Stuff I see, which you might not.

Diner en Blanc in Sydney

On what was a beautiful Saturday evening this past weekend, we were greeted by a strange sight as we waited for the ferry to the city. The wharf was packed with over 50 people all dressed in white. Our first thought was – wedding. Then we realised that EVERYONE was in white and they appeared to be carrying their own chairs and tables and bags and boxes, so that would be quite a peculiar wedding. I’ll be honest, my hope was for something rather more exciting than a wedding – I was thinking cult members or maybe an alien invasion.

It seems that fashion is a huge part of Diner en Blanc. This pic on the Diner en Blanc Sydney Facebook page was for inspiration, I think. I did not see any hats like this around Circular Quay on Saturday. Which is a good thing, as the place was packed.

Alas, the real world again failed to live up to my imagination – when those of us dressed in darker colours dared to approach the white folk and ask WTF they were doing, we were let in on the secret. To quote the pretty north shore dolly that I heard explaining the concept: “Well, it’s called Diner en Blanc and it’s, like, a flash mob dinner thing, like, this French idea where you, like, have to wear white and you turn up to a secret location and, like, eat your dinner with a bunch of randoms and then pack up and go home.” Of course, she had me at FLASH MOB DINNER THING.

Pic from the Diner en Blanc Sydney Facebook page.

Disappointed though I was that they were not cult members or preparing for an alien invasion (at least, not that they were prepared to admit), I was impressed when the ferry turned up at Circular Quay and the public space in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art appeared to have been taken over by hundreds and hundreds of whiteys (technically, blanc-ys, I guess). As we later found out, there were almost 1500 people enjoying this flash mob dining experience under the stars alongside Sydney harbour. Of course, as a curious cat I wanted to know more about this phenomenon, so here is what I found out…

The first secret dinner was held, naturally, in Paris. Over 20 years ago, the concept started out on a relatively small scale, but now sees 15,000 people occupying a public space for their evening picnic at this annual event. How does it work? I’ll let the official website tell the story: At the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place. Thousand of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

Yum. A hamper by JOHNANDPETER for Diner en Blanc in Sydney (also from the event’s Facebook page).

That last sentence made me think that perhaps this wasn’t quite my cup of tea, after all. It sounds like quite a brilliant feat of organisation though – there are table leaders who are responsible for organising their troops prior to the event, and the whole event is set up and then packed up by the guests (with the intention of not leaving a trace of their occupation behind). According to the official website, the select guest list are automatically re-invited the following year, unless of course they have “transgressed the rules or desisted at the last moment, deterred by ominous clouds”, in which case ” their name and email will be put on a black list, prohibiting them from registering for future editions.” Ooh la la.

I like the idea, but my ideal flash mob dinner thing would feature a more casual dress code (though probably with compulsory wigs or hats) and a less formal setup. Actually, you may already know my flash mob dinner thing as a casual summer picnic with friends. Maybe I should try it on a larger scale though, sending out a cryptic message via this blog for a Pique-nique en EverydaySparks. We could eat and drink and speak nonsense for an evening. Allons-y! (I think that is ‘let’s go’, from my high school French classes – apologies to Madame de Reland if that is incorrect.)

You can check out more about this amazing event on Facebook here or the official website here.


EverydaySparks, CEO Idea #37.

I think I could write a separate blog about some of the ideas I have to revolutionise the corporate world. Granted, not all of them are legal / would work / are possible to implement, but those issues would be the problem of the COO, not me as the CEO. Because I said so. But today I am not writing about strategies and business plans (phew, I hear you sigh). I’m writing about how I’d decorate the hallway leading to the boardroom. Or the foyer, where visitors wait on beanbags (now there’s a status equaliser) or retro lounges. Because at EverydaySparks Inc, it’s the little things that count.

I found this collection by The French Gallery on etsy and felt that they looked suitably professional and businesslike at first glance, and suitably kooky and quirky on second glance. This would serve to both impress and confuse visitors to the office, which has got to be a good introduction to EverydaySparks Inc.

The portraits would be lined up along the wall, each with a short tribute etched on the gold(plated) plaque underneath. Something like, Entrepreneur Sir Barnaby Lion founded the company whilst studying at MIT. An irreverant but brilliant businessman, Sir Barnaby has since turned his love of hot air ballooning and space travel into a bzillion dollar empire. Or Linda Lioness joined the company as the first HR Director and kept Sir Barnaby in line whilst establishing the company as an employer of choice for women, non-smokers, ex-circus performers and people who love marshmallows. 

And With a sharp eye for detail, Dr Charles Owlinson was the company’s first lawyer, taking an active role in the many court cases brought against Sir Barnaby by competitors, customers and ex-wives. Dr Owlinson played the banjo and was a hoot at company Christmas parties. Then CIO Bernard Catman built the software and systems that were the cornerstone of the company’s early success. Bernie’s love for Sudoku puzzles was matched by his passion for badminton and he moved to Siam to lead the company’s expansion into Southeast Asia.

Anyways, you get the idea. If you would like to add these prints to your office or home, check out The French Gallery on etsy here.


Bonjour, stylish kitchen!

They’re not called ‘whitegoods’ for nothing. Kitchen appliances, while practical, can be kinda boring. (Except if you live in my apartment, where the previous owners were so funky that they matched the fridge and dishwasher with the glossy blue laminated cupboards and drawers. That’s a whole lotta blue, I tell you.) Anyways, I say boo to boring kitchen appliances – and hello to these fabulous dishwasher and fridge decals by the clever French folk at ADzif, recently featured on Fab.com.

If you’re looking to expand your cooking space into a serene wonderland with beautiful images of nature, you might like the green leaf fridge decal. Or the tricky pile o’ logs photo. Laugh as visitors to your home try to work out how you’ve managed to turn your humble refrigerator into a portal to the forest.

Or perhaps you’re more of a city person and you want to recreate the hustle and bustle of New York City on your dishwasher or fridge. These decals are big enough to have you sitting on the floor in your kitchen, imagining you were really there. In which case, you might also want to buy a soundtrack of honking taxis, emergency vehicle sirens, shouting people, a subway rapper impersonating Jay Z, and someone yelling, “HOT DOGS”.

Or if you’re fancier than me and prefer to say bonjour to your dishes, you might like this Parisian dishwasher decal. They also have a Parisian fridge decal, but this is my blog and I prefer New York to Paris, so you can check out the website if you’re interested in all things Frenchy. (The default ADzif website is actually written in French, so you’ll love it!)

I think these are a brilliant idea – they can be cut to size with your trusty scissors, they can be removed without leaving marks (but can’t be reused). For less than $70 for a fridge and less than $50 for a dishwasher, a trip to Paris, New York or the forest has never been cheaper. (Unless you actually live in Paris, New York or a forest, I guess.)

My pick? Thanks for asking. It’s this fabulous image of my favourite part of Times Square, where the overwhelming tackiness of all those lights is replaced by street furniture that’s reminiscent of a cobbled European side street. In the middle of such a busy city. Love ya, New York.

If you like these, there are plenty more amazing decals on the French website of ADzif. These images are from Fab.com and I couldn’t find all of them on the ADzif website (the dishwashers and my favourite fridge decal were missing), but maybe I need to brush up on my high school French and have another look. Toute de suite!