White Night - All Night Arts Festival @ Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Saturday we went to see 'White Night at the Opera - Gala Concert'. I like the opera, but don't love it like jas. Nor do I know anything about it really. It was great as expected. We had balcony seats which was pretty scary - it was high! very high! not not as high as the seats right at the back. I have a major fear of heights. My favourite two pieces were Verdi | Coro di Zingari – Il trovatore & Wagner | Act III Prelude and Bridal Chorus – Lohengrin. I'm so glad we went to the opera instead of checking out my list of White Night activities.

When you think opera you think of opera gloves & glasses. Champagne (also the name of the last piece they always close galas with). Men in suits and ladies in nice dresses. Unfortunately the atmosphere outside the Arts Center was quite the opposite. People stank of throw-up, public bathrooms and sweat. It was disgusting. Though perhaps it's just a typical night out for most of them, the scene that likes to go clubbing and rub their sweaty bodies against each other *shudders*.

It was scary. Not the best idea ever to go to the city when everyone else was going. As the festival was on the streets we had to struggle through a sea of people to get to the library.


The sign on the bridge around 10.15pm.

We got a good spot on the bridge to see the 'Into the Deep' light/water show, which was amazing. Unfortunately I don't do night photography (can't keep still) and so not many decent pictures were taken on the night.

The Library

Picture taken by jas, as I'm not capable of holding the camera still long enough to get the shot. That and I'm short and can't see anything. As you can see it was very very crowded. There was a music event, harp, cello and two something else (I'm short - and didn't see anything other than the harp). There was a very long line that started from the bottom of the stairs outside. A guy in line says to his friend 'This better be worth it.' :P And it wasn't - according to me, though jas didn't agree. On our way in jas said he saw Steve Bracks and his family. I saw a bunch of guys in grey suits all wearing the same round-ish gold brooch.

Light Projection inside the Library

Afterwards we went to Cacao Green (another post) and jas decided to get Krispy Kreme.

Throughout the night there were artists drawing on the signs on the bridge.

My one decent night shot.

Did you go to White Night?  

Shyun @ Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On an early Saturday evening on our way to the opera in the city we I decided I wanted to try a place on the way there rather than the city, as with the event it'll be very very crowded and scary. It was between Italian and Japanese, we let jas choose, and he picked the later.

Shyun is a small Japanese establishment in Carnegie  within walking distance of the station. Inside it's small and cramped when busy, not recomended you go during peak hours. I used to go past this road every morning and evening for years and I've never noticed it there, but I didn't fail to notice the Grill'd a few stops down. :P

It's one of those places that you wouldn't know about unless you knew it was there or went exploring. We went there around 6pm and it was getting busy, inside the tables were small and it was almost full, jas wanted to sit inside (with the air con) but I preferred outside as there was no one out there at the time - and there was air. I don't do well in small spaces, especially if there's lots of people around.

By the way I'd like to point out that they have different prices for most items for lunch/dinner. Lunch is cheaper.

Spring Rolls 6.00

Jas had these, said there was no mushroom or pork. I have no idea what's in it. Might edit this later if he feels like doing a review. 

Potato Croquette 3.00

These deep fried things come in veggie, crab (possibly that same thing crab sticks are made of) and pumpkin. I picked pumpkin. It was amazing! Highly recommended - if you like pumpkin. It came on a bed of colesaw and with a sauce that was not mayo. Possibly a mixture of buttermilk and mayo. 

Hiyashi Udon 13.00

crispy chicken, egg, seaweed and vegetable on udon noodle with Japanese cold dressing. The red thing is ginger and green blob on the left is wasabi - I think. 

Salmon Steak 14.70

grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce. The rice was a bit drier than desired. Liked the mashed potato, which was slightly chunky. Didn't like the colesaw as it was dry and there was no dressing for it. But the salmon was perfect. :) 

Overall we liked the place, and will be back to try the sushi, sashimi, bentos, which are highly recommended, especially the Teriyaki Chicken and Deluxe Bento Box. 

There was no atmosphere, so not a good place for a date - unless you get take-away for a picnic. Nor a place to chill for dinner, as the turn-around rate is fast. Eat and go, if you wanted to stay for coffee you might want to try 'The Kitchen' a few miles away, though they're a daytime cafe... Highly recommened you check out this place (Shyun and The Kitchen :P), and the prior is only a very long block from the station. If you're driving you can park behind the shops, around the right corner of the block.  

Shyun on Urbanspoon

Amazing Éclairs @ Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Last week was mainly uneventful, during the week I worked at O-Month. There was cotton candy, bike powered smoothies (1. banana, pineapple/mango, x2 AJ, 2. AJ, milk, berries, banana), sausage sizzle & burgers and lots of English candy. 

I helped with directions, showing the newbies where to buy old books, and helped out at the smoothie stall. There were bikes that powered blenders, which was pretty cool, as the fruit we used was pretty much frozen. Saw mr eco (the 1st one) who recognized me, but didn't know my name and mr pd (who's subject I failed... he was the one who introduced me as the international kid from Chicago O.o).

No pictures were taken, as they already had a photographer and I don't feel comfortable taking pictures of people. I feel like a voyeur when looking at people through the lens - except when they're in the way of my food (I'm really into food photography).

Not much else happened till Sunday, where we checked out a new place for dinner, went to the opera, had frozen yoghurt and checked out White Night, my first and last experience of being in a crowded place where most people stank and smelt like throw-up, public bathrooms and sweat.

My book from bookworld arrived, 3 days after the order was placed, and with free shipping. 10% off code: BW-IBRA83, expires 8th March. As this book seems to Australian bookdesposity (uk/us) doesn't stock it. I got it for around 25.00, which is the cheapest I've seen it, though you might want to do a price check with Target/Kmart/Big W. Amazing Face has been on my wishlist for a while, but not at the topic, and with the code it was a good op. to get it. So far I'm up to p20 and it's quite good, the skincare section. A book for beginners. I'll be sharing passages within the next month or two. Do you put the eye cream under or over your moisturize?

I remember the first time I attempted to make eclairs, I got up to the bit where we needed a piping bag, but as we don't cook we didn't have one. And that was the end of that. Plus I find when baking for one I tend to loose all the batter on the sides of the mixing bowl anyway.

Finally got a picture of le beau's card (the one I sent him), this is part of it, I haven't managed to get a decent picture of the other part yet. The pen was meant to keep the string taunt but that didn't happen...

I love getting mail. Bloom's V'Day Competition.

Moon & Stars


Light and Fluffy - Peach Upsidedown Cake @ Monday, February 25, 2013

We made cake the other morning, stuck it in the freezer and forgot about it till now, amazingly we had all the ingredients, a rare thing. As we had tinned peaches bought god knows how long ago, we made an upsidedown peach cake. That's not the best part. I think for the first time ever I folded the flour into the batter. As the tin was a bit full and I had batter left I decided to make poppy seed cupcakes. As the kitchenaid has gone for a walk and the butter was accidentally melted rather than softened, I used a spoon to incorporate the flour, and not in a stirring motion.

This resulted in the fluffiest cake I've ever tasted!

And here's the actual Peach Cake I started out with. It's nice, but due to the freezing and peach it's a bit more dense then fluffy. Next time I'll make it w/o the peaches and perhaps serve them with peach/strawberries & cream instead. 

Upsidedown Peach Cake
Tastes better than it looks.  

Serves 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

½ cup brown sugar
800g tin sliced peaches, drained
250g butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups self raising flour
Pinch salt
½ cup milk
1/4 cup poppy seed - optional


Preheat oven 180°C/160°C fan forced and grease a 22cm non-stick round cake tin.

Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the base of prepared tin and arrange peach slices over the top.

Cream butter and sugar together with electric hand beaters until butter is light and fluffy and sugar has dissolved. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Fold in salt, flour and milk in two alternate batches until well combined. Spoon batter over peaches, making sure to spread it evenly to the sides of the pan. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until golden and springy to touch.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool and serve with whipped cream.

Competitioning - V'Day Edition. @ Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Sure, I have advice for people starting to write. Don't. I don't need the competition." 
- Robert B. Parker, American Crime Novelist

Competitioning. I recently discovered is possibly a hobby for many, there are forums on the topic. It is the art and dedication of spending hours on end entering competitions, over the internet, via sms and through magazines. Though I hope the day never comes when I list it as a hobby. There's much more to life then spending it competitioning, though entering the odd competition (my preference, 25WOL - words or less) doesn't take up that much time, just a few minutes now and then.

I came across a guide for 25WOL competitions, and the summary is be unique. If someone else posts the same thing as you, your chances are drastically reduced. Don't post the first couple things that come to mine. Though that doesn't apply to those who are like me, and have a very unique way of thinking. :P I'm that person who got out their compass and ruler, and measured the circumference to line the baking tin. While the rest of the class traced around the tin.

My biggest winnings, so far are:
- 90.00 Gold Class (movie) tickets/food
- 400 Sachets of Continental Soup (for the office)
- 275.00 of Bloom Cosmetics  
- 290.00 of Wardrobe Organization Things
- 255.00 of Crabtree & Evelyn

Probably should mention that once you win a big prize from business x or y, the chances of winning big with them are slim. Just like back at school, you won't be picked again, do try to let some else have a turn.

Another important thing is to read the T&C. Will the winner be selected randomly or is it relied on your way with words? Though that's not anywhere as important as location. If like me you view a lot of American sites/blogs, usually the competition is only running in the states (possibly excluding Hawaii).

This is what I won last week, it arrived on V-Day. Oh and another reason why we don't celebrate the day is because a relative died that day, even though it was decades ago and I never met her, it would still be weird. But le beau & I did exchange cards and newspaper messages. :P

For Her
Evelyn Rose Shower Gel 250ml 32.00
Evelyn Rose Body Cream 170g 48.00
Summer Hill Soap 3/100gm 28.00 
Pomegranate & ... Hand Therapy 100g 28.00 
Total - 136.00

What I love most about this set is that it consists of things I would never buy myself (with the exception of the hand cream) as I feel wrong about spending too much on body wash, something that would end up down the drain, and I love my basic Cetaphil body moisturizer, that is light and doesn't clash with my perfume. Le beau points out that I spent over 100.00 on Lush last year... Looking fowards to using the body cream in winter, as it's quite thick and not suited for summer. Everything smells delightful! Evelyn Rose is my favourite C&E scent (with the exception of the actual EDT/P).    

For Him
Sandalwood Soap 3/150gm 30.00 
West Indian Lime Shave Cream 100ml 20.00
West Indian Lime After Shave Balm 100ml 40.00  
Nomad Hair & Body Wash 225ml 28.00 
Total -118.00

I gave this to le beau possibly as an early anniversary if I can't think of something else to get him. What do you get the guy who has everything? Including anything than can and has been engraved. I'll probably make him something. It's never about money, it's about how much thought or over analyzing was involved.

It's amazing how after years you're always still learning about each other. In this case we discovered we both aren't very fond of sandalwood  He says it's alright, and I don't like the memories it evokes, of incense, and my first friend Mandy. Did you know that scent is closely linked to memories more than sounds or a particular song?

He really like the lime, though I love the smell of the tube of body wash - that's right, the smell of the tube rather than scent of the gel-ish thing inside. :P       

Pancakes for Dinner @ Friday, February 22, 2013

On the 13th we were going to go to the Night Market at Victoria Market, but that didn't quite work out, as I felt like real food, other than carnival-esque foods (think anything on a stand: hot chips, hot dogs, kebabs, potato swirls). And so we took a trip to the suburbs near out old college and had dinner at the Pancake Parlour. 

Lime Creamy Ice-Cream Soda 7.50
This looks radioactive to me. :P 

Swiss Mountain Malt 8.50
I love this milkshake, it's a dupe of Hudsons's one.
We may have spent too much on non-alcoholic drinks... 

Cottage Fries 13.00

Jas ordered Tabriz (20.00) which is pasta meat/sauce in crepes with a salad. My five shots of what jas ate were all blurry... one shot of the double deep fried potatoes and it was decent. We are not having a good picture week.

Fish Fillets (28.00) aka Lunchtime Barramundi with Salad (11.00)

I was going to order the same thing, but they couldn't do it w/o the pork, as it was in the mince. So I got the Barramundi with Salad instead (28.00) it was nice, though too oily. Much like the double deep fried fries. Not a recommended dish, if it's fish & chips you're after, try elsewhere.

If you look closely you can see part of the crepes. :P

Afterwards we played chess, which I haven't played since middle school back home. He made up rules... though later on Fernando said he didn't. I just don't know how to play... Pretty sure he won when we had to go (cab waiting) even though he said I won. ^^

Overall we had a good time, though if you're planning to go it's best to between 11am - 7pm. The early lunch/dinner menus and the same, though they use smaller plates XD and servings. And everything is around 11.00, well the main savory items are anyway. Other than that for a franchise the Pancake Parlour is expensive, though there isn't much out there out of the city and inner suburbs. 

The Pancake Parlour on Urbanspoon

Pancake Parlour on Urbanspoon

Peko Peko on Wells St @ Thursday, February 21, 2013

I recently, a few minutes ago actually (at the time of doing this post), discovered there's a Peko Peko in Collingwood, that's not a franchise of the one in South Melbourne, the prior being Japanese and later, Korean or Twainese. O.o

I love weekday lunches, after class, with no time limits. I also love it when they post their menu on their site, or find a picture of the menu someone has posted. I like to know what to order before I get there, rather than not knowing and having the same strange feeling with browsing in stores, which is not my thing.

Peko Peko, one of my favorite lunch spots, is just a few stops away from Flinders. Not ideal for a quick lunch break, better suited to an afternoon off, or better a lunch date, though we all say it's just lunch don't we? ;)

A busy sometimes crowded atmosphere during the lunch/dinner service, but then again we never seem to go at those times. Afternoons are quiet, just the way I like it. Being mainstream isn't my thing. It's a great place for any number of people, though not so much for functions, other than group dinners.

They have cake! But I wouldn't recommend it, as it's not their specialty. 
That and the plate looked sad and lonely in the display, not a good sign. 

Some interesting umm... art? Well Fernando finds it amusing anyway. 
I've left the link of this picture, click to enlarge - at your own risk.

Honey Chicken Peko Box 13.00

I do believe this is the first time my DSLR has been here. Everytime I say I'll try something new, though that rarely works out. I've tried the stir-fry beef box, it was meh, lacked flavours. Unlike this amazing honey chicken. While it may have been a good idea at the time I highly recommend you don't put your rice into the honey sauce (under the chicken).

As Emily & I got the same thing, we can have two picture. :P We both really like this dish, I especially love the pumpkin spring roll and wished they had a plate of that as an entree. Our only criticism is that the meat to rice ratio is unbalanced, and that there should be more rice. Though you can order extra rice for around 2.50+.

Next time I'm going to order the popcorn chicken box. Though I do highly recommend the honey chicken. No dessert, as we have tried most of the items on the dessert menu and it was just average. Better to go someone else for dessert. 

Peko Peko on Urbanspoon

DIY Chamomile Oatmeal Face Mask @ Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strongly brewed chamomile tea (only need 2 Tbs-1/4 cup)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats (pulsed a few times in food processor)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp caster sugar

1. Brew a cup of chamomile tea. 
2. In a small bowl mix oats, baking soda and honey. 
3. Start out by adding only 2 tbsp of tea to oat mixture and set aside 5 minutes. If mixture is too dry, add a small amount of tea at a time until desired consistency is reached…don’t add too much! 
4. Add caster sugar and mix to combine. Mask will be chunky. 
5. Apply to washed, damp face and let sit 5 minutes. Rinse and apply toner & moisturizer.

Chamomile - calming & anti-inflammatory
Oats - “milk” from the oats contain salicylic acid, a gentle exfoliant
Baking soda- neutralizes skins acidity and softens skin
Honey- helps remove dead skin cells
Sugar- exfoliant

Storage Notes: Use immediately. 


Pancakes at the Park @ Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Last Tuesday morning we went for a walk in the park, there was still morning dew but it was quite nice, it's not often that I go outside (a trip from the station to work/the office doesn't count). And being brunch time meant that it wasn't quite hot yet.

There was an event on that morning, a pancake race. Quite an amusing moment when the air horn failed and there was no back-up plan. The speakers also decided not to work half the time. There was a tv station covering the event, though it wasn't a large event. 

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