The Intimacy of Architecture

The enigmatic union between function, form and feeling. From my earliest childhood memories of home to my love affair with the single front cottage and all those moments in between and after. Buildings that are humble and those destined for history, each of them pulling me in.

We live in times when the criterion for truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive. We have moved so far along a spectrum of reasoning and rational that we have forgotten what it is to feel when we are in a space. The pleasure of giving in to a moment in time with the absence of understanding. The indefinable features arising from form and function that can imbue intimacy of architecture; the emotion. They are immaterial and impossible to measure. Yet never far away and easy to evoke in memorandum.

Reflecting on times past by Nicole Cullinan

The year was 1988. It was the year I reached my majority but not the year I left my childhood behind, that didn’t happen until much later.
A violin hung in place of a light, it was dark, the room enveloped. The carpet was itchy; but we lay there together; smoking and listening to Edith Piaf, drunk on life. The walls were close, the room was square, the coals were hot, and time stood still, my languorous gaze resting upon the intricate ceiling.
This single front Victorian house belonged to artists, the parents of my friend, although they didn’t live there. Only my musician friend Enrico resided permanently; along with a transient population of wanderers and well-wishers. I don’t know what ever became of Enrico. I remember the house and the record. The first album for their band. The End. I recall the band name because it was in that house I got to name their first album, ‘The beginning of The End’. I’ve often pondered the poetic lyricism of the meaning in that. There was an ever present melody in the air that was accompanied by the musty scent of age. A lingering reminder that many had lived there before.
The house was enchanting. I loved the separation of spaces, each of them defined by my level of altered consciousness. The room for slumber, the room for bathing, the room for eating and the room of imaginings. That was the room with the fire, the possibility for that which radiates. The patterns in the pressed metal ceiling, delicate and fragile, embedded in tin, robust and strong. It was the emphasis on form that was captured in my mind. The lack of function seemed irrelevant at the time; although years later when this house was the embodiment of my dream home I made sure we had an internal bathroom.

The intimacy of that space forever etched in my memory; unable to be removed by time. The special buildings, the ones on my ‘next time’ list. The icons you have to share with everyone; each of us jostling for our moment of observation. Noticing everything although not specifically looking for something.

The joy of finding a building that inspires feeling; losing myself in the moment, not sure if I have possessed it, or it has consumed me. I relish those times; cognisant they are fleeting. That space where you just want to stay for a while. The intimacy of architecture.

If you would like more architecture

If you would like to receive a weekly email with my latest musings on love and life then sign up at the bottom of this page.

Enduring Love


On enduring love. Thirty years ago today I met my love. I am in my forties. He calls me ‘Cosi’, although only occasionally now. It was a childhood name. Reserved for grandparents and parents and my love. It’s very affectionate. Everyone else calls me Nicole, this is the way I prefer it, I don’t like nicknames.

I don’t have strong memories of meeting him. I met many people that day. I recall he was shy and had beautiful eyes. At some point I became curious. And so there was the slow revelation of truths over the coming months. There was no internet at that time. Things were different. A stalker was someone who hid in a tree in your garden not a person at home hunting on their computer for pieces of information that would disqualify or promote someone’s worthiness. How different the genesis of love can be today.

As the months passed I would recall my Grandmothers words ‘ Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can. Found often in a woman and seldom in a man’. We lived in a narrative of binary beliefs with a total lack of awareness. Everything was uncomplicated. Slowly we migrated from friendship to love. There was never a moment doubt for me. I’ve always known what I want. Such burning desire.

First ten years and then twenty. I was engulphed by breathless adoration. Should all loves be so lucky to have twenty years like this. Life was easy and we knew it. We didn’t sweat the small stuff. We never have. The affection and devotion upon which I regarded my love was intoxicating to those around us. I fielded constant inquiry as to what the secret is. I thought I knew. With unrivalled arrogance I would tell others the secret is ‘not to let the sun go down on an argument’. The ability to forgive. A lesson I learnt from my loves Grandmother. She was married for more than fifty years to a man with a similar temperament and the same moniker as my love.

And so we slid confidently into our third decade. Me, my love and our four children. I can hear the children’s laughter, it fills my heart with joy. The days pass with a satisfying exhaustion that comes from giving everything. The bedtime stories. The silence of them sleeping. The time for us. The closed doors, the fire, the heat, the dry skin, the moistness. I remember everything, like it was yesterday. Time and space recorded in little dioramas for my thoughts to browse.

Do you remember my love? The beginning, we had nothing and everything. Materiality was meaningless. I was a well that could not be emptied. I was young.  I don’t want to be patient anymore. I feel a sense of urgency, like time is moving too fast. The world has changed. I have changed. There is only one thing I am certain of, the passion I have for you my love. Tomorrow we begin our fourth decade.

Touch me and you will know what it is to be loved… Just touch me, my love.

For relationship guidance

If you would like to receive a weekly email with my latest musings on love and life then sign up at the bottom of this page.

It’s Bondi Baby


It’s Bondi baby. Sometimes having teenagers is fun. Nothing could be more true than a holiday in Bondi with them. There is something for everyone in Bondi. We stayed at the Adina apartments in Hall Street Bondi. Great accommodation for a family as we had two adjoining rooms and there is a pool.

A quick five-minute walk to the beach and surrounded by great bars, cafes and junk food. Yep that’s correct…I said junk food. You cannot help but notice how the culture in Bondi is polarised. There is a proliferation of junk food places along Campbell Parade directly opposite the beach. Here you will find back packers and gorgeous bronzed kids. The smell of hot chips and salty sea air is omnipresent.

Walking away from the beach into the side streets and laneways there are many great places to eat. Menus laden with organic produce, activated almonds, chia and edible flowers; one of my personal favourites. Who knew some flowers could taste spicy when they look so pretty; alas I digress. There are also some great little spots to have an aperitif. Aperol and Campari are on high rotation in summer. I love them both for their pretty colour but Campari is my favourite for its bitterness. Such a refreshing drink on a hot evening.

Days are easily whiled away at the beach. Our days began with a walk or run on the beach. The beach is well patrolled and packed. It’s a large beach with plenty of sand so there is room for everyone. There are little lockers and showers on the esplanade. The Bondi Rescue film crew were out and the kids loved seeing them as it’s Bondi baby! The weather was perfect and we could swim every day. It was a relaxed holiday. There is a beautiful Bondi to Bronte coastal walk of 3km. The walk is along the cliff tops and provides spectacular views of the coastline and beaches.

We ate in and out over the course of the week. Harris Farm Markets located a one minute walk from our accommodation was perfect for fresh food. They have a great selection of fruit, vegetables and some delicious deli products, including a selection of French cheeses. There is also an IGA and bottle shop Bondi Cellars in Hall Street. There is a seafood shop located further down the street towards Campbell Parade. The fresh food in Bondi is of good quality.

Several meals were eaten at Bill Granger’s Bills of Bondi. The coffee at Bills is reliable; a compliment that lacks generosity due to my being a Melbournian. To be fair it is the best coffee in Bondi. We had a delicious brunch at Bills including the classic delectable Ricotta Hotcakes; unbeatable. Dinner is great here and a chance for Bill to break away from his very famous well deserved brunch reputation. The menu is refined and beachy, including many delicious seafood dishes. The kids loved going to China Diner as they are mad for dumplings. The space for China Diner is funky and relaxed with a modern area at the front for cocktails and quick eats or the more Shanghai inspired dining room toward the back.

Our favourite family night out in Bondi is Icebergs. Icebergs has become somewhat of an institution. It is located on Notts Avenue set above the old Bondi Baths, a historical landmark and location for many fashion shoots. We have been to Icebergs once a year for a few years running and I feel like you can take the city’s temperature when you are at Icebergs. This year was no exception. We walked in to see a beautiful group of people standing at the bar. The women were wearing floral Zimmerman dresses with flat strappy sandals. The men were tanned and wore linen. It was a rather pleasant sight. There was a bohemian vibe and that’s the thing I like about Icebergs. I know if I go next week or next year that it will be different. The glorious permanent timepiece of a pool remains but the people change. They will have wandered off elsewhere.

Bondi is a place to go and daydream. A good spot to reset and plan the year ahead. You can go fresh and organic to start your New Year resolutions or have one more alcoholic junk fuelled week before work begins again. You will see youths backpacking, entrepreneurs working with laptops in cafes and plenty of healthy bodies enjoying the summer sun. When I am in Bondi I am struck by relevance as Bondi is a happy place. It is a good way to start the year.

For travel information follow this link

Iceberg’s, an iconic spot worth a visit

If you would like to receive a weekly email with my latest musings on love and life then sign up at the bottom of this page.

Why Coffee Is Good For You…

My work day begins with a coffee. The bitterness combined with the ability to focus. Perfection. Coffee forms the basis of many social outings for people everywhere. It’s hard for me to believe that coffee is bad when it makes me feel so good. Let’s discover why coffee is good for you.

There have been thousands of studies undertaken on coffee. Initial mid-twentieth century studies gave coffee a bad rap. The first studies found a correlation between coffee drinking and poor health of participants. To understand these studies fully we need to know the difference between a correlation and a causal relationship. A correlation is when researchers identify a link between coffee drinking and poor health, it is not proof that coffee is the reason participants have poor health. A study that proves that coffee causes poor health establishes a factual reason for the results and is known as a causal relationship. Both types of research outcomes are valuable as a correlation establishes a need for further study and causal relationships provide more definitive research results. Returning to the initial study; it was revealed that a high number of coffee drinkers smoked, consumed high amounts of alcohol and were sedentary. Further studies that separated out smokers and non-smokers found causal links. The explanation for the coffee drinker’s poor health was smoking. But the dye had been cast and coffee had been labelled as bad. Since those initial studies thousands of studies have been conducted and here is what they say.

Coffee can…

  • Provide some protection against liver disease including liver cancer
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Decrease risk of depression
  • Decrease the risk of suicide
  • Boost physical performance
  • May help in weight loss with the breakdown of fat cells
  • Help focus and stay alert
  • Helps prevent gallstones
  • Reduce the risk of premature death
  • Reduce the risk of prostate cancer
  • Reduce the risk of endometrial cancer
  • Reduce the risk of melanoma skin cancer
  • Reduce the risk of stroke
  • Lower risk against degenerative brain diseases including Parkinsons, Alzeimers, and Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Reduce risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Many of the studies establish a causal relationship between coffee and good health outcomes. Next time you read coffee is bad; query how many people were in the study group, the length of the study, and whether the outcome of the study showed a correlation or a causal relationship.

Coffee is not for everyone and some people report feeling jittery or excitable. Others report caffeine affects their sleep. This is because coffee is a stimulant.  Some stimulants can be addictive and dangerous although caffeine is usually considered a safe stimulant. It is an ingredient in many over the counter drugs that treat drowsiness. It is suggested that caffeine is avoided for four to six hours prior to bedtime if you are experiencing insomnia.

Studies from all over the world have shown that coffee is the single biggest source of antioxidants in the diet. Antioxidants are known to fight oxidative damage that can cause cancer. In June 2016, The World Health Organisation stated that there is an overwhelming amount of research that coffee can promote health and inhibit cancer.

My current coffee spot is Dukes in Flinders Lane Melbourne. Amazing coffee and I love the floor. You will know what I mean when you see it… What is your favourite coffee shop?

My favourite

If you would like to receive a weekly email with my latest musings on love and life then sign up at the bottom of this page.