“My Fair Lady” in Melbourne

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It was through my love of Audrey Hepburn that I first discovered the classic American film My Fair Lady (1964) directed by George Cukor. I instantly adored it and have wanted to see the live musical version ever since.


Background

Based on the play by Bernard Shaw entitled Pygmalion and with the dream of Gabriel Pascal to turn it into a musical, lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe brought My Fair Lady the musical to life. Taking audiences on a grand melodic journey on Broadway in 1956 for a sensational 2,717 performance run, the lead female role of Eliza Doolittle went to the young and talented rising star, Julie Andrews, and the lead male role to seasoned theatrical actor, Rex Harrison, who won the Academy Award for his performance in the film version, with the Warner Bros film also taking out the Best Picture of the Year category in 1965. The Broadway version was followed by a hit London production (running for 5.5 years at the Theatre Royal) and the musical eventually reached Australian audiences by 1959, playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne to high acclaim.

Synopsis

The story is set in London in the year 1912. Eliza Doolittle, a common flower-girl from the lower classes meets phonetician Professor Henry Higgins outside Covent Garden one night. He makes a bet with fellow language expert, Colonel Pickering, that he can transform Eliza into a duchess at the embassy ball, teaching her to speak proper English and to behave like a lady who can then work as a shop assistant at a flower shop. Through their ups and downs, the audience is able to witness her transformation and gain insight into British classes, gender politics and social values of the time, all within a light-hearted sense of comedy and playfulness.


Dame Julie Andrews directs this very special diamond jubilee production, which broke box-office records at the Sydney Opera House when it played there in 2016. Last month the beautiful production hit Melbourne’s Regent Theatre where it will continue until July 29th. Don’t miss your chance to see it!

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My Experience

First of all, the majestic Regent Theatre is a breathtaking place to hold such a special show. The organisers and everyone involved should be praised for their choice of venue and everything about this musical production. The interiors of the Regent Theatre are simply spectacular and I was pleasantly transported to the class of creativity seen in Barcelona earlier this year whilst on holidays there. The exquisite detailing, lavish furnishings and luxurious fittings leading up to and inside the main concert hall were elegant and set the mood nicely. Photography was allowed prior to the start of the show only. The lights went out and the live orchestra began the Overture, entertaining us with short renditions of all the main musical numbers we were about to hear play out on stage. The curtain opened and I immediately knew that we were in for a delightful night of heartfelt, glorious music accompanying the amazing performances from the cast and the hardworking crew backstage.

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In this wonderful 60th anniversary production it is also worth mentioning that as a world first, director Dame Julie Andrews teamed up with the associates and former staff of the original set designer Oliver Smith and costume designer Cecil Beaton to recreate the original look of the musical of 1956. Audiences are able to come face-to-face with designs from both these visionaries in the upper and lower foyers before the show and during the short interval.

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Piece by piece the audience were delighted by music that makes the heart sing. The vocal performances of the Melbourne cast were incredible. The role of Professor Higgins was played ever-so-brilliantly by Charles Edwards and Anna O’Byrne’s Eliza Doolittle almost brought me to tears because of my connection and love of Audrey Hepburn. There were revolving sets, wonderful lighting and sound effects, and even a surprise on stage that no one was expecting but was always intended for the original Broadway production.

My favourite part would definitely have to be the immaculate Ascot Racecourse scene where the curtain opens to reveal a cast of men and women all dressed in black and white attire at the famous London horse race. The attention to detail on the hats and gowns of the women and the charm of the men with their suits, still gives me such a thrill just thinking about it. They sing an opening number and then we are introduced to the beautifully transformed Eliza Doolittle, now a lady with confidence and poise, who converses with other race-goers about the weather and everyone’s health. Once the horse race starts though, her cockney upbringing comes to the foreground and audiences are laughing out loud uncontrollably as she cheers for her horse, Dover, to win the race. I love it!

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I enjoyed this production immensely and couldn’t stop smiling for the entire duration of the show! I would like to thank Dame Julie Andrews and everyone involved (notably Opera Australia and John Frost) for bringing this musical to life for younger generations like mine who only came to know it from the film version. Having one of your favourite musicals play out right in front of you is an unforgettable experience that I will always cherish.

My Fair Lady is a masterpiece.


Tickets are available through Ticketmaster but are selling fast.

Guest Post – Mishka Mail by Graceful Avenue

Presenting our Q and A with Zara from Zaracreates Blog…

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Today I’d like to introduce you to Naira, founder of creative stationery business, Graceful Avenue. She’s here to talk about her label’s monthly subscription box service called Mishka Mail, which started in August 2016 and will end with the July issue next month.

So pour yourself a cup of tea and escape for a few minutes into the world of Graceful Avenue and Naira’s passion for all things stationery.

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Hi everyone! A big thanks to Zara for featuring me on her blog today. Throughout this post you’ll be seeing photographs of Mishka Mail’s February kit with the theme “Wonders of Travel”. Over these last 11 issues I approached my fellow bloggers to review Mishka Mail for every single month and very soon all the reviews from our past kits will be posted on our website for you to read. For now you can just Google the term: “Mishka Mail”

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For the love of Snail Mail

I have a confession to make. Apart from owning my own stationery label I’m also a massive stationery fan with a stash of postcards, cute stickers, patterned washi tapes, greeting cards and funky envelopes all waiting to be used up when an opportunity presents itself. Luckily for me I absolutely love the art of writing letters and usually end up using store-bought items as well as my own creations in my outgoing snail mail to friends.

Snail Mail

We live in a technological age where it has become the norm to send instant text messages, emails and social media posts out into the world. This simplifies our fast-paced lives and ensures we’re always connected. Everything happens in the blink of an eye. For me there’s something so special about sending out a message in the old form of a letter. I love spending my spare time just sitting down with a cup of tea in the garden, pen in hand, filling the page with all the events of life that occurred in the time since our last correspondence and describing everything there is to look forward to in the future. There’s a great deal of therapeutic value in the art of handwriting your thoughts on paper to a friend half way across the globe. Have you tried it yet? It’s truly so much fun!

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Thankfully there’s still plenty of love for this tangible form of communication. On Instagram there are great hashtags such as #snailmailrevolution and #sendmoremail going around. Indeed many of my penpals and I still rely on the instant messaging service within Instagram to communicate to each other when we send or receive a letter. I don’t think I could’ve ever had the patience to write letters in the good old days.

In many ways we are fortunate to live in the 21st century but I just hate the thought of imagining email replacing handwritten correspondence the way the keyboard I’m currently typing on replaced the classic typewriter and the way in which e-cards are slowly replacing actual greeting cards in the mailbox. We can’t let this happen.

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I encourage you (yes YOU!) to help us revive the snail mail movement. I can’t vouch for the online post-crossing websites many people use because I managed to find all my penpals via Instagram, but if you’re passionate about putting pen to paper, send someone a letter today and you’ll know just how good it feels to send as well as receive one back. It can be a simple thank you card, a declaration of love for your better half or a creative masterpiece to a friend. Have fun with it!

Oh and if you’re so inclined to buy your stationery from me and support my small business, I’ll be eternally grateful. Visit our brand new Online Shop here.

Happy mailing!

Stationery Addict

ZenPop Stationery Review

There are so many things to love about Japan. Today I’d like to introduce you to ZenPop, a Japanese company that sends the coolest products from the heart of Osaka to anywhere in the world. While it sounds like a subscription-style service, it isn’t. You can purchase individual packs each month without knowing exactly what’s included (because it’s a surprise!) but ZenPop do showcase a few products on social media and hint about the contents on their website.

ZenPop Box

There are 6 packs to choose from and all prices are in US Dollars and include shipping:

  • Japanese Ramen + Sweets Mix ($24.50)
  • Japanese Sweets Pack ($19.50 – $29.50)
  • Japanese Ramen Pack ($29.50)
  • Japanese Stationery Pack ($29.50)
  • Japanese Beauty Pack ($29.50)

I bought the Japanese Stationery Pack for the month of April with a “Kawaii” or cute theme, which promised 12 or more items.

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The box in which the products arrived was so cute and featured the ZenPop bunny mascot jumping for joy! Inside the box the first thing seen was a little note which said “You got a lucky box with a pair of lucky socks” and of course a smile instantly came to my face.

What a sweet gesture!

Now let’s explore the actual products inside the Stationery Pack. The April kit included:

  • 1x Decorese Pen (1 of 10 pastel colours)
  • 1x Kuretake – Mangaka Pen (1 of 4 colours)
  • 1x Uni Jetstream Pen – Black ink
  • 1x Kuratake Brush Tip Highlighter (1 of 5 fluorescent colours)
  • Washi Tape (1 of 5 designs)
  • Sanrio Memo Pad (1 of 6 designs)
  • Rilakkuma Folder (1 of 4 designs)
  • Schedule Stickers (1 of 3 designs)
  • Nico Sticky Notes (1 of 4 designs)
  • Bento Flake Stickers
  • Tombow MONO 2 Way (1 of 5 colours)
  • Flip Out Message Cards

ZenPop StationeryPen Examples

The items included were all so cute and useful too. I’ll certainly be using the pages of the Sanrio notepad to write letters to penpals and the sushi stickers to decorate the envelopes! All the pens were great and wrote ever-so-beautifully on paper. The washi tape was certainly a highlight as was the gorgeous Rilakkuma folder. Can’t wait to also use the MONO correction tape on one side and eraser on the other!

Overall, I loved the ZenPop Stationery Pack. All the products were of very high quality and with a large variety of inclusions from stickers to sticky notes, paper, washi tape and pens. No two boxes are the same as there are endless colour and design combinations ZenPop sends you. It took just under 4 weeks to arrive to Australia from Japan but it was so worth the wait. For all the info on ZenPop’s other packs please visit their website here and try something new from Japan for yourself.

In Detail



Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this review are 100% honest. This box was purchased by me and I genuinely loved all the products and wanted to publish a review here.

Architecture of Barcelona

PasseigBarcelona is the city that forever has my heart. I have so many stories and so many ideas for future blog posts about that special place but for today’s post we’re going on a virtual trip to this Mediterranean gem of a city to explore some of the architectural details that make it so unbelievably beautiful. Walking through the different parts of Barcelona such as El Born, Eixample and Gracia, you see a myriad of stunning doors, windows, balconies, roofs and facade details. If I had all the time in the world and I could stand and appreciate each apartment block in the city, I’d walk away very happy.

Stationery Giveaway

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Friends, if you follow any of our social media networks you would have heard that we are holding a GIVEAWAY and a pack of our original stationery is about to leave the studio and fly to a surprise destination anywhere in the world. With the total value exceeding $55AUD, it’s the perfect prize for any paper and snail mail lover and features stationery from past and future Mishka Mail kits.

One lucky winner will receive:

4 Greeting Cards
2 Wall Prints
6 Stickers
2 Postcards
2 Gift Tags
1 Mini Card
1 Magnet
Confetti

You have just 4 days left to ENTER, so hurry and please show your support to Danielle of “See, Shop, Love!” for hosting this giveaway and reviewing March’s Mishka Mail kit.

Good luck!

Adele’s Melbourne Show

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Imagine you’re one of a record 77,300 Adele fans waiting to enter Etihad Stadium on a balmy Sunday night. There’s barely a breeze but plenty of insects in the air. The gates open exactly on time and you’re finally within a couple of hours of seeing your idol on stage for the first time in your life. Upon entering you see her beautiful closed eyes and that’s when you realise that the night is finally here and tonight your dreams will come true.

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After a few mexican waves go around, the crowd begins to cheer and roar with excitement. The circular curtain starts to lift and standing on the stage is the superstar that is Adele. She’s real. She’s actually here and is within reach. The atmosphere is electric. The visuals on the screen have now changed to her beautiful open eyes and then she starts to sing – “Hello, it’s me…”

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Wearing a dark pink sequined gown, she sparkles like a diamond as she makes her way around the stage. Delivering note-for-note perfection with each song, she entertains the crowd with a mix of music from all her chart-topping albums. She simply is unstoppable and 100% believable.

Adele is flawless in her performances but seeing her live, you also get to see the other side to her. The completely unedited version, raw and free to speak her mind. She isn’t trying to be anyone but herself. She swears a fair bit. She complains about the insects and the fact that the almost 30-degree heat is causing her make-up to sweat off her face. She reveals that she’s very emotional as it’s her final show in Australia and she doesn’t want to leave yet. This was her first tour Down Under after all.

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Seeing Adele live at a show like this really is something. She has a great sense of humour and seems to be very honest and direct. The crowd was completely hooked on her words not only during the songs but also in between the music. She got a fan up on stage and there was a surprise proposal. She offered parenting advice to couples going through a divorce. She gave some insights into what she was going through when she wrote particular songs and how terrified she was of shooting clips in a tank of water for the on-screen visuals shown during the concert. She told us that she’s the happiest she’s ever been. She shot a few T-shirts out into the audience along with $20 notes so winners can buy themselves a drink. Her handwritten lyrics and messages launched into the air as confetti and fireworks lit up the stage. Adele was on fire and we were with her every step of the way.

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Last night was magical. From the brilliant visuals on the screen to the powerhouse vocals, Adele left Melbourne wanting more. She exited the stage holding a cuddly koala toy presented to her by a fan. Last night was a night many who attended will never forget, as one of the world’s most influential performers with once-in-a-generation talent entertained us like no one ever has. Indeed there will never be another Adele.

Barcelona Has My Heart

When I arrived in Barcelona just over a week ago, I couldn’t believe I was finally here again. Almost every day for the past four years I had spoken about my deep desire to return to the Catalan capital and after a long 22-hour flight from Australia, I was finally on European soil once again, and it felt good!

There’s something about Barcelona that just lights up my soul and makes me unequivocally happy. When I walk its streets, I feel at home. When I think about where I am right now, I’m filled with so much zest for life. Barcelona brings out the best in me and I can’t wait to call this place home one day. The locals, the architecture, creativity and culture of this city all make Barcelona a shining beacon of light in my eyes. No other city in the world quite compares.