female doing yoga wellness



The beauty of travel is that it takes you on a journey into new worlds that you would have never been exposed to, allowing you to experience different cultures, each with diverse traditions and lifestyles.
Until we can take to the skies again, here are some ways to bring the travel experience home to you.
Cook a meal that will make you feel like you're worlds away
Travel around the world without leaving your kitchen. From homemade pasta to fish tacos, there are many international flavours you can recreate at home that will bring a taste of travel to you.
For recipe inspiration, visit: https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/world/
Shake up a cocktail or enjoy a spirit from your dream destination
From margaritas in Mexico to negronis in Italy, shake up a concoction that transports you to your ideal holiday destination (beach not included).
For recipe inspiration, visit:
Experience nature away from the crowds
The exhilaration of travel often comes from immersing yourself in awe-inspiring landscapes. Melbourne has no shortage of scenery to explore at your doorstep, so pop on a hat and sunscreen and discover nearby nature on foot.  
Create your own spa experience
It’s safe to say we are all in need of a little self-care right now. Armed with the right pampering kit and a tranquil Spotify playlist, why not transform your home into a makeshift spa, indulging in DIY facials, skin-softening soaks, and beauty treatments.
For tips on how to transform your home into a luxurious spa, visit: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/mind-body/a32219183/mini-spa-at-home/


Around this time of year, many of us would usually be jetting off to enjoy a relaxing vacation getaway and escape the chill of winter. But instead, the clock has been reset for another six weeks of lockdown and our hopefulness needs a moment to gather.

This second stricter lockdown can be a battle for the mind and it is natural to feel somewhat trapped. Fight off the lockdown blues with these tips for making your time spent at home feel more like a staycation. The best staycations can be exactly what you need to relax, rejuvenate, and rediscover the things you love about your hometown—or even your own backyard.

  1. Ditch the routine
The key to success is choosing to engage in activities that take you outside of your usual routine and into something that looks and feels different than the day-to-day.
Start by hitting pause on chores and distractions. Everyone’s idea of a perfect staycation is different, but most people can agree on what it doesn’t look like: the same old same old. One of the best staycation tips you can follow is to ditch the schedule, avoid your phone, emails, to-do list and get rid of other real-life distractions as well. Something as simple as turning off reminders and notifications that might pop up on your phone or smartwatch can go a long way.
When you’re on holiday, you probably make an event of your morning coffee and enjoy a leisurely start to your day. So to get a bit of that calm morning vibe when you’re at home, consider setting up some dedicated time in the morning to unwind and connect with your family or roommate over coffee. It may not always be possible to spend a long time together in the morning if you need to get on with the day, but you can probably carve out some time (especially if you no longer need to dedicate time to a commute). And that will be time well-spent, because starting your day by spending a bit of quality time with others can make you feel happier, more relaxed, and more connected.
The same goes for the kind of routine chores that make daily life feel so mundane. Only when you make arrangements to remove yourself from the ordinary can your staycation really begin. Of course these chores don’t miraculously disappear, but consider if there are ways you can mix it up, lessen the time spent doing them or make it fun – some good music and a cocktail while you do the laundry perhaps!
  1. Deviate from your go-to spots
There’s a pretty good chance you haven’t gotten around to doing everything a visitor to your home neighbourhood would want to do. Obviously we are limited in what we can do right now, but simple things like taking a new walk path, visiting a different coffee shop or stocking up at your local market or independently owned fresh food grocer instead of the big supermarket giants are all great ways to elevate your day into something that feels more like a vacation than just another day at home. Give yourself the space to wander your local area and take everything in, rather than mindlessly rushing. You’ll be surprised at the things you never noticed when you take the time to really look.
  1. Make it a spa day
Pamper yourself with a full spa experience. Carve out time to give yourself a luxurious manicure, pedicure, hair treatment, face mask — or all of them!
Better yet, treat your partner or roommate to a treatment and reap the ‘feel good’ benefits of giving your time and energy to another. Research shows generosity has benefits for the giver as well as the receiver. In a nutshell - helping others makes us happier. Giving can also reduce your stress by actively engaging your mind in activities that distract you from your worries and give you some perspective. Often, we feel better about our own circumstances when we do good for others, creating an increased sense of gratitude and contentment.
  1. Plan a special event
One of the most helpful staycation tips is to plan your time at home around a special event you are looking forward to - like a virtual concert, new film, or the release of a TV series season you’ve been dying to see. Pairing a highly anticipated event with your staycation at home is a fantastic way to make your time off feel even more special.
If there aren’t any live stream performances or special new premieres you want to see, consider making your own event by holding a backyard movie night (portable projectors and screens are surprisingly affordable) or outdoor campfire for roasting marshmallows.
  1. Cocktails and conversation
You may not be able to hit the hotel bar; however you can still enjoy some cocktails and conversation at home. To make an at-home cocktail date feel elevated and special, set the scene. Light some candles, put on a great playlist, arrange some fresh flowers, and get dressed up like you’re getting ready for a night on the town. Then, enjoy bonding over some homemade craft cocktails.
  1. Travel via cook books, take a virtual cooking class, or create your own fancy restaurant in the dining room!
One way to explore world culture is to try new cuisines. So if you like to cook, you can get a taste of world travel through trying new recipes. If you already have cookbooks at home, now is a great time to start working through them. And if you don’t, you can order a few online or find some new recipes on the many excellent cooking blogs across the internet or explore favourite recipes from Crown's much-loved chefs here. Trying out new dishes from different cultures is a great way to explore those cultures, helping you experience more of the world while you’re stuck in lockdown and making your everyday routine more fun, exciting, and novel.
If you want to make this staycation idea even more immersive, consider seeing if you can pair your cuisine with a complementary virtual tour. There are many museums, landmarks, aquariums, and zoos around the world that are currently offering virtual tours and livestreams online. For example, some popular virtual destinations are the Louvre, the Great Wall of China, and the San Diego Zoo. If you, say, pair that new French dish you’re trying with a virtual stroll around the Louvre, that can make your staycation meal all the more fun and interesting. And taking a few virtual tours may help you decide where you want to travel next once the travel restrictions are lifted it’s safe to travel again
Alternatively, virtual cooking classes are all the rage right now and can make for a great low-key date night activity after a day of staycationing at home, and they’re often BYOB as well. You can also find family cooking classes that get the kids get involved too, if your staycation includes the whole family.
Of course, if your idea of a perfect staycation involves having someone else cook for you, splash out on a special takeaway meal from your favourite restaurant or somewhere new you’ve always wanted to try or wouldn’t normally splurge on. In doing so you’ll cultivate a new memory and experience – just like you would on a holiday.
  1. Get outdoors
Soak up the vitamin D we all need to keep our immune system strong and enjoy your morning coffee at a nearby park, stroll a shaded walking trail, or take on a more challenging hike or scenic bike ride for your daily exercise – all within your 5km radius of course.
Make brunch, lunch, or dinner feel more fun by having a picnic at home. If you have a backyard, take advantage of your outdoor space and enjoy a picnic out in nature. Grab some picnic fare, a blanket, and maybe a board game to unwind out in the fresh air. If you don’t have a yard, you can still enjoy this staycation idea by making your living room into a DIY indoor picnic space. As long as you have a blanket and some picnic-ready foods, you can have a calm, relaxing picnic wherever you are.
If entertaining kids and feeling adventurous, an overnight camping trip in the backyard (or living room) can be great fun and a real circuit breaker from the everyday at-home experience.
  1. Above all, make time for the fun stuff

The most enjoyable things to do on a staycation are the ones that resonate with your interests and mood. Use your staycation as an opportunity to change your routine and make time for the fun stuff you’ve wanted to do but haven’t necessarily had time to focus on yet.

Director of Crown Spas, Emma McGrady, shares her at-home winter skincare tips.

(so you can look your best watching Netflix on the couch in lockdown)
Image Caption: Director of Crown Spas, Emma McGrady

There comes a time mid-winter when the combination of heating inside, harsh weather outside and a general sense of lockdown 2.0 gloom can lead to dehydrated and lacklustre skin. Winter changes the pH balance in our skin, and conditions such as dermatitis and eczema can also flare up. Tending to your skin with some care during the cooler months is well worth the effort. Combat dry winter skin with these tips for retaining your skin's natural moisture.
Opt for gentle, natural skincare products  
The wrong skincare products can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, regular bar soaps may contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Instead, wash with a natural, moisturising cleanser or gel that contains certified natural and organic ingredients and is free from nasty synthetic scents, sulfates, parabens, herbicides, pesticides or formaldehyde. These natural, cruelty-free products are gentle on your skin, as well as on the planet.
Modify your regimen for the season
To combat dehydrated or dry skin (remember, dehydrated skin is lacking water, dry skin is lacking oil) limit face cleansing to gentle products only. Keep up your face and body exfoliation but once a week is sufficient in winter, and skip products containing abrasive particles; I recommend enzyme exfoliators.
Moisturise frequently – especially your hands
Maintain healthy skin by moisturising after washing. It's best to use a cream, facial oil or serum in the winter. Lotions are better in warmer, humid climates. And don't forget your hands. We are all doing a lot more hand-washing right now, which is vital to continue, but be sure to moisturise afterwards to combat dehydrated skin.
Moisturise your lips
Don’t forget your lips! Applying a moisturising balm can help heal dry, cracked lips and keep them from getting chapped.
Beware the hot shower
Although they are tempting, having really hot showers can lead to rapid water loss from your skin. Though taking a hot shower might seem like a good way to warm up, hot water dries out your skin by stripping it of its natural oils.
After taking a not-quite-so-hot shower, blot skin dry and apply a body oil blend within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin. Body oil blends penetrate the skin quicker than moisturisers so opt for these to restore the skin’s natural oils in the cooler months.
Invest in a humidifier to maximise moisture
Using a humidifier in your home will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom. Invest in one that allows you to add pure essential oils for an extra treat.
Lower the thermostat to avoid dryness
When it's chilly outside, the first thing we want to do is fire up the heater but central heating can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool yet comfortable setting (20°C to 22°C) to maintain healthy skin. You’ll also appreciate the difference it makes to your power bill!
Apply sunscreen when venturing outdoors
Don’t be fooled by darker, dreary days in winter. The sun’s harmful UV rays can permeate clouds and still cause damage. Ahead of your daily exercise outdoors, it’s just as important to be applying sunscreen in the harsh winter weather as it is in the summer. Before you go outside, apply a moisturising, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all exposed areas of your body.
Do your best to limit stress and get enough sleep
This is a difficult one to stick to right now, but it is more important than ever. In addition to other health-related issues, stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation can trigger skin concerns, so taking time for some mindful de-stressing activities can be very helpful. This could be as simple as a warm bath with essential oils, limiting or avoiding unhelpful media and misinformation (particularly before bed), or a 5 minute meditation. There are some great meditation apps out there (Calm and Headspace are just two that spring to mind) that can help guide beginners through the process. It is a quick, inexpensive and effective way to help you stay focused on the here and now, taking each day step by step.
Remember to eat right and stay hydrated
Finally, winter (and lockdown) is a good time to look after our health more holistically and nourish from the inside out. Sometimes when skin is very dry, it can be helped by healthy foods or supplements that contain good omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil. Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of a healthy skin membrane so are a must in winter. Plenty of fibrous fruit and veg is always helpful too – a green juice can be a great way of ensuring you get your daily quota of plant nutrients and chlorophyll (aka liquid sunshine) to help keep your immune system strong and skin glowing. 

Nic Nat: An inside look into life within the AFL Gold Coast Hub

Image Caption: Nic Nat

With restricted travel across the Australian states, the two West Australian AFL clubs, West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers were relocated to a Gold Coast Hub at The Royal Pines Resort, allowing them to resume the 2020 season on Thursday 11 June.

We sat down with Friend of Crown and West Coast Eagles star, Nic Naitanui, to ask how he adjusted to life on the other side of Australia, whilst getting the inside scoop on life in the hub.  

What did an ordinary day look like in the Gold Coast Hub?
We trained four days a week, with three of these as smaller segregated groups and one session as a team.  Meetings were then held before dinner. 

How much of a change was it for you and how did you transition to hub life?
It was weird sharing the same hotel for 30 days with the Freo Dockers but I ended up making my room feel like a second home.  

What did you find most challenging about being in the hub?
In the early days it was the uncertainty of how long we were going to be there. Although it was only five weeks, we were initially told it could be longer. 

How did you stay occupied and fill the days when in downtime?
We had an exemption to head to the beach so I spent most of my time swimming in the ocean. 

How did your training routine change as a part of the hub?
The biggest change was around contact as we were only allowed to tackle certain players once a week for five minutes. I found this a little strange as we’d spend multiple hours tackling opponents each weekend during a game. 

How different has it been playing games within the hub without the crowds to cheer you on? How have you adjusted?
It’s quite eerie having no crowd, however potentially having 30-60 thousand at our upcoming home games is strangely more daunting. 

What were the personal items you chose to take with you? And what was the craziest item you saw your teammates pack on the truck?
I took my old school Nintendo 64 and a bean bag. Majority of my teammates took surf boards. One of the guys bought a metal detector.  

Who was the most annoying teammate you were stuck with in the hub with?
Jarod Cameron - he was in the room adjacent to me and would pop his head over my balcony to annoy me when he was bored. 

What do you miss most about the regular AFL season?
I miss the interaction with fans at both training and at games.

What are you looking forward to most with the hub now based at home in Perth?
The freedom of driving ourselves to games and not having to sit on the team bus for hours on end.
“Nevertheless, the hub was actually a really fun experience and team building period that we probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do,” Nic said.

Finding Balance and Positivity in Uncertain Times with Lance & Jesinta Franklin

Image Caption: Lance and Jesinta Franklin

Whether it be the fallout from the current COVID-19 crisis, or some of the other equally challenging global issues facing our world today, for many of us the world has never felt more challenging, uncertain, volatile, ambiguous and ripe for change.
Crown sat down with new parents, Lance and Jesinta Franklin, to discuss how they manage to find balance and positivity in uncertain times.

1. What has parenthood taught you both and how have those lessons been magnified at a time like this?

Parenthood has taught us to be more present. We can get so caught up with work and it’s easy to spend a lot of time on social media but since having Tullulah around it has made us enjoy the little things and be more present in life and with each other.

2. Lance, how has your mindset as a footballer changed since becoming a more senior member of the team, and now a father?

I’ve been playing football for 17 years and have basically grown up around a football club. Being a senior player now I feel a responsibility to give back and help mentor the younger players. I had lots of amazing guidance from senior players when I was starting out so it’s nice to be able to return that. Becoming a dad has definitely made me want to take care of the younger players and help them out where I can. 

3. What kind of influence or message do you want to impart upon your followers during this challenging time?

To try and find the positives in everyday, no matter the challenges we face. There is a lot going on in the world right now, it’s been tough in many ways for lots of Australians and sometimes it’s hard to find the good amongst it all. At the end of every day we list the three things we are grateful for because no matter what we are facing we are always able to find things that we appreciate in life.

4. What learnings from this period do you want to take with you as life resumes post-lockdown? What measures are you going to put in place to ensure you don’t slip back into the same old habits and stresses?

Without sounding naive to how challenging lockdown was for so many people, we truly feel it was a blessing in spending more quality time with each other. Moving forward we want to continue to adopt a slower way of life and focus on spending as much quality time together as a family. 

5. Long before the Black Lives Matter movement, you have both been very strong advocates for Indigenous constitutional recognition. How do you feel about the past two weeks of enormous protest and what do you believe to be the most important next step for enacting real change in Australia?

We are both extremely passionate about equality and creating fair and equal opportunities for future generations. Racial injustice is a huge issue here in Australia and has been for many years. The protests around the world have been emotional for our family yet the light amongst it all is that it has brought many issues to the forefront of people’s minds and we are encouraged by the conversations people are having and the desire for change. The biggest step towards change is to keep the conversation going, to demand equality and call out racism when you see it, hear it or read it. 

6. Lance, throughout your football career, including very recently, you have had to adapt to the highs and lows that come with injury and the uncertainty that breeds for your career. This lack of control is something a lot of Australians are facing right now. How do you mentally handle that challenge day-to-day?

Playing football definitely comes with its highs and lows, you can be on cloud nine one minute and then have an entire season stripped away through injury. As an athlete you rely so much on your body so when it lets you down it’s mentally extremely challenging. You almost work harder playing when you’re injured so it requires a lot of physical and mental strength to rehabilitate your body and stay motivated. I just focus on staying positive day by day and have learnt over the years to talk about how I am feeling and surround myself with people who help me stay inspired and optimistic. 

7. What are you both looking forward to doing most once you re-emerge from isolation?

We are really looking forward to our first trip as a family to Melbourne and staying at Crown. We first met 7 years ago at the bar at Crown Metropol and have so many fun memories together there. We also had a trip planned to Crown Perth to take Tullulah to meet the family. Unfortunately this fell right in the middle of lockdown which meant we were unable to go so we can’t wait for the borders to open so we can make the trip over. The team always make us feel so welcome and  go above and beyond and we can’t wait to get back! For years we’ve called Crown our second home so we are looking forward to seeing our second family again soon and enjoy a cocktail or three and a long lunch at Nobu.
Emma McGrady Portrait