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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

GCC: the terrible truth

May 29, 2011 5 comments

Today, I had good news and bad.

The good news was, that I found my watch which had gone missing months ago.

The bad news was that the watch was on the treadmill (the walking thing which one is supposed to exercise on).

The Global Corporate Challenge made me rediscover my treadmill today, if for no reason other than team-guilt – the other team at work is winning, so it’s time to get walking.

What was surprising (other than finding my watch in the very same place that I’d lost my spare car key only six months earlier), was how much effort it takes to walk off Tim Tams. Especially, the six dark chocolate Rum & Raisin ones I ate yesterday.

Global Corporate Challenge day 11 - a half an hour walk

As the picture shows, half an hour of walking (at an easy pace) only burns off one Tim Tam (90 calories or 400 kilojoules) and a bit. I’d never counted calories before, nor dieted, so this was quite a shock. Furthermore, the walk only clocked up three and a half thousand (ish) steps, when the other teams’ averages are around 11,000 per day. Hmmm.

All things considered, I’m thrilled that I’ve found my watch and a new way to watch what I put into my mouth. (Those who know me well probably wouldn’t call me a convert, just yet).

Happy walking, everyone.

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Categories: Australia, Business, Health, Life

Global Corporate Challenge (and another day at the office)

May 22, 2011 4 comments

Teamwork is something that most offices aspire to. This week, teamwork has taken on a new spirit, with gazillions of suckers, like me, putting on a pedometer and logging into a teamsite to record daily steps taken as part of a 16 week challenge.

It’s a virtual walk-around-the-world gig, which raises money for Children’s Challenge, Footprint Initiative and the Foundation for ┬áChronic Disease Prevention. And, I suppose, it’s good for us. Let’s not mention the fun.

Some people take it very seriously. Others, have already been caught out shaking the pedometer under their desks, which can look like something much worse (there has been an increase in loud laughing at the office, of late).

I’m up against another team, whose members ride to work, have personal trainers and are otherwise intimidated (in the nicest possible way) by the super-fit former PE teacher on staff.

Being against gratuitous exercise, I was lucky enough to get my daily count up this weekend by jiggling away at a fabulous 40th birthday party which had an 80s band until midnight. For anyone out there, with my allergy to exercise, that’s my hot tip #1: dancing to 80s music counts. Who can resist bouncing up and down to the outlandishly positive sounds of the 80s?

So, for 16 weeks, watch this space, as I explore what it means to be a good office-mate and fit global citizen. I might even start to enjoy exercise that doesn’t involve being first at the mid-year David Jones shoe sale.

Parents and teachers, take a look at the Children’s Challenge site and see if it’s something your schools could benefit from (it’s free to a limited number of applicants).

Have a great week, and try not to lock yourself in the fire escape if you’re going with the stairs instead of the lifts. That would be my tip #2.

Road Test: No mess tomatoes

October 25, 2010 2 comments

Yours Truly gets a little bit excited when a product actually lives up to its marketing hype.

Hooray! Truth in advertising ...

I can say that I was hugely impressed with the fact that these tomatoes didn’t turn into sandwich sludge – not even when put in the toasted sandwich maker (aka jaffle maker). They hold firm and seem to last longer than other types of tomatoes, when kept in the specially designed holey plastic bag, in the crisper section of the fridge. The tomatoes cut very easily (even with my perpetually blunt knives), present very well and taste great.

While I don’t personally believe in salad, I’m sure these tomatoes would be great for those who do. They’re not as juicy as other kinds, so they wouldn’t be my first choice for sauces and suchlike. (I’m told, in comments below, that they perform equally well in sauces and cooking.)

No more mushy tomato sandwich nightmares. Enjoy! No Mess Tomatoes, indeed!

UPDATE: I’ve had buckets of people agreeing that these are now their favourite tomatoes! I love a local good-news story. Hats off to Aussie ingenuity.

Karli’s birthday & appeal

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Brisbane turned on a beautiful day for Karli Dyke’s 9th birthday and appeal day at the Jube on Sunday. There was a great turn out and show of support for the family. The bands were awesome, although (perhaps, unsurprisingly) they couldn’t play any Miley Cyrus. (I did ask.)

A number of readers have asked me to report on the day and to provide details for the fundraising effort, so see below … I hope to get my hands on a book of tickets for the signed & framed Michael Clarke bat – message me please if you’re interested. If you’d like to make a direct cash donation:
Keith Foss & Pauline Campbell
Karli Dyke Appeal
Suncorp Bank
BSB: 484-799
A/C : 20-177148-5

The new-look Jubilee Hotel is a neat place for a $2 Sunday steak and $4 Corona, with no trace of its jelly-wrestling and topless girl past. It was a very nice way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Hip-hip HURRAY for Karli. May this year be a really good one!

Categories: Australia, Health, Life, Parenthood

Get your blues on this weekend

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

If you’re in Brisbane this Sunday, October 17th, 2010, drop into the Jubilee Hotel anywhere from NOON (correction, not 1:30pm) onwards and support precious Karli by listening to some great bands! These awesome folks are donating their appearance fee. All we have to do is come cheer them on. Entry is free and kids are invited.

If you can’t get down there, but would like to buy raffle tickets or make a donation to the Karli Dyke Foundation, message Yours Truly and I’ll find out more details.

About a year ago, Karli was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. She’s the bravest little critter I know. This Sunday, she turns 9 and she’ll be celebrating in style. (Blues bands playing for your 9th party, how cool is that! I can feel a “Blues Brothers” quote coming on …)

Watch this space, as Karli and her super-mum Suzie might drop by and do a guest appearance on the blog.

The bands:
Transvaal Diamond Syndicate
Morningside Fats
Jimi Beavis
Andrew Baxter
Doug Ford

The venue:
Jubilee Hotel

I hope to see you there!

UPDATE: Big shout out to Spencer Howson on 612 ABC Breakfast for announcing Karli’s gig! [Friday 15 October 2010].

Road Test: Lip Crayons by Jane Iredale

September 4, 2010 2 comments

For some reason, people ask me for makeup advice, not realising perhaps, that for me, if it doesn’t go on in 5, it doesn’t go on at all. I like makeup that is easy, not obscenely expensive and doesn’t cause my skin to react.

One of my favourite products (and one of the few things that I don’t react to) is Jane Iredale’s lip crayons.

I like:
* the colour range – goes with everything
* the convenience of lip-liner and lipstick in one
* that they’re creamy and hydrating (somewhere between a lip pencil and lipstick in consistency)
* that they stay on a bit better than standard lipsticks or glosses
* they don’t burn and tend not to bleed
* they don’t melt or break on the first day of summer in Brisbane
* they come with a sharpener
* they blend ie. you can put one colour down and then another over the top of it to get the exact shade you need – or you can put coloured gloss (I like Iredale’s glosses as well) over the top.

They also go on fast, with no fuss – so they get my big tick.

Brisbane ladies can look up my fav supplier, La Bella Sophia Hair Nails & Beauty, and speak with Deb.

Categories: Australia, Health, Products

Why Kids Need Ballroom Dancing

August 29, 2010 4 comments

ADS Winter Festival 2010. Image courtesy of reader Liz.

I’m a recent convert to the world of ballroom. I’ll admit to having been wary of it, thinking it was Prissy With Sequins and only for people who conform–not only with strict rules of dance, but also with standardised notions of what looks beautiful in a ballgown or suit. However, I cannot underscore enough, how surprised and delighted I have been with the reality of ballroom dancing for my child, as opposed to the stereotype I’d expected.

For years, I was Jazz & Tap mum, until recently, when the work far outweighed the returns – Miss 9 fell out of love with it all. It had become about raising the status of the dance school and a lot less about the individual children and the joy of dance. Besides, no matter how hard all the children might try, there was always a back row, and every performance was a group act with one or two favourites. Add to that, the fact that the performances could be complete disasters if choreographed inappropriately (as was the case at one local eisteddfod recently, where a dance teacher thought it okay for 7 and 8 year olds to faithfully replicate one of Beyonce’s sexy music videos.)

This is not to say that other forms of dance are no good or inferior to ballroom. Professional dancers need to be across styles. Some dance schools are better than others. All styles have their place, and time-poor and cash-strapped parents have to make difficult choices. That being said, society really needs to take another look at ballroom. It’s all about socialisation (or socialization, if you’re American).

If I had my way, it’d be made compulsory in Sports & Personal Education at least in primary school (acknowledging that it might be difficult to get some high school students to do anything, let alone dance. I have sympathy for teachers.) Not everyone can give their kids private classes, so instead of more tunnel-ball and t-ball, why not a term of partnered dancing?

It’s a tragedy that whole generations of children are growing up into people who don’t know how to dance with other people, but rather, copying aggressive music videos, dance against others. Life is a fight, seems to be the message. Dance which draws inspiration from gang wars, sweaty poles and domestic violence has its own place as a form of artistic expression, but it’s concerning that it’s taking over as the only form of dance expression that many people understand. Agro is the new cool.

Ballroom has the following benefits (especially for kids):
* increased confidence, not only within themselves, but also with interacting with the opposite sex in appropriate and respectful ways;
* co-ordination (dancing opposite someone is quite complex and more difficult than dancing in formation or alone);
* opportunity to build meaningful rapport with dance partners and others in the class, because it is face to face;
* develops an appreciation for collaborative and complementary effort;
* fun (we’ve found it a lot less pressure than our last big dance school, even with exams and comps);
* having a skill for life that comes in handy for social occasions which require something other than crumping, pirouettes or jazz hands;
* can start at any age (dependent upon individual circumstances); and
* there is no back row – everyone is front and centre when performing.

Ballroom students don’t do concerts–they do medals (tests) periodically and competitions (if and when they’re ready). The great thing about the tests and comps is that parents and guests are watching them–the kids are not taken away to a locked room down a corridor to face an examiner or panel of examiners, alone. Through and through, ballroom is a collaborative effort and is inclusive rather than exclusive. After the medal tests, there’s supper and everyone gets up to dance (if they want to).

There are children (and adults) of all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life. People don’t typically come with partners, in fact, most don’t. Partners are arranged for medals and comps as required, if there’s no permanent partner.

In terms of curriculum, I’d highly recommend that schools consider implementing some form of ballroom dance for the sake of the children and the society which they will grow up to lead. For parents who want to try something good for their kids – I say “give it a go.” For those on school committees – bring it up at the next meeting.

P.S. Thanks to Blair Pettard and Natalie Perry – both awesome teachers at Perry’s Superior Ballroom. Perry’s is available for in-school lessons.
[UPDATE: image removed for copyright/privacy reasons]

Please feel free to add your own comments or experiences and let us know if there’s a great ballroom dance school in your area.

[UPDATE: post edited for length & clarity. Comments regarding bullying deleted in acknowledgment of reader LD’s point that it can happen anywhere and is subjective. Furthermore, I can appreciate that with so few males dancing, finding a permanent partner for comps and being asked (or not) to tryouts is another whole world of pain.]

Check out some gorgeous pics by Brock McFadzean.