All posts filed under: Australia

Royal photo opportunity missed for good

I WENT TO SEE THE QUEEN and all I saw was a flash of her mint green suit. It had been a spontaneous decision to seize the day and take all three of our children out of school to witness this historic royal visitation. It was quite plausible after all that this could be Her Majesty’s last visit to Brisbane. They would remember this occasion for years to come. The enthusiasm of missing school and seeing the queen was tangible. Everyone made sure their shoes were appropriate as I’d relayed a story about Prince Phillip snubbing a royal fan after he caught sight of their old, scuffed shoes. We would be more than ready for the prince and the queen with our neat attire and well-shod feet. We announced our decision to visit Her Majesty to friends and our neighbour and her three children together with three more eager friends took up the offer to accompany us. All were naturally delighted to take a day off school thanks to the sanctioning by our education minister. …

Online pleasure seekers find themselves left high and dry. Photo © JournoNews

Online pleasure seekers left high and dry

It sounds plausible enough. Who wouldn’t want 75% off a weekend getaway at a luxury resort? Or 50% off a ‘delectable meal for two’? Yet, it’s been a case of online buyers beware for many unsuspecting Australian bargain hunters keen to snap up seemingly too good to be true deals. And here’s the rub: Sometimes, they are just too good to be true. Take for example, a friend’s foray into a luxury Byron Bay weekend for two get-away. The online deal was heavily discounted. Her weekend would cost her $245 a couple, in a five star location usually nearly double the price. She snapped up the bargain and received vouchers in the mail securing her purchase. What the small print didn’t mention is that hundreds like her had also bought vouchers and urgency was paramount when booking a weekend away. When she rung up to book a week later, the unsympathetic receptionist said she would have to wait seven months for a free weekend as they were heavily over-subscribed. “There were 700 people who bought vouchers, …

International jazz singer to perform at Fig Tree Pocket flood relief concert

A COMMUNITY JAZZ CONCERT flood fund-raiser featuring a host of talented jazz musicians including international jazz singer, Amanda Carr who sings for the famous Boston Pops Orchestra, will be held at Fig Tree Pocket State School oval, Cubberla Street, Fig Tree Pocket in Brisbane, Australia on September 17 from 4pm to 6.30pm. The event will raise funds for families still struggling to get back on their feet after January’s devastating floods. Fig Tree Pocket was one of the areas significantly affected by floodwater and long-time resident and sponsor, Joanne Bullock-Saxton has organised the event to help those still battling to regain their lives and rebuild their homes. She hopes the concert will provide a boost in spirit and finances for locals affected by the flood. “Like so many other flood-affected suburbs, we still have many who have not yet returned home and who have been hit hard by the cost of rebuilding, but we are resilient and wherever possible help each-other out and I think that quality is what has drawn such support and interest …

Quest to curtail killer cat

OUR CAT IS A KILLER. There, I’ve confessed. My biggest fears have been realised and he’s brought home his booty like the proud killer he is. I have taken one injured bird to the vet and another died while cushioned in a box filled with the softest shredded paper—the others, I’m afraid, were too far gone to rescue. For years, I fought against my daughter’s pleas of owning a cat—resisted the adorable charms of kittens in pet shop windows or staring with unbearable cuteness from adopt-a-kitten websites. I was proud of my steely resolve not to succumb. All along, I knew these adorable balls of fluff eventually turned into killers. Of course I gave in. It was surely serendipitous that I happened to be visiting my son’s friend at the very same time her cat had just had kittens? So we acquiesced and gained ownership of a soft, adorable ginger and white part-ragdoll, part-tabby kitten. But even adorable fluff balls eventually succumb to their instincts. A few months later, he was a fine-tuned killing machine …

The Surfer’s Code

The Surfer’s Code was designed by former 1977 World Surfing champion, Shaun Tomson, from my hometown, Durban, South Africa. These are the rules we should all live by – my favourite … ‘pass on your stoke’ – simply means, tell your mates about the joy of surfing. Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Enjoy! The Surfer’s Code I will never turn my back on the ocean I will always paddle back out I will take the drop with commitment I will know that there will always be another wave I will realize that all surfers are joined by one ocean I will paddle around the impact zone I will never fight a rip tide I will watch out for other surfers after a big set I will pass on my stoke to a non-surfer I will ride, and not paddle in to shore I will catch a wave every day, even in my mind I will honor the sport of kings Leighton Higgo (far right), Director & Head Coach …

The view from Jude Cafe overlooking the Brisbane River

Jude won’t let you down …

The large rustic tables and light airy feel gives Jude, a Brisbane-based Hamptons style venue, the illusion of the classic Queenslander outdoor deck. Our table for 10 had stunning views of the Brisbane River through large open windows – perfect for enjoying a crisp autumn morning. Most of us ordered bacon and eggs – served poached, fried and scrambled on toasted Turkish bread. The generous servings were indeed ‘big fisted’, ‘gutsy’ and the flavours, ‘bold’ – as promised on their website. Run by congenial brother and sister team, Rob and Jude Kelly, the venue lives up to its name, providing hearty, wholesome meals made on site in their bustling kitchen. Not only is the venue a cafe and tapas bar, it can also be booked out for exclusive corporate functions and caters for businesses in Brisbane’s greater CBD. I’ll definitely be returning! 9/1 Eagle Street Brisbane QLD 4000 (07) 3220 2201 judecafes.com‎

Hen House Chic

Want to keep chickens in your suburban backyard but hate the trail of poop? Well, an Australian seamstress, Ingrid Dimock, has come to the rescue with her take on a US design. In essence, she has created a nappy for a happy chicken, or chook as the Aussies prefer to call them. While country chickens wouldn’t be seen dead in her colourful line of nappies – hot pink being a favourite, it seems her scheme isn’t so bird-brain after all. Called City Chicks, the part-time dalliance has grown into a full-time business. And for those who want a little bird bling for their pampered pets, she has that too – custom made accessories to make any rooster crow. Chickens with a penchant for chic hen houses are catered for too. Chandeliers are must-haves for hens with a yen to bring style to their coup. Decor mag, House and Hen bound to follow…

Mangrove Jack – Serial Killer or Fine Fare?

Anyone ever sampled a Mangrove Jack? Forgive my ignorance but this is the first time I’ve cooked this Northern Queensland fish with a name that sounds more like a serial killer than a rather palatable fish. Not being an angler of any notoriety, I cooked, not hooked this fish. He turned up in my local supermarket deli in fillets and after wrapping in foil and slow baking with lemon juice and butter, he was surprisingly tasty. The flesh was more like a steak, really – meaty, not flaky. Turns out, our Mangrove Jack is, in fish terms rather a meaty, mafia type. In fact, the Aussie fisherman’s bible, Grant’s Fishes of Australia describes the fish thus: “It is a violent ruffian; a hooligan; a thug; a close associate of terrorists.” Apparently the modus operandi of this notorious killer is to ambush its prey with a vicious attack on anything venturing close to its lair. “With a powerful sweep of their broad tail they will actually swim past the “food” and hit it going full pelt …