Monday, February 23, 2015

White Night Melbourne

If you live in Melbourne you are very lucky to be in a place where there is always something happening. There are lots of big events, especially sporting events, but there are often big cultural events too ranging from big name international concerts, to film and literary festivals, art exhibitions and more. One event that has brought a lot of these elements together over the last 3 years is an event called White Night. I haven't been the previous 2 years but this year I was determined to g and so I gathered some friends together for dinner and then went and enjoyed just a tiny part of the spectacle.

So what is White Night? The event was based on something that has been run in Paris for a while called Nuit Blanche, and White Night is now run in various cities around the world. Here's how the website describes it:

The event runs from 7pm to 7am, and visitors will be able to experience the visual art, exhibitions, spectacular illuminations, music, theatre, special dining experiences, film, design and performances on display in venues and major cultural institutions right across the city centre.
Sounds good right? I certainly thought so and so did an estimated crowd of around 450000 other people! Despite such large numbers it didn't really feel that crowded. I have certainly felt way more crushed at New Years Eve events in the city. There were more than 90 different things that you could see and do, the vast majority of which were free and with the displays lasting all night it did mean that you didn't all have to be in one place at one time. Unfortunately, whilst the event lasted all night, I certainly can't anymore but we gave it a good go. We chose to start the night out with dinner with friends at a nice Italian restaurant that I had been wanting to try for years and then headed into the city. It was a very warm night and be the end of the night I had certainly walked far enough to build up a ladylike glow, but  had so much fun! I don't know why I had been reluctant to go before, maybe because of the crowds, but I certainly will be going back again at some point in the future if the event continues.

One of the interesting themes for this year related to Alice in Wonderland in celebration of the 150th anniversary of it's publication and so I thought I would share some of those photos with you all.

We started at the State Library, one of my favourite places in the city at the best of times both because of the building itself but also the inside of the gorgeous dome. I have posted lots of pictures of both the exterior and interior before (one of the posts is here). There were Alice related projections on the front of the building, and hordes of people viewing them. We then went inside the dome and saw it in a whole new light. I love going to the dome. Normally it is the gorgeous light filled place that I love to go to the top viewing gallery and look down on the people below who are busy working away at desks that have old fashioned green reading lamps. This time we were on the ground floor in darkness looking up at the image that was projected on the walls all around us whilst accompanied by haunting music.

There were a number of other Alice in Wonderland themed events but we really wanted to just focus on a few things so that we could really appreciate what we saw rather than feeling we had to rush from one thing to the next. Our next stop was on Flinders Street. The Forum is one of the more interesting buildings in the city and it lends itself perfectly to being used as the base for these kinds of projections. These buildings looked amazing and then there was a drumming band really adding to the atmosphere.

Last stop on our trip down the rabbit hole was one that on the side of one of the main train stations. It is an iconic Melbourne landmark even without being used as a canvas.

It wasn't all about Alice in Wonderland. The other building that we went to was a bit out of the way but it was well worth the effort to get there. The Exhibition Building is an important building in Australian history, being the home of the first parliament following the creation of Australia as an independent country. It is a gorgeous building located in lovely parkland (although that wasn't as important given that it was dark). Rather than share photos, I thought I would share a video showing just some of the effects. The theme was 4 Elements and featured dancers and music that matched the seasons. It was amazing!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Farewell January, you've been grand

The boy goes back to school tomorrow after the summer holidays and to be honest, I am ready to get back into a routine.That is not because having him home from school is challenging anymore because basically he is old enough now to look after himself, if you call staying up all night playing games and sleeping all day looking after yourself. He was also away a couple of times including one stretch of two weeks where he went to Perth to stay with my relatives.

I have to say that this summer feels like it is ending, and that is despite the fact that we haven't had much hot weather at all and there is officially still a month of the season to go. I don't remember having this feeling in previous years and when I look back I think it is because I have managed to pack a fair bit into this January.

With the intention of actually doing some blogging I thought I would share some pictures from my January. We started the month off with a day at the beach, on one of the few hot days we had, and boy was it hot! That day started off with a bit of a frenzy though as I realised that I no longer have any bathers that actually fit so had to rush out and buy some. The major thing I realised on this day out was that I really did let my weight stop me from doing some things. I wouldn't have said I did if you had of asked me a year ago, but the reality was that this was the first time I had been fully into the ocean in years. I had waded in up to my knees on occasion but not strode into the waves confidently. I was a bit worried that the lily whiteness of all that skin being exposed to the sun might cause some blindness for bystanders but no one said anything.

There was time spent being a tourist in my own town. I had a friend come over and I took them to some of my favourite places, but we also went to the Shrine of Rememberance. It is a place I have seen before but never actually been to. I didn't realise that you can climb to the top of the shrine and get a 360 degree view of the city. I will definitely be going back there again. That whole weekend was awesome and I think is pretty sure to feature among my highlights for the year!

There was good food and good company including an Australia Day barbecue, farewell drinks for a friend who is moving to Perth, drinks by the river on a fine summer evening, catching up with friends, a retirement do where I go to be a lady that lunched and even some cooking for other people that I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

There was a night at the tennis at the Australian Open

And a night of dancing. Hours of dancing to both modern music and awesome 80s pop.

There was also lots and lots of basketball in the last week of January. This is a big part of my routine for the next 8 months or so.

And there were movies, including Mockingjay, The Water Diviner and The Imitation Game, which is my favourite of the movies I have seen.

Oh, and the shopping. There was a lot of shopping!! I cleared out my wardrobe at the end of December and got rid of all my really fat clothes. Whilst I am trying to be a little controlled buying new clothes that may not fit for long, I must admit that it is really, really exciting and fun to be able to walk into a normal clothes shop and find things that fit and look good. In the last ten days I have bought 2 dresses, 4 tops, a pair of jeans, a pair of leggings, a ring, a set of bangles, shoes, earrings and a handbag. I am becoming a lady who likes to shop, which is something I would never have said about myself.

What you won't notice in here is any mention of books, and that is because I haven't actually finished a book this month. Not even one.  Shocking, but true. I am, however, really enjoying the going out and living life! I feel as though I have a lot more capacity to enjoy life at the moment. It is an unexpected bonus of losing so much weight. I always went out and did things but not like I did this month. Long may it continue.