drinks @ apothecary

recently we went to brisbane, for work – and as the site we were visiting was in fortitude valley, and the lazy was strong in us, we went walking around looking for somewhere nice to sit down and eat. i had remembered seeing an alleyway in one of the earlier trips. it had been a little empty last trip (which i now know is because it is a recent re-development) however this time it was beautiful and cheery sounding, and quite frankly i could have spent nearly all day there.

Although b mostly drank lunch, i had a lovely beetroot construction, with really tasty beetroot aoeli, and poppyseed encrusted dates; so pretty.

b is not fond of food that is more art than ‘filling’, as when he gets hungry he could eat like a labrador so we rarely go to places with food this delicately plated (i’m only barely more adventurous, i just like beautiful looking things).

beetroot and poppyseed date - the apo

beetroot pretty – the apo

this was at the apo – quite a well renowned restaurant – although to us it just looked like the only place that served alcohol. i didn’t realise at the time, but our ‘waiter’ was actually the chef. the service was great, they even went to a nearby cafe to get me a latte (they don’t serve coffee) which i thought was really cool.

while b was drinking lunch, i sketched the wall opposite us. the colour of the beetroot matched the colour of the bougainvillea so well that i actually used it to paint the petals. note to self, beetroot juice, while it stains your fingers is not really a great watercolour.

beetroot bougainvillia

beetroot bougainvillia@the apo – fortitude valley

the sketch is mostly 0.05 pen with watercolour (and beetroot!) – as are most of my sketches. it took about an hour, i think.

it’s the first piece i’ve done for a long while; at least partly because the quality of the paper in that book doesn’t hold fountain pen ink at all due to feathering.

meat district co.

Today we decided to take some time to rest, although we still have another site to visit.

Walking along the King St side of Darling Harbour we came the meat district company; with a beautiful upstairs bar area with views of the harbour.

preserves at meat district co

preserves @ meat district co.

We both had burgers, and they were really good. The staff are really quite relaxed and decent about people who sit and draw; although we did keep ordering drinks.

I hadn’t done much in the way of sketching in the last couple of months, so B encouraged me to take my time and make something I felt good about. I spent a good hour or so on this, the actual image is 4×6 inches or so. I carry more art supplies than anything else with me, just in case there’s something (or more importantly, time) to draw.

In retrospect this is a sketch I would have liked to have finished off as a proper painting, but I didn’t take enough reference photos; and to be honest, I wasn’t really convinced at the time that I was even going to finish it, let alone like it.

the meat district company

the meat district company

When I sketch, lately I use mostly water-colour and copic multiliners which are the only things that work in this current journal.

Then we felt too lazy, and the drinks we got served were so pretty I did some sketches of those too. It seems that once I’ve removed the block that stops me from arting it feels so easy to keep going.

mojito in mason jar

mojito in mason jar

After a number of ‘refreshing’ beverages, we continued on our way up towards Barangaroo where we found a pop-up gin bar.

Neither of us like gin but it was really hot and our feet had gotten sore.



gin & it.

I swear, if it wasn’t for the interstate trips we do, neither of us would get any exercise. I go from barely 1200 steps during a week day to 10k steps or more a day when we travel.

You’d think this would inspire more walking at home but what can I say; the weather here is either too fucking dry hot to breathe or too fucking cold to step foot outside.


gin and … something

The additives in the gin drinks were so amazingly coloured I wished I’d been able to capture them in a painting, so I took many many photos of them.

I did attempt it but ended up sticking things over the top of the page as I just couldn’t capture the intensity of the colours with watercolour.


gin and … something orange

There was a ‘living wall’ near the pop-up bar, with tropical plants (mostly ferns) in beige cylinders so I decided to do a black & white sketch of the plants.

I’ve always loved the ‘botanical’ style images that the naturalists did while exploring Australia, as well as the semi-modern versions of these.

This is one of the sketches I’m contemplating turning into something bigger.



mmm. yum.

We’re here for work – the site we’re visiting is in Casba, in Dank St, Waterloo.

Last time we were here, we stayed in a local apartment; much nicer than the horror we stayed in last night.

This is the third trip we’ve had to this site; and I had always wanted to try the Vietnamese food joint in Casba (SO9 as we’ve always stopped working after they close for the day. They have beautiful decor, lovely water colours on their menus and delicious light food.

chinese new year macarons @ SO.9

chinese new year macarons @ SO.9

As I was feeling slightly on the food-naughty side, I had the macarons; the colours and gold were to celebrate Chinese New Year I think.

darling harbour, what happened?


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So, let me preface this by saying I haven’t been to this part of Darling Harbour since it had the Virgin Music store. I think it was 1988, actually it must have been, because I also went to see VAST for my birthday and First State ’88 was on.

I’ve been back a couple of times, but mostly only in the Chinese Gardens. This time however, after a success staying in an apartment in South Brisbane, and cooking for ourselves; I thought we’d try staying in the Oaks Goldsborough, apparently a historic building.

If you ever get swayed by the prices, or the images on a web search and think you might want to stay there – do yourself a favour.


It was so bad we left after one tense and miserable night; walking to the room was like walking through accomodation for a prisoner release program. I didn’t even want to spend that night there, to be honest.

I kept quiet for a while, and desperately started looking for somewhere to stay for the next few nights.

Then we got hungry.

Sydney, from Darling Harbour at night

Sydney, from Darling Harbour at night

Going for a walk to find food, we went through Darling Harbour – and the bits that weren’t under construction were empty. It was only a Thursday at 10pm, and it felt like a few days after the zombie apocalypse hit.

So, our first night in Sydney, we had McDonalds; the only thing open in the foodcourt.

The next morning, we moved to the other side of the harbour.

So, I also have an outside cat.


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…who is trying desperately to be an inside cat, I’m assuming she’s female, because well, all cats are female until proven male.

I thought my cat had a shrill voice and talked a lot, but this one is so high pitched I can hear her mewing from outside the townhouse complex.

She doesn’t miaow like my cat, she mews. It’s actually almost like she’s saying MEW in a little girl’s voice.

She’s a bit fatarse long haired grey cat, and she’s now happy to just waltz inside if I open the door (or she walks in the back sliding door), and my cat has retreated to the top floor in protest. I guess she’s smaller than the grey fatarse, so it’s understandable. They also fight through the glass of the window next to the front door. I’m not sure what either of them think they’re going to achieve but it entertains them.

I’ll take a photo of her next time she comes looking for food during the day, so you can see her in her glory. She’s quite a beautiful creature, but she’s got a bit of a temper for an outside cat. I tried to encourage her to go back outside by walking out with the food, and she hisses at me.

I pour some food in her outside-cat-dish, and she took a swipe at my leg. I guess I didn’t get whatever message she had… I do feel sorry for her though, but my cat comes first, and the house is her territory so I can’t let her inside and pet her too much.