Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's eve solution: Jungle Fever @ Tonic Lounge

Every year (end) the "the what am I going to do for new year's that isn't lame and overrated" conundrum never fails to annoy me.

The last couple of years I've been overseas so I haven't really had to think too hard, the sheer fact that I was in London (08/09) and in Beijing (09/10) was exciting enough.

But this year I am back in Sydney and the thought of struggling to get a good vantage point for fireworks and then the crazy lines and exorbitant entry fees to some wanky clubs isn't exactly my idea of a great way to greet 2011.

What I wanted for New Year's Eve, was to party with friends and like minded peeps, have yummy cocktails, dance the night away to some great music and possibly wear an Afro wig.

So the solution? Throw a party with mates, have some excellent tunes at the funky Tonic Lounge, and call it Jungle Fever. (Yes I loved the movie)

The Tonic Lounge is such a sexy little venue, one of Sydney's original small bars. I have had so many great nights in that terrace listening to some of Sydney's finest musos that it made sense that Jungle Fever should be there.

Great venue, check, delish cocktails double check.  

Next on the list was secure girl crushes and hot Sydney band ALPHAMAMA to play tunes- lucky for us they agreed and suddenly Jungle Fever is not only alive but so so exciting.

ALPHAMAMA- Sydney's funkiest band

So if you're still at a loss to what to do for NYE, come down to Tonic, Afro or no Afro, for Jungle Fever. Great tunes, cool cats, yummy cocktails and a strict no wanker policy- its going to be great night.

Jungle Fever Featuring ALPHAMAMA
62-64 Kellet St
Kings Cross
$50 at the door

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rochester Ginger- Ginger beer for grown ups

When the Chief and I headed to Master Chef Live a few weeks back all we did was eat.

What else were we going to do right? There was food everywhere and I certainly can put it away when it comes to free food.

We also spent a whole stack of cash on things to take home and try later- we both get very excited at food stands and buy stuff that we wouldn't usually do in real life (flavoured salt and kilos of beef jerky are recent examples)

But something I tried and loved and now I am obsessed with is Rochester Ginger.

By the time we got to the Rochester stand, we'd pretty much eaten ourselves sick and I wasn't really keen to taste any more- and a ginger drink that promises to be like "A kick from two angry mules" didn't really grab me at first.

Couldn't find a pic of two angry mules but did find this cute one instead

But as it was free, I couldn't resist and I was literally gobsmacked by it.

I was shocked its really spicy and kind of burns (in a good way) Rochester is made from a recipe dating back to 1870 and contains 14% raw ginger root, crushed with elderflower, cowslip and raisins. Yep its non alcoholic, although it tastes like it could be.

I've gone through two bottles in two weeks and I am on my way to purchase more. Its a shame that it isn't available widely, if you want to try some for yourself click here for a list of stockists- it very very yummy in a very grown up way.

Rochester Ginger
Around $23 Retail
Available in selected delis and health food stores 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heartbreaker: A delicious french comedy

I love all things French- although in summer time I do think Paris can smell a lot like pee but other than that I adore it all.

I actually prefer French films over Hollywood ones, the humour, drama and romance is always amped up to the max, but some how never too crass or camp impressively.

And director Pascal Chaumeil's film Heartbreaker or L'arnacoeur certainly delivers on the romance, comedy and gorgeous French eye candy.

Heartbreaker, stars Mrs Johnny Depp, Vanessa Duris as Julliette, an independent and soon the be married wealthy heiress. Duris, as Alex, a smarmy ladies man and professional relationship wrecker sent to break up Julliette's engagement.

The film is like a delicious French meal, indulgent, beautifully presented and in some parts a little too sweet.

From Morocco to Monaco the scenery is as beautiful as the two leads. Besides all the visual stimulation there are some great comedic moments punctuated by 80's classics WHAM! and Dirty Dancing.

The supporting cast in brilliant as well and will have you smirking and giggling at some of the brilliant and cheeky moments and by the end of it you will be able to recite Alex's break up monologue word for word in French and English.
Brilliant fun and possibly useful if you need to dump someone soon.

See Heartbreaker from December 26 at:
Cremorne Orpheum
Palace Verona
Palace Norton
Hoyts Cinema Paris

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Sydney Kings: A reintroduction to a good time (and basketball)

When I was little, my parents decided that out of all the sports I could play as an uncoordinated, short, clumsy and short sighted seven year old, basketball would be the one for me.

I was terrible, I couldn't catch the ball, I couldn't dribble, I certainly couldn't shoot a basket and I was really really scared. (Um the ball is hard and it hurts when it hits you in the face by the way)

But what I did love about basket ball was the Sydney Kings, actually let me get specific, what I loved about the Sydney Kings was Steve Carfino.

The Sydney Kings (with Steve) came to my basket ball club once and I proceeded to snot cry uncontrollably at him.

Steve Carfino around 1989- what a dream boat!

Chubby little me, with piggy tails and all couldn't believe my luck when dreamy Steve picked me up and paid some attention to me. Thus, making that day the highlight of my seven years on earth.(I also met the cast of Home and Away at Australia's wonderland too- huge year for seven year old Amy)

I had forgotten that memory until recently when the Chief and were lucky enough to be invited to a Sydney Kings game and better still got to rectify my snot cry meeting with Steve "dream boat" Carfino.

It had been many years since I'd played or even watched basketball- possibly the last basketball related thing I had got excited about was Space Jam- but heading into the Entertainment Centre or the King Dome to the sound of an excited stadium (and Rodney O's familiar baritones) my heart started thumping.

Obviously, scoring VIP tickets to the floor seats, or rather the Jack Nicholson seats, where you're actually on the court so close to the game the players sweat on you was an amazing bonus.

The only slight downside was I was sat next to Miss Universe Australia and the X Factor kids, watching mammoth athletes do their thing, so I did spend the majority of the game feeling slightly inadequate. (and wishing that I had put on some mascara )

The rest of the game however, was spent cheering and hollering for The Kings, watching the King's Lion mascot charm the crowd, hearing Rodney O hype the stadium and spying on boys who were sneakily doing a David Beckham and ogling the Kings Cheer leaders.

And I did get my second chance to impress Steve or rather not cry on him at least. And yep, he is still dreamy, the Chief chided afterwards that I was all red and flustered talking to him guaffing like a seven year old- oh well.

It was a great night and a huge sensory overload, it was so good to see the Kings back and at home in Sydney. Although the boys aren't at the pointy end of the table just yet, we are still the only NBL team that have won three consecutive NBL championships and it won't be long until we're back on top.

So get behind our team and check out a home game (you never know you might even get to rub shoulders with the Sydney who's who or at least the Sydney Lion)

The Sydney Kings

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Edible cocktails at the Zeta Bar: The cure for a bad day

I know its been a bad day for Ms Mash when she starts a phone call like this:

"Babe! f*#k f*#k f*#kity f*#k!"


"I need a drink and possibly some food."

(unfortunately for Ms Mash she came through to my reception first so the call for me actually went like this:)


"Um Ames, your cousin Jane is on the phone."


"Oh dear. Put her through."

Ms Mash:

"Oh my f*#king god! I just swore at your f*#king receptionist and then told her I was your bleeding cousin, do you even have cousins? Shit!- I hope I don't get you fired babe. F*#K!" 

So yes it was a bad day for Ms Mash and I knew just the remedy:

Booze: Check

Food:  Check

Edible Booze: Check Check Check

Where: Zeta Bar
Trio of Edible Classics $15
L-R Deconstructed Mojito, Long Island Ice Tea Wine Gum, Pina Colada sorbet
(image from The Australian)
The Zeta Bar is renowned for its extensive and awarded cocktail menu. I myself have been a big fan of Zeta for a long time and my love affair continues now that I've discovered the Trio of Edible Classics.

What a great drink/ snack/adult lolly selection/bad mood remedy it is, the trio consists of:

1. Deconstructed Mojito
(image from Ms Mash's phone)

2. Long Island Ice Tea Wine Gum
Looks like a sour coke bottle tastes like a strong long Island Ice tea- Yum! This one is my favourite.

3.Pina Colada Sorbet
Ms Mash's favourite, this creamy coco-nutty sorbet is delicious.

The only little teeny tiny problem with the trio is that you forget that you are consuming alcohol and after a few rounds there could be a little confusion on why you're feeling so tipsy. (Don't judge me)
If edible cocktails aren't your thing the Zeta has an extensive and impressive menu for you to choose from, check out a sample here

What I can guarantee is this, if you're having a bad day like Ms Mash was, the edible cocktails can certainly illicit some sort of reaction to jolt you right out of your mood:- "Oooh is it ice cream or is it proper naughty- get me another round?" as an example.

Zeta Bar (at the Hilton)

Level 4, 488 George Street

Sydney, NSW 2000

Telephone: (02) 9265 6070

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DIANE von FURSTENBERG Boutique opens in Sydney

To be honest, the first time that I heard about the label Diane Von Furstenberg or DVF, was while watching The City.

In fashion terms I had been living under a rock, DVF, I have since learned, is an absolute fashion icon and its creator Diane: a living legend.(and an ex princess)

Lucky for me, my DVF education can kick up a notch now that Sydney has its very first DVF flagship store in the new Sydney Westfield.

Ms Mash and I were fortunate to get a sneak peak into the new store and what can I say! I am now a complete DVF convert.

I felt instantly grown up and glamorous entering DVF's new Sydney home- the cupcakes and champagne helped too of course and so did the lovely tips from the gorgeous stylist who was on hand to lead us in the right direction.

We were told that what makes DVF so perfect for Sydney is that the garments are "Trans Seasonal" which means that can be worn and adapted to suit all of seasons.

"Put some leggings on dahhhling and it is ready for winter," the ever so chic DVF stylist says as I stuff my face with a cupcake.

Style bible from Wrap Queen DVF 

We are also shown some of DVF's most famed pieces: The iconic wrap dress and scarves with bold prints, very fancy.

Keep an eye out for label DVF vintage too, these are some of DVF's classic prints from previous collections in new pieces.

Definitely take some time to visit the new DVF store, the clothes are just lovely and  the girls are so nice in there too- they might even give you a cupcake!

DVF Sydney

Friday, November 26, 2010

The girl you should be listening to right now: Nicki Minaj

Wow this girl has had an amazing 2010 no? Gaga better watch her back because Nicki Minaj is kind of owning it right now.

I of course don't profess to be a music blogger, I like hair and food mostly. But I do also like outstanding individuals who have their tongue firmly placed in their cheek and Nicki is certainly right up there.

What else makes me dig Nicki you ask?

Five reasons mainly:

1. Her amazing verse on Kanye's Monster.

She completely leaves Kanye, Bon Iver and Jay Z in her dust. Wowzers:

Skip to 3.16 and listen here (there are swear words people, so if your sensitive don't listen)

2. The girl rocks a wig like nobody else


3. She has an alter ego called Roman Zolanski (and that's just funny)

and I want to be at a dinner party with Sascha Fierce, Slim Shady, Jo Calderon and Roman Zolanski.

4. She doesn't rely on her sex appeal to get attention

She told interview magazine this year:

"I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want people—especially young girls—to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You’ve got to have something else to go with that.” 

5. Her debut album Pink Friday is just so good
Since snapping up my copy its been on repeat and its caused me to sing/bop/tap along in public. 

It looks like everyone wanted to be on it too with guest appearances from Eminem, Drake, WILL.I.AM, Kanye West and Rhianna.

Get your copy folks, we'll be definitely hearing more from Nicki in 2011.

*images from google images

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dine out and help out the homeless with SteetSmart

StreetSmart's Dine out...Help out is on again until December 24.

This is such a great cause and so easy for you to paticipate in: Just eat at a paticpating resturant and leave a donation and 100% of your donation goes to work and straight to charity. Fantastic!

Did you know that tonight there will be 100,000 homeless Aussies on the street? That is far too many in my opinion, so dig deep and leave a big donation.

To find a paticipating resturant, click here

I'll be tucking in at my favourite Newtown spot Oscillate Wildly and leaving my donation- you should totally too.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

15 seconds of fame: your name in lights at the Sydney Festival 2011

Who hasn't dreamt of seeing their name in lights? I know I had many a teenage dream of popstardom/soapstardom/wagdom. (plus and minus the fake tan and hair extensions)

The Sydney Festival 2011, the Kaldor Public Art Project and conceptual artist John Baldessari will be beaming 100,000 names in lights for 15 seconds each during the festival on the exterior wall of the Australian Museum.

Better still, your name could be one of them! Register here for your chance at 15 seconds of fame.

And check out the full festival line up here, get your tix folks it is going to be a cracker!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Loved Ones Australian Premiere

The Chief and I were lucky enough to score an invite to the Australian premiere of The Loved Ones.
(The scariest/funniest/tripiest movie I have seen in a long time.)

I have a strange relationship with horror movies, technically I hate them. I'm the girl in the cinema clinging on to your arm in the really scary bits. (that's if I'm looking at the screen)
I'm actually usually hidden under my jacket or looking at the ground, rocking back and forth with my fingers in my ears humming to myself to be honest.

But I do love a good party and I really love Aussie films (the cringier and campier the better) so I was really excited when I read that the The Loved Ones promised to be like "Pretty in pink meets Wolf Creek," how could I resist!

Play the trailer! Its spooky and scarily good!

Before the film started, director Sean Byrne introduced the cast and lead actress Robin Mcleacy even wore a "Prom" dress for the occasion. We were all warned to get to know the person next to us quickly because we'd soon be clinging on to them- I was scared before the opening credits started to roll. 

I then spent the next two hours with my nails dug into the Chief's arm and my jaw agape. It was the most gruesome, blood curdling film I have seen in a long long long time EVER! With a thumping soundtrack a sexy young Aussie cast and some slick sick scenes, the whole audience were obviously engrossed. We jumped, moaned and screamed in unison.

Director Sean Byrne and cast Robyn Mcleavy, Richard Wilson and Victoria Thaine

I won't be able to think about school dances and unrequited teenage love the same way again. I don't think I will be able to look at tiara, use a nail gun or listen to Kasey Chambers' 'Not pretty enough." again either.

The Cargo Bar was the venue for the after party and as we entered we were greeted by zombie like "victims". Lucky for me the drink for the  night was my new favourite Green Fairy Absinth which did a great job of quelling my shot nerves

If you're into edgy and smart films with a big dose of horror and black comedy, you won't want to miss this one. The Loved Ones opens nationally in select cinemas November 4.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

JLo's twins debut for Gucci

If the rumours are true Beyonce and Jay Z are having baby, which means the the Pinkett-Smith's and the Joelie-Pitt's are about to have some stiff competition for most talented/beautiful/fortunate celebrity family.

However, another family that could give them a good run for the title is Jennifer Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony and  their little twins Emme and Max. 

Gucci seem to think so too and have snapped JLo and her twins for their new children's campaign.

Cute kids no? Apparently litte Emme does her own styling, when I was 2 I didn't know the front from the back or if my shirt was my pants. I also didn't own anything from Gucci until I was 22, so these little cuties are way ahead of me already.

*pics from

Monday, October 18, 2010

Going in for the chop: Rocking the pixie crop

I didn't grow my hair long until I was 17. I rocked the classic "china doll" for all of my childhood and teenage years. (Except for  when I was 12, I wilded out and tried the "bowl"- it was very Martika)

Since 17, I've maintained that if my hair doesn't touch my boobs it's too short. I call this phase my Samson stage. I've carried the phobia of loosing my locks (power) around for years and its turned me into a nervous wreck/spoilt brat when it comes to hair salons. Lucky for me now (and lucky for unsuspecting stylists) my friends now do my hair. This way I can be as ridiculous as I want with my hair demands and they can put me in my place when I am too much of a diva. 

Michelle and Anne both look beautiful with shorter dos

But this year I've noticed that short hair, especially the pixie crop, popping up all over the place. Some of my most favourite ladies have gone for the chop and I am loving it. The cut is just so flattering and feminine, something that my inner Samson finds completely conflicting. And just look at Miss Kelly Rowland, she ditches the extensions and her wow factor skyrockets! Just look at her, what a fox.

Emma and Kelly go from "pretty" to AMAZING!

And now, my beautiful friend Katja, who also happens to be my hairdresser/Finish best mate/all round super hottie has chopped her hair and WOWZERS!! Just look at her!! (YEP she really looks like this people, and no she isn't a Scandinavian pop star)

       Katja before                   Katja after

My jaw smashed on to the floor when I walked in and saw Katja with this new crop. When she cut it, her hair was half way down her back and golden blonde. And now cropped right at her a ear and platinum. Totally Roxette and completely stunning!

I am now considering going for the big chop and Katja has given me these great tips about loosing the do:

Katja's big chop tips:

1. Look at lots of photos and decide what style you like

2.Print lots of photos and take them to your stylist- they will be able to talk to you about what suits your face and hair type

3.If your hair is long and you are uncertain (like me) about cutting your hair- wear it short for week. Fake it with pins and hair ties to see if you like it.

4. So your hair won't frizz too much, get your hair treated with a deep conditioning treatment before cutting it.

5. If your hair is thick/curly/wavy, get it chemically straightened. This way your do won't "poof" out like a mushroom and will be easier to style in the morning.

6. Once it's cut short, don't wash it every day. Second day hair usually has more texture. Texture is great for the Pixie

7. If you hate doing your hair and don't really like to style it, Pixie dos aren't great as they require lots of maitinence. Cut it gradually and into a bob first.

8. If you don't have one, buy a straightener before you go for the chop. It will become your biggest styling friend and take all of two minutes to use in the morning.

If you live in Sydney, you can get Katja to sort your hair here (yep boys and girls)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chocolate crimes

When I was 6 I stole a Freddo Frog from Franklins. I was shopping with my Mum and remember asking her if she would buy it for me.

I don't remember why she said no, but she did and I remember the distinct feeling of absolute devastation. I also remember my heart thumping right out of my chest as I left the shop with the Freddo stuffed up my shirt.

By the time I got home, the stowaway Freddo had melted and was  squishy and smooshy in its packet. I couldn't bring myself to eat it- mostly out of fear of getting into trouble. I threw my stolen, melted Freddo in the bin and I never went back to that Franklins with my Mum either. I was convinced if I did they would know that I was a Freddo thief.

I never stole anything again, my Mum used to say thieves go blind and lose their hands and I never wanted that.

I was never punished for stealing that Freddo and although I am confessing now, I have gotten a way with it.

In Iran right now, a 21 year old man has been sentenced to a year in prison for stealing chocolate and cocoa from a Tehran patisserie.

Sharia law in Iran enforce amputation as punishment for repeated thefts. As well as 12 months in prison, the young Iranian man's hand will also be chopped off. I guess my Mum's saying is true in Iran. I count myself pretty lucky that I live in Australia.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The High Tea Party

Ladies who lunch fascinate me. Is their existence a full time commitment to shopping, facials, mani/pedis and gossip? And what and who do they gossip about?

Miss P and I got to find out first hand when we attended The High Tea party for an afternoon of finger food and facials.

We arrived at The Westin hotel to see it transformed into an estrogen love in. Miss P remarked when we registered, "I have never seen so many women in one spot, what a sensory overload."

A sensory overload indeed, it was a "hello dahhhling, love your shoes, love your hair, is that your real tan?" mega fest.

The High Tea party's website describe the event as "a gorgeous excuse to catch up with the girls." What it was, was an maze of hair, make up, fashion, alcohol, shoes, facinators and high tea. (and what woman doesn't like sugar and cute little cakes and sandwiches)

It was great to see Mums, Nanas and Daughters all there together on the day getting their hair and nails did and actually all pretty much talking about boys. "As you get older love, the conversations just get dirtier," one lovely Nana said to us. 

The highlight of the day for me wasn't the unlimited girly things to do, although I'm a sucker for a french manicure, it was hearing from Tracy Bevan, best friend of Jane McGrath and co-founder of the McGrath Foundation.

Tracy had us all spell bound with tales of her beautiful friendship with Jane. She told us about the promises that Jane made her keep during her battle with breast cancer too and the entire room was simultaneously sad but also inspired by friendship and determination.

Jane was only 31 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and Tracy urged us all to diligent when it came to looking after our health. She also told us about the amazing work that the McGrath Foundation do and the commitment to providing breast care nurses to more women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

A day of girly indulgence with an underlining message about the importance of health and friendship was a great way to spend time with ladies who lunch.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Guylian Belgian chocolate cafe and "200 Pounds Beauty"

I am obesessed with ageing. Even when I was 19 I was using anti wrinkle creams( Yes I know its ridiculous)

When Ms Mash was producing something for a cosmetics company that focussed on botox and other scary sounding injectables I was extrememly excited. She stills pokes fun at my "ooooh botox" comments.

Today we headed to the Korean Film Festival to see the film "200 Pounds Beauty," Ms Mash quips: "If I have to hear about you wanting to get lipo after this Ames, we might have to reconsider our friendship."

The literal translation of the film's title from Korean to English is being beautiful is agonising. The movie is such a cute little romantic comedy about a part time phone sex operator and part time singer who under gos a complete body re haul in hopes to launch her career and to get the boy she loves to notice her.

Strangely though, we learn that plastic surgery is apparently really popular with young women in Korea. I find its acceptance confronting. Cheery pop songs blare as  the lead character Hannah is bound tight on a surgery table after she's been poked, proded and chopped at- it was a little disconcerting in some parts.

At least "200 Pounds Of Beauty" was a light hearted and well meaning comedy, it was like the Korean Shallow Hal, with pop songs.

Determined to become our own versions of 200 pound beauties we headed straight to the Guylian Belgian Chocolate cafe for some post movie comfort eating.

Who goes to a chocolate cafe to order just lunch anyway? To be honest, the Quiche Lorraine that I ordered and the smoked turkey bouquet moines(fancy name for an average baguette) that Ms Mash got, was so so. Nothing great but nothing bad, just kind of average. Which is a little disappointing considering they were both around $14 each. 

After discussing the pros and cons of boob jobs, botox, bum lifts and finally liposuction our plates of Tiramisu and "G Forrest" arrived. (Both $15.25) With that, our lunch was redeemed with what Guylian does best, desserts and chocolate.

Ms Mash and I decide that we like Korean films, if we come back to the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe that we should only order chocolate and I promise Ms Mash that I won't get anything injected into my face or sucked out of my body until I'm atleast 40.

Deny Opera Quays
Until Oct 5

Shop 10, Opera Quays
3 Macquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
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