The King and I – An 1860s Story, Turned Musical Lighting up the Sydney Opera House Once More.

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On Tuesday night this week I was invited to see a spectacular musical, The King and I by Opera Australia. A familiar lead cast lit up the stage, Lisa McCune as Anna and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the King of Siam. I watched South Pacific last year with Lisa and Teddy as soloists and there is a good chemistry between these two which works on the big stage.

I have never seen the movie or read the original book, so its always interesting to look at the performance from a noob perspective. My first impression started in the foyer of the Opera House, outside of John Sutherland theatre. There were lots of decorations done in oriental royal style and items like lamp shades and cushions on filigree chairs reminded of a retro look full of adventure and extravagance.

Stage designs and decorations were absolutely fantastic! Side curtains portraying giant elephants stitched in red and yellow gold, forever gazing into the distance. Many costume changes, the ball gowns, the chic full skirts of Mrs Anna, the colourful and bright attire of the wives of the king and their children, it all screamed fun and excitement through the entire production. There was not a single dull moment in the show.


I feel that in this production Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Lisa McCune complimented each other greatly, this was evident when they both moved around on stage with such energy and passion! You could feel they were greatly comfortable with each other, the audience, their characters and just had a lot of fun performing in general.


And the kids, how talented were the kids! A whole bunch of little boys and girls who danced along to all the moves with everyone else, sang, spoke, acted. A truly talented cast where everyone contributed in equal weight, from extras on a boat to the lead characters.

The-King-and-I-Ensemble-with-Yong-Ying-Woo-dancing-the-part-of-Eliza-and-Michelle-Rozario-dancing-the-part-of-Uncle-ThomasThe play was not without some good humour, drama and wholehearted spirit. I must say I enjoyed this musical more than expected and the appeal of this show is definitely to expend  beyond the usual opera goer. It is family friendly, entertaining for couples, engaging for a group of friends and vocally dazzling for the older crowd.

Melbourne launch:

The Sydney Opera House shows will continue until the 1st of November this year. I urge you to book tickets for your whole family or experience this musical as a great date or an awesome night out on the town.


More information on tickets, performance dates, cast et cetera et cetera et cetera


Music By: Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics By: Oscar Hammerstein II
Based On ‘Anna and the King of Siam’ By: Margaret Landon
Director: Christopher Renshaw
Original Choreography By: Jerome Robbins
Choreographer: Susan Kikuchi
Scenic Designer: Brian Thomson
Costume Designer: Roger Kirk
Sound Designer: Michael Waters
Lighting Designer: Nigel Levings
Musical Director: Peter Casey
Orchestrations By: Robert Russell Bennett
Dance, Vocal and Incidental Music Arranged By: Trude Rittmann

As a side note, I’d like to share that Opera Australia is offering subscription packages to YOUTH at amazing rates.It’s nice to know that I am still considered to be a youth! Even better when you get deals for being under 30. Opera Australia is known for putting on spectacular and extravagant shows and I am always amazed at the costumes and stage designs. One word to describe it is GRAND. There is however also a reflection in the ticket price where you expect to pay anything between $180-$300 for good seats. For Italian operas (majority of the really good ones), you are going to need to see the surtitles running over the top of the stage. Most C and D reserve seats don’t have a view of the surtitles and you won’t get the needed translation. So I guess if you know the opera you’re going to see and read up on it in advance, then it would be.

For just $60/ticket (Any reserve!) you can select a package ( minimum of 3 opera productions from the allocated list) for yourself and a friend perhaps. I am going to take advantage of this offer, if its still around, until I turn 30 :)

This package is available in Sydney and Melbourne and current list of Opera productions to see includes:

The Magic Flute

La Boheme


Madama Butterfly



La Traviata

Don Carlos

The Marriage of Figaro

I’ve already got my tickets to The Marriage of Figaro, La Boheme and Tosca!


Photo credit: Brian Geach

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Top 10 Beauty Products of All Time on Beautyheaven

If you’re not familiar with Beautyheaven, you need to get onto it.

For any beauty junkie out there, this site is a great directory of all skincare, makeup, hair, fragrance products in Australia. Their readership is enormous and there is a strong community feel to the forums.

I’ve been following Beautyheaven since working for Neutrogena in 2009.

Recently a top 100 beauty products of all time list was released on their site.

I picked the top 10 to share with you and I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried most of these (shame on me!)

The number 1 result surprised me actually, its first of all a fragrance and second of all, a fragrance I’ve never had the chance to test and savour.

Let’s do the summary from number 10 to the ultimate winner.

10. Bioderma Crealine H2O


The gentle, no-rinse formula gets rid of dirt, make-up and impurities in a simple swipe.

I’ve started using mine every night after removing eye makeup with another remover (cream base), I use this solution to remove any other makeup that’s lingering at the end of the day.

9. MAC Powder BlushIMG_1548

Getting the perfect touch of colour on your cheeks and face is easy peasy when there are over 40 shades to choose from in five finishes. I haven’t trie this product personally but will add to my list.

8.  Dettol Instant Hand Sanitizerdetol-hand-sanitizer

Convenient size for a handbag, work desk, car or home. I think I have one of these little bottles everywhere and use it religiously!

7. Maybelline New York EyeStudio Color Tattoo Eye Shadow

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Highly pigmented formula, Color Tattoo Eye Shadow offers long-lasting coverage that’s crease-resistant and comes in a range of intense shades.

6. Nude by Nature Mineral Brush


Made from super soft synthetic bristles, this Mineral Brush is my favourite kabuki brush and looks like it has a cult following among powder foundation users.

5. GHD IV Styler


This GHD can create a loose, tousled curl just as easily as it straightens and has some great features like automatically turning off after not being used for 30 minutes and a temperature control so it doesn’t burn your hair. I have an earlier version GHD but that one hasn’t been used much lately. I am trying to not put my hair through heat straightening as much any more and I believe the result is: healthier hair! I do think that temperature control and 30 min turn off features are pretty cool.

4. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant



A cult cleansing product, this powder contains the finest of granules that make a paste for the skin when mixed with water. Two benefits: it clears congestion and leaves the complexion brighter. 

3. MAC Eyeshadow


Don’t remember if I ever used MAC eyeshadow. I am so fascinated with my Naked palette right now. Beautyheaven members are raving on about MAC’s range of shadows, colours, texture.

2. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

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This serum launched in 1982 and has won over  women across the globe. The newest formula continues to please fans by offering a night-time purifying skin care solution that works to reduce the appearance of fine lines while improving skin radiance and evening out skin tone.

1. The number 1: Juicy Couture Fragrance, Viva La Juicy

Juicy Couture’s standout scent has earned its position as not only the top fragrance on our list, but the holy grail beauty buy of all beauty buys. If you’re looking for an instant way to feel sexy, feminine and so darn delicious-smelling that both men and women shower you with compliments, then a quick spritz of this should do the trick.

Viva La Juicy is a delightful fresh gourmand scent that opens with crisp notes of mandarin and wild berries, which give way to floral mid notes of honeysuckle, jasmine petals and gardenia, followed by lingering dry base notes of amber, caramel woods, vanilla, sandalwood and praline. Just gorgeous.



Have you tried most, any products on this top 10 list? Voted in by Australian beauty lovers, I like the fact that the list here is in the very affordable price range and quite subtly simple and practical, showing that Aussie beauties are quite down to earth when it comes to their everyday beauty routines.


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“Make Me Beautiful” Project with the Help of which we Realise How Different Beauty Really Is

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 10.56.22 AMWhen I travel I often pay attention to various billboards and ads for fashion, beauty. Apart from a universal ‘model look’ brought to us by big beauty houses such as Dior and Chanel, there are definitely differences in perception of what beautiful really is across the globe. You might think your look is not what beautiful is per se but that might only apply to the region, country and even the city you live in.

Esther Honig, a journalist set out to understand more about how beauty is perceived on a personal and cultural level, has sent 1 unretouched photograph of herself to over 40 different individuals from 25 countries, who freelance in photoshop and image rendering. The results are a phenomenal reflection of both cultural and personal concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator.

To read more about this project click here

Photography by country:Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.35.59 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.36.05 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.36.11 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.36.16 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.36.20 PM     Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.36.46 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.36.55 PM

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. I used to only look at one type of beauty growing up in Kazakhstan with a lot of Russian media, then in New Zealand where I was once told by a guy that he would never ever consider dating an Asian person. That was quite an eye opener. I felt like a different species. Only in Sydney, Australia did I actually start feeling a bit more comfortable in my skin, knowing that I could potentially be attractive and even beautiful to some, but even then, it was not always the case.

With this project we must remember that since there is no universal measure on what beautiful is, there is also no universal measure on what ugly is. The only thing that can be ugly is someones behaviour based on ignorance.

Hope this project inspires you in your own way….






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