by Lauren

in the news: there’s nothing like oz

March 31, 2010 in news by Lauren

According to Tourism Australia, there’s nothing like Australia.

From The Age (which also features TA’s video):

Australians will be invited to go into bat for Australian tourism as part of the first phase of a global tourism campaign that turns traditional tourism advertising on its head.

In the middle of next month the Federal Government will begin a promotion to invite Australians to upload photos of their favourite holiday spots accompanied by a short explanation of why they think ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ – the tagline that underscores the new $4m campaign.

It is the first time that the federal tourism organisation has explicitly asked Australians to get behind a new advertising campaign, after the polarising efforts of ‘Where the Bloody Hell Are You?’.

Tourism Australia expects to upload as many as 15,000 photos to a specially designed interactive website that will build up a ’mosaic’ of Australia as told through the eyes of Australians. More than 1,000 keywords will allow prospective tourists to search an interactive map for experiences rather than mere destinations, the agency said.

It seems in its anxiety to avoid another “Where the bloody hell are you?” blunder, TA has gone to the opposite extreme of vanilla and boring. Blah.

It won’t offend anybody and it translates into other languages (unlike the last attempt which didn’t work at all in Japanese) but will it inspire anyone to travel here? Worst of all, it has the ability to be flipped around i.e. “There’s nothing like…” being eaten by a shark. Tourism Queensland currently has the same issue (“Where else but Queensland” could be in simultaneous flood, drought and cyclone devastation?)

Sorry TA, it’s not a monumental fail like your last attempt but it’s too bland for anyone to care enough to submit their ideas.

Update 5 April: This is what I was afraid of…

by Lauren

eating out: mamak

March 29, 2010 in food and drink, restaurants by Lauren

I spent the weekend in Sydney with my hard-working boyfriend who was down there for a job. While this did leave me quite a bit of free time to catch up on some shopping, we caught up for dinner on Saturday night at a little slice of Malaysian heaven in Haymarket on the recommendation of a colleague.

I was a little hesitant when we showed up around 8pm, stomachs grumbling, to be confronted with a line stretching out the door and down to the traffic light you see in the above photo. However the line moved relatively quickly and within about 45 minutes we were comfortably seated at a booth inside.

Mamak specialises in roti so we started with a roti canai, which was almost like stretchy puff-pastry, accompanied by curry and sambal dips. It was divine and I could easily have eaten another 10 on my own but I’m glad I left room for the main. We shared a nasi lemak – coconut rice with a platter of fish curry, sambal, peanuts, crispy anchovies, cucumber and hard-boiled egg – and a kari ayam – a chicken curry with spices and potato – and even without considering both arrived on our table within about 30 seconds of us placing our order, they were both so authentic tasting and satisfying. This is basically Malaysian street food with the comfort of a table so it’s ridiculously fast and incredibly delicious.

After consuming about half our weight in curry, we pressed on and ordered the roti pisang (roti with sliced banana inside) for dessert. It was actually even better than I had expected, though it took a little longer to reach the table than the mains. We washed it all down with a couple of sweet teas (his lemon, mine milk) and felt completely and utterly satisfied.

We rolled ourselves out of the door about an hour later, paying just over $50 total for the two of us. For a cheap and tasty meal, this was perfection.

Where to find it: 15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket, Sydney
Where to find it online:

by Lauren

lusting for: winter fashion

March 26, 2010 in fashion by Lauren

Jennifer HawkinsEarlier this month Myer launched their Autumn-Winter 2010 collection at the Melbourne Fashion Festival and today I dropped into the Brisbane show to see what the lovely Jennifer Hawkins and the Myer team have deemed fashionable as weather cools down.

I’m ahead of the trend here. Of course darker hair is always a winter look but in both the collection launch and the Brisbane show, all models (except for Jen) had chocolate locks.

Fierce shoes
Toeless booties, cut-out booties, ankle boots and studded pumps abounded and I’m pretty certain I didn’t see a single pair of flats on stage. Love it!

You could make an entire leather wardrobe this season – jackets, skirts, pants, dresses and leggings are all on offer. Some pieces are biker-tough but I’m drawn to the lady-like styles that have been toughened up by using hide.

Black, black and jewel tones
While black is the new black (again), a few jewel tones pop in to brighten up the palette. I couldn’t be happier – bring on the cold!

by Lauren

drink up: mana bar

March 25, 2010 in bars, food and drink by Lauren

On Monday night, I joined my housemates for a tipple at Australia’s first gaming bar, Mana Bar. As expected, I was one of only three girls in the bar but the crowd was a pleasant mix of uni students and professionals with only a couple of personal-hygene-deficient nerds thrown in.

All games have a multiplayer set up and there was a decent range of games on offer (a couple of first-person shooters, Street Fighter, Zelda and Rock Band when I was there). There’s a decent range of drinks, including a gaming-inspired cocktail menu. Interestingly not many people outside of my group seemed to be sampling the beverages and I’m not sure if it was because it was a Monday night (possible) or because they didn’t want to affect their gameplay (a potential revenue issue for the bar).

While it still seems to be finding its feet, I think Mana Bar has great potential – it wouldn’t be my Saturday night venue of choice but for a mid-week session with some friends, it works a treat.

Where to find it: 420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Where to find it online:

by Lauren

in the news: snaps for obama!

March 24, 2010 in news by Lauren

My love affair with the leader of the free world continues! Barack has successfully signed his US$940 billion healthcare reform into law. I think the man deserves a holiday (in Queensland – especially after he had to cancel his trip to Australia to get this off the ground).

Of course I’m a little unimpressed that Biden’s gaffe took the focus and became the headline papers ran with – is a US healthcare bill not big enough on its own? I mean, Biden dropping the F-bomb is definitely amusing but it’s hardly the lead story here.

I’m also quite unimpressed that 13 states filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the reform within moments of Obama signing it into law. From the previously linked article:

“This lawsuit should put the Federal Government on notice that Florida will not permit the constitutional rights of our citizens and the sovereignty of our state to be ignored or disregarded,” the state’s Attorney General Bill McCollum said.

Mr McCollum, a Republican who is running for Governor, led the charge to challenge a provision that would require most people to buy health insurance or else pay a fine.

He was joined by the Republican attorneys general of South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado and Alabama and the Democratic attorneys general of Michigan and Louisiana.

Mr Obama’s Republicans foes have waged a political war on the historic health care overhaul and have vowed to repeal it should they retake the House and Senate in November mid-term elections.

The Governor of Idaho signed a Bill into law last week blocking federal mandates requiring individuals in his state to purchase health insurance and a similar Bill was passed in Virginia. Some 34 other states have either filed or announced their intention to file similar legislation, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said yesterday it’s typical for “big pieces of legislation” to face legal challenges but there is “pretty longstanding precedent on the constitutionality of this”.

I may have spent time living in their natural habitat but I still don’t understand Americans.

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