Tuesday 11 October 2011

The world’s most expensive salad at the Naked Garden


Hydroponic urban gardening was spectacularly demonstrated by David Domoney’s “Naked Garden”. 

The hydroponically grown lettuces and tomatoes are the ingredients used

to create the world’s most expensive salad, costing $637.

… the plants are incredibly expensive because they are grown hydroponically. They are grown without soil and water and nutrients are sprayed direct to the roots. But also this means that the plants on display are all kept alive right till the point they are put in the salad so this is the freshest green salad you will ever eat. Unfortunately it is also the most expensive as the growing of the plants like this is very labour intensive.

“The plants are ‘in the nude’ as there is no soil and you can see all the roots – they are growing in glass.

I wanted people to be able to see the secret side to plants.”

His idea was to expose the beauty of naked roots and to promote soilless culture.

The transparent garden furniture was well chosen to fit with the clear containers.

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Tuesday 11 October 2011

Flower show garden delivering message on global poverty


What a great innovative way to promote the important work of World Vision!

A world in perfect balance can only be seen in the reflection.

The International children’s charity World Vision UK teamed up with award-winning garden designers Flemons Warland Design to deliver a powerful message on global poverty through their garden at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. A large, reflective pond forms the garden’s centre piece, punctuated by two domes made from turf.

The first dome, above the water, represents children who have access to essentials including food, healthcare and education. The second, inverted dome sinks below the water to represent children who have not.

A world in perfect balance can only be seen in the reflection.

The World Vision Garden is framed by a series of screens, giving visitors different views from every angle. At times the garden is totally obscured, at times partially and only one view allows visitors to see the full reflection. Based on the Japanese concept of ‘ma’, the spaces between the shapes and surfaces are just as important as the physical elements of the garden.

John Warland, of FlemonsWarlandDesign, said:  “The idea for the World Vision Garden developed quickly and reflects the influence artists like Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Richard Wilson have had on my work.

“In these relatively austere times in the UK, it is easy to become introspective and focus on preserving one’s own assets and lifestyle. But everything in life is relative, especially when compared to the millions of children who are living in poverty.”

Justin Byworth, Chief Executive of World Vision UK, said: “World Vision believes the way to change a child’s life is to change the world in which they live, which is why we work closely with communities to achieve sustainable development. I hope that visitors to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will be interested in finding out more about our work, including how families are learning improved gardening and growing techniques to feed themselves, and how they can offer a child in the developing world a chance to grow to their full potential.”

{Images via Telegraph; text source: Royal Horticultural Society}

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Monday 10 October 2011

One Day


I laughed and cried watching the film, One Day.

And lusted after the stunning apartments!

There’s some stunning interiors created by production designer Mark Tildesley.

The film depicts the friendship and love between Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew through scenes from one day, July 15th, of each year for twenty years.  Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess)  meet on the night of their college graduation – July 15th, 1988 and begin a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Emma is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. Dexter is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two decades, every July 15th reveals to us how “Em” and “Dex” are faring, as their friendship ebbs and flows with the passing of the years. Through laughter and romance, heartbreak and exhilaration, they experience the grandeur of life. Somewhere along their journey, these two people realize that what they are searching and hoping for has been there for them all along.

St. Swithin’s Day :: The ‘One Day’ of the book, the film, and Dexter and Emma’s love and lives is July 15th, which is also the date of St. Swithin’s Day.  In British folklore, there is a rhyme that reads:

St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain For forty days it will remain St Swithin’s day if thou be fair

For forty days ’twill rain no more 

The feast day of St. Swithin (sometimes written as St. Swithun) falls every year on July 15th. Legend has it that if it rains on that day, then it will rain every day for forty days; and that if the sun shines on that day, then the weather will be beautiful for forty days.

The legend is rooted in a real man; St. Swithin himself was an Anglo-Saxon Bishop at Winchester Cathedral in the ninth century AD. Although tradition dictated his being buried inside Winchester Cathedral, he was a humble man; on his deathbed, he asked if he could be buried in the churchyard so that the rain could fall on him and so that people could walk close to him. Although his wishes were initially respected, nine years after his death the body was moved to a shrine within the Cathedral. His displeasure was registered when a massive storm broke and continued for forty days. The legend began, and endures to this day.

Adapted from the internationally praised and bestselling novel, One Day by David Nicholls. The film is directed by Lone Scherfig. It stars Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Tom Mison.

Actress Anne Hathaway said she was clandestinely given the script as the film was set in the United Kingdom and director Scherfig wasn’t looking for any American actresses for the part. Hathaway flew to London for a meeting with Scherfig to explain why she should get the part.

Hathaway later said it was “the worst meeting of my life… I was just inarticulate”, but on leaving Hathaway wrote out a list of songs for Scherfig to listen, saying, “I clearly didn’t communicate to you what I needed to today. But I think these songs can do it for me.” Scherfig did listen to them, which led to Hathaway getting the part.

Production ::  Filming took place on location in  Scotland, England  and France.  In Edinburgh, the city where Dexter and Emma first meet, features various landmark locations, including Arthur’s Seat, were used. Production moved to London. Parliament Hill Lido in north London was used for scenes in which Emma, of varying ages, swims. Filming took place inside a house in Granville Road in Stroud Green for scenes involving Jim Sturgess and Romola Garai. Westminster Cathedral was used for a wedding sequence.

In France, filming took place at the Palais Royal, for a tête-a-tête between Dexter and his mother; at the venerable Gare du Nord, arguably the busiest train station in Paris; and up and down the Canal Saint Martin, among other locations depicting two different years in the story.  Filming in France took place in Dinard, a town close by to St. Malo, along the Brittany coast. The picturesque French town provided the locations of harbor exteriors and a shimmering seawater pool, as well as the beach La Guimorais. Given the book’s setting for Dex and Em’s holiday scenes is Greece,  a seaside club was turned into the Cafe Paradis, designed to ape Greek themes.

About the Production {excerpt below from hello bristol}

Falling in Love with a Love Story 

“It is a love story”, affirms David Nicholls, the author of the internationally praised bestselling 2009 novel One Day and also the screenwriter of the 2011 movie adaptation One Day. “It’s also about friendship and family, nostalgia and regret, and the way that our hopes and dreams don’t quite come true – at least, not in the way that we’re expecting them to. There is a bittersweet quality to it. I wanted to write an old-fashioned – I suppose it is that - romance showing the ups and downs of a relationship over a long period of time. 

Nicholls spent two years working on the novel. “I was writing other things alongside it, he notes. “Also, it required a lot of planning beforehand, like a jigsaw puzzle; planting seeds in one year of the story that turned into plot points in another. I had to work out what was going to happen on the many July 15ths. I didn’t write One Day as a screenplay in disguise but I love writing dialogue and fiction, so perhaps inevitably there was a filmic quality.

“Writing One Day was a real pleasure.

I wrote the first half and then took a break from it for about six months;

then went back to revise the first half and carried on to the second half. 

Film producer Nina Jacobson, well-versed in recognizing books’ potential as movies and shepherding them to the screen, was struck by how much One Day affected her as she read it. She says, “I fell in love with the characters. The story is very universal. These characters, Emma and Dexter, and their journey truly speak to the way in which you transform after graduating from college and living your life; who you are then, and who you are twenty years later.

“It takes us time to grow up and until we do, we can’t necessarily be with the person we’re meant to be with. That time is necessary, yet it’s also something you can’t get back. So there is a wistful tone to the story.”

Lone was our first choice for the movie, says the producer. As it happens, notes Scherfig, Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway had read the script. She liked Emma so much that she flew to London to talk to me and tell me why she should have the part! Anne shares Emma’s humor and strength. She is a highly experienced actress who lends huge warmth and fragility to the part, more than anyone else I can imagine.  Hathaway muses,

If you’re lucky, you can find a story that really moves you.

If you’re lucky, you can find a character who speaks to you.

With One Day, I found both. 

Scherfig describes Emma as “witty, insecure, hard-working, and bookish. There’s always the question that we and she are asking; is Dexter too privileged for her, is he too self-assured? With her vast range as a performer, Anne captures those doubts but also all of Emma’s more tenacious qualities – and her ability to see through Dexter’s façades.

By the time the movie One Day began filming, the novel One Day was already a bestseller around the world. It had been sold for publication in 31 different languages – a rarely reached benchmark for a book these days – and would go to 1 on the bestseller lists in the U.K., Italy, and Sweden; 2 on Germany’s; and 3 on Russia’s.

When the book was first published in June 2009 in the U.K. by Hodder & Stoughton, David Nicholls’ novel was heartily embraced by reviewers and the public. Becoming a must-read, it hit 1 first on the hardcover and later on the paperback Sunday Times bestseller charts. The novel won the Galaxy National Book Award for Popular Fiction Book of the Year. Over 400,000 copies have been sold in the U.K.

One Day was published in the U.S. as a trade paperback original in June 2010 by Vintage Books, an imprint of Random House, Inc.’s Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Word of mouth had already spread across the pond, and the novel commenced a 12-week stint on The New York Times Trade Paperback Fiction Bestseller list, rising to the 4 position. There currently are 600,000 copies in print of the Vintage paperback and e-book editions.  Rave reviews accrued through year’s end, as The New York Times Book Review named the novel among the 100 Notable Books of 2010; Entertainment Weekly named it one of  ’The [10] Best Fiction [Books] of the Year’, with Henry Goldblatt citing it as ‘a luscious, beautiful, and ultimately devastating portrait of two soul mates’; and the book also made best-of lists from Barnes & Noble and Amazon, among others.

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Saturday 8 October 2011

Boheme Beauty :: Helena Christensen


I’m a little bit in love with Helena Christensen’s style and her brick Greenwich Village New York abode featured in The Shelby Is In Your Place by Todd Shelby.

 The Danish beauty fills her house with ’treasures’ she finds herself,

amounting to a beautiful collection of 19th century portraits, coral displays, antique dolls,

a dress mannequin and gorgeous vintage clothing all displayed casually around the house.

Images are from ‘The Shelby is in Your Place‘ via Dans Mon Boudoir blog.

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Saturday 8 October 2011

some writers festival takeaways


I discovered some new authors at the Brisbane Writers Festival, as well as feeling concerned about the impact of the digital revolution on the delivery of quality journalism. I have been meaning to post this for ages!

Favourite sessions were local authours ~ Nick Earls (who is laugh out loud funny) and Kate Morton as well as scientist Bryan Gaensler at the Everything and Nothing session. And the two sessions that left a lasting impression were…

Almost Ordinary Stories: There is nothing extraordinary about a sex scandal, couples having perfect babies or the streets of India…unless, of course, the story is written by Rachel DeWoskin {Big Girl Small}Mridula Koshy {If It Is Sweet} or Tim Richards {Thought Crimes}. These writers discuss turning ordinary stories into evocative and thought provoking tales.

Beautiful writing – this was the common thread of each author, who read passages from their books and shared tales of life.  I now have all three books on my reading list!

However, it was Rachel DeWoskin, the author of Big Girl Small who intrigued me. She is an American and the daughter of a Sinology professor, who majored in English and studied Chinese at Columbia University in New York City.

She went to Beijing in 1994 to work as a public-relations consultant and later starred in a Chinese nighttime soap opera, the hugely successful Foreign Babes in Beijing, which was watched by approximately 600 million viewers. DeWoskin played the character of Jiexi. As the Reuters news agency noted, the show was a “sort of Chinese counterpart to Sex and the City revolving around Chinese-Western culture clashes.” At the time, she was one of the few foreign actresses working in mainland China and was considered a sex symbol. Read more here.

DeWoskin returned to the United States in 1999 where she began graduate work in poetry at Boston University. In 2005, W.W. Norton published her memoir of her time spent in China, Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China.

Mridula Susan Koshy is an Indian writer. She lives in New Delhi with her partner and three children. She is the author of a collection of short stories If It Is Sweet, which are poetically, sensually and powerfully written.

The Digital Revolution: Who Pays? Deriving an income from the online distribution of books, blogs, news and more remains elusive. Henry Rosenbloom, Jeff Sparrow and Sophie Cunningham discuss the opportunities and challenges of doing business on the net.

This session highlighted the challenge faced by writers and authors in a changing literary world of the internet. And when the thread is followed, the quality and ethics of journalism unravels.

The Huffington Post was sited as an example of the complex environment. Here is the story: The Huffington Post is an American news website and content aggregating blog co-founded by Arianna Huffington. It was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and alternative to news websites like the Drudge Report. The site offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy, and has news, blogs, and original content. In 2008, the site launched its first local version,  HuffPost Chicago; followed by HuffPost New York, Denver and Los Angeles in 2009. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. The Huffington Post launched its first international edition, HuffPost Canada, followed by the Huffington Post UK in 2011. On February 7, 2011, AOL acquired The Huffington Post for US$315 million. 

This excerpt from WebProNews identifies the complexities of producing web content.

The Huffington Post has taken a lot of criticism since the announcement of its acquisition by AOL. Much of this has been more aimed at Google as part of the whole content farm debate (though nobody is really saying the quality of Huffington Post’s content is as poor as some known content farms). It’s more about search results being saturated by content from a handful of companies.

But some of the criticism has been geared directly at The Huffington Post. For example, as we mentioned in a previous article, LA Times columnist Tim Rutten recently wrote:

To grasp the Huffington Post’s business model, picture a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates. The media-saturated environment in which we live has been called “the information age” when, in fact, it’s the data age. Information is data arranged in an intelligible order. Journalism is information collected and analyzed in ways people actually can use. Though AOL and the Huffington Post claim to have staked their future on giving visitors to their sites online journalism, what they actually provide is “content,” which is what journalism becomes when it’s adulterated into a mere commodity.” 

Huffington Post political reporter Jason Linkins doesn’t like what he’s hearing, and has written a lenghty post defending the HuffPost’s practices, saying essentially that such criticism is coming from people that don’t know what they’re talking about (granted, he did not name anyone specific). In the post, he says:

It’s often written: “HuffPost does not pay its writers.” I assure you, they do! Somehow, I always seem to have money for food and shelter and stuff. That’s because I am an employee of The Huffington Post.

And there’s this article from AJR: Why high-profile journalists are leaving prestigious news outlets like the New York Times to join The Huffington Post. Posted: Tue, April 5, 2011. Here’s part of the story…

Huffington, who launched the site in 2005 and now oversees all of AOL’s media properties following that company’s $315 million acquisition of The Huffington Post in March, says the heightened emphasis on original reporting doesn’t mean abandoning the past. Huffington says the site had 148 journalists on payroll prior to the merger and is in the process of hiring dozens more, even as aggregation and blogging remain key parts of the site’s operation. “I really want to have everything. I don’t want us to move away from curation, aggregation or blogging,” she says. “I want what we’re doing to be additive, not subtracting.”

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Saturday 8 October 2011

the star :: Black Caviar


Black Caviar + Salmon + Polka dots =

the pin-up girl of world racing who puts on breathtaking displays of speed.

She is an iconic Carousel Girl.

    On a river that turned to gold ~ the story of Black Caviar’s owners

    The Black Caviar story began on a houseboat in Echuca. Each February, for as long as any of them can remember, long-time friends Colin and Jannene Madden, Gary and Kerryn Wilkie and Neil Werrett have hired a houseboat at Echuca. The five families, who go back as far as kindergarten, have gathered for an annual water-skiing trip. The tradition of enjoying summer at the popular town on the Murray River gained momentum each year as the families expanded.

    The 2007 trip by the group, , was no different to any other, besides Sydney-based businessman Werrett’s insistence that the group “get organised” and buy a racehorse. ”Neil thought it would be great if we all raced one together — as much as an excuse to have lunch,” Gary Wilkie said.

    On the same annual houseboat holiday the following February, Werrett’s original idea had become a firm commitment. So they put Caulfield trainer Peter Moody on the case and after a time, Moody discovered the horse. And within weeks, the commitment had a price tag and a pedigree, but not a name.

    Part-owners David and Jill Taylor (both far left), Gary (with trophy) and Kerry Wilkie (far right), with trainer Peter Moody (centre) and jockey Luke Nolen after Black Caviar’s.

    He called businessman Neil Werrett with the news. ”Peter rang and missed Neil but I took the call and he explained that he’d found a filly that would suit our needs,” Gary Wilkie recalled. ”And I can still remember how really upbeat he was about a yearling by Bel Esprit that was being offered at the Melbourne sales … I could tell from Peter’s voice that he was pretty keen on this filly.”

    Moody said: ”Honestly, she was a cracking yearling. She just grabbed me the moment I saw her and I identified in her everything you want for a racehorse of the future. ”I was aware that $210,000 was a lot to pay but she was related to Magnus who I trained and at the time of the sale was going so well so this really balanced it up.”

    Hours later and the water-skiing families had bought themselves a well-grown filly. ”Some of us have had horses before and we’re never under any illusions that while you can get a good horse there’s plenty of chances you’ll get a slow one and there’s nothing worse than paying up for an ordinary galloper,” Wilkie said. ”But we had confidence in Peter and I think by having the five families involved it has just strengthened our friendship.”

    Pam Hawkes, a Mornington Peninsula spud farmer (and Jannene Madden’s sister) came on board and named the filly. Hawkes had a penchant for black caviar and other seafood. The Bel Esprit filly’s grandmother was Scandinavia.

    “Helsinge, the name of Black Caviar’s mother, was in Scandinavia

    and that’s where the salmon live.”

    Wilkie’s daughter came up with the colours — salmon with black spots (caviar).

    David Taylor, a Melbourne real estate agent, was invited to join the group by Wilkie, a mate. ”I’m the lucky guy who got the call,” Taylor said. Taylor faced a major hurdle — his wife.  He said: “Jill wouldn’t have a bar of it — ‘You’re not buying a stupid bloody racehorse’, she said. She refused to do the bank transaction into Gary’s account, so I had to sneak around to the bank and do it myself. Now my horse is my wife’s horse.”

    Taylor’s wife’s horse is now Australia’s horse. Soon, the world may lay claim to Black Caviar. Black Caviar, with those flag-fluttering fans, who form queues to have cards signed by her trainer, is the Sunline and Makybe Diva of her time. Her owners and their friends and family have become a logistics-challenging, race-day army of about 60. Each owner uses the same sentiment to describe the journey.

    Wilkie says: “You can’t imagine it. It’s a little surreal. You see the way she affects people, this animal we have equity in, and you just think, ‘How lucky am I’?”

    Hawkes: “Besides my husband and children, Black Caviar is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is a dream come true to have this beautiful horse.”

    Werrett: “Every owner in this horse feels as much pressure. One emailed me the other day at 5am and said, ‘I can’t sleep’. On race day, I’m a nervous wreck. There is more and more pressure every time she wins a race. I want that pressure to continue.”

    Colin Madden, a lawyer, said Black Caviar initially appealed to him not because of who she was but because of the AFL team she was linked to. Madden is a Bombers fan. Black Caviar’s sire is part-owned by Kevin Sheedy. ”I know bugger all about horses, but I’ll hop into anything involved with Essendon,” he said.

    “It’s so remarkable, it’s almost absurd. There has been a dynamic

    I’ve never understood, the way people have warmed to her. She is re-defining our lives.”

    {Images and source: ABC and Herald Sun}

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    Friday 7 October 2011

    You Never Know When


    Quirky, original and entertaining… and I like the song by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

    ~ may be you meet someone lovely today!

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    Thursday 6 October 2011

    Steve Jobs :: form + function = iLegend


    The Apple homepage spoke volumes in its simplicity, their tribute as minimal as could be, befitting the man.

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    Thursday 6 October 2011

    Steve Jobs ~ think different


    In memory of Steve Jobs, the value of vision and standing out from the crowd.

    I honour his legacy with reverence and humour.


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    Thursday 6 October 2011

    Vale Steve Jobs :: the creator of iEverything


    I am an Apple girl! I’m feeling sad at the  untimely passing of Steve Jobs,

    a guy that literally changed the world! I honour his legacy.

    Stay hungry, stay foolish.

    Jobs’ story is the ultimate underdog story… Here’s a guy who was adopted out by his biological parents, started his career based on his interests and literally took over the world. According to Wikipedia,“Jobs is listed as either primary inventor or co-inventor in 338 US patents or patent applications related to a range of technologies from actual computer and portable devices to user interfaces (including touch-based), speakers, keyboards, power adapters, staircases, clasps, sleeves, lanyards and packages.”

    Watch Jobs’ amazing speech to a group of Stanford University students in 2005.

    It’s tough to think of someone who has so dramatically changed our lives for the better… here is the man behind the Apple conglomerate, a company that has evolved and grown to be the most powerful company in the USA. The company that brought us the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad…

    Thankfully, Jobs didn’t just stick to computers per se… In 1986, he bought Pixar and worked with Disney to turn the animated film genre on its head… Over the years, this company has given Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles to the world.

    Jobs’ legacy will live on… for every iPod, iPad, iPhone , iEverything in the world, there is the memory of Steve Jobs… the coolest nerd to ever grace our planet.

    {Text source: The Bunch}

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