Playground

Last night I found myself wandering into Playground, a little bar in the city just near Gamera Place.

I had been several months earlier and had neither good cocktails or a good experience so hadn’t been back since, tonight however was busy, and by a default of lack of options for pre-dinner drinks, I ended up back at Playground

playground

I must say that’s it’s MUCH improved! The setting proves to be very intimate, especially with the rain drizzling outside. I had a hot apple pie cocktail, that wasn’t actually hot. I had seen someone with a teapot on entering, and though it must be a cocktail served warm in a teapot (Haha bar does this in Winter and they are delicious) but it was still tasty. I must admit the cinnamon sugar coupled with the sweetness of the drink was slighty overwhelming, but nothing a good napkin couldn’t fix. Friend had a beer, served in a little mason jar. Pause for adorable swoon :)

After an unexpectedly pleasant experience, I have no choice but to return as soon as possible.

Standard

Knead – Belconnen Markets

 

Excuse the pun but you KNEAD this in your life. Knead is a french Patisserie (are all patisseries french?) that is simply heaven in Belconnen. They make all of their goodies from scratch every morning so beware, if you go in the afternoon there is probably no creme brulee tarts left for you!

IMG_0983 IMG_0991

I was trying to snap a picture of the space, but people were rushing in and out for their morning coffees/pastrys so this is about as far as I got.

On this morning I had a crossiant, especially light and flaky, the way all good crossiants should be :)

IMG_0984 IMG_0985

Here is a little peek of the cabinet filled with treats. If you are an indecisive person, this is probably not the place for you.

IMG_0986

IMG_0987 IMG_0988

Another morning visit and there was coffees to be had! I must admit that the coffee pictured was delightful but the coffees I had another day were scolding hot and not very pleasant at all. I would write it off as a bad day though, no harm, no foul!

IMG_0990

A vego quiche, simply devine, and my most favourite item from Knead, a Bourbon Pecan Tart. This and this Creme Brulee Tart are without a doubt the best items on the menu.

IMG_0989 IMG_0995

More delicious treats. Certainly makes a visit to Knead worthwhile, even if you do have the ambience of the yelling fruit salemans next door

IMG_0992 IMG_0993 IMG_0994

Standard

Momo Mornings

Cafe Momo is my morning coffee spot. They always have cute chalk drawings but I was especially impressed by this mornings art.
Considering work is a madhouse at the moment I thought it was especially clever.

Momo Mornings

Image

HIStory II – Kenny Wizz

So it seems that my family are just a fan of the last minute events these days. After attending the Cerebral Palsy Alliance diner with about 8 minutes notice, Dad calls me yesterday and says that Mum is sick so I am now going to be attending a Michael Jackson impersonator show at the Playhouse that night. I agree, its Tuesday after all (not much else planned) and who knows, it might surprise me. Its safe to say not only did it surprise me but it blew me away.

IMG_4301

Kenny Wizz aka Michael Jackson

If you havent heard of Kenny Wizz, you need to make a point of reserving some quality Youtube time to appreciate his brilliance. This post started as a rave review of the show, which it most certainly deserves, but also a rage on Theatre etiquette or lack there of.

2

Official photographs from Showtime

We arrive at the Canberra Theatre about 15minutes prior to the show and I immediately see people with sparkly hats and rhinestone gloves and i’m overcome with jealously. Needless to say its off pay week so I will be going home with neither. We are ushered into the Playhouse which is significantly smaller than I expected it to be, between the three levels it holds about 620 people, and while there were spare seats scattered, most were full. We settle in and it’s not long before the show starts, and oh my word it is LOUD. There was obviously no adjusting of the acoustic levels to accommodate a smaller theatre so it was ear-piercing to say the least! This was fixed about 15minutes or so into the show and from there I couldn’t pick a fault if I tried. The performance was beyond energetic and even at one point had Dad out of his seat dancing (very unlike him) creating a fantastic atmosphere in the intimate theatre space.

_DSC0058_thumbnail _DSC0169_thumbnail _DSC1347_thumbnail

After a brief intermission, the people who were sitting directly in front of us didn’t return (IDIOTS) but it improved our view tenfold and I would rate the second half of the show as infinitely better than the first half, even though that was really of a very high standard. Kenny performed 20 songs from Michael selection, which luckily included all of my favourites, mixed in with a few lesser known songs (Shes out of my life? never heard it before but still enjoyed it!). Dad bet that the night would end on Thriller, but Kenny left the stage after Heal the World, which I must admit give me full body goosebumps. Cue the devastation, luckily an Encore bought him back out to finish the show with the Billie Jean and last but certainly not least, Thriller! I practically danced out at the conclusion of the show.

_DSC1376_thumbnail _DSC1397_thumbnail _DSC1696_thumbnail

The only aspect of the show that I believe was better than the performance, was the contouring. At one point in the show, the screen were lit up with a live video of the performance. I thought to myself it was odd, at that’s normally reserved for when you can’t see the original show (too far back from the stage etc) but then I realised it was actually footage from a live Michael Jackson show when they panned to the crowd, which was understandably significantly bigger than ours. Kenny was in the exact replica costume, precisely mirroring the dance moves and the resemblance was uncanny. I did read that it takes him 2 hours to complete his stage makeup, but its time well spent because the similarities were almost eery at points.

_DSC1706_thumbnail _DSC8768_thumbnail _DSC8936_thumbnail

At the end of the show, he stated that it was his last Australian tour (boo! :( ) as he was retiring. I was pretty upset at the announcement, given that two hours ago I had no idea who he was, but now I was a Kenny Wizz fanatic. He also said that he had been performing as Michael since 1982, when the Thriller album came out, and now that he was 50 which was roughly the same age as Michael, he had decided to put his act to rest. I would have never in a MILLION years guessed he was even near that age

_DSC9324_thumbnail _DSC9356_thumbnail _DSC9806_thumbnail

His dances movements and mannerisms through the show were so sharp, that it was undoubtably the closest thing I will ever get to an MJ performance. Plus when he ran through the aisles we touched my hand :) So worth it. There is a reason Kenny is the world number one MJ impersonator and I’m glad I got to experience it first hand *pun intended* :P

_DSC9923_thumbnail _DSC9999_thumbnail 4_thumb

 

Now to the angry part of my post! Theatre etiquette is clearly dead in Canberra. While I like to praise Canberra for growing up and becoming cultured, clearly some people are still working on how to behave like an adult in a theatre with little success. Living in the technology age as its so fondly referred to does bring many positives however not to a theatre environment. Surprisingly there was no announcement, like there usually is at the start of a performance to put ones phone away. No ones phones rang, thank goodness, as that would have been the beginning of the end however te use of phone through out the performance was just painful! Imagine you’re in a dark cave and someone lights a candle. A candle only produces a tiny spark of light, but when you’re in the dark, it shines like the god damn beams of the sun distracting and ANNOYING everyone in its wake! Stop taking photos IMMEDIATELY. Everyone behind you is cursing your existent and had I been closer to the culprits I would have knocked their phones out of their hands. It is the height of arrogance and rudeness, not only to ruin my experience but to ruin your own by having your phone screen an inch away from your face not even watching the performance! How rude for Kenny as well, he didn’t work his ass of for 30 years to have your BS phone thrust in his face so your stupid Facebook friends can see what your up too. Also the nerve of people recording his performance! This is not a major artist in an arena spectacular, or a hugely famous DJ at a music festival, this is Kenny in the Canberra Theatre and you are ILLEGALLY recording his performance. It is not an original production but copyright rules still apply, regardless of how excellent the footage on your Iphone 5 is. If you can’t live for two hours with out your phone then you should not only be questioning your attendance at a theatre performance, but you should be questioning your existence at all.

END RANT

Disclaimer – I got so fed up with everyone else and their terrible phone manners that I decided it wouldn’t even matter if I a quick photo/video. I have not shared these ANYWHERE and have no intention to do so. All the photos on my blog are sourced from the official website. Signifcantly better quality than anyone elses illegal photos i’m sure of it. Yes I see the irony in this.

 

Standard

Uriarra Crossing

Thought I visited Uriarra last week, im posting this week, while I stare out the window cursing the incessant rain! :’(

Uriarra Crossing is a low level bridge over the Murrumbidgee River on Uriarra Road to the north, providing an alternative route to Weston Creek and Belconnen. Uriarra Crossing, in my experiences, is mostly used as a reference to the area that surrounds the rivers. For example when Friend said, let’s take the dogs to Uriarra Crossing, I highly doubt he meant lets hang out on a bridge :P

DSC_0064 DSC_0065

I dont think Ive been to Uriarra since Canberra was in drought many years ago! So off we went with our dogs in tow to check it out, and boy has it changed! The river is pretty full, compared to a trickle when I was last there. Makes it the perfect spot for swimming pooches! Hunter (my mini dachshund) isnt a fan of water so he just leapt around the bank. As you can tell I can barely take of photo of him being still!

 DSC_0067 DSC_0069

Uriarra has plenty of picnic areas, which Friend assures me are packed on the weekends through Spring and Summer.

DSC_0072 DSC_0076

One of the best things about Uriarra is the entire spot is completely off lead. As soon as we opened the door, the pups were off their leashes roaming around. There is a lot of long grass area though so best to keep an eye on them when the weather is warmer, as snakes are often spotted.

DSC_0080DSC_0085

DSC_0083DSC_0087

DSC_0086DSC_0088

Down by the banks!

DSC_0089 DSC_0092

DSC_0090 DSC_0097

The view looking back to the park area, as you walk down the banks. Plus Bolli (friends pup) being photogenic

DSC_0113 DSC_0114

DSC_0115 DSC_0116

DSC_0117 DSC_0118

Having a field day playing in the water

I didnt get in the water, though it is safe to swim in as it wasn’t very warm this time of year, plus I was still in my work clothes. If your just taking your dog down, consider your footwear, it sounds like practical advice but I was wearing suede shoes and its safe to say i’ll never make that mistake again.

DSC_0127 DSC_0133

DSC_0139 DSC_0140

Even if you dont have a pooch, I would recommend it just for a fantastic setting, not to mention the view. Such nice scenery, not even 20 minutes from the City.

DSC_0142 DSC_0145

DSC_0146

Some photos of the picnic area. A lot of the casuarina trees were cut down after the fires but they have made these cute little makeshift picnic spots. There are also other proper tables with BBQs scattered around the area. In fact we found some sausages from early in the day still left on a BBQ. To be fair the dogs found them. Keep in mind there are no bins there, so you have to take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

DSC_0147 DSC_0149

Getting close to sunset over the river we decided to call it a day.

 DSC_0152DSC_0154

Can you spot the sausage?

On a side note all the play time plus travel time sent Hunter into a deep slumber, what a day :D

Standard

Canberra Celebrity Charity Apprentice Challenge Dinner

cropped-cropped-challengedinner-344x570

Long story short, Saturday night was meant to be a quiet night for me. I was over at my sister’s house helping her get ready when all of a sudden, there was a spare ticket to the Canberra Celebrity Charity Apprentice Dinner. Next thing I know, (eight minutes later to be exact) I was dressed and ready for the night ahead. The three course dinner was hosted at Southern Cross Club as the finale for the Cerebral Palsy ACT Celebrity Apprentice fundraiser.

photo

Classic bathroom selfie pre event :D

Eleven ‘high-profile’ Canberrans had been working to fundraise money for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance ACT, starting fundraising in August last year. Among the Charity Apprentices are

The idea being who ever raised the most amount of money was crowned the Canberra Celebrity Charity Apprentice for 2013 – 14.

We arrived just after 6.30 and were ushered into the Ballroom to find our table, there were ten to a table, with 35 tables so it was a great turn out for the night. The room was decorated with multi-coloured balloons and lollipops as the table centre pieces (they know my weakness). The theme looked like the Willy Wonka factory, perfectly whimsically and colourful for such an event.

photo1 photo

The proceedings started quite quickly, we watched a video about the work of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, which I must say was pretty confronting. It drew attention to the very worthy cause that we were all there to fundraise for.

Just some basic facts from the night about Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral Palsy is a permanent disability which affects movement. Every 15 hours an Australian child is born with Cerebral Palsy– that means one in five hundred babies. There is no known cure and for most the cause is not fully understood.

1 in 3 children are unable to walk
1 in 5 children are unable to talk
1 in 4 children has epilepsy
People with cerebral palsy may also have impairments affecting their vision, hearing or intellect

 cpaLogoHorizontal

We had a quick rundown of the proceedings for the night, with the entertainment from the apprentices being the main highlight. We were encouraged to dig deep with our donations and bet money to make the apprentices do various tasks. Twerking on stage for $500 anyone?

IMG_4889 IMG_4890 IMG_4893

First there was a glowstick dance, involving all the apprentices. There were also judges involved who would rank the apprentices performance, so there was a fundraising winner and also a winners of the highest score at the end of the night. I had no idea who the judges were and to be honest they were a bit tacky with their criticisms. Needless to say they would only get worse the more wine we all consumed.

IMG_4895

We were further up the back (closer to the bar – WINNING) so the photos leave a bit to be desired!

Around the room were silent auctions, with all of the auction items being donated from various sponsors. We browsed around the room and placed our bets until the entrees were served. I had a goats cheese tartlet served with roasted hazelnuts. The alternative was rare roast beef with a salad. The photos I have are all pretty bad as the room was dark for most of the proceedings but the food was great. Served quickly and everything was still hot by the time was received it. FANTASTIC

IMG_4894

Next on the entertainment agenda was Karaoke, the apprentices were paired together and performed a song of their choosing.

IMG_4896 IMG_4898 IMG_4899

We had performances from Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, LMFAO and the cast of Grease, with costume changes, wigs and all! My favourite were Elizabeth Lee and Hani Sidaros who did a mash up of Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing and Timber by Kesha and Pittbull. With their song choice and crowd participation they easily won that challenge.

IMG_4900 IMG_4901 IMG_4902

I must admit the proceedings got a little blurry at this point but I believe the band played next. Groovalicious, got us all out of our sits onto the dance floor. Mains were served, an alternate drop of steak and chicken breast. Cue my new vegetarian dietary requirements (without any warning I must admit) most of the table were finished their meals before I was served. I had a vegetable curry which was delicious! So kudos to the improv of the Southern Cross Club.

IMG_4903 IMG_4904

Steak and Veggie curry :) again the photos are terrible because of the lighting (and maybe the drinking :P)

Whilst we were all eating dinner they introduced a ukulele player to accompany another video from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. It was touching footage of children and young adults who had received services from the charity, did I mention the accompanying song was ‘Over the Rainbow’. I must admit as soon as I heard a few chords I grabbed my napkin. Cue the tears. We ate lollipops to feel better – plus they gave out the leftover glowsticks from the dancing.

IMG_4906

They brighten the atmosphere soon after with some Bollywood dancing performed by the apprentices. We were waiting in line for the photo booth while the apprentices were on, but professional dancers from Bollywood Dance academy soon took the stage and we raced to the dance floor to join them. It was definitely one of the highlights of the evening. Similar to line dancing with the dance floor following the moves of those on stage, it was incredibly upbeat and energetic.

During the night there was also raffles and a chance to win a pearl and diamond pendant donated by Briolette. You bought an oyster for $25 and draw a number out of a bowl. You weren’t allowed to take your oyster straight away (obviously if someone won they wouldn’t sell any more tickets) there were only 100 tickets total so we bought our tickets at the very start of the event.

IMG_4911

We opened our oysters just before dessert and neither Sister or I won sadly. However the dessert was enough to comfort our sore losing. There was passionfruit cheesecake (which was a HUGE portion) or a chocolate mousse cake. I cursed myself eating so much rice earlier because the mousse cake was heavenly.

IMG_4909 IMG_4910

The strawberry was whole when the cake was served – my photo skills werent quick enough!

During desert there were some auctions, lunch with the Raiders and a getaway package for 8 people, both fetching high prices, to donate to the cause.

Then, and I’m not even sure how to explain this, there was a snail race. Each apprentice had a snail with a number on its back, on a circle on the dance floor. The first to the outer edge of the circle won. I didn’t think this was either fun or necessary given the tone of the evening. Half of the snails didn’t even move, bit of a snooze fest really. The snails were cleared off and we were invited back to the dance floor while the scores were being tallied.

I should mention before the night even started there was already over $96,000 raised which is a massive achievement. There was a strong lead from Scott Cass-Dunbar on $17,700 but then a gentleman took the stage. He was a guest of Sophie Luton, from Luton Properties, and as a last minute effort to get over on top of the leader board, a dinner with Sophie was auctioned. It was a bit Coyote Ugly for my liking but the final price was $8,000! The bet did come from within her party but what a fantastic donation.

IMG_4912

All the apprentices were called onto stage and promptly ‘fired’ for various slip ups throughout the event. The winner of the highest score was Elizabeth Lee. There were streamers and confetti thrown over the stage as the winners of the title Canberra Celebrity Charity Apprentice for 2013 – 14 was announced. The tied winners of the fundraising was Scott Cass-Dunbar and Sophie Luton. Luckily they had a crown for both. Then it was back into the dance floor to dance the night away.

I was trying to look for totals of the fundraising tallies but the totals haven’t been confirmed post event. With some basic mathematics, (not even including the silent auction, raffle tickets sales, or briolette oyster tickets) the goal of raising over 100,00 was well surpassed. I had an absolutely fantastic night and look forward to hopefully attending the event next year again, to support the Cerebral Palsy Alliance ACT.

You can still donate to this fantastic cause by clicking HERE

Standard

Canberra Day – Picnic in the Park

Canberra Day celebrations for Canberra’s 101st birthday. I have to admit, even after living in Canberra for most of my life, I’ve never been to a Canberra day celebration. For the most part the Canberra Day picnic in the park is a family affair, so accompanied by Sister, the baby maker and her ever growing tribe of infants, we head to Commonwealth Park.

canberra

With Scooby Doo on stage 88 as the main event, interchanging with live music (more geared toward an adult audience) in the breaks, we bring a picnic for a relaxing afternoon of musical stylings. Foolishly we head in at soon as the celebrations start, at 2pm, when its possible 30+ degrees. Even though we are early, all the shaded spots are taken so we sit smack bang in the middle of the grass area in the blazing sun. Sister breaks out the hats and drink bottles for the children and I break out the cheese and biscuits. The first thing you notice about the event is the CBR presence. They are trying to make CBR ‘happen’ (in my best Mean Girls voice) but it’s safe to say I don’t think it has really taken off. Today however, it certainly has in the physically sense with every man, woman and child in possession of a CBR balloon. Also if you hashtag CBR on twitter, your tweet would appear on the live screen. How thrilling. We watch Scooby Doo and I sit patiently through it, waiting for the more adult live music to begin.

IMG_4508 IMG_4512 IMG_4513

After Scooby Doo, Katie Gallagher does a little speech and cuts the cake. We purposefully edge closer to the stage with high hopes for cake, but are informed that it would be distributed at various points throughout the event.

Never to be seen again!

None the less, it’s time for the adult music. My visions of Sister and I relaxing on the picnic blanket, while the children frolic around us quickly melt away in the heat. The children are bored and it’s safe to say I’m creating a personal swimming pool of sweat. We had off to check out the other entertainment. All I can see is lines, lines as far as the eye can see.

IMG_4514 IMG_4516 IMG_4517

We line up for icy poles to try and combat the heat. This is when I realise just how epic the day will be, Sister is rocking her maternal instincts and it’s safe to say I become the fourth child. If the children get an icypoles so do I and this magic continues for the rest of the day. Icypoles in hand we join the huge queue for face painting, I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. Here is some proof

IMG_4521

it extended even further than this, I couldnt get it all on camera

IMG_4519

Most of the line is in the shade so we decide its worthwhile. Then we wait. At one point we abandon Sister to go and play picnic games in the middle of the field. It’s safe to say water balloons and 3 year olds do not mix, so we were out pretty quickly, and we go back in line to wait. I would have liked to have seen a lot more of these games throughout as there was minimal waiting times and high levels of participation.

IMG_4520

Eventually we are at the front of the face painting queue – an hour and a half later. The kids get there face painted, I use all my self-control to not get my face painted as well. Feels slightly unfair to make children wait longer, until I see a mother with her and her daughter in matching face paint and am understandably devastated. Theres a slighty uneven mix of the face painting skills, we have a blue butterfly man (aka Batman) and Wonder Woman.

IMG_4522 IMG_4523 IMG_4525

Off to get balloon animals. We wait twenty minutes for these, which I feel is pretty reasonable, and I’m determined to get a sausage dog. The kids get swords, one of which pops as soon as the kids step on the grass with it and then come the tears. The boy making them, without hesitation offer to make a new sword which immediately ceases the tears. Plus he makes me a sausage dog to take home for Puppy, needless to say I’m thrilled!

IMG_4533

We look around and again lines are out on control for everythingl. It’s wonderful to see so much free entertainment, but for the crowds it attracted, it wasn’t nearly enough. We decide that it’s time to go home, after about 3 hours at the picnic and only participating in three activities.

IMG_4536 IMG_4537 IMG_4538

Didnt even get to go on the jumping castles :(

IMG_4540 IMG_4543

More activites! Football and a velcro wall.

IMG_4541 IMG_4518 IMG_4542

We walk past the food stands and Sister gets us all cupcakes (vegan cupcakes too!).

IMG_4549 IMG_4550

The kids get little push up cupcake popthings which are adorable, I get a grown up cupcake this time.

IMG_4551 IMG_4552

Then we decide we also need dutch pancakes. The shortest lines were for the food, I assume because this wasn’t free but it certainly was delicious. I missed out at the multicultural festival because the lines were out of control but Canberra Day pays off and we get a serve of maple and one of caramel.

IMG_4553 IMG_4556 IMG_4557

Pushing a pram, holding a child, grasping 4 balloon animals (so there is no more popping) and managing not to spill my pancakes proves quite a feat but we make it back to the car and begin the travels home! It was definitely a worthwhile event, but next year I would certainly go later in the day, as we were leaving it was getting to the perfect temperature. Go figure!

IMG_4554 IMG_4547 IMG_4555

Also on a side note I decide to Instagram a few pictures with the #CBR tag, and see that there have been over 250,000+ tags. Obviously I’m just oblivious or on the outer for what has proved to be quite a successful social media attention grab for Canberra. I got to look at the other photos of Canberrans enjoying the picnic in the park and it’s all motorbike photos. A CBR is a Honda (?) motorbike, with only about every 20th photo being of the park.

Perhaps they needed more balloons?

Standard