March Festivals and Things to Do!

Well, that’s Summer 2019/20 completed and filed away, what awaits us in autumn?! Here are my top things to see and do for the month of March 2020 in Ol’ Sydney Town!

Five Dock- My Kids Market NSW– Sun 1 Mar

Five Dock Leisure Centre, Queens Rd and William St, Five Dock NSW

Are you looking for, or looking to cash-in from, gently used and pre-loved baby and kids goods? Then head on down to the Five Dock ‘My Kids Market’! There will be individual sellers and baby/kids brands selling direct to the public- all under one roof! Check it out! You will probably bag a bargain or two! **Note: There will be kid’s activities to keep the little ones entertained- if they’re not into shopping just yet.

For more info and to become a stall holder, click HERE!    

Sydney 2020 Madman Anime Festival– Sat 7 – Sun 8 Mar

International Convention Centre Sydney, 14 Darling Drive, Sydney NSW   

No doubt Sydney Anime fans already have this date circled in their calendars! But for those who are just Anime-curious, for 2 days only, Sydney-siders will have a chance to dress-up, strap on their weapons and meet international Voice actors, Animators and Cosplay stars at the Sydney 2020 Madman Anime Festival!!!! Aside from the international guest appearances, expect autograph sessions, surprise bags, puppet displays, quizzes, activities, premiere screenings and video games to geek out on! 2 day General entry pass is only $50 pp, but if you want it all!- a VIP weekend pass will set you back $290 pp. And secure your Guest Tokens online- for your chance to meet and obtain your autograph with the I-Stars!

For more information and for tickets, click HERE!

Pontos- Food of the regions- 38th Greek Festival– Sat 14 Mar

Greek Community Club, 206-210 Lakemba st, Lakemba NSW

All this talk of George Calombaris is making me hungry! Hungry for Greek food that is- and conveniently March through to May is the 38th Greek Festival, with events spread throughout the next 3 months! On Saturday 14 March at the Greek Community Club, Chef Aris Chatzigeorgiou will be cooking up a dinner that will transport you to Pontos, Crete and Thrace! With live music performances by Miltos Kyrillides (direct from Athens). $60 pp for Adults, $25 pp for kids aged between 9-15, under 9s eat FREE! Opa!

For more information and to book, click HERE!

Sydney Swans V Essendon Bombers– Fri 27 Mar

Sydney Cricket Ground, Driver Ave, Moore Park NSW

Cheer on the Swannies as the Red&White kick-off their first Sydney home match for season 2020! Watch the two winged sides swoop and score! Centre bounce at 7.50pm! Be there!

For more info and for tickets, click HERE!

French Croissant Baking Class– Anytime

Patisserie le marais , Shop 6 / 1094 Anzac Parade, Maroubra NSW

Does the thought of light and fluffy, flaky croissants make your mouth water? How would you like to learn how to make them for yourself? The French croissant baking class will teach you exactly how to make the traditional French butter croissant.  By class conclusion, you’ll know how to prepare the dough, incorporating the butter, give the right number of turns to allow for a flaky pastry, roll and cut the croissant dough, roll croissants, proofing, and baking! At the end of the 5.5 hour class you’ll get to take home your own creations- a basket full of chocolate croissants, Danish pastries and almond croissants! Ooooh Yeah! No prior skill is needed, just come alone or with friends- $170 pp.

For more information and to secure an apron, click HERE!  

Audiobook Review- Mythos: The Greek myths retold by Stephen Fry

What can I say? The book’s title says it all!

My wife and I have been avid fans of Greek mythology for a while now, for me it started when we listened to the entire Percy Jackson series a number of years back, while my wife’s fandom of Greek mythology goes back to her childhood, when she grew up reading her hardcover Greek mythology encyclopaedia. And to top that off, we’ve always enjoyed TV programming featuring Stephen Fry – so we were bound to enjoy his Mythos audio book!

Now when the book’s title states that it’s a retelling of Greek mythology by Stephen Fry – it literally does mean that the book is a literal retelling of the classic Greek tragedies and triumphs by Stephen Fry – but retold in his witty and sardonic style. Don’t be expecting a free-flowing epic tale of gods and monsters! But expect a 15+hour long, back-of-the-book style glossary, listing out countless titans and gods, but retold in short stories, in a style fitting for a 21st century entertainment consumer.

Let’s just say, expect to be more educated, than you’re going to be entertained (although Stephen Fry’s narration and delivery is all together entertaining). But what stood out for me after listening to Mythos, was the realisation of how much of ancient Greece has influenced our modern day English language, and how these stories have seeped into our consciousness knowingly and unknowingly through other famous pieces of art, plays and even in cartoons!

While listening to Mythos, I was reminded of the power of the human imagination; how all these characters, with unique personalities and attributes, each with highly complex relational ties with each other, were all dreamt up and then passed down through the generations to the present day. How centuries and centuries ago, they used tales to explain ‘why the sun rises every day’ or ‘how the bee got its sting’, no doubt these tales were designed to explain to pesky and inquisitive kids who keep asking why? How? Why? How?!

And we have to reemphasize that Stephen Fry has a true gift in literacy, his humorous writing style made every page of this otherwise encyclopaedic-like book amusing, and having him narrate the Audible audio recording was a perfect touch to complete this experience!

If you’re interested to check out Mythos: The Greek myths retold, click HERE!

Thai Beef/Pork Mince Savoury Pancake with Kimchi Recipe

Pancakes for dinner…… Mmmmm yum!

Servings: 4


1 Pack Thai flavoured Coles ‘Cook with Curtis’ Mince

2 Cups all-purpose flour

2 Eggs

¾ Cup water

¼ Cup soya sauce

1 Pack Kimchi

1 Pack bean sprouts

Sweet chili sauce to serve


Step 1: In a fry pan or large flat-bottomed wok, stir fry ‘Cook with Curtis’ mince, separating mince with the back of your spoon, and stir fry until 80% cooked through.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add 2 eggs (whisked), ¾ cup water, and ¼ cup soya sauce. Then sift flour into the liquid mixture, combining flour with liquids.

Step 3: When mince is cooked 80% through, remove mince from wok and add to flour mixture and mix well. Turn down heat to medium and pour the pancake mixture into the wok, making a pancake which covers the surface area of your fry pan or wok. Allow to cook to a crisp before flipping and cooking the other side. Repeat the process for all 8 pancakes.

Step 4: To serve, place pancakes on a large plate, top with a tablespoon of sweet chili sauce before topping off with kimchi and bean sprouts. Enjoy!

Netflix Recommendation- The Circle

Perhaps the best Netflix original programming we’ve ever seen?

We love reality TV and we love competitions, so it was a given that we were going to watch ‘The Circle’ a reality competition entirely playing out over social media. Which is fascinating to say the least!

The premise is simple,  imagine the well-known ‘Big Brother’ reality TV concept, a household of young (under 35s), interesting and attractive people, forced to live with one another while being filmed around the clock, like a sociological experiment – while the producers and we sit back and watch the drama unfold. However, where The Circle differs from the BB concept, is that the players/housemates/neighbours never meet in person! They don’t even get a chance to hear each other’s voices! All of their interaction is conducted over ‘The Circle’, a social networking app which connects the players wherever they are in the apartment block, and all throughout the 15 day ordeal, they never meet each other in person or see who their fellow neighbours are, until a player is ‘blocked’ from the competition. It’s all very strange, while quite reflective of most of our social interactions these days.

I have to admit, during the first 10 minutes of Episode One, I thought this show perhaps wasn’t for us – as each player was introduced to the viewing audience, each one of them was loud and a bit obnoxious. Dare I say…they were ‘very American’? However, as the players settled in to their apartments, they toned down some of their big personalities, and by the end of the series, each player presented quite a genuine side to themselves – and characters which were quite grating at first, turned out to be quite lovable.

With reality competitions like Big Brother, oftentimes we as the viewing audience aren’t able to grasp how it’s like living in there – as we’re not experiencing how it’s like to be living with 12 other people, never having a moment to yourself as there are roommates everywhere! However, The Circle is completely different, because we as the viewer are granted access to see behind every curtain, see into every apartment where they live on their own. So where the players only know each other through what each chooses to present to the others, we, the voyeur, see it warts and all! And for us, we see each player, we hear them talk to themselves and read out aloud to themselves each of the posts which come through to the screens – but we forget, that in reality these guys were sitting in an apartment on their lonesome with no real human contact for up to 2 weeks! That’s pretty wild hey? Almost like a period of coronavirus quarantine!    

When entering The Circle, each player completes a short profile of themselves (a profile pic, their name, age, status and a short bio), and that is all that is presented to the other players. So like in the Twitterverse, the players may pretend to be someone that they’re not, for the reasons of believing that they are more likely to win and are more likely to be accepted by others if they presented a more appealing version of themselves to others- be that pretending that they’re female when they’re a dude, or using profile pics of others who are more attractive than they believe themselves to be. And all the while, we the viewer know the truth, and sometimes cringe when watching the players interact with each other, seeing one side thinking that they’re developing a deep meaningful connection, when we know that everything is a lie!

But as trashy as this all sounds, The Circle was actually quite a meaningful show, uncovering some interesting modern-day social aspects about our society, and seeing integrity, loyalty and friendship play out on our screens.

In most of the episodes, there is a time where players rank each other from the first to last – the top 2 ranked players are given a blue check mark, labelling them as ‘Influencers’ – giving them the power to ‘block’ one player, thus eliminating them from the show. The eliminated player is then given an opportunity to confront one of the other players in person – and for us, being a bit of a wuss when it comes to confronting people face-to-face, this was a bit cringing for us to watch – but oftentimes the meeting turned out alright. Even when a ‘Catfish’ is unmasked…….

And once a player is blocked, a new player is brought in to replace them – thus continuing on the game for the full 12 episodes. And in the final ep, the contestants are brought in front of a live audience, where the winner is announced and they take home $100K in cold hard cash! And during the episodes, throw in some ice breaker games in between evictions – some games designed to stir the pot, and throw in a few twists and turns along the way – and here you have The Circle USA!

If you spend a significant amount of time on the various social media platforms – then it’s a no-brainer, you have to watch ‘The Circle’, as it’s everything you love and hate about interactions and friendships over Social. But if you’re a hater of social media, I also challenge you to give ‘The Circle’ a go, as it might just change your perception of virtual interactions.

To start watching ‘The Circle’ from Netflix, click HERE!

Product Recommendation- Lifespan Fitness SM-100 Magnetic Spin Bike

A whisper-quiet exercise!

I fell prey to American advertising, the first world problem of listening to American radio and podcasts where you hear adverts pushing products which you can only buy in the States. D’oh!

This time I was sucked into the concept of owning a Peloton exercise bike – imagine that! Exercising at home, while being a part of a virtual class and virtual community! So I convinced myself that the Peloton bike was what we needed in our apartment, but the next day I found out that you can only get one of these babies if you’re in North America…….And not to mention the $2.2K US and the monthly fee was a bit of a deal breaker as well.

So I started to search around to see what other spin bikes were out there – and after a bit of research I decided I wanted a magnetic spin bike, and I didn’t need a bike with all the bells and whistles, but a bike around the AUD $700 mark was about as much as I’d like to spend.

What I found was the Lifespan Fitness SM-100 Magnetic spin bike.

What drew me to it was the fact that it was a magnetic bike, and that the fly-wheel was not as heavy as others. As I was surprised that in cases the fly wheel was as heavy as 19kg, which seemed a bit too heavy-duty for our needs – so the lighter fly wheel at 13kg sounded just about right. Not to mention, Lifespan Fitness’ online store was offering us the bike for the purchase price of $399 (RRP $799) – who could pass on a bargain like that!?

So we ordered it, and here is my review of the purchasing experience and how I’ve found the bike thus far after Week 1.

The first thing to note when purchasing the bike online, is that you’ll attract a pretty hefty delivery charge – the cheapest option was standard shipping at $52, and if you want the premium experience (i.e. designated delivery day within a two-hour window, assistance to set-up and remove all packaging, and the willingness to deliver the bike to a second level), then you’ll have to be prepared to pay $160 for the privilege. Ouch! Definitely more than I’d like to spend on delivery alone.

So finding out that in the standard delivery you weren’t able to specify the day you wanted to receive the bike, I changed our shipping address to my parents’ place, as they’re at home more often than the common 9-5 worker who just can’t sit around at home for a week waiting for a delivery.

So the bike arrived in less than 3 business days, but then it took us another week to organise a time to move the disassembled bike from my parents’ place to our apartment. And be warned! Even with the bike being disassembled, it’s still quite heavy and irregular shaped to transport.

The entire bike assembled weighs 37kg, and the main part disassembled has to  weigh at least 25kg, so it’s not the lightest thing to pick up and move. The assembly from all accounts (by my dad) wasn’t difficult, but it did require some logic and careful study of the instruction booklet. All the tools to assemble the bike came with the bike – there are 2 tools, which play the role of a Phillips head screwdriver, a spanner for 3 different sized nuts, and an Allen key. So that is very helpful as like most Gen Ys, I don’t have a toolbox.

The bike assembled remarkably takes up very little space, and it’s not too much of an eye-sore, meaning that with its black and shiny chrome appearance, it fits in quite nicely with most modern apartment décor.

So what makes a spin bike different to an exercise bike? Is that a spin bike does not require plug in electricity and the resistance comes from the effort to turn a heavy metal fly wheel rather than any high tech electronics (and the reason why the spin bike is so heavy). And from all accounts a spin bike resembles more of the natural feel of riding a real bike, compared to riding an exercise bike.

And the reasoning behind going magnetic, rather than the typical spin bike which uses a compressed woollen clamp to add resistance to your exercise? It was purely because I wanted a whisper-quiet exercise – when we were kids we had an exercise bike (the ones with a replica bicycle wheel out front), and to increase the difficulty level you twist a nob which clamped the woollen tips onto the wheel, which added resistance, but it made this cringing brushing noise, which thinking about it now gives me the heebie jeebies. *Shudders*.

So what do I think after a week?

Its whisper-quiet! Literally it is soundless even though you’re slaving away on it, and the cycle motion is utterly smooth! Initially I thought it might require some effort to get the 13kg fly wheel turning, so perhaps we were getting something too advanced for our needs, which might deter us from using it – but it’s not that bad, not bad at all. And because it’s so easy now to fit in your exercise fix, as we have it right in front of the TV, I find myself jumping on whenever I feel like it- so I’ve been cycling twice a day at a minimum (all the while enjoying something on Netflix or an audio book). So it really doesn’t feel like much effort at all!

The bike also enables 3 levels of adjustment, you can move the seat further forward or back, and you can raise and lower the seat so you can find a position which is right for your height. And you can also adjust the handlebars up and down, so you’re in your preferred riding position at all times.

It comes with a LCD computer screen which displays the time you’ve been peddling away, the speed in which you’re propelling yourself along your virtual road, the distance that you’ve travelled, the calories you’ve burnt, the number of beats per minute your poor heart is pumping away at, and like a motor vehicle, it also displays the total distance your bike has travelled during its existence! And to power this computer, is 2 AAA batteries, the device turning on as soon as the wheel is turned over.

The handlebars is also a highlight of the bike, as it’s configuration allows for 5 different hand holds, depending if you like to ride more upright, or if you like to lean further forward and ride like a ‘pro’. For me, I basically use the different hand holds to enable me to change positions while I’m riding, to ease out the cramps in my lower back and ease out the ache in my back-side. Haaha.

The pedals are pretty cool as well, which enables you to clip in riding shoes if you’re usually a road warrior, but using the spin bike on a particularly bad weather day. So some features which I can aspire to use one day.

And this last aspect is only minor, but for this day and age pretty important – on the bottom edge of the LCD screen, is a little ledge where you can place your smart phone! So while you exercise, you can plop your phone there and be watching videos or replying back on your socials as you exercise! Pretty cool hey?

The only negatives of the bike is the saddle, but I’ve been told that riding any bike you’re bound to get a sore butt. So I’m still trying to work through that ass-pect…most times I stop riding not due to being tired, but because my butt hurts too much to continue on. Haaha. I’m considering getting some padded riding shorts, but currently I’m staying away from online shopping, just in case if whatever I buy originates from China- so they have my money and then it’ll never be shipped due to the travel restrictions flying in and out of China ATM.

But all in all, I’m enjoying the bike, only after a week I feel that my legs have firmed up a little, my core is also stronger, and  hopefully after a month or two I’ll lose some of the Christmas belly fat which I’ve accumulated from the festive season.

If you’d like to read more or to purchase the Lifespan Fitness SM-100 Magnetic Bike, click HERE!

Podcast Recommendations- The Mysterious Mr. Epstein

A modern day classic in the true crime podcast genre.

With my true crime fandom piqued by our experience with Michael Connelly’s ‘Murder Book’, I went on a true crime pod frenzy- searching for the next gripping pod and on the top of that list was Wondery’s ‘The Mysterious Mr. Epstein’.

Sure I have a vague idea who Jeffery Epstein was…….. although to be honest with you, half of the time I was confusing him with Harvey Weinstein…….but obviously Epstein has been more at the forefront of our minds now since Prince Andrew’s car crash of a TV interview.

But if you’re like me, vaguely aware of Jeffery Epstein and curious to know a little more about what was going on there, but not THAT interested to be trawling the web in your own time for articles about a vile character like him – then you might consider listening to the podcast instead?

The Mysterious Mr. Epstein pod is hosted by acclaimed New York Times journalist Lindsay Graham. Over 6 episodes the series walks you through Jeffery Epstein’s life – from days as a high school mathematics and physics teacher, then as a financial advisor, before sinking into depravity where his criminality takes over his life.

The podcast is well researched and produced, using primary sources (snippets from real news and interview recordings), re-enactments, and a nice weaving together of the strands of the story – which leaves you on a slight cliff’s edge at the end of every episode. The series dropped a load of bombshells, casting shade over a multitude of prominent and influential personalities through their association with Epstein alone, and with the latest twist in this true story – with revelations that Epstein was most likely murdered in his jail cell……… The conspiracies keep swirling.

If you’re interested to learn more about the mysterious Mr. Epstein and be entertained in its retelling of this true crime? Then check it out HERE