While you were sleeping

In case you missed the memo, just shy of 4 months ago I upped and left Melbourne. While my ASOS delivery details have changed, I haven't updated my drivers licence yet so I'm still calling myself a Victorian - I just live somewhere much warmer now. The whole 'Beautiful one day, perfect the next' Queensland catchphrase is pretty much true. In four months it's rained twice and the sun has shone EVERY OTHER DAY. I'm actually kinda over it. Kidding.

maggie islanMagnetic Island from The Strand

All the Vitamin D has made me a much happier person (and even with litres of sunscreen, my skin has naturally darkened), plus I've been able to use all the bathers I've bought over the years and never wore in Melbourne.

Four months in Townsville has shown me that there are wonderful, friendly, amazing people all over our country. My biggest fears upon leaving Melbourne were A) where would I work, B) who would I have a glass of wine with, and C) I'd miss my family and friends too much. In no particular order of course.

working by the poolI don't actually work by the pool (you can't see the screen!!) but this is enough to make anyone in Melbourne jealous

And you know what? My amazing team and clients in Melbourne said I could keep working with them. My family and friends booked plane tickets to come and visit. I've met a whole bunch of gorgeous, generous people here who are more than happy to drink wine with me. (They are also scarily enthusiastic about exercise dates, but that can't be a bad thing!) I joined a yoga studio, and started French lessons. I've tried a bunch of different restaurants, and discovered Melbourne-esque cafes and lanes that are a stones throw from delightful beaches and tropical islands. My husband and I have taken road trips three hours up the coast, and three hours down, exploring just a smidge of our gorgeous country. There really isn't much to complain about!

paronella parkParonella Park, three hours north of Townsville

I still miss everyone at home, and it makes me sad to think of the occasions, birthdays, baby showers and general wonderfulness of Melbourne we are missing. But in the long run, it's a pretty exciting (and scary!) thing to move states and start afresh, and more so when you are going to be doing a fair bit of it on your own. *One day* when I'm old and grey, I'll be able to look back on this experience and be grateful that I had the opportunity. And so to the more exciting happenings - the who, what, where, when and why of Townsville.

betty bleThe epic smashed pea, feta and poached eggs at Betty Blue

Fave spots include Betty Blue, MJ Espresso, Seasoned, The Yacht Club and IMC Steakhouse. Clever little businesses I like include Wahboo, The Secret Garden, Gluten Free Love and Rambutan. Fabulous girls I've met include Bianca, Carly, Jess, Amanda, Pip, Kayla, Mich, Ellen, Caitlyn and Jocelyn, AND all their gorgeous families. Thank you for being wonderful!

hamilton islandSunset on Hamilton Island, three hours south of Townsville

POSTSCRIPT: A special mention must be made to Rachel, whom I've known for 25 years (yes, eek!) and was pivotal in helping me settle in to Townsville. Without her to ease my anxieties and introduce us to the 'cool' places in Townsville, I'd certainly not be in as good a position as I am now. She can not, however, tell me where to buy weed.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S Trivia Night!

F.R.I.E.N.D.S has been my favourite TV show for as long as I can remember. In the same way I know where I was when Princess Diana was killed, I can relate episodes of the show to various points in my life, and no matter how many times I watch reruns, I always find something new to laugh at. logo The adventures of Joey, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Monica and Phoebe are etched in folklore and pop culture history forever, but how much do you really know about the gang? Carly from Smaggle and I wanted to find out, and so have created the inaugural F.R.I.E.N.D.S Trivia Night, to test everyones knowledge of our favourite six. The event will be held at Honey Bar on Thursday October 30 at 7pm and we'll be raising some dollars for the special school Carly teaches at - you can read more about her campaign, 'Doing silly things for a bus' here. Just $10 will put the fun in fundraiser, and you can come along and show us all just how much television you really watch. Book your tickets here. Can't wait to see you there - max tables of 8 and lot's of prizes. See you there!

QV Hideaway

Happy second day of spring. I had hoped that the rain might have stopped, but in true Melbourne fashion it's showing no signs of letting up and the show must go on. It's Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and the city is abuzz with all the flowers, fashion and frivolity that comes with the season of new beginnings and sunshine. We haven't seen the sunshine yet, but QV is celebrating a new beginning - that of QV Hideaway. flowers and wine Launched last week with a spectacular lunch (more on that later!) QV Hideaway is an urban oasis in a busy city. A place where you can escape the rain, bask in the sunshine away from the noise of the world or enjoy a range of free events in a fabulous setting. Located in QV Square, QV Hideaway is open until September 21. Qv hideaway   qv hideaway Officially part of the MSFW schedule, curated fashion events, hair workshops, mini makeovers and exclusive sneak peaks are all on the agenda, together with cocktail masterclasses and string garden tutorials for the more crafty among us. sarah kempson The gorgeous hub, aptly decked out as a woodland forest, features trees created from sustainable wood, colourful flowers (provided by Flower Temple who are ah-mazing) and a grand centrepiece - a real, live tree! (Seriously!) Together with 'the birds nest' (a private nook you can really hideaway in) and a birch covered cafe serving coffee and sweet treats, the QV Hideaway is the perfect spot to escape to in your lunchbreak, or make part of your MSFW calendar. jason grech dress A final note on that launch lunch last week? The sun shone (it was divine!) and we ate particularly yummy woodland inspired food by Brooks. A mini fashion show set the tone for the coming season (including a Jason Grech dress with real flowers sewn onto it!) and we experienced a true taste of spring before that awful Melbourne weather kicked back in. activity schedule Or, download the PDF here: QV-Hideaway-Activity_Schedule-5

Wicked In Oz!

Last night the green carpet was rolled out and crowds of suitably dressed punters headed to the Regent Theatre for the opening night of the tenth anniversary of Wicked the Musical. I didn't see the show first time round so was excited to be attending with my Mum, on the eve of Mother's Day. Even Mum commented on how dressed up everyone was, with a great number of people in green (or emerald!). WIC_COULDNTBEHAPPIER_JeffBusby The show started right on time and to be honest, I really wasn't sure of what the story would be. Touted to tell the 'Untold Story of the Witches of Oz', I wasn't sure I wanted one of my favourite childhood stories messed with. Within three hours I'd be singing its praises, for the show is a spectacle in all facets of singing, dancing, costume, staging and performance. WIC_FALLENHOUSE_JeffBusby Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, are the stars of the show, starting the tale as school chums and detailing their journey til the arrival of Dorothy in the land of Oz. There are lot's of lessons to be learnt in watching the production - that of bullying and friendship, love and loss - but the frequent laughs and delightful voices of the shows stars carry the tale and we learn much about the characters true personalities. WIC_GLINDA_JeffBusby WIC_ELPHABA_JeffBusby Original Wicked stars Lucy Durack and Jemma Rix portray Glinda and Elphaba, whose characters I could both relate to - Glinda for her love of shoes and Elphaba who is often told to stop talking! Glinda's character bares an uncanny resemblance to Reese Witherspoons Legally Blonde, while the caricature of the Wizard struck me as very Tywin Lannister. The costumes and sets are beyond amazing and throughout the production, I could see how the whole thing tied back to the film - sheer brilliance. If The Wizard of Oz was one of your favourite childhood memories, take your Mum or your sister - or your best friend - and enjoy this very clever tale in all it's glory. Also starring Reg Livermore - who I fondly associate with 'Our House' from my childhood too!

SEASON DETAILS ~MELBOURNE~

Venue: Regent Theatre, Melbourne Season: From 10 May, 2014 Performance Times: Wed–Sat 8.00pm, Wed 1.00pm, Sat 2.00pm, Sun 1.00pm and 6.30pm Price: Tickets from $69.90* Bookings: wickedthemusical.com.au or 1300 111 011 Groups 12+ save 1300 889 278

~SYDNEY~

Venue: Capitol Theatre, Sydney Season: From 20 September Performance Times: Tues 7.00pm, Wed 1.00pm, Sat 8.00pm, Wed 1.00pm, Sat 2.00pm, Sun 3.00pm Price: Tickets from $69.90* Bookings: wickedthemusical.com.au or 1300 723 038 Groups 12+ save 02 8240 2290 Travel Packages at wotif.com.au/wicked

~BRISBANE~

Venue: Lyric Theatre, QPAC Season: From 15 February 2015 Performance Times: Tues 6.30pm, Wed–Sat 8.00pm, Wed 1.00pm, Sat 2.00pm, Sun 3.00pm Price: From $69.90* Bookings: wickedthemusical.com.au or phone 136 246 The Wicked team are offering you a special presale sale! Just head to this link before 11.59pm Sunday 11 May to pick up this exclusive offer! All images with thanks to Jeff Busby Photography.

Keshett Jewellery

I like shiny things. Glitter, sequins, metallics and bling, reflective surfaces and things that sparkle when the sun catches them. Walking past a jewellery store window brings out the best of my attention deficit disorder - I might be mid sentence discussing politics and then oooh, shiny! - and I'm gone.

oooh shiny

Being actually invited into the jewellery store is almost beyond comprehension. I might want things, and in the way you never leave cake in front of a dieting person, I should never be left alone near the shiny things. Until last week when I was invited to visit Keshett, on Little Collins Street, in the heart of Melbourne's CBD. keshett_02 Keshett has been a jewellery mecca for over 30 years, owned and operated by Eugene and Paula Keshett, and catering to the many and varied needs of those in need of shiny things. With individual pieces, both antique, vintage and modern, their collection is sure to wow any shopper searching for something sparkly. diamonds I visited on a bustling Thursday afternoon, where a young couple who had been searching for an engagement ring for over seven weeks found 'the one' after just five minutes at Keshett. They departed, and the gentleman that followed (and certainly knew his diamonds!) purchased the perfect ring for his beloved after examining the ring in detail on the hand of another shopper - or 'ring model' if you will. A tour of the store with Paula showcases the amazing pieces she has uncovered all over the world. With a schedule that takes in Miami, New York, France, Germany, England, Vegas and Hong Kong, Paula looks for pieces that are interesting but different, always searching for the next story. diamond necklace And stories, the Keshett team have in droves. If not for the fact that my car parking was about to expire, I could have listened to proposal stories all afternoon. There was the one where the guy sold his car to fund the perfect ring, the proposals that have taken place in the store, a case of a ring lost between purchase and proposal, and the celebrity stories I have been sworn to secrecy about. We laughed and cried over champagne and macaroons. Keshett isn't just about jewellery for Paula, it's about having some fun and finding the perfect piece of sparkle to suit a personality. shiny things I tried on diamonds (oh, the DIAMONDS!), emeralds, sapphires and rubies.  Stunning gems any girl would be proud to display. Whether you are looking for an engagement ring, wedding band, something stunning for a special occasion, or just something shiny cause you can, Keshett is where you will find it! Stay tuned to see the AH-MAZING piece I've borrowed to wear at my 30th birthday party and start thinking about what you'll get your Valentine this February 14th. I've got a $250 gift certificate to give away to one lucky Valentine - simply comment below about your V Day plans! And if you're single, how will you spoil yourself? Who says you need a man to buy you diamonds... (Competition open to Australian residents only, random draw, entries close February 10 at 5pm).  

VAMFF Launches

Last night, in true Melbourne Fashion Festival style, VAMFF (or, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival) launched. Located at the impressive Docklands Studios, the launch was reminiscent of the 'off schedule' shows you only hear about in Paris and New York, hidden in cavernous warehouse spaces on the outskirts of the city. Formal proceedings commenced with CEO Graeme Lewsey introducing the 2014 concept, followed by Chairperson Laura Anderson and Virgin Australia and Government representatives. And then the lights went down and a short, sharp fashion parade showcased our very best design talent on a dramatic runway. Champagne flowed, cheeks were kissed and by 9pm, the fashion set was buzzing about the 2014 festival. Tickets are on sale now and are sure to sell out, with a stellar line up of not to be missed events. Visit www.vamff.com.au PS If you'd like to volunteer at VAMFF, sign up now. I can tell you it's an amazing experience you won't soon forget, and if you nominate the Business Events as your choice, you'll get to work with me!! Visit Event Gallery for all the details.

Porter Republic

I think I am becoming jaded by the Melbourne cafe scene. There are so many amazing places to eat in and around Melbourne city, and I'm spoilt to have quite a few within walking distance or a short tram ride away. But I've found recently I am unimpressed with the local offerings. Same same menus, same same people, same same same. It's all gotten a bit boring.

porter republic

This weekend my boyfriend and I took an impromptu trip down the coast to Phillip Island, where we are lucky enough to have a house owned by family we can escape to. I've spent my entire life holidaying at the Island and am very familiar with the local businesses - namely fish and chip shops. Cafe culture is not really what the Island is known for.

But all this is changing, because a new cafe has popped up in San Remo, the township at the gateway to the Island, and it's something to write home about. In fact, I'd almost get up an hour early and drive the 90 minutes down the freeway on a Sunday morning just to eat here. I've found what Melbourne cafes are missing.

porter republic

Porter Republic lies on the main shopping strip in San Remo, looking out across the bay to Phillip Island. They opened in June, but it's easy to see why they are already successful. With the brilliant weather yesterday, the outlook was just delightful and the sun warm on the windows of the cafe.

The team at PR believe that coffee is king but that it should be enjoyed with your family (and that includes kids!) and friends. The cool hipster vibe of the space includes a spacious kids play area and a brilliant outdoor courtyard that will be fantastic this coming summer.

Porter RepublicImage thanks to beanhunter.com

Don't even get me started on the food. I had the breakfast burger - egg, bacon, cheese, a potato rosti, lettuce, tomato and onion - which was on (elective!) gluten free bread (GOOD gluten free bread!) while B had corn cakes with avocado, haloumi, bacon and tomato relish. Yeah, it sounds like Melbourne fare but it was all so much better. Maybe the beach makes everything better?

There is grass on the walls, heaps of reading material, quirky post it notes about the place and that laid back 'we live by the ocean' vibe. Plus heaps of smiles. I'm counting down the days until our next weekend away.

Porter Republic

Imagine waking up to this everyday! Enjoy a sunrise with your coffee from Porter Republic.

PSST... these guys also have an ethical, earthy world view, and many of the books you'll find here are about growing your own food and gardening. They are hosting Rohan Anderson, www.wholelarderlove.com at 7pm, Friday Nov 29 for a discussion on his philosophies on life: Grow. Gather. Hunt. Cook. Tickets are $25 and spots are limited. Hit up their facebook page for more info.

All images thanks to Porter Republic facebook page unless specified.

Porter Republic
117 Marine Parade
San Remo VIC 3925
Open 7 days from 7am

 

 

 

The New Renault Clio at MSFW

You know how you can buy the little trees that hang from your rearview mirror in the scent of ‘new car’ smell’? That’s about as close to a new car as I’d ever been until I was picked up last week in the new Renault Clio and whisked off to a seriously stylish soiree at The Blackman Hotel in Melbourne.

The New Renault Clio

My poor bruised RAV4 sat in the street while doors were opened for me and I zoomed off in the oyster grey Clio for a night of fashion and fun with fellow Melbourne bloggers.

The Drivers

Driver Gil (who, poor soul, didn’t know what a blogger was!) whisked us off and explained to me some of the very cool features of the car while we waited at the lights. Had I noticed the back door handles were missing? (Note, not actually missing, cleverly disguised so it looks like a two door!)  Or perhaps I’d like to test the stereo, which can be customized to sound like a V6, a motorbike, an old style car OR EVEN A SPACESHIP!! Arriving at The Blackman, and heading straight for the Penthouse, we sipped Jack Rabbit sparking (I was VERY grateful for a driver!) and munched on adorable canapés, overlooking Albert Park Lake and the coast.

Me with Em Rusciano. I love her!

MC Em Rusciano regaled us with how in love with the Clio she was before launching the Renault Clio Pose Off – a competition where an ugly selfie could win you a car! How you ask? Simply take a pic of yourself looking less than perfect, upload it to the Renault Clio Pose Off Facebook page and take seriously stylish to a whole new level. Viola!

Melbourne Bloggers en masseLove this shot from Lady Melbourne of the Melbourne Bloggers who were in attendance. L-R: Lauren Brain, Phoebe Montague, Sarah Willcocks, Me!, Erica Moloney, Cheryl Lin and Emily Collie.

And if you are too vain to pose and just want to buy one of these babies, they come in at under $20k, have a stack of features you can design yourself, don’t do badly in the safety or environmental stakes and look AWESOME.