Sunday, 24 August 2014

Behind the Mask

As we find ourselves three quarters of the way into the year I reflect on the last eight months and all I have to say is, it's been a good year. In fact, a great year. I say that on a personal level and also in respect of what has been happening in Perth and for Perth. 2014. So much goodness.

The goodness has been abundant in the explosion of street art that has taken up residence on the many public walls of Perth. Not just in the CBD but all over the greater city from Fremantle to Leederville and into Victoria Park. As covered previously on the blog, Form's Public Perth program is largely responsible for turning our streets into art galleries and with the emergence of local community groups like the Laneway Collective and Vic Park Collective, this is creeping into the suburbs. 


Being local to the Vic Park area there has been nothing better than seeing the blank walls dotted along the cafe strip come to life. 


The most recent additions to these open air galleries are two murals painted by Mexican artist Saner on the exterior walls of two Vic Park cafés. Saner was originally intended to paint in Perth during Public Perth but you know, as things go they don't always go to plan and he wasn't able to visit our fair city at that time. However he arrived in Perth last week ready to paint and the wait was worth it.  Working with the Vic Park Collective and the Town of Victoria Park, Form secured two prominent walls along Albany Hwy for Saner to give some much welcome sprucing up.



With two murals painted in the span of just three days, located at Zucchero Espresso Bar and Food For Me, Saner brought his style of Mexican muralism to the pieces. Being that Perth is such a multicultural city, and Victoria Park is undoubtedly one of the most multicultural neighbourhoods you can find in Perth, it's great to see this diversity reflected in the street art.



Saner completed his first mural at Zucchero and I got a kick out of seeing that quintessential Aussie icon of a koala incorporated into the piece. In coming to Australia, he wanted to create a conversation between Mexico and Australia and as such chose to combine known icons of Mexico and Australia into his work. You may notice that this particular wall has a green band affixed to it and this couldn't be removed, but artists being the creative and imaginative sort that they are, he found a way to work this into his mural using it to "make an interpretation with the building" and pulling together all the features of the wall to work in synergy with each other.




The aim of his work is to "create good conscience and lives" by trying to speak to the soul, not just to the person and he says that "we need to wake up sometimes and and see the world with a different point of view." You may also notice a little creature sitting aloft the green band and this represents Nahual, who is the protector of this wall and the people who come to view it! This is a common element that he adds to many of his murals. Also a feature of both his murals are the masks worn by the figures he has painted. These masks feature heavily in Saner's work and are another traditional element he blends into his work. These masks were often made out of precious metals and gemstone and worn by the Aztec and Mayan leaders and rulers.


The second mural was completed at Food For Me and this is certainly an impressive piece given the size of the wall. When painting this mural Saner thoughts turned to the members of the Mexican community in Perth who came to visit him during his days of painting and the overarching theme of this piece is love. I myself spoke with a few of them who came on one particular day and they all remarked how traditionally Mexican the design and style of this particular mural was and Saner himself says that he wanted to give them a personalized story from their home and something that they can have here which is a little piece of where they are from. 




He says that "sometimes we need to believe in love, in general. In yourself, in other people and feel the passion. When we are alone we sometimes forget the good things in life and they are trying to survive here and bring with them the love for another country. It doesn't matter where you are from, you need to believe in yourself and other people because we have a lot of good people in the world."



If this second mural is a dedication of sorts to the small, but proud, Mexican community of Perth his sentiment is one that is surely reciprocated by them. In speaking with them, it surprised me how far some of them had travelled, after work and with their families in tow, to see Saner working however they all wanted to be present to see this piece of themselves, their homeland and their culture being shared with Perth. Their feelings of gratitude, pride and joy were so palpable. One man told me that seeing the mural reminded him of his homeland and where he came from. It meant so much to him because it was a connection between the home he has made here and the place he has left behind, but now he has a little piece of his homeland here in Perth. As I see it, if art can do that, it surely is a beautiful thing. 




Saturday, 23 August 2014

Act of Lace

I have a weakness for all things lace. Dresses, blouses and of course, lingerie. For the most part, my style is very feminine so it should be of no surprise that I am very fond of lace. The sight of a pretty something made of lace is enough for me to get my purse out.

Although some might consider lace to be something that is to be saved for those special occasions, I think it's entirely too pretty to be hidden away in your wardrobe. While you certainly won't find me rolling into the office wearing an exquisite little number made of out French lace, I do like to inject a little bit of lace into my outfits on a regular basis. This may be in the form of a blouse with some lace detailing or a lace pencil skirt worn with a more basic style of top.

At the recent Blogger Emporium held at Many 6160 I stumbled across a gorgeous little cream Witchery sweater that had a sheer black lace panel running through the centre of it and at the bargain price of $7 (hello!) of course I had to take it home with me. Since purchasing it, I have worn it a number of times already. Usually I don't buy this style of top as I always believed that they didn't suit me but I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it does suit me and I have worn it in so many different ways. For a casual look, I layer it with a plain camisole underneath and I have also worn it to work with a collared shirt.


While not technically opshopped, I did want to feature this sweater for Restyle's lace prompt. My shoes are a pair of vintage Gucci studded mules from Suz Suq. These shoes are from a collection during Tom Ford's reign at Gucci and in my opinion, some of the best looks from Gucci came during his time.



This will likely be my last Restyle outfit although I will hopefully play a little bit more next year.

Notice the change of heels? A woman's right to shoes.

Photo credit to Shu Daniels of SOUL of SHU.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Get Striped

I once heard a saying that you don't find the time, you make the time. Which generally I would agree with. We know for a fact we have twenty four hours in a day to do the things we need or want to do. No more but also no less. So if you really want to get something done, you make the time for it within the given hours of each day. I'm going to tell you though that with all that I have had on my plate over the last couple of weeks I couldn't make the time even if I had the recipe for it. A huge amount of my time had been spent on putting the final touches on my birthday plans and that has now come and gone, which is pretty sad because I eagerly look forward to my birthday each year. It was an awesome birthday though. I'll regale you with how grand it was some other time.

For now, I can resume my usual blogging activities and hit you with a new post. I've actually been looking forward to posting this one for quite some time but I had to wait until the time was right. I say that because this is my first Restyle post and I had to wait until the theme for my outfit came up on the calendar. You may not be familiar with what Restyle exactly is so I shall bless you with the knowledge. Restyle is part of the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival and it's all about showing appreciation for opshopping. The official Restyle bloggers are tasked with posting a photo a day in line with each day's outfit prompt and part of their outfit should be sourced from an opshop. Viewers at home are also invited to play along and if you take a look on Instagram at the #Restyle2014 hashtag you'll see that many have decided to join the party. 

The official Restyle bloggers are doing a great job so far. I would be stuck trying to pull together an outfit for some of the prompts so I give them mad credit for their imagination and creativity. 

As stripes are amongst my favourite patterns to wear, it's fitting I join in the fun on the twenty first day of the challenge given that is the outfit prompt for the day. I had a lot of fun taking these photos with my good friend Shu even if it did take me a little bit of time to get into model mode. You'll notice that one photo was shot in an entirely different location. I know you're wondering why so I shall tell you. While attempting to take some shots in an inner city residential street we were shadowed by a group of very creepy men who didn't seem to have the mental capacity to understand that their presence was not welcome or appreciated. I still don't understand why some men persist with this type of behaviour but the change of location did make for some lovely shots.


My striped outfit is an opshopped shirt dress paired with a pair of vintage Bottega Veneta boots purchased from Suz Suq. The Ginger & Smart fur scared was purchased many, many years ago and has seen better days.

It's definitely the outfit to wear when traipsing through vineyards.




 

All photos taken by Shu Daniels of SOUL of SHU.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Oh my Darling

I'm a night owl. I'm often the most productive at night and do my best work well into the wee hours of the next day. The flip side to that is that I am very poorly suited to early mornings. I am fortunate to have the job that I do that allows me to waltz into the office generally being the last person to arrive. I have tried to be more of a morning person but it's just not me, and I thought to myself, why fight who I am? I am very obviously suited to being more active at night than I am in the early hours and this works for me. It's always been other people who have told me that I'm wasting the day by not greeting the sun each morning, but the way I see it, the moon and I get to dance a little longer every night.

Being the ninja of the night that I am, it's not uncommon to find me still wide awake at the witching hours even if I'm not out and about causing trouble. It's not unheard of for me to duck out of the house at one in the morning for a midnight snack, usually in Chinatown because there's not much on offer at that time of morning. It delighted me when I found out that there was a newcomer to Northbridge that was planning to trade until 3am everyday.  Yes, everyday. And it was located outside of Chinatown. I had to know if it was going to be a suitable option for when the late night/early morning munchies strike.


Darlings Supper Club is the name,and as stated, they trade until 3am daily and is located on Lake Street. This was the street you could find me on in my clubbing days and in fact, the pizza shop we'd sometimes stumble to is still there even though the club is now long gone. With a focus on dumplings and noodle dishes, Darlings certainly does seek to fill a void when it comes to late night dining options in Perth.

The fit out is stylish; a nod to an industrial chic look with the exposed brick and masses of greenery hanging from the ceiling and protruding from the walls. There is an impressive bar alongside the open kitchen. I am not sure if you can dine at the bench in front of the kitchen. There were some stools underneath however it looks mighty close to the cooking elements.


We ordered three dumpling dishes, the fried Japanese tofu, the Hong Kong XO pork noodles and decided on teh tarik to accompany our food rather than alcohol that night. I love teh tarik, which if you don't know is pulled milk tea. The pulling method, which is pouring it from one cup to another, results in a frothy top to the tea. It's usually made with condensed milk which gives it a different taste to the normal tea you'd brew at home. I am happy to report that the teh tarik is brewed from the actual tea as it definitely was devoid of the instant packet flavour.



We chose the skinless scallop, prawn and truffle dumpling and the mushroom dumpling which was made with Swiss, field and oyster mushrooms. These two dumpling choices were steamed, and the third dumpling we chose was fried, this being the sticky pork and tamarind.



The skinless scallop, prawn and truffle dumpling was quite soft, perhaps to the point of being mushy. We couldn't pick up on any truffle flavour and overall we thought the flavour was lacking. Similarly, we thought the same of the mushroom dumplings. Given that it's filled with three different mushrooms we were expecting a very earthy punch from the mushrooms but it was quite bland and the limp skins of the dumplings would indicate it had been steamed for a touch too long. Perhaps this also happened with the skinless dumplings hence it's extremely soft texture. The pan fried sticky pork and tamarind dumplings were delicious. This was obviously the clear winner of the three dumplings, which is disappointing. One out of three isn't the most ideal result.



The fried Japanese tofu was seasoned with a chilli salt and came with a miso glaze. These were fried golden and were crisp on the outside and silky on the inside. The chilli salt partnered well with the tofu, especially as tofu generally tends to be bland so needs the input of other flavours to bring it to life.


The Hong Kong XO pork noodles is served with spaetzle on top. In European dishes spaetzle is usually a soft noodle or dumpling, it can somewhat resemble hand rolled gnocchi, but in this case it was small pieces of what I assume to be egg noodle that was fried crispy. It was not unlike the crispy noodles you often find garnishing many Asian dishes. Unfortunately this dish also failed to delight us. The overwhelming taste to the dish was that of the oil and there was little else to be found in terms of flavour. 

To look at our dining experience as a whole, it was disappointingly average. This is a shame because I would very much like to have somewhere to go when I want to eat out late at night, but Darlings didn't quite live up to my expectations. Given their focus on dumplings and noodles, it was surprising to me that they only had two noodles dishes, or three if you consider that you can add chicken to one of them. There was also only six different dumplings, again not many options and given that we only enjoyed one out of our three choices that isn't what you'd hope for when dumplings are meant to be one of the main stars of the menu.

Darlings has only been open for a short time and perhaps still finding their groove. I wouldn't rule out a return visit in the future but for now I don't plan to rush back. I rank flavour and taste above all else when it comes to eating out. I'll eat in a little hole in the wall place if the food tastes good and will choose substance over style every time. I think Darlings has the ability to fill a void in the Perth dining scene but I would have loved if I could rate the food as highly as I do their impressive interior design.

Darlings Supper Club on Urbanspoon

Monday, 4 August 2014

New Cheese on the Block

I haven't always been a fan of cheese. Even now, I wouldn't say I am a cheese lover but over the years my appreciation and enjoyment of certain cheeses has grown. I didn't eat cheese as a child other than when I was packed a lunchbox of Jatz crackers, thickly sliced salami and the cheese to accompany. I'm known to sometimes make this for myself as a snack when the urge to have a picnic at my desk strikes. 



Although cheese and I are not the bestest of friends, we like each other and as time passes I am sure that we will like each other more. I've become quite fond of eating a brie or cheddar with the obligatory quince paste and as the days, months and years pass I am getting more and more adventurous with my cheese choices. 




Real deal cheese lovers will be delighted to know that the Little Cheese Shop has opened in Bayswater. What I am sure is a very welcome addition to ol' Baysie, Little Cheese Shop stocks a large range of cheeses and the accompaniments, such as Maggie Beer and Poach Pear products. 




Officially open for trade this week, I attended their opening event on the weekend to sample their wares and check out the store. Conveniently located across the road from the train station, the people had turned out in droves to support the new player in the neighbourhood. 



Going in for the kill...

...and she scores!

I am a huge fan of pâté, goodness gracious I love it, and they stock the delicious and silky pâtés from the Poach Pear range as well as the terrines and rillettes.



I would love to see Little Cheese Shop to stock some quality cured meat and smallgood products in the future. That would indeed make it the one stop shop for your perfect cheese board or charcuterie plate.