Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Streets of Colour and Life


Those of you who follow O&P on Facebook and Instagram will have noticed an influx over the past week of photos posted that appeared to show Perth undergoing some form of transformation; its blank walls turned to canvases which came to life with the stroke of a brush or roller or steady handed stream of aerosol. 

The artists of Last Chance Studios

Maybe you even saw for yourself in person the larger than life creations on these walls, in the alleyways and tucked away lanes. In the most unexpected of places. 

From left to right: Last Chance Studios, ROA, Phlegm, Last Chance Studios

Hyuro

So, what's it all about right? 

Form, a not-for-profit Western Australian based organization put together a program by the name of PUBLIC, which included both Perth and the Pilbara. Can't forget those living above the 26th parallel after all. Reminiscent of street art initiatives and festivals seen in other countries, Form pulled together some of the most talented and recognized digital, street and visual artists to descend onto the streets of Perth to create their magic. Over a period of nine days, 45 artists were to turn 30 ordinary spaces into public works of arts. Accessible to all people. Not tucked behind Plexiglas or secured within the walls of museums or galleries but for all to see, appreciate and enjoy. 

ROA
ROA

Local Perth and West Aussie artists were joined by those who came from around Australia and the world. It is impossible for me to provide you with a complete roll call but it included artists such as Phlegm (UK), Stormie Mills (Perthie), Alexis Diaz (Puerto Rico), Maya Hayuk (USA), Phibs (Syd-en-ay) and so many, many more.  For many it was their first time to Perth and Australia and from those that I spoke to, they were most impressed with our city. The weather also put on its best, showing off that we can still have perfect beach weather in the middle of autumn.  Regardless of where they hail from, these are all respected figures in the art world. 

Phlegm
Pixel Pancho

It was a chance for people to see art being created live, right in front of them. To witness the undeniable skill and talent that one requires to do what they do. 

Stormie Mills and puppy
Pixel Pancho

Over the nine days Form put together a number of events, of which I tried to attend as many as I was humanly able to. I spent a day as a volunteer for Form and had the privilege of 'helping' (I use that term very loosely...I sat in the shade, he painted) one of the artists, Jaz, who had come straight off of many hours flying from Argentina and went right into it painting one of the walls at Turner Galleries. A total trooper, especially working the entire day under the sun. Must I say again, I sat in the shade.

Alexis Diaz
Maya Hayuk

Friday night was the Public Salon event held at Form. It was bursting at the seams with a licorice all sorts of people, a testament that this art is appreciated by many and not just a select niche group of people who like 'that sort' of art. The great part about Salon is that they've included work by many more local artists that are available for purchase, in addition to pieces by those who are formally part of the Public program. Don't sleep on the talent we have in Perth. We have a lot of it. 

E.L.K and Anya Brock
The Yok & Sheryo
The Yok & Sheryo, Phlegm in the background

Although many of the artists have now finished up and left, some headed to the Pilbara and others wherever else the next departure out of Perth Airport takes them, their work will remain. In my opinion, one of the best aspects of what Form has put together is the extent to which it has been embraced by the public as well as the city councils and corporates. If you like what Form has done, you can support them by becoming a member.  It's pretty cheap, it's easy and being a not-for-profit organization, membership is vital to them; trust me, state government funding is stingy.

Phibs

Perth is now home to works of art created by some of the biggest and best. The artists who've put their stamp on Perth have done the same in cities all around the world - New York, Miami, Sao Paolo, Paris and on and on. You can't stepchild Perth any longer. Word.  


Beastman and Vans the Omega

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Wedding Belle and Beauty

A couple of weeks ago on a lovely Sunday afternoon two dear friends of mine were married. The weather situation had been a bit precarious. That week had been a little touch and go with clouds and rain, but on the day the clouds put on their fluffy best high in the sky and the sun shined brightly. 



The ceremony and reception were held at Sandalford Winery in Perth's Swan Valley. It was one of the most visually stunning and beautiful weddings I had attended, in addition to being loads of fun. The bride was very active and hands on in pulling the day together to ensure it looked exactly as how she envisioned, and she sourced much of the decor, even making some of it herself. Given that the cost of weddings can blow out to the many tens of thousands of dollars, rolling up your sleeves and going a semi-DIY route can definitely help to contain costs. 


Of course, not everyone has the time, inclination or patience to do that but I know she very much enjoyed putting her own personal touch on the day, and the whole saving money aspect of it isn't too bad either. In fact, she's very much like me in that she finds a lot of enjoyment in putting together events. Matter of fact, I plan my birthday celebrations months ahead every year. This year, being my thirtieth, I've already got it locked, loaded and booked and it's actually exactly four months away. Some people might consider that a little strange or pedantic, but I like to think of it myself to be a sign of eagerness and enthusiasm. Let's put a positive spin on things! I'm one of those people who are more likely to not marry than to marry, so for me my birthdays are my big event and it's something I can do every year. I'm approaching this year's birthday like it's my wedding. It's probably a little narcissistic actually but if I never get the chance to be a Bridezilla, don't I get just teeny little concession to be a bit OTT? Is it terrible that I like the idea of getting married just so I can plan a wedding? Some people would probably find that to be quite bizarre given many stress out over wedding planning. What can I say, I'm a little OCD when it comes to organizing and planning and I really like a good party. This also reminds me of that time Carrie Bradshaw registered her marriage to herself at Manolo Blahnik. What a smart woman.


Back to my friend's wedding. Flowers. Let's talk about flowers. I love flowers. I love walking into a reception and sighing dreamily at the abundance of beautiful flowers. Flowers are not cheap though, and I'm told that the wedding premium on prices is not a myth. My friend found a florist who supplied all her bouquets, button holes, corsages, floral centre prices and decorations (as well as kitting out her hen's night) for a fraction of what other florists wanted to charge. Seriously, a fraction of the cost. I actually lost breath and gasped when she told me what the flowers cost her. The supplier she used was Flowers on a Budget, but don't let the name fool you, this was no budget job. The flowers were stunning. Absolutely stunning and I was so happy that I was given some to take home at the end of the night.


As a side note, I used to hate gypsophila/baby's breath. To me they were nothing but pointless filler flowers, but now I find them quite delightful when made up in voluptuous bunches.  They've made quite the resurgence, no?

Many of the vases were bought for the event and they tied in perfectly with the pretty vintage theme. She had these lovely lace patterned metal pots used as vases, which are available from Ikea, and the gold glitter vases were also plain round gold vases purchased from Ikea and then painted. There are so many easy ways to can add your own personal touch and tutorials such as this one from Little Miss Momma and The Sweetest Occasion can help you out.  When it comes to DIY painting, my personal preference is definitely for using spray paint especially on smaller or more fiddly items.



Some items were sourced from Mulberry Tree Vintage Homewares, which is fantastic seller of vintage wares and a business I have also purchased from before. It doesn't hurt to hunt around outside of the usual suppliers when planning your wedding, or other big event, and searching out special and unique pieces at secondhand stores and even online via Gumtree and other similar sites. Not only are there the cost benefits but it does definitely put that special, personalized touch on things. In future posts I will feature some of my own little DIY projects to show you how easy it can be. When I say "future posts" that's code for "when I get around to actually DIYing."



For now, I'll leave you with these beautiful images of the day. 





The beautiful bride. Photo credit to SOUL of SHU

Obligatory shoe shot. I love these shoes, I bought them in Paris and they are usually quite comfortable to wear. Regardless, no matter how sore my feet may get when in heels, I am ride or die when it comes to my shoes. I won't kick them off. I would rather come home hobbling, but that day being ever so slightly warm and humid my feet puffed up making the shoes unbearable to wear. I sat barefoot at the table, the tablecloth hiding my sin.

Photo credit to SOUL of SHU

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Art in the City. Art in the Streets.

If you're unaware or if I haven't made it clear enough, I live in Perth.  Perth, Western Australia.  I grew up here, I've lived my entire life here.  For those of a certain age (what I'm trying to say is, my age) we know too well the feeling of our city never being good enough.  Never as cool as the cities out east.  It used to be that you'd want to leave Perth as soon as you could but it was definitely worth coming back as a "good place to raise a family."  What is that supposed to mean exactly? A good place to raise a family - in comparison to where?

Slowly things change. Progress can be a slow process. Over the last couple of years much has changed - and much has not.  I'm no fool. This is a lovely city, this is my city, but it's definitely not the uh, "easy, breezy, green and pristine...hipster heaven" that The New York Times recently labelled it to be. It is getting better though. It has become better. It continues getting better. Once upon a time artists wouldn't even bring their tours here, and now we have got one of the best entertainment venues in the world. Things definitely change.

Small bars, new restaurants, great cafes, designers taking up residence in our malls - it's kinda happening here in little ol' Perth. People would bemoan that Perth is boring, that there is nothing to do. Keep your ears clean, open your peepers really wide - there's a lot going on.

Something that I'm personally quite excited about are the numerous art events that are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks.  If you follow Oyster & Pearl on Instagram you may have seen a couple of my recent postings.  A couple of weeks ago was the opening of the Nasty Goreng exhibition by artists The Yok and Sheryo. 

Photo taken from www.turnergalleries.com.au

 Right next to where I work there is a great piece painted by The Yok (which is comfortably neighboured near to a Stormie Mills creation), I'm sure you would have seen it perhaps while hopping around to Andaluz or Helvetica.  Just two of the many good small bars we have. You can still check out that exhibition at Turner Galleries until April 19.  By the way, don't you love the chandeliers hanging in Howard Lane? I love them.

One of my dodgy Instagram pics of Howard Lane.

Saturday night, that's April 5 if you're unsure, is the opening night of the APEX Group Exhibition at the Little Wing Corner Gallery.  This is something special with so many good artists and businesses getting behind this one, with proceeds from the art sales going to Conservation Council of Western Australia to help protect our shark friends. You know how I said Perth is getting better? Well, if you want me to put a dent in the Perth love fest, this dreadful shark culling will do it. Not to get political but it doesn't make much sense to me. We do have wonderful beaches that we like to enjoy for much of the year but it is somewhat logical to me that those waters are the natural home and habitat of various creatures, some of which include sharks and none of which include humans. I think the care and caution we need to take when deciding to swim in the ocean is not at all dissimilar to me choosing to travel to a country that I know may be dangerous or may require me to adhere to certain customs.

Photo taken from Little Wing Corner Gallery's Facebook page

APEX will run until April 12, and while I will no longer be able to attend on Saturday night as I had planned I do hope to get down there at some point especially as I have two friends who have their works being exhibited. 

I won't be able to get down there on Saturday because...I'm spending all day Saturday volunteering for the very awesome PUBLIC: Art in the City program that is running over nine days all over Perth.  The laneways and walls of the city are going to get some serious loving with murals, installations and projections from a number of local and international artists.  Over the course of these nine days will be so many different events you can be apart of and the good folk at Form have also put together a handy dandy map for you to also go exploring on your own.

Photo taken from www.form.net.au
Photo taken from Form's Facebook page

And if that's not enough, the Fremantle Street Arts Festival is running over the Easter long weekend. I hear there's going to be dinosaurs. Dinosaurs, come on.  Plus music, street theatre, cabaret and circus. How could you miss it?

Photo taken from Fremantle Street Arts Festival Facebook page

So there's nothing to do in Perth, right? All of these sort of events really excite me, and it's so good that we have people and organizations pushing to bring them to life. Just as important is that we all go out and support, participate and enjoy. When you have artists of the calibre as those involved in these various exhibitions and the PUBLIC program, that's a pretty big deal. Summer is now over, but don't festivals such as Fringe World and Perth International Arts Festival bring so much goodness to the city during that time of year? Don't you love seeing the city abuzz and having the opportunity to see some amazing talent live? There's a huge amount of work that goes into making all of that happen and it's so important that we don't let that work go unappreciated and to waste.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Here Kitty, Kitty...

Some of my fondest food memories involve North America.  Heck, some of my fondest memories altogether involve North America.  Yeah, I've eaten at Michelin starred restaurants and had some pretty spectacular meals on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere but I have a real soft spot for some dirty, greasy American junk food.  I don't know what it is, but the thought of a chilli cheese hot dog or fried chicken wings with waffles makes me a little weak at the knee.  I understand I may have turned some of you right off by now.  I can't help it.  We all have our little quirks.

As I can't always be flitting around North America, I'm always a little excited when any place in Perth should pop up that serves up promises of the good old dirty food that I love.  I guess with the popularity of what has been coined 'dude food', that seems to go hand in hand with cuisine à la Americana. 

Miss Kitty's Saloon is one such establishment in Perth that focuses on American and Canadian food offering dishes such as chicken and waffles, the Canadian 'classic' of poutine and the staple mac 'n' cheese.  It's a bit of a mixed bunch menu in that you'll also find oysters or grilled Fremantle octopus.  They also have fried pickles on the menu, which we did not order but I have experienced fried pickles in Tennessee, and it's safe to say I am not a fan.

My friends and I ordered a couple of dishes.  It is family style dining so dishes are intended to be shared.  We started with a beverage, I really can't remember what it was.  I'm sorry.


We then started the food selection off with the hot wing pancakes, which came as a perfect serve for the three of us.  To be honest, it wasn't quite what I was expecting.  I thought that the chicken would be fried, or have some crunch to it but it was more just the meat (I assume from the wing?) smothered in a hot sauce served with ranch sauce atop of a pancake garnished with grated carrot.  The sauce was indeed hot.  There was nothing wrong with it, but I wasn't wowed. 


The next couple of dishes came in one hit which was almost a bit too much for our little table to manage fitting everything on.  I have to say that is one thing that does bother me when dining out.  A lot of places will seat you at a tiny table when there's more than two of you and it can barely accommodate all the serving dishes, plus your own plate, glassware and so on.  A little bit of space and elbow room is appreciated.



 

Yay for carbs!  The mac 'n' cheese was incredible.  I love the crunch on top.  It was super cheesy and creamy, and definitely very moreish.  As for the poutine.  Helloooo.  Number one, chips and gravy is one of the best things ever in this world.  Number two, add some cheese curds and it takes it even further.  To the uninitiated, poutine may seem a little odd.  A bit of a strange combination of chips, gravy and curd but believe me it does work.  You just have to try it.  The mac 'n' cheese and the poutine could definitely do with a larger serving because you will definitely want more of them.  

The steak was really well cooked with a nice char flavour to it.  The salad type thing on the side; it was a bit fiddly.  The lettuce cup held avocado cubes and a hunk of blue cheese which we were advised to break up and have a little bit of cheese with a little bit of the avocado and lettuce.  It would have been easier to eat if the whole thing was already put together as a salad.   Considering all dishes are intended to be shared it is slightly difficult to break off some lettuce for everyone then take a piece of cheese with a cube of avocado.  


Lastly was the chicken and waffles.  Again just like poutine it's one of those things that you don't quite understand how it would work but it does.  Just like pancake, bacon and maple syrup! It's an extremely small size to be shared.  It does come with a couple of pieces of the chicken, but they're sitting on one lone square of waffle and portioning up the waffle doesn't leave you with much of it per person.  For more than two people you definitely need to order an additional serve and this would be something useful which could be suggested by the waitstaff.  Just like the hot wings and pancakes this one failed to wow.  I was so excited about the chicken and waffles too!  This was a bit dry (both the chicken and the waffle), I think the garnishing and orange segments were unnecessary.  I think it needed more maple syrup, which is how I've had it when in the US. 

My favourite dishes were the steak, mac 'n' cheese and the poutine.  They were all very well enjoyed.  Overall I do feel that the serving sizes are small, given that these are intended to be shared dishes.  Going by the size of each dish that we had, they are probably best shared between two although the mac 'n' cheese and poutine could be stretched a bit further given the richness and heaviness.  That would be my tip for those planning to check out Miss Kitty's.  Definitely order double (or more) of each dish depending on how many there are of you or ask the waitstaff if it will be sufficient.

Miss Kitty's Saloon on Urbanspoon 




Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cream, get on top. Cream, sh-boogie bop.

Eww. Was that just a reference to a very innuendo filled Prince (or was he in his Artist Formerly Known as days during this time?) lyric? Yes, yes it was.  Awkward, a bit? Yes I know. I'll cut to the chase then.


I love this stuff! Enough to feel that I want to shout it from the rooftops, or at least put it out there in the blog world. 

A couple of weeks ago after my Saturday Pilates class I wanted to check out an organic store that I had been told about and in addition to stumbling upon some deeeelicious organic ice cream I found these body creams. If you don't know how crazy I am about body lotions and creams and other related moisturizer ion products, all I'll say is I am a well oiled machine.

I'm picky about moisturizers though. No mineral oil, preferably no silicones, it has to leave the right 'feel' on my skin and so on. For that reason I prefer formulations that contain mostly plant and nut based oils. Being the well oiled machine that I am, I go through the stuff so price point is also important to me. 



So I found this stuff.  Australian Organic Biologika Veggie Cream. Being a small little pot of one hundred grams, I thought it would make for a nice hand cream for my bag and bought the coconut variant. 

It was so deliciously scented, perhaps a little on the nose for some but I love love love all things coconut. I would keep it on my desk at work and I heard our receptionist asking aloud "oooh what's that nice smell?" and it wasn't until I was collecting some photocopies she yelled out "it's you I can smell all this time!" that I realized how strong the scent actually is. The rose citrus is just as beautiful and reminds me of my Serge Lutens perfume Fleur d'oranger which is also a rose and citrus mix. 


This tub is 100 grams and costs about $10. I initially purchased it for $9 and my subsequent purchases were at a health food store in the Perth CBD which had it priced at $10 so I'll say $10 is probably the average price. It also comes in lavender and I believe one or two other scents, the website should have more information.

I am totally in love with this and will continue to buy it. It's extremely rich and moisturizing without being too greasy or oily. It's a thick cream and you only need a small amount to go a long way. It's food stuff! 

Also something else new that I have recently tried is the Scholl's Express Pedi which I am sure you've seen the commercials for on TV. Yep, they suckered me in with those. I had no intention of purchasing this until I found myself in the pharmacy and I saw the display. I was curious though to see how well it actually worked.


My feet are always in pretty good condition and I have been lucky to not have any problems with hard skin or callouses despite my choice of footwear, but I gave it a whirl. If you remember the Ped Egg craze of a few years ago, I bought myself a Ped Egg (after it went cheap and got sold everywhere) and it is still sitting there in my bathroom cupboard barely used. I actually use the Heros Chiropody Sponge in the shower and have done so for years, I think that is a fantastic (and cheap!) product that does a great job.


My first thought upon using it was that it didn't have the power I expected it to have. I thought the files would work much faster but I suppose they have to be careful in these litigious times in case someone files their foot off and sues! However, I do think more power and speed would greatly improve the product as well as a slightly more abrasive file. Again, it's for home use so I can understand why it not overly abrasive. 

The end result was satisfactory, but that's really it. Just satisfactory. It would be interesting to know the result when used on feet that have drier or harder skin that my own. I do think it would probably give a good result, but it would take time. It would be a much quicker job if it went faster but if you really want to do it properly it's not 'express' in the sense that you can give it a quick run over your feet. 



You'd need to replace the file regularly to get the best results, even with light use it wouldn't last too long. If you're someone who gets regular pedicures and wants something to maintain the smoothness in between you may want to consider this product but I still highly recommend the Heros Chiropody Sponge for a fraction of the price!