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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".

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Relaxing at the Manly Markets and Cafe La Mer

photo of Moroccan Lamb Salad

Driving into Manly, I emotionally embraced the cool sea air and picturesque scenery. So many boats lined side by side, water - a fresh blue. We went to look at the Manly Markets, situated along the seaside, mostly of arts and crafts but not as individual as the ones on display at the Twilight Markets. I bought a lovely fun and floaty floral skirt from these older Italian women...there was an air of lively tourist activities. Eventually, we left to have a long walk, a refreshing drink at the Royal Yatch Club and found a restaurant called Cafe La Mer. With tables surrounding a beautiful fig tree, encased in a clean, smooth, sandy-coloured paper bark, we were lucky to find a table that wasn't reserved and I enjoyed the views and my Moroccan Lamb Salad. The flavours of the lamb and yoghurt were very strong, unlike the fresh clean foods I like for brunch, and the subtle flavours in Asian food. 

Want to see more Restaurant Reviews? Go to

Monday, 15 April 2013

Vietnamese Pork Belly and Prawn Pancake at Sing Sing West End, Brisbane

photo of Vietnamese Pancake

Ever wanted to try a Vietnamese Pork Belly and Prawn Pancake? I think it only entered my mind when I was watching this season's My Kitchen Rules. Hearing spiteful comments about the lack of skill in serving an omelette and much controversy about prawn shells being left on, I wondered what this would taste like. Apparently, this is how they serve it authentically! As it turns out, I found myself in the Sing Sing Restaurant located in West End, and what should be on the Weekend Special? So I had a go! I haven't mastered how to eat this properly and the portions were huge - but great value for those who want to try! It isn't an omelette at all as the outside is made of rice flour and the colour comes from tumeric. The way to eat it is to place the crunchy pancake within the provided lettuce leaves and drizzle the dressing on top. Enjoy! And for those who would like to try and make it at home, I have found the recipe here for you. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Visuals and Music at the Re-dedication of Brisbane City Hall

photo of Main Auditorium in Brisbane City Hall

In 2009, it was discovered that major structural problems existed in Brisbane’s City Hall so Brisbane City Council commenced the repair and restoration of the building. Built in the 1920s and listed on the heritage plan register, it took three years to complete and it was finally ready to be re-opened on Saturday, the 6th April. There was an official Re-dedication Ceremony over the course of the first week. Arriving at the King George Square Foyer, large flyers are handed to visitors to initiate the self-guided tours. We wander in to see a large marble staircase, and stood in awe as we watched a choir perform in the grandness of the main auditorium. In the background, a large organ stands with over 4300 pipes, apparently built in 1981. It is said that restoration workers excavated five metres below the auditorium floor to create space for City Hall’s first professional kitchen. They even placed a time capsule in one of the pillars!

Further explorations led to cobble-stoned courtyards and smaller function rooms with heritage-style stained glass windows and hand-crafted furniture from the 1920s. Music performances were scattered throughout the rooms from violins to piano, drums to jazz. I listened to the jazz band for a very long time, soaking in the soft sultry voice of Kelsey Giarola, pianist Nathan Seiler and Peter Walters on Double Bass. I followed a scatter of people into the council chambers with copper pressed ceilings and maple wood furnishings and there was a room with Brisbane’s Sister City Displays.

On the 3rd floor was the Museum of Brisbane and the Clock Tower but by the time I worked my way up to try and view it, long queues had formed and no more tickets (free) could be obtained for the day. I’ll come back another time to see the views and perhaps try a little something at the Shingles Inn Cafe.

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Enjoying the Basics at the "Feet First" Invitation to Dance
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at the Brisbane Square Library; and
"Girl Clock" at Brisbane Library.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Grumbles from Celebrations at Jade Buddha

photo Fish resting on Boy Choy and Mushrooms

Celebrating my friend's birthday, we dined in at Jade Buddha, along Eagle Street Wharf, near where George's Paragon is. Rave reviews existed online about this place so we tried an entree as well as a main. We had a new member of staff serve us so he wasn't very knowledgeable on the menu items but he was very patient and eager to please. Unfortunately, the food was not to our liking. Our tiny entree of four Peking Duck wraps consisted of skinny finger-length rolls of Duck in Hoisin sauce. The sauce was too sweet and covered any taste of the duck. Half an hour later with some chasing up, my order of a Grilled Fish came out very salty and my other two friends didn't enjoy their lamb curry, which was served in a large bowl with the rice sitting at the bottom of mountains of curry. That's the thing with curries - everyone likes different ratios so it's a big mistake for a restaurant to serve customers like we were at a casual dinner party! A complaint was made and the manager tried to rectify the situation with extra drinks or dessert but my friends were too full and disheartened with their half-eaten curry that we left for a long walk instead.

So surreal - being in your home without you here. The last time I was, you literally rolled me up in your sheets and cuddled me so tight. I wasn't going anywhere - I couldn't move :P I watched you fall asleep stroking my cheek. I wonder if you told brother(2) about us. Is he trying to look after me because you haven't?

Want to know where else you could eat in Brisbane? Try:

Vietnamese Pork Belly and Prawn Pancake at Sing Sing, West End, Brisbane
Manly Markets and Cafe La Mer; and
Birthday Dinner at Beccofino.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Taste-Testing and Entertainment at Asian Cooking Classes

photo of small group of people seated in front of a cooking stage

On the way to the Fortitude Valley Markets, I walk through Chinatown and was bemused by the large amount of people giggling whilst they watched a lady cooking. I stood still for a few minutes, listening to her hold their attention by teaching them to count and name ingredients in Cantonese, loudly, humorously. As the audience was so captivated and I was just given a recipe, I sat down and enjoyed the rest of the experience. The lady in front introduced herself as a home cook and walked the audience through cooking a good Fried Rice and Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs in two ways. The aromas whet our appetites and eventually, when the food was ready, we eagerly line up to grab a portion for our taste-testing. These classes take place every Saturday from midday to 1:30pm.

lovers embracing

I wanted to know where I stand. What is going on? Which part is how you are choosing to act? and which part is a reflection of what you're going through? I hear the guy upstairs breathing as he sleeps at night - it offers me comfort and lulled my heart into a well-deserved peaceful sleep, if only for a night.

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

Monday, 8 April 2013

On the way up to O'Reilly's in the Gold Coast Hinterland

photo showing the Scenic Drive to O'Reilly's in the Gold Coast Hinterland

Early morning, headed for the famous O'Reilly's Tree-Top Walk but first, we stop off at the Canungra Valley Winery after a 40 minute drive. It was a welcome rest break and we wander around the symmetrically-lined vineyard, and absorb the surrounding views. We looked for platypuses in the river and found out that they make hampers for lunch and Devonshire tea in the afternoons. Such a romantic place to be!

After navigating through what seemed like endless stretches of dangerous, windy roads, we reached the Mountview Alpaca Farm. In a comical fashion, a chicken ran across the road as we drove up and I was thoroughly amused at the Alpacas being very aware of the presence of my camera, turning to observe me just as much as I observed them! Tourists share the Alpaca feed they bought, we tried on Akubra hats, and had some photos taken from the balcony of the lush green vistas below.

Another 40 minutes of tree-lined single-lane roads takes us to our final destination - O'Reilly's. We tucked into a simple lunch of burgers and surprisingly, there were no views from our lunch tables but the fresh air and food recharged us. Being Queensland, I need not have worried about my lack of appropriate footwear as there were plenty of others who were kicking around in thongs. Thankfully, speaking from a fear of heights, the actual Tree-Top Walk only lasted 5-10 minutes but there was a queue to climb up into the actual trees, as it is only equipped to handle one person at a time, seeing as they come back down the same path.

The other attraction was 
Bird feeding time which we really enjoyed. Other generous visitors shared the bird feed they bought and everyone bonded as the Rosellas flew into awaiting palms, and even my head at one stage! I screamed in surprise as I felt the claws dig into my scalp. These were fantastic photo opportunities and definitely something people should experience.

As advised by the lady at the Information booth, there are more bush walks near O'Reilly's but you do need to have proper walking shoes to go on.

More Recreational Activities on the Gold Coast include:
To Fishy Adventures at Sea World!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

To Fishy Adventures at SeaWorld!

A Tropical Fish swimming in the Aquarium

The last time I visited Sea World was in 2005 so I took the planned outing as a refresher course! Not a lot had changed from what I remember... We fed the stingrays at the touchpool, watched the Dolphin show (and was astounded by how amazingly well-trained and friendly they are), then visited the Aquariums and the Polar Bears before finding some lunch at Dockside Tavern. We watched Fish Detectives for some humour and the jetski stunt show was fun! I don't remember if I'd seen the Penguins in Antartica display before but it was freezing cold in there and I loved the replica background! We finished the day off avoiding the burger patties thrown at us during the Sponge Bob 3D film and having a play-around at the gift store.

I've cottoned on to how Queenslanders usually have a yearly pass to these theme parks but I'm not that big of a fan. I think once every few years is plenty. It's probably just about spending time together and I had a great day, enjoying the company of three others.

lovers embracing
Remember when you came down to see me in Sydney and we went to the Aquarium at Darling Harbour? :D You said a few months ago that you remembered it was raining that day :) ...I remember how your brother(3) asked me to go with you on your diving trip up at the Whitsundays and how all your diving buddies teased you for being crazy in love with me when they met me afterwards. We just blushed and laughed Xo.

Another Recreational Activities for Gold Coast would be:
On the way up to O'Reilly's in the Hinterland, Gold Coast

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Seafood and Sea Breezes at the Burleigh Heads Surf Club

photo of Spaghetti Marinara

After the delirium of giggles we drummed up from taking silly photos, our tummies told us it was time for food. The menu at the Burleigh Heads Surf Club was large in range and it meant that we could keep enjoying views of the beach and continue to breathe in that sea air. As we ordered from a short-tempered girl behind the counter, I noticed that the place could do with a bit of a clean - a few sticky tables and cutlery and water stations in need of restocking and polishing. The club saw an increase of visitors as 5pm rolled in, particularly the ones that had reserved the outdoor tables. The food turned out to be of great quality - my Spaghetti Marinara was generous both in proportions and amounts of seafood, and my friend enjoyed a juicy Steak.

Where else could I have eaten up at the Gold Coast?
Lust in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast;
At the many restaurants at the RACV Royal Pines Resort; and
To Fishy Adventures at Sea World.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

On an Easter Getaway at the Royal Pines Resort

photo of Executive Room at Royal Pines Resort

The Royal Pines Resort is a very impressive place to stay at, set on a world-class golf course. We had an Executive room on level 18, overlooking numerous trees and beautiful lakes set throughout the lush green lawns. Squeals of delight and laughter came from the pool and spas below and we pondered when we should join them. There were those huge air bubbles that people could climb in, and roll across the water but I think I would prefer the delight of warm jets of water in the luxurious large shower in the room later. Perhaps it was because of the Easter holidays, but the stand introducing the restaurants didn’t have the menus on hand so we waited for a long time for the staff to find and print the current menus. With a seafood buffet at Kalinda, Italian food at Trattoria Amici, Japanese at Arakawa, Fine Dining at Videre, and food and drinks at Tee’s Clubhouse and a few other bars, we had more than enough options to explore. The lifts even featured contemporary leather seating, placed at the right height just to lean against, and delicious green apples in a glass bowl can be located near the lift entrances! We only got to try some of the items on the Trattoria menu which we ate in our room one night and we never got a chance to enjoy all the lovely places to lounge at. This is definitely a place I would love to come back to stay at again.

lovers embracing

State of confusion - I'm still trying to process it...Could I have gotten it all wrong? It just doesn't make sense. You brought up our past, You told me your plans for us and You were so nervous, waiting for hours just to hold my hand...

Read about past Hotels I've stayed at:
Setting up base camp at Frisco Serviced Apartment Hotel; and
Docking at the Ridge on Leichhardt Apartment Hotel, Brisbane.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Brunching at Lust in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

photo of Bacon and Eggs with Grilled Tomato and Alfafa on Toast

When colleagues find out I live in the city, their first reaction is to say “Wow! You’re in amongst it all!” It’s really amusing to me because, unlike Sydney and Melbourne, nothing much is open on weeknights or even on the weekends (even most gyms!). Intrigued, I found out from many locals that most people go to the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast on the weekends. Many even live out that way and commute to Brisbane for work. Easter was a four day holiday so I took up an invitation to have a little break by going to the Gold Coast. A honk from a cruising car welcomed us, along with the fresh breezes from the sea air nearby. Tourists had already found their place at the cafes on the main strip of Broadbeach, Surf Parade, but we managed to find a cosy little table for brunch at Lust Cafe and Restaurant. I thoroughly enjoyed my food despite a little mistake the waitstaff made in their ordering but the owner rectified it and I walked away happy.

What else can I do on the Gold Coast? Head to:
Seafood and Sea Breezes at the Burleigh Heads Surf Club;
To Fishy Adventures at Sea World! and;
On the way up to O'Reilly's on the Gold Coast Hinterland.