Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Low Budget Fashion Bonnie Doran - Restyle Perth Fashion Festival

WESTMINSTER resident Bonnie Doran is getting back to basics with style and flair as part of the Perth Fashion Festival’s Restyle initiative.
The author of popular fashion blogs Bonnie Friday and Friday’s Kid, Doran and nine other Perth bloggers will showcase affordable and environmentally friendly fashion by op-shopping and buying nothing new during the month of August.
Doran said she wanted to be a part of the project because she had a weakness for op shopping, and wanted to show people it could be fashionable as well as budget friendly.
“Who can resist a unique piece at a bargain price and being able to inspire people to go down to their local charity shop and give back to the community while shopping is something I'm really passionate about,” Doran said.
“People often forget that charity shopping isn't just retro – in the last month I have found Preen shorts, a Shakuhachi leather jacket, leather Bettina Liano shorts and brand new Lee jeans, all for under $20 each.
“If you have the time to scour the racks you will definitely some away with some stylish pieces.”
The 20-year-old law student rates the Salvation Army in Maylands and the Good Samaritans in Balcatta as her favourite places to find vintage gems and she would face the 31-day challenge with the belief that op shopped pieces could be worked into any outfit.
“Designer pieces can be offset with vintage and basics can be dressed up with any number of pieces hiding in the racks of your local store,” she said.
“While buying nothing new for 30 days might be a challenge for me, I'm confident that my readers will be surprised by the quality of the pieces I've found at bargain prices.”
During PFF the Restyle on the Runway event will showcase the most stylish and innovative looks from the 30 Days of Restyle project.
- The Perth Fashion Festival runs from September 19-25.
To see all of Bonnie's Restyled looks visit her Bonnie Friday Blog 

Blogger Bonnie Doran rocking our her latest Re-styled look

Original article taken from Eastern Reporter: Low Budget Fashion Bonnie Doran - Restyle Perth Fashion Festival

Friday, July 27, 2012

Inspired Olympic/Paralympic Edition - Jessica Smith

In the first edition of Inspired I thought it was only appropriate that on the eve of the London Olympic Games I interview former paralympian Jessica Smith. The 27-year-old is an ambassador with the Butterfly Foundation and represented Australia in swimming for eight years including in the S9 100m Butterfly at Athens. We chatted all thing Olympics, Paralympics, her role at the foundation and food and fashion in Perth - here's how it went:

With the Olympics/Paralympics starting this weekend what event are you most looking forward to seeing?
Oh gosh, there are so many but coming from a background of swimming I have to say I'm most looking forward to the men’s 100m freestyle final. James Magnussen is the current world champ, and with all the hype leading into the games it will be great to watch him hopefully take out the gold!
I am also eager to watch the final of the women's S9 100m Butterfly in the Paralympics. This was my pet event while I was competing, so I'm excited to see just how fast the girls are swimming at the moment. The London 2012 Paralympics start on August 29th, and the games are really starting to receive a lot of attention throughout the world, and it's awesome to see that our Aussie Paralympians are getting the recognition that they deserve.

How did you get involved in the sport?
I grew up in a very sporty family, my dad and three younger brothers were all extremely fit and active, so it was inevitable that sport would be a major part of life for me. Growing up I played just about every sport from tennis, soccer, hockey, netball, basketball but it was in the pool that I felt most at home. Swimming was my escape in many ways, and I started competing at the age of 10 and instantly I was obsessed! At the age of 13 I was selected onto my first Australian Team to compete in Europe, and after that I represented Australia for 8 consecutive years, and in 2004 I was selected onto the Athens Paralympic Swim Team.

What are some of your greatest memories of the Paralympics?
Having my entire family travel to Athens to watch me compete was really special. I moved away from home at a young age to pursue my swimming career, which meant that I missed out on a lot of family events and it also meant that they weren't able to see me compete too often, so having them all there in Greece cheering me on was so amazing. Other memorable moments were when Sally Pearson took out silver in the 100m Hurdles in 2008, her reaction afterward was priceless!
And you can't go past the Men's 4 x 100 Freestyle relay team who won gold in Sydney and then played the infamous air guitars after smashing the USA team!

Who is your biggest inspiration - can be sports star or other & why?
At the expense of sounding slightly cliché, I honestly take inspiration from anyone who has accomplished what they set out to achieve. There are a lot of people with big dreams and ideas, but few actually take the plunge and go for it. My grandad, aka 'Jimmy', was one of those people. I've never met anyone so zealous about life and so devoted to his family. Jimmy was a father of 10 and was also a sports fanatic, having played professional AFL most of his life. He captained the Geelong Cats winning Best and Fairest back in 1945, and was awarded a life member for his contribution to the game. He also played a season or two for St Kilda. His enthusiasm for all sports certainly rubbed off on me, and he was one person who told me that I could achieve whatever I wanted in life, just as long as I did it with integrity and respect. Unfortunately he passed away before 2004 and didn't get the chance to see me compete in Athens, but any time I dove into the water I was always thinking of him.

Tell us about your role in the Butterfly Foundation & why you became involved?
Growing up I struggled with a host of body image issues. I was born missing my left arm and then as a toddler, while struggling to get use to a new prosthetic limb,I accidentally knocked boiling water on myself and as a result I suffered 3rd degree burns to my neck and chest. From a very young age I knew that I looked different, and it was something that I really struggled to come to terms with. I had a really hard time accepting my appearance, I hated the attention that I received because of my ‘imperfections’.

At 14 I was diagnosed with bulimia & depression and, not long after, anorexia. I battled with eating disorders for more than a decade of my life. Although eating disorders are extremely complex, the main reason behind my behaviour was simply because I wasn’t able to accept my body as it was. My eating disorder and the mental anguish that came with it almost destroyed my life. I hit rock bottom both emotionally and physically in my early twenties, but thanks to the Butterfly Foundation I was able to access vital treatment at the right time.

The Butterfly Foundation is the only national not for profit organisation dedicated to bringing about change to our current culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image. I’ve been in recovery for a few years now, and I feel that I have a responsibility to do what I can to help others who are also struggling with Eating Disorders and negative body Image. I do a lot of public and motivational speaking and I am currently an Ambassador at the Butterfly Foundation, working closely with them to create a revolution of positive change in our society.

A little bit of fun:

Favourite place to shop?
I’m still exploring the different shopping hubs throughout Perth, but I can’t seem to go past the funky boutiques in Leederville, like Atlas! One of my other favourites is Zara Bryson.

Favourite Perth designer?

A friend recently introduced me to The Butcher and The Crow. I love that each garment is made and manufactured here in WA. I also attended Perth Fashion Week earlier this year and really liked the collection from Zhivago.

Your favourite restaurant in Perth?

I have only been in Perth for a few months, but I have already found my favourite place to eat and drink in Mount Lawley, FIVE Bar. I eat there at least once a week! The food is divine, and the staff are amazing.

Favourite winter meal?
I’m vegetarian, so during winter I love getting creative with different veggie soup combinations. Can’t go past a good soup in winter!

For more information on Jessica or to see her speak visit Jessica Smith & to tell me about someone inspirational drop me an email at Cooking In Choos xo

I've joined the REVOLUTION - have you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Perth Gems - Olympic Edition Eamon Sullivan

With the Olympics starting this week I thought it was timely to put up a Q&A piece I did 
on Perth swimmer Eamon Sullivan last year. The part-owner of funky Subiaco cafe Louis Baxter likes to get out and enjoy his city when he's home - here are his favourite places to be:
  • Favourite city bar: The Stanley in Wembley is a great spot to kick back and have a wine or two.
  • Favourite city restaurant: The Greenhouse is great - I love the concept.
  • Favourite city cafe/coffee spot : It has to be Louis Baxters in Subiaco. Mainly because I am the owner, but I believe the coffee we use (Campos) is one of the best beans in Australia at the moment. 
  • Favourite city Burger Bar: I don't really go out for burgers but if I had to say one I guess 'Jus Burgers' in Subiaco 
  • Favourite city Sushi: Taka in the city is one of my favourite Japanese places in Perth. 
  • Cake shop : Sherbet Cakes in Maylands has scrumptious cakes.

Eamon at a cooking demonstration at TAFE last year

Signing my book

Kia Ora - New Zealand Here I Come!

First it was Qatar Airways to take notice of the West Australian market and last week it was our Kiwi friends from Air New Zealand. And in what felt like an Oprah Winfrey moment, I have to say it was one of the best company launches I have attended.

Held at Venn Gallery in the city I was greeted by two Air New Zealand flight attendants who handed me a glass of the Crater Rim Canterbury Pinot Noir and I immediately settled in for the night. On the menu - guests enjoyed venison carpaccio, kumara and feta arancini, delicious lamb culets, pavlova and my favourite mini Hokey Pokey ice cream cones.

The point of the night you ask - was to announce the airline's upgrade of it's non-stop daily service from Perth to Auckland from a Boeing 767 to a Boeing 777, 304-seat luxury aircraft. 

Entertainment included listening to the dulcet tones of New Zealand-born singer Ben Merito and a fun safety demonstration by the two flight attendants. And just when we thought the night couldn't get any better, it did - with every single one of us receiving a return premium-economy flight to Auckland! How good is that?

I've never been to New Zealand but it's definitely on my bucket-list and now thanks to the generosity of the team from Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Detail Marketing Communications I will get there a lot sooner than I hoped - choice! 

Until next time, Kia Ora everyone xo

P.S Have you been to NZ? If so I'm taking suggestions as to where I should go, what I should eat and what I should do?

Kia Ora Air New Zealand & thank you!

The BEST goodie bag I have EVER received - thank you Air New Zealand!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


As part of the changes happening on the blog I'm introducing a new feature titled Inspired. Basically I'm looking at doing a bunch of interviews with everyday people who are out there inspiring others to do and be better. They can be women, men, your neighbour, teacher, people in business heck they can even be a celeb, pollie, designer or sportsperson that you think deserves recognition for making a difference.

Those of you who know me well know I'm all about making a difference - big or small - it all counts and I want to know who else is out there doing the same.

I've got a couple of interviewees up my sleeve already and they'll be introduced over the coming weeks but until then if you have a suggestion please let me know at Cooking in Choos so that I can get in touch with them. Until then I'll leave you with a picture of the woman who has Inspired me to do and be better - always. My angel, my avo Constantina - I love and miss her every day xo

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Special Shoot with Nicole Duncan Photography

Some of you may have noticed the changes on Cooking in Choos - well they are set to continue. And as part of the changes you might of seen some images popping up on the blog of a recent photo-shoot with Perth photographer Nikki Duncan of Nicole Duncan Photography. 

Nikki is a young up and coming photog who I met through a mutual friend. I'd seen her work before and loved what she did with her subjects and the final product so when I decided to change things up a bit a fun shoot reflecting this was in order.

Nikki like me shares a passion for food, fashion and travel and our vision for the shoot was similar - here are the results of what transpired on the day. 

To see more of Nikki's work and find out what she is up to head on over and LIKE Nicole Duncan Photography on FACEBOOK - I've heard she's got some exciting shoots ahead. xoxo

Clothing by Steph Audino and Jewels by Three Anjewels

Steph Audino's Seaside Sanctuary - Five Minutes with the Designer Behind the Label

Having just come from a Northern Hemisphere Summer and seeing all the beautiful pastels and neon colours that are coming our way - I cannot tell you how excited I am to experience another spring/summer season. Everything is flowy, floral, pretty and bright which brings me to the latest collection of my favourite Perth designer Steph Audino.

I was introduced to Steph by a family friend last year and we have formed a strong friendship ever since. She shares my love for beautiful things and reflects it in her designs. Recently announced as one of the designers to feature at this year's Perth Fashion Festival in the Designer Capsule 2 alongside Perth designers Kim Barton and Garth Cook - she is just hitting her stride.

In my latest interview with Steph we talk about Seaside Sanctuary her Spring/Summer Collection inspired by the ocean - featuring beautiful pastel pinks, purples, blues and her staples black and white.

Here's what she had to say:

What do you love about spring/summer?
SA: I love the mood it sets, especially on a summer night. Everyone just seems to always be in the mood to dress up and look and feel a bit glam!

What is your favourite item from new collection?
SA: Its a tie between a few - my favourite items from my ready-to-wear collection would have to be the Zelia Print Anemone Maxi ; Sierra Bodysuit and from the Couture Collection it would have to be the Chloe Gown.

Which celebrity do you want to see rocking a Steph Audino gown?SA: Ooooo lets see, in terms of international celebs it would have to Giuliana Rancic and Sarah Jessica Parker. Nationally would be Ricki-Lee, Delta Goodrem, Dani Minouge and now while she is in the country Mel B. It would be so great to see Mel B, someone who I adored as a kid and now as an adult, wearing any one of my pieces.

What item from the collection can every IT girl rock?
SA: I think the Willow Dress and the Tallulah Dress. They are both so easy to wear and flattering, suiting every woman's shape.

Where is your dream seaside sanctuary  and who would you like to be stuck there with? 
SA: My dream seaside sanctuary would be in Bora Bora. Lazing in the sun with a sketch pad, a pencil and a Mojito with John Legend Singing to me haha!!!
It would also be great to have all my friends and family (including my favorite blogger Cooking in Choos) there. Just having a great time dancing, swimming, relaxing and John Legend singing to all of us.

To keep up to date with the designer and to find out more about her debut at this year’s Perth Fashion Festival LIKE Steph Audino on Facebook.
Anemone Maxi and Sierra Body Suit
Anemone Maxi & Sierra Bodysuit

Willow Dress with Zelia Print

Willow Dress

Cora Bodice and Zelia Print Skirt (beaded)
Tallulah Dress
Steph (centre) with from L-R Me, Nine Network News Presenter Ebbeny Faranda, Steph's mum Connie and my sister-in-law Daniela Mastrocola at our April in Paris event which Steph Audino proudly supported & happily dressed us all.



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