Author Archives: Contributor

Getting Your Hands Dirty – Adventures on the Emerald Isle

jessCheaper Than Rubies is honoured to have former Sky News journalist, and now globe trotter, Jess as our guest contributor. Jess is a CSU Communications graduate and has worked in the media in Tamworth and Sydney. This year, Jess ditched the workforce and ventured overseas. Here she shares her latest adventure with us.

Ireland had always been at the top of my list of countries to visit, so I feel very fortunate to actually be in the land of Irish luck, leprechauns and Guinness. After a whirlwind three day tour of Southern Ireland, I found myself volunteering on an organic farm just north of Dublin in the hope it would help me experience the real Ireland.

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Filed under Itchy Feet, Mind, Body and Soul, Ruby Reviews

Blame it on the Weather… Or Climate Change?

We’re very pleased to introduce Karina, a self-confessed science nerd and another new Rubies contributor for 2013! Karina is currently studying Honours in Geosciences at the University of New South Wales, and is passionate about getting everyone else as enthusiastic about science as she is! In her first post, she dives head first into the details of recent weather extremes and how they relate to climate change.

floodwater(1)The sunburned country that Dorothy Mackellar described, “of droughts and flooding rains,” really has shown off all her tricks in the last month, with equal measures of flood and fire, taking lives and causing millions of dollars of damage from Queensland to Tasmania.

With record heat waves causing the Bureau of Meteorology to extend its temperature scale on its forecast charts, catastrophic fire conditions, and Cyclone Oswald bringing insane rainfall to Queensland and New South Wales, it’s tempting to cry out to the heavens, “Go home, weather! You’re drunk!”

But Australia isn’t the only continent experiencing weird, extreme weather at the moment – so is this climate change?

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Filed under Stand Back: Science!

Take Me Holmes: The Modern Sherlock

This week, we welcome Sheryll to the Rubies family! Kuwaiti by birth, Indian by passport, and nomad at heart, Sheryll is a firm believer in the healing powers of a great book, good music, and fabulous shoes. This week, she gives us a beginner’s guide to the fan-girl phenomenon swirling around the latest re-imagining of the world’s greatest detective: Sherlock Holmes. WARNING: Contains spoilers!

sherlock_uk-showSherlock Holmes’ most perplexing modern mystery is not The Hounds of Baskerville or A Scandal in Belgravia. It’s not even the latest ‘How did he fake his death?’ conundrum.

No, Sherlock’s greatest mystery is this: why hasn’t everyone heard about the BBC show already? Sure, it’s been nominated for a bunch of awards and has been mentioned in more than one top 10 list, but ask any regular person on the street if they’ve heard of Sherlock and you’ll get the horrifyingly disappointing response: “Oh! You mean the Robert Downey Jr. one?”

Or maybe it’s just my friends. Note to self: get new friends. Continue reading


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Start Your New Year’s Resolutions NOW!


The New Year offers a chance for a clean slate, a fresh start, and renewal. That’s why millions of people the world over will spend a little time making a list of all the things they want to improve about themselves and their lives in 2013.

Last year, a study showed the top 10 resolutions were:

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Get organised.
  3. Spend less, save more.
  4. Enjoy life more.
  5. Get fit and healthy.
  6. Learn something new.
  7. Quit smoking.
  8. Help others in their dreams.
  9. Fall in love.
  10. Spend more time with family.

That same study goes on to explain that 25 per cent of people give up on their resolution within the first week. Just eight per cent of people are successful in achieving their resolution overall. Depressing, right?

I’m going to tell you a way you can have a better chance of achieving your resolutions for 2013.

Start now.

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Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Going (Coco)nutty!

After last week’s post, you probably think I am some kind of oil fanatic, yes?

Okay, it’s true!

These natural miracle workers happen to be one of my favourite topics, and today I would like to bend your ear about what some have called the Alpha and Omega, the Holy Grail, and the best health secret of all time: coconut oil.

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Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Oils and your face: a surprising match!

This week, Alana suggests a new cleansing regime that may challenge the way you think about your skin!

It may seem counter-intuitive, but using oil to cleanse, treat and moisturise your skin is one of the most effective and cheap skincare routines available. It even removes make up!

Oil cleansing is based on the principle of ‘like dissolves like’, and therefore, when using the right combination of oils for your skin, using this method will dissolve the oil on your face and give an effective clean without stripping or irritating your skin. This is important, because if you get all sudsy and eliminate the natural oils from your skin, it will go into overdrive trying to compensate. That’s right: clean now, shiny later.

Oil cleansing can work for all skin types, including sensitive, irritated or dry skin, and acne sufferers. You just need to find the right combo for your skin. Continue reading


Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Fat: Why you are NOT always what you eat

Next in our list of new regular Rubies is Alana, our resident health coach! She’s from Brisbane, and is the writer, editor and creator of ray of sunshine: wellness + awesome living. Her mission is to empower women to live awesomely through natural health, good food, positive body image and self love. It’s a real thrill to have her as part of the Rubies team!

Let’s talk about fat.

Fat is practically a dirty word in dieting circles. It’s seen as something to avoid at all costs: the first thing it eliminate when trying to lose weight, the culprit for acne and oily hair, the cause of high cholesterol, clogged arteries and heart

We now know that this isn’t the case.

Saturated fats have been part of the human diet for millions of years, and up until the 20th century nobody thought this was unhealthy. A few researchers found a possible link between saturated fat intake and cholesterol levels in the late 19th Century, and the theory, which took on the title the ‘Lipid Hypothesis’, became widely known through the work of scientist Ancel Keys in the 1950s.

Keys published studies showing correlation between fat intake and cholesterol levels leading to heart disease; however, out of the 22 countries he studied, only the seven that supported his hypothesis were included in the final results. If all 22 countries were included, the correlation would have disappeared.

Keys himself remarked in 1997, “There’s no connection whatsoever between the cholesterol in food and cholesterol in the blood. And we’ve known that all along.” Continue reading

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Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Top Ten Summer Tunes for Tuesday, November 13th

Written by Joel
Normally, today would be the day you hear from Rubies regular Noni for Tunes for Tuesday, but this week I will be filling in as Noni globe-trots about, no doubt finding new musical treasures to share with you when she returns.
As summer is almost upon us, I thought I would share some of my favourite summer beats with you this week to get you in the mood for the approaching summer festive season. These songs hopefully will get you ready for the sunny season, long days at the beach and drinks by the pool. Continue reading

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Filed under Music Matters

The Pressures of the Pursuit for Perfection

Tara is a 22-year-old who has recently graduated from the University of Newcastle. Tara likes sunshine, pretty stationary, people-watching and drinking soy lattes.  She is currently involved in the Fed Up NSW Health campaign. This is her first contribution to Cheaper Than Rubies.

I am fortunate enough to know some pretty fabulous women. Medical students, journalists, mothers, musicians, and teachers – these, among many others things, are some of the intelligent and talented women that I call friends.

We live in a forward-thinking, modern society with scientific and technological advancements that our grandparents, and even our parents, never would have dreamed of. This 21st century society is also one which offers greater opportunities to women than ever before. Being told frequently throughout my twenty something years that I could do anything, or be anything that I wanted certainly made me appreciate the privilege of living in modern Australia. The media also sends the message that we can ‘do it all’ – be a mother and a career woman, advance in the business world, enter politics, even become the Prime Minister of Australia. But at the same time, I feel that this comes with a certain level of expectation, an expectation to be ambitious and driven. The desire to be a stay at home mum is ‘selling ourselves short.’ Having a job isn’t enough, we need a career. Suddenly, just doing a university degree seems mediocre – we should be doing the most challenging course at the most prestigious university to give us the best prospects. We should be aspiring to change the world.

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