Ho, ho ho!

If you’ve already got your Christmas gifts sorted this year, read no further. But if you’re one of the many who leaves much of the buying to the last-minute, here are some ideas:




Sheets from Biara Bed and Home

Made from the finest 100% cotton sateen with a self pattern which makes the fabric more robust. Pillowcases and flat sheets come in a range of colours (including silver/grey, and bronze) and designs are embroidered. Each set comprises 1 fitted sheet, 1 flat sheet, and  2 pillowcases.

The prices, which include free delivery, are:

Queen Size Sheet Set             $110.00

King Size Sheet Set                 $120.00

Contact Di Goodwin




Opera Tickets

For opera lovers, what about a subscription to West Australian Opera’s 2016 Opera Season?  Here’s what’s on next year (aside from the free Opera In The Park of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi on Saturday Feb 6).

The Riders

Based on the novel by Tim Winton, this new Australian production showcases the talent of composer Iain Grandage. 13 – 16 April 2016, 7.30pm, His Majesty Theatre

The Elixir of Love

By Donizetti, this Simon Phillips production boasts a strong Australiania theme 15, 16,19,21,23 July 2015, 7.30pm, His Majesty Theatre

The Pearl Fishers

Directed by Michael Gow and conducted by Brad Cohen. 25, 27,29 October and 1, 3, 5 November 2015, 7.30pm, His Majesty Theatre




Black Swan State Theatre Company  Gift Vouchers

Perhaps a ticket or two to Black Swan’s Clinton, The Musical, Moliere’s Truth or Tonsils + Tweezers is the ideal gift for your loved one. Just fill out the online form at the Black Swan site – – and have the gift voucher emailed to you or the lucky recipient straight away. It’s instant, easy and gives them the flexibility of choosing their preferred shows and dates. Values accepted from as little as $20.

There are also vouchers to cover a 3-Play Subscription from just $215. The recipient can then choose which plays they wish to see on redemption. Black Swan recommends the “classic theatre trifecta” with Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Tartuffe – great works reimagined for today’s audience.

Or you could consider buying a double pass online through Ticketek for someone special to Angels in America: Part 1 – set to be one of the hottest double passes in the company’s 2016 season. From just $157* for a standard double pass.


Gretel models the stylish antlers and bow tie

Gretel models the stylish antlers and bow tie


Prezzies for Pooches and Kitties

This Antler head band, $6.99, will have Yappie standing out at the family Xmas lunch. Team it with a Xmas collar decoration and your pet will be a knockout.




Sleeves are in this Summer

We are up for another long hot, skin-damaging summer and Christine Silbert of Slinky Sleeves Designs is helping women to be “armed with style.”

“I have developed a unique range of sun protection sleeves, shrugs and face shades that look great and overcome the barrier fashion-conscious women have to covering up,” says Christine.

“These designs, inspired by a trip to Paris this year, are a practical and easy way to help save damage to skin. They protect you from UVB rays, the cause of melanoma, and UVA which degrades collagen that plumps up the skin cells. They make great Christmas gifts!”

Christine has a stall at the Markets on Rokeby, Subiaco, this Saturday, December 19. She also has an online store at, email: or call Christine on 0407 479 691.


Great summer reads




The Eye Of The Sheep – Sofie Laguna

This original and talented Melbourne author was propelled to literary stardom after winning the 2015 Miles Franklin Award for this novel, published by Allen & Unwin. But she’s already published 20 children’s books. The Eye of The Sheep, her second adult novel, is told through the eyes of young Jimmy Flick, whose world is complicated with the alcoholism and troubles of the adults in his world.




The Secret Chord – Geraldine Brooks

An historical novel about the life of King David, by the best-selling Australian author of People Of The Book, Caleb’s Crossing and March (which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005). Told from the point of view of the prophet Nathan. We follow the enigmatic David’s journey from obscurity to fame, from beloved king to murderous despot. Brooks, 60, was a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald before moving to the US, where she remains based.



The Waiting Room – Leah Kaminsky

It’s the debut novel by this award-winning physician and writer from Melbourne (who’s also Poetry and Fiction editor at the Medical Journal of Australia). The Waiting Room, described by author Graeme Simsion as “compelling, moving and memorable,” was shortlisted in the Faulkner-Wisdom Novel Writing Competition. Here’s a synopsis of the book: Dina is a family doctor living in the melting-pot city of Haifa, Israel. Born in Australia in a Jewish enclave of Melbourne to Holocaust survivors, Dina left behind a childhood marred by misery and the tragedies of the past to build a new life for herself in the Promised Land. After starting a family of her own, she finds her life falling apart beneath the demands of her eccentric patients, a marriage starting to fray, the ever-present threat of terrorist attack and the ghost of her mother, haunting her with memories that Dina would prefer to leave on the other side of the world.





For foodies, there are so many great cookbooks around at the moment. Some of our favourites:

Beyond the Farm Gate – Danielle Costley (Margaret River Press)

This is a fabulous culinary journey through Australia’s South West. It takes us to the people, places and produce that are home to the South West Region. Here, the food is very much an expression of craftsmanship and, at times, the very lifeblood of the community. Beautifully photographed by Chris Gurney, Beyond the Farm Gate unlocks the stories and secret recipes from a melting pot of flavours and influences. This book will want to make you pack your bags and disappear for a few days on a gastronomic adventure!

Alla Fratelli: How to Eat Italian – Barry McDonald (Murdoch Books)

Alla Fratelli is all about seasonal, fresh, heart-warming, delicious eating, dedicated to flavour and tradition – but it rips up the rule book at the same time, challenging some of the older Italian traditions and putting meals together that suit the way we live now. Inspired by the seasonal produce, fresh attitude and Italian spirit of that great Potts Point eatery, Fratelli Fresh, Alla Fratelli takes all that is great about Italian food and serves it up with a cheeky Sydney twist. “This is how everyone should cook at home,” says Barry McDonald. “When you’re not eating at one of our restaurants, that is.”

Biota: Grow – Gather – Cook – James Viles (Murdoch Books)

James invites readers to celebrate spectacular food created from the perfect balance of animal and plant life in Sydney’s Southern Highlands. Biota contains over 80 delicious, seasonal and achievable recipes. James uses local produce to create beautiful and honest dishes. Chef and owner of two-hatted Biota Dining in Bowral, New South Wales, James Viles has become one of Australia’s most respected young chefs and restaurateurs, recognised for his commitment to sustainability and his dramatic modern food. He champions the use of seasonal, ethical produce to create these delicious dishes.

Special Delivery: Favourite Food to Make & Take – Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe (Murdoch Books)

In Annabel Crabb’s accidental second career as the host of political cooking show Kitchen Cabinet, she takes dessert to the homes of politicians, and the message of the dessert is clear. It’s, ‘I come in peace.’ She famously won over Bob Hawke with a plate of Chocolate Choux Buns, Joe Hockey with an Apple Tangle Cake and Tony Abbott with a Nutty Quince Crumble. In Special Delivery, Annabel has teamed up with her childhood bestie, fellow food tragic and recipe consultant for Kitchen Cabinet, Wendy Sharpe, to bring you over 100 of the most winning recipes to make and take to those you love. Included here are recipes for savouries and, of course, a swag of delicious desserts, all with instructions on how best to transport them.

Good Life, Great Food – Judy Phillips 

Judy Phillips is a cooking teacher and expert home cook with a passion for fresh, seasonal food. As a health conscious mother of five, Judy knows all the tricks and shortcuts to create simple and impressive meals, bursting with flavor and, above all, nutritious. In her debut cookbook, she shows us how to create simple, healthy and delicious recipes designed to share with loved ones. Judy’s recipes draw on influences from her Eastern European background, Israeli, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines and the delicious abundance of fresh produce available in Australia.   Good Life Great Food features easy to follow recipes, easily sourced ingredients and stunning photography. Books may be purchased by contacting the author at

Summer on Fat Pig Farm – Matthew Evans (Murdoch Books)

Gourmet farmer Matthew Evans showcases beautiful seasonal produce from Fat Pig Farm with this collection of fresh, simple and nourishing summer recipes. Welcome to Summer on Fat Pig Farm, where the garden prospers, the berries ripen and the aroma of fresh herbs lingers in the air. Summer is the season of surplus, a time when the sun is high and the cooking is easy. Dig in to indulgent waffles with salty butterscotch pears. Enjoy a rustic farm meal of cider chicken or zucchini and buffalo mozzarella lasagne, while sipping white peach and mint sangria. Finish with vanilla-poached nectarines or raspberry cake drizzled with elderflower syrup.

Guillaume: Food for Family – Guillaume Brahimi (Penguin Lantern)

French–Australian chef Guillaume Brahimi visits some of Australia’s most charming and stylish homes, creating delicious menus inspired by the people and places he visits. And what an impressive contact book he has! We’ll join him to prepare a laidback lunch for restaurateur Justin Hemmes at his harbourside home, cook up a Greek feast at the heritage cottage of The Apprentice’s hottie Mark Bouris, and serve a hearty winter luncheon hosted by actor Cate Blanchett in an iconic country woodshed. Guillaume shares his own family’s favourite recipes: relaxed, easy meals designed to satisfy a household of hungry youngsters. Royalties from the book will support the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The Big Book of Fabulous Food – Jane Kennedy (Hardie Grant Books)

“Everyone’s so much more health conscious these days, ” says actor-foodie-mum of 5, Jane Kennedy. In The Big Book of Fabulous Food, Jane shares 152 great recipes that are fast, fresh, and bursting with flavor. They will also make you feel fantastic, she assures us! Whether you’re after new ideas for brunch, comforting classics without the calories, inspiring salads to take to work, or hearty dinners, Jane’s recipes are for every day and will inspire you into more healthy eating.










Enjoyed what you read?

 Of course you did. Subscribe (it's free!) and we will send you our weekly issue of The Starfish.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

The Starfish straight to your inbox!

Sign up and receive the latest edition of The Starfish in your email in-box each week!

You have Successfully Subscribed!