February 25, 2015

That Sugar Film_Poster_HIRES

Telling the frightening tale about one man’s journey to discover the brutal truth about sugar, “That Sugar Film”, directed by and starring Damon Gameau, will have everyone paying attention to the food they are about to eat.

Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. “That Sugar Film” will forever change the way you think about ‘healthy’ food.

In the space of 60 days, Damon’s experiment saw him consuming forty teaspoons of sugar a day (the average amount consumed by an Australian adult), while eating a diet of perceived normal ‘healthy’ items, without any junk food. Damon only eats the perceived ‘healthy’ foods that are in fact laden with hidden sugars like low fat yoghurt, muesli bars, juices and cereals. The results will scare you.

Damon also visits the USA to see how sugar consumption has affected some of their citizens

Showing at cinemas in March, “That Sugar Film” also features Zoe Tuckwell-Smith, Stephen Fry, Brenton Thwaites, Isabel Lucas and Jessica Marais. I previewed this film and highly recommend it.

In tandem with the film, Damon Gameau’s book titled “That Sugar Book” includes advice on how to shop and how to read labels, plus how to cook sugar free food with easy to prepare recipes. The book is No 8 on Dymocks Best Sellers By Volume List for week ending 21 February 2015.

Sandra Tiltman


February 22, 2015


Chinese communities around the globe are making preparations to celebrate and herald the arrival of the Year of the Ram (Goat).

During Chinese New Year, one of the traditions is for people to visit and greet each other with plenty of “Kung Hei Fat Choy” and by offering “Lai Si” (red packets) containing money to wish good luck and prosperity.

February is a great time to travel to Macau, where plenty of festive fun is planned to celebrate the 2015 Chinese New Year. Beginning on February 19, visitors can join in with the locals and take part in the many celebrations that include the traditional Golden Dragon parade and Lion Dance Performances, as well as two vibrant street parades featuring floats from around Asia. These parades are to be held on Saturday, February 21 and Saturday, February 28.

The Golden Dragon Parade, to be held on February 19, will begin at the iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s at 10am while the Lion Dance Performance will kick off from Senado Square at 11am on February 21, and from Tap Seac Square at 4.30pm the following day.

No celebration would be complete without the traditional fireworks, so on Saturday, February 21, a spectacular fireworks display will take place over the city, along with ten days of performances by more than 1000 artists.

Local Chinese, Portuguese and Macanese restaurants will be decorated to be a part of the fun filled festivities.

DSC03681Helen Wong, General Manager of the Macau Government Tourist Office in Australia and New Zealand said “nclude a vibrant street parade on both February 21 and 28. To top that off, there will also be a giant fireworks display on February 21. And, as usual, prepare for a feast – Chinese, Portuguese and Macanese style. Now that’s food for thoughtIt is the most important and colourful Chinese festival of the year. A majority of the local population celebrate, where shops, offices, factories close for what is an exciting traditional holiday. Over ten days celebrations involve a huge number of events, including the traditional long dragon and lions dance on the streets. Crowds visit the temples, and there are countless lanterns and floral displays, not to forget the entertainment and fireworks.”

The grand outdoor and indoor events will be presented by the Macau Government Tourist Office and it will be the first time mainland China will include a float in the international processions.

The Lanterns Festival occurs on the 15th day of the first moon, where colourful lanterns are placed around the city. Small balls of glutinous rice are prepared as dessert, symbolising the “ribbon of friendship”, “family reunion” or “good luck” for the Chinese.

Coinciding with the Chinese New Year festivities is a unique Macau Christian religious celebration where an image of Christ carrying the Cross is taken in a procession from St Augustine’s Church to the Cathedral for an overnight vigil. It is then returned through the city accompanied by a magenta-robed escort.

Sandra Tiltman

Photos: John Pond


February 22, 2015


Now the Bondi Lifeguards, Bruce “Hoppo” Hopkins, Trent “Maxi” Maxwell, Andrew “Reidy” Reid, Anthony “Harries” Carroll and Rod “Kerrbox” Kerr, have been immortalised in print, with the publication of “Stories From The Bondi Lifeguards”. Each lifeguard tells their personal story of what made them want to become a lifeguard and put their life on the line each day that they are on duty. The rigorous training they undergo, plus the level of fitness they need to achieve to pass the regular fitness checks, ensures these dedicated men are always ready to rush into action whenever an emergency arises.

To keep the beach safe, the Bondi Lifeguards put their lives at risk 365 days of the year. They know the currents, the rips, the tides and the dangers of Bondi Beach, as well as the beaches at neighbouring Tamarama and Bronte which they also patrol and keep safe.

Published by New Holland Publishers Australia, “Stories From The Bondi Lifeguards” highlights the Australian way of life, the benefits of mateship where people work together for a common goal and put helping others at the top of their list. This book is not only for Australians to enjoy, but would make a wonderful gift for people overseas or for tourists to take home to show off Australia’s charms to their friends.

Sandra Tiltman        

Photo: John Pond


February 15, 2015


Music lovers, who are also lovers of 5 star cruising, will find it hard to resist the selection of music themed cruises offered by Ponant, the luxury French cruise line, during this year’s European Spring, Summer and Autumn months.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACruising between Mediterranean coasts to Celtic shores, these special voyages are sure to appeal. Music stimulates the senses plus adds to the enjoyment of life. During the featured cruises, talented artists will share their passion for music with passengers. Renowned guest artists and musicians will perform live in concerts on board the ships. Music cruise itineraries for Ponant’s ships have been matched to complement the particular style of music featured on the cruise, whether it be jazz, classical music or celtic songs. The programme includes concerts, shows, interviews and lectures. These musical cruises offer passengers a unique experience that will enhance their vacation and in addition to outstanding music, passengers will also visit many historic and beautiful ports.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Le Boreal” sails from Honfleur, France on 1 May 2015. The ten night “Celtic Shores and Connemara” cruise features the Trio Ewen Delayahe Favennec, whose musical originality mingles with Breton and Celtic tradition. Ports visited include Cork, Dublin, Galway, Liverpool and Belfast before returning to Honfleur on 11 May.

“Le Lyrial” sails on her maiden cruise from Venice on 9 May 2015. This seven night “Jazz Cruise” features jazz violinist and composer Didier Lockwood, plus the talented Ukrainian classical pianist, Dimitri Naditch. Sailing off the Dalmatian Coast and the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Hvar and Split are some of the ports visited, before returning to the charms of Venice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Le Lyrial”, departing Istanbul on 6 October 2015, presents “Concerts On The Aegean Sea” while sailing through the Dardanelles into the Aegean Sea and visiting Kusadasi, Mykonos, Santorini, plus many other historical ports rich in architecture and culture, before arriving in Athens on 13 October. This classical music cruise features Swiss born American Pianist Gilles Vonsattel, accompanied by enchanting musicians including Violinist, Arnaud Sussmann and Todd Palmer on Clarinet, performing the music of Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel, Fauré, Schumann, Saint-Saëns, Brahms, and many others.

Offering French inspired cuisine in an intimate environment, accompanied by discreet service, no attention to detail is spared. All Ponant ships have two or three restaurants, where gourmet dishes and fine wines are the stars. In addition to the included wines, the sommelier also offers a selection of exclusive wines.

Making up Ponant’s modern fleet, sailing under the French flag, are “Le Ponant”, a three masted modern sailing ship, plus “Le Boreal”, “L’Austral” and “Le Soleal”, soon to be joined by “Le Lyrial”, the newest member of the fleet. Cruising on board these ships, with their subtle blend of luxury, elegance and well being, is akin to travelling on a mega-yacht. Many of the ports they visit are only accessible to small capacity ships.


Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond


February 12, 2015


Established in 2004 by father and daughter team, Brian Sherman AM and Ondine Sherman, Voiceless is an independent, non-profit think tank focused on raising awareness of animals suffering in factory farming and the kangaroo industry in Australia.

Voiceless aims to create and foster networks of leading lawyers, politicians, business people and professionals to influence law, policy, business practices and public opinion. They are working to establish animal protection as the next great social justice movement, while their vision is for a world in which animals are treated with respect and compassion.

Voiceless recently launched “The Life of the Dairy Cow: A Report on the Australian Dairy Industry”, the result of two years of rigorous analysis that highlighted the need for change in the way these animals are treated.

The Paddington based charity is committed to making real improvements in the lives of animals and works to grow animal law and give legal protection to factory farmed animals which will rely on co-operation between farmers, the industry, animal advocates, government while informing consumers to empower them to make animal friendly choices.

Voiceless aims to drive reform and help build the animal protection movement by offering grants and prizes, creating influential networks, promoting informed debate and conducting research exposing legalized cruelty. They have established an annual grants program that has awarded $1.4 million to date.

Sandra Tiltman


February 10, 2015
Hayley Mills, Maxwell Caulfield & Juliet Mills

Hayley Mills, Maxwell Caulfield & Juliet Mills

Stars of stage and screen, sisters Hayley Mills and Juliet Mills, will mark their return to the Australian stage in the Australian premiere of “Legends!”. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner James Kirkwood (A Chorus Line), this hilarious and touching comedy has broken box office records around the world wherever it has played.

Daughters of legendary English actor Sir John Mills, Hayley Mills appeared in several Walt Disney films, most famously the dual roles of twins Susan and Sharon in “The Parent Trap” (1961) and won the Academy Juvenile Award for “Pollyanna” (1960), while Juliet Mills previously appeared in the play “Fallen Angels” across Australia. Juliet gained enormous popularity in the television sitcom “Nanny and The Professor”, winning Emmy Awards for her performances in the mini-series “QB VII” (1974) and for her role in the drama series “Passions”. Hayley also starred in John Frost’s Tony Award winning production of “The King and I” during the original Australian tour in 1991.

Co-starring in “Legends!” is international heart throb, Maxwell Caulfield, who has more than 70 film, theatre and television credits, including the role of Mark Wylde in TV’s popular “Emmerdale”. Maxwell is also married to Juliet Mills.

“Legends!” takes audiences into a world of gossip, rivalry, reminiscence, longing and scandal. As the sun sets in Manhattan, the claws come out as two famous but fading movie stars try to upstage one another. Leatrice Monsee (Hayley Mills) and Sylvia Glenn (Juliet Mills) are hustled by a theatre producer (Maxwell Caulfield) to kick-start their once luminous careers by starring in a Broadway bound play. There’s just one problem – they loathe one another. The fiery feuds of Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford fade in comparison to those of Leatrice Monsee and Sylvia Glenn.

The pairing of Hayley Mills and Juliet Mills promises to be a sensational sister act full of back-stabbing and banter, wisdom and wit.

Leading Australian theatre producer John Frost commented “I’m so excited to bring Hayley Mills and Juliet Mills back to Australia and for them to perform opposite Maxwell Caulfield. The moment I read James Kirkwood’s very funny and theatrical play, I immediately thought of them and luckily they all had a gap in their schedules to travel to Australia for this five month tour. I’m thrilled that Christopher Renshaw, who directed Hayley in “The King and I” and Hayley and Juliet in “Fallen Angels” so long ago, is available to direct “Legends!”. I’m sure we’re all in for a hilarious night with these legends in “Legends!”.

“Legends!” opens in Brisbane on 28 May at QPAC, followed by Sydney at Theatre Royal from 18 June and Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from 2 September, as well as seasons in Perth and Adelaide.

Sandra Tiltman


February 9, 2015


Double Bay local, Eva Santo, has been organising and escorting group tours since 1996, with many of her guests returning year after year.

Eva European Tours is a unique holiday concept, specialising in personalised, luxury tours to enchanting destinations in Europe. Spa stays are incorporated in most itineraries. Born in Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia, Eva arrived in Australia after spending four years in Israel, where she did her army service. In addition to English, Eva speaks Hungarian, Hebrew, Czech, Slovak and Russian, which proves very useful when escorting her tours.

Eva has three tours departing in May and June this year, all featuring stays at a health spa in Piestany, the biggest and best known spa town in Slovakia, where the medicinal springs, specialising in treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions, have been popular since the Middle Ages. Over the years, the spa has attracted aristocrats from all over Europe as well as many famous patrons.

The first tour, departing 27 May 2015, spends four weeks at Health Spa Piestany in Slovakia. By staying 28 days guests will get 3 days free.

The second tour, departing 28 May 2015 and returning 25 June, includes 6 nights in Budapest and 21 nights at Health Spa Piestany.

DSC_1215The third tour, running from 2-25 June 2015 is the luxury 24 day fully escorted “La Dolce Vita” Tour, visits Rome for 3 nights, staying at The Empire Palace Hotel, right in the heart of the city. Includes a city tour and a visit to The Vatican. Spend 4 nights in Sorrento at Hotel Plaza for tours to Capri, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello before heading to Perugia, the capital of Umbria and staying at Hotel Brufani Palace for two nights. After a half day sightseeing tour, visit Perugina and the Baci chocolate factory. The next two nights are spent in Udine, known for its wines and prosciutto, staying at the elegant Astoria Hotel in the historic city centre. Explore the medieval centre with its arches and statues before visiting a prosciutto factory.

Crossing the border into Austria, the night is spent at Palais Hotel Erzherzog in the centre of Graz, before travelling the next day to Spa Piestany in Slovakia, to spend 9 delightful nights at the word renowned health resort, with all the latest amenities, in this picturesque spa town. Included at the Spa are 3 meals daily and 4 spa treatments each day, with each treatment lasting 20 minutes. In the evening enjoy dancing, music, concert, walking in the beautiful park and storybook spa town. Visit Bratislava and medieval Trencin. The tour departs from Vienna airport for travel back to Sydney.

The tour includes Emirates return economy airfares that can be upgraded for extra charge, 4 and 5 star centrally located hotels, daily breakfast and dinner, all sightseeing and entrance fees, visits to chocolate factory and prosciutto factory, plus the services of a local guide in each city and travel by deluxe coach between cities. Details: http://www.europeanspatours.com.au

Sandra Tiltman

Photos: John Pond – Budapest & Bratislava