Tuesday, April 29, 2014

3 comedians I would see again after Sydney Comedy Festival’s Cracker Night

The first week of the Sydney Comedy Festival kick starts with Cracker Night at the Seymour Centre, a two hour show that had the audience roaring with solid laughter. Cracker Night showcased a line-up of comedians and a glimpse of their own upcoming stand-up shows if you had not seem them in action before.

I rated these 3 comedians as they were natural performers and smooth operators on stage - hilarious from beginning to end that will leave you grinning well after the show.

1. Tom Gleeson

As MC for Cracker Night, Tom Gleeson’s performance was smooth, seamless and clever. He took whatever bit of information the audience threw at him and threw it straight back at them with his sharp wit and humour. The financial adviser in our audience probably would have with the benefit of hindsight thought twice before revealing his profession at Gleeson’s show. For those who appreciate politics in this country, his send up on politics is pretty funny. Unless you have strong views or are easily offended, you can see Tom Gleeson’s only show ‘Quality’. It's only on for 1 night at the Enmore Theatre on Saturday 10 May 2014 (Tickets cost $39.90)




2. Felicity Ward

There was a good line up of female comedians at Cracker Night, which is a nice change and I did notice they all had one thing in common – they had been overseas for awhile giving them a new perspective to Australian life. This was the case for Felicity Ward who had lived and worked in the US and Britain for the past year. Ward moves proficiently from topic to topic in good humour from cricket, politics to insights of the use social media that has ensured we don’t mind our own business anymore. Ward’s show was a sharp and incisive performance. You can see Ward's shows on Thursday 8 May to Saturday 10 May (8.15pm) or Sunday 11 May (7.15pm) at the Wild Oats Wine Bar, Enmore Theatre (adults $34.90 and concession $31.90).




3. Jeff Green

UK born Jeff Green was on fire. Being on stage appeared to be natural for him, with his confident and relaxed delivery, and extremely funny anecdotes of his travel experience to Indonesia from food to volcano to animal experiences (for those who have been there, I’m sure you can relate to it too). Well told. His performance was a solid stream of laughs and a memorable way to end Cracker Night. Jeff Green’s performance was the highlight of the night. You can see Green's show on Friday 9 May or Saturday 10 May (7pm) at the Sydney Comedy Store (adult $37.90 and concession $32.90).






 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

FREE DOUBLE PASS to new film, CHEF in Cinemas May 8 | Around Australia

Thanks to STUDIOCANAL, See.Taste.Do is giving away two double passes to the new film CHEF at HOYTS/EVENTS, just in time for Mother's Day!

TO ENTER, go to See.Taste.Do Facebook page and:

1. Write your favourite restaurant in the comment box
2. Send your name & mailing details to: seetastedo@gmail.com
3. Share this post and copy and paste "WIN FREE DOUBLE PASS to new film, CHEF in Cinemas May 8" in text box

WINNERS:

To be announced Friday, 2 May on See.Taste.Do’s facebook page. Good luck!
 


CHEF blends a delectable feast of drama and laughs with an all-star cast, including Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Jon Favreau, in this tasty film served In Cinemas May 8. When temperamental Carl Casper (Favreau) falls from grace in the culinary world, he agrees to accompany his ex-wife Inzez (Vergara) and son to Miami to escape bad publicity after a public argument with a food critic. As his passion for cooking begins to reignite, an opportunity to start up a food truck business presents itself and Carl begins to re-establish his artistic promise and at the same time, reconnect with his family.

You can watch the CHEF Trailer link.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 minutes with US Comedian Wil Sylvince | Australia

After touring Australia last year supporting The Wayans Brothers on their sold out tour performing to over 20,000 people, American comedian Wil Sylvince will make a welcome return to Australia in April-May with his own solostand up show.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Sylvince has honed his act in New York's top comedy clubs – the Comedy Cellar, Comic Strip Live, Caroline's on Broadway, Stand-Up NY and the Gotham Comedy Club. His unique perspective on political and social issues, with a twist of his West Indian Haitian culture makes him a comedian in high demand. He has been handpicked by comedy heavyweights Damon Wayans, D.L. Hughley, Chris Tucker, Katt Williams and Bill Bellamy to tour with them. His TV performances on BET's Comic View, HBO'S Def Comedy Jam, and Showtime at the Apollo have all garnered standing ovations from audiences. Sylvince is also in-demand on the huge US college campus circuit. His versatility to work clean as well as edgy, make him one of its top booked college comedians.

Sylvince’s versatility has meant his comedy writing has featured on The Fugees' album The Score and Wyclef's The Carnival. He was also a contributor to sketch shows including Dave Chappelle’s Chappelle Show on Comedy Central and Damon Wayans' The Underground.



I caught up with Wil Sylvince before his shows start in Australia and to find out where to get the best Caribbean jerk chicken (I've been searching after my visit to Antigua & Barbuda in the Carribean last year where I first tried a delicious jerk chicken dish).

1. Tell me how comedy started for you/who inspired you?

I have a few inspirations... Robin Harris, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Rodney Dangerfield - I was such a big fan of comedy!

2. When did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I think I was in the 3rd grade. Girls used to call me "ilk" and "blackie" and run away. One day I said some jokes (can't remember the joke) but the girls stayed and laughed! When I ran out of jokes they ran away again. That's when I thought "I have to get more jokes!"

3. What would you be doing if you weren't a comedian?

Before comedy I use to build robots. I got a degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering. The study of robots. I use to work for a company called International Robotics. In fact one of the robots I worked on "SICO" was in one of the Rocky movies. So I would have still been there or at my own shop fixing DVDs and old VHS players

Here's the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cku6oPGWW7Q

4. What’s the best gig you have ever performed?

Any gig that pays me to make people laugh. Because I'm always "for real? You're gonna pay me for this?! OK!”

5. Where can you get the best Caribbean jerk chicken?

Either Flastbush Brooklyn or any actual Caribbean Island - Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Bahamas...

6. Describe yourself in one sentence.

Work hard to keep my landlord happy!


Where to see Wil?

MELBOURNE HEADLINERS – MELBOURNE TOWN HALL TUE 8 – SAT 20 APRIL

SYDNEY THE COMEDY STORE THU 24 APRIL

SYDNEY **EXTRA SHOW** THE COMEDY STORE SUN 27 APRIL

PERTH ASTOR LOUNGE THU 1 – SUN 4 MAY

PERTH **EXTRA SHOW** MT LAWLEY BOWLING CLUB SUN 4 MAY

TICKETS FOR ALL SEASONS NOW ON SALE

For complete tour and ticket information visit: www.livenation.com.au

 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's the relationship between Maths & Sex? Ask Clio | TEDxSydney

It’s not what you think…

Once upon a time I liked mathematics as a subject at school. It wasn’t only about trying to master intricacies and techniques of problem solving through equations, polynomials, geometry, integration, and calculus. But it was also the way it was taught, the way I learned it. I remember my Year 10 teacher at the time came up with an innovative way for us to learn formulae and even until this day, many years on, where pure mathematics is no longer at the forefront of my thought processes in every day work, I still can remember the Quadratic formula and the Trigonometric equations. Don’t ask me what their purposes are, I can’t remember, but I can tell you from the top of my head the formulae. Why do I remember these mathematical equations? Because we use to sing the formulae in class to the melodies of the
Happy Little Vegemite Song and Frère Jacques. What this shows is if you can think a little differently and break complex things down to everyday subject matter, it will stick - people will remember it.

The TEDxSydney event happens at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday 26 April 2014, promising an inspiring and entertaining full day of Australian Ideas Worth Spreading. The day will be split into four thought-provoking themes: Passages, Blood, Enhance and Rethink.

In the 'Rethink' category of TEDxSydney speakers is a lady called Dr Clio Cresswell, a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at The University of Sydney, who is researching the evolution of mathematical thought and the role of mathematics in society. 



Clio Cresswell, whose definition of adventure is experiencing anything new like pulling apart an engine or exploring an equation, will seek to enlighten TEDxSydney audience on Saturday with the intricacies on the relationship between mathematics and sex, and how the pattern recognition that is at the core of maths can affect your most intimate relationships.

I caught up with Dr Clio Cresswell for a brief interview before the TEDxSydney event.

1. How & why did the study of mathematics become your passion?

Mathematics shows you a side of life that you will not get through anything else. Once I saw this, I felt half full without it.

2. What was your inspiration for writing the book Maths & Sex?

By showing how the two are intimately intertwined I was convinced this would be just the ticket to get everybody worldwide to study maths immediately and as intensely as possible.

3. In one of your interviews with the ABC, you noted that maths and sex is about showing people the patterns in relationship. What are some of the scenarios that your book covers (for those who haven't read it)

All the ones that don’t require a thousand words are nicely revealed in my TEDxSydney talk this year. But you don’t need me to tell you. Look back and observe the patterns you’ve fallen into in your personal relationships. Using mathematics shows you mechanisms underlying the patterns, or some links to other patterns you wouldn’t be able to see, without doing the super sexy abstract calculations.

4. What's your funniest maths & sex joke?

There is nothing funny about maths and sex! But, how about my favourite maths joke? “What is the definition of an extroverted mathematician? One that stares at your shoes when they are speaking to you!”

My actual favourite maths joke is “98% of jail inmates eat bread, so beware of those who eat bread!” but only real nerds appear to enjoy this one as much as me!

5. Are there any interesting angles to a square root?

There are a gazillion interesting angles to square roots. The fact that the concept is one of the key reasons for the stalling of Ancient Greek mathematics has to be one! For spiritual reasons, the Ancient Greeks refused to believe in numbers that weren’t whole or fractions, so…. 1, 3, 7/2... But once armed with Pythagoras’ Theorem they kept coming up against square roots, like ... They found this very annoying. Yet, instead of accepting what they were seeing, they pretty much turned their back on numbers and put all their energy into geometry. That’s why there’s so much of it from that time. The myth goes that the Greek Hippasus was thrown at sea for proposing the reality of square roots. We have power, intrigue, and murder here – what more could you ask for!


OK, forget clairvoyants, fortune tellers and your daily horoscopes. It's now time to reflect on your personal relationships...is there a mathematical pattern that can explain a trend?  Watch out for Clio Cresswell's talk at this year's TEDx Sydney event.

Tickets for The Studio Event at the Sydney Opera House are still available from the TEDxSydney website.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Baileys Chocolat Luxe | Shopping


I went to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week After Party a few weeks back and on the drinks menu was the delicious Baileys Chocolat Luxe that I tried for the first time, combining a luxurious Belgian chocolate, Irish whiskey, and cream which has taken more than three years to craft, resulting in a rich, molten chocolate drinking experience. Developed to give the same multi-sensory experience of eating a piece of chocolate, Baileys Chocolat Luxe delivers an authentic chocolate experience that delivers the ‘snap’ of the first piece, right through to the bitter aftertaste of cocoa. This is real Belgian chocolate, awoken by the spirit of Baileys.

Deliciously new Baileys Chocolat Luxe

The story of the Baileys Chocolat Luxe goes as follows…

Lead scientist Anthony Wilson travelled three continents to personally taste the world’s finest chocolate - 200 varieties in all. Wilson worked tirelessly on more than 800 recipes to create a fusion that would see chocolate perfectly mixed with Baileys Original Irish Cream.

Recipe after recipe, scientific calculation after another, Wilson and his team of leading liquid scientists honed their study into rheology to work out exactly how the drink would pour, its consistency and texture, leaving no stone left unturned in the pursuit of a chocolate lovers dream. His fusion of painstakingly chosen premium ingredients delivers a product that both melts in the mouth and gives a cooling sensation on taste - delivering a drinking feast for the senses, escalated through a journey of smell. The journey begins with the taste of dry, crumbly chocolate through to a crescendo moment of dark, rich roasted cocoa notes at the end of the sip.

Combining luxury products - including Madagascan vanilla and more than 30 grams of real Belgian chocolate in each bottle - has ensured that Baileys Chocolat Luxe has all the great taste of the highest quality chocolate with all the rich, creamy caramel tones of a traditional Baileys.


Source: Bailey Chocolat Luxe website

Where to buy?
At your nearest Dan Murphy or Woolworths BWS stores (about $30 per bottle).

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Potting Shed at The Grounds

I went to The Grounds on Easter Sunday for lunch to spend some time with family. The day turned out to be more than just having lunch and coffee at The Potting Shed. The Easter Markets were on at The Grounds, the preferred coffee supplier for the upcoming TEDxSydney event, drew the crowds and truly was a photographer’s delight - so colourful and visually pleasing. I discovered there was so much to see, taste and do there, and so stimulating in fact I forgot it was lunchtime. I hope you enjoy the photos from Sunday's day out.




 


Location


The Potting Shed sits between Salt Meats Cheese and The Grounds on Bourke Road, Alexandria.  If you are driving there, you can drive into the carpark area. We didn't have an issue finding parking but I am told it can get really busy and that parking can be difficult. There is 'dog parking' too. I suggest you go a bit earlier or later to be safe. You can also get a train to Green Square station and walk from there for about 15 minutes. 




I got distracted. Before we went for lunch at The Potting Shed, we could not help but to take a peek at what was happening at The Grounds as there was of buzz of people who seemed to come and go from the establishment.




As you enter The Grounds, there is a little barn of animals – a goat, a pig (Kevin Bacon) and a white chicken that looks like it has a mop on its head (I’m sure there is a proper name for this chicken breed, but I don’t know it). There was another section with farm animals where children could interact. The Easter Markets had stalls of local businesses that were selling a beautiful range of their unique artisan products – beautiful smelling soy candles, honey made on site by busy bees, bread and butter pudding, nuts, flowers, jewellery. I hope these markets are on again outside the Easter period. It’s best to keep up to date with The Ground’s Facebook page to see when they are on next.








The Potting Shed is rustic natural open spaced bar establishment that is newly opened for only a few weeks. It opens from 11.30am until 12.00am daily. The menu is diverse and is complemented by a unique beverage list, including signature cocktails, boutique wines and craft beers. They don’t sell coffee – you have to go to The Grounds for that.




Food


There was a good selection of food from The Potting Shed menu.


We ordered the following meals from The Potting Shed:

#1 Battered Market-Fresh Fish of the Day ($22), served with handcut potato chunks and rosemary salt, lemon, watercress, radish and tartare.  The fish was fresh spiced with gourmet salt, which was delicious. A filling meal for lunch.



#2 David Blackmore Full-Blooded Wagyu ($20) Cheeseburger with shed made dill pickles, mustard seed onions, tomato chilli jam and lettuce, all on a poppyseed bun. The wagyu beef was moist, tender and a bit pink on the inside. Another filling meal.



#3 Bruschetta with goat cheese. This is a lighter meal if you are feeling peckish. The melted goat cheese on semi sundried tomatoes and herbs was delicious.


We shared the donut like dessert with jam but when it came it looked so delicious that I forgot to take a photo of it. Oh well, next time!

Service

Service was quick and attentive at The Potting Shed. When you finish your meals, there is someone there almost immediately to clean up your plates, asking if you would like desserts next.

Overall

The Potting Shed, situated in a convenient location together with The Grounds and Salt Meats Cheese, is a delightful way to spend a Sunday. The establishment has so many herbs and plants it feels comfortable to sit in, like you are in someone's home garden. You can either laze around the establishment and check out the farmyard or have coffee at The Grounds or shop for deli items at Salts Meat Cheese afterwards. This establishment is not just in the 'taste' category, but because of its surroundings also 'see' and 'do' too!


Where?
41-43 Bourke Road, Alexandria
Phone?
(02) 9699 2225
Opening?
Mon - Sun: 11:30 am - 12:00 am

The Potting Shed on Urbanspoon
 

What soy candles tickle your senses? | Shopping

As I strolled through the Easter Markets at The Grounds today in Alexandria, I could not help but stop to see what that wonderful smell was. I'm normally not a candle person - the only time I ever light candles is when there is a black out in my house (have you ever had that happen to you when you are in the middle of a shower? So impractical). Candles that I have come across and used generally have this waxy smell that the makers try to cover with some cheap scent. But you can tell these ones were different. The strong delicious whiff of Fragrant Flame Soy Candles ensured I had to stop to have a closer look at their products.


There was a quite a range of different soy candle scents and I (together with another shopper) had a problem choosing which one had the best fragrance. I like 'Sweet Seduction' as it smells like a cocktail of all the fragrances combined (the tantalising confusion goes with its name) and also Caramel Vanilla which smells good enough to eat, with its buttery toffee pop corn like smell. Each candle is only $25 so it's very affordable.  There seems to be some thought put into coming up with these fragrances as they were all different and equally appealing to the senses. I couldn't decide so I bought both.

I love these soy candles because they are strong smelling and you can leave the lid open and smell the scent from a mile away without burning it.

The monogram glass packaging is solid yet simple and elegant. 'Simple elegance' has always been my preferred style. The jar in which it comes in is something I could definitely reuse again either to store food or jewellery.



Fragrant Flame Soy pride themselves in making strongly scented soy candles using their own formula, which was developed after having purchased so many fragrant candles that did not live up to their promise.  Fragrant Flame Soy also burn beautifully clean and evenly from top to bottom. They individually hand pour each scented candle the 'old fashion' way, using 100% organic natural soy wax. Their wicks are made from cotton and contain no lead or zinc.

In addition to the strongly smelling beautiful scents, what is also different about Fragrant Flame Soy candles is that the melt pool that is created when you burn their candles can also be used as a skin moisturiser. I tried it - its true, you can use it as a moisturiser on your skin and smells divine, particularly as winter approaches.

Fragrant Flame Soy candles should also be congratulated for using their candles to make a difference by raising money for local charities.

Now that I have two newly acquired Fragrant Flame Soy candles, it looks like I won't be waiting for that next blackout to burn these candles. It'll be a lot sooner than that.

Cost?
$25 per soy candle glass pot
Where to purchase?
See Fragrant Flame Soy website and Facebook pages.

 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On the TEDxSydney menu | Sydney Opera House | 26 April 2014

“Food has the power to bring people together, and good things always come from that.”

At this year’s TEDxSydney event Jill Dupleix as curator has put on the menu a food experience that encapsulates the concept of coming together at the table, sharing food and ideas, breaking bread, and making all welcome – the good old fashion way.

Highlights on what is on the TedxSydney menu and where the food is sourced

Signature meal

A long-table lunch of soup for the full complement of 2,300 people. A hearty broth cooked up by ARIA Catering chef Simon Sandall using ingredients sourced from local food projects that work to provide opportunities for asylum-seekers and refugees to integrate with Australian communities including

#1 The Bread & Butter Project, a social enterprise that trains asylum seekers as bakers, will be on hand with pocket breads and sourdough, baked freshly by some of the program’s trainee bakers.

#2 Hyeronime Tshilengi Bukasa (a former refugee Congolese grower) sourced amaranth (quinoa grain) for the flatbreads

#3 Pope Saya, the pied-piper of cultured butter, will be producing ghee the ‘oil of milk’ of traditional Indian cuisine, for use in the cooking and baking

#4 Organic Soup Kitchen, St Canice Refugee Garden in Elizabeth Bay, as well as the Multicultural Enterprises Farm sourced fresh herbs.

#5 Mamre House, harvested by Burmese and Liberian gardeners, will supply leafy grees including kang kong (water spinach) and molokea (vegetable in Middle Eastern cuisine)

All ingredients will be masterfully transformed into a simple, nourishing lunch of soups, curries, flatbreads, chutneys and pickles by Matt Moran’s ARIA Catering, who have also invited a team of indigenous apprentice chefs from the National Indigenous Culinary Institute to help them on the day.



Breakfast

Breakfast pill – a vegetable matter casing packed with protein and all good things to get neurotransmitters firing on all cylinders.

Morning Tea

Green smoothies and house-made muesli bars, as well as crisp Pink Ladies from Batlow Apples

Afternoon Tea

Anzac biscuits and fruit cake, with special ‘glamingtons’ from new artisan baker, Luscious Kiki.

Coffee

The country’s best coffee roasters from The Grounds of Alexandria, Allpress Espresso, Little Marionette, and Toby’s Estate each serving up their own signature blends, all ethically and responsibly sourced. Sensory Lab will make their first foray into Sydney after taking their pop ups to Korea, London and Milan.

Tea

Sydney based artisan loose leaf tea company Tippity will also make its TEDx debut, brewing up a selection of their authentic black and green teas.

Wines and Beers

Specially crafted young wine from Mike Bennie and Alex Reteif, who have been leading Australia’s natural wine-making scene.

Beer and gin from the Young Henrys Brewing Company’s limited brew that will incorporate native Australian ingredients, in both a new beer and gin (mixed with CAPI tonic) created just for TEDxSydney.

In an evolution from last year’s TEDxSydney which featured a beer made from hops grown in people’s backyards around Sydney, the team are harvesting the indigenous ingredients from Sydney’s own backyard, the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens have also followed up on last year’s bee-keeping exercise for TEDxSydney by kindly donating 14kg of their honey for the day.

Yum. All of this is starting to make me feel hungry…can’t wait!


When? Saturday, 26 April 2014
Tickets?
Tickets to the TEDxSydney simulcast event held at The Studio within the Sydney Opera House in partnership with the University of Sydney are still available. Go to the TEDxSydney website to purchase them.
Cost?
$125 and includes access to the TEDxSydney 2014 after party starting at 6:30pm.


Free Printable Calendar for Top Pick Comedian Shows | Sydney Comedy Festival 2014

My diary of the comedians I want to see at the Sydney Comedy Festival 2014 was starting to look a little cluttered on my iPhone. So I have created an easy to read 2 page PDF calendar diary pencilling in my top pick shows to see. See my earlier article on who to see.

You can download them here and pin it on your wall at work, home or study so you can see where you need to be and how to coordinate your shows.

Hope you find it useful!

April 14 Top Pick Sydney Comedy Show Calendar
May 14 Top Pick Sydney Comedy Show Calendar


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Living is Easy With Eyes Closed | Spanish Film Festival 2014 | Around Australia

I like surprises. I was impressed with the Spanish Film Festival’s sensational opening night film, Living is Easy With Eyes Closed. It’s a comedy, drama and generally a feel good flick that will have you engaged and laughing throughout the film and leaves you with ‘is it already over already?’ feeling. The title Living is Easy With Eyes Closed is from John Lennon’s song Strawberry Fields and yes the film has something to do with The Beatles’ John Lennon.


It’s about three people with their own personal problems, needs and desires, whose paths cross and they go on a road trip across the stunning backdrop of country and coastal Spain, where they learn about each other, help one another, and learn about themselves.

There is good character development in the three main characters leaving you wanting to know what happens next, when you’re not chuckling at their predicament. It’s not all laughs though, and there 
are some serious themes and issues relating to family and culture that will tug at your heartstrings. The acting performances of the entire cast are outstanding. I would not say one stood out over another.

The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. Thumbs up from me - one of the best films I have seen this year. Living is Easy With Eyes Closed is a treat. Go and see it – you’ll love it.

Where?
Starts 29 April in Sydney at Palace Norton Street, Leichardt
Check out the
Spanish Film Festival 2014 website for other screening times in Sydney and around Australia.
 

5 minutes with Ray Badran | Sydney Comedy Festival 2014

With the 10th Annual Sydney Comedy Festival 2014 kicking off from 22 April 2014, one comedian who should be in your Sydney Comedy Festival diary to see is Ray Badran.


The first time I saw Ray Badran's show was at The Sydney Comedy Store last year, where he appears as a regular. Ray, with his wild hair and beer bottle in hand, is a genuinely funny guy. He has this relaxed, everyday-is-a-weekend demeanour about him with some of the most funny every day material that you can relate to. Ray’s tips on handling real estate agents before selling your home: download their Facebook pictures and frame then around your house before they visit for an appraisal (come on Ray, they’re not all that feral…in fact I know a few who would be crushed if you did that to them!). A friend of mine is also still recovering from sitting on Santa Ray’s lap at The Comedy Store’s Christmas Spectacular (and still can’t work out what to do with what Santa Ray gave her…let’s just leave it at that shall we).

Ray Badran is on again with his own stand-up show at The Factory Theatre (Tuesday 13 May – Saturday 17 May at 7pm) and this show is about the stupidest things he has ever done. If you’ve ever watched your car being towed away on TV, attended the wrong funeral, fallen asleep in a sauna, or ran out of petrol twice in one day, then this show is for you.

I caught up with comedian Ray Badran earlier in the week.

1. Tell me how comedy started for you?

I was inspired through my hatred and depression while I was at university. Most of the people that went to uni annoyed me and I found that university bred this false sense of confidence in people that hadn't done anything. I knew I could never get a job with my degree. Add to the fact that I hate working for people and that peak hour traffic made me want to kill myself and it was an easy decision. I also loved comedy!


2. Who inspired you?

All types. Every style. From Bill Hicks to Richard Pryor to Woody Allen to Borat to watching people walking into things.

3. When did you know it was what you wanted to do?


 As soon as I started and realised how to get into it. I was hooked.

4. What would you be doing if you weren't a comedian?

Probably trying to make some crazy invention in order to escape the grind. For a long time I tried to release my own brand of fortune cookies - misfortune cookies. I was so sure it was going to get me rich.

5. What’s the best gig you have ever performed?

Best gig is a tough one. There's been a couple of times when I've played to over 1000 people and those are great because the feedback from the audience is awesome. But I really love The Sydney Comedy Store and have had my favourite gigs there.


As part of the Sydney Comedy Festival last year, David Hasselhoff was in town and made a guest appearance. Now, the 'mascot' of the Sydney Comedy Festival is a gorilla. And the plan was that Hoff would reveal himself as the gorilla. But on the night, the Hoff didn't want to wear the gorilla suit until the final moment. So I had to wear the suit and essentially 'stunt double' for the Hoff. That is easily the most memorable experience I've had from comedy. There was one moment where I was sitting with the Hoff, in his dressing room, at the Opera House while we were both in Gorilla suits, just having a chat. That was weird.

6. Describe yourself in one sentence.

Someone who hates describing themself.


Where? Matchbox, Factory Theatre, Marrickville
When? 7pm
Tickets? $15, available online from
The Factory Theatre

Monday, April 14, 2014

Paddington Inn | Paddington

I normally don’t do pub food – in fact, I rarely step into one, but I’ve been to Paddington Inn a couple of times now. The section of Paddington Inn at the back of the establishment that serves food is more like a bistro rather than a pub. If you are looking for a convenient place in Paddington for lunch after shopping in the morning or just catching up with friends on the weekend, Paddington Inn is a pleasant place to go.  



Location & Ambience

Paddington Inn has modern interiors and nice atrium in the middle of the establishment. There is lots of natural light in the Paddington bistro so quite pleasant to sit around and chillout for awhile.


 

Food

The one thing that stands out in this establishment is the food quality. I had the saffron rice with chorizo, chicken, cod, prawns, mussels, tomato, chilli ($25), which if you like seafood was delicious. The seafood was definitely fresh as there was no fishy smell. It tasted like a seafood paella but texture was closer to a risotto. Nice comfort food for a cold, rainy weekend. 

 

Paddington Inn bistro has a good menu selection but also check out their specials too which is on the board just near the kitchen.

Drinks

Paddington Inn also has an interesting cocktail list. You can choose from:

garden martini
beefeater 24 gin, st germain elderflower liqueur, cloudy apple & lime shaken with dash of egg white

pink paddo lady
belvedere citrus, havana blanco, apricot brandy, guava, cloudy apple & lime juices & passionfruit

blueberry and vanilla mojito
havana especial, blueberry liqueur & citrus shaken with fresh blueberries & vanilla

taking the pisco
stolen white rum, encanto pisco shaken with pineapple juice, lemon & sugar

the beachbum
calle 23 blanco tequila, plymouth gin, yellow chartreuse shaken with passionfruit & lime

Service

Service was no frills. You order and pay at the counter and the food is delivered to your table within a reasonable timeframe.

Overall

Paddington Inn bistro is a great establishment to chillout for a good quality lunch on a weekend after boutique or market shopping in Paddington in the morning. Also check out their website for meal deals (for example, 2 for 1 meals on a Tuesday night).


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What lessons can be learnt from Romance Was Born exhibition at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2014 | Sydney

With all the glitz and glam and hype from fashion week last week, I must admit I did feel a little underwhelmed with some of the designs. I was hoping the Australian collections pushed boundaries. To be honest, I preferred the runways of One Fine Day that was held earlier in the year at Carriageworks, which had the finest collections of haute couture wedding dress designs. Each piece was a work of art with much detail and thought put into the design and stitching of the dress. Sure, it’s not everyday wear but it was art.

The collection that stood out the most and pushed boundaries was the exhibition put together by designers, Romance Was Born. I interpreted their display as an irony to their name as when you walk in the exhibition at Carriagworks if feels like you have walked into a delusional haunted house of very well dressed dead people - it was like Alice in Wonderland meets The Sixth Sense. Would I wear any of it to work? God no. Would I wear it anywhere? Unlikely, but some of clothes and the way it sits on your body frame I could use an inspiration.

It goes to show that if you want to be remembered and you want to be noticed, then you need to put in that extra effort and have the guts to push boundaries. Think outside the box. This collection was memorable.

I’ll leave you with photos I took of the Romance Was Born exhibition which speak for themselves.

 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

How to walk like a model from the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia 2014 | Sydney

As Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia 2014 draws to a close, I was thinking about what practical tips could I share with my fellow blog readers? I’m sure the fashion magazines and bloggers would have already covered the styling trends from the runways at the show in some depth. On reflection, I might have appreciated some Australian designs and not others but there are some practical things I learnt from a model’s ‘walk’ on a runway from observing a few at my first international fashion show last week.

Why do you want to do that? Well, your walk can say a lot of about you. A woman that walks with purpose knows what she wants, has confidence, a commanding presence and beauty. You want to make a strong first impression with whoever you meet for the first time. Here are a few tips from observing the models on the runways last week.

My photo from the New Generation runway. Notice the posture


#1 Posture is everything. Gather up every inch of yourself and act tall, even if you aren’t by imagining a taut string threaded from your spine through the top of your head. Drop your shoulders and hold your stomach in. “There’s a certain quality that you immediately feel when you see a girl,” so my male friends say to me, “It has to do with her personality and her posture.” For those who want a little training, Sydney Dance Company’s jazz classes, have a technique component of the class that teaches you to ‘walk’ in different ways for dance – all of which focus on controlling your core muscles. I’ve heard the techniques in these classes have also been used to train models.

#2 Lengthen your stride. Small steps makes you look timid so lengthen your stride and put one foot in front of the other, which is what will give your hips the seductive swing that models are famous for.

Photo from the New Generation runway. Good posture & relaxed arms

#3 Rhythm: Get into a rhythm and let the loud music (or pretend there is loud music if you’re on the street) be your uplifting motivation. When a natural bounce to the beat happens add to it by thinking about holding your head high and keeping your shoulders back.

#4 Arms: Let your arms swing naturally. Take care they are not too stiff or have big movement. The clothing you have on will help you decide what to do with your hands, you may need to hold something or stick one or both in a pocket.

#5 Eyes: You should never look down. Always look straight ahead at the cameras or pick a spot on the wall ahead of you so you won’t get distracted.

There’s a lot there to remember. And don’t forget: if you fall, pick yourself up gracefully and walk on.

Check out some of my clips live from the runways on the See.Taste.Do Facebook page
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Anna Quan runway
New Generation runway
Bei Na Wei runway



The New Generation runway. Again good posture, relaxed arms & eyes look straight ahead


 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Cendana Spa | Sydney CBD

The spa industry in Sydney is ripe for reform. If you have ever gone overseas to places like Dubai, Hawaii, or Malaysia and tried spa treatments there, you will know what I am talking about. I find it difficult to find effective spa treatments (including facials and massages) that are value for money in Sydney. It’s a bit like buying clothing in Australia – if you travel a lot, you generally don’t or if you don’t travel, you would be wise to buy clothes overseas online. Clothes sourced overseas in my experience is much cheaper, more variety and much better quality if you invest in the time to look around (sorry, but buying Australian goes out the window). The same goes for spa treatments. I’ve tried some of the major hotel spas in Sydney but I would not say they are value for money nor would I make regular visit to these places as in most cases, it’s just as effective to buy good quality facial products and do it yourself.

Having said that, massages are not really my thing either – no one I’ve come across so far seems to have ‘the right touch’. I was at a friend’s place for dance practice and after a good workout, I thought to try their new Japanese massage chair which they labelled as ‘heaven’. I was left to try it in peace (with their seven year old son in the room playing computer games as the massage chair was in the study). All I could feel when that chair was turned on (and you had your arms, fingers, legs and feet in special compartments) was sweat and pain, as if the chair was eating you alive (and mind you I was the only one that had that experience). And that was on the ‘baby setting’. I hate to think what it would be like on the ‘pull of pleasure’ setting. I must have made a lot of screaming noises because my friend’s son said to me in a concerned panic, “Are you alright? Are you alright? Do you want me to get someone? Are you alright?”

Facials I can tolerate though better than massages. I thought I was long overdue for one and discovered The Cendana Spa in The Grace Hotel in Sydney recently. I have heard only good things about that place.


Location and Ambience

The Cendana Spa is located right in the heart of Sydney CBD, making it convenient to go for your spa treatment after work. It’s located on Level 1 of The Grace Hotel on York Street.

When I walked in the treatment room, it was dark, mystical, with an oriental feel. The room is filled with a wonderful soft floral scent. You hear the beautiful sound of the waterfall. The treatment beds have soft white drapes. It’s serene and an absolute oasis, freeing you from the worries of the world and gently leads you into a secluded escapade.



Treatment

A Japanese lady called Kazumi was responsible for my treatment. The products she used for my treatment were the handmade organic Eminence products from Hungary and my skin absolutely loves those products, ensuring it was smooth, soft and radiating well after the treatment. The smell is absolutely divine and smells good enough to eat.

The products used for my facial include:

#1 Cleanser: Blueberry soy exfoliating cleanser

#2 Toner: Stone crop hydrating mist. Stone crop is like a type of cactus, with water storing leaves which hydrate your skin

#3 Exfoliant: Pear and poppy seed microderm polisher

#4 Masques: Stone crop masque

#5 Serums: Stone crop serum

#6 Eye care: Herbal eye contour cream

During the 1 hour treatment a gentle soothing sensation runs inside you, and giving you the peace of mind that the treatment employs the traditional secrets of health, beauty and relaxation of the eastern royalties.


Best time to go

After work early in the week. Thursday and Fridays after work are generally the most busiest. Bookings are required.

Cost

An 1 hour treatment will cost you $120. Check out their website for other treatments offered on their spa menu.

Overall

For someone as fastidious as me, this spa treatment was pretty exceptional. It was comfortable, not intrusive, relaxing to both the mind and body, and the makes you feel and look radiant after the treatment. The Cendana Spa is the only spa I would recommend in Sydney for both women and men.

Where? The Grace Hotel, 1/77 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone? (02) 9299 8948
Website? www.cendanaspa.com.au