The Goddess’ Briefs: Travel & Lifestyle tips for strong, smart, sexy and spiritual women (and the great men who love us)

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ROMANCING THE REEF
Regular Global Goddess readers will know that she is enamoured with two things: falling in love and Queensland. Combine the two and you’ve got a romantic getaway at the Reef House in Palm Cove. The last time I was in Palm Cove was many moons ago, following a luxury train journey 30 hours from Brisbane to Cairns. The Reef House encapsulates colonial beach-house ambience, personal service and laid-back luxury. The romance package, valid until March 31, 2014 is priced from $549 and includes two nights “colonial beach house” accommodation for two; a bottle of sparkling wine in room on arrival; tropical continental breakfast daily for two on the Reef House Ocean View Deck; Two $25 Day Spa vouchers for use at the Reef House Day Spa; Evening two-course Romantic Dinner for two at Reef House Restaurant; Complimentary “Brigadier’s Punch” in the Brigadier’s Lounge daily at twilight; and Complimentary wi-fi, plus in-house movies with a use of DVD player and DVD library. Phew! Now, I just need to find me a fella. http://www.reefhouse.com.au
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CATCH THE LASTEST AT HUKA LODGE
Across the ditch, and at one of her favourite places on the planet – New Zealand – the fine folk at the Huka Lodge are harking back to their past and offering a fun fishing package. Few know it, but the elegant Huka Lodge started out as a simple fishing camp in the 1920s. So it seems only fitting that those who book for a two-night stay, for a minimum of five Junior Lodge Suites (on a double-occupancy basis) will receive a complimentary trout fishing adventure for the entire party on Lake Taupo. Guests will be treated to a two-hour charter on board a private launch with expert fishing guides from Chris Jolly Outdoors. The package is available until December 14, 2013. While The Global Goddess enjoys a spot of fishing (she’s caught her fair share of Mangrove Jacks up in North Queensland), these days it’s more likely to be men she’s hoping to take the bait. Still, fresh trout caught from Lake Taupo wouldn’t be half bad either. http://www.hukalodge.co.nz
Alan Pye with his dog Major, fishing the Waikato River, 1931
FIJI ME
In case you needed further convincing, Fiji has just rolled out a new campaign in which it portrays this idyllic island nation as the happiest place on earth. Using the slogan: “Fiji – where happiness finds you”, the campaign showcases the Mamanuca and Yasawa island groups, Denarau, Nadi, the highlands and the Coral Coast on Viti Levu and Tavenui on the north. In terms of the happiest place on earth, there’s no argument here from The Global Goddess who travelled to Fiji in May. I was fortunate to stay at The Outrigger, Fiji and happiness practically chased me everywhere, particularly when my private butler arrived with canapés and champagne. Oh, and if you get the chance, try the Pure Fiji skincare product range. It’s truly sublime. http://www.fiji.travel.com and http://www.outriggerfiji.com
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SPRING INTO SPRING WITH THIS SPA TREATMENT
In winter, The Global Goddess had the good fortune of undergoing the Bamboo Bliss spa treatment at the Hilton, Surfers Paradise. One of her lucky followers (and if you’re not a follower, why on earth not?) also won the same treatment in one of The Global Goddess’ regular competitions. Now, the Hilton is back with a special spring spa treatment. Available at both the Melbourne and Surfers Paradise eforea: spa at Hilton, this 90-minute treatment uses internationally-acclaimed Kerstin Florian products. The $155 treatment includes an organic wildflower foot soak and full body massage with warm rose porphyry stones to clear energy pathways. To book, go to http://www.eforeaspa.com.au/special-offers.html
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THE GONGS ARE RINGING AT GAIA
In August, The Global Goddess experienced the peace and serenity that is Gaia Retreat & Spa in the Byron Bay Hinterland. One of her lucky readers even won a two-night package there valued at $1595. It seems the Goddess is not the only one who thinks this is one special place owned by Olivia Newton-John. Gaia has been honoured at Australia’s Leading Boutique Hotel and Australia’s Leading Spa Resort at the World Travel Awards in Dubai. Gaia Director Gregg Cave also received the International Hotel & Property Award “Asia-Pacific Spa Hotel” for his design work at the International Design and Architecture Awards in London last week. For those who haven’t visited the retreat, here’s Five Golden Gaia Guidelines by which to enhance your life:
1. Eat well and drink plenty of water
2. Take quiet moments throughout the day and have plenty of sleep at night
3. Moderation and a little abstinence can go a long way in creating the new you
4. Exercise daily and moving the body is the key to optimum health
5. Do your best and be thankful and grateful for what you have already achieved.
http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au
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My Spring Fling

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SPRING has sprung and The Global Goddess’ thoughts have once again turned to love. (Not that they’ve ever really left this topic, but in recent months, I’ve also been preoccupied with lots of travel). And so, I did what I said I wouldn’t do, and rejoined a dating site. And it’s not at all like my bogan dating site, this one promises to find me the man of my dreams based on my core values. Or, so the survey says. And I really, really want to look like the handsome couple they have on their television advertisements.
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Now, this may shock no one, but things have got off to a bit of a shaky start. Yes, I’ve been contacted by a number of men, but whether we share the same core values based on the 400 odd questions I painstakingly answered, remains to be seen. Hot off the blocks was Wayne, followed quickly by Newton, which made me immediately think of Wayne Newton and question whether I needed to don some sequins and book a ticket to Las Vegas. I overlooked Wayne and Newton as they were significantly older than me, and I’m not interested in aged care. There was also a bloke who called himself “Chicker” who happens to be black and clearly hasn’t stumbled across any political correctness manuals in the past few decades. There’s also a fella whose name is Innocent…in case the police are looking for him, and another one called Yasser, who looks mysteriously like the late Arab leader. Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
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But my favourite so far has been a guy called Guy, who is not only peddling the aged pension, but cited the “three things he can’t live without” as: his rifle, his Bible and sex. I am entirely unsure about what I said in my survey question which could possibly match me with this pistol poppin’, God-fearing sexaholic, but Guy and his gun won’t be getting near me anytime soon. (Lord knows I can’t sew, so I wouldn’t begin to know how to make a white pointy hood from a bed sheet). On the plus side, there was an age-appropriate bloke called Adam who actually conversed with me until I told him what I did for a living, at which point he confessed he couldn’t spell (which was quite apparent from his written conversation). It was my moment of truth, but I decided (against my better judgment and on the advice of a few male mates) to let that one go, and joked instead how I couldn’t count. I never heard from Adam again. Adam, if you are reading this (you can read, can’t you?) where are you, my love?
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So what has drawn this slurry of strange men to me? Perhaps it was in the way I answered the questions. There were a few curious ones, such as “Do you slip, slop and slap?” Silly me, I thought they were referring to applying sunscreen, so I diligently answered that I indeed do this regularly, enjoy it and particularly like it all over my face. And then it occurred to me. What, if in hell’s name, this was a sexual question? Was this what was encouraging this gaggle of Grandpas out of their retirement homes and into my inbox?
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What has interested me is that each and every one of these men who have contacted me has asked a curious question. Out of all the questions they could have posed from a long list supplied, they chose this one: “What is your view on traditional gender roles?” Oh, fellas, puhlease. That question is more transparent than grandma’s nightie. I get it. You don’t want a woman with a mind of her own, but rather someone you can boss around, all the time complaining that your missus does nothing but spend all your money. In the meantime, one week in and the site itself has shown interest in me, emailing me at 4.45am the other day to tell me “you’re doing great”. Really? How do you know this, computer-generated message? How do you know I’m not clutching a bottle of Sav Blanc and weeping into my pillowcase, when I’m not waking up from nightmares about bad spellers, who are on the lamb from the cops and who love guns and bibles?
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And so, after week one, things are going as well as expected. I’d love to stay and chat, but I have my own income to earn, a mind of my own, and some more sunscreen to apply.
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AND THE WINNER IS….

The winner of the Gaia Goddess competition is Annabelle Watt. Congratulations Annabelle, Gaia will be in touch directly with you to organise your gorgeous two-night stay valued at $1585.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who entered and please keep reading and following The Global Goddess as there will be more interesting competitions and prize giveaways in the future.
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I’ve got chills, they’re multiplying…

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WITH just one week remaining to enter the Gaia Goddess competition, I wanted to remind Global Goddess readers of what they could win. Yes, you could win two nights valued at $1585 at Olivia Newton-John’s Gaia Retreat in the Byron Bay Hinterland. Imagine…
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…lazing on this plump day bed…
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…washing away your worries in this cool pool…
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…or a hot spa bath…
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…refuelling on only the freshest food…
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…drinking exotic teas from this magical tin…
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…booking a health consult with a true professional…
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…saluting the setting sun over this rolling hills…
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…for the keys to the competition, go to http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/enquire-now/newsletters
and sign up to receive Gaia Retreat newsletters. The competition will close at 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Monday, September 9, 2013. Gaia will draw the lucky winner, who will be announced on The Global Goddess blog on Tuesday, September 10, 2013.

This lovely prize package includes two nights accommodation staying in the Layana Room double/twin; all gourmet meals and snacks; spa gift on arrival; daily yoga and all retreat activities; and use of all the facilities.

Oh, and if you’re not a follower of The Global Goddess, please do so, by clicking on the Follow button in the bottom right hand corner of the home page. Go on, it’s good karma!
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Hopelessly Devoted to You

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THE year was 1978 and my eight-year-old self was sitting in the old Coolangatta cinema on seats strung with scratchy hession bags, about to experience my first ever movie on the Big Screen. Grease was the word and from the opening scene I was so hooked on the movies, and on Olivia Newton-John, I’d forgotten I was slouching on an old bag of potatoes.
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Thirty-five years later, and around an hour down the road, I am about to become a personal guest of Olivia at her Gaia Retreat, in the Byron Bay hinterland. Well, she doesn’t actually know I exist, but I can’t help but feel we are old friends. I drive south through towns so deliciously named you just want to wrap your mouth around them like a huge, buttery, salty tub of movie popcorn. I meander around Mooball, bump along Billinudgel, tumble through Tumbulgum, before nestling in Newrybar, just behind which sits Gaia, named after the spirit of Mother Earth.
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Things are looking pretty good. The fact Olivia isn’t actually at the retreat doesn’t really matter, as I can feel her everywhere. I just can. She’s in the little personal touches such as the magic metal box of Australian Tea Tonic in your room where you can sip on brews such as ginger, lemongrass, Echinacea and white tea. There’s also lemon myrtle oil for your burner, and plush, chocolate bathrobes perfect for lounging on your day bed, or when you alight from your bath replete with rose petals and a cushion for your head. Yes, Olivia has thought of everything and I feel like she has personally plumped my pillows.
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You expect rainforest music on your CD player, but Olivia isn’t tacky (well, there was that little head band and leg warmer stage in the 80s but who wasn’t guilty of that?) Instead you’ll find So Fresh Hits of Autumn 2013 and you’re flat out finding a self-help book in the extensive library, which instead houses a wide range of contemporary reads and DVDS. What I do discover is Olivia’s “Livwise easy recipes for a healthy, happy life book.” If I’m going to look like Olivia, I have some work to do. And Gaia is the perfect place to start.
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Indulge in breakfast such as scrambled eggs in fresh herbs with smoked salmon; a lunch of chickpea tagine with cauliflower squash with yoghurt dill on the side; and snapper for dinner with a poached pear and chocolate dessert. And there’s even an extensive beer and wine list, including Gaia’s own organic wine range.
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In between, simply have some fun – there’s nothing hardcore about this place – as General Manager Gregg Cave says “all you have to do is surrender.”
Each evening, guests are handed their personal schedule card, outlining any treatments they may have booked in the day spa, or just general activities throughout the day. You can do as little or as much as you want.
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Yoga instructor Danielle speaks of “pushing the edge” – the point between finding your point of stretch and indulging the ego and pushing yourself too hard, resulting in pain. “The longest relationship we have in this life is with ourselves, so learn to love yourself,” she says. Nicollete, an “esoteric practitioner” extolls the benefits of becoming your “inner most” and operating from your “inner heart.” In her treatments, she looks at the root causes of symptoms in the body and what buried emotional issues may have triggered these.
“What we need to develop is a much stronger sense of self love in our body. Most of us don’t realise the importance of that,” she says.
“Often we put the needs of others before our own. You have more information to make more choices in your life and do things that is more loving for you.”
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There’s a wide range of treatments in the Gaia Day Spa, but The Global Goddess recommends the 4.5 hour Gaia Goddess/Gaia Man signature experience. Billed as a journey of “complete surrender” among other things you’ll undergo a body polish, cocooning body masque, warm oil scalp massage and full body massage.
There’s also an interesting esoteric breast massage for women and an esoteric shoulder massage for men, designed to tap into self love and if you so desire, a milk bath somewhere on the property. (The Global Goddess did fantastise about laying in a field naked in a pool of milk like Cleopatra waiting for her Julius Caesar but realised she’d have better luck finding a Caesar salad on this trip).
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Drawing on her Aussie roots, Olivia has built a retreat that is empathetic to the 10 hectares of manicured Australian bushland on which it stands, replete with its own fresh herb garden, pool, sauna, spa bath and gym. Walk to the Samira Lookout at the top of the hill and you are at the highest point in the Byron Bay Shire, from which you can scan the Lennox Headlands and Pacific Ocean beyond. Here there’s also a Buddha and labyrinth for reflection and meditative thoughts.
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You’ll find plenty of day beds dotted around the property, as well as hammocks strung between giant eucalypts from which to honour the rising and setting suns.
During my four-day journey I meet Olivia’s personal jeweller, who designs jewels for the retreat, and her comedienne friend Sandy Gandhi, who performed at Olivia’s 60th birthday a few years ago, and who is waiting for fellow comedienne Ruby Wax to finish her spa treatment. Ruby walks into the dining room, but there’s still no sign of Olivia and it doesn’t really matter. By the time I leave, I’m learning to love myself and it may have been 35 years, but Olivia I still love you…I honestly love you.
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ENTER A COMPETITION TO BECOME YOUR OWN GAIA GODDESS…
As a special treat for Global Goddess readers, and courtesy of the Gaia Retreat and Spa, The Global Goddess is offering readers the chance to win an amazing prize valued at $1585.

This lovely prize package includes two nights accommodation staying in the Layana Room double/twin; all gourmet meals and snacks; spa gift on arrival; daily yoga and all retreat activities; and use of all the facilities.

To enter, simply go to:
http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/enquire-now/newsletters
and sign up to receive Gaia Retreat newsletters. The competition runs for two weeks, and will close at 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Monday, September 9, 2013. Gaia will draw the lucky winner, who will be announced on The Global Goddess blog on Tuesday, September 10, 2013.

Oh, and if you’re not a follower of The Global Goddess, please do so, by clicking on the Follow button in the bottom right hand corner of the home page. Go on, it’s good karma!
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