William McInnes and holidays

The 53-year-old author and actor removes his glasses and wipes his eyes. William McInnes has just shared the intimate details of some last moments with his dying wife, film-maker Sarah Watt. We, the audience, accept the privilege with quiet humility after a frolic of a night following his animated recollections of family holidays. Holidays is the theme and the title of his new book which he is launching. Noosa folk have filled the iconic Berardos Restaurant to get close to the charismatic star over dinner and drinks, and get a signed copy of his latest release. Best known for his television roles in Blue Heelers and SeaChange, personally, I have most appreciated his lead roles in the movies Look Both Ways (directed by his wife), Unfinished Sky and Irresistible (with Susan Sarandon).

William McInnes

“I’ve read all his books and I don’t miss his column every Saturday in the Courier Mail,” the lady next to me informs. Another is here to garner inspiration to write a book. All want to be entertained by a great. Who would not want to be in the presence of such an artist, dedicated to expressing the art of living? I am here to catch some quintessence, hoping that I will be taken by expressions of humanity which propel for weeks to come. McInnes shares such a moment after the death of Sarah: being embraced in an instance of grief by a “rough as guts” local on Stradbroke Island at the magical scene of breaching whales.

I love words and the way they can weave someone’s story straight into our hearts. And how words buoy. On the occasion of National Reading Week, McInnes once said: “The ideas and thoughts contained in a series of constructed words can form a bridge to get people across that river of doubt. Reading takes you out of yourself. It can make you see, no matter how alone you may think you are and however desperate that place you might find yourself in, that somewhere through all our histories, someone has been there before.”

Back to the subject of his book – Holidays – and this evening McInnes fondly animates and shares humorous anecdotes from his past holidays that tag these special blocks of togetherness, generally with people you care about. I note that we are about to mark a big one – Christmas holidays. And funny enough, I am in the midst of editing a family book of shared memoirs on this very subject. It is my extended family’s very special collection of memories of holidays and time spent together across four generations at a very unique place on earth for us, a sea cottage on the Wild Coast in South Africa. It holds so many stories, slices of our lives, intertwined togetherness, and has us returning every so often to watch whales and weave more.

May your holidays this year be uniting, filled with great mirth and good people.

William McInnes
My latest project. The privilege of editing my family’s holiday memoirs.

Perfume Notes

“A perfume is more than an extract, it is a presence in abstraction. A perfume, for me, is a mystique.”

 

Giorgio Armani

 

 

flower-bottle-grey-1415009522
Photo via the Fragrance Foundation

 

 

I’m in a sensory cloud of late. Rose absolute, patchouli, pink pepper, jasmine, amber. Mmmm. Bourbon, cedar, vetiver, sea salt, vanilla, burnt sugar and explosive coffee notes. Wow! Floral, woody oriental, citrus. This is how I think and talk, analyse at work these recent days. You see, I am the part-time perfume person preparing for the Christmas onslaught of perfume lovers. I nose a fusion of bouquets at my little counter and discuss the contents with men and women who talk of fond attachments to their first magical scents and days gone by. What their mother’s wore. What they just love. How many beautiful bottles occupy their shelves. Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel dot our speech. Top notes, base notes. There’s a mystique we concede to and share.

 

IMG_1864
This is where all the magic happens. Where I help customers find the perfect scent

 

A young man skids by and picks up an $89 bottle of Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb, an elderly lady grabs two White Linens for her daughter-in-law before I can unpack the box. A backpacker scoops a bargain on Vera Wang Princess. A mother buys Chloe for her Chloe. A young husband buys a dramatic gold bustier of  Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense for his wife. Fragrance is part of our story.

 

 

jpgaultier

“Perfume is like a parenthesis, a moment of freedom, peace, love and sensuality in between the disturbances of modern living.”
Sonia Rykiel

 

My new guru is Michael Edwards, the world’s leading authority on fragrances and his “Fragrances of the World” is my bible. He works in collaboration with all fragrance houses, suppliers, perfumers and evaluators to develop a unique classification system whilst remaining impartial, accepting no advertising. He is the author of “Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances” the cult book where perfumers first spoke openly about their creations and the sources of their inspiration.

 

Michael Edwards. Photo via Persolaise: A Perfume Blog
Michael Edwards. Photo via Persolaise: A Perfume Blog

Edwards was engaged by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia on training staff, which fragrances to stock. Lucky us.

 

Photo via The Perfume Girl
Photo via The Perfume Girl

 

Edwards recalls his childhood in Malawi and the smell of the dry, aromatic Tamboti wood shavings around the fire. He recalls the revolution of fragrance when women first earned money and how Charlie was the game-changer in 1973, holding more prestige than Chanel No. 5. The 1977 blockbuster that was Opium.

 

Photo via The Perfume Girl
Photo via The Perfume Girl

 

A record 1500 new fragrances were launched this last year. He is firm: “A new perfume must take new territory…It must give somebody a new experience. But unfortunately the industry is hijacked by the stock exchange…I get discouraged by the amount of perfumes that smell the same.” Is he ever surprised by a new fragrance? Yes. Portrait of a Lady. “I was just overwhelmed. The beauty…” I find the Frederic Malle 2010 Parfum on line for a cool $355, defined as a new breed of oriental rose, a baroque perfume. “It is based on an accord of benzoin, cinnamon, sandalwood and, above all patchouli, musk and frankincense. It takes off with an excessive dosage of the best Turkish rose essence that Dominique Ropion linked to the rest of the formula, thanks to a red berries and spice accord.”

 

warm-perfumes-fragrances
Photo via The Perfume Girl

 

A big surprise for Edwards this year was Lady Gaga’s Eau de Gaga. “Built around an androgynous white violet on a suede note base. I love it.”

 

“A great fragrance. polarises. It lives by word of mouth.” Michael Edwards

 

So how many roses does it take to make perfume? 1 600 000 rose blossoms yield 1kg of rose oil.

 

Back to my Noosa perfume counter and my new world of fragrance blogs, wheels and perfecting the price on a more-than-ever discounted market. I now know that it still remains a mystery as to why one fragrance smells different on different people. Edwards postulates that it is because our skin temperatures are all slightly different. And why does a fragrance smell somewhat different to how we once knew it? According to blog, Bois De Jasmin, “As all livings things, perfume changes from the moment it is born; therefore, it is not surprising that Chanel No 5 smells different today.” Moreover, the natural animal materials originally used in the fragrance such as musk and civet have also been banned.

Now of great interest is studies at Rockefeller University, which show the human nose to be sensitive enough to distinguish close to a trillion different scents. Another study at Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon shows that “the regions of the brain associated with olfaction are more developed in professional perfumers than in the general population” and that with practice, it’s possible to reverse the age-related grey matter reduction that affects the olfactory regions among the general population.

So come on down to my Noosa parfumerie and together we’ll select the perfect scent.

“For a scent to be a real perfume it must come out of your pores, it must have this dimension. All the classics share this common element.”
Frederic Malle

Enough

I have enough and I am enough. What a liberating thought! It plants me in the now. I feel the calm. Gratitude seeps in. We are always minding the gap of insufficiency, doubt, and worse despair. You can direct your gaze upwards or you can look down into the gap. We must choose sufficiency and love every day.

BB_LovingOurselves_880x400

So this is how I’ve wondered this week. I’m emerging from a timeless book that I’m hanging off with lightness. Siddharta (1922) is a spiritual classic of a young Brahmin who leaves home in search of enlightenment and in which Hermann Hesse sets forth his own belief. It has me yearning for clear eyes, reaching for a simple song, strength, patience, kindness, knowing that this is enough.

siddhartha

Some of my favourite passages are:

Knowledge can be expressed but not wisdom.

There slowly bloomed in Siddhartha the realization and knowledge of what wisdom, the object of his long quest, really was. It was nothing more than a readiness of the soul, a mysterious knack: the ability at every moment in the midst of life to think the thought of unity, to feel and breathe unity.

 ..We are in the grips of the illusion that time is real…And if time is not real, then the gap that seems to exist between the world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion.

 The world…is not imperfect or confined at a point somewhere along a gradual pathway toward perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment.

In The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist suggests we choose a mindset of sufficiency:

“For many of us our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep”. The next one is “I don’t have enough time”…We spend most of the hours and days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…. We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough, or fit enough, or educated or successful enough, or rich enough – ever. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to the reverie of lack…What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.”

GRATITUDE CONNECTS US TO JOY

Brene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection, says we are “starving” from a lack of gratitude. Her research has led her to cherish the ordinary. When interviewing people who had experienced great loss, such as loss of a child, violence, genocide and trauma, their most sacred memories were the ordinary everyday moments and the joy they bring. So what gets in the way of joy and gratitude? “Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light,” says Brown. Sage words to sit with.

The_Gifts_of_Imperfection_Book_-_Brene_Brown_-_Front_Cover__28813_zoom

 

And as you know, when you sit with stuff it keeps pitching up. As I put foot on the beach one evening this week at sunset, Noosa was bathed in surreal hues of heaven and I knew life was enough. I’m always armed with a camera but not this time. Luckily a family friend captured it perfectly.

Photo via Julian Wood
Photo via Julian Wood

 

Then along comes a song like this by Australian singer and songwriter, Xavier Rudd.

Follow, follow the sun

and which way the wind blows

when this day is done.

Breathe, breathe in the air.

Set your intentions.

Dream with care.

Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,

Brand new moon, brand new sun.

So follow, follow the sun,

the direction of the birds,

the direction of love.

Breathe, breathe in the air,

cherish this moment,

cherish this breath.

Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,

brand new moon, brand new sun.

When you feel life coming down on you,

like a heavy weight.

When you feel this crazy society,

adding to the strain.

Take a stroll to the nearest waters edge

remember your place.

Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.

So which way is the wind blowin’,

and what does your heart say?

So follow, follow the sun,

and which way the wind blows

when this day is done…

And so I make another happy discovery up in the ranges of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Secrets on the Lake is one of those places you find that make you want to pinch yourself. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, morning tea and afternoon tea. Prepare to be mesmerized by the view over Lake Baroon. Ten treehouses offer secluded accommodation and it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway – rated 5 stars on TripAdvisor.

IMG_4614
Rainforest entrance to Secrets On The Lake
IMG_4617
Ready for some serious afternoon tea!
IMG_4624
Contemplating the view and the menu…

 

Oh yes, cappuccino and cheesecake!
Oh yes, cappuccino and cheesecake!

 

 

A Noosa Easter, Anzacs and A case of the Blahs

I’m emerging from a patch of blah, where inspiration has been sorely lacking. Work has been a treadmill, beach runs a fatty-boom-boom grind, and deciding what to make for dinner…well, bewilderment. I admit, I’ve been a bit sh***y too. Then Pinterest popped this at me.

 

blah

And I smiled with relief to get to this stage of the blah virus and remember clearly that it would pass as it does, like a head-dulling cold. And this is just how it is on planet earth. Energy levels wax and wane, emotions flip, hormones shriek (just ask a woman) and sometimes you can’t avoid carrying a sack of potatoes on your back that simply cannot be turned into a one-pot dinner. Such is the awesome theatre of life. So feeling the Noosa sun crack me open once again was a joy. And it felt good to breath in and out with intention. Could an action like this be the most important two minutes you take in life?

 

weyba
Peace and calm at Lake Weyba

 

Easter in Noosa this month was holiday heaven. Superb weather pleased an influx of visitors who sipped coffees, dined decadently and stocked up on sunscreen and fragrance at our pharmacy. Get a taste of Noosa in Autumn here in the Noosa Style magazine.

Me? I worked, entertained friends and family, enjoyed a 5-star breakfast put on by a friend at the lake and relished a girls’ night out with my sister-in-law at the movies. We especially loved Cameron Diaz in The Other Woman, and that at 41 she embraces ageing as a blessing and a privilege, and loves carbs! Read more about her and her latest book, The Body Book.

 

Cameron-Diaz
Cameron Diaz says she has stopped using Botox. “I’d rather see my face aging than a face that doesn’t belong to me at all.” (photo via Marie Claire)

 

Another great movie star, Jack Nicholson, turned 77 this month. Mental Floss celebrated by sharing 13 of his greatest insights.

When it comes to great coffee, one of my favourite places is the speciality coffee roaster and cafe, Little Cove Coffee in Noosaville, opposite the Noosa River, where beans are roasted on site. “Some start life in Africa, others in South America, but all end up close to our heart.”

 

IMG_3654
On Friday we took time to pay tribute to the Anzac soldiers from the First World War, with three words, Lest We Forget. These three poignant words are renowned across most countries to show our remembrance of those who have fought, and those who have died fighting for freedom. It means that we will never forget.
Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Anzac biscuits are very popular in Australia and New Zealand. It is claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. The following recipe is courtesy of Renee Walter, a friend who is passionate about baking and who set herself a 365-day baking challenge this year “as I have an addiction to baking books”. Follow Renee’s baking challenge here.
Renee’s Anzac Biscuits With a Twist
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 170 deg Celcius. Place the flour, oats, sugar, nuts, chocolate chips and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted. Mix the bicarb soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup. It will bubble whilst you are stirring together so remove from the heat. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on trays for a short while before carefully transferring to cooling racks to crisp up.
Photo via Renee's Cakes
Photo via Renee’s Cakes
Enjoy!

 

 

Passion

How we all want to keep passion flowing. Do you find yourself drawn to people, places and things that exude a bit of oomph, sparkle, depth, that extra-extra? Don’t we love inspiration. Just scrutinise the people having fun, those that have a glint in their eye. You want some of that. These are usually the people that arrange that dinner party, set that goal, go and get it. They throw themselves behind a cause. They Carpe diem. And they make a room zing. They leave a trail of light and magnetism in their wake as they court something extraordinary.  Love it, so this week I’m sharing some compelling finds and folk that keep the sun orbiting.

Sarah Wilson, author of bestseller, “I Quit Sugar”, and ex Cosmopolitan editor, shares thoughts on her auto-immune disease and provides recipes on her acclaimed blog.  She radiates her passion for eating and living well, and regularly puts her personal self on the line. This blog ticks all the boxes.

 

Sarah-Wilson
Photo via The Hoopla

 

The official Tourism Noosa website and Facebook page provides all you need to plan your Noosa holiday or outings. A highlight is the “This week in Noosa” tab on Facebook. The dynamic Tourism Noosa/ Visit Noosa team keep the globe inspired with a constant stream of Noosa images and updates on Facebook and Instagram.

"Cross here and you will find paradise" (via Visit Noosa Facebook)
“Cross here and you will find paradise” (via Visit Noosa Facebook)

 

 

Noosa author and Noosa News columnist, Ann Rickard, keeps Noosa entertained with her candid humour. I devoured her book, Ooh la la! A French Romp…and literally mourned when it was over. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year.

Cover-ooh-la-la

Photo via annrickard.com
Photo via annrickard.com

 

Salt Magazine oozes zeal for our amazing Sunshine Coast – found in cafes and can be read online.

salt-magazine1

 

This Facebook page thanks Australia every day for taking on a horde of South African expats! It was started by Noosa architect Robin Bristow who has led the way here in helping South Africans integrate into Australian society by exploring Australian culture in a fun way.

robin
Robin Bristow

 

Happily returned expat and South African blogger, Susan Hayden, writes her truth with verve on some gritty issues in The Disco Pants Blog. She provokes serious thought about life back in the mother country and stokes the debate: Is life better in South Africa with all its anomalies, versus expatriation?

susan-hayden4
Susan Hayden

 

Back on a glorious drive into the leafy Noosa hinterland, I uncover a fantastic new foodie find, Sunspace. The Doonan cafe serves wholesome biodynamic and organic food, fresh from the on site vegetable and herb garden. Gourmet coffee is made with the certified Fair Trade, Organic beans from Little Cove Coffee Roastery in Noosaville. Plans are for Allied Health Practitioners rooms upstairs and a group space for Yoga Classes.

IMG_4190

IMG_4189

A Robust Life!

When America’s top cancer specialist sanctioned (moderate) coffee and wine-drinking in his best-selling book of rules on how to avoid illness and prolong your life, many twinkled with happiness.

Here is my latest very cool cold-pressed coffee find for hot Noosa days.

Green beans are used for the locally brewed Benchmark Coldpress
Green beans are used for the locally brewed Benchmark Coldpress

Check out a list of the new wave of cold brews.

Can we live robustly till our last breath? In the #1 New York Times bestselling The End of Illness, Dr. David Agus offers 65 rules for living a healthy life which includes eating real food, the flu jab, going light on high heels (inflammation no-no), lots of smiling and regular exercise. But he concedes there’s no master guide, one-size-fits-all. “Of all the rules I present, the most important one is this: you have to find what works for you. To start, let me present important ground rules. Health information is a moving target. Recommendations today may change tomorrow. For now, the following rules are relevant based on the data we have available that convincingly show the best practices for reducing your risk of disease.”

Dr David Agus talks on health.

So yay to exercise and I will keep running with my trusty RunKeeper app, but fear I’ve pushed the patience of every Facebook friend with my constant display of running feats. Friends begged me to just lie on the couch for a while, and drink wine, which is also good! To tell the truth, my little app motivated me no end. It made me do more, more often. And sharing my runs on social media made me feel accountable and creative.

D6BEE541-7060-4AAD-8012-9DEBC9BF6C05

When it comes to “apping”, here are the young ones, feet up, checking Instagram and Snapchat this week. I am also a Snapchatter. This is purely a Mother’s logic. It places me at the ready to receive the occasional visual update from a son of mine who may think: “poor bird, Mother may like this one”…And she did.

IMG_4139

Back to coffee and smiles, it’s all bliss at Bella Rustique in Noosa Junction where Hayley Banks and sister, Chloe, have just pulled off a renovation and fresh lift in their gift, homewares and cafe lifestyle store. Beautiful things are sourced locally and overseas, and the pair also offer interior styling in Noosa homes. Notably they style their Mum, Lorri’s iconic Main Beach restaurant, Bistro C. Great coffee and artisan sweet treats make me a regular at this little haven next to the post office.

IMG_4089

IMG_4092

This week my Aunt Penelope, also a writer, sent me her article she wrote on religion, published in the Hamilton Spectator in Toronto, Canada. It’s a light-hearted look at children “attempting to solve the mystery of beliefs”. For me it’s a reminder that the complexity persists for a lifetime. Religious? Or spiritual? Exactly who, what, where and how “God” is, is thoroughly open to individual interpretation and change. To borrow words from Dr Agus: “You have to find what works for you” and remember, “You are in charge of you” as you zigzag your way through to find what resonates.

IMG_3784

Nature is my haven, and I’m inspired by people who devote themselves to its protection. Peter Hammarstedt is a Sea Shepherd who risks his life trying to protect whales. “Throughout history, it has been passionate individuals who change things, not government,” he says. “The founder of Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, is very forward thinking in realising that the oceans are the true lungs of the planet and they are dying. If the world’s governments aren’t going to enforce the law then it will take passionate and courageous individuals to do so instead..People are always fighting for the rainforest but the oceans produce more oxygen than all the world’s forests combined.” Read more here.

peter
Peter Hammarstedt. Photo via www.dumbofeather.com

It’s been a robust weekend of boy energy! We had four young teenagers for a sleepover and they took to the surf for hours. Love that youthful zest!

Photo by Theo Calvert
Photo by Theo Calvert

 

photo 2
Photo by Theo Calvert

Sunday breakfast was scones. I added a dash of health by replacing once cup of flour with buckwheat flour and used half a cup of coconut sugar instead of regular. My boys approved. They came out with a pleasing caramel hue and flavour. Yum, yum and happy weekend to you!

photo 3