I have been trying for some time to think about how to broaden the appeal of this DIY blog. I think my craftiness and projects are great. I’ve been devoted to posting original content. I love sharing but somehow the comments have stopped and it’s got me wondering whether I am flogging a dead horse. With the new job here in Australia, I find myself spending more time dreaming of blog posts then getting time to blog them.

I’m spending my weekends labouring over amazing step-by-step tutorials and elaborate shoot locations, only to find myself hardly any time to blog them. Then last weekend I did the #icebucketchallenge. It was rushed, the video quality was bad and it was raw but it got a bigger response than all my gorgeously perfected DIY tutorials in recent months. I started thinking about why that post did so well and began assessing what you guys want to see from me and I realised, you want to see more of my life behind-the-scenes.

My real laugh, my real smile, my real wardrobe and soon to be my real, new apartment. I used to often get asked in Dubai for looks into my wardrobe and what my process was to styling myself or how I came up with my decisions to cut my hair a certain way. I just never had TIME to do it. Now I still don’t have time but I want to at least try.

So you’re going to find a lot more content on this blog from now on in addition to DIY. Things like reflections on my entertainment career and lessons on self-esteem I have learnt, all the way through to new video tutorials. So stay tuned!

So let’s begin with the haircut I got last week that has changed the way I carry myself so much! Here is my old hairstyle:

This is the current hair:

My latest obsession has been my new Alexa Chung hair cut. As always, Alexa was way ahead of the curve on this one, she was rocking this low-maintenance shattered bob back in 2010 when everyone else was obsessed with Lauren Conrad’s barrel curls. I have kinky, thin Eurasian hair like Alexa which helps.

So what do you need to ask your hairdresser to get the perfect fringe?

1)Take in your favourite picture of the style (you can have a look at some of the variations below and maybe use one).

2)Ask them to carefully cut a fringe which is only maximum 4.5cm from your hair line backwards. You don’t want the fringe to start too far up your head.

3)Make sure the fringe is not cut too blunt and the technician cuts into it so it clumps together nicely when styled and actually looks “piece-y”.

4)The hairdresser should also take some pieces from the side of your face so that it frames your face and blends into the side lengths of your hair.

All the tips on how to style this are coming in my video on the weekend.

Getting a fringe can be daunting. I have a really high forehead and was thinking of ways to change up my style while growing it a bit longer in length. It’s probably the best thing to get if you want a change but nothing too drastic.

I have really bad memories of fringes when I was younger. It’s like every mother with an Asian daughter wants to cut her a fringe to make her look more like a China doll. Damn you, Mum! I even cut my own fringe once and cut it too short and it ended up sticking in the air for school the next day. It left me traumatised to say the least.

But I sure am glad I did overcome that fear because come this week’s MTV Video Music Awards and The 2014 Emmys, guess what hairstyle was owning the red carpet!

It look amazing on Taylor Swift and just gave her a bit more rock’n'roll edge. I was sick of seeing those Maggi-noodle curls which reminded me of Chad Kreoger. Go Taylor!

Then at the 2014 Emmys Kristen Wiig (another one of my faves) did it without the fringe but still artfully dishevelled.

The best thing about this cut is how low maintenance it is (I will be recording a video on Saturday showing you how to create a kink in your hair if you have straight hair like mine) and also how the fringe (they call them “bangs” in America) always make you look styled. I can also do a fabulous top knot in it too with a hair donut and some bobby pins, I will have a tutorial on that soon too.

The key to this style is that it’s kind of like the “No Make Up Make Up” look, it actually does require some preparation and tools to look “undone.” Come back on Sunday for that video!

 

Photograph by Paula Fitzgerald shot in Le Meridién Chiang Mai. This image is unretouched, so you can see my skin as it really is.

It’s funny being back in Australia where everyone wants to be tanned and blonde. I did too as a kid, I didn’t want to stand out! Now as a 30 year old, after years of messing around with make up and getting loads of looks wrong, I’ve realised it’s much lower maintenance for my busy lifestyle to go with my natural skin (which is fair), my natural eye colour (which is black instead of wearing coloured contacts back in the noughties) and my natural hair which is also very dark.

For the last 5 years, when a woman’s beauty regime begins to solidify and you really do finally find out what’s best on you, I have been rocking what I’d like to think of as my “Modern 1950s Pin Up Make Up Look.” It’s a little bit Audrey Hepburn in the eye and a little bit Dita Von Teese in the lip and cheeks and I wear it almost daily. I just don’t wear the fake lashes to work. I honestly think if Gwen Stefani can wear red lippy to pick the kids up from school, I can also make it my daily staple.

I have been using liquid eyeliner since I was 13, so I have it down to a tea but I do have my favourite brand and I do have a lot of products to create that flawless finish for your skin. Here is a run down:

How amazing are these pictures by my NEW blog photographer Courtney Holloway. Courtney will be collaborating with me on my new DIY posts. You can book her and check out her work here.

From left to right, top to bottom, here are the products I use to create the look:

1) Benefit Porefessional make up base.

2) Clinique BB Cream

3) Benefit 15 Hour Primer

4) Chanel Le Blanc Light Creator Powder Foundation

5) Diorshow Iconic Overhaul Mascara

6) Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat in shade O2

7) Benefit Perk Me Up Artist Concealer Kit

8) Silky Girl Precision Liquid Eyeliner in 01 Black (I have to have this sent from Singapore, I am obsessed and it’s only around AUD $10).

9) Silky Girl Long Wearing Lip liner in Red (I have had this since 2008, I still use it).

10) Ardel Brush On Eyelash Glue (If you’re in Australia, this stuff is the best! Available at Priceline Pharmacy).

11. Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black (If you are Asian, this will change your world).

12. Illamasqua Powder Eye Shadow in Vernau

13. CHANEL Poudre Signee De Chanel Illuminating Powder

14. Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour in Gilded Platinum

15. Chanel Rouge Allure No. 67 Excessive

16. A pair of false eyelashes

17. Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in 72 Rose Initiale

18. Chanel les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder in No. 30

I know I have been MIA for a week…but boy, what a week it has been. I feel full of creative flair and inspiration. Chiang Mai is the handicrafts capital of Thailand and I am blessed to be here on a press trip with the Le Meridien Chiang Mai. More on that coming very soon (I am bursting to share).

Before embarking on my journey here, I contacted Handmade Chiang Mai asking about any companies that specialised in home made beauty products. I found that the most popular DIYs on this website are the beauty posts and I wanted to really learn the ropes from a professional or at least get some new ideas. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the brand and its creator Virginia, who reminded me just of one of my Eurasian aunties. I hope to visit again one day soon.

I was so lucky to have the inspiring mother-daughter team from Sabu Sabu Natural Lifestyle show me how to make their cult favourite lip balm from scratch. The balm we made is mango flavoured! How perfect for Thailand and a really personal keepsake to take home.

For this project, you will need the below oils and a small chocolate melter:

Combine the oils first:

Follow with the cocoa butter and beeswax:

Lastly add the Mica which gives the lip balm an amazing shimmer:

Keep stirring the mixture as often as you can or it will harden. Then pour them carefully into lip balm jars:

Package and get ready to smooch up to someone with mango lips!

After making this amazing treat I got shopping and snapped up some lovely products for friends and family back in Perth:

Thanks so much to Virginia Bird of Sabu Sabu for the fabulous workshop.

Photography by Paula Fitzgerald and Marisa Marchitelli.

I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand courtesy of Le Meridien Chiang Mai.

It’s been ages since I have done a beauty DIY and this one is so simple you will be in disbelief. Sometimes the best DIYs are the ones that are simple and they also make great gifts.

Cleopatra was famed in ancient times for harnessing the moisturising qualities of fresh milk in her baths. A beauty treatment that still works today.

I was inspired by this and by a couple of spa books I have with traditional spa recipes to create a gift experience of this bath for a friend.

For this project, you will need milk powder, lavender scented tea light candles, artificial rose petals and a large jar (this is an old Maxwell coffee 1KG jar) and rose essential oil.

Fill the jar halfway with milk powder and then use a clean cloth to wipe away any fall out from the powder on the sides of the jar.

Put a few drops of rose essential oil on top of the powder.

Place a hand full of rose petals on top of the powder.

From here close the jar and add your “packaging” to give the milk bath as a gift:

Clever, quick and a lovely gift for a stressed out friend. I created a label with instructions explaining how to use the bath:

“Run a hot bath and place milk and rose petals into the water, surround bath perimeter with the tea light candles and most importantly…RELAX.”

In future, I’d probably also load a thumbdrive with relaxation music and place it in the jar as an entire spa experience in a jar.

 

Maybe it’s a little longing for Dubai or the fact that this post is long overdue. Either way, it’s been ages since we did a beauty DIY. Camel herders have been drinking camel milk for ages and hundred of years ago survived solely on the milk of camels during long migrations through the desert.

The lovely people at Al Nassma Camel Milk Chocolate contacted me months ago, while I was still based in Dubai and invited me to enjoy camel milk Iftar with them over Ramadan 2013. I then bumped into them again at the VIP Lounge at the Dubai International Film Festival where they explained to me how camel milk chocolate is more creamy than normal milk and contains more fat and Vitamin C than cow’s milk.

These 2 factors made me think that camel milk chocolate would be more beneficial for the skin than normal cow’s milk chocolate. However, if you’re reading this outside the Middle East, you can still try this with standard chocolate and it works a treat too!

You will need: Honey, mixing bowl, spoons, mud for face masks, Camel Milk Chocolate (Thanks to Al Nassma for sponsoring), lavender and peppermint essential oils and an empty jar.

Begin by breaking up the block of chocolate into squares:

You can now place the chocolate into the microwave covered by a microwave cover to keep in moisture. Warm the chocolate on a medium setting for 30 seconds and then take out and stir. Continue to do so until the consistency looks like this:

Now add a table spoon of honey:

Add a heaped table spoon of the clay mud powder:

Add 3 drops of both the peppermint and lavender essential oil:

You then stir it all together and the mud will change the consistency to a paste:

Now place the warm mask on your face. The warmth will open the pores, the lavender relaxes and the honey and chocolate moisturises.

With what’s left over, you can place it in a jar and gift it to friends. You just have to make sure that you don’t place it back in the fridge as it will harden.

Now enjoy it like a Bedouin princess!

Photography: Mica Nelson

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