Friday, January 30, 2015

A Week of Sweet Words & Pretty Pictures

This is the first of what will be a normal Friday post.  My week in mostly pictures...with a bit of text thrown in for good measure.  So here goes...
The weekend saw me going all the way to Phillip Island to the town of Cowes to do a story on a paint shop for the magazine.  It was colourful!
My daughter got her first fairy costume.  It was cuteness overload.
I got windblown on the beach on Australia Day while shooting an outfit post.  It was cold.
Tuesday saw me driving down to Fish Creek to do an interview on an artist.  This is his studio.  It was unique.
This is some of his art work.  It was fabulous.
I thought this piece was pretty groovy.  Groovy.  Do people even use that word any more??  Anywho....this is a photo of his very friendly dog named Jack.  He was gorgeous.
Jack was his PR manager.  I was greeted with a very friendly tail wagging.
That night I had a 'date' with my husband and had complimentary tickets to see 'Strictly Ballroom the Musical'.  I was so excited I wasn't sure it was good for me.  It was brilliant.
(These photos were from the media call...I wasn't snapping away on the night of the performance!)
My eldest started back at school for a new school year, and my other two boys had their kindergarten orientation days this week, which my little girl enjoyed too.  It was fun.
I managed to fit in an outfit shoot... (it was awkward!)
....and fell even more in love with my new boots. (They are divine)  How did your week pan out?



 
 
 
 



 








Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Weekly Favourites

I am attempting to get myself into some sort of blogging routine this year, with Sunday becoming 'My Weekly Favourites' day.  This could be anything from favourite things, favourite blogs, favourite posts or new finds.  The rest of the week will hopefully pan out with some sort of order going on, with Monday, Thursday and Saturday being dedicated to fashion posts, Tuesday becoming 'Tips Tuesday', Wednesday will have my 'Weekly Vlog' from the previous week and Friday will be a round up of 'A Week of Sweet Words Pretty Pictures', meaning that there will be lots of pretty pictures from my week with minimal words...because hey, by the end of the week I'll be exhausted!
 
Of course I can't guarantee that I will be able to stick to this cracking pace but I will give it a red hot go!
 
So without further ado here are my favourites for this week....
Ok, so these little beauties really don't need much of an introduction.....
.....oh alright...you've twisted my arm.
These are boots I picked up on Friday after finding out that my favourite Western apparel store is closing down in a week.  I had eyed these off previously but wasn't sure about the whole 'turned down' look.  But apparently they are all the rage in America, and my suspicions have only been confirmed by watching my newsfeed on Facebook where 'Cowgirl Magazine' keeps popping up photos of these types of boots.  They are so comfortable, plus they are going to be great in summer, and having tried them on with shorts I discovered they look pretty good with bare legs.  So...hello boots and skirts or shorts!  As an added bonus they were also 30% off!  They are by a brand called Twisted Boots.
This bag was also on sale.  Whoops!  Something else I also had my eye on.  It's by Thomas Cook.  Drool.
This is a photo of my computer screen but it is also a photo of Stephanie Eva's blog, which I highly enjoy.  This week Stephanie had a special beauty week going where each day she covered different aspects of her makeup collection.  You could participate in her week by posting photos each day on Instagram of your own collections that corresponded with her days collection, for example, Monday was all about eyes so you put up a photo of your favourite eye makeup. (#stephanieblogsbeautyweek)  My favourite vlog that she posted was the one showcasing her Everyday Makeup Routine.  As well as being informative it was also incredibly funny and highly enjoyable.  Go and check it out!
Why are you seeing a photo of an email on my iPad you might ask?  Last week I got an invitation to attend the media call of Strictly Ballroom The Musical, (you can see my post about it here) and on Friday I received this email to tell me that I have won two tickets to see the ACTUAL SHOW!!!  I don't have to wait long either as I will be going on Tuesday next week....which is in like two days!!!  I'm a little bit excited.  As you can probably tell.
For my final favourite.....  This is a photo of my 18 month old daughter, and although she is one of my favourites, this is not what my favourite of the week is about.  Nor is it the fact that I have to clean chocolate cake off her face, her hands, the floor, the table and out of her hair....no...it's the fact that she is now out of her high chair!!!  This is big.  Really big.  Doesn't sound exciting but high chairs are horrible to clean and it's just one extra thing to stub my toes on while I'm rushing around the kitchen.  This could almost be up there with my most favourite favourite thing of the week! (ok maybe not...I think it just might be the tickets...although the boots are up there...and that bag.....)
 
How did your week round up?




 
 





Friday, January 16, 2015

Strictly Ballroom The Musical

Yesterday I was extremely lucky to be invited along as a blogger to the media call for the latest musical to hit Melbourne, Strictly Ballroom The Musical.  I had to keep pinching myself that I was actually there.  Let's just say I was blown away.  This is the gorgeous 'Her Majesty's Theatre'.
This photo here is of Baz Luhrmann giving the cast directions.  Baz Luhrmann!  I was in the same theatre as Baz Luhrmann, highly acclaimed director of the movies 'Strictly Ballroom' (1992), 'Romeo & Juliet' (1996), 'Moulin Rouge' (2001), 'Australia' (2008) and 'The Great Gatsby' (2013).  I was a wee bit star struck!
It was also lovely to meet his wife, Catherine Martin, who has worked with Baz as a designer on all his productions.  She was also the set and costume designer for this production.
It was fascinating listening to Baz speaking in between the three musical numbers that the cast performed, which they did twice over each, to give the media a chance to get the best photos and film footage.
The first number they performed was 'The Samba'.
The costumes are incredible.  The dancing is amazing.  The singing is sublime.  The cast is brilliant.

The second number they did was 'Time After Time', performed by lead characters 'Scott' and 'Fran', played by Thomas Lacey and Phoebe Panaretos, along with other members of the cast.  They have such a lovely connection and wonderful voices. 
The whole cast lined up for, what Baz Luhrmann called, a 'family photo'.  Having been in amateur stage productions myself I understood what he meant.  When you work so closely with a group of people for such a long time they do become just like 'family'.

The final number they performed for us was called 'A Life Lived in Fear'.  This was my absolute favourite.  I stirring number of flamenco dancing, it truly awakened the soul.  Fernando Mira who plays 'Rico' was outstanding. 
For those who have not seen the film the story focuses on Scott Hastings, a ballroom dancer from a small town with a big future who has his heart set on winning the Pan-Pacific Gran Prix Ballroom Championships, except he wants to dance steps that are not 'strictly ballroom'.  Through a series of mishaps he eventually finds himself partnered with Fran, a beginner who only wants to be given a chance, whose own story is one of 'the ugly duckling turning into a swan'.  When she teaches him steps of the pasodoble (a Spanish dance), he is intrigued, and her family show him the way to 'listen to the rhythm' and truly dance the steps from the heart.  Romance blossoms, although typically the road is rocky.  With Scott's parents having skeletons in their own 'ballroom closet' and the president of the Australian Dancing Federation, Barry Fife, aiming to rig the the competition so Scott does not win, there is plenty in the couple's way to success.  In the end the competition is stalled as the music is switched off, but from what starts as a single person clapping, the crowd joins in to encourage Scott and Fran to 'dance from the heart' and dance their own way.
As a writer and photographer for a Gippsland magazine it was also exciting to see the 'real' journalists at work!
Afterwards a small group of lucky bloggers (me included!!), got to go backstage and have a squiz!  The stage of Her Majesty's Theatre is a lot smaller than you would think.  So is the area backstage, which makes you wonder how the cast, with all their costume changes and elaborate wigs manage to fit.  In the photo above a stage hand was explaining the revolving stage floor and telling us that the many sparkly curtains hanging around us cost $1000 a metre for the fabric.  There was A LOT of sparkly fabric.
This is the wall directly behind the stage where many past actors from shows long gone have signed their names!
There were lots of wigs!
And amazing costumes....
I even got to meet Thomas Lacey and Phoebe Panaretos, who are brilliant as 'Scott' and 'Fran'.  Which made me realise just how stupidly short I really am!
I managed to get a bit of video footage which I have put together for you and included below.

 









 
A big thank you to Nuffnang, who organised for the bloggers to be here at this event, as well as Amanda Borrett, the Marketing Manager from Global Creatures, who looked after us on the day.  I could not recommend this production enough.  From what I have seen it is amazing and I hope that I get to see the whole performance at some stage.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Postcards From Australia

For something a little different, and perhaps a little odd...I thought that today I would connect with you in a whole new way.  Postcards.

I was thinking about the state of my letterbox.  Particularly today when I went out there to check the mail and all I got was a pile of bills and my tax return...which is asking me to pay yet more money.  What a sad state of affairs.  Those long narrow envelopes with the dreaded window pane harking the arrival of yet another bill has led me to wonder.  Where are all the letters?  I mean it is called a 'letterbox' isn't it?

So...this has brought me to this idea that perhaps, particularly in this digital and cyber world that we live in, that just maybe other people out there have lonely letter-thirsty letterboxes too.  Do you only receive bills and junk mail?  Do you only receive the odd card one a year on your birthday?  Is the only time the mailman brings something exciting to your door is the time when you've splashed out on something you probably didn't need and he then goes and leaves the parcel out on your doorstep in the rain....or squishes it and ruins it by plugging up your mailbox with it?  Yes!?!

Ok, here's my plan. 

For all of you who would like something happy and friendly in their mailbox I would like to send you a postcard.  All the way from Australia.  Just to say 'hi'.  And cheer up your letterbox.

To participate just shoot me a quick email at amber.freelance@gmail.com with the word 'Postcards' as the subject and let me know your address, then I will pop a special hello in the post from the land Down Under over to you. 

I look forward to cheering up your letterbox!

* To maintain your privacy all addresses will remain private and will not be shared via this blog or any social media sites nor printed elsewhere, nor will they be sold or anything else silly like that.  This is just for fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Deniliquin Rodeo 2015

On Saturday I went to the Deniliquin Rodeo, which is the main town about half an hour away from where the farm is 'up north'.  My husband had shearing on for the week up there so we all went up for a holiday of sorts.  Not so much of a holiday for him as he had to shear but it was a bit of a break for me.  We went as a family to the rodeo, me and my husband and our four kids, as well as my brother in-law with his wife and their three boys, and also the other brother in-law and his son.  One of my sister in-laws was there too.  We were quite the mob.  In fact we were such a herd of people that a photographer from the local newspaper took our photo.  There were 6 adults and 8 kids and all of us with the same surname.  It was quite bizarre.

It was an incredibly hot day, 42 degrees (107F), so I bought the kids ice creams...
They made a big mess...especially my 3 year old.
My 5 year old had a go on the mechanical bull ride....
...and he actually did very well.  He even rode with one arm up like a pro!
 There were bucking broncos...
...and crazy cowboys riding bulls.
There was also steer wrestling, roping and barrel racing, where you see some awesome women racing around barrels on horses.  They sure are some gusty and gritty cowgirls!
We also had a great time together as a family.  This is my husband and my little girl.
They were enjoying each others company and the rodeo!  Love these photos.  Heart xxxx
 
And then later in the evening there was the steer ride.  The steer ride was an amateur event where a few different pubs in the area had random guys representing them and riding in the steer competition.  My husband and his brothers were a part of this.  I have put together a little video for your viewing pleasure, although pardon my mistake in labelling it 'Deniliquin Rodeo 2014'...it was actually 2015...I just haven't got my head around the change of year!
 
I hope you enjoy it as much as they enjoyed riding a steer and talking about it later! (Many beers...and I think some whiskey.. was consumed during this watching and re-watching of the videos!!)