Sunday, October 25, 2015

time excels at flying

 Goodness gracious, where, on earth, has time gone?

Is it seriously nearing the end of October? Eek!

Luckily, despite my frantic life at the moment, I have still stopped and taken time to smell the roses as I've dashed in and out of the house. I've even managed to snap the odd shot. Aren't they just divine?

It hard to cram life in at the moment. For example, last week I went with my friends C and A to see Magda Szubanksi in conversation with Rosemarie Milsom. It was just utterly lovely. Magda had so many stories to tell that an hour barely did her justice - but Rosemarie's stellar interviewing skills certainly did.

We had to dash out before having books signed so we could make our way over to Carrington Bowlo to check out Barry Morgan and his World of Organs. It was just as 70sFabulous as you'd imagine.

Who'd've thought that a man with a bouffant of hair, a range of safari suits and a Hammond Organ could possibly be so hilarious.

He was.

This wednesday I attended a meeting with a fab young group of scientists - looking to bring something super to Newcastle. Stay tuned! But I had to dash from that meeting to Christ Church Cathedral to check out 50 years of Architecture. What a place to hold the exhibition. As you could see, it was pretty darned cool.

Coming to this weekend, my friend A and I attended another Catapult Dance production. It's hard to believe, but they keep getting better. This one utilised every space of the studio and grounds. Check out 'Tissue Girl's" fabulous outfit - created by the talented Novocastrian sisters from High Tea With Mrs Woo.


 We followed the dancer through the space - and oh, what a space it was.

Shipping containers with 'rooftop' gardens, with Newcastle West's gritty urban twilight skyline is something you don't get to see every day,

Here's the remnants of the tissues in the studio space. It was rather indescribable, but extraordinary.

I've left out a week in Melbourne, the This Is Not Art festival, and fangirling over Peter Garrett this week. There's been so much to see I've barely had time to snap off shots.

As Ferris said: "life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around for a while you might miss it."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

oh you pretty thing

I crave fresh flowers in my house. I start to get an itch, and I must go scratch by buying a bunch. Yesterday's was fulfilled by these gorgeous anenomes - in shades of pink, red and cream. They are almost making up for the fact that I've developed an annoying head-cold - just before flying to Melbourne on Wednesday.


But I'm not going to let a snotty nose and sore throat spoil my hols. I'll be delving into every laneway, checking out the David Bowie exhibition, lolling about on rooftop bars, spending time with family and old friends.

And shopping.

Let's not forget shopping.

Any Melbourne tips for me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

no one cares about your cat

You know I love nothing more than supporting local talent right? Well, I don't wish to play favourites - but I think Tantrum Theatre could be pretty much my favourite of the talents. I've seen a range of their performances and the thing that shines out is the utter joy that the artists experience during the productions.

That joy's contagious.

So tonight I went along with my friend J to see the opening night of No One Cares About Your Cat. I was very kindly gifted tix, which I feel ever-so-guilty about as I love supporting these acts by helping to swell their coffers, but I am very grateful.

 I knew the production would speak to me, someone who's pretty-much connected to social media 100% of the time. Hell, I met my bestest Newy friends A, C and J through twitter!

I am also fond of a cute cat pic or vid, so this opening montage delighted me no end.

The play was cleverly lit, often by the light of the mobile phones - smart stuff. I adored the interactive stuff - like the vlogger whose work was skilfully incorporated into the play with interaction between the audience before and during the play.

Here he is!

The play was an insightful commentary on the ways in which social media helps us direct our lives. Good? Bad? Well, it's never indifferent.

Also, as I said to my friend J, we must have a new generation who'll never take a bad photo as the selfie-gen are always clued up to their best angles and expressions.

The themes of cats were woven throughout, including with this rather glorious 'cats cradle' scene with glow-in-the-dark-yarn. I couldn't help smiling in delight throughout.

Not only did this make me smile, it made me think - a lot. I thought about loneliness, connectedness and friendship. I thought about how social media helps me share so much - including reviews of plays such as this!

I love seeing something that brings a smile to my face. This brought more - this brought me real joy. This collaborative piece was the work of so many talented artists, and it flew by ever-so-quickly. As we left the theatre I bumped into my friend Barney, who is Tantrum's founding father "I didn't want it to end!" he said. And I just had to agree. 

 I adore living in a city where talent and creativity is nurtured. Where talented youth get to work alongside more experienced performers. I love that Tantrum is so well-respected that they raised $10,000 through a Pozible campaign to get the show up and running. ONYA arts community!

Now get along quick and see this. It's on at the Civic Playhouse until Saturday 19th September. Find out more, and get tix here.

Thank you everyone involved in this - love your work. I really, really do.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

propel: newcastle

image: catapult dance

I think I've found a new favourite thing. One thing Newcastle does very well is artistic innovation. This Is Not Art festival started here in 1998 and is a showcase for alternative festivals around the country, if not the world. I always block out the October long weekend and knock myself out seeing the fabulousness that's on display. 

And now we have the Newcastle Writer's Festival, bam, another weekend of awesome to immerse myself in. We do art, drama, music and culture beautifully, but, in my opinion, there's been an area where we've been a little understated.


So THANK YOU Cadi McCarthy for moving to Newcastle and bringing innovation and inspiration with you. I was first introduced to Cadi's work when my heart took up residence in my mouth at the extraordinary choreography she created with local dancers during Stories In My Steps. I'd never experienced much modern dance before, and the intimate setting in 48 Watt made it even more stunning. Now Cadi's brought something special to Newcastle West with Catapult Dance.

Oh my.

Last night's Propel performance was a confronting piece of avant garde collaboration unlike anything I'd ever seen. Award-winning dancer Kristina Chan worked with filmmaker Neil Mansfield to craft a senses-shattering piece about Newcastle's uneasy relationship with coal - extra timely with the divestment issue focussed on us thanks to Newcastle Council's progressive stance on ethical investment. It was loud, it was weird, it was breathtaking.

I've never seen such a fluid body as Kristina's, this was dance as I've never seen it before - and it's bound to stay with me for a very long time.  It was extraordinary.

The question and answer session was generous, and revealed much about the artists, and the diverse audience they'd attracted.

We then went out the back for a performance by University of Newcastle Fine Art students. I was already excited as I'd spotted Alex, the vocalist who entranced me a few weeks ago at Visual Music at Newcastle Conservatorium. Accompanied only by a talented lad on an acoustic guitar she delighted the crowd with glorious vocals and a range that must be almost illegal.

Unbelievably, we were then treated to another dance. Inspired by Edie Segwick. This was incredible. It's a collaboration between Cadi, dancer Reagan Ashley Williams, Jessica Coughlin and Zackari Watt. It's a repeat outing, and deserved a replay.

Oh it was wonderful. From glorious projections, to the way Reagan Ashely uses her body, to the music, to the choreography. Sublime.

All this for only $10 - then we had a drink and the chance to chat with others in the audience, and the artists. I feel embarrassed that I paid so little and received so much.

Bring on the next collaboration.

People of Newcastle, we need to support these artists. If you love seeing this city come alive, follow them on social media, attend their performances and spread the word.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

bedroom blues


We need to repaint our bedroom. We've been here for nearly 15 years (!!) which shows how good the previous paint job was. But we've now bought a new bed (fabulous antique french style - naturellement) and we're getting shutters in the bay windows, so it's time to paint.

I'm thinking duck egg blue for the walls. Is there a more relaxing colour than blue? (well, potentially the sage green our walls are painted at the mo'). With the white bed, and the new pale silvery grey and white Laura Ashely bedspread I've just bought it'll be blissful. We'll also finally getting around to painting our wall of wardrobes, which currently look a bit "Italian Grandparent" with their dark wood, but shall be French chic when chalk painted in pale grey with white details.

We've got eight weeks from when we order the shutters to when they arrive, so we'll have to get cracking next weekend. It's going to be a laboured process - but so worth it once it's finished.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

newcastle by night

The only thing I love more than looking up in my city, is looking up in my city at night. The hues are always more intense, the details on the historic buildings more sharply etched and highlighted.

After dinner at Napoli Centrale the other night (best pizza outside of Italy - I swear) we had some time to kill before the moving screening. So we took a meander through Newcastle Mall.

This is a place I need to get to now that Sprout look after the food. I hear Taco Tuesdays are a BARGAIN.

Newcastle's historic East End is so richly historic. I wish we appreciated it as much as similar cities in Paris, London, Italy, Spain and all of Europe.

There's a new vibe busting out. A more creative one, as I discovered the following night at Catapult Dance down in Newcastle's West End. A stunning choreographed dance with a film projected on the wall was followed by a breathtaking performance by University of Newcastle Fine Arts students who treated us to modern pop with some unusual instruments (hello harp and flute).

Afterwards we stepped into the alleywall for drinks and chatting. I do love a string of fairylights highlighted with garlands. I need some of this in my yard.

If you're a Newy local check out Catapult. Every couple of weeks local dancers will work with a filmmaker or other creatives to come up with something unique.

I love this city.

Monday, August 03, 2015

meal planning monday


Excuse me, but how pretty is this mirrored cabinet painted in pale pink?


It's pretty much solidified my decision to paint the back of our front door in pale pink gloss.

But enough about decorating, and on to meal-planning, and what we're eating this week.

Monday: grilled lemon and herb chicken breasts with a baby spinach and orange salad.

Tuesday: this may well be our last netball training (le sob) so we'll just have a steak and salad dinner tonight.

Wednesday: I made this awesome tray-bake the other day, diced potato, pumpkin and sweet potato, drizzled with garlic olive oil and thyme. Baked for 30 minutes, then I popped in some meatballs. This was baked a further 15 minutes - before I tossed some baby spinach in for 2 mins. In an ideal world I would have then added persian feta (but I didn't have any). It was still damned delicious. I'm making it again.

Thursday: salmon on the bbq and salad.

Friday: celebrate the end of the week with takeaway!

Saturday: out with my friends to check out the Amy Winehouse movie, the new Parry Street Garage and have a Blue Heaven Milkshake from Jim's for dessert. How good is life?

Sunday: a bbq. Let's hope this pre-Spring weather continues.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Saturday, August 01, 2015

early rider

I find it really difficult to find the time to exercise. As you may have noticed, I have a pretty busy life. Full-time work, motherhood, marriage, netball coaching, volunteering stuff AND all the cool stuff I have to see and do in Newcastle takes up a fair bit of time. I love it, but I always wish I could find the time to exercise.

My favourite kind of exercise is cycling. Not the speedy stuff, just an 8 - 10km pootle. It makes me happy and probably a little bit fitter. So I've been inspired by my friend Jayne who cycles just about every morning.


Crazy early.

So on Tuesday I got up at 6.30am, got dressed and got on my bike,

Tell you what, the sunrise over the harbour and the beach was totally worth it. I saw so many tugboats, kayakers, runners and a couple of other cyclists.

It was glorious.

Now, it was only 7 degrees so my hands nearly fell off, but I'll borrow a pair of hubby's cycling gloves next time. I'm aiming to do this two to three days a week.

Good huh?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

vintage tweed ride: a tardy recap

There are few things I love more in life than Special Events. I love a sense of drama, and the chance to frock up. I also love riding my bike - so that's why the Vintage Tweed Ride so tickles my fancy.

It ticks all the right boxes.

Have a look at this dapper gent with his spectacular Penny Farthing. Oh yeah, he rode it!

Each year it's a challenge to work out what I should wear that goes with my bike. See, my cycle's not vintage, but I still feel the need to frock up appropriately. This year the red cape came out again and was teamed with a black dress with white polka dots.

You wanna know what feels better than riding along, on a beautiful sunny day, alongside our exquisite harbour with a gaggle of people all beautifully kitted out and riding their bikes?

Just about nothing really.

We had a number of spots where our guide regaled us with tales of this city. And offered the perfect opportunity to snap off some shots and Instagram 'em.

There were cupcakes. Mine was topped by a moustache. It was *almost* too good to eat. I don't believe that anything is too good to eat.

If I were to ever die of envy it'd probably be because of something like this - the ultimate picnic kit - complete with a fully-set up table out the back.


Dying I tell you.

This cycle inspired my need for a similar light for my bike so, on my ride home, I called in at Metro Cycles down near bank corner and dropped off my bike for a long-overdue service and new light. It's kinda like this one, except matte black.

So, what's next you ask? Well surely it's the Spring Fling Vintage Bike Ride and I just have just the new Laura Ashley frock to wear on it...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

great ideas newy

Wednesday night I skipped out of work a little early to go to a rather cool event. Idea Bombing Newcastle were holding a shindig up at Fort Scratchley. Not only was the awesome venue calling, so was the concept. Some of the ideas thrown around at Idea Bombing could be funded via a PlaceMaking Grant from Newcastle City Council.

Now, if there's anything I love more than Newcastle it's ideas to make Newy better.

I had to take a few pics. Damn my phone for not doing the view and the colours justice here. But jeez, how pretty is this harbour?

Then I went on a Tunnel Tour. A VERY enthusiastic guide took us down and explained all about all about the fort and its weaponry.

The guns were HUGE.

And so were all the accompanying accessories. But it was all pretty amazing.

There were some very good ideas. This was one of my favourites. Bags doing a Gallery crawl where you can wander from Gallery to Gallery, perhaps with a few food vans en-route, and cool stuff to do in between - music, performers etc.

There have been quite a few ideas over time. All pretty creative. I think a lot of great minds are thinking alike in this neck of the woods.

I'm keen to see what comes to fruition. I reckon it'll be pretty sweet. I'll let you know.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

country roads, my new holiday home...

So, the lovely holiday house we used to rent every year in the Southern Highlands has been sold {insert sad-face emoji here}. Finding another house that fits the bill for two families, each with a teenage girl, all of whom like a sunny veranda and an open fire, is difficult.

But we found it - in Dungog! Hurrah for holiday rentals.

We went away for five days and what bliss.

We packed the essentials, and placed them in the fridge upon arrival. The first cork was popped an hour after arrival I do believe.

This fabulous veranda was the place to hang. So warm and sunny, with the most delightful view of rolling hills {and cows} that I have ever seen.

The house is exquisitely decorated. I want these - framed French books with rather glorious images over the top. Took all my willpower not to pop these in my bag when I left...

Check out the gals' room - with sweet twin beds and a vintage world map, perfect for two travellers like Ms C and Ms A.

Seriously, how achingly awesome is the decor here? Gorgeous antiques combined with a few modern twists to create something fabulous.

Why yes, this is the view from the veranda - picture perfect or what!

Early morning or late at night, this was a view that always delivered.

However, there's no place like home and Toulouse was very happy to snuggle on the couch with Ms A when we returned.