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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Yummy Fish Cakes, Pork Larb Salad and Sticky Rice at Thai Wi-Rat

photo of Thai fish cakes and Pork Larb Salad with Sticky Rice

On my many visits to Fortitude Valley, I had noticed the Thai Wi-Rat restaurant a couple of times. The name stuck in my head as I wondered if it was a good idea to have the word "Rat" in the name of a restaurant. A quick browse on the internet showed up good reviews so eventually, I got around to trying it to satisfy my curiousity.

The dark interiors were uninviting to sit in but housed happy Asian families and friends enjoying the many dishes they had ordered. This was a great sign so I chose to sit outside in the sun to enjoy the breezes whilst I tasted my fish cakes, and Pork Larb salad with sticky rice. The prices were on the expensive side so I questioned the authenticity of their food. However, when I actually got to taste it, I was very happy with the quality. The fish cakes were spicy but there was enough for me to try two and wait for the rice to come so I could have the other two with the meal. The salad was delicious and the sticky rice was presented in a cute little woven container.

Satisfied, I walked away hoping to find more restaurants of this quality within easy access. I miss the fantastic food Sydney has and the generous proportions at cheap prices.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Diving into Italian Tapas at Popolo Kitchen and Bar, South Bank

photo of Toasted Pane with goats curd and field mushroom

Popolo Italian Kitchen and Bar
Back in April, my research for interesting restaurants to try for my birthday dinner resulted in a first choice for Beccofino and a second choice for the Popolo Italian Kitchen and Bar. It had a unique menu featuring tapas with whitebait, mustard cress, sardines, risotto balls and lilliput capers! Some of the mains included suckling pig, white rabbit ragu and clams! There were simple pizzas on offer with just a few basic ingredients like tomato, basil and mozarella, and a range of simple but good quality sides like cherry tomatoes, baby chat potatoes and beetroot salad. So when a friend suggested we meet at South Bank, I suggested we do so at Popolo!

On arrival, I noticed it had a lively atmosphere and was quite popular. Surprisingly we managed to get a table even though we just booked an hour before. The lights were dim and everyone glowed somewhat in the bright orange neon light that spelt out Popolo.

Excited to try all the different items, my friend and I ordered enough for three! We found the pork and beef meatballs dry and it didn't come with enough sauce to balance it, but I liked the parmesan-crusted, anchovy-stuffed olives. My friend enjoyed the crispy whitebait with artichoke and caper cream but I found it was nothing to write home about. I did like that it wasn't oily though. My favourite would be the Toasted Pane, where you spread on the goats curd, placed field mushrooms on top and drizzled with Olive Oil and sprinkle with the interesting unidentifiable greens! I didn't even think I liked goats curd! This type wasn't bitter like the ones I've tried before. Finally, our white rabbit ragu with egg pasta arrived. The rabbit tasted and smelt like tuna, and was mixed with carrots and peas. The texture was mushy but then the egg pasta was a step away from al dente, and had parts that were almost crunchy...we had a few more goes but having had too much food, we left a lot behind.

I'm glad I finally got around to try Popolo as I've read a lot of mixed reviews and now I know how I feel, after experiencing it first-hand. There are some good dishes and some they could improve. Next time, I would like to taste the mains and perhaps, some desserts. I love the variety of dishes they offer and the simple, yet interesting ingredients.

More Restaurant Reviews can be found at:
Vietnamese Pork Belly and Prawn Pancake at Sing Sing, West End, Brisbane;
Food and Memories at George's Paragon, Brisbane; and
Licking our lips for Fresh Food at Taste Gallery, Sunnybank.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Feeling a Burger Urge coming on!

photo of delicious-looking Magic Mushroom burger

9:30pm at night, what would be open in Brisbane? We headed towards the Kelvin Grove campus of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), thinking that the Urban Village where a handful of eateries existed, would be open. On arrival, I noticed that blocks of new residential apartments were just across the road but none even had a light on - it was a ghost town! Where were the students? Luckily for us, a couple of places were open - one of them being Burger Urge. Walking in, it became apparent to me that this was a franchise gourmet burger store. The signs spoke of using local produce and free range eggs and meat, the menu featuring similar prices as the Grill'd burger chain.

Having just come in from the Winter Solstice Festival amongst all the hippies, I must have been subconsciously influenced to order a Magic Mushroom Burger! And there were no regrets there! The bread was toasted, slightly crispy and in between was an amazing combination of grilled field mushroom, fire roasted capsicum, haloumi cheese, onion, pesto and salad. My friends enjoyed their combo of spicy buffalo wings and tempura onion rings, saying they beat Hungry Jacks by far.

Hopping onto the net, I discovered it was a Queensland chain of stores, established by "two local lads" who purchase their produce from the Rocklea Markets three times a week. They have five different locations at Fortitude Valley, St Lucia, West End, Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point.

Want to appreciate the taste of more fresh produce? Go to:
Eating my way through the Jan Powers Farmers Markets!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Celebrating the Winter Solstice with Hippies

logo for Winter Solstice Festival

In the olden days, it was very common for people not to survive the harsh winter months. Cattle and other animals were usually killed just before the onset of the season to avoid more mouths to feed. With all this fresh meat available at the same time as wine and beer finally reaching fermentation, it was a great time for celebrations and festivals to occur. The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter, offering us the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

Located at the Northey Street City Farm in Windsor, we followed the little hand-made lanterns placed on the lawns. They led us around walls of trees and foliage to discover groups of people enjoying the bands on stage. The ground smelt very earthy and I noticed people walking out of nearby wooden huts and wondered if they lived there. People had brought blankets to lay on whilst they enjoyed their plates of food. On closer observation, we noticed that people were dressed like hippies with alternate hairstyles, beards, knitted beanies, some with bare feet and long dresses .

We decided to join a queue for the Chai Cafe - and I was glad I had it with soy milk because there was no real taste. Long lines had formed, particularly to get the organic Himalayan curry which I also wanted to try. I could smell mushrooms in the pan and I pondered whether I should opt to make my own pizza at the woodfire ovens but one of my friends didn't want to eat there so we left and ended up going to Burger Urge. Although it was a really cold night, I think it would have been nice to stay another hour to sample the food and watch the circus acts and bonfires!

What other events would you have gone to? Read about: 
Sundays Reserved for You - Ideas Fiesta at the City Botanic Gardens;
BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets in King George Square; and
Enjoying the Basics "Feet First" Invitation to Dance.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Eating my way through the Jan Powers Farmers Markets

photo of the Calamari available for tasting at a counter

Set against the backdrop of the Brisbane Powerhouse, where the World Press Photos were hosted, the Jan Powers Farmers Markets was surprisingly a lot busier and bigger than I expected. Farmers Markets they're called? More like Food Markets!

As I visited each stall, I was impressed with the quality products on offer, many available for sampling. I tried organic gluten-free cereals with yoghurt, fresh apples and acid-free pineapple. I watched the other market-goers grab organic coffee and pastries, kransky sausages with sauerkraut, Chinese dumplings and buns, freshly-squeezed fruit juices and home-made jams. A few larger stalls sold produce and there were plenty of people lining up to pay. And if you're game, there's a goat pie stand, strangely, ten metres away from real live freckled brown baby goat!

Unlike the Twilight markets and the Manly markets, don't look to feast your eyes - look to feed your appetite! The Jan Powers Farmers Markets are here every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from 6am to 12 midday.
Love your food? Go to Taste-testing and Entertainment at Asian Cooking Classes!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Lanterns and Markets at the Winter Lights Festival

photo of the parade, with huge people-sized lanterns

The Winter Lights Festival was held on Saturday from 3 to 9pm, signifying the onset of Winter. On arrival, it was a bit off-putting that we had to pay five dollars each to attend an outdoor market. The way I see it, these events attract people to the area, giving surrounding businesses a boost and stall owners already pay their share of money to the council. 

Parts of Racecourse Road was sectioned off and market stalls of jewellery, clothing, toys and food were on display. There were farm animals, showground rides and balloons for kids. A few music acts played and artists painted on randomly placed easels. We shared a Cheese Kransky roll and walked up and down the street. Many had ended up in the surrounding pubs, cafes and restaurants - maybe due to a lack of things to do or maybe due to a lack of seating. 

Just as we were about to leave, a little parade came down the street with cartoon characters and people holding some amazing lanterns. They were large and shaped like musical instruments, animals and people! On a closer look, you can see that they were made by some sort of paper stretched over wire. This entertained us briefly but we left not long after to have a sit down meal. Maybe we'll make our own lanterns a bit later! 

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at Brisbane Square Library; and
BrisStyle indie Twilight markets in King George Square, Brisbane City

Monday, 17 June 2013

On an Oasis at the Stokehouse on South Bank, Brisbane

photo of interiors within the Stokehouse on South Bank, Brisbane

With one of my besties in town, we decided to try a new restaurant recommended by one of my Chef friends – the Stokehouse on South Bank. A scenic walk along Eagle Street Pier, the City Botanic Gardens, and the Goodwill Bridge led us to our destination. The sight of the wooden planks and interesting angles of the architecture quickened my pace and once inside, I enjoyed the interiors and views as well. Soft bread rolls were brought to our table in little brown paper pouches to be eaten with olive oil. The delicious pistachio-crusted quail was the highlight of my meal, followed with the textured scallop squid-ink linguine. We also tried a tender beef rib on the list of specials but didn't manage to finish it, even with his big appetite! All-in-all, a nice meal. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

The mere presence of my best friend offered me enough comfort and perspective than I have had in months - I realise who I am again.
I have to let you go. Goodbye for now...

More Restaurant Reviews can be found at:
Food and Memories at George's Paragon, Brisbane;
Grumbles from Celebrations at Jade Buddha; and
Vietnamese Pork Belly and Prawn Pancake at Sing Sing, West End, Brisbane.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Opening my eyes at the World Press Photos, Brisbane

powerful photo of the bodies of two children being carried by their family to their burial

The 56th Annual Exhibition for World Press Photos came into Brisbane for a few weeks in June, and as I have never been before, I decided to check it out for myself. It's not normally my type of thing as I love absorbing the beauty in everything but I was ready to open myself up to different perspectives.

Photojournalists record world events with their cameras, and as I viewed each piece that was presented, I wondered what danger they might be in whilst they snapped away. Pictures of tragedies in war-torn countries such as Iran and Iraq, people hiding from snipers on rooftops, women prostituting in the country-side in Italy, what has our human race come to?

I looked around to observe the reactions of the other viewers and noticed a woman who had brought her son into the exhibition. I believe he would be about 8 or 10 at most. He looked appalled and held his mother tight, burying his face in her clothing while she explained the context of the photos. The images were so sad, yet frightening and so powerful.

I sat down and watched a video of one of the journalists explaining that he was firstly there as a human being, ready to help whoever needed his help, and only secondly, was he there as a photographer. His eyes expressed such empathy, and I wondered what he been through. As I left for the fresh air and sunshine that I gratefully knew was awaiting for me outdoors, I heard a couple of women talking about the new generations that are being brought up these days - how they were so used to luxury that they wouldn't be able to handle these events in their world...

Other Interesting Events can be found at:

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Enjoying the Basics at the “Feet First” Invitation to Dance

photo of different dancer's shoes demonstrating a variety of dancing

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) organised dance performances and classes from the 30th May to the 8th June as part of the "Feet First" event. Different forms of dance styles were presented including Russian Folk Dance, Capoeira, Breakdance, Swing, Flamenco, Ballet, Line Dancing, Afro-Brazilian and many more! I watched the Salsa Demonstration and eagerly participated in the Street Latin Classes on stage. Having spent a few years dancing, I still got a lot out of the new perspective the instructor gave – which was to learn to move with your partner, rather than remembering the steps. He was humorous and used a few of us as examples to teach the class. I grabbed a flyer for Rio Rhythmics and had a few dances whilst the Live Salsa Band played. I think it’d be fun to learn more types of Latin Dancing… expand my repertoire and find a greater love for it :) 

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at the Brisbane Square Library;
"Girl Clock" at Brisbane Library; and
Taste-testing and Entertainment at Asian Cooking Classes.

Monday, 3 June 2013

"Girl Clock" at Brisbane Library

Movie Poster for Girl Clock

I've never been the type of girl who cooed over babies. Not to say that I don't find them cute - some are, some aren't. I only started liking them when my brother had his little one, my niece - the most perfect little thing I ever saw just hours after she was born. And if the friends I love had babies, I slowly develop affection for them too but the way I see it, it's something that might happen later, but only when I find the right man. Hey, that's just me.

A friend of mine was telling me that sometimes, men will avoid her, once they find out her age, as they think she will want to settle down and start having babies straight away! On the other hand, I've also talked to women who have always wanted babies and often I find, they will settle with a partner just so they can start having them - hell, some of them don't even care if the partner is or isn't going to be around in the future! That's what this film "Girl Clock" is about.

About 10-15 people piled into the theatrette at the Brisbane Square Library and we watched how a group of women in their early 40s feel about life and their place in society. I would actually prefer to watch it again as the high-pitched laughs and loud exclamations of curiosity/confusion of one woman smothered much of the dialogue. Being a Brisbane production, the actors and producers were able to participate in discussions afterwards with cheese and wine. Further movies will be held on the first Friday of every month so keep an eye out!

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at Brisbane Square Library; and
BrisStyle indie Twilight markets in King George Square, Brisbane City

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at Brisbane Square Library

artistic photo of Cosplay wings against a green lawn, my boots and bag

Cosplay is short for Costume Play. You might have heard of huge conventions where people get all dressed up to look like anime/ fictional characters – I think I saw photos of a friend who got all dressed up for the EB Games Expo! She informs me she went as Zoey from Left4Dead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in it for the costumes but I’m a big fan of arts and crafts, and even a bigger one of the daydreaming that I know I’ll be doing whilst making the wings! In fact, I was one of the last to finish! :P

Frances Foo is a costume designer and actor on theatre sets, as well as a dedicated "Cosplayer", entering competitions all over the world. I had a brief chat with her while she helped me make my wings – I love the creativity! There was this girl who was so into it that she cut up her jacket to get her wings to poke through the back! She was looking forward to wearing her wings home on public transport! Haha! Each to their own! I just wanted something dreamy and pretty to put in my bedroom.

Wings made - Workshop done. Check! :) 

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets at King George Square, Brisbane City; and 

"Girl Clock" at Brisbane Library

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Licking our Lips for Fresh Fish at Taste Gallery, Sunnybank

Photo of Crispy Sweet and Sour Fish

Perhaps it was my lack of knowledge in making seafood at home that my body sent out signals for prawns and fish! I was craving a steamed Barramundi or a Snapper cooked with piping hot oil, ginger and shallots in soy sauce. And where do we go for this in Brisbane? Sunnybank of course! I had never been but I was very excited to look around, especially as my experience of Asian food in Brisbane has only been so so. I walked up and down a row of restaurants with my friend, crossed the road and explored the restaurants on the other side of the road. I couldn't quite find what I had in mind but eventually, I decided to try the crispy fish with sweet and sour sauce at the Taste Gallery.

The restaurant was quite popular and we waited in the queue for some time. The waiters and waitresses seemed slightly confused with the waiting order and available tables. My friend informed me that this place is meant to be similar to Chef's Gallery in Sydney. A quick flick-through the menu showed me that the Brisbane menu seemed to offer some different dishes such as Chicken with bones and dry onions as well as Duck Pot with Chinese herbs but the range of vegetable options were dismal. Asians love their vegetables so this place may not attract many Asian diners.

The vegetables we ordered ("Gai Larn", known as Chinese Broccoli) in a ginger sauce tasted quite westernised, the sauce being quite thick. However, the fish was amazing. We were able to choose fresh fish for $7 more than the menu price which we did. I loved the crispiness of the skin and the taste of the sweet and sour sauce went well with the flesh. We enjoyed taking our time picking at the fish while exchanging interesting stories. With satisfied tastebuds, we agreed we would revisit.

Other Restaurants to try in Brisbane are:
Food and Memories at George's Paragon, Brisbane;
Vietnamese Pork Belly and Prawn Pancake at Sing Sing, West End, Brisbane; and
Birthday Dinner at Beccofino, Newstead.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Thursday night is Soul'sa Night at Cloudland!

photo of the impressive looking interiors within the Cloudland Bar

I'd always heard people say that the Salsa scene was big in Brisbane so when I was asked to accompany a friend to Cloudland, one of the "world's best bars", I was intrigued enough to go along. Every Thursday, the live music starts at 7pm and free Beginner classes from 8 to 9pm. The bar is certainly something special to look at, as are the many private booths upstairs. I find that most of the dancers here are there to show off, and seem to punch/kick anyone who might be sitting or standing around! In Sydney, the dancers are certainly more considerate, maybe because they are used to less space than Brisbanites! I noticed that most dancers were doing the Cuban style of Salsa and danced in normal shoes, as opposed to Sydney where most dance in Salsa shoes. I did get to dance with one guy but I had no idea what he was doing - some shuffling thing, haha! I think if I want to get at least a few decent dances at this place next time, the best way might be to join in from the free classes! 

More Local Information can be found at:
Travelling with Translink, Brisbane City; and
Finally finding refuge in Brisbane City.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A Good Night's Rest at the Grand Chancellor, Gold Coast

photo of room at Gold Coast Grand Chancellor

To attend a two day work conference at the Grand Chancellor, I arrived in the early morning to a surprisingly fresh and modern hotel (worlds apart from the Grand Chancellor I stayed at in Melbourne). I was impressed that my room was available for me to check into and was delighted to see that I had been given a room with a separate study/lounge! Rushing to register for the conference, I waited for what seemed like forever for the lift to arrive...

The day filled my head full of information and by the end, all the attendees (myself included) wanted to do was to return to their rooms for a rest before we met up for dinner. We all waited for the lift again and for what seemed like 10-15 minutes, and on arrival at my door, I discovered that my key didn't work so I had to return to reception after waiting for the lift to arrive again. It turns out that somebody else had been booked into my room so I had been moved to another room. They had called me and left a message but my phone had been on silent from the conference. Feeling a bit uncomfortable at being told that my luggage and items had been moved to the new room, I was presented with a packet of Ferraro Rocher and the promise of a nicer room.

Eventually, when I arrived at my new room, I was greeted with a lovely spa in the bathroom amongst the marble and soft white towelling. My luggage was there, along with my jacket but amusingly, someone had been left with a huge stack of my business cards in front of the tv. When I tried to switch on my own though, it didn't work well, and the buttons of the remote were unreadable so I had to call Reception to have someone come up and sort that out. Luckily, they arrived quickly enough that I still had a bit of time to unwind.

Later that night, when I returned from dinner, drink and a walk (at one of the many nearby restaurants and bars), I made sure to take advantage of the big spa that overlooked the television in the lounge, separated by a pane of glass. I think it's a great idea for people but something needs to be done to get the sound in the bathroom so they can actually watch movies from the comfort of the spa.

The views from the balcony were amazing at night, sunrise and at daylight. I loved the way the room and bathroom had been equipped and furnished, and the large roomy hallway and full-length mirrors away from the bed. I woke up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready for another jam-packed day. Be sure to stay at the Grand Chancellor if you're in town, but remember to bring your own shower cap and practice that patience when waiting for the lift!

Compare it to other Places I've Stayed at?
Setting up base camp at Frisco Serviced Apartments;
Docking at the Ridge on Leichhardt Hotel;
On an Easter Getaway at the Royal Pines Resort.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Developing myself at the Inner Fire Chakra Course from Spirit Rising Yoga

Spirit Rising Inner Fire Chakra Course Poster

With nearly three years of weekly and bi-weekly yoga classes under my belt, I craved the peace and strength it brought my mind and body. Searching online showed me that Brisbane operated on a timetable of early morning classes or ones that were too early for me to rush back from work for. But I needed something. As I had come into contact with extra-sensory experiences most of my life, I had vowed to develop my spiritual self in the near future so when I found a Chakra Cleansing course at Spirit Rising Yoga, I decided to give it a go.

Each week, Brie walked the class through different Chakras which are energy centres existing at points in our nerve pathways. She taught us exercises to bring awareness to each area so we can see how the way we developed at such a primal level has affected the way we experience life and our sense of self. I enjoyed listening to these new concepts, which connected up to Buddhist philosophies on our lives on earth being just a small portion of our total existence - everyone is at a different stage of growth. I also had my first exposure to Kundalini Yoga which involved alot of chanting of mantras in Sanskrit and different gestures/movements to change the flow of energy in our bodies. We were invited to try strange new ways of breathing, including one called the "Breath of Fire", which involved panting like a dog! it tickled my sense of humour hugely but on looking around, I realised that everyone was concentrating on their own practice, so my own wall of consciousness came down. It is meant to release toxins from the lungs and act as a deep cleanse.

One of the most interesting concepts we touched on was that it takes more courage and strength to listen to your heart rather than your head. Society teaches us otherwise, but I myself have always believed in letting your heart lead - it's riskier and the chances for greater hurt exist but who are we without our passion? The head will work out how to help you achieve your goals and we are reminded to always practice Yoga for the emotional balance we need.

I'm glad I attended this course for the first four Chakras and look forward to the next course to run through the remaining three.

lovers embracing

Healing slowly, I have forgiven you for your fear... I understand that in the long run, I will have grown in strength and I can only accept the situation as it is and trust that it will all work out in the end. I send you love, light and joy.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Free Concert with Jessica Mauboy at Roma Street Parklands

photo of Jessica Mauboy on stage at the Roma Street Parklands

Excited at the thought of attending a fun outdoors concert with music I might like, I walked up the steep road to the Roma Street Parklands. On the way there, I saw a stunning heritage windmill set amongst lush gardens and a few signs which indicated there might be a lot more to see. I vowed to come back at a later stage to have a proper look around. Guided by Google maps, I followed a couple of people who entered the gates at the same time and I was  delighted when I laid eyes on the Amphitheatre. It consisted of semi-circular rows of seating with grass underfoot, surrounding a small stage - I sat there thinking how lucky I was to be in Brisbane, to be able to experience these unique events and be so close to Internationally-known stars.

As part of the Bands in Parks initiative organised by Brisbane City Council where music from bands and solo artists are played in local parks, the Brisbane Excelsior Band started playing. They were advertised as a brass band but defied my expectations of the music. They were actually very enjoyable and featured a strong female lead, raising cheers from the crowd.

Next up, was Supporting Act Georgia Corrowa. She explained that she was part Aboriginal, part South Sea Islander, and had her family there, along with her new baby. She played her guitar and sung, whilst her brother did some beatboxing and participated in backup vocals along with one other man. I like her style of music - it's very soulful and I was pleased to hear she would be releasing her own CD soon. I love supporting local artists!

Whilst Jessica Mauboy's crew set up the stage, the audience were asked to quieten down for a wedding in the Parklands. Sprinkles of rain fell softly and I looked around but no-one seemed to care too much. I observed the audience until Jessica Mauboy arrived with a big bang! The huge speakers vibrated as she sung songs from her albums, and I was pleasantly surprised when I recognised songs I'd heard. I was entranced as I listened to the lyrics, identifying with some of it. I admired her for being able to achieve so much, bringing her music around the world and obviously doing what she loves. Up there on stage, she represented a strong independent woman.

In true Brisbane style, the rain passed and the sun came out. I'm so thankful that I didn't miss out on this event. I felt rejuvenated and inspired to carry on.

What other events do Brisbane City Council put on for us? Read:
Taste-testing and Entertainment at Asian Cooking Classes;
Visuals and Music at the Re-dedication of Brisbane City Hall; and
Ideas Fiesta at the Howard Smith Wharves.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Embracing the Buddha Birthday Festival at South Bank

Photo of Buddha Statue with Wishes Strung around him

With my recent foray into Buddhism just last year, I was interested to see that Brisbane was putting on a huge event for Buddha's Birthday. I was really interested in talks like "Froth and Bubbles (Impermanence)", "Can I have a say in my fate?", "Liberation from fear and anger", "How to avoid the misfortunes in this world of turbulence" and "Finding peace within". I like the philosophy behind it all. The day promised many activities and so it did provide.

Saturday morning, I walked over the bridge to discover a very lively South Bank. I wandered around the gift stalls, donating to blessing stalls to make wishes along the way, and arrived just in time to share in the Baby Blessing Ritual at the Courier Mail Plazza. I then participated in a meditation class with John Prescott from the BLIAQ. It was a different experience for me to be doing all these exercises to ensure good blood flow before we sat down to focus. We even walked around the room in very slow circles to enhance our mindfulness. I listened to some of the classes (where the topics were different to the page I viewed) and concluded that they didn't appeal to me. I prefer the Kadampa style, which shows you how to use it as practical advice to live our everyday life and meditation was about giving your mind some empty space, away from all of our problems.

A definite highlight of my day was tasting all the delicious Asian Vegetarian food. I wanted to try it all but there was only one of me! I enjoyed curry fish balls, siu mai and a lovely taro dessert. I rang the blessing bell, bought a little Lion string toy, and participated in the Bathing Buddha Ritual, which is supposed to send the universe a message to wash away one's inner dirt of greed, anger and ignorance, improving harmony and balance. A teahouse taught us the Art of Tea Making, and I remember pausing, tuning out the rest of the world, just to smell and taste the High Mountain tea. I went to the Art/Craft Workshop and made a little stencil cutout on red wax paper of double happiness! 

Feeling hungry again now that it was close to dinner time, I walked up and down the food fair countless times to finally decide on a bowl of Taiwanese noodles - they were amazing! The soup was so different to what I expected or tried before, offering the comfort of a home-cooked soup, and the noodles tasted like Enoki mushrooms! I savoured each mouthful as I listened to the performers on the Cultural stage!

Finally, at 7pm, there was an Official Festival Ceremony, with lion dancing and performances from Rock Guitarist Katei and Blue Dragon, a Chinese group of young men who have mastered the playing of a Diablo (Chinese YoYo). I came back the next day, after the Jessica Mauboy concert, to try more food for dinner whilst I watched the Riverside Fireworks Spectacular. I had so much fun and I walked away thinking of the three good deeds: Taking Good actions, Speaking Good Words and Thinking Good Thoughts.

I didn't know how to tell you but the family told me that you'd changed a lot since your accident. I could see it all over your face the night before I left, locked behind the bars of your own mind. I made a wish for you to suffer no more - to be released from all your worries.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Birthday Dinner at Beccofino Newstead, Brisbane

photo of beautiful hand-made pasta dish

Encouraged by my recent exploration of the Newstead area, I hopped on Google search and found Beccofino as a restaurant I’d like to try. With a wide enough range of items and reasonable prices on the menu to suit everyone, I made the final decision based on the tantilising image of what might be handmade pasta from the website. Upon visiting on a Tuesday night (30th April), it became clear why bookings aren't accepted – it’s very popular and at its current size, reservations would hinder the efficiency and numbers at which customers are served. On the first taste of my Duck and Tomato Ragu with flat ribbons of pasta, I was in heaven! The texture of the pasta and the flavour of the sauce left my mouth wanting more and friends on the table were also impressed. Not normally a fan of desserts (I’m a savoury girl!), I was delighted to discover that the vanilla bean pannacotta wasn’t too sweet for my palate as it was garnished with fresh passionfruit and the lemon shortbread biscuit crumbs was for the contrast to the incredible smoothness of the pannacotta that slid down my throat! This Italian restaurant is a definite win and one I shall be recommending to ...even the Italians!

Have I just been a romantic fool? If so, I shall be one. After all, I'd rather take chances and believe in the miracles and magic of love than be the one who denies it by overthinking or protecting themselves too much. That's how we fell in love at first, remember? We believed.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Whetting my appetite at the HomeMaker City, Fortitude Valley

photo of Furniture within the Home Warehouse

Looking for activities to fill my day, I came across the weekend notes article on The Home Warehouse having a sale. As I am passionate when it comes to property and interiors spaces, I figured I would pop in to have a sticky-beak at the style and prices, and easily hop across the road to the HomeMaker City I could see on the map. 

I loved the furniture at the Home Warehouse as the pieces reflect the rawness of nature and that is what I want for my future place - to feel grounded and connected to the earth we have been put on. Even though they have a comprehensive website, it's a whole lot more fun to go to the store to grab see ideas, touch and feel the pieces, sit/lie in them so you experience the sum of what it is. 

Afterwards, I found the Far Pavilions store really exciting! It has a totally different style - more fabrics and patterns in bold prints. There were even some quirky pieces like a velvety patchwork armchair that reminded me of the Mad Hatter and I caught myself considering whether I would add it to my collection! I took lots of pictures and sent them to my friends back home. After a few rounds of HomeMaker City, and getting inspired by paintings and other furnishings, I ended up coming back to buy two lovely Newsprint cushions! They were a creamy suede with black print and red toned feature graphics. I wanted to also buy this contemporary black and white piano painting with a whole lot of red roses strewn across it but was unsure of how I would bring it back to Sydney and whether I should attempt to lug it back on foot all the way to my apartment. 

More Recreational Activities can be found at:
On the way up to O'Reilly's in the Hinterland, Gold Coast; and
To Fishy Adventures at Sea World!

Monday, 29 April 2013

BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets in King George Square, Brisbane City

photo of artwork I bought at the Twilight Markets

I sauntered off to the Twilight Markets on a Friday night (26th April), not knowing how amazing and large it would be! Amongst the buzz, I discovered stalls on the deck and in the square in front of City Hall, loaded with handmade art and crafts from local artists! Staffed by the original creators of the items (who were mostly on Etsy), it was really inspirational to talk to them and see workshops and demonstrations take place. I did a few rounds, drinking in the exciting visuals and great jazz vocals being performed and before I knew it, the night had come to an end. The results of my night can be seen here with artwork from Christine Donaldson, card from In Pink Ink and a beautiful ring made with vintage music score paper from myclectic. The next one is on the 26th of July!

lovers embracing

The stars twinkle and the wind seems to caress my cheek. The music touches my heart and I remember you. I wanted to send you a message and have you appear by my side. But you won't show - you're busy hiding. Our time is so precious and you're missing our moments...

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Two Up and Sand Crab Fettucini for Anzac Day at the Redlands RSL;
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at Brisbane Square Library; and

"Girl Clock" at Brisbane Library.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Two Up and Sand Crab Fettucine for Anzac Day at the Redlands RSL

poster for the Anzac Day Event held at Redlands RSL

What better a thing to do on Anzac Day than go to an RSL for Two Up and some lunch?! On arrival at Redlands RSL, there were long lines of people queuing for the ATM! We wove our way through the festivities and found a large group of raucous boys placing bets of 10 and $20 on a game of Two Up down at the carpark. As the time went by, the crowd got drunker and drunker, larger and larger.

How the game works is simply that a nominated person places three coins on a wooden paddle that has the corresponding three grooves and when enough bets have been received, the person walks to the centre of the area and tosses the coins into the air. The coins will determine whether the call is Heads or Tails. You win double what you bet, from the person in the crowd you choose to bet with. From what I could see, people honour the bets so there's no need to worry about anyone cheating your money.

Needing a break from the sun and noise, we retreated to the Sails on Shore Restaurant inside. I was pleasantly impressed that the menu items were better than the bistro style that I had become accustomed to at most RSLs in Sydney. Unsure whether it was because I was famished or whether it was because the food was of good quality, I enjoyed the Sand Crab Fettucine (with avocado, garlic, pine nuts and lime) I ordered. Having never participated in Anzac Day Events before, it was an interesting experience!

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Visuals and Music at the Re-dedication of Brisbane City Hall;
Enjoying the Basics at the "Feet First" Invitation to Dance; and
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at the Brisbane Square Library

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sundays Reserved for you - Ideas Fiesta at the City Botanic Gardens

photo of the decorated Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Strolling over to the City Botanic Gardens, a wall of indie Art greeted visitors along the fence. The sounds of smooth jazz enticed people to come through the gates to see that the gardens were especially decorated for the day. A range of seating options including a bright red sofa and bright red rugs were laid out on the grass with long strings of little patchwork hearts hanging from the trees. It was quite a sight to see and I took advantage of this later, by taking some great shots with my mobile phone to use for my blog photo

A bit further in, furniture design students from the Queensland University of Technology displayed their concepts for future seating in the park, inspired by nature. Visitors were asked to make their vote for their favourite moveable chair, to help Brisbane City Council understand how people would like to experience their time in the gardens. They were also asked about any more ideas they had to shape the whole city centre. I think it's a great way to develop the city - taking account of all the opinions of the community.

lovers embracing

I haven't experienced a broken heart in so long, I'd forgotten what it felt like - it is a physical pain, that aches continuously. Shock, Frustration and Emptiness. The tears come too fast, too frequently. I didn't think you'd hurt me - I trusted you...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ideas Fiesta at the Howard Smith Wharves

artist impression of proposed development for Howard Smith Wharves

The Brisbane City Council is restoring the Howard Smith Wharves after it was abandoned sometime in the early 1960s. It was recorded that one of the buildings even partially collapsed into the Brisbane River! In 2009, proposals for the commercial development of the site were rejected by the community and amendments had to be made to initial plans to retain 80 per cent of the site as open public space! After the 2011 floods where the site was underwater, it was deemed that the site should be used as parklands.

One of the stages has now been complete and we were one of the first to walk on the new river deck on this Community open Day from 11am to 2pm. Food stalls were scattered along the boardwalk, aromas wafting through the air. A collection of designs drawn by the architects Arkhefield proposed different ways Brisbane City could be developed and asked for feedback from visitors to the wharves.

With the metal fences removed, different views of the bridge and city were revealed. I tucked into some fresh Seafood Paella and explored the area underneath the boardwalk, where wood and river met to provide more stunning photos.

I like how Brisbane City Council values the opinions of its residents and offers events that they can feel proud to be a part of like:
Visuals and Music at the Re-dedication of Brisbane City Hall;
Enjoying the Basics at the "Feet First" Invitation to Dance;and
Brisbane movie "Girl Clock".