Illuminate Festival | Van Gogh Alive Exhibition Review | Grand Pavilion, North Adelaide

Hi all

Winter is here and what better way to spend the cold nights at the Illuminate Festival. The Illuminate Festival is held in Adelaide from 16 July to 1 August 2021. It’s where the city of Adelaide will light up. It features Van Gogh Alive from 1 July – 22 August, Light Creatures at Adelaide Zoo from 8 July – 1 August, then City Lights from 16 July – 1 August and Light Cycles at Adelaide Botanic Gardens from 15 July – 1 August.

I recently went to Van Gogh Alive at the Grand Pavilion in North Adelaide. Vincent Van Gogh is probably one of the most underrated painters in history so it was lovely to see an exhibition like Van Gogh Alive showcasing his masterpieces like the Starry Night and Sunflowers. He is probably one of my favourite painters of all time with his painting the Starry Night being my favourite painting ever.

As you walk along O’Connell St, you will feel excitement as you see his artworks on the walls of the building. You have to check-in using the QR code but masks are not mandatory. You will be greeted by the cafe on the left and an introduction to the experience and the painter on the right with the sponsor Lexus in the middle as well as the merchandise. It’s best to start from the beginning of Van Gogh’s bedroom.

The first room that we went in was the Starry Night where you will see pretty lights hanging down from the ceiling with the starry night painting on the walls. It was very pretty and a wonderful opportunity to take photos. It’s best to go with someone who will take photos for you and wouldn’t mind doing so.

After about 15 minutes taking photos in the Starry Night room, we then went into the main arena where you have a very spacious room filled with LED screens showcasing a 360 degree view slideshow of Van Gogh’s artworks. It was very creative and well thought out the exhibition. You could sit on the floor or move to different areas of the room for a different angle. We came in the middle of the slideshow so we stayed and sat in a different area of the room to watch the beginning of the slideshow so you can literally sit there for hours and take it all in. You will feel all relaxed as it is in sync with beautiful classical music taking you back in time to the post-impressionist era. The only thing that ruined it though was the Lexus ad and it would have been better if there was different session times for the viewing so we can see from start to finish in one go.

Once we saw the whole thing, we went into the room full of Sunflowers where it feels like you are in a field of Sunflowers. It was very well designed and I would go again if I could. Tickets were $45 for adults but can upgrade the ticket to a package., which I wish I did. I also regret not trying the cafe as the desserts looked so pretty but it was a bit expensive so we went somewhere else for dessert.

O’Connell St has lots of cafes and restaurants so you wouldn’t go hungry. We went to Chocolate-tree for dessert, which was only a 3 minute walk away from the Grand Pavilion. It’s definitely nothing like I have ever seen before . It’s been in 60 cities and has over 3,000 images of Van Gogh’s artwork. I highly recommend Van Gogh Alive as it’s worth the money and it’s a once in a lifetime event so definitely worth going to.

Overall, I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

What did you think of Van Gogh Alive? And what is your favourite painting from Van Gogh?

Love Nat xx

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod Film Event and Starting the Miracle Morning Challenge | How it Changed My Life

Hi all

I haven’t written anything since last November but I want to change that. I want to start writing in my blog again. I feel inspired. Thanks for still viewing my blog. I really appreciate the support.

On Tuesday night, I went to this film event called Miracle Morning that was run by my friend Melissa Bee. Melissa is very inspiring as she runs events that inspires and empowers people that is to do with spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing. She has hosted many events such as An Evening with Osher Gunsberg, Pete Evans, and then she hosted an event that was to do with the physical and emotional wellbeing. We did yoga, vision boards, and journalling. It was fun and that’s how I have came to know Melissa through these events. .

The film event was held at the Norwood Green, which is literally a shed but it has a very nice display centre at the front entrance so it has a nice ambience as you walk in. There was lovely stalls that was good for the soul such as pizza, pre-packaged protein foods, raw cakes and protein balls. It was all the healthy stuff. I didn’t buy any food as I ate dinner beforehand but the pizza did look good!

It was a sold out event so it was good to come early to get a good seat. We arrived at around 6:30 PM doors had opened at 6:00 PM and got ourselves a nice glass of wine. We then looked at the other stalls. You could get a massage there as well as nice smelling essential oils that you could purchase and also crystals and sage sticks that my friend ended up getting. You could also buy the Miracle Morning book by Hal Elrod, which I bought after seeing this inspiring film. There was six speakers that did a q & a panel before the film where they talked about what they do in the morning and how it benefits them.

If you haven’t seen this documentary yet then you should! It will change your life forever. It made me laugh, smile, and cry. It talks about the benefits of waking up early in the morning and also gives you 6 habits to do that will change your life. These habits are silence, affirmation, visualisation, exercise, reading and scribing or the acronym SAVERS. I started the Miracle Morning challenge a couple of days ago and I already feel more rejuvenated.

At first, it made me tired throughout the day as I had done so much in the morning and my body was just not use to it so I had a nap for two hours. The next day, I am feeling more energised and more inspired to be more productive. I started the Miracle Morning challenge on my days off so there was no pressure to wake up really early like at 5:00 AM. I slowly eased myself into it and I think that’s a good way to start otherwise it will be overwhelming. You shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to do all 6 habits or to get it done by 8:00 AM like the book says. My goal was to do all 6 habits but to get it done by 9:00 AM or by even 9:30 AM (if you have the time) and I had achieved that. It felt good. I now schedule it into my planner so I know when I should wake up to do the Miracle Morning challenge so I have enough time to eat my breakfast, and get ready for work without rushing.

Silence is meditation where I listen to the Calm app and do the daily meditation for 10 minutes. It also gives advice and makes you feel inspired and calm at the start of the day. Like today, for instance, it talked about listening and how to do deal with negative people. It took time to get use to it and to focus your energy on breathing. Next is Affirmation. I have done affirmations before but I never really knew how to do it properly until one of the speakers at the film event talked about affirmation and he said that it needs to be done with conviction.

The affirmation that I wrote this morning was ‘ I may not be the smartest, richest, or married with children but I am kind, caring, helpful, generous and considerate of others, which is most important. I am good enough. I deserve to be happy’. If you repeat that a few times or put it into song you will be convinced that it is true and it does work! My former psychologist even told me to record it and you can replay it when you are feeling down or even when you are feeling inspired.

Visualisation is thinking about the future or writing down your goals. Some people create vision boards but I just write a list of goals down for the day to keep it simple. Next is the important habit – exercise! I hardly felt motivated to do exercise before but now I am excited to do exercise. I only do about 10 – 20 minutes of exercise but I think that’s enough to start off with and can slowly increase just don’t put pressure on yourself at the start. Today, I did 10 minutes of yoga, 10 minutes of gym ball and also did 1 minute of weights. It was enough for me. I like to record the things that I have done in my journal but I will talk about that later in scribing.

After exercise, I set the timer for 10 minutes and did reading. It can’t be any book it has to be a self help book such as the Miracle Morning book by Hal Elrod as this is about personal development and trying to improve yourself. I have also been reading this book called Good Vibes, Good life by Vex King, which is another inspiring book that I use to do read whilst sitting on the toilet now I incorporate it into this Miracle Morning routine.

My favourite habit is scribing or journalling. I love journalling as it makes you feel better and you get things off your chest. I set the timer for 15 minutes and just write what’s on my mind without overthinking it. It’s called stream of consciousness and it’s good for reducing anxiety and stress. If you keep to the Miracle Morning routine, it will eventually reduce depression, anxiety and stress and make you a happier person.

So I hope this blog posts inspires some of you and makes you want to do the Miracle Morning challenge too. Highly recommend to look up Hal Elrod and to buy the book Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits that Will Transform Your Life Before 8 AM. You won’t regret it!

Happy reading!

Love Nat xo

What I Ate at the Lucky Dumpling Market

It seems like Lucky Dumpling Market was a long time ago with Adelaide now being in a 6 day lockdown due to Covid-19. But I still wanted to write about my experience at the Lucky Dumpling Market in 2020. I was so excited for it because I thought they would have cancelled it due to Covid-19 as all other events had canceled but they still kept it on so I was very happy. I guess to attract tourists, good for the economy, and people needed a distraction. It was also at a bigger venue so there was more space for social distancing but not much social distancing was really happening at the market. People were still sharing tables and standing close to you but at least there were Covid Marshals to control the crowds and maintain social distancing and there were markings on the ground to tell you where to stand. You also have to use the QR code and scan it with your phone to enter your details for contact tracing and show them your green pass on your phone when you enter (if you answer all the questions correctly). They also have hand sanitisers at the entrance.

The Lucky Dumpling Market was held at Elder Park. It use to be held at Pinky Flat but this year it was at Elder Park just before the rotunda. Lucky Dumpling Market ran from 30 October – 15 November. It’s a must go to event if you like Asian food and Asian culture but can be expensive. I wish it was held longer as I only got to go twice. I couldn’t go during the week due to work but I tried all the food that I wanted to eat. There were a lot more stalls than the previous years as in a bigger venue. I think there were about 17 stalls this year. A popular favourite is The Filipino Project, which serves Filipino food. I have never eaten there before as I am not big meat eater but I should be more adventurous and try it next time as my friend raves about it. She always eats from there. But I have eaten at Jalan Jalan (Malaysian), TMR Dumplings (Vietnamese) and Chef Kim (Korean) before.

On the Opening Night, I had Soza’s Sri Lankan food. I love their curries. Last time at Adelaide Fringe, I tried their beef curry but this time I had their chicken curry with rice. It was really nice! They let me try it first before buying because I asked if it was spicy so they let me try it to see if it was too spicy for me but it wasn’t . It had a really nice mild flavour so I decided to get it. It was perfect for that night as it was a bit cold. It came with chicken curry, rice, and some onion and tomato salsa I believe. I enjoyed it and the rice was perfectly cooked. And the curry goes well with the gin as I got gin from the Sake Bar!

I was considering having dumplings but I was too full after the chicken curry with rice so I waited for a bit and had dessert from Shibui dessert bar. It’s my favourite place to get dessert and they have a dessert cafe on Grote St, which is really nice. They do really nice desserts when it is their full menu. I had their mochi donuts before so I decided to have it again as I felt like it in this cold weather. I had it with matcha ice cream, which is their new flavour as I have never seen matcha ice cream on their menu before. It was perfect. The mochi donuts were nice and crispy on the outside but soft on the inside and coated with sugar so makes it more sweet. Love their mochi donuts! The matcha ice cream tasted like matcha not too bitter and not mixed with white chocolate like some places do. I like it just as it is. It was a fun evening.

Mochi donuts with matcha ice cream

The second time I went was at the end of the first week and it was during the day. It was a bit hot so we sat in the shade. They had more performances on during the day then in the evening. I was sad that I missed the lion dance performance that they had later in the second week. There were lots of singing, dancing, and some playing traditional instruments, which was interesting to hear. I didn’t like the opera singing though but I have never liked it as it sounds out of tune and high pitched.

This time at Lucky Dumpling Market, I had Ragini’s Spice Butter Chicken Dumplings and I also had their turmeric, lemonade and ginger drink. It was very refreshing. I am a big fan of Butter Chicken so I wanted to try this and I had seen it on instagram. The presentation wasn’t as nice as what was shown on instagram but the taste was just as what I expected it to be. The filling was butter minced chicken and then they had the butter chicken on top. The dumplings were fried as they were nice and crispy. They gave you three dumplings, the size was very generous and the chicken was tender. I gobbled it up as it was so tasty. Probably my favourite dumplings at the Lucky Dumpling Market and I have had a few over the years.

I was still hungry though so I went to Bao Plus 393 as I thought I’d get the buns and my friend wanted their Korean Fried Chicken buns so I went there and the line was so long! I can see why though as their menu is very creative. They are run by Astonish Patisserie on King William St, which is a lovely dessert cafe. In the end, I did not get the buns but I got their Flying Noodles because it sounded nice. I didn’t realise it was actually flying until I got it! The noodles were very filling as it was a big serve and lots of ingredients. It was a cold noodle salad. I thought it’d be hot but it was actually cold with cucumber, carrots, spinach, spring rolls and you can choose between pork or chicken. I got the honey soy chicken. The sauce was nice and sweet. I couldn’t finish the dish but it was still nice and very instagram worthy. They gave me a free lychee drink but I don’t know why as they just said it was complementary. I felt special.

After that I felt like ice cream so I went to Shibui again and I got their Bubble Tea Thai Milk Tea Sundae. It was hot that day so the ice cream melted a bit and I could’t finish it after eating the cone with some ice cream in it. They give you a lot of ice cream. There was too much tapioca pearls and they were a bit hard so a bit overcooked but other than that the ice cream was really nice. It did remind me of my favourite drink bubble tea. Because we weren’t doing anything after that, my friend and I decided to go on a paddle boat ride as they were just outside the back entrance on the river torrens. We both hadn’t been on the paddle boats for a long time and it’s another perspective of seeing the Lucky Dumpling Market if you want a break from the crowds.

Bubble Tea Thai Milk Tea Sundae

Overall, it was lovely event in a bigger and better venue. I hope they have it at the same location next year! But we never know what’s going to happen next year. We live in interesting times now. Did you go to the Lucky Dumpling Market? What was your favourite stall? What was your favourite dish from Lucky Dumpling Market?

Thanks for reading!

Love N xx

What I Ate At the Vegan Festival

The Adelaide Vegan Festival was held over the weekend for two days from 31 October – 1 November 2020. I went there for the first time on Sunday. I had always wanted to go see what it was like but I never got the chance until one of my friends, who is Vegan, invited me on Sunday. I am not Vegan but I am Vcurious as they call it.

It was held at Rymill Park off East Terrace where the Adelaide Fringe is normally held. I am not sure if it is normally held there or if it is held there this year because of the pandemic. It’s a spacious venue so you are able to do more social distancing. As you enter, you have to write down your details on a form either on paper or on digital using your phone. This is so they are able to contact you if there was ever a Covid-19 case there and you have to sanitise your hands but nobody really does anymore. I still do though just so I don’t spread my germs.

There were definitely lots of stalls at the event. Right near the entrance, there are shops where they promote or bring awareness to saving the environment or the wildlife. They also had lots of gift stalls that was nice to look at it. My first purchase was ice cream from Sassi, which does Middle Eastern flavoured ice cream that is dairy free. It’s the first time I tried it but apparently it’s very popular. It’s a must try if you ever stumble across that stall as the flavours are unique. I had the sage with pomegranate ice cream. You could definitely taste the sage but not much of the pomegranate (I felt there was just a hint of it). It was really tasty though. I enjoyed my ice cream whilst sitting on the grass in the shade. Definitely felt like summer was coming as it was quite warm that day.

At the Adelaide Vegan Festival, I felt there was a bohemian vibe as there was picnic rugs and cushions scattered everywhere across the park. There were food stalls on both sides of the park but more on the other side. It was interesting to look at as I didn’t know that Enzo’s At Home did vegan pastas. I also didn’t know that Soza’s, which is a Sri Lankan Street Food stall, did vegan food as I just had them at the Lucky Dumpling Market festival where I had chicken curry with rice (but that’s for another post). I am not sure if all the stalls there were vegan but I assumed so otherwise it will be contradictory.

I met my niece and her partner there as well my nephew and his partner. It was nice bumping into them as I hadn’t seen them for a while because of the pandemic. They brought their dog with them. We had a chat then my friend and I went to get lunch. There was lots of dessert stalls, which was tempting to get as I had Let Them Eat before and there was a nice donut stall that sold pastries too. But I decided to be good and went to Bob Bowls, which does cheese sandwiches. It sounded so good and I really liked the look of their food truck. Out the front, they had an avocado that was sliced in half and I wanted to take a photo sitting in it but I felt like I would get in trouble and I was shy.

From Bob Bowls, I had their Rueben cheese sandwich, which came with eggplant pastrami, kraut, Russian mayo and melted cheese on dark rye bread. It was really nice but very filling as I ordered sides as well, which was chips and more Kraut. I should have just had it by itself as I hardly ate the chips and it felt like there was just too much Kraut. I just had one half of the sandwich and my friend had the other half. The dark rye bread was nice and fresh and I felt like it was toasted as it was crunchy. It just melted in your mouth as well because of the melted cheese that was inside it. I couldn’t see the eggplant pastrami just saw the Kraut and I think the Russian mayo was left on the side. I still enjoyed it and I would have it again. My nephew said it was a good choice as he just had it.

I couldn’t stay for long as I had a high tea event at around 1:30 PM but I wish I could have stayed longer. Overall, I enjoyed the Vegan Festival. I would go again as the entrance fee was very cheap and lots to see. It was only $10 for one day and $15 both days. One day is enough though I felt like. It’s a nice event for Vegans or even if you’re just curious about Veganism. Have you been to the Adelaide Vegan Festival? If so, what did you think of it?

Thanks for reading!

Love N xx

A Day Trip to Lake Bumbunga and the Barossa Valley region

Over the weekend on Saturday, my friends and I went to the Barossa Valley just for a day trip. Because of Coronavirus, we can’t travel overseas or interstate so I thought why not explore our beautiful state South Australia instead?

Credit: IG @snoopykavi

First, we went to see the pink salt lake called the Lake Bumbunga. Unfortunately, it was not pink when we got there as it was very cloudy and there was a bit of rain but it was still a fun trip. It’s about an 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Modbury or if you’re coming from Adelaide CBD then it takes that long to get there too. Bring plenty of snacks, your own drinks and make sure to have a good playlist to sing-a-long too. I also recommend to wear old shoes or get $15 gumboots from Target, which is what I wore to Lake Bumbunga as it can get very muddy and dirty so I recommend to bring a change of shoes too in case you’re going to lunch afterwards like we did. We were disappointed that it was not pink. Apparently, it turns pink because of algae and it’s best to go in the summer but don’t go when it’s too hot otherwise it can be very dry and turn orange. I heard there’s plenty of photo props like a table in the lake and also a loch ness monster that had it’s head stolen in 2017 but we didn’t see it as were probably on the other side of it as it’s a big lake. Best to do research before you go there but highly recommend the trip.

Lou Miranda Estate

We then went to Lou’s Place in Rowland’s Flat for lunch. It’s about 1 hr and 30 minutes drive from Lake Bumbunga so we only stayed about 30 minutes at the lake then we headed off to lunch at this beautiful estate. Lou’s Place is Callum Hann’s new restaurant that he runs with Themis from Sprout Cooking School and it’s inside a winery that is owned by Lou’s three daughters. It’s a beautiful estate and a lovely menu. They only have two options on the weekends the Feed Me Like Lou or the Feed Me Slow option. We wanted the Feed Me Quick option but they only have that on weekdays from Monday – Friday. In the end, we chose the Feed Me Slow option, which comes with an antipasti, one smaller, one pasta, one larger and two sides. See my food for a review and photos of the food! Service was efficient and staff were very friendly. We sat near the kitchen so it was a bit noisy but still it was very nice and not very rushed. Pity we didn’t see Callum there!

Jacob’s Creek winery, Barossa Valley Way
When you really want to go to Tokyo (credit: IG @snoopykavi)

After lunch, we went to Jacob’s Creek winery. It’s a must to visit a vineyard when in Barossa as there’s lots to choose from! We decided to go to Jacob’s Creek, which is the most famous in Barossa but it was really quiet and peaceful, which was strange as usually there’s lots of tourist buses and tourists but because of Coronavirus there’s obviously not. Jacob’s Creek only just recently reopened. It’s a beautiful venue with lots of photo opportunities. When you come in, you can speak to a friendly staff member and book a time to do wine tasting or look at the merchandise. Jacob’s Creek has plenty of deals at the moment to bring customers back. We booked for a 2:45 PM wine tasting and they had a few flight options. I chose the light and fresh flight option because it had my favourite Prosecco and it had the right drinks for my palette. You can sit outside whilst you wait in their lovely backyard where you can browse their vegetable garden or even play tennis if you bring your own tennis racquet and tennis balls! Their toilets are under construction so they have really nice outside public toilets. We only had time for one winery as we wanted to go to Lyndoch Lavender Farm.

Be amongst the Lavender

Lyndoch Lavender Farm is about a 15 minutes drive from Jacob’s Creek. I had never been there before and I had always wanted to go. It’s a lovely small farm where they have a nice cafe that sells lavender tea and lavender scones with jam and cream. You can sit outside amongst the lavender but be careful of bees! I didn’t have time to explore the whole lavender farm but there’s photo props there and you can see a nice view of the hills at the top. Don’t forget to explore the lovely gift shop too! It was a nice end to a lovely outing. We got back around 5:30 PM so it did take the whole day to see the Lake Bumbunga and also go to Barossa. Next time, we’re going to plan a trip to Hahndorf, which is a German village here in South Australia.

What’s your favourite winery in South Australia? I am interested to find out. Where have you explored in your own state or city? Thanks for reading! Stay safe and enjoy exploring your own city! Make the most of it to support local businesses, especially during this time.

Love N xx

Top 5 Halloween TV Shows and/or Movies to Watch this October

Hi all

So with Halloween coming up, I thought it would be great to write about my top 5 television shows and/or movies to watch this October.

5. Witches (1990)

This movie scared me as a kid, especially when the witches turned into a rat or is it a mice? This film is based on Roald Dahl’s novel about a little boy and his kind grandmother who stumble upon a coven of witches, who are trying to get rid of the children of Britain by turning them into mice and it’s starring Angelica Huston. There is a new remake coming out in 2020 starring Anne Hathaway but I have a feeling that the 1990 film is much better and scarier just by watching the trailer so the 1990’s version is a must watch this Halloween.

4. Hocus Pocus (1993)

One of my all time favourite Halloween films. This film is a classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, It’s about these three witches that are brought to life by a spell after being hanged in the 17th century. It is scary but has a bit of comedy in it. I always enjoy watching this around Halloween time and Thackery Binx is played by Sean Murray, who is now known for his role as Timothy McGee in NCIS.

3. Casper (1995)

Another classic to watch around Halloween starring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Malachi Pearson, and Devon Sawa. Christina Ricci and Devon Sawa were shipped as a couple during the 90s as they also starred in Now and Then together. Well, at least I shipped them together and Devon Sawa was my childhood crush growing up. Casper is about an afterlife therapist and his daughter (Christina Ricci) who move into a mansion and meet a friendly ghost Casper. They try to get rid of the wicked spirits that lurk in the premises. This film is good for young children as Casper is actually quite a cute animated character. Always fun to watch and my favourite scene is the ending when Casper turns into a human.

2. Good Witch (2015)

First aired in 2015 but I have only just started watching it and it’s so addictive. I am up to season 3 now with 3 more seasons to go and it does have a magical feel to it. This series is from the Hallmark Channel so it does have romance in the air. It follows Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) that live in a town called Middleton and she has a daughter Grace (Bailee Madison) that welcome new resident Dr Sam Radford (James Denton) and his son Nick to town. Cassie and Grace don’t have active powers like in Charmed but they share a gift of insight and intuition so they seem to always know when people are coming or going or who to matchmake next!

1. Charmed (1998)

I have been rewatching the Charmed series ever since I subscribed to Stan, which is an online Australian streaming service. I have loved this show ever since it aired in the 90s and I have watched the reruns on the free-to-air tv. It’s about three powerful witches Prue, Piper, and Phoebe who learn they are witches and fight against the forces of evil. Charmed wasn’t the same when Shannon Doherty left the show in season 3 but I still loved Paige and my favourite was Piper. She always got the hottest guys in my opinion. Each episode is full of witchcraft and will get you excited for Halloween!

What are your favourite Halloween movies and/or tv shows? I also highly recommend watching the Harry Potter series too! Harry Potter is another classic for Halloween. I know there are lots out there! This list isn’t the hardcore Halloween movies like the Ring, Friday the 13th, or Scream but to be honest, I don’t really like those kind of scary movies so if this list is not what you consider Halloween-y then I am sorry but I hope you enjoyed it anyways! Hope you all have a happy Halloween if you celebrate it! I know it will be different this year so hopefully this will put you in the mood for Halloween. Thanks for reading!

Love N xx