Into the morning.

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Bassike stripes, Hello Parry coat, Frame Denim jeans, knitted beanie from Myer (on sale!)

It must come with age or something to find comfort and consolation in Friday night drinks with copious amounts of tea. Even when I’m travelling, nothing beats curling up on the couch in my Airbnb with an eclectic selection of teas our host has kindly left for us. There’s something about the ritual of taking tea in ordinary surroundings that makes me feel like I’m worlds away.

Speaking of being up and away, I’m going hot air ballooning tomorrow morning, as a belated birthday present from my husband. We’re flying over the Avon Valley as the sun (and most likely, me) wakes up, which I’m so excited for. The 3am wake-up call, though? Not so much.

Nonetheless, I can’t wait to share the pictures with you all. Happy weekend!

The Little Things.

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There’s something so easy, so uncomplicated about the humble zippered pouch.

There’s no fumbling with tiny credit card slots, no messing around with a multitude of compartments. Mine quadruple-duties as a purse, a travel wallet, a cosmetic pouch, and a clutch for a quick nip to the coffee shop in the morning.

Most of all, I love that they’re a homage to every day essentials; enticing you to carry nothing more and nothing less.

It may be Benah’s influence, but zip pouches are slowly replacing the need for my old-fashioned continental wallet. That latter seems too hard, too cumbersome.

And simplicity and straightforwardness is always appealing.

Photograph by me.

The New Silhouette.

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Witchery coatigan, COS t-shirt (I also live in these), Country Road wool trousers, Bonbons ‘Ablaze’ leather boots, Proenza Schouler PS11 black clutch. 

The voluminous cropped pants, soft oversized cardigans that fall past the calf, t-shirts with a more-than-enough slouch. It’s this insouciant subversiveness of classic silhouettes and sartorial spins that can only mean one thing:

Winter is coming.

Photographs by Jamie

A New Attitude.

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source: coffeestainedcashmere

I’ve been inspired by a few good women lately: Barbara Casasola, Chloe Sippe, Talia Shuvalov… for the simple fact that their personal style is (almost) as anonymous as they are.

For the most part, I admire them for the way they are completely okay with wearing essentially the same thing every day to work: an unassuming uniform of t-shirts and sweaters; blazers and ankle boots. There is honestly something so appealing about pinpointing and distilling your personal style to such a degree that makes you feel so comfortably at ease with never really wanting to wear something better or something different from yesterday.

For whatever reason, getting dressed for work has taken me more time and energy than necessary lately. I have approximately 10 minutes each morning to find something to wear for the day, which sounds like ample time if 1. I wasn’t getting dressed in the dark (so as not to wake my husband who leaves later than I do) and 2. If my style wasn’t so damn schizophrenic.

I’ve always loved to wear something different every day – not because I worry about what other people think – but mostly because new-ness and variation always, unfailingly, puts me in a better mood. Some days are better than others – though never consecutively. And interestingly, I’ve noted that the sartorial stars seem to unfailingly align on a Monday, probably because I’ve had the weekend to recharge my batteries.

Turning 30 has also led to a subtle and subconscious shift in my style; gently encouraging me to enter the next decade of my life dressed like a proper grown-up (whatever that means/entails). I suppose the desire to live simply and without drama or clutter in my life, is probably a better way to describe it.

So, over the past couple of weeks, I took the opportunity to re-organise the contents of my wardrobe and make a mental wishlist of what would form part of my perfect, every day ‘uniform’:

everyday

Isabel Marant Etoile linen t-shirts in white and black, and Bassike men’s boxy cotton tees

Two such distinct styles, but it means I have my bases covered; I generally prefer a crew neckline, longer sleeves and the way organic cotton/linen drapes, but I’d also like the option of a t-shirt with a lower scoop neckline and slim sleeves.

Merino wool sweaters

Country Road makes the best ones, especially if we’re talking mens’ section. I buy them in an XS (the sleeves are a tad long, but the rest of it is a perfect, slouchy fit) and have taken to wearing these with my leather trousers or over a dressy, statement skirt to see me through the transition to winter. I’ve found black and grey marle to be the most versatile colours for work. I’d also love to eventually get my hands on Uniqlo cashmere as an equally comfortable and well-cut alternative. I’m currently living in their cashmere cardigans around the house and I’ve found the quality to be excellent.

The black blazer

I’ve found that the ever-present search for the black blazer requires a bit more time and financial investment than the rest. The one I’ve always had a keen eye on is Lover’s Infinity Tuxedo black blazer, which has also proven to be the most elusive (trust me, I’ve been stalking eBay for a year to no avail). In the interim, my Dion Lee black silk crepe cape blazer is proving indispensable, as is a slightly oversized Isabel Marant anthracite blazer which I recently purchased for a steal from The Outnet. My main objective is to gradually but ultimately ‘upgrade’ from my chain-store mainstays (that are generally inferior in cut, fabric and quality) to pieces that are more refined (i.e. made from wool, not polyester/viscose) and, of course, exceptionally well-cut.

Acne Studios black denim 

After months of ‘research’, I’ve narrowed it down to the Flex and Pin 5. I’ve been hooked on Acne denim ever since making my first purchase from Matches earlier this year (the Needle in the Rocca wash). I’ve always shied away from denim for the simple fact that I’ve never found a pair comfortable enough, but the 92% cotton, 5% polyester, 2% elastane fabric composition is such a dream to wear.

Leather skinny/slim cut trousers

I swear by J Brand – the buttery lambskin is second-skin soft and never stretches out of shape. The initial outlay was heinous, of course, but I wear these almost every second/third day so thankfully it’s been money well spent. Given the creative nature of my job, I’ve been lucky to get away with wearing these to work – simply adding a black blazer or a silk shirt to make it a little more office-appropriate.

Cigarette trousers

For as long as I can remember, matchstick/cigarette cut pants have always been the hardest working items in my wardrobe. I recently purchased a pair of Acne black ankle-grazing trousers to serve as an ‘upgrade’ from the Forever New Erin trousers I’ve worn (and loved) to death. For me, it has always been about investing in a quality fabric with a certain heft to it (such as wool). I find better quality fabrics also leave less creases when sitting (such as around the back of the knees).

Statement skirts

My pencil skirts have taken a back seat ever since I started my new job as I find them slightly too austere for my liking – and for the role I’m in. For days when I’m seeking variety from pants, the statement skirt seems to pull through. I’ve been mostly wearing my Lover Rosebud lace black skirt to the office, anchoring it with aforementioned sweaters and longline blazers. Dressing down a fancy skirt has long been one of those tricks up my sleeve that’s never failed me. My Apiece Apart calf-length ‘Drea’ skirt is also keeping the Lover Rosebud in good company; I love teaming this skirt with an oversized knit and ballet flats on lazy days.

Church’s Chelsea polished brogue boots

They’re hard to come by, but deciding what colour to invest in is proving to be much more difficult! Smokestudded, or oxblood? I’ve been wearing my Chloe studded ankle boots and Isabel Marant Dickers to the office, but have been thinking about investing in a more understated, inconspicuous pair of boots to see me through the next few months.

Based on the above list, there are still a few gaps to fill. Such items – like the Chelsea boots and denim – will be gradually added to my every day repertoire when I’ve saved up enough to afford them or once I’ve had the opportunity to try them on.

No matter how foolproof my plan is, though, I’ve still got such a long way to go in terms of shifting that always-wanting-to-wear-something-new mindset. I’ve gotten into the ruinous habit of buying something new each week and my husband was suitably horrified when he found out. So something’s gotta give. And admittance’s the first step to recovery, so they say.

Home.

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It was grey and sullen last Sunday so I took the opportunity to shoot some still-life whilst the light was still decent. After all, cloudy, rainy days are unfailingly best spent like this:

White t-shirts and lived-in denim, bobby pins precariously hitching a tousled bun in place, nails to be painted a fairy floss pink, Sigur Rós on loop, and tea in one hand with a camera in the other.

I’m wistfully wishing all mornings ran along similar lines like these.

Photographs by me.

In full bloom.

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It was such a wonderful stroke of luck that the first day of bloom happened to fall on our last day in Japan. Knowing it was an opportunity of a lifetime, we decided to devote our last day to cherry blossom hopping from one corner of Tokyo to the other.

As soon as breakfast was eaten and our suitcases packed, we hopped on the subway to Nakameguro. Having eaten dinner there the evening before (unfortunately the lanterns weren’t lit by the time we got there), we were itching to see the blossoms lining the Meguro River in all its daytime glory. Words can’t describe what it felt like seeing all of it and finding our way through it with our own eyes, so I won’t even try.

It’s just that moments like these deserve a post – or a homage, rather – all on its own.

Photographs by Jamie and me.

 

Morning Situation.

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You and I both know that I would ordinarily put hundreds of dollars towards a pair of shoes, so it even surprises me that these Bang & Olufsen headphones were one of the most treasured purchases I made in Japan.

I wanted something to get me comfortably through the long flight back to Perth, so I took the plunge and picked up these headphones on my last day from the monstrously huge Bic Camera store in downtown Tokyo. I deliberated for the longest time (I’m talking weeks here, haha) whether to opt for the tan leather or give into timeless, classic black (like I always do).

In the end, I decided to live life on the edge with the tan. The buttery soft lambskin (and, um, the sound quality…of course) ultimately won me over. They’re so practical too; for long-haul flights (I happily and comfortably wore this for 8 hours on the plane) and long, languid walks on the beach.

 

Beauty Spot.

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Days like these are so rare.

The first thing I do on Sunday morning after waking up is open the blinds in my bedroom to reveal a  brand new day. These days, a grey cast of light greets me which means there’ll be no photography by the window sill that morning. But on days when the sky is clear and the sun is out, and the dappled light filters through the trees outside and into my expansive window, I quickly grab my camera (and Olympus OM-D E-M5 if anyone’s wondering) and make ordinary things like these – lipsticks, blushers, eyelash curlers – come to life through my looking glass.

On this particularly beautiful day, I gathered some of my current beauty favourites I use for special occasions.

A fancy foundation, a finishing powder, the perfect go-anywhere blush, a highlighting pen (to lift my base that little bit extra), an eyelash curler (because I’ve always believed a curler is so much more important than a mascara – if it had to come down to one) and, of course, the Red Lipstick.

It seems like a rite of passage – if we were speaking in beauty terms – to ‘invest’ in a Tom Ford lipstick. Once you get past the $65 accompanying price tag (I think I audibly gasped in the middle of the DJs cosmetics floor) you’ll realise that this wondrous, brilliantly encased thing of a lipstick is worth every single glowing review. I decided on ‘Wild Ginger’ – it’s the perfect cross between MAC Morange & Lady Danger (which happen to be two of the hardest-working lipsticks in my make-up repertoire). I also won’t lie – the elegant, sophisticated and sleek art-deco inspired case tipped me right over the edge and reminds me that on some days you just have to create your own sunshine.

Photographs by me.

Macadamia & Lime Cheesecake.

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After a week living in offline exile, our wifi at home was switched back on just before the weekend. Life without internet was annoying, but also strangely cathartic. I spent my nights mostly with my nose in a book, re-reading all the magazines on my iPad, cleansing my closet, planning the next chapter of my wardrobe cull (more on this later) and spending lots of time in the kitchen preparing dinners I never had time to, before. Emails were left answered until the next morning and online shopping was non-existent. The past week has taught me a lot about how being online all the time has a lot to do with habit, and that there is a certain beauty and benefit to being offline. Even just for a little while.

So onto this cake! My brother’s birthday falls a week after mine. I love any opportunity to make & bake and after the decadent birthday week I had, this week had been about overcoming the birthday hangover with healthy eats and more sleep.

So I got stuck into this recipe from Quirky Cooking for a Raw Macadamia & Lime Cheesecake. It’s non-dairy (so it doesn’t actually contain any ‘cheese’) and it’s perfect for Vegans and non-Vegans alike. It’s not the most conventional birthday cake but, hey, rules were made for bending.

I used my Thermomix (as per the recipe) to make this cake but a food processor would work perfectly  in this case, too. I didn’t follow the ingredient list exactly as I wanted to use up some of my pantry items, so here’s what went into my cake:

Raw Macadamia & Lime Cheesecake (here’s the method)

For the base:

130g raw macadamias and hazelnuts

70g desiccated coconut for the base (instead of flaked/shredded)

10 pitted dates (I wanted to use Medjool but instead opted for conveniently pitted ones)

Pinch of Himalayan salt

 

For the filling:

2 vanilla beans (I used the McCormick brand from my local IGA which gives two in a sachet)

Zest from 2 limes

Flesh from 1 of the above limes

150g raw cashews (I used unsalted)

320g fresh avocados (this equates to about 3 medium – large avocados)

80g honey (instead of 100g maple syrup – I was scared of making it too sweet)

55g coconut oil

Pinch of Himalayan salt

 

For the topping:

150g macadamias (I soaked them beforehand)

A 400ml can of coconut cream

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Juice of 1 lime

30g honey (as I don’t have maple syrup)

 

Recipe notes

I decorated my cake with flaked coconut (about a cup) and lime wedges (you can decorate it any way you wish, though!).

As the cake is best eaten semi-freddo style, it needs to be kept in the freezer at all times. I found storing it in the fridge makes the topping & filling too soft.

I made the cake late Friday night, then set it in the freezer overnight. It was served at Saturday lunch.

I know not everyone owns a Thermomix, but the method is easily adaptable to a food processor/blender. You just need to weigh out the ingredients beforehand obviously (I don’t, as the TM convienently weighs everything for me & then calibrates the scales – hooray). Otherwise, there are plenty of non-TM recipes floating around on Pinterest or Taste.com.au you can refer to.

If you don’t like avocados in desserts, you might not like this cake. Just sayin’.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment under this post.

Enjoy! I’m off to have a slice for breakfast, ha!

Photographs by me.

Winging it.

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Balenciaga navy wool blazer, Country Road sweater, Sportsgirl trousers, leather oxfords from Italy. 

Just a few photos from the weekend, which illustrates my birthday-week in a nutshell – adding a couple of inches to the waistline, and losing a couple of inches off my hair (with a new hair colour thrown in for good measure).

I apologise for the super quick post today as I’m working with minimal internet until my wifi at home and 3G on my phone decides to resurrect and get themselves back up and running.  I therefore won’t be tweeting, emailing, facebooking or instagramming as much until then, either, but I promise to be back online as soon as I can!

The down time has, however, allowed me to devote more time to the kitchen – I have a beef rendang planned in the Thermomix tonight and a raw macadamia lime cheesecake to be baked later on in the week. Perfect creature comfort food to coincide with winter finally arriving in Perth!

Photographs by Jamie.

Life lessons I learnt in my 20s.

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It’s hard to pinpoint what the single most defining moment of my 20s was.

Bursting into post-breakup tears in someone’s backyard with a bunch of random people consoling me? Graduating from uni and receiving my first real paycheck? Knowing all the words to Taylor Swift’s angry songs? Or how about that time I met this guy at a bar and agreed to marry him 8 months later?

One thing’s for sure: I’m leaving my 20s behind this week with life lessons I can count on two hands. I hope you’re sitting down with your morning coffee, ’cause this is going to be a long one.

1. Losing him will help you find yourself.

I was sixteen and so in love. An intoxicating, heart-stopping, high school sweetheart kind of love. But a third of my life later, he was gone. Just like that. I cried for a week (or four.. okay, maybe eight) until I met someone else who promised me the world for two months, until he left too. It was then that I started writing a blog. Pouring my sorry little heart out to anyone who’d care to read. And from that point on, I learnt the beauty in goodbyes.

It’s unnerving – in a Sliding Doors kind of way – to know that if I had stayed with him, this blog – this micro-universe I’ve created – would have probably never existed. I would have never met some of you. Or my husband, for that matter. And I would have never written this book, either.

Your 20s give you time. Time to leave the one who’s not The One. Time to get your shit together – find your worth – and maybe meet the one who is. It may seem unfathomable when you’re heartbroken, but you’ll come out the other side better, smarter, wiser. After all, what doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger. All you have to do is to lose that fear – and him.

2. All the stuff you’ll regret will be the stuff you didn’t do.

I’ll be turning thirty with a few regrets. It’s almost exclusively stuff I should have done three years ago. Things I should have done three months ago. All the things I didn’t do, or haven’t done.

I wish I had seen more of the world in my early 20s. Saved more money. Paid off my debts earlier. Cut toxic people out of my life. Most of all, I wish I had taken risks: quit my job, sell my car, move to Scandinavia, be a journalist or a nomad, or not see my family for half a year even if it nearly kills me.

I look back now – six years on – and although I don’t regret the life I’m living now for a second, there is still a big part of me that regrets not seizing the moment when I had the chance. What about now, I hear you ask? Well, there’s mortgages to service, jobs to hold down, bills to pay, babies to make. Most of this stuff was just a blip on the radar when I was in my early 20s.

3. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

There’s a quote floating around on the interwebs that goes a little something like this:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

I’m certainly not the most accomplished person I know, but I do try to put 100% into everything I do. My husband is probably the only person who truly knows the science behind my blog, the book I co-wrote, the photos I Instagram, the stuff I write. To paint a quick and superficial picture for you, my behind-the-scenes looks a little like this:

Spending 7 hours writing/proofing this post, and another 5 hours planning/photographing it.
Taking 1.5 hours to edit this photo on my phone
3 months just write this chapter
Each day: up at 6am, work 7-4, exercise until 7pm, then work on this blog from after dinner until midnight. I never stop thinking, even if I want to or need to.
It took 4 plane trips, 36 hours and a 45 minute light plane ride just to see this.
8 years to work my way up from a marketing assistant to a marketing manager.

It’s so easy to presume that everyone else effortlessly leads a better life(style) than you do – heck, I still fall victim to it (that’s why I deactivated my Facebook account – plus I got sick of all the faux birthday messages). It’s so important to realise that good things don’t come to those who wait – and that everything in life is usually just a clever game of smoke and mirrors or a shitload of work (and often both). Remember that behind every dream there is an element of blood, sweat and tears. Everything takes time. Success is just a series of small wins. And nothing worth it ever came easy.

4. Your parents aren’t as half-bad as you think.

The thing about getting older is that you start to see your parents in a different light. You see wrinkles on their hands that you’ve never noticed before. You see them getting sick – and taking longer to recover. A dullness in their eyes that has only come with age. You start to see their flaws because you’ve inherited them too. Most of all, you begin seeing them as who they are: perfectly imperfect people who are doing the best they can with what little they have – and with the instruction manual they never received.

I grew up in a household where physical and emotional abuse was a daily occurrence. The visible scars have disappeared but time never heals those wounds buried deep inside my mind. Needless to say, I had an unconventional and dysfunctional relationship with my parents, which has honestly only ‘normalised’ over the past 6-12 months. And although I wish that maybe things could have been different, I realise now that the love was always there. It was just squirrelled away in pockets my parents were too afraid to dig deep enough into.

As the months and  years pass, I think they, too, realise that life really is for rent. One of my biggest wishes now is to enjoy the time I have with them before it’s too late.

So be nice to your parents. There are people out there who aren’t lucky enough to get the chance.

5. Not everyone is going to like you. And be okay with that.

I learnt very early on that the colour of my hair despised some people. I was eight when I was called ugly every single day by the Aussie kids in my class. Being the only Asian kid at my primary school, no one would go near me. I was constantly teased because of my mother’s name. Big kids on bikes would pass me as I walked home and call me a ‘nip’. I didn’t even know what that was until years later. It continued in high school but waned when they realised I spoke better English and ran faster than they all ever could.

So my formative years were pretty shit, but things have looked up since then. Probably because I’ve stopped caring so much. Everyone’s got an opinion, and whilst some people will dislike you for big reasons, others will pick on you for petty ones. Unless they’re your husband, your best friend or your mother, remember that what people think of you is actually none of your business.

6. People change. Things change. It’s no one’s fault.

I will put it out there: since getting married three years ago, I no longer see/speak to half the people on my wedding guest list. It sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

It’s not that they’re bad friends. Or that I’ve been crap at keeping in touch. Life got in the way. People moved away. I disappeared from Facebook. We all got busy. It’s no one’s fault, really. No one’s been a bad friend or anything.

If I can be honest, though, it has taken me the past 12 months to be okay with this. I was the one who had 500 ‘friends’ on Facebook until one day – the day after my 29th birthday – an innocent ‘cull’ made me bitterly realise I could probably count the number of good friends – can’t-live-without-friends – on no more than two hands.

But then I learnt to appreciate each and every friendship for what it was: my work BFFs whom I don’t see so often anymore, the platonic male friendships I made after the break-up (then naturally dispersed when I married my husband), my engaged friend who went along on the crazy 12-month ride they call wedding planning, and all the others I held close to my heart who defined my 20s. Like relationships, these friendships taught me an important lesson and so much gratitude: that even though they might not last forever, they were there when I needed them most.

7. Fake it ’til you make it.

By the time you’re on the wrong side your 20s, you’ll realise that everyone’s screwed up some way or another. We all pretend to know everything but, dig a bit deeper, and you’ll realise that everyone from their mid-20s to their late-60s just flies by the seat of their pants.

The biggest thing I’ve learnt? That faking confidence will get you somewhere. Not out of the woods completely, but at least out of the neighbourhood and down the street a little.

Public speaking used to turn my stomach into anxious knots. I never thought I could ever look after my own marketing team. And I never, for a moment, thought I could blog for an audience of tens – sometimes hundreds – of thousands of people. Even now, the latter makes me really anxious. But I’ve learnt that to do what I need to do – and to do it well –  I need to face my fears head-on with a strong belief in myself that allows me to persist in the face of failure, no matter how petrified it makes me feel.

As Bill Cosby once said, “Decide that you want it, more than you are afraid of it.”

Because confidence is everything.

8. What would you do for free?

When it comes to figuring out what you should do for the rest of your life, a lot of people suggest thinking of something that you’d happily do for free. On some level, I agree. On another, I call bullshit.

As you can tell from the thesis I’ve written so far, my love for the written word knows no bounds. But I know for certain that it would suck as a full-time job. It’s not until you write and publish a book that you realise it’s just work at the end of the day. There are rules. There are deadlines. There’s the being paid less than what you’re probably worth (and the inevitable chasing up of invoices) or the not-being-paid-at-all, and there’s a whole lot of people telling you that you’re doing it wrong after you’ve done it.

That’s when the very thing you’ve always loved doing becomes a chore because it becomes your livelihood.

My take on it? Relinquish it as a hobby (or freelance on the side, if you want the best of both worlds) but if, like me, you rely on the security of a full-time income, find a day job that you don’t mind getting up in the morning for. Only then can you live by your own rules, doing what you truly love without relying on it solely to make ends meet.

9. You can have it all. Just not all at once.

It was year 11 Economics when I learnt about Opportunity Cost.

Defined as “a benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else”, Opportunity Cost will sadly become more and more applicable in your late 20s.

In an ideal world, I would have, by the time I turned 30: travelled the world, lived abroad for a year or two, started my own business, got married, given birth to my first child, climbed the ranks in my career, built my forever home, turned this blog into a full-time gig, still have money in the bank and keep my sanity intact.

Sounds ridiculously unrealistic, doesn’t it? I’ll admit that I’ve achieved maybe half of these things over the past decade, but it hasn’t been without a lot of sacrifice. But I have prioritised – and that has made the world of difference. What makes you happy? What gets you up every day? Figure that out and those sacrifices will seem like less of an opportunity cost.

10. You are not free until you have no need to impress anybody.

The truth is, I’m still figuring this one out.

Pursuit of emptiness.

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It’s embarrassing how much I am drunkenly, achingly, in love with Hannah’s blog.

It’s always the words.

And hers are so effortless, but so heavyweight; never purposely written for pomp, and always so congruously devoid of superflous details. Hannah’s is appropriately pared-back, refreshingly grounded, and gives me hope that something so simple can, in fact, be just as ridiculously beautiful.

Which is kind of how I felt when I bought my first Muji product precisely three years ago from a forgotten corner of a Stockholm department store. That day – with the gentle whisper of encouragement from my husband (who already was a Muji connoisseur from all his previous trips to Japan) – I purchased an in-flight cotton travel set. It was striped pale blue, and contained an inflatable air pillow and sleeping mask fashioned from the softest brushed cotton and housed in a matching cotton bag with a simple rope drawstring. Three years of flying from one corner of the world to the other, and I still never get on a plane without it.

Since then, my husband and I have filled every nook and cranny of our little home with things from Muji on our overseas travels. Chopsticks, bobby pins, pens (oh, the pens!), hair elastics, plush toy tool set (um, yes, you read right), striped shirts, affordable acrylic storage (that has such a cult following that it deserves its own Instagram account), tatami home slippers, and mittens we purchased out of slight desperation at the Broadway store because it was bitterly cold in New York that day. Heck, we’ve even got a palm-sized hairdryer, in typical Japanese fashion.

Trips to Muji (which, by the way, translates to “no-label quality goods”) are always on my travel itinerary. There’s something so therapeutic, so calming, so clean and pure about embracing the essence of this lifestyle brand, worlds away from any other place and every other brand.

When Muji headquarters in Melbourne emailed me last month, I was – rather aptly – in Japan. It was the day after we had visited the flagship store in Tokyo, fawning over porcelain rice bowls, delightfully minimalist pyjamas, the softest jersey bed linen, and those striped shirts (I can never get enough).

Fast forward two weeks when I was in Melbourne for all but 18 hours. I managed to squeeze in a quick afternoon coffee just before the H&M launch with the ever-lovely and effervescent Muji PR & Marketing team (hi, Kat!) who were, at the time, knee deep in preparations for their second store opening this side of the equator.

I smuggled a few products from Muji’s skincare range (something I haven’t tried on my face before) in my tiny carry-on back to Perth, and am ridiculously excited to embark on what I anticipate will be a new, all-consuming, obsession.

Muji’s pursuit of emptiness speaks to me in ways very few lifestyle brands have. Its train of thought is unnervingly reminiscent of mine: my uncluttered desk, the list-making, my penchant for crisp, clean bed sheets, the way I line up my shoes, colour-code my closet, work with no less than six different coloured highlighters, and wrap my presents in brown paper then tie them all up with string.

Who knew this deliberate pursuit of emptiness would leave me feeling so full, so content, and never, ever, really wanting what is more than necessary.