Let me paint a picture for you - leave winter behind， take a long sleep (don’t let the 14-hour flight phase you)， and arrive on a sparkling clear Sydney summer dawn in time to have a coffee and wander down to the beach to watch the turquoise waves gently washing in and out. This is the time of year when winter-soaked and chilled Northerners dream of getting away. I know Mexico and Hawaii are closer， but can I tempt you with Australia？？linen cushion covers
This is pretty much how my recent visit to Australia began - I started my first day？ at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia to see the yachts start off on the annual Sydney to Hobart (Tasmania!) race. Crew members bustling， old guys remembering， little kids beside themselves with excitement， everything wound up to concert pitch.
As one who’s done a fair amount of sailing in her day， this is exactly my kind of thing， and the contrast of the Australian summer to the to coldaccent pillow case baby decorative， foggy Bay Area winter I’d come from was invigorating.？
？This is SO easy to take.
Another thing I love about visiting Australia， and Sydney in particular， is seeing how people dress. If you’re a style lover like me， traveling usually serves up all kinds of sartorial inspiration， but Australians have their own perfectly laid-back look - easy to wear and practical in California， too. Australian interior and fashion designers get noticed around the world， and the sense of style here is palpable.
I？？could call it research since I can’t get enough of the laid-back panache that is so characteristic of this place - it certainly fuels my creativity and inspires endless ideas for Rough Linen and our Touch Collection.
I have seen enough simple linen shifts and loose linen pants on the street scene to make my mouth water. And， being the linen lover I am， I fit right in， especially with samples from our new 2019 Touch collection… I？？love when I’m stopped by ladies who ask ‘where did you get that？’ about my own clothes - such a？wonderful feeling，？ when it’s from our own collection!Another thing I loved having with me was a fast-drying linen towel？- an？essential for a daily swim in glorious， champagne-bubble surf since it dries so fast (it still needs to be rinsed， of course， from the salt water). Then delicious morning coffee， looking out at the incredible swoop and grace of the board surfers and the parade of people and dogs meeting up before the working day begins. I love the early-morning activities and socializing that are so much a part of Australian life.
Siblings being silly， and my sister rocking her prototype from our Spring 2019 collection (you’re getting a sneak peek!).
I spent most of my time visiting family in a riverside town southwest of Brisbane called Murwillumbah (the names!). Toward the end of my stay， we road-tripped back to Sydney in a leisurely fashion via Armidale， which is a bit more inland. I have never seen more beautiful hills and forests in my life - and the scent of them! I have seen so little of Australia despite growing up there， but it is never too late.？
We stayed overnight at a heritage sheep station， now a beautiful hotel compound， called ？Goonoo Goonoo. This place is？？big， virtually its own village， with its own chapel， store， and graveyard - it was a risky business living in the outback in the old days! We were told to keep an eye out for black snakes by the saltwater swimming pools， with a qualifier that they are ‘relatively relaxed.’ Not so all the parrots -？they are so colorful， and noisy!
？This was the view from our veranda； I kid you not.？
And at night the stars were incredible.
It was lovely to spend time “back home.” I’ve lived many places， and have many “homes，” but Australia is the place of my childhood - something which has a special hold on one’s heart. If you haven’t been to Australia， I do urge you to go. The people are as warm and friendly as can be， even by US standards， and the landscapes are simply breathtaking.？
So， to all our readers "down under" - thank you for having me! I hope to return soon.
There are so many Christmas gifts for girls that the choice might seem overwhelming. Take a look through our long list of unique gifts to discover things you would probably never have thought of before! From make-up to maps, plushes to pillows, and loads of geeky-girl gadgets. If it’s cool, fun and unique, you will find your ideal holiday present right here.
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
If you do buy volume-limiting headphones, know that they can be jerry-rigged by any smart kid to exceed the 85-decibel volume limit, and sometimes poor technology means these surpass 85 decibels anyway, even when they state otherwise, so supervision is key. We spoke with Darius Kohan, director of otology/neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital, who recommends headphones that make it harder to circumvent volume limitations. Below, the eight best kid-friendly versions.