in one like Little Chef did!

o   Head back to Seashells to freshen up, then enjoy a delish dinner. There are many dining options close by, my tip is to check out Flics Kitchen, where we had a very enjoyable dinner of share plates and scrumptious desserts. Read more on our tasty dinner at Flics Kitchen here.

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SATURDAY

o   Start your day with a hearty breakfast marina side at Café Moka, just a two minute walk from Seashells at Dolphin Quay. Check out these pancakes – demolished by Little Chef. Read more on our scrumptious brunch at Café Moka here.

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o   Then head out for the day to explore the Dwellingup area of the Peel region. For the thrill seeking, zip lining at the Trees Adventure obstacle course is a whole lot of fun for the whole family! Read more on our visit to Trees Adventure here.

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o   After all that swinging from the trees, Pinjarra Bakery is a great stop for a quick and tasty lunch. A top tip – eat your baked goodies in Caldwell Park, by the Murray River, where there’s a fantastic playground for kids. Read more on Pinjarra Bakery here.

o   Peel Zoo, which specialises in Australian native animals, is a must stop for animal lovers! There’s many opportunities to feed and touch furry, feathered and scaly animals throughout the boutique zoo. Read more on our visit to Peel Zoo here.

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o   Enjoy chilling in your comfortable apartment, build sandcastles on the beach and laze by the infinity pool at Seashells Mandurah. Don’t forget your bathers, the pool is heated!

o   Cook up a storm in your well equipped kitchen or check out one of the many dinner options within walking distance at Dolphin Quay, Mandurah Boardwalk and the town centre of Mandurah too.

SUNDAY

o   Enjoy a lazy morning in your Seashells apartment, a coffee from the Nespresso machine and breakfast on your balcony, before check out.

o   Shop up a storm and find something unique to remind you of your Mandurah getaway at the Dolphin Quay Markets.

o   If you need another caffeine fix, my pick is DPM Cafe on Mandurah Terrace. They claim to have the best coffee in Mandurah and we agree that it’s pretty darn good! The fab Frisky Deer, a homewares and coffee shop, is a stones throw from Seashells too.

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o   Drive back to Perth via historic hills village of Jarrahdale. Enjoy a long lunch at Millbrook Winery, where most of the tasty produce is picked fresh from their garden each day. Don’t forget to grab a few bottles of wine from their cellar door before heading home. Read more on our stunning lunch at Millbrook here.

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We genuinely loved our time at Seashells, it was immaculate and would happily stay at any of their WA retreats again. More on Seashells here.

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The three of us loved discovering Mandurah and the Peel Region and absolutely recommend that you check it out – be it for a day trip or extended stay. It’s always the way, when something is so close to home, you tend to overlook it. Mandurah and Peel offers loads for foodies, families and pretty much everyone else! Find out more on what the Peel region has to offer you here.

Thanks to Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) we were guests of Seashells Mandurah as well as some of the abovementioned venues. Nothing is exaggerated or embellished. All words and opinions are my own.

Thank you to everyone for making our Mandurah weekend so magical! Amanda x

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P.S. If I’ve missed your favourite Mandurah or Peel spot – let me know in the comments below!