It amazes me that in my near-30 year career of obsessing over musicals, that last night was the first time I'd seen Mama Mia on stage.

This is the one affectionately referred to by fans as "the ABBA Musical" (or the movie musical that Pierce Brosnan would rather forget). But the super-group's own Beni & Bjorn didn't write the story of the band, instead this fun-fest is set in the Greek Islands and surprisingly perfectly: is populated only with songs recorded & released by ABBA.

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Five Things Your Mum Actually Wants to receive this Mother's Day

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m sure your mum just loved the pasta craft you made for her in pre-primary.  You know the kind: cardboard cut in the shape of a heart, with pieces of dry macaroni glued to it and finished with a coat of gold spray-paint.  Lovely.  And it doubles as a Christmas tree decoration.  But let’s face it, there’s not much more Mum can use that craft for than staring at and celebrating your developmental milestones. 


To save you from a last-minute spend-a-thon the week of Mother’s Day, or from being an adult who spends their time gluing pasta to old cereal boxes, I’ve called in all the people, businesses and products I love best, to build a list of truly pampering, truly thoughtful – and most importantly ACTUALLY useful gifts that I’m certain any mum would love to get her hands on. 

And guess what?!  I’ve even managed to score some super special offers for you to get maximum value for Mum in the lead up to Mother’s Day.  Excited?  You should be 😉

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Go Shorty, it's Your Birthday

It’s my birthday. So I’m exercising my right to be a tad reflective.  

I chose today to take a time out from all the career and business-related work I’ve been doing behind the scenes of late.  If you’ve ever had to start afresh before you know it’s sometimes even busier than working full time.  And I’ve been hard at it.  That’s how I roll, I’m determined and stuff.  

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It’s kind of an unwritten rule I suppose, that once you hit adulthood – where you choose to spend Christmas is up to you.  But during my own time as a “grown up”, there hasn’t been a single year that I’ve been anywhere but here, in Perth, Western Australia for Christmas.  It’s by choice. I’ve lived all over Australia, been to cities, as one P. Allen wrote, “that never close down” during the festive season, but I still know - I’ll always come home for Christmas. 

I’ve had a look around me to come up with this list of all the things I love most about our uniquely West Aussie Christmas.  I hope it’ll light your heart up like it has mine. 

Jacaranda in bloom.  The first thing I notice when it’s nearing Christmas time.  Some parts of the city don’t need to be decorated there are so many Jacaranda trees lining the streets.  A sight that provides the season’s first reminder to stop and enjoy the beautiful things to come and says: “Merry Christmas” to everyone who drives by. 

The Beach.  Simply because of our coastlines, with sand so white they resemble snow.  “Dashing through the sand in our bathers and our thongs, smashing fruit mince pies, singing Christmas songs”.  What? You’re telling me there’s another version? 

Perth city during Christmas. 

Perth city during Christmas. 

Balmy nights.  Leaving Perth really made me appreciate our warm summer evenings.  Conditions that are just perfect for all the things you like to do at Christmas time.  Think roof top Christmas parties, outdoor movies, and late-night shopping & markets in the lead up to the big day.  

My zany family traditions.  At Christmas we remember my Gram by holding a Christmas pudding contest.  Entrants make a traditional pudding to Gram’s original recipe. Then at our big Braidwood gathering, my Dad, his three brothers and sister choose the best one.  There are score sheets and even a list of judging criteria, supposedly to stop arguments.  It doesn’t work. 

The City of Perth’s Christmas Lights Trail A new tradition for my little family, and great fun with friends and loved ones too. You download a map and meander through the city’s 16 festive lights installations. There are countless photo opportunities along the way and the good news:  it’s all FREE!  Every night from 6pm until Christmas Day, Don't forget your walking shoes ;) 

Santa: keeping cool,  gift-giving in Forrest Place.  

Santa: keeping cool,  gift-giving in Forrest Place.  

Santa.  He often wears a lighter-weight suit when he’s in this hemisphere, (hey, wouldn’t you?) but he’s always accompanied by his trusty reindeer, a magical sleigh, and a few cheeky elves.  Kids (and big kids) line up patiently without fail for a Snap/selfie/Insta story or old-school photo with Santa, that’ll be promptly framed, gift-wrapped and lovingly presented to Nana on Christmas Day. 

Carols.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are of warm nights spent holding a candle shoved through a paper dinner plate and singing Christmas Carols in the park at full voice.   To get your fix, check out IGA Carols by Candlelight for Variety or, City Carollers.  And remember, for a truly authentic West Aussie Christmas experience, consider local carol re-writes like the one I mentioned earlier. 

Summer Love. It’s easy to come up with fun, romantic ideas for dates during a West Aussie Christmas.  Plus - those previously mentioned balmy nights mean your Tinder date might show a little more skin that usual.  Why not steal my idea for date-night: an early bite to eat at the Twilight Hawkers Market (Friday nights in Forrest Place), a couple of drinks at Halford Bar, then a walk by the truly beautiful Light Projections at St George’s Cathedral.  The rest is up to you. 

For more details about what you can do and love during your West Aussie Christmas, click the button below.  

And don’t forget to tell me about your West Aussie Christmas traditions in the comments x



There’s still time to register for the Chevron City to Surf for Activ!

Yes, I know Perth’s City to Surf is this Sunday, but I have received inside info that you’ll still be able to be a part of it if you log on now.  How do I know this?  I work on the radio: benefits.   

Before I lose you because, like me, you’re not a runner; take a look at number 1 on this short list of reasons why you should join me at the City to Surf on Sunday:

  1. You can walk.  Registrations are still open for the 4 or 12km distances and you can run or walk either. I did a mixture of running and walking to knock over the 12km in a leisurely 2 hours with a friend a couple of years ago and it was heaps of fun. 
  2. The 4km course is 100% atmosphere.  If you and the kids just want to have a little bit of morning fun, come with me on the 4km course.  You can bring prams and strollers, plus there’ll be fun entertainment along the way so you can all take a break.  Look out for giveaways from the 96fm Street Team and if you see me, come say hi! (I’ll be the one on stage at the starting line with Wildcat Damian Martin ;) ) .
  3. Have you seen the weather forecast?  At this stage, it’s going to be a stunning 23 degrees and mostly sunny – the first decent Sunday we’re had in forever.  As much as I’m loving Ozark at the moment there’s no way I’ll be losing the day to Netflix.
  4. You won’t have to run through a stuffy tunnel, or finish at a venue that stinks of horses.  Let’s face it: the other big run in town raises good cash for countless charities and it’s super fun, but there are a couple of obvious down sides.  The City to Surf course is beautiful – especially if you’re walking the 4km like me. You’ll start in leafy Floreat then meander downhill to the finish line at City Beach, enjoying a view of the Indian Ocean pretty much the whole way. 
  5. You can reward yourself afterwards.  The City to Surf course will burn some fuel no matter which course you choose to do.  Last time I did the 12km, my mates and I went straight out to celebrate.  Let’s just say a Chicken Parma never tasted so good. 
  6. Free Fro Yo.  You read that right, at the City Beach finish line 96fm and Pash Frozen Yoghurt will be rewarding participants with freebies! ‘nuff said.
  7. It’s for an incredibly worthy cause.  Further reason to enjoy your post-walk rewards.  Learn more about the great work done the Activ foundation here.

Have I convinced you?  Register now at the City to Surf website And I’ll see you there!