How I started a Movement ❤️🚜🇦🇺

B R O W S • F O R • B A L E S

A call out to Australian Brow and Beauty Professionals to help our Farmers in Crisis.

It was early July 2018 and I was scrolling through my regular social media pages when a photograph caught my eye. It was a dramatic aerial shot showing a convoy of semi-trailers as far as the eye could see. It was evening and they all had their headlights on as they were driving on a long dirt road and appeared to be on a mission to attend something. As my grandparents were from the rural NSW agricultural township of Gunnedah, home of AgQuip – one of the World’s largest Primary Industry Field Days – I initially thought it was an advertisement for some kind of Truck Expo or other Rural Farming Convention of some kind.

On closer inspection, I read that the caption was actually expressing how rural Australia was being affected by “Australia’s worst drought in living memory”  and was calling for volunteers to assist in the transportation of hay bales and grocery items to farmers in what appeared to be hard to reach areas. They were expressing how fuel was expensive and they could use some helping hands in any way possible. They needed volunteers and donations.

At this stage I (and I believe many others) had no idea just how dire the circumstances were becoming for many of our rural areas and the farming communities that rely so heavily on the produce from the Land. AUSTRALIA IS IN DROUGHT.

I live and work in the city so there is a lack of comprehension of just how devastating life has become for many farming communities. There’s a drought? Really? Apparently it has been going on for quite some time but we are not aware or remotely concerned about what happens outside our city walls.

Watching one particular new article on TV reporting the desperation of some farming families who were resigned to eating out of cans so they could retain enough money to feed their remaining livestock, I was ruined. The tears streaming down my face as these brave souls broke down in front of the cameras recounting their stories. Never asking for help and never giving up. These farms were their livelihood and their life. I really had to do something. Now! That night I sprang into action.

I attempted to find the initial photograph that I saw on social media – but to no avail. So I began searching for ways in which to donate to one of the Rural Aid organisations. I couldn’t remember who it was that had posted that picture but I happened across an organisation called Buy a Bale. Hmm … “Buy-a-Bale”. Now I’m a sucker for good puns, clever rhymes and punchy alliteration. So coming from a background in Commercial Art, I was drawn to this one. I read their website http://www.buyabale.com.au and decided this was the one I was going to donate my money to. I spent what I could afford but it felt like it would not be enough.

My mission was to find a way to make this fit into MY world of Eyebrows? Then an idea hit me: 💡 BROWS FOR BALES. Hashtags were born #Brows4Bales and #BrowsForBales I was now going to save the Farmers with the help of my New Brow Friends … but I needed to broaden the scope.

Beauty Salons encompass not only brows and body treatments but nails, tanning and many other service. So I called on Brow and Beauty Professionals to donate a portion of their services to help the cause – #Beauty4Bales and #BeautyForBales were added. #NailsForBales was created and asked to joined my campaign.

It is amazing how many salons responded to my call and were willing to jump on board with my cause. All they needed was a little push. As news of “Australia’s worst drought in living memory” became more frequent and awareness was growing, I began to notice more and more salons using the hashtags and creating their own memes calling their clientele and local salons into action.

My focus was primarily Brows and Beauty Professionals as I am well aware that hairdressers are continuously donating to cancer charities. However, interest was coming in thick from Nail Salons, Barbershops, Hairdressers, Tanning Salons and even a Beauty Product Distribution Company. To my delight people were recognising that this was important and Salons wanted to get involved.

These wonderful people, who were now actively involved deserved acknowledgement, so I created the Facebook page Brows for Bales. This was to be a place that would showcase all the wonderful generosity and somewhere that I could thank participants, bring awareness of our tremendous work to the active and relevant charity organisations and hopefully encourage more involvement. Rural Aid  and Buy-a-Bale  acknowledged our contributions and thanked us in a blog post on their website. Validation was now set.

By this time a number of participating salons were now posting about their charitable achievements and donations to the suggested organisations – like The Farmy Army  and Buy-a-Bale  and Drought Angels. It was about this time that the TV Stations began to advertise celebrity concerts and charity telethon appeals etc. The general public was now swept up by the reach and influence of their favourite television celebrities.

By November, Television was now patting itself on the back letting us know how much money they had procured in pledges. It would seem that viewers were satisfied that they had done enough by tuning in. We had felt a few drops of rain in our concrete jungle so the “Worst drought in Australian history” must be over.

During the Christmas period of 2018, whilst visiting the rural town where my family resides, it was bought to my attention that The Land magazine had reported that my chosen “lead” charity had gone into liquidation. How could this be? Now I was suddenly feeling foolish and embarrassed that all my many restless nights trying to rally my professional community was (now) all for nought. Hours of work trying to convince my city-based peers to refocus from their “first world problems” and understand that the reason that their fresh produce was becoming more expensive and less abundant was because … well … there was none. How does this even make sense that a Rural Aid charity – who was helping so many unfortunate Australians – would “go under”? So many struggling farming communities still needed their help.

It has since been confirmed that this was not actually the case and that all charitable donations have been allocated to their appropriate designations. Thankfully and to much emotional relief, Landcare Victoria Incorporated (LVI) published an article  stating that the Rural Aid Charity Buy a Bale campaign continues!

“ Rural Aid has confirmed that the charity’s drought relief campaign ‘Buy a Bale’ continues and since 30 August 2018 has delivered over 20,000 tonnes of hay to drought affected farmers. The website is still live, the donation bank details etc. are correct, so donors are still able to access and use the site. Landcare Groups and staff can therefore continue to confidently promote the Buy a Bale campaign to members and the public.

PKF has clarified that it is The Give Back Campaign that is being liquidated, not the Rural Aid Charity’s drought relief campaign Buy a Bale. We have been informed that PKF is in the process of arranging the sale of The Give Back Campaign’s assets. The Buy a Bale website domain (www.buyabale.com.au) is owned by Rural Aid (as of January 2019) “

Now in March 2019, Australia is still in recovery from this devastating drought and not all farms were able to survive. Many farming communities are still struggling to make ends meet. Donations are ALWAYS welcome. Despite the misreporting regarding the demise of Buy a Bale, please rest assured that any charitable donations made to this Rural Aid organisation will go to its rightfully intended place.

My sole purpose in all of this was to bring awareness and hopefully call generous and active community members into action and to donate. I do believe that my peers in the Professional Brow and Beauty Industry managed to collectively accumulate a tremendous amount of funds to help save the farmers and for that I am extremely proud and eternally grateful.

As a final note to all the Brow and Beauty Professionals who participated in my BROWS FOR BALES  campaign in 2018, I would like to convey my utmost thanks and respect. Thank you all for donating. Thank you all for encouraging your clients and fellow Salons to get involved to help save our farmers. Wow! What an amazing few months. The sense of community pulling together in this difficult time was immense, with pledges and committed involvement as far afield as Perth in Western Australia to Mackay in Far North Queensland to Geelong south of Melbourne as well as many rural towns and cities in between. Every dollar counts and every little piece of help is greatly appreciated. Just know that you have saved lives and added to the longevity of our National Food Pool. I am so proud of you, your contributions and participation. Thank you all so very much.

Thank you also to Buy a Bale for allowing us appropriate their logo for our campaign. It should also be noted that BrowGuy and Brows for Bales is in no way aligned or affiliated with Rural Aid or their Buy a Bale subsidiary.

Everybody say L♡VE

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T H E A T R E 🎭 N I G H T

” SHE LOVES ME “

You’ve got mail:

#DearFriend I just watched this sublime romantic comedy in an excellent production which whisked me away to a whole other time in Musical Theatre.

Based on the original Hungarian Play “Illatszertár” translated to “Parfumerie”, It’s a burgeoning love story fuelled by miscommunication and social etiquettes of the time and all centred around the employees of a successful Cosmetics Boutique.

The entire production was just so perfectly orchestrated from the Players’ body posturing and singing style to some very clever and hilarious choreography and superbly nuanced performances.

These are seasoned performers. Every individual character appears fully fleshed out and totally watchable in their own right. So good infact I didn’t know where to look at times.

This was a rollicking ride from start to end. I left the theatre feeling like I had just watched an old Hollywood Matinee Movie.

#ThankYouMadam

 

Booking info at: https://hayestheatre.com.au @HayesTheatre @SheLovesMeAU #HayesTheatre #MusicalTheatre #SheLovesMe #SheLovesMeAU

This is a glorious production. You must go and see it.

Ssh! The show is about to start. 🥂

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R O A D 🦍 T R I P P I N ‘

Whenever I’m out on the road and there is a local zoo nearby, I always try to stop in to enjoy the animals that I would never get the chance to see in my everyday life.

Mogo Zoo is a fantastic testament to the incredible work towards the preservation of endangered and exotic animals, through their World Class breeding programs. This fabulous little independently owned zoo proudly boasts the largest collection of primates in Australia. 🐒 So I felt right at home amongst the camera-shy Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys and the cheeky and playful Cotton-top Tamarins.

The Silvery Gibbons put on a hilarious show at feeding time. While the big cats like Sumatran Tigers, Cheetah, Snow Leopard and a variety of Lions lounged in tree shade right next door to Giraffes, Zebra and Fallow Deer.

Centrepiece to the grounds were the Magestic Gorillas. Awesome and intimidating at the same time. These guys are huge!

Visited by the likes of Steve Irwin, Zac Efron, Oprah … and now ME, if you’re ever down in the South Coast’s Eurobodalla region of NSW, it is definitely worth your while to spend a few hours wandering the grounds at Mogo Zoo.

It’s a Pluckin’ good time!

🐒🦏🐆🦓🦒🐅🦍🦊🦁🐵🦆

@Mogozoo #MogoZoo #IGoApe #ZooLife #MonkeyBusiness @eurobodalla #eurobodalla #OprahWasHere #Oprah #SteveIrwin #ZacEfron

 

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Original Vegemite v. Vegemite Blend 17

HAVE YOU TRIED IT? WHAT DO YOU THINK? COMMENT BELOW👇🏼

… MEANWHILE READ MY REVIEW

Vegemite is a thick, black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. It was developed by Cyril Percy Callister in Melbourne, Victoria in 1922.” –  Wikipedia

“Vegemite was invented in Melbourne in 1922 when Australian food manufacturer Fred Walker asked chemist CP Callister to create a product similar to British Marmite. … As overseas travel increased, Vegemite was carried around the world by Australians as a way to reaffirm their connection to home.” –  Vegemite | National Museum of Australia

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Image via the Web

It is a vegetarian yeast extract breakfast spread made from barley and wheat and salt, packed with the goodness of folate, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. It doesn’t sound too appealing. It’s a black sticky paste so it doesn’t look too appealing either. Infact the taste can be so polarising that people either love it or are disgusted by it’s unique salty flavour. Most Australians would be familiar with the popular TV jingle: “We’re happy little Vegemites as bright as bright can be. We all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast lunch and tea” … and so it goes.

Many of us ‘true-blue, fair-dinkum, ridgy-didge, dinky-die Aussie kids would have grown up with Vegemite as a staple on the breakfast table. Some may even joke that they were weened on the black, sticky tar-like substance.

Primarily it is used as a breakfast spread, usually on top of buttered toast or on bread in a sandwich or on crackers such as Arnott’s SAO biscuits. It has also been entrenched into Australian kitchens as a dependable cooking ingredient in a variety of applications. It is often used to enrich casseroles, soups and gravies. It is a regular favourite as a quick midnight snack or cure for a hangover in the form of grilled cheese and Vegemite on toast. More recently people are enjoying it on sourdough toast topped with scrambled eggs or smashed avocado. The latter has become a new brunch favourite in Inner-City cafes for many Inner-City Hipsters.

In 2017, the Vegemite brand (No longer owned by Kraft but now owned by Australian company Bega Cheese) has released a new version of its Aussie breakfast classic. They call it “Blend 17.

So, as I have personally considered myself an aficionado of Vegemite in all its various forms since I was very young, I thought I would put the new blend to the test. Here are my observations:

The new Special Edition jar is presented not in the familiar yellow and red label but rather a smaller version in a rather sleek black and silver box and label, making it look like more of a top shelf product. This is a very clever retail marketing device used across most industries.

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Image via the Web.

Once opened, the colouring of the actual product is identical to its predecessor as a sticky black paste. Although I must say that the existing jar of original formula that resides in my refrigerator had a slightly glossier appearance. The aroma was subtle. This was a newly opened jar so the ingredients would not have contacted oxygen since the time of packaging.

Dipping my knife into the jar, the very first thing I noticed was that the new Blend 17 had a slightly softer, more creamier texture. My knife sunk deeply into the jar of product without any effort before spreading evenly and smoothly across the toast. I was taken by surprise because I’m not used to such spreadability from the older standard.

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Image via the Web.

Now for the important stuff: The Taste. On my first bite I wasn’t so sure if it actually had a new flavour. I couldn’t quite tell if I could actually taste the classic familiar Vegemite nuances at all. It was not immediate. It’s in there somewhere. I know it is. Just give it time. A few more chews and … Success! The aroma started to weave its way up through my nasal passages. I discovered that the new product has potentially lost the classic immediate sensorial aroma. The flavour is a lot smoother and less defined. Hardly noticeable at first but with a slow development. It was definitely sweeter but not nearly as sweet as a similar product, such as Promite (which I also love, by the way).

A few more chews and it hit me. Ah! There is that familiar salty sensation that I recognise. The more I chewed, the sharper that special tingling sensation on my tongue became. This lead me to think that the new blend is actually more salty than the original product. It would appear on first exposure an interesting and more subtle Vegemite flavour but with a sharper bite of saltiness which tended to linger on the tip of my tongue after I’d finished consuming my toast.

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Image via the Web

Points of comparison:

1. New Vegemite Blend 17 is smoother in texture and has an easier application than the original Vegemite – the “OGV”.

2. The new Blend 17 has a more subtle flavour; a sweetness and definitely less impact then the original Vegemite which has a full bodied edamame sensation that you experience all over your tongue. The original has a deep richness at the back of your palate which permeates up through your nasal passages.

3. The saltiness of the new Blend 17 left a lingering, extremely sharp salty sensation at the tip of my tongue whereas the original Vegemite spread left my mouth with the sensation of a reasonable amount of saltiness to the sides and a little salty tingle at the tongue’s tip.

4. As Vegemite is traditionally spread on top a secondary, lubricating spread such as butter or margarine, this time I chose to spread my toast first with margarine. When I tried the new subtly flavoured Blend 17, I could not taste the extra product sandwiched between the toast and the spread. However when comparing to the original Vegemite product, I could taste everything – absolutely everything that I had in my mouth. I found this rather peculiar. Especially as I would have imagined the strength of flavour from the original to overpower any other additives. On the contrary, it enhanced the presence of the additional spread.

…but wait!

While I was pondering the fact that these products were packaged so differently yet tasted almost identical, it got me wondering just what was the purpose of having two? So I headed to the packaging itself. To my utter astonishment I discovered that the nutritional information was exactly the same. I checked the ingredients and again EXACTLY THE SAME! So not necessarily saltier or sweeter at all.

Could I have been deceived? Has some clever marketing genius succeeded in influencing my taste buds in such a way that I subconsciously believe that I have been consuming a different product altogether when in actual fact it was the same thing all along? Surely not. There were some physical attributes that I had found were distinctly different. Like the spreadability for example. The ingredients were the same and the nutritional information was exactly the same so perhaps it was all just whipped in a different way.

Vegemite say in their advertising that their new Blend 17 is “Richer and Bolder”. However in an attempt to procure more information as to why it may or may not differ in taste to the original blend, they do not appear to be responding (at this point in time) to any enquiries that I have made either through email or Social Media. So I guess we are left to make up our own reasoning as to why this new product exists and if indeed it was inevitably, just a worthwhile marketing exercise.

In conclusion I can’t say that the new Vegemite Blend 17 will be a stayer on the shelves of Australian supermarkets due to it being not that far removed from the original Vegemite experience. Although much like the previously controversial isnack 2.0 /  Vegemite Cheeseybite spread, it is in Limited release. However I will say that the new Blend 17 may be a gentler, more palatable introduction to the product for our International Visitors or even those folks who might be a little hesitant to try Vegemite for the first time. It may ultimately be more palatable for an export market … but that is only my layman’s opinion.

There is nothing decidedly wrong with the new product but my own personal preference is with the OGV – the original Vegemite. “We all adore our (original) Vegemite. It puts a rose in every cheek.”

Try it for yourself and place your comments below.

#Vegemite #VegemiteBlend17 #SAO

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We are in XANADU

KUBLA KHAN
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment. 

 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round;

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;

And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;

Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:

It was an Abyssinian maid

And on her dulcimer she played,

Singing of Mount Abora.

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight ’twould win me,

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

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Ascerbic? Possibly – Opinionated? Probably – Passionate? Always