31 May 2011

Thank yous, and winners of the Hungry Designs competition

It seems like I am forever harping on about singing the praises of the wonderful blogging community. But I value it so much, so why not sing them again!

Just a quick post to say thank you to everyone who reads my blog, leaves comments, shares links, tweets me and enjoys what I write about. Some of you are so loyal and leave comments on most posts I write. Sometimes I wonder if I am interacting with my readers enough. I wish I had the time to read and comment on every blog I see, but I just don't. I am actually considering providing a bit of an internship to a media student to promote my blog (and perhaps others' blogs). Thoughts?

I read every comment you leave, and though I don't always reply on my blog, I appreciate the conversation generated. Last week I wrote a post about perceptions of disability, and I am so happy with the way readers joined in on the conversation. You had some really interesting things to say - thank you.

I love that you enjoy and comment on my serious posts just as much as the frivolous fashion ones. I received a comment on Facebook that they prefer my serious writing to my pictorial posts. In all honesty the serious ones can be emotionally and time draining on me - lots of research and introspect involved - and frankly, I don't have enough heavy stuff in my life to feature here. And I like to mix it up a bit - write about lots of different things in my life.

There is a Twitter follower (a few actually) who reads my blog without fail, usually over breakfast, and leaves lovely messages on my blog. Belinda - thank you so much, Belinda.

I received a really lovely comment in response to a comment I left on a Mamamia article.
Thanks, An Idle Dad :) It was a lovely message to receive. It's nice to know the impact we have on people.

I also received a request to feature on an international fashion blog - a friend from uni writes This Style is Mine. So very flattering. Thanks Anna!

I have been reading some really inspirational writing lately. I couldn't sleep on Sunday night and so I delved into EdenLand. I'd already mentioned Eden's blog entry about doing kind things for blogging friends last week. But I want to show you some amazing posts she's written. This one on Bono - I love reading about fans meting their idols, especially when the idols take interest in their fans. And I was moved by this entry called Drive for the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers competition. Drive is a beautiful post about family. And it got her into the finals of the competition. I also love Oh Nicky you're so pretty. It's about when her son met his idol 'Nicky' Mouse. Her son cried when he met Mickey Mouse, and when Eden asked him why he cried, he said "I just love Nicky mum. I love him.". So sweet. The way Eden writes is so gentle yet so passionate, honest and raw, and loving. I feel like I am living in Eden's moments. Thank you Eden for sharing your writing and wisdom. And for inspiring me to be a better writer.

Also, I have drawn the winners of the Hungry Designs brooch competition. They are Kyls, Marilyn McSweetie and Pink Penguin. Congratulations, I will be in touch soon to get your postal details. You will receive a brooch each. And thanks to everyone for entering - another competition will be run soon. And a big thank you to Amanda from Hungry Designs for donating the brooches and also for promoting my blog.

In summary - a big thank you to everyone who reads my blog. You taking the time to read my writing and enjoy what I write is such an honour. And thanks for generating great conversation. Thank you.

Talk Talk Talk [about] Darren Hayes' new single!

News just in!! (From www.darrenhayes.com)

"The first single from Darren Hayes' forthcoming album will be called 'Talk Talk Talk' and released worldwide at the end of June. Official release dates will be confirmed soon."

Click here for exclusive screen grabs from the music video and the full statement.

AuspOp says "Darren's brand new single is currently set for a digital release in Australia on Friday June 24".  

As I mentioned last month, Darren's fourth album will be released on Mercury Records/Universal Music Australia later this year.


I can't wait to hear his latest offering. He is such a talented, passionate singer and lyricist.


30 May 2011

Ethiopian with Heidi

I finally met up with the gorgeous food and nutrition blogger Heidi from Apples Under My Bed. We'd been planning a meal at The Abyssinian for a couple of months, and our dinner happened last week.

Heidi's blog is a lovely read - full of recipes, memories and retro-style photos. She tells food stories beautifully and I hope one day she compiles these into a book of memoirs.

I love Ethiopian food - it's spicy, meaty and great to share. We ate with our hands, our food scooped up with injera bread. Injera looks like a big flat crumpet and tastes tangy.

Heidi and I shared grilled eggplant marinated in chilli, garlic and olive oil for starters.
And for our main Derek Tibbs - lamb grilled with ghee, green chilli, rosemary and onion (top), and cubes of raw beef cooked in a warm spicy sauce (bottom).
I loved both dishes - the dryness of the lamb with the hot chilli and rosemary put a twist on the lamb I'm used to eating. I am definitely going to try cooking it at home. And the raw beef is nothing to be afraid of. It is nose runningly spicy, but so tasty and tender.

Heidi and I talked non stop for three hours. We both enjoy blogging and good food, so we had plenty of things to talk about. I was planning to make her healthy no-bake cookies over the weekend but I've been sick so I will save the ingredients for next weekend.

She is a really nice, caring person - very intelligent and has so much positive perspective on life. There was something that we discussed that resonated with me all week. We both agreed we only want to do the things that we enjoy and make us happy, because life is too short. I have not been happy in my job for a little while, and three weeks ago I spoke up. Fortunately I could be moved, and I start a new job today. I am so excited about the work and the end goal I'll be working towards. Heidi and my discussion got me through last week, looking forward to a brighter future.

I am really glad I met Heidi, and we are already planning our next food adventure!
You can read Heidi's post about The Abyssinian here.

29 May 2011

No more Tomorrow for Silverchair or Spicks and Specks. First Ladies of Style. A jam packed week.

This past week has been so busy I've barely had time to rest. It has all caught up with me and now I am sick with a cold. I have spent the day in bed catching up on blogs and watching the TV I missed out on in the week. A meal is cooking in the slow cooker but I cannot smell its deliciousness.

I've seen several bands, acquired two set lists from the concerts (Eskimo Joe and Bachelor Girl), and met most of the members of the two main acts. Here is a sneak peak of me with Bachelor Girl last night.
Concert reviews coming soon. I also interviewed Tania Doko last week. You can read the interview here.

Yesterday I had a girls day/night out with three of the lovely girls I met at High Tea. It was great to catch up and laugh and eat. We did some speed friending at Be My Wingman and had dinner before Bachelor Girl. We went for convenience over interestingness and dined at Nandoes next to The Forum. I had so much chicken at Nandos. I was starving after only eating my cold remedy of pho with chilli and lemon at 11 am. I can proudly say I wolfed down the burger minus the bun, all of the chips, and a quarter chicken with hot sauce. Go me.
I also did a speech at a Grit Media function - more to come about that later this week.

This past week saw announcements the end of two of my favourite things. The music game show Spicks and Specks and the Australian band Silverchair. Both want to finish on a high.

Spicks and Specks is regular TV viewing for me. And when I go to my parents', Dad and I put our hands on buzzers and take the game very seriously. Mum usually annoys us with talking through the show, but it's all in good fun. I love the segment where singers sing the tune to a song from the lyrics of an eccentric book. Grace Woodroffe sung beautifully using a book about bowel movement. Spicks and Specks is side splittingly funny. Adam Hills has great one liners and team captains Adam Brough and Myf Warhurst know their music. The guests are usually the funniest part of the show. I will miss Spicks and Specks a lot.
And Silverchair. They haven't released music or toured for a while so I guess it was inevitable they were going to call it a day. Or "indefinite hibernation".
Their statement:
"We formed Silverchair nearly 20 years ago when we were just 12 years old. Today we stand by the same rules now as we did back then ... if the band stops being fun and if it's no longer fulfilling creatively, then we need to stop.   Therefore after much so...ul searching we wanted to let you know that we're putting Silverchair into "indefinite hibernation" and we've decided to each do our own thing for the foreseeable future.   We assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly. In fact we've been struggling with it for quite a while now.   Back in 2009 we went into the studio to start work on a record. Initially things were going well and as a result we did some shows in 2010 to maintain creative momentum. However, over the months that followed in the studio it became clear to us that we were moving in different directions. Despite our best efforts over the last year or so, it's become increasingly clear that the spark simply isn't there between the three of us at the moment.   As a result we've decided to put the band into 'a deep sleep' while we all do other things that we find more inspiring right now. This means that Silverchair won't be making music together or playing shows any time soon. It also means that the three of us won't be working together unless and until it feels right again.   We understand some of you may be disappointed by this news but we really see it as a liberating and positive step for us at this point in our lives.   We also want to make it really clear that this decision has been made with the best possible intentions. We've always tried our hearts out to make the best music we could possibly make at the time - regardless of commercial consequences.   The three of us still truly care about each other. At the moment Ben’s busy in the studio recording his own music, Chris is working on various business, musical and charitable ventures while Daniel is creating a film soundtrack and working on other musical projects. We hope you'll continue to take an interest in our individual work over the years ahead.   In closing we'd like to acknowledge all the people 'behind the scenes' who've helped us keep this train on the tracks since we first started playing in a garage. There are too many to name but they know who they are and we truly appreciate all their love and hard work.   Above all though we want to thank you for all your support in good times and bad. You've put up with our long breaks between albums, our constantly changing musical styles and lots more. The unbelievable loyalty we've been shown by you our audience, and our friends, has never gone unnoticed or unappreciated. That’s why we wanted to tell you first.   With Sincere Thanks For Your Understanding.   Sweet Dreams.   Daniel, Ben and Chris"

Silverchair marked the maturing of my music tastes. I loved Neon Ballroom especially Miss You Love, which I wrote about in depth. I wrote poetry inspired by Daniel Johns' lyrics - they helped me explore my own issues of isolation. The Across the Night tour in 2003 was the reason I chose Melbourne as a place to work - I received job offers in Canberra and Melbourne and had bought tickets to Silverchair's Melbourne show so I thought if I lived in Canberra I couldn't make it to see them. I returned to Albury to see them with Powderfinger in 2007.
And I have always admired Daniel's courage and honesty about his struggles with anorexia, bullying and arthritis.

Silverchair have written and recorded some brilliant music. It is complex and theatrical. I look forward to their solo pursuits.

Emotion Sickness is also a favourite of mine. I think it's a masterpiece.

Vale Spicks and Specks and Silverchair.

Lastly, like so many others, I was inspired by Princess Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama's fashion frenzy when they met in London last week. Stunning. So elegant.
I tweeted this story and my friend stated "only Carly shares the important news". Indeed. The dresses made world headlines - particularly Kate's which was a steal at 175 GBP. Shoppers eager to dress like a Duchess made the Reiss website crash. You can buy your own Shola bandage dress here - just make sure you call Kate to see if she's wearing it the same time as you. You don't want to be mistakenly papped while wearing it.
Kate needn't worry about me turning up to the same party as her in the Shola dress, but Michelle Obama better watch out. I am stealing her style.  Raiding her wardrobe. I LOVE this!

I think these First Ladies can run the world simply on their fashion choices.

28 May 2011

Lissie at Northcote Social Club

Lissie at Northcote Social Club, 
19 May 2011

Two Thursdays ago, Hayley and I went to see Lissie at the Northcote Social Club. It was a fantastic night - friends, cider, pub meals and live music.

Lissie was supported by the wonderful Owl Eyes - a young Melbourne singer. Her songs were full of life and fun to listen to. At one point I signed and said "I love her".
She had a cute little dress on and a sparkle in her eye. The perfect opener to Lissie.

When Lissie came on, I was reminded of her drummer, Stuart Wilkison and his perfect hair.
 Lissie was amazing. She sounds like Stevie Nicks with country twang. Her bassist described her as "too awesome". Indeed she was.

I loved In Sleep, Everywhere I Go, When I'm Alone and The Bully. Her voice is so powerful, like an extra instrument. Deep, echoey and husky. My favourite of the show was a cover of Martine Nightingale's classic, Get Right Back. A lovely surprise! Upbeat, dance inducing and fun!
Her band also packed so much power, with some great solos. And they were funny.
I spent a lot of time (again) admiring her drummer.

After the show I asked him for a photo. I told him I think he is the best looking drummer in the world.
He was very flattered. And such a polite, soft spoken Englishman.
When I met Lissie she remembered me from my blog. She said she knows I have a crush on her drummer! They googled him on tour, and found my blog! She spent lots of time talking to fans and posing for photos. She is so lovely.

Here is my friend Peter and I with Lissie.

26 May 2011

Bachelor Girl have loved and lost. And now they're back.

Last night I chatted to Tania Doko from Bachelor Girl, one of my favourite singer-songwriters from the late 1990s - early 2000s. We talked bands breaking up (vale Silverchair), bands reforming (welcome back Bachelor Girl!) and the obvious cheesy - public transport.

Buses and Trains, Treat Me Good, Permission to Shine and Lucky Me are songs that I still sing along to. Buses and Trains was awarded song of the year by the Australasian Performing Right Association in 1999, and in that year, Bachelor Girl was Australia's most broadcast artist. I told Tania that Bachelor Girl was the last concert I saw before I set off on my new life to Melbourne, eight years ago. I met Tania four years ago at a Darren Hayes concert and then on the plane the next day. I have been in contact with her ever since, asked her for an interview, and true to the name of her previous band, she said yes!
Bachelor Girl are back with a new album called Loved and Lost, and are touring for the first time in eight years. They never officially broke up, Tania Doko told me. She and bandmate James Roche went off to do their own things for a while. Tania was in a dance project called She Said Yes with Jack Jones and Karl Lewis in 2007 - 2008. She's had a job as a youth worker. And for the past three years she's been living in Stockholm and Los Angeles, writing songs. James eloped overseas and now has a child. He did some music recording and composing for the screen.

(Now she's lived overseas, I wonder which mode of transport Tania misses more - Melbourne's buses or Melbourne's trains? "Melbourne's public transport is not good compared to Europe. I love public transport - it gives me a break from the traffic and I get time to think", she says.)

So why did Bachelor Girl reform in 2011? "Now the timing is right for Bachelor Girl to reform, release a best of album with some new songs and do a tour", Tania says. When the tour's over, Tania says, she will return to Stockholm, refreshed and ready to write songs. 

Tania's written songs for Australian singers The Veronicas, Ricki Lee and Renee Geyer - she regards them as strong female singers and praises their vocal talent. She dreams of writing for Adele and Katy Perry in the future.

She's excited by touring, but says things have changed since the early 2000s. "I'm consumed by the preparation", Tania says. She does a lot of her own promotion in addition to the record company's. She's used social media to promote the tour. "To be an artist these days is more than just showing up and doing a gig. There's so many more people you can reach with social media".

The new album, Loved and Lost, features their favourites from their first two albums Waiting for the Day and Dysfunctional, plus four new songs. Tania says the new songs are pop-rock, uplifting and free and easy. She says that during rehearsal for the tour, Bachelor Girl's bass player said the new songs are ahead of their time.

I mentioned to her that Buses and Trains is a timeless song - I think it was ahead of its time in 1999. It's still so relevant. She agrees, but she now sings it in a different way. To her the song is no longer only about love. Getting hit by a bus is a broader analogy. "It's about life. It's about screwing up in life and being motivated to take risks. I'm not going to be stopped by screw ups ".

And the new album takes a new emotional direction. She describes it beautifully. "Waiting for the Day was more about break ups, but Loved and Lost is like a love letter to your future love of your life", Tania says.  

Bachelor Girl are touring soon:
28 May - The Forum 2, Melbourne (tickets via Ticketmaster)
3 June - The Basement, Sydney (tickets via Moshtix)
4 June - The Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide (tickets via Moshtix)



25 May 2011

The community of blogging

Many people I encounter wonder the value of blogging, and whether it's beneficial. Why tell your story, and who will read it? Isn't blogging sharing too much about yourself? Will anyone care about your insignificant life? Yes they will. And sometimes blogging can make such a difference to others in the blogging community.

Two blog posts I have read recently reinforce my beliefs in the blogging community. The first is by Lori from Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum. The other is by Eden at Edenland. These two posts exemplify the friendship and support created by blogging, and the way we can reach out through blogs to bring help, hope and love into our worlds.

Lori's husband took his own life at the start of this year. She has two tiny children to take care of alone, with the nightmares from witnessing his suicide. She has used her blog as therapy - writing her pain and progress down for the world to read. While some readers have criticised her sharing of the tragedy on her blog, many more readers have come to her aid. She believes the support she's received from the blogging community has been the key to her survival - emotional and financial.

She writes:
"Tell me there is no community here, and I'll show this first post, and the 300 comments that come with it. I'll show this post, or this one, or this one. I'll show you $12000 donated, and a stack of parcels and packages, and cards and flowers and wishes, all for a family that these people had only read about, and never met.

I'll show emails that keep arriving, every day. Ones to say I'm thinking of you. Ones to offer practical help and support, from food to clothes to cash to babysitting."
While Lori continues to heal and make a new life for herself and her children, the online community has opened their arms and embraced Lori personally, which is helping bring Lori back. She has made so many friends, and cites the Australian Bloggers Conference as one of the best weekends of her life. She has also raised awareness about mental illness and the finality of suicide. She was also a winner in the lifestyle category of the Best Australian Blogs Competition (the same category I was a finalist in).

Eden's post was heartwarming. She came across an Australian blogger, Vee, whose husband, Alex passed away from cancer last year. She met her Vee in person for the first time a few weeks ago and together they redecorated the cancer ward where Alex was diagnosed and had chemotherapy. Alex was an artist and so Eden and Vee printed some of his art onto canvasses and hung them in the ward, including patients' rooms. Without permission.

Eden writes:
"We left a piece of the world goddamn less ugly than we had found it, and I am fiercely proud of us for that....
I looked at all of Alex's wonderful images, tried to see them through the eyes of a newly diagnosed cancer patient. I wanted them to be taken away, somewhere - anywhere other than where they were. "
What a beautiful act of kindness. And what a bond formed in the online blogging community.

The internet can be a dangerous place. It can also be isolating. And the purpose of online communities can be misunderstood. But there is so much love and support to be found online. Like-minded people can meet up to talk about things that matter to them. Online communities offer hope and can create confidence. And they can be places of love.

Blogging can give ordinary people a voice. It's no longer only celebrities raising the awareness of issues and going public with their private lives. It's people like us. We're helping each other. Turning online support into physical, real life support.

We are so privileged to share insight into bloggers' lives. I know peoples' secrets and triumphs - these are people I probably wouldn't just bump into on the street. And I let them into my life too.

I receive emails from people around the world asking me about ichthyosis. They ask me for advice. Other people tell me their stories of illness and disability. I guess they open up to me because I've opened up. Maybe readers contact Eden for advice. And I am sure as time passes, or maybe it's already happening, Lori will be asked to provide advice to other wives who've lost their husbands to suicide.

While I have lots of 'real life' friends, I have met so many through blogging and Twitter. I count these as friends too. When I have had a difficult day and go home to an empty house, I take comfort knowing that I receive support online. I know people appreciate what I have to say. That's the value of the blogging community.

How has the blogging community helped you? Even if you aren't a blogger?

23 May 2011

Perceptions of disability

I read an article about the perceptions of disability by Cam from CurlyPops last week. The article is about how we can forget we have a disability because we get so used to living with it and it's when we encounter curious people that we remember there's something 'wrong' with us. She pondered how people perceive her.

While I am used to the chronic illness component of my disability, and only notice half the stares and comments, it is often my friends who notice it more than me. And I guess it's then I am reminded I am so visibly different. When my friend and I went to Jebediah she asked me in a serious tone "when we are out tonight do you mind if I just let loose and give someone a serve?". I was puzzled at this, thinking she had a behavioural problem I was not aware of. I asked what she meant. She said she'd heard some guys making comments about me in the restaurant. I had not noticed. The night didn't ensue a chance for her to give anyone a serve. Maybe next time!

Since doing work in the disability community, I do notice the way people stare at my friends. Actually, before that, I was fiercely protective of a colleague I am close to at work - a number of people were asking me about her illness. I realised that this is probably what people who know me may experience. I mentioned this to my colleague, and she said that so many people ask her about me too! We had a laugh. I digress. When I am with my friends with disabilities, I notice the stares, the parting of the crowds, the condescending ways in which others speak to us, the pity faces, the low expectations of us, and the assumptions made.

I wonder whether people warn others about their friends with disabilities - to quell their surprise and to mitigate questions. Perhaps.

I went out with a friend recently - she used a wheelchair. We met one of my friends out, one she had not met before. When my friend in a wheelchair left, my other friend said to me "so, is she always like that?", making a hand gesture. "Like what?" I asked. "In a wheelchair", he said. I was a bit surprised he felt the need to ask. There was no malice in his question, just curiosity. "No", I replied, and left it at that. I wondered why he needed to know, why was it important? And why did he ask about her wheelchair when he's never been concerned about my appearance (to my face).

Cam made a great point in her article. She saw someone else with a similar disability to hers, and wrote "Then I had my most ridiculous thought. I was sad that someone so young had to live like that." While I haven't thought this about people with disabilities, I once said to my Dad that I thought it was sad that Muslim women in Australia felt the need to wear hijabs or niqabs. He told me that they are so lucky they live in a country that allows them the freedom to dress how they want.

This wisdom has stuck with me and I think it can be applied to people with disabilities too. We're in a society where disability isn't something to be ashamed of, or to take pity on. When I meet someone tells me it's a shame I look the way I do, I tell them that I am not dying from my illness, I am living with it the best way I can.

22 May 2011

The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell - produced by Straightjacket Productions

Last night I saw the stage play, The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell - produced by Straightjacket Productions - at Melbourne art space 45 Downstairs. The play is written by Western Australian playwright Reg Cribb, and directed by Lucy Freeman. It stars John Wood (of Blue Heelers fame), Sam Johnson (Secret Life of Us, Rush) and Marcella Russo (Neighbours).

The play opens with acclaimed Australian bush poet Daniel Gartrell (John Wood) sitting in an armchair, 'thinking oblique thoughts' when Craig Castevich (Sam Johnson) stops by. The house is dark, temporarily cut off from power, and Castevich trips over a vase. Gartrell's fiery temper is revealed in this early stage of the play, when he scolds Castevich for tripping over the vase his ex wife gave to him. Daniel Gartrell reveals his nudity too - just as the power is restored. His nudity was not what Castevich - or the audience - expected.

Castevich is a recently graduated actor, his most successful work to date has been playing a naked terrorist and a squash player (he became really good at squash) in a short films. Gartrell's life story is being made into a feature film, and Castevich is spending two weeks with Gartrell to learn about him in preparation for playing him as a young man. He is fresh and extremely enthusiastic and forward in researching Gartrell, as he believes this feature film may be his big break.

He soon realises Gartrell's history will not be easy to learn as Gartrell is a very private and isolated man, often leading Castevich astray. Perhaps the fact that Gartrell is still alive makes it harder still for Castevich to become his character. Sarah Gartrell (Marcella Russo), Daniel Gartrell's daughter, stops by with some groceries and she reveals some truths about her father. Sarah is also isolated, perhaps a symptom of being the sole carer of her father. She just wants someone other than her father to love her.

As Gartrell and Castevich spend more time together, it becomes apparent they both share common demons. The idea of it being easier to become a character being than living with the reality of your own life is also raised. And perhaps when an actor becomes a character, their own life is burdened with the character's flaws. Issues of mental illness loneliness and isolation, Indigenous Australia, and the generation gap are also explored in depth. The play also showed the effects on a writer when their craft slowly becomes obsolete.

The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell is a convincing performance, both funny and confronting in parts. It is very Australian. The set is amazing - a construction of old doors and drawers, and old couches. Gum trees are scattered around the sides, and these are haunting lit. And Marcella Russo wore a stunning dress.

I felt immersed in the play. It was so different compared to TV and film - really intimate. I have been a fan of Sam Johnson since The Secret Life of Us, and John Wood is a legend of Australian TV, so it was great to see them on stage. Sam not only acts in the play but is a co-founder of Straightjacket Productions.

The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell is playing at 45 Downstairs until 7 June.

You can view some hilarious videos from Straightjacket Productions on YouTube.

On a side note - Sam Johnson is so lovely, taking the time to talk to me after the play. I gave him a card and the CD featuring the video of the Rush premiere. He asked me about my work on Channel 31 and what disability I have, which we spoke at some length for. He also asked me for a hug and what my full name is. Nicest. Actor. Ever.

21 May 2011

All the big questions from Rebecca Jade McGuire

This week I was asked all the big questions. Fellow blogger, Rebecca Jade McGuire, featured me at her place. I really like her blog - she's a bit like me in that she writes about frivolous and irrelevant things and somehow makes them relate (she said this about me too!), and her writing style and content suggests she talks a mile a minute.

Rebecca also wrote a really nice intro about me too. It made me all warm and fuzzy.

Here are the big questions. Ok, they are a bit silly. It was my week off from saving the world's big issues.

Who are you, really?
A late (but always punctual) 20something Melbourne woman, looking much younger than my years, and always looking for Mr Right. 

I work full time, am a freelance writer, and a TV presenter on Channel 31's No Limits program.

My main thoughts are 'what will I wear next?'and 'what will I eat next?'. I like cooking and eating, shopping, fashion, writing, seeing live music and meeting celebrities. I once waited for Darren Hayes for six hours outside the TV studio. It was a Melbourne winter. Some girls rocked up after I'd been waiting five and three quarter hours, and I told them to queue up behind me to meet Darren, as I've been waiting a long time. They did. Marcia Hines was also there. She was really interested in talking to me, but I needed to cut our conversation short to go meet Darren Hayes (for the seventh time).

What do you write about?
Life. Bands, food, fashion, my oft-failed romances, meeting celebrities, and chronic illness/disability.

Why do you write?
Because I love it. I love articulating my thoughts. I love the community writing creates. And I love continuously improving my observation, research and writing skills.
I enjoy interviewing people and creating an article. There's always a story to be told.

What are your feelings on the always relevant topic of Jennifer Aniston?
If she stopped making awful movies, maybe her love life would be more successful. Hold on, does that mean I am also making awful movies??? She's dated Brad Pitt and John Mayer. I don't find either of them attractive. 

What do you do that you know is bad for you, but you can't help?
Scratch. I can't help it but I am always itchy. Sometimes my scalp gets so itchy I scratch my head on corners of furniture. Is that too much information? Deal with it.

What is a topic that you have absolutely no interest in, thus when people talk about it, you employ hardcore listening skills such as nodding intermittently and maintaining eye contact, whilst wondering what's on TV tonight?
When people talk about their love for singers that I hate. Like their passion for Chris Brown, Katy Perry, Usher and Nickleback. Often they tell me how talented these singers are. I immediately feel like whipping out my iPod and giving them an earful of talent. Dare me to?

Pearl Bay (SeaChange) or Wandin Valley (A Country Practice)?
Wandin Valley. I have a soft spot for Matt Day. He's cute. 

When have the Karma Police caught up with you?
For those times my jaw has dropped when seeing people wearing clothes that should not be worn, I once had my skirt tucked into my undies while I waited for a train. A lady alerted me. She told me she doesn't think anyone saw. Of course they saw. She did.

What is your arguing style? (Eg. tantrum-thrower, avoid conflict altogether, screamer, snark?)
I think I am a sulker and a princess. 

What are you frightened of that is stupid?
Milk touching me. I hate it. I hate seeing spilled milk too. 

What's the nicest bit about your personality?
I am always forgiving those I shouldn't. That's the nice/doormat bit of my personality. 

Do you think Oprah is full of herself?If I was that successful - and one day I will be - I would be parading my confidence and success too. I think she should take me under her bingo wings, and together we can rule the world with our TV presenting skills, big appetites, curly hair and African heritage (the four things I know we have in common). I like her. She helps the needy and she's vibrant.

Do you ever wonder what happened to Nudge from Hey Dad? If so, what's your hypothesis? (Do not Google.)
No. Never. But I wonder if Betty was based on an actual person, and just how many computer screens she ruined by using Whiteout.

The end :)

You should read the rest of Rebecca's blog. She's way cool. She's Aussie. And she has thought about celebs she'd like too be friends with. I like a girl who dreams big.

19 May 2011

My article about John Hughes from MasterChef Australia

I interviewed John Hughes from MasterChef Australia and the article was published on DiVine this week.

It's not often a person with a disability appears on commercial television. And it is certainly not often that a person's disability is overlooked and their skills showcased. I am so impressed his disability came second to his talent on MasterChef. John Hughes, who has cerebral palsy, recently won the admiration of Australia while competing on the popular reality TV show MasterChef. He was most famous for not plating up a dish because he wasn't proud of it, and then cooked the best crocodile Matt Preston has ever tasted!

You can read the full article at DiVine.

I was super excited that Channel 10 read my article and tweeted the link, saying it was a great article. Getting read by those who matter!

John makes wine and has his own wine label called Riesling Freak. He now hopes to mentor children with disabilities and their families, and work in food and wine media.

Read more of my writing at DiVine.

18 May 2011

Bloggers road trip. The playlist. Win a New Ford Territory for a Year and $5,000

I've found myself in another blogging competition. The Kidspot and Ford Territory Top 50 Bloggers competition. A friend asked if there is any competition I haven't entered into. The Olympics. Duh. And considering I am not a mummy blogger, don't have children, have only written about children a few times, and I don't handle other peoples' poo or spew well (the requisites of being a good parent, in my opinion), I find myself pretty lucky to be on this list! If I win this competition, I will get to drive around a new Ford Territory for a year, and also pocket $5000 (is this more than the baby bonus??)! 

You can help me win by voting for me - it only takes one click. You don't even have to enter your email address. Easy.

Some of the other fabulous bloggers in the Kidspot Top 50 invited me on a virtual road trip as a part of this competition. Yay! (You can vote for them in the competition too!)

Nikki at Styling You compiled a list of fashion must haves for the road trip, Jodie from Mummy Mayhem vlogged about it in a way only she can, Bern from So Now What wrote a post about road hazards and Bianca from Big Words Blog thought it'd be a good idea to put down some road rules. I am living up to my blog's name by taking charge of the tunes. Last time I was on a road trip with my friend, I was singing along to Bob Evans, and my friend told me I 'ain't no Australian Idol'. Thanks. Can't wait to receive those insults about my singing again on this road trip!
I asked the girls what music they liked. Fortunately a lot some of it was daggy. Just the kind I like to sing along to in the car! And I had a think about some driving-themed songs, to up the ante on the dag scale.  Driving-themed songs are all about escape. When I drive alone I like to take the time to listen to lyrics - reflect on my life and think about the life the singer may have had. I also like to sing loud to fast songs. It makes me the trip go faster.

Singing along in the car is sober karaoke. You can hit all the high notes and bust air guitar moves as far as your seatbelt will stretch. Of course your fellow passengers may groan at at least one of your song choices. And you may even make other travellers laugh when they pull up alongside you at the traffic lights and hear you singing any of these songs:

Big Red Car Ford Territory - The Wiggles

Chances are I'll be the only one in the car not knowing the words. But this will give me time to rest my vocal chords before I belt out the Darren Hayes song.

Hey Driver - Motor Ace

Motor Ace. One of the most underrated Australian bands ever. I vote we play this song each time we change drivers.

Sweet Child Of Mine - Guns n Roses

Bianca knows every word. And I love doing Guns n Roses at karaoke.

Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

There's no guilt about singing to bogan rock when you're in the comfort of your car.

Fast Car - Tracey Chapman

I don't condone speeding. But you have to admit it feels pretty good to drive along to Fast Car, with the windows down, pretending like you're taking off to start a new life.

Go Your Own Way - Glee does Fleetwood Mac

Jodie loves the Glee soundtrack. And I am quite besotted with this cover.

Casey - Darren Hayes

This song makes me think of the times I just wanted to escape my small town. And I can indeed belt out every word. I love Darren Hayes. He does a good driving song. Plus Bern is a Savage Garden fan too. So maybe we can do a duet?

Passenger - Powderfinger

One of Nikki's favourite bands. And is there a more appropriate song title for a road trip?!

Flame Trees - Cold Chisel

It's a song about returning to a familiar town. Perhaps the town you grew up in? Where the one that got away lives (and doesn't that apply to me?!). You might find find an old friend whose house you can stay the night. And chances are that on this road trip, we will pass through a town familiar to at least one of us. And maybe as we sit we sit at a table with old friends, will see our former sweetheart near where the pianola stands, falling in love with a young local factory out of worker, just holding hands.

Rest Stop - Matchbox Twenty

I often think about whether the woman who dumped Rob Thomas at the rest stop ever regrets it, seeing he's now a big rock star. Or maybe she has never turned on the radio since that night she rejected him.

Love at First Sight - Kylie Minogue 

So when I was six, my parents bought me a Kylie Minogue record for my birthday. Enjoy Yourself. I'd ask them to play the taped version of Enjoy Yourself on our trips to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. It was a 300 km trip. And we'd play Kylie over and over and over. I may have been a difficult child. This song is my favourite Kylie song ever. And it's only apt we play a Kylie song on our road trip!

Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler

This is my FAVOURITE karaoke song. Ever. It would sound so good being sung on a road trip. Every nooooowwwww and then I fall aparrrrrrtttttttttt.......

Thank you for reading/listening to my road trip playlist. Please consider voting for me and the other girls on our virtual road trip. Who knows - one of us may win the Ford Territory and we can all go on a road trip for real this year!

What are your favourite driving songs?

17 May 2011

Inspired by the Offspring wardrobe

Nina and Billie Proudman - I want to play dress ups in your wardrobes. I adore the Offspring wardrobe. Offspring started back on Australian TV last night. While I hadn't loved the first season as much as I'd anticipated (I think it all came down to Nina's repetitive ringtone), I enjoyed it enough to watch all episodes and really warmed to it in the last episode. So I snuggled on the couch for the first episode of the second season. I did enjoy it, but I realised the aspect I enjoyed most about Offspring was the fashion. So here's a lazy cut and paste job-blog of the fashions that I've loved on the Proudman sisters. The best dressed women on TV.




Just gorgeous. The show's got style.

16 May 2011

Hungry Designs giveaway!

I discovered the fantastic Hungry Designs when I was at Finders Keepers last month. I loved the quirky, girly jewellery designed and illustrated by Amanda Whitelaw. The designs are a little bit retro, a little bit kitsch, a little bit roller derby and lots of fun. The illustrations are detailed and vibrantly coloured. Perfect to brighten a winter outfit!!

You can buy her jewellery online and at a number of stockists. You can also follow Hungry Designs on Facebook or Twitter.

Amanda has been kind enough to donate three brooches to me to give away on Tune into Radio Carly!

To enter, please leave a comment on this post. And you may also want to become a follower of this blog on Google Friend Connect, or on my Facebook or Twitter accounts - but there's no pressure! Entry is open to everyone across the world. And the competition closes 5.00 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time Monday 23 May. Three winners will be drawn soon after.

Thanks for entering, and thanks to Amanda for the generous donation!


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