How Queensland celebs will spend Christmas


With only 18 sleeps until Santa starts making his merry way down chimneys, and after a year where spending time with family and friends was agonisingly curtailed, Queenslanders are looking forward to making the most out of Christmas 2020. Some of our favourite Sunny State identities have shared their yuletide plans with A-list this week.


D.J. Wendt and Melissa Downes
D.J. Wendt and Melissa Downes


Looking forward to a five-week holiday that kicks off on December 19, news presenter Melissa Downes plans to spend lots of time at the Gold Coast with husband D.J. Wendt, manager of The Ten Tenors, and their two daughters.

"We love being near the water, boating with friends and hanging out at the beach,'' she says. The family plans to spend Christmas Eve with Downes' parents at Morningside and on Christmas Day will travel up to a small farm at Stanthorpe to spend the day with Wendt's extended family.

Sharyn Ghidella. Picture: Richard Waugh
Sharyn Ghidella. Picture: Richard Waugh

After a busy year that saw her mention the word COVID in her weeknight bulletin more times than she'd like to remember, newsreader Sharyn Ghidella will be heading north to her hometown of Babinda for the holiday period with partner Paul Croll and their two sons. They'll make their way to nearby Cairns for Christmas Eve at Ghidella's brother's home with her family and Christmas Day at Croll's sister's home with his family.

Ghidella told A-list: "Christmas is always a big family affair. Invariably, once it's over we've all eaten enough to hibernate for the rest of summer."


Singers Luke Kennedy and Naomi Price. Picture: Tara Croser
Singers Luke Kennedy and Naomi Price. Picture: Tara Croser


Brisbane's golden couple of the stage, entertainers Naomi Price and Luke Kennedy, are set to follow the Price family tradition of a large Italian feast on Christmas Eve and will be indulging themselves at one of their fave haunts, The Spaghetti House at South Bank.

The next day, the pair along with Kennedy's daughter Olivia, will host his family for Christmas lunch at their northside Brisbane home complete with Zoom calls to Price's family in the UK.

Bianca Dye and Jay Sandtner. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Bianca Dye and Jay Sandtner. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

At the Goldy, Hit90.9fm brekky presenter Bianca Dye goes on hols on December 12 with a camping trip to NSW with partner Jay Sandtner in their beloved Kombi planned followed by a trip up to Brissy for a stay at the trendy Calile Hotel to celebrate their third anniversary. Theirs will be a typical blended family Christmas spending time with Sandtner's adult sons in the morning followed by lunch at their Miami unit with his six year old daughter Madison and the radio star's mum, Annie Dye, which A-list was told will involve lots of champagne and prawns.




It's been two years in the making, and now The Calile's Miami vibe has a Mediterranean twist after the arrival of Bonita Collective in their luxe pop-up retail space until December 15.

Having stepped back from the wholesale market this year, the popup is a chance for fashion lovers to get hands-on with the SS20 collection - inspired by the warm sunny streets and crisp blue sea of Italy - as well as Bonita Man, Bonita Bambino and Bonita Home.

"We booked the Calile Pop-Up space two years ago, as it's a hard location to get into with a massive wait list. We were also supposed to be in there during May too but COVID-19 had other plans," designer Kristian Williams says.

Bonita Collective owners Stephanie Rooke and Kristian Williams. Picture: Liam Kidston
Bonita Collective owners Stephanie Rooke and Kristian Williams. Picture: Liam Kidston

"We absolutely love seeing our customers in person … and it's fabulous for new customers to touch, feel and try on our garments."

The SS20 collection has been a bestseller for the Queensland brand, with multiple pieces selling out, but a restock is due before Christmas.

"It's a massive juggling act at this time of year so we are very much looking forward to a well deserved break at the end of December."

Also popping up at The Calile is sustainable swimwear label, Baiia - home to the world's first three-piece, figure flattering wrapsuit.



In what's set to be one of the choicest collaborations of summer, Gold Coast-born loungewear label Homebodii has launched the first of its collaboration capsules with renowned Byron Bay mixed media artist Jai Vasicek, bringing to life his iconic 'Blanc et Bleue' prints in luxury flowing fabrics.

Known for his abstract work and embellished prints, the collection stays true to Jai's passion for bright colours and layering techniques and features a selection of lounge and sleepwear sets.

Homebodii founder Ingrid Bonnor said she was thrilled with the response, adding that their unique hand crafted pieces and slow fashion mindset resonated customers.

"The collection was almost sold out in the first 72 hours and we are having requests for re -runs. What we love about the partnership is offering unique, limited edition pieces that can be collected and cherished for years to come."

Homebodii’s collaboration.
Homebodii’s collaboration.




Looking for Christmas gifts with a philanthropic twist? Gold Coast leather goods house Maison de Sabré have partnered with Cure Cancer to fund lifesaving research into childhood leukaemia.

Ten per cent of each purchase by Cure Cancer supporters will be donated to fund the work of Acute Lymphobastic Leukaemia (ALL) researcher, Dr Laurence Chung.

Plus all proceeds from their new Make Your Mark phone case will be donated to Cure Cancer. Shop online at



Event: Women in Fashion Brisbane Awards

Location: GOMA, South Bank

Name: Upma Kite

Look of the Week: Upma Kite. Picture: David Alexander
Look of the Week: Upma Kite. Picture: David Alexander

Age: 36

Suburb: Carindale

Occupation: Customer Service/Fashion Blogger

Dress & Belt: Zimmermann

Shoes: Betts

Earrings: Lovisa

Handbag: Guess

Hair/Makeup: Sophya Gonzalez

Style Icon: Meghan Markle

Picture: David Alexander



Lord Mayor's Business Awards, City Hill, Brisbane

This was the Brisbane business community's night of nights - the Lord Mayor's Business Awards.

Michelle Hemingway and Isaac Coonan at the 2020 Lord Mayor's Business Awards. Picture: Richard Walker
Michelle Hemingway and Isaac Coonan at the 2020 Lord Mayor's Business Awards. Picture: Richard Walker

More than 400 people packed City Hall for the glittery event, which included a short performance of the Nutcracker by Queensland Ballet as guests dined on Queensland beef and barramundi and enjoyed local wine and craft beer.

The guest of honour, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, was a notable absentee - he was still quarantining at home after a recent trip to Adelaide.

David Bond and Estelle Bou-Samra at the 2020 Lord Mayor's Business Awards. Picture: Richard Walker
David Bond and Estelle Bou-Samra at the 2020 Lord Mayor's Business Awards. Picture: Richard Walker

Acting Mayor Krista Adams led proceedings as the city's innovators and industry champions were celebrated.

Pictures: Richard Walker



"We only get one life and I intend to make mine as epic as I possibly can," Cathie Reid once said.

As a regular attendee at Paris Fashion Week, there's no denying Cathie has as epic wardrobe -from the limited edition Chanel bag to a white laser-cut leather dress by Dior that she wore for her 50th birthday.

Not only does her appreciation of fashion mean she's often overdressed for the occasion, it's also given her some memorable travel stories such as the time she travelled to Cannes for just 24 hours.

Cathie Reid with husband and business partner Stuart Giles. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Cathie Reid with husband and business partner Stuart Giles. Picture: Mark Cranitch

"It was the first Dior Cruise show I'd been invited to, and it was held in Pierre Cardin's Bubble Palace on the cliffs overlooking Cannes. I desperately wanted to go, but had commitments in Brisbane that meant if I went I could only go for 24 hours."

So Cathie packed her carry-on bag and took to the skies and three flights later, touched down in Cannes.

"I decided to seize the moment and do it, and had the most amazing time. The benefit of such a short turn around was there was no jet lag, but it's now a stark reminder of life pre and post Covid."

But the quirkiest - and oldest - piece in Cathie's wardrobe was made by her mum Marilyn and dates back to when she was a "Diana obsessed teen" in the 1980s.

"It's a copy of Princess Diana's hot pink knitted jumper with llamas that I made my mum knit for me from the pattern in the Australian Women's Weekly. It took her literally years to knit it."


How would you describe your style?

I always prefer to be overdressed than under, unless I'm at home when I'm alternating between active wear and pyjamas!


Has it changed over time?

There's definitely more sequins now the kids are older and I don't have to be so concerned about the destructive effects of grubby fingers and food spills, although the addition of our pandemic pet George the toy poodle has delivered a bit of a backwards step.


Who are your style icons?

I love the style of Lauren Santo Domingo, founder of Moda Operandi; she's effortlessly cool and always unpredictable. I also love Victoria Beckham's transition from Spice Girl and WAG to style maven.


Do you remember what was your first big 'splurge' item?

Not sure if it was truly the first but a very memorable purchase was back in 2012 when we sold the manufacturing business I'd led. The sale coincided with the opening of the Chanel boutique in Brisbane, and I bought the bag they released to commemorate that as a reward for the years of hard work that went into building that business.


Cathie Reid.
Cathie Reid.


What's the most memorable fashion show - or your favourite - that you've attended?

Every show comes with great experiences, but one of the most amazing was the Dior Cruise show in Marrakesh in 2019. I'd never been to Morocco before and the experience was incredible from start to finish.


If you could meet any past or present fashion designer/muse etc, who would it be, and why?

It would have to be Christian Dior. He showed his first collection for the house of Christian Dior in 1947 and in the 10 years prior to his death in 1957 created a body of work that still has so much impact today, not only at Dior but for fashion in general. It would be fascinating to learn what else he could have done if he had had more time.


What would be the oldest piece in your wardrobe?

I still have the skirt I wore to Stuart and my engagement party in 1998, and a copy of Princess Diana's hot pink knitted jumper with llamas that I made my mum knit for me from the pattern in the Australian Women's Weekly when I was a Diana obsessed teen in the 1980s. It took her literally years to knit it.


What are some recent additions to your wardrobe?

At the moment, plantar fasciitis means I'm pretty much restricted to Birkenstocks or Frankie4 sneakers as my only footwear options, but I miss my heels!


What's your most sentimental item?

I fell in love with a white dress that I saw on the runway in Marrakech and wanted to wear to our joint 50th birthday white party. The dress wasn't going to be in market by the time of our party, but the team at Dior made me a special early release version and I wore it to the party and had the best day. It combines memories of two wonderful experiences - our time in Morocco and our birthday party - and will always be a special piece for me.


Favourite accessory?

My Oura ring; I'm obsessed with wearable tech and biohacking my data, and of all the types and styles I've tried the Oura ring is my absolute favourite. The insights it provides have definitely improved my sleep quality, which is such an important wellness metric.


Favourite brands?

Internationally Dior and Chanel. Locally Scanlan Theodore and anything Nicky (Charman) stocks at Calexico, and Lorna Jane for active wear.


Summer or winter fashion?

Summer for sure, in Brisbane, although one of the things I miss about travelling has been there's been very little chance to wear any lovely winter coats and scarfs this year.


Minimalist or clothes hoarder?

I'm definitely a hoarder.




Originally published as How Queensland celebs will spend Christmas