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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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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 wins a gold IPPY award

filed27 Apr 2017 from

IPPY Award

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, …

Why should you hire a professional freelance content writer?

filed05 Sep 2016 from

 

Hiring a professional writer can be as care free as walking the Cape to Cape track

Hiring a professional writer can be as care free as walking the Cape to Cape track

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 …

Shreyas: A Indian journey of self-discovery

filed30 Jun 2016 from

shreyas statues

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 …

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 …

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 …

Skydive the Beach and Beyond

filed16 Jul 2015 from

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

Lee-Anne thumbs up flying

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 …

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 …

All aglow on the streets of Paris

filed19 Apr 2015 from

Photo 28 model 2 poster 1AS 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 …

Smokin’ in the City

filed24 Mar 2015 from

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?

Forrest Chase

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 …

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 …

Wagin: An outback gem

filed06 Mar 2015 from

paddock art

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.

Wagin Little GemAs 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 …

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 …

Feeling Freo: off-the-ship foray’s into Perth’s port town, Fremantle

filed15 Jan 2015 from

Cappuccino strip

Cappuccino strip

 

passengersWhere 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 …

Singapore’s Chicken Rice War

filed07 Jan 2015 from

Beloved chicken rice

Beloved chicken rice

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 …

Astor: the reluctant cruiser

filed19 Dec 2014 from

 

The luxurious Hanse Bar

The luxurious Hanse Bar

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 …

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 …

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 …

Carluccio’s Recipe for Life

filed13 Jul 2014 from

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 …

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 …

Singapore’s Chicken Rice Recipe

filed24 Apr 2014 from

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. …

Smokin’ in the city BBQ challenge

filed01 Apr 2014 from

BBQ challenge

 

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 stephan.jenner@mcw.org.au

And here’s a little something about authentic US Style BBQ-ing to whet your appetite Where there’s smoke there’s flavour

meat on BBQ

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 …

Manila Madness

filed24 Nov 2013 from

We’ve all seen the heartbreaking photos in the wake of Haiyan. And while many of us probably won’t be rushing out to book our next holiday to the Philippines, it’s a shame, because not only do they need tourists more than ever, it’s a fascinating country.

The sprawling metropolis of Manila has many mini cities within its labyrinth and several years ago I took a walking food tour through Chinatown, actually it was more like an eating tour as I …

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 …

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 …

Feeling porky

filed29 Aug 2013 from

Some of you Perth-ites might have attended the Butcher’s picnic back in March. My husband competed in the Home Cook Competition and although he didn’t win, his pork chops were a hit with the crowd and so popular the West Australian published his Crumbed Pork with Corn and Sage Pancakes recipe.

Crumbed Pork Chops with Corn and Sage Pancakes

Crumbed Pork Chops with Corn and Sage Pancakes

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

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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 …

BBQ-ing US style

filed07 Jun 2013 from

The Australian Tongmaster Team, MLA, BBQ aficionados and Kevin

The Australian Tongmaster Team, MLA, BBQ aficionados and Kevin

After the sun had long disappeared I pondered on how I ended up in a field in Lexington’s North Carolina passively smoking a beef brisket and drinking the local moonshine. RV’s with palatial proportions steamed into town for the BBQ-ing version of Woodstock at the Annual Capital BBQ Cook-off 28th-29th April 2012.  Heaving with 50 competing teams vying for the $15,900 prize money, many of the competitors were …

Antonio Carluccio: Interview

filed07 Jun 2013 from

smiling

In 2012 I was lucky enough to not only meet Antonio Carluccio in Perth but to also spend about 24 hours with the delightful chef and author. An absolute pleasure so stay tuned for a more in-depth story coming up soon.

Read my interview for Scoop here

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 …

Housing Plight in the City of Light

filed15 Aug 2012 from

THE computer screen taunts me with photos of charming Parisian apartments with minuscule dimensions. My two-year-old is dancing to The Wiggles, having given up on the promised trip to the park. Finding a flat for our six-week stay in the French capital has become my latest obsession.

Our requirements consist of a two-bedroom apartment easily accessible to the Latin Quarter, where I will be studying in July. My research has been enlightening as I learn not to take anything for …

SHARING SHANGHAI: The secrets of Shanghai dumplings

filed06 Mar 2012 from

dumpling perfection

Captured in the dank staircase of the crumbling Art Deco building, we suddenly alight to an industrial kitchen flooded in a dusky glow. Two little old Chinese ladies are pottering around, oblivious to the chaos of Shanghai several floors below. Me, my husband, and our seven-year-old daughter are instructed with gentle gestures and broken English that we’ll be learning how to make pork buns and pearl dumplings today.

Flour is thrown with abandon for the dough which is torn and …

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 …

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!

 

The Not-so Amazing Race

filed23 Mar 2011 from

 

WELCOME to The Not So Amazing Race. The first part of the Joneses’ challenge is to gain access to an apartment for their stay in Paris. The Jones family comprises of husband and wife, Jason and Simone, and three-year-old Jessica.*

None of the Jones family will speak French on this leg of the race. The final challenge is teamwork. Will Jason and Simone make it to the end as a married couple? Their prize is a month’s use of …

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 …

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 …

Oprah’s wild west

filed09 Dec 2010 from

Final-2---Copy

Okay, so Oprah’s not gay or coming to Perth…but she did change her plans on a whim to visit Uluru care of singer and friend Paul Simon. Oprah and her entourage’s itineraries are shrouded in secrecy so you never know the world’s most isolated of cities, Perth may still feature in the limelight. So far Oprah hss hammed it up on Hamilton Island and has cuddled a koala, but here’s a few of Fluffy Towel’s weekend suggestions if she does …

A Voyeur’s French Feast

filed07 Dec 2010 from

THIS PARISIAN LIFE: PART II

I Love Paris in the Summer Time

apartment view

It’s 4.46 a.m. and a woman’s scream cuts through the thick air surging up into the apartment’s open bedroom window.

I suddenly sit upright in bed. The scream was cut short and I envisage she suddenly woke up, imagining her husband to be an intruder before realising her error. Maybe she saw a mouse. Perhaps it was a nightmare? I know she wasn’t murdered because she did it …

The hills are alive: getting back to nature

filed18 Nov 2010 from

“Beep, beep, beep,” drones the forklift. It reverses up and down the salvage yard next door, just a few metres from our lounge room. A grunting semi-trailer pulls up with a delivery of wood to be unloaded throughout the entire afternoon. Soon, the rubbish truck will arrive to empty the enormous bins with its noisy hydraulic lifts. A plane thunders above and if I run outside I can wave to the passengers. A train “toots”. On the other side of …

Contiki Tip 34: How to use a map

filed13 Nov 2010 from

So there we all were, waiting, waiting, waiting, and waiting for our ferry to take us to Venice. A very exciting prospect indeed as I was dying to see one of the most romantic cities of all time. However, there was nothing very romantic about our situation. We were at the very dodgy port of Patra, aka the Rats of Patras, waiting to board our ferry for a two night cruise to Venice.

We were about halfway through our 34-day …

Broome Vroom

filed11 Nov 2010 from

Broome Vroom was a finalist in The Purple Passport travel writing competition. If you liked my story please vote http://diary.thepurplepassport.com/global/other-global-cities/cast-your-vote

“My name is Roger and I’ll be your guide today. Welcome to the Mango Tango Tour,” drawls our driver as he caresses his white Harley-Davidson trike, our mode of transport. We climb aboard the curvaceous blonde and hit the highway to sip wine at a mango plantation.

This is our second trip to Broome and I can see why so …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Top 50 Restaurant Guide Western Australia

filed24 Aug 2010 from

The Top 50 Restaurant Guide Western Australia 2011 is due for release in November 2010. This guide is STILL the first and best independent restaurant guide for WA, and I’m proud to say I was a key contributor and restaurant reviewer to the guide.  To thank our valued supporters, the 2010 edition is available for free download at the Gourmet Godfather

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Reversing the Rite of Passage

filed13 Oct 2009 from

My mother used to have a sticker on her car that read, “Live long enough to be a burden to your children.” By the age of 31, she had six daughters giving herself plenty of time to fulfil this quest. Twenty three years later my parents departed from the Perth International Airport for the very first time. It was obvious they were virgin jet-setters because they didn’t turn and wave as they sailed down the hall to immigration. Everyone knows …

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 …

Le Cafe de la Paix

filed20 May 2009 from

Paintings and music, street noises, shops, flower markets, modes, fabrics, poems, ideas, everything seemed to lead toward a half-sensual, half-intellectual swoon. Inside the cafes, colour, perfume, taste and delirium could be poured together from one bottle or many bottles – from square, cylindrical, conical, tall, squat, brown, green or crimson bottles – but you drank black coffee by choicse, believing that Paris itself was sufficient alcohol.

– Malcolm Cowley, Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssy of the 1920’s

A typical Parisian cafe

A typical Parisian

Eating out in Siem Reap

filed06 May 2009 from

 

The market place

The market place

Advertisement for Cambodia BBQ on the side of a tuk-tuk...so many Australian animals on the menu!

Advertisement for Cambodia BBQ on the side of a tuk-tuk…so many Australian animals on the menu!

Although many travellers come to Siem Reap to explore the marvels of Angkor Wat and the neighbouring temples, it’s the cuisine that leaves many staggered for words.  With an array of international tastes well catered for like Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and French, The Old Market area is a popular spot to sample traditional Cambodian cuisine, or also known as Khmer …

French Beauty

filed30 Apr 2009 from

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 …