My aunty once told me about her old boss and the unusual gift registry she had on her 50th birthday. She asked each of her friends to give her what they were currently into for a birthday present. For example a book they’d recently read, a TV series they were addicted to, a CD of their favourite songs, a voucher to a great new restaurant they’d discovered. It was such a great way to get to know her friends again and to discover new things she wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

It inspired me to start a new segment of reader recommendations. I often run surveys to get more information on the Smagglets, like how old you are or if you have kids or not, but this time I want to know what your obsessions are. So each month, I’m going to ask you for your top 3 recommendations from that month. It can be anything; a vegetable that’s been a staple in your weeknight dinners, a new workout that you’re loving or a fabulous app that’s changed your life. I’d love to hear about it!

Here are my top 3 awesome things from January. 


I’m not a massive fan of white wine but I’m a massive fan of wine in general so I’ll pretty much drink anything. However given the choice, I’d never buy myself a glass of white wine. This presents an issue in summer when I feel like a glass of wine but the thought of drinking warm shiraz makes me want to hurl. This is where rosé comes in. It’s the perfect compromise for a seasoned shiraz lover on a hot day. Also my bestie is a sav blanc gal but she quite likes a sip of the old rosé so it’s the perfect choice for those afternoons where you just want to share a bottle of wine in the summer sun but you can’t decide what to have. 

Boardwalk Empire 

Again I’m pretty late to embrace this one seeing as they’ve already filmed 3 seasons of it, but it’s spectacular. If you don’t know much about this show it’s set in Atlantic City during the prohibition era where alcohol was banned in the United States. It’s basically about gangster life circa 1926 with all manner of alcohol smuggling, embezzling, adultery and murder. Steve Buschemi is extraordinary (Interesting fact: His name is pronounce ‘Boo-scheme-mee’ not ‘Boo-sheem-mee’) and the whole thing is just beautiful to look at. There’s also a character called Richard Harrow that I will confidently state is the best character to have ever been on television. Ever.

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He’s played by Jack Huston who’s Angelica Huston’s nephew. His performance is extremely special. If you can rustle up a watching buddy for this, do it. It helps to have a hand to grip in the scary parts. It also helps to watch with someone who speaks gangster. I’ve been watching with Mr Smaggle, who listens to a lot of rap and hip hop and he’s been so useful when the characters start using slang words that I just don’t understand. 

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 QV Eye Cream 

I’ve been using this stuff for a few months now and it’s made a massive difference to the skin around my eyes. I dab it around my under eye area and around the sides where crows feet like to live and when I wake up in the morning I look fresh as a daisy. I also sleep with an eye mask on because I live in an urban area and it never quite gets dark enough for me. I think the combination of a generous application of QV eye cream and a delicious cotton eyemask makes a soothing mini steam sauna for my eyes. It’s super effective and super cheap.

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Melbourne Bonus

Barre Body 

I’ve been doing Barre Body classes at the Fitzroy studio for about 2 months now and I LOVE IT! It’s walking distance from my house, I don’t have to wear shoes and I get a really decent workout that doesn’t make me stabby. It’s the perfect workout for people who love dance classes, yoga and pilates but find that those classes on their own don’t offer enough of a workout. It’s also great for ex-dancers like myself who spent much of their childhood in ballet classes and want to dabble again without necessarily pulling out their pointe shoes.

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 Tell me… what are your top 3 recommendations from January? A product? A restaurant? A television show? What made January rock for you?