This is Zoe’s Blog


How to pack for a beach holiday with a baby.

It’s easier than packing for a beach holiday with a pet tiger, I suppose, but there’re still some challenges. And by challenges, I mean: suitcase space. Once I’d packed all of his stuff, I just squeezed in one sandal and a swimsuit for me.

It’s different depending on the baby’s age, obviously. This time last year we went to Europe for a month and all we really needed to pack was some clothes, a few colourful, rattly toys and my boobs.

This time he was 13 months old, eating normal food and wanes of toys in 20 seconds. And so, here’s how we chilly Melbourne cats packed for our magic trip to the Maldives with our teeny, non-verbal little buddy:

What I packed for baby

Swim pants (I prefer these over swim nappies, although I packed a few swim nappies too) plus a full body UV 50 rashie/swimsuit because sunscreening a baby is about as easy as pushing toothpaste back into the tube. (I like the Babes in the Shade ones as they’re cute and don’t feature angry animated sharks.) Sandals and walking shoes, a wide brim UV 50 hat with chin cord, and a cap. Assorted shorts and t-shirts and onesies… enough for one outfit a day and a few spares. (Special nod to Pure Baby’s little summer onesies.) I packed several Bonds Wondersuits because we adults had the air con at night, so these PJs ensured he’d stay warm.

Read the rest of this piece on Expedia, whom I wrote it for because I’ve tricked them into thinking I know heaps about travel, here.

Read about when to use the word ‘whom’ and when to use ‘who’ here.


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Gained a baby, lost my curls.

I’ve Googed it, and it’s a thing: you can lose your curls when you have a baby.

For a while I was in denial. I couldn’t believe that my curly hair had just racked off for ever. No more waves. No more bounce. No more texture. Just hair that was foreign to me: straight (but not the good straight – limp straight), thin, lank and completely unresponsive to the products and styling that used to boss it around so perfectly. Every morning it felt like I had used a super heavy conditioning treatment the night before.



My pre-baby hair.

Baffled, I began to idiotically point fingers at the Bhave keratin smoothing treatment I had just before I had Sonny, in May 2014.  I emailed the lovely crew at Bhave in December, frustrated with the weird wig on my head.

Keep in mind that Bhave, like all keratin treatments, is temporary, and washes out in about three months, so I was really going out on a limp little limb of feasibility here:

“Ummm guys, the keratin seems to really love my hair… it is hanging about and making my hair flat and lank and heavy? I’m confused and wondering what you might advise? I keep cutting my hair shorter in the hope it will grow out…”

Also keep in mind I am a dingus and had no idea what was really going on and they were very polite despite the fact that what I was suggesting was impossible.

They sent me their prep shampoo which would strip the keratin out… but by then I had:

A)  Waltzed into Edwards and Co and had a big snip because I thought that would definitely stop the problem, and,

B) Been educated on said trip to Edwards and Co about what pregnancy hormones do to hair texture.

In short: they really fuck with them.


The Big Snip. God it felt good. Like a re-birth after being in the baby fog for six months. Highly recommend it.

Oh yes, we all know about gaining hair as we grow the baby, and losing it once we stop breastfeeding it, but what of the texture change? WHAT OF THE TEXTURE CHANGE?

I’m not the first mum to notice a complete change of hair, nor are big hormonal hair changes a new phenomenon: I had a friend at school who had straight hair until 13 and then it went bonkers corkscrew curly. It was fantastic. She was impossibly beautiful. It all just worked. Ditto the boy who had the opposite: wild curls until high school and then just, nothing. Simple, straight, normal hair. I think he was relieved.

I understand now that hormones mess with the shape of the follicle, (shape determines curly or straight hair), and babies are completely worth it, but it is annoying. It’s as though I am starting again after decades of knowing and understanding my texture and unique hair idiosyncrasies. I am supposed to be an expert in beauty and hair and shit, but now have the styling skills of a salmon, and hair that is way too much work.



My post-baby straight, floppy hair. And the cute little culprit. (Maybe all my curls went into his mega curl.)

I have bought a new curling tong, and cleared out my entire styling kit, (especially all the curl boosting stuff, the heavy creams, the frizz fighting stuff, the oils, and the straightening balms), now relying on volume boosting mousse and texture sprays and volume powder to try and mimic the old natural texture and grip (oh man is grip something I took for granted: now nothing holds in my stupid slippery hair: not curls, not waves, not styles, not bobby pins, not nothing. I may as well have hair that is made of washing up detergent.) I don’t use conditioner, it’s way too heavy, (I use R+Co One Prep Spray instead which protects against heat styling and gives some grip and texture) and I have an unhealthy reliance on my poor hair stylist Lauren to product some texture, any texture, with highlights and crafty cutting. I am several postcodes from wash and go, in fact I am in the next country.

Perhaps it’s karma for complaining about my curls since I was a zygote.

For having it permanently straightened.

For using ghds daily for two years straight when I was 24.

Some say the curls will come back, that it can take up to 18 months. Some say my next pregnancy might swing me back the other way. And some* say curls are for dumdums anyway.

I say Sonny owes me some godamn curls and he’s not getting any pocket money til they’re back.


Here are some links on this topic: here’s an NPR one, an anecdotal one, and a forum one.
Here are some links not on this topic: frog spirit animals, a very funny film clip, and delicious peanut butter mug cake.

*No one.


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My fave picks from Clinique, Revlon, L’Oreal…

So many brand.

So many product.

Sometimes you just want to know which is The Golden One.


I am a BIG, LOUD, CAPS LOCKY champion of Clinique makeup. I think they do a fantastic job of colour, and are completely underrated because everyone focuses on their skin care, (yknow, chubbies aside). My pick of their current range is Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer, which I saw getting amazing press and had to try because I am a sucker for hype just like you. It’s full coverage, quite thick in fact, (you need only a wee bit; try mixing in some BB if you need more spread. I tend not to use the wand applicator, but apply onto fingers then face) but radiant (something you usually only get in sheer formulas.) And it lasts.

It covers pigmentation beautifully AND acts as a formidable undereye concealer, which is one of its selling points, yes, but generally speaking foundation-and-concealer in one is a terrible idea because the skin is so different (in texture and tone) on the eye area compared to the rest of the face. However, in this case, it’s an unterrible idea, because the eye area is beautifully concealed, and not at all crepey or dry. I care less about my smile lines these days (more comfortable in my skin as I age? Nah. Just less time to worry about shit like that.)

Please note: The shades are darker than you think. Test before buy.



Revlon make some outstanding foundations and lip/eye products (such as my favourite orange lip product: Colorstay Lip Balm Stain in Rendezvous) but it’s the Revlon Brow Fantasy I am back in love with at the moment: a simple, old school brow pencil and gel in one. Even though I have dark hair, I use the dark blonde as it lacks the red undertones you often get in brunette/brown shades. I also love the Revlon Colorstay Brow Liner, which is waxy and high pigment, but far from foolproof, unfortunately.

(Special nod to the Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer + Brightener, which is meant to be a kind of Touché Éclat eye illuminator, but my preferred application is all over the eyelids to conceal all the veins and redness, and make the eye seem super bright and awake. It’s a good primer for shadows, but worn alone you get this super fresh, youthful natural look.)



I’m a crazed fool for BB and CC creams, so was happy to discover Rimmel’s BB Cream Radiance while in a bit of a BB-CC rut lately. It is the perfect lo-fi daily coverage for those who need a bit more than BB cream or a tinted moisturiser, but still want to look fresh. (This is not a matte finish. Matte is not for me. I will never write up anything matte cos I have dry, not oily, skin, and also matte once said I couldn’t dance and I will never forgive him.)

Rimmel BB Cream radiance



Their BB cream is diamonds, but it’s their tinted brow gel I’m into right now, the Brow Artist Plumper. It’s far more natural/subtle a look than pencils/waxes/powder etc, and ideal for when your brows are already tinted, say, (or not too gappy) and you just want to groom them with a touch of tint. It’s way less pigmented and thick than Mac’s Brow Fix, (read: less room for error), and I use the xxx shade on its own for get-out-the-door face, or to finish expertly filled in brows when I have more time. I like how it allows me to have the brushed-up, Olsen-Twins bushy look, which is hard to get with pencils and spoolies. Oh and hey, wipe the brush off before you apply, mate, or risk globs and mess.

Loreal-Brow Artist plumper



A cheeky little brand that makes cracking products for about 1/400th of the price of So Many Others, I usually have at least one FOC product kicking around in my kit. (Did I just use the word ‘kit’? What, I think I’m a makeup artist now? What a dickhead.) I particularly like their powder blush in Primrose, which is ‘known’ in makeup and beauty blog circles. It looks a bit intense and shimmery in the compact, but is in fact wildly flattering (I have olive but relatively pale skin). It’s a rosy, ‘I’m blushing’ flush of pink, with a subtle sheen but very HIGHLY pigmented, so for the love of Liam Hemsworth, use a quality blush brush (I use the Bobbi Brown blush brush because of the dome top) and go easy.



In this photo I did a bit of a mixy mixy thingo with most of the above products, and wore a cosy wool sweater because winter. I am wearing Rimmel Radiance BB cream all over, Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer under the eyes and blended over pigment on cheeks and forehead, L’Oreal Brow Artist Plumper in Dark Brunette over brow shadow, and the Face Of Australia Powder Blush in Primrose. (On my eyes it’s just mascara and Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer + Brightener. No shadow. That ‘liner’ you see on the lashline is a smudge of mascara. So profesh.)




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Your ultimate guide to Queenstown.

[This was originally posted on Expedia, cos I am their blogging Travel King, although weirdly they refuse to call me by my proper title or send me the crown I asked for. ]

Until a few years ago, I’d never been to New Zealand. No real desire to, either. I figured it would be like Australia, but, you know, colder. What a goose.

But in 2010 my husband filmed a feature film on the South Island, and I went along to write a novel without the distractions of friends/shopping/Sydney/reliable internet. It wasn’t long before we escaped the ‘bustling metropolis’ that is Invercargill, ahem, and headed to Queenstown. The attraction was instant and profound; this is a remarkable, astonishingly beautiful slice of the earth. Queenstown is now my favourite place in the world and we now head over there a few times a year.


My spiel to Aussies who are yet to endure the grueling 2-3 hour flight over there goes something along the lines of: OH BUT YOU REALLY MUST. Queenstown and its surrounds has the most breathtaking scenery you can imagine: aquamarine lakes set against jagged, snowcapped mountains and rolling hills, plus outstanding dining, beautiful hikes, world-class wines, every ridiculous physical extreme activity you can imagine (read: good for kids or daredevils) and five-star snow fields.

My more specific spiel is as follows:


Queenstown sits in the Otago region, which produces arguably the best Pinot Noir in the world. While there are several billion excellent wineries to visit, I recommend Amisfield Winery (book in for lunch and pray for sun so you can sit outside and soak up the surrounds) and definitely buy some wine and have it shipped home before you leave, and also Gibbston Winery, who make award-winning Pinot Noir but also some of the very best chardonnay you can guzzle, and serve a fantastic lunch also.



To be fair, each season is as good as the next in Queenstown. Winter brings snow and sees this resort town heaving with funseekers from all over the world, Spring and Summer are picture perfect and ideal for hikers and bike heads, but Autumn is magic. Never have you seen such vivid colour (and such a spectrum of colour). Your best vantage point is in the beautiful little goldmining settlement of Arrowtown, around 20 minutes out of Queenstown, where you should take one million photos and keep an eye out for international car advertisements being shot on the winding, tree-lined streets.


It’s a secret foody go-to spot of ours. We love the breakfast and lunch at Chop Shop, and some early evening tapas at La Rumbla, and never miss a chance to pig on at the award-winning Saffron for lunch or dinner. (Get the curry or forever regret it.) A flick at Dorothy Brown afterwards with some wine and cheese is the perfect full stop.


Queenstown offers some exceptional dining options. It must! It spends most of the year catering to a well-heeled international crowd who demand good grub. My top pick for a fancy feast is Rata, which is owned by Michelin-starred chef Josh Emmet, and which is probably the most ‘fine dining’ option available. Next would be Botswana Butchery, which does the most succulent lamb shoulder for two on earth, and offers a warm, relaxed, dining-in-someones-house, feel. It’s perfect for a group dinner since they have private rooms, and it can’t be beat on a sunny day for a lunch outside overlooking Lake Wakatipu. (Start with Peking duck; finish with local cheeses.) Some other favourites are Madam Woo, which has a Sydney/Melbourne vibe, and offers hawker style Chinese/Malaysian food in a chic, modern restaurant (start with an Asian-style cocktail and prawn dumplings then definitely order the chicken roti hawker roll), and finally, there is VKnow, which is five minutes out of town and which does some of the most exceptional homemade Italian pizza and pasta you can imagine coupled with an outstanding wine list. The best breakfast in Queenstown is at Vudu, and it goes without staying (but not writing, apparently) that you must try a burger from the world-famous Fergburger. Queue too long? Grab a pie (and a Boston bun) from the Fergbaker next door instead. Deeeelicious.



There are two main ski areas in Queenstown: Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, which are open mid-June to October-ish. Coronet Peak, (depending on weather conditions/icy roads) is a much gentler and more pleasant way to get your snow fix (and better for kids) than The Remarkables, which a bit more serious, and which can only be accessed by a hair-raising road brimming with hairy cliff drop offs.

Image 9



You know… the Bungy jumping, the skydiving, the helicopter rides, the parasailing, the paragliding, the gondola up to the luge, the mountain bike riding, the Shotover Jet… all the things. This is an adventure town, after all.


Queenstown is home to numerous tramps and hikes. This is New Zealand, land of walking/biking/camping, after all! Try a three or four day hike like the Routeburn Track, which traverses the magnificent Southern Alps, or the Milford Track within the movie-set beauty of Milford Sound. For those who want a quick hit, try the fierce incline of Queenstown Hill (the views are worth it, and you will really earn your Fergburger), or the Moonlite Track, which is as long as you want it to be, and kicks off at Arthur’s Point, five minutes out of Queeny, or a stroll around Lake Hayes, which is scenic and gentle.



Any ski town must offer decent massage options; all those poor snow battered bodies need desperate TLC. My pick is either Le Spa at Sofitel, (ask for RiRi if possible), who offer excellent deep tissue massages, and also a fantastic pregnancy massage should you happen to need one, or else make a trip to the spa at Millbrook and watch bunnies hop by a stream as you wait for your treatment to begin.


Have five! You’ve earned it with all that walking and skiing and that, uh, massage. I love standing by the hearth at Bunker or Bardeaux (both in town) with an Old Fashioned or a Martinez to cap off a night.


From the superluxe Matakauri Bay (Prince Willy and Katie stayed here), or the cosy, luxurious comfort of Azure, (both ten minutes out of town), to the boutique feel of Eichardt’s Private Hotel or The Spire (perfectly positioned in town) to the English countryside elegance of Millbrook in Arrowtown, to the familiar names like The Sofitel or The Novotel, there are options for every budget, taste, or group size in Queenstown.

From backpackers to grimy teenage snowboarders to families and honeymooners and the superwealthy, private jet folk, Queenstown caters to everyone. It really is the best holiday you’ve never been on. GO.


 Expedia’s blog has four zillion great travel articles. Read some, why don’t you?
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The baby stuff we use a LOT.

You buy and you try a lot of shit when you have a baby. It’s a confusing, expensive, strange new world, not least because the baby changes entirely every few minutes and you need to upgrade your tech and also your brain and habits and routines and life accordingly.

Alas, despite the furious speed in which our fun little son insists on developing, and his desire to “keep growing,” this is the shit we have really REALLY used. I wish I had this list before I had Sonny, because as you know, I live for recommendations, and wander the streets confused and scared without them.

It doubles, I suppose, as a list for those needing to buy something for someone about to have a baby.

A bottle drying station

This is great for drying off bottles and dummies and stuff, but also a magnificent wine glass drying station. Anything Boon we own – plates, bowls, bath toys, original bathtub before he grew out of it at about 10 days old – is intelligently and practically designed and fun to look at. They are some of my favourite things in a company/life.



Terry towelling bath support thingy

We came too late to the party on this, using our slippery, stupid, panicked, incompetent hands for weeks before I bought this funny little tezzo towel ramp for Sonny to lay on and own bath time like the boss he is. Made bath time a lot easier and a lot less scary. We used it until he could sit up competently.




White noise

White noise is a powerful sleep cue for Sonny. I first learned about it while reading about the 5 S’s in The Happiest Baby On The Block. (That was about as far as I got before I threw it and the seven other baby books in a huge fictional bonfire because they were doing my head in. The 5 S’s though, I think they work.) Sonny has white noise on for every nap and all night. Just lightly, about the volume of a shower. I used to literally use ‘white noise’, until I realized the aggressive hissing was making me FUCKING INSANE. I switched to ocean waves on this cute whale sound machine, which was far more calming. We usually pack Whale with us when we travel, or I just use my iPad in flight mode with the White Noise app. (The app is by TM Soft, to help you find it on app store, cos there are a tonne of shitty ones). Whale also has projections, which we reserve for night time to dazzle him as we try to put his wriggly, porcine, delicious frame in his PJS after bath time and he wants to be about 10 metres away, playing with something like a power socket or pair of scissors.




My friend Bron gave me this plush baby mat at my baby shower. “It’s ugly as fuck but God it’s useful,” she said. BOY WAS SHE RRRRITE. We used it the day he came home from hospital as a little mat, and are still using it now he’s one. (I keep it in the bathroom, he lays on it before and after the bath, giggling and nude and jacked up on heat lights and nudity.) I tell all new parents to get one. So useful.




Love to Dream swaddle suits

If swaddling at 3am in a dark nursery after a feed, a 45-minute burping session and an explosive shit becomes frustrating, jam your darling into these awesome little suits instead. They’re nice and tight so baby feels snug and safe, and they allow their hands to rest safely up high where they want them to be, but without their fingers poking into their eyes and mouth and waking them up. Sonny was in his for every, single, nap from about two weeks old. When the hands became an issue (i.e: he was waking himself up by smacking them into his face) at about three months, we would tuck them down and zip him up. We didn’t bother with the 50/50 suits, we just went straight to a sleeping bag, with a wrap over the top to lock his hands down. Sounds barbaric, but so is being kept awake all night by a confused infant.


JJ Cole change clutch

This little changemat roll thingy has been all around the world with us, it has enabled us to change nappies in the pram, on floors and with a whisper of hygiene in planes. I’m not one for a nappy bag, preferring to instead chuck this into my usual tote. It holds wipes and nappies and I jam some nappy bags in there, and we’re done. I love this godamn change mat wrap thingy.



Como Tomo bottles

Made to be squishy like a boob, these clever, silicone bottles are the only bottle Sonny will use. Fussy little rat. If your baby is a fussy little rat, try the Como Tomo. (They also make brilliant ‘finger’ style teething rings. They are clever company, like Boon.) I give them to as many mums as possible to ‘show them the light.’



Infant’s Friend

From about two weeks old, babies are gassy little monsters. Their digestive system is not very sophisticated yet, and after feeds it can take a lo-o-o-o-ong time to get that burp out, or that wind to pass. Sonny was a sweet, hungry pig and I had a jet like flow so he would always take in a lot of air, which would lead to up to two hours of bicycle legs and massage at 3am and near insanity for all of us. Like all puzzled, deranged new parents we worried it might be reflux, colic etc, but for Sonny it was just gas. Then a fellow mum recommended Infant’s Friend (all natural, buy from the chemist) for the wind, and we started giving it to him, and IT REALLY HELPED. We still use it now before and after flights and to calm him when he’s teething and pissed off.

Baby Bjorn bouncer

I had three friends tell me to buy this; that were was no substitute. I agree I agree I agree. Sonny could snooze in there from birth, and then, as he got bigger, I propped it against the couch and he used his feet to push off and bounce himself, squealing with delight. That this would give me a precious 20 mins of emailing or laundry or pole dancing; whatever Mum Stuff I needed to do.


Bonds Wondersuits

As ‘clothes’ up until about seven months, then as ‘PJs’ when he began to look a bit ridiculous in a tight all-in-one in public. We didn’t understand that the arms and legs fold over to make socks or mittens until Sonny was about a month old, which is embarrassing, but worth revealing if it helps others.

Dots wondersuit

Baby Bjorn travel cot light

Not the cheapest travel cot, but since we travel A LOT, I could justify it. Other great reasons to justify it: It folds up instantly into a tiny suitcase (6kg), it’s a cinch to pack and unpack, it’s super safe, and there is loads of ventilation. It’s a ripper.


GAIA Natural Baby Powder

All organic, made from cornstarch, and known in our house as The Great Eczema stopper. We slightly panic when we run out of it. A lot of people make their own, but we um, don’t, because we’re us.

 A thick piece of black material

Just from spotlight. We use this to black out the window in Sonny’s room so it’s completely dark and he is not woken by 5am sunlight, we use it and some gaffa tape to keep light out of the bassinet on international flights (and also to cover windows in hotel rooms), and we use it over the pram when we want him to sleep (also usually when travelling.) It’s the best $4 we ever spent. This photo is the material attached (very stylishly) to the blind in Sonny’s room while we were in NZ. Please do a better job than us of this.



I can’t think of anything else right now, but am hoping that other mums will add their essentials, and then we’ll have this sensational directory of Very Useful Baby Stuff, because if anyone needs some help and direction as to what will make life easier, it’s new parents.

Sloths also need some help and direction, I imagine, because they are slow and finding food and shelter would take AGES, but I’m just focusing on new parents for now.

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Event beauty preparation.

These are the people, the treatments and the shortcuts involved in my Logies preparation this year. You can easily use a similar approach for your wedding day, 40th, or cincoanera.

You will note the absence of Flaky Jim’s Skin Palace. This is for good reason. NO MORE, JIM. It’s over.


As I have mentioned more times than can possibly be interesting, my chief skin concern is hyperpigmentation. I am about to stop breastfeeding, and hoping that the final remnants of the hormonal pigmentation will fuck off when that happens, but that said, I get it regardless of cute babies I make. So, I used the Logies as an excuse to do something about it and improve my skin in general.

I will do longer post on the treatment I’ve been having, DermaFrac, for the last couple of months, because IT IS ACTUALLY WORKING, but the headlines are:

  • I have it every 2-3 weeks at Me Skin and Body in South Yarra
  • It takes 40 mins because I skip the dermabrasion bit, I just have a lactic peel, micro-needling and the LED
  • There is no downtime, and it has really broken up my pigmentation and brightened my skin tone. (This is my goal. Wrinkles are fine, it’s the uneven skin tone that annoys me.)
  • It’s not inflammatory like lasers or IPL, which can actually make my pigmentation flare up.

In the final two weeks I had my beloved Omnilux LED lamp (at Duquessa, in Carlton) for a criminal amount of plumpness and glow. I always recommend this to women getting married when they ask, “what should I do with my face?”, because your skin will look heavenly under makeup, IRL and forever and always in the photos. I had four sessions over two weeks, the last one on the day before the Logies.

I have been using Cosmedix Simply Brilliant followed by Go-To Face Hero for super nourishment and antioxidants, followed by  a physical sunscreen in the AM, and SkinMedica Lytera follwed by Face Hero and then Go-To Very Useful Face Cream at night.

Here is my skin with no makeup just before my skin with lots of makeup. All the pigmentation on my forehead and the top of my cheekbones is so light and scattered now. (Clear eyes care of Omnilux. No juice cleanses here.)

*Usually I would have a light AHA peel before two of these lamp sessions, but because there is a lactic peel as part of Dermafrac, I just have a cleanse, the 20 minute lamp then buzz off.




I’m currently the Hypoxi ambassador, which means I get to do AS MUCH HYPOXI AS I LIKE. I would be a total dickhead not to use this magical goldpass before an event where I am wearing a fitted dress, so I have been going as often as I can. I use the HDC machine for lymphatic drainage, then the s120 to help fluid retention and tone up. I also walk a lot and do a bit of half-arsed Kayla Itsines at home on the rug while Sonny heckles me about my wussy handweights. (I still have a hip injury, so can’t do the cardio maniac training I used to love.)

I had the delightful Karla from Brown Bodies come to my home to do a St Tropez spray tan two days before the event. This seemed a very convenient option, except that Sonny WAILED LIKE A GODAMN BANSHEE the entire time (scared of the noise? My underwear choice?) and I had to keep popping out of the tent, and running to him and leaping over the baby gate in nothing but my tarty spray tan g-string (I shudder to think of the view poor Karla had) to soothe him without actually touching him, because that would mess up the tan. Not one of my finest moments. The tan was gorgeous, though.


When I have events or MC duties or photoshoots I call on my cherished hair and makeup sausage, Laura Gilham. She knows what I like, she’s fast and I always book her months in advance so she can do me on Logies day. It calms me knowing she will do something great, and that we will have fun, and that when I say a browny-mauve smoky eye she gets it, and that she knows I NEED a dewy complexion, and matte is the devil and that my length hair is tricky to fingerwave.

I chose fingerwave-esque hair because the dress was so clean and modern in the end, that my slicked down tucked behind the ears look I was going to have was wrong. That look suited a more floaty, romantic dress, but as the dress became more simple, I needed to add some excitement. Hence, the waves.

(This is far too close up. I looked way better from across the room.)


There is no need to have your “own” hair and makeup artist, of course (but if you go to a lot of events, the convenience of them coming to you can be worth it and it becomes far less wanky than you might imagine) you can shimmy into a salon and get your hair done beautifully, (I recommend Edwards and Co because they excel at naturally glamorous hair) then go to a counter like Chanel, Napoleon, MAC or Bobbi Brown for your makeup. Take references for both hair and makeup so there’s no guess work and no tears. Also a photo of you in your dress so they can see the colour and neckline.


I got a $20 manicure using OPI’s So many clowns… so little time. Bubble Bath is too pink on my olive skin, and Samoan Sand can look a little almondy sometimes; this is the perfect sheer, milky-ivory-beige.


I mostly just made sure they didn’t get knocked out and were clean.


I was very lucky to have Mr Magic Gown Steven Khalil (he did my wedding dress, and also a previous Logies get up) make me a frock for the night, and even MORE lucky to have a gown that involved no Hollywood tape, no boning, no corsetry, nothing too clingy, and no cleavage spill. It was comfortable, easy to wear and I felt fucking tip top. This is not normal for such an event. Maybe I’m getting older but I can’t be arsed with severe discomfort in the name of fashion anymore.


I wore vintage Art Deco jewels from Keshett, which I loved. I went black as a nod to the belt. As usual no clutch because I am likely to get it wrong, so my husband just puts my lipstick and phone in his garter.

Keshett Jewellery

Here is said husband, and the reason I am even at the Logies, the handsome, funny, adorable, Logie-winning, Gap Yearing wildman himself, Mr Hamish ‘The Bachelor’ Blake.

He really is my dream date: fun, hilarious, cute and GREAT at finding me sliders and fries at the after party.


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My New York City list.

In my role as Grand Priestess of Travel Writing for Expedia (they are still to formally agree to this title) I was asked to write my ‘must do’ list for New York City.

Of course, tell anyone you’re going to New York City and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I must give you my list.’ This is BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS A LIST and they are all supposedly “really good and different”.

So here’s my list. It’s really good and different!

I make no apology that 80% of the recommendations are food based. New York IS food.

Get joyful in Harlem

Red Rooster in Harlem is on a lot of people’s lists (their fried chicken is justly famous), but if you can, book Sunday brunch at Ginny’s Supper Club downstairs, and be treated to BRAINBENDINGLY uplifting live gospel music (I may have cried with joy, a hangover from my Sister Act 2 obsession) and a buffet that includes fried chicken on waffles with syrup. Add mimosas and there might not be a better Sunday.


Pig out at Shackshack.

The ‘shack is said to have the finest cheeseburger and fries on the planet, a claim strenuously backed by me. Ignore the calories. Have a peanut butter shake. Grab a red wine and make a meal of it. Regret nothing!


Buy tickets for something.

Go to a basketball game or concert at Madison Square Garden. See a Broadway show. See an off-Broadway show and wish you didn’t. Watch some stand up at The Comedy Store. (Get there EARLY.) See an exhibition uptown at the Met. Even if it’s just one thing and you shop the other five days, do it.


Read the rest of the article here.

But not here.

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How I get textured, second-day hair on a short bob.

Guys, I won’t lie, it’s taken me a bit of bloody perfecting to get this right – I put this down to the fact my hair has COMPLETELY CHANGED TEXTURE SINCE HAVING A TINY BABY – but that’s for another post/century.

Pic: Jennifer ‘T & A” Stenglein


I’m working with hair that is:

  • A total bitch
  • Fine
  • Flat
  • Slippery
  • Lank
  • Short

Which I wish was:

  • Full of volume
  • F-d up
  • Messy
  • Gritty
  • Textured
  • Dirty
  • Movey… as opposed to wavy. Almost straight, but full of body, with a soft wave. (I flick it over from side to side, real ’80 style, so curls don’t work.)

So. I get a real good cut at Edwards and Co every 3-4 weeks. Also a colour. (I see either Monsieur Jaye Edwards himself, Melvin Royce Lane, or Lauren Mackellar, they are all EXCELLENT and I trust them implicitly.) My natural hair without bleach in it is a floppy, flat mess. I get the ends razored so the bob doesn’t look TV Newsreader/too perfect/daggy.

I wash with a volume shampoo like Redken Body Full Shampoo to remove all product and start the scaffolding of volume. Then I wash again to actually clean the hair and scalp. No conditioner. My hair can’t handle it at the moment. Buzz off, conditioner! I heard you were a snitch anyway.

On damp hair, I spray some kind of volume boosting, body-boosting, fullness product all over. This might be L’Oréal Professionnel Volume Lift Spray, which is lightweight and has a targeted nozzle and which I love, or it might be Kevin Murphy BODY.MASS, and not just cos the bottle looks great, don’t be so godamn shallow.

Kevin Murphy BODY.MASS

Then I blast dry with my beloved bright orange Parlux 385, of which there is no comparison, either hand drying the hair (no nozzle on the hairdryer), or (using the nozzle now), brushing the hair in every direction, across, over, both sides, with my Denman Styling brush, of which there is also no comparison. This creates more volume. More air in the hair.


I then go to bed. I never tong freshly washed hair. It sucks. Hair needs to be a bit lived in so the curl will hold.

Next morning, it’s about shaping the hair. Not curling. Shaping.


Wake up, take something “gooey” and thickening and run it through the hair, all over, to give the hair movement and thickness and a mild ‘wetness’, like Kevin Murphy UN.DRESSED. (Your chap’s matte texture clay could even work here, esp from the mid-lengths to the ends.)


I spray in setting spray, like Matrix Thermal Active Setting Spray, then I use either the ghd Curve Creative Curl wand, (I like the tapered barrel for haphazard, I-woke-up-like-this waves), or my beloved Babyliss curling tong. With longer hair, you can afford to leave ends off the styler, to create beachy, lazy waves. With my length, it’s better to get those ends on that styler/tong, because leaving the ends out looks so ’90s and crunchy. So I wrap from the mid lengths to the ends of the hair for approx. 8.04 seconds, then I remove wand, and I tug and pull at the bottom of just-curled sections so loosen up the wave and make it straighter.

ghd Creative curl Wand

Then I let it set. Curls and waves only set when they are stone cold. No touchy til then. (Maybe a light mist of Bumble and bumble Spray de Mode, but that’s it.) Being fine, my hair demands I go easy on the finishing products. (It also demands pikelets for breakfast, but is less victorious in that respect.)

After 10 mins or so, I go through the hair with a wide tooth comb, to make waves blend, and to soften them up.

Then a light dusting of volume powder (Evo Haze, for instance) all over the top of the head, massaged into the scalp, for grit and to zap any remaining floppiness. I run fingers through and mess around with it a lot to get the shape right.

IF I STILL FIND IT TOO WAVY: I spray some sea salt spray lightly over the hair and blast hair dryer on high heat over it for 30 seconds. This will straighten it, but maintain texture.

I add more volume powder and dry shampoo each day for about three days, when the hair finally looks utterly perfect for about six minutes… then it’s time to wash again.

It’s definitely a dirtier, more product-ier is better hair style. I miss lazy top-knots, but I feel WAY more me with short hair.

And remember: the shorter the hair, the shorter the hemline. YEEEEEEEEEW!


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Sometimes you just want someone to tell you which pram to get.

I bloody did.

I asked EVERYONE. (Especially Mr Barry Von Google.)

I got some very detailed and thoughtful responses from friends that are mums, ranging from, “Get the Silvercross Wayfarer, I’ve had a Bugaboo and this is way better,” to “Bugaboo. End of story,” to “Shit, I dunno, I think we have a Phil and Ted and a Mountain Buggy, but honestly it doesn’t matter, they’re just gonna trash it anyway, and they all do the same thing,” to “DEFINITELY a Mountain Buggy, they are amazing,” to “Oh, totally the Baby Jogger, we love ours,” to “Whatever one you choose MAKE SURE YOU CAN ATTACH A CARSEAT.”

I took all of their advice and ended up in a pool of my own sweat and vomit, shivering. Of all the things I obsessed over as a pregnant woman who stayed up too late on her iPad, the pram consumed the most time. (That and the dresser change table. Went with this one. It’s wonderful.)

Next I went to A Big Baby Store and had a play round. What a ridiculous expedition that was. All prams have great suspension and terrific handling on soft vinyl flooring without a baby in them. Plus, no offence to That Big Baby Store but the staff were EXTREMELY EXASPERATING. Any pram I asked about was “really good, people seem to really like it,” and that was the end of it.

But in a way, I guess they’re right. Most prams these days are pretty great. They share a lot of snazzy features and you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a complete lemon. It comes down to what you will use it for, really. Friends of mine just bought the Bugaboo Donkey cos they figure they know they’re having a second baby eventually, why not just cut to the chase? Other friends are mad runners and went for big Mountain Buggy three-wheeler all terrain beast. Others still wanted something tiny and manoeuvrable for their tiny apartment so went for the Stokke.

I’m indecisive at best and crave absolute and definitive recommendations, but had been given none that sat right. The problem was that we live urban day to day but travel a lot. Everywhere. Also, there are a million steps from my carport to the back door of our house, and for me to get a pram in and out of the car, and up those stairs (in the rain, possibly), with a injury and an enormous child each day was about as alluring as a kick in the face.

And so it transpired that we have two prams*. One for the house and daily walks using the front door, and one to keep in my car (and for long trips away that required more than an umbrella stroller) that was easily foldable for a small woman with a messed up hip.

I know. How greedy. But I love my prams equally, and find it difficult to recommend one or the other categorically.

There are a few differences that might sway you either way, (like, er, the price…) should you be in the market for a pram and have as much clue as the president of the No Clue society, like me.

Remember, this is my first child, and I have only really tried these two prams, so if you want reviews and recommendations from a load of mums, mums of five kids, on a load of different prams, there are four million other websites out there for you. But like I said, I love definitive recommendations, not a million choices and reasons and pros and cons.




bugaboo cameleon3

LOOKS Such a good looking pram. Total hunk. I went navy blue, as above. So gorgeous.

NEWBORN APPROPRIATENESS The bassinet, which essentially became Sonny’s daytime bed for the first few months of his life, is magnificent. (His cot was upstairs. Too hard. Too lazy.) We once even, illegally since they’re not meant to sleep in the bassinet for more than 4 four hours at a time, let him sleep in it overnight when we stayed at someone’s house. The mattress is soft and padded and comfy, and you can wheel him around while he’s cosy and rugged up in his totally flatlay bed.

Snug as a bug in a (handknitted with love) rug in his Bugaboo bassinet. This was the scene of most days during the winter of 2014.

Snug as a bug in a (handknitted with love) rug in his Bugaboo bassinet. This was the scene of most days during the winter of 2014.

WHEELS It’s a four-wheeler and a delight to wheel around the streets. Not sure how the wheels would handle a rumbly, rugged walk.

ADJUSTABLE? SO adjustable. You can have baby face you or face out, in three positions of uprightness. (I only just let Sonny face out. It was a sad day.) You can have the little wheels or the big wheels at the front. You can have JUST the big wheels (for thick grass) and pull it along. Everything clicks in and out super easily. The belly bar/carry handle can just swing to one side, rather than needing to take it off. The handle can be raised up or down, which is terrific when you are five foot nada, and your husband is six three. Also, the seat can be pushed right up to the table so make it a high chair. This is great in cafes and most space saving indeed. This is a super mega versatile pramatron.

NAP-ABILITY? Excellent. The seat has three settings, and one is practically flat so Sonny sleeps in it fine, and the sun cover is suuuuper long on this model (Bugaboo had previously been chastised in the past for skimpy sun shades) so it covers him fully and makes it nice and dark.

FOLDABILITY It is very simple to break down and dismantle, and becomes very flat for the boot, but it becomes two pieces, (frame + bassinet/seat) which is a bit of a pain in the arse if you’re flying. There are easier prams to fold down.

WEIGHT Now now, a lady never tells! (Perfectly fine. Light.)

BRAKES Firm as, and up near the handlebar for ease. Strap for the wrist, also. My paranoid self likes this.

We wear a lot of blue in this family. This is a good or bad thing depending on how much you like to match your pram.

We wear a lot of blue in this family. This is a good or bad thing depending on how much you like to match your pram.

STORAGE The basket is a pain in the arse to access when the bassinet is on, but once you evolve to the seat (around four months for us I think) it’s VERY deep and most useful. I think my bike might be in there somewhere. Has drawstrings to keep it all out of view and safe if required.

LIFESPAN? From newborn to four years old.

COSTS Around $1400… depending on bundle and retailer and colour choice etc.





City Mini GT Sand Stone


LOOKS A slick, very compact three-wheeler. Compact is the key word. Cos some three-wheelers are massive. Lovely range of ‘seasonal’ colours. I got the earthy tones of sand stone, above.

NEWBORN APPROPRIATENESS Great, because the seat goes down flat like a business class seat. Or you can attach a bassinet, like the Bugaboo. However. I HIGHLY recommend going down the travel system route while the baby is teeny, which is where you attach your car seat to the pram. We chose the MaxiCosi Mico, (which is exceptional, and suitable for up to 6 months old, but as Sonny is a mega child, we moved to the Maxi Cosi Euro at 4.5 months) and the attachment for the pram, which meant I was able to just clip the carseat out of the car and straight onto the pram without waking Sonny. I think this is a game changer, because for the first three months all they do is sleep, and you want to be able to go visit grandma and get them out of the car and into the house without waking them up. Look into a travel system. Trust me. (This travel system also works with the Bugaboo and lots of prams.)

MOMS OUT FOR THE DAY!! Sonny and Johnny in their carseat travel systems. (Johnny's is on a Mountain Buggy.)

MOMS OUT FOR THE DAY!! Sonny and Johnny in their carseat travel systems. (Johnny’s is on a Mountain Buggy.)

WHEELS It’s got big, tough wheels, great for sludge and snow which we discovered in NYC, and bumpy or rocky roads, which I am discovering over here in NZ. Probably good in sand too, but we are yet to test that because my trip to the Sahara to buy a new camel was cancelled.

ADJUSTABLE? Baby can only face out. (But with the ‘travel system’ when baby is in the car seat, baby faces you.’) Handlebar is adjustable.

NAP-ABILITY? Excellent, for reasons stated above.

FOLDABILITY This is its superpower: a super easy one move fold down. You just yank the strap in the seam of the seat and it folds in half instantly, like MAGIC. Fold down and lift into the car in one step. BANG.

WEIGHT 9.5 kilos, light as.

Sonny in the carseat... which we clicked out of the car and onto the pram (or floor/cafe seat etc.)

Sonny in his carseat… which we clicked out of the car and onto the pram (or floor/cafe seat etc.)

BRAKES Firm as, and up near the handlebar for ease. Strap for the wrist also.

STORAGE Real nice. Deep and with nice stretchy net sides for jamming shopping in.

LIFESPAN? Newborn to 30kg.

The pram was too shy to be in this photo.

The pram was too shy to be in this photo.

DOLLARS Around $699 depending on retailer, bundle etc.


Like I said, both terrific prams. Hopefully this is helpful if you’re paralysed by choice like I was.

If you’re a mum, feel free to yell about your awesome pram in comments, of course.


*I’m embarrassed to admit we actually have three prams, the final being the Mountain Buggy Nano, which is a travel stroller, and awesome for (non-snow, non-rugged terrain) travel, ie, our trip round Europe last September when Sonny was four months old. I will do a post on this later as part of a bigger travel post, but it is sensational, weighs only 6kg, and is like a ‘proper’ pram, not a wiry, airport stroller. The best bit? It fits into overhead storage on flights. “Gosh” is right.


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A rosacea triumph + the Best Feedback Ever.

Occasionally I get real beautiful emails from sweet babes saying they’ve read my books or enjoyed my columns or used my skin care line and had a great time. This never ever gets tired, and always makes me very chuffed. Especially when it’s from Tina Fey or Beyonce or Michelle Obama or whatever.

But every now and again one REALLY stands out, and makes me cry and carry on like a pork chop and read it out to my husband and so on. The below is one such email, which I have reproduced below (with permission) not because it’s so kind towards myself and Go-To, as lovely as that is, but because it inspired me to dare hope that others with redness and rosacea – that wily, impossible wench! – might also get such results and find such joy and renewed confidence.

Hi Zoe and team,

Just wanted to tell you of my amazing life changing week I’ve had thanks to your awesome products. 

On Monday I took the plunge (after reading a few great reviews) and ordered three of your products (Properly Clean, Exfoliating Swipeys and Very Useful Face Cream), Tuesday the packaged arrived (brilliant turn around on postage BTW) which saw me nervously trying your products on Tuesday night.

Why you ask, did I say nervously!!

 My story goes back 15 years as I have long been a sufferer of rosacea which in the last 2 years has gotten worse with the stress of work and uni taking its toll where I have of late refused to go out and show my face and when I do have to go out (for work or uni) I agonisingly walk with my face down to not have so many people see my red face, it’s hard enough being a plus size gal these days but to be a plus size gal with a tomato coloured and shaped face I just seem to attract to many mean stares.   

Anyway so back to Tuesday night, I followed all your quirky instructions and cleansed, exfoliated and moisturised my face, yes the whole hog (I know you say to start slowly and build towards using all the products but I just couldn’t help myself as they smelt and felt so goodJ). By the time bedtime came around I looked at myself in the mirror and thought hmm that’s weird my face is a little tingly on the cheeks (that’s ok) but what I noticed was that I was considerably less red than I have been in years!!  Worried ever so slightly I said a little pray to my higher self and crossed my fingers that all would be ok in the morning and that I would have no reaction to what I have just done… 

Wednesday morning, I leapt out of bed cause I was curious to see what state my face was in, 5.50am turn on the bathroom light and opened my eyes and all that came out of my mouth was a whimper and a free flow of tears came running down my face. THERE WAS NO MORE REDNESS! NO ROSEASA! It was just my pale-skinned round face staring back at me. As you could imagine with the shock and disbelief I was in I called out to my mum to please come to the bathroom as I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. NORMAL SKIN! MY NORMAL SKIN! My mum in a total state of shock could barely speak but what she was able to say was “my darling you look beautiful”! Words I haven’t heard ANYONE say in years…

(This was the part where I cried – Zoe)

To say your products changed my life is just the start of it, since Wednesday morning I look and feel soooooooo different. I feel free and brave to look up and face the world, talk to people and even smile. I feel like I have come back to my old fun self and I can even say I feel beautiful again. No more redness, puffy irritated skin on my face means no more horrible questions like why are you so red?!

Thanks Zoe for doing the years of leg work to get to this point where the product you and your team have created; something so marvellous and wonderful for ones skin is changing not only peoples skin for the better but also (some persons life). From the bottom of my heart thank you.  


I was as amazed at the fast turnaround as you, trust me. I of course replied to Renee and thanked her profusely for sharing, and then, cos I am a nosy creep, asked her what she had been using on her skin until this point.

I won’t name brands, but I was frustrated to learn that most of the products she was using were so called ‘sensitive’ or ‘natural’ skin care brands… except that when you dig just a little deeper, they are full of synthetics and chemicals that as her skin demonstrated for the past two years clearly inflame the skin. She had spent hundreds and hundreds and tried everything to no avail. How shit.

My advice: do your research on the ingredients if you’re in the irritated/sensitive skin zone, don’t just read  buzz words on the front of the box. I can only assume that Go-To worked for Renee’s skin because I stringently ensured that nothing in our products irritate the skin. That’s not to say ingredients from nature can’t piss off the skin, but it’s generally that the skin has a specific allergy or intolerance to something (such as citrus or a certain oil or nuts or a low tolerance for acids) rather than it causing the kind of red, angry inflammatory reaction of rosacea.

If you’ve had success with rosacea or redness-reducing products or treatments, share them below so we can make rosacea feel like a real shithead.

*After receiving this email, we have sent the same products Renee used to a group of women who had previously contacted us (we welcome all feedback for Go-To at asking if Go-To was suitable for rosacea inflicted skin, to see how they go…  IMAGINE IF THE SAME THING HAPPENED FOR THEM OMG OMG OMG!!!!



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