Monthly Archives: August 2019

Colour eclipses neutral palette of old

We are open to colour in summer: holidays, longer days, outdoor living and catching up with family and friends flood our senses with new and retro colours. Interior design recreates these sensations, and paint is the perfect tool.
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Each season brings new colours. For Dulux, the new colours redefine the old, says colour and communications consultant Bree Leech. “Every year we go overseas and research the global trends. When we come back we develop six new palettes.”

One new Dulux colour is Species, a crisp, bright yellow. The yellow is one of the 15 colours on the predominantly blue Empower palette. Traditionally, the blue/yellow combination triggers feelings of sun, sea and surf. Leech says the Empower blue/yellow palette represents a change in the way we perceive colour.

“The colours are a little bit more sophisticated, so the yellows are bordering on green, the blues are starting to move into green. We’re seeing layering of blues in interiors this year.”

Resene Paints spokeswoman Karen Warman says the company has noticed a more thoughtful approach to colour: “Colour trends are now evolving and growing more organically rather than the shorter, sharper bursts of trends from last decade.”

Leech is impressed by the innovation of Australia’s decorators. “Over the last five years we’ve seen Australians grow really confident in using colour. We started with very neutral spaces, and people still are a little conservative, but you can definitely see a change in bringing colour into their spaces.”

Leech is not just talking about the four walls. She nominates painting a timber dining setting as a great way to add colour. “Paint the chairs a really bright, bold colour – or maybe two or three of the chairs different colours.” Doors, too, can be highlighted in a shade “two or three shades darker than the walls”.

For a big impact, paint doors opening onto a long white hallway a bright colour so they appear “as pops of colour”. In a room with a monochromatic colour scheme, paint the darkest shade on the ceiling. Or, says Leech: “Striped ceilings look amazing: in a child’s room, mask out wide stripes, say yellow, with white for the remaining stripes and walls.”

Choice can be a decorator’s biggest problem. Interior designer Judy Duggan says paint companies have thousands of colours and can create anything with computer matching.

The trick to navigating this choice often lies in the personal. Duggan asks her clients three questions: “How do you want the room to feel? How do you want to feel when you’re in the room?” And – thinking about the furniture and keepsakes the client owns – she asks: “What pieces do you love?” The colours in those treasures will often be favourites, colours that create a stunning impression. And one of the key rules to remember, according to Duggan: ”There are no rules”.Going DIY


There are no short cuts – fill cracks, sand and clean surfaces.


The best paint you can afford, drop sheets, brushes, rollers and frames, extension pole, rags and masking tape.


Three coats. One undercoat/primer, tinted if necessary, two top coats.


Practise brushing, rolling and cutting in. Learn how to work in sections.


A gloss paint will probably look a shade or two lighter because it’s reflecting the light. A flat paint – matte – will absorb light and look a bit darker to the eye.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »


Bright ideas for a room to call their own

A vintage-themed child’s space by interior stylist Jacinda Malloy. Old suitcases are given new life storing children’s toys.
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A child’s bedroom is not just their escape hatch from the world, but their own personal place. Designing a room should take into account the child’s personality and their favourite colours, says interior designer Salli Sheedy, from Tiipii Interiors.

”From around four years old, children start to have their own opinion. They have a favourite colour or favourite movie, and I incorporate that into the design.”

Sheedy works with a neutral base and introduces colours with accessories. ”Greys are fashionable. But it’s important to get the right grey. A warm grey can easily incorporate other colours.”

But sometimes children have different ideas. Interior designer Jacinda Malloy, from Hide & Sleep, spoke with one nine-year-old who wanted red walls. His mother wasn’t so enthusiastic. ”It’s the child’s room and they need to enjoy playing in the room, so we incorporated red without having to paint all the walls red.”

Colours and themes can be introduced, and easily replaced, with accessories such as cushions and rugs. Children might want pirates one year, dinosaurs the next.

Changing cushion covers and rugs is a lot easier than changing the wallpaper or painting another mural. Removable wall stickers are another easy interchangeable decor idea, and they don’t damage the paintwork.

But don’t be afraid to use colour, says interior designer Nicole Rosenberg, from Little Liberty. ”It brings happiness into the room and makes it fun.”

Her eldest daughter’s room has pops of yellow. ”My daughter is obsessed with fluoro, and so am I. The fluoro trend is a massive trend, and it’s fun.” Her three-year old son has a navy, red and black vintage-styled room with an industrial feel. ”It suits his personality.”

Malloy likes to design a play area in the room. Depending on the child’s likes and interests, she simply adds an easel to turn a corner into an arts and crafts section, or adds some hooks to the wall to hang musical instruments.

Parents want attractive storage solutions, says Stephanie Banis, stylist at Fantastic Furniture, which has some fun storage cubes in bright colours.

”Children like to collect things and display them, but the trick is to work out what to display and what to put away,” says Rosenberg, who uses open boxes to display items and closed boxes to conceal.

”Have a place for everything and everything in its place. Make a specific spot for items. This way they have more of a chance of being put back. Use hooks for bags, hooks for headphones, a wall-mounted pouch for slippers, desk accessories, etc.”

Joanne McWhinney, director of Kids In Designed Spaces, says room design is now much more eclectic with a child’s interests reflected in novel artwork, interesting wall graphics, (or) displayed collections.

”Parents are becoming more style conscious. Children’s bedrooms are also being decorated to match the style of the rest of the home,” she says.

But a child’s bedroom is their world and they might want it to be different to the rest of the home. Help your child design the room, and remember to let the fun in!Nursery 101

It’s fun to plan a baby’s nursery, but keep it simple, say the experts. The nursery should be a calm, quiet place for babies to sleep.

Parents are moving away from the traditional pink and blue nurseries, says Salli Sheedy, interior designer and director of Tiipii Interiors. She is in the middle of designing a grey and yellow nursery.

”A nursery with warm grey on walls with splashes of warm yellow colour looks lovely. Yellow is neutral, which makes it a good choice.”

Jessica Elmer, director of Kids Interior Designs, says brighter, stronger colours are coming through in nurseries, but not fluoros as they are too bright. ”Dark fuchsia and aqua are strong colours that look good.”

Wall decorations are popular and removable wall stickers in a range of designs, from magic trees to elephants, are widely available. ”Monochromatic subtle designs are popular, [as are] butterflies and tree silhouettes,” says Sheedy.

Storage is an important element in a nursery. You need a place for nappies, blankets, clothes and toys.

There is a move towards the vintage look, says Sheedy. ”Parents are looking to vintage for character. They are looking to the past for inspiration. A lot of people are doing handcrafted mobiles.”

Sheedy likes using old suitcases as storage for babies’ toys, and old, cast-iron cots repainted a bright colour to create a fresh look.

Another practical nursery favourite of Elmer’s is a chest of drawers with a nappy change station on top. And last but not least: a comfy armchair is important for night feeds.Top tips

1. Assess the space

In a small space, keep it simple in terms of colour and items.

2. Proportion

Get the furniture proportions right.

3. Stick to a colour theme

The room looks calm and co-ordinated.

4. Storage boxes

Consider sturdy boxes with chalkboards on the front so children can label what’s in the box.

5. Keep bed linen simple

Steer away from busy bedding with butterflies, bows, hearts or pirate ships stamped all over it.

6. Lighting

Consider pendant lights, which can alter the feel of a room.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »


Holiday secrets of the stars

Jessica Rowe, pictured with her girls, remembers “hot, endless days at the beach, mangoes, fruit cake, banana Paddle Pops…” Dr Katrina Warren, pictured with her daughter, says planning is crucial during the holidays. “I need to have activities and play dates organised in advance or I go crazy.”
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Anyone who has navigated a dark patch of the highway with one hand on the wheel and the other trying to settle screaming twins in baby capsules, while a nine-year-old’s vomiting, will understand the pain of school holidays and the apprehension they bring.

If you already have a knot in your stomach about how you are going to handle the next six weeks of school holiday hell between juggling work commitments, rainy days, the inevitable lurgies, trips to sit on Santa Claus’s lap and screaming kids grappling sand-laden sandwiches, don’t fret: celebrities face the same challenges.

Here are some tips from our favourite stars on just how they cope with the season to be jolly. Enjoy.

(PS: I love Merrick Watts’s ”exhaust them till they drop” scheme, Katrina Warren’s whiteboard idea and Jessica Rowe’s beach with direct access to a caffeine injection. Brilliant.)


Radio announcer, Triple M’s Merrick & the Highway Patrol

Kids: Wolfe, 3, Kinga Rose, 11 months

My favourite holiday as a kid

I loved going to Broken Hill, where my mum is from – it’s in the middle of nowhere. I loved to go there as a kid because at any time of the year it was always hot. I remember the local pool – my brother, myself and cousins used to go swimming every day in the heat. It was the greatest place on earth as a kid. It was very simple. The thing I’ve realised is the simple things are the easiest and the best.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Family, grandparents, swimming and heat. Also great memories of riding motorbikes with cousins. My uncle was an engineer and my cousin is a mechanic, and they were both very handy and we’d build go-karts and race the go-karts and motorbikes around.

Where I love to take my family now

[Wife] Georgie and I go to Adelaide in summer. We got married there and all of my mum’s family moved to Adelaide, and I’m very close with my cousins. The beaches and everything are really, really nice, it’s very casual and down-to-earth and a nice little break from showbiz. I spent so much time in a small town as a kid I’ve always liked that outback feeling.

Favourite car-travel game

When we used to drive to Broken Hill from Melbourne [where I grew up], dad would only stop long enough for fuel, a wee and hot chips in the whole nine hours so my favourite game was to sit behind my father and delicately single out one hair from the back of his head and pluck it and see if I could get away with it. I felt like a legend if I did, but it was risky and dangerous. My own kids are far better behaved. Wolfe is really good and entertains himself with a car or a motorbike or plane in his hand. My favourite game now is ”Shhhhh … dad is driving!”

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

I like to go to the Sydney Aquatic Centre at Homebush, which has lots of slides and activities and stuff like that, so they still get to play even though it’s raining.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

We take them down to Darling Harbour, either the Sydney Aquarium or Wildlife Park there, and then get Chinese food in Chinatown afterwards. There’s a little train Wolfe loves.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

My mum had two pieces of advice: one, cherish every second you have with the kids as they grow up so fast, and, two, don’t end up like your father!

How I stay sane during the holidays

The way to keep sane when I have downtime with the kids is to not try and get the kids to fit into my schedule but just try and do whatever the kids want to do on the day. If they’re happy, you’ll be happy. If they’re unhappy, you’ll be unhappy.

My school holiday secret

I used to take my grandfather to Big W as a decoy so I could steal chocolates. Oh, you didn’t mean that type of secret!

Tips to survive the holidays

Do something that makes them tired, something physical. Burn them out in the mornings, then in the afternoon and evenings you have quiet kids.


Author and journalist

Kids: Allegra, 5, and Giselle, 3

My favourite holiday as a kid

On the NSW south coast in a ramshackle beach house.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Hot, endless days at the beach, mangoes, fruit cake, banana Paddle Pops, lolling around on the verandah once the heat was too much, and reading … and daydreaming about the year ahead.

Where I love to take my family now

Anywhere with a beach, rock pool and close enough to the sand that you don’t need to drive anywhere once you arrive. We just had a very special family holiday in Fiji – it was blissful! We ALL relaxed!

Favourite car travel game

When I was little, I Spy. Now, a portable DVD with plenty of Disney princesses and Barbie DVDs on hand.

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

I love the Australian Museum in the city. It has a fab area for smaller children, who can dress up, draw, read and play. And there’s also the exhibits for bigger kids who can get involved. The volunteers are also terrific – explaining different types of animals and their habitats. Just avoid the shop, if you want to avoid tantrums, as they want everything in sight!

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

If it’s sunny, Parsley Bay. There is a great shaded playground area, plenty of grass for picnics, sand that’s good for building castles and tunnels, plus shallow water good for splashing. Oh, and a coffee house that provides a much-needed caffeine fix.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Lower your expectations – take the pressure off! We’re all doing the best we can, and there are days when it goes pear-shaped.

How I stay sane during the holidays

Sometimes I don’t! But caffeine, sunshine and sugar help.

My school holiday secret

Can you tell me? But I do love slowing down, and I make a real effort to do that with my girls over the holidays. There is no need to rush around.

Tips to survive the holidays

Don’t feel you have to tear around doing the latest and greatest stuff. Have a picnic, stay up late, try to stay in bed longer, eat fish and chips for dinner, have cake for breakfast, do a movie afternoon with popcorn. Revel in the joy of those simple pleasures with the most precious people in your lives.


Actor and radio announcer, Smoothfm

Kids: Lotus, 16, River, 12, and Bodhi, 6

My favourite holiday as a kid

September holidays in Yamba [on the NSW north coast]. Three weeks of nothing but surfing, fishing and playing pinball machines. It was blissful.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

The car trips to the destination. Seven Daddos packed in a sedan: Mum, dad in front, with Lachie in the middle (he sat on a piece of foam rubber – the car had bucket seats), Andrew, Jamie, Belinda and I in the back … one sat forward, the other three sat back. We listened to Neil Diamond, The Brady Bunch albums and whatever game was being played on the good ol’ ABC.

Where I love to take my family now

Anywhere there’s surf, fishing and pinball machines. Hawaii is always great.

Favourite car travel game

I Spy.

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day


Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

Palm Beach and any other beach ”north of the bends” … hiking trails, beach and great eateries.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Always say what you want, rather than what you don’t want – the word doesn’t compute in our brains. Try this: find something you don’t want your child, your best friend or mother to look at, then tell them not to look at it. I guarantee you, they will look at it within a minute.

How I stay sane during the holidays

Build things. Last holidays, we created a rope course in this big tree in the backyard. I had a harness and pulley system; I could pull the kids up into tree. When one of them misbehaved, I put her in the harness, pulled up, and left her hanging for a while. The others got the idea.

My school holiday secret

If you have a partner, it’s good to divide the time with the kids into quarters: my time, her time, our time, their time …

Tips to survive the holidays

When the kids say ”I’m bored”, we say ”Great, go do something!”


Media vet

Daughter: Charlotte, 5

My favourite holiday as a kid

I loved going to the Gold Coast, as there was lots of swimming, plenty of fun activities and great ice-cream.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Doing puzzles in the back of the car – there were no iPads or portable DVD players then. The Rubik’s Cube kept me entertained for hours.

Where I love to take my family now

South coast, NSW. The most amazing beaches and many of the areas are dog friendly, which means that my golden retriever, Riley, doesn’t miss out.

Favourite car travel game

I can’t go past I Spy – it will survive every generation.

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

Going to the Entertainment Quarter for movies, bowling and plaster painting.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

Nielsen Park – it has a great

beach for young kids, a cafe and plenty of space for them to run around, but you must get there early on weekends for parking.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Not to listen to parenting advice!

How I stay sane during the holidays

I avoid shopping centres. Car park gridlock is not enjoyable! And caffeine.

My school holiday secret

I don’t have any yet, as my daughter starts school next year. Suggestions are welcome.

Tips to survive the holidays

Plan ahead. I need to have activities and play dates organised in advance or I go crazy. I have a whiteboard with activities listed and my daughter enjoys ticking them off.


Sports presenter, Sunrise

Kids: Ava, 8, and Dan, 5

My favourite holiday as a kid

My favourite holiday as a kid was Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. Every September, we’d load the family car and drive overnight from Geelong in Victoria all the way to Queensland to spend two weeks in the sun at the beach. We had a bunch of friends we would meet up there every year and we’d swim, play beach cricket and hang out at the beach all day.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

For me, holidays were all about swimming in the surf, digging in the sand and ice-cream in the afternoon.

Where I love to take my family now

These days I love taking my wife, Rach, and Ava and Dan to Torquay in Victoria. It’s got that beautiful seaside town atmosphere and the kids hit the waves on their boogie boards all day.

Favourite car travel game

On long road trips, the Beretta family loves a game of I Spy. It keeps the kids (and me) entertained for hours!

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

On a rainy day, nothing beats the Sydney Aquarium. We always look forward to going there and seeing all the amazing sea life. Sharks, dugongs, giant rays and a great interactive area – it’s got it all.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

My favourite spot in Sydney to take the kids is Freshwater Beach. It’s a great beach for the whole family, and the kids can spend all day in the surf!

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

The most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard is to let kids be kids. They grow up fast enough, so let them do things at their own pace and when they’re ready.

How I stay sane during the holidays

I stay sane during the holidays by just rolling with it. You need to remember you’re on holidays and you can’t stress about the little things. Take your time, there’s no rush, and just enjoy your precious family time.

My school holiday secret

Plan special outings and events. We all like having something to look forward to, so the kids like knowing that they’re going to the zoo on Wednesday, or the aquarium on Thursday.

Tips to survive the holidays

Switch off from work and focus on the family. Sometimes it’s hard to do, but it makes for a much better holiday!


Seven News presenter, Sunday Night host

Son: Darcy, 12

My favourite holiday as a kid

Two weeks every summer at Blue Bay on the NSW central coast. We’d walk along the beach to the Dragon Inn at The Entrance for Chinese, then enjoy the laughing clowns and the go-karts at the holiday carnival in town. We’d surf until we had rashes from our polystyrene boards, clamber over the rocks looking for shells and lie on the beach reading all the books that Santa brought us for Christmas.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Summer at Blue Bay and camping all over NSW, including the Belanglo State Forest, with mum and dad and their friends in the 1980s. Our families had a special improvised ”flagpole” that they’d erect at every campsite with a special camp flag that my mum made.

Where I love to take my family now

We go back to Blue Bay with friends for summer holidays – it’s a wonderful place for families. But now, thanks to my son’s obsession with our feathered friends in the sky, we now spend every day off, anywhere, birdwatching! It has taken us to some amazing places.

Favourite car travel game

Working our way through the alphabet, naming things we see for each letter. It can go for hours, so it’s great for long trips!

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

Curling up and reading a good book on the couch. Birdwatching off the cliff at Maroubra – the more windy and rainy, the more albatross you see! But if you want to get out of the elements, you can’t go past the Australian Museum or the Art Gallery of NSW. Wonder awaits on every floor.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

Tramping through our wonderful national parks.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Put ping-pong balls in the loo for little boys to aim at when toilet training. Saved my bathroom a thousand times over!

How I stay sane during the holidays

I don’t. Give in to the insanity and enjoy it.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »


Investors cheer Fortescue’s stake sale

Fortescue Metals Group is set to sell down its stake in a joint venture with Pilbara junior BC Iron, as the company continues efforts to reduce its debt loading and restart the expansion projects that were sensationally stalled in September.
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Both companies currently own 50 per cent of the Nullagine iron ore project under a landmark deal that was struck in 2009, but BC Iron has confirmed today that it is poised to buy a further 25 per cent of Fortescue’s stake.

BC Iron shares have been halted all day ahead of the deal being announced. Fortescue shares were not halted this morning, and duly rose by almost 7 per cent to be testing $4.05 around 2pm.

Fortescue’s decision to leave its shares open for trading has already attracted the attention of the ASX regulators, with Fortescue arguing that it is too big a company for the transaction to be considered material.

Under the terms of the deal, BC Iron will pay Fortescue $190 million for the extra 25 per cent of the asset.

The acquisition will increase its annual iron ore export capacity by 80 per cent to 4.5 million tonnes.

Speaking from Sydney this afternoon, BC Iron managing director Mike Young said the deal would be highly accretive to BC Iron shareholders and was about as low risk as an acquisition could get.

“We know the deposit, we know the management and we like the management,” he said.

The original joint venture was struck in August 2009, and saw BC Iron sell 50 per cent of its Nullagine iron ore prospect to Fortescue, in return for using Fortescue’s railway and port infrastructure to sell its product to China.

BC Iron managing director Mike Young was criticised at the time for giving away too much to his bigger neighbour, and has long defended the deal by saying it was ”better to have half of something, rather than all of nothing”.

The deal has since proved to be a masterstroke as a lack of transport infrastructure has left other Pilbara juniors with stranded assets that are unlikely to be developed now that iron ore prices have slumped.

Mr Young joked this afternoon that he would have to update his catchphrase.

”Now i’ve got 75 per cent of something,” he said.

BC Iron has been exporting iron ore since February 2011, and has since exported 5 million tonnes.

The company is one of the few, if not the only Australian iron ore exporter to have a higher share price today than at the same time in 2011.

It paid a dividend in September and Mr Young said today’s deal was likely to be followed by more growth.

BC Iron will take on $130 million in debt to fund the deal, and will look to raise a further $58 million in equity through a share placement and purchase deal which is underwritted by Macquarie.

As well as looking at assets overseas, Mr Young said BC Iron would look to develop other Pilbara assets with Fortescue.

”We are hoping that, going forward, we can do some more business with Fortescue,” he said.

Fortescue boss Nev Power said the deal was good for both parties, but did not say what the money will be used for.

It is expected the money will help Fortescue restart the Kings iron ore asset it halted in September when iron ore prices slumped.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »


Tax Office moves to wind up Tinkler entity

The Tax Office will seek to wind up one of former billionaire Nathan Tinkler’s main private entitites, Tinkler Group Holdings Administration.
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In the NSW Supreme Court today, lawyers for Mr Tinkler and the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation confirmed the tax office would replace the NSW Office of State Revenue as petitioning creditor in the wind-up proceedings. The extent of the debt is unknown.

The case is one of half a dozen legal proceedings on foot against various private Tinkler entitites:Ferrier Hodgson is winding up Tinkler-owned Mulsanne Resources over an unpaid $28.4 million debt to Blackwood Corporation.Adelaide-based Anthony Matthews and Associates is balancing whether to proceed with the wind-up of Patinack Farm Administration – the main employer at Mr Tinkler’s thoroughbred stud – which also owes millions to the tax office but went into liquidation after a $17,000 debt to South Australia’s Workcover agency went unpaid, apparently due to an ‘‘administrative error’’.Queen Street Capital and Aston Copper are facing a wind-up by Brisbane-based HWL Ebsworth Lawyers for an unknown amount of money.Lender GE Capital has appointed Taylor Woodings as receivers of TGHA Aviation, who last week repossessed his private jet and helicopter.Mr Tinkler has been subponaed in Muswellbrook Local Court by Kildangan Stud (owned by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum) which sired two of his mares.Hunter Sports Group is being sued by the NSW government for almost $600,000 in stadium rent owing from its Newcastle Knights rugby league team. Hunter Sports is also in down-to-the wire negotiations with the Knights to extend an audit deadline which falls this Saturday. The Knights want to also extend the $20 million bank guarantee which the company provided when the club was privatised. If the negotiations fail it could jeopardise Hunter Sports’ ownership of the club.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »