Monthly Archives: January 2014

Face of the day- without the face.

On my face today-
Antipodes Hosanna Serum. OMG I adore this serum. It’s so light and perfect for hot summer days, yet hydrating enough to make my dehydrated face happy.
Neutrogena sunscreen- I can’t remember the actual name and for the life of me I can’t find the bottle! It’s the dry touch 50spf stuff anyway. But it’s one of my favourites. I’ve been putting it on a good 20 minutes before doing the rest of my makeup, and I have breakfast and clean my teeth. This allows it to dry and stop being greasy before I put my foundation on. Back to loving this baby full time!

Foundation : Revlon Nearly Naked liquid and powder. I love the liquid big time, but my skin has recently darkened ever so slightly from all the time I’ve spent on the beach over the summer, an it’s slightly too pink for me right now. However I do adore the formulation- light and the perfect coverage for when my skin is fairly good. Like the perfect TM. The powder really helps it set over the sunscreen.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. My all time favourite concealer but again a little too pink for me right now. I need custard too. But… The perfect formulation.
Clinique Chubby Stick For Eyes in Lotta Latte. The ideal bronze colour- in the cooler tone than something like the Maybelline Bad to the Bronze. It’s perfect for my pale skin. I swipe a few lines over my lid and then blend it with my finger. I have some other Chubby Sticks for eyes and I adore them. Stop testing on animals please Clinique!
Smashbox Gel Liner in Navy. This is more electric blue than navy but I love the colour for summer. It enough contrast to make my brown eyes stand out. Perfectly applied with the Real Techniques Liner Brush. Adore. Contrasts with Lotta Latte to perfection.
Guerlian Cils D’Efner. Best. Mascara. Ever. Seriously. Perfect packaging, perfect formulation, perfect length and volume. I will never be without this and if you haven’t tried this, you should.
NARS blush in Desire. Ballerina blush in a sublime form. Only had this for a few days and I love it.
TheBalm Mary Lou Manizer – soft, creamy, applies and blends like a dream. Stands out nicely when you want the highlighter to stand out but isn’t too obvious. Gives you a light workout glow. I bought a second one to give to my sister I love it so bad.
Bobbi Brown Sheer Lipstick in Rosy. I’ve overused this word in this post, but seriously I love this lipstick hard. So hard. Perfect.




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What I am reading.


Or rather what I am not.

I have taken a break from Outlander, my first book for 2014. I was reading it in the company of my little dog who sadly died recently, and the memories are too fresh for me to re enter that world.

I did read about half of it in two days. It was engaging enough for me to be interested and it is not a predictable as I initially thought it would be. I do find the way the narrator is written very confusing; I don’t understand her reactions some times as they seem really out of place for a woman of her time, and at times her reflections on events seem to contradict what she previously said or did. But my husband gave me the first five in the series so I will persevere! And I am liking it. It’s just not the gripping, un-put-down-able book people have made it out to be, which happens all the time.


I then picked up Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. I have adored everything else I have read by Gladwell in the past. I find his books engaging and interesting and often related the ideas back to my own life or experiences. So I don’t know if my reaction to this book was that it is so American centric or if it is my personal feeling preventing me from focussing, but I was super bored by this book. I couldn’t really see the point he was trying to make, each chapter felt like it wandered too far off the essential point he may have been trying to make. It just wasn’t as concise and exact as his other books have been, in my opinion. I still like the way he writes and this will in no way stop me from buying his books in the future… but I haven’t even finished it yet. I am hoping, really hoping, that when I do go back to finish it, all the lightbulb light up and it all makes sense. But life is too short to persevere with books that aren’t grabbing you!


It is really rare for me to give up on a book. I feel defeated when I do, but also empowered. It is a strange feeling, because I feel like I owe it to the author to honour my commitment to their work, but at the same time, if it isn’t enriching my life on any level, then it is a waste of my precious moments, isn’t it?


What are you reading? What books have you ever given up on?

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I’ve been making – – Bread.

Today is the first day since before Christmas where there is nothing sweet or junky in the house. And to be honest, it is making me a little frantic and worried… what will happen if I have a sugar craving?

To combat those feelings I decided today was the day to work on my 2013 resolution of baking more bread. When I was growing up we never, ever ate shop bread. Since moving out of home, working and studying, never having good ovens in rental properties etc, I got super lazy. And I promised myself last year that I would start, and I made break once. Well, today, right here and right now, I am making bread! Woo hoo! Let’s see if I can keep it up, at least once a fortnight.



3 sachets of dry yeast (7gm sachets)

2 teaspoons of honey (as pure as you can get)

1 kg of good bread flour, while, whole meal, whatever you like

600ml of lukewarm water

I cup of oats

2 tablespoons of good olive oil

1 teaspoon or ascorbic acid

½ cup pepitas.

Good pinch of salt or two.


You can easily make this bread without the last four ingredients. Or you can swap things out; for example, change the pepitas for walnuts, the oats for linseeds etc, etc.


Start with the yeast. Make sure you’re preparing the dough in a warm room, preferably with no cool breezes.

Put the yeast in the bottom of a heatproof bowl or jug. Mix in the honey to form a weird looking paste.


Add the water. Some recipes for bread say to use tepid water, but I find I get much better bread if I use warm water. Not too hot – too hot and you will kill the yeast. The warmth should be something really comfortable to put your hand in, or to put a baby in or… like lukewarm. I’m at a loss for the words to accurately describe it.

Mix the yeast and honey through the water until all the honey is dissolved and most of the yeast is. You will still see little pieces of yeast. Put in a warm corner and cover with a clean tea towel.

Place the bread, acid, pepitas, oats, salt into a very large bowl (I prefer to use a plastic basin) and mix well.


When the yeast has developed a little head on it, add the olive oil into the water.



Make a well in your flour mixture, and pour the yeast mixture into the middle. Use a knife to cut through until the mixture seems like it’s really coming together and then get your hands in. Dont work it too much at this point, and I also prefer it to be wetter than drier, as you can add more flour at the kneading stage.


Cover with plastic, find a warm spot in the house with no breeze, cover with a towel or something to keep it warm, especially in winter and wait for a few hours.

When it has doubled in size scrape it out onto a clean-floured surface. Now this is going to sound a little weird, but when you knead bread you should be firm and gentle- my mum always said like when your touching your lover’s body. Yup! Even to a 13year old who was totally freaked out by what she said. Always inappropriate, my mum. You want to work it enough to get the gluten going in the flour, but not so much that you toughen it. This takes experience to really know the difference, but you will feel it getting firmer. Also, try not to let it get cold.

Divide the bread into three or four equal portions. I knead by pushing the ball of dough out flat with the heel of one hand, and then bring it sort of folded over with the fingers of my other hand. Do this with each portion.

Now you can either put two portions in a normal bread tin and your loaf will rise and cook well without the centre being either doughy or the crust being too hard. 


Or you can flatten them out and make foccacia, or any flavoured bread you like. Today I am adding rosemary, garlic, oil, some tomato and bocconcini cheese.


Once they had done the second proof, I put them in the oven at 180 in a fan forced oven. This is the first time I have baked bread in this oven, and next time I will be aiming more for 160 -170 with a little longer cooking time. I baked the bread for 30 min and the foccacia for 20 minutes.


I completely forgot to take photos of the bread at its first and second proof but I have one of the focaccia cooked! Still learning this blogging thing, and photos of sizes before and after rising may have been helpful! Next time, I promise.


Hope you go and do some baking now! xx


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Look what came in the mail!

I love a bit of online shopping. I really do. And I have recently totally fallen in love with Real Techniques brushes. I started with the Expert Face brush, which seems to be the one people love the most- and I can see why. I *love* it. I love the finish I get with foundation when I use it.
My husband bought me these two, the eye starter kit and the stippling brush. I’ve been brushing them over my face this afternoon, and I can’t wait to use them tomorrow.
The Balm’s Mary Lou Manizer is a firm favourite of mine. I actually bought this about a month ago, and when it arrived all broken in the pan, I emailed the company I ordered it from. They promptly replied with an apology and immediately sent me a new one- and this one came intact! Huzzah! So I will definitely be ordering more often with Feel Unique, as their customer service as far as I’ve experienced, is amazing.

The lumanizer itself is so soft and blend able and bright- I love it. Maybe I’ll do a FOTD post tomorrow!?!


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Missing In Action

A slower start to the year.


2014 was supposed to be the year I wrote very single day. And I started off really well. Right up to January 5th. Yup. A whole five day run. In those five days I published some blogs and photos, and wrote a couple of blogs in the hope of having a backlog and a schedule for publishing.


And then on the evening of the 6th while I was visiting family, my two-year-old dog and dear companion chased a cane toad, caught it, and died.


January has since been a time of grieving. I have spent a lot of time writing, not only blog posts, but memories of my dog and in my journal. I have started many blog posts, and am hoping to edit them and publish some this week. I have found it hard to be motivated, even in the boredom that comes with the exhaustion left after crying. I take comfort in the fact that rather than preventing me from writing, I have been drawn to pen, paper, keyboard and screen as much as I hoped. I just haven’t been able to publish. Luckily creativity and positivity have channeled themselves in the way of my garden – I no longer have a bare backyard, but one slowly taking shape with all kinds of amazing things.


I am hoping in the next few days I will start to publish. And this isn’t a post of excuses. But grief and loss are private, and while this is a teeny tiny blog with few followers, I wasn’t ready to start publishing yet. It took me a fair while to post to facebook and instagram that he had died. So hopefully it will start again, fresh.


In the coming days I hope to have a post on baking bread, gardening, what I have been reading and January reflections. I am hoping month-by-month reflections will make me take closer and better stock of the year, and slow the passing of time down. I hope, that at the end of the year, I will be able to look back and think ‘ah yes, this was a full year’.


I just regret it started so sadly. 

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A battle with the Australian sun.


Sun Protection

My primary skin concern is sun protection due to my fear of melanoma or skin cancer, which accounts for 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers in Australia each year. Also, to be honest, I have very pale skin and I hate being hot, so I avoid the sun as much as I can anyway. The sun in Australia really burns you. My other reason for it being my main concern that sun protection is a key to protecting your skin from premature signs of aging. I am not against aging, we’re all getting older, I am just not interested in looking like an old leather couch. My taste, my opinion, not for everybody.



Every single day I wear either Olay Complete UV Max Defence Lotion Sensitive SPF 30, or if I know I am going to be outside a whole lot more than walking to and from my car for work etc, I wear Ego Sunsense Moisturising Face Lotion with an SPF of 50.

Comparing these two, I prefer the Olay. It is far more moisturising, slightly thicker in consistency which is good for my dry and dehydrated skin. I can put a lot on and it all sinks in properly. The SunSense one sometimes balls up on my skin, or if I rub my décolletage at some point during the day, I can actually rub it off my skin. It also leaves a noticeably shiny layer on my face. I haven’t noticed a problem with putting makeup over top. I wish it sunk in further, because it’s really nice and light for hotter days when you don’t want to sweat everything off straight away, but it does ball up a little. If the Olay (well, stopped testing on animals for a start, but that’s a whole other thing!) came in a SPF 50 I wouldn’t buy the SunSense.

Actually if you guys know about sunscreen companies that don’t test on animals I would be very interested.


Sunscreen… Suncream, whatever.

For the Body and Face

Banana Boat Ultra SPF 50. I used to buy this years ago, and it always left me with a thick white sticky layer on my skin. I bought it on a whim when Priceline recently had 40% off all suncare, because it comes with a handy pump and was reasonably cheap. They must have reformulated it, because now it sinks in like a dream. I pop this on in the morning, after getting dressed, all over my arms, the back of my neck if my hair is up and on my feet if I am wearing open shoes, thongs or sandals.

Invisible Zinc SPF 50 4 hr Water Resistant. I also bought this on a whim because Zoe Foster recently wrote a long article about the benefits of wearing a physical sunscreen as opposed to a chemical one. Of course I didn’t take her actual advice about using the Invisible Zinc Tinted stuff, because that was about $10 more than this one. Holy mother this leaves you white and sticky. Not a fan just yet, but I do use it on the backs of my hands on long car trips, because being able to see it reminds me to reapply.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 (I also use the Body Mist). Oh, my goodness I love this stuff. I have been using it for years, even though Neutrogena’s animal testing policy, or rather, my conscience has caught up with me. It is the perfect chemical sun cream and the mist (again, issues with the environmental effects of using endless aerosol cans has prevented me from repurchasing since my last one ran out) goes on so easy. Sinks into the skin well, leave no really noticeable change on the surface of the skin, makeup goes over perfectly.

Favourite? While I really adore the Neutrogena, I think Banana Boat Ultra wins out- it comes in a pump bottle, and the application is quick and easy for all over the body and the face. 

Next I want to try some of the Japanese brands. 

What is your favourite sunscreen? 

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WARNING: Language.

Yet another goal of mine is to start exploring language a little more. Particularly, my use of language. I adore reading, and appreciate how even on twitter the way some people use specific phrases and words. Their language, use of language, brings me such joy. So I want to become more of a wordsmith.


I guess my use of language became simplified and direct when I started teaching English in high school in 2007. I don’t do it anymore, but reflecting on that time has helped me to realize that I narrowed down my vocabulary to get the thrust of an idea or topic across to my students, and would then try to reverse that by getting them to explore synonyms. If I were still teaching today, I think I would do it in reverse. It is far better, I think, to have a child ask ‘what does that mean?’ even in their own mind, than to blandly recognize the same word over and over. Of course, I narrowed and restricted my vocabulary in order to reach often illiterate and disinterested children, but I think I allowed my students to dictate what I taught, rather than the opposite.


So, how shall I do this? Well, I have bought three little notebooks for each handbag. And when I read a word or phrase that I really enjoy, admire or that strikes me, I will put it in the notebook, and then once a week, maybe Thursday is a good day for this, write a post including these words or exploring the phrase.


Of course I cannot think of any now, but hopefully, this will broaden the scope of vocab, the words my mind scrambles for when I am trying to describe, direct or inform something, and my language will naturally change. Without the awkward effects of the synonym tool in word.


And then one day I will finally teach myself how to use commas and semicolons correctly.


What is your favourite word, words or phrases to hear, read and write?

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