November 29, 2015


Don’t let the thought of snow and cold weather put you off travelling to New York City in winter, in fact, it’s a great time to visit this famous city that never sleeps. Hotels offer discounted rates and with less tourists, it’s easier to get around to see all the famous attractions.

A fun way to view some of the sights that may otherwise be overlooked is to take a film buffs tour with On Location Tours’ NYC TV & Movie Tour. Visit multiple locations from the silver screen and see over 40 sites from current and classic productions like Trainwreck, Spider-Man and When Harry Met Sally.

Spend a day channelling Holly Golightly, straight out of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, stroll through Central Park and visit the New York Public Library. Bring your morning danish to Tiffany & Co and gaze into their glittering display windows.


You can’t help but feel like a high roller, Gordon Gekko style, when you eat at Midtown’s 21 Club, then visit Christie’s and bid on something fancy, the way Samantha does in Sex and the City. Even if you don’t quite have the budget to engage in a bidding war, it’s worth visiting to see the vibrant Sol LeWitt mural and glimpse high society in action.

For those romantics, make yourself part of the most iconic shot from Manhattan, as you talk with someone special on a bench right beneath the Queensboro Bridge, where Sutton Square meets Riverview Terrace. Come in the early morning and you’ll feel like you have the City all to yourself.

Experience the magic of a glamorous night at the Metropolitan Opera like Nicholas Cage and Cher in Moonstruck. Feel resplendent dressed in your formal wear as you pass beneath the chandeliers and climb the majestic stairways.

Take a detour from Manhattan and swagger down to 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Act like a disco don and enjoy two hot slices from Lenny’s Pizza, following John Travolta’s steps in Saturday Night Fever. The choice of wearing bell-bottoms is up to you.


The Staten Island Ferry is a great way to view the City’s skyline through the big picture windows. The ferry has enclosed seating, runs 24/7 and, best of all, it’s free.

You don’t have to stay at the Plaza Hotel to experience its extravagance. The palatial hotel’s restored Palm Court is open to all until midnight. Having a cocktail under the stained-glass ceiling gives you a taste of the high life. The opulent decor at Midtown’s Russian Tea Room, with its antique samovars, a golden tree with Venetian glass eggs and a nearly 20 foot bear-shaped aquarium, is another venue where you can experience the legend.

Shopping is a huge attraction for visitors to New York City. Saks Fifth Avenue’s monumental shoe department is so extensive, it has its own zip code (10022-SHOE). The couture displays will lure you into Bergdorf Goodman, Midtown’s landmark high-end department store and for more than a century, Macy’s in Herald Square has been synonymous with shopping. Their wooden escalators are a nod to that rich history and a 10% in-store discount for tourists is a reason to ride them.

Sandra Tiltman


November 18, 2015

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New hotel openings are always cause for celebration and much excitement. As 2015 draws to a close, Sydney will be feeling the glamour, when one of the finest examples of art deco chic will be returned to the city, with the opening of the 5 star Primus Hotel Sydney.

Breathtaking in its scope and scale, the extraordinary interior of this 1930’s heritage listed building, which once housed The Sydney Water Board head office, is unique to the city. Having laid concealed for over 60 years, the building has been faithfully and intricately restored to its former glory and now presents an unparalleled sense of grandeur and elegance. After two years of construction, the Primus Hotel Sydney features a striking staircase, eight metre high rare scagliola columns and deco era timber panelling.

Australia’s leading global architecture and design practice, Woods Bagot, were appointed to lead the refit, protecting and showcasing the building’s landmark heritage values. The intimate atmosphere developed through the use of green terracing and indoor/outdoor spaces will be ideal for relaxing and escaping the lively street level environment and guests will be treated to the city’s most impressive urban resort at the rooftop pool and bar.

Located near the Sydney Town Hall, close to Hyde Park, theatres and the city’s shopping heart, the 172 room Primus Hotel Sydney will offer guests international five star standards and personal service, plus a blend of traditional and contemporary touches that define the modern hotel.

The hotel will offer a collection of high-end dining and experience offerings, including a restaurant helmed by emerging and recently awarded Head Chef, Ryan Hong, whose menu reflects produce driven contemporary cuisine, with an Asian twist. The lobby bar will form part of the hotel’s central sanctum and like the grand European hotels, will be the perfect place to sit and people watch while relaxing with a cocktail or glass of wine.

The remarkable public lobby with its towering ceilings, Presidential Suite and a ballroom fit for the highest of occasions, will see the hotel placed amongst the city’s most prestigious accommodation offerings.

The hotel marks the grand entrance of Greenland International Hotels Group into Australia. The creation of a new laneway will connect Primus Hotel Sydney with its neighboring Greenland Centre, which once completed, will stand as the tallest residential building ever to grace the Sydney skyline.

Sandra Tiltman


November 18, 2015


Photographer Lisa Tomasetti’s latest exhibition titled “The Australian Ballet on the International Stage” is running from 18-25 November at M Contemporary, 37 Ocean St Woollahra. Lisa is an award winning stills photographer and visual artist since 1990.

The exhibit features stunning photos of the Australian Ballet on their international tours in Paris, Tokyo and New York. In this series, the dancers are removed from the highly controlled interior environment of the stage and taken outside to the streets of multiple city locations. The images capture the energy, grace and passion for movement, embodied by the dancers and juxtapose the classical form with the gritty urban landscape of these iconic cities.


As well as an opening reception there will be a special celebration with champagne and cupcakes on Sunday 22 November, with dancers from the Australian Ballet and David Graeme McAllister AM, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet in attendance.

Sandra Tiltman


November 14, 2015

Aranui 5 arrives in Tahiti

Aranui Cruises’ new ship, the 126 metre long freighter, Aranui 5, has arrived in her new home of Tahiti, receiving a traditional water jet welcome from local tug boats when she cruised into Papeete, with the dramatic peaks of Moorea in the distance.

Aranui 5 will spend a month in port making final preparations for her maiden voyage on 12 December 2015.

A custom built dual purpose vessel, Aranui 5 replaces Aranui 3, bypassing the number 4 as it is considered bad luck by the third generation Tahitian-Chinese family who owns the cruise company. The new vessel will continue to dispense cargo to ports across the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands while passengers disembark and explore the islands.

With capacity for 254 passengers, Aranui 5 offers a range of accommodation options, from the operator’s first single staterooms to new premium and deluxe categories, styled in a natural colour palette, with Polynesian flourishes including Marquesan inspired décor and Paul Gauguin prints. To cater to the demand for balcony cabins, more than half of the ship’s 60 cabins feature a private balcony, five times more than offered on Aranui 3.

The new cruise freighter also offers suites with king beds, air conditioned public spaces including a restaurant, two conference rooms, lounges, library, computer room, boutique, swimming pool with whirlpool, fitness room, spa and four bars, including the popular Sky bar.

The Marquesas Art Festival, held once every four years, coincides with Aranui 5’s inaugural cruise and provides guests with a rare double thrill of local ceremonies at each maiden port, as well as a spectacular celebration of Polynesian culture and tradition during the ship’s call to Hiva Oa.

Aranui’s Regional Representative Australia New Zealand, Laurent Wong, said he was thrilled Aranui 5 had arrived in time for the Arts Festival. “Guests travelling on our maiden voyage will truly have the trip of a lifetime as the first to enjoy the luxurious comfort of our new freighter as well as experiencing the Marquesas during a time of brilliant colour and activity. Aranui 5 has been a long time in the making and we are so excited that she has finally arrived in her new home.” Mr Wong said.

Aranui 5’s roundtrip cruises from Papeete will visit Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka in the Marquesas, Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus and the famed Society Island of Bora Bora. The freighter line dispenses a lifeline of food, fuel and other staples to remote island ports while passengers disembark and explore a range of complimentary excursions including hikes, 4WD tours, a visit to the Paul Gauguin museum and a picnic on a secluded beach in Bora Bora.

Sandra Tiltman


November 14, 2015

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Friday 27 & Saturday 28 November 2015 will see 3,600 performers from 400 public schools, alongside 51 featured performers, at the Schools Spectacular, marking the last time it will be held in the Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney’s entertainment centre.

The Entertainment Centre was first opened in late 1983, but before officially opening the venue, Vice Chairman of the Centre, Jack Neary AM, OBE arranged for the NSW Education Department to stage a “Schools Concert’ to test the acoustics. 7,500 public school students and teachers filled the seats. The concert was so successful, it was decided to stage an annual school’s concert and Mary Lopez, a music teacher from Epping Boys’ High was appointed Director of the show.

LO RES schoolsspec13-annawarr-2444 copyTo bid farewell to this iconic venue the 51 featured artists selected from towns and suburbs all over NSW will join a 1,500 voice choir, 80 piece symphony orchestra, 2,000 dancers and various marching bands to salute this amazing legacy.

Thousands of public school teachers have provided creativity, inspiration and guidance to the tens if not hundreds of thousands of public school students who have benefited from the opportunity to be a part of the Schools Spectacular. In terms of sheer size, scale and scope, it is unequalled in the world. This cultural event involves students of varying ages, cultures, skills and socio-economic backgrounds, hailing from country, metropolitan and isolated regions of New South Wales.

Performances on 27 November at 12noon & 7.30pm plus 28 November at 1pm & 7.30pm

Category 1: Adults $68.00 | Concession $55.00 Family Pass (2 adults + 2 children) $215.00

Category 2: Adults $55.00 | Concession $42.00 Family Pass (2 adults + 2 children) $170.00

Sandra Tiltman


November 8, 2015


Featherweight_61cm_Strawberry RedFashion conscious trendy travellers who always want to look their best are just as particular when choosing the luggage they wish to take on their trips. Turning up at a five star hotel with old, battered suitcases is not the image they want to project. Paklite has now come to the rescue of “ladies who luggage” with their new Featherweight collection. Of particular interest to these on trend travellers will be the brand new colour of Strawberry Red – not quite pink, not quite red, but definitely the new fashion forward colour choice that will turn heads and make a statement at any destination.

To add further variety, the Featherweight microlite collection is also available in black and fuchsia, so fashionistas can co-ordinate their overall look when planning their trip. The luggage is designed with strength and durability in mind, while still being one of the lightest and most stylish options on the market, so not only does it look good, it is good.

The expandable front compartments allows for extra carrying capacity and the large front pocket on the Featherweight luggage means no skimping on what you want to pack, plus all the external pockets are lockable. The fully lined interior with foam padding and the microweave rip-stop fabric construction provides the user with confidence, knowing that their precious contents are safe, no matter what sort of rough treatment the suitcase receives from airline baggage handlers.

The large trolley case is great for extended travel, while the medium sized version is ideal for light travel. The small case fits in overhead luggage racks without a problem and is the perfect on-board accessory.

The new hi-tech Slide Safe luggage range is perfect for the security conscious traveler as it features the latest in technology – innovative zippers, detachable wheels and identity theft blocking.

The TSA approved locks help keep intruders out and the zippers, with a twin zip feature on all main compartments, prevent thieves from piercing the zip and stealing belongings.

The cabin size model also features Paklite’s RFID blocking pocket that prevents identity fraud as you travel the globe, by blocking identity details from unlawful scanning devices.

Damaged luggage wheels are now a thing of the past with Slide Safe’s latest modern air travel innovation, detachable wheels.  Slide Safe cases give travellers the option to remove wheels, then reattach them quickly with ease.

The Slide Safe luggage range is available in deep purple, desert storm and black, allowing the smart traveller to be fashionable as well as security conscious.

I find having bright coloured luggage makes it so much easier to identify my case on the carousel, it also deters thieves.

Sandra Tiltman


November 8, 2015


The Genesian Theatre in Sydney’s Kent Street is performing one of the world’s most famous classic plays for its current production, “Three Sisters” by Anton Chekhov which is directed by Timothy Bennett with Associate Director, Roger Gimblett. Brian Friel’s 1981 translation brings Chekhov’s play to life, making it relevant for a modern audience.

First performed at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1901, “Three Sisters” showcases the everyday lives and dreams of Olga, Masha, and Irina. Now living in a provincial town, the sisters long to escape back to their previous life in Moscow, but their hopes for a life more suited to their cultivated tastes and sensibilities are continually thwarted by daily events.

The play is set mainly in the drawing room of the house they share with their brother Andrey (Tom Massey) and his haughty wife Natasha (Susan Farrell), who continually puts a strain on life in the household.

Elizabeth MacGregor plays eldest sister Olga, bringing her character to life, complete with constant migraines and complaints about her job as a teacher at the local school.

The only sister who seems to be enjoying herself, with a devoted husband as well as an army officer who also adores her, is middle sister Masha, played with great aplomb by Lana Kershaw.

Youngest sister Irina, played by Dominique Nesbitt, is desperate to move back to Moscow but seems resolved to her fate, whatever is thrown her way.

This excellent production runs until 14th November 2015, with performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm
plus a Sunday matinée at 4.30 pm.

Sandra Tiltman