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

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