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Ben Wright-Smith | The Great Divorce

Despite his talent, and the sheer volume of praise and support he’s received in his young life, Ben Wright-Smith is softly spoken and completely devoid of ego.

 He stammers as he reflects upon himself and his achievements, the completion and release of his debut album The Great Divorce not greatly affecting how he sees himself on the music scene.

“It’s funny with first albums, I think I feel more competent as a musician, but I think I’ve got to wait for people to hear it first, that will probably affect my confidence greatly. With music, I don’t know if confidence is the thing that matters. We make what we want to make, the main thing is the relief of having a full album that I can share with people, and say this is what I’ve been doing, this is what I’ve done, and this is how I wanted it to sound.”

Considering Wright-Smith’s impressive resume and masterful skill for songwriting, it feels strange that the APRA award nominated musician’s first album is only just being released. It arrives just over three years since he first made his way to the USA after being awarded the Australian Council for the Arts Nashville Songwriting Residency. The release of No One announced his arrival on Australia’s music scene in 2015, and the follow up, 2016’s Sand Grabber, demonstrated his ability to twist the genre of his music to make it his own. But the release of these two singles is an entirely different game to releasing this first album, Wright-Smith says. Continue reading

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Kids at Midnight | Love Safari

“What’s happening at the moment, and it’s an awesome movement that needed to happen, is more and more women are taking control of their careers and opportunities, by learning to produce, by running events, by climbing that ladder to be the person that then books and mentors others. That’s how we level a playing field, by doing it.”

You may know Jane Elizabeth Hanley as Kids at Midnight, but the indie electronic artist’s passion for female empowerment in the music industry drives her to work far beyond her own music. With gender inequality remaining one of the most pressing issues on the Australian music landscape, Hanley says that female focussed events have never been so important.

“The more we see each other succeeding because we’ve worked hard, the more younger artists will see that hard work gets you somewhere, and the wave of quality will wash over the industry like a tidal wave. And if you don’t support female artists/DJs (by support I mean going to gigs, buying the music, sharing the mixes) you absolutely cannot complain there are not enough of them. The end.”

Taking this attitude on board, iconic Melbourne venue The Carlton Club is opening itself up for its first live music events, with a firm focus on female driven events and lineups, approaching Hanley specifically to curate an event.

The resulting event is Love Safari, an all day event on the Hasti Bala & Deck, featuring a mammoth indie-electronica lineup featuring some of the most exciting female artists, DJs and producers in Melbourne, including Rosaline Yuen, Aurelia, The Girl Fridas, Ruby Slippers Adriana and Whiskey Housten. Continue reading

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My Beat Magazine Music Reviews 2016

LIVE REVIEWS

The Smith Street Band @ Max Watts

In Dave Grohl style, Wagner sat upon a magnificent throne decked out with flashing lights, revealed to the sweeping sound of the Game of Thrones theme. Read more

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Karnivool @ The Croxton Bandroom

There’s something hypnotic about the way the singer moves on stage. His body smoothly melts into the rhythms and riffs with an understated elegance. He’s been doing Hotline Bling style dancing long before Drake ever thought to. Read more

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Heroes @ Melba Spiegeltent

As a part of Melbourne’s Leaps & Bounds festival, Heroes was a one night only show that saw five of Melbourne’s independent singers and songwriters take to the stage and sing two songs by kickarse women that have inspired them to create their own music. Read more

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Ladyhawke @ Howler

Ladyhawke’s music is undeniably poppy and bright, with her voice a moody contrast. Though the contrast, and her self proclaimed ‘happy sad’ style is at its best, absolutely brilliant, that same style can come across as lacking effort at times. The performance was missing the depth and dynamics that could have made this a more interesting show. Read more

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Cash Savage and the Last Drinks @ The Croxton Hotel

Savage may be the frontwoman and namesake of the musical outfit, but the Last Drinks – Kat Mear on violin, Rene Mancuso on drums, Chris Lichti on bass, Joe White on guitar, and Brett Marshall on guitar and banjo – were the real stars of the show. Read more

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Wil Wagner @ The Corner Hotel

The anecdotes flowed from his mouth like the whiskey down his throat, and the room soaked in his every word, relishing the intimate moment with the beloved Melbourne musician. His sister ran on stage for a hug after he completed the song he wrote for her, My Little Sinking Ship, in just one of the highly emotional moments of the show. Read more

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DMAs @ The Croxton Hotel

Although a few people could be spotted leaving the venue after Delete, when DMA’s came back out for their encore they put those punters to shame, nailing Laced, and finally Lay Down, ending with the best tunes of the night. Read more

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Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy @ The Melbourne State Library

“We’re lucky that people of our craft and our culture can be at home here,” stated one of the artists during the night, a reminder of what made this absolutely special. One of Melbourne’s most iconic venues was filled with a community of people who historically have experienced horrible treatment, and continue to face discrimination even in 2016. Yet every attendee made their way into the hall filled with palpable joy. Read more

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Slipknot @ Rod Laver Arena

“Halloween is our fucking Christmas,” declared Corey Taylor triumphantly before launching into Before I Forget on October 31, his voice dripping with the volatile energy that makes Slipknot so intoxicating. Read more

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The Smith Street Band @ The Corner Hotel

Perhaps you don’t give a shit, but I’ve sobbed to Smith Street in the discomfort of my own room and depression more times than I can count, but this was the first time it’s happened during one of their shows. It was there, clutching my tour jumper, with tears dripping down my cheeks, that the power of the band was in full force. Read more

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Julia Jacklin @ Howler

Her voice is dreamy and gentle, her harmonies are gorgeous, her folk swagger commands the attention of every person in the room: Julia Jacklin is a force to be reckoned with. Read more

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ALBUM AND EP REVIEWS

And Then Like Lions – Blind Pilot

Nebeker’s voice is sweet and earnest, floating around the textural melodies with a gentle strength and clarity. Sharply and beautifully produced, though many of the tracks have a similar feel, the album never comes across as formulaic or repetitive. Read more

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Raleigh Street – James Moloney and the Mad Dog Harrisons

James Moloney and the Mad Dog Harrisons’ latest offering, Raleigh St manages to pin down the sound of the Northern Suburbs in which you’d find the titular street, and conjure up the nostalgia that comes with it, all in spectacular fashion. Read more

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Christmas Party – She and Him

Sweet and moreish like a Christmas dessert, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have created a seasonal record that hits the right notes, and manages to distinguish itself from being just another Christmas album with their signature sound. Read more

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Beat Writers Wrap Up

Highlight of 2016: I met a dreamy man, who makes me happier than my own company, and got to share many wonderful musical adventures in this wrap up with him.
Lowlight of 2016: Losing a job with no warning. But it was okay, I found my way to Beat and better things.
A Wild Prediction for 2017: Surprise posthumous release of a festive David Bowie album:  The Freakiest ChristmasRead more

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The Beer and Burger Bar review | Best gluten/Dairy/Fructose free burgers in Melbourne

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Of the many things a person is forced to give up upon diagnosis of coeliac disease, or food intolerances, few are as dramatically life altering as the humble burger.

From the soft and tasty bun to the flavoursome patty, and the all important sauce, this precarious balance can swiftly been thrown off by the exclusion of one or more of the vital components.

Though a few sites boast lists pertaining to the best gluten free burgers in Melbourne, frequent visits to places on those lists have proved disappointing, as though many writing the lists don’t understand what makes a burger good in the first place.

Further still, what about the “normal” people who eat alongside us? How do they know that the gluten free burger will be listen on a menu alongside decent glutinous, cheesy burgers, dripping with onions?

Welcome to my 2017 initiative: So You Want To Eat a Burger. Here, myself, one who must abstain from GLUTEN, LACTOSE and FRUCTOSE, will review burgers alongside a compadre who can eat whatever they damn well please. Together, we will diligently work to bring together the official and comprehensive list of the best intolerant friendly burgers in Melbourne, but also the best place for both the food intolerant and intolerably healthy, to eat delicious burgers, and of course, fries, together.

The Beer and Burger Bar

Location: 112 Swan St, Richmond
Contact: (03) 9429 5934beers@tbbb.com.au
Open for Business: 
Sun – Thu: 11 AM to 10 PM; Fri – Sat: 11 AM to LATE
Score: At the bottom of the review. READ ON…

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Claire (The pain in the ass):  

The Beer and Burger Bar breaks the menu down into eight burgers defined by their patty, plus a weekly special. There’s a vegetarian option, though the inclusion of haloumi and aioli, leaves vegan burger lovers hungrier than usual.

For those feeling brave, there is The Don, a burger made up of 1.2kg of beef, 16 bacon rashers and all the usual suspects served in a 700g house made brioche bun, with a side of chips and two cans of soft drink. The record at time of writing is 25 minutes and 55 seconds. 24 hours notice required.

On the other hand, if you feel like tiny burgers, they also do that. Sliders are available, but only for the gluten munchers amongst us.

I’ll break the news early: there are no gluten free fries. The chips are beer battered, bringing disappointment and increased sadness (as if we needed it) to the gluten intolerant masses.

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Shit photo. Don’t rate.

I omitted the cheese from The Chicken Burger for my late lunch. The poultry was accompanied by tomato, smashed avocado, lettuce, smoked bacon and a chipotle aioli. Avocado, tomato and aioli contain a moderate level of fructose, so I manage my consumption of these ingredients carefully to avoid trouble.

The chicken was tasty, avoided being too dry, and was complemented by a standard mix of nice ingredients. The sauce was interesting, really quite delicious, but I still found myself searching the table of condiments for something to add with a bit more pizazz.

Where the meal was really let down was the bun. Dry and crumbly, almost seeming stale, far too thick, and stodgy as it went down, a constant reminder that I was eating a lesser version of the fares than my “normal” companion.

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Perhaps it’s my fault for ordering wine (from a very small list) instead of the titular beer (very extensive selection), but the drinks side of thing for a joint that advertised booze before burgers, left me less than impressed. The wine, a Pinot Grigio, wasn’t very good, to the point I was concerned it may have turned. As I mourned the lack of gluten free beer on a very hot day, I watched the staff pour my glass from the same bottle of wine they’d just used on their forehead and neck to cool themselves down. On that note, the staff really let the experience down. Disinterested and unhelpful, I’ve had far better customer service from a 15-year-old at McDonalds.


Dan (The one who eats whatever he wants):

I consumed The Beast, a classic double burger: double beef patty, double cheese and double bacon. As a whole, the burger was large enough to feel big, but not too large you couldn’t eat it with 2 hands.

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The beef patties were well cooked and easy to get through, though arguably a touch dry. The cheese had a fantastic melt within the burger; pulling out with a mouthful always dragged some cheese strands with it, of which was good quality. The bacon was a secondary portion of the meal, adding but not noticeably so. The burger contained the unusual choice of gherkins, they neither made nor broke the meal. The bun was possibly the weakest part of the meal, not weak as a whole but imparted little.

A powerful part of The Beast were its sauces. The burger has a 3 headed monster of tomato Sauce, American mustard and aioli. These combined very well with the rest of the burger, they avoided being the dominant flavour or completely absent. The fillings did not carry the sauce, the sauce didn’t carry the fillings. The mustard gave it enough kick to add to the overall experience.

The burger was garnished with an onion ring. I’m not about the onion ring life in the way some are, but it was of a decent quality, an inoffensive part of the meal.

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Oreo, more like gloreos.


Dan: Chocolate Oreo Milkshake
This was a treat. The milkshake passed the first test of all milkshakes, having some discernible flavour other than milk, and boy did it ever. It was strongly flavoured by its Oreo content, which made it quite chocolatey, and added some tasty chunks through the straw (a texture I adore). Only downside was the size, a little on the small side. 

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The motto

Scorecard

DAN – 8/10

Patty: 8.5/10
Sauce: 4.5/5
Other fillings: 8/10
Bun: 3/5
Fries: NA
X-Factor: Onion Ring

CLAIRE – 6.2/10

Patty: 6.5/10
Sauce: 3/5
Other fillings: 7/10
Bun:2/5
Fries: NA
X-Factor: NA

Any burger recommendations? Let a gal know in the comments.

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Look Good, Feel Better

I’ve cried at my reflection more times than I can count.

As a gal with a chronic illness, the horror of staring into my bulging eyes, grey skin and tired dark circles so purple and bruised that it looked like I’d been hit in the face, made me scared to shower for fear of catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

But with a bit of concealer, blush, lashings of mascara and some eyeliner, my corpse-like face stopped looking so close to death, and gave me the courage to walk out my bedroom door.

That’s one of the very many reasons I love makeup.

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Retro CV, Hazel Grace style, circa 2011.

Though I rarely feel as bad as I did in the above photo, bad days still happen often.

When I feel like shutting all the doors, pulling the curtains and diving beneath a pile of blankets so heavy no one will ever find me, I take a moment to face my reflection, and be kind to it.

With brighter, more defined eyes, colour in my face, and bruises concealed, I feel human, and I am ready to be part of the world with the confidence illness all too often steals.

With this in mind, Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is something I am immensely passionate about, and will forever sing the praises of.

LGFB is an Australian program, that offers a free service for cancer patients, to teach them how to manage the way their illness and treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy affect their appearances.

Women, men and teenagers are taught everything from proper skin care to makeup application, and head-wear demonstrations.

The program is by no means huge, and is managed by a small team of staff, and volunteer support from cosmetic specialists, makeup artists and hairdressers, giving their expertise to help these sick individuals regain some confidence.

Without government funding, the program relies on the support of corporate and community support, one partner being Priceline Pharmacy.

Though there are many ways to get involved with the wonderful program, a new makeup brush collection now available from Priceline is an exciting new way to support the cause.

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Blush brush with Hourglass Incandescent Electra blush

The high-quality, synthetic, twelve brush collection is cruelty-free, allergy-free and suitable for sensitive skin.

15% from the sale of each brush will be donated directly to Look Good Feel Better, helping the estimated 10,000 people who will take part in the program this year.

I’ve purchased the blush brush, and the angle blending brush. Though bigger than my usual blush brush, is excellent for applying blush. Picking up just enough pigment and then buffing in perfectly. Works perfectly for bronzer, or just plain ol’ powder, too.

The angle blending brush is great for blending out eyeshadow edges, or even buffing in concealer.

If you feel like adding some brushes to your arsenal, I cannot recommend these more. Not just for the good cause, but the undeniable quality.

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Angled blending brush with Charlotte Tilbury The Vintage Vamp eyeshadow palette

Not too long ago, someone online wrote a pointed comment towards me, claiming that my money spent on makeup could be better spent on mental health care.

The fury that pulsed through my veins as I read that was enough to drive a woman to break things.

Image is directly related to wellbeing and confidence. It is hard enough to suffer any kind of illness, whether that physical or mental, and lose the state of health so many people take for granted, without losing the appearance you’ve had your whole life.

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Chronic illness can changed the way people see themselves, whether they like it or not. That “I look like crap” feeling doesn’t leave.

Every now and then my usually invisible illness rears it’s ugly head and becomes visible to me. Suddenly I want to hide myself away, I feel embarrassed to walk in public. I remember people staring at my thinning hair, falling out in chunks, my bone thin frame, and my face so devoid of colour it was frightening.

So if something as small as buying a few makeup brushes can help women, men and teenagers living with cancer across Australia feel good about themselves, and wake up each day with confidence, then it feels like the least I can do.

Look Good Feel Better brushes are available online here, or in stores. 

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*These were all purchased with my own money. 

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Best in beauty 2015: FACE.

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Eyes and lips may be fun, but a spectacular base really holds it all together.

I am a lucky little sucker with naturally very clear and even skin. I guess it makes up for the fact that my bowel is basically useless, almost.

But no matter what your base makeup needs, foundation, concealer and powder form the canvas on which makeup artistry shines.

Keep in mind, my skin is normal to dry, very clear (I’m lucky I rarely have any kind of blemish), and I enjoy a much more minimal coverage to a full coverage.

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FOUNDATION:

Nars Sheer Glow
Shades: Deauville/Mont Blanc.
Although neither sheer nor glowy, this demi matte finish foundation is my long time love and favourite. The smallest amount goes a very long way, and it provides the loveliest, soft finish to my skin. When my skin is on the drier side, it has a tendency to be suck up Sheer Glow, so to rectify that problem, I’ll often apply over the top of a thin layer of Stila Stay All Day.

Mac Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
Shade: NC20.
My current favourite foundation, Mac PLNWF was new in 2015, and was my solution to makeup just not lasting through very long, and sometimes very hot, days. I’d always thought Mac foundations were too much for my skin, but true to its name, this foundation is nourishing whilst still retaining its long wear. Considering I don’t enjoy full coverage, I use the tiniest amount, patting in a thin layer with my fingers, and it last all damn day, remaining flawless without looking like a mask.

Mac Studio Fix SPF 35 Concealer
Shade: NW20.
After finding nothing but disappointment at the bottom of my concealer tubes, I wanted something long wearing, that I could simply dab on for spot concealing of my very occasionally blemishes, whilst also counteracting my tired, dark circles. This ticks all my boxes, and the little pot lasts and lasts.

Mecca Cosmetica Facial Sunscreen SPF 30 (also available in SPF50, but couldn’t find bottle for photo)
SPF is important, ladies and gents. All day, erryday. As a fair skinned person, I’ve tried a few, but none sit under makeup and sink into skin quite as well as this one. Try the small tube before investing in a large one, if you’d like to see for yourself.

Mecca Cosmetica Lit From Within Primer
I’m yet to find my perfect primer, but this was my most consistently used primer in 2015. Provides a subtle, illuminated healthy glow without looking shiny or oily, and does create a smooth surface for foundation to go on top of.

Stila Stay All Day Foundation
Shade: 1 Bare
Mecca Maxima’s solution to my foundation not lasting long enough for my liking. Although I do love this foundation on its own, I like it best when combined with Nars Sheer Glow, as described above. Also comes with a little concealer on the lid, but I lost that long ago.

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I used to HATE powder with a passion, but these two products have completely changed my mind, and I’ve fallen head over heels in love.

Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
Light and glowy, this powder sets and prolongs the wear of makeup without changing the colour or looking powdery. The light reflecting particles leave a diffused look on the skin, blurring pores and fine lines.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder 
Shade: Ethereal light
The powders have hype following them in a huge way. If you’ve not heard of them, they come in a variety of shades and finishes, all imitating different forms of light. I’ve tried a few of the colours, and without doubt Ethereal is my favourite. It slightly warms up my face and makes me just look more alive and bright, without adding any sparkle. Although probably not best for a darker skin tone, it adds an ethereal, airbrushed affect to pale skin.

Loved this? Want more? Well you’re in luck, cause there’ll be part four!

Damn, guys. I’m a poet and I didn’t even realise.

Go back and read previous instalments, the first about eyes here and the second about lips here.

His ankles are surely broken.

 

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Best in beauty 2015: LIPS.

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Lips! If a year ago you’d told me in one year I’d have an excessive (and expensive) collection of lip products, I would have been shocked that you had squandered your ability to time travel on finding out useless facts like what I put on my lips.

I also would’ve been shocked that I’d developed the confidence to wear such vibrant lip colours out of the house.

Rocking a bright lip takes guts, and it’s something I’ve had to work up to. But discovering formulas, undertones and colours that work for me has been outrageously fun, and its something I highly recommend everyone try.

Here’s hoping you can benefit from my excessive study.

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Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick:
Released in 2015, this new formula for Urban Decay comes with a slightly small shade range, but one of the highest standards in quality that I’ve come across. Long wearing and damn near transfer proof, despite the matte finish they are hydrating rather than drying.
Favourite shades:
Tilt, bright orange;
After Dark, deep berry pink with a purpleish blue toned shimmer; 
Stark Naked, peach toned nude;
Blackmail, almost black purple. 

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks:
2015 was the year of the liquid lipstick, and I finally got the chance to try this formula after Sephora finally opened in Melbourne Central, and they’re honestly the only reason I braved the lines and crowds.
Favourite shades:
Mother, dusty mauve pink;
Bauhau5, deep raspberry;
Aeysha, rich lavender.

Nars Audacious Lipsticks:
Hands down my favourite lipstick formula. Perfectly opaque in one swipe, as they advertise. Only wish they didn’t transfer quite so easily.
Favourite shades:
Anna, mauve toned rose.
Natalie, a flamingo, coral pink. 
Dominique, a pink lilac, and perhaps one of the most unique colours I’ve ever come across.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils:
A long-wearing, intensely pigmented lip product. These are so good, basically every colour I try knocks my socks off. Only criticism is they can be a tad drying.
Favourite shades: 
Sex Machine, mauve toned pink,
Walkyrie, burnt, brown toned red
Dragon Girl, bright pinkish red,  
Never Say Never, berry toned pink.
Damned, deep magenta red. 

Nars Lip Liner El Agua:
I’m not really one for lip liners, but picked up the purple toned pink El Agua in an attempt to make my excessive collection of mauve-pink toned lipsticks more purple. Long lasting on the lips, elicits compliments.

Stila All Day Liquid Lipsticks:
After acquiring the two holiday sets from Mecca Maxima, I developed an intense love for this formula. Extremely long lasting and easy to apply, in a variety of bright, unique shades.
Favourite shades: 
Patina, mauve pink;
Baci, grey toned mauve;
Cosmo, bright violet;
Aria, deep berry;
Cianti, blackened plum. 

L’Staj Liquid Lipsticks:
A wild card entry! These lipsticks are available online only, via the L’Staj website. A niche brand catering only for lips, their small shade collection is of an outstanding quality for the price, and is available in packs to further save dollars. I often receive compliments for these colours.
Favourite shades:
Lady Cheeky, pastel lavendar. 
Lady Lovely, classic, soft pink. 

Mac Evening Rendevous Lipstick:
This limited edition reddish toned purple landed in 2015, and instantly became a favourite shade. I’d be sad that it’s limited edition if it weren’t slightly less awesome than Men Love Mystery, one of my favourite lipsticks of all time.

Colourpop:
I would own many more Colourpop lip products if the shipping cost weren’t so expensive. I’m saving up for a mega-shop sometime in the future. I have the Lippie Stix in Lumiere, a collaboration with YouTube star KathleenLights, and three Lippie Pencils, in Lumiere, Grind and Leather, all of which I would recommend if you’re looking to experiment with colour without laying out for more expensive liners.

It’s been a long and treacherous wait, I’m aware, but the space between now and the hotly anticipate part three will be here faster than you can say “This mauve toned lipstick is definitely different than all those other mauve toned lipsticks I already own. I need it now.”

If you missed part one, which was all about the best eye products of the year, go back and read it here.

For a science lesson from a regular dude who likes to drink beer, and who won’t change his mind on anything, regardless on the facts set before him, click here. Science is a liar sometimes. 

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2015: A cliche/reflection/massive indulgence

“Been waiting on change, but I don’t know if its coming.” – Brooke Fraser

If one year ago, you’d told me all that I would go through in the coming 365 days, I would have curled up and sobbed, perhaps laughed that it couldn’t possibly be that bad, but mostly expressed that theres no way in hell I’m capable of withstanding that level of pain. Guess what? I was.

I don’t know about you, but, besides feeling 22, my social media feeds are currently filled with sometimes long, mostly self-indulgent claims of resolution and determination. Well, that and jeering snarky remarks about how resolutions suck, (which they pretty much do).

This divide in social media discourse has made it hard for me to find a way to write on the topic without being just another wanker, thinking they’re so inspirational and wise, talking about their years, past and present.

I wasn’t going to write anything, but considering how excited I am that 2015 has finally taken a hint and fucked off, it seemed appropriate that I muse on what was the most excellent and awful year of my life.

I really, really hated 2015 at times. It was a hard year for not only me, but many people I hold dear.

I faced and continue to battle, some of the biggest challenges of my life thus far. I experienced pain at the hands of people I loved and trusted, and at the mercy of my own body. I’ve had my heart broken more than once, in many of the most painful ways. I lost my dog, one of my best friends.

I hit some points that were so low, I didn’t know they existed, or that I could continue to exist at such low mental altitudes.

But somehow, in spite of the utter shit that  2015 threw in my face, the son-of-a-gun had it in their heart to sheepishly toss me moments throughout the year that were undoubtably some of the most exciting and beautiful of my life.

I have experienced career progress this year that I didn’t know I was capable of. My work earned award nominations and garnered praise from my peers, lecturers, and an audience. As a reward for my hard work, doors have opened for incredible opportunity, and I am working every day to hone my craft further.

I felt my confidence leap and bound ahead of where it once was. Although I may still stumble along the way, I can firmly say I am in the best state I’ve ever been in.

I totally nailed eyeshadow blending, as well as the fine art of makeup, and in the process, found one of the most helpful techniques for dealing with my rampant anxiety I’m yet to find. I also wear black and purple lipstick out of the house regularly, like some kind of adventurous goddess.

I’ve met people who have become the greatest friends to me, and I am lucky to have such a divine selection of the most beautiful humans on this damn planet on my team.

Although it was the toughest twelves months I could’ve imagined, each and every step I took outside of my comfort zone proved to me that I am so much braver than I believe, stronger than I seem, and smarter than I think. 2015 was the year I became a proper, fully fledged adult-person.

I could sit and dwell on the bad things, but theres no point. When I look back on 2015, I can’t help but think of the bad things, but the beautiful things were the most significant of all. I like to think that in the great scheme of my life, I’ll remember those precious moments more than the pains.

If one year ago today, you’d told me all that I would accomplish in the coming 365 days, I would have cried with happiness and utter disbelief, exclaiming that there is no way I’m capable of achieving so much, and to such a high standard.

Guess what?

I did.

And I’m so unbelievably proud of myself.


“A toast to the lessons not yet learned, and to the trials that will teach them.” – Brooke Fraser (again(because there’s no such thing as too much Brooke Fraser))

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Seizing the throne: The rise of Kingswood

Considering they started out as an AC/DC cover band, Kingswood are a fitting supporting act for the Australian rock legends.

Currently opening for AC/DC alongside The Hives, Kingswood are continuing their steady ascent into the Australian music scene, and recently released a deluxe edition of their 2014 debut album, Microscopic Wars.

I caught up with them earlier this year.

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PHOTOGRAPHY by Kane Hibberd http://www.theartofcapture.com

I witnessed Kingswood’s electrifying performance for the first time back in May 2014 at the Hi-Fi in Melbourne.

When I tell frontman, Fergus Linacre, to my surprise he immediately responds “The pizza gig!” recalling that during the performance, he had brought a pizza out from backstage, claiming they had too much, and thrown the box into the audience to be shared.

The fact he remembers this small detail from that one gig in such clarity is impressive. I get the feeling he has just as much fun at shows, and makes just as many memories, as the cheering audience.

The pizza was just one of many memorable moments that made up the impressive gig. Their vibrant rock energy filled the room, firmly establishing themselves as one of Australia’s foremost, upcoming rock bands.

Hailing from Melbourne, the four-piece rock outfit, made up of Fergus Linacre, Alex Laska, Jeremy “Mango” Hunter and Justin Debrincrat, has been on a steady rise to fame since forming in 2009.

In August 2014, they released their wildly successful Aria nominated debut album, Microscopic Wars, and have since been touring and playing sold out shows across the country. I spoke to Linacre about their busy past year, current tour, and what’s next for Kingswood.

Microscopic Wars was produced by Vance Powell, who has notably worked with Jack White and the Arctic Monkeys, did you actively seek to work with him?

We actually put the feelers out before we really targeted anyone. Someone gave him our EP and he said that he was interested in working with us, so we had a few Skype chats and talked about how we wanted to record, and one of the things that attracted us to him was he records to tape, so you can’t just go over and over again to fix things, you have to get it right once you’re in the studio. So we liked that, and we really loved Blunderbuss, Jack White’s solo record that was recorded all on 8-track, which is just crazy, and it sounded so good. So we really wanted to work with Vance, and when he said yes, we knew we had to go to America. 

Did you find you worked differently being in a new environment?

Definitely, it was completely new experience. I mean we’ve recorded before, but never like that, never to tape and never with so much freedom. That’s what encouraged us to be more daring than we thought we should be. We’d write a song and think, that’s all okay, that’s all good, but a million songs have been done like that, let’s try and make it different. I think the result of that is a really diverse record that we’re really proud of, and I think a big part of that is from allowing and encouraging us to be as weird as we possibly could be.

Microscopic Wars was nominated for an Aria award, it didn’t win, but you were a part of the winning album via your collaboration with Dan Sultan on his Aria winning album, Blackbird. How did that come about?

I was sitting on the phone outside Blackbird Studio in Nashville, and he’d just recorded his record, his Aria winning record, in the same studio we were in at that time, and he was in another section of the studio doing some overdubs, and he came up and was like “Hey man, I need some backing vocals, can you guys sing?” So not only did we get to sing on Dan’s record, which is wonderful, but we got to work with Jacquire King, who was Dan’s producer, who’s done a lot of the Kings of Leon records, and stuff like that. So it was pretty crazy being in there, being in the little Nashville world, where there are people who recorded with Lennon who would just pop in to see Vance; it was great.

What would be your dream collaboration?

We’d love to work with Jack White. Vance records almost all of Jack’s stuff, so we heard all the stories and learnt about his process, which was great. I love his process; it’s really honest. His band is so good that they record straight to tape. We did overdubs, he doesn’t do overdubs, its just 12 people playing in a room and eight mics recording them, and what they play in that room is what you hear on the record. So I’d love to work with him and do something crazy like that.

You’ve said in a few interviews that anything can affect song writing, not just other musicians, so what’s been an influence on your process that we may not expect?

Definitely your environment can influence you. We all moved into our Kew house, which is where we got together and wrote the album, and created these shells of songs, which we left open to be moulded once we got to Nashville. We set up this house and we had drinks and parties in there, where we would jam all through the night cause we had no noise restrictions. That whole environment, I can’t say how directly, I can’t put it into a specific song, but that environment definitely shaped how we all recorded and played together.

You have a classic rock and roll stage presence, is that something that’s come naturally or have you had to work to really hone your craft?

I would say the latter; I think it just comes with time. You can’t psyche yourself up and say, “I’m going to go on stage tonight and be Steve Tyler,” it doesn’t work like that. If I look back at how I used to be, I don’t think I’m some kind of crazy frontman or anything, but I was a lot more nervous, and I didn’t have confidence and stuff like that. But rather than faking it, I think as you keep going, and as you play more shows, you don’t get nervous anymore and you enjoy it more. We don’t just say, “lets go out there and just go crazy.” I think our presence has just come from the fact that we just love playing and we’ve been doing it for a long time, and we enjoy being out there.

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PHOTOGRAPHY by Kane Hibberd http://www.theartofcapture.com

What’s your favourite song to play live?

Mine is I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me (ICFTYDLM), I love it. Alex sings lead on that, so I just get to sit back and play tambourine, and look around the audience. I like to look around and take it in, I mean I still get to do that when I sing, but I guess I’m focusing a bit more on my role. Whereas in that song, I sit back and do harmonies, and take in the room or the festival or wherever we are.

Despite your songs being on a grand scale and having a big sound, there is definitely a raw, emotional vulnerability to a lot of your lyrics. Do you find it cathartic to play these songs?

You do think about it when you’re singing, and if it’s a song I’ve written, I think it’s easier to feel that emotion when you’re singing it. But I will always embrace that; I’ll never hide away from it. The more you’re in touch with the song on stage, the better. With songs that Al’s written – or anyone else, but Al writes most of our stuff – whatever he was going through at the time that made him write those lyrics, I was there next to him and talking about it. Because we’ve been with each other forever as a band, all of us, all those things in our songs, we were all around each other when it happened, so [I] do feel like I understand it. It’s not like I’m singing random lyrics, I know how he felt, I was there, so it’s easy to get in touch with those emotions, definitely.

Your cover of Wolf by First Aid Kit is one of my favourite covers of all time. What is the process of putting together a killer cover like that?

We wanted to do Alt-J, but then we found out someone who did Like A Version before us had done Alt-J, so we couldn’t do that. So we really loved that song Wolf, and I don’t know if we thought we could do a good cover, but we thought we’d just do a song we really liked. I think we did it in a night, and made it our own as much as we could, and drew from different aspects of their song, and took different backing vocals and made them more prominent. It was very fun, I’d like to do it again actually.

You’ve had a huge 2014, and 2015 is already filling up fast with tours, what can we expect from Kingswood next?

We haven’t got together and started writing as a group yet, but I’m sure everyone is making terrible recordings into their phones, it’s always funny looking back at voice recordings, they’re always terrible, but we’re definitely going to think about recording another album. We’re going to try to do that this year, but I guess our main thing is we’re going to go over to America and tour the album, and then Europe as well. So if all goes well, and we’re busy doing that, then we’ll do the album next year, but if no one wants to see us play, then we’ll record another album.

Linacre told Veronica and Lewis on Triple J this week that they’re planning to record a new album after they’ve finished their tour with AC/DC.

You can also catch Kingswood at the Beyond the Valley festival over the New Year.

This article was originally published in Rabelais Magazine.