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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Debbie Reynolds Dies After Daughter Carrie Fisher's Death

Debbie Reynolds - the mother of Carrie Fisher - has died. Only one day after he daughter passed away.

In news just in from TMZ:

Debbie Reynolds -- who rose to stardom in "Singin' in the Rain" and quickly became a staple among Hollywood royalty -- died Wednesday as a result of a stroke, TMZ has learned ... just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed away ... this according to her son Todd.
Debbie was rushed to a hospital shortly after 1 PM when someone at the Beverly Hills home of her son, Todd, called 911 to report a possible stroke. We're told Debbie and Todd were making funeral plans for Carrie, who died Tuesday of cardiac arrest.
Debbie famously divorced Eddie Fisher in 1959 after his affair with Elizabeth Taylor.Debbie married 2 more times in 1960 and 1984.
She played iconic roles in "Tammy and the Bachelor" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" ... for which she earned an Oscar nomination.
Carrie's relationship with Debbie was the focus of Carrie's semi-autobiographical book, "Postcards from the Edge," which was later adapted for the big screen, starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
Debbie's survived by her son Todd, who tells us, "She's with Carrie."
She was 84.


"Debbie said to her son Eddie Fisher, only 15 minutes before she died: "I miss her so much. I want to be with Carrie."


Here is Debbie in her 'Singin' In The Rain' role, above, and the clip below:

Pink has second child: PHOTO

There is wonderful celeb baby news just in!

Singer Pink has just announced she has given birth to baby number two.

Pink - real name Alicia Moore - posted the announcement and the cute photo on Instagram. The cute pic is below.

She gave birth to a baby boy named Jameson Moon Hart on December 26, 2016, She and husband Carey Hart also parent a 5 year old daughter, Willow Sage Hart, together.

She captioned the mother-son moment simply with: "Jameson Moon Hart 12.26.16"

The couple has always wanted to name their son Jameson, actually.

In a 2010 interview with Access Hollywood, Pink explained, "My dad's name is James, and my brother's name is Jason. [Carey and I] are both Irish, Carey's middle name is Jason, and Jameson—we like whiskey. That's a no brainer."

Pink kept much of her second pregnancy secret, keeping the news a secret until mid-November, then announced she was expecting on Instagram by posting a photo of her little girl embracing her baby bump.

A photo posted by P!NK (@pink) on

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Why have so many celebrities died in 2016?

Another celebrity dies - 2016 has been so cruel! Why are all our icons dying?

You've been hearing this a lot, right? Perhaps even adding to the dialogue, questioning why this is happening in greater numbers than usual?

Asking 2016 to go away so we can herald in 2017 when perhaps the rate of celeb deaths will slow down?

Well, while it HAS in fact been a BIG year for celebrity deaths - and, figures do confirm a spike in high-profile deaths this year, with Wikipedia recording 642 notable deaths in January compared to 466 just a month earlier - the fact is: people die.

I am not being morbid or rude or disrespectful.

It's just that people - stars or family or friends - always seem to die when you don't want them to.

Because when do we want them to die?

How about NEVER!

That's not possible or real life, of course. And we know it.

But we continue to be shocked when someone of notes dies. Or when a family member passes.

I would argue we are not equipped as a society to deal with death in any way that is good for our health. That is, we don't know how to deal with grief, and that loved ones can die at any time (again, sounds so obvious, and that yes, we know the drill... but really, we don't, and are emotionally ill equipped when someone we love dies). I would even go as far to say we make their death about us. Because that's what humans do. (I recently told my brother: I am so sad our dad died, so devastated... but what about him! He lost his life so young!).

This is human nature of course, and a sign we are living, breathing humans who have a heart, and are compassionate, and in tune with our emotional IQ. We are greatly affected by death.

The fact is: people of our era and older are dying because they are of that age group that they are more likely to die, and in today's news saturation society, where a 24 hour news cycle is the norm, it is FAR more widely reported when famous people die. And we know more and more details about how they died, which humanises them even more, and affects us even more greatly.

Here are more theories on why seemingly more people of note are dying:

- There are more celebrities

So, we are more likely to feel like we know them more of them.

And we as a society have CREATED more celebrities for no apparent reason (Kardashians, anyone?), so there are more people we care about and know about, and feel affected by when they die.

Our fetish for pop culture, and our hunger to know more and more about famous people, and their willingness to give it to us through social media posts and snippets - or whole mega paid magazine spreads - on their lives makes us feel connected, and therefore more devastated when they die.

- Social media makes us feel more connected... and therefore more gutted

Think about it. When someone dies, the wave of grief - and social media posting - is like a tsunami of hashtags and virtual tears.

If you announce it on YOUR social media page any later than 28 minutes after TMZ or BBC break the news, you may be deemed to be too slow with the news.

Frankly, there has been many a time when I have gone to bed, and at 1.30am Sydney time there is news breaking in the US. And out of bed I hop to report and blog and try to be one of the first. Because we have to be the first, to lay claim to knowing first. Okay, I run a blog page and I have to be with it, but many WANT to be first to post on Facebook and Instagram because we feel we are delivering breaking news, and can then recount how WE felt and where WE were when news broke.

- Music is the soundtrack of our lives

And so, when artists die, we feel pieces of us are gone too.

Musicians of note this year who has passed - David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael to name a few, died "before their time". But what is "before their time" anyway? They are certainly and absolutely FAR too young to have died! Carrie Fisher - only 60! Still so much living to do. Same with George and Bowie and even older artists we've lost, like Leonard Cohen. It's too young! They still had so much living to do... and they still had so much to give... us.

If your great grandmother dies, and she's - as Aussies say - "had a good innings" - they are STILL your loved one, and you STILL don't want them to die. They hold memories close to your heart; they are the fabric of your history. When they die, a piece of you dies too. And you feel the same way when artists and celebrities die, that they are "have been there for you" in different ways. George was there for you when you had a shitty Christmas with an ex. Or when you wanted to get it on with a potential lover... or had a heightened supermodel fetish (Okay, I may be talking about me now...).

When George Michael died, I was propelled back to 1984 when 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go' was released and I was an uncool 12 year old at a girls' Catholic school, then got cooler (I think?), and linked more and more memories to fun times hearing George's song's.

The same applied to Prince's passing. 'Cream', 'Get Off', all of those sexy AF numbers brought me back to a time and place in my 20s when life was FUN. And Prince's tunes was in fact the soundtrack to my life... and many a messy night.

There are stories about how David Bowie made YOU feel a particular way when he was alive, and therefore feel certain emotions when he died. They are YOUR stories, valid and important, but connected to you and your history. Everyone's stories unite each other, although many a time we probably feel that OUR grief is greater than someone else's about a famous person's passing, because WE have more memories about them.

I remember when I interviewed Peter Walsh - Oprah's Aussie declutter guru - he said to me that 'clutter memories' can be overwhelming, and people don't know what to do with things connected to deceased loved ones.

He said that when we throw something out, we feel we are throwing out the memory.

But, he is at pains to kindly point out, we are not. The memory remains. We just need to know how to manage it. Perhaps have a few pieces of theirs which we hold close and dear and have us feel connected.

This has helped me somewhat in dealing with what to do with belongings from my late mum's house - I knew I could not keep everything, and I had to learn the art of culling.

Conversely, we connect concert tickets, festival ticket stubs, and midnight movie session tickets, and movie posters, and signed CDs and books to that artist we loved, and how we felt when we heard, had signed, or danced to anything tangible related to that artist. 

- Baby boomers are dying

What is a 'baby boomer'? 

Well, if you are reading this you might be likely to be a Gen X or Gen Y person, or someone born beyond the 'noughties'.

But you could also be a baby boomer, defined as a person born between 1946 and 1964, when there was a massive growth in population. This means people in their 50s, 60s and 70s now make up a much larger percentage of the population than they did four or five decades before that.

The result? More of them are famous! And now, more of them are dying.


Well, the 'baby boomers' are reaching an age where they are more likely to develop life-threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease, or suffer a stroke (did you know that the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that heart disease, dementia, and stroke are in the top three causes of death in Australia... cancer does not even make it in the top three. I learned this when I was researching my book 'The Australian Ageing Generation Handbook'... and dementia went from number three, to number two on that causes of death list).

So, there is an even greater chance that YOUR fave celeb / artist / author / movie star is dying or about to die. For real.

Prediction: 2017 will have as many if not more notable deaths - because the maths and illnesses likely to afflict our most fave stars says so.

On a personal note, as someone who has experienced death from a young age - my dad died at age 57 (I was 13; he died in a car accident) and my mum died at age 82 (30 years after my dad, and from dementia; I was her carer), my understanding of death changed RAPIDLY.

I went from an innocent child of 13, thinking my parents would die of old age some day in their 80s or even 90s, only to having my world completely and utterly smashed to smithereens knowing that someone I love could die at any time.

For years I was SO, so fearful of my mum dying young and suddenly, and that I would not be able to control any if it. (Turns out I was half right... she died much later, from a disease I could not control, but I could certainly manage how it unfolded and how she was cared for, ultimately - and my brothers can attest - absolutely prolonging her life).

And so, again - an acceptance of death goes a long way in understanding that your fave cultural icon WILL die. Sadly. And never when you want them to. You will never be ready.

I have spent the past few days cranking up George Michael songs LOUD on the music TV channel at home.

I explained to the kids I was celebrating the life of an artist I LOVED and was part of many memories from my youth.

I think they truly got it as they danced along with me... they were having fun... and I was 12 again, then 18, then 24. And it was a happy time for me remembering some good times from my younger days.

Thank you David Bowie, thank you Prince, thank you George Michael. And Michael Jackson  and Whitney Houston before you. We are grateful for the soundtrack you provided to ALL our lives.

Now rest in peace and party hard in heaven.

Carrie Fisher Dies, Age 60

Carrie Fisher has died, age 60.

The iconic actress, who portrayed Princess Leia in the  Star Warsseries, died Tuesday following a massive heart attack last week. She was 60.

"It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning," Simon Halls, a spokesperson for Fisher's family, said in a statement to People.
Carrie suffered a heart attack last week aboard a Los Angeles-bound flight 15 minutes prior to landing. A medic onboard performed CPR on the actress until paramedics arrived to take her to UCLA Medical Center, where she was placed on a ventilator.
Carrie was the daughter of screen legend Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, and at the age of 19, after landing the role of Princess Leia in George Lucas' 1977 space epic Star Wars.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

George Michael’s boyfriend posts heartbreaking tribute

George Michael's boyfriend Fadi Fawaz has described the heartbreaking moment he discovered his partner's lifeless body in bed.

He took to Twitter today to pay tribute to his partner, who died on Christmas Day.
He wrote: “It’s a xmas i will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning. I will never stop missing you xx (sic)”
Fawaz, who is a hair stylist, also changed his Twitter biography to “I will never stop missing you xxx”.

Read more about George Michael's death HERE.

See many of George's videos HERE.

See George's funny turn with James Corden and when he met the Little Britain duo HERE.

Read about George Michael's cause of death HERE.

Monday, 26 December 2016

George Michael, James Corden, Little Britain: VIDEOS

The nostalgia around George Michael is plentiful... but have you seen James Corden - he of carpool karaoke fame - with George?

And, bonus:

George Michael meets Little Britain:

George Michael: Cause of Death Confirmed

The world is still reeling from news of the death of George Michael, who died on Christmas Day (UK time), age 53.

And now, the cause of death has been revealed.

The former Wham! singer died of heart failure on Christmas Day, confirmed 'The Hollywood Reporter'.

The statement from his publicist said:

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.

“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

Relive his music videos HERE.

Read the original report on his death as we reported HERE.

George Michael: MUSIC VIDEOS

George Michael.

Soundtrack to the youth of so many growing up in the 1980s and 1990s and noughties.

Here are some of is VERY best songs, solo and with his group Wham! who he founded with Andrew Ridgley.

He has died, age 53.

George Michael dies age 53

In new just in, singer George Michael has died, age 53.

This report just in, from BBC:

Singer George Michael has died aged 53, his publicist has said.
The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and later continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have "passed away peacefully at home".
Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT. 
Police say there were no suspicious circumstances. 
Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in north London, sold more than 100m albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades.
Earlier this month it was announced that producer and songwriter Naughty Boy was working with Michael on a new album.
In a statement, the star's publicist said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.
"The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage." 
In 2011, Michael postponed a series of concerts after being taken to hospital for treatment for pneumonia.
After treatment in a Vienna hospital, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been "touch and go" whether he lived.
Doctors were said to have performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his spell in hospital.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Margot Robbie Married: PHOTO

Margot Robbie has reportedly tied the knot with fiancée Tom Ackerley in a secret Byron Bay wedding just yesterday.

Margot arrived in the Gold Coast early yesterday morning, and today... well, she looks to be married... and she gave the finger on her Instagram account:
A photo posted by @margotrobbie on
Tom and Margot were pictured here at a friend’s wedding in a picture posted on Instagram:

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Canberra: Family Trip TRAVEL REVIEW


Have you been to our nation's capital?

If not, you simply must.

If you have a terribly outdated idea that Canberra is 'boring' stop reading!

Actually, keep reading! It's the best thing you could do as a Sydney-ite as this Australian city has so much to offer, and it's under two hours away.

We, and by we I mean my family and a fellow blogger's family in tow, visited Canberra in October and fit in much as we could in a matter of days.

Think: Cockington Green Gardens, Questacon, Floriade, National Zoo and Aquarium, National Arboretum Canberra.

The National Arboretum Canberra is something to see! Not part of our schedule, we kinda stumbled across it while driving past.

It's here you can actually see "the forest for the trees", with its 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world.

We loved that we could drive up the breathtaking, winding driveway and park, then walk right into the Arboretum, grab a table (try to get one as close as possible to that fabulous view,  although each table has a 360 degree view of the vast expanse of trees), peruse the menu and grab a delicious bite to eat (there is something for all, young palates and more refined palates), then stroll to the large kids 'Pod Playground' just outside, or stay inside the awe inspiring Arboretum structure and have wine and dessert.

You can walk through, drive in, cycle about, or even horse-ride around the 250 hectare site. You’ll be gobsmacked at all its beauty, including the living artworks in the National Bonsai and Penjing collection. 

You can enjoy a free guided and self-guided tours, loads of interactive displays, outdoor sculptures, or pack a picnic to enjoy an outdoor meal with some of the most spectacular views in our capital city.

Download their 'augmented reality' app and listen to soundscapes, interesting stories about the trees, and holograms featuring stories about a fire fighter, harpist, landscape architect, Ngunnawal man, volunteer guide and bonsai artist.

Here is a video round up:

And now, the zoo!

The National Zoo and Aquarium is possibly THE best zoo I have been to.

It's just ten minutes drive from the city (EVERYTHING is easy to navigate and get to in and around Canberra), and it proved a big hit with big and little people.

The zoo itself is super easy to get around, and all its all in the way they've planned out the zoo - it's a clear path between sections and the most popular animals like the majestic lion and the funny meerkats - and you can enjoy the opportunity to help feed animals (including meerkats!), 

AND: it's Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium. You guys, it's SO good. Families, singles, bunches of friends, first dates, grandparents' days out - it's perfect for all, especially because of way it's set out, and how easy it is to get from A to B.

The zoo and adjoining aquarium is only 10 minutes’ drive from the city, you can go behind-the-scenes at the National Zoo & Aquarium.

You can try: a ZooventureFamily or Walk on the Wildside tour. You can help feed animals, handfeed a giraffe or bear, and at kids over the age of 12 can do the Meet-a-Cheetah encounter and pat a cheetah.

You could also experience a stay overnight here! THE ultimate stay for animal lovers, we saw the precinct from afar and know that you are right in the middle of it all. So fun - imagine waking up to that. Here is more on that: http://www.jamalawildlifelodge.com.au/your-experience/

Seriously, get to the zoo as soon as you can! If the last time you went was as a child, and you're not sure you can find interest in looking at animals, no matter how cute, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you'll enjoy it, just as we did.

Next up, Australian Institute of Sport, Cockington Green Gardens and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre.

Best tip straight up: buy the 3 In Fun pass to get access to all three of the above - AND this means you save more than 25% on the usual price.

And guess what: the 3infun ticket also offers a FREE return visit to one of the participating attractions! Yes.

Yes, before you head to the mini manicured gardens, consider this: the 3infun ticket gets you all THREE attractions:
Australian Institute of Sport, the delightful miniature world of Cockington Green Gardens, or 200 (YES!) exhibits and experiences at Questacon - it's ALL available with ONE pass.
The 3infun ticket lets you save more than 25% on the usual price. PLUS, and I love this, 3infun is offering a FREE return visit to one of the participating attractions. So, go back and  revisit any of the three attractions for FREE!

For more on this 3infun ticket, click HERE.

Another tip: call ahead at Australian Institute of Sport and ask when they are able to host you. The AIS is open daily, but tour times are specific.
Listed on the site, the times are: 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm
Tours are closed only on Good Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day, and New Years Day.
The AIS is Australia's premier elite sports precinct, which attracts 200,000 visitors from Australia and overseas.  
Set amongst 65 hectares of native bushland, the AIS offers an insight into Australia's sporting past and shows what our nation is capable of from a sporting perspective.
Like seemingly everything in Canberra, it's only minutes from the CBD, with plenty of free car and coach parking.
Here you can get a sense of what it takes for a high perfomance athlete to make it, with a behind-the-scenes tour of the AIS, where the country's best athletes train.
It's located at Leverrier Street, Bruce and you call for more info here: 02 6214 1444, or go to: www.ausport.gov.au

Here's a video on what the AIS has to offer:

With the tour of the AIS - an award-winning guided 90-minute tour - you even might catch some of Australia's top athlete's in training!
Here you can also challenge yourself in Sportex, one of Australia's leading interactive sports exhibits, set amongst a unique collection of Australian sporting memorabilia - this is part of every AIS Tour. You can even give wheelchair basketball, virtual downhill skiing, rock climbing, football penalty shootouts and much more a red hot go.  
You can also dive into the world-class AIS aquatic and fitness centre which offers both 50-metre and 25-metre heated pools in an indoor complex, plus there is a fully equipped gym with the latest fitness equipment and a range of unique fitness and group training sessions, or you can even hire an experienced personal trainer at the AIS. Fees apply: check the website for times and session and pool availability.

Onto Cockington Green Gardens! One of my fave parts of Canberra!

No way is this miniature world just for littlies, instead it's most definitely for big and little kids.

Created by Doug and Brenda Sarah, Cockington Green Gardens is a family owned and operated attraction, with four generations involved in it’s operation over the past 35 years. It opened to the public in 1979, and has won an Australian Tourism Award and many local tourism industry awards. And you can see why! Step into the world of Cockington Green Gardens and immediately you are transported to another land - a whimsical, very green, perfectly manicured mini world of miniature trains and gardens and immaculately kept flower beds.

Step into Cockington Green Gardens and be seriously dazzled by the attention to detail in each and every section of every themed, manicured garden, completed with doll like elements which genuinely fascinate and engage people of all ages who visit. Our group was two sets of adults and fours kids if varying age, and we were all enthralled and engaged the WHOLE time.

Cockington Green Gardens always has something to see: it's constantly growing with the popular addition of the international display area, which complements the original English Village and the established gardens.

You can also pop into the Rose Room indoor exhibition, featuring ‘Waverley’ a 34 room Dolls House, or have a coffee in the Parsons Nose Garden Café, or bring a picnic lunch.

Don't forgo the cute miniature steam train ride, which goes right around the international display, giving you a complete, leisurely total view of the whole attraction. Awesome fun for young and old!

Here is more on Cockington Green Gardens: http://www.cockingtongreen.com.au

And of course, there is Floriade.

Floriade is now in its decades' long run in Canberra, and is a leisurely way to see flowers in season and clever and beautiful flower installations, for both young and old.

It is set on a huge expanse of land alongside the iconic Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, and has been there since its beginnings in 1988, when Peter Sutton and his colleague, landscape designer Chris De Bruine, developed a proposal for a grand floral display to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th birthday.

Well! Hasn't it grown since! Josie's Juice went along to the very first Floriade that year with nature loving mamma in tow, and it has changed markedly since then, growing bigger and better each year.

There are stunning floral displays of exotic bulbs and annuals, which thrive in Canberra’s cool climate. Every single year, more than one million blooms (yes, over ONE MILLION!) are on show to create a stunning backdrop to a month-long festival filled with music, cultural celebrations, horticultural workshops, artistic displays, entertainment and recreational activities.

Floriade runs from mid-September to mid-October and attracts almost half a million attendees each year.

While Floraide has free entry for adults and kids, it's advised that families bring some money along for the kiddie rides and of course food, if you like. Or, BYO sandwiches and drinks.

So, where did we rest our heads?
We stayed at the Breakfree Canberra, which is situated at 2 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra.

An older style hotel complex, it has all you need for a family stay with all the amenities you need, lots of room, the opportunity to cook for yourself and your guests, centrally located and a short stroll to shops, Floriade (when it's on in Spring each year - allow for around 15 minutes from your hotel), and cafes and restaurants.

The hotel has a partnership with Bicicletta Restaurant (around five or so minutes away) and here you can  eat your hotel brekkie (there is no other restaurant offering at the hotel), and it is DELICIOUS and has that 'thing' many restaurants around this precinct have: the cool factor. Anyone who rattles of that antiquated notion that Canberra is uncool should be MADE to come here. Cafes buzzing with excellent coffee, a park with shipping containers set up as food truck heaven, and just a cool vibe.

Back to the hotel. Reasonably priced (click HERE for rates), here are some photos of the different room variations the hotel offers:

 And some snaps from my @josiegags Instagram account:

The view from our hotel, Breakfree:

And read more HERE.

To see more and read more about what Canberra has to offer, click HERE.

Want to know where Canberra's most Instagrammable locations are? Visit Canberra has a link for that too! CLICK HERE.

Make Canberra your next family, couple, or solo destination. We think you will love it!

Josie's Juice blog was a guest of Visit Canberra, looking after our passes for each precinct. Josie's Juice was a paid guest at the Breakfree Hotel, Canberra.