Nouba Blog Feature

INSPIRATION: Retro Australiana meets Palm Springs


Words by Amy Richardson / Images by Long Way Home
November 6, 2017



Heathcote’s Pink Cliffs were the inspiration behind this dreamy pastel wedding shoot, captured by Long Way Home. The talented team behind Good Day Rentals brought their love for mid-century style to life, with a mix of modern and vintage elements.

The rocky terrain and low blush coloured hills give the location a Palm Springs vibe, but in place of palm trees, it’s dotted with distinctly Aussie gumtrees. The combination of the two led the team to a Palm Springs x Australiana concept. Classic mid century modern is a Good Day Rentals specialty, so there was no shortage of stylish retro furniture in the mix. Vibrant perspex signage by Fox and Hart gave the shoot a modern element that pops against the earthy backdrop.

The brief for the day was pink for the cliffs, blue for the sky and yellow for the wattle, with plenty of mid-century twists. Good Grace & Humour took the theme seriously, with an abundance of stunning native blooms, including a literal standout floral staff with a giant Gymea Lilly as the centerpiece. The bride’s pink floral gown by Avari Couture and vintage style hair and makeup paired perfectly with modern elements including a pink leather Gorman jacket and earrings by cult Melbourne designer Emily Green.



Images Long Way Home | Bride's Dress Avari Culture | Bride's Shoes Swedish Hasbeens | Groom's Suit Briggins | Hair Janey Umback | Makeup My Glow Room | Flowers Good Grace and Humour | Catering Mr Hall Catering Co | Stationery/Invitations September Creative | Props, Furniture and styling Good Day Rentals | Videography Lovely Day Pictures | Cake Miss Ladybird Cakes | Signage Fox and Heart | Tableware Betty May Vintage | Rings e.g.etal | Crystal Crown Crystal Eclipse Crowns | Earrings Emily Green | Groom's Tie Stag Handmade | Location Pink Cliffs |



Wedshed Blog Feature

WEDSPIRATION: Amie and Nick’s GOT-inspired celebration in the snow gums


Words by Amy Parfett / Images by Anna Taylor Photography 
August 28, 2017


When WedShed photographer Anna Taylor mentioned that she was keen to create a wintry shoot among the snow gums of alpine Victoria, our ears pricked up. And not only ours, but those of a whole bunch of insanely talented wedding vendors who all raised their hands to get in on the action.

But then. Things next-levelled. Because this gang of wedding folk had the bright idea to turn what was shaping up to be a Game of Thrones-inspired shoot into a real life elopement. Yes, with real lovers that were really keen to tie the knot, for real. 

Armed with Anna’s mum’s wedding dress made in the early 1970s for her own winter wedding as a starting point for the vision of the day, the team worked together to create what’s one of the most beautifully moody, romantic and intimate events we’ve come across.

They then found their couple Amie and Nick (with the help of the Internet – how else do people form romantic partnerships these days?). And like a true Cinderella story, the dress fit Amie like a glove.

Blending the vintage furniture and props of styling and hire extraordinaires Good Day Rentals with wild and icy-toned blooms by Poppy’s Getting Married, the scene was set for a mountain-top ceremony, followed by a cozy yet decadent reception in a rustic shed.

The vivacious and wonderful Meg of Raise Your Glass Ceremonies trekked up the mountain with Nick and Amie to officiate their elopement, with Amie and Nick’s personally written vows being the centrepiece of the ceremony. Folk duet Fidel & Sarah serenaded the couple down their snowy aisle and into the evening beyond. A sumptuous feast awaited the newly married couple thanks to Mr Hall Catering Co. And let’s not forget the elegant red wedding cake from Miss Ladybird Cakes.

Artist Ashley Hopkins created a classic makeup look for Amie with a dramatic dark lip, with Janey Umback on hand to style Amie’s gorgeous curls.

All in all, it was a knock-out effort. We chatted to Amie to hear a bit more about their love story.

Tell us about how you met and the proposal?

We met while working at the same high school in Gippsland where Nick, a Yorkshireman, was temporarily employed as a Rowing Coach. A week later, I booked a one-way ticket on Nick’s flight back to the UK. In August last year we packed up our bright purple Vito Mini Van and set out on a 5 month journey around Europe. Nick proposed under the full moon beside a tree on the look-out at Prague Castle.

What inspired your big day?

Having experienced so many amazing adventures together, just the two of us, we decided an elopement was the truest reflection of who we are as a couple.

There were two very personal features we knew we wanted to incorporate:

– We both wore our old leather boots that took us from the highlands of Scotland to Pompeii and beyond; they hold even more memories for us now. I’ll be framing my Doc’s when they finally give in!

– During our travels we fell in love with the song ‘Emmylou’ by First Aid Kit. The lyrics symbolise the most beautifully simple request between two people who respect and adore each other, saying I’ll be the June to your Johnny and the Emmylou to your Gram if all you’ll do is sing with me. It’s a nod to all the great loves, with that bittersweet overtone of classic 1970’s country music. We were a bit cheeky and asked the irrepressible Fidel & Sarah if they would learn Emmylou for us to walk down the aisle to. When they started playing our song, there in the snow, it was the most surreal moment.

What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?

Take the time to consider what reflects you both as a couple. For some, it’s the big wedding with loads of family and friends witnessing your love; for others, it’s the spiritual focus of just the two of you. We had a few family members who weren’t at all pleased at our decision, but don’t let these factors stop you from doing things the way you want. This is the one day of your life together that is 100% about you both as a couple, so be selfish to an extent. You won’t regret standing firm on what you know you want, but you will regret yielding to the thoughts of others.


What does marriage mean to you?

Marriage, for us, is the ceremonial declaration and confirmation of all those beautiful promises we make to each other every day. The fact that this is denied to so many incredibly loving and devoted people in Australia is unfathomable.

What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?

We kept our wedding vows secret from each other, so saying them out loud during such an intimate ceremony in the snow was exceptionally romantic and personal. When Meg, our gorgeous celebrant, pronounced us married partners for life, we went in for ‘the kiss’ and it began to snow right at that moment.

Any funny stories that surrounded your elopement?

While Anna and the crew were getting the ceremony area prepared, Nick and I were fortunately left in the car with nothing but a bottle of whisky to keep us entertained. Also, balancing atop a snow-covered boulder, trying to keep a straight face for pictures while Meg continued pelting Nick with snow balls.




CREDITS: Photos Anna Taylor Photography // Styling, furniture + props Good Day Rentals // Florals Poppy’s Getting Married // Makeup Ashley Hopkins // Hair Janey Umback // Celebrant Meg of Raise Your Glass Ceremonies // Musicians Fidel & Sarah // Cake Miss Ladybird Cakes // Catering Mr Hall // Ceremony location Lake Mountain Resort// Prep + reception venue Binah Guesthouse // Shed doors at Binah Guesthouse JD Ryan Constructions


In Praise of Butterflies


It’s no exaggeration when I say that I’ve been on as many photo shoots as a non makeup artist, as I have while wielding a brush and powder compact.

I was reflecting on this fact the other night whilst on location at The Butterfly Club in the Melbourne CBD, working with one of my digital clients, pinup model Miss Madison Louise.

While Madison posed up a storm in the Cabaret club’s downstairs bar area, I kept myself busy assisting with set design, snapping behind the scenes photographs and making costume adjustments. It was while sorting out props that I had a flashback to early 2014 and a shoot that I had organised with Melbourne dance pop duo Client Liaison. The location was the now defunct Philip’s Shirts Factory on Lonsdale street, where not only had I organised the event, scouted the location, dressed the set, groomed the band and assisted with lighting. I also managed to squeeze in a post shoot interview in the oh so glam staff toilets, long after the photographer had called a wrap on the afternoon’s proceedings.

Client Liaison photographed by Kirsty Umback for Makers of Melbourne

Client Liaison photographed by Kirsty Umback for Makers of Melbourne

Client Liaison photographed by Kirsty Umback for Makers of Melbourne

Client Liaison photographed by Kirsty Umback for Makers of Melbourne


Flash back about a decade and I used to feel terrible about the amount of freelance makeup work that I was actively seeking, compared to a number of my colleagues who seemed to have one or two bookings every weekend.  I’d beat myself up thinking that I was slack and not achieving anything of note – totally discounting the amount of freelance writing and digital content I was producing. After all, makeup was what I’d studied at Tafe, the rest I considered play and time wasting.


It’s taken a lot of years and some confidence boosting for me to be able to see the beauty in what I’ve managed to achieve. While my makeup portfolio is no match for most well known artists, I proudly consider myself to be multi-skilled, someone who is always willing to try new things. My moto is a lot like cooking the perfect batch of pasta; throw it against the wall and see what sticks.


Without a doubt the rise of a new wave of female multi-taskers like Margaret Zhang, Alexa Chung and Lou Doillion has helped raise the profile of the multi-skilled woman. These ladies seem to effortlessly move between the fashion and art worlds, taking photos, writing stories, modelling, styling, drawing, doing whatever they set their minds to. While Lou may have been brought up in great privilege, and Alexa launched onto the London modelling scene as a young teen, these women are paving the way for the next generation, letting them know that only they control their futures, and despite what parents and high school guidance counsellors may preach, it’s more than ok to have more than one straight and narrow career path.


In fact, I’d go so far as to say that in the creative world, having more than one skill gives you a necessary competitive edge and makes you more asset than liability. It’s hard to imagine that people are only capable of doing one thing well.


Now I don’t know who’s reading this blog, if anyone. If I had to take a punt I’d say it’s potential clients (Hi, please hire me), fellow creatives and perhaps some of my lovely students from the makeup academy that I’m currently training at. To all of you I say hello, I hope this blog has given you a little more insight into my world. I’d also like to offer this piece of advise – don’t settle for one thing, multi-task, upskill and keep learning, you may just find yourself with a whole new future ahead of you. I used to think that there was nothing better than being backstage before a fashion show, scrambling around to prepare models for the catwalk, until I discovered the joy of sitting in the front row with a glass of sparkling and a goodie bag. Of course I’m still there to work, but the adrenaline rush of watching a well coordinated parade from the audience has a completely different effect on your psyche and it’s kind of wonderful.


It makes me mad when companies blame their lack of progress on insufficient funds or being under staffed. My belief is that it all comes down to lazy hiring practises – why would a HR department do their research and conduct more in depth interviews to find the right fit, when they can simply hire the youngest, the cheapest or the one who looks best on paper? They need to find the person who can bring value to the corporation, instead of the candidate who may have the right written qualifications, but who’s only practical skill is filing.


After all of this life affirming, confidence boosting talk I don’t want to end this diatribe by focusing on the negative. Instead I’m going to stick my finger up at Society and The Man while continuing to walk my own squiggly path. I’ll try to channel this frustration into my art – after all, that’s the best way to make long lasting change.


But let’s go back to the other night in The Butterfly Club and it’s only while laying on a Turkish rug demonstrating potential poses to Madison that I catch my reflection in a wall mirror opposite. ‘Janey, get off the floor’, I think to myself, ‘you should not be modelling.’

it’s just lucky that I’ve got a whole lot of other talents under my belt.   


The Skin You’re In


My own personal battles with skin health have made me extra attentive with makeup and base prep when I’m out on set or location.


For several years I fought (and lost) a seemingly endless war against adult acne, trying everything from topical ointments to dietary changes. I‘ve taken hormonal supplements, drank oceans of water and doubled cleansed, all with varying degrees of success.


The game changer for me was a little tablet called Aladactone - not typically prescribed for skin problems, Aldactone is a potassium sparing diuretic (water pill), which prevents the body from absorbing too much salt. This tablet (the generic name is Spironolactone), is used to treat a hormone called Aldosterone, produced by the adrenal glands to regulate the salt and water balance of the body. Sounds complicated and frankly I don’t know how it all works, what I do know is that my Dr had seen results with another one of her patients and after years of GP visits she thought we should try it as a last resort before Roaccutane – a family history of depression and a brush with the dry skin and generally uncomfortable feeling Bactrim left me necessarily cautious.


I’ve never been wealthy. I think that’s one of the biggest downfalls of spending your adult years working between retail and freelance jobs. Because of that, I’d never had enough spare dough to visit a dermatologist, or been able to afford luxurious skin treatments like regular facials, lasers and peels.


Luckily what I have had for most of my adult life is access to great skin care through my various jobs, as most retail makeup houses and stores also run a great trade in skincare. To be completely honest I’ve been spoiled with the amount of product I’ve been given to test over the years and to this day (when asked) I’ll always suggest investing in a nice feeling cleanser, moisturiser and eye cream.


While training makeup students, the most common questions I hear in the classroom are skin related. From ‘what products do you use?’ Through to, ‘how do you prepare the skin for makeup application?’ And, ‘how do I make the foundation I’ve just applied looked better?’

They’re all tough questions and lessons generally best learnt through practise and experimentation.


Students are always shocked when I tell them a typical skin prep should take around 20 minutes, their reactions are completely understandable when you take into consideration the fact that they’re fresh and keen and raring to smother foundation over their client’s faces.


But they need to go slow. The key to a long wearing, beautiful base is time. Even cheaper makeup products can look good if you’ve worked them into the skin properly. Keep the face hydrated, not greasy (there’s a key difference) and massage with either clean fingers or a brush to bring blood flow to the surface of the skin. I promise that when armed with the right tools and a little bit of skin knowledge, even the most acne prone or scarred skins can look radiant when treated correctly and shown a little bit of extra TLC.    



Brand New


Creating an effective logo and cultivating a positive and accurate social media presence are two of the key ways to build a successful brand in this enigmatic digital age we find ourselves living in.


As part of any decent makeup course, students will find themselves given the task of creating their own logos and business cards, and without a word of a lie it’s one of my favourite classes to teach.

That doesn’t automatically mean that the following post will only apply to potential artists, in fact the lessons I’ve learnt over the years working as copywriter and digital consultant apply equally to large corporations as they do to bloggers and start up businesses.


For the uninitiated, branding enables you to stand out from the competition by promoting your own unique style and services. Good branding should be derived from who you are now, who you hope to be in the future and what the general public perceives you to be.


As poet John Lydgate famously stated, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” So instead of trying to be everything to everyone, you need to first discover who you are and what you ultimately aim to achieve.


For makeup artists this means that someone with a passion for weddings shouldn’t have a portfolio brimming with avant-garde editorial work, and vice versa. Know your product, know your audience, know yourself.

I recently faced the challenge of creating my own brand spanking new logo. It had been a while since I’d had business cards printed for my freelance business and the thought of starting my own makeup-centric website was nothing but a fleeting thought running through the back of my mind.


It was only earlier this year that I found myself wanting to focus on updating my portfolio and building my makeup business. Something had shifted inside me and I found myself itching to get going.


But who was I? For ages I had found myself in a state of flux, always doing things for other people but never anything for myself. A pretty common occurrence I know, I’m sure there’s women all over the world who will relate to what I’m saying.

I knew who I was as a person – a slightly rock n roll obsessed, nineteen seventies style junkie. Not your typical prissy makeup artist that’s for sure. With my grown out hair colour and predominantly second hand wardrobe I felt as though I didn’t properly mesh with the cosmetics world, until I realised that the things I perceived to be my flaws were actually my strongest selling points.

Not everyone wants cookie cutter and I certainly didn’t want to spend my precious time working on the type of client who did.

So I discovered my voice. I wrote a list of the things and styles I liked, from colour through to font and (the most fun part) a list of style icons.

For my birthday my sister had bought me a book by the photographer Baron Wolman. Titled Groupies and other Electric Ladies, the book is a photographic essay of the nineteen sixties and seventies music scene in Los Angeles, as seen through the eyes of some of rock’s most notorious groupies.

Groupies and other Electric Ladies - Baron Wolman (2015)

Groupies and other Electric Ladies - Baron Wolman (2015)


First appearing within the pages of Rolling Stone magazine, the book was republished late last year and I loved flipping through the thick glossy pages while reading about the exploits of this fascinating band of women.

Although the contents of the book are wonderful, I was equally drawn to the front cover. With a typically art deco inspired font (the art deco movement was heavily referenced throughout the late sixties and seventies), heavy gold lettering on a matte black background, I knew I had discovered the vibe for my soon to be relaunched business.


While you may be reading this and thinking that it doesn’t relate to you I promise that IT DOES.

Take a spare few minutes, sit down with your laptop or a pen and paper and start writing. Think of all of the things that inspire you. From colour through to people, things, food, whatever.

It may click automatically or might take a bit of feedback from your nearest and dearest. If you get completely stuck, you could always ask your social media channels for their opinion - just be prepared for some unusual advice.


To quote another great poet and keeping in vein with my previous talk of the Hollywood Sunset Strip, “nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.” While I’m 99% sure that Axl Rose wasn’t referring to building a brand when he wrote those lyrics, it’s an interesting point to keep in mind.


Don’t be scared of changing your tastes every couple of years. Like everything else around us, logos work in trends and nothing is so set in stone that it can never be updated. Things can be tweaked, colours and fonts changed, social media posts edited or even deleted. If you’re working in a creative field this could be the perfect opportunity to go wild and truly discover yourself as an artist. I did and my clients appreciate me all the more for it.



The Icon


There was an episode of Oprah that completely changed my life. While I’m completely sure that I’m not the first person to admit it (she did after all make “change your life TV”), it’s still more than a little bit cringe-y to say out loud.


I know exactly what you’re thinking - what exactly occurred during this episode of Oprah Janey? Well, to fill you in we need to go back in time to the mid-nineties, the talk show host was at her peak weight loss and, perhaps inspired by reaching this monumental goal, it seemed like every second episode was focussed around giving ‘regular’ women life affirming makeovers.


For this particular broadcast Oprah was joined by a special guest artist named Kevyn Aucoin. Born in the South, Aucoin shared with the audience that he’d known he wanted to be a makeup artist from an extremely young age. The young man would beg, borrow and literally steal products and ‘how-to’ books from the library and then recreate these looks on his two younger sisters.


Aucoin moved to New York City in the early eighties and set about carving a career in the fashion world, working with the likes of Cindy Crawford, Steven Meisel and American Vogue, in a three-year period he completed nineteen covers of the magazine.


These days, celebrity makeup artists are a dime a dozen, but back in the deep dark nineties there were only a select group of of artists whose names were big enough to remember.

While Oprah interviewed, woman after woman walked out on stage revealing their new looks to a shocked audience. Aucoin had completely transformed the average into the extraordinary, his talents not only obvious to the studio, but easily projected out of a portable TV and into a dining room in Canberra, where I sat transfixed in front of the small screen.

Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin and model Shalom Harlow 

Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin and model Shalom Harlow 


The nineties were a great time for cultural diversity. Woman had role models who were known for their accomplishments as much as their looks, there were minority groups realistically portrayed on the tele, it seemed like a second wave of counter cultural revolution was on its way.


But things weren’t that exciting in Canberra. As a teenager I’d struggled with my self esteem and body image, I felt rotten and connected to the woman that Kevyn had been working on for Oprah’s 60 minute makeovers.


The artist explained that these ladies had been chosen because they lacked confidence. He illustrated beautifully the idea that so much of our feelings of self worth are derived from the way we look, and with the guidance of a masterful hand, anyone could be made to look (and feel) good.

Making Faces - Kevyn Aucoin (1997)

Making Faces - Kevyn Aucoin (1997)


By the end of the show I was hooked. That weekend I went to the mall on a mission to track down Aucoin’s book, ‘Making Faces’ – which had to be ordered in for me from America. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a makeup artist to help women feel good about themselves, which I’m sure could be easily interpreted as wanting to ultimately feel good about myself.


The rest is pretty much just history. I saved my money and moved to Melbourne to attend makeup school, and here I sit fourteen years later still going strong.

Sadly, Kevyn died in 2002 at the age of forty.  He had a tumour growing on his pituitary gland which affected his growth. And as a result, spent his last few years undergoing painful growing pains, self medicating on prescription and over the counter medication. He was admitted into hospital suffering from kidney and liver failure due to toxic levels of painkillers in his system and died on May 7th.


I think I can honestly say that no other ‘celebrity’ has had such a profoundly positive affect on my life – and even though I never got to meet him, and it may not have been broadcast on international tv, in a way I too was treated to one of his special makeovers and I haven’t been the same since. 



    Boys will be Boys 


Over the past couple of years I've found myself more and more drawn to men's styling and grooming work. Aside from the obvious draw cards, male fashion is developing at such a rapid pace that it wouldn't come as a complete shock to me if it soon overtook the traditional female dominant fashion industry, in terms of financial revenue and innovation.


While most standard male grooming jobs require little more than a spot of concealer and a shear dusting of powder, I do occasionally get the opportunity to play around with eyeliner and contouring, creating more dramatic looks inspired some of my all-time favourite makeup wearing men.