What I Wore This Week 

What I wore this week:

| Sportsgirl tee | Glassons shorts

What_Brooke_Wore_Spot_Wrap_DressTuesday | Seed Heritage dress and necklace | Steve Madden wedges

What_Brooke_Wore_Floral_Wrap_DressWednesday | Zara dress | Seed Heritage necklace and heels

What_Brooke_Wore_Blue_White_DressThursday | Piper dress from Myer | Steve Madden heels

What_Brooke_Wore_Pink_Dress_BootsFriday | River Island dress | Seed Heritage necklace | Jfari mint boots (find them here)

What_Brooke_Wore_Tank_ShortsSaturday | Victoria’s Secret Pink tank | Cotton On denim shorts

What_Brooke_Wore_Spotted_Wrap_Dress_1Sunday | Little Party Dress Zoe Black Print dress (find it here) | Seed Heritage necklace | Steve Madden wedges | Lack of Color hat

Five on Friday: Ladies in Black

Queensland Theatre Company's Costume Supervisor, Nathalie Ryner.

Queensland Theatre Company’s Costume Supervisor, Nathalie Ryner.

I recently had a behind-the-scenes tour of Queensland Theatre’s wardrobe department where I met costume supervisor Nathalie Ryner and cutters and costumiers, Michelle Wiki and Leigh Buchanan.

Although the team were putting the final touches on the wardrobe for the critically acclaimed Ladies in Black which returns to Brisbane on 28 January, I grabbed a few minutes with Nathalie to get the low down on how they brought this frock fest to life.

In a nutshell, what does your job entail?
As the costume supervisor, I sit directly under our designer and manage the production of the designs, from buying and staffing to quality control. I effectively manage the aesthetics of the designs and I’ve been working to pull the wardrobe together to send down to Sydney for the first stop of the national tour.

How much work was involved in putting together the costumes and wardrobe for Ladies in Black?
We used as many pieces as possible from last year’s original production, but with four new actors, we had to make a few new costumes and swap some between characters. We also knew that some of the vintage pieces we used last time wouldn’t survive the four-month tour so we set about replicating those pieces.

We also try to repurpose and reuse a lot of pieces from our extensive in-house wardrobe and ready-made high street pieces which we rework; from adding a few vintage buttons to restyling a lapel for a more authentic feel. We’ve even repurposed a number of wedding gowns from Brisbane designer Brad Webb (Darb).

Let’s talk numbers, how many costumes are featured in the production? 
We have 58 full outfits, which could be anything from a three-piece suit to a dress or a skirt and jacket, along with 14 cocktails frocks and two racks of 1950s dresses. There’s also seven prop gowns and more than 200 pairs of stockings, although they won’t last the season. When it comes to accessories, there are about 15 hats and everyone except Sarah (in the role of Lisa) wear wigs. We also have 57 pairs of shoes.

Do you have a favourite costume in the show?
I’m quite partial to the character Lisa’s day frocks which really encapsulate the late 50s, especially her blue linen dress and her grey checked dress. Also, Madeleine Jones, in the role of Patty, has a black tailored skirt suit which I really like. I’m a 40s girl so that really appeals to me; I love the simpler garments because they have such beautiful detailing.

What does backstage look like during a performance?
There are some really quick backstage changes – including wig changes – but with a team like the one we have, it’s not too bad, even in such limited space.

How do you keep the costumes clean and smelling fresh with more than 100 shows during an Australian summer?
We do spot cleaning and also have things dry cleaned as needed but we also use sweat pads and a vodka spray which is 1 part vodka to 2 parts water. It will kill any germs and bacteria on the clothes while smelling much better than Febreze.

Ladies in Black is also playing at The Star Sydney (until 22 January), Melbourne Regent Theatre (25 Feb to 18 March) and Canberra Theatre Centre (27 March to 2 April).

I have a double pass to giveaway to see Ladies in Black at QPAC Playhouse at 7.30pm on Wednesday 1 February.  To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post and tell me:

Which actor plays the role of Patty in the new national tour of Ladies in Black? (Hint: The answer is in one of Nathalie’s answers)  

Please note: This is a game of chance. Please make sure you include your email address when filling in the commenting system so that you are eligible to enter and I can contact you. This prize is not able to be exchanged for cash. The giveaway is open to all Australian residents. It commences on Friday 13 January 2017 and closes on Friday 20 January 2017. The winner will be decided on Saturday 21 January 2017 and contacted via email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours to my email, another winner will be chosen. By entering this competition, entrants accept that I will email the winner with the email provided and publish their name on this blog post. Good luck!

What I Wore This Week 

I’ll admit to having a touch of the back to work blues this week. Half of my office were still on holidays so while the quiet was good for getting work done, it was also a bit lonely in. Plus of my long list of things to do over my break, I did … none. Oops.

Monday | Lorna Jane tights and crop

Tuesday | Marcs lace dress (not current) | Seed Heritage necklace | Steve Madden heels

Wednesday | Decjuba Montpellier High Neck Dress (get it here) | Seed Heritage necklace | Soludos Braided Slide (get them here)

Thursday | ILY Couture tee | French Connection skirt | Basque heels from Myer

Friday | Decjuba Tie Front Maxi dress | Sandler wedges

Saturday | Seed Heritage Embroidered Peasant dress | Witchery espadrilles

What-Brooke-Wore-Nancy-King-Spot-DressSunday | Nancy King Coco Frill dress (on sale, get it here) | Steve Madden wedges

5 reasons to stay at Marriott Brisbane 

Marriott-Brisbane-1I recently booked in for a sneaky little staycation at the Brisbane Marriott. I figured if it was good enough for US President Barack Obama when he was in town, it was most certainly good enough for little ol’ me.

Pretty much exactly as it sounds, a staycation is the kind of vacation where you don’t leave your town or city.

I’d been planning my visit for weeks; I was going to leave my laptop behind, switch off my phone (unheard of!), throw on a robe and slippers, order room service and watch movie after movie. Then, after a long, restful sleep, hit the buffet for breakfast before lazing by the pool until my appointment at the on site Dome Spa Retreat for a little pre-Christmas R&R.

What actually happened was that I dropped off my car and overnight bag before heading off to spend the day in the Somersby Polo Lounge at Polo in the City, danced most of the night away at Darling & Co, checked in at 11pm, showered and flopped face first across the king size bed (I totally starfished) and woke up hungover before eating ALL THE BACON at the buffet.

And it was glorious.

Because if you’re going to wake up hungover, there’s no better place to do it than in a big comfy bed, in 5 star hotel where you can order room service AND hit the buffet.

But take my word for it, jumping on the bed will make your hangover ten times worse.

Here are 5 reasons you should book a summer staycation at Brisbane Marriott:

The Dome Spa Retreat
Tucked away on the pool level of Brisbane’s Marriott Hotel, Dome Spa Retreat is the perfect way to pamper yourself and leave your skin feeling soft and supple this summer. Slip into a robe and slippers and enjoy a herbal tea or have a girls’ getaway and order the champagne high tea. I booked in for the Detox and Review package which is said to be “perfect for times of over-indulgence or when you’re just feeling a little sluggish” which included a full-body exfoliation to scrub away any dead skin cells and stimulate the skin before an invigorating full-body massage.

The pool
Pool. Sun lounges. Sunshine. What else do you need for the perfect summer getaway? How about a sauna, gym with river views and a jacuzzi? Grab a good book or turn on your favourite tunes and settle in poolside for a chilled out day.

The buffet breakfast
Motion Bar & Grill was part of the hotel’s multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2011, and delivers a refreshing, modern restaurant and bar destination. On Friday and Saturday night’s they serve up an amazing seafood buffet, but for me, breakfast is where the magic happens. There’s an omelette station where you can watch the chefs at work, waffles made to order in five mouth-watering flavours (hello chocolate), pastries, juice and even Whisk & Pin gluten-free muesli!

Switch off and robe up
Sometimes all it takes is switching off from your devices to feel like you’ve been on holidays. Without the distractions of text messages, social media and emails, you can give your brain the mental detox it deserves and recharge your body and soul. So turn off your phone and give yourself the luxury of kicking back in a cozy robe and slippers, order up some room service and hit up the in-room movies for your very own in-room film festival.

If shopping is on your agenda, Brisbane’s famous Queen St Mall, Wintergarden, Queens Plaza and The Myer Centre are all just a stone’s throw away with big name brands now including David Jones, Myer, Zara, H&M and Uniqlo. To get there you can wander along the Brisbane River through the Eagle Street Pier precinct or stroll through the city, which is what I did, stopping for some macarons from Le Bon Choix along the way. Or head back towards the Valley and check out Principessa, Bakery Lane, Eleven Rooftop Bar and the boutiques of James Street.


Five on Friday: Kokopod’s Brigid Woolnough 


She’s the queen of chocolate (in my opinion) and her macnuts are to die for, so jump over to the blog and meet my enormously talented and award-winning friend, Brigid of KOKOPOD.

How would you describe KOKOPOD?
KOKOPOD is an evolving brand focused on delivering award-winning couverture chocolates to the true lovers of fine food.

Why chocolate?
Upon my first trip to Germany as an exchange student at the age of 16, my host sister’s Father worked at a universally known commercial chocolate factory and I was amazed at their endless supply of chocolate. They had a whole cupboard in their kitchen dedicated to chocolate selections! They even had chocolate discs designed to be eaten on white toast. I returned home with 16kg of Swiss chocolate and have been slightly obsessed ever since! Each subsequent trip to Germany over the years had resulted in a similar chocolate haul of upon returning to Australia, however these days it’s ME who now takes suitcases of chocolate to Europe.

What was the turning point your life / career that helped you decide to start your own business?
Having a family put things into perspective for me; with a FIFO husband and a sleepless child, I wanted flexibility within a career in order to put raising my family first. Investing in a hobby whilst on maternity leave from my Primary teaching position was the best thing I have ever done. I never quite knew the end goal and direction of KOKOPOD, I just knew I wanted to explore the chocolate journey as far as I possibly could … and here we are!

What has been your most memorable moment since starting KOKOPOD?
An all expenses paid invitation to Switzerland last year (2015) to work with some of the world’s most refined pastry chefs and chocolatiers was mind-blowing. With my then 3-year-old in tow, a 20 week old bun in the oven, a dear friend and two weeks’ notice – we set off on a European adventure peaking in the town of Schwyz, working with the Swiss chocolate brand ‘Felchlin’. As one of only two females in the group and the sole Australian, it would have been easy to feel like a fish out of water, however things felt so right and I knew I was exactly in the right place at the right time.

Describe an average day in the kitchen for KOKOPOD?
As much time is spent in the designing and preparation processes for each product or event as there is for the construction and production of KOKOPOD chocolates. Some days the tables are full of books, notepads, sketches and electronics and other days full of chocolate moulds, piping bags, paintbrushes and of course chocolate!

What was the first sweet/chocolate you made and was it for anyone in particular?
Pavlova was the first dessert I conquered under the expert guidance of my mother and grandmother. My family has always been the best ‘guinea pigs’ for the trials of each and every kitchen experiment. It was a bonus having two sisters to grow up with; they were happy to do the dishes in exchange for licking the bowl!

What is your favorite or most popular chocolate flavor combo/product that you make?
Anything with nuts and milk chocolate are always at the top of my list. Caramel is a surety also. My biggest obsession is the ‘Classic Macnuts’, which are caramelised roasted macadamia nuts coated in milk chocolate and dusted in dutch cocoa powder. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who adores these and therefore demand always outweighs supply.

What would you change if you could start again?
There isn’t too much I would change – perhaps begin exploring the world of chocolate a little earlier in my life.

Find KOKOPOD online (including stockist details) at www.kokopod.com.au, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.


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