sculpture by the sea – cottesloe beach

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe - Cottesloe Beach Perth

Sculpture by the Sea is on again at Cottesloe beach.

The exhibition makes its way to Perth every March and then heads over to Bondi in Sydney later in the year.

It is an opportunity to bring local and international artists to bring art to the public in a free event.

For those who have been to Cottesloe Beach you will know it is one of our premier beaches and a fantastic location for this event. You can bring a picnic, grab some fish and chips or visit one of the many local cafes to enjoy the artwork and soak up the atmosphere.

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe Ayad Alqaragholli, Loyalty     Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe Alessandra Rossi Untitled Coral (aqua)

Loyalty – Ayad Alqaragholli                                  Untitled Coral (aqua) – Alessandra Rossi

I love how there are sculptures for everyone’s taste here.

And some very quirky perspectives.

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe Pimpisa Tinpalit, Love in March     Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe Margarita Sampson, Dearest

Love in March – Pimpisa Tinpalit                                    Dearest – Margarita Sampson

The next two photos are of my two favourite pieces in the collection. I am a fan of artwork made from of metal, particularly bronze or rusted metal. I think it reflects our harsh outback and contrasts our crisp blue oceans.

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe April Pine, Pause     Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe Zadok Ben-David, Big Boy

 Pause – April Pine                                                          Big Boy – Zadok Ben-David

And an alternate perspective of Cottesloe Beach below. This sculpture seemed to be a favourite of the kids (little and big alike).

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe Lucy Humphrey Horizon

Horizon – Lucy Humphrey

Each year the public is given the opportunity to vote for their preferred sculpture. The winner is announced in the last week of the exhibition and the prize is $5,000.

WA is known for our sea life – I’m not sure I’d want to bump into this first guy though while swimming!

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe The Great Hammerhead

The Great Hammerhead – Jordan Sprigg

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe Evis Savvaidi, The Big Fish Eats The Little One

The Big Fish Eats The Little One – Evi Savvaidi

Local artist, Hayley Bahr, was awarded with the Rio Tinto Emerging Sculptor Mentorship for 2017 for the below sculpture. The sculpture was in collaboration with Tim Keevil. Inside the giant can was a printing press.

Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe, Hayley Bahr - Tim Keevil, Cansumerism

Cansumerism – Hayley Bahr / Tim Keevil

If you are in Perth, the exhibition runs until 20 March. Otherwise you can see it in Sydney from 19 October to 05 November 2017.

Find out more details about the exhibition at Sculpture by the Sea.

What is your favourite sculpture?

swimming with the dolphins

Bunbury Dolphin Interaction Zone

Last year hubby bought me a voucher to swim with wild dolphins for my birthday. 8 months later and we finally booked our swim – better late than never I say. We had to wait for a day when the winds and waves were going to accommodate so we did have a couple of false starts.

So with a 5am start we headed to the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury (a 2 hour drive from Perth) to swim with the dolphins in Koombana Bay.

To say I was a little excited was an understatement, even the 5am start didn’t faze me.

After donning our wetsuits and snorkelling gear we headed out on the boat into the bay.

It was about 5 minutes before we saw our first pod of dolphins. They are such graceful mammals – I could just watch them for hours.

Leaping Dolphin Bunbury

We jumped in the water a number of times over the next 3 hours in an attempt to try to get the dolphins to engage with us. Our guide told us to spin around, dive, make lots of noise underwater and generally act like clowns as this was what would attract them to come closer.

The closest they came were within 2 meters of myself. Unfortunately my multi-tasking skills of trying to breathe, swim (i.e. not drown) and film was severely lacking and I missed getting a shot of them underwater.

However, we did get extremely close to them while on the boat. We cruised into the estuary (we weren’t allowed to swim in this section due to the high number of boats) and were immediately greeted by another pod of 6-8 dolphins, including a baby.

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It was an amazing experience and I am already talking about booking another swim in for the next season. Hopefully I will have mastered my snorkelling and GoPro skills by then and get some great underwater shots.

The centre offers a number of options for seeing the dolphins, these include:

  • Swim encounter
  • Interacting with them in the “Interaction Zone” – this takes place in knee/waist height water on the beach
  • Eco-cruise
  • A discovery centre that is full of facts and educational info about dolphins

You can find out more here at the Dolphin Discovery Centre site.

Hello……Adele live – first stop, Perth!

adele-live-perth-bwIf you’ve been hiding under a rock, then you wouldn’t know that Adele is currently touring.

I was a little surprised when she announced that her tour was coming to Australia. I have watched a couple of interviews with her and she’s always said she is a bit of a homebody and doesn’t like to travel too much.

Perth has been a destination that a lot of acts seems to skip, I’m not sure why. Maybe we’re just too far and too expensive to travel to. But in the last few years more we have been getting more and more of the “big” name acts.

Anyhow, I digress, back to Adele.

I had big expectations and I was not disappointed!

Close to 65,000 made the trek into Subiaco. The media had whipped into a frenzy with Adele fever for days prior. They were warning people to get there early as the traffic was predicted to me horrendous. I’m not sure a cyclone would have gotten as much coverage as the Adele concert was getting (this should give you non-Perth people a little insight as to how starved we are of big acts over here in the West).

We headed there straight from work with the plan to grab a bite to eat in central Subi prior. It seems all other concert goers had the same idea. Every café we passed had a queue out the door. We decided to go straight to the venue and eat there instead.

Our seats were 8 rows from the front so we were in prime position. The stage was circular and designed for people to see her from every angle. They had installed a screen that wrapped around the stage so you could see what was happening even if she wasn’t in front of you. The stage was an amazing design – simple, but effective.

adele-perth-live-stage

Darkness descended, the screen started to lift and Hello started. What an introduction! Adele is a powerhouse. Her voice was simply amazing and she kept the crowd engaged and entertained with her banter throughout the night.

It is no secret that Adele is a worldwide brand and you would expect to see a bit of ego and maybe even some arrogance, but she was down to earth and very funny. She laughed when a fly made its way into her hot honey and when a cockroach scampered across the stage (I would have been running of that stage and squealing like a girl). She spoke of always saying no to everyone and how our weather was so hot that sweat was running down her legs and she’d need to get her dress dry cleaned.

One moment which showed just how much class Adele has – as the crowded sang along to her final song, Someone Like You, she walked around in awe and was clearly tearing up. She was humble, like she couldn’t believe that 65,000 were singing in unison to one of her songs.

adele-perth-live        adele-live-perth-confetti

It didn’t matter if you had VIP tickets or you were up in the stalls, this concert was for everyone and Adele truly appreciates her fans. She kept her performance simple, some smoke was used, confetti was thrown, but she didn’t overcook the theatrics. It was all about the music and “that” voice, exactly what a music gig should be!

how we spent 3 days in amsterdam

bw-amsterdam-canal

Day 1

As I mentioned in my previous post hubby and I touched down in Amsterdam following a 20+ hour flight from Perth. In order to acclimatise to the time zone, we decided not to sleep straight away (we’d been up for over 24 hours at this point) but to head out.

I had organised a city tour with That Dam Guide. It was a 2 ½-3 hour walking tour of the highlights of Amsterdam. I enjoy the walking tours because:

  • you get to see so much more than sitting in a car or a bus
  • often you are given insider tips on places to eat and things to see by the guide that you may not find by yourself
  • it helps to get your bearings in a foreign place
  • it’s more personal if you’re in a small group

Mark was a great guide (and he didn’t mind that we were pretty much walking zombies by the end of the tour). He has very informative and made the tour fun, you can tell he really enjoys what he does! It was also a small tour with only about 8 people.

After the tour, we grabbed a bite to eat at a local café and sat back and people watched. I could not believe the amount of cyclists in this city, but with such beautiful scenery I can see why riding a bike would be preferable than sitting in a car.

amsterdam-cafe-strip

Lack of sleep finally got the best of us so about 4pm so we headed back to the apartment to grab an hour or so of shut-eye before heading out to dinner.

Later that night (and feeling somewhat refreshed after our afternoon kip) we headed out for a bite to eat. We were staying in the Jordaan district as I had read it was not overly touristy but still close to all the attractions. It was the perfect location for us and most places were in easy walking distance.

It was beautiful strolling around the canals with little eclectic shops and galleries spotted around. We found a little place called Restaurant Black and Blue and decided stop for dinner. It was a great find. We sat at a table out the front and had steak and bottle of red wine while overlooking a canal. We could not have asked for a better way to finish our first day in Amsterdam. The restaurant had a quiet and relaxing ambience and we visited it again on our last night in Amsterdam.

Day 2

Anne Frank House

Our apartment was about a 10 min walk from the Anne Frank House and whenever we had passed it the day prior we saw there was always a long queue waiting to get in. You can book tickets online, however we hadn’t done that before we left so we decided to head there early. We waited for about 45mins before getting inside.

I had read Anne Frank’s diary in high school and I found it quite surreal to be walking around the home where Anne and her family hid. It was quite a sombre experience; however, the museum is set up well and it is a must see while in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum

Our next stop was the Van Gogh Museum. I had done a little study of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in high school and these periods of art are still some of my favourite.

Again, you can pre-book tickets, which I would recommend as we waited another 40mins to get inside. Hubby is not really into art so he headed to the café while I headed into the gallery, along with my audio guide.

I enjoyed seeing some of his famous artworks in the flesh, including Sunflowers, but I was disappointed I didn’t see one of my favourites, Starry Night. The audio guide spoke about his life along with his paintings so you walked away with a good understanding of how Van Gogh lived, the stories behind his pieces and ultimately how he died.

Red Light District

Let’s face it, the red light district in Amsterdam is famous, we’ve all heard about it. There was no way I was leaving Amsterdam without seeing the famous district in the flesh. The idea of girls in shop fronts and being able to buy and smoke cannabis legally fascinates me.

We booked the Red Light District – Sex n Drugs tour with Omy Tours. The tour is at night and limited to 4 people, our tour only had 3 including hubby and me.

Michael explained the history of the sex trade and the coffee shops in the area and how it was an important part of the culture of the city. Surprisingly (or perhaps naively) I found the area clean, friendly and safe. Michael, our guide, told us how the government was looking at trying to close down the area, which I think would be shame.

Michael took us into a couple of sex stores and coffee shops and showed us the different types of drugs you could buy. It was an extremely educational tour and one not to be missed.

amsterdam-central-train-station    amsterdam-canal-view

Day 3

On our last full day, we opted to take the Windmill, Cheese and Windmills tour with Joy Ride Tours. The tour is on bike and runs for about 4 -5 hours or about 20km.

The places we visited included:

  • Vondel Park
  • House boat community (there were some very flash house boats here)
  • A view of the freshwater lock system (I’ve never seen this before and I was amazed watching how they control the water in these lock systems to allow the boats to pass along the river)
  • 300+ year old windmill
  • A visit to a 400-year-old farm that makes clogs and cheese (there are lots cheese samples here)

amsterdam-windmill

It was pretty much flat all the way and easy for novice bike riders, like me. The only lowlight for the day was my bike getting a puncture, but that was easily sorted out. It was great to be able to see a small part of the countryside (which is only about a 30 minute ride for the centre). Hubby and I both concluded that this was our favourite thing to do in Amsterdam.

Later that night we took a canal ride and it was beautiful meandering around the canals by moonlight. The streets and canals take on a magical feeling at night.

Other areas we explored during our stay were:

  • The 9 streets (De Negen Straajes) – an area was filled with an eclectic mix of shops selling vintage and designer wares.
  • Nieuwmarkt – located in the centre this had a fresh produce market and lots of little cafes and eating places.
  • The Royal Palace at Dam Square
  • And just generally walking around the many canals of Amsterdam

Amsterdam was the perfect city to ease into our 6-week European tour. It was laid back and not overly crowded. I think that water adds a sense of calm to the city walking around the canal roads at night was just beautiful.

What are your “must sees” in Amsterdam?

colour-amsterdam-canal

4 lessons we learnt after a long-haul flight

front-of-amsterdam-apartment
streetscape from the front of our amsterdam apartment

It me took until my mid 30’s to finally get to Europe. Now it seems kids are going there in their tweens and even younger, how times have changed.

Our first European city was Amsterdam (via Singapore), which is a little over 20 hours from Perth. Given the travel time we knew there was a possibility that we would be tired when we arrived (ok, there was no potential possibility, we were going to be unbelievably tired).  So, we decided our first destination should not be not be a big city in the hope we could ease into the 6-week European trip.

Amsterdam fit the brief perfectly.

The first thing that amazed us when we got off the plane and walked into the airport was that there was no security, no customs and no immigration. We just picked up our luggage and kept walking.

We had planned on catching the train into central Amsterdam, but as luck would have it, someone had stolen some copper from the train line and the trains were not in operation. It took us a while to figure this out as we couldn’t hear the English translation over the speaker. So, a handful of tourists stood on the platform looking perplexed at each other.

This was one of the few times I did not have a planned contingency and we walked out of the airport/train station in search of an alternative way to get to the city.

lesson-1

I had in my head that since this trip was costing us a small fortune, we should try to save money where we could. I rationalised that this meant we should attempt the bus into the city. After walking around for over 20 minutes trying to work out which bus and where from, we said “stuff it, let’s just grab a taxi”. $100AUD later we were at our destination.

lesson-2

We booked an apartment using Airbnb, our first experience. We opted to stay in the Jordaan district as I didn’t want to be in the busiest or most “touristy” part of the city. Our apartment overlooked a canal and the best part – it was only a 5 minute walk to a great café that not only made a flat white, but knew how to make it well. For some reason the flat white can be rather difficult to locate outside of Australia and I tend to research places who offer them before we set off on our holidays – but that is a whole other post!

The taxi dropped us off at the apartment earlier than what we had organised the check in time so we stumbled up the road, along the canal, to Bar Brandstof to get our caffeine fix. We sat back and relaxed while enjoying our flat whites and watching the endless cyclists ride by. We ended up visiting Bar Brandstof a few times during our 3 days stay and the breakfast was just as good as the coffee.

After our coffee hit, and starting to feel semi-normal again, we wandered back to our apartment to meet our host and get settled in. Here, hubby encountered his first problem – the stairs. The stairs were almost at a 100% incline, not really, they were more like 80%! So hubby’s bag carrying duties were tested while he attempted to get our two large suitcases up to the apartment. Having to lug around two suitcases up and down stairs during the next 6 weeks was going to become a common occurrence.

lesson-3

The apartment was just as described. It was a large studio that overlooked a canal. We opted for self-contained so that we could cook if we wanted and also save a little money by not eating out all the time. I’m not sure about you, but eating out all the time sounds exciting, but after a while you start to crave a simple home cooked meal.

amsterdam-apartment-steep-stairs
view from the top of the steep stairs

The only thing we commented on for the apartment was that it was probably a little too basic for our first destination. We tend to place quite a bit of importance on where we stay. Hubby’s theory is that if you’ve been out all day exploring there is nothing nicer than coming home to a comfortable room and bed. I had initially picked an alternative bed and breakfast, but at the last minute decided that we should try to economise where possible so I selected a slightly cheaper apartment.

lesson-4

Once we settled in, we were off on our first tour of Amsterdam. In order to get into a normal sleep routine to reflect the time zone, rather than head to bed we elected to suck it up and stay awake all day so that we would have a sound sleep that night and hopefully not suffer too much from jet lag. I am pleased to say – our theory worked!

Up next – how we spent 3 days in Amsterdam

What are you tips for combating jet lag?

perth gets its first 6 star hotel

perth-crown-towers-pool-and-river-view
sweeping views over the lagoon pool and swan river

Perth is certainly growing up!

Crown Towers, our first 6 star hotel, opened in November 2016 and I decided to spoil Hubby with an overnight stay last month as a belated birthday present. Crown Towers is part of the Crown casino complex.

The hotel is located on the banks of the Swan River and has sweeping views over our beautiful city skyline.

I booked a Premier King Room with Crystal Club benefits. The great thing about the Crystal Club is you get all of the below included in the rate:

  • Valet parking
  • Breakfast
  • Afternoon Tea
  • Evening drinks and canapes

As we pulled into the driveway we handed over our keys to the porter and were escorted up to the 15th floor where there is a private check in lobby for club guests. The staff were attentive and walked us through the club room and explained all the benefits.

Our room was meticulously designed and had floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river, city and lagoon pool below. We noticed the base rooms only had views of the parking lot, which made me happy I upgraded.

While the interior was a little too “glitzy” for our tastes, with lots of mirrors, metal finishes and black marble, you can see a lot of time and effort has gone in to executing the finished product. I suspect the interiors were aligned to meet international visitor tastes, which would be a large portion of the market staying at this hotel. I can’t help but think the décor in the rooms and the club lobby (lots of black marble) will date quite fast.

perth-crown-towers-city-view-club-room-interior          perth-crown-towers-premier-room

perth-crown-towers-bathroom          perth-crown-towers-city-and-river-view-club-room

Crystal Club Lounge

After unpacking we headed to the club lounge for a coffee and to see the afternoon tea on offer. It was very quiet and there were only a handful of people, which made for a relaxing ambience. The food selection was rather small with scones, petite fours and breads with dips. The coffee was decent though.

The lounge was elegant and had the added bonus of having a large balcony with sweeping views over the city and Swan River. Alcoholic drinks and canapes are served from 5:30 to 7pm – we did find this timeframe shorter than most other club rooms we have stayed in. I assume they are encouraging you to just stop by for a pre-dinner drink and then visit one of their many restaurants such as Epicurean, Rockpool Bar and Grill and Nobu located in the complex.

perth-crown-towers-club-lounge-interior          perth-crown-towers-club-lounge-balcony

One thing I loved was that they offered a selection of 4 cocktails in addition to the normal wine, beer and spirits you find in most club lounges. However, Hubby was a little disappointed that they only had one bourbon to choose from. I was in luck as they had my favourite cocktail, the Lychee Martini, and they made a damn good one!

The canapes they served were delicious and filling (think sliders, satay, cheeses and charcuterie), though again the selection was limited to what we were used too. They were also missing one vital part – dessert! So for people like me, who like a little sweetness, you were left wanting. So I resorted to liquid sweetness, another Lychee Martini please.

There is also a large bar located in the lounge and you can continue to order drinks and food outside of the nominated times and charge back to your room.

If there is one thing that is hard to replicate in other parts of the world, it is our river view, especially at sunset. We stayed the day before Australia Day and commented that this would be the perfect location for seeing Perth’s Australia Day fireworks display (the room price reflects the amazing views, with the rate doubling based on what we paid).

perth-crown-towers-perth-river-and-city-sunset-view

The Lagoon Pool

Before departing we decided to check out the pool area. The lagoon pool is designed with 3 tiers, a spa and a poolside bar. The pool area is gorgeous and we enjoyed a refreshing dip. My only negative to the pool area is the lack of shade. Perth experiences some very hot days and our sun can be harsh. I would be reluctant to spend time by the pool without adequate shade.

perth-crown-towers-pool          perth-crown-towers-poolside-bar

perth-crown-towers-lagoon-pool

For those wishing for a little more privacy there is also an exclusive area called the Enclave where you can book a cabana and have the use of a private infinity pool.

If you have more time to spend in Perth there are lots activities close by – in summer there is an outdoor movie cinema (Community Cinemas Burswood) only a 5 min walk away, 32 restaurants to work your way through, a casino and even a night club, not to mention water activities on the river.

Overall we enjoyed our stay at Crown Towers and I could have easily stayed another night. For us, it is a special occasion hotel and next time we will definitely be trying out the day spa.

You can read about the hotel and their facilities here – Crown Towers Perth

I’d love to hear from you – what is your favourite hotel?

new year’s resolution = a new blog

It’s a new year, full of new possibilities.

I’ve finally taken the plunge and started a blog!

fun-fact

For the people who know me well I work, a lot, and this year I finally decided to do something about trying to bed down that elusive work/life balance.

So rather than only living to work I decided I would try to get back to those things that made me happy in my more youthful years – photography, getting out and about, art and generally being more creative.

I have read countless blogs of the years and thoroughly enjoyed seeing our world through another person’s eyes and so, in the in the spirit of creativeness, I decided to start my own.

I originally thought I would dedicate this blog to travel but as I began to envision the blog and where I wanted it to go, I concluded I didn’t want to limit it to just travelling.

I wanted to include things I discover along this journey called life. Whether it be going to a great concert, finding a new coffee hangout, finally working my way through my ever growing list of restaurants to experience or discovering a new wine.

This led me to concluding that my blog should be about moments. Our lives are made up of moments. There are moments that impact us momentarily and those that last a lifetime, they may be joyous or cause us pain, but all are defining in some form. It is these moments that help shape who we are and who we wish to be.

So, welcome to made up of moments.

Do you have a memorable moment or new year’s resolution you would like to share?