Top trends for a wonderful winter

Source: Illawarra Mercury


Simon Combes, head chef at Addison’s Seafood Restaurant, says this winter cooking is all about embracing the cold and returning to simple, hearty meals.

Braising:Braising is nice and rich, it always makes the food richer, and it’s comforting to use lots of root vegetables, carrots, leeks and parsnips with the meat. To braise meat, sear before letting it simmer in liquid on a low heat until it becomes tender.

Secondary cuts of meat:Second-class cuts of meat, such as shoulders of lamb or beef cheeks, are being mixed with first class. A prime steak along with a braised short rib creates wintry, warming, homely cooking with a nice richness.

Old-fashioned desserts:Dessert-wise it is a lot heavier and more traditional. Creme brulees, sticky date pudding, apple crumbles, everyone finds these comforting and easy. Though this is the Illawarra, and you can never get away from sticky dates here.

Winter seafood:Fish isn’t just for spring and summer. It’s mirror dory season, all the boats are out chasing mirror dory. Just keep it really simple, grilled with a warm butter sauce and a warm salad, such as a nicoise.

Simple cooking:We’re going back to old styles of cookery, simplifying food. There’s fewer ingredients in dishes because the quality of ingredients are getting better, producers are caring more about their products, so not much else needs to added to make it taste good.


Winter fitness is all about getting back to basics and learning how to move properly, says Grant Barlow from Skybar Fitness and The Warehouse.

Body weight exercises:The market has gone away from the muscle-head mentality almost back to basics, leaning towards borderline gymnastics for strength training, with handstands and handstand push-ups coming back into play. TRX suspension training is a big influence, as is CrossFit, and Swiss ball training and cable work are huge.

Functional movement:Basic movements are coming back into practice because we definitely have a busier lifestyle – people are sitting more in chairs, working longer and in cars longer, so we’re losing our movement, so things like squats and push-ups are coming back into fashion. It’s great for older people, because it can be as simple as laying down and getting back up on your feet.

Core strength:Core strength is always important. We all want to have a flat tummy, but if you do any sort of exercise this needs to be a number one priority. Try Swiss ball work, jackknife exercises, or even just a basic plank is a great start.

Indoor bootcamps:Zumba and the like have died down now. It’s now five to 15 people in a gym working in stations bootcamp style, doing high-intensity workouts. People are looking to get more results and have realised that if you’re going to spend money, you’re better to spend it on a trainer.

Non-traditional gyms:Gyms that focus more on body weight exercise and have fewer machines are the major trend. People coming in, training in smaller groups in an environment where it’s more about training, rather than looking good.

People are being more proactive, coming in to do a 45-minute session and getting a lot more out of it than a commercial gym where they’d be waiting for a machine or talking to their friends.


Make-up artist Janet Yong shares her top five beauty trends to keep you looking glam all through the cooler months.

Dark lips:Winter is bringing a lot of beautiful shades of burgundy and grape for lips, eyes and cheeks. Line your lips first with a lip pencil in a shade that is similar to your lipstick colour. This will prevent the lipstick from bleeding. To help your lipstick last longer, first line the lips, apply lipstick, grab a powder puff with translucent powder and press onto your lips. Brush off the excess powder and reapply the liner and lipstick. Your lipstick will last for hours. Don’t forget to highlight the cupid’s bow.

1920s glamour:The Great Gatsby is so in right now. Team up those ruby lips with smoky eyes. For a darker look, use a black kohl pencil around the whole eye and smudge. If you’re after a softer look, use purples, burgundy or soft browns and greys.

Lip balms:Don’t forget to give your lips some TLC by using lip balm to ensure they don’t get chapped from the cold. My absolute favourite is Lucas’ PawPaw Ointment. This thing is just amazing and so versatile.

Soft, hydrated skin:Your skin still gets dehydrated in winter, so make sure you are still drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated. Keep your skin moisturised winter-long and don’t forget sunscreen. The sun may be hiding, but it doesn’t stop its harmful rays from getting you. Exfoliate your skin at least twice a week to remove dead skin cells. It leaves your skin feeling soft and fresh.

Glossy nails:Nail polish is such an easy accessory. Teaming up bold lips with bold nails is a great statement. I love burgundy and mulberry coloured nails.


Abbie Stewart from Moose and I in Wollongong shares her top five fashion finds that will update your wardrobe this winter.

Leather:Any leather is good leather this winter. Wear a little with a leather-sleeved jacket or a lot with full-on leather pants or a leather skirt. Team it back with a grey tee for daytime or with heels and some flowing silks for night.

Ankle boots:Just about every style of ankle boot can be found this winter season and they go well with a whole range of outfits. Team with a skater skirt or dress for a more fashion-forward look or just pop them on with your jeans for an easy ensemble.

Black and white:Monochrome is back with a vengeance. Keep this look classic by colour blocking black and white separates or mix it up with a black and white print. This trend is just beginning at the tail end of our winter season, but it will be big next spring and summer too, so pick up a few trans-seasonal pieces that will carry you through.

Floral and jungle prints:Floral is so diverse and this season there have been some great spins on the average floral prints. Look for a more subtle floral patterns and jungle and floral mixed prints. Especially on trend are these prints in pants and jeans or a blazer. These pieces are great to team with your basic tees or singlets for a fresh look. Or be really edgy by wearing them with your leather pieces.

Structure:This winter is all about structure. Think pieces that are perfectly tailored in thick and flattering materials. A structured dress for a special occasion or a tailored top will smarten up any outfit, while a tailored knee-length skirt can take you from office to evening.


A few additions to your living space will get your house ready for winter hibernation, says Birdie & Oak interior designer and co-owner Casey Dorling.

Chunky throws:A must-have is a nice, chunky, knitted throw for winter. Don’t go for synthetic fabrics, look for natural ones that will add warmth, like wool. Even cotton is great, especially with kids, because it allows you to breathe and it’s easy to clean. You can use them all around the house.

Dark colours with a bright accent:Go for really warm, muted greys and browns and charcoals with a pop of colour in either a dusky coral or chartreuse, that greeny-yellow colour. Prints are a great way to add character to a room, especially through accessories so if you have it for winter and then get over it by summer, all you have to do is change your cushions.

Scented candles:Not only do they bring ambience to a room, but they smell great, and that’s what you want on those cool winter days. You want cooking scents that evoke a sense of warmth: vanilla, caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon, even cloves.

Copper:Copper is big for winter and that comes through in accessories. It could be a light fitting, a throw cushion in a sequined copper or a side table with a metallic finish. For winter, side tables are great so you don’t have to venture too far from the couch for a cuppa.

Occasional chairs:With an occasional chair you have room to play, it’s not a big purchase like a couch, so there’s more room to have fun. Look for something in a cool fabric, something a bit different. You want something comfy, where you can sit and feel cosy, nothing too stiff or upright. On those cool nights and rainy days, they are a great little spot to sit and read a book with a hot chocolate.

Gatsby-inspired make-up is a hit this season.

Simple hearty foods are a winter staple.

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Tassie women in the lead

Source: The Advocate, Tasmania

Tasmanian women are among the most active in the nation, according to the latest Bureau of Statistics figures.

They are participating as much as men in sport and physical recreation, which is unusual.

The ABS study revealed that 69 per cent of Tasmanian women actively participated in organised and non-organised sport between 2011-12, falling behind only the elite sports training hub of the Australian Capital Territory, where a 79 per cent participation rate was recorded.

Twenty-four-year old Devonport sportswoman Tess Langworthy dedicates up to five hours a week to the Tasmanian Women’s Football League.

Since the women’s league began three years ago, Miss Langworthy has seen the popularity of the sport grow in leaps and bounds.

“I remember when the roster started three years ago there were only three teams statewide,” she said.

“Today there are seven teams, with about 30 women in each.

“And it’s very competitive too.

“I play for the Burnie Dockers and . . . you have to really work hard to be selected each week.”

Miss Langworthy said when women first began playing in the league, men appeared to be “intimidated”, but over time the relationship between the sexes has become “supportive”.

“There are so many opportunities for women to play sport in Tasmania and personally I can’t see any reason for girls not to be getting involved,” she said.

“You have netball, swimming, and of course then there is crossfit, which has just taken the state by storm.

“Personally, I couldn’t live without sport.”

In the state figures, 57.7 per cent of Tasmanian women were taking part in non-organised sport only, while 26.7 per cent took part in organised sport only.

The study revealed that 38.1 per cent taking part in sport and physical recreation in Tasmania were aged 18 to 24 and 28 per cent were aged 65 and over.

It showed 54.2 per cent of participating women had played sport 105 times or more in the past 12 months, while 3.4 per cent had played as few as between one and 12 times in that period.

The greatest rise in participation rates was by unemployed women, who over 2011-12 experienced an 18.5 per cent rise.

Contributing to the 69 per cent of Tasmanian women participating in sport are Burnie Dockers Tess Langworthy (left) and Alena MacDonald. Photo: Katrina Dodd.

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Socceroos coach sorry for sexist slur

Socceroos in Kruse control, a step closer to Brazil

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has apologised for his sexist slur that “women should shut up in public” saying it was a joke and that he has a lot of respect for women.

The comment, which tarnished Australia’s win overnight, came when the coach prepared for a media conference after the match and one of the organisers told him where to sit.

An ABC recording showed his displeasure at being told.

“You want to sit here?” Mr Osieck said.

“I’ll sit here.

“You push me around like my wife. (Then inaudible).

“There is a saying (translation) it is a very … er … women should shut up in public.

“I say it to my wife at home, it is a private one, OK.

“And you record that one as well? I am going to be the darling of all Australian wives.”

Mr Osieck apologised on Wednesday saying that the comment was a joke and a funny remark used at home when his wife was too talkative.

“It obviously created waves, and that was definitely not the intent and to everyone who may feel offended by that, I would offer a sincere apology,” Mr Osieck told reporters at Melbourne Airport.

“It was nothing against women, it was a complete misunderstanding.

“I have a lot of respect for women and have been married for a number of years and I’m still pretty happy with my wife so everything is fine.

Mr Osieck said the remark was off the record and “was meant more a a joke to the journalist who asked me”.

“There was nothing serious in it – 100 per cent not. I was in a particular mood – we shouldn’t take every remark literally.

He explained that the quote was from the apostle Saint Paul, which he used in the early days of Christianity.

Mr Osieck said he would probably be in trouble with his wife over the remarks.

“I don’t know if my wife knows, but I will probably be in trouble when I get home.”

He said that being a foreigner, he had to “get used to local conditions, that’s for sure”.

A Football Federation Australia spokesman distanced the federation from the comments.

“They do not reflect those of the FFA in any way,” he said.

With Deborah Gough

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Flying blind a thing of the past for aviophobia sufferers

Does this sight make you feel anxious?Boeing aircraft replicas usually used to test and train cadet pilots are now being used to alleviate in-flight anxiety in aviophobia sufferers.

Jumping in the half-million dollar cockpit replica is a better option than the sleeping pills and alcohol that many people turn to, say the organisers of a new “Fear of Flying” course.

“This is the first course available in Australia doing this,” Flight Experience director Martin Stocks says.

“We’ve researched this over the last couple of years and implemented the course because we found that approximately 40 per cent of the population have a degree of anxiety that comes with flying.”

The course, which combines psychological counselling to determine the source of the fear, information sessions with a pilot and hands-on experience in the flight simulator, is now in its third month in Australia.

The simulator allows aviophobiacs to co-pilot a simulated flight out of Perth airport – with a lifelike 180-degree screen, sound effects and control panels – or choose from 25,000 international airports.

Psychologist Michelle Williams has been treating anxiety for 15 years and says the situation worsened after 9/11.

While psychologists do see success in treating aviophobia alone, the exposure to a pilot and the simulator fills the need for something that “can’t be provided in a session room”, she says.

“Up until now I’ve had to do all of the work with people and then send them into the world to try it out on their own,” Ms Williams says.

“Having the exposure here and meeting the pilots enhances the service a psychologist can provide around fear of flying.”

Fears differ between each person and can be a specific phobia of flying or planes, a panic disorder like agoraphobia or a social phobia concerned with being looked at or being stuck in a confined place with other passengers.

Ms Williams says cognitive behaviour therapy is the key to changing the thought patterns that turn an unusual noise or situation into a panic attack.

“There are differing degrees of fear but about ten per cent of adults will not get on a plane regardless of any incentive you give them,” she says.

“Someone who’s afraid of flying will get on a plane and hear the thuds on the runway and think ‘is that something dangerous, is that something falling off?’ and they will keep their fight or flight response going, whereas someone who isn’t afraid will think ‘oh they’re the usual noises, I hear them every time’ and their brain will say ‘slow down your breathing, it’s all going to be alright’.

“The strategies people learn in the course they can generalise out into fears of heights or others.”

Former pilot Chris Hall, who talks to course students about plane engineering, safety and pilot experience, says the misinformation surrounding air travel worsens peoples’ paranoia and gives them an exaggerated idea of the dangers of flying.

“People worry about flying because they don’t understand,” he says.

“The media doesn’t help because when you see a plane it’s usually in a drama situation.

“Like many people, I’m not happy up the top of a tree but I’ve flown 20,000 hours and I wouldn’t be doing it if it was dangerous.”

The course, which can take as little as three hours to complete but is tailored to each individual, has already had graduates take overseas flights.

“We recently had someone who for 25 years was unable to go back to his own country and we had an email from him to say how much he enjoyed his flight,” says Mr Stocks.

“The course is for us not just commercially viable, it’s extremely rewarding to see and meet people who have anxieties about flying and to know that we can change their lives.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Market strong as buyers back bricks and mortar

Australians continue to support housing markets as home loans just keep rising.

Latest ABS data reaffirms this year’s rising buyer activity and increased confidence in Australia’s robust and resilient housing markets.

The April data revealed that 118,975 loans have been approved for the purchase of owner-occupied homes over the first four months of this year.

This number is 8.3 per cent higher than that approved over the same period a year ago, 12.6 per cent higher than two years ago in 2011 and even 0.5 per cent higher than the number of loans approved for home purchases over the first four months of 2010 during the then housing market boom.

Investment housing loan increases are even more pronounced with this year’s values up by 18.3 per cent compared to the same period last year, 25.7 per cent compared to 2011 and 10.7 percent higher than 2010.

Loans approved so far this year for owner-occupiers are higher in every state compared to the same period a year ago. NSW is up 4 per cent, Victoria up 9 per cent, Queensland up 3.6 and Western Australia up an impressive 21 per cent over the same period in 2012.

The ABS monthly trend data for April for owner-occupier loans is also recording positive growth for all states except the Northern Territory.

Housing markets have certainly generally strengthened in 2013 as indicated by rising home loans, auction clearance rates and house prices.

The clear expectation is that buyer activity will continue to rise driven by record low interest rates and rising confidence in most markets.

Dr Andrew Wilson is the Senior Economist for Australian Property Monitors

Twitter @DocAndrewWilson

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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