Greetings reader!

Today is a very good day for you if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site Four Senses- Touch Smell Taste Sound! As you’ll lose yourself in hours and hours of reading, and leave with a long list of things to try, be that restaurants, recipes, products, or stuff to hear or do. Please feel free to click on the different category tags to read all the different posts we’ve accumulated over time.

The majority of posts aren’t time sensitive, so don’t limit yourself to only reading the most recent posts, but check out the vast archive of Restaurant Reviews we’ve compiled (which we’ll keep adding to on a weekly basis).

We’ll keep adding more recipes for you to try, when we can certify that they have been tried and tested by us, and proven not to give us (or you) the runs. Haaha.

Check out our Kombucha journal where we’ve documented our steps to success, and will journal our future batches as we experiment with different flavours and ingredients. Our journal is detailed enough so you can replicate and produce a brew which will rival a store-bought beverage.   

And each time we come across some good products which we think you might also like, we’ll post these things under ‘Product Recommendations’ so you’ll have all the details if you want to check them out.

We’re also known for being eclectic in our listening tastes, which include music albums, podcasts, audio books and rando stuff from Netflix, so we’ll post recommendations as we come across some good stuff which you might like to see and hear.

And there’s just so many things to see and do in Ol’ Sydney Town, so we’ll post up monthly lists of what festivals and activities you can partake in; we have a Live Gig guide which we’ll update on a regular basis; and we’ll explore a Sydney suburb each month and we’ll document each step of the way so you can replicate our travels if you like.

So in short, if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site! Happy days! As you’ve just uncovered a whole entire avenue of cool stuff to read, interact with and try! So don’t be a stranger, bookmark our site and check back often as we’ll be uploading posts several times a week. We guarantee that each time you visit there will always be something new for you to Touch Smell Taste and Hear!    

Audiobook recommendation- The Slightly Alarming Tale of the WHispering Wars

…& we’re still searching for a Harry Potter replacement.

13 years on, after the last Harry Potter novel was released, once-were-young adults are still searching for a fantasy novel to fill that void which J. K. Rowling left after she packed up her quill and ink bottles and called it a day. But has Jaclyn Moriarty potentially penned a fantasy series which will keep the next generation of primary school kids and soon to be young adults spell bound?

“Hey? Whatcha reading?” my wife asked a 9 year old daughter of a close friend at a summer’s BBQ party.

“It’s ISBN 9781760297183- The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars” she replies in a no-nonsense 9 year old way, blinking up at my wife.

“Oh cool, is it any good?” asks my wife……….

And returning home, my wife proceeds to tell me of a new book she’d like to listen to on Audible. And here we are, me letting you know what I thought.

Well, we first have to back-track a bit, as The Whispering Wars was the second novel of a loosely connected series; ‘The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone’ was the first book (although the Whispering Wars is actually a prequel). *Cross-eyed*. But let’s keep Bronte Mettlestone to another day and another time, as quietly just between you and me…. It wasn’t all that good. *Whispered from the corner of my mouth*. But if you read it first, it does complete the entire story for the Whispering Wars (although WW can be deemed as a standalone novel).

Well, essentially The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars (hence forth to be referred as TSATotWW) is set in a fantasy world, similar to our own world (including an incurable infectious illness) where there are 2 groups of children living in a fictional harbour town called Spindrift. On one side of the tracks, we have the orphans (a boy called Finley being the main protagonist) and on the leafy, affluent side of the tracks are the boarding school children (of which a girl named Honeybee is the main character). The children first come together in a local track & field competition, and after a disagreement breaks out between the two schools, one of the orphanage kids goes missing, and shortly after, a declaration of war is pronounced by the Whispering folk from the Whispering kingdom……. & the story unfolds from there.

TSATotWW follows a well-thumbed recipe for fantasy books, i.e. there is a fantasy world with fantasy kings and queens (check); there are mystical beings (check); there is the use of magic (check); warring kingdoms (check); and time travel to boot (check). However, where say, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings used well known mystical beings e.g. goblins, dwarves, rangas, and Pegasus, Jacclyn Moriarty has invented her own mystical beings which…. um….. doesn’t always work. However I’m nit-picking now….

But the story was interesting enough, riveting enough, had me turning the pages, and there were plenty of twists and reveals which made it a stand-out read. And Jacclyn Moriarty use of epistolary form, i.e. alternating chapters voiced by a different character (Finley for the orphans and Honeybee for the boarders), drove the story forward through letter entries, each in their distinctive style – requiring different voice actors for the audiobook version. That made it quite an enjoyable listen. But will Bronte Mettlestone be a household name like Harry P? Unfortunately I don’t think so, so the search for an HP replacement goes on!

So if you, or if you’d like to gift your child a new fantasy series to immerse themselves in? Give TSATotWW by Jacclyn Moriarty a go, you can start listening to it HERE!        

Podcast recommendations- Monocle 24: the Menu

When you’re not travelling nor eating out.

It’s pretty crazy at the present time, with Coronavirus and fear of Coronavirus shutting down schools/businesses, cities and countries. So if you’re finding yourself spending more and more time at home, why not do everything virtually?

With ‘Monocle 24: The Menu’, and its sister program ‘Food Neighbourhoods’, you can travel the world and savour its delights from the safety of your own home!

Both The Menu and Food Neighbourhoods are weekly podcast extracts from the Monocle 24 radio station. The menu is a longer program (upwards of 30 mins) where host Markus Hippi takes you on a food journey, interviewing chefs, restaurateurs, producers, and people behind the scenes of the dining industry. The program comes out of the UK, but its stories and guests are from all over the world. Literally all over the world! So even though I’m based in little old Sydney Australia, I feel as if I’m better connected with the goings on in the wider global dining scene! For example, I’ve learnt of the craze of South Koreans wanting to try North Korean food, to hearing about one UK woman’s start-up where she’s producing cannabis based soft drinks? And all of this was in one single episode!

On the other hand, Food Neighbourhoods is a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am program no longer than 8 mins in length. FN takes you on an actual food journey – a different journalist each episode takes you on a virtual walking tour of a literal neighbourhood, describing the sights, sounds and smells of the place, and sharing with you their favourite dining and entertainment spots. It’s both informative, appetising and it’s super interesting when you hear them feature a neighbourhood you’re familiar with! As you can see how accurately (or not) they’ve depicted one of your favourite haunts.

So in the next couple of months, where global travel is unadvisable and eating out is a risky affair, why not just close your eyes and sit back and do your journeying virtually- thanks to Monocle 24: The Menu and Food Neighbourhoods, to start listening, click HERE!

Netflix Recommendations- Love Is Blind

Sure, love is blind. But people ain’t!

Fascinated by the promise of a social experiment, we readily settled ourselves in to watch ‘Love Is Blind’, a new Netflix original dating program. Totaling 11 episodes, 30 individuals (15 men and 15 women) are initially locked in a complex for 10 days, with genders segregated into individual dorms, and throughout the 10 days the guys and girls undertake speed dating rounds in ‘pods’ separated by a thin pane of frosted glass – so they can get to know one another without being influenced by their companion’s appearance. The social experiment the producers are trying to test for, is to see if love and connection is able to surpass looks, ethnicity, physicality, stereotypes, societal prejudices, socio-economic status, education, family background, upbringing etc etc. So you can say that the producers had a pretty big task and responsibility on their hands.

And once a couple develops a connection, they can request for further dates with each other until the man feels compelled to  propose to the girl ‘sight unseen’. And through the wall of frosted glass (and often through tears) she can accept or reject their proposal of marriage. And the day after (if they do say yes), they finally get to meet each other in person and possibly leave the complex immediately even before the 10 days is up?

Once out of the complex (while they are still out of contact with their family and loved ones), the couples who are now engaged are taken to Mexico for a week long post-engagement holiday. Here they start to familiarise themselves with each other’s appearance and physical attributes……… If you know what I mean. *Wink*. And on one of the evenings, all of the couples are re-united and for the first time the rest of the guys get to meet the  rest of the girls (and vice versa), as everyone had blindly interacted in the pods with one another, but now they can place a face to the voice. Are there any roaming eyes, checking-out other people’s fiancées?

And after they return from their holiday, they’re made to live in the same apartment complex (seems like all of them reside in Atlanta Georgia), and as they return back to their everyday lives whilst adapting to live with a new person, they progressively start to meet each other’s parents and close friends (or break the news to besties that they’re now ENGAGED!). And here, their love and connection is put to the test, where external forces start to invade their previously insular love bubble.

And at the end of the 28 days since first setting eyes on each other (and after the usual wedding preparations and drama is out of the way), they’re at the altar in front of God, family and friends (and soon the world), with the final chance to say ‘I do’ or ‘I cannot marry you’. All very suspenseful……. Imagine if all weddings had this level of uncertainty? Def bring back some excitement back to the traditional marriage vow ceremony. Haaha.

So what did we think? Well, the initial lingering impression that I got from the first episodes when they were still blind dating each other, was that the real risk of proposing to someone ‘sight unseen’, was significantly reduced when the producers vetted and casted only ‘hot’ people. Like they weren’t just alright looking, or good looking, but they were ‘hot’! So if I knew that going into the experiment, and when I was talking and connecting with a disembodied voice, knowing that on the other side of the wall was a hottie, sure it’s a lot easier to propose to someone that you’ve never laid eyes on if there was a genuine connection there. So that eliminated some of the “wow, you’re making such a crazy decision here!”  

The second thing which stuck-out for me in those early episodes was that there wasn’t more diversity in bringing together the 15 guys and 15 girls? Either in body shapes, ethnic minorities, and differently abled? That would have taken the ideals of ‘love is blind’ to the next level! But admittedly, it could be psychologically harming for an individual, to see the shock and disappointment on their face when they met for the first time. And I guess TV producers do have a responsibility to protect people from those traumatic experiences, so probs this avenue didn’t pass Netflix’s ethics board.

While overall, we found the show to be totally compelling! The real life drama which unfolded was so dramatic, it couldn’t have been scripted any better than how things naturally unfolded. And even if the show did or didn’t prove that love is blind, it did create an interesting real-life drama, which will go down as a historic piece of sociological resource, which could be required viewing for countless future sociology majors.

My final take-away is this, love is blind. But people ain’t. In the end people are driven by their minds which drives behaviour. People are guided by various experiences they’ve been through along the way – life lessons which have shaped them and heavily influences their future choices and actions. Although there is “love” and there is genuine affection, in the end people make life-defining choices with their minds, and probably less so with their hearts (well, it’s actually more emotions). And you can see for yourself, how often love wins out over better judgement. Click HERE! to start binge watching ‘Love Is Blind’.

Thai Style Seafood Spaghetti Marinara Recipe

An Asian twist on the humble seafood spaghetti marinara!

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

500g Seafood marinara mix

500g Dried spaghetti

114g Tinned Maesri red curry paste

400ml Tin coconut milk

Directions:

Step 1: Cook spaghetti according to packet directions.

Step 2: In a wok, heat curry paste for 2 minutes before adding coconut milk, allow simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add seafood Marinara mixture to curry, and cook for 7 minutes.

Step 4: Drain spaghetti and add to wok. Mix to coat spaghetti in curry sauce. Divide among 4 bowls. Enjoy!

Netflix Recommendations- Instant Hotel season 2

A good old battle between Good and Evil!

Now, we’d enjoyed Season 1 of Channel 7’s Instant Hotel, and we were so excited to see Season 2 uploaded to Netflix – but was it as good as the first stay?

For those who haven’t watched Instant Hotel before, Instant Hotel is a reality TV competition where home owners who are dabbling in the Airbnb market, open up their instant hotels to the critical eye of other Airbnb home owners and celebrity judges Juliet Ashworth and new judge Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. And whilst for normal people, the thought of opening up your home to be mercilessly critiqued by others who are out to find fault about your prized possession, is not something you’d readily volunteer for, at least at the end of this ordeal for the competitors, was the chance to pick up $100K in prize money! And for those who didn’t stack up on top, at least they earned themselves a healthy amount of free advertising for their money-maker, exposure which money can’t buy! So if you enjoy interior design and you enjoy reality TV competitions, then Instant Hotel is a must watch for you!

The only critique we had on Season 2 was that there just wasn’t enough episodes to go around! In Season 1, the 8 pairs of contestants were split into 2 groups of 4, with Group 1 taking turns rotating around to the 4 locations – fighting over who gets to sleep in the master bedroom, while trying to subtly plant doubt and shade on the places they’re staying at, as in the end everyone but themselves were a direct competitor. And once the first group of 4 had circled Australia, then host Luke Jacobs packed his bags and joined the second group of 4 and repeated the process with another 4 instant hotels. Then the top scorers from Groups 1 and 2 repeated the process again in a final round – but with the critiques still ringing in their ears and pockets full of spending money from the show to be used to improve their property ($10K), they fixed up their place and the overall experience – and when they opened up their doors again to a hand-picked guest judge panel who stayed one final time, the guests and Juliet pooled their points together to select a winner! However in Season 2, Luke Jacobs is long gone, replaced by a disembodied voice-over. And adding a second judge in Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen added gravitas to the collective scores, but probably with the increased cost of on-screen talent, and the increase in the cost of the prize, most likely they had to slash the teams and episodes by half to keep the production under budget! But did the second season suffer for it?

We think so. In the end, the competition wasn’t all that fierce as they only had to beat out 3 other instant hotels to be crowned the best Instant Hotel in Australia! And all too soon, we the viewer were returned to the same old homes, opened up for scrutiny a second time in the final round – for one instant hotel, we literally saw their home in episode 4 and then we saw it a second time in episode 6, and then poof, the entire season was over! A bit of a fizzle I thought……

But what we did like, was that the 4 pairs of contestants were funny, charming and likeable in their own unique way. The 4 destinations we were taken to, were stunning pieces of Australia- from an underground home in the Opal mining town of Coober Pedy SA, to the tourist trap of the Sunshine Coast in a 2 story penthouse apartment, to a mansion in Cairns where it seemed like the couple literally owned their own suburb, there was so much land out there!……… No rando home in Pennant Hills this time. Haaha. And like all of these reality TV competition shows, it followed a proven recipe of injecting one real b*tchy team to stir up the pot, which kept things interesting. And all too soon, the grand final was a battle between the good and the evil (the aforementioned b*tchy team), battling it out for the title!

And it was nice to see that the producers had taken on feedback from Season 1 and had upped the winner’s stakes (previously it was just an all-expenses paid trip for 2 to California to stay at a luxo Instant Hotel, I’d estimate the total value of the prize to be worth no more than $30K?), but now it was a cash prize of $100K, the contestants called it a ‘life changing’ prize……. I wouldn’t call it exactly life changing, but def enough to pay off a few bills and lighten the load for a year or two. But yeah, it was good to see the winners take home more, for their troubles and for opening themselves and their homes to scrutiny – but it was a shame that the increased winnings came at the expense of the quality of the show.

But Instant Hotel season 2 is still worth your while, even if it’s only  40mins x6, so if you’re interested to check it out, click HERE!

Sydney Gig Guide Apr – Jun 2020

This is only a very small taste of the live gigs which will be touching down in Sydney in the months of April – June 2020. But we will be uploading new posts on a monthly basis to give you some advance notice on what hot live gigs will be arriving in Ol’ Sydney Town!

Live music

Boom Crash Opera

Caringbah Hotel, 343 Port Hacking Rd, Caringbah 2225 NSW

Friday 5 June 2020, Melbourne boys ‘Boom Crash Opera’ will be performing live at the Caringbah Hotel! Take yourself back to your formative years during those long hot summer school holidays, baking in the sun while listening to pop-rock tracks like ‘Dancing in the storm’! Re-live those good ol’ days at the Caringbah Hotel!

For tickets and for more info, click HERE!

Musicals

Beyond the Barricade

State Theatre, 49 Market St, Sydney 2000 NSW  

Saturday 20 June 2020 – Do you love the ‘Musicals’ playlist on Spotify? If you do, then you’ll love ‘Beyond the Barricade’, a concert featuring a compilation of your favourite musical songs from Broadway and the West End! And it’s no motley crew of amateur performers, but the cast features past principal performers from Les Misérables! Don’t miss out, one show only!

For more info and to purchase tickets, click HERE!

Classical/Contemporary Music

A little lunch music: The Morrisons

City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney 2000 NSW

12.30pm Thursday 4 June 2020, working in the city and need a midday pick-me-up? Schedule ahead a treat for yourself, i.e. pre-purchase a ticket ($17) and bring your lunch down to watch ‘The Morrisons’ perform live for a lunch-time crowd at the Sydney Recital Hall! In a 60 min performance, The Morrisons will perform traditional American bluegrass, folk, and old timey music! And when the concert is done, you’ll still be back in the office in time for your afternoon meetings! And your colleagues will be wondering, what you’ve been up to, to give you that late afternoon spring in your step!

For more info and to purchase tickets, click HERE!

Comedy

Mo Gilligan Live

The Comedy Store, the Entertainment Quarter, 211 Bent St, Moore Park, 2021 NSW

Friday 12 June 2020, see the new kid on the comedy block, live! Mo Gilligan, a global sensation after his Netflix successes! British West Indian Mo will bring his style of observational humour and grime comedy to Oz! Guess what? Afterwards you can tell your mates that you’ve seen the Mosiah in the flesh!

For more info and to purchase tickets, click HERE!

Community Theatre

We Will Rock You- Blackout Theatre Company

Pioneer Theatre, 14 Pennant St, Castle Hill 2154 NSW

Friday 22 May-Saturday 30 May 2020, the Blackout Theatre Company (Blacktown) will perform ‘We will rock you’! Imagine a future where individualism and music is prohibited and forgotten, and it’s up to a gang of bohemians to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion and music! Thanks to the music of Queen of course, of course!

For tickets and performance information, click HERE!