Darwin Blog

The Festival aka My Birthday
Monday, 28 April, 2008, 6:46 am
Filed under: Observations, Overrated

I recently celebrated my birthday and it is often referred to in my household as being the Festival of Miranda.  Except this year it appeared to be more of a carnival.

Most years we go away and believe me, it seems to be the least stressful way for me to celebrate.  I am also adamant about being treated as a bit of a “princess”, as it is the only day of the year that is truly mine – never mind Mother’s Day (my mother gets all the kudos here) and Christmas (well I am so busy organising everyone else to have a great day, I’m not that important).

So I thought my two boys, that I live my life for and who know me so well, would put a great deal of effort in.  Well, quite the contrary!

Whilst out shopping the weekend prior, I found a cookbook that I would use and bought it to assist the boys in the gift department as my number one and only son was adamant he was buying me a cookbook.  I don’t believe in buying books to leave them sitting on a bookshelf, so it was important I got one that I would use.

My husband told me that he and my son were also going shopping for another small gift as a surprise.  On the eve of the Festival, I discovered that they did no such thing and the only thing I was receiving was the cookbook – that I bought for myself.  I can’t explain the disappointment I felt for the lack of effort on both their behalfs.

To add to the torment, we went to dinner at a fave restaurant but the boys were ooohhing and aaahhhing over the dishes they would have and with three people, there is only so much you can order – let me remind you, it is my Festival!  They did not book the restaurant.  To add insult to injury, my son decided to wear thongs, because he has heaps of times and we were not allowed to sit inside to eat our meal, but had to sit al fresco with the fumes from car exhausts.

Then on the Saturday night my best friend (she is that because she is low maintenance.  In fact at the moment, she is so low maintenance I better check what she is up to – way too quiet for my liking!) cooked a beautiful roast meal.  It was kinda of last minute, because my husband thought it would be a great idea to invite some friends around for dinner to celebrate the Festival.  He suggested that he cook roast meat the night before and serve cold meat, salads and bread rolls for dinner.  I was just not in the mood to cook a gourmet meal.  I’d lost my oomph!

I’m afraid at my Festival, I was not in the mood for cold meat and salad.  So back to dinner at my girlfriend’s house.  She is an amazing cook, my son was offical photographer and took some lovely photos throughout the evening, including me blowing out the candles on the cup cakes, that I made myself that afternoon.

Well towards the end of the night, my delightful son and his father were wearing each other’s nerves a bit thin, when somehow my son deleted all the lovely pictures taken.  Dinner was over quite quickly and upon arriving home I declared the whole Festival thing over for 2008.

You see, in our household it is known as a Festival because I often celebrate my birthday well and truly over a couple of weeks.  I just felt so much was going wrong that there was no point in prolonging.

Guess what, next year we will definately go away.


Saturday, 1 March, 2008, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Overrated


I have a girlfriend who loves meeting me here on a Saturday morning for coffee.

Apart from the staff having a real attitude, the place is absolutely filthy.  See the staff’s attitude in serving you is reflected in the fact that they obviously think it is beneath them to clean up after the patrons leave.

It has trendy Italian resin gelatti coloured chairs along the pavement and canteen style tables and outdoor furniture in the inside.  None of it has ever been clean each time I have been here, even first thing in the morning.  The leather lounges always have crumbs on them. The staff themselves look like they sleep the night there – they too don’t look to crash hot.

I haven’t eaten here, except for raisin toast – thought it was a safe option.  The hot chocolate is average – not a big coffee drinker.  Have resorted to having juice the last few times, again just easier and safer.

Another thing – they are really noisy when making coffees – they bang and crash the crockery – very annoying and not conducive to a cafe environment.  It is meant to be relaxing.

Anyway the next coffee/ catch up, ain’t going to be here I promise you – I guess I better email her and make a date.

Saturday, 1 March, 2008, 1:24 pm
Filed under: No Longer With Us, Overrated


This store in Parap for those under 5, is a huge success – it wouldn’t have survived this long, if it wasn’t.

Why has it survived, well there is a growing demographic of new money in this town, you know the children of Greek, Asian and other migrants and their offspring.  Whilst those with this newly acquired wealth were brought up with parents that had more sense than money, it appears to be the opposite for those that choose to shop at this store.

For a  start they sell Osk Kosh at a huge mark up.  Funny thing is Big W is now selling the brand.  But really, these trendy new breed of yummy mummies could not bear the thought of, let alone be seen buying something for their child to wear from a lowly department store like Big W, god forbid!

I often wander into Bambini Glam to have a look and marvel at the prices that they get away with charging.  As I travel enough overseas, I buy all my sons clothes when travelling – less chance of turning up anywhere wearing the same shirt etc as anyone else.  I can certainly tell you that even though I purchase “branded” items such as Ralph Lauren Polo for him – I certainly do not pay the prices they charge at Bambini Glam.

Bambini Glam has survived because it is the place to be seen purchasing something for your under 5 year old, whether it is a singlet or a whole suite of furniture to a tee pee tent!

Worth a look to gasp, but honestly, unless you have money to burn because you are bored, are a shopaholic, or are more interested in people think, I wouldn’t bother paying these prices.

The Essential Ingredient
Wednesday, 2 January, 2008, 8:25 am
Filed under: Overrated


This shop is often mentioned in many publications such as Inside Out, Home Beautiful etc etc.

It is a foodie shop with a great collection of fabulous and trendy things for the kitchen and an amazing cookbook collection for sale.

Whilst this shop has a bit of a legend status, whilst wondering around I quickly relaised that many of the items at this store were available at Peters of Kensington and Victoria’s Basement at much cheaper prices.

I enjoyed walking around the store, which we found by accident when trying to hail down a cab!  Did we buy anything – no.

Not somewhere that I would race to in a hurry, but obviously caters for a certain crowd or it wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has.

Monday, 25 June, 2007, 1:06 am
Filed under: No Longer With Us, Overrated

Yesterday, I think we ate at Darwin’s filthiest cafe.

After a morning of looking at various bits of furniture for our new deck, we felt a bit peckish.  We drove into Ben’s Bakehouse for a nice hot pie, but they were closed.  We suspect for the Supercars.  When will people realise that there are some of us who are so not into the Supercars!

Anyway we decided to park at the Mitchell Centre and go to the Coffee Club.  We have eaten here before, but one thing we notice is that the cafe is never clean.  There is also an abundance of flies both inside and out which really turns me off eating.  We chose not to eat at the Coffee Club, but wonder down the street to a cafe called Tonic.

This cafe was originally opened by friends of ours, Anna and Zoli and was called About Coffee.  It was a great place to eat, was always crowded and had a great atmosphere.  They have since left Darwin some time ago and the cafe became Tonic – it may have had another life before this one.

We walked in and took a table, sat down and order a flat white and a mocha.  It was then we noticed how filthy the establishment was.  We had already ordered and felt somewhat obliged to stay.  The tables were grubby, some wiped down, others not.  The chairs had all sorts of goo on them.  One looked as though it had bits of butter on it.  One of the chairs at our table looked like a cup of coffee was dropped near it, splattered all over the back of it, but was never cleaned.

Our breakfast came.  We order just ordinary bacon and eggs and that was overcooked.  It became clear that the staff were very keen to close the kitchen and go home.  Nothing like being rushed through a meal.  Why open at all!

While eating our breakfast we took in some other elements of the cafe such as the windows.  It would be fair to say that the windows hadn’t been cleaned for at least six months and the amount of smudges and hand prints etc on the glass was quite off putting.  In addition, the floor – if it had been swept let alone mopped in recent times, I would be surprised.  I wouldn’t dare order anything from the cake cabinet, as the outside and inside of the cabinet hadn’t seen a spot of hot water or Spray ‘n Wipe!

This cafe had no reason to look the way it did apart from pure laziness.  Located in Mitchell Street, the hub of Darwin city, you would expect some better standards.  It is fair to say that we WILL NOT ever venture into this cafe again.

.g+h Homewares Gifts Furniture
Wednesday, 21 March, 2007, 9:13 am
Filed under: Overrated


 48 Progress Drive  Nightcliff     Phone:  8948 4002

A newcomer to the homewares scene.  Great space, but probably not being used to its full potential and they do have some of the same things as other homeware retailers, such as Loot.  What I do like about the store, is the asian styled occassional furniture and the fantastic lamps that are designed by Gavin – the “G” in .g+h!  Gavan is an interior designer and definately someone who knows a thing or two about style – he also used to work at Loot.  This shop has heaps of potential and worth checking out ever couple of months.

UPDATE:  Gavin has bought out his partner and the shop is now known as nivagi and has just celebrated its first birthday.  Still has a great selection of items for the home and worth checking out on a monthly basis.  I have just bought two beautiful ceramic vases for my lounge room, which by the way look divine against the teak wood.

UPDATE 2: I dropped into this store on the weekend to check out what new stock had arrived.  It seems the day I went in Gavin seemed to have had his nasty pants on.  Remember, in Darwin you don’t know who has money, what they would spend it on and word of mouth can be lethal.  As for the furniture sold at this store, the same can be purchased at Pebbles Plus for half the price.  It just isn’t glamourous in its presentation as it is stored and sold out of a shed – I think Mr Gavin is being a bit ambitious in his prices when it comes to furniture.  I think I will avoid returning to this store for a while.