Celebrations, Latest News, Melbourne

Best Moments of 2017

This year was quite memorable and eventful for me. From holidays to concerts, leisurely bike rides to reading and writing long hand-written letters to friends, I’ve truly enjoyed most of what came my way this year. It’s almost time to welcome in the New Year, but before that let’s take a look at my favourite memories from 2017!

In January/February, I returned to my favourite city of Barcelona for a month-long visit! During this time Montserrat and Cadaques were also covered on day trips and overall this holiday was everything I could have ever wished for!

In March the superstar that is Adele came to town for an unforgettable summer’s night of raw emotion and a powerhouse vocal.

In July, I was fortunate enough to attend the concert of one of my favourite singers – Gavin DeGraw. Meeting him after the show was such an honour and his show was truly something special.

That same month one of my favourite musicals “My Fair Lady” was also playing in town at the Princess Theatre. I absolutely loved it!

Taking a bike ride along Port Melbourne’s foreshore never ceases to impress me.

I’ve absolutely loved making new friends through the art of handwritten letters and re-connecting with old friends.

This year I launched our “Cute Parcels” concept and recently was a market vendor at Carols by Kingston! Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years!

This year I also took the time to engage with nature more, practise my photography and spend more time with the ones I love.

Just this month I was in the company of two more “One Tree Hill” alumni when Tyler Hilton and Kate Voegele came to Thornbury. They brought the house down!

So thanks 2017! You’ve been a pretty great year.

Bring on 2018!

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Celebrations, Food, Life, Melbourne, Travel

Memories of 2016

Whoa, 2016 was quite a year! So much happened in the world – tragedies, triumphs, the unthinkable, the magical. This year had it all. In many ways I’m glad to bid farewell to 2016, which for me had its fair share of ups and downs just like any year.

A definite highlight was visiting beautiful Japan for two weeks in March. Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto were all places I had longed to travel to for many years and it will be hard to top my birthday from now on, having spent the day at Disneyland Tokyo – a magical place in every sense. I shall never forget my first trip in the Land of the Rising Sun – eating delicious food, seeing the sights with my own eyes, entering historic temples, smiling at the pandas and flamingos at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo. Getting a feel for Japanese culture was just incredible.

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Closer to home it’s been enjoyable spending afternoons at wildlife sanctuaries where cute koalas and wallabies can be fed and petted. It’s been so much fun creating a new studio feature wall and launching Mishka Mail back in August. I feel so grateful to every single customer who bought a subscription and every blogger that reviewed our kits on their blogs. Thank you!

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It’s been so exciting to place our first print advertisement in a funky Canadian hobby magazine called Uppercase for their special 30th issue.

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Other highlights include riding a bicycle at the beach in Port Melbourne, eating some delicious meals, writing and receiving some awesome letters from international pen friends, winning auctions on Ebay and listening to lovely concerts at outdoor summer venues.

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2016 has taught me that life isn’t about chance encounters that happen to you, it’s about how YOU chase each and every opportunity to make moments for yourself. I’m entering 2017 with this very notion in my mind and have a lot that I’m already looking forward to. Here’s to a beautiful and successful 2017 for you all!

Happy New Year!

Music

Jack Savoretti: musician, dreamer, poet

Happy Birthday to the incredibly talented musician, Jack Savoretti. I’m so honoured to be doing a post about one of my absolute favourite singer/songwriters ever, on the day he was born. Half Italian and half English, Jack’s poetic style of singing is unforgettable and his soulful renditions always leave you wanting more.

I discovered Jack’s music when I was in Germany for Gavin DeGraw’s European Tour in November, 2008. One cold autumn morning, I took the train from Mainz (the city where I was living and studying as an exchange student) to the beautiful Bavarian Alps town of Munich in the south. I had no idea who Gavin’s support act would be as I was just so excited to be attending my first ever European rock concert! As a huge One Tree Hill fan I was so thrilled to see Gavin DeGraw (who sings the opening track to the show) performing live before my very eyes. It would be a dream come true! I arrived quite early to the show, took my place in the crowd and waited patiently for the concert to begin. A man stepped out on stage in a cowboy hat and was holding a guitar. He opened his mouth and started to sing. No one moved for the entire gig and no one spoke a single word. The auditorium fell silent. Maybe I was so captivated that I  just didn’t hear anyone else, but all I remember is how mesmerising the husky voice of the singer was, how meaningful the lyrics were and how beautifully he was strumming the strings of his guitar. Jack entertained the audience for a while, thanked us for coming to the show and said goodbye. Gavin was on stage within the next 20 minutes and he was amazing as always, but I don’t think anyone could quite get over how entrancing the opening act was.

The next day I took the train from Munich to Salzburg in the early morning. I still remember the exact feeling I had during that ride. The music from the night before was still very much in my mind and of all the songs I heard that night I had Jack’s soulful “Between the Minds” firmly stuck in my head. I had never heard that song before the show, but the fact that I was still humming it in my mind the next day said a lot. I was completely hooked on Jack’s music after the first time I heard him sing live.

I was determined to get my hands on his first album. My dad was visiting me from London for Christmas that year and I asked if he could buy me his album as it was easier to find in Jack’s native UK. On Christmas morning I opened my laptop’s CD drive, put in the CD and listened to the entire album non-stop. I had shivers down my spine from “Dreamers” and “Dr. Frankenstein”, amongst others. I became a true fan of this man’s work and tracked his progress with the subsequent album “Harder than Easy” from Australia.

As most of you know I spent the past 2 years in the UK, running my own gift shop Graceful Avenue in Watford. I was thrilled to be able to attend more of Jack’s shows whilst I was in his home country. I saw him perform at The Garage in October, 2011, and then at Bush Hall in June, 2012. Each show just got better and better, and Jack’s confidence grew and grew as did his fan-base. Jack’s third album, “Before the Storm”, arrived by post to my London address while I was on vacation with my sister in Italy that summer. I can confidently say that he’s come a long way and his music has evolved greatly. His third album is terrific and I love most of the tracks on there!

Standing there in his Bush Hall show in London, in the front row with my braces, smiling from ear to ear, listening to the most beautiful musician sing the most beautiful songs ever written was such a highlight. The very first time I heard the song “Crazy Town” I was in love. Jack sung the song without his iconic guitar and was only accompanied by a pianist. His voice was so powerful and bold that he took the crowd to a place out of this world. That performance would have to be my favourite of his live songs because I remember exactly how it made me feel and the electric atmosphere in the room.

I’m so happy to have discovered this amazing man’s music. I can’t imagine my life without it. Thank you Jack for charming your way into my life for these past 5 years. You deserve to have your music heard by everyone in the world. I hope to see you performing in Australia one day. Happy Birthday!

See Jack performing “Crazy Town” at Bush Hall in London, June 2012 on this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blv0F-ArTyQ

Please visit: http://www.jacksavoretti.com/ to hear Jack’s other songs and find out more about him.

(Photos shown here are my own and cannot be reproduced, distributed or copied without my permission)