Becks and the City Giveaway! Win a Fabulous Goodie Bag!

I've hinted at it on the Facebook page and now it's finally here -- our first giveaway!

Aspiring Carrie Bradshaws out there will love this haul of goodies. Here's what the winner will take away:
  • The candy-pink gift pack is bursting with lip glosses, makeup brushes, skin care products and assorted makeup must-haves from brands including SKII, Kit and Napoleon Perdis.
  • You'll also receive a copy of the naughty-but-nice Intimate Adventures of an Office Girl and score your very own copy of Summer and the City to read up on Carrie's early exploits.

How do you enter? Just tell us your favourite book! It could be anything from Pride and Prejudice to a Candace Bushnell fave to Where's Wally. Hit me with your most outrageous and beloved book fetishes!

Simply comment below and share your book title, name and an email address (no spam, I promise). The contest is open to everyone, so I look forward to hearing from some fans in exotic locations!

Oh, and for extra entries, here's what you can do:
  • Become a Becks and the City Facebook fan
  • Become a Fabulous Follower on Google Friend Connect on the right-hand sidebar
  • Follow Becks and the City on Twitter

For each of these entries, leave a separate comment below letting me know which of these you did, your name and email address.

The competition winner will be drawn on Saturday, 3 September 2011 and notified by email.

Good luck!


Fabulous Fridays: 26 August 2011

Both glad and sad to say we're back from our splendid wedding anniversary trip to Sydney. Many Japanese delicacies were consumed, much shopping was done, oodles of fun was had. And there's more fun in store on the wonderful Web...

  • I love Jimmy Choo. I love high-top sneakers. I do not love it when they marry and have babies. Walked into Sydney's Jimmy Choo store last weekend and was perplexed by these.
  • The Muppet Show theme on acid. Errrr... different!
  • Book paradise: Kinokuniya Sydney. I bought Japanese masking tape, 'cos I'm tragic like that.
  • I've developed an unusual urge to rummage through people's trash since watching American Pickers. If you haven't seen it, do so immediately! Read about the art of junking on Etsy and you may find yourself elegantly dumpster diving as well.
  • Frankie magazine's Afternoon Tea book. Gosh, yes!
  • A size 14 model -- "plus size" or "normal"? Would you like to see bigger models in magazines? I say yes. There's plenty of buxom beauties who could totally rock a photo shoot.
  • Wow, that's a serious addiction to horse. No, I don't mean the drug. Take a look.
  • "I was drag racing." "In a Prius?" "I don't win a lot." This cracks me up every time! Saw Horrible Bosses (aka Reasons to Become a Freelancer) last night and couldn't stop laughing.
  • Gonna buy me some hummus today. Anything to help win the battle of the bulge!
  • This is my equivalent to a raindance to summon the magazine gods. Please employ me, Vogue. : )

That's it until next week, Voguettes!

Wedding Mood Board

Happy anniversary! Mr Big and I celebrated our first year of marriage by taking an overnight break in Sydney last weekend...

We explored Taronga Zoo, went shopping (he's pretty keen for a fella, which is much better than a grumble-bum searching for the boyfriend chair in every shop) and had a lovely Japanese dinner. He was even patient when I insisted on traipsing down to the ballet shop, bless him!

We're so in tune, we even gave each other similar anniversary gifts. I gave him a framed wedding photo and he printed all our photos and bound them in an album. It was very sweet and he put in a lot of effort, which I greatly appreciated. It's hard to believe we've been married a year -- time flies! I'm so happy I married him. : )

I thought I'd honour our anniversary in suitable bloggy fashion. Here's my initial blog post after our wedding last year. See how you go answering the quiz!

The picture above is the mood board I created in my frenzied wedding planning stage. The bridesmaids ended up being pink, not blue, but it's a decent representation of the colours and styles on our Big Day. Notice the Carrie-style blue shoes, although I went with silver glitter ballet flats in the end. The engagement ring and wedding dress images are pretty similar to mine. Oh, and I accessorised with my heart-shaped Tiffany earrings. : )

What fabulous finds would (or did) your wedding mood board contain?

"Burlesque/Fetish and the Art of the Teese"

Step right up to have your fantasies and fetishes fulfilled! Having recently developed a taste for burlesque dancing, I decided to check out the book by its undisputed queen...

I'm known as a bit dance-crazy. Having taken ballet and jazz classes as a kid, I'm a sucker for sequins, tutus, bright lights and a big stage. Last year, I discovered burlesque. I heard of well-priced lessons nearby and, relieved the instructors said we could keep our clothes firmly on in beginner classes, have had a ball ever since.

Hardly a man-eating siren, I'm addicted to the glamour of it. We ladies dress up for classes. No one flutters an eyelash at classmates sporting sailor shorts, rainbow hair, fascinators or fishnet stockings. In fact, they're encouraged. Basically, it's like dress-ups with a smidgen of dancing thrown in.

While it would never win awards for the best workout ever, there's certainly an art to it and classes just plain make me happy. How could you not be entertained when every week you're learning to flutter fans, sway around chairs, strut dominatrix-style and shimmy and sashay around a room? I'm even considering adopting a cute stage name a la my teachers, Sapphire Snow and Luna Eclipse at Peaches 'n' Gin. Cinnamon Buns, perhaps?

So, if I could develop even a champagne drop of the class of Dita Von Teese, I'd be delighted. I decided to take matters into my own hands and purchase her book. It's quite a nifty set-up. The main cover shows pretty-in-pink Dita in sultry burlesque mode. Flipping the book upside-down reveals an alternate, darker, raunchier front cover on the back, "Fetish and the Art of the Teese".

The book serves several purposes. It's a rich, colourful picture book for ladies to admire and men to ogle. It would sit nicely on your coffee table if you're not the blushing type. There's plenty of content too, whether you wish to know the opinions and stories of the woman herself, or simply wish to glean some glamour and burlesque dancing advice. Expect plenty of how-tos and snippets of history of the burlesque movement. If you're looking to use it as a seduction manual, you'll find sexy, yet tasteful, tips for that too.

The book is stunning quality, can be found for a reasonable price and is a tantalising read. Buy if you are a fan of fashion, fancy-dress, dance or Dita and enjoy with a Margadita or two.

Dita is still the queen.

Rating: 9/10.

Have you ever delved into the dark and delightful world of burlesque? What do you think of Dita Von Teese?

Fabulous Fridays: 19 August 2011

On Sunday it's my first anniversary with Mr Big and I couldn't be more excited! We're taking a romantic trip away and we'll be sure to indulge a little. Here's to a happy weekend...

May your days be bright until manic Monday!

Magazine Guide #23: The Knot

Publication: The Knot
How Often Does It Come Out: Twice a year
Distribution: National

Contributors vs Staff Writers:
This is only the second Aussie print edition of The Knot, although the online version ( has been going for several years. I understand the website also pays freelancers for online articles. The substantial list of contributors in the masthead includes hair and makeup artists, photographers etc, so actual casual writing gigs with the glossy may be less than first appears the case. I'd say a decent chance of a freelance writing assignment between the website and the paper magazine though. Pitch away!

Target Audience:
Age: 25-35.
Gender: Female.
Interests: All aspects of weddings -- planning, fashion, beauty, stationery, honeymoons, etc.

Topics and Themes:
Articles include "Spa Treatments You Must Try", "The New Registry Rules", "How to Brand Your Wedding" and "The Other Parties Primer". Etiquette and chic, creative ideas seem to be the mainstay themes. See the website as well for further story topics.

Length of Features:
Around 1,000 words. Longer for travel pieces -- up to 2,000 words.

Tone and Style of Writing:
The Knot caters to various price points in the products it showcases, mixing Royal Doulton with cheap-but-chic options (eg the "30 Bomboniere Ideas Under $5" feature). This approach gives the magazine an "everywoman" feel. It is also highly visual, focusing on creating beautiful wedding eye candy. Big blocks of text are avoided to give a more appealing design, with breakout boxes, sub-headings and lists of bridal tips all heavily favoured. This can probably be attributed to the magazine's online heritage, as can the very practical, helpful style of its writing (give brides concrete details of products and services, eg price, supplier's website, phone number, what to ask for, etc).

About How Many Features:
Ten normal features, plus eight real wedding stories, two real honeymoon experiences and an "Ultimate Planning Guide" special.

The Fashion Parade

This season, I was lucky enough to win a VIP fashion parade experience for me and three friends. Ange, Em, my lovely mother-in-law Maureen and I had a fun, fabulous time. : )

The fashion parade, a quiz...

1  Labels showcased on the catwalk included
a)  Zu shoes, Globalize and Dangerfield
b)  Bras N Things, Portmans and Equip
c)  Wittner, Dotti, and Witchery
correct answer: all of the above

2  We were lucky enough to meet
a)  hunky cricket superstars
b)  the models backstage
c)  the event organiser
correct answer: all of the above (see pics of the cricketers here)

3  We were given free
a)  slaps on the arse, courtesy of the cricketers
b)  makeovers, courtesy of The Body Shop
c)  booze, courtesy of my shoplifting prowess
correct answer: b

4  At our free personal styling/shopping session, my super stylist, Kylie, recommended I
a)  make like a pumpkin and wear orange
b)  lose a few kilos
c)  wear tulip skirts and scoop-neck tops
correct answer: c

5  Our VIP goodie bags contained
a)  Woman's Day magazine
b)  a cute mirrored compact
c)  bright Inglot eyeshadow
correct answer: all of the above

Fabulous Fridays: 12 August 2011

Yes, Fabulous Fridays is out on Saturday again, but what a Saturday it is! The sun's shining, birds are singing and links are a-waiting for your viewing pleasure... 

 Hello Lover!

Have a beautiful, bustling weekend!

Fabulous Fridays: 5 August 2011

Ta very much for excusing the lateness of this Fabulous Friday -- the paella and sangrias were calling last night and it would have been impolite not to answer. Here's the best hangover-curing links I've flamencoed over to this week...

I've got to Spanish fly. Bye!

Craft Words for Writers

Want a perfectly-crafted piece of writing on craft? Use these words and phrases for inspiration.

Design, panels, artiness, pretty things, fabric, sewing, softies, paper, vintage, floral, cardboards, quilting, lace, clay, pastels, hues, tints, paints, acrylic, collection, model, Etsy, varnish, scrap, applique, card-making, material, glue, paste, attach, pin, knit, purl, crochet, scrapbooking, glitter, diamantes, beading, Swarovski crystals, stencil, pattern, origami, handmade, limited edition, organic, recycled, project kit, costume, toy, unique, quirky, illustrated, engraved, embossed, felt, frame, photograph, trinket, goodies, makers, giftwrap, creative, fair trade, yarn, soaps, candles, accessories, embroidery, vegan, eco-friendly, DIY, sketchbook, ideas, jewellery, art, shop, skincare, markets, sourced locally, dolls, needlepoint, retro, traditional, offcuts, nostalgia, emerging, aesthetic, textiles, intricate, 3D, 2D, box, compartment, textile, cover, coordinate, thread, scissors, measure, pencil, strips, edge, gather, coat, lacquer, dimensions, brush, balsa wood, cottage industry, stuff, opening, made-to-order, one-off, custom-made, typography, frills, signature, folds, twists, loops, imagination, stamps, feathers, ribbons, attractive, sustainable, decorative, flowers, arrangement, kiln, pottery, papier mache, vibrant, community, dyes, silk, natural, fibre, funky, modern, indie, presents, gifts, disposable, label, reusable, durable, washable, wallpaper, independent, decals, stickers, studio, rockabilly, neckwear, treasures, haberdashery, tutorial, plushies, adorned, ornament, decoupage, pom-poms, inspiration, creative, flair, fuzzy, colour scheme, kawaii, trace, drill, clasp, wire, emporium, hole punch, dangles, resin, charms, loop, plastic, chain, pendant, geometric, inlays, pewter, quality, metal, hearts, strand, monogram, gingham, sock monkey, romance, bright, magnet, clip art, matte, gloss, colour, weave, raffia, stars, embellishments, eyelets, brads, journal tags, glitter pens, organiser, sort, books, magazines, classes,on-line, cutting boards, apply, re-position, balance, centre, align, draft, stretch, carve, curl, crop, clean, foam tape, double sided tape, mounting tape, photo corners, buttons, pipe cleaners, decorative punches, ink, sponge, splatter, long stitch, mosaics, origami, quilling, macramé, collage, rag-rugging, calligraphy.

What ones have I missed? Let me know and I'll add them.

Magazine Guide #22: Good Health

Publication: Good Health
How Often Does It Come Out: Monthly
Distribution: National

Contributors vs Staff Writers: Mostly freelancers, sometimes authoring more than one piece per issue.

Target Audience:
Age: 25-54.
Gender: Female.
Interests: Health, wellbeing, food, fitness, beauty and fashion.

Topics and Themes:
Sections include Mind + Body, Eat Smart, Good Look, Wellbeing and Regulars (letters, cooking, food news, beauty news, travel, ask our experts, stars etc). Here's a snapshot of article titles: "Love Your Body", "My Life Without Kids", "How to Tell If Your Teen Is Lying", "Modern-day Mystics" and "Acupressure: Is It For You?". Topics are predominantly creative, but mainstream, with some interest in alternative therapies.

Length of Features:
Typically 1,000-1,500 words.

Tone and Style of Writing:
Lists and/or sub-headings are used almost everywhere. One or two articles contain case studies, but most are how-to and provide recommendations, indicators, take-away wisdoms, solutions or similar. Breakout boxes also get a workout, while the language used is practical, firendly and matter-of-fact. Statistics, reports and experts are used, but the magazine is careful not to bombard the reader.

About How Many Features:
I counted 22.


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