Village Bizarre – The Rocks 2014

A splash of mystery, a dash of magic, a spray of music and an array of markets – every Friday, Village Bizarre showcases a unique combination of entertainment at The Rocks from 6:30pm between 7 November to 19 December 2014.

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“Catch a glimpse of a colossal white rabbit over rooftops, encounter captivating characters around every corner, satisfy your foodie side and meander through night markets of handmade treasures.”

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I must confess that my true intentions to come to a Village Bizarre is to see one of my best friends from school perform. The pop up Kpop performances were amazing but the highlights were the bizarre performances and behind the window live acts which made the night truly bizarre.

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Walking from Circular Quay station, the first touch of bizarreness was seeing the live dancers  bring window displays to life. The Star Wars Queen lookalike is actually a Hindu Goddess.

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The most popular shopfront performer would be Peter Baecker. His hyptonic movements as the Village Bizarre Clubhouse’s official DJ dancer is contagious!

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Superman made an appearance too.. and with a balaclava.

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We officially started the night at the information booth where the personable clowns got us in the mood for a fun night.

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Walking up the strand, there were the usual foodie markets. Nothing too special and nothing too bizarre.

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To get a feel for what kinds of food were there (if you’re not a regular), Hero Sushi’s famous dumplings…

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Roast Pulled Pork Roll with slaw, apple sauce and gravy was $10 and is was amaaaaaaazing! The combination of sauces was unique and the flavours were top notch.

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Skewers and fresh pasta was also on the agenda with other varieties such as hot dogs and kebabs.

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On the other side, Smoke and Mirrors, Part 2 was on display. There’s a line to have a look but it doesn’t take long as everyone just peers through the curtains. I’m glad I don’t live in a haunted house.. it would scare the daylights out of me.

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Turning right, there was The Argyle Oracle. Take a seat for a psychic reading of your (possible) future using palm and taro card readings. There was a long line for this, but I’m not sure if I’m a believer in foreseeing what’s ahead.

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Every year, I tell myself to sign up for one of the activities at the Parlour Bizarre. It’s a place where you will be transformed into a piece of art!! If you ever arrive early, head here first. Sign up before everyone else to avoid disappointment! People who were there included: Barbarer Supreme – choose between a wet shave, scissor cut or clipper cut and enjoy the experience!

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Glitta Supernova – a 20 minute makeover where you’ll be transformed by a team of talented artists into a living artwork! They’ll put stickers, glitter, flowers, laces, and paint onto your face – think Day of the Dead style.

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Photobooth – KABOOM! Be a fun comic character and take a picture and instagram it #villagebizarre

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Mohs Hair and Beauty – An electrik 1980s-inspired hair makeover . My friend and I signed up for this and daym it looked amazing! My friend had these beautiful braids that curled at the back of her head which was accompanied by some fancy curls – it looked like she was ready to be at a wedding! I got a rough curl in my hair and it was up in a rowdy bun – funky!

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After our treatment, we walked into The Gin Mill Social.

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Duh there was Gin and duh there were live performances!

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The Rocks Brewing Company supplied the onlookers with drinks and it was pretty packed with not enough tables or seats. It was quite entertaining but not really during the 10 minutes we spent there.

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Opposite was the entrance to the UTS exhibition. There is no doubt that this was one of the highlights and almost every person I’ve talked to that has been to the Rocks Village Bizarre has said this was a favourite! The colourful strings strung by the audience on what they thought about Sydney was stunning.

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We did a made our way into  an alley where there were Crossover’s Kpop dancers performing in front of the huge white rabbits from this year’s Vivid.

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We also got really lucky as it was just in time for a Full Fathom Five performance at the Discovery Museum. This was perhaps my favourite performance because it kept the audience moving. We were lead into different rooms by the security guard (who would’ve known he was part of the show too!) and characters from different rooms told a tale.

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Moving forward, we stumbled upon a fly..bird?  He was lingering around the official hashtag sign.

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Love TV was kinda awkward lol. I mean the setting was fabulous and wonderfully displayed.. I guess it’s just the concept.

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I think one of the main reasons why some people came to the Village Bizarre was because of Etzy. Etzy is an online marketplace for with vintage and hand made products. It’s amazing and if you have spare time, it’s definitely worth more than a scroll. You could even get a photo taken at their photobooth!

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We also saw a ghost puppet show at around 8pm. It was interesting! I didn’t really get what the whole concept was really about but there were some good laughs.

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I feel like we saw a lot of things- we went to a few shows, looked at the markets, stared at the shopfront performances and had a good laugh, ate some delicious food, and even got our hair done! It was a packed night and we did really well in terms of getting involved. Fun!

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Village Bizarre): 4.25/5

Ambience: 4/5

Service: 4/5

Value: 4.5/5

Would I recommend going to The Rocks Village Bizarre this year? You may probably need a good game plan so head to the information booth to sort out your night filled with performances! If you’re a person who is up for a few tales, a couple of drinks, likes art and loves interactivity, then this one would be for you!

Highlight: I feel like there weren’t as many people on its first night compared to previous years. However, I felt like we did sooooooooo many more things compared to last year. Maybe it was just perfect timing but I really loved going to the shows and seeing the performances. I actually can’t believe that we were there from around 5:30 til 10pm? Time went by so quickly!

Suggestion of improvement: The amount of pop up performances was amazing and there were always people crowded in those areas – maybe they should have more next year! Also, probably more seats at the food markets because it was a bit awkward not knowing where to sit- everyone else seemed to be standing.

Linkhttp://www.therocks.com/whats-on/the-rocks-village-bizarre.aspx

Official hashtag: #VillageBizarre

Angela Bee

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Brewery Yard Markets – The Living Mall

Brewery Yard Markets launched last Sunday under the blue sky and blazing sun, where shops from The Living Mall and beyond came together to showcase their trendy products.

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“Held adjacent to Chippendale Green every second Sunday from 10am to 4pm, you will be delighted by street art, quirky crafts, jewellery, local designer threads, acoustic music and live entertainment.

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My oh my was it a beautiful day! Couldn’t really ask for better whether, aye? If you haven’t been to The Living Mall, it is a $2 billion urban village in Sydney, designed by the world’s leading architects to the highest standards of sustainable urban living. They’ve bought innovative shopping to Sundays with their newly launched markets and it was fabulous seeing so many people checking it out! So let’s cut to the chase.

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Heading the escalators, past Woolies and out into the open area, I noticed that all the outdoor restaurants had white fenced greenery with sun umbrellas for their customers to enjoy the summer sunshine. #winning

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There were so many stalls! I only expected a couple but it seems like everyone was willing to contribute!

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Say hello to the Museli Man!

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I have a feeling I totally agree with this sign..

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Since I last came to Central Park, there have been a few more cafes/restaurants that have popped up, one being Autolyse. The name itself doesn’t say much but the display of breads just made my mouth water. Did I mention that there were croissants and danishes to sample? Loved the crunch on the pastries- it was French-quality (and Angela approved) and I’ll definitely going there again!

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A good ol Aussie BBQ is an all-time favourite at the markets. You can’t go wrong by having one of the burgers for lunch!

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Work-Shop Gallery had a massive display including someone drawing live. I guess I’ve always liked my so it was fabulous seeing it come to life.

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Coco Cubano’s stall saw the virgin Mojitos and iced Granitas. Read my previous review of Coco Cubano here. For a sunny day like this, ice granitas are the perfect way to cool down.

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I love how Raw Eats aimed to educate passer-byers. They had a sign explaining what it means to eat ‘raw’ and its benefits.

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Speakeasy Co. are hand cut, hand brewed and hand poured hand-made candles.

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Pigeonhole had their quirky jewelry,  fun polaroids, and other fun stuff displayed.

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I love cactus’s. I’m not the best at watering plants and Huddle Co’s potted plants are definitely on my list of things I would love to buy.

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Have you tried Marysol’s Haberno and Ghost chilli sauces? I tried it and it aint for the faint-hearted!

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Remedia’s soaps were a specialty! How pretty are they? Check out the Orange Blossom and Organic Coconut, or perhaps the Black Forrest?

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I was so close to buying one of these Growing Books! Basically its a cactus planted in a book! I would totally put this on my work desk.

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After having a look at all the stalls, I settled at the back and joined the small-ish crowd listening to the tunes. #chillaxing

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Brewery Yard Markets, it was a pleasure visiting you on your first day! For me, these markets add a bit more fun and it’s really nice to go ‘outdoor shopping’. There were a lot of bits and pieces and this would be the place I would go to get presents for friends and even a bit of deco here and there.

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Brewery Yard Markets): 4/5

Ambience: 4.5/5

Service: 4/5

Value: 4/5

Would I recommend going to Brewery Yard Markets? Like the outdoors? Maybe looking for some nice presents to give to a friend? Perhaps you just want a place to chill in the sun… head down to the Brewery Yard Markets and you’ll be delighted to a range of quirky arts and crafts, cool tunes and a diverse range of delicious food!

Highlight: Having a place where you can sit down and have a tan. Often markets are packed and too crowded. There’s no space to move, sit down and enjoy your freshly made lunch. Central Park has a massive open space so after you go around seeing all the stalls, you can sit back, chill, then go around again!

Suggestion of improvement: I loved the variety here and it wasn’t just stalls from The Living Mall but beyond that! It’s actually quite rare that so many shops in one place got involved but what I could suggest is maybe getting the public involved as well. Perhaps the talent from UTS or even USyd students? There are heaps of students around so they can definitely leverage on that.

Link: http://www.centralparksydney.com/shop/brewery-yard-markets

Official hashtag: #breweryyard #bymcomp

Angela Bee

Smooth Festival of Chocolate 2014

Chocolate-lovers paradise became a reality with hundreds of artesian chocolate stalls at the Smooth Festival of Chocolate, held from 10am-5pm on October 4 & 5 at The Rocks.

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”The smooth Festival of Chocolate is a celebration of sweet, indulgent desserts, where Sydney’s best boutique chocolatiers, pastry chefs and ice cream makers will come together to tempt you with their creations.”

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What a gorgeous start to the long weekend! With the sun coming out and a huge variety of chocolate, what more could you have asked for the perfect weekend? On Saturday morning I caught the ferry around the harbour and landed in Circular Quay- where all the fun started. Remember: in Heaven, chocolate has no calories and is served as a main course.

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You could see the line of white tents set up in the grass area and everyone just enjoying the sun. It’s no wonder we came across Gelato Messina first! Their specialty Willie’s Cacao (Venezuelan cacao) and the Milk of Gods (choc fudge and brownie) sound a-mazing!! As expected, the line for it was l-o-n-g.

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Similarly to the Aroma (coffee) Festival a couple of months back, Voodoo displayed their variety of rocky road. It’s quite cheap- $2.50 each!

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Parisi, which sells chocolate covered fruit was also at the festival. Very fitting and so tempting.. I love the gourmet look and chocolate with shredded coconut would be my recommendation.

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The reward to the stall that bought the most culture to our doorsteps was Mayan Xocolat. We were greeted with chilli, cardamom and chocolate covered coffee beans which were an absolute delight! My friend and I waited quite a long time to grab our exotic chilli, cardamom and cinnamon coffee but it was sooo worth it! It was the pre, during and after taste that got us excited!

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The bunting at Alpine Berry Farm got me excited. Strawberries and chocolate go well but I’m just liking the bunting here #simplybutcrafty

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The highlight of our experience at the Chocolate Festival was the Gramophones man!!!! He was in his own little world, playing his beats on a portable wheel. Not only did he have the tunes of the decade, but he had the grooves too! #entertainmentathisbest

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After we did the rounds next to the MCA, we headed up the stairs to George Street. I must admit, I did expect more stalls to be there because there were tons at Aroma, but chocolate is a specialty and there aren’t as many chocolate shops as there are cafes! We walked up to where the food markets are usually and the fun continued!

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Firstly, cinnamon doughnuts with spicy choc sauce? I do sense a bit of chilli theme going on here after the Mayan coffee I bought but it gets even more interesting…

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Bavarian Bier Café served ribs rubbed with chocolate!! #wow! The sweet and savoury saga had continued! We weren’t sure about this and I’m (quite) eager to try this at home but this one is for the boys! #manup

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Heading upstream, we passed this shop with hundreds and thousands!! There was even a freckled chocolate box used as a piñata!

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The Smooth festival of Chocolate could not be complete with your typical waffles, chocolate frappes and crepes! I must admit, the world of French crepes suddenly appeared all at once!

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I don’t think I ate one thing that was savoury for the whole day. There were too many desserts and too many tempting goods. They all looked super gourmet and super pretty.

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The ladies at Mrs Fields was having some fun!! Love it!!! Go for some chocolate cookies with chocolate drizzled on top.. mmmm

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Mr and Mrs Chocolate made an appearance as well! How about a dress with Ferrero Roches attached?

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These honey queen puffs look amazing! Topped with cinnamon, they’re looking crunchy and tasty!

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I love all things funky. The Chocolate Pot sold ‘reeaal dirty hot choc drinking soil’ – not bad when it comes to growing more cocoa beans?

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Serendipity had their own DIY ice cream. I would prefer this to the Magnum store because they had more varieties of ice cream and toppings for $6. (Still pricey but a Magnum is $8).

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The most interesting stall was Knafeh, Jerusalem street food. Basically you could see the whole production process from their giant van. FYI, Knafeh is cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup, topped with crushed pistachios.

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LoveDemApples is smart enough to provide us with a healthy alternative. Remmber: An apple (covered with chocolate) a day keeps the doctor away!

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I kind of expected more music to be at the festival but there were onto three stages. There wasn’t much happening at one of them and the one below was probably the most chilled. I love the seating with the haystacks.

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I was told that one of the places I must go to was at the Tafe. ChocolArts makes fresh chocolate and there’s a demonstration of how they make the chocolate. There’s an art to making chocolate, but there’s an even more refined art when it comes to designing with chocolate. Have a look at the designs below.

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Conclusion: a balanced diet is chocolate in both hands

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P.S. Obligatory Circular Quay photo #tourist #ArtamdAbout

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Smooth festival of Chocolate): 4/5

Ambience: 4/5

Service: 3.5/5

Value: 4/5

Would I recommend going to the Smooth Festival of Chocolate? Love chocolate? Need a break from work? Take some time off and grab head to the festival! There’s a bit of food porn here but if it will get you through the day, then I don’t see an excuse not to come!

Highlight: All the chocolate! What I loved about this festival was that it was just the same old chocolate you would get from our  usual supermarkets. The people there were small businesses, each with unique takes of chocolate. Where else could you get chilli, cardamom and cinnamon coffee beans? How about the ginger, coconut and chocolate blocks?

Suggestion of improvement: We absolutely loved all the chocolate stalls and it was a bit random having the occasional savoury eateries? I guess it’ll be a good balance if there is (and could we ever have) too much chocolate but what I’m saying is that it doesn’t really make too much sense if a jazz singer sings at a rock n roll concert. I must say, the Gramophone man was the best!

Link: http://www.smoothfestivalofchocolate.com.au/

Angela Bee

Cabramatta Moon Festival 2014

A total immersion into Vietnamese culture was experienced at Cabramatta’s Moon Festival, which was held conveniently on the same day as Father’s Day this year on Sunday 7 September 2014.

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“The Cabramatta Moon Festival is recognised as one of Sydney’s premier and largest Asian celebrations. People from all parts of Sydney and different cultural backgrounds take part to celebrate the ancient Moon Festival tradition.

 It’s a festival for family and friends to enjoy and celebrate good health and fortune.”
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Cabramatta for me is a lifetime away.. and the fact that my family and I drove all the way there is a testament to how lively and fantastic this festival was. In fact, I felt like I was transported back to Vietnam!! – why do I not live closer?  If you don’t have a car, don’t fret because the train station is literally next to the scene.

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When we arrived, there was a little sectioned out space where dancers showed off their cool moves. There was a bit of cheering here and there and it was a good attempt by the youngsters.

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What I noticed when I got to Cabramatta was that it was very family-oriented. The animals made an appearance..

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There were a lot of rides .. every. where. Normally there would be a tiny little section, but this time it was spread out to a few areas. This was a giant carnival I wished I had when I was a kid!

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My favourite stall was the umbrella-painting. The kids there were very cute and got to paint their umbrellas and even put some sparkles on top! I loved how vibrant they were and the stands made them shine.

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Other than the rides and activities for kids, there were of course there were a billion shops selling cheap/delicious stuff. I won’t be sure about the quality, but if you were looking for quilts and food, Cabramatta would offer your needs at a discount. From shoes

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To cosmetics

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To toys

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There were just stalls and stalls and stalls and stalls… and it was the typical ‘there are too many people so I’m going to stomp on you’ vibe.

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There was also a stage for the youngsters to speak.. oh and I forgot to mention the radio station that was pumping Gangnam style on loud speaker? I thought it was Korean? Sorry..

Just like the typical Chinatown, there was the grand gate.

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It was kind of hard getting a good photo with all the people around the place, but I reckon I did well only needing the top half. Very traditional with a ginormous lantern.

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Walking inside, there were more lanterns and tents! It was so crazy and this was not even lunch or dinner time!! I was there at around 3-5pm?!

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Anyways, I had the liberty of trying a funky drink (which my mum had never ever seen and I was shocked.. but then again, I have been to Vietnam before) and it was soooooooooooooooooo delicious! Mixed jelly with ice. Get onto it. It’s just a mixture of jelly goodness, with ice and coconut milk. It’s insanely healthy (not) and insanely the best drink during the summer.

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I must say, The Walking Advertisement always attracts some free stuff of some sort and at Cabramatta’s Moon Festival, it was these tasty snacks! I would say they are the ‘chips’ of Vietnam but come in a variety of flavours- sweet and savoury.

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While we’re on the topic of food, the smell of pho was irresistible. Only $7 for a massive bowl of noodle which could’ve easily fed 2 people.. there’s definitely a bargain here. I would just like to say again, why don’t I live around Cabra??!!

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I eventually gave up and bought some takeaway food. The excuse was that it was for tomorrow’s lunch (but really I just wanted to eat it straight away as ‘afternoon tea’).

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Side note- there was an insane amount of ATMs and possibly the most I’ve seen in any suburb. There were no queues so kudos.

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As we closed off the loop, we ended up at a stage with little kids performing in a large tent. It was absolutely packed but quite entertaining.

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Well, I’m definitely coming next year ! Mai mốt gặp lại (See you soon!)

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Cabramatta Moon Festival): 4.75/5

Ambience: 4/5

Service: 4.5/5

Value: 4.75/5

Would I recommend going to Cabramatta Moon Festival? IF you love a bit of Vietnamese culture, or even experiencing another culture at your doorstep, then Cabramatta would’ve been my ‘highly commended’ place to be. I honestly cannot stress how many people were there- apparently there were approximately 90,000 in 2013! Vietnam itself is a busy place, and Cabramatta is a busy place.

Highlight: Going to all the markets was a highlight. No, stepping on everyone’s feet was a highlight. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been to Cabramatta so I didn’t know what to expect. I got excited at the $7 pho bowls because they smelt amazing! It also reminded me of the times I felt tempted to buy cheap clothes then figured out they weren’t top quality.. #goodtimes #memories.

Suggestion of improvement: A problem with most festivals is that there is no linear/circular route but Cabra’s Moon Festival was pretty amazing at that. We went in a full circle and I feel we experienced everything.. maybe except for any performances! Wished we saw some cultural dancing but I guess it depends what time you arrive, right?

Linkhttp://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/default.asp?iDocID=10312&iNavCatId=3313&iSubCatId=3313

Angela Bee

Opening Night Lights – Vivid Sydney

Two words: illuminated faces. Yes, to me that was the common theme in quite a few of the installations at the annual lights spectacular, Vivid Sydney, which opened free to the public yesterday and will be on display until June 9, 2014.

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“Vivid Sydney is a unique annual event of light, music and ideas, featuring many of the world’s most important creative industry forums, a mesmerising free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations, a cutting-edge contemporary music program and the spectacular illumination of Sydney’s iconic architecture including the sails of Sydney Opera House.

Vivid Sydney is where art, technology and commerce intersect.”

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My journey started off at Wynyard Station as I walked towards Martin Place. I think I did a good loop of the area covered by Vivid but you would probably need two nights to cover it all.

The first of our illuminated faces appeared as the first installation where there was a camera and people could adjust their face according to the centre piece. Clever and arty.

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We also went past the ‘rare and exotic winter (sky) flower’ made luminous by lights.

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Colour3 is a space filled with industrial water tanks illuminated with LED lights where Sydney’s many food trucks were present including: Eat Art Truck, Poklol, Agape Organic, Jafe Jaffles, Bite Size Delights, Woofys and Cantina Mobil.

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At MLC Centre, they transformed the normally odd shaped food court into something called ‘The Urban Tree Project’. Well, more of a garden with a massive tree with bugs and slugs crawling about.

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There was this massive dome, too.

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Intel had a ‘catch the blue butterfly’ competition but it was ultimately up to luck because everyone ‘caught’ it. #toostressful

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The display they had was beautiful though.

We then walked back down the other side of Martin Place where the business people had their Friday night drinks at the Colour3 Pop Up bar. So jelly. #cantwaittilimwhitecollar

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Ok, my friend and I were deeply contemplating if we wanted to get Messina. Everyone, literally EVERYONE around us was holding a white tub filled with goodness. The camera guys were there and this would be our possibly first and last chance to get some special Psychedelic Psundaes without waiting! Literally 30 seconds for Messina #quickestMessinaserviceever

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Yup, we decided on the Silly Cone Chips. It has delicious mango sorbet that actually takes like a mango, coconut sorbet- which is alright.. and they really need to drizzle more blue berry poopping candy! I love that stuff! The choco chips were pretty nice and the banana caramel was more like a mousse inside a cone. Was it worth $10? I’m not too sure.. you could get half a litre for $10 at a normal store.

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After sitting down the steps for dessert before dinner we walked towards Circular Quar and checked out their Tetris Bin in front of Custom’s House. You basically had to throw in a piece of rubbish when the white light circled towards you and to put down an object. It was kinda fun but didn’t know which shape to expect.

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Custom’s House was the same as last year. It required someone to dance to the beat so the colours on the house would appear. #samesame

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Heading towards Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), these funky little cicles got the kids rollin’ and screamin’.

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Next to it were buzzing butterflies if you clapped.

Oh, and of course, ‘Strictly Sydney’… really?

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The DF (dance floor) was a popular one for the kiddies too.

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#HiRay gave the opportunity for onlookers to ring a giant bell to keep the lights up on this display.

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Ah! We finally reached the visually appealing MCA after going through all these installations. There were heaps more but I’m just giving you a quick taste!

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And if you ever get stuck, there are information booths with maps to let you know where each display is. It’s best if you just follow the crowd (:

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So we kinda decided we needed solid dinner after sharing a Messina sundae at The Rocks. There were plenty of food stalls and some serious cooking machines.

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I decided on the japanese (made by korean) pancakes with seafood and gyoza! It looked like heaven and when I was walking to MCA to sit down everyone’s eyes were glancing at it! It was pretty yummy!! Might I add the hot dogs looked HUGE and were $10.

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Walking towards Overseas Passenger Terminal, we passed through a cherry blossom

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another facial light

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#vividsydney

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and the most picture-worthy installation- blue hexagoned tunnel.

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There was a massive line to go in but just walk right to the end and you’ll see it without queuing.

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How could I miss the iconic Opera House? This year was better than the random people doing random moves last year! I didn’t really understand last year’s but I loved the designs this year. There was a lightning storm, arty, colourful pattery things.. It changes every day so be sure not to miss it (although I don’t think anyone can..?)

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The buildings in the CBD were also part of the display as they were lighted up and there was a walky person hoping from building to building.

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Every Vivid needs a musical touch! Last year’s was the piano and this year’s is the xylophone !

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When I first saw this I thought they were rabbits but someone then mentioned that they were kangaroos! It’s like we’ve gone into Alice in Wonderland with these blown up animals!

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A second round of food trucks were closer to the Bridge

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and also a big screen of The Spirit of Patyegarang, which brings to life, and light a fascinating story from our country’s past!

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We walked until we were at Walsh Bay and could finally see the other side of the Harbour Bridge. Didn’t the mX say that Bridge-Climbers were asked to put on lighted vests? I think I saw them earlier in the evening…

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There are also light displays in Darling Harbour, towards the Opera House, Sydney Uni,, Carriageworks and other places. This took my friend and I three hours to do. There are so many pit stops and it’ll be a lights fantasy to your eyes. Light up your day by going to #VividSydney

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Vivid Lights Sydney): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =D

Value: =D

Would I recommend going to Vivid Sydney to a friend? I think I went 7 times last year and I really liked this year’s too. I keep coming back and there is always something I’ve missed out/ haven’t noticed. Defs come, especially if you’re a tourist (you can even be one in your own city!)

Would I donate the money saved to my chosen charity? Is there a charity out there that supplies electricity to homes that don’t have any? I’m having difficulty finding one..

Highlight: Oh defs the displays. Those lucky bums who work around Martin Place and Circular Quay will have the best views. Grab some dinner from The Rocks and sit yourselves in front of the MCA with the Opera House in the background.

Suggestion of Improvement: we. need. more. bins. More. Tetris. Bins. TY. and paybe more seating areas so everyone can soak in the views. It’s crowded so be prepared to walk!

Ends: June 9, 2014

Link: http://www.vividsydney.com/

Angela Bee

UTS Haberfield Club

Stunning lake views with perfect sunrise and sunset views are now open to the public on the deck of the newly renovated UTS Haberfield Club.

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“Situated on the enviable Iron Cove Bay, UTS Haberfield Club is the first NSW licenced club to be completely redeveloped in 10 years. This picturesque location is the perfect spot for lunch, dinner or a relaxing drink. The club comprises the licensed dining and recreation club upstairs and the rowing club downstairs.”

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My parents and I were conveniently driving up to Lavender Bay when we accidentally passed and pulled over to have a peak at the modernised rowing club.

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Activate UTS, formerly UTS Union Limited is full of surprises this year- UTS Haberfield Club being one of them.

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The club is surrounded by this beautiful lake view. I wouldn’t be complaining if I had an early rowing session that could soak in this stunning view.

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There’s a small area for parking but locals are encouraged to come down for a walk as there is a walk way around the bay.

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Heading inside, you’ll see a line of oars.

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There are walls full of the history of the rowing club with photos from the past.

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It’s a Sunday so it’s filled with families and not really any rowers in the water. The deck looks inviting though.

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There’s also a standard menu with mains ranging from $25…

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.. and a bar for a casual drink or few!!

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The walk over to the view and its absolutely breathtaking. I feel like I’m on the coast? It’s a very relaxing area and how about the beautiful weather?

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I had no idea that this was dedicated to Tom O’Sullivan, former CEO of UTS Union who passed away in 2011. Tom O’Sullivan got rid of Voluntary Student Unionism and was instrumental in fighting for the Student Services Amenities Fee.  To be honest, it’s probably worked for the better with better planning for budgets and exciting projects like this! (Although I remember when they introduced it and I was upset but I got my monies worth by going to all these awesome free uni events!)

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I absolutely love the outdoors area on the deck.

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There are some pokies at the back if anyone is interested but don’t get stuck behind these because there may be the possibility of watching some rowing action! I’m wondering if there are any trial sessions?

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Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (UTS Haberfield Club): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =)

Would I recommend visiting UTS Haberfield Club? Yes and go for a row at the same time! I would love to have a go and see what it’s like! I wish I lived closer to the area though..

Highlight: just standing on the deck and looking out onto the boats, the water and the sky. It looks heaps classy.

Suggestion of improvement: where are the student discounts, UTS? I would’ve hoped there could’ve been a good deal considering it is affiliated with a university.. Also, let us know when you’re rowing please (:

Ends: never

Link: http://utshaberfieldclub.com.au/

Angela Bee

Post Easter Egg Hunt – Big W

It’s just one day after Easter and the Easter egg sales have already arrived! Big W had the best sales at Macquarie Centre so come with me to investigate what they had.

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The reason why I chose Big W was that there weren’t really any other supermarkets that were selling heaps of chocolate. Woolworths had their Easter stock 25% off during Easter and I went in after work today and their hot cross buns are still (and has always been) 2 packets for $7. It’s still a great bargain though! I think Target might’ve been a good competitor but they are slightly pricier in general but they do really good sales post-Christmas.

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Just an FYI that Macq Centre got in a life-size Peppa Pig. I did not make good sales at DSW today simply because this pig was on stage oink-oinking!!

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Good stuff that Big W have placed some nice merchandise right next to their doors.

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On the other side was all Cadbury 50% OFF! #bargainwinning

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3 for $7 packets of chocolates including TimeOut, Flake, Crunchie, Dairy Milk, Picnic..

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Easter bunnies only going for $2.50!

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And there’s the Lindt and Ferrero Rocher range too.

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There are clearances everywhere! #nomnomnomnomnom

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Mostly Cadbury. #cannevergowrongwithCadbury

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I have a feeling that superstores like this purposefully overstock and use this as a great marketing tool to lure customers into their stores to generate more sales…

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Anyone else know of other post-Easter sales?

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (post-Easter chocolate sale at Big W): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I recommend buying chocolate from Big W after Easter? The fact that I’m blogging about it makes it even better. Yes. If you need a year’s supply worth or if you’re late celebrating Easter because you were elsewhere then here’s the place!

Would I donate the money saved to my charity? If the charity organisation was to give an egg to a child in Africa, yes. This is what One Egg does: http://anglicanaid.org.au/oneegg

Highlight: eating the chocolate! I love how it’s all Cadbury and not those fake easter eggs that taste like plastic. This is the real deal!

Suggestion of improvement: If there are any leftovers, give them to those who are less fortunate.

Ends: I’m not too sure but I would say by the end of April?

Link: https://www.bigw.com.au/

Angela Bee

Lawn Library – Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Lawn Library has moved from the liveliness of Sydney Festival at Hyde Park to the tranquil Paddington Reservoir Gardens from 7am-7pm daily until April 6, 2014.

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“The pop-up library, which houses an ever-changing collection of over 1,000 books and is a hub for events and activities at the award-winning gardens.”

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Catching a bus from Hyde Park to Paddington was a bit out of the way for a North Shore/Hills girl like me, but Saturdays in Paddington are quite entertaining as there were the  fashion markets at Paddington Inn and Uniting Church.

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A sign to welcome those newcomers like me makes it pretty easy for me to find.

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Ok, I must admit I’m not from the area but my first thoughts going down the stairs was: The Grounds of Alexandria. Grey bricks and nice architecture, kind of like this cafe I went to in Melbourne..

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It generally is a very nice area and I wished there was something like this in mine. It’s spacious, with a kids table right next to a book shelf.

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I absolutely love sun chairs and I’m was quite content that there were still a few in the cage. Definitely attracting the sunny vibes!

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The green patch of grass is surrounded by arched ruins. The tall arches makes the space look larger than it is.

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The tea-fern trees and water fountain in the middle are beautiful amongst the 19th century ruins. Take in the oxygen!

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Remember guys: one book per person and please return it after your read.

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I wonder if you can borrow the books? Surely. Just ask the library assistant who will be there from 12-2pm on weekdays and 10am-3pm on weekends.

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Have a peep through the reservoir gates.

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Heading back upstairs you’ll have a chance to bask if the sun the out.

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The City is also hosting a number of Lawn Library events in the gardens, including a drawing class with artist Kathe Payne, a talk about the Sydney Artists’ Balls by historian Deborah Beck, and jazz afternoons with musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Lawn Library at Paddington Reservoir Markets): =)

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I go to the Lawn Library at Paddington Reservoir Gardens again? If I lived in the city, I definitely would because they’re just a nice way to chill. There’s also free wi-fi and it isn’t noisy so it was a great way to relax and possibly do some (work aka write blogs).

Would I donate the money I saved to my charity? Libraries are usually a free place to read books. Taking this outdoors is 10 times better but we have to bare in mind that it’s Autumn and Winter is approaching! Outdoor heaters would be amazing though.

Highlight: grabbing a sun chair and just sitting outside. There’s quite a lot to take in and a ton of photo opportunities if you’re keen for a 19th century setting. I saw a few photographers whip out their fancy cameras and take some shots. I also really liked how it’s family friendly and surprisingly very quiet compared to the busy shops close by.

Suggestion of Improvement: I really like how there are afternoon jazz sessions, kids activities and other workshops. It would be even better if there were section labels such as ‘fantasy’, ‘fiction’, ‘philosophy’ etc. I guess I was just browsing but if you don’t find anything, why not bring your own book and enjoy the scenery?

Ends: April 6, 2014

Link: lawnlibrary.com.au

Angela Bee

The Welcome Dinner Project – Martin Place

On March 20, 2014, a group of 100 strangers came to a free event at Martin Place, The Welcome Dinner Project, sharing a pot-luck style dinner with each dish prepared by each guest at each table.

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“The Welcome Dinner Project is all about spreading culture of welcome in Australia. Each Welcome Dinner has provided with a unique gathering, with it’s mix of newly arrived and established Australians sharing food and stories- creating that perfect recipe for connection and rediscovering our common ground.”

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Walking down to Martin Place from Wynyard station, you’d probably notice that it is the business hub.

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This morning there was a Welcome Dinner Exhibition with St Andrews Cathedral choir and artworks and words from people around the world. #inspiring

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In case you hadn’t heard, Harmony Week is this week so it was the perfect date for bringing different cultures together.

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Tonight the dinner ran from 6:30 with inspiring text around the marquee to welcome people into our homes.

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At the entrance there was a board with words from multiple languages.

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It was also a pot luck dinner- which meant that everyone had to bring a dish from a country and share it with their designated table. Luckily there were some microwaves available for hot foods.

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I loved the setting. It was super cute and designed by UTS Shopfront. Kudos.

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The colourful bubbles on each of these cards have a word written on them by previous diners which represent how they felt about the nights.

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Look at the beautiful lanterns which lit up the marquee. Carpenters used leftover timber to make the photos frames hanging off. #sustainability

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We were grouped into tables with established and new Australians. It was quite a good concept except I was left sitting alone at my table for quite some time.. well, at least I had photos to take! There were some ice breaker questions on the table just incase you got stuck in a convo.

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I quite like the recyclable paper theme- paper table cloth, paper utensils, paper plates

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and paper bags filled with brochures.

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… and even a paper box with Miss Chu’s delicious rice paper rolls! What a star and kind supporter! We kinda didn’t resist temptation and gobbled them up before the official ‘start’ of the dinner.

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The MC and Penny introduced us to the first year anniversary of ‘The Welcome Project’. I’ve never been to one before and this one looked delightful! We had a range of curries, roast chicken, potato salad, spinach/beans/tomato/mixed salad. #nomnomnom

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We were supposed to explain a story related to our dish. Mine were my mum’s famous cupcake/muffins. My story was simple. My mum bakes these with our leftover bananas, apricots and whatever fruit and nut we have excess of. They’re a family favourite!

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We had a lovely indigenous lady educate us that the aboriginals were the first Australians and we, of course came into their land. She also highlighted that there are several aboriginal languages in Australia, using Europe as an example where there’s Italian, German, French in one continent.

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We also had someone from the Good Food Guide talk about how food shapes our culture and because we are such a multicultural country, we should share and embrace it.

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We had a little shift of tables for dessert and even had a Skype session with Adelaide.

Penny, the founder of The Welcome Project shared how she was always welcomed into strangers homes when she went travelling the world. I must admit that her story really related to how I travelled- going to a local’s home and seeing the way they live. She also thanked everyone involved, particularly on a voluntary basis.

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ABC crew were there, we took a massive groupie and we each got to write a word and pin it up on a wall.

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Although I met mostly established Australians, it was still a wonderful way to meet people from all ages and backgrounds and share a meal from their home. It was great to see the exchange and to talk about our origins.

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Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product ( The Welcome Dinner Project): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I go to another Welcome Dinner Project again? I would absolutely love to! Even though they challenged us to get at least one email, it was a great way to make new friends- particularly if you’re new to Sydney! They also hold these in people’s homes during the year.

Would I donate the money I saved to my charity? It takes a lot of volunteers and effort to hold one of these. From decorations, to logistics, to even getting Martin Place- how on earth did they get the space? City of Sydney gave them s grant for it. For this occasion, I would donate maybe $10 but if it was held in a home, a little gold coin donation wouldn’t hurt. It was only restricted to 100 people too.

Highlight: sharing your meals. I think the most exciting thing was the food, which brought out the personalities of people too. It was pretty nice talking to everyone and if there are any awkward moments, then food is always a good topic!

Suggestion of improvement: this might be minor, but tissue paper? It was very nice hearing from all the speakers and acknowledging everyone involved. It was quite a long process but if it was spread out through the night then I would’ve been more attentive. Maybe if everyone put in if they brought an entrée, main, or dessert, then it could’ve been easier to sort tables although ours was a perfect mix of each!

Ends: this was just one, but there’s more to come!

Link: http://www.joiningthedots.org/

Angela Bee

Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade and Family Fun Day

Green. Clovers. Guinness. Happy St Patricks Day! Sydney hosted a parade and family fun day at George and Park street, and Hyde Park on Sunday March 16, 2014 even with the rain!

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St Pats Day actually started in 1810 when Governor Macquarie recognised the celebration by providing entertainment for convicts that were employed by the government at the time. The first St. Patricks Day Parade in Sydney was in 1979. In fact in 2007, the Irish Independent named Sydney one of the best places in the world for the celebration.

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I got to Townhall station and on exit, I heard those trumpets already in celebration. Event volunteers were giving out booklets with information.

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On George street, the floats were getting ready. Check out these giant green bubble boys.

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There were heaps of cars done up with the traditional green orange and white balloons.

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What is a Soda Bakery? Bread is normally made of yeast but here they use soda! I make scones at home with lemonade some times.

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It takes more coarse than normal white bread.

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Look at that pose. Don’t mention what they said.

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I even passed this float with dancing nuns!! They were on fire! There were tons of musical instruments and even though it started raining, people lined up on the streets to give it a glance. Very supportive, Sydney. I like.

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Hyde Park opened up its fences at 11:30am. We had all our bags checked and was asked to give a gold coin donation upon arrival.

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The main attraction was obviously the PJ Gallagher’s bar. A Guinness schooner was $7.50 which opened at noon. Good choice considering how many people could get trashed by the end of the day…

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Why is water $4? We’ve done our RSAs and it’s illegal not to offer free water to these soon-to-be drunk kids….

Gift bags with typical Irish goods were also on the market. I can’t say I’ve tried any of these before.

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I wish my mum were here. It’s her favourite colour.

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There was a little tent for tea, coffee and cakes with seating. How lovely! It was covered from the sun/ rain, depending on which part of the day you came.

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This year Hyde Park reminded me of the Easter Show. There was fairy floss, snow cones, large toys and even clown games. When was the last time you played this?

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There were actually a significant amount of rides for the kids.

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Even a little farm animal exhibition which was a family favourite. I can’t believe how many mothers dressed their kids in green too!

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Oh the mice in the bread. This is so adorable.

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Of course there was the food. The Irish butchery was a given, but there was even the gozleme ladies, paella plates..

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There was quite a crowd even though I went early on during the day. The sad part was when it was raining but I guess it cleared up during the evening. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Sydney St. Patrick’s Day): =)

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =)

Would I go next year to Sydney St Patrick’s Day? It was quite a bit of fun and I wished I had some Irish friends to celebrate this with- it really would make a Guinness record difference. If I was free during the evening, definitely! I want to see what the night atmosphere is like.

Would I donate the money I saved to my charity? A gold coin donation was asked at the entrance of Hyde Park, which is really what this blog is about! YAY! I’m sure I saw a lot of people throw in a few coins so yup.

Highlight: The great thing about arriving early to a parade is that you get to see the floats up front and close, making perfect photo opportunities. The excitement of the bubble boys when they popped up, and even the bands that were practicing really make the crowd get into the spirit.

Suggestion of Improvement: there weren’t many tables and chairs at Hyde Park. There was probably one under covered space but  was on the other side of the park? Even when it was sunny there were lots of green patches and not really any seating places.

Ends: March 16, 2014

Link: http://www.stpatricksday.org.au/

Angela Bee