Feb 19, 2019

Sugar Republic, Sydney.

Sunday afternoon is often adventure time for Master SSG and I.  The weather is almost always on board and living up to the 'sun' in its name, it's $2.50 all day public transport for me and $1.25 (I think) for him plus there's almost always something going on in the city.


Sugar Republic  is a ticketed exhibition currently taking place on sixth floor of Myer in the city.  To quote its website, 'Sugar Republic is a pop up sweets museum and house of fun'. Its Sydney season runs from February 10 - May 20 2019.  The original Australian presentation was in Melbourne with Brisbane and now Sydney each having a home for this riot of colour, fun and yes... sugar.


Tickets are $31 for kids and $37 for adults with a supplement of around $5 for weekend sessions.  Allow around an hour to attend the show and sample the sweets on offer plus (on the weekend we were there) a good half hour or so to line up for the final experience (spoilers ahead and remember your socks).



Staff are all very friendly and photography is encouraged as is sharing on social media.



There are photo ops everywhere


and very photogenic details abound as well.


Master SSG was in his element as a few exhibits demanded to be climbed and interacted with.  He climbed to the top of this birthday cake, posed and tossed confetti like a seasoned performer.


Staff filtered through the crowd (the organizers try to keep the numbers down by limiting tickets per session so that all who attend have a good chance of having reasonable access to each display) with trays of sweets to pick and mix for free.

Spinning the 'Wheel of Fruit'.
It was a world of colour, whimsy and fond memories.
Disco donuts and watermelon wedges.
I'm showing my age and devotion to a more boring life now when I say that I cannot understand how I managed to inhale the lollies and treats around me with such gusto when I was literally Sydney Shop Girl.  Where did all that sugar go?

Giant inflatable freckles.
Arnott's biscuits, however, don't just live on in my memory, they occupy a fair bit of real estate in my grown up pantry too.


All my favourites were featured in this house of Arnott's biscuits.


Inside the house, Master SSG busied himself with things that needed to be tidied and opened.


I could have sworn the licorish room smelled of licorish.  Or maybe it was the all sorts cushions that made me think this.



We posed with larger than life models of Australian ice cream legends - Paddle Pop, Bubble-O-Bill and Golden Gaytime.


Master SSG took great pains to remind me that the lollies on display at the shop were in fact for 'display purposes only'.  He was fascinated by all the opportunities to read things out to me.


Halo Top  is a low calorie 'ice cream' with cult status in the US.  It's hit Australia now and well ... I'm surprisingly not a fan.  For all my love of many, many American convenience foods, I just can't find the love for the Halo.


Halo Top was the ice cream on offer at Sugar Republic and on the day we visited, salted caramel, peanut butter and chocolate flavours were on offer.  Delish tell me that there are just under 50 flavours in the full range.


My problem is that it tastes low sugar and low fat. It has the consistency of cheaper full fat ice creams wihtout their taste.  I was left with a chemical aftertaste in my mouth after a single scoop.


I do like the creativity behind the Halo Top flavours and I could taste hints of the key flavours in my sample but h.  I'd rather go full cream and sugar once in a while than to be left a bit underwhelmed on a daily basis with empty calories that still have me craving 'the real thing' at the end of it.


Are you ready for the finale?


It was a giant pool of bubbles which we were invited to submerge ourself in.  Ten guests at a time and with our socks on.  Needless to say, chaos ensued.  I will say that if you are bringing young children, the wait for this room might be a source of frustration to them.  The temptation to leave the line and roam the other displays will be strong and given into.  Then lining up in the room itself presents the desire to just abandon 'good listening' and jump the queue and head straight for the pool.  Patience, grasshopper parents and carers, patience.  And your best 'firm but fair in public' voice too.



All in all, Sugar Republic was a fun way to spend Sunday afternoon.  I do think the ticket prices were a bit steep but this is clearly a labour of love that the founders are passionate about.  I'm looking forward to seeing the exhibition evolve in Sydney.  I wonder if there will be new exhibits for Easter / the later months of the run?


There's a small selection of quirky on theme gifts just outside the show.


So much iconic culinary Australiana!



And then it was over and we were back in the world of the Myer toy level.  Where I chanced upon this....


Why?  And No!!!!!.  Toilet paper, 'skid shot' and easy cleaning in the one toy?  I think not...


Feb 18, 2019

Life This Week 18/2/019: Self Care, Share Your Story #1.

This week's topic of self-care couldn't have come at a better time because I've had a great run of things.  I've discovered massive cracks in the paintwork of my house (old houses are charming fragile beauties), had a car accident on the way to my first day in a new role at work and because bad things come in threes I'm preparing myself for the worst.


It's so easy to take the obvious route when it comes to self-care, to do what the advertisers have been hinting at us to do from the moment we wake up and check our phones in the morning.  'You're worth it so treat yourself to this food / drink / thing / experience...'.  And I guess they're correct to a degree.

Getting all the things does make you feel a bit better for a while but what about self-care proper?  The kind of attention to oneself that leaves you with good feelings and energy long after the thrill of the get has evaporated?  That feeling that this too shall pass.  The ability to see the silver lining.  To still be able to have a laugh at the situation....

I've had a think as I've felt hard done by with all of the bad stuff that's happened lately and here's what I've come up with.  Just the thinking about them has made me smile.

Self-care to me is....


Getting some sun.  Safely, of course.  There's something about those UV rays.  They warm, give my skin a golden glow and I swear they do uplifting things to my brain cells.


Attacking a large bowl (or two) of fresh fruit.  Fruit looks good, makes me good and if I half close my eyes, I could well be on a resort or sitting in the pointy end of a plane rather than at my kitchen table or work desk.  Winning on all fronts.


Watching the world go by.  Doing things in or near the water is a recurring theme in my self-care kit.


Trip planning.  Trips give me something to look forward to and also a happy deadline for all the things I need to do before I fly.  The planning itself is also a welcome distraction from the everyday.  Reading about the work stuff I need to prepare for the trip, planning the days off I have while away, getting a bit of background information on the cities I will be visiting.  Using different skills and different parts of my brain energizes me.



Taking a moment to ponder a quote.  This is a photo of my work calendar but the memes I find on Facebook and Instagram work just as well.  I will forever be a heavy volume user of social media and while I can't deny it, I can control the content I scroll through and make that content good for my soul rather than a negative force towards it.


Walking down the road for coffee in my activewear after a run.  On repeat.


The sights, sounds and sensations of the early morning.  I'm a morning person and I find spending a bit of that time outdoors sets me up for the rest of the day.  I'm lucky to get the chance to be outdoors most mornings of the year and it's a privilege I make the most of wherever I may be in the world.


Baking a tried and true recipe and baking it to share with others.

What does self-care mean to you?  Does it come from little things you can do most days or do you save it up for periodic use instead?




Feb 15, 2019

Hello Again, Heartbreak Hill. Filet-O-Fish DIY.


It's been a few weeks since I last caught up with my good friend, Heartbreak Hill.


Truth be told. it didn't particularly miss me while I'd been away rehabilitating my dodgy pelvis.


I, on the other hand, was deliriously happy to be back.  So happy I ran myself a pretty good pace despite the heat.  I usually run this route first, first thing in the morning and that has its many joys.  The temperature, the freshness of the air, the quiet and the emptiness.



Running the hill and the bays around half seven in the morning also has its moments.  Some good, some not so much.  The good included being out there with like-minded active bodies and seeing my running landscape go through its daytime routine.  The cafes were lit up and their cabinets filled with baked goods.  The barber was open for business and its clients spilled out onto the bench out on the footpath.  The lush fields and imposing gates of the schools were open for business.  Sprightly bodies in coloured house shirts ran and kicked along the fields and hats bobbed along around me as backpacked bodies walked through the gates.  

It was the traffic that got to me.  It always does.  Stop starting along short stretches of my run as I obediently heeded the lights, having to remember to pause at driveways, trying to pace myself around the foot traffic that was doing things like walking and FaceTiming simultaneously.

I've also given up on sunglasses.  They kept bobbing out of time up over the bridge of my nose.  I'm going to have to find myself a cap with an even broader brim than the one I'm currently using instead.

But I loved it all and it was one of the most enjoyable runs I've had this year.  I'm hoping to schedule in a few more weekday runs like this over the next few months as I get ready for the City2Surf.   



After my run of the month, the obvious next step was a pit stop at my favourite local cafe for a large iced latte with skim milk.  I felt like such a rebel clutching that cup of dairy and sugar loaded espresso as everyone else around me had their black with sweetener or that random twist of lemon....

Image result for filet o fish
via Google images
Guess what the internet brought me several months back?  Not an actual Filet-O-Fish but the next best thing.  Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats' oven baked version, the recipe for which can be found here.  If you've not made the recipe before and are an ardent fan of the FOF then be prepared to have your mind and tastebuds blown by it when you do.  


I used fillets of ling for the recipe.  I doubled up the thin tail segments of the fillet on top of each other when I baked so that the cooking time would be the same for all my fish 'patties'. 


Being the cheese snob that I am, I didn't use fully plastic cheese but rather slices of Cracker Barrel that were collectively but not individually wrapped in plastic.  They still melted on contact with the freshly baked fish and they tasted even better than the real deal.  All I lacked was the Maccas dayglow hues of the OG FOF.


This is what our assembled burgers looked like.  Not to bad for a debut attempt, I reckon.  Even more successful than my maiden attempt at chicken burgers.  I over toasted my brioche though.


This is the brand of brioche buns I used.  They are available at Woolies and were the perfect size for my fish fillets.



Because I have a picky eater in the house, I didn't make Nagi's tartare sauce.  We just had mayo and ketchup with our burgers.  I got the ketchup thing from my mum.  She loves Filet-O-Fishes but will only eat them with the tartare sauce subbed out and the ketchup subbed in.  I am my mother's daughter in so many ways.


This is my gratuitous cross-sectional photo of my burger.  I can't get over how easy it was to make such a delicious and relatively healthy Maccas dupe. 

You wouldn't by any chance have a recipe for a DIY healthier Big Mac or Quarter Pounder handy would you?  Or perhaps I should see if Nagi can help...



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