This is Zoe’s Blog


I write on Medium, now.

Not very often, of course, don’t be ridiculous! But, I am trying to be more consistent with my writing. Turns out once a year doesn’t really count…?! Weird.

Anyway, here’s where all the new writing lives.

Bye, love you, you’ve never looked better,


Responses to this drivel: 3 Comments

My Best Of Melbourne: food, facials and playgrounds.

I’ve just moved back to Sydney after eight years in Melbourne.

To be able to stomp into the sea at the end of a ratty day feels incredible after so many years in a city. (The spiders and frizz I could do without.) My god. A dream.

But back to Melbourne for a moment, and the services, places and things I became intensely fond of, and will miss dearly. I share it because it takes a longass time to build up Your Things in a city, your army of friends, parks, cafes, grocers, and of course, people who magically transform your hair and face.

I got it real wrong for a solid year I reckon. It was pre-Instagram so you had to, like, read newspapers or blogs to be in the know. ‘Where do you go for breakfast?’ I’d ask women I barely knew. ‘Where do you get nice cushions? Flowers? Hummus?’ I wondered what I wasn’t being told, why I couldn’t find a decent cobbler (here’s one!) cursed those who weren’t giving up the goods, and had some truly terrible haircuts before I worked it out.

I’d argue Melbourne is still the kind of city you need to know where the good stuff is, or you risk walking around St Kilda or Southgate wondering what everyone’s on about because: ?

Just on Melbourne.

She is an exceptional city. She is beautiful, innovative, interesting, and peppered with some of the best food, art, design, creativity and minds in the world. Anyone so vulgar as to pit Sydney against Melbourne is entirely missing the point: they’re both brilliant, in very different ways.

We went through something truly remarkable in Melbourne last year. I feel incredibly bonded to the city and its people after months and months of intense lockdown, it’s a kinship unlike any other I’ve felt to a place. The other states have heard this a lot, but “you don’t know what it was like.” This doesn’t mean it all stunk! I have happy memories of a pumping MCG and Fitzroy gardens, crisp and sunny, heaving with lockdown runners, rugged-up two-person picnics, and families laden with bikes and scooters and balls, reluctant to give up even a minute of their one-hour of outside time. I also have memories of a heavy police presence there every single day, and my kids going mute each time we were asked to move on cos we’d stopped to eat an orange, or stomp in the creek, but that’ll pass.

Locals feverishly supported locals, and everyone lead with kindness. Florists were overwhelmed with deliveries from March right through, as people from around the state and country strove to cheer each other up. Compassion was king. It gave me great comfort to see how humans lift in strange, scary times. I’m a 1980s baby born into a middle-class white Australian family. I’ve had the immense fortune of a deeply privileged and comfortable life. This year –from the bushfires to Black Lives Matter to Covid – has woken me up. I’ve never felt more connected, and more motivated to be a better human. I know I’m not alone in this.

Okay! Onto the good stuff.

Caveat: I am a creature of habit, and a slave to postcode. These recommendations are largely based around Richmond, Fitzroy and Melbourne city.

Another caveat: I am not a born-n-bred Melbourne local with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the city. This is just one woman’s cherry pickin’ of shit she likes.


It’s hard to get a bad meal in Melbourne. I use Broadsheet to stay updated, but I’m basic, short of memory and usually hangry by the time decision making time rolls around, so usually fall back to these classics:

Capitano is our favourite Melbourne restaurant. Simple, perfectly executed pasta and pizza. (And they do a Peanut Butter and Miso Old Fashioned.) Don’t overthink it. Go to Capitano.

I will miss their Vodka rigatoni a lot. Their sister restaurant, Bar Liberty, is also perfectly done, especially if you’re into incredible wines and your cacio e pepe (who isn’t?). Daughter in Law/Mrs Singhs has the most delicious, light, subtle Indian food I’ve ever had the good fortune of eating. I recommend the Prawn curry, Paneer masala and butter chicken. (Tonka and Horn Please are also excellent.) I love an efficient, Melbourne-institution minute steak and fries at France-Soir, or the more relaxed, Lillet-spritz version at Entrecôte in South Yarra.

My husband and I inadvertently wearing the same thing to Nobu, 2013. Cute.

Flowerdrum is five-star for a reason. Classic, never-fail, outstanding Chinese. Ditto Nobu at Crown. DOC, Ladro and Baby all do outstanding pizza. Marion Wine Bar is the place you book when you want to impress your date in an accidental-no-big-deal way fashion: delicious food (roast chicken, fish, pasta) and a wine list that will appease even the most educated wine monster. (Same could be said of Rosetta.) Poodle is nearby and offers what might be Melbourne’s only seafood platter…? Slick and fun.  Supernormal (pan-Asian) and Kisume (Japanese) are a bit fancier/pricier but 100% guaranteed delicious. Attica by Ben Shewry is next level, and the one for a Special Occasion. (Or in lockdown, delivery lasagna! #PIVOT) Also good for special occasions: Donovans and Stokehouse, down St Kilda way. I also recommend booking out Pasta Club with a bunch of mates for a very fun, yummy, loose evening.

Also: Down on the Mornington Peninsula there are myriad great places and wineries. My standout meal is Rare Hare at Jackalope. It is WONDERFUL FOOD. Stunningly tasty vegetarian options abound! As do excellent wines and cocktails. And the view. Just all of it. Their fine dining dinner option, Doot Doot Doot is also exceptional. Degustations do my head in as a rule, but I went vego and it was interesting and delicious and innovative.

Special nod to The Lakehouse and Dairy Flat Farm in Daylesford for special occasions or fancy weekend getaways , and I love lunch and a run around the lavender gardens with the kids at Lavandula.

Marion excels at a simple vegetarian pasta.

In a city blessed with so many Italians, the gelato will not let you down. Pidapipo wears the crown: it serves all the extras I love in Italy (cream, hot Nutella sauce) and Piccolina does simple flavours, extremely well. As everyone knows,  Lune make the best croissants in Australia. Never not worth the wait. Go. 


I love the pancake (it’s singular, and the size of a cake) at Top Paddock, and there is fun to be had at Ned’s Bake and Darling Cafe (super-extra Instagram French Toast etc) in South Yarra. In Fitzroy, Archie’s All Day is a beloved breakfast stand-out, and the nearby Bentwood is also great. I maintain Fitzroy does the best coffee in Melbourne. *ducks*

Laikon Deli is a solid family favourite, as is the Rowena Milkbar, which we lived a few doors up from, and Pillar of Salt is always reliable and delicious.

Remnants of the pancake at Top Paddock. It feeds me + two kids. It is glorious.


As a certified cake beast, I’ve had the good fortune of sampling many cakes in Melbourne. Many will look great, but only a few taste good, too. If I’m ordering a cake, I go to Beatrix Bakes, Miss Trixie, (she does cakes and cookies), or Proof Bakehouse. If I need to pick up a cake en route to a party, I usually head to Babka in Fitzroy, or order ahead from the genius @tarts_anon in Richmond who just do tarts, and do them exceptionally well. Special nod to Burch and Purchese for their very extra, high-art offerings.

Miss Trixie serving up a sugary nostalgia pun bomb for Halloween.


The smaller, darker and more unambiguous, the better. If I am going to the effort of a babysitter and hangover, I want to feel like I can walk in and give the bartender a few notes, and he/she will create me a symphony. Bar Eveleigh is flawless, as is Siglo, which always makes me feel like I am in Italy with that rooftop view. Eau de vie, Byrdi, Bar Americano are also fantastic, and a Margarita at Gilson on a sunny afternoon is a delight.


I see Lauren MacKellar or Alex Newman at Meta hair in Armadale for my colour, and cuts too, though it’s colour that really sets these women apart. For styling and event hair I have a laugh with Hermiz Daniel at Joey Scandizzo. My son had his hair cut at Beef’s Barbers, and so did my daughter, often enough. Shaun and the gang are super friendly and cool, and you won’t end up with a naff ‘little boy’ haircut. (Kids sit on skateboards as they have their hair cut, which should give you a clue.)


In 2014, in Melbourne, someone ruined my brows. I was puffy and pregnant and mid-book tour and really didn’t need unflattering brows on top of all that, yknow? So I asked my Sydney brow expert, Lien Davies if she would consider making a trip down to Melbourne to save my face and probably many other faces. She did, and she still visits every 8 weeks or so. What a diamond. I also recommend Kylie Brown Beauty for brows, and the gang at Me Skin and Body do great brows and lash lifts, too. Lash extensions? For me there is only one: Thi (@lashes_by_thi). She does the most incredible, natural lashes.

I love and trust Jade Kisnorbo, Monica Gingold, and Yvonne Borland with my face and hair. (Git yourself a girl who can do both.) If I am in a bind and didn’t book them in time, I book at Mecca in South Yarra, or, um, just do it myself, which I got very used to doing during several lockdown press tours.

As someone who makes and sells skin care, I believe most of the heavy lifting when it comes to healthy skin comes from a simple but effective daily routine of cleansing, hydration, protection and gentle exfoliation. (And: SLEEP!) But professional treatments a few times a year? That’s the difference between having your car washed, and it being detailed. Over time, those professional treatments will make a difference, especially if you’re trying to maintain (not eliminate – impossible) hyper-pigmentation. I’ve been seeing Brooke at Me Skin and Body for years. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of ingredients and I turn to her to look after my pigmentation and tone, and get my skin glowy before events. (Laser Genesis, needling, Dermafrac etc). I also love a facial at Melanie Grant when Mel is in town, (she also has a salon in Sydney and LA and is a special kind of magic.) Speaking of pigmentation, I started seeing Alicia at Bare Laser and Skin last year who has being doing Q-Switch laser on my pigmentation, and also zapping my veins and pregnancy-induced skin tags etc. The gang at The Little Company in Cremorne do a beautiful pampering facial, great for gifting. These women are all business owners and extremely passionate about skin. They’re informed, trustworthy, up to date on tech and products, and follow a less-is-more policy, which I prefer.

The zingy no-makeup glow that follows a blueberry peel + Laser Genesis with Brooke.


Spray Aus in South Yarra. They also make the best mousse in a bottle around, in my opinion: no splotchy fade out, and no orange. The technicians are very well trained, but more than that, they listen when I say I’d like a light spray cos I am doing a red carpet and wearing white.


Lacking! Gah! I always struggled finding a good masseuse cos I prefer sports therapist intensity over relaxey. The one I did find and LOVE is not on Instagram yet, and is in the middle of setting up her business, so I will post that when she’s ready. The AURORA Spa always has excellent therapists but it’s pricey for a regular fix. (Terrrrrific present if you wanna gift a friend in Melbourne.)



Something you don’t think about moving cities as you fall pregnant is that you don’t have that built-in network all your mates and sister etc used when they were pregnant. It sucked a doz. But, I found my people and now you can have them too. I swear by Dr Alice Gao. She is a Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist who specializes in fertility, miscarriage, labour induction etc. She is a very special woman. For pregnancy pain, find an osteo. I ended up with a fractured pubis and osteitis pubis in my first pregnancy, but neither were diagnosed accurately until post-birth. TLDR; I found Daniela Aiello who specializes in natal osteo and she fixed me, and kept me fixed for my a second, strong pregnancy. Also, lots of pilates: a killer combo for a strong core and birth. I went to Studio PP.

It took me ages to find “my shops” in Melbourne. I prefer local business and street shopping over malls, and frequent Filly’s Stable in Albert Park, Grace and Bassike in Hawksburn Village, The Standard Store in Fitzroy, and Incu in QV for fun, eclectic bits and pieces (Rixo, Ganni, Proenza, Nanushka, Anni Lui etc). I love a stomp around Armadale for Acne, Camilla and Marc, Viktoria + Woods etc. If I do a mall, I like Emporium or Chadstone. (How original!) I love getting fancy dress and also Real Life clothes at Global Vintage in Richmond.

We always end up at Cinema Nova in Carlton. You can have a great meal beforehand, then take a negroni into the film. *chef’s kiss* Also love Kino in the city, Lido in Hawthorn, and the glorious deco Rialto in Kew. (For a kids movie, Hoyts Victoria Gardens. Always a seat, always a park, and you can get some Ikea storage containers on your way out.)

I just drive straight to Gertrude St, Fitzroy. We lived there for years and I adore this little hood. I go to Third Drawer Down for unique, arty, witty gifts (stocking fillers and little thank you gifts for hosts etc), as well as The Standard Store, Le Labo and Mud, handily are both nearby. Modern Times is up Smith St, and has beautiful art, prints and objects (and furniture), and Happy Valley books is close by, also. My go-to gift in lockdown to struggling mates was a selection of ready-made cocktails from Blackhearts and Sparrows and some Hey Tiger chocolate. Both brilliant Melbourne businesses with excellent offerings.

Is there such a thing as a bad bookshop? I would argue not. My favourites are Avenue bookstore in Richmond and Albert Park, Readings and Readings Kids in Carlton, and Little Book Room in Carlton. Oh and the Collins St Dymocks in the city is PHENOMENAL, the sheer size of it!

I generally go Flowers Vassette when sending bouquets, I love Hattie Molloy for flowers as art, Brett Matthew John does beautiful, made-for-the-gram stuff, I’ve used Bloom Boy to do floral artistry for a party, and we supported our local, Glasshouse, in Richmond most weeks.

Lil’ bit of Hattie.

Church St, Richmond reigns. I buy a lot from JardanSignorino and Artedomus for tiles, and Space and Living Edge are full of wild pieces and ideas. Modern Times in Fitzroy does great vintage furniture (and art), and I’ve bought lots of second hand stuff from @curatedspaces. Some of my most-loved pieces at home I bought from Grazia and Co, a Melbourne company. The Family Love Tree has fun kids bedroom stuff and bedheads, too.

Just on home stuff, Simone Haag and Angela Harry both did remarkable things for our interior design, we have used LocBuild happily for every reno, fix and build we’ve ever done while living in Melbourne, and Will Gibson created some real planty-garden magic for us over the years.


There’s always an exhibition on for kids, and the grounds are great for a picnic and run around. Plus, you’re across the road from more gardens, the Botanic Gardens etc. An easy and fun way to fill half a day.

If you live here, get a membership (it’s tied into a Merlin Pass, which also includes a Sea Life Aquarium membership – score!) cos one-off entry is purrricey. There was a time when we would head there every Sunday: my pre-schooler loves the Duplo section, my kid loves the building and the 3D movies, and I hate exiting through the gift shop for obvious reasons.

What did we do with kids on rainy days before indoor trampoline joints? We had our son’s birthday party here. We are regulars. (Bonus: you get an incidental workout.)

Collingwood Children’s Farm
A sweet little (working) farm in the city with cows, roaming chooks, ducks, pigs, horses, tractors etc, surrounded by bushland. Has an excellent café, interactive animal activities, and can fill a solid two hours. It’s right next to the Abbotsford Convent, which has beautiful gardens, galleries, creative wares, food, and lots of things to snoop around. A destination all of its own, especially on a sunny weekend afternoon.

Royal Botanic Gardens/Ian Potter Playground
When I first moved here, I cringed hearing everyone call the Botanic Gardens ‘The Tan.’ Now I call it that too: omg cuuuute! (To be clear, the Tan is the track around the perimeter of the gardens, which is always packed with runners and walkers. It’s just under 4k a lap.) The gardens are majestic and I highly endorse an untimed stroll through them, with a packed picnic. There is a little gated garden at the top (Domain Rd), with a creek, and some water fountains and a gorgeous grassy area we love on hot days, though be warned the opening days/times are pretty confusing, so check online before you go. (Wed-Sundays in non-school terms from 10am, and the fountains are only on if the temp hits 25 degrees and the sparrow flies north etc etc.)

The Museum + Scienceworks
Museum is definitely worth a membership, Scienceworks is great too, but in Williamstown so not as close for us, and a few-times-a-year activity. Pre-lockdown we’d hit the museum weekly in this house. There is a full indoor playground, (+ an excellent park and playground in the gardens next to it, which is not part of the museum) and floor after floor of interesting, curious animals and exhibits for kids and adults alike. Also there is an IMAX here and the grounds between the exhibition hall next door and the museum is GREAT for little kids to scoot. It’s just bloody great.

Melbourne Zoo
I adore the Melbourne Zoo, it is very worth a membership. (Also includes Werribee Open Plains Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary, both worth a visit, but a fair whack out of the city.) It’s a large zoo, with a strong conservation message, and frequent updates. Butterfly house remains my favourite. Yes, I’m six.

Playgrounds (Free!)
Silly because there’s one on every block, but here are some Next Level playgrounds I love: Hay’s Paddock (Kew), Royal Park Nature Play (Parkville), St Kilda Adventure Playground, Maritime Cove Community Park (Port Melbourne) and Fitzroy Gardens which has a great creek and which really saved us in lockdown tbh.

Oh, there were many days spent doing this.

Kids clothing
Bit lacking, sadly. I love Big Dreams in Northcote and Little Fenix in Carlton, and Frankie’s Story for clothes, which was at South Melb markets but now just online. I buy toys at Kids Stuff or Jasper Jones in Fitzroy, and books at The Little Book Room or Readings Kids in Carlton.

And if you want WONDERFUL, cool, non-cheesy, total-framers-forever photos of your children, or family, (or wedding!) there is only one choice, the magnificent and indelible Mrs White.

Okay, I’m spent. I will update this list as more comes to mind, and please comment any thing you love in Melbourne so newcomers and tourists can have a really non-sucky, delicious, fun time.

Off to the beach!

Zo x

(JK I am off to Kmart to buy a clotheshorse.)


All typos are intentional except where unintentional.


Responses to this drivel: 28 Comments

The Bose sleepbuds work! And also don’t.

“Hello, you’ve reached First-World Complaints, this is Zoë speaking, how may I help you?”

My wonderful ears grant me many, many pleasures: the sound of my baby’s laughter, crunchy toast being buttered, Vampire Weekend’s new album, a fresh mug of coffee being poured… but I fear they are taking their job far too seriously. They think they work for the CIA, and must never dip below Aggressively Vigilant. On the plus side, I do feel like I might save the family if a burglar ever gives it a crack.

Just like my inability to jump on trampolines, I blame the children. It pretty much kicked in the day my firstborn arrived, as did my anxiety and complete loss of rhythm on the dance floor, and it seems to get more powerful with each new child/year that goes by, yknow, like the stench of a Camembert that’s rolled under the back seat.

On any given night my extremely over sensitive ears will run the auditory gauntlet of:

1. My husband’s snoring breathing. It was just occasional snoring , but then I coerced him into sinus surgery to “help” him, and now his basic inhalation and exhalation volume is set to AUDITORIUM thanks to all the new airway space created. So that’s cool. No regrets there. (Fun fact: The thing that stopped his snoring – til he stopped practising – and which stopped his daily use of Ventolin and prednisolone for his asthma, was the Buteyko method. It works. And as the person sharing a bed with him, I can vouch for it.)

2. My five-year old calling out for a drink… or that he is cold… or coming into our bed, or my one year-old crying because she is a one-year old and they do that, especially when they are teething, or sick, or their brain is doubling in size and capability, so, always.

3. Possums fucking around in the tree right outside. We’ve got the goddamn Possopranos out there: it is violent, it is relentless, and I swear I heard the word gabbagool the other night.

4. High-density urban living… i.e.: neighbors daring to have a life and drinking and chatting outside or parties, traffic helicopters flying overhead at 6am, 5am garbos etc etc whatever. That’s life, I get it, let’s all bloody move to Bangalow.

Hotel rooms, of course, are a firm turd out of five for getting a good night’s sleep. Lifts going up and down, the air con vent, party cats, late-night TV viewing next door, housekeeping vacuuming the hallways at 12am (WHY), doors clanging etc. (I am now one of those assholes who checks in and asks for a quiet room away from the restaurant and bar and lift, please.) If anyone can recommend a genuinely quiet hotel room in Sydney, which is where I travel to the most for work: please do. I am six years into my search and still no dice.

Of course, all of this over the top sooking and night waking means I’m a bit of ear plug connoisseur. I reckon if you shine a torch over my Google search bar, you will see the faint words: best ear plugs light sleeper, which I type in relentlessly.

The ones I found to work best I bought in the UK and until my sister-in-law’s dog made off with one of them, I swore by them. Then I found them here in Australia, and discovered they are actually swimming earplugs, and under no circumstances should they be worn overnight for sleeping.

I‘ve tried expensive custom fit ones, and every size and variety of foam plug Amazon reviewers rave about. Yes, before you ask, I tried the Earfoams, and no, they weren’t for me. A friend raves about the Antinois brand, but I generally just revert to 3M or Mack, make sure I insert them properly, and hope for the best.

And that is still kind of the case, even though I bought the Bose Sleepbuds for almost $400 hoping they would be my saviour, mostly with regards to the human sharing a bed with me, and his various, adorable breathing (how dare he) and honking habits. I bought them after a weekend away with my husband, where his snoring was so AGGRESSIVE that I ended up sleeping with my airpods in, and nature music turned up to the point of ear drum perforation.

I’m not gonna go to deep on what these things are/do, the Internet has that covered; they are noise-masking in-ear earbuds, that deliver sounds via Bluetooth from the Bose app in your phone. It’s like a white noise machine, in your ear. You can not use them for calls or music: they only work with the Bose app and the library of noise-masking sounds within. That’s a lotta cash for a very limited job, but Bose aren’t dummies, they know the sleep deprived will pay anything for some zzzs.

This is the case/charger. You get 16 hours of bud charge (cool name for a band?) from a full charge.

The Sleepbuds are good, but also not. They could be better. I was holding out for V2, which is generally the time to buy new shit, cos all the bugs have been ironed out by then, but there was no V2 on horizon, so I dived in. They really need to make a V2.


They work.
But not in the most useful way since I can still hear snoring, banging and loud music. Maybe that’s too much to ask from a small piece of plastic or foam, it’s highly likely. We have been gifted the blessing of hearing, and we should be grateful. That said, I find that if you blast the ‘downstream’ sound, it can mask pretty well. But man, it’s intense. I feel like there is a waterfall IN my head. It’s disconcerting and gives me weirdass dreams. I couldn’t do that all night if my partner was a total honker. It’s too full on, and I think it’s unnatural to have that kind of level of noise, even a gentle nature noise or a soft ambient pink noise, funneled directly into your ears.

I do it when my husband’s snoring is dialed up to 10, or when a neighbor is having a party, or when my husband is trying to give me a sleep in and the kids are being VERY LOUD. I use a lesser noise choice and a lesser volume to mask street noise etc.

My buds have saved me in hotels when the people upstairs wake at 5am and stomp around before they leave for their 7am flight, and it’s allowed me to sleep through parties, and it means on holidays where we are all in one room together sleeping, I don’t turn me into a murderous witch.

They’re comfortable.
I’m a side sleeper and they are totally fine. Comfortable. And they stay in.

These are the buds, they are cute, fit well (there are three sizes of cover with each set) and comfy.


They’re update-able.
You can (finally) download more noise masking sounds. (There was only 10 for ages.)


They do not mask snoring.
Ooof, they try, but they don’t. If I am already asleep with them in, these may keep me from waking from my husband’s snoring, but if I awake because he belted off to dreamland first and started snoring? No.

They don’t seal the ear like a foam plug.
So, yknow, noise is gonna come in.

They’re fiddly as hell.
As an Apple fan, and daily user of airpods, I’ve had the enormous privilege of an instant Bluetooth connection, and efficient retrieval and removal of the earbuds from the charging case. Bose are several decades behind Apple here. It’s not uncommon for it to take me 5-6 goes to carefully align the buds into their charging unit, and there have been many, many nights when I take the buds out and insert into ears, (which is when the connection is meant to fire) and the app cannot find and connect to them. At 2am, in the darkness, this is really fucking annoying.

The app as the controller.
It’s a pest having to fire up your phone and app to use these. Hey, sleepyhead, here is some INTENSE BLUE LIGHT just to soothe you back to sleep. I sleep with my phone on flight mode on the other side of the room, and the whole procedure is fiddly, riddled with bugs, and feels very clunky. Do better, Bose. Please. You are onto something here.

Volume adjustment
Same family of complaint as above: you have to go into your phone and the app to adjust volume. THIS IS SO DOPEY. Make it work with the volume buttons on the side of the phone, you heathens. We’re tryin’ to sleep and you keep making us light up our dang phone!

Low sound quality
As in, for this kind of money, I don’t want to be able to detect the loop on a nature sound. I suspect my brain’s over activity is part of the reason I am a light sleeper, so if it can find a loop or rhythm in a ‘white noise’ or nature noise, my god it will, and with furious pace, and then it will obsess over it like a tongue with a loose tooth. Several of the sounds I could easily detect where the noise started and stopped. Boo. Hiss. (Repeat.)

You will know they’re there.
By that I mean: I don’t really notice foam plugs, they can stay in all night. But I am aware of these guys being in there, as comfy as they are. They don’t fall out, they’re just… not my ears. And I know that my ears don’t usually have sounds pouring into them. So if you’re a hyper-sensitive weirdo like me, you may feel this is all a bit foreign and it may annoy you during the night, causing more night-waking than if you didn’t have them in… if that makes even a licka sense.


I do not at all regret buying them, esp when I travel for work, and know a noisy night awaits. I pack them every time I go away, and they’re always charged and ready to go at home. But, I think of them as a smash-glass-in-case-of-emergency tool, not a useful, every night solution like foam ear plugs. And, they don’t block out snoring. In my experience, only a spare room truly does, and as we have two kids and a three bedroom house, that’s not really the answer.

Also, if my husband is away, I can’t use them, cos I worry I wouldn’t hear the kids or the fire alarm. So in that sense, they are, um, too effective.

What a brilliant customer case study I am for Bose: “They don’t work! They work too well!”

Anyway. I wrote this not cos I have a tech gadget blog or time to write product reviews, I wrote it for the many other light sleepers or people with snorey spouses who are looking for a yay/nay on these things. Even though of course the whole thing is hugely personal and subjective. I myself read a breathtaking amount of reviews on these things before buying them, like, waaaaay more reviews than on something I’ve paid a lot more money on, (a mattress for example) because I wanted very honest, very specific advice, and also, I’m used to spending $7 on ear plugs, not $380.

In summation: They’re useful, and they have helped me. I feel confident going to bed knowing they’re in my artillery.
If you can afford them, and your sleep is suffering because of noise, I recommend them.

Tikki Tikki Tembo, Recommendo.

PS If you use ear plugs that are game-changey, please, for the love of light sleepers, tell us below!

Responses to this drivel: 48 Comments

(Why and how we did) New York City With Small Kids

The jovial travel lords at Expedia commissioned me to write a piece on travelling to NYC with young kids, presumably because most people would read that sentence and think to themselves WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT ARE YOU CUCKOO NEW YORK CITY WAS BUILT FOR COCKTAILS AND RESTAURANTS AND SHOPPING LEAVE THEM AT HOME WITH GRAMMY AND POPPOP FOR THE LOVE OF BAGELS.

As it turns out, not only is NYC entirely do-able with kids (the people who live there even have some of their own!) it’s fun. And it makes for a pretty exquisite set of memories.

I say this because last year my husband and I spent six weeks in summery, sweaty NYC with our four year-old boy and 14-month-old girl. Partly for my work, (if you’re in North America reading this, next time you’re in Sephora, try Go-To skin care, okay thanks) but mostly because we love that city, and our kids are not yet locked to the school term, so we can afford to be a bit cavalier/ambitious/obnoxious with our trips.

We arrived in NYC after six weeks of training in Greece and Italy, where we perfected the art of constantly moving into new places, and eating pasta and pizza every day.

We chose to stay in three different areas of NYC. This is because:

1) If we booked one home for six weeks and it was noisy, (HAHAHA JK, every place in NYC is noisy) or it sucked, we were stuck

2) NYC is huge; there are so many areas to explore, and limiting ourselves to just one felt silly

3) We enjoy packing and repacking suitcases, schlepping them up and down lots of stairs, and making our children feel displaced and confused.

One of many city playgrounds we got to know very well. This one is on Bleeker.

We began with two weeks in a cosy apartment in SoHo.

This was ideal, since my work was based there, and we could get all our favourite NYC restaurants (Sant Ambroeus, il Buco, Minetta Tavern etc) and shopping out of our system so we didn’t spend the rest of the trip hankering for the part of Manhattan we know and love best. Our apartment was RIGHT IN THE THICK OF IT. Tourists everywhere, sirens, party drunks: SoHo is never quiet. But, the kids didn’t care. We slept well. Big days mean big sleep.

I found a babysitter through a friend so we grown-ups could enjoy the city. No point being in NYC and staying home every night. She babysat for us for the duration of the visit, and I am very grateful to her.

At Color Factory. If it ever comes to a city near you… ya gatta!

We ate: Out a lot – we were right on the cusp of Little Italy after all. Aside of that, take-away soup, sushi and chili from Gourmet Garage was our go-to. (I live on chicken noodle soup in NYC.)

We kept the kids busy with:

  • Numerous city playgrounds: There are a few around Bleeker that are huge, with water parks and fountains and lots of local kids to play with
  • Exhibitions, plays, and kid-based art stuff. (We went to Color Factory; it was phenomenal)
  • Going to Times Square (ahem, the M&M store) and the Empire State Building
  • Trips to The High Line for ice creams and sweltering strolls/tantrums (mine)
  • A train trip to Coney Island for the day with some friends (just the boy and the husband; too hot and far for baby)
  • Walking around the city finding parks and patting dogs

We had to: Buy a ton of Lego and puzzles for hot afternoons inside.

A wheely wonder-full time was had at Coney Island (sorry)

Next we headed to Park Slope (Brooklyn) for 16 days.

My knowledge of Brooklyn was limited to Dumbo and Williamsburg (I’m a Carrie, not a Miranda, after all), so we booked this having never been to the area. Next time we’ll spend a bit longer on Google maps, or ask any ex-pats we know over there for insight, as it wasn’t quite what we had envisioned. 

Alas! We’d heard Park Slope was great for families, and it really is. Lots of playgrounds, the colossal, lush Prospect Park, and tons of family friendly eateries and shops. The best way to sum it up is that it was like Real Life, whereas Manhattan always feels romantic and crazy and like I’m in a movie. (And that’s why I love it.)

Prospect Park BRINGS IT.  Esp on a Sunday morning. 

We ate: Mostly at home; there were loads of those dazzling, overflowing NYC grocery stores around. There were some great places around for early family dinners, notably Hugo and Sons, and we bought crepes at the delicious Colson patisserie on our daily walk up to Prospect Park. I booked an organic toddler food delivery service,(frozen, delivered in bulk for the week ahead, Nurture Life was the company) so we always had healthy lunch or dinner options.

We kept kids busy with:

  • Daily trips to Prospect Park (rivals Central park in size and beauty; above)
  • Numerous local playgrounds
  • Brooklyn Zoo
  • A ferry over to Governor’s Island to camp for the night under the gaze of the statue of liberty (just my son and husband; baby not a keen camper) Even if you don’t camp, go: it has the longest slide in NY and an awesome park
  • Brooklyn Bridge park in Dumbo, (AKA, we went to the Jane Carousel, but this whole area is brand new and great)

We had to: Rack off to the Hamptons for a weekend to stay with friends to escape an epic heat wave. The Hamptons were GREAT. So pretty! Such good food! Many things for the kids to do, and many celebrities to spot! (Important.)

At LUNCH in the Hamptons. Yes, ’tis the diner from The Affair.

For the finale, we moved up to Central Park.

We’ve never stayed uptown (midtown, more accurately) before, but with kids it made sense. So, for the last 12 days we booked a hotel one block back from the park (1 Central Park – 10/10 recommend) to go out on a movie-set high.

I want to say: if you have young kids, stay up here. We were in that wonderful park twice a day, for the playgrounds, duck feeding, the zoo or the fairground. It’s magic, and it tires them out, and it’s just so dang beautiful.

We ate: Mostly in our room. (We upgraded to a room with a dining table and more space after seeing our tiny original room, knowing from experience that the money is worth it when you spend so much time at home with your kid and still-crawling baby.) I still had the toddler food delivery in place, but classic diner breakfasts or picnics in the park with sandwiches were good fun. The grocery stores in the city all do great soup/stews/salads, which I have zero problem with after three hours at a museum.

We kept them busy with:

  • Central Park (squirrels! Rocks to climb! The best playground we’ve ever seen!)
  • Central park Zoo
  • A Yankees game
  • MoMa (it has a lovely outdoor area and interactive kids room)
  • The Intrepid air sea and space museum (you can see a real space shuttle)
  • The American museum of Natural History
  • The subway anywhere. Kids. Love. Trains.

Before booking, I made sure each place we stayed had:

Some space to play indoors – Hot NYC summer days are super exhausting for small people. The kids could generally tolerate one big session outside a day, then they would nap, and hang inside on hot afternoons til dinner, which we would often go out for, because they were buzzing to get out, and so were we, and we’re more relaxed on holidays so we can forgive the later bed time and amount of ice cream being consumed.

Dark bedrooms – I always double confirm there are blackout blinds in the kids room. (We always travel with gaffa tape to tape down any light leaks too.)

White noise – much needed in NYC with all the sirens etc.

Proximity to playgrounds or parks – no more than a block or two. They act as your backyard.

A lemonade fountain and indoor slippery slide – obviously.

Oh, it was a big, beautiful, blur of a trip. We were in a constant loop of excitement, FOMO and exhaustion in NYC; it’s a city that gives as much as it takes, and we are more than happy with that transaction. (We are also more than happy with the amount of Aussie cafes popping up over there, because we are Melbournians and therefore very ARROGANT ABOUT OUR COFFEE.)

At Dumbo House. I LOVED this night. Thank you, friend with membership!

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What I used and liked for my second baby.

It occurred to me, as my 15-month old daughter poured herself a Scotch and sat with me on the porch last night, she is no longer a baby. I had always intended to write a post on the stuff I liked and used when she was a baby, but maybe because she was a baby, and there was an older brother as well, I was a bit busy, and I never got to it.

And so, here is a hastily written, half-forgotten list of some stuff I recommend if you’re having or have a baby. Second time around you accrue far less of the pretty, superfluous and fancy shit, and just streamline everything into What Will Make Life Easier.


I make lusciously gassy babies. Which means that until they were around 10 weeks old, they cried and cried and cried, and would not settle after feeds because of their unsophisticated digestive system/being pigs and drinking too fast/my milk flow being set to 100kmph. The thing that changed this for us was Willby’s Wind and Colic mix. I think I started on it when she was two weeks old, for 2-3 weeks. It’s not meant to be used for long, so I moved back to my faithful Infant’s Friend (also good for general calming) and/or Infacol.  You have to call and have a consult before they will send it to you.


Before Rudy was born, I bought a Sleepyhead (same company as DockATot) on Gumtree, (because it was super $$$$ to get a new one shipped to Aus – that’s no longer the case cos DockATot has an Australian site now) cos I’d heard so much about their magical ways.

It was great for exactly one week, while Rudy was still in that heavenly, sleepy in-womb mode. But once her gassiness kicked in at about 10 days old, her laying flat was out of the question. She wailed and wailed.

A five day old lady in The Sleepyhead/DockATot

A friend evangelically recommended the Cocoonababy. I’d been gifted one yonks back when I’d announced my pregnancy, but like so much stuff I didn’t need cos you still have everything already from the first kid, it sat untouched. I unwrapped it and plonked her in it at around 3am on a particularly hellish night. It changed everything. Rudy loved it. Slept every nap and night in it til she was three months old. We took it overseas/everywhere. It cozily cuddles the baby, (it felt weird with her all alone and so tiny on an expansive, flat bassinet anyway… A bassinet I’d just bought cos I felt like I needed one on wheels. I absolutely did not) it’s on an incline, and it’s wonderful. I’ve loaned mine to three friends, bought one for a new mum friend and deeply wish I’d invented it.

For sleeping bags, I used this great Ergopouch swaddle bag above, (which has press studs so it morphs into a hands-out sleeping bag later), and also the straight-jacket-esque Ergobaby Swaddler for sleep to keep her hands down and wrapped, (as opposed to them creeping up and into her mouth and face and keeping her awake), as well as the good ol’ Love to Dream Swaddle UP for day naps. She moved out of her nest and into her cot at three months, and graduated to unwrapped with hands out (so, in just a sleepysack) at around 4 months. (That was a rough week.)

Hot tip: If you know someone having a baby, buy them a Swaddler, a Love to Dream Swaddle UP, or go in with some buddies and get the Cocoonababy nest. They will get some sleep, and you will win Best Present Givererer. Both are important.


I used the Medela Swing maxi double electric breast pump to express at home, which I had leftover from my first baby and it worked great, and the Avent manual pump for travel, but following a trip to the country where I forgot my manual pump like a dingus, and had to drive for 40m to a Kmart, I switched to the Kmart brand manual pump because it is excellent.

Whenever I would get a plugged duct, or mastitis would threaten, (or blatantly storm in) I immediately took Nurofen, and would either jump in the shower and hold a hot face washer on the boob in trouble, or use this electric heatpad (which I loved more than even my darling husband during labour) for 10-15 minutes before feeds, then use an icepack on the book for 5 minutes after the feed. I would also gently massage the lump towards the nipple as I fed, or feed her on all fours. It was a very glamorous and not at all annoying routine. (I trust KellyMom and ABA, and La Leche League for BF advice. And NURSE-ON-CALL OH MY GOD I LOVE NURSE-ON-CALL! Any time a baby has a crazy rash or fever, I call them straight away: 1300 60 60 24.)

When Rudy was gassy and very little, I bought the Dr Brown Options Wide-Neck Newborn bottle (with a Pigeon wideneck SS teat) to use in her dreamfeed, as directed by our midwife/sleep whisperer wizard friend, Amanda (McGill, director of Nest Nannies.) (If your baby is having trouble sleeping, and you are at your wits end, Amanda will get your baby sleeping. She is brilliant.)

Once the gassiness settled down, I moved to a Comotomo bottle, which I love cos they are silicone and soft and squishy like a boob, and we used happily with Sonny for years, too.



We are a multi-pram family: a big hardy one for home, a light, easy-fold one for my car, and a travel pram. I used a Bugaboo Cameleon3 for Sonny, but we needed some form of double pram when Rudy came cos Sonny had just turned three, AKA that weird in-between stage where he didn’t need a pram, but can’t walk that far, and was a bit shit on the scooter. (Sorry mate, but you were.) Because I had banged on about loving my BabyJogger City Mini GT so much with Sonny, when BabyJogger found out I was pregnant they very kindly sent us their new City Select LUX for Sonny and Rudy. So that made the decision for me, because if someone is willing to send you a really good new pram, you use it.

It is a true double pram, but it can be anything (it has about 400 different combinations). I like it because instead of a ride-on/toddler board for me to constantly smash my ankle on, it has a little seat with seatbelt that Sonny sits on, right under the handle, and we have a chat. And then Rudy is in her bassinet/capsule/seat behind him.

With the bassinet. Nowdays she is in an upright seat.

It’s a great pram, is ideal for two kids and our street walks and playground visits, but there is no way I would collapse it for the car or travel. It is big, and it is heavy. I prefer something more lightweight. I gave Sonny’s old BabyJogger City Mini GT to my sister in law, but I missed it a lot. So I bought a new one, which became my car pram and eventually, our travel pram (I bought the Uppababy G-Luxe for travel but it doesn’t recline and can’t fit a toddler on it so it’s out. The Mountain Buggy Nano is good though, I rate it for short trips), and confirmed to me that it is my favourite pram.

We SMASHED the Mini GT around Greece, Italy and NYC for three months, and it was consistently best on field. Also it was a great makeshift double pram, as you can see from this photo. Sonny more often than not perched on the front while Rudy sat behind him and kicked the shit out of him. Cute.


Up until Rudy was about 10m old, and still fit in an airplane bassinet, we’d travel with the Cozigo, which I remember seeing on Shark Tank as Fly Babee, and thinking: GENIUS. It’s a little pop-up black out tent for the bassinet (or pram, so they can sleep in airports or while out and about) and it’s so handy. Now she’s bigger we just use a regular sun shade over the pram to black it out.

We always travel with a full roll of gaffa tape to tape down blinds and curtains in hotels and AirBnBs that dare to let light into the children’s room, or to stick dark t-shirts or scarves to smaller windows with no coverings. It’s up there with passports in terms of Don’t Fucking Forget To Pack This.

I packed Infacol and Infant’s Friend on flights when Rudy was young, but only til she was about 9m old I think. Maybe 6m. God, I really can’t remember a goddamn thing.

And as for their skin, I used Go-To, to be honest. If they got rashy or dry or scaly, I used my own skin care line on them, and it always worked. That’s an arrogant thing to say, but I always have a stack of samples around, I know what’s in my products, they’re wonderful for sensitive or inflamed skin that needs soothing and calming, and obviously I trust the ingredients implicity.


We used Sonny’s old baby Bjorn bouncer and carrier, though we didn’t do a ton of baby carrying due to our shit backs and impatience with complicated instructions. (I love the idea of Ergobaby, my sister won’t shut up about them, but on zero sleep, I could NOT figure out how to wear it, even with the YouTube tutorial.) I used a Stina’s Style activity mat cos it wasn’t lurid green and yellow, and used Sonny’s old Ubabub pod cot. Miann & Co do great very nice bedding. So too, Halycon Nights. (AUSTRALIANA!) (They do very cute onesies also.)

Halycon Nights. Also: thighs.

I use white noise (ocean waves, specifically) every nap and sleep for my babies, pretty much as soon as they’re home from the hospital. It’s all part of their sleep cues etc, and helpful for day time construction or sirens blasting past or noisy older siblings etc. I use an app called – wait for it – White Noise – on the iPad when we travel, and a classic nightlight sound machine thingy at home from MyBaby that is no longer available but there are loads out there that make wave noises. For calm down time before bed, which is the most ironic title I could give it cos the kids go FRIGGEN TROPPO between bath and sleep, we haul out Tranquil Turtle, which is a cuddly toy + lights and sounds that makes the room into an ocean. Day spas slash therapists should use this turtle. It’s terrifically stress relieving. (If I am super tired or hungover I make their room dark and put on an “underwater party” and just lay on the floor while they play with anything sea creature related in the house around me. Mumming to the maxxx.) Also, I’d like to say that Indestructible baby books are chewable non-rippable and super awesome and a great gift for a 1-18m old.

Oh, and don’t buy a baby bath if you already have a bath. Just buy a little terry toweling cradle thingy and use that til they can sit up properly.

Alright. That’s all the stuff I can remember. (Here’s the stuff I used with my first baby. Lots of double-ups.)

Stuff I remember not using:

Muslin cloths/wraps swaddles – I don’t wanna be doing frustrated wrap origami at 3am in a pitch black room after I’ve fed and she’s done an epic poo and is wailing because I dared to change her. Technology has moved on: there are now ready made swaddle bags and sleepsuits. I celebrate this.

Bottle steamer – what a big, dopey waste of precious bench space. Boiling water worked fine for me.

Bumbo – my daughter’s thighs were too juicy to fit into it; my son hated it. Am sure many babies love it; not for us.

Bassinet – the nest ensured that was a fat waste of cash. She was happy and felt safe in the nest, in her cot – no need for bassinet at all.

Nappy bag – I find them ugly, and also cumbersome, and an additional bag on top of my already giant tote bag. For both kids I just tossed a changing clutch/roll (this JJ Cole was indispensable) and a ziploc of snacks, (and a spare onesie when she was really young and in explosive poo mode) into my regular tote.

Wine before noon – I tried to wait until at least 5pm.

It has to be said that we mums have it SO GEWD these days. Shit is getting SO good in baby land! Waterproof baby monitors! Inflatable baby baths! Wagon slash pram hybrids! So useful, so brilliant, so clever! This no barrier to entry Ecommerce era we live in has fired up the most incredible small business-big idea combo, and WE are the benefactors. I saw this even with a difference of three years between my babies – imagine what our mums think? I slept in a WARDROBE DRAWER, for god’s sake. Or in a bassinet at mum’s feet in the car. Or safe under the warm belly of a mother wolf in the nearby forest.

Okay, bye, I love you, you’ve got this, hang in there, you are DOIN IT!!!!

Ps Keep a HUGE jug of water and a cup on the bench or table once you have your baby, and refill it every night before bed. I drank so so much more water because My Jug was there, ready to go, and I didn’t have to think about it, or search for my cup. Also, buy one of those 1L vacuum jugs and make a strong pot of tea each morning. It will stay hot all day, and you might stay awake all day.


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Fiji is the perfect family holiday destination.

My husband went to Fiji when he was three, and had the holiday of his life. He vividly recalls the beach and kids club in great, and some might say, unnecessary detail; it was a profoundly happy time in his life. Had I not revealed this, however, you would never know: he keeps that trip a closely-guarded secret, mentioning it only if someone mentions they’re going to Fiji, or whenever we consider holiday destinations with our two small children, or on Tuesdays.

It was horrible. As you can see.

Why Fiji made such a lasting imprint on him made no sense to me. Truth be told, Fiji never held too much appeal to me, I relegated it as a ‘family place.’ Friends with kids and their knowing nods only cemented the notion: “When you’re a family, you’ll see. Families LOVE Fiji.”

And so, once we had kids (plural: you can go anywhere with one kid; two steps things up a notch.) Fiji suddenly became very alluring. Especially after schlepping 18 hours to Maldives recently, for, if I’m be honest, The Exact Same Thing.

Just a teeny baby girl and her big ol’ daddy living their best sunset life.

And just like everyone says, Fiji really is the perfect holiday for families. The good overlords at Expedia knew this, which is why they sent me there to get proof.

The water is pristine, the weather is perfect, the diving and surfing is sensational, the flight is only five hours (from Melbourne), our favourite show in the world, US Survivor is filmed there, but the best thing about Fiji, is the people. Ask anyone who has been, (my husband included though you’ll have to drag it out of him, he’s very enigmatic) what they loved most; it’s the people.

Sure, when we hold hands and stroll in Melbourne it’s nice. But not THIS nice.

The Fijians I met were walking, talking sunbeams. Total A+ in delightfulness, helpfulness, and warmth. Because of who I am, (an optimist dipped in healthy cynicism) I searched for chinks in the armor, a momentary lapse in charm, but I never saw it. Not even when I had to politely ask for my baby’s dinner to be mushed up a bit more… and then send it back again for more mushing because perfect mush levels are known only to me. Oh, and Fijians LOVE kids.

This is wonderful Kat. My son loves her more than seems fair, considering I gave birth to him, and Kat did not.

Maybe even more than I love my kids, and you love yours. The way Fijian people connected and interacted with our children was genuine and whole-hearted. It never felt contrived or like it was their job. No matter which part of the island we were on, no matter what time of day, the staff would swoop our baby out of our hands, and whisk her off for songs, cuddles and quiet flower gazing. Meanwhile, our preschooler knew everybody’s names, and they his, and every day was like that scene in a movie where the popular guy walks through the school and everyone serves up pistol fingers and high-fives. (He cried in the shower at night because he wanted to go back to Kids Club RIGHT NOW, not go to stupid bed.)

Both of our children relished their deity-like status, (how strange!) and tailor-made activities and toys on offer. Resorts in Fiji are READY-MADE for kids: this is not arriving to find one of the conference rooms housing a few balls and a cheap tent as the “kids zone.” This is purposeful, considered child-minding, and it’s a huge relief for parents. Because if your kids are thrilled to be finding crabs and building pirate ships all afternoon with a gang of other kids and some funny adults, and your high-energy baby is with a doting nanny and 1000 toys at kids club while you and your husband have a meal and a swim, then everyone’s having a holiday.

We travel for lots of reasons: to see the world, to make the kids resilient, to bookmark our lives, and to be present with each other and especially our rapidly-growing young children, which is hard in our big, busy life back home. But at risk of breaking an unwritten parent code, parents don’t actually get much time off on holiday. We’re still parents! Gotta tend to the sick baby all night, and keep the kid entertained, and find clean clothes/snacks every two hours!

Good lord. This is the most ‘mum’ photo I have ever seen myself in.
I have two kids! How’d that happen? I thought I was still 22.

But in Fiji we got PROPER time off. The golden, rare kind where you know your kids don’t want to be with you, even if you want to hang out, cos they’re having more fun without you. And when you collect them, you’re revitalised, you’re excited to spend the afternoon with them swimming (three year-old) and eating sand (baby) and enjoying paradise (parents). You’ve had time to read a book, and relax, instead of Real Life, where any time the kids are out of the house, you’re working, or doing errands and household shit, so when you’re with the kids again, you’re buggered, and operating at 40 watts, and Just Doing Your Best To Get Through.

My idea of a happy family holiday isn’t about ditching the kids and sipping rosé all day, (…or IS IT?), it’s about having some time to re-charge so that the time I spend with my children on holiday is outstanding. Quality, present and who-cares-where-my-phone-is, time. Slow morning strolls and raucous pre-dinner swims, none of the snapping and ‘hurry-up-and-put-your-shoes-on-we-have-to-go!,’ that peppers each day in Real Life.

Fiji offered all of this and a bag of coconuts. We were lucky enough to stay at Kokomo Private Island, which is new, and very luxurious, and where everything (especially hiring!) is done exceptionally well. Families abounded, often boasting several generations, the food is world-class and the reef is breathtaking. We had a week our (then) three-year old has a chance of remembering for the rest of his life, and that’s not nothing. (Just ask my husband. He’ll never tell, obviously.)

Actual view from the front door of our villa. Disgusting.

At the end of our stay, I cried. Maybe it was the rousing, smiling choir of new friends that assembled to bid us farewell in song on departure, or maybe there was sand in my eye, or maybe we’d just had one of the best holidays a young family could ask for. Who can say.

What I can say is we are going back to Fiji next year.
We’re a family, you see.
And families love Fiji.

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How to (easily) look after your skin on flights.

Back when I was a product-obsessed beauty editor and didn’t sashay round with a handbag full of corn puffs and plastic cars, my flight skin advice would have read something like this:

“Start with a deep cleansing exfoliating mask, then a hydrating mask, then three serums, a face oil, eye gel, and SPF then makeup before you leave the house. Once you’re on the plane, cleanse your face with a cleansing balm and muslin, and pop on a sheet mask. Ignore the weird looks. Once you remove it, re-apply serums, oils and SPF again. Before you land, apply tinted moisturiser, mascara, blush, brightening eye shadow, a pop of pink lipstick, and apply dry shampoo throu-“ … you get the idea.

Who has time for that?

Lots of people probably, the lucky squids.

But not me people.

These days I spend all my energy, time and handbag real estate on nappies, sippy cups, snacks and Lego. I know! I know. It’s as glamorous as a burp.

And so, since I now boast the holy trinity of:

  • Very young children
  • Lots of travel under my belt
  • Years spent creating skin care products for people who don’t want fussiness and confusion and seven-step routines, just skin that looks good and feels nice

… I have a pretty effective, simple philosophy of flight skin care. Most of it is done before you get on the plane, so you can focus on your meal and a movie/walking your child up and down the aisle 75 times.

My humble travel overlords at Expedia asked me to share my tips. I warned them they weren’t very glamorous, but they insisted, so here they are:

Do a mask before you fly.
You’ve seen how much flights suck your face dry, right? Well the battle starts before you get to the airport. So whether it’s a nourishing cream mask the night before, or a serum-drenched sheet mask (I am pictured below in my own creepy little glow-boosting sheet mask: Go-To Transformazing) the morning you fly out, DO take 10 minutes to hydrate your skin before a long flight. Bonus points for exfoliating first. I like Sodashi’s Plant Essence Replenish Mask.

Layer oils and creams.

To give your face (…and neck and chest because your face stops at your boobs) its’ best possible chance to retain moisture, apply a nourishing face oil and then a rich facial moisturiser the day you fly. I slather myself in my own Go-To Face Hero and Very Useful Face Cream, obviously.

Click here to read the rest of the article, or risk dry post-flight skin and probably a huge loss of reputation.

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Some good Melbourne dinner options.

Look, it was before Broadsheet and social media and Cardi B, but back when I would visit Melbourne as a Sydneysider, I’d always feel so lost, and pathetic, and excluded, and clueless as to where to eat, and shop, stay, etc. I’d end up doing cliché shit (‘Chapel St’) and eating average, touristy food (‘Southgate’), and feeling like I was wasting my visits. And my god, I really was.

I will not allow you to have the same experience.

Melbourne is a magnificent city, a sophisticated, tasty, friendly labyrinth of outstanding culinary delights, and I’ll be damned if you’re going to miss them. Also I’m sick of texting lists to mates asking where they should eat when they come down, and will hereby send them to this link moving forward, like the efficient, heartless robot I am.

(Is Sydney or Melbourne better? Redundant question. They are both terrific. That we can zing between two of the world’s best cities in a couple of hours feels wildly lucky to me. The real question should be: when the fuck is that fast train coming?)



It’s so eye-rolly when someone calls something ‘the best’ of something in a city, but guess what: I reckon this might be the best pasta in Melbourne. It’s a low-key joint. Unfancy. Book ahead though cos it’s small and much-loved. The chef, Carmine, is friendly and passionate; his pasta is exceptional. The Famous One is the egg tagliatelle ragu, and so it should be. But I gotta mention the deconstructed carbonara (and I loathe carbonara), which we had a few weeks ago, since it was the most delicate, delicious, ingenuous pasta dish I have ever eaten. (A fried spaghetti nest with an egg inside, as per below: gahhhh!)


For ages I’d look at Bar Liberty’s menu and deem it too fancy and tricky. Too many ingredients I didn’t know, and too pretentious. But at the persistence of a food-adoring couple whose opinion I respect, we booked. And reader, I felt like a damn fool. This teeny bar hits all my restaurant high notes: exquisite cocktails, a comfort-zone-breaking wine list, and perfect versions of simple food. I recommend LOTS of the bread, the salt and pepper veges, the potatoes, and DEFINITELY the cacio e pepe. And loose pants. And dessert. And no guilt. And booking.


When I moved to Melbourne in 2014, my stomach and I were deeply dismayed at the lack of Japanese eateries, a cuisine in which Sydney excels, from the fancy and expensive, to the corner joint doing gluggy teriyaki salmon. But Melbourne is WOKE! Nobu no longer needs to hold the fort; Kisume (sushi bar and restaurant) is flawless. We have eaten there thrice, and I can’t fault it. Not the service, not the pace, not the subtle, modern, playful Japanese dishes. But you’d expect that from Lord Chris Lucas, the chap behind Chin-Chin, Kong and Baby, all three of which are all in my heart and favourites list. I recommend: wagyu truffles, the crispy flathead, charred baby cos lettuce, and the black sesame sponge. And the cocktails. Man I love delicate, citrusy Japanese cocktails.


From the silky paws of Andrew McConnell (he of Cutler and Co, which is next door, Cumulus, Ricky and Pinky… actually I should mention Ricky and Pinky, too: it’s on the same street and does fun, delicious Chinese food. Plus the décor is basically a ready-made Pinterest board) comes this ‘local’ wine bar. Even though it’s not my local anymore, I still visit a bloody lot. A shared meal of (the best) salted flat bread and dip (in the country), simple pasta, roast chicken, fries and salad (and a Negroni, obviously) is unbeatable in this pig’s book. Finish off with a Martinez (this should be your new cocktail) at Bar Everleigh down the road, then Uber home, full, fed and cutely sauced.

Photo: Harvard Wang


Lazerpig is very casual and pub-like, only with open fires and disco balls and often, a DJ. We take our three-year old here for 5:30 dinners, and we all dance and eat pizza and drink wine. (He prefers pinot noir.) This is the home of my favourite pizza, (D.O.C in Carlton is a close second) and, controversially, my favourite cheeseburger. (See below.)  I don’t know what else you want me to say; that’s a really, really big call. Just sit with it for a second.


I love Horn Please, in North Fitzroy, but am pretty green when it comes to Indian cuisine.  Tonka is doing a great PR job for it as a genre, I gotta say. It’s subtle, and delicate, and feels nourishing and satisfying, rather than heavy and stodgy. Sit at the bar, it’s always more fun and you can usually snake in without a booking that way, order that blueberry cocktail, and some pani puri and pakora. I also love the palak paneer because quite frankly paneer is the most underrated cheese in this whole goddamn world, and also butter chicken because duh.


Ah yes, the classics. I’m sure you’ve heard of all them all, and probably even been.

Mamasita started the ‘new Mexican’ trend eight years ago, and still do it the very, very best. There will be a wait; go early, or late. Or! Visit their cheeky casual option, Hotel Jesus, in Collingwood, instead. It’s good fun, and utilises just the right amount of swimming pool blue.

Chin Chin still might be the best Asian restaurant in Melbourne, but the wait really breaks my balls. Be quicker to fly to the new Sydney Chin Chin most nights. The cheat? Eat downstairs at GoGo Bar instead. Small but perfect menu with flawless cocktail mastery.

Baby is Italian, in South Yarra/Richmond and while I reckon A25 down the road actually does better pizza, I love the atmosphere, polenta chips, meat and fish dishes at Baby. (Also their breakfast.)

Kong is a Korean BBQ, just up the road from Baby, and it’s crunchy and gorgeous. Fresh Yuzu-y cocktails + fried chicken = YES.

 – If you’re in the city and need a quick, tasty meal: Gazi (Greek) or Fatto (Italian.)


But there are no bayside or northside picks!
My picks are essentially locked to three postcodes, cos that’s where I live and hang.

Or greater Melbourne?

Okay then, how about Doot Doot Doot at Jackalope. My god. That deep-fried avocado. Look, it IS a Special Occasion place, and it IS a tasting menu so if you hate those (I studiously avoid, as a rule) maybe it’s not for you. But I loved it. I went for the vegetarian option and I not only didn’t feel sick at the end (a terrible and unfair appraisal of some outstanding food, but come on, most tasting menus are Too Much), I was satisfied and delighted. No gross filled mushrooms or lazy pasta dishes, in other words. Clever, delicious food.

The Martinez, father of the Martini, son of the Manhattan.


But you didn’t mention any seafood restaurants!
Correct. There aren’t many down here. It’s not Sydney, after all. (That said, Stokehouse is pretty fantastic for a luxe beachside feast. Or, a casual one, downstairs.)

Or Thai!
Shhh. Go to Longrain. (They offer a fructose-free menu, which my fructose malabsorption issues deeply appreciate.)

Your taste in restaurants is so trendy and overpriced!
True. These days I only eat out properly about once a month, so I make it count. (There’s plenty of misschu, Grill’d and Jimmy Grants in-between, trust me.)

Alright, food monsters, that’s all I can think of right now. (You’ve got Broadsheet now; you’ll be fine.)

What about breakfast? You’re always bangin’ on about breakfast!
Oh I’m gonna do a breakfast list, alright. Breakfast is the champion of meals, and melbourne treats it like fine dining. I reckon we do the best breakfast in the world. There. I said it.

There will be no lunch list. Lunch is the pesty middle child. I usually just eat breakfast again to teach it a lesson.

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Using skin care doesn’t mean you’re an idiot.

Of course it doesn’t! You’re a marvellous, clever sausage with fantastic taste in blogs. And you look after yourself. That’s pretty unidioty.

You might think otherwise if you read This Article, titled ‘Skin care is a con.’

Someone on Twitter was yelling about it this morning, and since I’m in a conference today, while my fellow directors were talking about boring stuff, I read it. And then secretly wrote this blog while they went on about logistics and revenue and blah blah blah.

It feels a bit like high-brow clickbait, and is riddled with dismissiveness and superiority. But just cos the author’s opinion is unpopular, that doesn’t make her article any less deserving of eyeballs than the four million articles published daily blabbing about the virtues of skin care, I guess.

Look, I own a skin care company, Go-To, (OMG you should totally buy some right now it’s sooo good), so you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more bias, but in fact I think in many ways this wildly contrary article is right. A lot of what we are sold and told about skin care IS bullshit! And yes, your beloved products can backfire if they’re used incorrectly or disrespectfully or impatiently.

My problem with the article, though, is that a few buzz products, trends and ingredients were used to frame a daily act of self-love and care into something narcissistic, naive and dangerous. I take umbrage to this and also I’ve never used the word ‘umbrage’ on this blog before and my god it was time.

Please note: I am an insufferable skin care lover/dork/pest. I worked as a beauty editor at Cosmopolitan and Harper’s BAZAAR, wrote a beauty book, and make and sell skin care. I spend a huge portion of my time working with my brilliant chemist and formulators creating products for women and men to put on their skin. (Just the essentials, mind you. No frilly stuff.) It’s hard, and fun, and meticulous, and it’s a titanic responsibility. I think skin care is WONDERFUL. I’ve seen the results, I’ve heard the stories; I know what good skin can do for people’s confidence.

As such, I’ve written some explainers to some of the spicier statements in the piece. Not cos I need to defend skin care, (ummm, it’s just fine), but cos I firmly believe there is more nuance to skin care than it simply being:

A) the answer to all of your self-worth, happiness, and worth, WUDEVAITCOSTS
B) bullshit in nice packaging.

“Perfect skin has become the thinking woman’s quest.”

Nah. The quest is far from new. And actives have been around forever. We just talk about skin care more now because we have more channels to do so, and more access to more products that do more things, because science and technology keeps improving, and so does packaging, and so do the products available to us. It’s not witch hazel toner and sorbelene cream any more, Judith!

We probably always used five things on our face each day, but without Instagram to showcase and discuss them, how would anyone know? We have more access to more faces, and more brands, and more products than ever before. Even outside of uppity online brands like Go-To, it’s a very, very noisy and confusing and overwhelming market.

When I was 17, I had the pharmacy, supermarket and department stores (if I took a bus for an hour to get there). I had no social media, no Mecca, no Sephora, no online shopping. I couldn’t buy products from France, or America. I bought what was available in the stores closest to me. I was guessing, and on reflection, doing it all wrong for my skin type. (Google would have been of terrific help.)

This has changed. I know of 15 year-olds using such a sophisticated skin care routine that I feel like an amateur. That doesn’t mean it’s necessary, but it’s happening, and, well, it’s not really up for judgement, actually. Do what you like with you.

“Perfect skin is unattainable because it doesn’t exist.”

Perfect skin is not the goal of skin care, you dangus! Well, not for me, or Go-To. My goal is looking after something that’s exposed to the sun, wind, air con, makeup and pollution. To protect my skin against all that in the morning, and remove all of that at night. (If nothing else, I tell women to wear sunscreen, then cleanse and moisturise at night. And remember: your face stops at your boobs.) To defend against the damage the sun does with burning and pigmentation, and heal and regenerate the skin when it has been attacked because you ended up playing at the park for an hour with your kids, but didn’t think you would be outside so long, and so you got a bit red, you sweet goose.

“Real, flawed women have real, flawed skin”

Yes… but if your skin is red and sensitive, or over-producing oil, or you have acne, you’re allowed to manage that without feeling like it’s a superficial vanity move. When the skin is not healthy or suddenly changes for the worse, it’s generally symptomatic of something else: diet, stress, hormones, allergies. That’s not something to be ignored.

I use skin care to replenish my skin, and keep it supple and healthy. It’s the thing I see every day, and the thing everyone else sees of me each day, and I feel zero shame in saying I want to keep it looking good, and feeling good, for as long as possible. Especially as a very busy, very tired, very mum-of-two person. If my skin is in good shape, it means I can wear less or no makeup. Good. To me it’s a sign of self-care, and a ritual of self-love. Like washing my hair, or choosing denim over activewear to signify to myself and the world that, ‘I’m making an effort.’ Even if I am hungover, stressed, tired and everything can just get fucked.

“At the core of the New Skincare is chemical violence.”

A touch dramatic. Actives like Vitamin A (which incorporate retinol/retinoids), AHAs (glycolic, lactic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid) are skin care classics, and when used correctly, are not destructive. They are great, genuinely transformative, that’s for sure, but they can also mess your skin right up if you go too hard. The anecdotes in the article citing wounds and burns from layering too many actives are theatrical, but not uncommon. The author is right: more is not more. When it comes to actives, tread gently, get advice, and if in doubt, limit yourself to actives in 1-2 products daily, max.

HAHAHA, laugh all the glow-monsters. AS IF. I get it! I get it. You see the fresh, glowing skin after using high-strength retinols or AHAs, and you become addicted. The GLOW! The RADIANCE, oh GOD, the RADIANCE!

I discovered my friend was using a cleanser with 10% glycolic acid,  a serum jammed with retinoids (Vitamin A), and a night cream with both AHAs and retinol. She was 40 and looked 13, but OF COURSE SHE FRIGGEN DID SHE WAS REMOVING A LAYER OF SKIN EVERY NIGHT.

This is essentially a daily mini-peel, and it’s a terrible idea. Stop it.

The skin has finite layers. If you start ripping off skin layers with an overuse of DIY actives (without professional advice), you will end up with a compromised barrier, and a weird, shiny, taut complexion that will never, ever look the same.

I advocate AHAs. They are wonderful for all ages, (teens with bad skin will generally be put onto BHAs or AHAs) when used under advice, and with respect. I use lactic acid in my Exfoliating Swipeys because it is gentle, and hydrating, and exfoliates thoroughly. If I swiped daily my skin would likely be more glowy. But I stop at 3x a week. Because skin care is a long-term game.

“Skin care is a scam.”

No. It’s not. It’s purposeful, helpful, useful and, well, just a lot of fun, to be honest.

But as an informed consumer you should know that some skin care, in some ways, is a bit of a scam. There’s marketing gibberish and wild promises and faux science and filler ingredients with zero efficacy but nice smells. This is what inspired me to start Go-To in the first place: I was tired of being sold promises and using silicon-laden creams that did nothing. Of having to write up creams that cost $500 that worked no better than the one that cost $50.

A smart consumer buys skin care for the ingredients, not the brand or promise. 

Antioxidants, AHAs, BHAs, Vitamin A, C, E, peptides, anti-inflammatories, physical UV blockers: these, things, work. There are reams of clinical evidence to support these ingredients. And clinical evidence is not just handed out. It has to be earned. (I know this first-hand. Mr and Mrs Clinical Evidence are complete hardasses.)

“Most skincare is really just a waste of money.”

So is that Zara top I bought on Saturday. So is $18 smashed avo for breakfast. So is that book of stickers I bought for my son. So is lots of stuff.

What we choose to spend our money on is our choice. Buy what you like. (Not this, please. I think you’re terrific, Elon, but no.)

If you’re interested in not wasting money on skin care, just:

  • Buy products with ingredients that are proven to do something (as above)
  • Use moisturiser (or dedicated sunscreen) with at least SPF 15 daily
  • Clean your face at night, and apply something with antioxidants afterwards

I’m kind of grateful someone wrote a skin care diss, cos it has reinvigorated me, and made me remember why I started Go-To.

I love the ‘New Skin Care’ craze. My hope is that it’s not misguided, and people are not taken advantage of, which sounds like lunacy or lies or false concern from a woman who sells skin care, but I mean it.

I don’t care what you use or buy, if you’re gentle, and you’re doing it cos you love and respect your skin, and want to look after it, (just like you eat broccoli and pretend to enjoy tumeric lattes to look after your body), then you’re doing it right.

Enjoy yourself.

Responses to this drivel: 15 Comments

Good books for those low on time, or focus. Also: summer reads!

I enjoy a meaty, enthralling brick of fiction as much as the next peanut, but sometimes my poor, overworked brain can only handle small chunks of writing, be that fiction or it’s evil, fact-based foe, non-fiction. These books I dip in to when am wolfing down some lunch, or need some inspiration, or am breastfeeding, or want something to read before going to sleep without fear of staying up til 1am reading because I am deeply entrenched in a wild, fictive narrative.

Here are some dip-in, dip-out books I have enjoyed recently*.

Some are heartbreaking and harrowing tales, some offer career/life/entrepreneurial inspirational candy, some are capable of changing your mindset, some are teachy and learny, some are funny, and some are just, well, pleasant, but all of them are worth your time, even if you can only offer 10 minutes before hurling over a heavy arm to switch off the bedside lamp.

Way More Than Luck

I have spent (too) many hours on YouTube watching first-class commencement speeches from brilliant, funny, wise people when I should be working, but I make no apology for this. You don’t need to be graduating to be able to extract beautiful life advice from the accomplished, witty rascals hand-picked to give commencement speeches to the people who will run the world one day.

My husband knows I love these, and found this book for me. They’re not all on the same level, but I read one speech a night before bed, and even if I didn’t know the author/speaker, I generally extracted at least one good takeaway. (Also, ummmm: Nora Ephron! YAS. KWEEN.) My favourite (and everyone else’s) is of course David Foster Wallace’s ‘This Is Water’ speech. Masterful bastard.

The Moth: 50 True Stories and All These Wonders

For those who haven’t heard of The Moth, it’s a cool bar in Melbourne where everyone just hangs around a giant light. JK JK, that’s sooo Sydney. No, The Moth is actually a NFP storytelling collective based in NYC. They champion the art (and boy, is there an art) of storytelling, and commonality of the human experience. They do a (Peabody-winning) podcast, and put on live storytelling events globally. They also have two books, the original, Fifty True Stories, and their freshy, All These Wonders. From war stories, to cancer, to luck and love, the stories are so incredibly broad that it will do them no justice for me to summarise them here. Not all of them light my log, but most of the stories give me the kind of feels it usually takes an entire Spielberg film to extract. Or in other words: I cried at about every third story, so beat that.

Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss

Say what you will about Tim Ferriss, (I’m equal parts, ‘He’s brilliant!‘ and ‘He’s an annoying alpha-dork!‘) but he’s a deeply prolific and impressive gent. I credit his first book, The Four-Hour Work Week for encouraging me to leave full-time work almost ten years ago, and I credit his podcast (my favourite podcast) for introducing me to some of the most exceptional thinkers, writers and people on the planet (Seth Godin, Esther Perel, Derek Sivers, Brian Grazer etc). This book is a classic dip-in book: just choose a ‘world-class performer’ as Tim calls them, at random, and learn from them. Learn their routines and habits, creative process, how they deal with family and life balance, why they mediate or exercise and how, how to start a company, etc etc. I don’t really like the eat-only-jerky-and-sardines-and-mushroom-coffee-and-do-gymnastics-every-day health section, but I love the wisdom and wealth sections.

(I expect his latest, just-released book, Tribe of Mentors, will be equally great, but I can’t read it yet cos it’s wrapped up for my husband for Christmas and luckily he never reads this blog so there’s no risk of him knowing that unless YOU tell him, in which case: thanks for ruining Christmas.)

Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed

I re-read this recently and man. As the at-the-time anonymous columnist, Sugar, on The Rumpus, Cheryl Stayed was phenomenal. I think her writing here is even better than Wild. More raw, more urgent, more energetic. This is an agony aunt book, and agony is the key word. Agony from Sugar, agony from the letter-writers, and agony as you wade through the messy, complicated lives of people in trauma and pain and confusion, and Sugar/Cheryl’s brutal but compassionate advice. (She is the master of me-too, yet it never feels egocentric, and it sure as shit isn’t dull.) Or, more accurately, her semi-memoir-laden responses, filled with empathy, and heart, and honesty and most of which ultimately advise: if you want a good life, despite what unthinkable torrent of shit is hurled at you, you have to create it. If you don’t like advice columns, or self-help, or swearing, or feeling uncomfortable, maybe give this a miss. (And if you’re a writer? Don’t give it a miss.)

Principles, Ray Dalio

This is a strategy book, on values, attitude, life, success, management and how to be effective. (If that’s boring to you, and there’s a high-chance it is if you found my blog via a skin care line or fart book, skip this bit.) Since we’re friends, I’ll admit I skim sections of this book. (Ray is a spectacularly successful hedge fund manager and investor, and also a philanthropist, so there’s a fair whack of shares/stocks blah blah blah stuff.) But Ray’s thoughts on principles, (personal/life principles and also professional principles), has been a bit of a circuit breaker for me. It seems so obvious to have a set of guiding life principles, but do you actually know what yours are? And if you run a business, what are they for your business? I didn’t. I’m getting closer, now, and I’m enjoying the journey. (I like having a framework to live and work within. Funnily enough, it permits me to be more creative.) Principles offers precise, meaningful advice on business, mindset, and life and quite frankly, Ray, I DIG IT.

More Letters of Note

I wrote about this book last time I did a book list, but it’s worth listing here, cos it’s pretty much the ultimate dipper-inner, and whenever I read or re-read this book I want to interrupt the room and READ ALOUD TO EVERYONE WHAT I JUST READ. There is also the original Letters of Note, of course, and Lists of Note, if you’re, like, so over letters. I still can’t think of a better booky gift.

Or actually, I maybe can: the What I’ve Learned books, from American Esquire. (Not British. British Esquire sucks.) Pretty much the perfect gift for anyone, but especially men, but only if you’ve bought them a chainsaw or monster truck already.

Shannon’s Kitchen, Shannon Kelly White

No, a book of recipes probably doesn’t belong in this list, but if we’re being technical, you DO dip in and out of a cook book. Also: Shannon’s writing is so inappropriate and vulgar and funny that I often just pick it up for a chortle at her usage of ‘a bee’s dick of salt’ as a genuine measure, and the rating/time system of ‘How many fucks given’ for each recipe. Plus: GOOD FOOD! Tasty recipes with big ass pictures, which I need cos if I can’t see what I am aiming for, I won’t cook it, that’s just the kind of simple person I am. I give many fucks about this book because Shannon has (organically and unconsciously) disrupted a completely saturated and often tired and overly earnest genre with her combination of disgusting language and delicious recipes. Fucking love it.

Messy, Tim Harford

I’m always down for books that allow me to write off my messiness and procrastination and creative dysfunction as ‘purposeful’ and even admirable, so when my husband bought this and unthinkingly placed it near my breastmilk pump station, I awkwardly, one-handedly jumped in. I like Messy, because it values disorder and chaos, and confirms that when you deviate from routine and organisation, that’s often when magic happens.(I always suspected tidiness was overrated, and now I have some evidence. Soz, Kondo.) (Still love you babe.) Playfulness, gentle chaos, boundary-pushing, intuition and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantsness has been core to my work ethic and, well, success, probably, so I’m a big advocate for Tim’s line of thought. Embrace mess! Within reason! Hoarding is not okay! You know what I mean!

Alright, that’ll do. I’m hungry and you’re bored, so let’s wrap this right up.

For book pervs who need a summer reading list, here’s mine:

  • Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
  • The Heirs, Susan Reiger
  • History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund
  • My Absolute Darling, Gabriel Tallent (I inhaled A Little Life, so hopefully I can handle this…)
  • Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny
  • Do Not Become Alarmed, Maile Meloy
  • Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
  • Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari (been on my bedside table for months, glaring at me)
  • No One Likes A Fart, Zoe Foster Blake (JK, way too high brow.)

And finally, random books I remember reading this year that are good:

  • Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan – the final book in the Crazy Rich Asians series, trashy trashy fun fun fun
  • My Brilliant Friend, Elana Ferrante. I read all four in the Neapolitan series which took up a solid few months. It was strangely engaging, despite not a great deal happening. Huh.
  • The Whole Brain Child, Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson – because I have a threenager
  • You’ll Grow Out Of It, Jessi Klein. (Also, watch Big Mouth on Netflix. So wrong, so funny.)
  • Not Just Lucky, Jamila Rizvi, a wonderful book about professional self-worth by my friend, and the future prime minister of Australia.
  • Force of Nature, Jane Harper, Not as harrowing as her spooky, sad debut, The Dry but still page-turny to the MAX
  • A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara. A masterpiece that will completely drain you, and you will hate reading because it’s deeply unsettling and disturbing and sad and fucked up, but it’s also sensationally written and entirely mesmerising. The book I love – and hate – to recommend. NOT a beach read.
  • Eve Babitz! All the Babitz. I just inhaled Sex and Rage, LA Woman and Slow Days, Fast Company in quick succession and fall harder in love with Eve’s writing each book. She tells lush, dreamy, witty, naughty LA girl stories, and her characters and adventures are absurd and delicious.


*That doesn’t mean they’re new, just that I’ve read or revisited them recently.
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