Plain packaging of tobacco products would cut smoking, experts say. So, does that mean the graphic imagery on cigarette packages isn’t working?
Temperatures have been soaring here over the past couple of weeks and nothing beats a day in the heat than a refreshing, cool drink.
I’ve been trying to lay off the alcohol and fizzy drink recently, but I am growing tired of drinking plain water.
So I decided to add a little luxury to my day with homemade mineral water – just like a day at the spa!
The best part about this bit of pampering is that it is very affordable and the water is full of wonderful nutrients, so it’s healthy and guilt free
I made some very simple cucumber and watermelon water, which contained:
1 cucumber, finally sliced
1 cup of chopped watermelon
2 litres of water
It’s important you let the water sit for at least an hour, so all of that yummy flavour distils into the water!
Like I said, this version is very basic – but there are so many other varieties you could make:
- Mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries).
- Mixed Citrus (lemon and orange)
- Lavender water (this is next on my list)
- Peppermint water…Rosemary water…
- Apricot or peach water…
Mmmm, I am getting carried away here, but you get the picture :
Stumbling forth in doe-eyed slumber,
Wide awake within a dream.
Searching for reference in pitch black silence,
Nothing is ever as it seems.
Rhinos at Werribee Open Range Zoo, Melbourne
My first “real job” as a reporter was at a community newspaper.
The paper was printed every Wednesday and I used to love watching people come into our small, suburban office to pick up their copy.
They nearly always came in with an opinion about that particular edition, or the previous edition, or what was happening in their city.
Their comments weren’t always complimentary; I remember receiving a fair few bollockings from readers who objected to the way some of my articles were written.
That didn’t matter. They were entitled to their opinion.
What did matter was the sense of ownership they had over the newspaper – it was their paper, it represented their voice.
Last year, I began volunteering for a non-profit, community newspaper (It recently won an industry gong for ‘best community content’ – Yay!)
This experience has reminded me why I love this form of journalism:
1) Community newspapers provide local news, written by local people, for local people
While there is absolutely no debating that issues such as the proposed carbon tax and the state of the country’s economy affect all of us, community newspapers deal with those “backyard issues” that their metropolitan cousins sometimes neglect. For example, a proposed 20-storey high rise to be built on a historical site, the opening of a hall or additional classrooms that a school has spent a decade fundraising for, or funding cuts to a local day care provider that offers a crucial service to families. These newspapers are often staffed by people who live in the area (therefore providing local jobs) and can also offer businesses more targeted advertising than can be achieved through other kinds of media.
2) Community newspapers provide space and time for “good news”
By this, I don’t mean spin, spiel or evangelism. I mean the article written about the charity group that is making a real difference in their community with modest income, or the wartime couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary (a real achievement in this day and age). You probably won’t see these “unsung heroes” featured on the evening news, but you will most definitely see these stories featured in your local, community newspaper.
3) Community newspapers are free and accessible
Community newspapers are delivered free to letterboxes on a bi-weekly, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Research has shown that readers hold on to them longer than other newspapers (an average of 4.8 days) and that they are shared among friends and family before they are discarded –meaning a wider audience. Readers are also more likely to access a community newspaper’s corresponding website, if one is available.
Now, I am not suggesting that community newspapers are the “future” of journalism. They face the same challenges as other mediums. But in the digital age, it’s nice to reflect on the beauty of something that reminds us that our world can be just as small, as it is large.
This year was the third Christmas my husband and I had spent in a different country.
We spent yesterday laughing and joking at an orphans’ Christmas party with some fellow ex-pats we’ve become close to throughout the year.
When I explained how we were spending Christmas to people, some felt really sorry for us! “Wouldn’t you rather be with family?” was a common question, coupled with a sympathetic look.
I know it sounds terrible but…I actually prefer spending Christmas with friends and acquaintances. Here are my top three reasons why:
- No family drama. No matter how well intentioned your family is, in my experience being around a group of people trying to be on their best behaviour is hard work. Christmas can be so stressful anyway, with so many real and imagined expectations, adding a few family politics into the mix can be toxic. Add a bit of liquor and away we go…Messy Christmas.
- Share the cheer (and the cost) In my opinion, pot lucks rock! Yesterday, we were all responsible for one or two dishes (I made a trifle, it was awesome) and bought a Kris Kringle/Secret Santa present to the value of $20. The variety of food was great and it seemed to be a very cost effective solution. The best part was we used plastic plates and cutlery, so there were few dishes!
- Meet new people and make new friends.Let’s face it, it gets harder to meet new people and make new friends as you get older. When you move overseas, you really appreciate the opportunities you get to socialise with new acquaintances.