Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lisa Defazio THE CITY SHARPS Have You Got a Minute PART TWO

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lisa Defazio THE Unofficial Ambassador of Everything

I have grown up in Melbourne Victoria where the cuisine is world renown and we have a great depth of culinary variety. Our city is vibrant and diverse, so even when I am familiar ground I am thoroughly spoilt. My comparison when I travel is...
'Is as good as I can get at home?' 

I love to cook, fine dining and occasionally fast food but of course it must be good. Often a meal can be one of the more memorable markers of traveling or life in general. I will never forget the Lobster Pasta I enjoyed at the Grossi Restaurant when it was in Eltham many many years ago - little did I know that the restauranteur would go on to be a hugely respected and famed chef. I had my unconventional 21st at Florentino's as it was known in the day. I think I managed to confuse my friends but the Spinach Gnocchi was divine.

Word of mouth is very powerful - I have taken some ordinary advice but upon reflection it was from a person far removed from me, we were after different things. The good meaning individual sent me off for a wonderful afternoon of shopping that turned out to be cheap knock offs and a less than desirable food court in Thailand. No harm done - what I can tell you is what I have found to be remarkable in the many places I have been. you can see my instagram profile lisadefazzio for examples of what delights or excites me.

Culture is a subjective experience, I do not long for the mundane. I want to know the people, see the back streets hear some back stories. Find the proverbial hidden gem and I seem to have a nose for it. There was a wonderful little cafe I found in Sapporo called Eamon's Chouchou that had charming smiley cutlery that was so full of character it is still in my head today. Then there is the local fare like that found at No 35, Attica, UAE, B'stilla Cantina to name a few.

Art, fashion, food, retro reflections, interviews and my fabulous friends. Subscribe to my youtube channel 
It is about to get very interesting!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Date Night at Vue De Monde Melbourne

Date nights are always great and I love an excuse to dress up so with my best plastic and cheap jewellery which I adore, my perfect 70's vintage bag, Chocolate and scarlet shoes and a nifty little number I picked up a while ago I headed out into the chilly Melbourne weather to destination unknown...I love a nice surprise. I always carry a compact and this is my fav' from Shiseido which gives a lovely matt finish and a freshly pressed handkerchief - be prepared.
What I was not prepared for was to dine at Shannon Bennett's Vue De Monde - the exclusive assess begins with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory like entrance via lift from there it is all a little bit lovely. The restaurant has an incredible cellar with some very rare vintages. Expert Sommelier Anthony is a virtual wealth of information and enjoys sharing his passion, I love seeing people truly love their vocation. It was an unexpected delight to learn the heratige behind this 1969 bottle.
The view the restaurant offers perched above the Rialto is quite extraordinary and must be seen to be appreciated. 
Everything is part of the theatre and delight - be warned if eating offal and native animals offend you might need to let staff know. I only shied from one dish alone this image is the beginning of the degustation experience which was an enlightening culinary ride. The staff who attended us the very warm and attentive Natasha, Rachelle and Anthony made the experience inviting and made me want to revisit the restaurant before the evening was over. I have worked in service and this team gets it so right. One thing I also would urge you to do is try the Tasmanian Black finely ground Pepper it is full of flavour and naitve notes I adored this love love!
You can see the MENU here. I enjoyed the Champagne and the Rose'. 
You can book online and when you get there tell them Lisa sent you Cheers! http://www.vuedemonde.com.au/

Then you can always take a little peice back home with you.

I hear there is no need to make reservations for Live Jazz at the Lui Bar every Sunday
...is it Sunday yet?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Have You Got a Minute? Interview with Fletch from Classic Resto's

It is no secret I love vintage and classic cars so it will come as no surprise that I have spent many hours watching CLASSIC RESTO'S with Fletch as the host.

I have marvelled as he weaves his way through the myriad of cars and I love that he shows no bias. From heavy movers to panel vans and everything in-between. From the small car shows here in interesting outback towns to huge events based in the United States Fletch informs and educates and lets us get to know the people. You learn about the vehicle and more importantly the owners story which he highlights so well.

Recently I got to meet Fletch for the first time while appearing on Classic Resto's at the Showcars of Melbourne event. We discussed the Richard Zocchi fully customised 1960 Dodge Pioneer I get to love and drive with my partner. With its pink velour interior and exquisite lines highlighted by paint work by Art Himsel in two tone Malibu Pink with a gold pearl overlay the car really is remarkable.
Meeting Mark Fletcher was great although I am sure my nerves are evident in the footage.

A few weeks later I got to turn the tables on Mark Fletcher and interviewed him for my youtube show Have You Got a Minute? Where I interview people about their passions and interests. I hope you get to enjoy getting to know Fletch a little better and hear how he shaped his career carving into the show we have all come to know and love.

Fletch also runs tours which sound incredible I am told it gives you exclusive access to are and seldom seen areas - book me in! You can find details of the tours here. 

If you love cars I will be meeting the very lovely Cherie and Richard Zocchi later this month and interviewing them about their incredible contribution to the Custom Car Culture. Please subscribe and share my youtube Channel - you never know who you will meet. See you next time!

You can see the Dodge in motion here!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Put Some Shizzle in Your Drizzle! Vintage Glassware

I do love collection of beautiful objects and price or origin has never been my motivator I don't think anyone could ever accuse me of being a snob and here is proof. This adorable set of glassware is a pretty adhoc and is not extraordinary in anyway but I love it being a reminder of a finer era.

 Check out the very short video and vote yes or no to the hair do - did!
I would love some more signature Jonathan Adler pieces like this little Lion to compliment some of my vintage items they blend in beautifully...and did you note I am looking out for fellow collectors? If you have a friend you might recommend please share the video with them.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


I love shopping vintage as many of you know, there is the thrill of the find the treasure aspect of it that makes it so exciting. Recently I came across a diamond in the rough this tiger print full length dress. I instantly responded to the print and the richness of the colour so I purchased it along with a few other things from Take 2 markets which always offer up some goodness.
The amount of the garish print was overwhelmingly costume like although I think Florence Welsh might rock it, for my every day or night out I would have to work on this. 
The side seams were crooked and I suspect the previous owner had closed long side slits.
I had a vision it could look more like this, more current and wearable with staying true to some aspects of the original design.

Here is a sketch of the work required to take the basic sack like design to something that would suit my figure type.
I need fitted and a certain length or I quadruple in size, I am tall with square shoulders and can look large if I don't wear a fitted garment, so these are the steps I took to retro fit it.

I would recommend the following guidelines as I have learned the hard way...

  • Try the garment on with the heel height you intend to wear it with especially when deciding on the hem length.
  • Align the darts - measure measure measure. 
  • Always cut hems 6cm longer than required - if you cut it too short it is all over and you won't wear it. If you do happen to cut it too short you can use a facing but this becomes arduous and is no fun - I like immediate results.
  • Make alterations less than you think then keep taking in as required, if you are too aggressive with the alterations and unpicking is needed this is never ideal and can damage the garment.
  • Keep trying on and refining as you go.
  • Use good scissors invest in a large pair of tailors shears one smooth cut is brilliant and once you get use to the weight and size you can use the tips for fine cutting - you will thank me trust me.
  • Check your iron setting before you give the garment a final press - start with a cool iron, gone are the days of heavy pressing and be warned some synthetics melt onto the iron and this destroys your unique find and your iron - very ruining.
  • Keep offcuts.
Once you have tried the garment on a number of times and refined the fit and given it a final press you can head out in your unique find.
I love this dress and have made a video on my youtube channel about this project - hop over here give it a watch and subscribe! I think I will wear it with my tan boots and a fitted black jacket or cardigan for  work and some really clashy heels and accesories when I head out perhaps magenta or cobalt blue shoes. See you on the Retro side and thanks for reading!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Phi Phi Islands - Day Six Diving

I love nature and after seeing it all around me I was ready to dive in literally - take me to the ocean the wide beautiful glistening waters and the lush islands I had been seeing. The film The Island with Leonardo Di Caprio impressed upon me all those years ago - take me there. If Leo was lucky and still there he might get to spot me in my bikini.
I had a clutch of pamphlets that I had read through and explored trip advisor but was still unsure of what tour might be best, so I headed to the tour desk at the Pullman Phuket and was advised me to take the  Siam Adventure World Tours Phi Phi Island tour. Transfers were included and the hotel packed a gourmet breakfast to go ready for the 6.20 am pick up. With an ample supply of sunscreen my wide brimmed hat I was off! The Royal Marina Phuket was a real surprise it is well disguised and is a complete contrast to the outer surrounds. Manicured and opulent grounds open onto the marina and a series of high end residential complexes and homes. The tour group was friendly and has us on board the speedboat before we knew it.

After a pretty uneventful hour in a speed boat it happened - it all happened. I will let the images speak for themselves.
This was our first stop and yes it was where The Beach was filmed I took the option of the short inland walk and discovered what was at the end of this steep ladder and this tiny hut shrine it resembled a dolls house in size.
The view was worth the short climb
A traditional long tail boat
Why do we lock ourselves up in offices and houses all day when there is so to much see? A family of sharks swam past me beautiful to see. Strange how safe these waters felt compared to Australian oceans where you can be gobbled up or stung by all manner of things on our chilly waters.
This was a great tour for many reasons the size of the group the uncrowded beaches - the respect for wildlife and the environment. The food... I will never forget eating fresh pineapple pieces in the lagoon, the Thai buffet with divine fish sauce we enjoyed on the beach, the heart shaped watermelon pieces to refresh the palate afterwards and all the while stopping off to dive and swim in the warmest ocean water I have ever experienced. The zero footprint, the fact that these guys collected rubbish and debris from the ocean floor whilst working. Nothing was disposable on this tour apart from the drink containers, the company used real cutlery and plates etc. I have long made it a habit of cleaning beaches that I visit it is not hard and I saw an amazing lizard while doing so resembling a miniature Alligator.

This young guy stole my heart - he was made for his job as underwater photographer and assistant to the crew. The entire team was great and I felt envy for their lifestyle and occupation. I can't wait to dive again. 
 Siam Adventure World

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day Four - Patong...

Another gorgeous day in Phuket and I am looking for the more typical experience and am off to Patong. Busy busy Patong very tourist driven, lots of bars, shopping, entertainment and real estate for sale in tiny shop fronts that were more like cubicles, while it was great to see seeing Bangla Rd once was enough it was pretty hectic. I found it to be like Rye carnival on steroids.
There are lots of bars and entertainment I can see how this might appeal to a younger market. Groups of friends hitting the town out to have fun. The Aussie themed bars were something I chose to avoid. So yes I did the fishy feet thing and I loved it, while others squealed I blissed out. But as for riding elephants and watching animal acts I chose not to. If I were traveling with children I recommend a day visit and leave the after hours for the over eighteens. A quick visit then off to Juncelon for families I would say.
The large shopping complex called Jungcelon is in the heart of Patong that has numerous restaurants and offers both traditional and western options, of note was the Ramen Burger and the Almond Choco balls which I would imagine to be a lot like Nutella Nuggets. Nom nom!
Speaking of taste I did discover a new fashion store I fell in love with JASPAL tiny sizes though I just squeezed into the large. Lovely lovely accessories and well planned options and colours,very elegant great price point and as I found after returning to Australia a Thai company. I picked up some wonderful shorts but will have to wait a whole season for summer to roll around before I can wear them would have loved to have snagged this range and the quirky applique dress it's just perfect.   

So in a land of diversity I decided to head back to The Pullman Phuket for dinner where I indulged in a two course a la cart dinner. From food court to fine dining whats not to love? So back to the room for a quick shower and change then a cocktail before dining.
I packed light - new blog on whether my planning worked or not coming soon. This is the view from the C-bar - I recommend The Pullman Signature containing fresh mint apple and has a sweet and sour zing! Gorgeous and alcohol free very refreshing and hydrating after a long hot day. 

I chose an a la carte two course dinner at Elements restaurant.
'All Day Dining will showcase fusion delicacies and the fine traditions of Thai and Western cuisine.'
Can I just say everything did taste as good as it looks. The appetiser was a standout for me Chicken Beef and Prawn cooked three ways, don't get me wrong the Fish in Mango sauce was incredible as was the Curry Chicken. I live in Melbourne the unchallenged food capital of Australia and as such I eat well every day - this place does not fail. The Food Court was fun but...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day Three Phuket Paradise

Morning coffee here at one of the infinity pool seating areas and a nap in the cabana chair before choosing how to spend the day. Nai Thon Beach which is literally minutes so I finally decided to wrench myself away from the resort to see the actual beach and what a sweet sight it was. This is a snap shot from here you can see the resort on the hill.
These nifty little doorless cars make a lot of sense in this place!
It is quite warm here and the Pullman Phuket offers free shuttles to Nai Thon beach which is a little back water dotted with massage and food offerings, diving from a traditional long tail and lovely white sand and pale turquoise ocean. Seconds later I was stepping into the warmest ocean water I have every experienced swimming was divine and grabbed a meal from one of the local street traders.
These women are using a mortar and pestle more herbs and nuanced flavour than a lot of restaurants - just wonderful. Lovely accommodating people too ensuring we had the right drinks despite the language barrier. This food was purchased opposite the green money exchange store front on the beach where the shuttle car dropped me off - it was a lovely way to wait for the car to collect me.

Back to the Resort shower and refresh with some snacks and a Rose before dinner.
Then off to Vero the Italian Restaurant on the upper level for the first time.
Very cool romantic place with illuminated menus. The food was divine I has scallops with truffle oil and then buffalo mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil stack. My partner had the Gnocchi with mushrooms which was a whole other taste journey.
Gorgeous food and atmosphere polished off with a glass of Lemonchello and that was how my day drew to an end just sublime.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day Two Phuket Pullman - Thailand Redefined

There is a difference between a #hashtag and a face, a label and an icon and I think I may have just found both at The Pullman Phuket Arcadia Nai Thon Beach where we experience life face to face and icons are created. There is just so much about this place that impresses me.

The resort is 40 - 50 minutes away from Patong but is a world away. This is Thailand re imagined and I think it is a beautiful elegant redefining of a tranquil paradise that the world has been waiting for this is Phuket and Thailand at its best.
My morning started with a personal Yoga class on the roof top of the gym surrounded by an incredible vista of the rolling hills and the bays, whether my head or tail was up or down every view was phenomenal - that was day two at the Pullman Phuket it looked a little something like this...there were two of us and the instructor nice and private.
Then onto breakfast the award winning breakfast buffet - delicious and caters for every taste from pastries and traditional offerings to exotic fare - unbelievably good!
Then there is the view - day two and no desire to leave this resort its sprawling natural beauty just keeps offering more up at every turn.
I can see the beach but at present it can not compete with this place - perhaps tomorrow I will make it there. There is so much to share and I can only speak from experience and from the heart when I say this place really must be experienced to be believed. More tomorrow x

Monday, April 6, 2015

One Day in Paradise - Kuala Lumpur and Phuket Pullman

There is something between booking a trip and the experience it is the unknown. Within that space may lie anything from unarticulated expectation to inaccurate marketing messages and overblown promises. I recently booked a trip on line through a third party better known as webjet.

Hotels usually come with a reputation many of which precede them. One knows what to expect when booking at one of the Hilton or Sheraton Hotels where a certain level of service and luxury is an expectation that is almost guaranteed. They promise to deliver and in my experience do. This is one of the key reasons I have chosen them as a preferred brand for my accommodation stays. Which brings me to my recent choice of establishment The Pullman Phuket Arcadia.

I have never been to Thailand and was perhaps a little cynical about the destination after all it is a very common holiday choice for Australian travellers. With little expectation and a little research post booking I set off for my 8 night Thailand experience. Like I said I was a little cynical - I couldn't picture myself doing the typical Thai experience but the package was perfect for my requirements and I took the plunge via Kuala Lumpur.

Melbourne to Kualar Lumpur 9 short hours a fantastic 9 hour stop over there where I managed to very easily store my hand luggage, jump on the express train, get a metered cab to The Petronas Towers, had a tour of the towers and may I say to my delight KL really offered up some really interesting architecture a mix of brutalist, 60's modernist and wonderful 70's delights, tucked underneath the Petronas Towers is a fabulous blend of shopping that is world standard - the Chocolate dipped potato chips particularly caught my eye in the lower good court along with some fabulous shoes and boutiques.
Petronas Tower

Fascinating mix of architecture in Kuala Lumpur
I had some amazing Malaysian food and then headed to the Lake Symphony’s dancing fountains and KLCC Park (a free family friendly water park) to lie on the grass and watch families at play. May I say I found the Uniforms very dapper and impressive in KL might have to capture them on my way back home. I meet so many lovely people in that short time - a very friendly city.
Walking from Petronas towers to KLCC park I am dwarfed by the towering trees of the park
Back to the airport collect hand luggage an hour and 15 minutes later I landed in Phuket...wardrobe Tropical Pack Hack working thus far - but that's a blog for a later date.
OH MY! I knew my transfers were organised and that I had chosen a really lovely place to stay full stop - I have done all that before and it is pleasant but usually a pretty pedestrian experience but not this time. I was greeted by an elegantly dressed woman warmly and professionally and so the journey begins. A very short car ride that includes ambient music, drinking water and captivating scenery that is like a fast forward of iconic imagery flashes before you as you are taken to the resort.

The entrance to the Pullman Phuket Arcadia belies not of its secrets tall dark walls and signage greet you and from there it is all just a little bit wonderful.

There is nothing like the disappointment of a film everyone has raved about so I wont rave too much, this really is a place that has to be experienced first hand. What I will do is tell you is a little bit about my stay. I have been here less than 24 hours and I think I have fallen in love and I think it's with this place.
This is called checking in here - seriously - no exaggeration required.

Loved finding beautiful surprises like lovely navy Chambray robes, Umbrellas and a gorgeous beach bag complete with sumptuous beach towels. the well lit space for your luggage and large mirrors - brilliant!

 I must say this space invites you - I am so looking to writing here and sharing this experience - stay tuned more tomorrow!