Monday, May 31, 2010

An inspirational WA success story

I read so many stories about lamenting the 'failures of the youth today' so I love it when I see someone young being recognised for their outstanding achievements. I couldn't help but be inspired reading the story of Matthew Lutton, an acclaimed young director and founder of the theatre company ThinIce, who was awarded a Western Australian Citizen of the Year Award last night.

Matthew, who at age 17 founded ThinIce while still at school, was the winner of the Youth Arts category – an award that recognises a young person aged 18-25 years who has been engaged in the pursuit of excellence in the arts.  Previous recipients of the award include celebrity choreographer Jason Gilkinson and now international fashion designer Michelle Jank.

Since completing university studies at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts Matthew has worked with most of Australia’s leading theatre companies and directors, last year directing The Mysteries:Genesis at Sydney Theatre Company with Andrew Upton and Tom Wright.

Now at just 25 years of age, Matthew’s directing credits are numerous and well received, and ThinIce has emerged as one of the country’s most progressive theatre companies.  His most recent work Love Me Tender premiered at the 2010 Perth International Arts Festival, following on from previous festival productions of Antigone in 2009, The Lady Aoi in 2007.  

Due to his efforts, extraordinary theatre originating from WA is being seen around the country. His work has been staged Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart over the last 24 months.
 
ThinIce through Matthew, has adopted the premise of breaking down state borders to allow many WA actors and theatre artists the opportunity to work professionally interstate. Similarly, ThinIce continues to bring many of Australia's best actors to perform for Perth audiences.

In addition to his work with ThinIce, Lutton volunteers his time to work with students and teachers, and mentors other young aspiring artists.


The latest production from Matthew Lutton is Franz Kafka’s The Trial,  which will run for a one week season at Subiaco Arts Centre from October 22 to 30 October, 2010.  Tickets are on sale now through BOCS, www.bocsticketing.com.au.

New Look for Perth’s Hyatt

Looking for somewhere to stay on the long weekend? The Hyatt Regency Perth is undergoing an extensive room redevelopment and although it won’t be finished until September 2010, the first of the new rooms will be available in June.

Each of the 367 guestrooms will be upgraded with flat-screen LCD televisions and new doors with proximity lock, a contactless, guest-friendly electronic locking system that eliminates the need to insert a key card to gain access to the guestroom.

Guestrooms will undergo a soft refurbishment that involves upgraded furniture, new carpet, fabrics, lighting and new frameless glass shower screens in the bathrooms.

Key energy-saving initiatives, including energy-efficient lighting and water-saving devices, will also be installed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review of Sex & the City 2

There really is no gentle way to break this news; I was disappointed by Sex & the City 2. I went to the WA premiere last night and had a fantastic time getting ready for the preview with the film company showering us all with Moet, glitzy decorations and even little pink cupcakes and coconut cookies, but while the premiere was first class the film itself left me less than satisfied.

As it is still nearly a week until the film is officially released I don’t want to share all the nitty gritty details of the film and spoil it for everyone, but my biggest issue with this film was it added nothing new to the Sex & the City franchise. While the first film seemed to both wrap up seasons worth of issues and introduce a few new ones, this movie doesn’t add anything to the story lines. Oh except Samantha has menopause, Carrie is now married (we already knew that) and Charlotte is now a mum (we knew that too) and in general life is hard (great shocker!).

Yes, the movie is still fun and in the first 30 minutes there are some fantastic laugh your socks off moments, once the main storyline kicks in I found myself getting a little bored with the predictable storyline. I was really hoping that, like the first film, there be some real curveballs in here that would add a new dimension to the story and these much-loved characters - but there wasn’t.

As you can gather from the trailers, the main story is the four girls head to the Middle Eastern emirate of Abu Dhabi. Hilarity and miscommunication ensues as does cultural insensitivity and plenty of Middle Eastern stereotypes. As I have been to Dubai myself – a neighbouring Emirates – I could understand some of the challenges these women would face, like battling with a western wardrobe to ensure they were well covered up despite the heat, the different roles women play in society, the restrictions on alcohol, etc, etc. These were all touched on but I felt as the film progressed, it started to go too far and turned into exploiting every piece of cultural negativity.

All in all, I have to say this film is light entertainment. It is still definitely worth a night out with the girls (after all do you really need an excuse for that) and if you like the show, you’ll have to see the movie – just don’t expect anything like the first one.

Have you seen the film? If so I want to hear your thoughts! Did you love it or did you feel it was lacking something?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Female circumcision by Aussie doctors

I was really taken aback this morning when listening to the radio to hear that Australian doctors are considering offering female circumcision.

My initial reaction was to be appalled to hear such a thing was being considered here in Australia, rather than in a third world country. However, it is a fact that this practice does occur in Australia – just in some backroom in unhygienic conditions rather than in a hospital or doctors office.

In an article in today’s The West Australian entitled ‘ritual nick’ for girls on agenda it says: “It comes after the bio-ethics committee of the Academy of American Paediatrics suggested “tokenistic surgery” could build trust between hospitals and immigrant groups, save girls from disfiguring surgery in their native country and eventually eradicate female circumcisions.”

This issue has me in a quandary. Is it better for doctors to offer this service to prevent the even worse result of this taking place in some dirty back room? Or will offering this service mean more women are pushed in to this painful and unnecessary procedure? I even have to ask the question, why do some people feel this procedure is the right thing to do?

What do you think?

Two great loves come together

I am always excited when two great loves come together and this time it is my love of movies and my iPhone. Events Cinema (formerly Greater Union) has just launched version two of their iPhone application which is free to download and will allow you to book movie tickets from anywhere, anytime. You can also watch movie trailers and read the plot synopsis.

If you are also one of the people who lined up for their iPad this morning, this ap is available for that as well.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Girl-crush

I think I have a girl-crush on Jessica Alba. I realised this when I saw an ad for a new product that features Ms Alba and felt overwhelmingly this was a product I had to have. Or perhaps I should have realised that by the fact I have every DVD of every TV show and film she's ever been in (except Sin City, because I don't do gory/scary).

Is there someone you have a girl-crush on? Or perhaps someone whose endorsement makes you want to rush straight out and buy that hair straightener/foundation/pair of pants you didn't even know you needed?

P.S. Kudos to Jessica for wearing her wedding rings on even in an ad campaign.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The iPad countdown has begun


At 8am on Friday morning the Apple iPad will have officially arrived. Are you going to be one of the people queing up at some ungodly hour of the morning or do you not see what all the fuss is about?

I was actually in New York in April for the USA launch of the iPad. I was just wandering out of Fao Scwartz after having heatedly debated the merits of making my own muppet (I am serious, they have a make your own muppet station, but that's another story) when we saw a huge crowd. Naturally the inquisitive tourist in me was overwhelmed with curiosity about this New York phenomenon only to discover it was locals queing up to be one of the first to lay their hands on an iPad.

When I hopped on the plan to Hawaii a few days later, I was also surprised how many people were already kicking back watching movies on their iPad during the flight.

What I wonder is, will Aussies take up the charge or are we a bit more cynical about technology? Do you love your iPhone and iPod so much you are gagging to jump in to bed with the latest piece of iTechnology?

I admit to being a technology junkie (now where did I leave my iPhone?) but I won’t be in the queue on Friday. Will you?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to date a vampire

Although I definitely would stop short of calling myself a Twi-Hard, I am a big fan of Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight series and vampire stories in general. I have to say I laughed out loud when I received a press release about a new book for Aussie girls obsessed with vampires - Love Bites the essential dating guide for the undead.

Claire Hooper, best known as stand-up comedian and team captain on Good News Week team, wrote the book and tackles topical issues like how to overcome the hurdles of dating a guy who can’t go out in sunlight. According to Claire, vampires do exist, and naturally most red-blooded Australian girls really, really want one.

I normally don't quote press releases - but I thought this was just too hilarious not to share!

“In Love Bites, Claire shares her insider’s knowledge, taking Aussie girls from go to whoa to vampire ho by answering questions such as:

• He’s been around for hundreds of years. Are there any pick-up lines he hasn’t heard?
• I’m the beachy type. Will my natural, healthy glow put him off?
• Does aloe vera work on fang holes? I need these ones to clear up fast, cos I have to wear an evening dress to a black-tie event next week.
• If it all goes according to plan, you’ll also need to know how to wean him onto animal blood, where to put his coffin, and how to resolve that all-important eternal life question – will you, or won’t you? (Oh, and no refunds if the 101 tips fail to deliver you a lasting vampire romance...)”

I have to say I will be at the front of the queue when this book goes on sale June 1. What about you? RRP $19.99

A whale tale

Looking for something to do on the long weekend? The Southern Right and Humpback whales are about to make their annual splash in the waters off Cape Leeuwin, Augusta and will be celebrated with the inaugural Whalesong Augusta Festival on the Foundation day long weekend.

Flinders Bay in Augusta is the first port of call for many whales that come to feed, breed and play from June to September. Whale watching in the area is a very unique experience because it’s one of the few places in the world where you can observe Southern Right and Humpback whales interacting.

The long weekend will also be host to The Variety Club Dinner and Auction and the ‘Mini Moo Bash’, as well as plenty of markets stalls, art displays and street entertainment.

Pick up a program from local businesses, the Margaret River or Augusta Visitor Centre’s or visit www.margaretriver.com for more information.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cocktails at Clarences

After having three people in three days mention this hip new bar in Mt Lawley, I had to add Clarences to my must visit list. I finally made it down there Friday night for an after work drink and was suitably impressed.

Although from the street it doesn’t look like much, inside it is a very classy little small bar. The d├ęcor is all wood panelling and chocolate browns and the lighting is so muted staff offer candles to punters looking to actually read a menu – even at 6pm when we arrived.

That said the bar has a great vibe and a drinks menu to match. My husband was thrilled to find a bar that displayed such a great range of high-end and small batch dark spirits (like Woodford Reserve) and I definitely appreciated the original cocktail list and extensive wine menu. I am a particular fan of European wines and enjoyed a glass of delicious Spanish red in an elegant stem-less wine glass.

We didn’t stay for dinner (this time) but there is a formal seated area for meals, or you can order your meal at the bar or one of the small tables scattered inside the bar and in the outdoor ‘beer garden’ area. If you are planning dinner, make sure you call and book a table well in advance as this is a small bar and seating is very limited. 

All in all, well worth a visit and I can see this becoming a regular for me for an elegant unhurried after work drink. 566 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley

Going nuts

It’s amazing to me so many people still don’t know the nutritional value available in the humble nuts. People think nuts are fattening, unhealthy or unnecessary. I eat a handful of nuts every day as part of my nutritional plan (focused on staying healthy and shedding a few extra kilos). Nuts are the perfect way to combat ‘3.30itis’ and keep you feeling full for longer.

No idea where to start with nuts? This may be a long post for this site, but the topic warrants it as here is the skinny on 10 different types of tree nuts and the benefits. Keep in mind in general nuts have been found to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, plus can help manage blood cholesterol and weight.

ALMONDS

Origin: Almonds are traditionally grown in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, but like many nuts with oversea origins now grow in Australia (NSW, Vic and SA).

What they’re good for: Healthy fats and vitamin E. A handful of almonds provides 85% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Vitamin E, the fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. It’s important to eat foods rich in healthy fats such as nuts to maintain heart health.

What’s a handful? 20 almonds.

Did you know: You can get bitter almonds? While we eat sweet almonds, the bitter variety was once used medically as they contain prussic acid (also known as hydrogen cyanide). In large doses hydrogen cyanide is deadly.

BRAZIL NUTS

Origin: The name gives it away. Brazil nuts are grown in the jungles of the Amazon Basin of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.

What they’re good for: The heart! Just two Brazil nuts can provide you with your entire daily intake of the antioxidant selenium, a vital trace element which has been found to help keep hearts healthy.

What’s a handful? 10 Brazil nuts.

Did you know: It has been documented that a Spanish colonial official collected Brazil nuts for his hungry troops back in 1569? They recovered quickly most likely due to the energy levels, healthy fats and range of other vitamins and minerals these nuts provide.

CASHEWS

Origin: Like Brazil nuts, cashew is a native of Brazil, but has migrated around the world and is now found in Vietnam, India and Africa. Catching on to the popularity of the creamy cashew, northern Australian farmers have established experimental orchards.

What they’re good for: Strong bones! Cashews contain magnesium, essential for strong bones.

What’s a handful? 15 cashews.

Did you know: You will never see cashews sold in the shell. The nut is surrounded by a double shell that contains a caustic phenolic resin, urushiol, a potent skin irritant and toxin also found in poison ivy.

Good Taste comfort food issue

If you’re looking for some solid comfort food for winter (and who isn’t) check out the new June issue of Good Taste on sale now. For $4.25, you will discover recipes for soups, curries, roasts, puddings and other seasonal recipes.

•    Slow-cooking special
•    Clever menus for casual & cosy entertaining
•    The complete guide to cooking crumbles
•    More taste, less waste, how to use up any wasted parts for your fruit and veg.
•    Winter health Q&A

Available from Woolworths, Big W and newsagents.

Friday, May 21, 2010

More than meats the eye

For the sake of integrity, I am going to start this post with the admission I am a vegetarian. I have been a vegetarian for just over 17 years, so the idea of scoffing down a pie that may or may not contain a selection of random animal intestines is not my idea of a good time – yet for many Australians (predominately men?) a meat pie is the ultimate indulgence.

It wasn’t that long ago that a study was conducted on Australia’s pies and discovered many ‘meat’ pies didn’t really fall into the category of meat at all. To qualify for the name meat pie, the Food Standards Code states a pie has to contain 25% ‘meat flesh’.

Now I am not going to dwell too much on what that really means as just the thought is already turning my stomach - but I have to ask, do people really care what’s in their meat pie? I am I hypocritical to think a meat pie containing offal is disgusting – I guess if we are going to kill animals for food, we should be ensuring we use the entire animal.

Moving on. According to CHOICE, Australia’s consumer watchdog, Australian’s spend more than $127 million buying meat pies and eat over 18,500 tonnes of them every year. Rather than focusing on commercial and bakery brands, CHOICE has run a test on 20 meat pies commonly available in the supermarket to see which was the most nutritious, the meatiest, and the tastiest.

CHOICE spokesperson Christopher Zinn says: “We covered most of the national brands stocked in the frozen section of the supermarket. Scoring well on all three criteria, the Elmsbury (Aldi) Bakehouse Premium Grain Fed Beef Pie was the overall winner. It had good meat content, was comparatively lower in fat and sodium, and tasted good. While not the cheapest pie we tested, it does offer value for money as a premium pie that’s nutritionally better than others on the market.”

Herbert Adams King Island Gourmet Premium Beef Pies have 38.5% meat, taking out first place for the meatiest pie. CHOICE says Four’N Twenty took out the title of tastiest meat pie followed closely by Black & Gold.

“If it takes a fair shake of the sauce bottle to make your pie edible, then perhaps you should be eating something else,” Christopher says. “Meat pies are OK as an occasional meal but there are many healthier, and tastier options.”

The Four and Twenty Lite pie carries the Heart Foundation Tick and had the lowest kilojoule content and total fat content of the tested pies.

So what do you think – do you love or hate pies? Is there a frozen pie in your supermarket you swear by?

Driving on the right (wrong) side of the road

When I was in the USA last month my husband and I hired a car and drove the terrifying and notorious ‘road to hana’ in Maui, Hawaii. It was a terrifying experience, but I am so glad we did it and was surprised how quickly we acclitised to being on the wrong side of the car and road. It did make for some interesting moments when we got home though (no sweetie, in Perth we drive on the left!).

I think driving on the wrong side of the road is something we all have to experience once and according to a new study commissed by GPS brand Navman, most of you feel the same way. The study showed Australians love to drive and being in a foreign country will not stop us. An overwhelming 83% of those surveyed said they would drive on an overseas trip if a car was available and nearly half would do so regardless of which side of the road the cars were on.

What do you think? Have you driven on the wrong side of the road and what was your experience like? Terrifying or exhilarating? Challenging or a piece of cake?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happiness or else

I think the secret to happiness is something we all believe is out there and one day we’ll find it if we just work a bit harder, push a bit further, be a bit more generous, care a bit more, etc, etc. I don’t want to accused of being stereotypical, but I think as women we always expect ourselves to be a little bit better than we are and always punish ourselves when we’re not happy enough.

I personally know dozens of women who have amazing careers, are wonderful mothers, caring partners, work for charity and achieve an incredible number of other things – who still ask themselves how they can find happiness. I know I am on that quest each and every day, which is why I was fascinated to hear an Australian journalist actually set out on a quest to discover the truth about being happy.

After suffering from depression as the result of a personal tragedy, ABC medical reporter Sophie Scott decided it was time someone found the answer, and has now authored a book Roadtestting Happiness reveling what she found.

She spoke to experts on happiness including Buddhist monk Mathieu Ricard, psychologist Dr Tim Sharp from the Happiness Institute and Assistant Professor Alice Domar from the Harvard Medical School, to discover the best ways to achieve and maintain happiness.

Using each approach suggested by the experts, she then ‘roadtested’ her way from depression to happiness, sampling techniques such as the power of positive thinking; the benefits of gratitude and altruism; meditation, spirituality and mindfulness; and of exercise and the mind–body connection.


Want to know how she went? Roadtestting Happiness is available now from bookshops. RRP $27.99

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

National jelly baby month

Did you know May is national jelly baby month? This joyous occasion is thanks to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation who strives to find a cure for type 1 diabetes by encouraging all WA women to put a little jelly in your belly during May.


Jelly Baby Month raises funds for research to find a cure, which is desperately needed. Did you know Australia has one of the highest rates of type 1 diabetes in the world?


Type 1 diabetes is a serious disease. People with this lifelong disease need up to six insulin injections every day or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump, just to stay alive. Diabetes can lead to devastating long term health complications, like blindness, kidney failure and heart disease. 
 


Jelly babies can be a lifesaver for people with type 1 diabetes because they can’t control their own blood sugar, so a quick sugar fix is essential in an emergency when blood glucose falls dangerously low.
 
Unlike type 2 diabetes, the causes of type 1 are not related to everyday diet or lifestyle. So please, put some jelly in your belly for the 140,000 Aussies with type 1 diabetes in May. 


Jelly Baby products are available from Woolworths and Safeway supermarkets, Amcal pharmacies, online or from volunteers. For more information, visit www.jdrf.org.au.

Will you tiptoe through the tulips?

I find it really sad that Araluen Botanic Park no longer receives the support it needs to hold it’s annual tulip display. The lack of government support for the park and the impact of parking restrictions imposed, means this year’s traditional It’s Springtime at Araluen tulip festival will not be held again.

That said, Araluen Botanic Park and now calling on volunteers to plant what they call a ‘modest scale of tulip planting’ on May 29 & 30 and June 12 & 13 from 9.30am to around 12pm.

Rod Ross, park general manager, says: “In keeping with previous practice we are inviting the broader community to volunteer their services to assist in the bulb planting process.  Many have become regulars and most consider it to be a novel, educational and enjoyable wholesome family outing.

“Just imagine the satisfaction that participants experience when returning to Araluen in spring to see the bulbs they planted in full bloom.”

Volunteers are encouraged to bring suitable gardening clothes, gloves and kneepads.  Planting tools are provided and simple instructions are demonstrated on site.

For further information contact the park on 9496 1171.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I heart photo booths

Although my wedding was nearly two months ago now, I still get very excited when I see a great wedding idea.

In the early stages of planning the wedding I fell in love with the idea having a photo booth, I had grand visions of all our friends dressed up in top hats and feather boas posing away all night. It is a great way to get your guests up (and laughing) and it also means you can build up your own photo album of guest pictures.

Unfortunately for us it came down to issues of cost and time, so we didn’t go ahead with the idea (we hired a magician to entertain guests instead – which was a real hit!) but if you’d like to pinch the idea feel free.

What’s got this idea back on my mind is one of my favourite wedding product websites, www.pinkfrosting.com.au, has just released a new product perfect for the DIY photo booth (pictured), which has got me all excited about the idea again. You can now go online and order your own customised backdrop. Presto! Instant photo booth for your friends to pose in front of.

The designs run from traditional to OTT fun, and you get to customise them with your own colours, names and wedding date. You could then use a cheap digital camera on a tripod or provide the guests with disposable cameras to snap away.

Or if you’d like that touch of kitsch you can only get from a genuine old school photo booth – check out www.pushthebuttonphotobooths.com.au or www.perthphotobooths.com.au for two options for hire right here in Perth.

Oh and I suppose you could use the idea for a birthday or anniversary as well…

Women’s secret travel business

We’ve all heard of secret women’s business but who knew Aussie women also have secret travel habits? According to lastminute.com.au, who conducted a survey of more than 800 female travelers, there are some very interesting trends to how women travel.
  • For many Aussie women on holidays, mixing with the locals is as important as sightseeing, with 40% of women admitting to having a holiday fling.
  • Whilst the majority of these romances fizzled out with the last holiday sunset, more than 10% developed a serious relationship with their holiday honey.
  • Of the women lucky enough to score a holiday romance, 15% ended up marrying their holiday hottie, with half of them having children!
  • The number one place for women to meet their far-flung fling is over drinks, with one in three holiday romances start at a pub or bar.
  • The GFC has encouraged women to use their money wisely with 50% of the ladies finance their trips upfront with hard-earned savings.
  • 72% of Aussie women say that travel is an important part of their lives, with almost half asserting that travel is “very important to crucial”.
  • A third of women say they travel to experience the world, and one in four want to take a break from their hectic lives for some R&R.
  • 15% say they travel to escape mundane reality and embark on an adventure, whilst 10% travel to visit friends and family.
lastminute.com.au spokesperson Mia Carter also says: “Nine out of 10 Aussie women book their domestic holidays online, and just over one in two book their international travel online, and we expect this figure to just keep increasing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Experience museum week

I am always one to promote a good event and I think the opportunity to promote WA’s museums and other cultural locations one too good to pass up. Today officially heralds the start of Museum and Gallery Week 2010 and the WA museum’s and galleries are definitely getting involved.

International Museum Day began in 1977 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). Since then it has grown in popularity around the world.  In 2009, it experienced record participation of almost 20,000 museums, who organized activities in more than 90 countries. 
 
Running from May 15 to May 23, Museums Australia WA executive officer Jane King says the week is a good opportunity for WA galleries, museums and cultural centres to talk about what they have on offer. 


“This annual week-long celebration, encompassing International Museum Day, provides the opportunity for Western Australian museums and galleries to showcase their collections and stories to the public while taking part in the global celebration of International Museum Day,” she says.

New ideas in the kitchen

Need some inspiration in the kitchen? I know I do! The June issue of Super Food Ideas has just hit the shelves. At just $2.95 it's a bargain buy I just can't pass up. If you want to save yourself the walk to the newsagents, you can find out the highlights from this issue below.

Freeze ‘n’ easy: Easy recipes you can freeze for another day.

THE MAIN MEAL: Try a meal with less meat! You can save money and help your health by adding more vegies to your diet and even do your bit for the planet.

COOK LIKE A CHEF: Everyone wants to be able to master some new techniques in the kitchen to improve their skills and impress family and friends and this new feature is here to help. This issue it’s four restaurant-style potato dishes with insider tips to teach you how.

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN: :ittle cooks doing big things Teach kids they can make nachos from scratch – not from jars – the finished result is a healthier version of this family favourite. And stock up the freezer with after-school snacks for hungry kids to feed themselves.

SWEET TALK: Just desserts cook some amazing desserts to keep in the freezer so it’s stocked to satisfy the family’s sweet tooth or to pull out for entertaining at a moments notice.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Home Beautiful on sale

I am something of a magazine junkie and having edited a homes magazine myself, I definitely have a soft spot for some of the more beautiful magazines on the shelves. So I will definitely keep all my WAstyle readers out there updated on when new mags hit the shelves. Today it is the new issue of Home Beautiful & some of the top stories are listed below...

BONUS BATHROOM SPECIAL
Bid your bathroom blues adieu with the inspirational 34-page guide to creating your dream bathroom.

MILAN INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR
Direct from Italy, Home Beautiful brings you a trend report from the 2010 Milan International Furniture Fair.

TAKE THE FLOOR
Carpet forms the style foundation of your space and this month Home Beautiful offers a comprehensive selection of cosy carpet schemes.

WINTER WARMERS
Welcome back winter with comfort food for body and soul. Think steaming soups, rich roasts and yummy crumbles - delectable winter classics with a modern twist.

OUR HOMES
This month Home Beautiful brings you 60 pages of  heart-warming homes, each with their own unique appeal. We visit a light and bright Queenslander characterised by classic design, head southwards to Melbourne for a charming Victorian cottage and pop into a stylish 1970s bungalow perched on the sun-kissed vineyards of South Africa.

Robin Hood on the red carpet




Although Robin Hood and his merry men are normally more at home in the depths of the forrest than the red carpet, there is no doubt the stars of the film know how to rock the paparazzi. Check out these pics from Robin Hood's photo call and red carpet premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. How fantastic is Cate’s frock?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Real women for Bobbi Brown



I am a big advocate of advertising campaigns and magazines that feature ‘real women’. Yes I know that in many cases these businesses may only do so for the publicity it gains them – but hey, I like to think the best in everyone. I also think real women campaigns give women a more realistic image to aspire too.

So what do you think of this new campaign from Bobbi Brown Cosmetics? Labelled Pretty Powerful the campaign claims to feature photos and videos of “real women” or “Friends of Bobbi.”

The PR spiel says Bobbi herself is inspired by the women in her life so created this campaign with a three day shoot featuring her friends and staff. To see some of the videos check out www.BobbiBrownCosmetics.com/PrettyPowerful.com.

Bobbi Brown products are available in selected David Jones and Myer stores.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nightmare on Elm Street? No way!

I have to say it is one of the perks of working in the media that I get invited to a lot of movie preview screenings. I am a movie buff through and through and I love getting to see films before I hear too many things about them in the media and either already know what to expect or have unrealistic expectations.

That said, when I received the invitation for this film this week, my first thought was unequivocally that there was no way I was going to see this film. I would rather run down St Georges Terrace in my pyjamas than go to see this movie. I am just not good at scary movies and I will never understand the appeal of paying good money to scare myself witless. A Nightmare on Elm Street? There will certainly be nightmares on my street if I saw this one.

What about everyone else. What kind of movies do you love or hate?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Obsessed with IKEA

I have joined the many millions of people around the world who are obsessed with IKEA. I love the new store they opened at Innaloo, it is like a wonderland of amazing things all designed to make our house and life a better place. The fact that each item may take a full Saturday just to unpack and put together often doesn't even factor in to my buying decisions.

I went there on the Easter long weekend and it was a good think we didn't have a lot of time (car breakdown - long story) to shop or I think I would have brought home half the store instead of just the chest of drawers I went there to get. As it was I also 'had to have' a heap of other drawer related accessories like handy organiser inserts to go into the drawers to keep my underwear in all near little compartments. Oh - and we didn't end up buying the drawers we went there for that were on sale, but a completely different set. You will have to agree these are pretty stylish though.

So what about everyone else? Am I alone in my IKEA obsession or is there some other kind of homewares that sends you weak at the knees?

New nature range for bubs

I am a big fan of natural products. We are exposed to enough hazardous chemicals in our every day lives without purposefully rubbing even more of them onto our skin. But what about kids? 

I am not a mum myself, but if I was I think I'd be even more concerned about what was in the products I was using and it seems like I am not the only one. I was interested to hear the story of a mum who is now marketing her own range of natural skincare for babies released around Australia this month.

Nature Within is a range of unscented, natural, organic skin care specifically developed for a baby’s sensitive skin and new to the market this month. Nature Within was created by Gold Coast based mother of two, Nadine Hall. Both Nadine’s children suffered with eczema and when looking for baby products tailored to sensitive skin she noticed that most contained essential oils or synthetic fragrances, which can irritate a baby’s delicate skin. 

So, as a qualified aromatherapist and certified infant massage instructor, she decided to set about developing an organic skincare brand made using pure, simplified ingredients, just for babies. After three years of research and product development and working in conjunction with a cosmetic chemist, the Nature Within brand was born.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Childless - not by choice

With the prevalence of childlessness rising rapidly, most of us know at least one person who is childless - not by choice.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about a quarter of women in their reproductive years are never likely to have children; and by 2011, couples without children are projected to outnumber those with children. When you consider these alarming statistics, it comes as no surprise that Australia’s birth rates are also at all an all-time low but what is the reasoning?

Is it due to a decline of social pressures to settle down and have children, failure of fertility treatment, underlying medical reasons or simply not meeting the right partner? These untold stories are the focus of the new book, An Inconceivable Notion, edited by Justine Davies.

Last chance for Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2’s history-making visit to Perth in March this year as the biggest ship to ever visit the WA capital has sparked interest for the megaliner’s return to Fremantle next year. 

Bigger than 25,000 African male elephants and towering 23 storeys, the grand, 3000-passenger Queen Mary 2 boasts 13 bars, 10 restaurants, five pools, an 8000-book library, the first planetarium at sea and a grand ballroom.

If you've ever wanted to cruise from Africa to Perth, 2011 is your year with the 12 night voyage taking bookings now. Until May 14, 2010, Cruise Express is offering cabins on Queen Mary 2 for her encore visit to Western Australia available from $3339 per person, twin-share, departing Cape Town February 5, 2011, and arriving in Fremantle on February 17 after visiting Durban and exotic Mauritius.

Contact Cruise Express on 1300 766 537, email cruiseexpress@travelations.com.au or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au

Monday, May 3, 2010

The new handbag essential

Have you ever had an urgent nail emergency or discovered an eyebrow hair gone rogue without a tweezer in sight? Well Wenger thinks they have the answer with the woman's equivalent of the Swisse Army Kife.

Stylish and petite enough to fit in a clutch at under 7cm, the Wenger Nail Clip 580, is the ideal expanding ‘survival’ tool you can pull out of your handbag in one fell swoop.