Author: Lois Nicholls

Mean Girls won’t trump Melania

If you believe mainstream media, embattled First Lady, Melania Trump is yet to put an elegant, designer-heeled foot right. The contrast from years gone by is stark. Pre First Lady status, the former model, Melania graced the covers of mags from Vogue to Vanity Fair. She was feted with flattering features and praised for her beauty and poise. With her striking Slovenian looks and beautiful, made-for-designer-clothing body, the fashion glitterati embraced her. And then she committed the unpardonable sin: She became First Lady. The Donald outrageously outsmarted a still raging, still explaining, Hillary. The glitterati flipped. And strangely, the very same media who once tripped over their Doc Martins to interview Melania or her famous husband, now bandied together in a collective holier than thou huddle. Their bitter hatred for her husband leaked pure poison into their pens. Even designers turned nasty. Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Christian Siriano and Sophie Theallet waspishly refused to dress her. The loss was all theirs. Former First Ladies have had a smooth ride. Huffing Hillary, for example, can rant …

Sunday’s farmer solidarity march for human rights, not race

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – In the one week it took to organise Sunday’s mass march through Brisbane in solidarity with South Africa’s embattled farmers, four more were brutally murdered. For many in the crowd of over 1,000 people marching from Roma Street to Queensland’s State Parliament House on Sunday, the march was personal. In our group of five, one had recently attended the funeral of an Eastern Cape relative brutally tortured. The elderly woman, a stalwart in her rural community, died of injuries too graphic to relay. Her housemate succumbed to equally severe injuries, and her husband was left for dead – beaten, bound, burnt and gagged. He miraculously survived. My farm connection has more romantic roots. I spent the first few years of my life living on an agricultural college in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. I later attended the local school, and my boarder friends all came from surrounding farming communities. My German-descent friend, Ute taught me to ride horses on her parent’s farm. My grandfather had been a Karoo farmer, and my dear late …

For the love of Toyota

WE’RE ALL SET for our annual camping holiday and in the midst of it all, our trusty Toyota Prado circa 2000, perhaps in a covertly defiant act of consolidation with Toyota’s workers, has decided to give up the ghost. It hasn’t entirely broken down, but personally, the air-conditioning suddenly only working on number four-speed and sounding like a tractor is tantamount to giving up the ghost. We are in the midst of a Queensland summer, after all. We have a rich history with our workhorse. It has endured the craters of Fraser Island tracks, several camping trips to remote areas of Moreton Island and Stradbroke Islands, a few family road trips to Sydney and more. It has also pulled lantana out of our creek, bears the scars of my then three-year-old daughter’s artistic swirls with a disco ball on the tinted windows. It has been hailed upon, scratched by overhanging trees, dodged kangaroos … and all the while, its air-conditioning has soldiered on, giving us a reprieve on those long, hot trips. The good news …

Carpet Ride

I have never been one for shopping lists or planning weekly meal menus. And nor, it seems, warehouse furniture shopping.
I have proven that I approach warehouse shopping in exactly the same way I approach food shopping: with spontaneity and according to what is on special.
Of course I will buy the sensible basics, but it’s the other miscellaneous items that often become a little blurred and spur of the moment.

Paleo

A Bone to Pick with Paleo

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — The beleaguered Pete Evans of paleo persuasion might just have an ally on the far-flung side of the world. His name is Professor Tim Noakes and I truly believe he and Pete should chew the cud, so to speak. The renowned Cape Town based professor you see, is also under public scrutiny for his dietary views. He is a great protagonist of the Banting diet (very similar to Paleo but says yes to a little dairy). Sugar is pure evil. He’s also the author of The Real Meal Revolution. His original notoriety, however, was gained from a heavyweight book he once wrote, The Lore of Running. Noakes’ recent media scrutiny stems from his complete backflip when it comes to his former high carb teachings. He’s been pretty vocal about his new high fat, low carb diet. He, like Pete has been publicly bashed by dieticians and worse, fellow Cape Town University academics. The public is also fed up, judging by a reliable source of scandal, Facebook. Years ago, every running enthusiast I …

Oil Spills No Tonic

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—When a day starts off really badly, I sometimes feel the most sensible option is to go straight back to bed. I say this with conviction as this week, I had not one but two major mishaps before the day had even properly begun. First, I filled the steam iron with tonic water. Yes, tonic water. Should have drunk the gin and gone back to bed. The ironing board is permanently set up in the garage for easy access and ironing on demand. Tellingly, it is not a pastime I enjoy. The tonic water had been sitting there for some time, right next to the spare fridge that tends to freeze up. I only recalled later that I had removed the frozen bottle of tonic water some months earlier. Hurrying as usual, I grabbed a shirt and eyeing the tonic water bottle, proceeded to top up the steam iron. Seconds later, an aroma best described as burnt toffee, wafted through the room. The iron then began spewing caramel-coloured liquid all over my clean shirt. …

ugly fruit and veg

Ugly Fruit and Veg – bring it on

BRITAIN–Jamie’s done it again – taken the road less traveled when it comes to food and exposed that lo and behold, consumers in Britain and surely elsewhere, have no problem buying what he terms ugly fruit and veg. Tons of fruit and vegetables deemed not perfect enough for consumers is dumped each year or turned into animal fodder. At one Norfolk farm he visited, up to 10 tons of imperfect vegetables were dumped a week. As Jamie pointed out in his Food Revolution series, this is perfectly edible fruit and vegetables, with exactly the same nutritional value as its prettier peers, it’s just a bit more gnarly and quirky than its commercially acceptable counterparts. Testing his theory about ugly fruit and veg To test his theory that consumers were not averse to buying deformed vegetables, he placed cameras at a particular supermarket and viewed customer reaction to the not so perfect vegetables which were marked 30% off. To his delight, consumers bought with gusto – they understood that not all vegetables grown are perfect and …

A House of History

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—The humble simplicity of a quaint little wooden cottage in the leafy Brisbane suburb of Kelvin Grove belies its illustrious roots with the source of its building material from one of the world’s densest woods, Darwin stringy bark milled in Napranum, Cape York and salvaged from vast mining tracts in the area. The home’s owner, environmental scientist, Mark Annandale helped run the saw mill in Napranum, Cape York. Western Cape York traditional owners had previously set up a venture, Nanam Tawap Ltd with Queensland Government which included operating the sawmill, a masonry block plant and sand quarry. Under conditions of their lease, mining companies can mine the area with the proviso that existent timber can be cut before mining begins. Approximately 1000 hectares of forest is cleared by Rio Tinto Alcan prior to mining operations each year. Without milling, invaluable wood is burnt and lost for good as this is the cheaper, quicker option. Mark’s idea to build a home from wood salvaged from Cape York has been four years in the making. “I …

Hope amidst the heartache of Ebola

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—While the Ebola crisis sweeping through West Africa is easy to ignore, a Brisbane woman has refused to turn a blind eye. She has started a charity for an orphanage in Sierra Leone that will bring hope to innocent orphans who have become the tragic fallout of the deadly virus. Jane Shakespeare is a feminine, blonde, slim, yoga-loving graphic designer, wife of IT consultant Jeremy and doting mum to 13-year-old Harry. The family lives in a comfortable, tree-lined suburb of Brisbane with their lovable pooch, Holmes and enjoy all the comforts hard work in their adopted country of Australia has brought. The family moved from England in 2007 for Jeremy to take up a new job with his company and the family fell in love with the sun-drenched beaches of Australia and the friendly, laid back lifestyle of Brisbane. The contrast between life in West Africa’s Sierra Leone and this lush little pocket of Brisbane is extreme. Yet Jane maintains a soul tie with this war-torn and more recently, Ebola-ravaged country. Inexplicably, it was …