Michelle Beesley’s Best of 2023

January 18, 2024

As we welcome 2024, I thought I’d look back on the year that was and capture a few of my favourite things. From events to movies, plays to concerts, 2023 has been a bumper year of colourful events for me. Writing about travel, books, film, theatre, events, music and fashion sees me buzzing about Brisbane and beyond. Here are some of the things I found worth buzzing about in 2023.

In travel news I was blessed this year to holiday in my absolute favourite destination – France. It was a magical time shared with my husband, family and friends. It was the trip of a lifetime really, which encompassed the beautiful South of France and Paris. During this trip we also caught the Eurostar to London and stayed for a week in Notting Hill. We caught a show, visited family, shopped and saw the sights. Watch out for even more travel stories from this trip in 2024.

With my love of fashion, it wasn’t surprising that I shared a few fashion stories this year. My favourite fashion events were the Afterpay Australian Fashion Week in Sydney and the Brisbane Fashion Festival. This was closely followed by the Women in Fashion Lunch at GOMA and I thank my fashion friend, Upma Kite for this special invitation. It was wonderful to see the innovators and leading lights in Queensland fashion being honoured.

My favourite concert was the recent 40 years of Morrissey tour at The Fortitude Music Hall. This influential musician’s songs are still as relevant today as when first released, his voice is strong, and his backing band were amazing. It’s also a stellar venue in which to hear live music. Divas showcasing a range of legendary diva tunes sung by the talented Bernadette Robinson was fabulous. My favourite symphony concert was Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s “Dance Around the World”. It certainly had me waltzing my way out of the Concert Hall.

So many great books were published this year. My contemporary novel of 2023 was Sally Hepworth’s Darling Girls with The Fancies by Kim Lock and Bone Memories by Sally Piper close seconds. In historical fiction I loved Kate Morton’s The Homecoming, The Bookbinders of Jericho by Pip Williams and The Little Wartime Library from British author, Kate Thompson. My most recent holiday read was Lola in the Mirror, an absolute gem of a book from local author, Trent Dalton. It takes the top spot as my book of the year.

In food news my favourite Australian dining experience of the year was a surprising visit to Strangers’ Restaurant at Parliament House closely followed by several lunches at Spirit House. We also enjoyed visiting the cooking school at Spirit House which was a truly memorable experience. My favourite restaurants at home in Brisbane are still Donna Chang and Libertine. On the Sunshine Coast we love The Loose Goose and Market Bistro. A newer find for a lovely Sunday lunch in the hinterland is Spicers Tamarind. In Sydney we loved Mr Wong and Luke Mangan’s Glass.

I was invited to so many films this year and the ones that have stayed with me are Living with the wonderful Bill Nighy, Cat Person and just for fun My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. My favourite film festival was the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival. My favourite film event was at The Powerhouse where we were hosted by Netflix at a pink themed screening of the wonderful and inspiring film, True Spirit. This film was based on the life of round – the – world sailor, Jessica Watson.

I attended many lovely Queensland events this year and stand outs were the Opening Night of Monet in Paris and the launch of the Scenic Rim Eat Local Month which was this year at Towri Sheep Cheeses. The country hospitality is always so welcoming, and the flavours of the region are sensational. The Monet exhibition was beautiful, with a wonderful welcome celebration, before we were invited to explore this amazing space containing sound, light and some of my favourite works of art. A magical night! Snow Week Launch at the Prince Consort Hotel is always fun, and we boogied the night away.

My best theatre experiences this year were visiting London to see the hilarious Noises Off at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. It boasted an all star cast. Closer to home, Tiny Beautiful Things at Queensland Theatre, was a lovely and heartwarming play.

In writing news, I enjoyed the Brisbane Writers Festival where I attended so many amazing talks and events. I also scored a ticket to a fabulous high tea as part of Genrecon where one of my favourite authors, Natasha Lester was a guest speaker. At the beginning of 2023 I was excited to attend a talk by one of the world’s best romance authors, Julia Quinn. Julia is the author of the incredibly successful Bridgerton series.This was a real fan girl moment for me.

As 2024 begins I’ll be heading to see Chicago at QPAC and a preview screening of the new updated version of The Colour Purple. As a book lover I am most excited to attend the Brisbane Global Premiere of new Netflix series Boy Swallows Universe. You can watch this adaptation of the global bestseller by Trent Dalton on your screens from January 11. It is one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

Throughout 2024 I’ll be letting readers know my thoughts on the latest Brisbane buzz, international fashion, places to go and things to see and do. Life is short so why not make 2024 the year you spread your wings and explore. What are you looking forward to in 2024?

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