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Showing posts from 2012

Showing Off WA's Little Creatures

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This beer piece was written for Perth tourist guide, PerthWalkabout, when I was still living in Perth and could pop to the Little Creatures brewery whenever I wanted. I miss those days sometimes...

Little Creatures has been in the news recently as it has been taken over by Lion, who brew and distribute other Australian beers including Tooheys, XXXX, Hahn and James Boag. Will the Little Creatures thrive in Lions stable? Only time, and lots of taste-testing, will tell.

If you’ve ever taken time out on holidays to send a postcard home just to make people jealous, you’ll understand the appeal of the Little Creatures Brewery.

Just 30 minutes drive from Perth, the Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle is one of those places that you take out of state visitors to just so you can show off how wonderful life is in WA. You lead them into the brewery, and gesture at the beer hall and the sun-drenched decking with its glorious ocean backdrop in a dismissive way as their jaw drops. 

“What, thi…

Feral-ly Delicious - The Best Breweries in WA

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Perfectly suited - making "casual" office work

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Ripped jeans, micro-minis, offensive t-shirt slogans and far too much cleavage on display (from either gender) - researching my recent piece for Executive PA magazine brought me plenty of information on how office casual dress-codes can work, and how they can go horribly, horribly wrong...


Mark Zuckerberg wears a hoody, Tim Cook continues Steve Jobs's casually dressed CEO tradition, and Sir Richard Branson is rarely out of denim. While the office maxim is "copy the boss", what if they start dressing down? 

Are CEOs really ditching the suit and, if so, should you? What with company leaders in jeans, increasing informality in many industries and the omnipresent casual Friday, it looks like business wear is going out of fashion.

But how casual is too casual? One office found itself writing endless guides to clarify what business casual code means. "We had juniors in mini-skirts and new hires in ripped jeans and thongs," says their MD's PA. "We ended up with …

Today in MX, I tell a million Australians how I got stuck in a vending machine.

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This was published in MX, Australia's free daily newspaper, and yes, it did actually happen. Not in my current job, thankfully, but back when I was back-packing: working by day, drinking like a fish by night...

Stick Your Job I’m tired and cranky and falling over when I try to put on my trousers. Not really an ideal state to go to work in.

Drinking with friends until 4am always seems like a great idea at the time. Not so much the next day, and even less when you have to work. So, what’s good for exhaustion and hangovers? Caffeine’s always good - for everything. But unfortunately the killer hangover means coffee is not an option. The mere thought of it makes me feel sick.

So, I decide I can probably handle a cup of tea. Tea has anti-toxidants or anti-oxidents or something. I'm unsure which, but I am figuring that it will either kill the toxic stuff (good) or the oxygen in my system (bad, but at least I'll be too dead to be hungover).

Picking up my MP3 player, I head to the…

Get Out of F*cking Bed - cross-posted from my Boomerang Blog

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I posted  last year about the expletive-laden bedtime book that leaked as a pirated PDF and sold more than 100,000 copies in pre-orders, “Go the F**k to Sleep“.

The brainchild of  novelist and toddler parent, Adam Mansbach, this book contrasts sweet nursery rhymes about animals and heart-warming illustrations by Ricardo Cortes with the exhausted profanity of a parent who is clearly hitting the end of their tether trying to establish a sleeping routine.

One mate said she found the book very funny but she’d like to see a version for the parents of teenage kids who, far from sleeping too little, can’t be hauled out of bed in the mornings without the aid of a forklift and twenty bottles of Coke. “Parents of teenagers who are still up and wandering around the kitchen at 1am, and then like dead logs when you attempt to drag them out of bed for school in the morning, would certainly love to see this book redone for teenagers.”

So I took a shot at it. For those of you who wan…

Sticking your nose in - when it's a good thing

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So, today's adventure involved P (aka He Who Married Me Last Month) and I pulling some poor (probably) drunk and very distressed girl out of Darling Harbour's waters about 30m away from 2 buses full of people who sat and watched.

We were at Star City Wharf sitting on a tour bus, one of two packed with people, and saw a girl walk across the road and jump neatly into the water. We couldn't see into the water but we could see all the surrounding wharves. Some nearby people (friends?) came over and pointed and laughed, and a jogger stopped, said something and ran on. No one threw in the nearby life buoy. We figured she was okay and doing something stupid and would be out soon. Her friends(?) stayed there, pointing and giggling, but it became apparent they were really, really out of it - falling down drunk, probably.

A couple of minutes later she hadn't emerged and we decided to take a look and just at this point the buses decided they were revving up to  go. P w…
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For those of you here via my Fat Chick's Guide to the Couch to 5k here's a bit of an update on my running - the program did get me there without exploding my prostate or patella, and I can particularly recommend making sure you have good shoes and cooling clothes to back you up if you decide to go for it. I'm normally doing 5kms jogs/runs these days.

Well, I say normally but what with Sydney's inclement winter (yes, 10C or 50F can feel cold, stop laughing) and my recent wedding I haven't been hitting the road as often or as hard as normal. The spirit is willing but the flesh, frankly, has got used to drinking hot chocolate on the couch when the rain starts. Which means I have picked a pretty bad time to be emboldened by the lack of exploding body parts and to enter the 9km Sydney Running Festival Bridge Run in mid September.

This will be a bit of a challenge. I have never broken the 7km mark and that was on a treadmill. I'm not a fan of hill-running, and the co…

Creature comforts at work

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Would you like your office to go to the dogs? My piece on pet-friendly workplaces forExecutive PAmagazine  makes no bones about the many benefits of bringing man's best friend to the workplace. We're not barking up the wrong tree - dog friendly offices have higher employee satisfaction and an edge in recruiting staff, according to a surveys, and studies have found that working teams who had a dog had ranked higher on qualities of trust, team cohesion, and intimacy than dog-less teams. 

Dogged persistence may be needed to persuade the doubters but the offices I interviewed felt their pet-friendly policy made them top dogs when it came to workplace enjoyment. Maybe more companies should paws for thought and let every dog have its (work) day.

I will stop with the terrible dog puns now, I promise. Here's an excerpt, for more see the magazine on the website (pages 64/65) or drop me an email.

Who let the dogs in?  Why should your business allow pets at work? David Lawrence, Managi…

Publishing news and Sydney's brews

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When it comes to beer, I wrote the book. Well, a chapter anyway - I recently wrote the 8 page chapter on Sydney’s best beers, numerous breweries and what to do when you're not drinking beer for the Ultimate Beer Guide (Aus and NZ).

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer and write books about ponies. When I was in college I wanted to be a writer and drink beer. Now I am (technically) an adult I still want to be a writer. Beer and ponies are optional but encouraged.

I’ve accepted writing involves a lot less ponies and beer and a lot more work than I had originally thought, but occasionally you get a dream assignment. If you flick to page 42 of the Ultimate Beer Guide, you’ll find my guide to brewing in Sydney.

It took two months and far too many hangovers to research and write and I am looking forward to seeing if the ATO will accept receipts from pubs as tax-deductible. When I was writing this piece, I found 5 craft breweries I never knew about within 30 minutes of my hou…

Enemies in the office (Executive PA Magazine, July 2011)

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This piece on office friendships, workplace bullying and how to cope when good  working relationships go bad was an interesting piece to cover. I was only able to include a few of the stories I was told but - from the amount of responses I received to one simple tweet asking for people with experience of office bullying - it certainly appears this is an issue that many people deal with on a day to day basis.  You can find the full issue of the magazine on their website where you can see the full piece, or email me if you would like to see more. 


A study by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 35% of people have either been or are being intimidated in their workplace. Sophie* found this out the hard way when she was promoted over her former friend, Jenny. “Jenny became not just my enemy but an outright bully. She complained that it wasn't fair because I'd gotten all these lucky breaks and opportunities. She couldn’t see that the harder I had worked the luckier I had…

The Second Rule of Book Club... is don't pick a lemon.

“Hey, did you finish that book I gave you?”

“…um. No, not yet.”

“That’s okay, I won’t spoil the ending for you. Are you enjoying it?”

“…um. No. Not really. I don’t think I’ll finish it.”

Ouch. It’s a trivial thing but I always feel bad when someone doesn’t like a book I gave them, especially if I thought that they were a dead-cert to click with it. First comes denial – “Are you sure you are reading the right book?” That’s usually followed by the urge to defend the book (“Have you read the bit with the zombie space monkey butlers? Like, really read it? Twice?”), followed by the sheepish realisation that I got my friend’s reading taste completely wrong and probably wasted several hours of their time and they’d like me to stop going on about it now, please.

I’ll admit to a touch of neurosis on this one but I think most people would agree that when you recommend something, you really hope that people will like it and it can be disappointing when they don’t. So choosing the…

The first rule of book club is...

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…bring a bottle of wine, apparently. I’m not sure what the rest of the rules are – this is my first ever book club – but everyone was very clear about the wine.

Despite a lifetime of loving books and reading books and obsessing about books and occasionally fresking people about by thrusting books at them shouting, “Take this! You must read it!” (and then calling them to check if they are), I have never been to a book club. I’m not sure how this has happened; I love talking about books and I love drinking booze, and apparently book clubs exist to combine the two, but somehow I have missed out. So when a mate recently suggested a book-club meet in Sydney, I was eager to jump in. Many of the book clubs I have seen seem to exclusively deal with fiction so I was chuffed when I spotted a non-fiction book under the possible reads, and even more chuffed when people said the non-fiction one sounded ideal. (It’s nice to know I am not alone in my real-life read loving ways.)

The b…