I’ve been reading…


1. “women must try to do things as men have tried. when they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” and other great quotes on brave womanhood (that one was from Amelia Earhart)

2. an article on selling that I started reading because I work in retail, but finished reading because I’m a consumer.

3. I finished The Goldfinch. I don’t know how to write what it was about, or put it down how strongly it called out to me. all I know is that a time will come when I will need to read it again.

4. the perfect guacamole recipe. best served with Finn Crisps, if you can find them (and if you can find them, share the secret with me!!!!)



Everybody knows where to go on a date with a cute person that they LIKE like. Movies, fancy restaurants, the zoo, that cute little café down the road that does brunch until three in the afternoon.

Recently, there’s been a trend for other sweet kinds of dates – parents taking their kids on a ‘date’ as a conscious way of seeking quality time, friends having phone ‘dates’, married couples being encouraged to keep dating each other after they’ve settled down. The idea is that these are ways to mindfully pin down a patch of time to have an experience, make a memory together.

I want to talk about another kind of date though – self-dates.

Particularly for introverts like me, time alone is a precious resource. It’s a time to relax and to recharge. Not to say that we don’t love spending time with others; but I find that I crave about one day a fortnight alone with my thoughts, the way we crave a good sleep after a day of fun adventures.

Recently, I’ve been so swamped that it’s difficult to carve out a patch of time like this. Between study, jobs and so many groups of friends saying we must have dinner, we must go see that movie, taking time out just for me seems selfish and lazy, even though I know it will give me the energy and the contrast to make those times with friends more enjoyable. Just the other day though, I put aside the afternoon and took myself out for some quality time.

Here’s what I learned:

  • One secret I found was to plan ahead. I told all my family where I was going (the art gallery), and why (because I missed it – I hadn’t set foot in a gallery for a year), so that that time was pencilled off for me in everyone’s schedule.
  • I followed whims I had about where to go next – taking a seat in the gallery café when I was hungry, and spending an unforeseen amount of time poking around in the little store at the end.
  • Part of what made that possible was having enough time. The entire afternoon was all mine, so I never felt hurried by knowing other people needed me.
  • put away my phone, the last link I had to anyone who could distract me. That meant no photos, no texting, just keeping it down in my pocket in case of an emergency. I didn’t really regret not being able to keep photos as memories because it meant I could focus properly on the artworks; also between that and checking my bag at the door, I had nothing to carry around with me apart from my bagcheck stub and credit card.
  • Lastly, I learned (remembered) that there are a million things to do if you live in a city like Sydney. My dream is to live in New York, but passing the museum, the Royal Mint and the huge Domain gardens on my walk to the art gallery reminded me there are so many parts of ‘home’ that I still have to explore.

Do you self-date? What kind of things do you like to do? Do you share your adventures with your friends afterward or keep them a secret, just for you?

Illustration from the website of the wondrous Lieke van der Vorst

a week in the kitchen

this is the week between classes and exams, and it has been a bit of a patchwork. I have been studying hard. one thing that goes along with that is that in between study sessions I itch to make something with my hands. cooking has been my outlet, and you can see my photos of what I’ve made below (including a sneaky cafe visit on saturday).

at the same time, i have been taking care to spend quality time with my family in the evenings, making dinner for us and listening to Paul Simon over the stereo, singing these are the days of miracle and wonder and don’t cry baby, don’t cry.
















These are the days of miracle and wonder and don’t cry baby, don’t cry.

thinking about…

making these incredible-looking burgers;

tidying out my old makeup drawer. So much I don’t need. So much space to store more sweaters.

reading this book (I’m three chapters in and can’t wait for more);

smelling my favourite perfume;

poring over Oh Comely magazine, which my parents just brought me back from Mag Nation in Melbourne;

saving up for all the beautiful clothes that have just gone on sale. this top and a stylish, comfortable work skirt for my collection;

snuggling with a kitten instead of just a hot water bottle to keep me warm at night. Sigh…

baking these cookies out of Kinfolk. They sound so delicious!

admiring the illustration work of Lieke van der Vorst. There is something so perfect and strange about her images.

what are your plans to cheer up this Winter? are you a cold weather person or are you waiting out the days until you can get out your beach towel, like me?



Photo from over here

scrubbing up.

If anyone asked me for my “best beauty tip” or my “number one saving idea”, or whatever silly question, my utterly un-silly answer would be: you do not need to be buying body scrub.

I don’t think this is like those so-called ‘helpful’ tips that soaking your hair in beer is conditioning, or those so-called ‘easy’ tips about how cold showers fix whatever skin problem you have going on. Because scrubs can be so expensive, and making them is so easy and mess-free and painless, this is one “tip” I have actually stuck to.

Here’s how easy it is: you find a nice shower-safe container to house your scrub. Mine is an old Kiehl’s body butter tub.

Then you get together some dry ingredients: white sugar and salt are classics, and I also love putting in polenta for its golden colour. Mix them up in your container, leaving some space at the top for your wet ingredients.


Your wet ingredients could be something cleansing, like shower gel, or something moisturising, like coconut oil. I try to get a bit of both, with a moisturising body wash. The main thing is not to use something that your tender, newly-scrubbed skin might react to, so try to use something you know your skin likes.

Give it a stir, or if you don’t have anything to stir with (I keep my ingredients in my bathroom cupboard and mix up a batch each week for my showers) just put the top on the container and give it a good shake. You can always mix it up with your finger once you climb in the shower anyway.

Scrub away on dry skin before turning on your shower (or if it’s freezing cold, get the hot tap going so you get some nice warm steam while you stand out of the way to do your scrub).

See what I mean? It’s so easy I felt silly even writing out instructions for you. And the great thing about making your own is you’re in total control of what goes into it, and the consistency. I like a nice thick scrub, what about you?

P.S. if you haven’t thought about it before, I would say that using a body scrub at least once a week is a good idea. It helps clear away dead skin cells so your skin stays supple and nourishment from your body lotion gets through to it. It also improves circulation to your skin so it looks nicer and heals cuts or abrasions faster. There’s some evidence that it helps reduce cellulite or fat on areas where you scrub but science hasn’t confirmed that.

xx Dora

a week in moments

this week was lovely. there was clear autumn sun, making for perfect study lighting as finals are coming up. i’ve taken a lot of walks and set aside time to spend with my family in order to de-stress. here’s what it looked like…

Saturday: IMG_9230 Sunday: IMG_9291 Monday: IMG_9296 IMG_9309 IMG_9315 IMG_9367 Tuesday: IMG_9429 Wednesday: IMG_9450 IMG_9457










vivid sydney.

the vivid festival started in Sydney last weekend. for those not familiar with it, vivid has been going on for some years here in Sydney. the main attraction is an incredible light show running every night from 6pm for about a fortnight in the heart of Sydney, including animated projections onto buildings that normally only attract out of town tourists. everyone goes along to have at least a bit of a look around.

we went on a Monday night and even though it was a “school night”, there were crowds. many families had brought along their children, who were all so excited. everyone was so friendly and the whole area had an amazing carnival atmosphere despite being (by Sydney standards at least) freezing cold. IMG_9326 IMG_9344

IMG_9415 one of my favourite parts was this sculpture, which was covered in kids having the time of their lives climbing all over it: IMG_9359 If you’re around Sydney I definitely recommend going for a look around! bring a warm coat, make sure you have plenty of charge on your phone or camera, and have dinner first so you can do lots of walking.