Monthly Archives: November 2016

Summertime Stir Fry on the Barbie!

You know it’s summer when every man and his dog is in the back yard, BBQ tongs in hand, and the only time your man will wear an apron. Personally, I’ve never been a great fan of BBQs until I discovered that anything you can cook on a grill or in frypan, you can also cook on a BBQ! You can cook directly on the BBQ plate, or use a fry pan over the flame. So leave the wok in the cupboard, fire up the barbie, and enjoy an Aussie-Asian fusion summer stir fry.


Our recipe is for Thai Beef Salad Stir Fry and firstly you need a good cut of meat such as sirloin or porterhouse. You can substitute beef with chicken, or shell fish—just adjust the cooking time accordingly, and ring the changes with a variety of veggies. So let’s get going!

Basic Thai Beef Salad Stir Fry (serves 4)

Stir Fry Thai Basil and Chilli Beef Salad

Thai beef stir fry salad with chilli and basil

What you need: enough good quality steak for four people, 1 medium size onion (thinly sliced) 6 mushrooms (sliced), 1 packet ready-mix stir fry*, ¼ iceberg lettuce (chopped), 1 small packet crispy noodles, 1 Bok Choy (chopped), ½ red capsicum (thinly sliced). You can also add any other Asian veg or thinly sliced carrots, broccoli, baby corn, snow peas, cashew nuts, etc.

Marinade: 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 small and finely chopped hot chilli (optional, but preferable).


What you do:

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a jar and shake well. Slice the meat thinly, place in a bowl and toss in the marinade. Leave in the fridge overnight.

Fire up the BBQ and drizzle a teeny amount of extra-virgin olive oil on the plate. When hot, add the steak and sliced onion and toss for a couple of minutes. Then add the stir fry veggie mix and whatever else veggies your including, and toss together until the steak is cooked. Add the crispy noodles and toss in.

Place the chopped lettuce in four serving bowls. Place the beef stir fry on top of the lettuce and lightly toss. Serve immediately with rice or soy noodles on the side.

Chicken with stir fry veggies

Chicken with stir fry veggies

*You can buy ready mixed stir fry veggies from any major supermarket chain and they save endless slicing and chopping. You can get finely chopped or chunky varieties—buy as much as you need and use as soon as possible.

Crookwell’s Fashionable Wind Turbines

When designer Yumi Morrissey launched her Wind Turbine print on the catwalk at FASHFEST, she never imagined in her wildest dreams that the ACT Government would get wind of her work. It did, and today two of Yumi’s prints are framed and hanging in Canberra’s brand new <2 degrees Renewable Innovation Hub.

Yumi Morrissey with her wind turbine print at the ACT Government Renewalables Hub opening

Yumi Morrissey with her wind turbine print at the ACT Government Renewable Innovation Hub opening

Over the past few years, Yumi has taken photos of her surrounds, manipulated them into prints, produced fabric, and then created garments under her fashion label Zilpah tart. This year, Yumi selected three photos, including the one she captured at Crookwell Wind Farm.

The ACT Government approached the fashion designer to ask if they could frame the photo and hang it on the wall of the new Hub, launched just last week. It’s a perfect fit. Innovative design in a space devoted to innovation.

Zipah tart windmill print -photo by Victor Tawagi

Zipah tart wind turbine print – photo by Victor Tawagi

The Hub is a collaborative co-working office space. Around 15 start ups and pioneering organisations working in the space are settling into the Hub, each contributing in their own way to the ACT’s renewable energy and cleantech sectors. It’s a new initiative of the Government, rolled out as part of its industry development strategy.

Yumi spoke at the launch, attended by more than 100 people, explaining how every year she creates new prints for the collections she launches at FASHFEST—Canberra’s largest red-carpet fashion event. For 2016, Yumi also created fabrics around a photo she took of a sunset from the steps of her home, and a photo she captured early morning at the Balloon Spectacular.

Zilpah tart on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2016 - photo by Andrew Donato

Zilpah tart on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2016 – photo by Andrew Donato

Although Yumi captured the wine turbines for their unique beauty, she also was attracted to the importance they hold in our fight against climate change. Her print is likely the most newsworthy in town.

Yumi Morrissey and Fionna from PeonynPearl collaborated at FASHFEST 2016 - photo by Avon Dissanayake

Yumi Morrissey and Fionna from PeonynPearl collaborated at FASHFEST 2016 – photo by Avon Dissanayake

Get a head start with Victoria’s Models

What pops into your head when someone says ‘model’—tall, size 6, long hair and the ‘it’ look? Think again. LFW met with Victoria and Cindy from Canberra based Victoria’s Models and discovered that modelling is not just about height, weight, and a pout. By Aine Dowling

Victoria's Models at Canberra Wedding Fair, photo by Red Photography

Victoria’s Models at Canberra Wedding Fair, photo by Red Photography

Victoria’s Models is Canberra’s longest established agency. Owner Victoria Schnabl purchased Ink Spot Promotions in 1994, and with her prior experience with another local modelling agency it wasn’t long before Victoria’s Models became a separate entity.  Victoria’s Models now finds models, actors and extras, and voice overs for all media outlets and, chances are, in a TV or newspaper advertisement, you’ve seen Victoria’s Models.

Image from Victoria's Models

Image from Victoria’s Models

Victoria’s Models looks for ‘ordinary’ people—just like you and me in fact. “We’re not looking to launch modelling careers here,” says Victoria, “we’re primarily looking for people we can work with on a regular and ongoing basis for a variety of work here in Canberra. We look for all ages, sizes, heights, weights, ethnic backgrounds etc., and that’s because some people are more suited to commercial work, and others to fashion. The main things we look for are good grooming, excellent presentation, and personality plus—which is really important, and we work with all our new models to help them build confidence, and find the right media outlet for them.”

For the most part the models—which includes everyone who works with the agency regardless of whether or not you’re actually a model—will attend the work by themselves, with juniors accompanied by a parent or guardian. “We’re always very careful where our models go, and we always ensure safety and security for our models,” says Victoria, “especially our juniors who would never be sent somewhere that we didn’t think was safe, so their work could be with Westfield or a large commercial company. The bulk of our work is from our large client base that we’ve built up over time.”

On the catwalk at Westfield, image from Victoria's Models

On the catwalk at Westfield, image from Victoria’s Models

Age is no barrier at Victoria’s Models, with the youngest at three years and the oldest 86 … and still modelling, and the only height restriction is for catwalk models who are generally a minimum of 170cm (approximately 5’ 7”). And, in Canberra, the work is very diverse and requires a wide range of people for advertisements who actually look like real people who would work in their department or store.

Victoria’s Models offer weekend workshops and one week modelling courses, style workshops, staff training, and pamper parties, where a group of young friends can get together and have a team of models and stylists teach you some tricks of the trade. Pamper parties are for older teens and best in groups of 10. They will also help you build a portfolio working with stylists and professional photographers.

Image from Victoria's Models

Image from Victoria’s Models

Victoria’s Models is a great start for young teens (girls and guys) and older people looking to re-enter the workforce after a long break—you can get styling tips, learn what to wear and how to wear it, and get professional help with hair and make-up. And you’ll walk into that next interview or job, or do that next presentation, with confidence and ease.

Contact Victoria’s Models via their website or Facebook page.

It’s in the Bag—Share the Dignity

Give something special to women experiencing hardship this Christmas with It’s in the Bag Christmas Campaign.

It’s in the Bag Christmas Campaign

It’s in the Bag Christmas Campaign

oils and lotions

oils and lotions

Women always put family needs before their own—especially at Christmas—so this year It’s in the Bag Christmas Campaign wants that special woman to feel special. And it’s so simple to participate from now until 3 December.

Cardsnmore at Trove

Cardsnmore at Trove

Grab a handbag or tote you no longer use and fill it with a selection of items that will make her feel special, then drop the bag into Trove in Garema Place before 3 December. If you can’t fill the bag by yourself, get a few a friends or workmates to help out. You can also pop a note or card in the bag to show her someone cares.


Some of the things you can include in the bag are: deodorant/perfume, soap or body wash, shampoo/conditioner, hair accessories, sunscreen, gift voucher, meal voucher, scarf, jewellery, lotions and creams, book or notebook, socks and undies, sanitary items, and aromatherapy oil or candles.

Please do not include food items, pharmaceuticals, or sharp objects in the bag.

The World Rocks at Trove

The World Rocks at Trove

If you can’t get into Trove there are a number of other collection points around Canberra where you can drop your bag.

Aromatherapy candles

Aromatherapy candles

Share the dignity—share and care.

National Convention Centre—the Best of the Best!

It’s always fab to pop a cork and sip on a glass of bubbles while celebrating cool Canberra. And that’s just what guests did at this year’s Canberra Region Tourism Awards.

Tourism is big business and the winners of the 2016 awards are all about bringing people to the capital and, while here, support the local economy. Tourism is a highly competitive and tough industry reserved only for those who are creative, motivated and dedicated—those who excel and operate at best practice.

National Convention Centre Canberra

National Convention Centre Canberra

Some winners of this year’s awards are no surprise. They’ve been making a major mark on the tourism landscape for yonks. Think the Royal Australian Mint (which picked up three awards this year), Questacon, and the National Museum of Australia. It’s wonderful to see some of our unique hotels win on the accommodation side, including the newer East Hotel, Little National Hotel, and the charming Hyatt Hotel Canberra, and we can all be proud of the Canberra Airport for its many accomplishments. Jamala Wildlife Lodge, at the National Zoo and Aquarium, also picked up an award; here you can get up close and personal with giraffes, zebras, monkeys, bears, and big cats!

And, for the third time, the National Convention Centre Canberra picked up the Business Event Venues Award, with more than 215 events, concerts, expos, conferences, meetings, gala dinners and venue experiences during the awards period. Whew. The Centre is home to FASHFEST, with the space being transformed for the red-carpet fashion event by Canberra’s Elite Technology. It’s also home to our beloved Royal Theatre and offers 15 flexible spaces over two floors.

FASHFEST at the National Convention Centre

FASHFEST at the National Convention Centre

Many Canberrans may not be aware of the Centre’s unique points of difference, but it has many in the world of conference centres. All its spaces are pillar free, offering free line of sight. Most are flooded with natural light and generous ceiling heights, providing a sense of openness and connection to the outdoors, instead of the closed-in feeling experienced in so many conference centres. And it’s big enough to host events for thousands, but small enough to be comfortable and easy to manoeuvre.

On the food side, the Centre’s kitchen is headed by Executive Chef, Nikhil Jain, who holds the Chef of the Year title, which he picked up at this year’s Australian Hotel Association National Awards for Excellence.

Canberra International Airport - photo by Ginette Swan

Canberra International Airport – photo by Ginette Snow

The Centre won in part for the quality of and inspiration behind its $5.4million renovation, which includes a major facelift and many improvements to its functionality. Australian timber and the rich colours of autumn, which Canberra enjoys, are front and centre. Most of the work involved local designers and operators, again supporting the local economy. The renovation is much more about making the Centre look pretty, however. “An economic impact study reported that the two-year refurbishment would result in $31.5million in extra economic activity for the ACT over a five-year period,” says General Manager Stephen Wood. “The timing is perfect with the arrival of international flights linking the capital with Singapore and New Zealand.”

The winners now move on to the National Award, to be held in Darwin in February. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for each one of them. The list of winners include:

For a complete list of Canberra winners visit

Tour de Cure

You’ve heard of the Tour de France, now Canberra has the Tour de Cure!

By Wendy Johnson

Wouldn’t it be amazing to live in a world without cancer? Canberra’s Meg Nuttall would do anything to make this happen. Meg lost her father to cancer on 17 October after his terrible battle with prostate, bowel and bone cancer. For 13 long years, Meg and the rest of her family watched helplessly as their father got progressively worse. It was almost too much to bear. Today Meg is fighting for a cure to cancer. “I have two beautiful children, aged 2 and 6. My wish for them is to have a future where cancer is curable,” says Meg.

Tour de Cure 2017 team - Meg (with a photo of her Dad), and Andrew (with a photo of his Mum)

Tour de Cure 2017 team – Meg (with a photo of her Dad), and Andrew (with a photo of his Mum)

Meg will cycle in Tour de Cure 2017, spinning her wheels over 1,270 kilometres, from Mt Hotham to Hobart (24 March to 1 April). A total of 120 riders and 35 support crew are pulling the annual fundraiser together. In addition to raising funds, Tour de Cure raises awareness of this insidious disease that affects so many.

Andrew Gersbach

Andrew Gersbach

Meg will be joined by Andrew Gersbach, from Bywong, whose mum lost her battle against bowel cancer when she was just 44 years of age. “She suffered through many operations and chemo and radiotherapy after her bowel was removed,” says Andrew. “Mum got out of bed for the last time Christmas morning 1994.” Andrew is now training to ride in Tour de Cure 2017. He has partnered in his fundraising efforts with Canberra’s Samantha Taylor, from Studio Vita, who will be the event’s official photographer.

To participate, each rider must raise $12,000 and each support crew member $2,500. Andrew and Samantha are in gear with their fundraising, having pulled together a $30,000 wedding package with donations from 15 Canberra wedding suppliers. They’re selling tickets for the package—which covers everything from ceremony to reception—for $50 a pop.

Meg Nuttall

Meg Nuttall

Meg is also in gear raising funds for her ride, seeking donations online through Tour de Cure. For close to a decade, Tour de Cure has raised more than $25million and funded more than 252 cancer research projects to find a cure for the disease. The money has led to 18 cancer breakthroughs. Funds are also used for projects supporting those suffering with cancer and on prevention education and awareness.

Along the way, Tour de Cure 2017 will donate $10,000 to local cancer projects in each overnight stop. With death rates higher and support for cancer patients lower in regional communities, that money is going where it’s needed most.



You can help Meg, Andrew and Samantha find a cure for cancer by visiting the Tour de Cure Canberra Team Facebook page. The winner of the $30,000 wedding package will be announced in late February.

Photographer Samantha Taylor from Studio Vitae

Photographer Samantha Taylor from Studio Vita

All images by Studio Vita

A Treasure Trove of Art and Fashion!

Trove is a collective of artists, creators, designers and much more, and is celebrating fashion meets art with a free evening of entertainment on Friday 11 November from 7pm.

Dissonance by Red Photography; hair and make-up by Lauren Cataldo

Dissonance by Red Photography; hair and make-up by Lauren Cataldo

Trove made a bold move in May this year when it moved to new premises in the Garema Centre in the city, and expanded its collective to include two local and well-known fashion designers Sovata and Dissonance. Fashion meets Art aims to move beyond a typical shopping or market experience and offers a relaxed and intimate environment for customers, designers, and artists to engage with each other.

Fifth Season Artwork

Fifth Season Artwork

At Fashion meets Art you can meet local artists Fiona Hill, and Jennifer Baird from Fifth Season who will be offering a live painting demonstration, and you can chat with in-house designers Sovata and Dissonance, and three guest designers Karen Lee, Zilpah Tart, and Pure Pod. All five designers have shown collections at FASHFEST, and one of Sovata’s designs won 2016 Melbourne Cup Fashion on the Field at Thoroughbred Park.

Stephanie Kwong in Sovata at Melbourne Cup Fashion on the Field, Thoroughbred Park 2016. Photo by Andrew Campbell. Jewellery by JAC Studio

Stephanie Kwong in Sovata at Melbourne Cup Fashion on the Field, Thoroughbred Park 2016. Photo by Andrew Campbell. Jewellery by JAC Studio

You can relax and watch the fashion parade, and listen to live music by acoustic guitarist David Bath, while enjoying your complimentary wine and cheese, and cross your fingers that you just might go home with a fantastic prize giveaway!

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Andrew Donato

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Andrew Donato

At Trove everything is designed and made in Australia—often in Canberra—so you’re getting a true local product. And Trove isn’t just art and fashion.

Trove collective also includes jewellery, gifts, soft furnishings, children’s clothes and toys, and candles and aromatherapy. So you can do all your Christmas shopping in the one place, and what better to get in early at Fashion meets Art this Friday at Trove.

Karen-Lee at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Holly Williams

Karen-Lee at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Holly Williams

Fashion meets Art: Where—Trove Canberra Cooperative, Garema Centre (upstairs with lift access), Garema Place, Canberra City. When—Friday 11 November 7 – 10pm