ASOS Supersoft Skinny Jeans in Indigo

These jeans just arrived in my letterbox and I’m already considering a second pair.

They don’t look very special in the photo above, but they fit really well. The denim is thin and comfortable, but still very flattering.

Instant butt lift.

No muffin top, either.

They are $52.94 on Asos, which I think it pretty reasonable. Love the colour.

Posted in Clothes | Tagged | 5 Comments

Currently Coveting…

I’m currently procrasti-marking, so I’m taking the opportunity to revist things online that have caught my eye this week.

These great heels from Melissa:

This dress from Joypop Vintage:

and this one too:

I’m also loving this pyjama set from Hush:

It’s the Cashmere Oversized Jumper and the Antique Floral Pyjama Bottoms. They both look so luxurious and comfortable.

I think their Skinny Cords look amazing too, and would work well for spring in Australia:

I also love the Freya shirt dress. It looks so great here:

Okay, back to marking.


Posted in Accessories, Clothes | Leave a comment

Getting Zohara Tights in Australia

So one day, I came across this photo…

…and so began a great e-journey to discover how I could purchase them and make them my own.

I discovered that these tights (“art on tights”) were a product of the fabulous Israeli tights company Zohara Tights. They launched in 2010 and present a really unique and good quality take on the whole statement-tight look. The company commissions artists to design work for their stockings, and whilst some of their designs are a bit *too* statement for me, I now own about three or four pairs of their tights and I love them all. Very good quality (you’ll be able to hand these down to your grandchildren) and definitely unique here in Australia.

Anyway, back to the tights in the picture above that I was originally chasing.

What I have discovered is that Zohara tights sell with many online (and in store) retailers around the world, and if you are after a particular pair from a past season (like those above), you basically need to do some top rate googling to discover whether they’re still available somewhere.

I could not find the tights above for love nor money as they were sold out everywhere, but I did manage to find the design in black and white, which I love. By the way, the text is just a quote from Wikipedia on love:

These are STUNNING. I get compliments on these every time I wear them. I ended up buying these at, who stock lots of Zohara Tights, and have a more user-friendly website than Zohara themselves. I also love the medium grey version of these tights.

I’ve also purchased these tights from Zohara, and I love them too:

Amazing that a gothic, New York streetscape can transfer on to a pair of tights, really. These city print grey and black tights are available here.

Anyway, after resigning myself to never finding that original pair, I was still very happy with my Zohara Tights finds.

But then…

An email from arrived in my inbox asking whether I would like to pre-order the Love Text Print Tights in Grey and Black. YES. Done. So my beloved tights are currently winging their way to me as we speak. I can’t wait to try them on!

I also ordered these Hebrew text tights:

Some more googling revealed that was also selling Zohara Tights (which is where I bought these tights above), as well as the black and white Love Text version that I so adore. Great service, too.

Zohara has just launched their latest collection, and as always, there is a lot to love. Check them out at or is also worth a look, particularly if you’re looking for pairs from past collections (at a good price!).

These tights are expensive, but they are super comfy, wash well, don’t sag or cut in at the waist, and last forever. Great investment.


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An Update

I don’t know if anyone still reads this or not, but for some reason I felt in the mood to post an update on here. So what have I been doing?

First, I’ve officially graduated with a PhD. Brilliant.

That picture makes me glad I decided to wear some fabulous Ellis Faas Skin Veil foundation at the last minute, instead of just my usual Ellis Faas concealer.

Anyway, now that I’ve graduated, I’m now back to teaching. I’m not working at a posh, single-sex private school anymore, but instead I’m working at a small senior college in the country. It makes me happy to be helping students with the least means at this point in my career, and it does feel healthier to be living in a rural area. In my spare time, I’m writing for The Australian, presenting lectures, and writing various academic material. This all keeps me very busy (hence the lack of posts).

Now that it’s school holidays, I’m taking the time to relax a bit and reassess my work/ life balance (as much as one can when there are so many things to do). To help me unwind at the end of the day, I’ve finally invested in some loungewear from Hush that doesn’t make me look like a hobo:

Can’t wait to receive these. The quality looks amazing. I already want to make a second order! I know that we’re moving in to spring in Australia, but I am perpetually cold, so I’ll get a reasonable amount of wear from these before summer comes along.

I’ve also bought this baseball tee from Asos, and some skinny jeans to go with it. Both were a recommendation from Mustard Jumper, who never fails with her clothing advice.I’m still reading Style on the Couch, who has impeccable taste in all things. A must read, too. To round off the loungewear-buying (for now) I also bought this awesome long-sleeved tee from I Eat Trees. It’s also a great blog (though Kerri doesn’t update any more).

I’m still buying lots of vintage from Jolie Vintage (now Joypop Vintage) and I still think that you can’t beat vintage for quality, price, and cut. Once you start wearing vintage, modern clothes just don’t look the same.

My favourite literary t-shirt is falling apart, so I’ve ordered another Shakespeare is my Homeboy t-shirt (an essential in any wardrobe) and a fabulous t-shirt with the following print on the front:

Best. Ever.

I’m also trying to get back to looking after myself food-wise. Cooking tends to fall away when I’m busy, but I’m currently searching blogs like this and this for healthy eating ideas. I’m even thinking about purchasing this book. Although the hippy factor is off the charts, it might have some good ideas.

Other than that, Lamington is going well:

I’m also currently reading The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer (one of Stephen Fry’s favourite authors) and really enjoying it. Everyone is ‘vexed’, ‘odious’, or ‘grave’, and solves every trying situation with a glass of wine or brandy. The cover art of her novels always looks dire, but the prose is wonderful:

Well, I’m going to make some lunch, finish the aforementioned book, and start on my enormous pile of marking.

I might update here from time to time, or not. We’ll see.

Best to all.


Posted in Clothes, PhD | 18 Comments

What I Eat

When I wrote this post about my new year’s resolutions recently, I mentioned that I am about 80%- 90% vegan and don’t eat refined sugar or refined carbohydrates. Hayley tweeted me and asked for a bit more information on what I eat, so I thought I’d write a quick post detailing what an average day of eating might look like for me.

But first, why on earth do I eat in this way?

Well, I have struggled with my weight for years, but it wasn’t until I cut out refined sugar and refined carbohydrates that I really got a handle on the problem and liberated myself from the cycle of weight loss and gain.

But that’s not all it’s about.

It seems that veganism is the new trendy way to eat, and everyone from Bill Clinton, to Ellen deGeneres, to Russell Brand, to Olivia Wilde are on the bandwagon. Even Brad Pitt has recently declared himself vegan, and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons wrote a passionate letter outlining his reasons for becoming vegan.

However, I am not a ‘full vegan’. On using cronometer to track my nutrition, I found it hard to get enough calcium without having a piece of cheese or two during the day. I might also have a spoonful or two of yoghurt. I’m quite okay with not being ‘ full vegan’ because I don’t feel I have to justify the way I eat to anyone – I just eat as I want to.

Perhaps having pet sheep and living on farmland has given me a new appreciation for animals, which has informed my decision to eat in this low impact way.

Having said all of this, I find there are many benefits to eating in this manner, making me very motivated to continue:

1. I never have to worry about my weight. Ever.

2. I feel good that the way I eat impacts far less on animals and the environment. All the fuel, water, and energy that it takes to raise and slaughter an animal, or harvest their products, is greatly reduced. To make just one beef pattie, 2400 litres of water are consumed, which is enough for a four hour shower. That is without the mention of trucks to transport livestock, clearing of forests for farmland, and release of methane into the atmosphere accelerating global warming. On a further environmental note, it is said that at the current rate, there will be no fish left in the ocean by 2048. Sad indeed.

3. It’s inexpensive. It’s amazing how cheap fresh food is.

4. I feel great. My digestion has always been rubbish, but eating this way does away with any digestive problems entirely. I’m no longer tired, I have lots of energy, and my brain functions at its best when I eat this way. This food helped me do my best work when I was busting out 14 hour days during the final six months of the PhD. Over the Christmas period, my partner actually said that he missed ‘our food’ because it made him feel so good.

5. I don’t feel controlled by advertising. Fresh food is remarkably free of hype. Buying my food from the outside aisles of the supermarket and then leaving, or from a farmer’s market, is immensley satisfying.

6. It’s more effective at keeping wrinkles at bay than anything La Prairie will try to sell me. Refined carbs, refine sugar, and alcohol will break down collagen in the face over time and create wrinkles just as exposure to the sun does. Read more about this process of glycation here.

7. My risk of heart disease, cancer, and so on, is much lower. Good.

8. I’m a binge eater, but this slow-release-energy helps me keep the binging under control. Also, I always need to eat enough plant-based protein in every meal to feel full and further guard against binginess, but eating lots of plant-based protein doesn’t make me feel sluggish like eating lots of meat or dairy does. I don’t feel restricted either, and I can eat reasonable portions of food. I read somewhere  that the idea of calories was quite misleading, as seeds or nuts (for example) have evolved to pass throught the digestive system with minimal impact, and thus not all calories are absorbed into your system. On the other had, calories from a piece of cake are already well and truly refined and broken down, making it easier to absorb all the calories in the piece. If I remember where I read that I’ll provide the link 😉

So what on earth do I eat? Well, here are some examples from today:

Coffee. My day doesn't start without this. I used to have a serious coffee addition, but I've cut down to just one or two per day.


Breakfast is always porridge with whatever seasonal fruit is on offer. I make it with regular milk or almond milk, depending on what we have on hand. I also love this porridge with mixed spice or cinnamon in winter.


Lunch is always plant-based protein + salad. Today I had sauteed quinoa with onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. I could have added lots of vegetables but I was rushed for time. Salad is just whatever seasonal vegetables are available, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.


Standard snack: seasonal fruit. No surprises there.


Gallons of green tea.


Tea last night was roasted chickpeas with moroccan spice, sesame oil, tofu, and probably a few other ingredients I can't remember, but you get the idea.

Tea tonight was cannellini bean mash with olive oil, onion, garlic, and thyme. Love that one.


Other examples of plant-based protein I eat include tempeh and tofu. I don't eat large quantities of these because I read that too much soy can be bad, but I do love them both. Just boil or steam the tempeh before you cook it to remove the bitterness.

I also eat a lot of these.


These are staples in every meal.


I have learned the importance of spices in cooking. I know!

These are lovely additions to pretty much anything you are cooking in a pan.


BUT I will have a bit of cheese too...


...and probably some yoghurt...


...and I've always had to take these, even when I wasn't vegan-ish. Without them, my bones feel like lead.

So, that’s pretty much what I eat. I am an absolute non-cooker, yet I find it very easy to throw these sorts of meals together. A better cook than me would probably be much more creative with meals, but I just don’t have the time, and I’m not really that interested in creative cooking. I just want fresh, tasty food, that is good for me with a minimum amount of fuss. I have so much else to do!

For far more creative fare (I’m in awe), check out Stacey’s amazing new blog at The Cat’s Pyjamas (both vegetarian and vegan recipes, as well as information on ethical shopping and beauty), or Easy as Vegan Pie, recommended by the enthusastic vegan and all-around literary bod, Marieke Hardy. You can also have a look at Bite-Sized Thoughts, a blog written by a fellow West Aussie.


Posted in Skin Care | Tagged , | 20 Comments

New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

I love reading posts about new year’s resolutions, and I love planning for the year ahead. So many possibilities, and so many opportunities to make the year ahead better than the last!

Now that I’ve finished the PhD (until the examiners’ report comes in, that is) I want to start planning for 2013. Whilst I am fortunate to have received a scholarship to support my PhD research, it will be great to have a proper salary again and start saving for the future! Thus, my goals and resolutions for 2013 are as follows:

Save for a house: My partner and I have been talking a lot about real estate and what we should buy. We are so tempted to buy an old federation house and renovate, or we could buy a lovely block of land and build, or perhaps buy an apartment in the city and a house in the country. This is what we’re considering at the moment:

Contender 1 - Renovate large federation house and have own hill to live on.

Contender 2 - Build on massive 100 acre block with views to the ocean. Continue to live on own hill.

Contender 3 - Divide our funds to buy an apartment in South Perth and a house in the country. Potential to have own hill severly diminished.

Continue my academic writing: On speaking to others who have completed a PhD, the biggest regret I hear is that they didn’t pursue their academic writing post-PhD. I want to try and publish two or three academic articles in the next year and keep the academic side of my brain thinking. I’m also considering doing some tutoring at university.

Do some freelance writing: I’ve accepted a commission to write a lit review for a prominent Australian newspaper, so it’ll be interesting to see what the whole process is like. I’m looking forward to writing in a style that’s not primarily academic!

Help out others in my new job: I’ve worked at one of the top private schools in Australia for most of my teaching career, but I’ve recently accepted a position to teach at a rural school in the area where I grew up. I’m really hoping to contribute something to the local community and help students who don’t have $22,000 per year to pay for fees.

Get my skin in great condition: DIY has been such a saviour for my skin. Rather than lamenting all that sundamage I’ve gathered over the years, DIY skincare gives me a way to actually do something about it and feel better about the way I look. Not only is it more potent and effective than anything you buy over the counter, it’s MUCH cheaper too. I want to try dermarolling in the new year and see if I can improve my skin still further.

Exercise: Whilst I’m very happy with the way I eat now (80% – 90% vegan, no refined carbs or refined sugar) and I no longer have to worry about my weight (which is good, because I have so many other things to think about!) exercising has fallen by the wayside. When I was finishing my PhD I spent every waking moment writing, and exercise was thrown aside. I’d like to pick it up again in the new year, though. A new pair of trainers is in order!

Take time to enjoy life: I tend to work a lot. I’ll continue to work in the early mornings before I head into my full time job, and when I come home in the evenings, and on Sundays, but I’m going to trial the idea of having a full Saturday off and see how it goes.

So let’s see! I’m very excited for 2013. Have you been thinking about your new year’s resolutions? Tell me about them in the comments or link me to your post! I’d love to read about them.


Posted in Makeup | 28 Comments

DIY Rose Sunscreen (24% Zinc Oxide) + latest skincare routine

Hi everyone!

So I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while, and now that it’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting here with green tea in hand, I think that now is the time!

I’ve posted quite a bit in the past about DIY skincare and improving my skin, and I have posted a sunscreen tutorial in the past too. This Rose Sunscreen recipe is simply a refining of that original sunscreen recipe. Rose sunscreen is very thin, spreads very easily, doesn’t leave a white cast , and actually gives you a little bit of coverage too. I sometimes just wear it as a base on its own because it makes my skin look so healthy. I think this would have to be the best sunscreen formula I’ve ever made, and blows any commerically available product out of the water. It’s also 99% natural (as a little preservative is a necessary evil, I fear).

Other than sunscreen, at the moment I’m using a simple but potent skincare routine of:


‘Easy rinse’ oil cleansing method

10% MAP (vit c) serum

Shea butter as moisturiser

Rose sunscreen


‘Easy rinse’ oil cleansing method + tanaka massage

Kinetin serum

Shea butter as moisturiser

Exfoliation with a microfibre or muslin cloth when needed


My skin reacts very well even to this quite simple skincare routine because all the serums have potent, fresh ingredients. It also costs me a fraction of what it would cost to buy in store. I’m hoping to add an eye serum and another face serum to my routine in the coming weeks 🙂

Before I get to the recipe, let me share some pics of what the Rose Sunscreen looks like. These were taken a while ago in readiness for this post (better late than  never!):

In the photo above I am wearing Rose sunscreen, blush, lipgloss, mascara, and that’s it. It makes my skin look really healthy!

This sunscreen also adheres well to the skin, works with makeup, and is so much cheaper than buying a ready made product in the shops.

So here is how to make it:

  • ZnO (coated) …………………. 24%
  • Rosehip Oil …………………… 24%
  • H2O ………………………………. 20.5%
  • HA @1% ……………………….. 10%
  • Sea Emollient ……………….. 5%
  • Vit E Powder ………………….. 3%
  • Lecithin …………………………. 8%
  • Sclerotium Gum @1% …. 4%
  • Grape Seed Extract ………. 0.5%
  • CoQ10 ………………………….. 0.5%
  • Phenox. ………………………… 0.5%
  • Rose EO
  1. Warm oil in a basin of warm water, and dissolve the CoQ10, then lecithin. Blend.
  2. Add ZnO bit by bit and really work it into the formula. I blend and then use a spoon to scrape down the sides and vigorously stir so that the ZnO is evenly distributed. Do this about three or four times, then pour the ZnO mixture into a container and put to the side. Clean blender.
  3. Place water and Vitamin E Acetate into the blender. Then add Grape Seed Extract and continue to blend until there are no lumps. Pour into a container and set aside. Wipe out/ clean.
  4. Place Sea Emollient in blender. Add hyaluronic acid, and blend, then Sclerotium Gum and blend.
  5. Slowly add the water/ Vit E/ Grape Seed Extract mix from earlier and blend.
  6. Slowly add the ZnO/ Oil/ CoQ10/ Lecithin mixture and continue to blend.
  7. Blend the entire mixture, pausing every now and again to scrape down sides and mix the formula yourself. Blend until the formula becomes nice and smooth. Do this for as long as you can.
  8. Add phenoxyethanol and Rose Geranium essential oil and blend a little more.
  9. Place sunscreen into a plastic bag, cut off a corner with scissors, and pipe into an airless pump bottle.
  10. You should have a light, milk-coffee coloured sunscreen that disappears into the skin and gives a healthy glow.

I’ve kept the measurements as percentages so that you can make this recipe in whatever quantity you wish. To make the process easier, you can use SEA’s batch calculator here.

Zinc Oxide is obviously really good for sun protection, but if you have skin that is acne/ blackhead prone, or is just in need of repair or calming, zinc oxide is a great ingredient. If my skin is ever a bit wind-bitten I just wear my sunscreen to bed and my skin is fixed the next day. This recipe also functions as a serum because it contains lots of antioxdiants (partially to mop any free radicals around, partially for your skin) and skin-loving ingredients in general.

I still buy all my ingredients from Skin Essential Actives because they have the best quality ingredients for the cheapest price. If you want to talk more about DIY skincare, head here.

I hope you try out this recipe!



Posted in Skin Care | Tagged , , | 72 Comments

I wore the emerald green dress!

So, based on everyone’s comments, I was all set to wear the pink/mauve chiffon dress I talked about in the last post, but it became quite cold in Perth the day of the wedding! I took the purple and the emerald green dresses (pictured) and decided about an hour before the wedding. I loved the purple, but I remembered Sarah K’s comment about the colour of the invitation giving a clue to the colour theme of the wedding. Lucky! Turns out the bridesmaids were all in purple! I wore the dress pictured, and it was perfect. The venue was quite chilly, but the velvet kept me quite warm all night.

Thankyou to everyone for your comments!! I really should do that more often – makes the agony of choice much easier! 🙂

Posted in Clothes | Tagged , | 11 Comments

So, what should I wear to this wedding?

I handed in my thesis last Friday, and I’m going to a friend’s wedding this Friday. That’s a pretty tight turn around! I have been through my wardrobe and made a short (okay, long) list of dresses that are potential candidates for this wedding, and I want your opinion. Unsurprisingly, this also turns out to be a Jolie Vintage retrospective, as most of my wardrobe consists of pieces from that store. I’m still completely obsessed! They’ve just started a Facebook page, blog, and Twitter, which feeds my obsession nicely. I can’t recommend them highly enough! If you want designer quality and cut for a fraction of the price, buy vintage from them.

Anyway, back to me, haha! Here are seven dresses that I think would be suitable for the wedding. I want to know what you think! I can’t decide! As it’s my first proper night out post-thesis, I don’t want to look like I’ve been dragged backwards through a hedge. I want to get rid of the student look and enjoy a sophisticated night out.

All the dresses are from the 1960s. I must like that era! Also, some of my expressions look like I want to fight you. I assure you I do not.

1. Black dress with bell skirt.

The only problem is that I’ve managed to destroy the hook on the back of the collar. This is where long hair comes in handy!

2.  Japanese-inspired brocade dress:

I adore the train on the back of this dress!

3.  Deep emerald velvet dress with beading on the bodice:

4.  Fine-knit cream dress with rhinestone-spangled sleeves and a low back.5. Black and white dress with fringing at the hem and pearl rhinestone detailing at the bust. The bodice also features knife-pleat chiffon.

6. Mauve-pink chiffon dress with a short train at the back. This feels AMAZING on.

7. Purple silk dress with rhinestone buttons on both sleeves and a sweetheart neckline.

So what do you think? What do I go for? It’s just about spring here but it’s still a bit chilly, although I think it will be reasonably warm indoors.


Ideas on accessories are most welcome too!

Posted in Clothes | 21 Comments

Should I do a PhD?

That’s my PhD desk. Yup.

When I had my final meeting with my supervisor, I described to him how taxing the final few months of my PhD had been. He put his elbows on the arm rests of his chair, placed his hands together to make a pyramid, and knowingly said, “Yes, but if you’d known how difficult it was going to be, you would never have have started”.

This is the essence of a PhD. Before you start, you have the sense that it will be a difficult pursuit. But you don’t really know how difficult it will be. What I want to do in this post is give you some idea of what it’s like to work on this single, daunting project.  Is it for you? Well, these are the things you need to consider to make that decision:

1. Your marks: The general path for study in Australia is Honours, Masters, then PhD.  However, if you have achieved a first class Honours degree (average of 80% or above), then you can skip Masters and go straight to a PhD.  I took the latter path, and whilst the step between undergraduate study and Honours is huge, so is the step between Honours and PhD. Perhaps even more so.  I can understand the argument for going from Honours to Masters and then, perhaps, turning it into a PhD if you choose, because the learning curve is less brutal. I suppose the difficulty lies in finance for most people, as it did for me. Very few are willing to put their lives (and money) on hold for longer than they need to, even if the intellectual journey will be a bit less shocking because of it.

2.  Money: I was fortunate enough to receive an Australian Postgraduate Award which enabled me to do my PhD. If you have a good First, then you should apply for one too. The money is not grand, but it will keep you in stockings and gin. If you are moving from a salary to a scholarship, it is a BIG step down financially. I paid off all my debt before I started, but if you have a mortgage, car loans, etc money will be a bit trickier to negotiate. To be honest, even though I was debt free when I started, I am back in debt now. My savings are long gone, and I’ve needed my partner to dip into his pockets for me on many occasions.

3.  The academic journey: The beginning of  a PhD is great. You read interesting books,  figure out your topic, have coffee with interesting people, and generally just having a good time. This lasts for about a year.

Then, things start to get a bit more serious. By the second year you are well in to hacking out chapters and sorting out a direction for your thesis, and you start to think about how much work it’s going to take to finish this. A thesis is “an original contribution to academia”, so there is no frame of reference for what you are writing.  Finding your niche and working out the direction for your thesis is crucial, and very difficult.

In the final six months, things are insane. I am no stranger to hard work.  In my last job I worked between six and a half and seven days a week, and routinely worked until 11 at night, so I was used to high stress and long days. But let me tell you, the last six months of the PhD is right up there in terms of hard work and stress levels. To finish the thesis, I worked 14 hour days with an odd day off here and there (perhaps once a fortnight), because it’s not until you get to the end of a PhD that you know how to write it. You look back on everything you’ve written, and see the inconsistencies between chapters and arguments, the weak footnotes, and you understand what you need to do with alarming clarity.  It takes a lot of work. For me, the introduction and conclusion were the hardest part of the whole thing – my introduction alone was about 10,000 words and I revised it about 8 or 9 times.


4.  Wellbeing: I exercised regularly and ate very well during my PhD, and even though I had to give up my exercise towards the end of my PhD, I feel like it really helped me think clearly through long, long days. When I did Honours I was working full time and studying part time, and amongst all of that I was drinking a crazy amount of coffee and eating junk. It made the whole experience much harder than it should have been. To operate at an advanced intellectual level for extended periods, your brain needs to be working at its optimal level. Eating decent food and exercising when you can has a huge impact on this.

5. Emotional support: If someone had told me that I would need emotion support to write this thing I would have scoffed.  I’ve frequently had to manage work and study on my own and had no problems with that. However, I NEEDED emotional support to write this, particularly towards the end. Phonecalls to friends who had been through the same thing and a sympathetic partner made the world of difference to how I was feeling.  Part of PhD success lies in the ability to keep working despite extreme amounts of stress, and a supportive network helps with these situations. Remember, though, that in order to get through this process, you need, above all things, endurance. You need to work on your own for long, long periods.  At PhD level, you are not competiting with other people in your class, you’re competing with yourself, through all the stress and self-doubt.


But remember, the point of the PhD is for it to be challenging. The best academic minds in the world will be your reference point, and PhDs are not given out lightly. If you have drive, dedication, the ability to work long hours, and an inherent passion for your subject, then perhaps this is the path for you. Making this kind of decision is always going to be a scary leap of faith, but these are the moments that make life meaningful. If you decide to do it, good luck to you.

Posted in PhD | 15 Comments

I handed in my PhD!

So, I’ve finally finished my thesis! Here is a photo of me brandishing my completed thesis, a commemorative ‘PhinisheD’ mug, and sporting one of my favourite Jolie Vintage dresses for the occasion.

I’m still nervous, crazed, and exhausted from the whole experience, but whilst I attempt to normalise (and wait for the examiners’ report) I will be back to writing blog posts here. I’m so happy to have finished writing my PhD. It’s been one of the most enjoyable and difficult periods of my life, but I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to do it.

Posted in PhD | Tagged | 26 Comments

Latest Asos Purchase – Polo Neck Midi Dress with Long Sleeves

This is probably one of the shortest blog posts in the history of the universe, but I simply had to share with you my latest acquisition from Asos.

I handed in my latest writing last night, so today I’ve had precious time to run errands and pick up mail. And look what arrived! I literally ran in, got changed, and took a picture for you all, which is why it is a bit blurry:


I’m usually a size 8 but I always buy one size up in  As0s-own clothing because I find they run a bit small, so I’m wearing a size 10 here.

I can’t wait to wear this in winter. I love it! I really hope midi-length pieces never go out of style.

You can have a look at the dress on Asos here.

Posted in Clothes | Tagged | 26 Comments

Study FOTD

So now that every waking moment is taking up with writing my thesis/ editing my thesis/ lying awake worrying about my thesis, makeup application has become rather streamlined.

In the mornings I want something that is really quick to apply but makes me look awake and polished:

Base: DIY Rose Sunscreen.

Cheeks: Edward Bess Compact Rouge in Love Affair, Le Metier de Beaute bronzer (a little applied above temples too).

Eyes: Two Faced Shadow Insurance, MAC All That Glitters, Lancome Le Stylo Wateproof in Cafe, Covergirl Lashblast.

Brows: MAC Mulch.

Lips: Lanolips 101 Ointment and Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Pale Plum.


I am absolutely loving the wide-awake look that MAC’s All That Glitters gives to my eyes. It’s an instant full night’s sleep for me.

The Edward Bess Compact Rouge is such a great quality product too: it looks very natural on my cheeks and wakes my face up. It also works well with the Le Metier de Beaute bronzer. Previously I think I was far too heavy-handed with bronzer application, but now that I’ve learnt to just tap my brush into the bronzer I’m much happier with the result I get with it. Bronzer gives my face fantastic shape when applied just under cheekbones and above the temples. I think when my face naturally had less shape it was very hard for me to achieve any sort of sculpted look with bronzer (it was like painting stripes on a half-deflated beach ball) but now that I *have* some shape thanks to good skincare and facial exercises, I find merely emphasising that shape much easier.

I’m really loving the Bobbi Brown lipstick in Pale Plum that came in my POBM gift bag. It’s one of those versatile lipsticks that fits any occassion and suits my skintone perfectly. I reach for it often.

I’m also a bit of a latecomer to the whole ‘filling in your brows’ phenomenon. I’m usually too lazy to do it, but of late I’ve been finding that it really adds great structure to my face without looking like I’ve filled in my brows.  It’s great for framing my whole face and I wouldn’t be without it now. At the moment I’m just using MAC Mulch and an angled brush, but I shall have to look in to ‘proper’ brow pencils I think.

Best of all, this FOTD takes about five minutes and prevents me from looking too harried by my thesis.





Posted in Makeup, Skin Care | Tagged | 16 Comments

Reparing Sun Damage: My Latest Skin Pics and Routine Update

It’s been a while since I did an update on my current skincare routine, so I thought I’d regale you all with a ramble and some photos of how my skin care quest is going.

For those of you who missed the backstory, in May of last year I was washing my face one morning, and when I finished I looked up into the mirror to find that my face was still looking down. Confronting times! The Australian sun had finally wrought its damage on my skin: sunspots, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, loss of facial volume, the lot. This is what you get when you go for years without wearing sunscreen.

Fed up with skincare products that were expensive and not particularly potent, I started to educate myself about proper skin maintenance and care, and it was at that point that I started to DIY my own serums and products.  To understand my journey in more detail, you can find my previous skin pics by clicking on the ‘skin pics’ tag at the bottom of this post.

So nine months on and in the height of an Australian summer, here are some photos to illustrate how I’m going so far.

Previously, I haven’t used full face shots like the ones below to describe my journey because I’ve found that they didn’t show enough detail. However, I’ve included some this time because I think they help to show the diffence in my facial volume. This photo was taken in May 2011:

This photo was taken yesterday:

Everything appears lifted. My brows are higher, I don’t have so much slackness around the jawline, my forehead looks firmer, and my whole face looks more sculpted.

Below is a photo of me smiling back in May 2011. Guess which side received all the sundamage whilst I was driving around for years without sunscreen. Yup, the left. Can you see how it scrunches up more that the right side when I smile? Not pretty:

The photo below was taken yesterday. You can see how my left side still scrunches up more than the right when I smile, but the effect is much less obvious than it was. I’m very happy about this.

Here we have a closeup of my eye (on the ‘sundamaged side’) in May 2011:

And below is a photo of the same area I took yesterday. Note the lessening of hyperpigmentation, the lift of the eyelid, the reduction of the nasolabial fold, and the refinement of the texture of my skin:

Below is a photo I took last October, a few months before I started incorporating facial exercises into my routine. You can see that the skin is in quite good condition, but the nasolabial folds are quite pronounced due to residual sun damage and genetics:

Here is a photo I took yesterday of my nasolabial folds. The are still present, but are significantly reduced. The facial exercise programme I’ve been doing has made a huge impact on this area. The nasolabial folds are still present, but much better:

The picture below was taken in May 2011, and I’ve included it because it helps to illustrate  what facial exercises and good skincare have been able to do for my hooded eyelids. Observe:

In contrast, the photo below was taken yesterday. Oh eyelids, how I missed you! There is so much more vibrancy and energy to my face! You can see here that the brow in the photo below is much higher than the photo above. Other facial exercises have also given me more fullness in the cheek, forehead, and mouth area. Love it:

Here we come to the more difficult stuff.

The photo below was taken last October. Again, note that my skin  is in reasonably good condition, but when I smile my lack of facial volume is immediately apparent. Rather than walk around looking like Posh for the rest of my life, I’ve been hoping that facial exercises will help to address this problem too:

And they have! Yay! there are still wrinkles present when I smile, but I’m a lot more comfortable with the way they look now:

Lastly, I wanted to smile and take a photo of the resulting wrinkles on each side of my face. This is my ‘driving side’ when I smile:

And this is my ‘non-driving side’. See the difference? I’d love for all the skin on my face to be like this. Learn from my mistakes people! Wear a zinc oxide sunscreen every day!

So what does all this mean in terms of makeup application?

Well, these days I don’t apply much. I used to apply full coverage foundations as a matter of course, but these days I skip the base. In the photo below I just have some concealer on under my eyes (I love you Ellis Faas concealer) but sometimes I don’t even bother with that. Eye makeup continues to be a must though (as you can see from the photos above) and I’ve been wearing eyeshadow, gel eyeliner, and lashings of mascara as usual.  Cheeks are usually just a little bronzer or blush, or perhaps both.

I’m really enjoying the extra size to my eyes, and my new-found eyelids! Makeup just looks so much better now, and my brows do a much better job of framing my whole face.

Here is my current routine:



-FlexEffect facial exercises (see the website here)

– Cleanser: ‘Easy Rinse’ Oil Cleansing Method using DIY cleanser with whatever oil I’m liking at the moment, Castor Oil, and Polysorbate 80. Applied with Tanaka Massage. (tutorial here)

– DIY MAP 10% Vitamin C serum

– DIY moisturiser with hyaluronic acid, macadamia nut oil, sea emollient, CoQ10, and Grape Seed Extract. Base recipe is here, but I changed a few things around for my version.

– DIY 20% Zinc Oxide Sunscreen (tutorial here)



– Cleanser: ‘Easy Rinse’ Oil Cleansing Method using DIY cleanser with whatever oil I’m liking at the moment, Castor Oil, and Polysorbate 80. Applied with Tanaka Massage. Removes makeup and whatever else I slapped on my face that day.

– Retin A 0.05% applied to face, neck, and chest.

– Kinetin/ NAG/ Niacinamide serum (tutorial here) OR Idebenone/ NAG/ Niacinamide serum (I haven’t done a tutorial on this, but visit Jen’s blog to see her excellent tutorial)

– DIY moisturiser


– Cleanser: ‘Easy Rinse’ Oil Cleansing Method using DIY cleanser with whatever oil I’m liking at the moment, Castor Oil, and Polysorbate 80. Applied with Tanaka Massage. Removes makeup and whatever else I slapped on my face that day.

– Kinetin/ NAG/ Niacinamide serum OR Idebenone/ NAG/ Niacinamide

– DIY moisturiser

– Occasional exfoliation: Microfibre or Muslin cloth

– Lip Balm: Lanolips 101 Ointment

I also sleep on my back, rather than my side, every night (supported by a pillow under my knees) to avoid creasing on my face.


Moreover, I’ve also been applying my serums and moisturisers (except Retin A) to my hands, which are notoriously difficult to keep pretty:

My hands also suffered from years of sundamage, and along with applying all my facial skincare to my hands, I wear gloves every time I drive to protect them. I wash my hands so much that sunscreen would be quite ineffectual, so gloves keep my hands sun free.

By the way, the polish is OPI Dulce de Leche, thanks to Angela. Isn’t it great? Thanks Angela!

My approach to skincare can be boiled down to three points:

1. DIY, potent actives, and a zinc oxide sunscreen every day;

2. Facial exercise to help address a loss of facial volume as I age;

3. Proper diet and exercise (details on that here)

The serums and skincare I make have gone a long way to promoting collagen production and improving the look of my skin, but years of sundamage had left my face looking a bit slack. I’ve only been doing the full FlexEffect programme for a week (a week!) and I’m already seeing amazing results: more fullness in the cheeks and forehead, the return of my eyelids, a brow lift, more neck firmness, sharper jawline, and significantly reduced nasolabial folds. Bear in mind that it does take about half an hour each day, but for me the results are worth it.

If you are interested in facial exercises but don’t want to pay for a full system, there are many on YouTube that you can try to see if it’s the right thing for you.

Oh yes, and do try out some DIY skincare. It’s easy to put together, very potent, and cheap as chips 🙂


Posted in Skin Care | Tagged , | 74 Comments

SEA Has A Blog! DIY Skincare Just Became Even Easier.

By now you probably know that SkinEssentialActives is the site from which I buy the majority of my DIY skincare ingredients because the service and quality of ingredients are excellent.

Well, Natasha, the owner of SEA, has started her own blog, and I’m thoroughly addicted. What can I say? She’s a genius.  There’s nothing she doesn’t know about putting together serums, peels, moisturisers and a host of other skincare.

The SEA blog contains tutorials and really useful information for DIY skincare makers, and everything is set out with clear photos and instructions.

I was fed up with my dry skin last night, so after I finished writing for the day I made an antioxidant moisturiser based on the base lotion/ creme recipe Natasha demonstrated on her blog. Instead of the B5 used in the recipe, I added CoQ10 and Grapeseed Extract, and my skin loves it!

If you’re into DIY Skincare, I strongly encourage you to have a look. I’ve found the batch size calculator super handy for converting percentages to grams quickly, and the information on acids and pH is really useful too.

Posted in Skin Care | Tagged , | 20 Comments