Jodhi, James and Mariah: The bizarre love triangle where everyone wins

OPINION

THIS time of the year, the sunny, social, cashed-up and sexy Mediterranean is the land of the long, white boat.

High-flyers, Russian oligarchs and occasional wannabes twirl around Sardinia, the Italian Riviera’s Portofino, the Amalfi and take a few trips onto the Isle of Capri for dinner at Ristorante La Fontelina. But one incredibly high-profile blossoming romance will continue to have the business and entertainment worlds buzzing this (northern hemisphere) summer.

Our very own James Packer, 47, and the sultry songstress and pop star Mariah Carey, 45, have outshone any mega boat on the Med’s waters.

And you know what? Good. On. Them.

Even James’s first wife, the dynamic Jodhi Meares (on holidays with her birthdaying mum and family in Italy) has given the beaming pair a thumbs-up. Jodhi posted a pic of the tanned troika on her Instagram feed taken on James’s boat, the Arctic P, with the simple word, Amore. Complete with love heart emojis.

And yes, gossip commentary theorists are trying hard to rationale the Packer-Carey hook-up.

Some are saying it is a huge PR campaign for casino king James to bolster his cred in Las Vegas, where Ms Carey happens to have a residency at Caesar’s Palace. Or to bolster interest in a Christmas film starring Mariah that RatPac, the company James has with Brett Ratner, is making.

Either way, couldn’t it all just be a bit simpler? Like boy meetsgirl. Girl and boy get on together. And then, the show goes on?

No matter the who, what, why and where, the fact the notoriously publicity-shy James looked as happy as a pig in, as he wandered the cobbled streets of Capri, and that he even allowed Jodhi to post an Instagram snap of the happy troika says something.

Jodhi has kept up a very strong bond with James, their connection continuing through any relationship issues she has had while he has always supported her businesses, including her most recent fitness label, The Upside. How many people continue that kind of connection with their ex?

The same with Erica Packer, with whom James shares three divine little people, Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle.

Maybe it’s time just to allow these two loved-up peeps, who happen to be high profile and happen to be very rich, to have a mad ole time together, whether it last three weeks, three months, three years or 30 years.

While the pair reportedly met in Aspen, Colorado, at the chic Little Nell Residences, and were introduced to each other by video director producer Brett Ratner, their particular lives may actually be perfect for each other.

Both travel (a lot); both have young families (Mariah has four-year-old twins); both have had marriage setbacks; both are leaders in their fields; and both are used to life on the road, albeit a fairly glossy, up-market, six-star life on the road.

The time has come for even more celebs and their entourages to descend on the Med and hurtle their vessels up and across to the South of France to the picturesque annex of St Tropez or down to Mykonos.

And while money and boat size is king, this latest romance is only going to get only more attention.

And to those who think it is all some sinister marketing ploy at play, lighten up! Who cares?

Isn’t it just nice not to see James rumbling on the footpath with his great pal David Gyngell and looking like the cat who got the cream.

Let’s face it, after many, many years dealing with it, I’m pretty sure Mr Packer and Ms Carey know exactly how to play and handle the media.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


Ian Thorpe part of the country’s Fab 400, gathered to raise a mega $1.4m for sick kids

GOLD is a colour Ian Thorpie is used to in his life.

But this time Thorpie chose to go for gold in a philanthropic sense, lending his support, profile and star power to the country’s most prestigious fundraising event for sick kids.

The $1500 per head event had more than 400 invited guests gather to celebrate the 18th Annual Gold Dinner in support of the sick kids at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.

In grand ‘Gold Dinner’ style, the landmark building was transformed for the evening, spectacularly ‘wallpapered’ in 10 metre high heritage panoramic wallpaper depicting the voyages of Captain Cook.

The images, Les Sauvages de la mer Pacifique, were a gift from the National Gallery of Australia to the hospital to facilitate an extraordinary art installation that was directed by Tony Assness.

With a guest list featuring a who’s who, the Gold Dinner has raised more than $18 million during the past 17 years and now has just about hit the $20 million mark.

Funds raised from this year’s event will provide new Fellowships in four specialised areas of paediatric medicine during the next two years: Pain and Palliative Care, General Surgery, Oncology and Emergency.

A Fellowship is awarded competitively to a doctor already extensively trained in pediatrics, who elects to enter further specialised training in a particular field of paediatric medicine.

This year’s event attracted a stellar crowd including John Symond and Amber Keating, Skye Leckie, Sarah and Robby Ingham, Kelly Landry and Anthony Bell, Scott and Alina Barlow, Justin Miller, Tom and Hoda Waterhouse, Neil and Sam Perry and Clare Paspaley.

There was also Kirsten Carriol and Jean Marc Carriol, Kirsten and Brad Dale, Philip Corne, Nicky and Troy Tindill, Deborah Symond and her brother Stephen Symond.

Meanwhile, the night was hosted by Channel 9’s Allison Langdon and Cameron Williams.

Guests sipped on an antipodean-inspired menu specially designed and donated by Matt Moran and his team at Aria Catering, complemented with drinks by Bollinger and Lion and bid on money-can’t-buy prizes from supporters like Louis Vuitton, Paspaley, One & Only Resorts and Etihad, auctioned by the inimitable Justin Miller.

Gold Dinner committee co-chairs Nikki McCullagh and Chrissy Comino, alongside Gold Dinner Ambassadors Skye Leckie and Lucy Turnbull led the committee to put together the annual event.

The Gold Dinner committee included Alina Barlow, Roslyn Hakim, Rachelle Hofbauer, Sara Lane, Wallis Graham, Vogue’s Edwina McCann and Adriana Weiss while corporate ambassadors, Laing & Simmons Double Bay and Bondi Beach, One & Only and Servcorp were pleased with the funds raised on the night.

The Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Leanne Warner: “Our Fellowship Program identifies and nurtures excellence, education, vision and innovation and acts as a springboard for Australia’s brightest and best doctors to specialise in their chosen field,’’ she said.

“Fellows deliver immediate clinical impact to their Departments, drive research projects and help to keep our Hospital performing at the highest levels. An investment in our Fellowship Program creates a lasting legacy for the future of children’s healthcare.”

Great, gold stuff all around!

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


The genius idea to stop us binge drinking

GOING from fashions on the field to falling over drunk at the end of the day, shoes in hand seems like a pretty typical day at the races.

But the days of having a few too many might be over, if the principal behind a sold-out event in New York takes off.

Polo-loving New Yorkers gathered over the weekend to enjoy the 8th annual Veuve Clicquot Polo in the Park — with the star-studded crowd enjoying the perfect blue skies.

But the end of the day was just as classy as the beginning, with attendees limited to five drinks.

So how does it work? Guests were given a choice of either ‘buying’ a bottle of champagne or given a wrist band that would allow them to purchase just five glasses of bubbles as the long and hot day progressed.

As event co-hosts, leading Argentinian polo player Nacho Figueras and Veuve Clicquot’s Vanessa Kay welcomed 8000 summer-decked out guests to the Park for the Polo Classic.

With amazing views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty serving as the backdrop, guests enjoyed the afternoon complete with a fast-paced polo match, the season’s most stylish fashions and of course, French bubbles.

Always a star-studded event, the Polo Classic was attended by celebrities including Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson, 50 Cent, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Freida Pinto, and Aussie born model Andreja Pecik.

Team Black Watch beat Team Veuve Clicquot 10-7 with Nacho Figueras winning MVP.

In addition to the polo match, the day’s highlights included Girls star and Broadway performer Andrew Rannells’ crowd-pleasing rendition of the National Anthem, the ceremonial ball toss thrown in by Frieda Pinto to kick off the match, Emma Roberts and Joan Smalls stomping the divots during half-time, and bold-faced names having fun on the dance floor listening to the beats of DJ Nikki Pennie.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


Struggle Street suburbs have been around for ever but tarring all ‘housos’ with the same brush is just boring

OPINION

What came through when I watched Struggle Street? Love. Sure it may have been slightly unconventional, but it’s love nonetheless.

To see the unpredictable Corey — who even scares his mum — continue to come in and out of his parents’ lives high on ice and be accepted back into the family says something of the love they have for each other. We should all be so lucky.

So why am I sticking my beak into the controversial debate surrounding the SBS doco?

Because I, like many, many others, grew up in government housing.

My hardworking mum and dad were never in the position to buy a house. Circumstances just didn’t go their way. Simple as that.

But we never grew up wanting for anything.

My mother has such strength, backbone, love, integrity and class and it shows in every part of how she kept her family and our home.

We may have been ‘housos’ but we didn’t become drug addicts. Or unemployed or preggers or criminals. We were kept busy living a normal life.

Sure, Mum has seen drug deals take place in her area. But hey, so have I in my current inner-city area where I have lived since I left home at 20.

My mother and late dad took total pride in our family home, making it as lovely, homey and perfect as they could. We lived in that same home for years, the same home that only recently was taken away from my mum, not long after dad died as it was deemed ‘too big’ for her to live in on her own. (Too big? You should have seen the size of it!)

According to reports, the family featured in the first episode are preparing to sue over their portrayal in the SBS three-part doco, because it has “ripped them apart”.

But many who watched it just saw Struggle Street as an accurate portrayal of a resilient family doing it very tough in western Sydney, much like many I knew back when I lived in housing commission.

I know what I got out of it wasn’t a ‘poor them’ mentality. Far from it. I thought, ‘this IS reality’. The reality of real life.

In my ‘city’ home life, I sometimes see more unhappy and sad people, even if they are surrounded by million-dollar houses, designer labels, fast cars, smarty pants parties and exotic trips away.

No matter how ‘messed up’ some of these Mt Druitt houses were and how basic the surrounds looked to some viewers. I couldn’t help but detect a genuine, unconventional type of love throughout the whole doco.

You’d never see the Real Housewives of wherever take one of their pals to school in the hope of getting them an education. Or rub the back of their husband who has so many health ailments he can barely get out of bed. Or welcome their ice-addicted son back into the family home.

It’s all too easy for some people to say ‘get off your arse’, ‘move into the city’ and ‘get a job’.

And that seems to have been the reaction of many viewers. But for many, it’s not that easy.

When I saved enough bucks, I made that move from the ‘burbs into the city.

I moved into the ‘city’ with two other girlfriends where we shared an apartment which cost $140 a week to rent.

I took a day at a time, lost some old school friends along the way, but moving from the ‘burbs did nothing but make me work harder for everything I have achieved and that makes me feel pretty OK about myself.

There were times when I was slightly embarrassed to say where I hailed from. But those days are gone.

What breaks my heart is that now my mum feels like all ‘housos’ have now been tarred with the SBS ‘Struggle Street’ brush.

‘Housos’ shouldn’t been condemned or demonised. And we shouldn’t tar every ‘houso’ with the same brush.

My mum and late dad were one of the classiest acts I have ever known. And while we may have grown up with some government housing support, it’s made me the person I am today which I’m forever grateful for.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


It may not be Budget 2015 but private jets, limos & Dom Perignon won’t stop tonight’s VIP set

JUST as our Budget 2015 prepares to give us more to smile about* … a group of self-anointed VIP-lovers have unveiled a biz for those with no such budgetary concerns.

The VIP is an elite level lifestyle services provider planning on delivering a range of six-star lifestyle services and tailored package experiences, for individuals, groups and companies.

“We have aligned ourselves with the very best professionals in their industry, including Australia’s leading cosmetic surgeon, celebrity personal stylists and Hollywood’s preferred cosmetic dental surgeon, Dr. David Carr,” says VIP founder Karim Gharbi.

“Other services include personal trainers, VIP hosts, masseurs, personal security, supercar hire and chauffeur-driven luxury vehicles.”

Karim has been involved in providing luxury services for his clients for the past 15 years and has managed many restaurants, bars and nightclubs as well as hosting and organising film premieres, product launches, fashion shows and after parties.

During this time, he has worked closely for numerous national and international celebrities, including Giorgio Armani, Baz Luhrmann and Hugh Jackman.

Gharbi says The VIP will specialise in gaining clients exclusive entry into Sydney’s hottest fashion, sports and theatre events, as well as securing VIP bookings in Sydney’s finest restaurants, bars and clubs.

“The VIP Sydney shares its services with no strings attached,” adds Mr Gharbi, with no ongoing membership fee, or long-term commitment to access lifestyle luxuries.”

Mr Gharbi adds that all client requests are confidential and discretion is assured.

To mark the start of a luxe life known to a very small few, The VIP is hosting an event for guests in the penthouse apartment of ’The Top of the Town’ in Darlinghurst — on Budget night of all nights — where cocktails will be prepared by world-renowned ‘mixologist’, Grant Collins.

Guests planning to test out the trappings of The VIP world include Dr Chris Brown, Will Stewart & Steve Flood (the winners of My Kitchen Rules) John Ibrahim, Jason Dundas, Brent Wilson, designer Charlie Brown, Patrick Keating and Sharilea Hitchcock.

Guests are being ferried to the event in Rolls Royce’s, Bentley’s, Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s.

Services include bars and dining, special event chauffeurs and supercars, private yachts, jets and helicopters, beauty and medical hosts and health and fitness packaged experiences.

Mmmm. Perhaps Mr Hockey’s budget will leave us with enough spare change so we can all indulge.

*OK, I’m dreamin’ …

This article was originally posted on news.com.au