ART & DESIGN - Mother's Day Flowers Ideas for Eastside

Don't arrive empty handed. Not this year. We've got the best florists to pop into on your way to any event and get something that will really make an impact. Whether it's nationally acclaimed Pearsons in Darlinghurst  with their bright and colourful arrangements and great selection of orchids, OR Pollon with their rustic and daring displays for the more wild hearted Mums amongst us. 

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There is a special spot in our hearts for Grandiflora in Potts Point and Hermetica in Wooloomooloo whose timeless elegance never fails to impress. This is where to go for a more sophisticated approach.  And we couldn't forget PoHo, whose artistic approach to mixing colours and shapes will have everyone talking long after Mother's Day is over.

EAT & DRINK - Wondering what treats are on offer this Easter in Eastside?

Eastside is flourishing with Easter flair and there are plenty of local eateries with mouthwatering options this long weekend. The best in chocolate eggs, the softest hot cross buns and some scrumptious cocktails are all on the menu.

Flour & Stone have a low GI hot cross bun for those that want the treat without going full cake.

Flour & Stone in Woolloomooloo are serving up little healthier versions of Hot Cross Buns, lower GI and without the fluffy sweet sponge. Plus for those of us who are on the go they offer a little slick of real butter on the top to make it extra special.

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Messina unveils 3 new Easter flavours.

We are so lucky to have not one but TWO Gelato Messina here in Eastside and are spoiled for choice when it comes to arguably the best sweet treat in Sydney. And, of course they have excelled with their latest seasonal range... The Holy Trinity. We are talking three delicious flavours 'Mango Cheesecake', 'Passionfruit White Chocolate' and 'Yellow Peach Vanilla' - let’s hope your Easter Bunny delivers the goods this year!

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Kakawa has 40 new chocolate products.

If you are a chocolate fanatic then get ready for the ultimate indulgence at Kakawa in Darlinghurst. The famous chocolatiers will have up to 40 new products in time for Easter, making it almost impossible to deny yourself the pleasure of treating your taste buds this Long Weekend.  They're a step above the usual Red Tulip foiled numbers so maybe hide them from little hands and keep this slice of holiday luxury to yourself. 

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The Forrester's are doing “Eggspresso” Martinis! 

It always seems like the kids get all the fun at Easter, but not this year. The Forrester's in Surry Hills will be  hosting a grown ups Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday, PLUS there will be  $12 "Eggspresso" martinis all weekend long.  There will be two egg hunts, starting at 12pm & 4pm with live music all afternoon. First to find the Golden Egg will score $200 app credit.  

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Bourke Street Bakery will be selling Hot Cross Loaves this Easter. Get in quick! 

If you are sick of the tiny hot cross buns from your local supermarket and are looking for something with a bit more substance, then look no further than Bourke Street Bakery. They have stores in Surry Hills, Alexandria and Barangaroo, plus in house at Harris Farm Potts Point and we would suggest you arrive nice and early to beat the queues and get yours while they are soft and warm. 

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ART & DESIGN - The Australian Centre of Photography presents 'Plant and Human'

Local institution gallery and education space ACP is currently showcasing their latest exhibition ‘Plant and Human’. A group exhibition featuring works from Helen Pynor, Erica Seccombe, Hayley Millar-Baker and Pony Express. The event is open on Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am to 5pm and Saturdays, 11am to 4pm, running from Friday 15 February to Saturday 27 April 2019.

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In their own words the photographs “considers the intimate connection between humans and the botanical. Each artist approaches their plant subject with intensity to consider the role of ecology in our contemporary lives.” The works are stunning and definitely worth a visit. Whilst you’re already in Foley Street, make sure you check out Spunky Bruiser and their incredible collection of eclectic fashion or head around the corner for a drink at Mister Pocket on Burton Street.

COMMUNITY - There is free yoga in Elizabeth Bay.

Head down to Reginald Murphy Community Centre for an afternoon of breathe work and purposeful movement at the latest community event offering in Elizabeth Bay. Running for the whole of 2019, every Monday from 2pm- 3pm this could be the perfect lunch break for an Eastside local or for the independent traveller in Sydney.

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Taught by a group of experienced local volunteer teachers, the classes are completely free. If you have your own mat they recommend bringing your own, but if you are new to yoga then there are mats available at the community centre.

If you are a yoga fanatic then you might want to check out our wellness article which runs through the best ways to refresh and recharge in Eastside.

EVENTS - Where do you get your laughs from? Here are Eastside's top 5 Comedy Nights.

Eastside is a thriving hub of talent with some who can spin a story that leaves you in stitches. Comedy clubs are scattered across Eastside and as the summer cools off and we head indoors, there’s no better place to be than at your local for a few laughs. Check out these….

  1. Happy Endings Comedy Club - 154 Brougham St, Potts Point

This club is one of the city’s most celebrated comedy venues. With the intimate smokey jazz club vibe, Happy Endings hosts International touring talents as well as local rising stars. Surrounded by the buzzing food and bar culture of Potts Point, this could be the answer to your next night out.

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2. The Forresters ‘Stand OUT Comedy’ - Cnr of Foveaux & Riley St, Surry Hills

The Forrester’s is a fantastic pub, but what makes it better is that every Wednesday you can find up above the bar, a night of comedy called Stand OUT. Featuring sets from the house improv groups, a regular MC and delicious pizza and a great happy hour in the time before hand , there really isn’t much you’re missing out on. Psst!.. If pizza isn’t your thing then the delicious El Loco Mexican is just down the road.

3. Cafe Lounge - 277 Goulburn St, Surry Hills 

Tucked away just off of Oxford Street, the Cafe Lounge is somewhat of an institution. This cafe and bar has become a comedy hub thanks to long-running Monday weekly Comedy Lounge, and more recent Saturday and Sunday weeklies – all booked by Rhys Jones. Take an hour of two away from the bustling Oxford Street for a drink, a laugh and time spent with likeminded locals.

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4. Magic Mic Comedy - 33-35 Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point 

This legendary comedy show is back! They have found a new home at Potts Point Hotel and are showcasing Sydney favourites every Wednesday night. A portion of their ticket sales go to charity each evening and the lineup has featured sets from the likes of Tony Woods (USA), Steve Hofstetter (USA), James Smith (AUS/USA), Andrew Barnett (AUS) and Simon Taylor (AUS/USA). If you love the best of the best when it comes to comedy then Magic Mic is where you should be.

EAT & DRINK - The last days of summer are upon us, here are our favourite gelato spots in Eastside

We are loving the last rays of sunshine as summer comes to an end and there is no better way to put off the inevitable than tucking into a sweet cool gelato. Eastside has a few delicious spots to stop and browse the flavours, here are some of our favourites.

  1. Messina Gelato

Landmark gelato royalty Messina have two locations in Eastside - in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Staples include tangy lemon, dark chocolate and salted caramel but as seasons change new selections are added. We are loving The Hello Sailor pink grapefruit and Aperol sorbet, a perfect way to cool off on a sticky Sydney afternoon.

2. Rivareno Gelato

Darlinghurst post dinner haunt, Rivareno is the place you go once you’ve wrapped up a boozy dinner on Crown street or looking to refresh after a morning of trawling the Surry Hills Markets and Oxford Street boutiques. They make their gelato fresh daily and you can watch the churning process as you wait. Available in indulgent tubs to take home, don’t mind if we do!

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3. Andersons of Denmark - 1A Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point

These Danish legends have been quietly churning away their high quality gelato and ice cream in Potts Point for a number of years and the tantalising smell of cones regularly wafts down Macleay St. We love their rich, chewy Danish nougat flavour, the ideal sweet treat.

EAT & DRINK - Brix Distillers are tipping their hats to Australia's original rum rebellion

Two hundred years ago Australian men were paid not in money but in rum. In Surry Hills there is a bar paying homage to the wild old days in the form of Brix Distillers. An authentic rum distillery and bar, mixing the art of rum creation with a delicious and perfectly curated local produce menu.

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Delivering the whole package, food, booze, tours and education, Brix opens its doors to everyone who wants to learn the secrets of rum distilling. Working with their expert distillers to create your very own barrel of rum makes you a bona fide Sydney-sider!.

They’re also open for events, functions and tours but if you are just wanting to check it out for the first time then get down to Bourke Street for a Latin inspired tasting plate and the freshest selection of rum around.

ART & DESIGN - Contemporary on Crown opens its doors for their first exhibitions

There’s a new gallery in town and they have opened their latest exhibit with Rex Turnbull. Contemporary on Crown is the latest modern art space in Eastside and is already making waves across the art community.

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New Zealand born painter Rex Turnbull is best known for his strong narrative based work and distinct combinations or portrait and landscape, exploring the relationships between people and their environment. Using soft colours and suggestive style his work is seemingly clear and yet open to varied interpretations. This latest exhibit is something to truly look forward to.

In addition to Rex the gallery is also home to experimental photographer Tim Laffey whose work, in his words ”is both impressionist and spiritual in nature, and [I] am seeking to transcend the image as a photo into something broader – an exploration of light and atmosphere. Not just a mere topographical representation, but to embrace the joy and beauty of light. For me, it is to think without words.”

If you are on the pulse of contemporary art then this is a venue which you will want to know about. Keep an eye on their Facebook page or the website linked above for all their updates and events.

EVENTS - That's a wrap! Oxtravaganza makes a splash over the weekend.

After a wet weekend Oxtravaganza is done and dusted! Eastside was awash in glitter, music and laughter as the third annual Oxtravaganza kicked off!

The marketplace was colourful and bright in Foley Street and as the day progressed Oxford Street ramped up the action! We had Sax Fetish and their Naked Barber pulling the crowds and the stunning musical performance from Cherry Earhart rang out strong.

Wayside Chapel had the most delicious treats on sale outside Ariel Bookstore. Darlinghurst Primary School had their “love darlo” stall up and running. Swim and undies models braved the rainy weather. And our very own, favourite Queen, Maxi Shield was spruiking outside ACON in a warm up before her show later at The Oxford. Around the corner in Bourke St bikes were being pimped (Lekker Bikes), rainbow cakes served (Christophers Cakes), DJ’s and BBQ’s were warming up (Lumiere Cafe) and rum cocktails were on the menu (BRIX Distillery).

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Oxtravaganza ambassador Sheldon Riley was wandering up and down the event popping in and out of shops, with a quick performance here and there. He was glowing after being given the rockstar treatment at Kryolan and this showed up beautifully as he posed for pictures outside Cork and Canvas for their fingerprinted Pride Tree.

If you didn’t make it to Oxtravaganza this year then don’t worry they will be back in 2020, bigger and better than ever. If you are a business who would like to participate next year then let the organisers know by emailing info@oxtravaganza.com.au.

PEOPLE - An Interview with Sheldon Riley, Oxtravaganza Ambassador.

Sheldon Riley is Australia’s rising star. The 19 year old from the Gold Coast has been making waves since his debut on The Voice in 2018 and is now stepping out as the Ambassador for Oxtravaganza, the street party and community event for the Mardi Gras Festival. We caught up with Sheldon in the lead up to the event to get the lowdown on what Mardi Gras means to him and what his dreams are for young LGBTIQ performers.

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EastSide : What does Mardi Gras mean to you? Have you been involved before?

Sheldon Riley : Mardi Gras means the world to me! “I knew about it when I was a kid but my family didn't really acknowledge it…it was my secret pleasure, and this year is the first year that I’m going to be involved. I am going to be celebrating coming out as myself!”

ES : Since finishing The Voice in 2018, you have been working non-stop and it sounds like you have some big plans in the works (still under wraps). What has been your biggest win so far? And whats the biggest lesson you have learned?

SR : “For me personally, the biggest win was being accepted into the LGBTIQ+ community. I initially thought that I would walk in dressed this way and people would be angry at me, like I looked too much like a stereotype… but I have totally been embraced as the alter ego of so many LGBT people!”

“And my biggest lesson has been to see the amount of work this entails and the huge amount of behind the scenes effort for what can be just a one minute performance”

ES: Whats happening for you in 2019 and is the world ready for Sheldon Riley?

SR: “The world better be ready for Sheldon!!… for 2019 I want to reveal more of myself. I may shock people, but I am definitely going to be bringing something bigger than ever! There’s an element of surprise from Sheldon Riley this coming year."

ES: Oxtravaganza is a way of bringing the Darlinghurst and Surry Hills community and their businesses together, there are some amazing things in the works on the day. Models and drag queens on the street, naked barbers and rainbow cakes to name a few, what are you most looking forward to?

SR: I am excited to see people who don't do this every day dress up have fun and live Mardi Gras their way…people becoming their alter-selves and celebrate who they are at Mardi Gras. Throw away those work shirts and get the glitter and nipple tassels happening!”

ES: Oxtravaganza supports the youth charity Twenty10. What do you think about the work the Twenty10 does? Have you had experience with this kind of community/service?

SR : “Seriously Twenty10 is one of the most important organisations that there can be. I’ve been there and carried a burden - the same one that kids live with every day. Just to know that there’s someone who takes time out to say  ‘Hey I’m here’, its amazing.”

I have used helplines before, I felt like i didn't belong. And I know there’s nothing more powerful than knowing that someone is out there fighting the  same battles that your are.”

The Oxtravaganza lineup is now up on the website and packed with plenty of opportunities to meet Sheldon, hear him perform and hear his story. For all the details head to the website!

STYLE - Oxtravaganza is the place to be for the local makers and creatives.

Not only are Foley Street and Oxford Square being activated for Oxtravaganza, the East Sydney Community Arts Centre will be hosting a locals clothing swap! The Clothing Exchange will be supporting sustainability from 3pm at the Community Centre on Burton Street in Darlinghurst. Starting at 3pm it’s the perfect addition to your Oxtravaganza plans! We recommend bringing 8 pieces of clothes to swap.

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For the marketplace on Foley Street we will have some amazing businesses showing their stylish and quirky designs. Oleu Life will be there with some intoxicating natural oils and therapies, whilst Scallywag Society will have a range of repurposed cushions and bags.

12pm will see Grace Grove Band kicking off the day with their soul and RnB groove, which will be driven home by local rising star Cherry Earhart from 2pm. If you are a fan of local music then make sure you are around for these sets.

For all event details of Oxtravaganza head to the website.

ART - Queer Art After Hours... don't neglect your creativity this Mardi Gras

If you are craving some creativity in your life then get amongst the amazing partnership between Mardi Gras and the Art Gallery of NSW. At this year's Queer Art After Hours, Mardi Gras is celebrating queer tattoos. The project is discussing a number of questions like, Is it a phenomenon with a unified queer aesthetic? Do tattoos created by and for queer people have meanings and traditions that break from the tattooing mainstream? Or are there no categories or boundaries (and that is actually the point)? Overall exploring the complex language and significance of tattoos in our queer communities.

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They are collecting images of queer tattoos as well as looking for six fearless people to participate in Queer Tattoos, a living display of queer tattoos at Queer Art After Hours at the Art Gallery of NSW on Wed 27 Feb, 2019.  If you have some ink to share you can simply tag your images with #queerarttattoos.

Add this event to your Mardi Grad Calendar and for all the details head to the official Mardi Gras website.

EAT & DRINK - The Beauchamp Hotel is having $6 Aperol Spritz for Oxtravaganza

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The Beauchamp Hotel is gearing up for Oxtravaganza by making our mouths water. They have announced their special Oxtravaganza deal of $6.00 Aperol Spritz until 7pm on the 23rd of February! If your weeks are filled with dreams of sparkles and fizzing fresh cocktails, then make sure Oxtravaganza is in the diary, there will be drinks deals around the whole precinct.

For all the event details and a full program check out the official website!

EVENTS - Mardi Gras is about to kick off and Eastside has already started to sparkle.

Being around Eastside it’s hard not to notice Mardi Gras building up around us. From rainbow pedestrian crossings to sparkling ATMS. Each year our neighbourhoods explode with love for our LGBTIQ+ family and weekends are punctuated with wild drinks parties, colourful creative activities and the song and dance of our unique diverse community.

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Each year Eastside is set alight by our LGBTIQ+ community, our shop fronts explode with colour, the streets double in foot traffic and the official parade closes down most of Sydney. If you are looking for what Sydney city looks and sounds like when everyone comes together in the name of love and acceptance then Mardi Gras is where you need to be.

The official program is live and free for everyone to take a look at, featuring activations and events all over the city, there is something for family, friends, visitors and locals. Get a copy here and start mapping out your Mardi Gras for 2019.

ART - Cork and Canvas are taking bookings for their Mardi Gras Activation 'Paint Your Queen'

Darlinghurst’s art and wine collective Cork and Canvas have pulled out all the stops to deliver a stellar activation for the 2019 Mardi Gras celebrations and Oxtravaganza on the 23rd of February. Titled Paint Your Queen Canvas Night you will have the opportunity to put pen to paper and pay homage to your favourite member of the LGBTIQ+ community, there’s no better way to capture the Mardi Gras moment!

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There will be a special guest performance from the amazing Diabolique, who has come all the way from New York City. This one of experience comes at the same time as the highly anticipated Oxtravaganza. Make sure you stay tuned to the event’s Facebook page for all the details on what’s happening near you.

So call up your friends, get a group going and come on down to Cork and Canvas for the night of your life.

COMMUNITY - Oxtravaganza is live!

The community is buzzing with the news that Oxtravaganza is now launched and live. If you didn’t make it to the official launch party last week then here is all the info for you!

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Oxtravaganza is held on the 23rd of February throughout Oxford Street and the Darlinghurst area and is a way for local businesses to activate their shops and get amongst the Mardi Gras spirit. The event is an official part of the Mardi Gras program and includes pretty much all of your favourites. Sax Fetish will be hosting their infamous Naked Barber, Pearsons Florist is showing off with stunning rainbow bouquets and the East Sydney Arts and Community Centre will be hosting drag yoga.

There is something for the whole family and with the party continuing into the night, there is no excuse for everyone in Eastside to not get involved. If you want all the info as well as the official program and a way to get in contact with the organisers visit their official website.