When was the last time I wrote a blog post where I wasn’t bound by any content-specific restrictions and timelines? I can barely remember.
The South Australia-wide lockdown these past few days helped me concentrate a little bit to complete a few personal tasks and chores which I wouldn’t normally quickly finish if I wasn’t “forced to stay at home.”
You bet, I’m a home buddy, says nobody.
A few days before the lockdown, I was up and about hanging with friends by the beach, eating pies in bakeries, and sipping glasses of wines in various vineyards the next day. Thank god I’m not in any way involved in the state’s contract tracing activities, otherwise my very own “cluster” would have involved many individuals. Well, probably an entire community.
Can’t blame me — people in South Australia have been living an almost normal life for many months now. Last week’s disruption was indeed a shocker for everyone. It never crossed my mind it can actually happen again.
Life’s ironies: just a few days ago before the lockdown, I thought I was in the planet’s safest space.
Normanville has a long stretch of soft, white powdery sand set against a calm almost turquoise-coloured sea and gentle rolls of glistening waves. And when the sun’s up, grabbing a cold one is is always a great idea.
Growing up in Southeast Asia, we have been very spoiled with the best beaches in the world. Can’t help but compare what we have here in South Australia. For one, you can’t really swim far from the shore as sharks here are plenty.
But by far, among the SA beaches I’ve already visited, Normanville has become a new favourite (Silversand is now a close second). Having access to cafes and a small town are a major plus. Also, Normanville is just a one and a half hour drive from Adelaide. Easy peasy!
It has always been a challenge organising an excursion for a group of people, more so if they are much younger, if they come from different cultures, and also if you barely know them. But heck, having fun shouldn’t be that hard, right?
I’ve waited far too long for Summer to arrive, and now it’s just around the corner. Hopefully COVID will shoo away by then. Calling Astrazeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna to join forces please.
Spent an artsy Sunday afternoon at Vintage Van Gogh (1/71 Goodwood Rd, Goodwood SA 5034) with friends and thoroughly enjoyed exploring our creative sides.I chatted with Vintage Van Gogh’s co-owner, Adam Rankin, to learn more about his flourishing business.
Hey Paolo: What inspired you to start Vintage Van Gogh?
After seeing a friend open a similar business in New South Wales, where “paint & sip” as a concept is already massive, we thought we can bring the idea here in South Australia. Joe Royle and I are huge fans of all kinds of art, from live music to visual art. But getting started with something like acrylic on canvas can be intimidating and we wanted to change that. Opening the studio for BYOs (bring your own food and alcohol), keeping class sizes small, and ensuring that our lessons are easy to follow for beginners are all conscious decisions to make that barrier for entry as low as possible.
Hey Paolo: What are the typical classes/workshops that you offer?
We have a growing list of famous and original artworks that are taught in each class. We run a few public sessions per week which you can join alone, with a partner, or with a small group of friends, as well as private events for larger groups.
Hey Paolo: How do you help local artists through your business?
Although our focus is more on making art accessible to the general public, we’re always open to collaborations with artists and we also participate in the Goody SALA festival every year. Fingers-crossed, Fringe Festival will be going ahead next year too because we would love to host a few events in the festival gardens.
Hey Paolo: Can you customise the workshops? What are the most special/unique classes and events you’ve held so far?
We can and we often do. Favourites so far have been paintings of wedding bouquets for hens nights, surprise portraits of the birthday boy or girl, and of course, life (nude) drawings which are always a blast. I think my personal favourite so far is the “faceless portrait” style painting that we’ve done for a hens.
Hey Paolo: What should you bring to a class?
Just your preferred brand of liquid inspiration and any nibbles you want to bring along for the session. The only thing you need to prepare for is three hours of good music, painting, and fun with a bunch of likeminded people. Don’t stress if you’ve never painted before. The usual level of experience is year 8 art class.
Hey Paolo: How has the arts scene evolved in Adelaide these past few years?
Adelaide has obviously always been an incredible nexus for the arts with the Fringe and surrounding festivals throughout Summer. We’ve only been around for a year and a good chunk of that has been taken up by COVID, but it’s been super exciting to see the increase in enthusiasm for visual art and we’re hoping that in 2021 we can participate in that community in a bigger way.
PHOTOS FROM OUR PAINTING CLASS AT VINTAGE VAN GOGH:
Adelaide is now home toAustralia’s largest luxury floatariumswith the opening of Blue Lagoon Float and Spa’s second branch at Hyde Park.
I’m a big fan of spas and I don’t think I’ll survive a single month without getting my deep tissue massages. For some, going to spas is nothing but leisure and luxury. But for me, it’s more of a routine of wellness. As I always say, if I don’t get my monthly massages, I’ll probably fall sick. Like, seriously.
I’ve been to various types of spas including luxury wellness resorts, but a couple of months, I’ve tried something for the very first time: “floatation therapy” at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa (132 King William Rd, Hyde Park SA 5061).
It was something unorthodox for me: a new age form of relaxation, floating in a pool filled with magnesium sulphate, aka pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts. The therapy aims to help relieve stress, anxieties, insomnia, and body pain among others.
I came to their spa with my friend, Kyzeen. We were greeted by their very gracious owner, Trina Tramarchi, who ushered us to our floatation room. While walking inside, I was simply amazed by the general vibe and interiors of Blue Lagoon — it was clean, cosy, and stylish.
The floatation room itself was quite spacious with a couple of showers and a pool designed for a maximum of two floating people. Read: floating, not swimming.
I didn’t get it at first. What do you do once you start floating?
Kyzeen and I spent about 45 minutes in the pool with some relaxing music in the background. We were meant to be silent while floating, but both of us, chatterboxes, couldn’t.
Although I needed to moisturise my skin too after getting marinated in a pool of salt, fascinating enough, I felt “lighter” in every aspect of the word immediately after the session.
On the Blue Lagoon Float & Spa’s website, they’ve listed these floatation therapy benefits:
Whoever said it’s hard to make friends when you’re older surely hasn’t tried hard enough. Well for one, they should try living in Adelaide.
When most people get contented circling around the same set of friends as they mature, I just keep collecting new ones along the way.
I get it: small circle of friends solidified over time = quality, solid connections.
But I wanted to try and prove a different theory. For the sake of metaphor, let’s like our story to a fisherman: the more you fish, the more mouths you can feed. More chances of winning.
Lucky to have been blessed with new, good friends in the past one year and half here in South Australia. Give me a few more years, and I’ll probably need a park to host my birthday parties. I won’t mind that.
Gorgeous Helen will be joining The General Wine Bar & Kitchen team offering regular kitchen collaborations, cooking demonstrations, and exciting workshops for kids. Follow @thegreekvegetarian for regular updates on Helen’s latest projects.
Owned by Brad Rey and Anna Fisher, The General was established in 2016 and is currently the home of the authentic and locally sourced Zonte’s Footstepwines. Aside from Helen, The General also features another amazing chef, Gabriel’s Kitchen, with his special menu every third Friday of the month for a “Friday Wine Down.”
Spoilt that day sipping beautiful wines and indulging on a culinary feast (three course meal), we also had the privilege of experiencing their “Dine Around The World” offering, a unique program where The General whips a special menu inspired by cuisines from around the world.
That day, we were “transported” to Morocco. Kudos to the team for a well prepared program, complete with cabin crew, in-flight entertainment, and a stylishly decorated Moroccan-inspired venue. I was personally impressed.
The “Dine Around The World” program is an innovative initiative to recreate the experience of traveling to a destination especially during this time when we’re stuck in our little South Australian bubbles. Designed for a group of eight to 20 people, the menus are normally offered AU$99 per pax (Premium Economy: three course meal + four glasses of Zonte’s Footstep wines), AU$110 per pax (Business Class: three course meal + four glasses of Limited Release Zonte’s Footstep wines), and AU$125 per pax (First Class: three course meal + four glasses of Limited Release Zonte’s Footstep wines + Anna Fisher or Brad Rey providing your in-flight entertainment).
The team also launched an interactive and educational game perfect for parties called “Taste The Regions.” This blindfold wine challenge features bottles sourced from Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, and the Barossa.
Special mention to The General’s passionate owners, Brad and Ana — they were fun and extremely generous. Loved both of their vibes! Loved this place! I wish them continuous success with all these initiatives.
The General Wine Bar & Kitchen. 55a Main Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171.
It’s probably the most challenging sport I’ve done ever. It’s almost like wall climbing, but without any harnesses, ropes, or even helmets. The walls are a bit shorter compared to wall climbing, but it’s also steeper and more angular.
Spoke to Jasper of Beyond Bouldering Keswick to learn a few basic bouldering tricks:
Summary: Find your core and speak from your own truth.
Did you manage to listen to the Part 1 of my 5EBI103.1 FM radio interview with Tito Boy? Here are tidbits of some of the most amazing insights he has shared with me as a premiere TV Host (30+ years in the showbiz industry!), talent manager, book author, celebrity endorser, newspaper columnist, and public relations guru.