Calling out “quackery”

November 21, 2014 · 0 comments

Movember Launch

So, today I attended a lunch time webinar – *Special Event Supporting Movember* Reclaim Your Body, Your Energy and Your Life, because my professional assosciation had been given a bunch of free reqistrations, and I thought, why not? I have time and like learning things!

It was offered to a number of assosciations who use the CPD Live platform for their online CPD events, including Financial Planning Australia and The Institute of Public Accountants. This is the link from the main CPD Live homepage. when I checked, there were 71 attendees taking 90 minute of their time, hoping to learn more about their health.

The Blurb:

Session Overview

You can take some very small steps that will become giant strides toward exceptional health, wellbeing and vitality. Disease is not an accident. You can be abundantly healthy, energetic and alive.

Join exercise physiologist and gifted educator John Toomey for a Nuts and Bolts Education forum as he shares with you just how easy it is to take those small steps.

Why do you yawn at 10:30 in the morning?

Why do you sometimes struggle through the afternoon?

How is it that you struggle to get motivated to exercise?

Why is your cholesterol high and what does that even mean?

Little, if any of this is genetic. You can, with some simple changes, create extraordinary changes in your health, sense of wellbeing and your energy levels. You can slash your risk of disease and put all of your attention on creating a great life, never worrying about what might take you out.

Come on in and get some cool tools to rebuild your life.

What you will learn:

The causes of lethargy, fatigue and low motivation
What really causes heart disease and cancer
How to make small changes to have a massive impact
How to quickly get rid of snoring, sleep apnoea, gastric reflux, night sweats and fatigue.
How to quickly and effectively lose weight.

Who should attend:
Anyone who is male, who employs or manages males, or who is perhaps married to or cares about a male.

The presenter, John Toomey was described as
“Exercise Physiologist, Gifted Educator and Communicator
Global Wellness”

The Wellness part should have given me alarm bells, but I took it all in good faith.

The seminar started innocently enough, telling us all to drink more water to help combat lethargy,

Then he brought up a slide about swimming pools.

Yep, you know what this is going.

Some talk about pH, and then launches into the benefits of going alkaline and testing the pH of our urine to know if our blood was going right, and yeah….

I flicked up a couple of links into the chat box about alkaline diets – Skeptic’s Dictionary (which drew the comment “oh there will always be skeptics you have to make up your own mind”), SkepticGirl and, yeah I know, Wikipedia.

He promised us a copy of his ebook … which included a lovely alkalising foods chart which you can google. I didn’tmake it that far, so I can’t share that I’m sorry.

Determined to hear him out, I stuck with the talking for another 15 mins or so.

Until he cited all that stuff that was deemed biased in the now pulled Catalyst program on Lipitor and other anticholesterol medications.

The program focused heavily on the opinions of US experts – one of whom believes vaccines can cause autism and another who promotes chiropractic and chelation for heart problems – while a number of high-profile Australian experts were not used.
One, the University of Sydney head of cardiology, David Celermajer, told Fairfax Media he felt only the evidence that supported the agenda of the program was included.

Read more:

John stopped himself from telling people to stop them…. pretty much by saying I shouldn’t tell you to stop them, but you should go to your doctor and tell them they don’t work.

This is when I basically had to call it a day. I was getting riled up, it was a million degrees outside and I had better things to do. I wish I’d remembered that it was the catalyst program that I was thinking of before I signed off, to share that info with the other participants, but I didn’t, and that’s that.

Straight after I signed off, I made a slightly snarky comment on the Speech Pathology Australia chat board that I’d gotten the original sign up link from, saying it was quackery and misleading and I was disappointed. Slight regret at my working, but it was true how I felt! Obviously it wasn’t a SPA event, and they were quick to point that out, and to inform me that they will only be using their own speakers in that medium form now on, or ones they know the content of. Which pleased me greatly :)

I’m all for people eating healthy and making inquiries and questioning what’s the best medicine for them, but not for them to be misled by someone claiming expertise in an area and gussying it up as some sort of favour for Movember. Movember which does such great work at supporting research and education on Men’s Health matters and mental health.

End rant?

For now ;)


Moscow Mule

I was sent some ginger beer and ginger refresher from Buderim Ginger to try, and I HAD to do moscos mules. Vodka and lime from Aldi (fresh limes were $1 each, so pass!) and the bitey ginger from the beer can, or like below and bitey-er ginger if you use the ginger refresher and soda water. (or less bitey, but I like more!!!)

Moscow Mule

What’s to drink at yours tonight?

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My newest online bought (gifted for this post) glasses! From!
The Barstow Rectangle – Black/Purple: $29.95


prescriton sunglasses
The Sudbury Prescription Sunglasses – Black/Cream: $39.95

Get 20% off at with my code FionaX20 !!


xmas cupcakes

So, I had a lovely day heading to Sydney for the Kids Business Bloggers Brunch, catching up with old bloggy friends, meeting new ones, hearing lovely talks, particularly from Angela Priestly from Women’s Agenda and a gorgeous woman from The Nappy Collective, eating delicious food and talking about washing detergent and potty training.

But then, it was also awesome to come back home, get out out that awful heat, and browse my emails, drink some wine, and come down from the consumerism. And see one from The International Women’s Development Agency promoting their “Gifts of Change range of “e gifts” for Xmas 2014.

Like the other virtual charity gifts I’ve talked about, you can support a charity by giving a lovely “gift” to a friend… like a day of basic counselling training to support women who experience domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. Or helping people get qualified representation in court.

You could also defy all the nay sayers of femisnism, and wear it proudly, with a This is what a feminist looks like shirt, available in men’s, women’s and children’s sizing.

this is what a feminist looks like tshirt

More Xmas Gift Guides
Virtual Charity Gifts
Australian online handmade gifts


Yay!! Purple shirted eye stabber!

Watching you....


One of my rewards from sponsoring the Cyanide & Happiness kickstarter :D The Purple Shirted Eye Stabber :D

He’s a pyro too….


Assorted Shiraz

November 8, 2014 · 0 comments

Who wants to see the Shiraz I’ve been drinking? You? Yay!!!

Zilzie Shiraz

First up we have a 2012 Zilzie, picked up on a 2-for-1 deal at First Choice Liquor, normally $11/bottle. Very easy to drink, not too heavy table wine :)

Rooks lane shiraz

This Rook’s Lane 2013 was in a mix dozen of reds I got from via a Groupon deal. It has a cool bird on the label! He looks mean. And tough. Like a shiraz drinker! :p

Crackerjack shiraz

Also from that box, the Crackerjack shiraz. This one also looks serious. A woody.

Malindi Vintners

Malindi Vitners from the Clare Valley. Pretty much can’t go wrong with the Clare Valley, though my go-to from that region is a dry Riesling :)

Eaglehawk Wolf Blass Shiraz

For years I was scared of drinking Wolf Blass. The story goes, I was on a lunch cruise on the Tuggerah Lakes with my boyfriend, and a bottle of Wolf Blass sparkling white was included. They mustn’t have washed out glasses properly, because the wine tasted soapy, and I couldn’t detatch that from the thought of Wolf Blass. But, I’ve moved on. And this Eaglahawk was delish!

CR01 Clean Skin from Dan Murphy's

And Ol’ faithful. The “Clean Skins” CR01 Shiraz from Dan Murphy’s / BWS. Not the DM04. The DM04 is cheaper, and you do notice the 50c difference on a $4.99 bottle :p


Support small local stores

I’ve seen to above image going around again – calling for us to support our local artisans this Xmas. So I thought I’d put together a list of some awesome Aussie online stores to buy handmade wares from for your friends, family and for that Secret Santa giftee!

Soaps and lip balms, from Veronica Foale Essentials

Soap and lip balms from Veronica Foale essentials

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have seen some of my purchases from Veronica’s online store. Veronica lives in rural Tasmania, and has launched a range of handmade soaps, lipbalms and, now, bath salts!

Veronica uses a range of natural oils in her products, which leave your skin and lips oh so happy! I love the lip balms (who wouldn’t!!) and you will too. It’s all balm oil free, and some products use Tasmanian beeswax. She’s adding new products all the time, so follow the store’s Facebook page to be tempted!

Yay! Sample packs and lip balms from  :)

Being me, I LOVE anything citrussy, but she has a huge range of scents including coffee, There are also some lovely unscented soaps on offer for those with sensitive skin or noses, and vegan soaps. To me, they would be lovely, practical and thoughtful gifts for anyone, but in particular I think teachers would LOVE these over the usual mug and chocolates!

Candles and melts from Lily and Ginger Candles

Hand poured soy candle tins

Lily and Ginger Candles is a Hunter based family company run by Tiff and the other Treganzas. Have a delicious scent all through your house with these hand poured soy candles and melts. There’s delicious scents like Vanilla Cheesecake, Ginger Kisses and Lolly Shoppe, and they come in various sized tins and jars. Or, fill your house with the scents of Christmas?

Follow on facebook, or, if you’re in Newcastle, check out some of their range at Floral and Spot’s pop up stall at the Emporium on the old David Jones Building in the Hunter Street Mall.

Sweary and Ranty Tea Towels and Wall Hangings from PrettyFknEmbroidery


With such wisdom as “Don’t be a Dick” and Fuck the Dishes, Cate Bolt’s wall hangings and tea towels are perfect for your not so domestic housewives ;) Because, who doesn’t just think “I hate you the least” some days about their loved ones?

Home is whereever Im with you

Cate is traipsing around the NT at the moment, and also has some more gentle embroidered products at Cabo Pickles, with those sales supporting her Foundation 18 charity, which supports families in Indonesia to stay together as well as running an orphanage for those whose families couldn’t make it. I know, warm fuzzies when buying gifts? Perfect!

Hand mixed Glitter nail polish from Fox & Owl Polish

MMM cupcakes nail polsih

Fox and Owl mix their gorgeous polishes in Victoria, and has a gorgeous range of space and star polishes, and pretty pastels. Or, if you fancy yourself a bit of a mermaid, there’s some gorgeous colours for you! (Stalk the FB page here.)

Mermaids exist polish

On top of these, I’d suggest braving your local crafty and artisan markets, buying some local jams and honeys, browsing the shelves of

Have you got any favourite Aussie stores I should add to this list?

Check out my other Xmas gift guides:
Awesome “Virtual” Charity Gifts


Win a pair of glasses!

November 4, 2014 · 2 comments

(sorry for the glut of sponsored and giveaway posts, it’s duck season, and while I’d like to space them out more, I’m REALLY not orderanised to do that, and keep running into deadlines!! One day!)

Kitty headphones

Wanna win a pair of glasses from Firmoo? Head over to the comp on my Facebook page to enter!

Closes 11/11.

(How cool are these kitty headphones? Picked them up from typo with a voucher I won from Musings of the Misguided, an awesome BPD blogger!)


Playing the goat cafe cups charlestown

How awesome are these cups at the newishly opened “Playing the Goat” in the Hilltop Plaza block (across the road from Centrelink) in Charlestown? :)

I got a delish cold coffee (espresso, milk and ice) the other morning and wished that the cup was for keeps!

The had some nice looking wraps and toasties, perfect for the explosion of case managers occupying the area for the NDIS…

Playing the Goat
12/338 Charlestown Rd
Charlestown NSW 2290
0413 564 459


Menulog Website

So the dear people at Menulog flicked me a voucher so I could try out their online home delivery ordering system. I’ll show you how it works, and if you’re still with me at the end of the post you can enter to win a $50 Menulog food voucher!

So , the restaurants in the Newcastle area are slowly joining up to sites like Menulog, but if you enter your home suburb or postcode, it’s easy to see who you can order home delivery from online, and the extra places who you can order from online (and pay with CC, PayPal or cash when you get there) in the area.

Search for who delivers to your Suburb


Select where you want to order from

(realise that you have two choices, and Thai sounds more appealing in the heat than Indian, so you select Nara Thai and Uncle Raja’s, where you worked all through Uni and hope the food is still as good as 10 years ago! This would also be the restaurants that left me car smelling of various curries, me stained with onion smell for a week after chopping bags and bags of onions, and turned a while car seat cover orange with butter chicken sauce… Nice food though, and certainly not the worst place to work through Uni, given the stories friends tell! Plus, sooooo much pad thai!)


Step 3 – Browse the menu and start adding things to your order/cart


The delivery fee (based on your original suburb search) is already included in the total


There will be a pop-up that asks you when you would like your delivery to arrive


I selected 7pm, however it arrived at 6.15pm… Not great if you were waiting for people to come home for dinner…Or in our case we weren’t that hungry yet!

You then click order – enter your full address, and click through to PayPal (or enter your CC details) to pay the bill!


You get this neat little confirmation SMS (along with email) with the restaurant’s phone number to call direct if there are any issues

SMS confirmation

And look at the yummy food I got!

Nara Pad Thai
Pad Thai – yummy as ever

Nam Tok beef thai salad
(spicy!) Nam Tok Beef Salad – love the flavours in this

Thai salads
(think the Nam Tok needs a chili next to it too!)

Nara Thai fish cakes and Uncle Raja's onion bahjee
Thai Fish Cakes and Indian Onion Bahjee. Because I can. (They clearly had their oil up too hot…)

Win a $50 Menulog food voucher

Okay, so if you’d like to win the $50 Menulog voucher, tell me in the comments a story about where you worked when you were still in school or Uni. Does it still exist? Would you dare set foot in there again?

The winner will be determined by how awesome and funny/terrifying/breaking of all labour laws their comment is as judged by my co-eater Bruce. Entries close at Midnight Monday November 10th, 2014. The voucher expires one month after you win it and is valid for orders in Australia only.

Good Luck!!