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Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Omicron or Delta: which Covid strain do you have?

Right now you are reading this as you likely have just been advised you have Omicron.

Or someone you live with or love has it...

Or you think you may have it.

But do you have the Delta strain of Covid, or the Omicron variant of Covid?

And does it matter?

And how do know which you have?

In gathering info, there are a few key differences between the Omicron and Delta variants of Covid-19.

Though no ONE symptom can help you figure out which one you’ve caught if you've tested positive. 

Other than that PCR test (we know... at time of writing this your results will likely be returned after more than five days), and additional genome sequencing, a scratchy throat could be a key sign you’re infected with the new mutant strain, The Sun reports.

Doctors have found Omicron-infected patients seem to present with a scratchy throat - like they’ve been yelling or singing loudly - making their voices huskier or deeper than usual even before you start feeling sick.

Delta-infected patients instead have a sore throat.

Private health insurer Discovery Health found a scratchy throat was the most common symptom Omicron patients experience, followed by nasal congestion, a dry cough and lower back pain.

Here is a list of what's what with both variants:

DELTA symptoms:

  • Fever

  • Coughing

  • Sore throat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Runny nose or congestion

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or joint pains

  • Nausea or loss of appetite

  • Diarrhoea or vomiting

  • Temporary loss of taste or smell

OMICRON symptoms:

  • Scratchy throat or a hoarse, deeper voice

  • Runny nose/congestion

  • Headache

  • Dry cough

  • Fatigue

  • Sneezing

  • Lower back pain

  • Night sweats

  • Body aches

    Infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon said the differing symptoms could prove that Omicron had a lower “virulence” than Delta.

    “I can believe (the difference in symptoms), your throat may be more scratchy than sore, that may be a reflection of not as bad virulence or aggressiveness from the virus strain,” Professor Collignon said.

    Omicron has been deemed “five times less severe” than the Delta strain, according to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, and early studies by The UK Health Security Agency have found people who catch the new strain are 70 per cent less likely to end up in hospital.

    Professor Collignon also stood by vaccination as the best way to protect yourself from any strain of the virus.

    "It’s the best insurance you can get, most people who come to grief are those who aren’t vaccinated at all… the first two shots give you a 90 percent reduction in going to hospital, the third a 95 per cent reduction,” he said.

    In writing this from my bed and day-something of my Covid positive diagnosis, I can attest as an immunocompromised person (vitiligo) that I am SUPER grateful for my double vaccination.

    My booster was days away, but now my body is filled with antibodies, and I am continuing my journey to getting to 100% health... with only days to go!

Sunday, 26 December 2021

I got Covid for Christmas: Omicron strikes!

There are many things I’ve learned about the world, about those around me, and especially about myself in the past few days… that there is still a massive stigma around contracting Covid.

(And of course, with good reason… the Omicron variant is highly transmissible - and boy did I learn this!).

This lesson has come from within… as I kept the news of my Covid diagnosis private. Until now. More on that shortly.

I am… and I will cut to the chase… a statistic now. I was sent THAT dreaded message around the annual 'Festivus' we ALL wait all year for...

“Dear xx,

This is an official message from NSW Health.

You have recently tested POSITIVE for COVID-19.

If you are under 50 years of age, have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and do not suffer from any chronic medical illnesses (listed below) you are at low risk of serious illness and may be able to look after yourself at home. Most children under 16 years can be safely looked after at home, even if not COVID-19 vaccinated.

If this is incorrect or you are pregnant, please call 1800 960 933, so we can link you in with a health service.

If you have mild symptoms, concerns or questions, you can call your GP.

If you have a health emergency or are feeling breathless, chest pain or are fainting please call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

For all other COVID-19 related information please refer to https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/advice-for-confirmed.aspx 

*Medical risk factors include


Severe, chronic or complex medical conditions (including cardiac, respiratory, renal or neurodevelopmental)


Immunocompromised including malignancy

Severe mental illness

You are advised to isolate at home for ten days from the day of your positive test, at which time you will receive an SMS from NSW Health confirming you can be released from isolation.”


It’s the Jerry Springer equivalent of “you ARE the father.”

It’s a shit moment, and the moment when you immediately think: who have I seen? Where did I go? What did I do? Who did I kiss hello or give a hug to?

I cried as the realisation set in that I'd be not hosting, hugging, or having good food and drinks at my Christmas table, and would now only be accepting all meals via proxy, left outside my door.

Many of us have watched from afar for the past two years since this godforsaken beast entered our lives and vocabularies.

We’ve tried our hardest to suppress our taboo feelings of schadenfreude - and while in NO WAY would we wish this virus on ANYONE, and we'd do anything to turn back the clock to a time when it didn’t exist - the reality is we were always so glad to sidestep it! Who’d want covid!

Most of us haven’t got it yet (do you remember a time when people would ask on those useless Facebook polls: “But do you even KNOW anyone who has it! See, it doesn’t exist! Dear God, thankfully we’ve moved along from that).

The reality is - and give it jusssst a few weeks, even days - you’ll know someone who is not only a close contact, they’ll HAVE COVID.

It might even be you.

No wait, it’s very likely to be you too. (That early modelling where it was suggested that by the end of January it’ll be 200,000 cases daily doesn’t seem like an over exaggeration now, does it!).

And therein lies the key with Omicron, I’ve just learned… it does not matter how careful you are. You’re highly likely to contract the Omicron variant of Covid.

And because it’s a virus it’s of course highly transmissible.

Or you could use the word... contagious.

When I think of 'contagious', I think of conjunctivitis... and like hell do I want to acquire conjunctivitis from someone if I can physically see they have goo in their eye! You’d retreat and stay away, right?

That’s the thing with Covid, and especially this variant: unlike manky eye goo, you can’t see it, and you could be a carrier for up to 14 days before you even know it, OR start showing symptoms.

So that party you went to in the past few days or week where you let your guard slip and loosened that mask to have a better chat, or while cradling and occasionally sipping a champers, or chowing down on food could be THAT moment someone is giving it you, or you’re giving it to them!

Just days before I contracted Covid, I saw that a fellow publicist had just got her Covid positive confirmation. I read about it on her socials.

She was distraught, as she was finally seeing her family overseas after two years apart. Then boom.

I recall my mind going down the path of (and I know you’re thinking this about me): but where did she go? Who did she hang out with? Was she safe?

I checked myself immediately, as I KNEW she'd been safe.

Oh yeah. Don’t I know it.

I’ve no doubt I’m being judged about how I got it.

The truth is… I don’t exactly know.

But it’s not really relevant because if I didn’t get it this week, I’d get it next week. It’s almost guaranteed now.

Even Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Health, weighed in today:

“We would expect that pretty well everybody in NSW at some point will get Omicron … and if we’re all going to get Omicron, the best way to face it is when we have full vaccinations including our booster,” Brad Hazzard said.

“The challenge for us in the state is to make sure that our health system can cope with that oncoming virus that is so transmissible.”

Isolation has been a real mixed bag.

I am completely gutted I missed Christmas with my family at my place. (To add salt to the wound, it was a perfect pool day and I live for those, and running around and having ice cream and snacks delivered by me to my pool guests).

It REALLY, really sucks to feel like a leper, but that’s your mind playing tricks, because you absolutely do know it’s the safe and right thing to do to stay away from anyone.

I’ve accepted an external food drop off from family, and cups of honey tea, and BBQ steak at my closed bedroom doorstep. I am catching up BIG time on streaming and yesss I am loving that part!

I’ve had several 1.5 hour phone catch ups today with friends, some people calling and messaging me constantly, some showing little or zero concern, and I feel the latter comes from thinking I somehow brought this on myself (as if… I’m currently still a little immunocompromised with my vitiligo medication, and I was bloody careful everywhere, and sanitised, and masked up like mad, only taking it off from afar for those taking a photo of me).

But Omicron has been a thing for several weeks now… and I’m gonna say it has only really, truly been in our collective orbit for the past few days, hasn't it...

We think we’ve outsmarted it!

But no, our clever ways don’t determine a single thing.

Because even if you’ve been super OCD-level careful, perhaps the relative at the party you just attended hasn’t… and if they’re unwell they might have fronted up to that Christmas lunch anyway… because who wants to miss out! I certainly didn't.

Everyonnnnne thinks their family is more special than yours. Everyone! That's completely normal, and it’s intrinsic to how you view your family, and it’s how family loyalty exists! It's not a bad thing. Those bloodlines are strong, and that’s what makes family beautiful.

But Omicron does not discriminate against who it picks and chooses… I’ve learned that in the past few days.

My silver lining is that now that I’ve had it (and with antibiotics and some serious steroids I am shocked at how much I’m kicking this MF to the curb so fast, feck yes, yay for me) I know that my double vaccine has done its job to help me stay OUT of hospital annnd not take up a bed which costs $6000 per day of your tax money, and bloody hardworking nurses and doctors to sustain and look after you. 

(Nobody with any intelligence has ever suggested you cannot get Covid if you are vaxxed, of course you can... it's just that Omicron went and effed shit up good and proper, and chucked out that little rule book of having you somehow feel you can maybe, maybe sidestep it).

And, that acquiring the virus and having it taking over my body has done me more good than harm, and more good than any vaccine ever could. That's a fact! FECK YES TO JABS!

Oh, I also can’t get my booster jab now for six months… I was due to go next week. That’s not a silver lining, just the nature of the beast, it’s how it works.

Onwards to better days and getting out of my iso room (I’ve a large spare room, with a bed and an ensuite and I’m so, so, so grateful for this room in my house… I know I am luckier than most).

But no schadenfreude here… and never will!

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

'Jagged Little Pill': REVIEW + red carpet pics, Theatre Royal Sydney

'Jagged Little Pill' the album was a such a zeitgeist moment in time when it hit our ears for the first time, and it was a moment in time when the word 'angst' to describe an album was used like never before!

Released in 1995, singer Alanis Morissette, the Canadian-American musician, singer, songwriter and actress packed so many emotions into this album, and it became an anthemic anthology for millions.

In fact, over 30 millions - with 30 million albums sold!

And now, 25 years later the Broadway production takes us back to that 'anguish'.

With music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, lyrics by Morissette, based on a book by the extraordinary and prolific Diablo Cody with additional music by Michael Farrell and Guy Sigsworth, the musical is inspired by THAT album and deals with the aforementioned pain, as well as healing, and ultimately empowerment. It premiered at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 2018. The show began previews on Broadway in November 2019, and opened on December 5, 2019. 'Jagged Little Pill' won two awards on 15 nonimations, the most of any show for the 2019 - 2020 season! It also won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.

The story centres around the Healys, an upper-middle-class Connecticut family ruled by mother Mary Jane (Natalie Bassingthwaite), with husband Steve (Tim Draxl) and their kids Frankie (Emily Nkomo) and Liam (Liam Head).

Steve is a massive workaholic, meanwhile Liam just got into Harvard, and adopted daughter Frankie is a happy soul though experimenting sexually with her best bud, non-binary Jo (the extraordinary Maggie McKenna - she's the daughter of THAT Gina Riley, yep 'Kath and Kim' and wow those pipes are clearly a hereditary trait). For me, singer Aydan is also a stand out in the show...

Mary Jane is lonely, and buying backstreet oxycodone to numb her pain, and while there are many story arcs, many centre around her.

It's so very cool to see how each song is interwoven into the script... and it may surprise you.

You'll sing along in your head to every single lyric and THIS will be the show everyone will be talking about.

The strong themes mean that 'Jagged Little Pill' is recommended for ages 14 and up, and this production contains strong language, adult themes, drug use, and moments of sexual violence that might be quite confronting for some. During some of these scenes one young lady in front of me wiped away her tears, and it is that kind of emotional rollercoaster ride.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Jagged Little Pill is also available to purchase, download, and stream on all major services. Listen to it on Spotify here.

Here are some red carpet pics from the Australian premiere of 'Jagged Little Pill', from Thursday 9 December, at the NEWLY refurbished Theatre Royal Sydney - the grand old lady is looking mighty fine after a huge refresh, and it was so wonderfully historic to experience a show during this special moment in time - Josie's Juice was fortunate to attend this premiere, and you can catch more photos on www.instagram.com/josiesjuicejournalist

Pic credit: James D. Morgan, Getty Images. 


'Jagged Little Pill' runs for two hours and 40 minutes, including one 20 minute intermission.

For more info: https://www.jaggedmusical.com

And to buy tickets go HERE.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Dyson Flyaway Attachment: REVIEW

You know a NEW Dyson attachment is BIG news in the hair world... especially when you consider that every single Dyson hair tool ever invented has essentially revolutionised the hair industry... forever.

As a long-time reviewer of hair tools, for traditional print media (magazines and newspapers), and of course for this portal site here Josie's Juice for the past 11 years, I know an 'aha moment' in beauty when I see it.

I've been across many new hair tool launches, and love using my hair as a quasi follicular 'guinea pig', and while I am no professional hair stylist, I certainly know my way around hair curlers and curling wands, and yes a straightener... I prefer my hair with a side of kink than dead straight, FYI.  

For the Dyson global research and development team, it's much more than working on just a whim when uncovering what's going to work on hair of ALL types. As you can imagine, it takes years and years, and teams and teams of experimental trials until they, well, nail it!

And positively nail it they have.

So... introducing: the Dyson Flyaway Attachment - for salon standard smooth finish.

Feast your eyes, then watch the video on how it works, and how to attach it to your existing Dyson tool:

The new Dyson Supersonic™ Flyaway attachment harnesses the Coanda effect – the phenomenon first engineered for styling within the Dyson Airwrap styler – to attract and lift longer hairs to the front, while pushing flyaways through the tress, and out of sight. 

In hiding flyaways it increases strand alignment and enhances natural shine.

The best part of all? It happens without the extreme heat. In fact, their credo is: "healthy, salon style at home."

New Dyson Supersonic Flyaway attachment works to 'mechanise' professional stylists’ techniques to smooth flyaways, without the extreme heat. Plus, it's engineered for different hair types: the Flyaway tool adds to the Dyson Supersonic attachments designed to style different types of hair, including the wide tooth comb for afro and textured hair and a re-engineered diffuser and styling concentrator.

Okay, so it's time to give a shout out to this actual engineers who I know wear lab coats to get things right just for us...

“Our engineers are driven to rethink convention and our obsession with airflow led us to push the potential of Coanda after observing how stylists use a ‘brush and blow dryer’ technique to smooth flyaway," says Emma Sheldon, Dyson Hair Care Category Director.

"Traditionally, this skilled technique involves the stylist using a round brush to section and manage the hair, whilst directing airflow from the dryer to push the flyaways into the style and out of sight. We set out to find a way to innovate a way to mechanise this method for the everyday styler. The new Dyson Supersonic™ Flyaway attachment harnesses the phenomenon of Coanda to smooth flyaways out of sight, without exposing the hair to extreme heat damage.”

More about my fave engineering peeps behind it all:

Dyson engineers gathered in excess of 1.14 billion (BILLION!) individual pieces of professional styling data, captured from over 10,000 hours of professional stylist trials, observing more than 420 stylists across 80 salons around the world.

Look, just look at them in action:

While stylists were observed using a round brush and blow dryer to smooth stray hairs, self-stylers seeking that same salon standard sleek finish were found to turn to high heat solutions after styling, such as straighteners with fixed plates. This final pass exposes the hair to unnecessary additional heat, increasing the risk of preventable damage – damaged hair is weaker and more prone to breakage, thus perpetuating the prevalence of further flyaways.


Adds Jen Atkin, Dyson Global Styling Ambassador: “I think we can all agree that flyaway frustration is real! Nothing feels as good as that salon blow dry finish. The trick to tame annoying flyaways is a core skill for a stylist. However, we want our clients to now be able to get that same glossy finish at home. Dyson’s latest attachment does exactly that – it allows smooth seekers to get a super sleek finish, on their own, not just from the salon.”


Engineers tested a range of angles before reaching the optimum semi-circular curve that gives the Flyaway Attachment its distinct shape. Early prototypes feature a closed circular loop, yet through further testing, engineers identified the bottom of the circle to be superfluous. Dyson’s lean engineering philosophy fuelled further iterations to remove surplus material, without impacting performance.  


The Dyson Supersonic Flyaway Attachment is a unique form.

Dyson has a heritage of changing the shape of convention, spearheaded by the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, a tool engineered to deliver a spectrum of styles across different hair types, without extreme heat. 


Enter hair stalwart and superstar Renya Xydis, Dyson Styling Ambassador in Australia:

“The Dyson Supersonic Flyaway attachment is my new secret weapon to tame those annoying flyaways. Unlike some conventional attachments, you control the tool, it doesn’t control you! The engineering behind the Coanda effect makes it so much easier to achieve salon standard smoothness. You’ll look like you’ve stepped out of the salon from the ease of your bathroom – yet another game changer from Dyson.”


More about the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer:

It dries hair... FAST.

It's powered by the small, yet powerful Dyson digital motor V9, which spins at up to 110,000rpm – up to SIX times faster than other hair dryer motors.

The size of the Dyson digital motor V9 allowed engineers to reposition the motor to the handle for optimum balance in the hand.

'Intelligent Heat Control' measures air temperature over 40 times a second and regulates the heat. This prevents extreme heat damage, to help protect your hair’s shine. Air Multiplier technology amplifies air by three times to produce a high-pressure, high-velocity jet of controlled air, for fast drying and precision styling. 


After rigorously testing different hair types in our laboratories, Dyson has engineered different attachments for the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer to style different types of hair. In addition to the new Flyaway Attachment, Dyson engineered attachments include the Gentle Air Attachment, Wide Tooth Comb, Diffuser and Styling Concentrator.


Gentle air dryer: Engineered for fast yet gentle styling for fine hair and sensitive scalps, while also helping prevent colour fade.


The gentle air dryer provides a softer, more diffused airflow whilst still allowing fast drying.  Much like the Dyson Airwrap™ styler, this attachment takes advantage of the Coanda effect. The attachment manipulates the machine’s airflow to widen its path, delivering a gentle, cooler airflow to the scalp.  It does this by maintaining the same amount of energy as bare product through diffusing the air over a larger area. This allows users to have the benefit of using the product in the high flow and high heat settings.


By maintaining lower temperatures, the Gentle air attachment can help prevent against colour fade, keeping your colour brighter for longer. THIS I LOVE!


Wide-tooth combengineered for curly and coily hair, the new Wide tooth comb helps shape, lengthen and create volume. Conventional combs can lack styling ability, cause pain and damage hair. They also lack in robustness.

Dyson’s new Wide-tooth comb’s teeth have a large soft radius. This facilitates a balance of evenness of flow distribution across the attachment. This is more comfortable and gentle on the scalp while enabling even drying. The teeth are held together by a flexible torsion bar. This enables effective detangling whilst allowing the teeth to naturally conform to the shape of the scalp in-use. 

Dyson’s diffuser has been engineered for even diffusion to help define curls and reduce frizz. Dyson’s second-generation diffuser possesses a two-tiered mesh system, creating its own pressure environment within the head of the attachment. The mesh acts as a porous barrier dissipating the airflow. This results in an even distribution of low velocity airflow – enhancing and defining curls. 


This attachment also has longer prongs. These are designed to channel uninterrupted airflow to the roots of the hair. The prongs also scoop back on themselves. This directs hot airflow away from the scalp but still allows the airflow to dry the hair. 


Styling concentrator: Fast, precise airflow for controlled styling, one section at a time. This is engineered for different hair types whether you’re looking to create a smooth, straight finish or a bouncy blow dry. To enable a thinner, more precise airflow, it is now wider and thinner. 


The new Dyson SupersonicFlyaway attachment is fully compatible with existing models of the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer and will be available both individually, priced at AU$99, and within the box of new machines purchased from 5 August, with an RRP of AU$599.


The new Dyson Supersonic Flyaway Attachment is available when purchasing the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer iron/fuchsia, black/nickel and bright nickel/bright copper on Dyson.com.au. 

The new Flyaway Attachment is also available when purchasing the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer iron/fuchsia and black/nickel at David Jones, Myer, The Iconic, AdoreBeauty.com.au, HairHouse, Sephora, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and selected Bing Lee stores.


To buy, learn more and experience the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer, visit Dyson.com.au.

All Dyson machines come with a two year warranty covering parts and labour, and when purchased directly from Dyson, they have a 45 day money back guarantee.

It's advisable to buy direct from the people who made it at Dyson.com.au for exclusive models, flexible delivery options, best price policy and auto-warranty registration.

A bit more about Dyson because I am so fascinated:

Dyson is a global research and technology company with engineering, research, development, manufacturing and testing operations in Singapore, the UK, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Having started in a coach house in the UK, Dyson has consistently grown since it was established in 1993. Today, it has two technology campuses in the UK spanning over 800 acres in Malmesbury and Hullavington and a global headquarters in Singapore. Dyson remains family-owned and employs over 14,000 people globally including 6,000 engineers and scientists. It sells products in 83 markets internationally.  


Dyson is investing £2.75bn in the business to conceive revolutionary products and technologies. 

Dyson has global teams of engineers, scientists and software developers focused on the development of solid-state battery cells, high-speed electric digital motors, sensing and vision systems, robotics, machine learning technologies and A.I. investment.

Since inventing the first cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaner - the DC01 - in 1993, Dyson has created problem solving technologies for haircare, air purification, robotics, lighting and hand drying.

More pics of the Dyson Flyaway Attachment in action here: