DESIGN FREAK: Pantone Queenie

This clever little collab between Pantone and Leo Burnett London is too cute, funny and intriguing!

Introducing the limited edition colour guide to the Queen’s coordinated ensembles, featuring PANTONE Colour references.

I’m sure we can all agree that her sartorial choices are on the regimented, safe side and now – PROOF…..there’s a formula at play here! A little bit Barbie, in a twisted way!


The Queen Palette project was developed at Leo Burnett London by art directors/copywriters Will Thacker and Blake Waters, executive creative director Justin Tindall, print producer Chris Dale, art buyer Leah Mitchell. Artwork, creative imaging and colour management was by Mundocom. Photographer was Andy Rudak. Printing was by Precision Printing, using HP Indigo 7500 Digital Press and the 7-colour (CMYKOV) HP IndiChrome on-press PANTONE emulation, simulating PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® that can match 97 percent of the PANTONE Colour range, to achieve exact colour matching.


INSPIRATION VAULT: Happy Friday the 13th

I’m not normally one to subscribe to the whole ‘series of unfortunate events’ thing that seemingly goes superstitiously hand-in-mitten with today, that blackest and most haunted of days –  Friday the 13th.



In fact, the number 13 is considered to symbolise good luck in witchcraft.  So where the bad-juju / Friday the 13th link came from, well who knows, probably some god-fearing anti-occult religious fanatics back in the dark days of christianity.  Some online enquiry may uncover the sordid truth! OR at least some interesting reasons as to the evolution to the whole charade.

According to the article below (source unknown), Friday the thirteenth is  Hangman’s day, Devil’s day, a time of witchery and unknown powers! A wild strangeness of uncanny witchery, the wanchancy call of Bad Luck.

Apparently, Friday mated with thirteen makes this a woeful day in the calendar of the superstitious.  Ogers are abroad, evil spirits, wicked ghosts!



Not sure about wicked ghosts but I feel that upon reflection, something akin to bad luck has bestowed me today.

Seems a couple of foul events have come my way, namely a hefty parking fine; a holier-than-thou borderline traumatic health procedure, which saw me simultaneously going grey, sweating profusely and almost turning inside-out from the discomfort (I won’t go into detail); and a case of forgetful fog-brain this evening, when I left the car lights on and proceeded on my merry way indoors.  Thankfully, the battery was spared from going completely flat- the  mobile still starts. Thank you, kind and alert neighbour!




So the parking fine I guess is the biggest ache of the day, and definitely a sign of BAD JUJU.  I swear I never EVER saw a sign saying ‘no parking’ (and I’m generally pretty vigilant with this sort of thing). In fact, I’m darn right certain that if I go back tomorrow or the next day, there will be no such sign. I will take photographic evidence of this, to support the succinct yet well-crafted letter I will send to the shire, stickin’ it to the man and challenging the $140 they claim I owe them. Purely for the privilege of parking on dingy Sydney Road, because there was nowhere else in the general vicinity to park (seriously, there was NADA – I did three laps around the block). I’m tempted next time to just ride my bike, crappy Antarctic weather and all.

The thing that irritates me most, is that the reason I was parked there was for the aforementioned ‘health appointment’, which will not be detailed at this stage in time. No, I am still a little fragile and recovering from the general sense of ‘ickiness’ and weirdness – and I don’t think I’m ready to divulge that much info to my sparse but probably curious readership.



My argument, is my appointment was from 3 – 4pm. I got out to the car by 4.08pm at the latest.  Apparently, according to the ticket, I was parked in a zone that is deemed ‘a clearway’. Meaning that during certain times it can’t be parked in.  The fact that there were cars parked all up and down the strip where I parked, coupled with the lack of a sign, told my mind that it was oK to park there. There was also a car in the same spot until 30 seconds before I came along and opportunistically seized the space. Which seems to make me wonder…..perhaps it was a clearway after 4pm? When peak hour starts. Would make sense right?  In which case I had been parked there a measly 8 minutes into the time it became a NO parking area. May not have been, but seems to make sense given the lack of signage- probably one of those things you are just supposed to have ‘local knowledge’ of!

If this is the case, and it became a no-go zone from 4pm, then, well….balls! Pretty sucky given that the reason I was late was not an altogether pleasant one.   In either case, I’m going to appeal the bejesus out of that traffic council in the hope they may see my clarity of reasoning and have some compassion.  And in the process spare me of having to find a hundred and forty dollars, which could better be served paying my utilities or rent.



The man of course, thinks I’m completely daft and that I’m wasting my time appealing.  Yep, I’m an idealist I know, but nothing ventured nothing gained. I sure as hell ain’t going to be in any hurry to cough up over a hundred smackeroos for something I don’t think should have been served to me. Not without a fight. harumph.

Anyway, pretty small fry stuff in the scheme of things, and I’m sure by this time tomorrow it will be forgotten about and I will be done letting it affect me. I’m sure things could be a lot worse right now than a silly parking fine, and hazy, funny but weird memories of a health procedure that was less than frolic in the daisies-like fun.

In the spirit of Friday the 13th, and in veering this post desperately back to its original premise, I bring you a series of images from a shoot  for Harper’s Bazaar Indonesia  in November last year,  ‘Dark Romance‘.



I stumbled across this talented photographer this afternoon in my web adventures. Her name? Nicoline Patricia Malina.




The shoot is deliciously dark, gothic-overtoned, moody and skull-and-skeleton-laden. Perfect Friday the 13th creepshow fodder.



Rich colors and impeccable sense of details dominate the scene, combined with raw and cinematic black and white.   And glitter skulls!! (sigh)



The shots are magnificent, a really nice balance of dark and light.  Whilst I wouldn’t mind seeing them pushed to an even darker spectrum (they’re quite light feeling to me at least), they’re meticulously styled and shot, with a beautiful fairytale-like aesthetic….A little noir Alice In Wonderland, if you will.  I love that the two skulls in the foreground in the last frame seem to be engaging in some kinda strange, cheeky, bitey foreplay/ kissing game.  Or is that just my weird interpretation? Ahem.



Happy Friday the 13th, and hope your luck is running smoothly petals! Tread careful.



Enjoy my pretties!

Love like blood,

x DS

WARRIOR LESSONS: Flip a coin……get a life

There comes a point in most people’s lives (sometimes several times) where  we start to deeply question what it is we do, and why.  Why do I keep myself chained to this 9 to 5 grind, despite its limitations and its frustrations and its impact on my happiness? And for what? Financial security, yes, but certainly not financial freedom by any stretch.

When one of my inspiring ‘unofficial mentors’ Chris Guillebeau, talks about creating something extraordinary out of your life and becoming unchained from the system, I feel a definite sense of true identification. Chris has gotten to the point in his life where he likes to help others to empower themselves and to unlock the true purpose in themselves. To equip them with the tools and skills required to break free from the conventional, humdrum of everyday life and start living a more remarkable one.

As Chris explains don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and for others.  You can imagine a life where all your time is spent on the things you wanted to do. It doesn’t take a lot of money, and the skills you already have are all you need.  Google him. Now. Especially if you are majorly disillusioned with an aspect of your life that takes up such a large and important chunk.

One of the really truly inspirational lessons I have been learning from Chris is the art of making a decison.  Chris supposes that for much of the time, we don’t actually want to make decisions, but would rather defer or postpone them, allowing another person or some external event to determine our future.

For those times when you really do want to make a decision, but you aren’t sure of the right one, Chris offers this rather inspiring approach, which I though was kinda ‘lightbulb moment’ in a way!

Say your decision is binary (there are only two options). Think long and hard about each choice, then get out a coin and prepare to flip it. Assign each outcome to one side of the coin, take a deep breath, and throw it in the air.

Here’s the important ‘lightbulby’ bit: you don’t actually need the results to make the decision.

Here’s why. When the coin lands, cover it up. Do not look at it. Think about each choice again.

Now- which side did you want the coin to land on?

BAM! There’s your answer. No need to look at the actual coin toss results, since they may just confuse you. The point of the exercise was to learn what you actually wanted. You just found out.

Chris’ overall lesson: stop deferring the responsibility for making decisions to someone else. Proceed with your own decisions!

Lately I’ve been questioning my job as I’ve been feeling stuck in a major rut, like I’m treading major water and moving further away from where I want to be.

I’ve been deciding whether to saty, and chase a promotion which doesn’t really seem like its going to happen soon (which is the only thing that would keep me satisfied enough to stay here). Or just leave.

When I think more in depth about what Chris has to say, everything seems to take on a new sense of meaning. Things aren’t quite as difficult to break out of and there are always ways around things.  I don’t feel so desolate.

I’ll get around this roadblock; I just know it.  I have a great foundation of an enquiring mind and a stubborn resolve to always succeed and not let things get the better of me. I may sometimes wallow in the darkness for a little while, but I’m ultimately the kinda gal who likes to kick at the black until it bleeds light. I’m tenacious and I don’t take things lying down.  I don’t like to play the victim; I prefer playing the role of an active, enthused ninja warrior when it comes to my destiny. I work damn hard to get what I want….whilst shaking off the rest of the crapola thats ticks unecessarily.  I’ve come a long way in my life and have lived through a lot of shitty experiences, trying situations and really bad things, that have only seen me come out on the other side stronger and wiser.  Its taken some time, but I’m in a place where I have a pretty clear vision of what I want from my life and I’m not going to let anything stop me.

In many ways, I am well on my way to having things running in a fulfilling, enriching and rewarding way; home, relationships, love, spirituality, emotional health, true career purpose.  I have an absolutely wonderful, awesome and supportive partner who encourages me to shine and do what I truly want to do.  I have a gorgeous, talented, ragtag bunch of friends, that although I don’t see nearly enough, I adore their company when I do.

My health, while having its ups and downs (and more downs in the last 24 months) is something that I’m coming to kind of understand with a quiet and steely determination.  Although I don’t always know what’s going on and don’t always accept the fact that I don’t feel completely human a lot of the time, having these little setbacks has opened my mind to taking a lot better care of myself and treating my body with absolute respect.  Whilst a work in progress, my health is definitely something I feel like I can try to have SOME control over if I equip myself with enough knowledge, determination, understanding, and support.

When it comes to that last pillar: workin’ life, well, it’s letting down the whole god damn team in a BIG way. I am still so far off the mark.

It can be a constant source of anguish, turmoil and unhappiness if I let it be.

But deep down I know I ultimately will resolve this issue, and soon. Just gotta flip that coin, or just. do. something.

As my majorly awesome mentor would say, remaining in paralysis is often worse than making any actionable choice.


READ AND WATCH: David Weissman’s ‘We Were Here’


As sometimes happens on a Sunday, I sank back on the couch this evening to see if there would be anything on the tube of interest.

And generally speaking there sometimes is something airing on a Sunday that is illuminating, reflective and powerful; tonight’s episode of Sunday Best is a case in point.

So I’ve just finished watching We Were Here, a powerful, heartbreaking account of the early years of the AIDS epidemic in San Fran in the late 70s. It’s an honest, poignant and heartfelt reflection on the devastation of the disease and its repercussions across both the LGBT community and the larger community.

We Were Here, directed by David Weissman, takes a deep and reflective look back at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco, without any grandstanding. It explores how the City’s inhabitants were affected by, and how they responded to, that calamitous epidemic.

Weissman focuses on five people who survived to share their reminiscences of the plague years, describing San Francisco during the heady days of the 70s when Harvey Milk energized the gay community.  They recall the first warnings of the disease that would change all of their lives forever; the mass misunderstandings and misleading labelling of the disease as ‘mysterious gay man’s cancer’ and the subsequent battles to identify and treat this rampant and violent illness.


What struck me most, apart from the cumulative sorrow as these men recall the ferociousness of the disease – and the subsequent loss, trauma, death – is the absolute tenacity and humility of the victims of HIV, their lovers, friends, and their supporters.

One of the film’s subjects is Elaine, a lesbian who was a nurse back in the early ‘80s. A lot of folks don’t realize how the lesbian community responded in San Francisco when the crisis began.

“Anyone who lived through this and experienced these years will speak up about the lesbians and the non-gays who came up to help,” Weissman says. “There wasn’t that much closeness between the communities; this helped build a bond in the community.”

The way in which this empowered community slowly but surely, and with great strength and force, mobilised against the government with their sanctions and their discriminatory regulations and codes, and against the bigotry and hegemony of the church, is truly nothing short of inspiring and heart melting.  That the victims of HIV kept fighting, even in the face of death, to affect change, to create awareness and to demand respect and dignity and accountability, was truly powerful and inspiring to me.  The strength of the human spirit is often remarkable and surprising.  Men who had lost their lovers and most of their friends and now were losing their own battle, were standing up to be heard, in the hope that their voice may make a difference for others. Truly remarkable and very humbling.



We all know of the mammoth destruction and the repercussions of the disease, but as a child back in the 80s I only saw it through innocent eyes.   As a child I was never truly aware of the mass impact it had at the time as I didn’t live it.

By the time I was cognizant of these types of issues as an early teen, it was the 90s, a time of tremendous social change brought about by the hard work of the brave warriors and pioneers of the movement in the preceding decade.

Watching We Were Here this evening gave me a glimpse into that world, and the pain and fear that would have been rampant throughout the community.  The sheer amount of men cut down by AIDS in that time and place is difficult to come to terms with but We Were Here does a remarkable job of illustrating the scale and speed with which the infection spread through the city’s young gay population.  It also afforded me a wonderful insight into many, many touching and brave stories from the time.  Hearing some of the survivors speak of their own losses truly gave me a sense of their incredible bravery and their monumental groundwork into AIDS awareness.

It speaks to our capacity as individuals to rise to the occasion, and to the incredible power of a community coming together with love, compassion, and determination.



As an important historical document it captures the voices of a lost generation, revisiting the devastation wrought by AIDS and the heroism with which many in the LGBT community responded to it.  It recalls the spirit of caring and camaraderie that transformed the gay community in San Francisco and also awakened the compassion of many straight Americans who went through a sea change in their attitudes toward homosexuality.

Films like this make it apparent that you don’t have to necessarily identify as a LGBT to appreciate their plight and their endeavours; if you are a liberated, aware and conscious individual it will touch you deeply, leaving a strengthened sense of historical rootedness and pride in the LGBT community and its supporters.



Personally it also sparked within me some very sinister reflections on the roots of the disease and has given me reason to further inquire as to the origins of HIV /AIDS.  I have never been truly convinced that HIV was a ‘naturally evolving’ disease and tonight I am even more the skeptic.  Much to my family’s chagrin I have always been a proponent of conspiracy theories, and I have strong reason to believe that HIV was a bioengineered disease, released as a form of population control, or in this case, as a way of affecting mass genocide against a minority group that were somehow deemed ‘undesirable’ by someone with enough power and influence over the government.

BUT.  I digress, and for now don’t wish to take away from the positive, uplifting message We Were Here has instilled.

I’ll save my conspiracy-based ramblings for another time.