Another Feather.

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Hello Parry Lara organza midi skirt,  Country Road grey merino men’s sweater, Bonbons leather ankle boots, Celine Trio in dark navy.

It’s just like me to be wearing more skirts in winter than summer. I’ve never been a skirts and sandals kind of girl so when Saturday showed not a single cloud in the sky, I took to organza and ankle boots faster than you could say, “Winter? Perth? Pfft.”

Photographs by Jamie

Simply breakfast.

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via Simply Breakfast

As I wrap up my first week of what I have discovered to be a rather destabilising but deeply emancipating freelance life, I’ve started to become more appreciative of rituals and routine; of the blank canvas I wake up to every day; of time and how to best use it; and of all the breakfasts I’ve never had time for because of the 9 to 5.

So I thought Sunday would be a good day as any to share this delicious blog I recently stumbled across. Jen Causey’s Simply Breakfast tells (an achingly photogenic) tale of her first meals of the day. I love the way she documents her ode to breakfast with a casual calmness – all runny eggs and ketchup; baked oatmeal and Southern peaches; apple scramble and honeyed almonds on toast.

It’s exactly the inspiration I’ve needed to finally christen the Le Creuset omelette pan that’s been sitting in its orange box in my cupboard for months now, waiting to be seasoned.

As a new week looms, Simply Breakfast has given me some food for thought. I’ll no doubt be spending it with this in mind; Jen’s philosophy as to how all days should start:

“Sitting down to a meal in the morning helps me to be present and allows me to think and to set intentions for the day ahead.”

Spy Style: Tokyo Travels

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See the best of Tokyo in 24 hours with my essential travel guide to Tokyo.

Where to go, what to do, what to eat, and where to stay – it’s all right here in my latest Spy Style post for Vogue Australia.

P.S. I’ve put together this guide under the assumption that you’re not crazy enough to be spending just a day in this supercharged city where only your stamina will dictate when you’ve had enough – and I hope that my guide will give you a great starting point to plan your own trip. For my husband, a month in Japan wouldn’t even have sufficed. As for me, I’m still dreaming about onigiri all day, everyday…

How to: shop for work basics.

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Get the look: Acne Studios black blazer, Acne Studios Patti cotton shirt, Isabel Marant black trousers, Acne Studios knitted sweater, Church’s leather Chelsea boots.

Following on from yesterday, I thought I’d put together a more in-depth glimpse into the whys and hows behind my own work wardrobe.

As you can tell, I’ve always placed a pretty big emphasis on ‘investment dressing’ for work, simply because getting the foundation right – regardless of whether you’re building a house or a work wardrobe – will give you a firm footing, unassailable structure, and clear focus to build something that will withstand the test of time. 

The blazer

I have one in navy, one in classic black, and one in anthracite because I’m not one for the pantsuit look and the dark grey seems to do a great job at  breaking up the monotony. Slim sleeves and a relaxed body is my preferred silhouette and I always reach for blazers with a structured shoulder and good lapel – those, to me, are the foundations of a great blazer. I also prefer longline blazers (a hip-grazing length or slightly longer) as I find these to be much more flattering and versatile.

The classic button-down shirt

I prefer mine with a large, pointed collar and slightly oversized through the body. I avoid viscose like the plague (creases!) so I opt for cotton poplin or linen, and wear it buttoned to the collar, most of the time. White and pale blue wins every time.

The pants

Heavy wool for winter, always. I’m drawn to pants with belt loops and think those that sit on the hip are as indispensable as pants that cut high on the waist (I love a good tucked-in shirt with a blazer and brogues look). Also, try cuffing the hem of your pants to above the ankle rather than at the ankle – it gives a completely different look and feel to the outfit!

The sweater

It’s hard to go past a good turtleneck, but a generous round-neck allows you to layer a button-down shirt underneath with the pointed collar peeking out. I always gravitate towards natural fibres (soft brushed cotton, merino, or cashmere). Throw a blazer over it and the humble sweater looks instantly dressed up. It’s my favourite winter trick in the sartorial book.

The shoes

Cold feet always makes me so unproductive. Polished ankle boots are something I tend to reach for on cold mornings. Flat Chelsea boots are always worn with a hint of ankle showing whilst my heeled leather pointed boots elevate my statement skirt and sweater combo to new heights. An almond toe or pointed toe boot is always more flattering and professional looking.

Like building a house, putting together a wardrobe of clever, investment pieces is the most expensive and most critical part of the process. But, like a good foundation for your face, starting with a flawless canvas (that you probably wear every day) allows you to mix it up with less expensive items that you may not use every day (for me in terms of make-up, it’s eyeliners and for the wardrobe, it’s the seasonal, trend-driven pieces).

And planning a wardrobe is much like everything else in life: focus on the things that matter the most, and know when to scrimp on the things that don’t.

Turning over a new leaf.

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Isabel Marant blazer (here’s a similar one on sale by Acne Studios), Zara linen t-shirt, J Brand skinny leather jeans (on sale with extra 25% off), Seed Heritage black wool fedora, Country Road leather zip pouch, Church’s ‘Kelsey’ brogue Chelsea boots (currently lusting after these!).

I find it ironic that it’s not until I’ve quit my job that I’ve been able to find the time to put together a ‘What I wear to work’ post. For the sake of this post, can we all just pretend that right now I’m wearing this get-up (or something along those lines) instead of my pyjamas and two pairs of socks on each foot with my feet stuffed inside a pair of slippers? Such is the glamorous freelance life where people interaction and a sense of style becomes scant.

Ahem. So, since obsessively dissecting the idea of work uniforms, my rapidly depleting bank account and I have been pulling together investment pieces and work wardrobe staples with the help of some well-timed sales (thank you, Outnet and NAP!). I added an Acne ivory waffle knit sweater to my stable of winter knits, as well as a few blazers in navy and anthracite from Isabel Marant and Acne (I really recommend checking out The Outnet weekly – or in my case, daily) to my heavily rotated collection of tailored blazers. Finally, I was lucky enough to find the Church’s Chelsea boots on sale from Net-A-Porter, which have been glued to my feet since they arrived on my doorstep.

On wintery days like these, it’s all about a pair of leather pants or cigarette trousers, a knitted sweater or linen t-shirt, a pair of ankle boots and a tailored blazer for added polish. All fail-safe items that have sufficiently gotten me through Perth’s chilly 2C mornings and rainy days.

I’ll admit, it does seem like somewhat of a waste now that my work uniform has become a series of tracksuits and PJs, but with my tendency to dress like a man most days, I’ll be working these items into the rainy weekends.

As for those of you who work in a much more corporate and conservative environment (because somehow I don’t think leather pants will cut the mustard in your office), I’ll be putting together an exciting post specially for you in collaboration with one of my (and most likely your!) favourite Australian brands. Look out for it soon!

Photographs by Jamie

In a new place.

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Although I didn’t mean for this to to happen, I’ve realised it’s been almost a week since my last post! Things have kind of gotten intense, lately, I guess. As some of you have gathered from instagram, I called it a day and quit my job on Friday, leaving for the freelance, feast and famine, full-time-blog kind of life.

I won’t lie; the thought of waking up tomorrow without a 9-5 cubicle job to fall back on terrifies me more than excites me. But something had to be done about the sleepless nights and the furrowed brows. So here I am.

I’ve spent the entire weekend making room in my tiny home for a workspace. You wouldn’t have guessed it, but my mum found the glass desk off someone else’s kerb (she loves roadside collections as much as the next Asian) and the chair is from a hair salon which they didn’t have any use for anymore (it’s strangely in perfect working order, though). As for the dying orchid, well… that’s all mine.

Let the light in.

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Neoprene and poplin top from Merryparker (online store coming soon), ASOS culottes, Ray Ban Aviators, Celine Trio purse, Witchery suede pumps.

I’ve been preoccupied with my own thoughts over the past week, reasoning with the cards Life deals out every now and then. My week has been all furrowed brows, bad dreams and restless nights, a hollow pit in my stomach and a haunting, empty space on the inside. Maybe it’s the universe reminding me it’s okay to be a work in progress; that this is still practice; that life was never about becoming because it was about being. And that maybe, instead of shouldering the weight of my own expectations, it’s better just to let them slip right through my fingers.

But it was as if the weather was having nothing of my mercurial nonsense, because it was gloriously warm and sunny over the weekend. With half of it spent sussing out new coffee shops (Addison & Steele, you win) and the other half in bed wrapping my hands around hot mugs of tea,  I’m afraid Monday’s got no chance.

Photographs by Jamie.

Sticky situation.

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I have this notorious reputation amongst my family for producing disastrous desserts. Most of the time, I’m relegated to making a salad because I’m that untrustworthy with organising the most important meal of the day.

I’ll admit, a green tea cheesecake I once made turned out to be a little too cheesy on the palate (read: unedible) and that (probably too healthy) lime & macadamia raw cheesecake I made for my brother’s birthday last month went down like a lead balloon, even though I quite enjoyed it. How was I to know? No one told me what they really thought of it until a couple of days ago. I thought everyone loved avocados?

So given I evidently don’t have the most solid track record with cheesecakes, I offered to whip up a sticky date pudding for everyone last night, reassuring them that I had ‘practised’ earlier in the week. On, er, myself (and my husband), that is. My husb gave it his tick of approval even though he’s too nice to say what he really thinks, most likely out of fear that I’ll never cook for him again. He be a clever man.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make this pudding for years in my Thermomix but it always seemed so involved. And I’m lazy. But like most things, it was easier and quicker than I had thought, though it helped that I happened to have all the ingredients on hand last week. I decided to buy fresh dates for last night’s version, though, as a Thermomixin’ friend of mine (hi, Meif!) had suggested to.

As you can hopefully see above, the end result was incredibly light, fluffy and moist with edges crispy in all the right places. I also made an accompanying butterscotch sauce that was so heavenly that it made you forget chocolate existed altogether, and finally served the pudding with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream.

Safe to say, it was a crowd-pleaser.

Photographs by me.

Shop the classics.

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For those of you who are in a shopping-in-my-pjs kind of mood today, I’ve added a few new items to my online store. There’s a bit of Acne, a dash of Helmut, my striped ASOS coat (yes, that one) and this COS black blazer I’m wearing above). All wardrobe classics that will see you through many winters to come.

Shop here.

A love that lasts.

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There’ll be times on my lunch break when I’ll meander my way through my favourite bookshop, florist, candle store, or magazine stand, and I’ll come across a book, a boardgame or a freshly baked cake that someone I know would hold close to their hearts. But then I’ll remember that their birthday was five months ago, or in six months’ time, so much to my disappointment, it’ll invariably return to the shelf.

Ever since I was little, I’ve always regarded gifts as things that marked special occasions or accompanied certain celebrations.

But then, like the last page I’ll turn of a good paperback; or like rounding the last street corner on my bicycle; like the last key on my keyring that opens the door; or like suddenly walking into love…I had an a-ha moment. And it hit me like a tornado; that everything I had believed in up to this point seemed so silly. Not to mention a little bit selfish.

Why do we wait for an occasion? Why long for ceremony? Why wish for any other day but today? Because aren’t ordinary days – with love that lasts and eternal sunsets – the ones worth celebrating?

Spy Style: Cotton Candy

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It was written in the sartorial stars as soon as Carven and Rochas (and most recently, Burberry Prorsum) sent a flurry of cotton candy coats down the runway. If my (and most likely, your) Instagram feed is anything to go by this season, pastel coats are certainly having their fun in the (winter) sun.

My latest post for Vogue.com.au this month is an ode to the pastel coat – and how to wear one without looking like you’ve just emerged from a fairy floss machine.

And keep an eye out for my next Spy Style post, particularly if you’re travel-minded!

Let there be light.

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I’ve always shied away from photographing the inside of my home too much; simply because it’s always been a work in progress but mostly because it’s a two-bedroom that looks like it’s half falling down from the outside. It’s hard to feel inspired, because of it, but we’re planning to move out in (hopefully) a years’ time to a home we’re currently designing and building just around the corner.

But to our current – temporary – situation: it’s not conventionally perfect and it’s not the home of my dreams. It’s hard to become emotionally attached to something that I know won’t have my heart forever. I’m also not the most fastidious and eager home decorator (due to lack of space, funds and inspiration) but I must admit, I like the simplicity, the imperfection and the sparseness of my home. The bedroom is one of my favourite spaces – it’s all mismatched IKEA bed linen, unmade beds, wrinkly doonas, hand-me-down furniture, pillows that don’t match, a gigantic print I don’t have space for… but the light. Oh, the light. I’ve always believed the best thing you can buy for your home is an abundance of light.

Because on days like these, with paperbacks and coffee stacked up on either side of me, and with the light streaming in, it’s the best seat in the house.

The Seventh Duchess.

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Five years ago, this guy I had only just met invited me over to his place for tea.

It was 1 o’clock in the morning and as we stood in his kitchen whilst the kettle whistled, the expanse of time seemed infinite – as it does when you have the excuse of youth. We were chatting idly about a general nothingness over chamomile tea, having just returned that night from a brief photography jaunt where we stood with our cameras and looked up at the night sky with wonder and longing. I told him I was leaving Perth for good, because nothing was keeping me here anymore. Because change seemed like a good and terrifying thing to do. Because it was time to spread my wings and fly. ‘Cause for too long my heart had been swinging back and forth between the need for routine and the urge to run.

I didn’t know it then, but where we captured the full moon that evening would be the same place he would propose to me a year later.

And I didn’t know it then, but I will have decided to stay for him. Lost in the fire, he taught me the simple fact that happiness derives from not wanting to be anywhere else, anyone else, or doing something else. That I can be someone’s – his – and still my own.

When I was recently introduced to these organic loose leaf teas by The Seventh Duchess, I jumped at the chance to try them out, particularly as they’re the brilliant folk behind the bespoke tea menu at Rochelle Adonis. As tea has played such a sentimental part of our lives, our pantry’s full of the stuff – orange pekoe tea, jasmine tea, green rice tea, vanilla & chai, lemon & ginger. We even have a particular green tea that we brought back from Hangzhou, when we explored tea plantations in the Zhejiang Province a couple of years ago.  Fun fact: we always brew this one at 70 degrees celsius, and we eat the (extraordinarily bitter!) leaves too, because according to my mother in-law, it’s good for you.

I like to switch up my teas fairly often (though I have particular teas I only drink at work, and those I take at home, just so I can totally switch off) so with the arrival of winter comes new tea to indulge in. I’ve been brewing The Seventh Duchess’ Imperial China green tea day after day – I’m mad about jasmine at the moment. And with packaging as pretty as this, it seems to make tea-drinking something to look forward to at the end of a long day.

And five years on, the ritual of taking tea still happens night after night for my husband and I. We still stand around in the kitchen – except now it’s one we’ve built together – brewing a pot of tea after dinner, catching up on the day, getting drunk  on love, and plotting how we can both spread our wings and fly. Together.

Photographs by me.

The road less travelled.

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Monday sleep-ins are such a rare commodity. Fortunately I’ll be getting to do just that tomorrow morning, as it’s a long weekend for us here in Perth. Still, it amazes me how quickly Sunday rolls around – never mind half the year that has already flown by.

I’ve spent nearly the entire weekend flicking through Cereal’s travel pages and booking flights, train tickets and hotels with my mother in-law’s famed baklava to keep me in high spirits. Close friends of ours live in Germany, so my husband and I are taking a couple of weeks off at the end of August to see them live happily ever after in the heart of Europe.

Having never been to Germany before, we’ll be spending some time in Berlin, as well as extending our travels through to Paris and Helsinki – the latter of which I can’t wait to start planning for. Finland’s the kind of place people ask why we’d even bother visiting, but that’s it, isn’t it?

Because it’s always when we take the road less travelled that memories seem to linger in our minds so much longer upon returning home.