Ron Mueck at GoMa

June 13, 2010

Over 20 years ago, I was a teenager sitting in the living room of a relative’s home, while a tense family gathering went on in the kitchen.  I didn’t want to be there, so I had snuck out into the living room and turned the television on, and was channel surfing (in those days, by turning the dial on the TV – ye Gods!) when I came across a “making of” special for the movie Labyrinth.

Now being the fourteen year old devoted Bowie fan that I was, there was no more channel surfing for me that night.  I was DYING to see Labyrinth because yes, it contained my two favourite things in the whole world – muppets and David Bowie.

I remember the moment very well.  They were showing the complex, cutting edge special effects and character creating work that was being done to create characters like Hoggle, Sir Didymus and a huge beast called Ludo.  There was a young creature designer who was making a beautiful character of a wise man with a bird in his hat.  He was also a puppeteer who was one of the two men able to fit inside the suit that carried Ludo… and at that moment, my love for Ron Mueck’s work was born.

Years later I happened upon an article in a magazine about his piece, Dead Dad, which was receiving some acclaim, and remember wishing that I could see it myself some day.  I followed his career avidly, and then in 2005, his piece, Pregnant Woman, came to the Queensland Art Gallery for a short while.

Of course I made a concerted effort to go and see Pregnant Woman, and was not in any way disappointed.  The piece is beautiful, and Mueck’s work exquisitely detailed.  I have often remarked since that it is impossible to refer to the piece as “it” when she is so remarkably realistic and life-like, as though you expect her to take a breath, or stretch her back, or see the baby move in her belly.

So when I heard that there was to be an exhibit of several of Ron’s pieces here in Brisbane at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) this year, I was absolutely beside myself.  Finally I was going to get to see Dead Dad, In Bed, Mask II and others “in the flesh” so to speak.

Yesterday, I went along, and was not disappointed.  There are 12 pieces in the exhibit in total, each of them beautiful, powerful, hyper-real and deeply moving.  I only had my iPhone with me but I caught some photos of each piece, and I will share them with you below.

Dead Dad
Dead Dad

A Girl
A Girl – this piece is so huge I couldn’t get her all into a shot. The face is so beautifully detailed it’s almost ok to just show you that much.

Wild Man
Wild Man – this is now my favourite Mueck piece, and reduced me to tears it’s so beautiful. I felt a really deep, emotional reaction to this piece, I wanted to reassure Wild Man that he wouldn’t be harmed, to make sure he was warm and safe. I took about 15 photos of different angles, and close ups of some of the detail. Look at these:

Wild Man Feet
Wild Man’s Feet – is that not the most exquisite work you’ve ever seen? Mueck does hands and feet so realistically that I find myself fascinated with them.

More feet
More Feet – from the piece Drift


Woman Carrying Sticks
Woman with Sticks – I love how Mueck represents bodies as not only hyper-real, but realistic. They are not perfect, they are everyday bodies, quite literally warts and all in some cases.

In Bed
In Bed

Two Old Women
Two Old Women – Can you not feel the disapproval of these two little old ladies?

Old Woman in Bed
Old Woman in Bed – another deeply moving piece.

A Man in a Boat
A Man in a Boat – his expression and posture just fills me with glee.

Mask II
Mask II – a self portrait of the artist.


I have to go back to Wild Man to share his hands with you:

Wild Man - Left Hand
The nail! The knuckles! The hair!

Wild Man - Right Hand
The pad of his thumb had me mesmerised.

If you’re in Brisbane, or visiting Brisbane before 1st of August, do not miss this. It’s only $12 for adult admission, and it is worth every cent. I intend to return to see it again before it finishes.

For information, go to the Queensland Art Gallery website.


Fresh Really is the Best

June 2, 2010

I love me some good quality fresh fruit and veg.  I was converted away from the supermarket stuff when I started to go to various markets, because I discovered that a) market bought stuff lasts FAR longer than supermarket fruit and veg, and b) it TASTES better.  I discovered that when I moved away from the supermarket stuff, I’m not wasting any of the produce I was buying.

Now of course I love a good farmers market, and I am spoiled to have the weekly Jan Powers Farmers Markets in Reddacliffe Place right close to my workplace.  However I find it really difficult to haul home heavy fruit and vegetables on the bus, and in some cases, the prices aren’t that great either.

So when friends started to recommend Fresh is the Best, a local home delivery fruit and veg business, I thought I might give them a try.  I followed them on Twitter, and then put my first order in a few months back.  Check it out:

Fresh is the Best

Fresh is the best 3

Aren’t they pretty?  It all tasted as good as it looks too  And all of this came to me, home delivered, for $35.

It’s so easy as well.  You go to the site, put your order in.  You can either pay then and there via Paypal, or they’ll give you a call and do a credit card payment over the phone, or if you’re  home on the day of delivery, you can pay cash or EFTPOS.  The delivery dude who comes to visit me is friendly, polite and turns up when he says he’s going to (he’s usually the one who calls me to take my credit card payment, and often has an estimate as to what time he’ll turn up).

But it’s more than that.  Last week when Fresh is the Best were promoting on Twitter that they are currently giving away a 200gm bag of organic coffee with every $65 box, I happened to tweet that it would be cool if they had a little sample for those of us who don’t need to purchase the huge boxes too.  A $35 fruit and veg box lasts me 2 or 3 weeks, I can’t imagine what I’d do with the ginormous box, and it’s nice to get a sample of something regardless of how little or how much you consume.

To my delight, they told me they’d pop one of the 200gm bags into my next order!  I’d have been happy with a wee single serve.

So when the box arrived on Saturday, I put away all the fruit and veg and took the coffee down to my friend’s place, so we could give it a try.  The verdict?  Pretty damn good!  Mild and smooth with a gorgeous scent.  I’ll certainly buy some more when I’ve used this lot up.

I was impressed also that they contacted me on Monday via Twitter to just confirm that I’d got the coffee and was happy.

So if you’re in Brisbane, and you want good quality fresh fruit and veg for a really good price, delivered to your door, pop on over to

Tell them I sent you!

My Sweetopia

May 3, 2010

It’s no secret that I have a fondness for cupcakes.  Not only do they taste good, but they’re adorably cute as well.  Anything that is that small and yet still has decorative flair has my vote.

So yesterday after seeing Iron Man 2 (it was AWESOME, don’t listen to the critics, go see it and make up your own mind) with my friend Kylie, when I felt like a coffee, I suggested we pop up to My Sweetopia on Grey Street at South Bank.

It’s a cute little corner shop with only a few tables and chairs for seating outside and a bench inside, but we manage to score a really nice little table and ordered a coffee and cupcake each.

The staff were really friendly and gave our table a clean almost as soon as we sat down, as the people sitting there had only just left.

I ordered the lamington cupcake, isn’t it cute?
Lamington Cupcake

And Kylie ordered the choc mint cupcake:

Choc Mint Mud cupcake

Also adorable.

The cupcakes were moist, not too sickly sweet and just the right ratio of icing to cake.  The sponge cake in my lamington cupcake was soft and fluffy, and really fresh.  The choc mint cupcake looked a lot fudgier and denser than mine, and I could smell both the mint and the chocolate clearly.

We both had lattes and I found mine perfect – the right temperature, not at all bitter but good and strong.

If you’re a fan of the cupcake like me, pop in to My Sweetopia next time you’re at South Bank.

On Your Bike

March 14, 2010

Take a look what I bought today:


Isn’t she beautiful?  She’s a brand spanky new Electra Amsterdam Original bicycle in purple, and on suggestion of a friend, I’m naming her Iris.

I’ve wanted one for awhile, ever since my boss introduced me to Electra bicycles (she has a Townie) and I fell in love with the old fashioned European style.

I did some research and found there are only two bike shops in Brisbane that stock Electra bicycles.  On talking to friends I decided to give New Farm Bikes a call to ask about prices.

Right away I was really impressed by how thorough Tina, whom I spoke to on that first phone call, was with making sure that the Amsterdam was the right bicycle for me.  She asked lots of questions about how I would be using the bike, where I’d be storing it and what kind of accessories I might need.  I really liked the phone service and knew that the Amsterdam really  was the bike for me, so I asked to have them put it aside for me to come and pick up on Sunday.

I was there as soon as they opened this morning, and was greeted by a very nice man, sadly whose name I didn’t get.  The purple Amsterdam I asked for was already in the shop near the counter waiting for me.

Again, I was so impressed by the thoroughness of the service by New Farm Bikes.  I was asked again about how I planned to use the bike, the type of cycling I wanted to do, where I would be storing it, and shown all of the accessories with lots of advice on which would be most suitable for me (and they weren’t always the most expensive in the range either).  A huge focus was paid on what the bike would look like with the accessories, after all they are a pretty, pretty bike.

When I’d decided on what I needed, it was suggested that if I’d like to go and have a coffee and a look around the shops, the guys would fit all the accessories and get everything ready, then when I came back they would fit the bike and helmet to me.  So off we went for some brunch.

True to their word, the bike was ready for me when I got back an hour later, and they fitted the seat, handlebars and helmet for me.  Now I’m a fat woman, so to be honest I was expecting a little, well, awkwardness during this, but I can’t tell you how professional and accepting both the gentleman I first spoke to and the young guy working with him were.  Never once did they make awkward comment about my weight, and they were both friendly and polite.  It was a refreshing change for this fatty, because I’m used to a level of prejudice from most retail people!

Ten minutes later I was all kitted up, the adaptor bar for the bike rack on my friend’s car fitted and signed sealed and delivered, with lots of documentation and a request to come back for a free service in 4 to 6 weeks.  And here I am with my beautiful new bike in front of New Farm Bikes:

Me and Iris

If you’re in the market for a new bicycle, particularly if you want something extra special like the Electra range, I can’t recommend New Farm Bikes enough.  Especially if you’re a fat person like me, because we all know how good customer service for we fatties is a rare thing!

New Farm Bikes
77 Merthyr Road
New Farm
Ph: 07 3254 0544

Wild at Heart

January 20, 2010

Yes, I have me some beautiful new ink.  Tattoo number 4 was added to my skin on Monday afternoon and while I’m a little swollen and sore at the moment, and it’s a little gross looking while it heals, I’m absolutely thrilled with the work.

This time I went to Wild at Heart Tattoo in Charlotte Street in the CBD.  Not that I was in any way dissatisfied with the previous tattoo shop I went to, All Star Tattoo at Taringa, but because I have decided to become a collector, and I’d seen the work from Wild at Heart, which was all spectacularly good.

I took my reference materials in, and was booked in with Victoria for within a week.  I’m so glad I got her.  I’d seen her work on other people (waves to Zombietron) and been thoroughly impressed.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed when she went to work on me.

The piece is stunning.  I have to apologise that I only have an iPhone photo, I forgot my camera and the tatt is too gross at the moment (all part of the healing process) to photograph.  But you get a good idea, check it out:


Of course, being fresh it’s a little inflamed and red, it will show up the yellow more once it’s healed.

I’m incredibly impressed with Victoria’s work.  She’s a talented artist and highly professional.  She’s also very understanding with pain and movement of her canvas!  I can tell you, foot tattoos hurt like hell, far more than any other area I’ve been tattooed, and it’s REALLY hard to keep still when it’s your feet.  They’re so involuntary!  Not to mention that to keep your foot up at the level the artist needs to tattoo comfortably,  is so difficult.    But Victoria was excellent with letting me stretch, wiggle and flex between patches, she didn’t get annoyed by my involuntary flinching and twitching, and was very soothing as she worked on such a sensitive area.

Overall I’m really impressed with not only Victoria’s work, but also Wild at Heart in general.  I heartily recommend them, and am booked in for a month from now for Number 5!


November 30, 2009

I used to work in the old Brisbane Administration Centre building behind City Hall.  A few years ago, they moved us over to Brisbane Square, which is now the administrative centre of Brisbane City Council.  The old building was kind of chewed up, Telstra has gone into 69 Ann Street and they’ve built another building on the Adelaide Street.  A few new cafe/restaurants have sprung up around the shopfronts of the new building.  From Firefly, which has pizza (very good pizza in fact) to Chocolate Soldier, which is all about chocolate and coffee (great chocolate, mediocre coffee).

On the Adelaide Street side is a new restaurant called Cicada, which looked really promising at first look.  Modern, open and glossy, the decor looks inviting for lunch, dinner or a coffee or drinks.  There is also a take-away section that I had seen had lots of good looking salads, paninis and pastas.  But I hadn’t tried it out yet.

Last week, we booked it for a work get together lunch on Thursday.  When we booked, we weren’t asked whether we would like a table indoors or outside, just that it was a table for eight people.

When we got there a couple of people from our party went to the salad/panini area to purchase something from there for lunch, and a waitress came and asked me who booked the table.  I pointed out the lady, and off the waitress went to talk to her.  The lady came back to our table to tell us that she had been told that when someone books the tables inside the restaurant, they’re not allowed to order from the salad/panini area.  She insisted we would have been told this on booking (we weren’t – nor did we request particularly to be inside) but said she would allow it “this time”.  So this at first left a bit of a bad taste in our mouths.

I ordered the gnocchi from the menu, others ordered the tuna, the lamb souvlaki.  When my gnocchi arrived, I actually wondered if there was gnocchi in there.  It was literally six pieces of gnocchi, a little cream sauce, a swirl of barbecue sauce buried under about three large handfuls of  what I would call garnish.

What little there was there was delicious, but it was such a small amount I was looking for something else.  Strangely though, the other dishes served were all much more sensibly sized portions.

This was the last we saw our wait staff other than them reaching over us to whisk our empty glasses away (which they never asked if we would like another drink during the whole hour we were there) and remove our plates.  We were not asked if our meals were satisfactory, nor were we offered to order more drinks or even coffee.  As soon as we had finished eating what was in front of us, we got the distinct impression that we were meant to leave.  I know at least three of the party would have had coffee, and I probably would have had some cheese or a dessert, given the small size of my meal.

We paid our bill, weren’t thanked or made feel welcome at all, and left.  I dashed over the road and got something else to eat to finish my lunch and a coffee.

If you’re thinking of giving Cicada a try… give them a miss.  I certainly won’t be going back.

Customer Service as it Should Be

October 28, 2009

I have to tell you all about a place that gives the BEST customer service in Brisbane.  In fact, I think it’s the best customer service I have ever received.

My birthday was this weekend just past.  I wanted to have some kind of event to celebrate that was fun, easy to organise and would suit a variety of people.  I mentioned this on Twitter some months ago, and my tweet was responded to by Greystone Bar at South Bank, who host the monthly BTUB meet ups (and do a fantastic job of it), just mentioning that if I’d like to do something at Greystone to get in touch.

I thought it was a great idea, and after talking to the lovely Laura from Greystone who went to great effort to call me at a time that suited me, I booked in a group and set about organising a get together.

Unfortunately, on the night, as is the way of the Facebook generation, many people piked at the last moment and left us with a considerably smaller group than I had booked.  I was a little embarrassed that this was the case as I didn’t want to put Greystone out at all, I know space in a bar on a Saturday night is at a premium.

However, even though the group was considerably smaller than originally booked, the service and welcome I got at Greystone was absolutely stellar.  I was welcomed by Brett, who happened to be celebrating a birthday himself that night and made to feel like I was a valued customer.  He mentioned that he would bring us some nibblies later and we started to get stuck into the cocktails.

Well the nibblies came.  And then more came, and then MORE came, as well as a big tray full of mini-cocktails.  There was far more food than my party could eat, and I and a couple of other people managed to get two mini-cocktails out of the tray.  Appletini’s to be exact, and they were delicious.

I have to admit, I got stuck into the cocktails that night and tried quite a few.  From the Japanese Slipper to Cosmopolitan’s Illegitimate Daughtor (great name huh?), they were all delish, and hand prepared the way cocktails should be, with real fruit, juice, name brand spirits and proper garnishes like cinnamon sticks and fresh mint.  No post mix either – fresh soft drink mixers in those that required it.  It makes a vast difference to the taste, presentation and indeed, the hangover the next morning when the cocktails are of high quality.  They’re affordable too, starting at $7 going up to about $18 each.


Mini Appletini’s

I can also highly recommend some of the shots they do too – I indulged in something called a Jam Donut and holy crap, it really did taste like a Jam Donut!

I had an awesome night.

And it was a delight to log on to Twitter the next morning to see a message from Greystone again, asking me if I had a good night and to check in that I was happy with everything they offered.

Yes, I was very happy.

If you’re looking to organise an event, like a birthday party or Christmas event for work, I cannot recomment Greystone to you enough.  Or if you just feel like going for a drink before or after dinner at South Bank, after a movie or a performance at QPAC.  Call in and see them, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

They’re good and central in Grey St in South Bank, opposite the cinemas, on the walk through to the parklands.  You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

I Do Love to Be Beside the Seaside

October 23, 2009

I woke up feeling very blue this morning.  I knew I needed to get out of the house and do something, so I packed myself up and headed down to the train station, not really knowing what I was going to do.  Just that I needed to be out and about.

I was almost in to the city when I decided it was a nice clear day, I was going to head up to Sandgate.

I used to live at Brighton, just outside of the Sandgate area and had fond memories of walking up and down the foreshore with my walkman on (yes, it was that long ago) even though in those days it was pretty stinky and dirty.

Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise to get there today and find that the area has really been tidied up and made far more  pleasant.

They have opened up the area along the foreshore (Flinders Parade) quite considerably.  Gone is the old sea wall that was raised about 2 feet from the ground, it is now flat to the edge with stairs down to the sand (well, it is still pretty  muddy out there) and water.  There are now lots of lovely picnic tables and benches, park benches and these kind of concrete dice things that are just the right size for sitting on.  Even the public amenities (toilets) are clean and well tended these days.


I found a little seafood restaurant quite imaginatively called Doug’s Seafood Restaurant and popped in to get a take away of a couple of potato scallops and some fish.  Took it across the street to the gazebo right opposite and sat there munching for awhile, just taking in the brisk sea breezes and the sound of the ocean, hanging out with the very polite seagulls.


One thing I really noticed was that Sandgate doesn’t have the rotting fish stink it used to have, almost 20 years ago.  It’s far cleaner by way of water and sand/mud than it was back then.  The water looks pleasant and fresh, not foetid and stale.

After reading for awhile, I felt like a coffee so I popped back over to Doug’s and had a coffee there (Merlo) and couldn’t resist a piece of their pecan pie, which looked really delicious.  I wasn’t disappointed when it arrived, it tasted fantastic and was a HUGE serve.


With a full tum I decided to go for a wander up and down the foreshore, and it was just lovely.  The bike/walkway is wide and flat, and there were several people out going for a ride or walking their dogs (oh I saw some ADORABLE dogs) or just sitting on the benches watching the sea.


Those recumbent bicycles look like hard work.

Eventually, I decided to just sit.  So for about 2 hours, I sat by the sea, taking it all in.  I did read some, but mostly I just sat and watched the cute doggies go by, the kiteboarders out enjoying the wind, the people paddling out on the low tide, and the beautiful, endless blue sky.


Ned’s Deli Cafe

October 20, 2009

I woke up feeling cranky this morning. My first thought after “Geez I’m cranky.” was “Oh I want coffee.” I realised that I’d gone from a grande skim latte per day routine to almost nothing. I can only think of two coffees I’ve had since I’ve been on leave from work, and I’m used to at least one per day.

So since it was payday, I decided to go for a walk to my local shops and have a really nice lunch with coffee. I packed my bag with a good book (I’m reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan at the moment) and set off for a walk in the sunshine.
I decided to pop in to Ned’s Deli Cafe, since I knew they do Merlo coffee (for those not in Brisbane, Merlo is one of the few locally roasted coffees in Brisbane – local really does make a difference.)
The service is always good at Ned’s. I straight up ordered my skim latte and it was on my table very, very quickly. Merlo didn’t fail me at all – even the scent of it had me feeling more sprightly.
I ordered their quiche lorraine with a side order of beer battered chips for lunch and one of their “Pick Me Up” juices, which is apple and watermelon juice with a touch of mint. The quiche was very good, full of ham and onion and tomato, which a lorraine doesn’t usually have, but I wasn’t complaining, and a hefty sized portion. It was also light and creamy through the egg which is how I like my quiche. The beer battered fries were a perfect side order size – not scabby but also not too huge that you either end up too full or leave half of them. They were cooked to golden, crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside perfection and served with aioli for dipping. The juice was lovely too, I could see them preparing it fresh and it had just the right hint of mint without being overpowering.
While I ate I sat in a cozy corner reading my book, and the staff didn’t interrupt, which is something that really bugs me when I’m sitting reading over a meal. When I was finished the waiter came to get my plate and only when I looked up and thanked him, did he ask me how I found the meal. It’s something that annoys me a lot, when waiters ask you constantly how the meal is. Even if I’m not reading alone, they always seem to catch me while I’m chewing or in conversation if I’m with friends. Even when the waiter came to get my juice glass he said “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but may I take your juice glass?” So nice to have my peace and quiet while reading respected.
I was so comfortable I decided to order another coffee, which again arrived really promptly, and the wait staff left me to it to savour it and enjoy my book. When I got up to pay and leave, then the woman behind the counter again asked me how my meal was and was really friendly. It was a delight to pay!
As I walked out the door, I realised that my cranky mood had completely gone. The spring was back in my step. I’m not sure if it was just the coffee or a combination of coffee and the lovely service. Either way, I’d definitely recommend Ned’s Deli Cafe to anyone who is in the Yeronga area.

Cupcake Grief

October 13, 2009

I had a bit of a weird experience today.

I’m on holidays from work and I decided to head out to Wynnum for a few hours, just to get out and about and as the weather was hot, I thought it would be cooler down there. For those of you who don’t know Brisbane, Wynnum is a suburb out on the Moreton Bay side of Brisbane.
So I caught the train out there, wandered down to the central part of the suburb, bought myself a meat pie from Perrett’s Bakery (not bad, tasty but not what I’d call fantastic by way of meat pies) and headed down to the esplanade for a bit. Found myself a picnic table, camped out with my book and read and had my lunch.
After awhile I decided I felt like a coffee, so I headed back up into the town part and spotted a nice looking place called The Olive Cafe. A pretty corner cafe painted in spring green, with yummy looking cakes and pastries and the coffee smelled really good. I ordered a coffee and a gorgeous “raspberry delight” cupcake, mostly because it looked so pretty. Here, check it out:
See? Isn’t it pretty? Now cos it was pretty, I whipped out my iPhone (yes, I’m one of THOSE) and tweeted a quick picture to my tweeps. Then I got out my real camera (nothing fancy, just a Canon Powershot A550) and was taking a couple of decent photos, with the intention of blogging up how lovely The Olive Cafe are.
As I was snapping off a couple of shots, this old guy comes up to me from behind the counter and says “Are you enjoying the muffin?” I replied that I hadn’t tasted it yet, but it was very pretty. He then said “Why are you taking pictures? If you’re taking pictures you should give me money.” I was a bit taken aback and I responded that it was pretty, so I like to take photos, to which he said “Then you should pay me!” And at that moment the other guy behind the counter, who I guessed was his son, spoke to him firmly in another language and he backed off.
But he spent the next five minutes giving me filthy looks until he and his wife left the cafe.
Now, tell me this people. I just bought the cupcake. With my money. Shouldn’t I be able to do what I bloody well like to it once I’ve paid for it? I should be able to shove it in my left ear if I want to.
It really marred an otherwise lovely cafe. Because not only was it pretty, and the service I got at the counter from the other man and the young woman who made my coffee was lovely, but the cake was DIVINE tasting and the coffee (a skim latte) perfect.
I wonder if the old guy would have confronted me like that had I not been on my own? Or had I been a man? It was just really rude and unnecessary because I was actually planning to share the pictures and give his business some good blogosphere space. I would have bought a couple of the other kinds of cupcakes (which were as pretty as this one) to bring for a friend I’m seeing tomorrow but I was just really put off.
Well, since I took a few photos and it got me some grief, I may as well give you some more cupcake porn…
Raspberry Delight
Can you see why I took photos? It’s GORGEOUS!
If you like good coffee and delicious cakes, definitely try the Olive Cafe at Wynnum. Hopefully you won’t get harassed if you decide to take a picture of the pretty food.
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