“I would love for my husband to do it as he works so hard & has made so many sacrifices, he deserves it.”
Thank you everyone for your entries and keep up the fun times!
Carmen Jenner is a copywriter, journalist, travel writer, communications consultant and the founder of travel blog Fluffy Towel. She specialises in many industries including tourism, hospitality, aged care, health, real estate, property, business, charities and not-for-profits. Carmen is also the editor of Menu Magazine, catering to the Western Australian hospitality industry and hungry foodies.
where in the
world is carmen?
filed02 Feb 2020 fromCarmen Jenner
A lean man in speedos staggers towards me, heaving. Sweat clings to his olive skin as he puffs, “Whatever you do…don’t go to the second waterfall…it’s not worth it…it’s dangerous…I almost didn’t make it.” The man is accompanied by a dwarf, presumably his tour guide who rolls his eyes and marches ahead leaving the shattered man to his misery.
Although we had done our research, I was getting the impression that perhaps the trail to the waterfalls wasn’t as easy as all those travel vloggers had made out. Only last week we had watched one family of YouTubers strap babies onto their chests and casually saunter down. We had been warned to not use the guides at the entrance who claim you’ll get lost in the jungle, even though there’s just one path, albeit a steep one.
I didn’t count how many steps down to the first waterfall, Sendang Gila Waterfall, all I kept thinking was it had better be worth the climb back up in 90% humidity. As you descend, Tiu Kelep Waterfall is to the right and according the man we met earlier, might be avoided until the path has been fixed since the earthquake in August 2018.
Turns out, it was worth it. The power of the gushing water seemed to possess some kind of healing quality – all those positive ions swirling around against the lush backdrop almost turned the wanna-be Instagram models (who were determined to photobomb every photo, my daughter excluded of course in the photo above) and an opportunistic monkey into oblivion.
Well almost, until one curvy lass wearing a flesh coloured dress appeared to be naked in the background. It wouldn’t have been the first time we’d been exposed to public nudity on this trip as one woman stripped down to nothing at an iconic sunset spot on Gili Air. Why worry about 80% of the conservative population being Muslim?
Did I mention its hot? So hot I’m renaming Lombok and the outlying Gili Islands to the Bikram Islands. About halfway back up from the waterfall I spy something out the corner of my eye, and suddenly hear a shriek very close to my ear. I turn around to see a monkey perched on the handrail baring his teeth at me. I suddenly find the energy to up the pace – at least until the next steep staircase, where I move aside to let the dwarf come back down with another unassuming victim.
Emerging out onto the road at the top we retreat to Rinjani Lodge, named after Rinjani Volcano, which dominates Lombok’s landscape resembling a scene out of Jurassic Park, minus the dinosaurs. Nearby Komodo Island is where you’ll find these. Here we bump into the man in the speedos again except now he’s more respectably dressed and has almost recovered from his ordeal at the waterfalls – well almost.
The lunch and views were spectacular and span over rice paddies all the way to the coast. We head to even more spectacular views of paddies of rice, chilli, carrots, cabbage, onions and gardens from Sembalun Village, about 30 minutes away.
I can’t recommend this enough, and not just because its cooler, although very welcome. Sembalun lies at the base of Rinjani Volcano and is known for its fertile soil and agriculture. The breathtaking chequered views are easily reached by a small trek up a hill (honestly it really is small) and there is a small fee for which you get a guide, who in our case was accompanied by a chatty and pregnant cat. Be vigilant though, as there are two paths and the first one to right leading up the Instagram-able star platform, which was broken, was overrun by aggressive monkeys jumping along the path and mountainside – word must have got out among the monkey community that a vulnerable and sweaty white woman was in the vicinity.
The village is traditional and very welcoming. There are ways to participate in planting and harvesting and although I didn’t have the opportunity to explore, perhaps the tourist board or your hotel can point you in the right direction.
The region borders Mt Rinjani National Park and offers organic farm stays and tours, including strawberry and coffee plantations, and this is something I’d love to do on my next trip to Lombok.
But for now, we stop off for coffee at Pikey Coffee Plantation before passing through villages and coastal bays twinkling in turquoise for the three-hour journey back to the Chandi Hotel in Sengiggi. I loved this boutique hotel for its low-key luxe vibe, spacious villas and cool sea breezes dancing through the palm trees.
Lombok isn’t as well known as its Bali neighbour and there are still many signs of devastation from the August 2018 earthquake. Over 500 lives were lost, thousands injured and complete villages flattened leaving over 20,000 people homeless and displaced. They’re still recovering and rebuilding their lives and I’ll never forget the image of an elderly lady huddled over her market stall in front of a pile of rubble that was once her home.
Or of the waitress who enquired about the fires raging through Australia even though she had lost her entire village in the earthquake. It took months for the electricity and water to be reconnected and even now many are still living in temporary and unsafe and unsanitary shelters.
Then there were the little girls at Mawun Beach near Kuta (nothing like the overdeveloped Kuta on Bali) who hassled us to buy bracelets – I relented and was soon surrounded by girls arguing over who should have the sale. I had already promised one girl who had impressed me with her personable sales technique but I ended up buying something from all of them, no doubt at an inflated price. It’s hard to haggle when a few dollars can make such a difference.
Although Bali’s Mt Agung hovers nearby, the two islands are very different. Lombok’s untamed mountains appear to roll into the pristine sea only briefly pausing for powder white or volcanic black sand. The culture is conservative and being predominantly Muslim there’s very little evidence of the excesses that tourism has brought to Bali. Beautiful beaches, jaw-dropping scenery, treks, water sports, fantastic food, stunning sunset and relaxing are the main attractions on Lombok – it’s the epitome of slow travel.
There are direct four-hour flights from Perth to Lombok with Air Asia and you can also take a ferry from Bali. My trip was self-funded and I stayed at the Chandi Boutique Hotel Lombok and Sunrise Gili Air Resort, Beachclub and Bar – this tiny island is carless and utterly charming. I highly recommend both hotels and to hire your own driver on Lombok from Grab (but check the driver’s reviews before committing) and create your own tour and unforgettable experience.
filed30 Nov 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
Dreading traipsing through the shops hunting for Christmas presents? How about gifting Australia’s Extra.Ordinary. West – a purely Western Australian produced coffee table travel book about Western Australia that you can order right now by clicking here.
Australia’s Extra.Ordinary. West heads south from Perth to the Ferguson Valley, Bunbury and the Margaret River Region in Australia’s Southwest to the Great Southern, Esperance in the Golden Outback before heading north to Broome, Karijini and Christmas Island in Australia’s Northwest.
filed15 Nov 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
Western Australia’s Public Silo Trail is a 1000km self-drive journey linking six towns in the Wheatbelt all the way through to Albany in the Great Southern region.
While the silos themselves are worth the drive to admire the artworks created by world-class local and international artists, the journey reveals an abundance of culture, tasty cuisine and luxurious accommodation. The road might be long and dusty, but the welcome is always warm and intriguing.
The juxtaposition …
filed06 Oct 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
Dispelling the myth that Western Australia comprises only of a slow pace, balmy northwest and its dinky capital Perth, Australia’s Extra.Ordinary. West is a Western Australian travel book that not only reveals the essence of the nation’s most diverse state, but it has also reached international acclaim in New York City – one of my favourite places on earth.
filed15 Aug 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
The figurative doors have flung open and tourists are invited in as one might welcome a long lost friend, or in this case a young friend.
Accommodating restaurant owners cater well to your cherub’s exacting food requirements. Often compared to Indian food, Sri Lankan curries use …
filed10 Jul 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
1. Cafe culture: Sip hot chocolate together as you watch people and dogs. Discuss, write, draw and photograph …
filed21 May 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
The most obvious place to seek serenity in any city is within the leafy confines of a park. New York has no shortage of open green spaces, and plenty of clandestine pockets of calm.
Known as the lungs of the metropolis, Central Park has many secluded spots within its 840 acres of vastness. Lose your thoughts on the elm-tree line Mall and Literary Walk or go into hiding in the secret garden within the Conservatory Garden or retreat into the …
filed30 Apr 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
Who would have thought that just 15 minutes inland of Bunbury and about two hours south of Perth that the Ferguson Valley is awash with one of the state’s largest concentrations of art installations.
The Dardanup Art Spectacular Art Trail features sculptures, installations and quirky pieces of art throughout the Dardanup Region and over 40 exhibits are situated on the Follies Trail at the heavenly Peppermint Lane Lodge. The event is officially launched on Friday 3rd May at the …
filed21 Apr 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
My floor-length is gown is hitched up around my thighs. Not quite the entrance I had envisioned for a soirée with Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City. Fireflies flit along the shoreline as I step out into the Indian Ocean where the water is as warm as the sky is midnight blue. The tiny island of Taprobane off Sri Lanka’s southern tip flickers in candle light as we wobble our way along the watery path …
filed16 Apr 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
I’m thrilled to announce that Australia’s Extra.Ordinary. West has won a Gold IPPY award in the Australia/New Zealand Non-fiction category at the Independent Publishers Book Awards.
Although this isn’t my first IPPY rodeo after having won a Gold IPPY for Artists of the Margaret River Region and a Bronze IPPY for Permanent Impressions: a salute to contemporary heroines (also in the Australia/New Zealand Non-fiction category), winning always feels good.
As a writer, I don’t often get a lot of …
filed26 Mar 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
It seems only fitting that Australia’s Extra.Ordinary. West tours the South West since this much-loved region features so prominently in the book. Starting at the Crooked Carrot in Myalup, this quick pit-stop was once used to break up the trip down south and has now emerged into an iconic gourmet outlet and unique playground. Next time you’re whizzing down the South West highway, stop and find out why there’s so many cars parked out the front.
I’m a little embarrassed …
filed18 Feb 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
Dispelling the myth that Western Australia comprises only of a slow pace, balmy northwest and its dinky capital Perth, Australia’s Extra.Ordinary. West reveals the essence of the nation’s most intriguing state, well at least in our opinion!
As natural wonders, quirky anecdotes and surprising revelations are shared, even the most zealot local will be compelled to dip into this unique book, with Western Australia playing the beautiful yet aloof protagonist.
Gaze up at sheets of bright night skies stretching from …
filed13 Jan 2019 fromCarmen Jenner
Heaven forbid you only had one night in Ubud, but if you did, then the Viceroy Bali is THE place. No need to negotiate the traffic, simply send for a helicopter to collect you from the airport and deliver you directly to your private villa suspended over the Valley of Kings.
Bali’s architectural grandeur goes without saying but it’s the small things which set the Viceroy apart. My bale perched over a heated infinity pool includes power points and by …
filed11 Dec 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, humanity, horns, honking, hovering, hammering, haze, haunting,…
Toots and motorbikes surround us on a honking Hanoi street as we bravely contemplate stepping out into the oncoming traffic. We don’t look left or right but instead directly ahead and careful to not make any sudden movements, we steadily walk in a straight line as though we are being tested for drunken behaviour. Given our mad jaunt onto the road, doubting our sobriety would …
filed24 Nov 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
East Fremantle’s George Street Festival has slipped into the last weekend of Spring this year on the 25th November 2018. Food, drink, competitions, live music, buskers, interactive displays, kids and teen activities, and a local art exhibition continues to draw crowds in the thousands.
Entry is FREE and there’s loads of chances to win prizes:
filed13 Sep 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
Calling all you devoted Eat Pray Love fans, Spirited Living will set you on a path of self-discovery, or at least a bohemian stay in their rustic Trinity Gardens complex comprising of joglos (a traditional Javanese dwellings), The Den which is ideal for a couple or small family or The Mansion perfect for a lengthy gathering of like-minded souls.
Access is gained by a beautiful 15-minute walk along the Sari Organic path depicting rural life with a smattering of organic …
filed13 Aug 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
No matter where you are in Ubud you’re never far away from an artisan whether they be painters, carpenters, weavers, musicians or those crafting batik patterns. Even the wafting incense in the open dining room at Uma by Como seems to sway in time to the smoky jazz playing in the background.
But beyond the handcrafted villas and lush grounds, are entire villages dedicated to creating exquisite art. Batuan Village is famed for its painting style of the same name …
filed13 Jul 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
Symphonies of cicadas and spine-tingling chanting echoing across the ravine come as part of the package at Kano Sari, along with the meditative snipping of grass by hand; the staff preferring tradition over convenience.
There’s no mistaking where you are as owner Karen Lewis helps support Kutuh Kelod village, where Kano Sari is located, by contributing to the community, embracing Bali’s seemingly endless ceremonies (she even has outfits for her guests to use), placing offerings around the property and hiring …
filed09 Jun 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
From drug-addled chef to successful author and TV presenter, Anthony Bourdain wasn’t only a storyteller but a story creator. He lived the stories he told not merely as an observer, but as a participant, and in doing so, he connected us to worlds many of us will never experience.
I’ve been a die-hard fan since encountering his first book Kitchen Confidential; I’ve savoured every word many times over. I was thrilled to discover he hosted an entire TV series, …
filed20 Mar 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
The swanky homes of Cinnamon Gardens and the Town Hall resembling the White House in Washington are hard to miss when careening around Colombo in a tuk-tuk. But many of the city’s secrets and surprises are hidden behind walled courtyards and held by the locals themselves. Breaking the ice is easy at the mere mention of the favourite national past-time of cricket.
Cricket Crazy. Even if you secretly don’t know Don Bradman from Ricky Ponting, you can fake it …
filed13 Feb 2018 fromCarmen Jenner
There’s nothing quite like being whisked away to luxury digs where the signature dish is your lover and dessert is, um, well I’m sure you can conjure up some scenarios. Crown Towers, Como The Treasury and Margaret River’s Cape Lodge are obvious choices, but why not go for gold and head to a remote pocket of our huge state where no-one will mind your cries of glory.
Esperance Chalet Village, Esperance
Esperance’s isolation already appeals to those craving an uninhibited …
filed14 Nov 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
With towering gum trees and a quintessential colonial homestead, there’s no mistaking I’m in Western Australia, and despite the outback setting, only an hour or so from Perth. All that’s required is to slow down and succumb to Moonburra Stay’s outback luxury.
Elevated over the Avon Valley National Park in the Chittering Valley, the view resembles an exhibition of the Heidelberg School. The scene below could very well have been the inspiration for artists, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton or Tom …
filed16 Aug 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
The Trip to Spain
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are back on another epic road adventure fuelled by their witty banter and impersonations in The Trip to Spain.
If I could choose only one other writer to explore an exotic terrain with it would be Brydon for his comic genius, warm wit and wry smile. I’d even forgive him for not taking one note or photo during his restaurant reviews if only for his Marlon Brando and gay Nazi impersonations.
filed27 Jul 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
As soon as my daughter was born, I knew her arrival would alter the shape of my life for all eternity. Determined to continue travelling amid the routine, tantrums, sickness and fatigue, I figured the sooner I introduced her to the joys of travel the easier it would become. But no amount of planning can prepare you for the inevitable stance a young feisty lady can take. Little Miss Manhattan, indeed!
While there is plenty of information available …
filed25 May 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
I’m asked all the time why I chose the business name Fluffy Towel, and on International Towel Day, it seems only fitting to celebrate the Extra.Ordinary. talent of Douglas Adams. I don’t think I can put it any more eloquently than the late author did in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Fluffy Travels, Carmen Jenner.
“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can …
filed16 May 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
As a convoy of ships steamed their way to war in 1914, they passed a dreamy girl named Fay Howe (Daisy Coyle), also known as the Lighthouse Girl, safely ensconced in a lighthouse off the shore of Albany. Just as the ships became a watery entrapment for over 30,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers about to meet their fate, Fay too was trapped on the windswept and isolated Breaksea Island.
Fay filled her long days and nights flag-chatting using the …
filed27 Apr 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
I’m thrilled to announce The Artists of the Margaret River Region has won a gold IPPY award in the Non-fiction Australia/New Zealand category at the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards in New York City. As the author of The Artists of the Margaret River Region, I had the daunting task of interviewing and crafting the profiles of 80 artists from the Margaret River region. Please click on the cover below to enter a kaleidoscope of paint, ink, pencil, pastel, …
filed23 Mar 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
It’s a wild ride to west Bali.
Invigorating is another way to describe the four hour drive from Denpasar. As trucks and motorbikes play dodgems I put all my faith in our trusty driver and concentrate on the spectacular scenery.
We pass a Hindu wedding ceremony, a religion which peacefully lives alongside Islam and Christianity; where pork and beef are revered by the other.
Thirty years ago the road wasn’t even sealed and it would take up to 10 hours …
filed27 Feb 2017 fromCarmen Jenner
The night promises all the drama of a tropical storm as palm trees bow to the tumultuous weather gods holding court. Koh Samui’s serene skies make way for the approaching monsoon season as the rain pounds sideways into Manathai Koh Samui’s restaurant Waterline. Everyone takes cover as the wait-staff prepare the restaurant for the impending deluge. There was a time not that long ago when fine dining wasn’t a feature and Koh Samui, was famed for its fishing communities and …
filed04 Oct 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
Very exciting news! The Artists of Margaret River Region is due for release on 28th October 2016. Featuring 80 artists of the Margaret River Region in this beautifully designed book, which has been published in association with Margaret River Open Studios (MRROS), M&P Publishing and local photographers Elements of Margaret River and Crib Creative, it’s a celebration of creativity.
Inspired by the Margaret River Region Open Studios, the book is intended to showcase the work of the many artists who …
filed25 Sep 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
Forgive me travel gods, for I have sinned. I’m a travel writer and it’s been an eternity since my last confession. Perhaps after these 10 confessions, absolution will be granted.
1. Press trips are really hard work. Press trips, also known as famils or familiarisations, aren’t holidays. I think of them as boot camp for travellers, except I’m expected to produce engaging copy on top of a gruelling itinerary. Throw in a foreign language, strange food, a distinct lack of …
filed05 Sep 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
Even in this day and age of DIY renovators, when most of us have a plumbing or electrical issue we hire a professional. Sure, we could Youtube it or find a handy friend to help out but it’s often a false economy, usually with costly and inconvenient consequences. So why would you let someone who doesn’t write for a living write about your valuable brand? Doesn’t it make better business sense to hire a professional freelance content writer to …
filed30 Jun 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
Shrouded in mist, the yoga pavilion sighs with guests working their way through the Sun Salutation routine. Despite the obscene hour and chilly morning, I’m in a state of bliss. Who am I? I don’t normally “do” early mornings, or even yoga for that matter, and yet I’m happily performing my poses in a dreamlike state.
We unravel our bodies into horizontal positions beneath our blankets with the intention of emptying our minds as our bendy instructor guides us through …
filed07 Jun 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
In a haze of Dior, Louis Vuitton, Scanlon and Theodore, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, in breeze the Real Housewives of Melbourne. Well, at least three of them. Pettifleur Berenger, Chyka Keebaugh and Jackie Gillies exude polished glamour from head to toe. Our TV screens simply don’t portray just how beautiful and classy these ladies are inside and out.
It’s a pleasant surprise given the show hones in on their extravagant lifestyles peppered with scandal, gossip and arguments. I’m assured …
filed18 May 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
The other day as I popped into the shops I noticed a toddler locked in a car alone. I paused wondering if I should intervene. The window was ajar and it wasn’t a hot day anyway and the little girl seemed pretty content with her doll. Who’s to say her mum wasn’t simply returning the trolley or just a short distance away keeping a watchful eye. I decided to not interfere, especially as I had made it through my childhood …
filed12 Apr 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
“Miranda! Miranda!” You already know the chilling story. In fact, you can still hear the pan pipes, right? It’s probably safe to assume more have seen the movie than read the book. Which is why writer Tom Wright’s adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock for the Black Swan State Theatre Company leaves so much to the imagination; in the best way possible.
The stage is stark, the props minimal and apart from some sticks on stage, the “rock” itself is …
filed12 Apr 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
On the 28th July in 2003 the first ever (well, the first documented one) truffle was found in Western Australia’s Manjimup. Thirteen years on, the Truffle & Wine Co. is so successful they now export to the US, Germany and France.
I went on a truffle hunt three years ago and I can still smell that earthy aroma. And as you can see below hunting for truffles is a very simple process…once you’ve selected the right plot of land, inoculated …
filed30 Mar 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
Pulling out of the Bentley showroom in Claremont onto Stirling Highway, I’m very much aware many houses cost less than the Bentley Continental GTC V8 S we’re test driving. However, given the craftsmanship on this elegant beast, it almost seems gauche to mention to money.
Our automatic seat belt presenter embraces us as we head up into the Perth Hills for a night of indulgence. It doesn’t take long to relax into the ventilated massaging leather seats with contrast cross …
filed18 Mar 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
It’s the conference for those who don’t do conferences. With the backdrop of Margaret River as their muse, some of WA’s most creative come together 16-19 March 2016 for Emergence Creative. I checked out the conference venue last weekend, and I have to say Willy Bay Resort is the epitome of what Margaret River is all about. Luxury villas set within the region’s famed vineyards and forest. Bliss!
For more information check out my article Meeting of Minds Meeting of …
filed07 Mar 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
In one of the most dangerous countries in the world I stand on the side of the road with my thumb out. There is another woman striking a similar pose except she’s poured into the Colombian uniform of jeans tight enough to make out the lace on her g-string and, of course, the obligatory stilettos. This attire applies to women of any age, size or shape and I admire their fierce quest for sexiness as dust settles on my sneakers.…
filed25 Jan 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
The night is heavy with humidity, smoky pop-up food vendors, busty vixens, flirty lashes, candy striped silliness and circus folk flitting about. It’s the opening night of La Soiree and one of the first events of Perth’s Fringe Festival 2016. If the size of the program is anything to go by at over 700 acts performing between 22nd January and 21st February, this year’s festival is going to epic.
La Soiree has graced Perth for the second year running …
filed05 Jan 2016 fromCarmen Jenner
It’s easy to spot my ride when I land at Broome’s International Airport. The pedicab and Schmicko’s appropriately tropical shirt gives it away. His name derives from his former life as a tradie (hence the “o”) and because he always does a good job. He’s full of tales about his beloved town as we whizz past old homesteads with lattice windows in Brunswick red and green.
We make a pit-stop at the Japanese Cemetery, one of the largest Japanese cemeteries …
filed11 Nov 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
You know you’re in the presence of outstanding storytelling when you’re surrounded by audible sobs. Next To Normal is a musical about bipolar and is as moving as it is dark, but then that’s to be expected since it’s about a family’s battle with mental illness. I mention it’s a family’s battle because even though mother and wife Diana Goodman is diagnosed with bipolar, mania and depression, the entire family are propelled along for the bumpy ride.
Like Diana’s prognosis, …
filed24 Sep 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
On first glance, Extinction appears to be about the demise of Australia’s endangered species’ and the dangers of global warming. Well, it is except the species includes humankind; and how do we choose what’s worth saving.
Representing life and hope, an injured Tiger Quoll is brought to veterinarian Andy (Myles Pollard; A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Drift) after mining mogul Harry (Matt Dyktynski; Black Swan roles include Day One, A Hotel, Evening and Boundary Street) accidentally hits the rare marsupial …
filed30 Jul 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
As if Blithe Spirit wasn’t already captivating enough with its ghostly themes and marital discord. Throw in a last minute cast replacement and it’s positively riveting.
I can’t imagine how disappointing it must have been for actress Roz Hammond to have been taken ill and relinquish the role of Madame Arcati. Or how nerve-racking it must have been for actress Alison van Reeken to suddenly step into the role of a medium, script in hand. She was as superb as …
filed17 Jul 2015 fromwpengine
We have a winner of the Skydive the Beach and Beyond competition. Congratulations Rosemary Simon, your entry won with,
filed16 Jul 2015 fromwpengine
Win a jump with Skydive the Beach and Beyond by signing up to the Fluffy Towel newsletter and answering this simple question in the comments below:
Who do would you like to see jump from a plane and why?
Click here to find out who won
My friend flies through the air 14,000 feet above me and the turquoise coastline of Rockingham. Even from the ground I can hear her screaming. Screams of delight, she later assures me.
I suspect …
filed14 Jul 2015 fromwpengine
Aptly named after two real estate developments, Glengarry Glen Ross is a satirical dark comedy. At first glance, it delves into the cut throat business of the Chicago real estate world, but on a closer look, the theme is broadened to examine the sales industry in general.
Originally written and then performed on Broadway in 1984 by screenwriter and playwright David Mamet, it’s based on his experiences of working in a Chicago real estate office during the late 1960’s. Given …
filed12 Jul 2015 fromwpengine
As Big Ben chimes in the background and the autumn colours adorn Launceston, you can almost pretend you’re in the UK. Teeming with art and architecture, some of the freshest produce I ever tasted and the kind of scenery which will turn even the most cynical of travellers snap happy, I can write with complete sincerity that Launceston should be added to many a travel list. And I haven’t even mentioned the locals. Everywhere I went I was given advice …
filed22 Apr 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
The approach into Western Australia’s Great Southern region is a mix of weathered scrub bordered by the rugged peaks of the Stirling Ranges hovering in the distance. This idyllic scene has been a fixture on the landscape for over one million years, but is a world away from how our ANZAC troops left the region to fight for Australia’s future.
The 25th April 2015 marks the ANZAC centenary and the 1st November 2014 marks 100 years since the first …
filed19 Apr 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
AS Simone de Beauvoir put it: “One is not born a woman; rather one becomes a woman.”
The French model wears a petticoat crafted from balloons. The model behind her flaps wings styled like a bird of paradise.
Men sit rigid in their seats during this Parisian couture fashion parade, admiring these heavenly beauties.
Cameras flash, flattering some of the models and insulting others, who sneer at the audience. We are engulfed in wall-to-wall white balloons, as if we are …
filed01 Apr 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
On the back of a mammoth year of touring and recording, including the release of the Tea Party’s first album in a decade, “The Ocean At the End,” Jeff Martin further delves into the exotic and Middle Eastern melodies on his return visit to Morocco.
Much has been documented about Jeff’s music and mystique, particularly his instrument collection from around the world, which includes the Hurdy Gurdy, Sitar, Harmonium, Oud and a 1916 ‘harp …
filed24 Mar 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
About 20,000 carnivores followed the waft of barbequed meat to Forest Place last April. The smell was strangely familiar but exactly what was that extra smoky aroma that brought them in droves to the inaugural Smokin’ in the City BBQ Challenge?
Hang on to your tongs, it wasn’t a simple backyard grilling affair. Grilling? What about that great Aussie tradition? However lovingly you marinate and tenderly place your high-grade meat onto a direct source of fire until its cooked; it’s …
filed19 Mar 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
“Apocalypse this way, salvation the other way!” declares Paige Janssen, the hostess with the mostest.
Raise your glass if you’ve ever been to a dinner party where you’ve longed to sneak off, if only to that happy place in your head. Now add vomit-inducing food and a hostess who planned the inedible menu as cunningly as she has choreographed the impending verbal slinging match. And that’s just the appetiser.
The pretence of Dinner is to celebrate the release of …
filed09 Mar 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
We generally associate mangoes with the tropics but about an east of Perth in Gingin, there are about 20 commercial growers handpicking their juicy fruit as I write this. The Mediterranean climate in the part of the world allows the fruit spend 120 days on the tree, which is one month more than in the tropics. The extra time before harvesting allows the sugars to become more developed, making them sweeter to eat, and the warm temperature also means minimal …
filed06 Mar 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
Almost exactly halfway between Perth and Albany, the dusty outback town of Wagin toils away beneath a vast expanse of nothingness except for clouds swirling on a background of blue.
As the outback scrub gives away to hills of faded gold, the Southern Wheatbelt region is dotted with cattle languidly grazing in paddocks while lorikeets and galas nibble on roadside picnics of seeds. The quintessential outback town of Wagin is at the crossroads of the Great Southern region; with Albany …
filed25 Feb 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
Lonely footprints on sandy white beaches, swaying sugar cane fields and an outrageously turquoise sea. I’m starring in my very own travel brochure. Far Northern Queensland is the epitome of life in the slow lane and thankfully, I can’t see it ever speeding up.
The beauty continues at Thala Beach Lodge; it’s almost shameless. Located on a private 145 acre peninsula between Cairns and Port Douglas, you’re ideally situated to explore the hinterlands, Daintree rainforest, Cape Tribulation and of course …
filed05 Feb 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
Oh, the lengths I’ll go to for a decent cup of coffee. Like to the other side of world. I’ll soon be in the city of Pasto, in the department of Narino in south western Colombia, and bordering Equador.
It’s well and truly off the beaten tourist trail and yes, I promise to be careful of machete wielding drug lords cruising around the streets in search of random travel writers. This is generally the kind of reaction I’ve received whenever …
filed19 Jan 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
There are few destinations as jam-packed as Sri Lanka with beaches, ancient civilisation, wildlife, spices, tea, culture, cuisine, gems, adventure sports, luxury hotels and the ancient philosphy of Ayurveda. Meaning the “Science of Life,” Ayurveda has been passed through the generations for over 5,000 years and is still practiced today. But I must confess, I’m slightly anxious about my stay in an Ayurveda resort, even though Barberyn is considered one of the most authentic and holistic healing retreats in the …
filed15 Jan 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
Where those of ill-repute reigned over what was once Australia’s roughest port town, Fremantle reinvented itself in the 1950’s with the arrival of Europeans immigrants. Then after winning the America’s Cup in 1987 the town rejoiced as the streets became lined with cafes, bars, shops museums, and buskers; the revellers may have dispersed but the party still remains 30 minutes west of Perth.
Seafarers, artists and misfits 4 hours or more
Explore Western Australia’s rich maritime history at the …
filed12 Jan 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
Palm trees lean over the water’s edge to greet us as breaks in the foliage provide glimpses into a world of rice paddies. Every shade of green is startled by iridescent saris in blues, oranges, reds, and pinks. Escaping the hassle, wanna-be hippies and eye watering smog we board a houseboat on the backwaters of the state of Kerala. Located in the south-west corner of India and covering four districts Kollam, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Kochi, the waterways snake across 900 …
filed07 Jan 2015 fromCarmen Jenner
When Chinese immigrants arrived to the island of Singapore in the 1960’s, they brought both a strong labour force, and their beloved chicken rice. Since 77% of Singapore’s five million residents are Chinese, their favourite meal was soon adopted as the national dish. Eating is a serious business here: even the local the local greeting “sudah makan” means “Have you eaten?” Read the full article published with Ensemble Vacations Summer 2014 to see how seriously Singaporeans take their chicken rice.…
filed19 Dec 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
When it comes to cruising, I’m a novice. The extent of sailing the high (and low) seas includes a two night cruise from Mykonos to Venice on a Contiki tour, and living up to the tour company’s raucous reputation, most of it’s a blur except for cruising into Venice because who’d ever forget their first glimpse of that magical destination. The other two cruises were aboard houseboats; one through the verdant back waters of Kerala in India’s south and …
filed04 Nov 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
As Katie Noonan’s exquisite voice soars into the night with an Annie Lennox rendition of “There must be an angel,” I’m inclined to agree. The heavens concur with a light showering from above as a symphony of frogs joins in for the chorus.
Alongside her versatility and goose-bump inspiring renditions, is singer/songwriter Angie Har, poetic lyricist and vocalist Sam Buckingham, and Melody Pool, whose latest album The Hurting Scene is described as “These are songs that will break your heart. …
filed04 Nov 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
I had lasted 11 hours in my silly shoes, but there was no way I could wear them for the twenty-minute hike back to the car. As my sandals dangled from my hands, the cool tarmac had taken a velvety texture beneath my bleeding feet.
The brisk air itched my sunburnt shoulders and ached every muscle as my hangover kicked in. However, I was healthier than many of the other punters we passed along the way. Some were in vomiting …
filed31 Oct 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Ben Elton’s latest satirical offering Gasp! is also his first stage production, and not only is Perth lucky to be the first audience to see it, but to also have a starring role.
But don’t be too flattered; remember we’re at the hands of Ben Elton’s caustic wit. And boy, does he nail it with every quick witted quip taking a swipe at our mining boom, the advertising industry and a few well-placed digs at the Minogue sisters, the Kardashians, …
filed27 Oct 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Just an hour’s drive from Perth and you can lose yourself in amongst the rugged scrub, a stunning coastline, rolling farmlands, majestic native forests, the languid Murray River, one of the world’s longest walking and cycling trails, waterfalls and Lane Poole Reserve; one of those special spots the locals would prefer you didn’t know about.
Uncover more here Uncovering the Peel region as published in Horizons Magazine August/September 2014
filed23 Oct 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Imagine having to pay for the air you breath? Or worse still, not being able to afford it? Injected with Ben Elton’s signature sharp wit, Gasp! will leave you, dare I say it, gasping for air between laughs at this satirical poke at Perth’s mining boom and political landscape. Co-produced with the Queensland Theatre Company and the Black Swan State Theatre Company, Gasp! showcases some of Brisbane’s and Perth’s most talented actors, including Greg McNeill who I had a chat …
filed17 Oct 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Melbourne’s adorned laneways aren’t exactly a secret. Neither is the city’s vibrant food or shopping scene. It would be so easy to pay homage to its Victorian roots or compare it to the megatropolis of New York City. I’m not a local (although I’d jump at the chance to be one) and nor would I want to insult Melbournian’s with an outsider’s lowdown on their beloved treasure. But I am a lover of this wonderful city. So much so that …
filed26 Sep 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
In some cultures floating around naked with strangers would land you in hot water. In Japan it quite literally does, but this is not a story about exploits in a far flung destination but a story about Japanese hot springs.
The Japanese have been soaking in hot springs (onsens) for over 2,000 years and it’s safe to say they know a few things about this ancient tradition. With over 138 million people visiting 55,000 onsens every year and …
filed18 Sep 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
On a recent journey to Bali’s tranquil Ubud I didn’t find myself and despite hunting high and low not even Javier Bardem frolicking in the rice paddies either, sorry girls. I did however discover many enticing ways to eat, lay, bend and write, with a few naughty detours along the way.
Nestled into the hillside and offering flourishing views every which way, ONEWorld Retreats (www.oneworldretreats.com) offer unique experiences at Ubud’s boutique hotel Kumara Sakti. There’s no questioning the …
filed09 Sep 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Setting fire to the desk, throwing clothes out of the window and punching holes in the wall is just another day in the life of a writer; at least in many a writer’s head. Who hasn’t fantasised about throwing their computer out of the window? This probably would have happened too during “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” had computers been around in 1953.
Set during a time where writers and actors were black-listed by Senator Joseph McCarthy for …
filed08 Sep 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
The Brisbane River weaves around the city’s peninsulas as freely as the friendly vibes float along the undulating streets. Brisbane is one of those cities which embraces its visitors immediately on arrival. Ask any local for recommendations and they’ll probably be able to list enough activities to keep you entertained for much longer than your intended stay; which in my case is just 24 hours.
I flew out of Perth early with Virgin Australia ensuring I have the maximum amount …
filed22 Aug 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Staying in shape while on vacation can be difficult especially with the changes (and temptations) in your eating habits, environment and sleeping schedules throwing your usual routine out the window. Although a departure from the norm is kind of the point of travel, you can still stay healthy. Work-out sessions can be difficult to squeeze in while on the road, high seas, mountain ranges, hot air balloon or exotic waves, but these tips by guest blogger Gavin Apter, innovator of …
filed21 Aug 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
When The Seagull first opened in 1886, the reviews of Anton Chekhov’s labour of love weren’t favourable. Ironic considering the play deals with the woes of struggling writer Konstantin. As Chekhov refined the script and direction, it became a work in progress and had Konstantin also refined his own play within the play, Chekhov would have been telling a different story entirely. Art imitating life? Or the other way around?
Interestingly, to this day the play receives mixed reviews and …
filed11 Aug 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Conspiracy theories will always abound about Pope John Paul I’s death. Never accepted into his sudden position of power after the death of Pope John XXIII, speculation festered about how he met his maker, especially among those closest to him during his brief 33 day reign in the Vatican in 1978. The Last Confession examines the unsolved crime, if in fact a crime was committed?
The performance is momentarily paused as David Suchet, famed for his role in over 70 …
filed08 Aug 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
You can now experience how great it is to stay at an ibis hotel and explore the city! ibis hotels Australia is giving away one night’s accommodation at an ibis hotel in/nearest to your home city in Australia. Head to the ibis Facebook page here and tell us in 25 words or less, what is the best activity to do near the Ibis hotel in/nearest to your home city. Comment on the status of this blog post and the best …
filed06 Aug 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Never has the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words” rung more true than in the instance of photographer Richard Avedon.
Currently displayed at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth is very fortunate to only be the second city in the country to host Avedon’s exhibition. It’s the closest most of us will ever get to the famous faces peering out of their frames; especially since many of them are no longer with us. Framed specifically for this …
filed04 Aug 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Based on Lieutenant William Dawes notebooks during the arrival of the first fleet, the story of “Patyegarang” is released from the page and onto the stage. Powerful, evocative and exquisitely performed under Stephen Page’s choreography from the Bangarra Dance Theatre, I interview leading lady Patyegarang, played by Jasmin Sheppard, and Thomas Greenfield who plays the character of William Dawes.
Jasmin, you have an eclectic background of Irish, Chinese, Russian Jew and Aboriginal. Tell us about heritage?
Jasmin: I’m proud …
filed31 Jul 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Amanda Harrison may be famed for her role as Elphaba in “Wicked”, but if the Melbourne reviews of her very own show “Up Close and Reasonably Personal” are anything to go by, the role of quirky diva may just her most ingenious career move yet.
What can Perth audiences expect during “Up Close and Reasonably Personal?”
The performance is humorous and intimate with a combination of me talking and singing about my life and career. The last time I …
filed25 Jul 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Bell Shakespeare’s Henry V is a play within a play where the play is staged within a classroom during an air raid. Inspired by a true story about a group of 40 boys stuck in a bunker for 57 consecutive days who formed a “Boy’s Club.” Each week they would rehearse and perform a new play to raise the spirits of the other people in the bunker. It’s unknown if Henry V was performed by the “Boy’s Club”, but given …
filed13 Jul 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
As two anaconda pasta sheets snake along the walls of Perth’s Government House, Antonio Carluccio claps his hands in delight. The pasta-making competition is held in his honour for his first ever visit to Perth and the room is abuzz. The 75 year-old has taken the time out of his gruelling Australian tour to support the charity Mondo Community Warriors (MCW) founded by his close friend and butcher Vince Garreffa, aka the Prince of Flesh. Before entering the function he …
filed04 Jul 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
At just 26 years of age Luke McMahon is another of WAAPA’s (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) rising stars. He might be based in Sydney but Luke has a soft spot for Perth, after all that’s where it all started.
Tell me about your character Konstantin in The Black Swan State Theatre Company’s production of “The Seagull”?
Konstantin (pronounced as though there’s an “e” on the end) is a tortured writer living in a time when symbolism and …
filed03 Jul 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
It’s the morning of your wedding day. You’re all dressed in white, the flowers are white and so is the ice-cream wedding cake. In fact, the entire theme is white. Well, it was. After a night of unbridled passion, you’ve woken up in a hotel room with a stranger you had planned on never seeing again. But now you can’t leave the hotel. You’re an Egyptian immigrant working as a taxi-driver to put yourself through university. Your passenger is unbelievably …
filed20 Jun 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
It’s not like Perth doesn’t already have a plethora of talented dancers of our own, but we’re very fortunate to have the Sydney Dance Company join us this season. What makes “2 One Another” special for Perth audiences is that three of the dancers are locals, two of which studied at WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). I was lucky to have a chat with delightful Perth girl Juliette Barton.
Why did you choose WAAPA to study dance?
Mainly because …
filed06 Jun 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
The Perth Winter Arts Season is upon us again. Where has half the year gone already? As the town settles into winter and the locals’ endless complaints of the crisp mornings are usually accompanied by powder blue skies which hardly threaten to interrupt our endless pursuit of warmth, there is a bit of light on the cultural horizon.
This June I don’t know whether to laugh, swoon or run for cover. If the red dust sandstorm which threatens to erupt …
filed01 May 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
I’m very proud to report Permanent Impressions: A salute to contemporary heroines won Bronze in the Best Regional Non-fiction category for the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards, also known as the IPPYs. It was an absolute honour to work on such an amazing project with the incredibly talented artist Jana Vosedil and dynamic Carina Hoang of Carina Hoang Communications, who incidentally won Silver for her Boat People book in 2012. Permanent Impressions pays homage to 50 of Western Australia’s …
filed24 Apr 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Singapore’s chicken rice is the Asian equivalent of what chicken soup is to the soul and is eaten any time of the day or night and served everywhere from school canteens to high-end restaurants. Originally from Hainan Island, south of China, the dish is also often called Hainanese Chicken Rice, and is a meal of steamed or blanched chicken, fragrant rice and chicken broth eaten with soy sauce, spring onions, slices of cucumber and a ground chili and ginger sauce. …
filed01 Apr 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Come down to Forrest Chase on 13th April for the ONLY authentic US-style BBQ challenge! Sample the spoils, put together a team or provide sponsorship. There’s cash prizes and all proceeds go to Mondo Community Warriors charity inconjunction with Lifeline, Eat Drink Perth and the Butcher’s Picnic. For more details go to www.smokininthecity.com.au or contact Stephan Jenner on firstname.lastname@example.org
And here’s a little something about authentic US Style BBQ-ing to whet your appetite Where there’s smoke there’s flavour
filed07 Mar 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Our party of three devours Devonshire teas beneath the flamboyant burgundy and gold ceiling rose in the café of the Guildford Hotel. Built in 1886, with an imposing Italianate style typical of the gold boom period, its location, at the junction of James and Johnson Streets, captured the traffic to and from the Goldfields. And according to my companions, the Guildford Hotel was once run as a brothel. The twins, Elsie and Sylvia, were born, raised and have lived …
filed25 Feb 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
Sure, you could go to Perth’s Chinatown for Cantonese fare. Or go for broke at Silks in Crown Perth if you really want to impress. Click here for the full article as published in Crown’s Crystal Magazine Issue 10.…
filed12 Feb 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
My day begins with a breakfast of sweet banana crepes wrapped around avocado, mango cream and sliced bananas topped with a fresh fruit compote and chocolate cream, followed by a flower facial tonic and virgin coconut oil body scrub, and then a recline in a private bathhouse lit by chromo-therapy lighting. All of these activities occur by the rambling rapids of the Ayung River in Ubud, Bali. Fivelements certainly dispels the myth that health retreats are gruelling.
For the full …
filed01 Feb 2014 fromCarmen Jenner
This auspicious day falls on 31st January and is followed by 15 days of celebrations all over the world.
Perth is no exception with plenty of horsing around all over the city but most notably is the community event held in Northbridge by the Chung Wah Association on 9th February. Along James Street there will be over 100 stalls with performances occurring every 30 minutes including lion and dragon dances and costume parades with stage shows in the courtyard …
filed31 Dec 2013 fromCarmen Jenner
I may be a writer, but as one specialising in travel, this online world demands pretty photos as much, if not more so, as words. Hence, most travel writers are also professional photographers by default.
When packing for a trip the bulk of my luggage is books, beauty products (yes, I know I have a problem) writing materials (including the old fashioned method as well as a laptop) and my Canon with an assortment of lenses. I never seem to …