fluffy towes
Carmen

Carmen Jenner is a travel, food, and lifestyle writer, wanna-be photographer and the founder of Fluffy Towel. She specialises in travel memoirs, destination pieces, hotel reviews, guidebook contributor, travel advice, restaurant reviews, family travel, and copywriting.

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Perth, Australia

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The Lighthouse Girl

filed16 May 2017 from

The Lighthouse Girl – Albany Entertainment Centre. – Lee Griffith Photography.

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.

Semaphore alphabet, excerpt from Dianne Wolfer’s novel Lighthouse Girl

Fay filled her long days and nights flag-chatting using the Semaphore Alphabet and transcribing Morse code messages for the soldiers stationed offshore. Like most teenage girls of any era on the cusp of womanhood, Fay was full of romantic notions, and while becoming the soldiers’ lifeline to their loved ones, she also found love with Charlie (Giuseppe Rotondella), a jackeroo turned soldier in the Light Horse Brigade. Charlie joined the regiment with childhood pal Jim Finch (Will McNeill), much to the concern of Jim’s sister Alice (Alex Malone).

Fay with her father Robert and Joe, and Charlie and Jim reminiscing in Egypt – Lee Griffith Photography.

Based on author Dianne Wolfer’s novels Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy, the Black Swan Theatre Company’s production of the Lighthouse Girl was eloquently translated to the stage by playwright Hellie Turner. “Writing the first draft of the play was a ‘gruelling joy’ … gruelling because of the need to be immersed in the carnage of war … a joy because constantly I was reminded of the remarkable resilience of the human spirit. It was a challenge which I utterly enjoyed, in the way one enjoys piecing together a jigsaw.”

A touching moment between Fay and her father – Lee Griffith Photography.

As if the isolation of Breaksea Island wasn’t already challenging enough due to its harsh environment, limited communications, scarce food supplies and not to mention the steep gradient best tackled by donkey, Fay battled her own turmoil after the loss of her mother while dealing with an over-protective father, Robert (Benj D’Addario). Robert was a dedicated lighthouse keeper and worked alongside Joe (Murray Dowsett) who was a wealth of wisdom in the ways of the world and guided more than just the passing ships.

A postcard from Charlie to Green Eyes, his nickname for Fay

A particularly touching and humorous moment occurs when Robert discovers the blossoming romance between Fay and Charlie. He demands to know about the boy she’s communicating with in much the same way modern day parents worry over how their daughters are using their mobile phones.

Fay touched the hearts of more than one soldier and received numerous postcards from the Middle East from the soldiers addressed to “The little girl on Breaksea Island;” dismaying to the 15-year-old Fay.

Frank’s joyous arrival – Lee Griffith Photography

Other outside influences also concern Robert with the arrival of cinematographer Frank (Nick Maclaine) who arrived bearing gifts while filming the soldiers’ last days on Australian soil.

The Lighthouse Girl poignantly premiered in Albany, which was the last Australian connection for many of the soldiers who never returned. Both the books and the play depict an important time in Australian history, as well as Albany’s involvement in WWI. By telling just one of the thousands of stories about the ravages of war, it’s a tale of humanity, courage, love and friendship set against the exotic backdrop of Egypt, the doomed shores of Gallipoli Cove and the wild coast of the Great Southern region.

Charlie and Jim endure the horrors of war – Lee Griffith Photography.

The Lighthouse Girls plays 28 April – 17 May in the Studio Underground at the Heath Ledger Theatre. www.bsstc.com.au. Spoiler alert: bring tissues!

The Artists of the Margaret River Region

filed04 Oct 2016 from

mrros_coverhr

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 …

Interview with the real housewives of Melbourne

filed07 Jun 2016 from

real housewive pin-up

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 …

Careening around Colombo

filed01 Jun 2016 from

 

tuk-tuk pin-up

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 …

Picnic at Hanging Rock review

filed12 Apr 2016 from

0054 Nikki Shiels. Picnic at Hanging Rock. Photo by Pia Johnson

“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 …

Gently Bentley

filed30 Mar 2016 from

driving

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 …

Emergence Creative

filed18 Mar 2016 from

Function Centre Exterior wiht pots

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 …

The Colombian Cloud Atlas

filed07 Mar 2016 from

El Sauce 5

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.…

La Soiree

filed25 Jan 2016 from

Bret Pfister Photo by Kim Haugaard

Bret Pfister Photo by Kim Haugaard

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 …

Kimberley cravings: celebrating Shinju, the annual pearl festival

filed05 Jan 2016 from

Schmicko Pedicab

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.

Japanese cemetryWe make a pit-stop at the Japanese Cemetery, one of the largest Japanese cemeteries …

Next to Normal review

filed11 Nov 2015 from

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.

057 Brendan Hanson, James Bell, Joel Horwood, Rachael Beck, Shannen Alyce. Next to Normal. Image by Gary Marsh

Gary Marsh Photography

Extinction review

filed24 Sep 2015 from

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.

030 Myles Pollard, Hannah Day. Extinction. Image by Gary MarshRepresenting 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 …

Blithe Spirit – review

filed30 Jul 2015 from

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.

116 Ella Hetherington, Adam Booth. Blithe Spirit. Image by Gary Marsh

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 …

Glengarry Glen Ross

filed14 Jul 2015 from

Black Swan 2015 Glengarry Glen Ross 23 May to 14 June Peter Rowsthorn, Damian Walshe-Howling & Will O'Mahony image 2 by Robert Frith Acorn Photo

Gary Marsh Photography

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 …

Why you should visit Launceston

filed12 Jul 2015 from

Hollybanks Reserve

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 …

ANZAC centenary Western Australia’s Great Southern Drive

filed22 Apr 2015 from

Greens Pool...too beautiful to be real

Greens Pool…too beautiful to be real

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 …

Stars in the Sand: touring Morocco with Jeff Martin

filed01 Apr 2015 from

MOROCCAN TOUR WITH JEFF MARTIN

 

coversm1

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 …

Dinner is served

filed19 Mar 2015 from

“Apocalypse this way, salvation the other way!” declares Paige Janssen, the hostess with the mostest.

Black Swan 2015 Dinner 14 to 29 March Tasma Walton image by Robert Frith Acorn Photo

 

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 …

Hola Colombian coffee

filed05 Feb 2015 from

Coffee cupping with La Jacoba

Coffee cupping with La Jacoba

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 …

2014 Newsletter…it’s a wrap

filed02 Jan 2015 from

me & carina

With Carina Hoang at the IPPY awards in New York

2014 was a huge year of travel and assignments with the highlight being winning an award for Permanent Impressions: A Salute to Contemporary Heroines. Not to mention the thrill of receiving the award in New York City. Most of you already know about my obsession with New York. I’m a writer without the appropriate words to describe its frenetic pace, inspiring urban landscape and coolness. As I write this, I …

Interview with Cis & Barbiche writer Jenny Davis

filed11 Nov 2014 from

Cis and Barbiche cast outside York Royal Theatre UK July 2014

Cis and Barbiche cast York Royal Theatre UK July 2014

Cis and Barbiche is a moving tribute to the humanity of WWII as part of Remembrance Week. Presented by the Perth Theatre Trust and Agelink Theatre and returning from their UK tour, the play is based on the 200 passionate letters received in 1944 by a young Barbara Rigby from her lover French airman Francis. The story is brought to life by director and writer Jenny Davis who was kind …

Katie Noonan and Avedeon at the Artbar

filed04 Nov 2014 from

Katie Noonan and friends

Katie Noonan and friends

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 …

What Melbourne Cup race?

filed04 Nov 2014 from

donkey

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 …

Gasp! review

filed31 Oct 2014 from

Lockheart's steam room

Lockheart’s steam room

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 …

ANZAC Centenary

filed30 Oct 2014 from

Greens Pool...too beautiful to be real

Greens Pool…too beautiful to be real

The 1st November 1914 marks the day where 40,000 Australian and New Zealand troops set sail for the Western Front and Gallipoli. A third never returned and many of those that did never recovered. This weekend Albany commemorates the ANZAC Centenary with the opening of the National ANZAC Centre with events all over the region. Come and pay homage to these brave souls who helped shape Australia and explore the region in Great Southern

Gasp! interview with Greg McNeill

filed23 Oct 2014 from

Image by Rob FrithImagine 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 …

Meandering Melbourne

filed17 Oct 2014 from

I was a little late to discover Melbourne's secret laneways

I was a little late to discover Melbourne’s secret laneways

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 …

Land in hot water: Japanese style

filed26 Sep 2014 from

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.

PR hot springs l_159767

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 …

Bali: Eat, lay, bend and write

filed18 Sep 2014 from

statue2On 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 …

Laughter on the 23rd Floor – review

filed09 Sep 2014 from

 

Credit Gary Marsh Photography

Credit Gary Marsh Photography

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.

Laughter on the 23rd Floor  Peter Rowsthorn as Max Prince  Image by Robert FrithSet during a time where writers and actors were black-listed by …

24 hours in Brisbane

filed08 Sep 2014 from

do not disturb

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 …

The Seagull Review

filed21 Aug 2014 from

0099 Leila George, Luke McMahon. The Seagull. Image by Gary Marsh

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 …

The Last Confession review

filed11 Aug 2014 from

last confessionConspiracy 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 …

Win a night at an ibis hotel near you

filed08 Aug 2014 from

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

Richard Avedon photography collection comes to Perth

filed06 Aug 2014 from

See if you can find Bob Dylan?

See if you can find Bob Dylan?

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 …

Bangarra interview: Jasmin Sheppard & Thomas Greenfield

filed04 Aug 2014 from

Jasmin & Thomas in the throws of Partyegarang

Jasmin & Thomas in the throws of Partyegarang

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

Amanda Harrison Interview: Up Close and Reasonably Personal

filed31 Jul 2014 from

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.

 

Photo credit Kurt Sneddon

Photo credit Kurt Sneddon

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. …

Bell Shakespeare’s Henry V: Review

filed25 Jul 2014 from

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 …

Interview with Luke McMahon

filed04 Jul 2014 from

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.

 

LUKE MCMAHONTell 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 …

Dust Review Perth Winter Arts Season 2014

filed03 Jul 2014 from

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. Dust. 28 June to 13 July State Theatre Centre Charlotte Devenport as Emma. Image by Robert FrithYou’re an Egyptian immigrant working as a taxi-driver to put yourself through university. Your passenger is unbelievably …

Perth Winter Arts Season 2014: Interview with Juliette Barton, Sydney Dance Company

filed20 Jun 2014 from

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.

Sydney Dance Company

Juliette Barton and Andrew Crawford in 2 One Another

Why

Perth Winter Arts Season 2014

filed06 Jun 2014 from

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.

Perth Winter Arts Season

The Black Swan Theatre Company’s production of Dust runs 29 June – 13 July

This June I don’t know whether to laugh, …

Permanent Impressions: Independent Publisher Book Awards Winner

filed01 May 2014 from

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 …

Sex, lies and fire at the Guildford Hotel

filed07 Mar 2014 from

guildford hotel b&w

 

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 …

It’s Kung Hei Fat Choy time again

filed01 Feb 2014 from

dragon_edited-1

It’s that time of the year again when you’re happily slurping up your noodles and then suddenly there’s a dragon and its show time

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 …

Fluffy Towel’s Travel Trivia Challenge

filed09 Dec 2013 from

If you’re a fan of Fluffy Towel’s Facebook page you would have probably noticed, if not participated in Fluffy Towel’s inaugural Travel Trivia Challenge. Last week I released four questions a day as below and the person who answered the most correctly is the winner of a $50 Amazon voucher. Wanna know who the winner was? Well, you’ll have to like the page to find out. I know, I know, I can be such a tease sometimes. Anyway, here’s the …

5Pointz(less) act of destruction

filed20 Nov 2013 from

In what is deemed as a spiteful act on the owners part, 20 years of graffiti art has been wiped clean at 5Pointz. The sprawling warehouse in Queens has been a graffiti mecca for artists all over the world. The dilapidated building complex has been earmarked for demolition for the end of 2013 to make way for luxury apartments. Perhaps the whitewashing of the artwork is a humane approach to the art-clad walls being pulled down, but I’m in …

Finding Perth

filed29 Oct 2013 from

I’ve landed a great gig writing for Findery where I get to “find” cool stuff in my hometown Perth, Western Australia.I’ve seen dead animals at the Natural History Museum in Guildford, got my girls out with a Breastique Art workshop, braved a storm in a campervan in Denmark, discovered some great coffee at Love Thy Neighbour, unearthed why honeymooners once flocked to Ngilgi cave in Yallingup and even did some of my research in the horizontal position at Hidden Valley …

Around the world in 43 fluffy days

filed21 Oct 2013 from

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The past few weeks have been quite a journey. I traversed the globe in 43 days from Perth to Qatar, New York, Philadelphia, Alabama, Memphis, back to New York then San Francisco and onto the Ubud Writer’s Festival in Bali. I’ve met many wonderful and inspiring people along the way and encountered overwhelming hospitality and generosity. I’ve been awe of astounding beauty, music and art. Hell, I’ve been to Graceland, walked in Jack Kerouac’s footsteps …

Van Gogh, Dali & Beyond: The World Reimagined

filed02 Sep 2013 from

The Perth Winter Arts festival may officially be over for 2013 but the delights continue with the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh and Dali. Since they’ve travelled in outstanding company all the way from New York’s MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) it would be foolish to not rush to the Art Gallery of Western Australia to bathe in their glory, angst and pain.

Van Gogh, Dali & Beyond: The World Reimagined is visually stunning and inspires many awe-inspiring moments where …

A Saucy Little Secret

filed14 Aug 2013 from

Saucy Little Secret

Its 1920. The mood is as slinky as a satin gown and the air reeks of scandal.

Undressing Ellington’s audience with her eyes, Ma Rainey (billed as The Mother of the Blues and played by Di Shaw, co-founder of the Deck Chair Theatre) makes a bee-line for the damsels before her. No-one in a skirt is safe and there’s no question her tastes favour the fairer sex, as do the rest of the characters from A Saucy Little Secret.

While …

Other Desert Cities

filed14 Aug 2013 from

Other Desert Cities. Rebecca Davis. Image by Robert Frith

Any member of a dysfunctional family will spend the duration of Other Desert Cities nodding and chuckling knowingly. It’s safe to say it’s a performance which appeals to the masses.

Set in Palm Springs on the edge of the desert, there is an immediate sense of remoteness which many Perth-ites can relate to. The entire show plays out in witty Polly and, former actor and politician, Lyman Wyeth’s contemporary home. Given the slick setting, the mood is deceptively serene, at …

Permanent Impressions launches in Perth

filed14 Jul 2013 from

I’m thrilled to announce that Permanent Impressions has been officially launched and here I am holding one of the first copies to land in Perth! It was a great honour to be asked to write the profiles to accompany 50 portraits of WA’s most influential women. The portraits are not for sale and will remain as a collection as a whole, however the book retails for $45. Find our more about the exhibition dates and order your copy here

Permanent Impressions & me

 …

10 Reasons to Desert Yourself on Gaya Island

filed14 Jul 2013 from

yoga

 

As the speedboat zoomed towards Gaya Island Resort, I was already devising ways to never return to reality.

A few minutes off the coast of Kota Kinabalu on the Malaysian state of Sabah lies a refuge away from life as most of us know it. Located on the island of Pulau Gaya within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Malohom Bay sweeps majestically at the Gaya Island Resort’s feet.

Gaya Island villas

1. Lay down and weep

On the approach in it’s …

Perth International Burlesque Festival 2013

filed12 Jul 2013 from

Jacqueline Furey opens the show in a blaze of waist length strawberry locks and ends with little more than red feather fans

Jacqueline Furey opens the show in a blaze of waist length strawberry locks and ends with little more than red feather fans

I was lucky enough to be invited by Show Me Perth to the opening party of the Perth International Burlesque Festival 2013 and here’s what I had to say about it:

The crowd ducks as blonde bombshell Banbury Cross sprays her adoring fans with champagne. Holding the bottle above her, she drizzles the remaining nectar over her body …

Author of Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell is coming to Perth

filed20 Jun 2013 from

Sex & sarong party

I don’t mean to name drop, okay maybe a little bit but Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City, is coming to town so don’t miss out on having Cosmos with Candace. She’s an absolute delight, a New York broad through and through and it’s like talking to the real Carrie Bradshaw.

I heard her speak a couple of years at the Galle Literary Festival, as above, at a wonderful event called Sex in a Sarong on the …

The Mexican Suitcase

filed19 Jun 2013 from

zocalo fish eye

How fortuitous for a suitcase containing thousands of lost negatives from the Spanish Civil War to be found by a film-maker. In fact, the story of the journey of the suitcase is interesting on its own, but not nearly as fascinating as its contents.

As war survivors share their horrific tales, The Mexican Suitcase incorporates many of the retrieved photos into the documentary with disturbing images of ravaged corpses, boy soldiers with rifles, women performing hard labour and sad-eyed children.…

The Artist and the Model

filed19 Jun 2013 from

spanishff

Set in the Pyrenees in occupied France during 1943, The Artist and the Model depicts a time where men dressed elegantly, creative types didn’t rely on technology to produce art and models had bodies that embraced their womanliness, body hair and all. So when model Merce, (Aida Folch) reveals the wisps of her armpit, it’s almost as shocking as the complete nudity she displays for much of the movie.

After escaping from a concentration camp Merce is picked up off …

Rooftop Comedy

filed19 Jun 2013 from

conservatory_cropped

As patrons perched on top of the Conservatory Rooftop Bar bathed in red light while giggling about the ridiculousness of life, it was easy to forget about the crisp night air. With a New York meets Miami vibe, the light changed to blue and then green to match the palms and turf flooring.

MC Dan Willis swifty carried the show and was surprisingly gentle on the “white collar crowd” considering he was no doubt more liberal with his previous performance …

Apache CLIP Award

filed19 Jun 2013 from

Svetlalana Baily_CLIP 2012 Winner

If photos of pretty landscapes are your thing then you won’t mind that the Apache CLIP Award is over. On the other hand, if you’re swayed by the grittiness of reality you’ll be watching this space, particularly the exhibition space of the Perth Centre for Photography (PCP) for its next exciting instalment.

CLIP stands for Contemporary Landscapes in Photography and the criteria of the competition was to create original and stimulating pieces to challenge traditional landscapes. The Apache CLIP Award …

Sex in a Sarong

filed24 May 2013 from

 

snapshots of Sri Lanka book cover

 

 

 

The following story (edited to the conservative title of ‘Soiree in a Sarong’) has been extracted from ‘Snapshots of Sri Lanka.’ The book contains many wonderful stories about the teardrop isle and proceeds go to Samadhi Grove, an early childhood development centre in the village of Smagipura in southern Sri Lanka. Your generosity is appreciated and for a copy please go to Vivid Publishing

 

 

 

 

My floor-length is gown is hitched up around …

Womanly wiles heat up Perth’s winter nights

filed23 May 2013 from

Saucy Little Secret

Lashes will be in a flutter at the Perth International Burlesque Festival as tassels tease and waists are so tightly cinched that breasts have no choice but to heave. Just as those dangerous curves are barely restrained, audiences will also be bursting with glee at The Spiral with Judith Lucy and her comrade Denise Scott.

Those juices will continue to flow with the 16th Spanish Film Festival with the ultimate femme fatale Catherine Deneuve in Tristina. Or indulge …

Sandakan: The Land Below the Wind

filed20 May 2013 from

 

Sunbeams over Sandakan

Sunbeams over Sandakan

While tropical adventures are aplenty in Sandakan, Malaysia, the former capital of the state of Sabah oozes a tumultuous cultural past.

The phrase “land below the wind” was coined a century ago by sailors to describe the Malaysian state of Sabah on the northern coast of Borneo because of its location south of the typhoon belt. American author and expat Agnes Keith brought notoriety to the phrase in her book of the same name. In fact, she …

I think I’m stripping Japanese, I really think so

filed09 Mar 2012 from

Sadly, March marks the anniversary of the great Japan earthquake and tsunami and although the devastation and heartache is insurmountable, tourists are returning to Japan. Who can blame anyone wanting to explore the land of sumo wrestling and geishas, where everything is familiar and foreign all at the same time. A culture obsessed with rules and protocol and yet consumed by perplexing, and quite frankly kinky, pasttimes.


Photo 8 bride back

 

Luuuurve Hotels

Cheesy Love Hotels rented by the hour in Japan were …

Battle of the writers festivals

filed27 Feb 2012 from

Fireflies flit along the shoreline as I hitch my floor-length dress up around my thighs. Stepping into the warm Indian Ocean I wobble along the watery path lit only by fire torches towards the tiny Taprobane Island off Sri Lanka’s south coast. Waves crash as I grip the sand bank beneath my toes and friendly hands reach out to guide me to cocktails with Candace Bushnell, the author of a little well-known story called Sex and the City.

This …

The launch of Fluffy Towel Travels

filed28 Sep 2011 from

NOW AVAILABLE AT DYMOCKS KARRINYUP & SUBIACO, BODHI TREE & PLANET BOOKS FOR $20

ALSO AT KALM WELLNESS CENTRE WITH TRAVEL TOWELS FOR $40

I will also have a stall at the Festival of Christmas markets at the Perth Cultural Centre on 9th December. Well done to  Events and Beyond for utilising Perth’s public spaces with cultural events  http://eventsandbeyond.com.au/

My travel memoir, Fluffy Towel Travels was launched on 21st October at Quinlan’s Cafe Fremantle in a flurry of wine, …

Wine Art Beauty Launch 21 October 2011

filed23 Sep 2011 from

Wine, beauty, boobs, and travel…honestly, what could be more enticing? Please come along to this open event on the 21st October as the proceeds go to Breast Cancer Care WA…I’m also launching my book Fluffy Towel Travels…and there’s plenty of tantalising surprises in store too!

 

Petite Paris

filed10 Mar 2011 from

THERE are few places as lively, vibrant and stimulating as Paris. I’m not entirely referring to the city either as my daughter is named after the City of Light. It seems fitting that the two should meet. But if you shudder at the thought of dragging young children around vast museums, consider these tips on how to toddle around the French capital.

1. Cafe culture: Sip hot chocolate together as you watch people and dogs. Discuss, write, draw and photograph …

Buskers of Fremantle: The Freo All-Stars

filed28 Dec 2010 from

THE BLUE STAR OF FREMANTLE

Fedora tipped over blue

Seductive plucking of tune

Street-side superstar

Freo presents Ivan Zar

Travel Photography Workshop 068b_edited-2

In amongst the throng of bohemians languishing along Fremantle’s capuccino strip, I’m immediately drawn to the man sporting a suit and fedora in mid-night blue. Oozing 1960’s glamour evocative of the Cuban time warp, I learn his name is Ivan Zar. A master of blues, the haromonica, and his unique metallic slide guitar, his style is gutsy yet unassuming. Influenced by …

Breast foot forward! Painting to good health

filed22 Dec 2010 from

Breastique Art 026

Put your breast foot forward with Perth-based Breastique Art and embark on a “one of a kind” workshop in support of Breast Cancer Care Western Australia. Canvases are adorned with breasts and paint as participants frolic in various degrees of undress to create unique works of art. The Breastique Art workshops are liberating, fun and a little risque. It’s an intimate moment as each woman disrobes in her own time, and the instant she pulls her breasts away from the …

Gotan Project = tango

filed13 Dec 2010 from

 

paris heels1

Just as the letters of the word ‘tango’ scramble into ‘gotan’, your perception of the Argentinean art form will morph into the sublime with a Gotan Project concert. My rendezvous with the Parisian electro-tango band began with La Revancha Del Tango. With every beat evocative of an elegant bouncing acrobat on a trampoline, each instrument and member of the group was introduced individually building to a delicate crescendo. From there your climax is held at a heightened state for …

What Race?

filed01 Nov 2010 from

 

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 …

Finding divinity in the bush

filed21 Oct 2010 from

New Norcia Sept 2009 162

Upon entering the elaborately decorated St Ildephonsus’s chapel, Bach’s Toccata and Fuge in D minor pipes out of the magnificent organ. This heart-stopping scenario doesn’t occur in rural Italy, but in the dusty Western Australian bush. As I settle onto the antique pew to admire the heavenly fresco the juxtaposition of a time-honoured civilisation plonked into the youthful Australian way of life isn’t lost on me. The head-turning town causes no end of intrigue as patrons fly along the Great …

Walk on the Tame Side in Paris’ Montmartre

filed17 Sep 2010 from

The view of Paris from Basilique du Sacre Coeur

Made famous by the Moulin Rouge and its hedonistic revellers, Montmartre is well worth a wander during the day.

As you alight the Metro stop Abbesses, check out the Paris cityscape mural, and its unusual green wrought-iron arches and amber lights, which are one of the few original Art Nouveau stations in Paris.

After savouring the seediness of Montmarte’s adult outlets, browse the electic range of shops while heading up to …

Divine Diversity: Holier Than Cebu

filed16 Sep 2010 from

Photo 1 Magellan’s Cross looms above, a larger than life relic to Christianity on Cebu, one of the 7,000 islands in the Philippines.

There are Catholic icons everywhere: a crucifix hanging off the rear-view mirror in a taxi, a painting of The Last Supper displayed in a cafe, or a rosary pressed between fingers clutching a steering wheel while negoiating the mad traffic. All over the city there are churches and the country-side is dotted with tiny chapels. The city morgue is …

Roxanne’s Can-Can: A Heady Night of Moulin Rouge

filed16 Sep 2010 from

Shrouded in shadows the curtains rise. At long last, I fulfill my lifelong obsession with the Moulin Rouge. The entire cast appears sequined, feathered, buffed, toned, and breathtaking. White sequined tuxedos are ripped off to reveal jewelled g-strings adorning airbrushed legs. Despite their nudity, they remain elegant and ethereal.

One flamboyant scene after another makes it impossible to take it all in: a pirate show, a circus, the obligatory Can-can and the grand finale, a showcase of the history of …

From Colombo to Galle: A Sri Lankan travel revival

filed01 Sep 2010 from

Throngs flock to the Galle Face Green in Colombo at sunset to gossip, eat, fly kites, and enjoy the passing parade

The palm-tree pattered isle formely known as Ceylon is recovering from its 25-year civil war and the devastating 2004 tsunami. Plenty of blood has been shed and oceans have been cried over the tear-shaped island of Sri Lanka. But now it is experiencing a resurgance, and nowhere is this more visible than in its Capital Colombo and on the …

Smiles from the Teardrop Isle: Family Travel in Sri Lanka

filed31 Aug 2010 from

Art imitating colourful life in Sri Lanka

Like a jewel dropped into the ocean, Sri Lanka sparkles bright. Tamer than its Indian neighbour, the spicy isle is heaving with culture, wildlife, gems, adventure, welcoming locals, and exotic beauty every which way.

Unlike other Asian hotspots Sri Lanka is virtually untouched by tourism compliments of the 25 year war. The country breathes a collective sigh of relief as the war is finally over. The figurative doors have flung open and tourists …

Breasts Out West

filed30 Aug 2010 from

Art imitates art

Jiggly giggles abound on this crisp winter’s day and with only the sun to kiss our skin, we smear body paint over our torsos. This is not the scene for some titillating fantasy, although the guy “working” on his roof next door may dream otherwise. We’ve gathered here today to celebrate the female form and to raise awareness for breast cancer by creating art with our breasts.

Breastique Art is the brain child of Shiona Herbert, “I …

This Parisian Life

filed20 Sep 2009 from

THIS PARISIAN LIFE – PART I

French Beauty

 “One is not born a woman; rather one becomes a woman.”  – Simone De Beauvoir

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 …

Flight of the Fashionista

filed03 Jun 2009 from

Time to defrost this winter

 

Ten Reasons to Frolick in a Winter Wonderland
As winter hovers over Australia, many of us are dreaming of warm and exotic destinations. Before sinking into the winter doldrums, consider a holiday close to home or even plan ahead for a snow encrusted adventure north of the Equator. Yes, it’s going to be cold but there are ten excellent reasons the woolly weather can be liberating for a fashionista while on holiday.

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