How to have really great hair all weekend – straight or wavy.

Because there are better things to do than sass around with our mops on our days off, AM I RIGHT??

Now, you could just splerk off and get a blow dry, and this isn’t as big a splurge as we once thought it was because joints like the Blow Dry Bar (BDB) are littered right across the country now and do a $35 job that is actually quite good.

Or you could do it yourself. I like to do it myself. Sits better for some reason. Lasts longer too cause I control the product amounts.


Second day hair is the best hair to set and style. After washing (fine-hair girls? Skip the conditioner, or only use it on the mid-lengths to ends), run a thickening/styling mousse/spray (like Redken Rootful or O&M Rootalicious) right through the hair, which will give the hair lasting power and volume. Next, dry the hair on high heat using a styler brush all over, underside, side to side, everywhere – take it through the hair like it were ballroom dancing all over the scalp.

This is a styler (or wrap) brush. It’s a Denman. I use one everytime I dry my hair for volume and no tearing/ripping. I recommend higher than a satellite.



Put aside a good 25 minutes – OH COME ON! Remember, you’ll get a whole weekend of good hair, it’s worth this time – to style. This is nothing compared to what our grannies did, trust me. First mist a heat protector spray (like Dove’s Heat Defence Mist) all over then let it dry off. Never put hot tools on damp hair.

Want straight hair? It’s back, you know. Might not be a bad idea. Feels slick as.

Do this: Clip/tie the top half of you hair out of the way and taking a fine-tooth comb (yes, you should own own one of these, they cost $2 from the Chemist) comb through 5cm wide sections, then follow immediately with the styler/flat-iron. Do it in the ‘C’ shape I demonstrate in this video, this very blonde video, for a nice shape, as opposed to taking it straight down. Looks too … dead when it’s too straight.


Want curls or waves? Good for you. I think curls and waves lasts longer than straight hair, just quietly/aggressively.

Do this: Apply heat protector as above, and section off top half also. It depends on what kind of curl/wave you want, but I (medium-length, fine hair) use a mid-sized barrel tong because I want something between waves and curls.

The more loose and wavy you want, (or longer/thicker hair you have) the bigger barrel you need. Also, start the tong-wrapping at or below the ears so the top of hair is flat on the head. (Flat but with texture thanks to those products you used earlier.)

If you prefer more curl (or have very fine/shorter hair) go for a thinner barrel and start the curls right up on the scalp. Here’s a full how to on curls.

I find the Babyliss tongs incredible, but also am a fan of the (cheaper) Remington Keratin tong, which gets extremely hot, extremely fast. Just ask the burn scar on my arm.

I personally tong randomly all over, in both directions, because I am going to muss it up at the end anyway. DO however make sure the curls go back away from the face at the front sections. The key is, simply, to make sure the cord of the tong is always up in the air, no matter which side you’re on. Tong for 10 seconds then release.

Leave to set til they’re stone cold – at least 10 minutes. Perfect time to enjoy a bit of putting practice in the office, AM I RIGHT??

Then, flip hair upside down, spray all over with a light hold hairspray (like L’Oreal Elnett). Brush out with a paddle brush for soft, glamorous waves, OR mess up with your fingers and once you’ve flipped your head back up, tap some Magic Dust/Hair Powder (everyone does them now, choose your brand) onto the scalp all over for some grit and texture. Not too much though, as it makes your hair dirtier, faster.


This is one hair powder that is great: evo haze.



The hair, it will be perfect. It will! Trust me. Go with it. The day after the hair has been set it is always looking it’s best. You shouldn’t need to do much – maybe smooth over some parts with the blow dryer if sleep makes your hair go fruity, or brush out (ladylike softness) or re-texturise (coolgirl messy) your waves.


It’s not dirty! Let it be! And anyway, dirtier hair looks better. Spray, massage in and blow dry through some dry shampoo for a bit of lift and movement, (unless you’re rocking the cool girl messy texture in which case NO BLOW DRYING OR BRUSHES). If you’re getting all tense cause you’re a wash every day or two girl, fingerscrape it up into a high top knot, and be sure to leave some fuzzies around the face for a modern, cooler look.


Might be time to wash it (so styling is a breeze in the morning before work). Dirty hair don’t care? Enjoy an easy night watching/heckling The Voice and wash it in the morning you gorgeous bastard.

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The Biggest Thing In Anti-Ageing in Years?

It’s affordable. And it gives visible and
measurable results. And women all over the world (it sold out completely in Australia and NZ before launching here on Wednesday) are going completely batshit for it. So
I thought you’d probably like to know about it.

Having been through conversations about skincare with
women for many years, I have presented what I think is a fairly accurate
conversation you and I might have if, say, I were to bring this up while eating
Lavosh and hummus over the weekend at a party to celebrate Josh and Katie’s


You – Played by me

Me – Played by me


You: What
were you talking about just then to Katie?

Me: Oh, just this new wrinkle-fighting serum with a fancy new ingredient that has women going
nuts, and the scientific community frothing because of its rapid results.

Really! What’s it called then, this magic potion?

Me: Avon
ANEW Clinical Pro Line Corrector with A-F33

You: Jeez, what a mouthful. Sounds like
some kind of plane… What’s that A33 thingy?

Me: A-F33, or Amino-Fill 33. It’s an amino acid, essentially. Clever little thing. And while I don’t need wrinkle fighting stuff just yet this is still exciting to me as a beauty editor who only sees a new ingredient with this much hype once ever few years, and also because I have some proof it works for when I’m a bit more wrinkly*.

You: What’s the proof?

Me: Didn’t you see the asterisk? All that
is explained further down the page.

You: Oh, sorry. Go on.

Me: Whenever I’m asked which skin care
ingredients actually WORK on (fine lines and) wrinkles my answer is always
AHAs and retinol. And now, for the first time since AHAs (such as glycolic
acid) and retinol were discovered back in the 90s, people are saying this A-F33
is a genuine contender. And when I say contender, I mean, ‘clinical testing shows
it’s as effective than these other two, but in a different and new way.’

You: Gosh! I love my Retinol… That does sound promising. Would it work even
on these lines? (Points to eyes and
marionette lines and forehead.)

Me: Yes. Like most anti-ageing serums, it was specifically created to reduce the appearance of fine
lines and wrinkles. Even though I personally think evening out the skin tone/removing pigmentation is just as, if not MORE important than wrinkle reduction. Within 7 days you’ll notice results, they say. Which might be why when it launched in the UK late last year, things got
a bit intense.

You: Intense?

There was a waiting list 60,000
people deep before it even went on sale, and then it sold out in six hours. It
currently sells at the rate of one every five seconds. I’m surprised you
haven’t read about it. I know you love reading The Daily Mail even though like
me you pretend you’re too highbrow.

You: Oooh, bet it’s pricey.

Me: You’re right! If by ‘right’ you mean ‘wrong’: it’s $65. Which is excellent
given that good serums (high-potency,
high-concentrate, active ingredients) are not cheap. And just on serums,
they’re probably the one area – treatments aside – I recommend spending decent
cash on.

Despite me sounding a bit like a human advertorial, I
think we’d both be happy with that.




Now for my “proof.


As I said, I’m not quite the target market just yet for ol’ A-F33. I’m in my early 30s and still in the protect/hydrate arena, with some
brightening and a few peels thrown in for good measure. The lines are on their
way, but I’m not in a position where I need to diminish their appearance just
yet. That’s not to say women my age aren’t using this – it’s extremely
subjective and is always about your skin’s condition,
not its age.

However. I am a beauty writer, and I need to know if all the press stands up before I start regurgitating it.

So, I enlisted two ladies I love, my mother,
Gerda, and my mother-in-law-and-disorder, Kerry, to trial it. They have some lines and they
were more than willing to use the serum daily for a few months. (I occasionally
palm off products that aren’t fit for my skin to better-suited friends and
family because I want to know if they work. ESP this one, given the tremendous

I gave them each some press samples
Avon sent me back in November last year, and they are both still using and
loving it. Requesting more with a cheeky grin, even. Bless them.

I personally noticed their skin looked
fantastic at my wedding in December, but who cares what I think, here’s what they think.

Kerry ‘K-Bo’ Blake and Gerda ‘Giggling’ Foster




Me – Played by bold font

Gerda – Played by Gerda

Kerry – Played by Kerry

Skin – Played by skin


How do you use your serum?

Gerda: I use it morning and night after
cleanser. I use it on my face, neck and throat. My skin looks very good
especially for my chronological age. (65.)

Kerry: Morning and night. I use a
richer cream over it at night, and a BB cream during the day.


How long have you used it?

Gerda: About 5 or 6 months.

Kerry: About 5 months.


Have you noticed a visible difference to your skin?

Gerda: Yes my skin is
very soft and velvety to touch!

Kerry: Yes. It has reduced fine
lines and MAY be reducing darker pigment. As well, my skin (which is sensitive and
quite reactive) feels more comfortable.


Any compliments on said skin since using the product?

Gerda: Yes,
when preparing for your wedding, the make up artists commented on how good
my skin looked.

Kerry: Yes. Most satisfyingly from
the beautician with whom I have a facial from time to time.


How would you rate it in general?

Gerda: Wonderful. It is
comforting and softens, and plumps up the skin.

Kerry: It’s terrific stuff!


Should other birds buy it?

Gerda: Highly

Kerry: Yes.


Does it taste nice on toast?

Gerda: *Chuckles*

Kerry: Honey tastes better.


So there you have it.

Two real women I really love who really like it and
really recommend it.

(Buy it or or from your local Avon
lady which sounds like a joke but in
fact is not.)


Responses to this drivel: 11 Comments

How a dame prepared for the Logies.

On Sunday night, a huge event occurred in Australia.

That’s right, The Voice finally returned to TV.

Also the Logies took pace, which I attended in support of my beautiful (Silver Logie winning!) husbot.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Obviously for a red carpet event of this nature, very little preparation is required. Probably just a wash of the teeth and a top knot. But here is some surprising news: it actually takes a little bit more work than that. I had to have a shower, for example.

Here are some of the other things I did to be Red Carpet Ready, which I share in the hope it may assist you should you ever have a big event and want to look your sparkling, dazzling, glowiest best.


I had three facials in one week. Which sounds OBSCENE, but only because it is. This was not normal practice, I should add, but after a month in NYC with all it’s wintery weather and then the heating and then the flights home, my skin was dry and lined and sad. I started with a regular facial from my facial queen, Natasha (Double Bay – 0422 650 773). She did a deep cleanse and lots of extractions to get rid of all the heavy skin creams I’d been loading on it all month, then used a lovely thick hydrating compress mask. You know, a facial. Traditional and nourishing and lovely. Paid lots of attention to decollatage due to dress neckline.

A few days later I had a session of Omnilux Revive (at The Facial Room with Jocelyn) with another nourishing mask (different to straight up moisturising, as I detailed here) to get my collagen and elastin working again, and giving my skin some visible glow, then the day before the event, one more hit of Ominlux Revive (at An Experience spa in Melbourne city) and a vitamin infusion around the eyes to get them looking juiced up and plump. (This is where a vitamin gel is placed on the area, then a small device with a low current glides back and forth over it – like an ultrasound motion – to get the goods right into that skin.) A lot of models and celebs have an oxygen facial or vitamin infusion on the day of the event.

Here it is! The magical Omnilux lamp!

On the day, I did a quick SK-II facial treatment cloth mask, and then used some Gernetic Synchro cream, which I LOVE. Very hydrating and rich. I also went to the gym, which I highly recommend, because it gets the blood and oxygen pumping, and it does make a difference.


I definitely wore my finger and toe nails. As they are attached to my hands and feet it just felt right. I went for Shellac in Romantique to dress them up. Very innocuous pinky-nude. Didn’t want anything nuts because my dress was white and gold, and there was already a lot going on.


Yes please, but very, very light please, I said to the lovely dame at 54 Park St, who did my St Tropez tan. She did two light coats and I was very happy with it. I have made the too-dark error once before, and now am petrified. The lights of the cameras can make what appers to be a faily inoffensive, natural looking spray tan into a Dorito-coloured mess far too easily.  Also, when you’re wearing white and gold, a deep tan can easily grab your hand and lead you unwillingly into Tacky Land.


Event hair must be Second Day Hair. If the hair is too clean and freshly-washed, it will be too slippery and stupid and won’t behave or hold as well. I promise you – Second Day is the Way. So, I washed it the night before and went very easy on the conditioner so it wouldn’t be flat the next day. Sprayed some O&M Atomic thickening spray all over for body on my hopeless, wussy fine hair and blow-dried it off so it was dry, semi-straight and ready to be attacked the next morning.

On the day, at around 11, my hair and makeup artist Laura Gilham (I nicked her from Channel 10 when I used to do The Circle) arrived and although I had sent references on email, we went over it again, just to be sure. I wanted the makeup and hair to be fresh and modern to balance out the dress, I said. She agreed.

My chief reference (pretty much always my hair reference): D. Kruger.

As my dress (bustier and skirt to be accurate) were super glamorous, Hollwyood-glitz style, I definitely didn’t want to do predictable hair with it. You know what I mean – the big, deep side part, all the hair over one shoulder, big, soft, brushed-out Veronica Lake curls. It was everywhere at The Oscars and Golden Globes, and I am an enormous fan, but it was too obvious and ‘theme’ for this outfit. I’d look like a caricature. Plus, the big thing in hair as we saw on the A/W runways last month, was slicked down, straight, groomed and even wet-look in a lot of cases. Fresh, I thought. Let’s do that.

Plus, it’s all about the ‘ear’ right now: show the ear(s) off, don’t cover them up, wear some fancy ear candy (on the lobe or actual ear), the message is. I got the message, deciding to keep my hair tucked neatly behind my ears and let my neck, earrings and dress do all the chatting.

Laura wet my hair all over, then blow-dried it to perfection, section by section. An old-school blowie, perfectly straight and not a hair out of place. She even snipped a few hairs at the back so the line of my hair was perfect. (Strangely important when you’re all strapless and back-showy.) What dedication! Fantastic.

She used her flat-irons very sparingly, and only on the ends, which I appreciated. We had a big bitch about hair salons that take women’s money for a “blow-dry” and then roughly dry if off before attacking it with a styler. That’s not a blow dry. That’s something we can do at home. And plus, it makes the hair flat, and the style is dead within a day. A TRUE blow-dry, a time-consuming, bit-by-bit blow-dry should last many many days.

She did some backcombing underneath the hair around the back to keep it from looking flat in photos, (I made sure it had settled down by red carpet time – I wanted flat and sleek, not ’60s newsreader)and combed my side part with a fine-tooth comb into place, hairspraying it all over for stay-put-ness. So SO much easier to deal with all night than curls or waves that drop or frizz or a fancy, prone-to-frizz or fall updo. I felt quite smug indeed with my simple, sleek hair. God bless the return to ’90s, slick, clean hair.


A red lip would be the obvious choice for such a ritzy, Jessica Rabbit dress, which is precisely why I didn’t do one. Instead I played up the eyes with a heavy, brown and black (gold and bronze were my initial thought, but as per my parenthesis regarding glittery bronzed skin below, I realised the error in that) smoky eye, heavy on the top lashline to keep it fresh, and with layers of medium-size lash flares to get that winged, feline look I so love.

My key reference, one K. Stewart. She does a wicked smoky, man.

Simple, dewy skin (she used Chanel perfection Lumiere) and a touch of Benefit Hoopla matte  bronzer (when you’re glittering sartorially, it’s generally a good idea to keep the makeup matte) plus Nars creme blush and we were done. I added some matte nude lips later, just before I left. (Smashbox Lip Tech in Nude.) Kept all shimmer and glimmer away from the neck/shest/arms too. Outdated and easily mistaken for glitter. I leave that to J.Lo.

Oh! And of course she filled in and groomed the brows. Brows, brows, must do brows! They’re as important as foundation, you know. Speaking of which, I had them shaped and tinted by Lien on Friday, but I am posting more on her soon, so will save it for then.)

What? Is there a camera? Didn’t notice it.


Just popped on a custom-made bustier and skirt by the messiah of Australian couture, Steven Khalil. No big deal.


I was so thrilled when Steven offered to make my Logies dress, he’d just done my wedding dress, so was probably sick of me and my demands (Cut things! Sew them! Add lace! Hem it! Be fantastic!) but kindly “threw” this together. Finding a dress (that fits!) is usually the hardest part of all this. He removed that task altogether and I could not be more grateful.

I walked in asking for something simple, sporty-like, Tom Ford like, and he said, ‘You always do that. We’re doing something new.” And he was right, and I LOVED that he took me out of my very very comfortable comfort zone. (I have, like, three lounges in there, and two of them have motorised massage.)

I’m not even a strapless fan. Never wear gold. Can NOT be trusted with white. And yet here I am…


I felt like a million pounds. He truly is the master of the female form. I was perfectly corseted (“could still breathe and sit”) and the skirt swished around my legs like I was performng some kind of tasteful, elegant dance all night. The compliment count was off the chart. And I didn’t even nearly expose a nipple. What a win!

(I wore these Miu Miu sweeties underneath but you couldn’t see them. And lots of deodorant, which you also couldn’t see.)



On top of getting a ticket to the Logies, and being able to support my husband as he took home another statue (a comedian came up to me at the after party and said, “You must be thrilled he won another Logie! After all, you get a national love dedication each time he does.” And I laughed because it was true, and he laughed, and we both ate a spring roll and it was great), there is this amazing moment where you get to choose the jewels you will wear on the night.

This year I had the EXTREMELY good fortune of being able to loan from Tiffany and Co… which meant I got to float around their beautiful Sydney store for half an hour, trying on shimmering, dazzling jewels and choosing which would best go with my dress. I went for these art deco darlings for about 828902312 obvious reasons, but chiefly because they are absolutely breathtaking. (Yes I felt my ears all night checking they hadn’t run off. You bet your Berocca I did.)


I didn’t take a bag, WAY too hard to find one that matches, so I just popped some lip gloss, liner and mints in someone’s tux pocket to get them as  needed. (Think it was Bert Newton.)

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With regards to BB creams and CC creams.

I am asked about BB (and now CC) creams a lot so I have created a fictional character, Eoz, with whom I will conduct an informative and snappy lesson on their uses, meaning, benefits and dining preferences:

Eoz: First of all, you have such great hair. Tell me, are BB creams worth it?

Zoe: Thanks, Eoz. That’s kind of you to say. Regarding BB creams, yes, they’re pretty great. User friendly and time saving. However, some are taking the piss a bit in my opinion, generally the more numerous and varied a products claims are, the less better it achieves any of its multiple components, so touting 10 benefits isn’t neccessarily a great thing.

Eoz: What does the BB even stand for?

Me: Originally, Korea where they first found their fame, BB stood for Blemish Balm, because they had skin-clearing capabilities, or were gentle enough to use post-procedure (laser, peels etc… I would use a very gentle, very pure mineral foundation personally.) Now BB generally stands for Beauty Balm.

Eoz: Aren’t they basically doing what tinted moisturisers have always done?

Zoe: Terrific question and outstanding detective work, Eoz. Yes is the answer, which as a dedicated tinty moisturiser fan, delights me, because suddenly the whole category has been reinvigorated.

Tinted moisturisers (should any still exist, having narrowly avoided being mildly adjusted and re-labelled as BB) give you a bit of hydration, a bit of sunscreen and some tint. A nice, simple multi-tasker that was great for days when you don’t need a lot of makeup.

BB basically creams do the same as this, but on a couple of cans of Red Bull and with high-achievers syndrome in the shape of Extra Bonus Benefits (depending on which you buy) like illuminating skin-tone perfectors, antioxidants, shine reduction, anti-aging and skin smoothing ingredients, primer, or pigmentation fading ingredients designed to even your skin tone over time. (I would not rely on your BB for fading pigmentation. That’s an exceptionally tricky task and one better left to a targeted brightening products like my favourite, Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Serum, or Dr Plunkett’s SuperFade, or Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, used on clean skin at night under night cream.) I think of them as new generation tinted moisturisers, basically. Just with better marketing.

Eoz: How do I use BB cream?

Zoe: With terrific ease; they are designed to simplify your routine. So instead of layering your day cream, sunscreen, primer, foundation, you can get it all in one wee tube. By all means use them as your one-step do-it-all on clean skin, although – lecture coming – I personally don’t believe the SPF in BB creams to be enough for our Aussie sun, especially when you use about 1/3 of the amount you need for that SPF factor to be working, so please use your regular daily moisturiser with SPF first, then your BB cream. The exception to this rule could possibly be a SPF 50+ BB cream, because the strength of the SPF means you can use even that pea amount and still get adequate protection.

They are often used under your foundation as a skin-perfecting base/primer and can act as a great mixer: I blend mine with moisturiser when my skin is dry, and with my foundation when I want more coverage, and I dab some onto my face late in the day for a hit of hydration. Please note despite their many charms, they can not be used as a sleeping bag.

Eoz: And now I hear about CC creams? Does this stand for Creme Caramel?

Zoe: No, you gorgeous dunce. It stands for colour or complexion correcting. CCs are for those with less… perfect skin than the average BB user. They’re designed to act as a colour correction product, something that generally takes a slew of green, yellow or pink based concealers and creams, followed by skin perfectors, and that’s all before the makeup is applied. They also claim to help with long-term skin tone correction, although I’m a bit suss on their efficacy in that area. Try a CC if you have redness, sallowness, or dark spots and find your BB cream is too sheer and ineffective, or you are still relying on your old colour correction techniques. CCs tend to be more lightweight, offer more coverage and spend less time on Facebook than BB creams.

Eoz: Which BB cream do you use?

Zoe: I like the L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique BB cream. So much so I bought a new tube to replace my old one here in the US, and look! It’s different! I like the fresh, healthy glow it gives, the smoothing feel and the coverage level, which is strong enough to even out my skin tone, and lightly conceal my pigmentation, but still looks as though I may not be wearing any makeup. I find it nicely hydrating, too, which is one of the reasons Estee Lauder’s DayWear Sheer Tint Release remains one of my faves, too.


Old Aussie tube Vs new US tube. Samesies.


I also love the new Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream SPF 30, (although it is actually SPF 50 the cosmetics regulator in Australia, NICNAS, hasn’t yet adopted the new Australia Standard which allows the SPF 50 claim, and as BB creams are classed as cosmetic, not sunscreen, they remain limited to an SPF 30 claim) because it’s lightweight, luminous, gives a lovely, fresh look to the skin, is buildable if you want more concealing, is hydrating, has antioxidants (Vit C – also good for fighting pigmentation) and as with the Nude Magique, you need only use the teeny, tiniest amount for your whole face. Also the tube is adorable. And it made it to my Amazing Face App must-haves. And it’s mineral oil and paraben free. And it sings lullabies at night.



Eoz: Thank you, that’s been very informative. Guess I’ll CC you around.

Zoe: BB good now.


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And now the BEST massage I ever had.

We discussed the worst one already. Certainly the shitty ones are more entertaining and worthy of anecdotal archiving, but they also suck, and are a waste of time and coin, and that’s no fun.

I usually get massages with an incredibly specific issue, and a request for the firmest, most sports massagey therapist available. My issues is generally this, and please do sing if you know the words:

  • Sore neck
  • Sore shoulders
  • Sore back
  • Sore bit between elbow and hand
  • And all usually on one side, my ‘mouse’ side.

It’s violently obvious this is from writing on a laptop in a non-ergomonic set-up for 10 hours a day. I have made changes though: in Sydney, my primary residence, I now have an incredible sit and stand desk, which I LOVE and cannot recommend highly enough, and a proper, back-supporting chair (I bought both from here). In Melbourne and when I travel it’s generally the kitchen table, a chair with cushions for support/height and a stack of magazines to get the screen to eye level. Here is my current set up, on which I type this very post. Atrocious.


“… You write your BOOKS with that set up?”

Anyway. So I get a lot of massages. Sometimes once a week when I am on deadline or working a lot. For my body, but also my mind. A bit of release. Usually I just head  to one of the massage joints in Kings Cross, or ones on Bondi Road, but if I manage to think ahead and make an appointment I have a Shiatsu/sports therapist friend of mine come to my home, or use the Sydney Mobile Therapies guys in Sydney ($80 and they come to you – I give a lot of my girlfriends this as a gift).

For a massage that is great and also fancy and relaxing and stuff, I love Aurora Spa (in The Prince Hotel in Melbourne). I used to head to The Four Seasons in Sydney, but I hear they’ve changed everything now, so I am looking to try The Spa at The Darling, which I hear is terrific.

It all comes down to the therapist though, doesn’t it. When you find a good one, you’ll bloody follow them anywhere. Being a fussy, bossy client (firmer there please, can you just do my upper body, I can’t lay on my back, I don’t want the knee bolster please, no oil in the hair please, less Enya thanks etc) I will always fall hard for someone who just ‘gets it.’ Just take my money already.

Just on New York, that’s where I had the best massage of my life, back in 2011. It was booked on a recommendation from a lovely chap who happens to be high up at Mr and Mrs Smith, the luxury travel website, which made me feel certain it would be a Golden Recommendation, as opposed to the more common Silver Recommendation, which comes from well meaning but perhaps not as well researched folk.

But actually it was more Platinum.

It was at the beautiful Greenwich Hotel in TriBeCa, (so what if Eva Mendes was in the ladies changerooms with me and the Olsens were being papped out the front, it’s no big deal) in their spa, called Shibui. It is a very beautiful little spa, constructed with Japanese timber brought in to the US specially (Robert De Niro owns the hotel, so I’m guessing money wasn’t too much of an issue) and there is a rad gift shop at reception featuring weird shit that you tend to buy when you’re all stoned and floaty after a treatment. Here’s what was in there last week:


Treats at the Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel, New York City



We were told to have the Healing Birch massage, which we did and then we compLETELY lucked out by getting the two most magical therapists, Kayo and Yasue. Afterwards, my gent and I just stared at each other from each of our tables and tentatively admitted what we both knew was true: that we’d just had the most wonderful massage of our lives. (Up until then for me it had been the Four Hand massage at Venustus in Paddington.)

As we’re in NYC right now, we went back last week and had the same massage/therapists and it was just as wonderful. I’d like to tell you what makes it so unique, but it’s very hard to articulate: they are Japanese therapists, and told us they use a blend of shiatsu, remedial and healing movements, but I would describe it as: stretchy, perfect-pressurey, and pressy in all the right spots. Quite possibly it was their locations, like this strange area underneath my armpit for example, that I never knew existed but was incredibly tight and painful, was made them so special, I don’t know.

Anyway, it is not cheap, in fact, it it is not even in the same postal code as cheap, but it’s a pretty special treatment. (I’ve sent a few friends there and they loved it too, so phew.)

Aside of talented therapist who asks you what you need/want from the massage (Relaxation? Muscle tension relief? Specific areas? No toes? Only toes?) a few other things make a massage great, in my opinion. Don’t feel bad about having high expectations and asking for what you want when you have a massage at a day spa/salon. This is a treat, a little bit of you time that you’re paying good money for: there’s nothing embarrassing or rude about you asking for the things that would make the treatment as enjoyable as possible. It’s a simple service transaction. Don’t be a lamb.

In an ideal world, and this is obviously more relevant to the day spa style massage rather than in-and-out kind, this is how my ideal massage would go….

– Parking is a breeze, no time limit or fines possible

– A warm herbal tea before treatment to relax and signal to body it’s time to switch off

– Fluffy robe and slippers, and the option of disposable underwear. (Always wear underwear unless you are having a body scrub or have been categorically told no knickers (Lomi Lomi etc). Go the disposables if possible, that way you can get straight into the steam room/sauna/shower straight after without needing swimmers/wetting your knickers/being a nude nut)

– Warm treatment room and therapist asks if you’re warm enough

– Mini consultation in which you’re very clear about what you want and all is understood

– Genuine spa music, not just daggy music that could pass as spa music – lyrics are hugely distracting for busy people whose minds can’t switch off

– Hot rocks and towels used wherever possible. Hot towels are probably the best thing in the world. Also, a little scalp massage to finish (if messed up hair isn’t an issue)

– Other therapists and customers are quiet so you don’t hear all about Kylie’s lunchbreak in your treatment room/mobile phones going off/clop clop clop up and down the hallway

– Half an hour nap on the massage table at conclusion of massage. OH SWEET SUGARPLUMS I WISH.

– Big glass of water for you once you’re up and out of the treatment room to stave off inevitable headache from toxins

Steam or sauna to sit in for 10-15 minutes after massage to let the muscles completely soften and relax, and get the toxins moving

– Hot shower to push massage oils deep into skin/remove the top greasy layer

– No tight/annoying clothes/heels/makeup to put back on, and no social commitments

– Nothing to do but go home and get into onesie and drink hot tea and watch, oh I don’t know, probably Gigli.

Did I miss anything in my over-the-top, obscenely obnoxious massage wishlist? Aside of having a scalp massage? What would you do? Where do you go? Where has your best ever massage been? Did you download my Amazing Face App yet? Why not? Oh, you have and you were kidding? Ha ha ha! You’re the best. Friends for life.


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The worst massage I ever had. I dare you to beat it.

We’ll get to the best massage I’ve ever had later this week, (it’s at a spa here in NYC, where I am based for a while, and I just went back today “to check” if it really is the Best Massage in The World, and oh man, oh-man-oh-man-oh-man it was), but for now

It was during my honeymoon, and we were in Amsterdam. My husband and I had just arrived from Switzerland, and were finally recovering after a full, sexy week of influenza.

‘Let’s have a massage’ we thought gaily, as we walked the grey, blustery New Years Eve streets full of seedy looking young male quads looking for firecrackers/pot/sex/all three.

Stupidly, I didn’t do what one should do in a foreign city and a street edging on but not legally in the red light district, which is research it, and find a great spa or something, and make sure it’s worth it. My thinking was in Sydney and Melbourne we can pop into any high street massage joint and generally have a pretty wonderful result, so when I saw a pink sign in a window saying:



Great! I thought. Ripper! Also there was an ‘anatomical’ pressure point thingy poster, so my ridiculous brain thought, well, they know their stuff.

After being buzzed in, we pushed open the door into what looked like a loungeroom and were met with two very, uh, sexily dressed young women. I say ‘with’ and not ‘by’ because they continued putting on their makeup and chatting as we walked in.


But then, as if picking up on the fact we were about to 360 and flee, they asked us which massage would we like, and come through, come through, etc etc and it kind of started without us meaning for it to.

Husband was swiftly taken up two flights of stairs, which I didn’t appreciate because now I couldn’t just leave at will, because he’d be trapped up in their attic dungeon not knowing I’d left, and I’d be out on the street in the cold with only my sore muscles for company. I was taken up one flight of stairs into a dark room, where I was told to undress.

‘Is there a robe?’ I asked.

‘No, no, it’s just us, lay down, it’s fine.’

On a mattress on the floor with no sheet.

‘Oh, ha ha, you forgot the sheet,’ I said with a congenial, helpful laugh, my feet itching to leave just leave go go go.

‘It’s okay’ she said, smiling.

‘I’d prefer a sheet,’ I said, smiling.

She walked out, came back in, roughly threw a sheet down onto the mattress and gave me the kind of smile you might recognise from someone you have pissed off just enough for them to want to now give you a truly shitty customer experience.

I gingerly undressed as she checked her phone and grabbing a towel off a pile next to the door she seemed unwilling to offer, I lay down and covered my arse and back as best I could. Mostly because it was FUCKING FREEZING. Sleet outside, freezing. Hating everything with every cell in my snobby spa-massage-loving body thus far I looked up and saw a giant mirror on the ceiling, and one angled to face down on to the mattress on the wall. The room was painted red and the scent of, well, something very unsavory involving strawberry body oil (“cheap lube” – Husband). There was a curtain to my left, presumably where someone may dance, say, in front of a window to, say, attract a certain kind of consumer for, say, a certain kind of commodity. There might have been a No Sex policy, (I remain suspicious) but there was no mention of no first and second base being prohibited. Cute!

What followed was thirty horrible, disrupted, minutes of lazy, soft, ridiculous, amateur pressing and guessing, her straddled over my bum (buy me a drink first) me with my face pressed down onto a mattress that was privy to only Lucifer knows what each night. I couldn’t breathe because I was still blocked up from the flu, and every time I put my neck to the side she quickly replaced it face down again. If I dared to ask for more pressure, she would NAIL ME with the kind of short-lived pressure generally used for industrial jack hammering for a few seconds, before I would say in a friendly tone, ‘Oh a bit lighter please ha ha ha’, and it was back to fairy hands and pixie pretend massage.

After a bit of this, I tried to explain I wanted somewhere in between, and was met with a spicy, ‘I don’t understand what you mean. You keep changing your mind.’ At this point I was very, very ready to walk out. But again, the street was so cold… husband so unreachable and possibly enjoying an actual massage as opposed to the slop I was being served, which I didn’t want to ruin for him.

So it continued. She had long nails that left scratch marks in my skin for over a week and every, say, four minutes either her phone would ring, or the piercing GRRRRNNNNNT of the front door buzzer would go off. Yes, she answered the door mid-massage. Three times.

At around the 26 minute mark she did the slap-the-back thing, and said, finished, and walked out. Needless to say, once I was dressed I couldn’t WAIT to tip her for her delightful and professional massage therapy. Especially since husband and I both smelled like shame and (possibly, nay, probably) edible body massage oil for the rest of the day.

I kept the card she gave me with my change if you’re ever in Amsterdam.

So. Can you top it? Good luck.


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My favourite and most-useful face oils.

We’ve covered hair oils and cleansing oils, and now I must wrap up Oilapalooza with my love for face oils.

I’m talking about those lush, hydrating, moisture-retaining, polyunsaturated (sink-into-the-skin-easily) face oils that boost the moisture and protection and anti-ageing superpowers of the skin with speed and grace.

They have blown up like a NYE bunger in the last ten years, facial oils. Used to be just health food shop owners who knew about them, but now every rascal and his rabbit use them. And good for them/us, because facial oils are great.

  • You can use a few drops on your skin after cleansing, as a serum.
  • You can mix them with your face cream for an extra dose of nourishment.
  • You can mix some in with your foundation or BB cream for added glow.
  • You can use them to balance out dry/combination/oily skin.
  • You can use them as a quick DIY facial.

Here are my picks.



 The affordable, all-in-one anti-ageing serum

Mum first put me onto rosehip oil. She’d buy stuff from the markets, with no label, and encouraged me to use it as a teenager. Also she loved jojoba oil, a wonderful carrier oil that you can mix with rosehip, or sweet almond etc to make your own face or hand or body oils. I have been adamant about rosehip oil ever since. Full of essential fatty acids and vitamins and antioxidants. Terrific.


There is something about it I didn’t know until recently, and that is that it can go rotten. It can break down and is actually a very fragile ingredient. You’ve probably tried some rosehip oils and thought they smelled pretty off, well, this is not actually or necessarily far from the truth because:

A) As with any ingredient, there is a spectrum of quality with rosehip oil, and the lower end formulas use old, stale, rosehip

B) Rosehip oil can oxidise from exposure to sunlight and air. (Ditto hempseed and evening primrose oil.)

A good rosehip oil should be vibrant orange (‘ssup, cartenoids) and not smell like musty cupboards. Keep your rosehip oil out of sunlight, in its original cardboard box, or away from the light in a cupboard.


Combining rosehip with a strong antioxidant (Vit C, E, green tea, etc) is CRUCIAL for this reason, as it protects it from becoming rancid before its time. Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ with  is my pick for this reason, ’cause it has potent super antioxidants Lycopene from Tomato and Phytosterol from Acai to protect the rosehip oil, as well as your skin. Clever.


An injection of powerful, swiftly-dissolved hydration and subtle sheen

I know that word ‘sheen’ is striking fear into the hearts and elbows of our oily-skinned fruits, but for those of us who have dry skin (dehydrated needs more water; dry skin needs more oil – and yes, your skin can be oily but dehydrated, most of us suffer from dehydrated skin at some point, especially in winter and after flying, tequila-shotting), this is a g-damn gift from above.


I love the Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil when I am flying a lot, or in air con, heated rooms, or just need a boost. A little goes a long way (almost to Mars) and the results are instant, enduring and astonishing. Even the senstive skinned and scared-of-break-outs can use it. Plus, it smells like some babe from 1979.


 This took me a while to get my head around, but essentially (actually a very clever pun, when you consider some of the essential oils used in these product: Lavender, Bitter Orange, Geranium, Sandalwood, Rosewoo- No? Not clever? Okay, carry on) this is a super concentrated, super targeted oil blend that you use in a small, self-loving little ritual involving warm water and a face cloth to deeply cleanse and hydrate the skin all at once.


I first discovered this method via Sharon McGlinchey of the delicious organic skin care line, MV Skincare, (famous types like R. Huntington-Whitely, P. Delevigne and M. Gyllenhall love her gear) who taught it to me via her Energizing 9-oil Cleanser, which I actually use more as a treatment and skin-rebooster. SO good after a long flight or big night.

I cleanse skin, then massage the oil all over the face, then hold a warm face cloth or muslin over my face for 10 seconds, pushing it on and pushing the oil in. I then reheat the cloth under hot water, and repeat the compress 4-5 times, with no wiping the oil off.  Afterwards, I apply some moisturiser and I’m done.

Well, they’re my top picks, although I’m sure I’d forgotten thousands of others I love. Like Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil – great for balancing/gently drying combination skin, congested or oily skin, and Goe oil – great for adding to lquid foundation for glow or highlighting cheek bones.


Over to you lot now.


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I use many oils each day and they are terrific. Like these hair oils, for instance.

Yesterday, as I was elegantly spilling ice cream down my wrist and cursing the hot, gorgeous Melbourne sun, I got to thinking about an email a fruit had sent me regarding oils and are they really good for the skin and hair, and if so, and why haven't we been using them forever.

We HAVE, you gorgeous dunce!

We definitely have. Oils are fantastic, on every stinking inch of the body, hair and nail. As proof, I thought I would spend the next few posts listing all of the oils I use (in an average day/week). 

I then call on you rascals to do the same in comments, because it's a lovely thing to share beauty tips, and who knows, Caitlin might not know how much you love Bio-oil, and how it helped your scars fade, and Jess might inspire all of us with her homemade jojoba, sweet almond and rosehip oil hand elixir.

Today, hair.


No. They may have done so in the past, but the texture and technology and types of oil we use now has changed. Now they're varied in usage and thickness and, when used properly (trial and error is usually how to discover this, not always the side of the bottle), hair oils can very convincingly change change how the hair looks, feels, behaves and if you're lucky, smells. (But not tastes.)

And, you know what? The hair can do with some oil, actually. Coats it, protects it, nourishes the scalp. Is wonderful as an overnight treatment, and can help a lot with styling and obedience. 

The key is finding the product with the right texture and 'weight' for you, and then starting off with a VERY small amount. I am referring more to the new generation styling oils than the old-school treatment oils, which are generally washed out (see: hot oil, v05) and actually designed to be thick and heavy in the hair so that it really penetrates the cuticle and conditions the scalp.

Argan oil arrived as a key ingredient and led the new wave a few years ago, proving a lovely salvation for dry, knotty, shitty hair with flyaways, and split ends. Argan-based hair oils offer deep hydration, repair AND act as a pre-styling smoothing tool, which is fun. But you gotta try a few and find the right one. Very curly, thick dames might love Moroccan Oil, for example, and get an enormous thrill from the shine and sleekness and anti-frizz benefits, but a fine-haired cutie like me does NOT love Moroccan Oil because it gives her 1.5 days out of her wash, when she is used to at least four. Too heavy. This is where the lighter version of MO comes in, and fine-haired ladies might use that, or else something like Kerestase Elixir Ultime Oleo-Complex Versatile Beautifying Oil (Kerastase, please trim the fat from your product names) or even a touch of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (Multipurpose dry oil for face/body/hair) on the ends, just for taming purposes.

Here are the hair oils I use and enjoy:

For pre-styling I use a teeny spray of Davines (pronounced DA-vi-ness) OI/OIL Absolute Beautifying Potion (maybe catch up with the Kerastase gang and all name edit together) on damp hair, starting at the ends and I run it through the hair, moving up to no higher than about the ears, which avoids any lankness or heaviness on the scalp. It is very light. Gives great shine. Smells like a smile.


For treating I use Pantene Intensive Damage Repair Oil on damp, clean hair and then sometimes even wrap a towel I dampen and microwave for a minute around my hair for 15 minutes. No rinsing required. The oil is actually quite lightweight, and especially great when I have been overstyling my hair a lot because I am competiting in Miss Tapdance NSW or something.You can also use on dry hair.


For travel I take a small vial, possibly a sample, of Orofluido – a not-too-heavy Argan oil delight I use on damp hair to protect before styling/letting it dry naturally/add life after swimming/tame frizz.


A lot of babes use coconut oil on their hair, but it is too much for my wuss hair.



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Primer isn’t a fad product.

If you enjoy wearing makeup, and you get snitchy when that makeup doesn’t last then I cannot for the love of Liza Minnelli understand why you are not wearing primer.

You wouldn’t paint your walls without priming them first, would you? (Ignore the fact that our face is nothing like a house please.) Primer is a staple, you guys. A must-own. It’s not a silly thing that will come and go in the beauty world like nailpolish pens – although I personally wish nailpolish pens would come back hard – primer is clever and purposeful and effectual.

Some reasons that might get you across this g-damn line if you are not already there:

– Most but not all primers have silicone in them. This is a good thing, because it means this non-toxic silicone acts as a wall between your face and your makeup – meaning your makeup stays in place, because your skin cannot eat your makeup all day (because you are not feeding or watering it properly, usually – give it some exfoliation and a mask why don’t you?) It means thorough cleansing and exfoliationg a few times a week, this silicone, though. Don’t let that shit build up.

– Primers are flaw-fixers so that all the heavy lifting isn’t left to foundation and concealer, which to be fair, are not really qualified. Certain primers (I’m looking at you, Smashbox) can conceal the look of large pores, mattify shine, even out redness, boost glow; whatever. There are SO many different kinds now, and they all do different things, so be sure to find one that best suits your personal skin needs, not one some chump on a beauty blog recommends, even if she is a real nice girl and knows heaps about everything.

– Primer pretty much acts as spac filler. If you are the type of dame who sees wrinkles and fine lines as though they are neon lights or small waving hands, then primer helps to fill those in and plump them up before you apply makeup.

– Primer, the right primer, will cosmetically illuminate and add radiance to your skin before your makeup goes on. This is a wonderful thing and I cannot understand why if this was available to you, especially when you want your makeup to look IMMACULATE for an event, or last the whole day at work or at a wedding or your annual fly-fishing conference, you would not adopt it.

My two go-to primers these days:



The Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Perfect Primer one is slightly tinted and full of SPF 30+ skin care and heavy with silicones to really smooth out the skin and plump up fine lines, which I have around my eyes and quite enjoy filling in. It’s very thick and velvety, and adds a lovely evenness to the skin. If you have cracking skin, it could be used alone as a skin perfector on top of moisturiser but I prefer using it under foundation. Also, the size is tiny and perfect and very awesome for this travelbot. I love it.

The Face Of Australia Face Base 3-in-1 Primer is less powerful at skin-perfecting and line-filling, but its benefit is that being all creamy and moisturiser-like, you can skip your daily face cream and use this straight onto cleansed skin which means less layering/build up on the face. That said: I recommend sunscreen first, obviously then primer – the SPF 15 in here and such a small amount won’t do nada. It’s hydrating and helps makeup last longer – simple. Also it is about $10, so that’s something.



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The Best Wedding I Ever Had, Part 2.


And here we are! Done with part one, and on to part two of the longest, most waffly wedding re-cap known to man, woman or emu.


Why are you going on about emus? You're always banging on about emus. Enough! Let’s get to…


Did you grow up knowing exactly what kind
of dress you’d be married in? Me too! It would be the colour of bark and reveal my stomach. No, no, obviously showing the stomach would be reserved for my groom. But seriously, I figured it would be white and lovely (halfway through last year I
considered having a blush tone dress, but then, remembering I was a pure and chaste virgin, decided to go white) and most likely, pretty classic. That's it.

My instinct was to call Steven
. Had never met the guy, but loved his work, knew he was a well respected Wedding Dress Guy, and
especially enjoyed the fact (having seen his work at the Logies etc) that he seemed to really ‘get’ the female body, and accentuate
it magnificently. Waists! Bums! Bosom! Glorious.

I tried some wedding dresses on in London when I was living there
last year, mostly for the fun of it, because you're only a bride once, right Liz Taylor??! But the moment I walked out of the dressing room and my
girlfriend looked up at me misty-eyed and said, ‘That’s the one’ in hushed
tones never came, and while I felt nice in all of them, and looked like, well, a bride, I wasn't dazzled.

Knew that I didn’t want strapless (I never wear strapless in real
life, so why on this most auspicious occasion?) or a huge, voluminous lower-half (although it was a lot of fun swishin' round Browns in a big ol' pouffy dress). Also, no bows on the sleeves. Or battery operated light-up butterflies. Did want lace, though, and a lace-trimmed V neck line, and a sort of old school look. But apart from that, nothing. Similar feeling to designing my engagement ring – I know zero about jewellery design or dressmaking and yet suddenly I was allowed to make enormous decisions in these fields. Felt a bit like a fisherman being asked to design the interior of Jennifer Aniston's new Malibu beach house. Excited, but. Real excited. 

When I got back to Australia I met with Steven and had a chat and showed him some dresses I liked on
my phone, and he did some very impressive, fancy sketching as we spoke, and before I knew it, my dress had a (2B) heartbeat.

I had four fittings all up, and made some choices about what colour white it would be (yes, there is a spectrum, which was news to me. I had natural white in the end, cream and ivory washed my skin out, whereas the white was all modern and clean and fresh, a good thing when you're utilising 156 kilos of lace), and some very swift, concise decisions which French lace we'd use (‘Oooh, that’s one’s nice, oooh, so is that one, oooooh, I like that one! Oh, that one is so good, just lovely, hmmm, gosh, I'm not sure which one to go with, they're just all so nice…' etc) and
each visit to his Paddington store was more exciting than the last, seeing this fabric masterpiece take shape.

Photo 1

Photo 2 copy

On pick up day, accompanied by my two bezzies, (complete with my favourite champagne slotted firmly under one of their arms,
although sadly I was already full of adrenalin and nerves and couldn’t possibly fit
another thing in) I put it on, and we all cried a little bit because for the first time in my life, I had a waist. No,
no, we cried because it was just so perfect, so amazingly fitted, so… dreamy. And I cried because I was so, so thrilled with my dress, and how incredibly it
fit, and how I looked like someone far more elegant, and timeless, and grown
up and beautiful than I really was. I especially loved the lace back and the buttons, both of which were Steven's idea.

Here, have a gander at her, why don't you?


I say ('write') this with my hand on my heart (the other
one is typing and the third one is sipping on lemonade) that I felt the most lovely I ever have in my wedding dress. Ever. That’s what you want, I think. To feel like you at your most beautiful,
career best even, but to the power of 10. Suffice to say, I cannot CANNOT
recommend Steven and his team enough. Such wonderful, kind, calm people with
incredible skills and exceptional talent. It’s such a spectacular shame that you
only get to wear the dress once, and for less than 12 hours. I quite fancy wearing it to brunch sometime. (Fun fac: Hame said he has never felt anything about a dress until he saw this one. 'Guys don't care about dresses, even wedding ones, but this was the best thing I've ever seen.' Good boy. Excellent feedback. Five husband points.)

Steven also made my veil, which he (thankfully) convinced me to have fairly light on lace, to keep the look modern, and not too… themey/vintagey. Good move. I only knew I wanted it to be as long as the train of the dress. Long, long, LONG, I said.

'Surprisingly', after a few hours of treading on my beautiful veil, my inner two-year old tired of the long, long LONG element. I went to the bathroom with my chief bridesbabe Sarah to remove it, and spied my (absent) flowergirl's floral headpiece (literally a two-year old) posing as a cute basin decoration. In a move MacGyver (or his wife, at least) would be proud of, we cut and pulled it apart so it would fit me, and placed it around my head, bobby pinning it into place. I loved it – the veil was perfect, especially for the ceremony and photos, but for dinner and dancing, some sweet, soft pink blooms jammed on the noggin seemed more fun. Also, I never feel that 'me' with an updo, so this diffused that perfectly.





My cherished bridesdames (my only guests, parents and
brother aside), Sarah, Marie, Bron, Emma and Justine (who had wee baby Scout seven days before the wedding, seven teeny days!), wore a choice of two peachy Bianca Spender dresses (didn't want them all looking toooo same-same) that somehow,
despite five different skin tones, looked delicious on each of them. With
their hair did and their faces did, and their pretty lil’ gowns all flowin’, they
were the perfect blend of glamorous, feminine and sexy, my girls.

I (some say inappropriately) could not stop telling each of them how hot they looked and
frivolously smacking their botbots all night. I adore my girls. They are superb on any given day, but on The Day, and the days leading up, they lifted incredibly: nothing was a hassle, any problems were solved before they even became a problem, all five of them helped do up my dress while I stopped breathing for 120 seconds, and even though in the last couple of hours I became somewhat… intense, they were nothing but helpful and delightful and loving and fun. 




It's not techincally relevant under a subheading of 'The Dress' but the boys wore lovely grey MJ Bale suits, and we chucked a selection of (fastidiously hand-picked) MJ Bale bow ties and ties at them, which they could choose from on the day, but no fighting or tetching, please. As with the B-maids, I didn't want them all looking exactly the same, like fancy man robots. Hame wore a beautiful suit from a marvelous tailor in Sydney called P.Johnson. Lovely guy, cool shop, fantastic slobbery bulldog called Hector.



These were absolutely intended to be the star of the show, and they were. I love flowers, always have them scattered through the house. They make a room instantly look elegant, exciting, happy, and can transform a sour mood in seconds. I grew up in a home with a garden brimming with special, exotic plants, vegetables and flowers, and mum always took time to create little vases full of flowery delights in every room, even the bathroom. I am a huge and vehement believer in the power of flowers to bring joy, so on the most joyful day of your life, why not saturate the scene with them?

Don't like too-perfect, flowers though. Like them as they are naturally, a bit imperfect, a bit wild, surrounded by wily green tendrils and shiny, lush leaves and just doing their own gorgeous thing. Mr Cook was always going to do the flowers for this wedding. He understands exactly the allure and beauty of cheeky, colourful, haphazard arrangements, and I knew he would do a brainbendingly good job.

Which he did. He made the whole wedding look as fun and bright and gorgeousas I'd hoped. And he REALLY nailed it with the huge floral heart, which features in 96% of photos from the day, and with good reason. (I must give credit to dear friends and valuable team members Abbi and Trin for the heart idea – they had a huge, red heart accompany them during their wedding ceremony, which lit up with Hollywood makeup lights, and then became a centrepiece of their reception dancefloor. Splendid.)

Senor Cook of course also did my bouquet ("Soft pink and peachy peonies and David Austins, please Sean") and the colourful, simple, floppy, gorgeous corsages for the girls' wrists.







As mentioned 3000 words earlier in this opus, the foundation of our wedding was the desire for a long table feast. A short ceremony in front of our big floral loveheart, and then some drinks and canapes in the sun while we nicked off for half an hour of photos, then a long table feast faintly for dinner. It was meant to be a long lunch originally, before we realised why no one has lunches – people need time to travel/get ready/tame their eyebrows. And so, everything else sort of shimmied into place around this basic plan. My dream was for the dinner to be under the stars, all warm breeze and millions of candles and fairy lights/lanterns and unicorns braying gently in the neighbouring fields, but have you ever noticed how weather is a total prick and you can't count on it? 

So, we ended up with marquees. One small, adorable one acting as a kind of chapel for our guests during the ceremony, and one big boy for the long table. I say this like it was an easy and obvious decision, but it WAS NOT. I had seven weather websites saved on my phone and several more on my laptop, and checked them several times a day the fortnight leading up to the day. They were like teenage girls, these websites – none ever agreed with each other, and they changed their mind around nine times a day, or hour, depending on the site. (Plus, they listened to far too much One Direction.) 




Four days out my wedding planner – Kerri Sharp (an event manager with Lovell Management), a fantastic, intelligent, thoughtful, reassuring, hardworking, gorgeous creature who I recommend with vigorous nodding and both thumbs up and a wide smile; nothing was too big or small a task for her, and she was so on top of everything that I could just sit around smoking cigars and sketching Australian flora as I am wont to do – called me and told me today was the day we had to make the call about the marquees, and gently reminded me if we didn't, we didn't really have a contingency plan for wet weather. So I said yes. You pay in advance whether you use them or not, which annoyed me, but OH HEAVENS TO BETSY, BRIAN AND BEVERLY am I relieved we had them. (If you find yourself in my position ever, for the love of strapless bras, get the marquees. There are enough dingin' things to think about on your Day of Days without stressing on hourly precipitation levels.)

It didn't rain, and it wasn't the warmest day, but that wasn't even why I am glad we had them – they created a sense of closeness, of occasion, and kept everyone grouped and cosy. It made everything feel more … together, it created a specific area for the ceremony, and dinner, and then dancing, which, when you are saturating your guests with margaritas, champagne, wine and espresso martinis, you kind of need, because they are prone to bouts of high-energy rampaging and delirious wandering.

Also, and this is probably the main reason I ended up loving my Ivory Glamour Tents, they were styled to perfection. We had sweet white wooden pews in the ceremony for people to sit on, a little barrel bar for cocktails earlier, and single malts and cheese platters later, and in the main tent, red and pink flowers bellowing cheerfully from every inch of the table and curtains, a mix of cut glass vases and loads of candles, beautiful chairs (Hame and I had a fancy white cane loveseat – part of a set I found on gumtree and Kerri repainted, we used two of the chairs for the signing table – everyone else had plain chairs at dinner because that's all they deserve) and the star of the day, our floral loveheart hanging from the roof. 






The clever rascals behind this visual smogasbord were Kerri, her awesome husbo Gaz, Sarah-Jane Sturtees (stylist) and of course, Mr Cook. I had told them roughly what I wanted, the basic feel of it being colourful, elegant, country-ish-but-not-twee and view-heavy, ('creative director', I liked to call myself in the privacy of my own head) but didn't see any of it til I arrived as a bride, and I was thrilled to the power of utter and heartfelt delight. Lucky me. What a team. What a bloody team.

Other little elements from the event that had me waking up at 3.08 am for many nights in its lead up include:

  • Hiring two brilliant latin American guitarists playing throughout the evening (and an acoustic of Dust in The Wind as I walked towards Hame
  • A celebrant who wasn't a drongo or who used weddings as a chance to explore their frustrated musical theatre/stand up comedy talents. Found one in Jessie Cacchillo, who was fantastic and young and fun and looked terrific in canary yellow
  •  Ensuring we organised sliders, fries and Snickers ice cream bars for soakers at midnight so people weren't too pissed, and people who were too excited to eat their dinner ("me") had a second shot at sustenance
  • Asking our dear mums to perform readings from children's books, You by Stephen Michael King, and I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg during the ceremony, because we think children's books, and indeed animated children's movies (See: Up, Wall-E) do an excellent job of simplyfying and condensing the idea of love, and, well, we are kind of children


  • Getting a remote-control photobooth inside the little homestead that hosted the wedding sorted, because everyone does these days, but being an enormous fan of dynamic jump shots, I added a mini-tramp into the mix, and everyone bounced their way through their shots, giggling and occasionally holding small chalkboards with (usually) inappropriate messages written on them. I haven't seen these shots yet but cannot WAIT
  • Wedding gifts in the shape of pewter goblets with a special regal name engraved on them for people to use during the wedding, (after all, who wouldn't want a fancy drinking cup with Baron Michael Von Wipfli, or Empress Marie of Greece or Grand Lord Davo Foster or Sir Hayden Guppy The Brave on it? No one wouldn't, that's who) which we bought online from England. We also gave everyone little care packs in their room with the program, Berocca, Panadol, Twix cookies care of Chantelle/Fat Mum Slim (told you she understood chocolate bar baking) mints and a CD of songs from our time together. I know that sounds naff, but only because it definitely is
  • Organising a sunny picnic brunch for The Morning After. Everyone was, weirdly, a lot less rambunctious than when we saw them dancing to Ol' Dirty Bastard (much) earlier that morning, but the spread laid down – bacon and egg rolls, fluffy ricotta pancakes, fresh fruit and nuclear strength coffee – injected enough animation into them for them to remember to appreciate our 'Just Married Him/Her' t-shirts, which I commissioned Marc Jacobs to make for us.* 


Finally, because if I've had enough wedding chat for today, I know you have already closed your laptop and are staring into the fridge wondering about the dinner eligibility of Greek yoghurt with a tablespoon of honey, our 'first dance' was a magic performance. We went through many different permeations of what we wanted to do as our first act as man and wife, but doing a bit of (absolutely mindblowing!!!!!!) magic – a true collaboration – trumped. In a controversial twist, Hame was my sexy assistant and I was the commanding, showstopping, slightly pissed illusionist. The finale saw me putting 10 swords through Hame's head, which was encased in a wooden box. I daren't reveal how it was done, lest we lose our membership to The Magic Castle, but suffice to say he made it out alive, and we've already booked a season in Vegas.


Jesus. I'm spent. Enough for today. But! Hair and makeup still to come. And anything else I have forgotten! Like, I don't know, the type of grass we said our vows on and stuff!


*This is a lie.

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