This week’s small pleasures #322 or a long weekend in Melbourne part 1

This week’s small pleasures post comes to you from Melbourne, where we have just spent a lovely long weekend. We hadn’t been since September 2019 as…well, you don’t need me to tell you why. As a result, it was lovely to fly over the Tasman Sea again and visit one of our favourite cities. It takes around 4 hours to fly over, and there is a 2 hour time difference, so leaving in the afternoon we arrived in good time for dinner. The pictures below and in the featured image are taken around the city.

One of the reasons for our trip was to visit the exhibition of works by the fashion designer Alexander McQueen, Mind Myth Muse at the National Gallery of Victoria. Outside the gallery, we spotted these ‘birds’ – I do hope the video plays for you – please let me know as the last time I tried embedding a video it didn’t quite work.

The exhibition

I had pre-booked the tickets on-line which meant no need to queue when we got there. The exhibition showcased 120 garments and accessories, and also featured other art works that he drew on for inspiration, giving an insight into his creative process. The works come from the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition also features commissioned headpieces by Los Angeles-based artist and designer, Michael Schmidt.

The exhibition opens with pieces from his final collection in 2010, which was completed by the current creative director of the Alexander McQueen label, Sarah Burton (first pictures below). It was quite a poignant moment and a reminder of how much he accomplished in his short life. There was room after room of amazing pieces, such as this all white room with dresses down the middle that was quite stunning.

The five pieces on the left below really showed off the fact that his early training was in classical men’s tailoring, as well as his flair for the beautiful in the two dresses on the right. The fringed leather top with the cat on it was a favourite of mine.

The exhibition also features commissioned headpieces by Los Angeles-based artist and designer, Michael Schmidt.(see the top right hand picture below for an example – yes that is a set of bagpipes!). All in all, this was a fantastic exhibition I recommend to anyone who is able to get to Melbourne. It is on until 15 April. It really offers an unprecedented and unique insight into this important designer.

Another museum

We also headed over to ACMI, the museum of screen culture situated on Federation Square. The building houses a cinema, special exhibition areas and a large space dedicated to the history of the moving image. I spotted two old projectors, and noticed one on the right was used in Tumbarumba in the Valley Theatres from around 1959 to 1965. Yes – Tumbarumba where where Deb (of Deb’s World) lives. What a coincidence!


No trip is of course complete without food, and on Friday evening we headed over to the French Brasserie for dinner. We started with an aperitif of kir royale – something I hadn’t had in years. I started with oysters, and Karl had the onion soup. For the main event I went for the fish, served with baby carrots and a lovely sauce, but for the life of me I cannot remember the type of fish. Karl had the Boeuf Bourguignon, and we both had Moelleux au Chocolat, a molten chocolate slice served with mango cream for dessert.

Simple things

  • pizza for Thursday evening dinner after arriving in Melbourne
  • trouble free flights across The Tasman
  • shopping…picking up a few things such as a new jacket for me and shirts for Karl.
  • having dinner at friends in Melbourne on Saturday evening
  • a weekend away (of course)
  • sitting with glass of wine and a good book in the Air New Zealand lounge at Melbourne airport

This week’s small pleasures is in two parts this week – part two is available here. What were your small pleasures this week? Here are some other blog posts from a few fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life. 

  • Ju Lyn at Touring my Backyard counts her blessings.
  • Natalie the Explorer shares five sources of inspiration – check out the hearts and flowers. Also this post has been entered in her weekend coffee share she hosts each week.
  • Popsicle Society motivates us on Monday.
  • I absolutely loved Deb’s post on the blogging community. Do check it out as she says a lot about what many of us think and agree with.
  • Jo over at And Anyways celebrates a life. Another special post.
  • There is a song, a stroll and a sermon over at Tootlepedal’s Blog.
  • Sit down and have a coffee with Trent whatever time of day it is where you are.
  • Anne over at  Something Over Tea writes about swimming pools.
  • Green Dreams wonders if we would like to walk out on the ice….
  • …and all the other lovely bloggers out there. I’m a bit behind on my reading of posts this week….but I was away!

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis. If you want to get in touch, email me on or


  1. Glad you enjoyed Melbourne, it has become one of our favourite cities. I loved Alexander McQueen displays, especially the Scottish dress, with the bagpipes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Video played fine, but you’d think those birds would be a bit of a distraction for the drivers! Been 22 years since I visited Melbourne I bet a lot has changed. A lovely city.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love love love that little old Tumbarumba (population 1500) got a mention in Melbourne exhibition!! Thanks so much for sharing and how good are those birds in the video, I’d spend all day just watching them! There are some delightful outfits in your post and the little gold bubble dress is probably my favourite. Thanks for including my recent blogging post, it’s been great to get so much feedback from other bloggers around the world. What a great weekend trip you had!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also loved the birds…quite mesmerising! The gold bubble dress was stunning, and I also liked the very tailored pieces and that coat.

      I think your post about blogging and bloggers resonated with lots of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That McQueen exhibition would be great. I was hoping it would still be going when I’m there in May but… sighs… Melbourne is the best.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah…I looked it up. I’ve got 2 long weekends down there this year – one in May & then one in June.


  5. How lovely to read your special post ! With all the not great news from New Zealand I am glad you got to do all of this. I’m a Sydney person but my 3 visits to Melbourne when there were big Australian blogging events in 2011-2-12 were just great. Melbs is so easy to get around too! Denyse #wcs

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved reading about your weekend in Melbourne, as it’s my closest capital city. I do love having time out there. I love those birds! It was great to see photos of locations that I recognise. Looks like you had a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Barbra,
    You sure found some interesting things for traveling over those two time zones.
    But I was struck mostly by that file projector. I was in grammar school in the 1960s and several of the teachers let me run the projector. I’d have to mess with the one you photographed to see if it had a certain loop area for the film to stabilize before and after going before the beam of light. I learned the hard way about not setting that correctly and almost tore one movie apart.
    Great stuff.
    Hope you had a fully wonderful trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to say, sending an Alexander McQueen exhibit seems like a BIG pleasure. So many stunning pieces. The bird video did work, and I can only imagine how cool they would be at night.

    Liked by 1 person

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