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Category Archives: Health & Beauty

Mainly Manly

When I first arrived in Sydney in December of 2010, I was told to make use of the ferries as much as I could. The views of sailboats, the blues of the waters, greens of land they make some amazing contributions to one’s view of Sydney. Some of the scenes are straight out of Ralph Lauren commercials and couldn’t possibly be more generic preppy wholesome goodness of outdoors.

Approaching Manly Beach on the ferry I was trying to visualise what it may have been like when the first settlers gazed at the beach. The beach takes its name from the fact that Aboriginal men were seen by the first colonists on this beach and they looked ever so manly with muscly bodies and glistening skin in the sun (I may be over-visualising this).

From December 2010 – January 2011 there was an exhibition by a local artist in the Manly Art Gallery. The artist, James Guppy is renowned for his surrealist forms and has a masterful way of portraying textures.  His paintings also reflected the intense love and passion for his partner, who was the inspiration and subject of many of his works.   James Guppy is not a young man, and neither his partner.  Even in advance age, to have this sort of passionate love, it really moved me.

Some examples of James Guppy’s works are below.

Textures and Detail

Nailing down the Surf

James Guppy's Ubiquitous Orchids


The Infidel Mountain Salad

‘Gavur Dagi” Salad, or as it translates to English ‘Infidel Mountain Salad’, as ridiculous as it sounds is actually a very delicious, fresh, nutritious and detoxifying salad containing plenty of parsley, which is excellent for our detox organ, the liver.

As for the origin of the name, I can only ponder that the salad comes from the eastern region of Turkey, where Mount Ararat (in Turkish Agri Mountain)is located.  This region with the controversial mountain had plenty of Armenian residents of the Orthodox Christian faith.  As it’s customary in countries with a predominant religion, those who were not of the 99% Muslim population were ousted as the ‘Infidels’. 

Putting aside the history, the controversy, the conflicts I think everybody in Turkey unifies on the fact that this salad is delicious.  There may be different versions of the recipe but this one I’m going to give is tested and approved in Sydney by my circle of friends.  This recipe serves 6


*Plenty of Parsley

*1 White Onion

*6 Tomatoes

*3 Cucumbers

*1 Capsicum

*1 Pomegrenate

*Some Crushed Walnuts

*Olive Oil

*Balsamic Vinegar

The trick to making this salad tasty is mincing the ingredients as finely as you can.  When you finely chop the fresh vegetables you’re ensuring that you unlock their full flavours and the complementing flavours can intermingle in the salad.  The chopped ingredients come together to form the uniform taste of the marvellous salad. 

Sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing.

It is ironic that these different vegetables can come together to synergise in such a burst of flavour yet we as people, with similar flavours, colours and shared history still fail to be uniform in some parts of the world, not saying where I mean exactly but you get the gist.

The Photo Studio in Glebe

The Photo Studio, found by one of Australia’s better known commercial and advertising artists, North Sullivan, is a red door on the wall in Glebe.  For one who’s not looking for it, it is virtually impossible spot.  One would not think there would be a full capacity studio behind the Broadway parking lot.  But there it is.  And once you walk through the red door, it’s a walk into studio magic.

The minute you walk in, your coat is taken and your wardrobe is set up by the very capable studio hands.  The experience is almost like visiting one of your friends who may live in the bohemian part of town with a penchant for shabby chic items and textures.  There are nice little touches around every corner like the lighting used in old movie sets or a collection of children’s chairs from yesteryears.

The make up room is the laboratory where you try your different looks.  The expert make up artist is always willing to accommodate to give you the look you’re after.  The MUA who helped me was like a girlfriend and I felt like I was at a pajama party as we went through different looks for the different photo sessions. 

Casual look with minimal make up was uplifted by a fancier hair style with more curls for a long dress and then full on smoky glamour was put on for the LBD (Little Black Dress).  The make up and photography for all the looks worked perfectly to portray the mood and I was very happy at the end of the photo shoot knowing that I looked my absolute best.


OK, fast forward a month later to last Saturday, when I finally had my photo viewing day due to busy schedules on my part and the studio’s.

I felt the atmosphere, the viewing room, Cat, the hostess’s, hospitality were excellent. The room was comfortable with nice ambience (the whole studio is very nicely done, reflecting impeccable taste). The photos were laid out very nicely and we went through the picking and choosing of portfolio photographs smoothly. Cat was very proficient in helping me make the selections of photos to choose for my portfolio. She was very knowledgeable of the packages and deals.

Everything was going very well until I heard the total price for the 10 photo portfolio that I was opting. I have to tell you that there are other well- respected photographers who work in commercials who offer to shoot portfolios for quarter of the price.

I also take advantage of an internet portal called Model Mayhem to produce my own portfolio. On Model Mayhem, I model in exchange for portfolio photographs (TFP- Trade for Pictures). The make up artist, the photo shoot and the photos are provided to me for free in exchange for my modeling. Though I have never done professional modeling, I’m in high demand on Model Mayhem.

I realise the pricing reflects what people are willing to pay for their portfolios at the Photo Studio and that maybe lowering the prices maybe detrimental to the luxury experience and the exclusivity they offer.

I would suggest perhaps offering lower ticket items so as not to lose potential buyers like myself (introduced by a significant discount campaign) who are turned off by the steep prices. I would have loved to keep a souvenir of my experience with the Photo Studio, perhaps a low-resolution FB image. 

Oh well, I guess the fabulous memories of the day will do.

Comforting Autumn Foods

As the nature dons its autumn hues, deep reds, oranges, browns and yellows, the food that comes to our tables also shows up in those familiar colours of autumn. Think corns, pumpkins, squashes, carrots. These foods are all rich in beta-keratin, which gives them the beautiful colours and also supplements our immune system during this critical time of seasonal transition. Some of the yummiest comfort foods can be made from pumpkins, corn, carrots, which all have a pleasently sweet-ish flavor that works well in savories and sometimes sweets.

Pumpkin soup rich with nutmeg and spices is a well known and liked soup with the English speaking people originating from Europe but did you know that you can make a delicious pumpkin jam? The Pumpkin jam is a quintessential crowning desert of New Year’s feasts in many Turkish homes. It is best served with walnuts and a bit of rich buttermilk. Today, I will illustrate how to make it as it is very simple and requires only butternut squash, sugar, water and walnuts. Simply cut the butternut squash into chunks, put it in a boiler, add some suhgar, wait for it to release its juices and start boiling in a bit of water until the squash has softened and soaked in the syrup.

Chunks of Butternut squash

Squash giving off their juice in the sugar

Lovely smell of boiling butternut squash in syrup

Sprinkle the jam with walnuts and voila!

My Make Up Break-Up

Sometimes it’s time to part ways.  I have been with make up for the last 15 years.  Make up is very close to me and I can say it’s somewhat of a second skin.  Lately though, second skin, my foundation has proven to be a “Frienemy”.  That is the worst kind of enemy, in the form of a friend!  The foundation I’d been layering on to smooth out the imperfections was in fact accentuating them by settling in those fine lines (fine line between fine lines and wrinkles you know!) to make them more noticeable!  How could something I trusted to give me a perfect finish look betray me in such a way!  I was dumbfounded and angry so I parted ways.  Good bye foundation!

When it comes to eye make-up, as someone who wears contacts, my eyes are irritable and I was suspicious that mascara and eyeliner were the culprits for my red and puffy eyes. You see, once I started the break up, I was going for everything that was associated with the foundation so, good bye eye liner, good by mascara!  You all hang out with each other, but away from me.

Will it be long before I start missing them and bring them back in my life?

I don’t know.  I’m enjoying the extra time I have had for myself since the breakup.  I’m also saving face!  I could save space if I just tossed them out but I think that would be too radical.  I like them at an arm’s length.  For now.