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10 CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS – 9. BeoSound 8 by Bang & Olufsen

December 23rd, 2011

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good boy this year and this is what I want for Christmas. Read below.

Love Adrian”

One gift that I’m hoping to get under the Christmas tree this year is the BeoSound 8 by Bang & Olufsen.

Renowned for breathtaking sound quality and iconic styling, Bang & Olufsen have once again designed a standout electrical piece of art for your home, perfect for the bedroom, kitchen, retreat or dining room. There really isn’t a place you can’t put this piece.

Where ever you want sound, your BeoSound 8 can go. All you need is a power outlet and an iPod, iPhone or iPad which sits securely in the adjustable holder. You’re then ready to go, so be prepared for the awesome sound that is about to grace your ears.

You can also download an app version of the sleek and stylish BeoPlayer for your docked iPadiPhone, or iPod. You can also adjust sound levels and skip tracks quickly and conveniently on BeoSound 8 itself. Music on a docked or USB linked device can be controlled via the dedicated round remote control.

The conical shape of the speakers is designed this way to create an unobtrusive impression, as well as eliminating standing waves, by avoiding parallel surfaces.

BeoSound 8 comes in either black or white with aluminium details and matching power cord. When you feel the need to add a splash of colour to the room, the list of options includes six fabric speaker covers in yellow, orange, red, silver, black and white.

Check out the video below for a little tour of the BeoSound 8.

Available at Bang & Olufsen stores for approx $1,500. Visit online for locations: www.bang-olufsen.com

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Thanks Santa!

10 CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS – 10. Ian Thorpe – Cook For Your Life App and Cook Book

December 23rd, 2011

My top gift idea for this Christmas is sending an app to a friend or family member with an iPhone or iPad. It’s also a great last minute gift!

The app.

You can gift any app, but I am also giving you a recommendation of a fantastic app that is out now and fantastic for someone who loves to cook. It’s Ian Thorpe‘s latest project called Cook For Your Life.

Ian Thorpe is known for his incredible swimming achievements – but not everyone knows that he loves to cook, so this is where Ian’s passion for tasty food has led him to develop simple, beautiful, easy-to-prepare, protein-rich meals to keep him in great shape.

In this, Ian’s first cookery app, he shares those recipes, as well as his philosophy on diet gleaned from experts in nutrition and performance that he’s had the privilege of working with during his years of elite sporting success.

Ian Thorpe – Cook For Your Life is only $2.99 in the iTunes app store and features:

* Over 75 recipes covering sides, vegetarian, seafood, poultry, lamb, beef, vegetarian, pork and desserts.
* Shopping list funtionality
* Favourites builder to create your perfect menus
* Video from Ian Thorpe
* Imperial & metric settings
* Oven timer

Example recipes included in Cook For Your Life:

* Vegetable stir-fry with miso
* Green envy vegetables
* Mrs Joyce’s Lebanese fish
* Grilled salmon with roast capsicum pesto
* Chicken larb san choi bao
* Three-day chicken
* Spicy beef and lentil burgers
* Lamb steaks with herbs and harissa
* Japanese pork with onion dressing
* Vanilla pannacottas with berry coulis

Click HERE to view on Apple website.

The book.

Ian Thorpe – Cook For Your Life

Ian Thorpe is an incredible Australian. He has achieved more then most people on the planet, but still maintains to be a real person underneath that powerful physique. A new addition to his impressive portfolio is the cook book, Cook For Your Life.

I’ve bought this book for my mother (because she doesn’t have an iPhone!) and flicking through the book I have found a heap of recipes I’ve book marked for both mum and me to make. This book is incredible and the photography and food styling is so beautiful and real.

Ian has put together a selection of recipes which require the best and freshest ingredients, which ultimately means you and your family benefit. The meals are nutritionally structured, combining a range of vegetable, proteins and legumes. Reading through each recipe, you will notice there is a similar structure, this is the key to his own health.

As soon as I give the book to my mum on Christmas day (and then steal it back for me to finish reading!), I will put up some posts of the recipes and photos. I can’t wait to cook the way Ian Thorpe cooks in his own kitchen, the way that athletes eat and the way I should eat.

As I write this post, I have had 2 chocolate muffins. Oh dear!

The book is available online and at all good book stores for $39.95.

Click HERE to view book on publisher website.

Where Would I Rather Be? Lapping Up The Luxury At Laucala Island

March 25th, 2011

Where would I rather be? I’d rather be sipping away on a cocktail at possibly one of the most breathtaking islands I have ever seen, staying at quite possibly the most amazing properties I have ever seen! This is the unbelievable Laucala Island.

But with the Easter long weekend stretching over five days this year, why not treat yourself, and the family to an escape at the ultra private Laucala Island in the South Pacific. This luxurious property boasts an impressive range of amenities, which together deliver a decadent holiday experience that the whole family can enjoy.

Laucala offers 25 well-appointed residences in specially selected locations around the island. Couples will appreciate the space and privacy of the one bedroom residence, Laucala also offers two and three bedroom configurations for families. The luxurious residences offer flat screen TVs, Bose home entertainment systems, iPods and docking stations, yoga decks, golf buggies and private swimming pools. If you really can’t leave your poochie home alone, you can bring them along as the island is biosecure.

An exciting range of leisure activities are available on the island, leaving you with the option of doing as much or as little as you wish. Activities include rainforest hikes, mountain biking, cooking classes, farm and island tours, horseback riding and kayaking. Passionate golfers can also enjoy an undisturbed round of golf over the private course while the Laucala Spa offers a tempting menu of spa journeys for those seeking soothing pampering. For the young ones, Laucala’s Kids Club offers wood carving, board games and water sports. I say dump the kids and RELAX.

Are you a diver? If so, divers are invited to explore the pristine underwater world surrounding the island with private dive sessions and guided snorkeling trips. The clear waters are also ideal for coastal fishing and anglers. The resort has an amazing collection of sailing vessels, including a Riviera Open Flybridge, a Dragon Class sailing boat and a Classic Pilothouse Ketch for you to take advantage of.

If that isn’t enough for you, Laucala is home to five spectacular restaurants and bars, each showcasing the island’s locally grown produce which is organic and toxin free. The signature Plantation House Restaurant led by Michelin star executive chef Michele Mingozzi offers an unforgettable dining experience that rivals the world’s top restaurants. You can also choose to dine at the alfresco Seagrass Restaurant which overlooks the island or chill out with a cocktail in the Rock Lounge. I love the sound of that!

This is the epitome of pure luxury, seclusion and relaxation… In one word, it’s perfection. Check out the video below for proof – pick your jaw up off the floor afterwards – you’ll be blown away!

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Accommodation packages on Laucala Island start at US$3,800 per night for a one-bedroom villa, inclusive of all meals and activities. Visitors can fly directly onto the island or transfer via Nadi, Fiji on the resort’s own King Air B 200 aircraft.

For further information or bookings, please contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622 or visit www.traveltheworld.com.au.

Like A Shotgun Off The Lights – The Audi Q5

September 28th, 2010

I was handed over the key to my black Audi Q5, with the disclaiming words… “Becareful, it’s fast.”

I thought to myself… “Thankyou. A) I know how to drive a fast car and B) I’ve driven cars like the Jaguar XKR and Mercedes C63, so don’t tell me how to drive!”

As I left the car park, I drove slowly out to the street, till I got to the lights. They turned green and the roads were clear. I floored it expecting nothing too exciting. Then BANG! after a 1 second delay (the car goes into neutral when you are stopped and apply the brake), the car shot like a gun, hitting 60 before I could even look down. My head was literally thrown back into the black leather headrest.

Ok… I should rewind back to the beginning. When I first saw the Audi Q5, I thought it was boring, drab and about as exciting to look at as the new Nissan Dualis. But then I saw one on the road which I hadn’t seen before. Black metallic paint, dark tinted windows, polished chrome trimmings, chrome side steps and enormous 22″ wheels. I did the double take. Then a squint of my eyes to see what it was – it was the Q5 to my suprise.

Off to Audi I went, with the expectation of being disappointed because the S5 Cabriolet disappointed me so much. But I test drove the Q5 and boy I was hooked.

So let’s fast forward back to where I was. This car has balls! Massive ones at that. For a 2.0 litre SUV, it has get up and go! The gearbox works away at ease, with the 7 speed steptronic transmission making gear changing, whether you’re in automatic or manual a silky ride. There are paddles behind the steering wheel if you choose not to change the gears at the centre console.

Exterior

Bold, agile and charismatic. If this car were a person, it would be Daniel Craig as James Bond. Smooth and fast. Functional and easy. Fun but also sensible. Beautiful lines. A toned body. And a big wide…. grille.

But it just depends on the model you get and how you customise it. Most of the Q5′s I’ve seen on the road look terrible. They have small wheels, terrible colour combinations and are the basic model, which looks like some sort of basic model Honda.

To make this car stand out – it needs to have a little more cash thrown at it and customised to make it look rough and sexy.

Interior

Opening the door, the height is perfect for me to glide in and out of, but with the feeling of sitting a little bit over everyone else. The leather seats are comfortable for short and long periods of driving whether it be traffic or freeway. My arms always have a place to rest with the adjustable sliding middle armrest, which is the lid to the centre console.

Infront of the centre console is a little feature I quite admire – the cooling and heating cup holders. Unlike you’re regular cooling or heating cup holders which just have a vent from the airconditioning, these ones actually have a heating element, and a refrigeration system in them, which gets super hot, and really cold!

The gears are easy to change if you are keeping it in automatic, but if you change it to steptronic and change the gears manually, it can get confusing as you naturally expect pushing the gear towards the dashboard would go up a gear, infact it goes down.

I found this same issue being on the infotainment system built into the dashboard with the large LCD screen. When you are selecting anything from radio, to iPod, the air conditioning or the telephone, the knob works the opposite way. This could have something to do with the changing of driving side perhaps for Australian roads. You’d expect to turn things down by turning the knob to the left, infact, it also works the opposite way. The steering wheel controls are very simple and clear to use, although anything on the steering wheel is to be viewed on the small screen between the speedo and tacho. So I sometimes forget which screen to look at.

Using the iPod/iPhone docking station in the glove compartment is a little stressful – you simply plug it in, that’s the easy part.You then control your music from the main LCD screen on the dash. As much as I loved this feature, that’s the hard part. The standard sound system is phenomenal! But if you opt for the Bang & Olufsen premium system, you are in for a special treat. This is one monster sound system. When you hear your favourite songs, it’s like hearing them brand new all over again. Amazing.

The airconditioning is easy to use, once you get used to it. Instead of just pressing one button to change fan speed or temperature, you need to select what you’d like to change, then change with the knob. So there’s 2 steps to doing a simple task – making you take your eyes off the road.

Rear seating is a little cramped, but is sufficient for a vehicle of it’s size. There is a fold down armrest with pop out cup holders which actually work!

Safety

Braking in this car is excellent. It’s stops as quickly as it took to take off. Airbags everywhere, warning lights and chimes to tell you to put your seatbelt on, service the car, and do all the bits and pieces most other cars tell you to do.

Front and rear parking sensors (optional), great internal and external lighting and a strong push button electronic parking brake, this car has the features most of it’s dearer contenders carry.

On and off road

On road it’s smooth and carries itself well. In a straight line.

But in an emergency where you may need to do tricky maneuvering with the steering wheel – goodluck. It lacks response and the “you point it and it will go” feeling. Over steer and unbalanced traction when accelerating heavily makes it feel a little unstable.

Off road, it’s simply not high enough to clear rough terrain. The simple gravel driveways, corrugated dirt roads and paddocks will be tackled easily, but anything more, and it will struggle.

Likes: It’s very pleasing to look at, if you have spent extra to customise it. The heated/cooled cupholders. The sound system. The looks you get once you’ve spent that extra money to make it look amazing – you get that look from people who are puzzled, it looks amazing, but what is it?

It’s very fuel economical. It’s only a 2.0 litre and the tank goes on and on. The sound of the engine when revved.

Great visibility from all angles. Comfortable steering wheel.

Dislikes: To do simple things like change the radio, temperature, fan, choose music – it takes several steps and takes your eyes off the road too much. The over-steer/under-steer and strange under/over traction.

Would I buy it? Of course! I love it. Make sure you get it with the panoramic glass roof, huge wheels and a gorgeous colour combination, and you will have a couple of years looking at it and still appreciating it’s sexiness.

Price: My one was Audi Q5 2.0L TFSI Quattro which was $71,500 after addition of wheels and a few extras.

Final say: I’m an Audi convert. I’m also an SUV convert. Being a convertible guy, I’ve easily slipped into the SUV club and I like it. You get just as many envious looks as you would in a convertible.

Chocolate Biscuits That Play Music?

March 18th, 2010

I had a great play with these cute little headphones at Via Alley at The Galleries Victoria.

I looked at them to start with and thought, what a stupid thing to manufacture. Till I picked them up and had a closer look. They are great! The Q-Pot Biscuit Headphones are made from wood and available in milk or dark chocolate.

The sound is decent and they are guaranteed a second look when wearing them. So why not have a little bit of fun and swap the boring white iPhone/iPod headphones for these cuties. Priced at $175.

Via Alley – Shop RG26A, The Galeries Victoria, 500 George Street, Sydney – (02) 9264 7528