The fatal flaw that leads to the downfall of a hero.

Every hero supposedly has one. It’s the curse that accompanies the blessing of the title ‘hero’. It’s why I am scared to call you mine. I want you to be; the white knight in shining silver armour so heroically pulling me out from whatever trouble I have got myself into, but what if in doing so I am the one giving you hamartia. What if I create your fatal flaw?

Or what if you have already been the hero of another; does the hamartia carry forward. Has your fatal flaw already been created, moulded, ready inflict its fatality when it is least expected. And I am left wondering; what or even who, is the target? If I do not create your fatal flaw, will I suffer at the hands of it.

Greek tragedy demands that for a story to be of adequate magnitude, hamartia is a necessity. It is the only way the emotion necessary for catharsis can be evoked, and isn’t that a journey we are all on? Catharsis? I have always wanted a story of magnitude in my life. A great love of epic proportions. Something the poets would envy, but philosophy would say that such stories must always contain tragedy; some may even argue end in tragedy.

I fear your hamartia. I fear how it may break an already fragile heart. I fear not knowing what it is, not being able to build the appropriate armoury to try win the fight. Perhaps that is my hamartia. Fear. Perhaps hero or not, protagonist or antagonist, we all are cursed with our own hamartia. The key to a story of epic proportions is not the destruction arising from our fatal flaws, but the new life and growth it can bring. That despite a depleted armoury and unpreparedness we come out stronger from the wreckage.

Who decides what a flaw is anyway? For perhaps your hamartia, your flaw, is actually what I find the most beautiful thing about you. For perhaps that is the true tragedy; that we do not find beauty in hamartia because we fear it so. Perhaps the true fatality lies in our fear.  I am ready for your hamartia, I am ready for mine; for perhaps in our predetermined fate decided fatality we will find true glory.


Practicing Gratitude


I can’t claim consistency has ever been my strong point, but every now and again I get the desire to write and this blog provides the perfect platform for me to do so. So here are a few musings from the inner workings of my mind that I am hoping you, my dear reader, will find inspiring.

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

I have come to realise, many of us are often not embodiments of this trait. Myself included. The last 6-8 months have been some of the most trying months of my life. The loss of loved ones, a move to a new place leaving my near and dear behind, starting a new job, learning to become well and truly my own person.

The initial excitement of the new masks the fear and daunting feeling that sits somewhere between my stomach and my heart. Now that mask has been removed and over the last 2 months I have been forced to face reality and let me tell you, this scares the living SH*T out of me. Episodes of tachycardia, hyperventilation and tears have not been far and few apart as I would like, instead I have found myself on multiple occasions curled up in bed with a glass of tea (or wine depending on the severity) contemplating my existence.

It is so easy to fall into the routine of self pity, focusing on everything that seems to be falling apart. For some reason it seems more socially acceptable to whine and moan to your friends about how hard your life is than talking about how good you feel; perhaps to avoid what may seem like gloating. The negativity is pervasive, it will quite literally gnaw at your and linger in the peripheries of your mind, invading when it finds a gap in a moment of idle or silence. The nights were always the worst, contemplation was rife and sleep absent.

I found myself continuing the cycle, ‘venting’ to a close friend who was half way across the globe about my so called inner struggles. He patiently listened to my words about love, work, trust and emotions, genuinely taking in each line with consideration. Once I was done he pointed a few things out to me. I wake up in a warm bed everyday. I have a roof over my head and food in my fridge should I choose to stock it. A job I love, friends and family that provide endless support. I have no fundamental need unmet and almost every want and desire fulfilled should I wish. It got me thinking, why was I so down.

I had fallen into a routine of not practicing gratitude. Focusing on all the wrong, and none of the right. So, here’s a resolution I have made for myself. I shall wake up everyday and practice gratitude, be thankful for the life I have been born into through no achievements of my own, for the opportunities I have been given and for the ability to take those opportunities. I shall no longer be consumed by the loss, but be grateful for the fact I had ever had anything to lose. I will love without shame, without the fear of losing, or fear of how hard I may fall; for I am thankful I have the ability to love as fiercely as I do.

It may sound cliche, and perhaps it is, but there is something to be said for putting positivity out into a world where sometimes people no longer take the time to stop and smell the roses. Honestly, if you even have the ability to be reading this right now, whoever you may be, you are probably blessed beyond comparison and have a lot more going for you than you may realise.

Give more; because you can, without expectation of return. Take less; for you already have what many do not. And every single day, take a moment to practice gratitude.

xox your local bohemian


Dear Creative Soul: An Open Letter

Hey there. Gee wizz has it been a while since this blog got some lovin’ (as usual). I must admit this post a little bit of a lazy one, that has been pre written for other purposes.

I believe that every creative human, whether a writer, painter, poet, lyricist or musician needs a physical medium to write and record their creativity and inspirations. Whether via a blog, a word document or an album. My personal choice is a gloriously smelling leather bound book. Check out Uscha for what I use. Disclaimer: they don’t even know I exist, I just like that they produce ethical, high quality product with a social conscience. Have a look at their site for more.

Anyway, because I find such a creative release within the pages of my own leather sanctuary, I have found it makes for a perfect gift for my fellow creative souls. This is a letter I penned and left within their book. I hope it provides you, my dear bohemian reader, with the same inspiration I hope it provides them. For your journey.

Dear Creative Soul,

For your musical and creative journey, let this humble gift be your guide.

Use it to document things that inspire you. A single word, from the lips of a lover. A picture you took on an adventure of a view you could look at for the rest of your life. An idea, a line, a story, a novel. Emote through the pages of this book. Let it become the place where you speak your mind and edit your thoughts before you let the rest of the world in. Write in it your thoughts of yesterday, your desires for today and your hopes for tomorrow.

Let its pages speak both truth and lies. Let it provide insight into the deepest darkest places your mind allows you to go as well the lightest most joyous experiences. Let it be a point of reference and a point of reflection.

Every artist needs a medium to emote and draft. Let that be within these pages, the whiff of fresh leather each time a page is turned. Let the cover and insides be coffee or whiskey stained or smell of cigarettes as you find yourself in the back of an old rum bar.

Each page a reminder of the beauty of your mind and the honesty of your heart. Timeless. The world will only ever see a snippet of these memories; what you allow people to see, feel and resonate with. Dear creative soul, this book is for you and you only.


With never ending love, positive vibes and inspiration. From me to you.

xox your local bohemian

Spark 2.0

New year. New post. Well not so much. 2.0 you say? Read the initial installment here, so you have an idea as to what I am rambling about.


Done reading? Well let me preface this post by saying that it is far more positive than the one I wrote over a year ago, perhaps somewhat bittersweet but I assure you is full of hope.

I did it again. I sparked. That stupid little electrical impulse in my heart lept a little bit and changed the way my soul conducts its way through my body. In that moment, you feel on top of the world, but just like any bit of generated electricity, it is trying to find earth and grounding. The grounding for this spark is in the soul of another, to find yourself intertwined on a level that transcends the physical constraints.

Do you think that I managed to do it? OH HELL NO. My spark is still buzzing around inside my chest, waiting to find ground, continuously electrocuting me as it does so. That’s how I describe the pain and hurt anyway, because it is not something constant and ever present. It is when everything is still, when your mind is not distracted that you feel like a pang of pain. It is in the moments of solitude that you remember the electricity.

Okay, so I promised that this post would be positive, or at the very least, bittersweet. I believe every life experience brings a lesson to learn, and here is what I have learnt. For every sparky (yes that’s what I have dubbed them) I have become more spiritual; I have found the ability to believe in something greater that cannot be described or defined by human language. To know that there exists an intrinsic connection between humans that doesn’t require months or years of ‘getting to know them’. I find myself believing in the soul of a person, in the connection that two souls can create. I have learnt that this is the feeling we should all hold out for, even if that means waiting what feels like an eternity for it to be reciprocated. Settling for anything less is not only doing you an injustice, but preventing the person you settle for from finding their own requited spark. It is both selfish and of no benefit to anyone.

A bittersweet thought perhaps, but one that I think brings with it a sense of hope. A sentiment we should all try to hold on to, but until then here is something I wrote as a new years message that I wish to share with you all:

I have always believed that life is made of the people you meet. Every single person changes your life in some way or another to help you become the person you are, and hopefully that aligns with the person you want to be. So thank you for changing my life!

Remember to touch more lives for the better. Remember that a smile never went astray and that kindness costs you nothing. Stand up for yourself when you need to, but remember when to walk away. Remember life definitely throws curve balls and that hard decisions often need to be made. Most importantly remember that I am unconditionally there for the people in my life; I believe in Karma.

Leave the hate, remorse, arrogance and judgement back in yesteryear. Go take the world head on. Be kinder. Do more good. Inspire and be inspired. Love and be loved. Be loyal and in return you will find loyalty.

Good luck for 2016. I can’t wait to see what the years bring for us all.

xox your once again acutely electrocuted bohemian




What Being Single Has Taught Me


I am a self confessed ‘chronic serious relationshipper’. That is to say since I was 15 years old, this is the longest I have been single. After 2 x 2 and a half year relationships and another lasting just over a year, I am now 22, and have enjoyed 15 months of single-dom and it has definitely taught me a few things about myself. So once again, in a post more for me than for anyone reading this, let me share with you the thoughts in my brain.

  1. It is okay to not want a relationship

What?! Hold the phone. This might be common sense to many others, but to me it is profound. Since I was a little girl, a huge goal of mine was to settle down, have a family and live that little white picket fence life of idealism. It never crossed my mind that I could be an adult woman, happily enjoying single life without the intent of finding a man and furthermore actively avoiding any relationship prospects.

  1. It is okay to feel alone

There is a reason we as humans eventually seek companionship and to an extent monogamy. It makes us feel safe, wanted and special; and who doesn’t want to feel that way. When you lack these elements in your life, sometimes those feelings of lonesome sneak in. The desire for a warm body in bed at night to cuddle you in the cold, to make you tea when you feel sick or to talk to when your mind is racing with a million irrational thoughts. It is not a sign of weakness to have these feelings.

  1. Points 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive

It is okay to not want a relationship and still feel alone at times. Sometimes we are at points in our lives where entering anything serious or stable is just not practical nor is it desired. Sometimes you do just need to live for yourself. Telling your friends you don’t want a relationship and then feeling alone are not two contradictory things. The exist in balance with each other, it just depends which way the scale tips the majority of the time that helps you decide what you want in the end.

  1. Love yourself

No, this is not a reference to Justin Bieber’s latest chart topper. It is not a metaphor for saying go f**k yourself. I am saying truly love yourself. Learn to accept compliments when people give them to you, learn to be proud of you as your own person. You do not need someone else telling you how much they love you or exceptional you are as a person for it to be true. You are a glorious person with or without someone on your arm. Believe that.

  1. Doing things solo

Again, not a sexual reference, but that is probably also an important thing to learn. This is in relation to being able to go out and do the things you want to do without the need for someone else. You want to go to dinner, go! Book a table for one, dress up and look fabulous, strut into that restaurant, pour yourself a glass of wine and own it! Want to go to the movies? Who needs someone that’s constantly whispering their running commentary in your ear anyway? Want to go watch the sunset, lay on the beach or climb a mountain? Go do it, what is stopping you?

6. Feed your soul

Sometimes in relationships, even non toxic self imploding ones, you can lose a little of who you are. Take the single life to really focus on your hobbies, deciding what’s important to you and what keeps your mind and soul at ease. For me that is 100% my music. Since being single, I have rediscovered my passion for it and also realised how little time I gave it when I was busy being loved up. It is now a compromise I am no longer willing to make in future relationships.

7. Stop the ‘what ifs’

It is so easy to get sucked into a cycle of what ifs and what could have beens. STOP. That chapter has closed now, for whatever reason. Regret and wonder will not change that. It cripples you from living in the present and enjoying the now. Go back to point 4 and try again (do not collect $200)

8. Feel happy for those in relationships

This was a huge step for me who was never ‘the single one’. It’s okay to feel jealous, that’s human nature. But the next time you feel the pangs of jealousy, stop and wonder why. What are you missing that you are seeking externally, what are your own insecurities. It will help you on your journey to self growth and create positive energy. Want to know the best bit? Being genuinely happy for your friends in relationships will make you feel good about the idea of healthy relationships in general. Even as a single mingler you will associate relationships with positivity rather than the negative vibes you’re carrying with you from your last bitter breakup.

9. Go out and meet people

Being relationshipped up actually makes it quite hard to just go out and meet new people without any agenda or expectation. Go do things that excite you and find like minded people in the process. You don’t have to be there with the expectation of finding a soul mate but the more you realise that people want to be around you without any expectations and that you’re an interesting person you’ll do much better on the self love front. See point 4, this time collect $200.

And there you have it. My little epiphanies, realisations and steps I took to discover life as a single gal in a big world that is my oyster. I am still definitely a person who enjoys the life of being the doting girlfriend, but I think if being a solitary fiend is what’s on the cards for me right now, world you better watch out, because I am coming for you.

xox your local bohemian

Fragrance Fiend: New Obsessions

If you follow me on Instagram (@abohemianexistence) you will know I have expanded my makeup addiction into fragrances. Sadly for me and my wallet, my obsession lies in high end quality perfumery but it does keep me smelling damn good and who doesn’t want that. In lieu of my recent purchases (and probably more to come) I have decided to start a new series: Fragrance Fiend. So far I have two posts planned for you. This one, which will talk about my 3 new found loves and the next one which will talk all about the new trend of fragrance layering.

Without further ado, here is a little about my 3 new, cost a pretty penny, perfumes.

Comme Des Garcons; Wonderwood

This was the first of the 3 that I added to my collection. I had been lusting after Wonderwood since I started working at Mecca Cosmetics 2 years ago. I used to go into work and douse myself in this scent. It is definitely a more masculine scent, but sometimes I just love smelling like a delicious man. Is that weird? Don’t judge. It lasts all day on my skin and often notice it even after I have had a solid shower. I love spraying it on my handbag for a weeks worth of Wonderwood following me around.


There is no denying that this is just a huge overdose of woods, woody notes and synthetic wood constructions; and I LOVE it. The notes in this are:

Head: Madagascan Pepper, Bergamot, Somalian Insence Nutmeg
Heart: Cristalon, Cashmeran, Cedarwood, Carvi Graines
End: Javanol, Sandal Wood, Vetiver, Agarwood

Because it is such a pure wood scent, it layers beautifully with florals and fresher smells (more on this in the next post). I do however love wearing this on it’s on. It pulls more feminine once it hits my skin and honestly when I wear this I just feel sexy. Usually a night time scent for me, but hey you do you boo. At $182 AUD from Mecca for the 100ml bottle, there’s not denying this leaves a dent in your bank balance, but it is 100% worth it to me. No regrets.

Jo Malone: Blackberry and Bay

The next 2 scents were picked up together duty free from Manchester airport on a recent Europe trip. This one is Jo Malone’s Blackberry and Bay; a social media fave. I was perusing the isles in Selfridges and in a moment of bad decision making sniffed this smell. I needed it. Right away. I left Selfridges with it sprayed over one of my wrists and couldn’t stop smelling myself. I think I had a brief moment of being mentally unstable. Anyway, I went back and bought it.


Here are the notes for you true perfume connoisseurs:


The Travel Beauty Edit

I am a self confessed and well known over packer.  If I am travelling for more than 1 or 2 nights, I am probably incapable of packing just carry on luggage. I recently returned from a 3.5 week European adventure and due to the constant need to carry our luggage everywhere between countries, set myself the task to create a minimal makeup edit. Here’s what I ended up taking and a mini review as to if I felt it an essential on my holiday or if I would give it a miss next time.

Foundation: Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation

I chose this foundation because it has versatility. It can provide light coverage if need be and build to a heavier coverage (see my review of this here). The other huge benefit of this foundation is the packaging. I would have LOVED to take my NARS All Day Luminous Foundation (my new holy grail) but it is frosted glass packaging and I was not about to risk it shattering through my makeup bag and suitcase. The Urban Decay is a plastic bottle with a pump. Ideal. What did I think of this foundation? It did the job. I am not as in love with this foundation anymore as I was when I got it. I feel like it seems to sit on top of my skin more now. Unsure whether this is a change in my skin or whether I am just noticing it more now. However, I would still choose this over some others due to the packaging. Another one I would consider next time instead is possibly the Bare Minerals BareSkin Foundation.

Concealer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Stick Concealer

Yes, I took 2 concealers. One for my under eyes (Radiant Creamy) and one for my face blemishes (Stick Concealer). I was lucky to have pretty good skin on the trip and not too many nights out requiring a full face of makeup with that KimmyK under eye highlight.  I would skip the foundation most days and just spot conceal any scarring or small blemishes. The Radiant Creamy only got used once or twice when I had a more formal occasion, but I think I could probably do without and just apply a highlighting powder over the top of my foundation.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation, NARS Stick Concealer and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Powder: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

This was such a good choice. The palette worked as a subtle highlight, overall face powder and as mentioned above an under eye brightening and setting powder. Loved this. Used it even on my bare skin to just give it some glow but keep the oily shiny skin away during my days of exploring beautiful European countries.


Contour, Bronzer, Highlight, Brows and Eyeshadow: Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette

This baby was my multi tasking life saver. It completely fits its purpose of an eyeshadow palette with a perfect shade range for day to night looks. That’s the obvious bit. The less obvious bit as that it also doubled as my highlight and contour palette for my more glamorous makeup days. The shade Puddin’ made for a perfect cool toned contour shade on my skin tone, Truffled mixed with a bit of Peanut Butter worked gloriously as a bronzer to warm things up and Butter Pecan may actually be one of my new favourite face highlights. This also worked wonderfully as my brow powders. Once again I would run Puddin’ through the entirety of my brows and mix in a little bit of Licorice in the tail to darken and define. After taking this palette with me on holiday it has well and truly achieved holy grail status and I hope Too Faced will keep it round long enough for me to repurchase when I need to, because I don’t think my collection is complete without this anymore.


Cheeks: Urban Decay Rapture Blush and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Blushed Copper

I took 2 products for the cheeks. Urban Decay’s Rapture provided me with the perfect daily blush. It blends beautifully into my skin (with or without foundation) and lasts all day giving me a wonderful healthy glow. Being  a matte finish, it was super versatile and I pretty much used this every day. It can be built up and layered to appear more dramatic and mauve-y for am evening look. For something a bit different and on the other end of the spectrum I took Becca’s SSP in Blushed Copper. This product was actually relatively new to me as I only picked it up a week or so before heading on vacation, but boy am I glad I took this. It is a beautiful colour with a hell of a glow factor. You can use it as a highlighter, but because of the copper colour I preferred it as a blush and just skipped out on any additional highlighter. I also used this multiple times just dusted across the eyes with a bit of black liquid liner and mascara and it was easy and glamorous all in one.


Masacara: NARS Audacious Mascara

Being a #meccabeautyjunkie, I received a travel deluxe size of this. I hadn’t tried it before but though this was the perfect opportunity. It lasted me for the whole holiday and is still going strong and let me tell you, I LOVE THIS MASCARA. It is dramatic and bold. If you like perfectly separated lashes, you may not love this as the wetter formula makes it clump a little, but in a sexy way not in a “you have 3 clumps on your eyes” way. Luckily I have another deluxe size of this baby before I need to bring myself to splurge on the full size.

Eyeliner: Lakme Liquid Liner and NARS Larger Than Life Pencil Liner in Via Venetto

Lakme’s liquid liner is my holy grail. I have talked about it before so I will keep it short and sweet. I love me a wing liner that could cut a b**ch and I don’t travel anywhere without this. It is a difficult product to find outside of India but I am sure the dubdubdub can help you. The NARS pencil is another deluxe travel size as a result of my Mecca Maxima addictions. It is black. It is pigmented. It doesn’t smudge in the waterline and it lasts all day. I love it. I love NARS. I love eyeliner.

NARS Audacious Mascara (mini), NARS Larger Than Life Pencil Liner in Via Venetto, Lakme Insta-Liner Liquid Liner

Lipsticks: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks in Bond Girl, Glastonberry and 1975 and Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick Mini in Make Your Move.

Let’s start with the Bare Minerals. It is a perfect nude for me. The formula of the Marvelous Moxie lipsticks are smooth, moisturising and super comfortable on the lips. Such a bonus that this was an adorable travel friendly size. This served as my daily lipstick which came with me everywhere in my handbag for reapplication. Then there were the 3 Charlottes. I basically wanted one nude (Bond Girl), one bright (1975) and one deep vampy colour (Glastonberry) and found all 3 within my Charlotte Tilbury lipstick collection. So those beautiful rose gold tubes of lipstick goodness came with me. I find the easiest way to change up a look is keeping it neutral on the eyes and mixing up the lip so I used every single one of these colours throughout the trip. If you don’t have these exact colours (I know CT can rack up the bank bills), stick with the general idea of a nude, a bright and a vamp and you can’t go wrong.

BareMinerals Make Your Move, Glastonberry, 1985 and Bond Girl

Brushes: Zoeva

Here are the brushes I took as tools. As you can see by the photos they have been used, well loved and proved to be all I needed. I could have done with a couple less, but I definitely do not feel like this was excessive for a makeup junkie.

Eye Brushes:
234/ Luxe Smoky Shader

224/ Luxe Defined Crease

227/ Luxe Soft Definer

230/ Luxe Pencil

322/ Brow Line

Eye Brushes: 234, 224, 227, 230, 322

Face Brushes:

104/ Buffer

101/ Luxe Face Definer

109/ Luxe Face Paint

104, 101, 109

127/ Luxe Sheer Cheek

128/ Cream Cheek

105/ Luxe Highlight

127, 128, 105

Brows and Concealer Brushes


317/ Wing Liner

142/ Concealer Buffer

Spoolie, 317, 142

In addition to this I packed the following items:

  • A hurraw lip balm
  • A pair of tweezers
  • A pencil sharpener

That’s it. I mean for many of you it may still seem excessive, but I felt like for 3 weeks of makeup I have done pretty darn well, even my mother who sees how much makeup I normally pack was impressed.

I hope this helps you all in your beauty packing for your next adventure. I will have a post coming up about my actual travels, what I loved, what I didn’t and a few a snaps from my adventures. If you aren’t already, follow me on Instagram to keep up with my ongoings @abohemianexistence.

Until next time

xox your local bohemian.

Review: Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush

My gorgeous eclectic multi-faceted wanderers (clearly I am in a loopy creative mood). Today I bring you one of my favourite things; a review. One, because it means you beautiful people can discover glorious new products and two, because it means I have been shopping and picked up goodies.

I have recently been shopping crazy. Follow me in Instagram @abohemianexistence to keep up to date with all my hauling of fashion and makeup pretties. I grabbed the Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush (phew, that’s a mouthful) about two weeks ago and have been using them non stop.


Long story short: I LOVE THESE, but read on for all the juicy details.

I picked up two colours in Water Blossom (a pink-violet) and Water Poppy (a vibrant red).


These blushes have an amazing texture; imagine if water had a gel texture, that’s how I would describe these. They glide on and blend out like a dream giving you a beautiful wash of pigmented colour. I struggle with creams and liquid colours showing up on my darker complexion, but Stila always pulls through (their Convertible Cream Colours are amaze-balls too). Just gently pat and dab on to build up the layers and make it as bright or subtle as you like.

They almost have a cooling effect so are perfect for the summer, but being in winter here in Australia what I love about these is how moisturising they are. I sometimes steer clear of powders in the winter as my skin tends to be drier and powders can sit on top of the skin. Liquids and creams hydrate, blend right in and look more natural.


As you can see in the swatches they look so incredibly natural and do not look like you have a layer of product on your skin. I am not a daily foundation wearer and these look just as amazing on bare skin to give your face some colour all year round.

Now that we have established the actual product is the bees-knees, that packing is also gorgeous. I am loving the new Stila packaging with the gold theme. It just brings a new level of luxury to the brand. The blushes come in a small pot with the mesh netting that the liquid sifts through. It is easy to use and mess free, so all winning points with me.

I like to apply these by gently dabbing and layering it on with my fingers on bare skin or they work beautifully with a duo-fiber stippling brush if I already have a foundation or base on.

If you’re a fan of a glowing, natural but still glam-bam look, definitely pick these up. You can grab them at Mecca Maxima/Cosmetica here in Australia for $39 AUD. The other colours are just as beautiful and Shimmering Lotus, would be beautiful on a fairer complexion.

Short and sweet. Not much to say other than LOVE LOVE LOVE.

xox your local bohemian.

You’re So Vain

I have found myself in heated discussions with multiple people from generation Baby Boomer and Gen X about how vain this new generation, my generation, is. I guess there is definitely some truth in the concept that the current population of teenagers, young adults and 20 somethings are more fixated on the superficial and materialistic that those of generations past. What I refuse to believe is that this is necessarily bad. So here’s my argument. The Upside to Vanity.

I have a confession. When I put on my trainers, my lululemon tights and my little crop top to try ‘shift a few kilos’ it has EVERYTHING to do with vanity and very little to do with health. I am a vain person. Possibly (and hopefully) not an extreme level of vain, but you can be damn sure I like to look good.

This probably sounds pretty shallow, especially when we always hear that we should accept our bodies as they are. To me this is a mark of complacency if anything. However, the rather PC view was propagated in the late ’80s and early ’90s when concerns about eating disorders among women and girls began to grow. Then came the tide of the overweight and obese in the ’00s and things got complicated. We got mixed messages. On one hand, it was healthy to accept your body the way it was and not fall prey to the tyranny of thin, but, on the other, it was unhealthy to carry extra weight and run the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The desire to look good can be a powerful motivator for health and fitness.

Healthy vanity is knowing there are a few kilos to be taken care of and being willing to do what it takes to change it. What’s unhealthy is coming up with one thing after another that needs to be changed. The danger is whenever we latch on to a single solution, like exercise, dieting or even cosmetic procedures, and think it’s the holy grail for controlling how we feel about ourselves. As with everything moderation and remaining somewhat realistic are keys here. Don’t go Heidi Montag or Joan Rivers on me.

People are hard wired to strive to look better because it brings benefits throughout life, be it in mate selection, employment opportunities, salary or life in general. Good physical health has a flow on effect into being more productive, energetic and confident. This makes you more enjoyable to be around, more employable and all around the best version of yourself.

The ‘beauty premium’ is very much a real thing. Beautiful people have long been shown to perform better in the workplace, be more likely to be hired, basically reap a whole lot of benefits due to what seems to be just their physical appearance. Is it that beautiful people earn more because employers, co-workers and customers respond directly to their appearance? Or might it be that better-looking people are more confident? If this bit of research is anything to go by it seems that the beauty premium is mostly due to a response to physical appearance, rather than self-perception.

Unfair you may say? Well to me a good looking person implies that they are well groomed, organised, fit and healthy. They take pride in themselves, starting with their appearance and inevitably their work.

Now don’t misunderstand. My perception of beauty is not restricted to the blonde haired, blue eyes, big busted stereotype (or the Ken doll male equivalent). When I say beautiful or good looking, I refer to someone who takes pride in their outward appearance. So moving away from the health argument of vanity, let’s talking about something that most probably deem as incredibly shallow; ageing gracefully, or a lack thereof.

Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, is an excellently unsparing examination of the ageing process, our treatment of the elderly, and our attitude towards death and end of life care. His outline of our certain physical degradation: the peak output of our hearts by 30, our bodies start losing muscle mass at 40, our teeth start crumbling. Gawande writes: “Our bowels slow down. Our glands stop functioning. Even our brains shrink.” Is there any point now reading War and Peace knowing my shrinking hippocampus makes it more difficult for me to “weigh multiple ideas”? I see nothing to commend ageing.

However, at what point do we cross that invisible line that takes us from being a person taking reasonable preventive measures to preserve our looks (and bodies) to becoming that delusional fool pinning their hopes on the point of a Botox syringe? Part of me sees those formerly gorgeous ingénues turned surgical gargoyles walking the red carpet and feels horror at a culture that might have so warped our self-image. But the other part of me knows that, if I ever did succumb to surgery, however slight the first incision, I’d be back for more.

Caring about our appearance may not be an especially noble activity but it’s not pointless. Even though he is loath to be drawn on the question of cosmetic surgery, Gawande acknowledges that some degree of personal vanity among the very elderly patients he talked to – “how they brushed their hair, or what they wore” – still allowed them a means of expression, and dignity. “Being able to put on lipstick, or fix their hair,” he tells me, “allowed them to feel themselves.”

And isn’t this what we’re all trying to achieve, with our night creams, and serums, and visits to the neck surgeon? To feel ourselves? To give up is to admit defeat. Most of us get over the loss of our looks when altogether bigger, more disabling physical problems obliterate such petty vanity for ever. It doesn’t mean we have to like it though, or give up the choices that allow us to feel ourselves. And whether your choice is the surgeon’s knife, or a handful of kirby grips, is no matter, as long as it’s your choice.

So off you go my bohemians. Be as vain as you would like. You have the nod of approval from me, a person completely unqualified whose opinion matters probably verge on moot.

xox your local bohemian

Music Uncovered: Luke Sital-Singh

I am certainly not lying when I tell you that my interests are eclectic, diverse, bohemian. I have a passion for discovering artists that are brilliant, though perhaps underrated. Bookmark this page for regular updates on musicians I find fascinating, lyrically challenging, vocally captivating and musically inspiring.

Why it has taken my so incredibly to feature Luke Sital-Singh in this series, no one will ever know. But now I have. Prepare for some new musical obsessions. Sital-Singh is probably most famous for his song Nothing Stays The Same, which has been featured on numerous television series. However, as great as this song is, I feel it just cracks the surface of his versatility. Call me a sucker for slow, somber pieces of music but I think these truly showcase someone as a musician and artist. They are unable to hide behind catchy rhythms, beats and other distractions that come with upbeat tunes. Benediction is where I would start with this singer/songwriter hailing from the UK. It shows off Sital-Singh as a true songwriter, lyrically intricate, musically beautiful.

“Dont want to be the ones caught hiding, I want to see the sky when it hits the ground”

He sings, he plays guitar, he plays piano, he is a handsome ethnic man; ladies what more do you want. Too bad he is a married man, but you can still enjoy his glorious musical creations. If you want to fan-girl like me, stay up to date with him via his Instagram and catch the numerous intimate shows he plays across the globe.

Thank me later for this find.

xox your local bohemian