Eero Aarnio furniture exhibition in Helsinki, Finland! Moomin stores, Loyly sauna restaurant, Design Museo.
A dark, cute welcome from Helsinki, Finland! Land of death metal and modern interior design. I think I’ll fit in quite nicely, don’t you agree?
On my first day in Finlandia, I went to the Design District and saw a groovy Eero Aarnio exhibit (he’s the inventor of the Ball Chair). I stopped by the Moomin and Marimekko shops, and ended up at a restaurant/sauna overlooking the waters, sipping herbal gin and tonics.
But first, coffee… and the outfit of the day. The “Noir” sign behind me happened to match my look.
– I’m wearing a pentagram dress by Black Milk (who also make this Game of Thrones dress).
– My striped platform shoes are by Le Babe, who also makes these black pumps. My kawaii bag looks like a Totoro sprite, but it’s by Mini Cream in Hong Kong.
Click below for these clothes and more from Disturbia:
This kawaii character gives you a hint at my next destination… To find out where I’ll be, read on to the end of this post.
From our suite at Scandic Hotels, it was a easy walk to the major districts of Helsinki. I found a park with tall tombstones under grey skies. This city seems to be made for Goths!
The Finns are known for their modern interior design and architecture. My filmmakers and I had brunch at Block by Dylan, a perfect example of the hip, minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic that we saw all over the city.
We sat by the huge windows that overlook the harbor and Old Market Hall. I smiled at the graphic artwork that peeked out from the layered woodblock walls.
Block by Dylan serves breakfast, lunch and brunch buffet-style. This gave me a chance to try a bite of everything. I am still dreaming of the Finnish berries, tiny and rich in antioxidants, which I ate on top of mango quark. Nordic Europe’s dark breads and smoked salmon are also beyond compare.
The friendly manager surprised us fizzy glasses of gin and tonics. I’m holding one of the best (and prettiest) G&Ts you’ll ever get to try. The cocktail is made with Napue, a world-famous local gin infused with botanicals, and garnished with cranberries.
Our good mood got even better when we arived at DesignMuseo, Helsinki’s design museum. They’ve gathered the most extensive collection of Eero Aarnio works, and put them on display in a playful space. (The exhibit ends on til Sept 25, so I hope you’ll catch it if you’re in town.)
I’m a longtime fan of Eero Aarnio, a Finnish designer known for his mod furniture designs from the 1960s onward. Above, I’m sure you have seen his Puppy chair design.
To fit the “Swinging Sixties” feeling, DesignMuseo put his works on giant Roombas! These platforms spin around and move across the room, reacting to your movements. (You’ve got to see this in action, so here’s a video of me walking through the exhibit.)
Do you recognize the space-age Ball Chair above? It also comes in a swing version (which I later got to sit in).
Eero Aarnio became an international sensation with the release of the Ball chair, in the mid 1960s. I personally always wanted one of his Pony Chairs, which kind of looks like a bear.
Eero Aarnio broke conventions about how furniture should look and feel. His mod designs are all about curves, fun and imagination.
For the first time, I got to see his rare original sketches, and retro images such as this girl sitting in his Pastil Chair.
One of the rooms highlighted the production process, and how he molds materials into geometric forms. To this day, Eero Aarnio continues to create new designs from his studio, including toys and furniture for children.
(I’d go on a ride on his Pony Chair, any day!)
I walked through the other floors of the Design Museo: there was a feature on innovative interiors, and a permanent gallery of Scandinavian furniture and home objects throughout the years.
The gift shop is a must-see. Eero Aarnio brings his signature aesthetic to everything from licorice boxes to watering cans. (His furniture is available for sale worldwide; browse below to learn more.)
The museum is located in Helsinki’s Design District, which is a joy to explore. I encourage you to walk around and pop into the various local stores, to admire the avantgarde furniture.
And you can’t miss Marimekko, the famous Finnish designer with locations all over the city.
This large Marimekko store is in Esplanadi, a central esplanade and park.
Like Eero Aarnio, this Finnish home furnishings and fashion company made waves in the 1960s. Marimekko’s bright, simple designs — often featuring stripes and flowers — are recognizable worldwide.
But Finland’s cutest character… is beloved Moomin! Finnish illustrator/writer Tove Jansson created the Mumintroll, a white hippo-like creature that lives in the Moominvalley with equally adorable friends.
When I saw this pastel-colored store near Esplanadi, I couldn’t resist going in and giving Moomin a hug. I later visited the mascot’s store in the Forum shopping complex, and picked up some souvenirs.
The Moomin store in Helsinki’s Forum Mall has a wide selection of goods, guarded by the mischevious Mymble’s daughter.
Don’t worry — if you aren’t anywhere near Scandinavia, you can still get Mumintroll goods online. Check it out below:
We were in Finland in August, meaning that the sun didn’t set until 10pm!
This gave us plenty of time to relax over dinner at Löyly, a recently-opened restaurant and sauna. There’s a huge patio, giving an Viking view of the waters.
Saunas are big in Finland. It’s part of the culture and lifestyle: a way to unwind, with family and friends.
Loyly is an all-in-one destination, encased in this contemporary geometric wood structure. You can sweat it out in a traditional smoke or wood-burning sauna, and cool off by diving into the waters below. Then, head to the restaurant section for a hearty meal and drinks.
The cocktails once again specialize in gin and herbal mixtures. Loyly’s menu takes an environmentally-conscious approach: all the meats are local, and free-range or game. We tried the reindeer meatballs with lingonberry jam, and a creamy salmon soup: magnificent.
At Loyly, it’s easy to pretend you are a Viking, with these epic views from the terrace that stretches out over the sea.
What did you think of my “noir” adventures in Helsinki so far? (All photos by Borderless Media.)
Finally, here’s a peek-a-boo from my new Line Friends Brown bear lamp, by the Dutch designers MrMaria!
They also make the Miffy lamp that I own, as well as other cute animal and character lights (see the full collection on Mr Maria’s site).
As you know, I’m a long time fan of Brown, the poker-faced bear from the Line Friends app. (Remember when I visited the giant Brown in the Harajuku store?)
I can’t help but smile when I look at MrMaria’s latest lamp. They’re a playful design studio based in the Netherlands, specialising in modern, minimal and kawaii home decor. (It’s no surprise that I love their works.)
The small Brown lamp is perfect for my side table, and will match well with my XL Miffy Lamp.
As you can see, the perfectly round head and details are impeccable. This is top craftsmanship, with safe and warm dimmable LED lights, and options for international power connectors (so it can plug into any type of socket).
Brown comes in a large size as well. He’d look great in a child’s bedroom, or a minimal-modern apartment like mine.
Cheers to MrMaria for producing such delightful works, filled with heart and imagination! This new release is magnificent, and I can’t wait to see what they create next.
Line Friends originated in Japan… and you guessed it, that’s where I will be next! I’m so excited to travel all around Japan, with JRailPass. I have unlimited access to trains, so I’ll be in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, Koyasan (Zen temple retreat!) and Osaka.
If you’re in Tokyo on Saturday, Sept 24 — I invite you to party with me at Midnight Mess, Tokyo’s longest running Goth night! Mistress Maya throws the best Goth parties in the city — as you may remember from past blog posts. The crowd is wonderfully inclusive, and you’ll recognize a lot of familiar faces from this blog.
Dance with me to EBM, Gothic, Industrial music at Bar Shifty in Shibuya, from 10:30pm to dawn. Find out more about the “Nightmare before the 14th Anniversary” event here, and hope to see you at Midnight Mess on Sept 24!
Stay tuned to my social media @lacarmina to see my train travels in Japan!
And more from Hell-Sinki to come… steampunk bars and pirate cafes await…
(If you enjoyed the fashion and design in this post, you can shop it below.)
Now that I’ve been to New Zealand, I understand why travel bloggers consistently put the country on their “top destinations” lists. The photo above sums it up: dramatic nature and oceans, Lord of the Rings vibes. And Auckland has a fabulous underground culture as well, which I’ll show you in this final post.
As you’ll recall, I joined the Contiki Sun and Steam tour (with a fun group of fellow young travellers). The trip began and ended in Auckland, NZ’s largest urban area.
I’ll take you inside the fierce and funny world of Caluzzi Cabaret — a drag queen extravaganza located on the infamous nightlife strip, K Road.
I’m never going to part with this fluffy monster bag… but I do have other kawaii and Goth Japanese fashion available, on my fashion blogger shop (come browse).
Contiki group tours are catered to 18-35 year old travellers, meaning that we had a lot of free time to enjoy nightlife, and explore Auckland on our own.
At the same time, our tour leader Monique and driver Dyson made sure we had a superb overview of the city’s top attractions. They were always glad to give us recommendations, and join in on the fun.
We stopped at Bastion Point to take in the gorgeous views of Waitemata Harbour and the city of Auckland. The wind added drama to my Black Milk cape!
(Photos by Salima Remtulla, who joined me on my Contiki journey)
I found this epic view of the Sky Tower, which rises like a spaceship in the distance.
We walked around the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. It’s a tribute to the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand, known for his progressive welfare policies.
Savage is revered as one of NZ’s greatest prime ministers. His tomb lies by a reflecting pond and these beautiful gardens.
Contiki gave us a free day to explore Auckland, so I browsed the chic local fashion in Britomart (see more). But when dusk falls, it’s time to party…
… And these ladies really know how to put on a show!
I was thrilled to see the famous drag queens of Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret, located on the famous K Road (the gritty, alternative nightlife strip of Auckland.) Address: 461 Karangahape Rd, Eden Terrace, Auckland 1010.
I was welcomed by the friendliest bartenders and queens, who made sure I always had full glass of local Matawhero wine.
Caluzzi is a drag queen cabaret with a wonderfully inclusive atmosphere. The tables were packed with groups of friends, bachelorette / hen parties, and lots of locals.
The gals put on a fierce floor show, with a funny air stewardess theme. They dazzled us with their choreographed dancing and singing, working the floor in their glittering stilettos.
Established in 1996, Caluzzi has become known as one of the best nightlife venues in the city. The drag performers are top-notch: makeup, wigs and outfits are all on point.
These ladies went around the room, chit-chatting and posing with the guests. Such a welcoming atmosphere, and I couldn’t stop smiling at their wicked, campy remarks.
Between the song-and-dance hilarity, the drag queens played the part of the perfect stewardesses, and took our meal orders. We got to choose from a variety of tasty main courses, and everyone got garlic bread and soup to start.
While we dined, the ladies put on decadent costumes, and entertained us with a variety of routines. In this group number, they went outside and performed in the street, while we watched from the window!
You’ve got to see this short video of them in action. Just another night on K Road…
Everyone got up and cheered during this Lion King inspired number. She spread her wings and lip synced to “The Circle of Life.”
Other acts involved audience participation, dance-offs, and even a Maori-inspired performance.
Caluzzi Cabaret in Auckland is pure fabulosity. Be sure to reserve a space in advance, as the seats fill up fast. Check out their website for upcoming showtimes and bookings, and say “hiiii” to the gals for me.
K Road, the nickname for Karangahape Road, is known for its colorful and grungy nightlife. You’ll find dive bars, strip clubs and tattoo shops here (but don’t worry, Auckland is not at all dangerous).
I spotted plenty of weird art installations and street art on K Road, such as this pentacle-eyed emoji. I guess Gregor Samsa (the cockroach man from Kafka’s Metamorphosis) somehow wound up in New Zealand…
There are also lots of cute, hipster boutiques. These fox pillows caught my eye.
K Road is one of the best places to shop for NZ made fashion, and independent designers.
Come during the day-time, so that you can shop the alternative design stores.
You’ll never be bored on K Road. At night, it comes alive with bars, performances, ethnic restaurants, you nae it.
I ran into a group of teenage skater boys. When the stores are closed, they use the smooth floors for practising tricks.
Ghosts of K-Road. If you’re into subcultures and alt nightclubs, you can’t miss this district (and Caluzzi’s drag queen cabaret, which is located here.)
And now, it’s time to fly away to my next destination. I still have lots of Slovenia and Scandinavia posts to share with you, and I’ll be somewhere both old and new in the upcoming weeks.
If you could hop on a plane to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hmm…
Hej from Sweden! I had a “dotty” time in Scandinavia this summer, as you probably saw on my social media.
It was my first time here, and I managed to catch the Yayoi Kusama exhibition in Stockholm. (The Moderna Museet retrospective closes September 11th, so I hope this post encourages you to visit.)
If you’re looking for an alternative Stockholm travel guide, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll take you to Swedish Goth bars, Viking restaurants, and a special place called “Cum Clubwear.”
I’ve long admired Yayoi Kusama, Japanese avantgarde artist and High Priestess of Dots. Finally, I got to see her works in person, at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet / ArtDes. The interactive installations also created the perfect backgrounds for photos (all these are by Joey Wong).
Yayoi Kusama was born in Japan in 1929, and moved to Japan in 1957. She became part of the Swinging Sixties scene, staging experimental “happenings” and naked parties where she painted people’s bodies with dots.
Kusama’s works were far ahead of her time, and eventually returned to Japan to live in a mental hospital (where she continues to paint and sculpt, to this day). Her outsider status kept her her art from being fully recognised until recent years.
Dots, dots everywhere. This motif has appeared in Kusama’s works since her earliest days. She suffered from hallucinations since childhood, which made the world appear to be covered in dots and repetitive shapes.
Art became her way of working through demons, and giving form to these visions.
Yayoi Kusama is known for her giant sculptures and installations that take up entire rooms. They’re always infused with her surreal, playful spirit.
I’m sure you have seen these dotted pumpkins before. They cover the landscapes of Naoshima, an art-filled island in Japan.
In one room, I stood among the silver balls of “Narcissus Garden,” her disruptive work from the 1966 Venice Biennale. Yayoi wasn’t an official artist at the event, but staged her own performance art piece and sold these globes to visitors for $2 a pop!
Such fun to enter Yayoi Kusama’s universe for a day.
Yayoi likes to play with mirrors, and create “obliteration rooms.” She’s fascinated with the idea of dissolving the sense of self, and becoming united with one’s surroundings — like in her dotted hallucinations.
By walking through the obliteration room, visitors can similarly lose themselves in the infinite patterns.
Joey and I walked into the “Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field.” When the docent shut the door, we found ourselves in this tiny room, surrounded by an endless field of red and white phalluses.
The “In Infinity” exhibit included a variety of Yayoi Kusama’s works from over the years, in different mediums. Not everyone knows she created cut-out dresses (and modelled them with friends, in the 1960s), videos, and lesser-known paintings. I especially enjoyed seeing her photos from the hippie era, sprawled out in a busy street or cavorting in a kimono.
Some snaps of the textures, forms and patterns found in Kusama’s oeuvre. The Japanese icon is 87 years old and continues to work daily in her studio, producing new pieces!
My Long Clothing x Grace Neutral top looked like it belonged to her Obliteration Room. You can find more pieces from Long Clothing by clicking below:
This “Infinity Mirrored Room – Hymn of Life” had the mood of a shrine. We entered the dim room, filled with water and hanging lanterns marked with — what else? — dots.
The colors shifted constantly, bouncing off the reflective pools and ceilings.
Yayoi Kusama encourages you to take snapshots and get immersed in her art. Joey took this selfie while peering into a hole, which revealed a kaleidoscope of kabochas. All hail the high priestess of polka dots!
Modern Museet (Stockholm’s modern art museum) is huge and well curated. You can spend a day in here, walking through the changing and permanent exhibits. (Yayoi runs until Sept 11, so hurry on over.)
I especially loved the bizarre video art collection. “The New Human” had footage of mandalas, disco and apocalyptic death cults — some of my favorite things! (In this funny video, you can see me grooving with the images.)
Time for some shopping. Of course, I wanted to find Gothic, alternative and fetish fashion in Stockholm.
My evil queen Yukiro ordered me to the wonderfully named C.U.M. Clubwear!
I met owner and designer Dominika Skansen, who designs her own collection and also sources clothing from all around the world.
CUM is a huge, two-level store and it carries every type of subculture style: EBM, rave, pin-up, drag, you name it.
I found tutus, corsets, fishnet tops and other underground accoutrements here.
If the zombie apocalypse arrives, I’d head straight here for some Mad Max cybergoth fashion. Love the metal spikes in the goggles and gas-masks.
What more can I say? “Cum” to this alt clothing store, and you won’t be disappointed!
(In the next post, I’ll show you more fashion from the hipster district of SoFo.)
Summer is the best time of year to visit Stockholm. The weather is ideal — warm, but not overly hot — and I enjoyed strolling over the bridges to the various districts (Old Town, Gamla Stan, Sodermalm).
But as always, we like to go off the beaten path. (This is an alt / Goth guide to Stockholm, after all!)
We ventured into the hipster district of Hornstull, located at the western tip of Södermalm.
A lot of young, artsy types live here — which is reflected in the bright murals and posters. The Pride Circus sounds like my type of event.
I loved the look of Hornhuset, a popular bar / restaurant spread out over three stories of Hornstull mall. Each level has a different design and food speciality, and becomes packed with regulars at night.
I had a lovely walk through Hornstull Market, or Hornstulls Marknad, which takes place by the water every weekend from April to the end of October.
The laid-back flea market is open to all types of vendors and food trucks — I saw everything from antiques to minimal fashion. My friend chowed down on a burger, while I got a Velo Coffee from a bicycle.
We wandered through Hornstull’s park, and stopped at this rather Gothic church (Högalids Kyrka) for photos in the doorways.
I’m wearing a rainbow top by Gladnews, my Sailor Moon jacket, and Ksubi sunglasses.
(You can shop my wardrobe directly from me — check out the listings on Depop and shoot me an email!)
Stockholm has a fun Goth nightlife, but there unfortunately weren’t any club nights while we were there. (I wish I could have gone to the post-punk Klubb Dod.)
We did stop by Synth After Work, a casual happy hour gathering at Temple Bar. The DJ plays synthwave / 80s Goth music, the crowd wears black and the drinks are cheap — what more can you ask for?
When you’re in the land of the Vikings, you must feast like a seafaring warrior. We pillaged through a magnificent meal at Oaxen Slip, a Nordic bistro located next to the docks. (They also have a fine dining arm, Oaxen Krog.)
We started with the “grogg”, or alcohol mixed with housemade herbal cola and ginger lemonade. The old Norse gods would have approved of this nectar!
Oaxen Slip is housed in a refurbished boatyard shed, on the green island of Djurgården. The cool interior design stays true to its roots, with boats hanging from the ceiling and sweeping views of the harbor. Even the art has an industrial vibe.
The server brought out starters: cod and a plate of raw radish, with a whipped sour cream dip. A surprising combination that I’ve never seen anywhere — and it works remarkably well.
Oaxen Slip delivers a modern interpretation of hearty Swedish food. I could imagine vikings gathered around a table, sharing the herring and stewed vegetables.
All the ingredients are locally sourced and seasonal, and simply prepared to let these flavors stand out.
The blackened, cured perch with baked leek and roe was another example of traditional fare with a creative touch.
Berries are tart and fresh in Sweden. I’d love another scoop of the raspberry sorbet with lemon verbena.
Such a joy to dine at Oaxen Slip, amidst these Viking vessels. I’m sure Thor and Odin were there with us in spirit!
On the waterfront, wearing my Long Clothing x Mishka eyeball top. (Get this exact shirt here. and more from the label below):
On another evening, I ate my fill of Swedish fish at B.A.R. Stockholm. This highly rated restaurant is located in the central Blasieholmen area.
I stepped up to the seafood display and learned about the catch of day. Every order is customizable: customers choose the fish and shellfish directly, and it can be prepared in all types of ways. The bartenders even made me special cocktails with local Aquavit, to suit my palate.
We started with the red caviar, which is simply fabulous in Sweden. Ours came with buckwheat crepes, red onion and sour cream. Don’t leave without trying this appetizer.
You can also order dishes a la carte, such as grilled sea bass tortillas, and salmon tartar with anchovies and ramson capers (above left).
Then, a plate the size of my head arrived — piled high with different types of fish! I got to try wolf fish and others I had never heard of before, straight from Scandinavian waters. We added on sides of creamy risotto, garden carrots, grapefruit salad… What a meal at B.A.R. Restaurant Stockholm.
The blueberry pancake was truly the best I’ve ever had. Perfectly cooked, with creamy vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. It even looks like one of Yayoi Kusama’s dot artworks!
More from Stockholm coming soon, including a tour of hipster SoFo, and more Viking feasts.
(If you liked what I’m wearing in these photos, check out more from Long Clothing here.)
Better Late Than Never, Hong Kong: travel TV show with William Shatner, Henry Winkler! Sydney Opera House.
Thank you for your fantastic response to the Hong Kong episode of Better Late Than Never, the new NBC show travel TV show!
It was a dream come true to hang with The Fonz, Henry Winkler (of Happy Days fame)…
… and William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek. That is indeed me, dancing with Shatner in the streets of Mongkok, for this travel TV shoot! (Thanks to Thomas for this epic shot — full photo credits below.)
I’m very happy that “Better Late Than Never” has been raising lots of laughs and positive reactions! I couldn’t believe it when the producers contacted me to be part of the series. I was flown to Hong Kong and got to take part in this second episode.
This hilarious travel-reality show stars Terry Bradshaw (quarterback and broadcaster), William Shatner (Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk), Henry Winkler (The Fonz on Happy Days) and George Foreman (boxer and grill-master). Along with comedian Jeff Dye, these funny guys travel around Asia in search of adventures and Zen, with lots of mishaps along the way.
Their journey throughout Asia includes Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I was thrilled to have them be in Hong Kong with me — my friends and family even got to join the big dance scene in Mongkok.
(My dress is Spider by Natalie Lam. I’m currently selling a lot of my personal wardrobe; let me know if you’re interested in any of my fashion/accessories! Take a look at my store listings here, and email me to let me know what you’d like.)
The weather was a little iffy that day, but the rain and clouds cleared in time for the big dance number. Believe it or not, we took over one of the busiest streets of Hong Kong!
The Fab Four arrived on the scene — Henry Winkler turned his camera on us for this shot. Terry Bradshaw whipped out a microphone and burst into song!
Then it was time to dance, dance, dance. I was impressed by their ability to pull off a choreographed number!
So much fun, to dance in the streets with Captain Kirk and Fonzie!
(All of the amazing photos above are by Thomas Sandfield of Sandfield Productions. Thank you for capturing this epic day.)
I was glad to have my local friends with me, to take part in the scene.
Chaos, color, song… that’s the spirit of Hong Kong! Can you see me dancing with William Shatner in the middle?
(Above two photos by K. Lau of Bright Production.)
I also filmed a scene on the minibus, where I talked about Hong Kong’s travel attractions and general awesomeness. (Love the V-fingers photobomb behind me.)
What a joy to joke and riff with Henry Winkler and George Foreman, for this TV scene. They’re truly kind and humble, and up for anything!
Here are more black and white images from Thomas Sandfield of Sandfield Productions. It was a genius idea to pair “culture and Zen” William Shatner with “let’s roughhouse and sing” Terry Bradshaw on a travel show!
We were dancing along to the Otis Day and the Knights song “Shout (You Make me Wanna).”
Above shots by Arthur Rash. Thanks to everyone who supported the TV shoot, and for watching NBC’s Better Late Than Never!
On that note… I never got around to posting about my travels in Sydney, Australia. But better late than never, right?
If you have me on your Snapchat (@lacarmina), then you’ll have glimpsed me taking selfies under Harbour Bridge, earlier this year. (Since many of you asked, I’m wearing Karen Walker sunglasses.)
I’m wearing a Black Milk top and skirt: this Great Wave maxi-skirt is one of my favorites (see me wearing it at New Zealand’s Hobbit Town). Blackmilk’s designs are fantastic for travel because they’re lightweight and don’t crease, and easy to pack in luggage. (And stylish, of course). My fuzzy purse is from Mercibeaucoup in Shinjuku.
I had never been to Australia, and had very little time to explore. However, it was worth the trip to go down under and at least see Sydney. I’ll have to come back soon to see the Gold Coast, Melbourne and more.
As a first-timer, I had to visit the Sydney Opera House. I took the subway to Circular Quay, and walked over.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also located here. Many travellers do the “bridge climb” where they walk on top of the structure for panoramic views. I’m not afraid of heights, but you aren’t allowed to take your own photos, and must wear a not-so-stylish jumpsuit… I’d prefer to pose below, wearing Black Milk!
Even from “down under” the bridge, you can’t beat these views of the harbor.
(My sunglasses are Karen Walker, similar to these round ones by her. More of her styles below.)
I don’t usually like to do “tourist” activities in cities, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Sydney Opera House tour. This guided tour lets you go inside the concert halls and see Jorn Utzon’s masterful architecture up close.
I learned, for example, that the “white” sails of the roof are actually made over a million chevron tiles, in two shades of cream. Our guide spoke about the politics involved in the construction process, and how the Danish architect eventually left the project. (He’s never even been inside the completed structure, which opened in 1973.)
I had the opportunity to see Jørn Utzon’s room, defined by concrete structural beams and a 14 meter long tapestry of his own design. On the opposite end, giant windows overlook the harbour waters.
Our guide spoke about how Utzon solved design problems in innovative ways, such as by peeling an orange to see how the curved sails could fit together.
As you can tell, I learned so much from the multimedia Opera House tour. Anyone who is interested in modern architecture should check it out.
I selected the Tour and Tasting Plate, which ends with an al fresco meal underneath the sails.
At Opera Kitchen, I got to try a three-tiered lunch set with a range of finger foods: sushi, mini burgers, dumplings, salad and more.
The perfect lunch for sharing with a friend, especially when paired with Australian pinot noir. I got to enjoy the sunshine, and bask in this uninterrupted view of the Harbour Bridge and waters.
From Circular Quay, it’s a short walk to the Royal Botanic Garden. This large park is filled with different themed gardens, and has a pond and Asian pavilion.
It would be tragic if went to Sydney and skipped out on Bondi beach. I rode the subway to Bondi Junction, and then hopped on the bus that runs frequently to the beach. When you see this curving cove of sand, you’ve arrived.
This 1 km long beach is classic Sydney. I watched surfers ride the waves, and walked barefoot on Bondi’s warm and soft sand.
Time to chow down. I’ve heard that Sydney is famous for its breakfasts, and found this to be true. This salmon eggs Benedict, with an almond milk flat white, was as good as it looked on my Instagram.
I loved the breakfast at Ceru Restaurant so much that I came back for dinner. (I went to the Potts Point location, but the restaurant is currently moving to a new spot.)
I was accompanied by my friend Leanne, writer at Trashtastika. We were charmed by the Middle Eastern ceramics near the windows.
British chef Tom Kime launched Ceru as a celebration of Levantine cuisine. He incorporates flavors and recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean, infusing them with a modern interpretation.
We started by sharing a spread of mezzes and salads. Beetroot and chickpea purees, with cucumber sticks and pita — everything is organic, and the menu is vegan and gluten free friendly.
Fresh pomegranate, mint, and pistachio add dimension to this lamb dish. These Levant spices pair marvellously with Ceru’s craft cocktails and cold-pressed juices.
I’m still thinking about Ceru’s honeycomb baklava ice cream… with flavors of burnt caramel and roasted nut. Possibly the tastiest and most creative dessert I’ve had all year.
PS – you can find out more about Better Late Than Never on their website, including viewing times and clips.
I leave you with a few more scenes from this huge network shoot. There were so many moving parts, but the team pulled it off.
“We-eee-eeel…. / You know you make me wanna (Shout!) / Kick my heels up and (Shout!) / Throw my hands up and (Shout!)”
Have a happy weekend!