‘I am sick to death of people jumping onto a plane looking like they are heading to a pool’

SERIOUSLY, this absolutely riles me up.

I am sick to death of seeing people jumping onto a plane looking like they are heading to a local pool.

Last week, Qantas refused lounge entry to Joanne Catherall, a vocalist for English pop band Human League (a band I love, but that’s beside the point) all because she was wearing Ugg boots into the airline’s business class lounge.

Some viewed the ban as a national disgrace but you know what? I am absolutely, totally and fully with the airline.

Plane travel used to be glamorous. Yes, it was travel where you felt like you wanted to look the part and, more importantly, wanted to have respect for fellow travellers. (Those filthy, bitten-down toenails, slid into rubber-thin thongs I once sat next to still make me want to be sick.)

Too often plane travel has turned into something akin to jumping on a bus and heading to the beach. Basically our flying sartorial style is simply atrocious. And I reckon airlines have every right to set a style standard.

What always stumps me is the extent to which some travellers’ mile-high clothing, quite frankly, stinks.

I’m all for comfy in-flight clothing but can someone tell me how a pair of rubber thongs, sleepwear (leave it until you get onto the place, at least), a party dress, sweaty gymwear and blokes in too-hugging shorts, even vaguely constitutes comfy plane attire?

How would you ever expect to be considered for an upgrade (okay, that hardly happens anyway) if your plastic flip-flops are so worn down at the heel you may as well have gone barefoot?

It’s no wonder ground staff and flight attendants treat some passengers with slight disdain. Checking in a gang of baby boomers reeking of booze as they parade their stubbies, singlets, thongs and muffin-front bellies can’t be that pretty for any airline staffer.

Just a few years ago Qantas issued a fashion decree; the what-to and what-not-to-wear into their business class lounges.

Before you start throwing your macadamia cookies at me, let me reiterate: it is into their business-class lounges.

“These guidelines are intended to create an environment that everyone can enjoy and we look forward to welcoming you into our lounges soon,” goes the airline’s speil.

It wasn’t and isn’t a universal flying fashion rule but doesn’t the fact they even had to do it make you feel like you want to feel a little special when you jump on a plane? And that’s whether you’re zipping on an interstate business trip or a holiday.

Can’t we give plane travel some sense of occasion? Some sense of dignity? Make it special, or an experience?

No, you don’t have to be up the smartypants end of the plane, nor do you have to wear your sky-high heels and best dress. But come on, how difficult is it just to wear something ‘smart’ that also happens to be comfortable?

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So next time you’re thinking about pulling an airline apart over their dress rules, think about the things you’ve seen that are best left for other parts of the day.

Perhaps airlines should forgo the white chocolate cookie and supply eye-masks, travel-sized deodorant and scent samplers.

That way, while we might not always arrive with our luggage, but at least we’d land with our olfactory and visual senses intact.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


Little Big Shots: the mega ratings show that will change TV forever

A really surprisingly thing happened on television last night.

A show appeared that could’ve been a disaster – well, we have been seeing the promos for seemingly the last two years – but it absolutely killed the ratings, all thanks to a gaggle of kids with some fairly obscure talents.

No, there were no trumped up, smarty-pants chefs who think their wagyu and truffles are the penultimates of life. There wasn’t a pergola being erected in the backyard of a suburban home. There were no ‘housewives’ abusing each other for the sake of abusing each other. And there were no bachelors and bachelorettes using their time on the telly to eventually land a radio gig.

There were no conflicting characters who had all been told to take on a ‘roll’ in order to ‘succeed’ in their respective program.

Yes, the promo for Little Big Shots – which rated a mammoth 2.619m (nationally) seemed to go on for months and months and to be honest I was getting bored with the same old clips featuring Shane Jacobson talking to kids about backflips, staring competitions and dance moves.

But when the show finally came on last night, simply, it just made me smile. And it did the same for around 2.7 million other Australians.But I have a theory. And I think it will be one other networks whether free to air or subscription or digital sites will be looking at.

Could this be the beginning of a new realm of ‘real’ reality TV? Here we had just a group of gorgeous kids who are talented in some fairly obscure fields – like the Rubiks cube teen who managed to sort one cube out with his feet while his hands sorted the other two at the same time. I had never seen anything like it before.

It was kind of like a fun freak show but done in a really cute & comfortable way. There was no real competition between the kids; there was no prize at the end and there was no trumped up conflict created between each of the kids.

The other thing is, Little Big Shots crosses a gamut of age groups. Kids loved it; I’d imagine ‘older’ peeps did to and I reckon those in between were pretty mad about it as well. It is a show that doesn’t require much brainpower from the viewer – and with most people dealing with enough crap in their lives – that is one of its redeeming features.

I didn’t have to invest in it. We sat on the lounge and we looked at it, usually with our mouths wide open and eyes in awe. And yup, it just continued to make us smile. I didn’t invest myself in any characters. I didn’t worry that the kids will be used as some sort of pawns by mentors.

Purely, it was simple entertainment and when it returns next week we will watch it, just expecting equally as crazy, often kooky but some bloody obscurely talented kids.

I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of old school material it’s just all worked. I’m putting it up there with Gogglebox.
And it sure beats all of this concocted conflict, scripted reality and overproduced stuff that keeps getting rammed down our throats. It was simply good fun and a soon as we turned it off, then moved on to the next thing, there wasn’t one moment where I thought ‘god, wasn’t that a waste of time?’

And really, you could not have picked a better host in Shane Jacobson – he wasn’t patronising, he just got it and seemed genuinely happy to be hanging out with a whole lot of kids on the couch as they quickly told their stories and delivered their very interesting tricks and talents.

I know there will be a few networks looking at that and thinking, yes, let’s get back to a better ‘real’ life in TV land.
Forget the nasty, forget the bitchiness and ghoulish behaviour and let’s just have a bit of total simple happiness – just for a change in our TV viewing habits.

Follow Melissa on Twitter and Instagram @melissahoyer


I've been told I'm not a 'real' mother because I don't see my son every day

Sure, we all hear about the great single parent juggle. The not-getting-to-school pick-up on time because that deadline loomed or that meeting just went a bit longer than normal. The ‘oops’ I forgot it was dress-up day.

But there is something that has become much more prevalent and makes me feel a touch more inadequate as a single parent.

And I’m not talking about being a parent who isn’t home every afternoon. Or that I don’t cook trays of muffins. We’re over that. That’s been discussed a zillon times.

This is about that I have, like so many others, unconventional family lives and that, quite honestly can make me feel really awkward and plainly incompetent.

When perceived ‘normal’ families talk about what they get up to each day, night, weekend, holiday, all as a big happy family, it has actually made me feel physically sick and incompetent.

The way I provide for my son (as his dad does too) isn’t the usual way we hear that so many other families do.
There is not sitting around at home with dad, mum, the kids and the pets, having a laugh, watching a movie together and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Sometimes, to be honest, I find this incredibly difficult and quite frankly, just soul-destroying.

I hear of family units talking about their ‘perfect’ lives – twirling off on a holiday somewhere, going camping, taking a caravan down the coast somewhere or really amping it up and going on a big trip somewhere exciting.

I shouldn’t feel like this. I mean ‘us’ single parents as a ‘we’ shouldn’t compare our lives to other family lives.

But I do. I just sometimes think, am I totally hopeless and stuffed this whole parenting thing up altogether?
I hear some mums talk about a big weekend with a zillion cousins, aunts, sisters, nieces or nephews and think, boy, that has never been me.

Sure, I have had a few women roll their eyes and make little digs because we, like many other ‘shared’ parents, have week-on, week-off arrangements.

I once walked into a room and caught the end of a conversation of, okay, I have to say it, stay-at-home mums: ‘Well, what would Melissa know? She’s not a real mother because she’s not with her son every day,’ one said. I quickly turned around, ran to the loo and burst into tears and made a quick excuse to leave.

I would love to say I actually don’t give a stuff about what anyone thinks. But deep down, I do.

At this point, the beautiful and strong teenage boy we are bringing up has a resilience, maturity and empathy that we could not have ever dreamed of. He ‘gets’ the fact that mum has to work, which often has me working unconventional and not, 9 to 5 hours. He gets the fact that Dad HAS to work too.

So when we add all of that up, he knows that when he is at school the structure he has there is something that neither of us could probably provide if he arrived home at 3.30pm.

Having been brought up in public-housing myself and having certainly not come from any kind of moneyed background, both his Dad and I have saved and saved to make him a Monday to Friday weekly boarder.

This will hopefully continue until year 12, but that is always in lap of the bank balance gods.

The relationships our son has forged with fellow school buddies and that extraordinary structure he has, the one where he knows his homework is done at a certain time, dinner is eaten at a certain time and bedtime is also at a certain time, doesn’t worry him in the slightest.

I know this choice and decision is not be for everyone – boy, I’ve seen heard those raises eyebrows – but most importantly, for our son, it works for him. And he is the only person we need to worry about.

You know what, it is just ‘our’ life. Not conventional. Not ‘normal’.

Yes, it often makes me feel inadequate that why would I even make an entire tray of muffins when there’s only me. Or just my son and I at home to eat them. But we laugh. We love. And we’re just roll with all the punches.

I love a piece once written by Ariana Huffington: ‘Vacationing With my Ex’ – about herself and her ex-husband celebrating a 12th anniversary: “That’s how long we’ve been divorced,” she said, “one year longer than we were married.”

Huffington went on to say that “just like marriage, divorce isn’t easy either, and ours has been no exception. But even though we no longer had a marriage to keep us together, we had something even more powerful — our daughters. And, spurred by our mutual devotion to them, we have made a huge effort to work through all the difficulties and be friends.”

The foursome, as a family, make sure they spend Christmas Day and both of their girls’ birthdays together as a family every year. And she admits that, with a lot of hard work, ‘we’ve grown closer and closer.’

They have managed one vacation to Greece all together, since being a ‘split’ family, and I just loved the feeling her words and sentiment gave me.

I just love that yes, we can all, somehow, oddly and only very, very occasionally can create a quintessential family unit. And she admitted not even letting each others pet peeves get in the way when they were on their family vacay.

Ok, it’s not a for-everyone situation, as so many splits are more bitter that buoyant, but boy, what a a damn clever idea.
It actually made me smile and realise that there are a hell of a lot of us single parents out there, just giving it our absolute best shot.

And that’s all that matters. Minus the muffins.

This piece of Melissa’s was first published on whimn.com.au


Hairdresser Sends Staff to Counselling Course as Clients’ Emotional Issues Spill Over

RECOGNISING her customers pour their hearts out to her staff on a daily basis, Melbourne hair salon owner Lauren MacKellin is enlisting her staff into a counselling course on how to manage the emotional needs of her clientele.

The Vision Blonde salon owner has decided to take action, sending her staff to a course on how to deal with others’ problems.

“Every day my staff are taking on my clients’ problems and each day is an emotional rollercoaster for them,” says Lauren.

“What my staff need is a hand in how to effectively help, to know how to nurture our clients’ emotional needs along with their own.”

Hairdressers and their clients share a very close and trusting relationship, and thanks to social media, social interaction with your hairdresser is now becoming even more valuable.

“At the end of the day, my employees are as important to my business as my clients, and I need to look after the needs of both. It’s not just about the needs of their hair”.

According to clinical psychologist Georgia Foster, being in “the chair” while someone is nurturing you not only makes you look better, but it also makes you feel good.

And the mind enjoys the attention; off-loading can be a way to release tension with someone who is not in their everyday life.

“A hairdresser, like any other profession that involves a one-on-one interaction, can often trigger burnout due to the demands of being a ‘free therapist’,” says Georgia.

“The best strategy is to find ways to ‘brush off’ clients’ problems by taking proper breaks when possible, going off-site or after work, finding ways to break the state such as a big walk or an exercise class.

“Any profession where you are one-on-one for a period time similar to a hairdresser can have client burnout too, such as beauty therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, pilates and yoga teachers.

“They all – to a certain extent – have to expect some level of being a ‘friendly’ therapist, but equally need know when to stand back and not take on board too much.”

Georgia really commends Lauren for her efforts as an employer in contacting her to counsel her staff over Skype.

“Employers need to put in place tools and strategies that give staff the right communication to know when and what to say, and when to retreat or change subjects,” adds Georgie.

“It’s important that when the staff feel supported, the domino effect means the client is happier too.”

A few helpful tips from Georgia Foster:

•Listen and be non-judgmental

•Don’t act surprised if you hear anything that shocks you

•Let them know you are not a qualified counsellor and suggest an appropriate support system

•Never commit suggesting a way forward, as you are not trained

•Encourage outside stress management tools such as a yoga class or meditation class

•Find a worse story to talk about that makes them become more grateful

•Try and turn a positive spin on the situation

•Find funny things to talk about that breaks their emotional state

Georgia Foster will be doing a one day seminar in Sydney this Saturday, May 27.

First seen on news.com.au

Source: news.com.au


Do We Really Need Clear Plastic Jeans?

OK, each to their fashion own. But totally clear, plastic jeans?

I mean, are fashion design teams so desperate for a ‘new’ idea they’ve taken to using one of the most uncomfy, ridiculous and ridiculed ‘fabrics’ as the basis of a pair of jeans?

At a time when plastic consumption is, well, supposed to be one of our chief conservation and biodegradable concerns, suddenly we’re supposed to be wearing the stuff?!

Perhaps Topshop is going all Aldi on us and meaning for us to double out new plastic fantastic jeans as a reusable shopping bag as well.

It was just moments ago we here at news.com.au were lamenting the arrival of plastic knee, cut-out jeans (say what?).

In retrospect, the clear plastic panels at the knees of these little beauties are serious haute couture in comparison to what has just landed on the Topshop website.

So let’s just workshop this fashion moment for a minute.

Plastic is hot. Plastic sweats. Plastic jeans will need something else worn underneath them to avoid us going all Kardashian and having us show off every bit of our butt-butts.

For a cool 100 bucks, plastic jeans will not leave you cool at all. In fact, they may even cause a little body weight slippage. Or an unfortunate thrush-type situation that won’t be pretty.

Can you imagine the pen stains that just may make their way into them if you wear them to the office? Let alone your colleagues and train-travellers’ stares and whispers.

OK, so on the flip side. Yes, there actually IS one.

At least they are a wipe-down proposition. One spilt drink and baam! Grab a baby wipe or a bit of Spray n Wipe and you’re set to go with no pesky, lingering stains.

On a production note, the 100 per cent polyurethane jeans — that’s techno speak for plastic — are given a kind of style cred on the Topshop website as they invite potential buyers to ‘think outside the box’.

The straight-leg style is called the ‘Moto Clear Plastic jean’ and is ‘ideal as a statement piece for a festival or costume party’. Hello Burning Man! What a pity Coachella has been and gone.

As well, the jeans have ‘classic pockets detailing and are cropped at the ankle bone’. Phew! Thank god the ankle has been saved from the perils of plastic adornment.

Look, of course there are going to be some cool-skoolers who rock a thong, denim shorts or granny undies underneath or some coloured tights or, hey, maybe, nothing at all.

But I can’t help think that by Topshop occasionally ‘dropping’ pieces like these into their stores, they win. I mean, we’re all talking about them.

And *that* is the name of the ridiculously competitive fashion game.

You can talk about plastic jeans, thrush and any other fashion nasties by following Melissa on Twitter and Instagram @melissahoyer

First seen on news.com.au

Source: news.com.au