May 22, 2017

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There’s nothing like a good Agatha Christie to make people leave the comfort of their homes on these cold evenings. Judging by the packed house at the performance I attended of the Genesian Theatre’s current offering, I would have to conclude that Miss Marple is a crowd pleaser.

Each year the Genesian season includes an Agatha Christie play and their current showing of “A Murder Is Announced”, adapted by Leslie Darbon, does not disappoint. In typical Christie style, there are many red herrings thrown around to keep the audience guessing, but as usual, the guilty person is the least likely and is not revealed until the last moments of the performance.


Genesian Theatre 10 May 2017 - Homepix Photography - 0372.jpgThe action takes place in a very English drawing room inhabited by the very English characters one associates with a typical Christie play. This time there is no immediate body to be found, but the anticipation of one soon to appear is what keeps everyone guessing after a murder, which is to occur in Miss Blacklock’s house, is announced in the local paper.

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Directed by John Grinston, the play is fast paced and the performances from the large cast are excellent, that one sometimes forgets this is amateur theatre.

“A Murder is Announced” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 24 June 2017. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm. Running time is 2 hours 40 minutes, with a 20 minute interval.

Sandra Tiltman


May 22, 2017


The 2017 Pyrmont & Mudgee Region Festival is currently delighting Sydneysiders with a varied program running until May 27. Festival visitors have the opportunity to experience both the country charm of the Mudgee Region, coupled with the best of the city, at the many events that include wine dinners and tastings, photographic exhibitions and art displays.

Participating Mudgee wineries include award winning cellar doors Moothi Estate, First Ridge Wines, Manners Wines and newcomers Slowfox and Elephant Mountain Wines.


The specially curated program pairing selected Pyrmont restaurants with premium wine labels from the Mudgee Region is one of the most acclaimed and popular features of the Festival. A customised menu is prepared by each restaurant, paired with matching wine, to create a highly enjoyable dining experience, however, each dinner is available for one night only.

Some of the highlights are the Apprentice and Peterson’s Wines Dinner on May 24, where the rising stars of Sydney’s hospitality industry prepare a four course meal of stuffed zucchini flowers, Hiramesa kingfish ceviche, braised beef cheek and roast pineapple matched with Peterson’s Wines.


On May 25, Flying Fish and Burnbrae Wines present an innovative four course dinner of vanilla cured ocean trout, Yellowfin tuna, lamb loin and apple mousse, matched with Burnbrae Wines.

The Pyrmont & Mudgee Region Festival is a regional collaboration between Mudgee Wine Association, Mudgee Region Tourism and Mid Western Regional Council, presented by Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce with the City of Sydney. It is a unique opportunity for Mudgee Region to offer a taste of its award winning country charm to city dwellers and Pyrmont, just two kilometres from the CBD, to demonstrate its position as one of Sydney’s fastest growing tourist, creative, cultural and dining precincts.

The Mudgee Region is the third largest grape growing region in NSW and one of the oldest wine regions in the state. Just a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney, Mudgee can also be reached by daily 45 minute flights from Sydney Airport.

The Festival concludes on May 27 with the Pyrmont Growers Market at Pyrmont Bay Park from 7.30 am to noon, offering a selection of fresh produce, artisan foods, gourmet delicacies and delicious ready made foods from local producers and farmers. Pizzaperta will also offer gourmet pizza with toppings paired with Mudgee Wines from Di Lusso Estate.  Sandra Tiltman  Photos: John Pond


May 21, 2017

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30 Hawaii based and inspired brands including fashion, accessories, stationery, art and the most delicious shortbread, will be showcased from May 25-28 at the FLUX Hawaii Shop, a pop-up event happening at 17 Oxford St, Paddington.

The Sydney pop-up follows three years of exciting FLUX Hawaii activity including an event during New York Fashion Week and pop-up shops in Brooklyn, New York City and Los Angeles.

Presented by Hawaii Tourism Oceania, the event celebrates their Month of Lei. Hawaii cultural and creative workshops plus “talk stories” will be on display and FLUX will debut a new line of products, made in collaboration with select vendors, that will be sold exclusively at the Shop. Some of the featured artisans and brands include Barrio Vintage, Beachcake, Honolulu Cookie Company, HVN Apparel, Island Slipper, Jams World, Jana Lam, Leather Soul, Mark Cunningham, Martin & MacArthur, Matt Bruening, Miemiko, North Shore Soap, Olukai, Reyn Spooner, Salvage Public, Sig Zane Designs, Steven Kean and Wayne Levin.


Kerri Anderson, Hawaii Tourism Oceania Australia Country Manager said “Australians absolutely love Hawaii, over 300,000 Aussies visit the islands each year. Hawaii’s traditional culture and aloha spirit are world famous, but to be able to support Hawaii based artists and musicians to come to Australia to showcase the modern Hawaii will help Australians see a different side of Hawaiian culture. We are proud to support the inaugural visit of the FLUX Hawaii Shop to Australia.”

FLUX Hawaii is for the intelligent reader, with its honest storytelling, timeless design and photography. This triannual digital, social and print publication informs readers about where to go, what to see and how to respond to a world in flux. For those intent to live well and live right, FLUX Hawaii offers a curated look at island arts, culture, style, travel, design and innovation. http://www.fluxhawaii.com

Sandra Tiltman  Photos: John Pond


May 10, 2017


Experience the luxury of sailing aboard the Titanic before that fateful evening when disaster struck at “Titanic The Exhibition”. Featuring over 375 artefacts removed from Titanic before she sailed to New York, as well as pieces that survived the disaster in the coat pockets of those rescued and others donated by descendants of passengers. Many artefacts taken from sister ship Olympic serve as exact replicas of items now lost on the bottom of the sea.


Many Jewish passengers lost their lives on that cold early morning of 15 April 1912, including Ida & Isidor Straus, the co-owner of Macy’s Department Store in New York, where a memorial plaque is located at the store’s entry.

Each visitor receives a Boarding Pass containing personal information of an actual First, Second or Third Class passenger or crew member, whose fate is discovered from the lists in The Memorial Gallery.


Once on board, a recreation of Titanic’s first class hallway leads to the dining gallery with its china, silver and crystal. Items from White Star Line’s first class areas smoking rooms, staterooms and dining rooms are displayed amid images of the ship’s interiors. A first class stateroom is also re-creatred, complete with a mix of furnishings and props.

Titanic’s elegant grand staircase represents the opulence the passengers enjoyed in 1912 when Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship of its time.


Entering the third class hallway provides a glimpse into a cabin, as well as the infamous locked gates that prevented so many of Titanic’s third class passengers from escaping to the upper decks during the disaster.

One of the Boiler Rooms with its furnace provides an interesting insight into the world below decks where firemen toiled endlessly to provide Titanic with the power needed to steam across the North Atlantic.


Venturing out onto one of the sprawling “outside” Promenade Decks, a blast of icy air recreates the allure of the sea as you lean over the railing to view the thousands of stars on that moonless night of 14 April 1912.

The Warnings corridor displays the telegraphic ice warning messages and Titanic’s bell, rung by Frederick Fleet as he shouted “Iceberg! Right Ahead!”.

Original props and set pieces from James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic are also displayed, including a recreation of the famous “Heart of the Ocean” diamond necklace.

In Sydney at Byron Kennedy Hall, The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. http://www.titanictheexhibition.com.au

Words & Photos: Sandra Tiltman


May 3, 2017


Double Bay’s high end restaurant scene is now even more exciting with the recent opening of Mr G’s, a new premium American grill, located on the ground floor of the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay in Cross Street. Owned and operated by Patrick and Angela Gallagher of Gallagher Hotels, the restaurant pays homage to Patrick’s father, the original Mr G, with the space named in reference to his nickname.

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At their opening night event, guests were greeted by a Jazz singing saxophonist and served cocktails created by Venue Manager Doug Laming, a passionate molecular mixologist. ‘That’s my Jam’, containing Larios Gin, crème de cassis, rhubarb bitters, mild willow water and strawberry jam, plus the beautifully rich ‘Obabalicious’ made with Chocolate Whiskey, Amaro Montenegro, rye whiskey, black walnut bitters, & dark chocolate will make those looking for the perfect cocktail very happy. Wine, bubbles and beer also flowed.

A large range of tasty delights allowed us to sample the fare available at this authentic American grill, including Imperial black caviar blini’s, pastrami spiced salmon gravlax, Alaskan king crab cocktail, Cape Byron eye fillet chimichurri’s, mini Wagyu Burgers with beer battered cocktail onions, veggie and goat’s cheese tarts and truffle fries.

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Mr G’s Bar & Grill is positioned as an American small bar, with only American craft beers on tap from the best breweries in the US. They serve over 100 whiskies, featuring rare and unique brands, plus a full selection of spirits, liqueurs and aperitifs and the cocktail list reflects Doug’s distinctive style, using ingredients such as pumpkin curd, oolong tea and milk of the poppy. A separate menu for Picklebacks adds a quirky and fun twist to the bar offering, serving a shot of whisky with a matching pickle and brine shot chased by a beer. The wine list has a champagne focus, with wines starting from $45 up to $2000 for a bottle of champagne.

This upscale venue, designed by Peter Jay from Peter Jay Design Associates, has an industrial feel, featuring leather & brass accents and is very wood heavy, with multiple spaces including the 14m wood bar, Lounge Room and Private Dining Room. Dotted throughout are custom artworks, a large fireplace and Americana, along with vintage whiskies, wines and cigars on display.

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With a focus on the best steaks Sydney can offer, Mr G’s serves quality sourced meat, seafood and fresh produce, cooked by chef to the stars Dave Little. It is also one of the first venues in Australia to use the MIBRASA grill, a wood fired, charcoal driven oven that doesn’t use gas or electricity and allows food to be cooked retaining its natural flavours, bringing out a unique smoky taste.

Mr G’s Bar & Grill is a venue of first choice for diners wanting excellent service, impressive menus, stylish drinks selection with a bustling American vibe, their own slice of Brooklyn in a chic Double Bay setting.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond