Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

The 32nd Australian Wool Fashion Awards Wrap Video – Armidale

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The 32nd Australian Wool Fashion Awards – Armidale

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013


I had the absolute honor of being selected as a fashion judge for 32nd Australian Wool Fashion Awards in Armidale, NSW.

A role which needed to be taken seriously, I was one of five talented professionals, Bonnie Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance), Peter Everett (TV Presenter), Faye De Lanty (Fashion Writer) and Jo Nathan (Designer at Woolli Woolli) who had to critique 90 garments from many categories submitted by designers all over Australia and New Zealand.


With many categories including evening wear, race wear, bridal, recycled wool and the very fun Alice In Wonderland theme, things were very competitive and the designers had to make sure there was a minimum of 60% Merino wool used in their designs.

Choosing the ‘best of’ in each category was quite a task, it’s so hard to not make every designer a winner when the build and design quality was so great.


We all had so much fun and worked so collaboratively to make sure the best of each category was selected because this is the future of our young (and some old!) designers who deserve every opportunity to win scholarships or grants at the countries leading fashion colleges.

The Australia Wool Fashion Awards strives to find and award the best designers. It also creates an incredible platform for these designers to enter and submit their work.


On the big night of nights, the finalists we had selected were sent down the runway in the gardens of the Historic Saumarez Homestead in Armidale where a colourful array of outfits were paraded. The very professional, funny and gorgeous Deborah Hutton hosted the night, keeping everyone entertained.

Laura Davis from All Saints Anglican School Merrimac on Queensland’s Gold Coast took out first prize in the School section before taking out the three-year, half-fee degree Scholarship to study at North Sydney’s Raffles College of Design.


Laurel Judd from Napier, New Zealand won both the Racewear and Knitwear sections as well as the Supreme Award, winning a gold and diamond pendant and earrings worth $10,000 donated by Margot Edwina Rees Antiques, Tenterfield.

Workwear winner was QUT student Shea Cameron of Biggera Waters, Queensland while Larissa Murdock from Werribee in Victoria took out the recycled wool category with an outfit made from knitted jumpers sourced from Op Shops. Long time entrant Judy Bond from Buronga, NSW crocheted her way to two second prizes and a first in wearable art.


Jane Frazer from Deniliquin won the evening wear category with a stunning cream and gunmetal pleated gown made from Wool Charné fabric. Libby Spring and Celia Fraser from Fullarton South Australia won the bridal wear with a gown trimmed with Nanna’s lace curtains.

Whitehouse Institute of Design Drawing Scholarships went to Jessica McClatchy from PLC Pymble, NSW and Bianca Scott and Sarah Scott from All Saints Anglican School, Queensland.

Academy of Design Scholarships went to Armidale students Nichola Eliott from New England Girls’ School, Miriam Lott and Edith Rose from Armidale High School.



Section One – Secondary School Award – Alice in Wonderland
Highly Commended: Danielle Rawle, All Saints Anglican School, Merrimac QLD
Highly Commended: Evie Weir, Duval High School Armidale
2nd Prize: Miriam Lott, Armidale High School
1st Prize: Laura Davis, All Saints Anglican School, Merrimac QLD

Section Two – Young Designer Award
2nd Prize: Tara Barker, Academy of Design, Robina QLD
1st Prize: Nichola Eliott, New England Girls’ School, Armidale

Section Three – Knitwear
Highly Commended: Janice Ward, Young NSW
Highly Commended: Stephanie McGuigan, South Hurstville, Raffles College of Design, North Sydney
2nd Prize: Judy Bond, Buronga NSW
1st Prize: Laurel Judd, Napier New Zealand

Section Four – Workwear
2nd Prize: Taree Birse, Academy of Design, Robina QLD
1st Prize: Shea Cameron, Biggera Waters QLD, QUT

Section Five – Racewear
Highy Commended: Rycki Symons, Robina Academy of Design, QLD
2nd Prize: Sam Stolhand, Young NSW
1st Prize: Laurel Judd, Napier New Zealand

Section Seven – Recycled
2nd Prize: Lucy Virgona, Strathfield, UTS
1st Prize: Larissa Murdock, Werribee VIC

Section Eight- Wearable Art
2nd Prize: Julie Thornton, North Rockhampton QLD
1st Prize: Judy Bond Buronga NSW

Section Nine – Evening Wear
Highly Commended: Taree Birse, Southport QLD, Academy of Design
Highly Commended: Azulant Akora, East Victoria Park WA, Edith Cowan University
2nd Prize: Judy Bond, Buronga NSW
1st Prize: Jane Frazer, Deniliquin NSW

Section Ten – Bridal Wear
2nd Prize: Rycki Symons, Robina QLD, Academy of Design
1st Prize: Celia Fraser & Libby Spring, Fullarton SA TAFE


Whitehouse Institute of Design Drawing Scholarship
Jessica McClatchy, PLC Pymble

Whitehouse Institute of Design Drawing Scholarship
Bianca Scott All Saints Anglican School Merrimac QLD

Whitehouse Institute of Design Drawing Scholarship –
Sarah Scott – All Saints Anglican School Merrimac QLD

Academy of Design Scholarships
Nichola Elliot – New England Girls’ School, Armidale
Miriam Lott – Armidale High School
Edith Rose – Armidale High School

Raffles College of Design Half fee 3 year Degree Scholarship
Laura Davis – All Saints Anglican School, Merrimac QLD

Laurel Judd – Napier New Zealand


It’s incredible how emotional I was on the night. Watching these amazingly gorgeous girls and boys develop and give life to each of the garments they paraded. They kindly donated their time, also with the organiser Liz Foster – who has been running the awards from day 1! Amazing efforts!


The amount of work and time that goes into every one of these garments is truly outstanding.


This gorgeous red dress was a clear favourite the moment it appeared on stage.


Detail, detail, detail. Like nothing I’ve ever seen! Impressive!


All the fun after the show – such an amazing evening!


Post awards fun outside. Here we are getting interviewed by Kate Lillian Muir of Australian Wool Innovation.


The impressive Saumarez Homestead, Peter Everett, Bonnie Lythgoe, myself and Bonnie laughing away.


Here are the judges, such a privilege to announce the winners with Deborah Hutton.


NaraCamicie Flagship Store Opens In Paddington – Meet The Owners

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

It’s finally here in Australia – and here to stay and spoil us rotten with quality, Italian style and design.

Naturally I’m talking about NaraCamicie, the Italian label which has taken most countries of the world by storm!

Right here in Paddington, Sydney, store owners Angela and Alex opened Australia’s flagship store. It’s an edgy and funky store with everything so easily to see and feel – it’s quite a sensory experience.

I caught up with Alex and Angela at the store to talk all things NaraCamicie and fashion.

How NaraCamicie start and why did you decide to launch the brand in Australia?

We came across the brand while honeymooning in Italy and specifically Venice in 2006. We were instantly captivated by the quality, styles and price range. We ended up purchasing many shirts and after arriving back to Australia we were continuously receiving positive feedback every time we wore a Nara shirt. It was obvious to us that there was a gap in the Australian market for European style shirts. After many visits to Italy we decided that it was time to take the big step to launch the brand to the Australian market in 2012. We carefully studied what other brands were offering and again it was very clear that Australians were in need of something different. This was what prompted us to launch.

 Where is NaraCamicie stocked overseas?

There are over 600 stores worldwide. All over Europe, Asia, North and South America as well as Africa. There are more stores opening monthly in every major city around the world.

Do you think it will have the same success here in Australia?

Our sydney flagship store has been open for 2.5 months now and the response has been fantastic. NaraCamicie has been a success all around the world and we truly believe Australia will be as well. Many Australians that have travelled abroad have come in the store or contacted us via email and phone, expressing their excitement that finally their favourite shirt brand has reached the Australian shores. It is only a matter of time that NaraCamicie becomes the authoritarian in the shirt industry in Australia.

There has been a positive reaction to the brand with stylists and celebrities visiting the store. Why do you think the brand is attracting these influential people? What is the ultimate goal for the brand?

They are attracted because simply Naracamicie offers something unique and the styles and cuts are very European. There are over 200 styles of shirts offered per season from casual, business, evening and formal. Nara has been for many years present in all major publications around the world, numerous fashion shows and has been established in the fashion world for 28 years.

Are you planning on opening more stores in Australia? When and where could we expect to see them?

We are planning on opening in every major city in Australia in the next 5 years. New Zealand is also of interest.

How do you think the fashion industry differs to that of Europe?

Australian fashions tends to be more conservative and simple. There is however a desire for different styles that are more colourful and edgy. Nara offers exactly that.

The store fit-out in Paddington is very modern and edgy. Do you find that this is reminiscent of the exceptional European style and design?

The Nara store concept is the forefront of designer shop fitting. Designed by a leading Italian architect, it is simple and elegant, modern and edgy and gives emphasis to the beautiful shirts displayed. The comments we have received from customers and other retailers is that they have never seen anything like it!

Reasonably priced fashion, excellent quality and Italian made – do you think these are the three things that shoppers in Sydney look for? What else do Sydney shoppers look for do you think?

We believe that Sydney shoppers are continuously searching for something that is priced correctly, is of outstanding proven quality and at the same time unique. We have had customers come back to tell us that the feedback they received when wearing one of our shirts was amazing. Whoever wears a Nara shirt is noticed simply because the patterns and fabrics of a Nara shirt is fresh to the Australian market.

What styles and colours will we expect to see in the new season?

Our current spring/summer collection focuses on bright colors and flora prints without stemming away from the traditional whites.

For our upcoming autumn/winter collection darker hues and simple black and whites are back in. Grandpa collars for men and satin prints and frill shirts for women will be evident.

Over 150 styles for both women and men will be available.

What is your personal style, when you are socialising or at events and not in the store?

Smart casual, chic and edgy. We do not only sell Nara shirts, we also love wearing them!

What is a MUST HAVE item for guys and girls this season from NaraCamicie?

Guys: definitely short sleeve grandpa collar shirt

Girls: 3/4 floral print shirt

For more information or to buy online, visit

Store address: Shop 1, 412 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW.

For media inquiries, please contact Pink Pony PR –

Wine Week +’ on Google+ to help Aussies

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Starting today, Google Australia is putting together ‘Wine week +’ on Google+ to help Aussies (and Kiwis!) who love talking about wine to find each other on Google+. Stewart Noble of Wine Without BS helping them put together a program of wine-related activities for the week of December 12 and he hopes you can join in the fun.

“If you’re a winery and you’d like help getting your own page on Google+, you can start here.

I will also be hosting live video ‘hang-outs’ on Google + every day this week. I’ll have topics of interest to all wine lovers throughout the week and ensure I get some special guests involved to make the whole week as fun and as diverse as possible.

All you need to do to join us is get a Google + account and add Wine without BS and Google’s, Courtney Holne to your circles.

More information to come folks so please check back for updates! If you have any topics or questions you’d like discussed during ‘Wine week +’ please let me know” said Noble.

Continue to check back on Stewart’s fantastic site:

Woolmark Treasure Hunt at Westfield Sydney Campaign Launch

Friday, July 8th, 2011

On Thursday afternoon, I was thrilled to be one of a select group of Sydney’s fashion bloggers, gathering at Westfield Sydney to celebrate the launch of the Find Fashion By Feelings Campaign. Myself and other fellow bloggers scoured across the shopping centre following clues Tweeted out from #woolmarktreasurehunt and gathered treasures along the way.

I get invited to many events… but boy this one was the best by far!  Running around Westfield Sydney with my partner in crime Sydney Fashion Blogger, Antoinette Marie, following clues posted on Twitter, to find hidden balls of wool in the centre was incredible, fast paced and fabulously exhausting fun! But well worth every second of it.

It’s creative events like this that make campaigns successful.  They fused the raw fibre and social media together seamlessly!

In this instance, treasures didn’t take on the form of pots of gold or buried diamonds, instead we all pieced together clues to find little knitted balls, some embellished with beads and cute little pom poms!

The Woolmark Blogger Treasure Hunt marked the launch of the Find Fashion By Feelings campaign which has been created to engage fashion lovers from around the world on an emotional level, the ‘Find Fashion By Feelings’ Campaign asks the fashion savvy to post, tag and promote their style and share their love of wool.

From the UK, USA, Europe, Australia & New Zealand, ‘Find Fashion By Feelings’ is an interactive campaign which asks fashionistas to show how their look makes them feel.

What a fantastic day I had – and I have to say now as I type this, I’m completely buggered! Who would have thought running up and down the marble floors of Westfield Sydney could be so tiring?! I’d hate to think what it was like for Sydney Fashion Blogger who was in high-heels!!

Check out the campaign on and read all about the competition in the post below.

WE LOVE WOOL! Find Fashion By Feelings

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Today, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) launched “Find Fashion by Feelings” and will run from July 7th to September 30th.

Fashionistas are invited to upload a picture of themselves wearing at least one piece of wool clothing which best describes any of the following ‘feelings’ :

Happy, Seductive, Cute, Beautiful, Nostalgic, Natural, Chic, Powerful, Loved, Dark, Active and Unique.

So what will the lucky entrant win?

The Grand Prize if the Winner lives in Australia includes: A $3,000 Westfield Shopping Gift Card, 6 nights in a 5 Star Sydney Hotel, domestic airfares (if needed), a visit to a Merino Farm (The visit will filmed and the video showcased online afterwards), a $6,000 Travel Voucher, 2 pairs of EMU Australia boots, a personal styling for the Winner and a dinner for two in Westfleld Sydney. How awesome is that!

There are also 12 weekly Prizes of a EMU Australia Prize Pack consisting of apparel and footwear, valued at $400 each.

A little background on Woolmark:

We all know the Woolmark brand is one of the most recognised textile symbols in the world. A product bearing the Woolmark logo indicates that it has been independently tested as a high quality woollen product with guaranteed fibre content.

The logo on a product provides consumers with an assurance of quality. AWI invests heavily in research, development and marketing along the global supply chain for Australian wool, from Woolgrowers, through to retailers.

Australia produces the finest Merino wool in the world. 100% natural, biodegradable & sustainable.



Noble Wine Of The Week – J.Lohr Estates 2009 Wildflower Valdiguié

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Reviewed by Stewart Noble from for

Ever since my first trip to the USA last year, where I drank nothing but American wines the entire time, I started to wonder why so few American wines are available in Australia. This isn’t about being unpatriotic, it’s about access to whatever wine I wish. I can go to virtually any large retail outlet and easily pick up a wine from New Zealand, France, Italy, Spain, Germany without having to look all that hard. However, if you want to get a wine made in the United States, and you take away the odd bottle of Oregon Pinot , you’ll have to look pretty carefully, unless you just happen to be lucky enough to live near one of the very few bottle shops that can boast some sort of USA wine selection.

I understand there are multiple reasons for this, not the least of which is the consideration from American wineries about whether Australia is a viable export market. California alone has a a population of just under 37 million, so why bother with a country on the other side of the world with just over 20 million?

Ian Lindsay, from USA Wines Direct, tells me that Australia exported over 25 million cases of Aussie wine to the US last year, yet we only imported  just over15, 000 cases of theirs! America may have a population 14 times larger than ours, but we are importing 1,666 times less wine than we are exporting. As Chris Rock would say, “That ain’t right!”

Thankfully, Ian is doing what he can to introduce American, and more specifically, Californian wines, into the Australia market and his portfolio currently boasts the biggest range of American wines in Australia. One of these wines is the J.Lohr 2009 Valdiguié, from Monterey on the Californian Coast, close to halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and just a few hours from the far more famous region of Napa Valley.

The Valdiguié grape was commonly referred to in California as ‘Napa Gamay’ and it was believed at one time that it actually was the Gamay grape, only to discover that this was not correct. Sounds a little like the recent fiasco in Australia with our Albariño turning out to be Savagnin!

This wine has a colour of deep purple and cherry red with an enticing aroma of ripe, red berry fruits. On my first sip of this completely new variety for me I thought “Wow… this is delicious!” Juicy fruit flavours and subtle natural sweetness make for an enjoyable wine that, when served slightly chilled, makes a fantastic, easy drinking summer red wine.

J.Lohr Estates 2009 Wildflower Valdiguié
Price –
$19.95 from
Region – Monterey, California, USA
Final Sip –
A thoroughly enjoyable wine that, at $20 makes for the perfect entry level American wine experience.

Venuti La Vita – Maria Venuti 70th Birthday Party & 50 Years In Entertainment

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Maria Venuti celebrated her BIG 70th birthday on the 13th of March in opulence and elegance – with a hint of cheekiness!

The 450 guests arrived at Doltone House, Pyrmont for Venuti La Vita with Variety, the Childrens Charity on an evening of perfect weather and stunning city backdrop. With a red theme for the party, the guests were greeted with the Maria Venuti signature Campari red cocktails with either blood orange or POM Wonderful Juice, Yellowglen Sparkling, De Bortolli wines and canapés to enjoy before the life of the party arrived.

But how on earth does a person with 50 years of entertainment experience and an exuberant personality arrive with a grand entrance? In a Carabinieri (Italian Police Car) of course! Sirens blazing, as the car came speeding down the wharf. The guests in amazement and hysterics as the larger then life Maria Venuti is escorted from the car by Dancing With The Stars dancer, Carmelo Pizzino.

Covered head to toe in red sequins, feathers and diamantes, Carmelo and his Dancing With The Stars friends liven up the mood while dancing and posing around Maria, as she waves to the guests, smiles for photos and sprawls herself over the Carabinieri.

“Welcome to my boudoir” Maria said to the guests, inviting them inside the  absolutely breathtaking red and black room, suitable for a King and Queen, complete with chandeliers, candelabras and a red baby grand piano on stage. With table settings fit for royal guests, chocolate gift boxes from Dolci D’oro and platters of Adriano Zumbo macaroons are waiting to be enjoyed.

To the back corner of the room, stylist and emcee for the night Glenn T created a phenomenal display of Maria’s dresses, right back from the start of her career – it was like stepping into the museum of a drag queen! Feathers, sequins and diamantes splashed around all over the place. Outrageous outfits and colour, colour, colour!

With some of Australia’s biggest names in entertainment, politics and business – the stars came out to play and celebrate a fabulous 50 years of entertainment and 70 years of life with Maria. Some of the guests included Alan Jones AO, Michael Caton, Barry Crocker, Vince Sorrenti, Trevor Ashley, John Foreman, Peter Everett and Susie Elelman just to name a few.

Glenn T, the emcee for the night conducted himself in nothing but a 10 out of 10 manner, with class, humour and nothing but love and admiration for Maria.

Maria started off the evening, in a fabulous gold number with “Let’s Get My Party Started” and the jazz classic, “Almost Like Being In Love”… To finish off with an emotional standing ovation.

To continue on with the night entertainment was the wonderful John Paul Young singing his world famous 1978 track “Love Is In The Air”. Getting the room intimate and in the mood, all of the guests young and old got into it – every person in the room had a smile from ear to ear.

Three chefs chosen from three of Maria’s favourite Italian restaurants, each course was specifically designed for the 450 guests. To start off the Italian culinary feast, the gorgeous entrée is served. Luca Ciano, executive chef of Casa Barilla whips up Orecchiette pasta with goat ragu, chestnuts and baked ricotta. Delicious! Both Michael Yabsley and Alan Jones were sitting beside me and raved on about how delicious it was!

Alan Jones AO made an outstanding and heartfelt contribution to the evening, speaking beautifully about Maria’s life, about the book she recently launched and about the wonderful mark she has embedded in the entertainment industry and how Maria is a true Australian icon. And that she most certainly is.

Lucio Galletto of Lucio’s prepares the main, fish with cuttlefish and silverbeet. As this is being served, Carmelo and Alana from Dancing With The Stars dance for everybody.

The entertainment just doesn’t stop. It’s now time for Barry Crocker to get up and do his thing. Sounding tremendous, he brought Maria up on stage to sing with him – both creating a very special moment for all.

Vince Sorrenti. I am laughing as I write this. This man is a master at making people laugh. He had the room in stitches and there were tears running down faces from being in hysterics. He is a very funny man, with alot to say and had every person in that room completely in the moment with him – including Maria laughing away at our table.

The sole purpose for Maria’s birthday is to raise money for the charity she has long been an ambassador for – Variety. Up came Variety Vice President Penny Docherty along with Glen Wheeler to do the auction and raffle which guests spent many dollars on buying tickets for and bidding. Thousands of dollars were raised, with several luxury packages including a trip to New Zealand and other goods such as a face lift from All Saints Cosmedical, Catherine Manuell designer luggage (won by John Foreman), 14 vouchers of Sydney’s best Italian restaurants, a Carla Zampatti dress, a John Serafino suit, Master/Slave shoes tickets to the Opera and Hairspray, products from Troy Thompson hairdressing, pearls from Nader Jewellers, a Rachel Gilbert dress, Fashion Identity company package, Chrissy L jewels, a couple of nights at The Cullen Hotel, Top3 by Design, Social Royalty, NathanPaul Swimwear (won by Vince Sorentti), V Club Gym membership a luxury Hunter Valley package plus much much more!

There is even an extra auction thrown in there by Glen – the chance to see Michael Caton from Packed to the Rafters sing to all 450 guests! Raising $700 for Variety, Michael sang “Volare”, an Italian love song. (Stay tuned for the footage!)

Dessert is served. Darren Simpson of La Scala on Jersey serves guests his divine pannacotta with whole figs stewed in Vin Santo. Perfect in taste and perfect in texture – I ate both my dessert, and Alan Jones’.

Everybody knows the event is coming to an end. But there is still a vital part missing. The cake.

Now this isn’t just any cake. This is a birthday cake so fabulous, so over the top, so Maria Venuti it’s not funny! Designed by Antony Bullimore from Planet Cake in Balmain, this magnificent 3 tier cake, each tier a different animal print, covered in diamantes, with stars and a diamante encrusted microphone protruding through the top of the cake! But wait, there has to be a candle right? Seventy candles to be exact! Maria blows out her candles and cuts the cake, with her astonishing daughter Bianca beside her, wearing an jaw-dropping Patrîcia Nascimento gown.

As cake is prepared for the guests (as if the dessert wasn’t enough!), there is yet another surprise in-store. Trevor Ashley who stars as Edna in musical ‘Hairspray‘ spent the remainder of the evening trying to upstage Maria, coming on in drag as Maria, with one of the most hilarious routines I’ve ever seen. This time, every single guest was laughing uncontrollably, with tears streaming down their faces.

It’s clear that Trevor Ashley has a close relationship with Maria as he was able to do mannerisms, voice pitches and other little Maria-isms perfectly. This was most certainly the highlight of the event, I’ve never laughed so much!

It has come to an end – a night that I had hoped would go on for much longer, but was over with in what seemed 30 minutes. A truly successful evening for both Maria and Variety. Glenn T gave Maria a gorgeous bunch of flowers from Merci Bouquet which were wrapped in leopard print. Maria said her thankyou’s and sang one final time with a medley of her favourite tunes, dedicating them to everyone that was there to share her special night.

The big band played a few songs to dance to, by this time people started to leave with their substantial gift bags in tow – containing pasta, pasta sauce and Grissinni from Barilla, Coast To Coast magazines, a bottle of Lindemans Pink Chardonnay, Cocolo Chocolates, Pukka Tea, vouchers for ParaMedical Skin Clinic, Master/Slave, Survivor Fitness and to top it off, a cute thankyou card from Maria with a cartoon of herself by Brett Willis Cartoons.

A magical night, a rollercoaster of emotions and a mutual love for a very special lady. I have no doubt Maria Venuti will never forget her night, as it was made for her and all about her.

Happy milestones Maria. Love Adrian xox

Think Outside The Square This Valentine’s Day (Or Week) – Lake Okareka Lodge

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Make Valentine’s Day a holiday to remember at one of the world’s most romantic destinations…

New Zealand’s Lake Okareka Lodge, recently named one of the top 10 honeymoon destinations in the world and also ranked amongst the top 10 places in the world to propose, is the perfect location for a Valentine interlude this February.

Located lakeside with private swimming beaches and intimate picnic spots, this exclusive three-suite luxury hideaway near the tip of a secluded peninsula is sure to have your Valentine’s heart fluttering.

Each and every guest at Lake Okareka Lodge – never more than nine – is treated like royalty with discreet 24 hour butler service, personal chef, spa treatments and stunning private suites with lake views.

Whether escaping to unwind in the peace and tranquility of the lodge and its private bush-clad setting; or to fish, kayak and Jet Ski on the lake; or to experience adrenaline rushing tandem skydiving and white water rafting in nearby Rotorua  – there is something for every loved up couple.

For those who like to relax and unwind in the famous hot springs of Rotorua can escape to Hinemoa’s thermal hot pool on Mokoia Island and discover the traditional Maori love story of the legendary Hinemoa & Tutanekai, who overcame all obstacles to find true love. Awwwww…

We all love a special, so I thought this one was definately worth a mention. Lake Okareka Lodge is offering couples its “Romancing at the Lodge” package starting from AUS$5,745 which includes:

  • 3 nights suite accommodation for two people;
  • Transfers between the Lodge and Rotorua International Airport;
  • Use of the Lodge’s recreational amenities including jet ski, kayaks and fishing rods;
  • French champagne on arrival;
  • Daily breakfasts;
  • Pre-dinner drinks with canapés;
  • Three romantic 5 course dinners;
  • A relaxing massage for two;
  • 24 hour butler service;
  • Your own personal chef.

For reservations, call Lake Okareka Lodge on +64 7 362 8026 or email

How to get there? Air New Zealand service direct to Rotorua from Sydney –

Have I made it obvious enough now… Who wants to take me away to NZ??

Brooke Fraser’s SUPERB New Video Clip For “Betty”

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
YouTube Preview Image

If you read my site often, you’d know I’m a big fan of Brooke Fraser. But the new video clip “Betty” has got me in love with her even more.

It’s perfectly styled, it’s perfectly set, perfectly filmed. Brooke is funny, sarcastic and acting the way we would if we were singing to our favourite songs in the car, thinking we were the star. She is fabulous, I can’t say much more.

Check out the review on her current album Flags HERE.

Noble Wine Of The Week – Mitchell Harris Sauvignon Blanc Fumé

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Reviewed by Stewart Noble from for

If I had planned ahead and realised that this week would be my last review for the year I may have chosen differently, however, I would certainly not wish to take away anything from this great wine, from Victorian producer, Mitchell Harris. Sauvingnon Blanc is still, to my knowledge, the largest selling white wine in Australia and the bulk of sales are of examples from New Zealand. It is a pleasure then to announce that this wine is right amongst the best Sauvignon Blancs I’ve experienced this year and beyond. Fumé, for those unfamiliar with the term, means this Sauvignon Blanc has spent some time in oak barrels, six months to be exact for this particular vintage.

This wine has a light colour and has aromas of tropical fruits and citrus. It has a lovely flavour and despite its oak treatment the regular wine drinker, myself included, won’t notice this in the flavour. It has hints of lime on the palate but citrus is far from dominant. Very drinkable with or without food.

Mitchell Harris – 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Fumé
Price – $22 from
Region – Pyrenees, VIC
Final Sip – An overall great white wine that is most definitely an example of a Sauvignon Blanc I’d take over the vast majority of the typical, non Fumé, styles. Patriotism aside, I’d buy this wine over other Australian Sauvignon Blancs as well as the hugely popular ones from across the Tasman.

Music Review: Brooke Fraser – Flags – “This is what making music from soul, heart and experience is all about”

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Review by Adrian Erdedi and images by Nirrimi Hakanson

Today my family and I will be laying my Grandfather to rest. A tough time for all of us and a time that not much can make better. But to me, a death is a time of rejoicing someone’s life; celebrating their achievements and the love they have brought to your lives.

A strange way to open a music review I know, but the one album I have been listening to non-stop for the past week is by one of my top 5 favorite artists of all time – Brooke Fraser. Brooke has just released her third highly anticipated album called Flags.

Flags makes me happy.

It’s an album of positivity, good feeling, rejoice and survival. I’m smiling. All the tracks on Flags are sung by Brooke, but don’t come from Brooke. She has written them, from the stories of others. From their experiences, their love, their loss.  They still come from her heart. Simply sensational.

New Zealand born Brooke is a gorgeous tall, dark haired girl. From a religious family, her music is deep and touching. In 2003 What To Do With Daylight was her first album – great songs that you can sing to over and over again, in a way that Brooke Fraser makes her own. Her second album came in 2005, Albertine. This one of the most inspiring creations I’ve ever heard in my life. Brooke tells the story of her travels to Rwanda, the people she meets, the people who touched her life and the sadness and trauma that these people go through everyday – one of these people being Albertine. If there is ever an album I highly recommend you listen to, it will be Albertine. You are guaranteed to be emotional.

Starting off the album is the wonderful cloud clearing and joyous track, Something In The Water, which has just been used to promote channel 7‘s Home & Away. You’ll start bopping away to the catchy melody; I guarantee you’ll have this track on repeat. “There’s something in the water that makes me love you like I do” is the main line in the chorus; I would assume it’s about her marriage to her husband between albums.

The next song on the album, which I absolutely love, is Betty. A song about an unapproachable, but cool girl, who hides her Canadian-shaped birthmark. Yes, a metaphor for all the other things she is afraid to show people – herself. Again, another song, which is lively, and oozes with Brooke Fraser’s style – a pop-alternative approach with big band style.

A Brooke Fraser album wouldn’t be a Brooke Fraser album unless there was a beautiful ballad, which she is so magical at. For Who Are We Fooling she is completely flawless. This is a powerful duet with the awesome Matt Hales from Aqualung. Absolutely heart stopping.

Ice On Her Lashes – a track about the cycle of grief. A cycle for the first time in my life have experienced.

“There’s that moment when you get a phone call and find out that something life-shattering has happened and you look around and wonder how other people are still going about their daily lives, sitting in traffic or buying milk, when yours has just been changed forever,” Brooke says.

“The song is about how most of us will at some point be somewhere in that cycle. Life goes on and the pain doesn’t go away, but it becomes livable.”

I understand exactly what she is singing – I’m glad what I feel is normal. It’s human.

From a deeply emotive track, to Coachella. Bright, uplifting and a song, which you feel the smile, happiness and glee sung straight from Brooke’s mouth. The feeling this song gives you is so pleasing. You feel like just being around your best mates, having a BBQ or lunch at the beach, just appreciating life and what you have. The song reminds me of Sandi Thom‘s song, I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker.

“Jack Jack Kerouac, Jack Jack Kerouac” Brooke sings in a real slap-stick folk style. But who is Jack Kerouac? Jack Kerouac is a French-Canadian novelist, poet and artist. The song is called… You guessed it! Jack Kerouac. If this song were a car, it would be an old daggy rusted blue early 80’s Cadillac convertible, with 4 best friends on a roadtrip through the desert in the US somewhere…

Sailboats and Crows & Locusts are two more stunning ballads, with strong emotionally resonant vocals and stunning instrumental. Just two more examples to prove that Brooke is a pure genius.

Crows & Locusts, a story of a farming family helplessly witnessing the decimation of their crops through various forms of pestilence, told through the eyes of the young daughter.

To finish off this album of survival, healing, loving and renewal, Flags kindly polishes the Brooke Fraser experience. A few moments to reflect and appreciate. Not just everything you have, but appreciate the phenomenal and consistently divine voice of a true musician. This is what making music from soul, heart and experience is all about.

I give this album a 9.5 out of 10. Amazing.

Brooke Fraser’s music has an ability to clear and cleanse. I’m not a spiritual or religious person, but the power of music is extraordinary.

If you have never heard her, please just have a quick listen to her –

I write this review in loving memory of my Grandfather.

Adrian Erdedi


Monday, October 25th, 2010


Super HOT New Zealand actor who has starred in the hit TV shows Paradise Beach, Beastmaster & Shortland Street and cast in big screen movies Lantana & opposite wrestling superstar John Cena in The Marine, currently playing buff bad boy Crixus – “The Champion of Capua” in TV’s sexy gladiator series Spartacus: Blood & SandMANU BENNETT!

FUN FACT: With a long history of training and working out Bennett showed off his buff bod on the cover of April’s Muscle and Fitness magazine, and leading up to filming Spartacus: Blood & Sand attended the grueling Gladiator Boot Camp – a month-long training protocol where actors and stuntmen spent close to four hours a day in the gym, five days a week, coming out more shredded than they’d ever been!

Noble Wine Of The Week – Eden Road Wines

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Anyone keeping track of my reviews over the past few months may notice that this week’s wine is the third to come from the Canberra District region. I can also tell you there are more on the way as the Canberra District wineries are cleaning up at wine competitions throughout Australia at the moment and even at the recent Tri-Nations competition where we competed against South Africa and New Zealand wines. While it is the red wines from the region getting most of the attention one white wine, recently voted amongst the best white wines in the region is the Eden Road Wines RHE. Inspired by the classic white wines from the Rhone Valley in France, this particular vintage of RHE is made from 100%, Single Vineyard, Viognier.

In the glass this wine is almost crystal clear with just a very faint hint of colour showing through. The aroma is rather light but shows hints of citrus and floral like notes. On the palate it has a strong citrus flavour and the first few sips create a tingling sensation on the end of your tongue that fades after half a glass or more. There is also a pleasant after taste of tropical fruit flavours that linger around and create a nice finish.

Eden Road Wines – 2009 ‘The Long Road’ RHE
Price – $21 from Also available at selected retailers where the price may vary.
Region – Canberra District
Final Sip – A pleasant drinking wine that will be even better with an appropriate food pairing. The winery suggests spicy Asian dishes and especially duck as a way to bring out its best.

Kristian Anderson Video With Hugh Jackman and PM John Keys. Amazing.

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

I loved this video. Get ready to cry.

Kristian Anderson, a man in his 30’s from Australia who suprised his wife with a beautiful birthday video. Kristian has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. Words literally could not express his gratitude, love and thanks for everything his wife has done for him at such a hard time in their lives.

His wife Rachel, a New Zealander is wished a happy birthday by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key and also Hugh Jackman.

I never thought such love existed till I saw this. Amazing.

FSP Collections Springbok Cushions – The Wild Addition To Your Home

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Earlier this week I wrote about FSP Collection bags for men and women (click HERE to see), made of beautiful and luxurious Springbok from South Africa. But FSP Collection have also got cushions made of the divine Springbok hide, distributed by Djaafar.

The leather used to manufacture this Collection is environmentally friendly. All hides are obtained through South African Government approved animal herd reduction programs.

The springbok skin cushions are a distinctive accessory for the home – exquisitely tactile, resilient and  unique. They would suit most styles of décor – eclectic, modern, African, Tribal, Asian inspired. It could even be stretched out to being a real point of difference in a federation or Rococo style (which a black one would look great in my place!). It’s suitability is quite limitless.

To see the full range, please click HERE or visit

Amazing Leather Women’s & Unisex Bags By FSP Collection

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

For those who believe life should be stylish and unique, I’ve found a range of women’s and unisex leather (Springbok) bags, which will set you apart from anyone else.

Originating from South Africa, the FSP Collection expresses both the vibrant colors inherent to African culture and the appreciation of natural environments.

I got an up-close and personal viewing of the collection, which showcases a variety of hides, used to create these stunning bags. FSP use hair-on hides, which retain a natural look of the skin. Springbok bags, also from FSP are made to be durable, but they are also one-of-a-kind. For those of you that don’t know what a Springbok is, it’s an Antelope.

In either the women’s handbag or the unisex satchel, there is a style or colour to suit you and your lifestyle. For me, it’s the tan and white hide bag. Natural, but absolutely striking!

I asked exclusive distributor Djaafar what the inspiration behind the FSP Collection was, “Inspired by the need to create striking yet functional handbags, the leather used to manufacture this Collection is not only environmentally friendly but ages beautifully with wear. The leather is tanned with the natural extracts from the bark of Wattle and Mimosa trees, using 100% natural translucent dyes to achieve its unique finish. The result is cheerful, lively colors with fruit as a central theme.”

All of the bags are available in a range of stunning colours. I urge you to consider one of these bags, you will have people stopping you in the street!

Immerse yourself in the pride and beauty of Africa.

For full range of colours, styles and more information visit the website for Australia and New Zealand:

Winter Is Here! So Is Your New (minimink) Throw!

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Winter is here! Much quicker then I thought.

So I’ve brought the heater out, I’ve brought the winter throws and blankets and also brought out the Winter foods.

When I took out the throw for my lounge, I thought it was time for a new one. I had looked all over for one, but just couldn’t find a nice black one that was plain and simple. So I looked online to find one and came across a company called (minimink). At first I thought it was just for babies and children, but it wasn’t. It also caters for adults. So I continued looking and really liked what I saw.

I ordered myself the Large Double Sided Fur Rug, which looked great in the photos. It arrived a couple of days later and I was really excited to open it up. I opened it up and unwrapped my new big and soft throw in Ebony. It is the most luxurious throw I have ever felt. Thick, soft and so warm. I LOVE it.

The throw is absolutely amazing and it’s huge! It’s big enough to wrap me up while I gorge on pizza and Underbelly. It measures 200cm x 150cm so it’ll fit the top of a queen size bed. It is so decadent, I found it was hard to find something that has double sided faux fur, as most on the market are thin and only soft on one side. Even if it is double-sided, they are still really thin and not as decadent.

I have it on my lounge, but I also carry it to bed with me to, when I’m watching a movie or on the computer working in bed. I’ve added the photos of it in my apartment.

Because I loved it so much, I have also purchased the cutest Russian Faux Fur hats for children, there are also adults hats too! I also noticed that Jennifer Lopez is a fan of the brand!

I contacted (minimink) afterwards to say thankyou for having such a great product! I really wanted to spread the word about it, so I thought it would be great to get a discounted price for all the readers of my site.

The wonderful guys at (minimink) are giving a 15% DISCOUNT on this rug by quoting the following when you make your purchase online: adrianlovesminimink

The entire range of products are available in Australia, New Zealand and Worldwide.

To purchase the Ebony rug pictured, please click the direct link HERE

Otherwise visit the great website:

Photos by Adrian Erdedi

Brett Graham At MCA Today For 17th Biennale

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Tuesday saw the launch of the 17th Biennale of Sydney, displaying works from contemporary artists globally. These artists are also speaking to the public at various sites around Sydney.

An artist that has caught my attention is Brett Graham from Tainui, New Zealand who has two sculptures on display at the MCA.

In 2007, terror raids in Ruatoki caused alot of pain and aguish, which has now led him to take a political, historical and cultural stance by creating sculptures of statement.

The Museum of Contemporary Art will display two of his largest sculptures, a carved Stealth Bomber called Te Hokioi made of MDF, fibreglass, steel, car lacquer and wheels. The other sculpture is Mihaia, a full scale Russian Scout car made of MDF, steel and rubber tyres. Both of these works have the traditional Maori symbols engraved on the steel.

Brett will be speaking to the public on Thursday 12th May at 12pm at the MCA about his influences, what he’s seen, his reasoning behind his work and how he constructed it. It will be an interesting story.

Where Would I Rather Be?

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Where would I rather be? I’d rather be at the Huka Lodge, New Zealand.

It’s one thing to escape Sydney for a weekend and head to the Southern Highlands for unwind and relax. But where do you go when you want to unwind and relax, for a longer period of time and in one of the world’s most beautiful countries only a short plane flight away? That would be Huka Lodge in Taupo, in the central North Island of New Zealand.

Never before have I seen such uninterrupted splendour and grace. A calm climate and relaxed environment sourrounded by snow-capped mountains, wild forrest and the crystal clear streams and lakes make this seem like you are in a fairy tale. It’s like looking at pictures of something in Canada, but it’s not Canada. It’s New Zealand.

The levels of accommodation available are second to none. They by far surpass anything my eyes have ever landed on. For instance, the highest level of accommodation Huka Lodge has to offer is “The Owner’s Cottage” which is classified to be one of the best in the World! It’s a four bedroom cottage, over looking the river, with it’s own infinity pool and furnishings that rest your mind, body and soul. I’ve attached the images below because it needs to be seen to be believed. The main image is of “The Owners Cottage”. Ahhhh-mazing!

Fishing, hunting, hiking, mountain biking, golf, jet-boating, para-sailing, sky diving, V8 Supercars – you name it, Huka Lodge and it’s surrounding towns have it to offer to you. Whether you want a jam packed trip or a relaxing one, you have the choice.

The options to dine are endless. You can privately dine in areas all over the Lodge, under chandeliers, in courtyards, by the pool or in hidden gardens, away from prying eyes. How about your own private chef? Now that sounds like my cup of tea!

Speaking of prying eyes, if you are a celebrity, you will definately be coming here to hide from the cameras – the same way hundreds of the worlds most famous and influential people have stayed. Just about every Queen, King, Prince, Princess and Dame has been here, including Queen Elizabeth II. Then the likes of Bill Gates, Joan Collins, Kate Winslet, Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, Robin Williams… The list goes on…

So where would I rather be right now? Huka Lodge, New Zealand.

Kate Sylvester – New Zealand Fashion

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Kate Sylvester is one of the newer additions to Paddington, displaying her men’s and women’s fashion in one of, if not the best looking store on oxford street!

You will notice it because of the huge curved glass wall out the front. When you walk in, it’s the brawn stone flooring and light timbers which lead you through to the back of the heavily sunlit store. At the back are the changerooms with an architecturally designed display cabinet with little nik naks to look at. The carpet is long and plush. It’s a very beautiful store, designed by her architect husband.

But more important, it’s the fashion! There is a small meswear rack at the front of the store, but there are some great natural toned garments to choose from. Two of my favourites are the Livingstone cardigan and David Vest pictured above. I also love the Bobby singlet and Stanley t-shirt pictured below.

Kate Sylvester is a well known New Zealander, who predominately makes womens clothes, but has ventured into the mens domain. She captures something very natural and comforting, but also cutting edge in stylish street wear.

Together Kate and her husband create a wonderful flagship store here in Sydney.

168 Oxford Street, Paddington –

Zaicek – Genius in Design & Quality

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Brent Zaicek, the brains behind the menswear label, Zaicek.

Brent is a larrikin. Always making jokes, having fun and being positive – this shows in his great work.

I just bought the Bosunbird waistcoat pictured above from Zaicek. When I picked it up, I was drawn to the intricate detail in the stitching, the stunning design on the back of the waistcoat and when I tried it on, it was the fit. It fit just perfectly with the adjustable strap at the back – it fits like a glove.

I can’t wait to see more of Brent’s creations, especially with the new season coming soon! An infectious designer, with an untainted flair for knowing what men can wear, pushing the boundaries of design and individualism.

Check out the collection and stockists at