Calling all Cake Bosses+ Win: 4x three day passes to giveaway (see below)

The world’s best cake artists are coming to town when Brisbane hosts the International Cake Show Australia, May 18-20s

The International Cake Show Australia is once again coming to Brisbane in May and the second local outing promises all things cake, bake and decorating on a much grander scale in 2018.
Take for example the mammoth 3x3 metre Alice in Wonderland cake installation being creating by a five person team of the nation’s top cake creators.
Local cake star Zoe Byres (above and on our cover this week) is leading the team made up of sugar craft stars Helen Wilkinson (of Who did the Cake?), Annette Ibrahim (Bella Sofia Cakes), Trina Thomson (Sweet Ruby Cakes), Louisa Massignani (Cakes Alouisa). We had a peak through the looking glass when we spoke Zoe Byres of Cake art by Zoe (Eaton’s Hill) about the event. And while we can’t give any specific details about creation, that would be a spoiler, we can say they aren’t taking the easy route.
There’s a lot to draw on from the Alice-verse, Zoe said stylistically the creation will be somewhere in between Disney and manga.
“The theme is down the rabbit hole, we’ve chosen the scene where Alice is falling and we’re going to recreate that in cake” Zoe said of the piece.
The ACADA (Australian Cake Artists & Decorators Association) International Cake Show Australia (ICSA) has its basis in competition. This year the competition categories range from wedding cake artistry to cupcake bouquet design, sculpted busts, sugar-crafting, celebration cakes, edible art and buttercream cakes. The more adventurous artists and decorators can enter the architectural tribute cake (in 2018 the theme is an iconic Australian structure) category, geometric and abstract categories, gravity defying creations and stylised and edible flower designs.
But there’s a lot more to it, especially for those of on this side of the cake counter. Zoe says ICSA isn’t just for people who are baking crazy like her, it’s for everybody. Kids love it, naturally, besides an opportunity to hassle parents for sweet treats; the show provides spaces for kids to create, and for hobbyist cakes fans to learn new skills. For home bakers and professional creators the show also provides a space to learn from the pros in hands-on workshops and an opportunity to swap tips with likeminded creatives..

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Win Tickets

We have 4x three day passes to the International Cake Show Australia that we're going to split into two prizes. So, if you win, you can take along cake-minded friend. It's a sweet prize.
The tickets are valid for entry for the entire three days of the show, for a total prive pool value of $200.
To enter simply email with "cake comp" in the subject line and your contact details in the body of the email. Easy as cake.
The two winners will be chosen at random and entries close Friday April 4, 2018 at 5pm.
Hurry and good luck!

Queen's Baton Relay makes its way through Redcliffe

In pictures

The Queen's Baton Relay spent some quality time in Redcliffe on 30 March 2018 coinciding with Good Friday and the annual Redcliffe Festival of Sails. After 100 days being carried by approximately 3,800 batonbearers in Australia, the Queen's Baton finished its journey at the Opening Ceremony on the Gold Coast on 4 April.
Australia’s sporting superstars thrilled thousands of supporters who lined the streets for a chance to see their heroes hold the Queen’s Baton. Among them, local legend and Paralympic gold medallist (Swimming) Lakeisha 'Lucky' Patterson OAM and North Lakes' Kayleigh Williams.
“I’m very honoured to be nominated by the community and everyone who has been a part of this Relay journey has done amazing things in their community, so it’s such an honour to be recognised,” Lakeisha Patterson said.
The inspirational young athlete, who is on the GC2018 Australian swim team, acknowledged the strides currently taken in sport towards inclusion, in particular GC2018, which in five days’ time will host the largest integrated Para-Sport program in Commonwealth Games history.
“Inclusion is going in the right direction. I think we’ll have massive, massive crowds. Competing for your country in front of your country, it’s really quite special. It’s going to be a great Games.”
Commonwealth Games and Olympic gold medallist Alicia Coutts OAM said she was overwhelmed by the experience.
“It’s very exciting to have the Queen’s Baton in Brisbane and the crowds are fantastic! It wasn’t until I jumped off the [Batonbearer] bus that it sunk in how much of an honour it is to be part of it [the Relay] today,” she said.
Coutts rose to fame for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth with a five gold-medal haul.
“The Commonwealth Games are very special to me as they were a big part of my life during my swimming career.”
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games finishes Sunday 15 April. As we went to press was Australia leading the medal tally (and we don't expect that to change), followed by England and Canada.

see all the local baton bearers in action here

Brisbane Street Art Festival 2018

Street artists from around the world will gather in Brisbane to create 50 new large scale murals for the city

The 2018 Brisbane Street Art Festival (BSAF) will once again take over walls across Brisbane from March 31 - April 15, with new 50 large scale murals to be created in sites across the city.
Now in its third year and fully entrenched in the cultural landscape. the 2018 BSAF offers its biggest program ever with more than 50 Australian and international artists will create 50 large scale murals in South Brisbane, Spring Hill, Fortitude Valley, Paddington, Annerley and Brisbane’s CBD - double the number of murals created in 2017.
Notable works will transform Fish Lane, a Telstra Exchange Building, Ric’s Bar and Brisbane Powerhouse thanks to spaces provided by partners ARIA Property Group, Brisbane City Council (BCC), Brisbane Powerhouse, Ric’s and Telstra.
Festival organisers have curated street art masters from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, England, Colombia and Mexico to join leading Australian artists such as Sofles, Gus Eagleton, Fuzeillear, Emmanuel Moore, The Brightsiders, Sindy Sinn, Shida and Sirmano, many who hail from Brisbane.
Colombian artist Gris One will join Hong Kong’s self-taught street art queen Bao Ho, Mexican calligraphy specialist Said Dokins, Malaysian artists Kenji Chai and Cloakwork, London geometric guru Rosie Wood and Indonesian artist Tuyuloveme to paint their first ever works in Australia.

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Queensland to strengthen security measures

With futuristic biometric face matching tech

Queensland last week became the first state to amend legislation to allow police access to shared cutting-edge biometric face matching services.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Police and Other Legislation (Identity and Biometric Capability) Amendment Bill 2018 had been passed to strengthen security measures and improve Queenslanders’ safety in time for the biggest event ever held in this State – the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“This Bill comes off the back of a COAG agreement between the Federal Government and all states and territories to allow law enforcement agencies in all jurisdictions to share access to passport, visa, citizenship and driver’s licence images,” Mr Ryan said.
“This is a vital investigative tool that will allow police to stay one step ahead of terrorists and criminals involved in identity fraud, with identity crime impacting one in 20 Australians every year and the annual cost to the Australian community estimated to be $2.2 billion.
“Image matching services will also help identify disaster victims."
“Queensland and other jurisdictions already share identity information on a manual and ad hoc basis, but the identity matching services will make it simpler and faster for law enforcement and security agencies to share information."

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How to deal with this complex issue

More than 817,000 young Queenslanders returned to school recently. Sadly, it's not always an exciting for our youngest. For victims of bullying, inside and outside of school, it can be a daunting return.
Bullying is a complex issue that can take many forms and as we've seen in the media in recent years, can have tragic circumstances.
While parents may feel it's an issue they have to tackle, and the student themselves feel helpless, recent bullying research shows the need for a greater, national, response to tackle this complex issue.

How should we, as parents and carers respond?

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New Year, New You... right?

Weight loss myths busted

Here's a startling fact - around 2.3 million Queensland adults headed into the new year overweight or obese.

Every year, a lot of us make resolutions to increase our health while decreasing our waistlines (and other problem areas). But with so much, sometimes conflicting, information out there, how do we sort fact from fiction?
Thankfully Cancer Council Queensland is on the case with CEO Ms Chris McMillan helping us wade through the weight loss myths and misconceptions that could hinder people from losing weight effectively.
“You don’t need a revolutionary New Year’s resolution or dramatic change to your diet to lose weight, or to prevent yourself from gaining more weight,” Ms McMillan said.
“Eating more fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, exercising regularly and staying clear of common myths and misconceptions can make a big difference.
“We have debunked four myths to help get you started.
Myth 1 is that you need to detox after the festive season. The good news is – there is no need for a crash diet in early January because our bodies detox naturally. Our lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal, and immune system remove toxic substances within hours after we consume them. Instead, focus on limiting unhealthy options and exercising to lose weight.
Myth 2 is that you can eat what you like, as long as you’re exercising. While exercising will assist with weight loss, it’s not the only answer. It’s best to complement regular physical activity with a healthy diet for improved results.
Myth 3 is that you can’t eat carbs at night. Many fad diets push the idea that carbohydrate foods should be cut out to lose weight, especially at night. This is far from the truth. In fact, they’re actually good for controlling our weight. There is strong evidence that eating wholegrains is linked with lower body weight, a slimmer waist, and reduced risk of weight gain.
Myth 4 is that fat makes you fat. Although there are unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fats, not all fat is bad for you. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats and are an important part of a healthy diet. These fats help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels and can be found in foods like nuts, avocado, fish and olive oil.
Queenslanders should opt for foods that are low in sugar, saturated fat and salt and be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, low fat dairy options, and lean proteins.
“The benefits to losing weight are an increased sense of wellbeing, greater health and reduced risk of a range of chronic diseases, including some cancers,” Ms McMillan said.
“Make a commitment to small changes for your health in 2018 – helping you to lose weight, and keep it off in the long term.”
Another well-regarded official body, CSIRO has been looking at proteins for breakfast. Could eating more be the key to achieving healthy weight loss? The new Total Wellbeing Diet Protein Balance program focuses on shifting more protein consumption to breakfast.
The report, Protein Balance: New concepts for protein in Weight Management, affirms the benefits of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet for weight control and reveals that the latest scientific evidence supports eating at least 25 grams of protein at each main meal to control hunger and enhance muscle metabolism.
"The average Australian eats much lower amounts of protein at breakfast, so increasing breakfast protein may help to control eating later in the day," Senior Principal Research Scientist for CSIRO and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, Professor Manny Noakes, said.
"If you find it difficult to control what you eat, a redistribution of protein toward breakfast may be the answer to reducing your waistline without leaving you ravenously hungry and craving unhealthy foods."
The CSIRO report showed that for most Australians, protein intake was skewed towards the evening meal, with only small amounts eaten at breakfast. On average women consumed 11g of protein at breakfast, compared to the male average of 15g.
The report also found that older Australians consumed the least amount of protein at breakfast but needed more protein to prevent muscle loss.
"The scientific evidence supports a higher protein diet, combined with regular exercise, for greater fat loss. Eating at least 25g of protein at main meals can assist with hunger control," Professor Noakes said.
According to the report, Australians get over one third of their dietary protein from low-quality sources such as processed foods, instead of whole protein sources including lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes and dairy.
Adopting a higher protein, moderate carbohydrate, low GI diet is a nutritious way to lose weight and has been scientifically validated for some time, underpinning successful programs such as the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.
Since launching in 2005, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has helped more than half a million Australians lose weight.
"Two in three Australian adults are either overweight or obese, which increases their risk factors for many chronic health conditions," Professor Noakes said.
"With a variety of genetic, lifestyle and personality factors at play, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, but there is a range of healthy ways to lose weight.
"If we're serious about addressing this issue we need to continue developing a wider range of scientifically validated ways for people to lose weight, which is something CSIRO has done successfully over the years.
"Introducing the new Protein Balance program for the Total Wellbeing Diet is another example of that."
The innovation to the Total Wellbeing Diet online program will provide a new approach to the timing of eating protein, which may make a substantive difference for people who want to kick-start a healthier new year.
The Total Wellbeing Diet Protein Balance program includes new recipes that provide 25g of protein into every meal and make weight loss a more nourishing and enjoyable experience.
Cancer Council Queensland's CEO Ms Chris McMillan put it very simply.
“Even if you make just one resolution this year – pledge to lead a healthier lifestyle.”
The Chief Health Officer’s report shows overweight and obese Queensland adults need to collectively lose 35.5 million kilos, an average of 15kg per person, to reach the healthy weight range.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available on 13 11 20 or
To learn more about the new Total Wellbeing Diet Protein Balance program and find out how much protein you need each day to achieve your New Year weight loss resolutions, visit

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Brisbane, Gold Coast among top holiday destinations for locals

food and dining, sun, island, beach most popular travel experiences

If you haven't made up your mindup about your Chritsmas holiday or wonder where all those jealousy inducing Instagram pics can be taken, new information from agoda reveals we don't have to go too far, Australians almost exclusively stay within the Asia-Pacific region over the Christmas and New Year period.
Agoda's recent Travel and Tech Study found 'food and dining' and 'sun, island, beach' were the two most popular travel experiences for Australian Millennials - and Bali offers all of the above. The popular Indonesian island has grown into a lifestyle destination that caters to the Millennial foodie lifestyle, with cheap yet stylish 'instagramable' cafes, bars and restaurants, set against the backdrop of a tropical island.

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Person Of Interest, Chef Massimo Speroni

The celebrated flavour maker dishes on expat life in SEQ, what he thinks of the local produce and people and what's on the menu this Summer at Bacchus

Big name chefs are no strangers to us Aussies. We have some of best and freshest produce in the world which attracts some of the planet’s most celebrated flavour makers to our shores. Most of us can name a handful of these stars but we often have to travel south to sample their skill on a plate or worse yet, watch along on telly, our tastebuds perpetually unrequited. So it was big news for local epicureans, foodies and us regular mortals who like good food when the Massimo Speroni took up residence as Head Chef at the multi-award winning Brisbane restaurant, Bacchus.
Even for arguably Brisbane's best dining experience, this was a big get. Earlier in the year, fine dining specialist Massimo Speroni flew in direct from two Michelin-starred restaurant San Domenico in Imola Italy where he was Sous Chef. He immediately put his stamp on the local scene with a deft touch we've rarely had in residence locally. Now, nine months later Speroni is once again upping the ante with a creative update to the menu, just in time for summer. The refreshed menu stars Australian seafood, kangaroo, as well as new takes on Italian favourites and some intriguing ingredients.
32 year old Massimo's passion for fine dining began at an early age. Born in the Abruzzo region of Italy near the Adriatic Sea, Massimo was influenced by flavours from the north of the country and throughout the central region around Rome, where he grew up. At San Domenico as Sous Chef, he worked with famed chef (and owner of the establishment) Valentino Marcattilii. He had worked with Chef Marcattiliia as a junior and credits his former mentor for much of his flavour preferences now.

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What's driving Brisbane's high petrol prices?

In December 2014 the Australian Government directed the ACCC to monitor the prices, costs, and profits of unleaded petroleum products in Australia for a period of three years. The results have been released finding local prices exceedingly high.

and how to find the cheapest local fuel

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The cost of living a decent life

Newstart falls below the Minimum Income for Healthy Living standard - a standard designed to ensure that in addition to material consumption, it allows for a healthy level of social participation.

The Newstart Allowance received by people looking for work falls well below the minimum income required to achieve a basic standard of living – defined as a budget standard – according to a new report by researchers from UNSW Sydney.
The New Budget Standards for Low-Paid and Unemployed Australians Report, compiled by UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) with support from Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and United Voice, found that the Newstart Allowance is below the identified budget standard by $96 a week for a single person, $58 a week for a couple with one child and $126 a week for a couple with two children.
A budget standard measures the basic costs to achieve a minimally adequate standard of living – a level below which no-one should be allowed to fall, the report authors say.

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With all of the horrific incidents occurring seemingly weekly, not only does it leave us with a profound sense of sadness for the victims and their families, but also has us questioning how safe it is to travel – and to travel fearlessly at that. Cei Creighton Investigates

I’m going out on a limb here, and state quite openly that I believe as a whole that the world is a safe and wonderful place for travelers. I also say this having been the victim of a terrifying and violent hostage situation that lasted a number of days in the Solomon Islands. So I do feel qualified – qualified to understand your concerns, qualified to look after your travel arrangements, and qualified to keep a balanced perspective while guiding and advising you and never dismissing your fears.
Big news does not equal big risk!
The chances of being involved in a terrorist attack are slim. Very slim. According to the US State Department data, 24 Americans were killed overseas as a result of terrorism in 2014, a number that’s vanishingly small compared to the number of deaths in the U.S. from traffic accidents, heart disease, and other more mundane causes. Let’s look at the risk of terrorism in a cold, logical, statistical way. Your odds of being killed by a terrorist overseas or in the air are 1 in 20 million (Washington Post and Time). Your odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 10 million (New York Times). Keep perspective.
If not now, when?
With only one life to live, we can’t afford to let these events dictate our plans. There are many who have waited years to take a special trip. There are dangers in our own backyard that are much more likely to impact us personally than any random act of terrorism. If your fears are insurmountable, go ahead and delay your trip a year. Europe will still be waiting to welcome you with open arms… there is no ‘Used by date’.
Refuse to be terrorised
Fear is the outcome terrorists want because it makes their atrocities even more successful, we want to support our friends in Paris, London and worldwide with our visits to show that the terrorists will not deter us. It's futile to "do something" to be safe from terrorism. It's so random and localized, it's impossible to anticipate. Keep on top of the news, but keep things in perspective.
Don't be shy about asking questions. In any city, the folks behind the hotel desk are a great source of information and they want you to have a safe trip. And assure those who will worry about you that you'll call home every few days. It's cheap and easy to call back to Australia from the US or Europe these days.

"With only one life to live, we can’t afford to let these events dictate our plans"

Ultimately, assessing the risk of any endeavour and the decision to travel fearlessly is a personal choice, but travel is still a huge unifier - perhaps a more vital force for peace than ever. If you hate terrorism, the most effective way to fight it is to travel a lot, learn about the world, come home, and help our country fit better into this ever-smaller planet.
Always ALWAYS have comprehensive travel insurance, register with Smartraveller, heed all warnings posted on Smartraveller, get qualified advice and travel fearlessly!

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NBN access and concerns

As the National Broadband Network rollout hits the halfway point locals are warned about scams and false advertising claims

With the National Broadband Network (NBN) access now reaching 70 percent of local addresses, due diligence is required by consumers.
Federal Member for Petrie, Luke Howarth recently told us (Messenger, July 29 2017, available online) that 59,289 local homes and businesses are now service ready, with 28,339 already connected.
A great milestone in the largest infrastructure project our nation has ever seen, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Scamwatch have both raised concerns about truth in retailer advertising and a warning about scammers respectively.

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To Prep or not to prep

Weighing the pros and cons of delayed start to primary school

Parents of pre-school children and infants often feel significantly stressed as they ponder the pros and cons of delayed entry to primary school in a vacuum of objective information.
Psychologist and education academic QUT's Dr Amanda Mergler, Senior Lecturer the Faculty of Education's School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, and co-author Professor Susan Walker, also of QUT, have published the results of a study into the factors that affect parents’ decisions about whether to voluntarily delay their child’s entry into formal schooling.
The study, “This is possibly THE hardest decision a parent has to make. Deciding when your child is ready to start Prep” (view online at found the issue was a “highly emotional” one that caused significant stress.

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