Jan 17, 2017

Convention Centre Reflections. The Brickman's Wonders of the World.

Did you know that Sydney has a new convention centre?

I didn't until I went over the weekend and then returned home to google a bit about where I'd just been.

The International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) is on Darling Harbour and built on the site where the old convention centre used to be.  Funny that.  It's taken 3 years to build and boasts all sorts of world class features as well as the unique (and possibly a first for Australia) capability to run three large events simultaneously.

Getting there is actually a lot easier than it may look from Google maps with its vast areas of pale grey areas and lack of public transport stops in close proximity to the centre.  It's just a short walk from the main row of eateries on the harbour.  There's a light rail stop just opposite the road but I don't think it's operational just yet.  Or you could just be a nervous first time visitor and catch a $20 taxi from home....

I don't know how you'd rate / review a convention centre, to be honest.  Most have standard decor that acts as a kind of tasteful backdrop for the promotional material for whatever function may currently be on. There's lots of seating and open space both indoors and out for attendees to take a break between sessions and or smoke if you're that way inclined.  There's also usually lifts everywhere because of the need for speed when you've got two minutes to travel from one end of these massive places to the other for your next session (and somehow find the bathroom on your way).  And finally, excellent signage is key.  Coupled with large flat screens broadcasting details of each session, I depend on stuff like this to make sure I don't accidentally end up at something that wasn't circled in red in my copy of the conference program.  And when a convention centre is attached to a hotel that's attached to a resort...  it's a mistake anyone could make to take the wrong lift and suddenly find yourself pool or mall side...

The  conferences are usually the biggest and brightest events at most places so it's almost impossible to miss them.  Or the reps in the product amphitheatres.  Often bathed in the sparkle of a million flat screens, the amphitheatres truly are the bells and whistles (and interactive robots) of a conference.  You can get stuff, food, coffee, lots of bits of paper and even your cholesterol checked inside.

But I digress and apologies for that little meander into the 'glamorous' trials of my working life.

The reason I was exploring the ICC Sydney with Preschooler SSG was this.

Ryan McNaught's aka The Brickman's latest Lego show, Brickman Wonders of the World.

As the name suggests, Wonders of the World is a showcase of some amazing Lego representations of the architecture of this place we call home.

The attention to detail was breathtaking.

Aside from the building 'wonders', the Brickman and his team also put their skills into recreating some of the art world's most recognised wonders as well.

Faberge eggs.

The crown jewels.

An instantly recognisable face and an afternoon scene.

There were even little quirky touches here and there to add some fun to the exhibition.

Two Lego figures using their selfie stick at the foot of a wonder of the world.

The Titanic was a favourite with Preschooler SSG and Purple.

Knowing that the event would be popular with children, there were hands on building stations cleverly build into the base of some of the creations.  They were well received and all the children I saw were having a great time being allowed the freedom to touch and place in some areas in between being supervised by their parents to only look at the elaborate and professionally built structures.

There was a wall on which you could hang your own mosaic tile made up of 'one do' lego blocks'.

Each work was accompanied by a background information sheet outlining the number of bricks used, the hours to build as well as a bio of the builders.

The entry price for the show was $35 for adults and we easily spent at least an hour inside looking, playing and imagining.  There was something there for everyone from older toddlers (there is a Duplo station with the larger bricks) to adults.  The show runs until early February in Sydney before going to Brisbane.

In a moment of weakness, I broke my own no more adult Lego until the Easter break ban.

I bought this Lego Architecture Louvre set at the show's retail outlet on my way out.  Will I be able to resist temptation until Good Friday is the question....

Jan 16, 2017

Life This Week 16/1/2017: My Holidays At Home.

Holidays at home are about being there.  Not just being physically present but also being so relaxed about time that I'm also completely there in my mind.

Today's post is a collection of moments and memories from this summer.  

The sunrises over the water at a favourite park I managed to catch on various days in a diverse range of weather conditions.  The colours and sounds over a familiar sky line so different each time.

How the first and second Zopper Doopers of the season ended up being consumed within half an hour of each other because there were technical issues with over squeezing the first one and then having most of it splat onto the pavement.  How it was such a hot day that there was a line at the convenience store where we bought these Zooper Doopers because the convenience store that sold them was rumoured to be the coldest place in the neighbourhood.  Or so our new friend who was in line to buy a banana told us.  I wonder if he knows about the beer fridge at Dan Murphy's?  I wonder if I should have told him....

Having the time and lack of scheduled activities to watch my little corner of the world wake up on a week day.  It's so different to the lazy, leisurely stretch into alertness of a weekend morning.

It was about sometimes having to multi task such important jobs as a home manicure, Lego assembly and web browsing late at night in a completely silent house.

Of late mornings spent pottering around in my pyjamas.  

How I actually tried on clothes in store before buying or considering buying them.

On duty clothes shopping is 100% online for me these days.  Can you believe I miss things like gently rifling through racks of clothes, super flattering lighting and mirrors in boutique change rooms and the airy banter that goes on among fellow shoppers and sales staff?

It was about sitting back and admiring the back garden after I'd collected the laundry one evening.

And it was about that perennial favourite holiday at home activity of mine, being a tourist in my own city.

But the best thing about holidays at home?  No jet lag, laundry backlog or credit card bill shock to come to.

What do you love about holidays spent at home?

Jan 13, 2017

Friday Drinks #7: You Never Lamb Alone. Eight Inspiring Years.

Hello and happy, happy Friday!  It's been another busy week for me but things seem to finally be settling down.  I'm already having to take longish terms view of the year and so far the first half of 2017 is shaping up rather nicely with trips and catch ups already slotted in for most months as well as a few new and interesting commitments.  So if I'm not busy these next six months, I'll either be happy enjoying something somewhere or else being challenged in some way.  The year is going to fly by (again) isn't it?

First order of business in today's post though....

The Australian Lamb Council (at least I think that's what they're called) have just released their 2017 'We Love Our Lamb' advert.  Over the years, the ad has gotten the nation thinking, emoting and talking like few other Australian ads do.  Sam Kekovich has been the 'face and voice' of the ad for years, typically poking fun at some section of Australian society and somehow relating their failings to the lack of lamb in their diets.  Often controversial, there's no doubt the lamb ads get most of us laughing and maybe even trying to add a bit more lamb into our diets.  

This year's ad departs from a tried and tested formula again (Lee Lin Chin starred in the ad one year, I seem to recall) and features Kekovich in only a cameo role.  But don't let that deter you from watching and rewatching it.  In two minutes and 36 seconds, 'You Never Lamb Alone' manages to bring more Australians together than any government policy in recent history.  Australians of different ethnicities, those who are the original custodians of our land and those marginalised because of their differences are represented in the hilarious ad with humour and a sense of dignity that manages to avoid being patronising.  If you need a little boost to your pride in our nation, then this is the ad for you this January.

www. indianexpress.com

'You Never Lamb Alone' is everything right now for a country that, it's granted, will not be seeing Mr Trump as their president but nevertheless is just a bit sad about the looming end of the Obama / Biden administration and all that those men and their families represented of the United States.  Many may not agree with their politics, they may debate just how great they made America in their time but there's no denying that both men are assets to their country.  They brought dignity, intelligence, eloquence but also an approachable, 'of the people for the people' quality to office.  They and their families inspired many around the globe to simply be more and be better.

I can't bring myself to watch their final addresses to their nation and I probably will not be watching any presidential broadcasts for the next four years.  Unless it's the Saturday Night Live version...

Despite the long shadow cast by the forthcoming change in administration, life has carried on and my focus has been on the good.

Preschooler SSG and I took advantage of the relative coolness of a 27C that follows a 43C one and  went to the zoo.  On our way, we stopped in at the newly renovated Gateway building opposite Circular Quay.  The ground floor has been completely transformed and it looks as if all the latest and greatest food retailers in the city have an outpost in the building.  Well worth a visit if you work in the area or even if you work closer to George Street.  To escape the construction site that much of the CBD seems to have become in recent weeks.

Don't ask how we ended up at Maccas next door for brunch...  Oh, all right then, I'll go ahead and tell you.  Those hotcakes and hash browns were some of Preschooler SSG's first foods.  In a family full of allergies, my dodgy reasoning somehow concluded that the highly processed buy also manufactured under highly regulated conditions kind of food that McDonalds serves would be a pretty safe range with which to introduce a then infant to solids.  So far so good.

And then we were finally at our wharf waiting for the zoo ferry.  The more of these cruise liners I see docking in Sydney, the more I want to book myself onto one....  The ships these days look like floating hotels and everyone seems to be having so much fun on them.  We got waves from cruise ship guests as we sailed on past them in the ferry.

Perhaps it's because of the frame of mind I'm in whenever I go to the zoo or perhaps it's because Taronga zoo is just a perfectly fabulous place but every time I've been has been wonderful.  No matter what the weather, no matter which animals we visited - it's always been a pleasure to be there for both myself and Preschooler SSG.

This time, we began by checking in on the elephants before getting in early for some great seats for the seal show.

Then, as it got hotter, we found the playground and adventure trail next to the walk in lemur enclosure.

There was plenty of shade and some coolness from this waterfall.

Limited numbers of visitors are allowed into the enclosure at any one time.

We were able to get so close the lemurs.

With their expressive eyes and statement patterned fur, it was impossible to get a bad iPhone photo of them.

Our last stop for the day was the farmyard education centre and petting zoo.

We missed the opening time for some up close time with the animals but there was plenty to keep Preschooler SSG occupied.

There were also a disconcerting (for me) number of free range lizards roaming the area.  And they weren't just the tiny ones that are the bain of my existence at home.  Preschooler SSG was so taken by the lizards, he wanted to buy a life sized toy one to bring home.  Fortunately, I managed to talk him out of it.

Have you seen this year's lamb ad?  Yay or nay?

Cruises?  Love them or leave them?


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