Art or scribble? An act of necessity fills a hole in the wall…

Sometimes we have no other choice than to complete something at the last minute. This is NOT always a good idea. For example, finishing a book. It’s never going to work if you try to rush the writing process. But when it comes to art, sometimes being under the pump can lead to all manner of inventiveness.

A sneak peak...

A sneak peak…

This is my way of justifying the canvas that hangs in my office right now. You see, we had a photo shoot scheduled at our house last weekend. At the last minute, I realised I’d forgotten (for more than a year) to create a masterpiece on the white canvas on my easel that was SUPPOSED to fill that giant, gaping blank hole on the wall behind my desk.

When I realised on Friday night that the photographer was due in less than eight hours, plus I needed to sleep, I got my skates on. Anything would be better than a blank canvas, right?

How to finish a painting and make it acceptable in under two hours? I decided three simple rules would do the trick:

1. Keep it simple.
2. Stick to one colour
3. Make it abstract.

And voila! Here it is.

Frameless and simple

Frameless and simple

It isn’t going to win any awards and some may think it looks more suited to the walls of a kindergarten, but I was just pleased I managed to match the colour of the new office accessories I’d found at Officeworks and Typo in St Kilda. The teal green pen holder and box set are from the Martha Stewart range and create a lovely fresh look against the white walls and desk.

Sunlight through the attic window casts a dappled glow...

Sunlight through the attic window casts a dappled glow…

Of course, the right beams of sunlight streaming through the attic window also help… but you can’t start analysing about what it all means. The doodles aren’t meant to represent anything. No, they’re not weird insects or phallic organs – just swirls, lines and curly things making for something that kinda works for the room.

Try it yourself – it’s always fun to let your creativity loose and see what you can come up with.


Can working with friends… well, work? These two at Salon Golightly know how.

It’s a common old adage ‘Never mix business with pleasure,’ but these two high-end hair practitioners are good friends who have worked together for more than five years and still find plenty of time to share a drink and a laugh. Linda and Justin even spent a holiday in Thailand together, along with their respective partners.

Linda Chisolm and Justin Golightly

Linda Chisolm and Justin Golightly

They’ve known each other for years. More than twenty years, in fact. They met back in 1991 when they worked together at South Yarra salon PDF and Justin sported long black hair. (Which he’d rather not discuss…) After a couple of years they went their separate ways.

Then five years ago, Linda was working at a boutique in Prahran where she wasn’t happy.  When a client told her that Justin had opened up his own salon just around the corner in Greville Street, Linda was ecstatic and bolted there as soon as she could to see if they could work together. He happily agreed and asked when she could start.

‘Tomorrow!’ replied Linda. The timing couldn’t have been better.

Interior Salon Golightly

Interior Salon Golightly

For both, it meant working with an old friend they adored. As well, they have enormous admiration for each other’s respective careers – Justin as a leading hairdresser and Linda being renowned in Melbourne as a brilliant hair colourist. That’s her specialty and means she’s always well booked up in advance. As is the very talented Justin.

Most of all they’re happy to have found a new home in St Kilda, where they opened Salon Golightly last month – conveniently situated just opposite the George Hotel.

Salon Golightly

Salon Golightly

‘We’re back amongst our people,’ says Linda. ‘There’s more of a cultural mix here. You get a bit of everything in St Kilda. It feels more comfortable.’

‘It feels like home, ‘says Justin.

Both agree that the hair industry can be a tough business to survive in. It’s highly competitive and egos abound. ‘It’s full of lunatics,’ declares Linda.

So how do they make it work? Being friends and working together? ‘Well I think that’s just it,’ said Linda. ‘That we ARE friends makes it viable. It’s easy. There’s none of that hoo-hah that generally goes on.’

‘So you must have a lot in common?’ I suggest.

‘Our birthdays are on the same day,’ said Linda. ‘The sixth of the sixth.’ Ah, so that explains it!

‘She’s to the point and there’s no bullshit so you always now where you stand,’ said Justin. ‘As much as I love her, she annoys the hell out of me sometimes, but we work in similar ways. We’re hard workers and like to get on with the job.’

And they do work hard. But I also hear them laugh together often. I’ve been seeing Linda to have my hair coloured for nearly twenty years and can vouch for the fact that she’s never been happier.

Good friends sharing a laugh

Good friends sharing a laugh

For Linda, there’s another bonus that comes with working with Justin. ‘He loves cleaning!’

So you don’t have to do any at all?’ I ask.

‘It’s not that I don’t try. He always does it before I get a chance.’

Justin disagrees. ‘It’s just that she knows what I don’t like doing so she is aware of that and gets in first with those jobs. For instance, I’m happy to clean up wine glasses because if I don’t she’ll break them and leave the lipstick marks on them, but I don’t like cleaning up the tint bowls so she’ll get on and do that.’

Justin at the bar

Justin at the bar

Yes, he said ‘wine glasses’. That’s the other lovely service provided at Salon Golightly. There’s a bar at the end of the long room, where Justin will happily double as a bar tender for his loyal clients who fancy a glass of wine toward the end of the day.

Linda also loves the fact that Justin has a wonderful eye for interior design. ‘He always likes to have things looking nice,’ she said. ‘I know when I come to work in the morning, it will all be sorted and look polished.’


‘I try not to involve myself in all that because I know I won’t do as good a job. If I ever suggest something, he just looks at me as if to say, “Don’t bother”.’ Not that Linda’s offended. She loves it.

The entrance to Salon Golightly

The entrance to Salon Golightly

Would Justin like to turn his hand to interior design? ‘No, I love experimenting but I’d hate doing a job for someone else and not having complete control. Say I did a room then someone wanted to put little knick knacks everywhere…’ He made a face.

‘That would do his head in,’ said Linda. ‘At the same time, I have to say he’s much better at doing something for a hair client that might not suit them than I am. If I have to do something I hate, it’s written all over my face.’

Linda and Justin

Linda and Justin

Not that either of them often have difficult clients. If someone’s TOO obnoxious, they won’t take the booking. I know this because when I asked them if they’d ever had to refuse a client, they looked at each other and started laughing.

Justin says he’s always polite. ‘I’ve had clients who come to an appointment, sit in the chair and say, “Last time you cut my hair I hated it and everyone else hated it.” So I ask them why they’re back? Then I suggest that clearly they’re not happy with my work and that they should go somewhere else. Then they generally burst into tears and go to the toilet, come back and apologise and we get on with it. But a few have left and that’s fine. It’s very rare.’

‘I’ve never had that. I just don’t take the calls from those ones,’ said Linda. ‘I don’t want to be tortured. I’m just not interested.’

As for future plans, Justin says they’re looking for one more person to work alongside them in their new salon.

Sounds appealing. A new salon set in the heart of eclectic, beachside St Kilda, opposite the George with two friends who work together like a dream. Now, where is my resume?

If you’re interested in a job or having a wonderful new ‘look’, here’s the details for Salon Golightly:

PH – (03) 9078 b5536
ADDRESS: 11b/60 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda



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

The new ladies in Doctor K’s life…

I’ve had to endure my husband having many relationships with different women over the years. Of course, he’s had his on-screen Neighbours wife, Susan, for more than 18 years and that’s been easy because Jackie Woodburne is such a wonderful human being and good friend.

Then there was Nicola Charles (Sarah) and Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Izzy) who were love interests on the show for a spell and also both gorgeous, so I can’t complain. Natalie has also become a close pal.

Jackie Woodburne, Fletch and Natalie Bassingthwaighte

Jackie Woodburne, Fletch and Natalie Bassingthwaighte

But now, not only is Fletch surrounded by stunning women on set, he’s embarked on a musical project that means he’s going to be working closely with THREE beautiful and highly talented young women. I mean, really, if they weren’t so damn nice, I might be feeling a little bit over it all…

Alan first met The Pacific Belles when they came along to a regular gig where his band Waiting Room was playing at The Elephant and Wheelbarrow in St Kilda. From there, Alan learnt about their unique musical style and plans for a collaboration grew. You see, The Pacific Belles aren’t any old girl group. They’re a retro swing trio that emulates the harmonies of The Andrews Sisters from the 1940s.

The Pacific Belles performing at The Paris Cat in Melbourne

The Pacific Belles performing at The Paris Cat in Melbourne


We went along to The Paris Cat in the city one evening to see them perform and were blown away. Not only is their repertoire tight, pitch perfect and entertaining – they mix up the old with the new – even singing a jazz influenced version of Wonderwall. Impressive.



Laura Monaghan (pictured above centre) – better known as ‘Betty Belle’, is the lynch pin of the group and the mastermind behind the concept. She firmly believes she was born in the wrong era, which probably accounts for their authentic sound. ‘I came over to Australia from the UK and I’ve always wanted to sing in a trio,’ she said. ‘I love singing harmonies so I thought, “Let’s do a 1940s singing trio.” That’s the music I’m really passionate about. It’s a glamorous era. I love the fashion, the lipstick, the hair – everything.’

The Pacific Belles

The Pacific Belles


They’ve definitely got the look down pat. Quick frankly, listening to them sing downstairs at The Paris Cat, I really did feel like I’d been transported back to another era…




They’ve already built up quite a following in Melbourne – playing at functions, popular venues, weddings and events. Tonight they’ll be performing at the launch of Melbourne’s Fringe Festival with shows booked during the festival as well.

A vintage tea party with The Pacific Belles

A vintage tea party with The Pacific Belles

‘Our next public performance dates will be during the Melbourne fringe festival at Madame Brussels on the 22nd of September and then again on the 5th and 6th of October.  Our show is called Sing, Swing, Get in The Mood and we’d love everyone to come along for the afternoon tea and a show.’

As for Fletch’s new musical collaboration with The Pacific Belles, that’s under wraps for the moment, but I’ll give you a hint. It might have something to do with Christmas…

Fletch and Belles

Fletch and Belles

They make a good team, right? Oh, and the Pacific Belles will be back at The Paris Cat in November. In the meantime, they’ve also got an album and video clip to finish. Ultimately, they’d like a hit song in the UK charts. I can’t wait to hear the finished product!

The Pacific Belles

                                The Pacific Belles

For Bookings and enquiries please contact Betty Belle –
Tel: 0448 698 900



You’re all invited! Update on a super cool Valentines Day party

Further to last Friday’s blog about The Sisterhood committee organising THE coolest Valentine’s Day party in support of heart research at St Vincents Hospital – I can now bring you the official invitation and booking details. Ta da!

It’s not just for couples. Plenty of singles are coming too – what better party to meet your Valentine?

Official Valentine's Day invitation

Official Valentine’s Day invitation

To book tickets:

I’m thrilled it’s going to be held at the hippest venue in Melbourne – THE DECK at The Prince Hotel in St Kilda. What a great space for a party! And after hosting dozens of conventional balls over the years, I’m very much looking forward to a less formal, younger styled event with great entertainment and a DJ.

The Deck, Prince Hotel, St Kilda

The Deck, Prince Hotel, St Kilda

Actress Melissa Bergland

Actress Melissa Bergland


I’m also very excited that the super talented and gorgeous Melissa Bergland, star of TV series Winners and Losers, will perform for us on the night. Not only a beautiful in person, but super generous. She’s donating her time on the evening which is amazing. Especially given so many celebrities these days seem to want to charge a small fortune to appear at charity gigs, which I just don’t get.  Melissa, you are an angel and we can’t wait to hear you perform on the night.


And if you’re still not convinced this is going to be a super special evening, check out our party rules below. Designed to make SURE we keep the vibe up and the party spirit high.

1. No speeches or MC chatting to go longer than five minutes.

2. Limited items in the charity auction. A quick auction is a good auction.

3. LOADS of fabulous finger food and drinks provided with excellent service.

4. Great entertainment and cool music

5. Value packed free goodie bags (one per couple)

6. Lots of dancing

7. No jumping in the pool – potential injuries are not cool

If you’d like to know more about the committee and what we’re trying to achieve, here’s the official blurb:

sisterhood spiel copy 2

The Sisterhood – Raising money for St Vincent’s Hospital

 So don’t waste time because tickets really are selling fast. Get on line and book now! It’s great value at $100 a ticket which includes food, drinks, entertainment and a gift bag – plus it’s tax deductible!

Looking forward to partying with you on February 14th!