Today is my first Australian Father’s Day in Australia in 10 years. The last one I celebrated here in Perth, my father had died 5 months before. I was a mess. In the 10 years that passed, my cousin and best friend lost both her parents within 1 year of eachother and a couple of friends from my childhood lost there fathers and wrote to me asking for advice on how to cope with the loss.

I have often paid tribute to my Dad on social media because being away from home, I felt I needed to anchor myself to the relationship I had with him. I didn’t have his favourite chair or watch or photos around me to comfort me with his existence because I was nowhere near the family home. Now I am typing this sitting in the bed he once shared with my Mother and I do my craft in the room he passed away in. He is everywhere around me and I find great peace in those reminders of him. However, in the first 5 years after his death, I couldn’t think of anything worse than being reminded of his loss every day.

Somewhere, someone will hopefully read this who has just lost their amazing Dad and they will want some sort of guide to know that things get better, that the hurting stops a little less. I want to tell that person, if that’s you, that it gets better and easier but you will never stop missing your Dad. I am 30 now but even writing this reminds me that my father will not see me get married or have a child. It still reduces me to tears. On Father’s Day, well it’s easy to feel the “absence” more.

So here are a few “tips” or words of advice to help you:

If you are suffering from a recent loss, take your time. I rushed to make myself feel better, I was hard on myself in my recovery from the grief. In a very “Asian” way, I told myself you need to “move on faster.” I event continued at Uni and didn’t take a break, I got the best grades of my entire degree the semester my father died. A sure sign that I buried my sadness in my books. So, be kind to yourself and take your time. Allow the wound to heal in its own time and it will.

Talk to people who can empathise about the loss. It’s a profound loss to lose a parent, my mother says it’s only second to the pain of losing a child. I had a lot of people who spoke to me, who “tried” to be nice after Dad died. One girl even said to me “I know exactly how you feel because I lost my running coach and we were really close.” I was overcome with unexpected anger at this. How could she compare the loss of my father to the loss of her coach? I stayed very clear of that girl from then on. So try and shut out the noise and sometimes it’s better to be alone with your thoughts than to have ignorant people chattering away at you.

Pay tribute and enjoy the memories. The best thing about being 10 years on and being home in Perth again is that I can talk about the wonderful things my Dad did without being sad. The sadness has been replaced by a profound gratitude that I had 19 years with a wonderful person. I feel sad for those who were too young to remember their fathers when they passed or who had fathers who walked out. Mine was so present for all the time I knew him. I love looking in the mirror now and seeing my face, an almost female replica of him as a young man. I am so proud to be his daughter. I am so proud of the mark he left on the lives of those around him.

A couple of weekends ago the most wonderful thing happened. My father’s best mate met my boyfriend. Harry said to Jon: “You would’ve loved Robert, he was a great bloke. Boy did he love his golf. He brought me out to the driving range and tried to teach me.” In that one precious sentence, I learned something new about my Dad. I never knew that he tried to take Harry golfing. I realised a little part of Dad still lives, I am still learning new things about a man who has been gone for 10 years. I realised our fathers do continue to live on. It’s not just something they say to children in Disney movies, my father lives on in memories and when we share those memories everyone benefits.

So don’t do the “Asian” thing like I was told by my Aunties. Pay tribute, talk about your Dad, post about the great things he did on Facebook or how you wish he was here to see something you’ve achieved. That’s how you keep that memory alive and you touch someone else who now gets to see what an amazing man he was.

To the fatherless, on Father’s Day, it absolutely gets easier and better. To our Dads!

 

I’ve been meaning to write a blog for some time about Australian style. I know a lot of you in Dubai and Singapore are wondering if us Aussies still wear flip flops everywhere. I will never forget my modelling booker in Singapore telling me in 2005 that I should never wear flip flops to any meetings, even though it’s ok in Australia, it’a not ok in Singapore.

Above: Wearing jacket from La Lecca, shoes from Vince Camuto, necklace I DIY’d (coming soon to the blog), jeans from Nobody and classic white shirt from COS.

Almost a decade on, I can confirm that Perth style, if not Australian style, has definitely evolved. It’s not just beachwear and casual wear. Some fabulous Australian labels have emerged and with them even cooler Australian bloggers. I was going to feature Tash Sefton and Elle Ferguson of They All Hate Us and voila the girls appeared in Perth for Karrinyup Shopping Centres SS’14 Launch and I got an invite through my radio gig to go!

Tash and Elle really epitomise Aussie style to me, unlike the other Aussie super bloggers Nicole Warne and Margaret Zhang, Tash and Elle are a lot more “undone” and have a wardrobe of mostly staples which is “budget friendly” for the everyday woman. I also “@” mentioned Tash and Elle on Instagram and they actually “liked” my images back which is something many of the other super bloggers don’t do.

Upon first moving back to Australia after 10 years overseas in January, I realised Australian style seemed a lot like LA Style but with a lot less colour. Think distressed denim, chambray, Breton tops, neutrals and beachy hair. In fact, I am de-colouring my wardrobe as we speak and getting rid of all my blinged up Dubai necklaces in a garage sale soon (more on that to come).

I’m not doing this wardrobe overhaul to fit in, but rather to cope with the weather. We don’t live in airconditioning here like Dubai in Singapore, hence the beachy hair. It’s super windy in Perth! The heavy necklaces burn you in Summer outside and culturally, Australians are very relaxed, hence the rips in the denim which would otherwise find you shunned in Singapore! Plus I am getting older and I look young enough as it is, don’t need the crayola-coloured wardrobe to add to that.

One glance at Tash and Elle’s Instagram accounts and you’ll see staple after staple: demin, chambray, miltary khaki, leopard print, leather and more slashed demin. It’s a very cool, relaxed and achievable look for most women. Tash and Elle are also dreamily accessible. Seeing them on stage, I was surprised (as a seasoned presenter) as to how well they spoke and how natural they were.

And me, like a 20-something again (except I am 30 now) moving to a new city was overjoyed to bump into some really great new friends at the show:

Perth lifestyle blogger Rayne Embley.

Stylist Ivanna Fontana and her friend Diva.

Heidi Anderson from my work. She hosts breakfast on our sister station 92.9. Her producer Heidi (same name, go figure!) is on the left.

Here I am with one of my closest and newest friends in Australia, Helena Wallis. She’s the marketing guru behind the event I hosted with Patricia Field at Enex 100.

Thankyou so much to the team at Karrinyup Shopping Centre for the great evening. Images from my phone and by Matt Jelonek.

 

As I’ve been mentioning, I am going to be including a lot more about my life and new lifetstyle in Perth with you here on the blog. I know many of you reading overseas are curious about Australia and I hope this gives you a bit of an insight. Perth could not be more different to Dubai and even Singapore (despite its close geographical proximity)

So this event was by far the largest crowd I’ve ever hosted solo in front of. When I was at Virgin Radio in Dubai we had a lot of big concerts but largely I was MCing in a team.

I got up at 4 am to host the event and because I wasn’t able to run to the toilet (I had to speak every 4-10 minutes) I tried not to drink water as I wouldn’t have enough time, this was the worst thing I could have done. By the last race at 9:40am (I’m hosting the countdown to it above with Tim from Nine News Perth) I was struggling not to trip over my words with my dry mouth.

Above: With Australian long distance running legend Steve Moneghetti and the GM of Chevron, Brian Smith.

Runners are a very tough crowd to motivate when they are freezing at 5:30am and the most elite of which are from Japan and Kenya and don’t really want to hear you babbling on in a foreign language as they are trying to get in the “zone. That’s why I love doing a diverse range of events, the challenge! I had to get people about to run 42.2km excited about a finish which was 2 hours and more away!  I’ve hosted in front of celebrities (bonafide A-listers) and world leaders but there is nothing like being back in your home town in front of thousands.

So here are my top tips for speaking public if you’re a little shy:

1) Project! You will see in the pictures, I look like a little hamster but I knew that PA system would be carrying my voice and important health and safety messages for kilometres around the central business district, so I did NOT use my “inside” voice. I gave it the most projection I could and that includes using your whole face and diaphragm. This sort of “projection” is normally a no-go for indoor and intimate events as when you are using a microphone without wind or environmental factors around the sound will be really loud and it can distort.

2) Look up from your script: I’ve got to tell you, since getting older my memory is not as sharp as what it used to be. I used to be able to remember whole A4 sheets of script in 10 minutes when I was shooting Dubai 101 back in 2009. I now however, need much more time to get a clear grip on ideas. I blame my smartphone and my fragmented attention span because of social media. If you have the luxury of time, memorise your script. If it’s a big client and the fee big enough, I will memorise the whole thing!

3) Give it all your warmth: Sporting events are nowhere near as glamorous as red carpets, product launches and galas. You’ve got to learn to change it up and be humorous for these things. Be self-deprecating and people will warm to you. People never remember the boring glamorous presenters with perfect hair, they remember people who were warm and engaging. Most seasoned radio presenters know that even on a bad day, you have to smile on air, soon the “fake” smiles give way to real feelings of happiness. Live MCing is no different, smile, smile and smile some more. People will naturally mirror you and smile back.

Thankyou so much to the team at the 2014 Chevron City to Surf for Activ for asking me to MC, Mix 94.5 for getting me involved and big love to all the people who ran for a great cause.

 

 

I don’t know what happened to me last week.  I just felt like wearing neutrals. It just happens! Here’s a show of my 5 workday outfits to my radio job. Catch me on air 12-4pm Australian EST on www.mix.com.au.

Monday: Pants by Witchery Australia, shoes are vintage from Good Sammy in Riverton, top is also vintage Country Road from Salvos in Myaree.

Tuesday: DIY Tom Binns inspired necklace (coming soon), jumper from Iconic in Dubai, skirt from Bebe in Dubai.

Wednesday: Jacket from Good Sammy in Subiaco, jeans from Nobody Australia, t-shirt from Cotton On.

Thursday: Marc Jacobs watch, jeans by Nobody Australia, necklace from Live Clothing Australia, blazer from G2000 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Friday: Dress by Australian designer Sheree Commerford and her label Woodford and Co. It was just $18.50 from Goody Sammy in Subiaco. My favourite jacket from La Lecca in Nedlands.

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!

 

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