ABBA picnic in Camperdown Park

Held an ABBA picnic to play a new ABBA trivia board game I’d put together and have a sing-a-along.picnic

I staked a perfect spot under a tree and sent out an SOS as there were picnickers everywhere in Camperdown Park, and I urgently needed more blankets to claim our turf.

A word re: Aussie ABBA fans: we’re hugely tolerant and will put up with retro discos where only hip hop is played, endure ABBA tribute bands that don’t know the words, and pay ridiculous amounts for smoked salmon on Ryvita at Scandi restaurants. But nobody messes with an ABBA picnic, and fans scurried back to their cars to bring extra blankets.

First on the scene was G, who’d just walked the length of uber-hipster King Street while wearing his Voulez-Vous badge – woe betide anyone who would dare make fun of it, and a few paid tribute by singing “A-ha!”. “It’s not just a badge, it’s a way of life,” G said, with his proudest expression.

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My favourite AA Gill quotes and columns

“It’s not my job to come round and tell you what’s wrong with your restaurant. It’s my job to sell newspapers and to entertain and perhaps inform my readers: The last person who should be reading a restaurant review is the person that it’s about — they should already know.” – AA Gill

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AA Gill highlights

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A.A. Gill and me at a book-signing, Sydney.

This is my fave youtube vid of him chatting about the highs and lows of his career and life.

AA Gill chatting to students

Highlights

13:30: his audience.

14:31: Answer to where’s the best place to get a meal in London?

“What you eat should never be as important as who you’re eating with.”

“Nothing is as good as being a regular customer.”

“Is it the greatest Italian restaurant in the world – well, it is for me.”

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Zumbo’s Just Desserts

image-1-1Love Adriano Zumbo and his amazing desserts and predilection for magic, fantasy and fairy tales. Great Willy Wonka velvet jacked and crazy bright blue shoes. The gold chocolate ducky in the ginger ale bubble bath! The back-to-school desk! The romantic Lovenbouche! The floating Willy Wonka Hat Trick!

Rachel Khoo is the perfect foil, with her Mary Poppins precise pronunciation, great foodie instincts and well-timed winces as Zumbo lists every Aussie dessert as his fave, or looks askance at his goofy laugh.

Am so happy no-nonsense Mum Kate won, nothing can beat her experience gained while making all those Women’s Weekly Dessert Cookery book recipes for school fetes. She said she’d made a lot of cheesecakes.

A big Mardi Gras moment when the confetti was shot out of a cannon all over the winners. Kate says she’ll use the $100,000 to buy a pop-up dessert truck where we can all flock to savour her incredible flavours. And she gets to make a creation to be sold in the Zumbo shop. Runner-up Ali, an insurance broker — famous for her anxiety-inspired meltdowns — thanked everyone for the “journey”. Loved Amie’s artistry in the show (though the annoying bandanna she wore every appearance looked like she was trying to hide a head injury).

Have been visiting the local bakery, Crispy Inn, more frequently thanks to this series, and grew fond of their custard mille-feuille, chocolate eclairs and profiteroles.

Married at First Sight Australia season 2 episode 8 Finale

The contestants have figured out, since it’s Season 2, that the decisions don’t really mean anything, so *everyone* decided to stay ttttogether, as, why not? They could easily split up as soon as the cameras are switched off. Noone gets to look like the bad guy.

The highlight was Tatts and Teacher, with Tatts being self-destructive as he didn’t feel good enough for her, so he avoids getting hurt by screwing it up.

She keeps us in suspense, looking very cross that he keeps screwing up. But she says yes.

It doesn’t really matter, as all the couples weren’t legally married anyway, and who knows if they’re still together after the cameras stop rolling? Might as well say yes, then leave them in the car park.

Enjoyed the rest of the series, and I s’pose if there had been some splits it would have been interesting, but seems the contestants have figured out they can’t lose by saying yes they’ll stay together. Whereas saying no would paint them as the bad guy.

Hope Tatts and Teacher are still together.

Married at First Sight Australia season 2 episode 7

tatt“All I know is how to defend and protect,” says Tatts, clearly referring to his former Navy job. Everyone’s crying as Tatts seems to have got a defence lawyer to compose the perfect apology. He does stuff to get back in her good graces: driving, washing the dishes. Teacher isn’t happy and warns him if he breaks his promise and gets nasty again, she’ll be heartbroken, as it’ll be over.

They do some portrait paintings on a windy beach and it seems v awks and Teacher starts painting his face as a bit of an attack and he cops it good-heartedly.

Am feeling sorry for Radio Girl and Fashion Designer cos she says she’s a shallow party girl and it seems she can’t really commit cos she’s been hurt before. Fashion Designer is lovely and sweet and suddenly I want them to be together forever. But still have reservations, as he doesn’t really like Pinky, her teddy. She doesn’t want him to move in straight away, probably cos she needs a break from all the sex. He’s very upset and says if she doesn’t want to, that’s sad. But surely they could live separately for a bit and then move in together?

Tatts’ family goes on about how he’s so immature and they’re glad Teacher has been a good influence. But does she always want to be the Adult? She loves his fun side, but it could get tedious being the main grown-up. He gets drunk with his navy mates and gets a random tattoo, crucially the night before Decision Night. A psychologist expert chimes in that he’s self-sabotaging cos he feels he’s not good enough/afraid of getting hurt etc. He’s only 26, so of course he’s immature. Teacher says she can’t trust him on his drunk nights out. He’s not that shocking really, pretty normal for a 26-yr-old. The dinner party angst freaked me out, though. I think he needs some post-navy debriefing. Seeing the bodies of refugees — women and kids drowning — would have had a big effect.

Am very surprised two of the girls wear teensy shorts to meet their mother-in-laws for lunch!!

Married at First Sight Australia season 2 episode 6

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He  should be given help, not paraded on national TV.

Teacher gives an honest but foreboding assessment of Tatts as being more immature than her and am thinking, is it immaturity or trauma reactions/barriers?

Jess is a total hero going in single, facing the “deliriously happy couples”. She says she’s happy to see all their happiness. Dumper Dave wanders around like a directionless lump.

Teacher gives a great speech about hanging on thru the “Oh Shit!” moments, not realising she’s got a lot of them coming up.

There’s a huge blowup where Tatts suggests Radio Girl is too easy and it’s like Inner City v Everyone Else as the Fashion Designer presses all Tatts’ buttons and a punch up nearly happens.

Teacher runs out as she can’t stand Tatts making an idiot of himself, and she hears what went down and seriously wonders if he’ll ever fit in with her inner city friends. He doesn’t know what the Sydney Mardi Gras is, he doesn’t like career women who don’t want kids. Their earlier speech about having similar values suddenly sounds hollow. He apologises and realises he needs to get some lessons in diversity and that he shouldn’t criticise others’ lifestyle choices. It was a bit scary, and he’s been crossed off all Inner West dinner party invite lists.

Radio Girl has no boundaries when talking about sex but Fashion Designer tells her she’s great and he supports her. I think it won’t last and he knows it. It all happened when he said last episode: “Do u wash Pinky?” (the teddy bear.) If a bloke doesn’t love your teddy bear, it’s over.

M&M, well, Firefighter doesn’t seem into it, and they’re like two Venture Scouts together. Nice to look at, but it’s not going anywhere.

Teacher locks Tatts out of the bathroom. It’s a tragedy. Where’s the support for trauma-affected Navy people who’ve seen dead bodies of women and kids while doing Border Patrol stuff? Whatever’s being done, it isn’t working. It’s a big ask to expect a Teacher to take him on when he seems to need help.

I wish life had those cutaway moments where you could reflect on bad decisions and play them back to loved ones later.