Catch of the Day strikes again…

It was nearly a year ago that I posted this story – A Steamy Situation – Domestic Battles on the Homefront

Fletch using the Beldray steam mop...

Fletch using the Beldray steam mop…


You’d think that would have been enough public humiliation for husband Fletch to give up his addiction to Internet shopping site Catch of the Day – but NOOooooo…

Only last week, another domestic appliance arrived to clutter up the laundry cupboard. (In case you were wondering, that was the last time he used that useless steam mop.)









Not just ANY ironing board. It’s a REVOLUTIONARY SPLIT ADJUSTABLE IRONING BOARD!! Well, that’s what they called it on Catch of the Day’s website.

Apparently, having two ‘arms’ instead of just ONE plank to iron on, helps save time and energy, makes ironing an absolute joy and sends masses of endorphins pumping through your veins. I wish. Ironing would have to be my most hated domestic chore, so I would have welcomed something to ease the pain, but this device doesn’t do anything of the sort.

In fact, contrary to its claims, it’s a complete and utter piece of crap. I tried it. Shirtsleeves do not fit over the arms – like it claims – because they are too fat. The clamp in the middle takes twice as long to hold a collar in it to iron than doing the damn thing in the old-fashioned way, PLUS it’s a good metre shorter than the old faithful ironing board that we’ve had for twelve years and never had a problem with in the first place.

How to put an ugly crease in ALL your ironing...

How to put an ugly crease in ALL your ironing…

But the ‘piece de resistance’ of this contraption, is what happens when you put the arms together for ironing. Instead of a SMOOTH plank, you have a crevice down the middle, so that anything you attempt to iron ends up looking MORE crumpled than when you began. It’s hilarious that anyone could have thought this would be a good idea in the first place.

You might think I’m being unreasonable and ungrateful, but I challenge you to try one yourself. Actually, don’t. You’d just be wasting your hard-earned cash. And I am appreciative that Fletch thinks these gadgets can in some way make life in the Fletcher household rosier, but I’m of the view that we need to start getting RID of STUFF, rather than accumulating MORE.

Like the useless Beldray steam mop, I placed the said crappy ironing board in his office for him to ‘RETURN TO SENDER’. No such luck. It’s found a home next to the steam mop,  on top of the ever-growing chaos inside our laundry cupboard.

So please, Fletch, NO MORE Catch of the Day super specials. And can you book a hard rubbish collection before Christmas???


Belle Beans – how to get from the beach to the pub without changing shoes

You wouldn’t think it, judging from Melbourne’s crappy weather right now, but yes, summer IS just around the corner. Which makes you think of heading to the beach and how to spend those lazy long hot holidays using the least amount of energy possible.

Popping in to one of my fave local shops lately, I spied a fabulously comfy looking summer shoe option – aptly named after the store that sells them – Belle and Beans.

Belle & Beans, Martin Street - Gardenvale

Belle & Beans, Martin Street – Brighton

Nova Healy, Belle and Beans owner

Nova Healy, Belle and Beans owner


Take out the word ‘and’, and there you have it – Belle Beans – the idea for which designer and shop owner Nova Healy says sprang from one of life’s major dilemmas. Basically, Nova loves wearing thongs (flip-flops is the term for overseas readers) to the beach, but hates having to go have and change footwear to then head to a bar or the pub. How could she solve this heinous difficulty? Where could she find something suitable to wear on her feet that would suit both beach AND the bar?


Belle Beans shoes

Belle Beans shoes


The solution was simple. MAKE THEM YOURSELF! ‘I wanted something for comfort and for style. Something that was fun for summer,’ she said. ‘We’ve got eight colours, including  green, orange, pink, navy, black, and red and it comes in eight sizes.’



Nova says the design caters for both teenagers and more mature women. Best of all is the PVC, which is incredibly soft to wear. ‘We tested lots of plastics to find the right substance. It took a while to get it right but these are just as comfy as slipping on a pair of thongs and they don’t ‘sweat’,’ she said.

Red or navy?

Red or navy?

Belle Beans are also affordable with the retail price being just $39.95. Already they’re being snapped up by stores across Australia. If you’d like to find out where you can pick up a pair, go to Nova’s website at or pop in to her store at 142c Martin Street, Brighton, Victoria. Your feet will be glad you did!



What’s on the menu at Circa – checking out the latest in fine dining

We all have our favourite dining spots and nothing provokes greater debate than the latest release of a TOP TEN restaurant list  – especially in Melbourne, arguably host city of the country’s best quality establishments. (of course, I live here…)

Circa, at The Prince in St Kilda, has long been held in high regard and is definitely in my Top Ten. ( It’s undergone a reincarnation of sorts in the past eighteen months, since it was taken over by the Melbourne Pub Group. The vibe of the venue is now more relaxed, but the standard of dining far is still first-rate.

Circa Restaurant

Circa Restaurant

I was lucky enough to be invited to a special lunch this week, launching Circa’s new Spring Lunch menu. Under the guidance of MPG’s executive chef Stephen Burke, new chefs Ashly Hicks and Lyndon Tyers have produced a superb menu that’s also very affordable. This means you can enjoy lunch at one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, with two courses for $35 or three courses for $45. And yes, that includes a glass of wine.

The menu varies on the weekend, where the focus is more on seafood, so on Saturday and Sunday, the cost is $55.

Moet and Chandon champagne

Moet and Chandon champagne


The lunch on Wednesday was also sponsored by Moet and Chandon, so the bubbly was flowing freely in the courtyard before we sat down. Not many functions have free-flowing French these days, so I was in heaven before we even had a bite to eat.



Then we ventured into the restaurant where we were treated to a sample of what’s in store on the new menu. With every course, I had massive attacks of food envy, because I just wanted to eat everything in sight… Here’s how it went:

A choice of two items for entree….

Hand-picked spanner crab with avocado, lemonade fruit and wood sorrel

Hand-picked spanner crab with avocado, lemonade fruit and wood sorrel

Robata grilled Spencer Gilf prawns with pickled cucumber, daikon and bergamot

Robata grilled Spencer Gulf prawns with pickled cucumber, daikon and bergamot








Likewise, with the mains, it was difficult to pick which would be the tastier – suckling lamb or roasted Milawa duck? For me, the duck won hands down, not only with its colourful presentation, but the intricate flavours were more appealing than the more basic styling of the lamb.

Roasted Milawa duck with tangelo, endive and blackened seasoned onion

Roasted Milawa duck with tangelo, endive and blackened seasoned onion

Flinder's Island milk fed suckling lamb with roasted gem, yuzu and coriander

Flinder’s Island milk fed suckling lamb with roasted gem, yuzu and coriander

But every one has different tastes and you can tell from the smiles at our table, there were happy customers all round.

The Circa Spring Lunch launch

The Circa Spring Lunch launch

The chefs excelled themselves with the desserts – both stunning in presentation, like works of art – and such delicate, melt-in-the-mouth flavours, it’s left me counting the days till I can return for more. (The meringue slices on the cheesecake were unbelievably light)

Valrhona 'Manjari' chocolate mousse with mandarin, buttermilk custard and cookie crunch

Valrhona ‘Manjari’ chocolate mousse with mandarin, buttermilk custard and cookie crunch

Vanilla and L'Artisan fromage blanc cheesecake with toasted oats, yuzu custard and meringue

Vanilla and L’Artisan fromage blanc cheesecake with toasted oats, yuzu custard and meringue

What better way to finish off such a superb gastronomic experience than with a couple of Expresso Martinis? This is a favourite cocktail of mine and one I’m rather fussy about but Circa do it with style.

Expresso Martini

Expresso Martini

So if you’re wondering where to plan your next social catch up or business lunch, now you know where to head. A guaranteed delight. If you’d like a closer look at what’s on offer, here’s a copy of the latest lunch menu:

Circa's new lunch menu

Circa’s new lunch menu

Circa is at 2 Acland Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia.
Ph – 9536 1122

The website is

Opening hours are:
Mon-Sun, 12pm-Late

Twitter Etiquette – how to keep yourself nice

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink - I really AM fun!!

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink – I really AM fun!!


I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. When I first took it up about two years ago  (like Bridget Jones in her new diary) I couldn’t grasp it at all. I think I issued one useless Tweet and then abandoned the whole thing. It wasn’t until six months later, when it seemed the whole world had gone Twitter mad, that I felt compelled to follow suit and jump on board.


Then I became a Twitter addict. I avidly read my Twitter feed every few hours, keeping up to date with everyone’s business and views, now matter how dull and trivial. At the time it actually seemed interesting. And if you have something to promote, it really can serve a purpose. (i.e. – like a Blog!)

Now I’m so busy with various projects, I haven’t got the time to scan the information flow quite as regularly, but I’ll still check in every couple of days to try and keep in touch with the Twitter universe. I mean, Twitter has become so HUGE, it’s all a bit daunting.

Today more there are more than FIFTY-FIVE MILLION Twitter users and about FIFTY-EIGHT MILLION Tweets are issued every day.

Follow me

Follow me

Which is why I think it’s time someone laid out some ground rules. I know I need to be reminded of them myself. After all, you never know who is reading your Twitter feed and once you post something, it’s out there for good. Yes, you can delete a Tweet once it has been sent, but if a reader has already opened their Twitter feed and seen it, it’s too late…


Here are my Top Ten Twitter Rules:

1. Remember that Twitter is more of an information tool than a way of communicating personal messages to friends. That’s why we use emails and text messages. i.e. To ask your friend on Twitter, when they expect to arrive at the party you’re heading to, is not the slightest bit interesting to the rest of us.

2. DON’T Tweet when drinking alcohol. Very dangerous. Not only might you say something insulting and potentially libellous, you’ll probably spell it incorrectly too.

3. Don’t boast about a great night out with friends if you can help it, because that’s more of a Facebook thing. That’s where you can put up a whole album of happy snaps for people who might be interested. But if it’s a night out and you mention the VENUE you’re at in a positive light, that’s a different matter. Then you’re helping others with a positive recommendation of somewhere to go.

It's not a popularity contest...

It’s not a popularity contest…

4. Unless someone has been particularly unkind to you, it’s nicer NOT to ‘UNFOLLOW’ people. This is a tricky one, because some Twitterers can become a tad annoying and it’s tempting to push a button a delete them from your time line. But really, if you just scroll a bit faster, you can skip their rubbish and avoid hurting feelings. It’s also a tricky issue because Twitter has been known to unfollow people from our accounts without us knowing – leading to all sorts of problems… I rarely ‘unfollow’, so if it appears that’s I’ve ‘unfollowed’ YOU, let me know. I’m sure it’s a Twitter glitch!


5. Don’t retweet compliments another follower writes about you. You just look like a complete wanker.

6. Do not Tweet what you had for breakfast. Yeah, we all know that, right? Nup, people still do it. Actually, I should have added that to Point Four. You are allowed to ‘unfollow’ someone if they Tweet what they had for breakfast.

7. If your Tweet gets dozens of responses, you don’t have to reply to them all. One or two maybe, but to fill up our feeds with twenty ‘Thank you’ messages is really dull…

8. Don’t BUY followers to try and look popular. When your follower numbers skyrocket from two thousand to eighty thousand overnight, it’s kinda obvious… and sad.

I'm huge on Twitter!!

I’m huge on Twitter!!

9. DO let us know if you see a great show, a fantastic movie or find a new restaurant that’s brilliant.

10. DO Tweet about politicians who smack people in the face – with pictures. The more evidence we get to get rid of them, the better.


So there you go – my Top Ten Twitter Etiquette tips. Have you got any more I can add to the list?




Birthday Greetings – the difference between girls and boys

It’s my birthday today – Happy Birthday to me!

I love celebrating my birthday and I stand by the reasoning that life throws too many curve balls our way, so if there’s cause to celebrate, grab it with both hands and shake it damn hard.

One of my favourite parts of a birthday celebration is getting birthday cards from my children. Or from anyone, in fact. I’ve hoarded a sentimental stash of them from when I was six years old. Even better, I’ve forced my kids to MAKE hand-made cards for me for years, and it’s such a treat when they rush into the bedroom in the morning with presents and cuddles, to see what they’ve come up with each year.

This year proved an exceptional vintage from my offspring. It might sound sexist, but I think the cards from Veronica and Tom reflect a general attitude from the female and male species, about birthdays. Take a look for yourself:

(1) Veronica’s card: She spent hours, painstakingly decorating the paper with glitter glue, cut out textured paper and birthday iconography.

Ronnie's birthday card

Ronnie’s birthday card

Her message inside is also heartfelt and sweet – although open to interpretation. To say that ‘God doesn’t make mothers like you anymore’ isn’t necessarily a compliment – although I do think she meant it as one. And she did also point out that I DO have ‘flaws’. We’ll debate that one later.

Ronnie's words

Ronnie’s words

Tom, on the other hand, went to an ENORMOUS amount of NON-effort. Take a look at this. From a (believe-it-or-not) FIFTEEN year old. Black texta on white paper and a stick figure??

Tom's birthday card

Tom’s birthday card

Does this mean he couldn’t care less about birthdays? Doesn’t he love me at all? Hang on – read the message inside and judge for yourself. Food for thought indeed…

Tom's witty words

Tom’s witty words

I think it’s actually a clever way of excusing ones self from being incredibly lazy, But it did make me laugh.

Given what I am doing for Tom tonight, though, I think I deserved more. I am making a grand sacrifice. On my birthday night, when I SHOULD be celebrating with friends, I am GOING TO CHURCH!!!  Yes, ME, going to CHURCH on my birthday!

That’s because Tom’s school has very inconveniently organised a house Chapel Service and dinner tonight, without taking my birthday into account. So thoughtless… What we do for our kids… All I can say is that Tom had better come up with a bloody brilliant card next year.


My Kinky Mother’s Day Present

When I first saw the mother’s day present Fletch had chosen for the kids to give me this year, I can’t really tell you what I thought… I took off the wrapping paper to reveal a weird looking S-Shaped purple plastic device – what the hell???

Fletch holding the Backnobber

Fletch holding the Backnobber

Fletch held it out proudly, declaring he’d discovered the solution to my back pain woes. He’d bought me a BACKNOBBER. And not just any Backnobber. It was the Backnobber MARK TWO. I smiled nicely, trying to appear enthusiastic and failing. How on earth could something so simple actually help with the complex physical condition I was enduring that related to disc issues and nerve endings? What a STUPID present… It didn’t even come with batteries.

Sure, I'll give it a go…???

Sure, I’ll give it a go…???

But it was a mother’s day present. I had to try. It took a while to get the positioning right, but after several attempts, it started to make sense. If you hold one end of the S-shaped device in one hand and get it on the right spot where you feel the discomfort, then pull down on the curve in front of your body, the pressure applied actually DOES have a massaging effect.

Applying the Backnobber pressure...

Applying the Backnobber pressure…

You can also move the Backnobber around very easily to treat various spots on the back and feel the instantaneous relief. I was amazed. It actually worked! Sometimes the key to a successful gadget really does lie in its simplicity.

So THAT'S how it works...

So THAT’S how it works…

So why, might you ask, have I decided to blog about something that was a gift WAY back in May? Well, it just so happens that I’m on holiday right now with the kids and didn’t pack my Backnobber and my back is missing that simple purple device. Which must be proof that it actually does work. Given that 80% percent of the world’s population suffers from back pain at some point in their lives (according to Dr. Jeffrey Katz, M.D., M.Sc., a leading back specialist at Harvard Medical School) then I reckon there’s plenty of readers who might like to know about this. Fletch first learnt about the amazing Backnobber from his on-screen wife, Jackie Woodburne (aka Susan Kennedy), and let’s face it if TWO wives of a well-regarded doctor think something works, then we MUST be on to something.

Backknobber II

Backknobber II

If you’d like to find out more about the Backnobber, Fletch bought it from The Massage Warehouse in at 361 North Road, South Caulfield, Victoria. (PH: +61 (03) 9502 7693) Or you can visit the company website on and order a Backnobber on-line. Right now, they’re on sale – reduced from $65 to $56. And no, I don’t get a commission. I’m just sharing because I hope it helps. Good luck.