Archive for Down Under

How I’d See in the New Year if I had the Blackstone/Hammond Wealth

Posted in general post with tags , , , , on December 30, 2007 by Maxine Sullivan

There are many ways to celebrate the end of one year and the start of another… so we Diamonds Down Under authors decided it would be fun to fantasize about how and where we’d like to party if we had the same fathomless wealth of a Blackstone or a Hammond. Picture this….

Bronwyn: If I had the resources to choose any location to see in the new year, then I wouldn’t travel any further than our own beautiful Sydney. The rich and privileged Bronwyn J. would throw a party in the grounds of a fabulous harbourside home…somewhere like Miramare, the fictional mansion I created as home to the Blackstones in Diamonds Down Under. It wouldn’t be a huge party, just a gathering of family and friends on the terrace and by the pool on a glorious summer’s night. We would drink vintage French champagne and dine casually on seafood and summer fruit. At midnight we would enjoy a bird’s eye view of the fireworks over the harbour. And the best part of this fantasy New Years Eve party (apart from spending it with the people I love)? I would pay Someone Else to do all the arrangements, from the catering to the cleaning up afterward.

Maxine: It’s sunrise on New Year’s Eve and I’m in a hot air balloon with my husband, drifting near Alice Springs in the central heart of Australia. It’s peaceful and serene and the air is still fresh and cool before the heat of a summer’s day kicks in. The spectacular colours of an early morning dawn compete with kangaroos hopping along the ground and cockatoos in their gum trees. The sheer immensity and diversity of the desert stretches endlessly beneath us, broken only by mulga scrub and spinifex grass, and the peaks of the MacDonnell Ranges in the distance. It’s a wondrous sight that takes my breath away. Afterwards, we go back to the luxurious comfort of our five-star hotel and lounge by the pool all day. Then it’s time to dress for the party of the year at a nearby cattle station owned by one of the wealthiest men in Australia. Celebrities from around the country will be flying in and it’s even reported that one of their special guests will be the gorgeous supermodel, Briana Davenport. I’ve read so much about her lately that I can’t wait to see if she’s as lovely in person. I bet she is. 🙂

Jan: Oh, to be rich! If I could see the New Year in anywhere, I’d choose – somewhere high, with a lot of sky, to watch the sunrise. Of course, there would be Les, champagne, and maybe the cats – if they could cope with the ride in my own Lear jet to get there! Perhaps I’d choose the Great Wall of China; the Taj Mahal in India (done that!); the Matterhorn in Switzerland, (done that too, but not at New Year’s); Antarctica; the Himalaya (well, I have watched the sunrise over Everest from Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, India); Mt Cook, New Zealand (done that, too!). I guess it’s the Great Wall for us…anyone care to join us? Maybe a couple of famous rugby players. Some fab diamond-studded authors I know. The heroes and heroines of all my books! Rowan Atkinson for the laughs. Pink Floyd or Radiohead, I couldn’t think of anyone better for that ‘big sky’ music, although Les would grumble. And Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Marilyn Monroe, which means I’d have to take Dad because he’s old friends with those three! Perhaps I’ll take two planes. I apologise in advance to the environment.

Paula: I’m a bit of a NYE Scrooge these days. I did all my wild partying in my 20s, with crazy all-night dancing, flirting and other unseemly behavior my mom doesn’t know about. 😀 But my ideal NYE would be to rent a room at the only six star hotel in Australia, the Palazzo Versace at the Gold Coast and spend the evening with David Boreanaz’s cloned twin (which I’ve already done with my masses of wealth) watching DVDs, eating chocolate and drinking Arrowfield Semillion Savignon Blanc (which I’d have to be rich to buy… they don’t make it anymore!) Then on New Years Day, have a private entry to Seaworld and swim with the dolphins, sharks and sealife, which is actually my son’s ideal day 🙂  And hey, I’m not fussy – if I can’t have Cloned David, I’d settle for the real George Clooney…

Tessa: Sheer heaven for me would be to do absolutely nothing to ring in the new year, except fly to Necker Island, Richard Branson’s private getaway in the British Virgin Islands and spend the day (make that the week!) lounging around on the beach with my husband, far from television, the internet and civilization. I’d take lots of romance novels to read, of course. <g>.  Or perhaps I’d jump on a plane and travel around the world like I’ve done a few times before. By the time I’ve travelled through all those time zones, I would have missed the whole thing.

Yvonne: If I had the Hammond/Blackstone wealth, for New Year’s Eve I’d arrange for all my best friends and close family to be met at the Half Moon Bay marina by a luxury barge. Of course it will be a perfect balmy summer night and we’ll cruise the tranquil inner harbour, sipping only the finest champagne and indulging in delectable hors d’oeuvres. A string quartet will play in the background and my guests will mingle and chat, renew old acquaintances and share memories of the year just past. By 11:30 pm we’ll tie up at the Viaduct Basin, where, at midnight, we’ll have prime viewing pleasure of fireworks as they’re launched off the Auckland Sky Tower, the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest tower. At the night’s end, everyone will be chauffeured home in a fleet of limousines, or put up for the night at the nearby Hilton Hotel on Princes Wharf, and as a special New Year’s gift, each of my guests will leave with a memento—a pair of diamond drop earrings for the ladies, and diamond studded gold cuff links for the gentlemen.

How would you celebrate your new year if you were rich? Would you like to share it with family and friends? With the famous? Do you want to do something fabulously wild or ridiculous, if only you had the money? We’d love to hear your ideas.

* BONUS!! Post a comment and you could win a copy of Vows & A Vengeful Groom and a cute Australian phone/bag dangler. Prize to be drawn January 5.

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6 Things We Do For a Down Under Christmas

Posted in general post with tags , on December 23, 2007 by Maxine Sullivan

Christmas is Christmas the world over but Christmas Down Under is something unique. It’s summertime here in Australia and New Zealand and as the song goes, the living is easy. Sun, surf and sand glitter beneath bright blue skies, the gloriously red flowers of the Australian Christmas Bush sway in the hot wind, and Christmas stockings are more likely hanging beneath an air-conditioner than a fireplace. It’s called the “silly season” where everything is upside down or back to front, where New Zealand is the first in the world to celebrate a Christmas dawn, where we celebrate Christmas rituals in a traditional yet different way. It’s home and it’s what we know and for most of us Christmas wouldn’t be the same anywhere else.

So what are some of the things we do for a Down Under Christmas?

1. Santa Claus is coming to town! Our Down Under Santas may well end up with heatstroke but he’s everywhere you look. At the mall, where you can have your child’s picture taken with him. At the workplace, where he may’ve had a drop or two at a champagne breakfast. Or see him in one of the many Christmas parades held through out the cities and towns when the streets come alive with the spirit of Christmas. Everyone loves a parade, even Santa and his kangaroo-led sleigh.

2. Let’s have a singalong! You haven’t experienced Christmas Down Under until you’ve been to Carols by Candlelight. In big cities and country towns these open air concerts are very popular with everyone. Bring along a blanket, some candles, and sing Christmas carols to your heart’s content as the sun sets and the candlelight glows.

3. It’s holiday time! And summer holidays mean we usually break for Christmas and take a few weeks off to recharge our batteries. Families can spend Christmas Day at home eating until they burst or lazing at the beach… or both

4. And speaking of food… we celebrate Christmas Down Under in diverse ways. There’s the full traditional dinner with roast turkey and hot ham and all the trimmings still enjoyed by many despite the heat, all the way through to those saner folk who prefer seafood and barbecues. And we’re likely to be eating all that food at a beachside campsite or our own home.

5. Cricket anyone? Or a yacht race? The day after Christmas is another public holiday called Boxing Day, where you can either put your feet up and relax watching the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or you can play cricket with the family in the backyard. Or perhaps you’d prefer to turn the television channel over and watch the start of one of the world’s most prestigious ocean races – the Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race.

6. Doing your bit for the economy! If you don’t like cricket or watching yacht’s race, you can get some exercise by fighting the crowds at the Boxing Day sales, when the day after Christmas is notorious for stores slashing their prices and urging shoppers to spend big. All you need is money, strong elbows, and a sense of direction in the early morning stampede, then you’ll more than likely grab a bargain or two.

So is there anything different about your Christmas? Or do you celebrate it in the traditional way? Perhaps you have some favourite traditions you’d like to share?