I am really excited to announce the launch of my new boutique branding and design studio, Sam Bell Creative. I have been thinking long and hard about this move and I have finally taken the plunge! I have dropped back my face-to-face teaching hours at the university in order to get this going! I offer brand identities, marketing strategy and web, graphic and print design for creative businesses, bloggers and artists. There is also a brand new blog over at SBC. The sad news is that I will be posting there from now on and eventually closing so please update your bookmarks and bloglovin to point to that blog. So excited for the future and really happy with this decision! Thank you to everyone for your support so far!! xx



June was pretty much consumed with marking reports and exams for my Marketing students. Semester 1 is finished so I am now able to spend a bit of time on my PhD and getting ready to launch my new freelance business. Just to recap on last months goals and how I did:

  • Launch my freelance business – Well I haven’t launched yet but I am extremely close! I have been putting a great deal of my time and energy into the business and I hope to launch in the coming few weeks!
  • Exercise more often – I have definitely managed to reach this goal! I have been going to the gym a lot again. It is difficult to motivate myself sometimes, but the more I go, the easier it gets.
  • Finish a knitting project – I finished that 100% Merino vest that I set out to create and I am also finished a second one for my Mum! Next will be a coat for my dog, Rosalie.
  • Laugh and smile more – I feel like I did reach this goal. I still have a way to go, appreciating the little things and having a genuine smile and laugh even when I don’t feel like it, but I have definitely improved!

In other news, I wrote a guest post for My Life as a Tea Cup. ‘Reading Healthy’ was my first ever guest post and I really enjoyed it! You can see the post here.


1. Launch my freelance business – As I mentioned above, I am super dooper close to launching! I am so excited, I will do a post all about it soon! So for now, that’s all I will say!!

2. Write the history chapter draft – This is in relation to my PhD. I finally have a bit of time off to do some solid research so I am hoping that I will have a fairly solid draft completed this month! I have been reading a bunch of books about the history of theatre companies and venues in Sydney, so I will keep working on that and I am going back into the archive at the Seymour Centre this month!

3. Sew a convertible dress – Have you seen these dresses? They are a simple design that can be worn in a variety of ways. Such a great idea! I am making one (or maybe two) for my cruise that I am going on at the end of this month.

4. Live in the now – I have a tendency to obsess over the future and dwell on the past and I completely miss out on the moment I am in. It is frustrating and leaves me and the people around me feeling a bit crap. So, my big personal goal for July is to live in the now, enjoy what I am doing right now and not worry about what has happened or what will be =]

Have you shared your July goals? Post your link so I can visit and see your goals!

Pretty Things: Why girls love getting flowers


On the weekend, my sweet boyfriend surprised me with some flowers! I asked him why through a giant grin and he replied “just because”. It made my day! Neigh! It made my week! They are so lovely and are sitting here on my desk. All pinks, purples and bursts of yellow.

It got me thinking, why do girls love getting flowers? I suppose that not all girls like flowers, but I love them!

They are pretty and smell nice.

I can’t pick what my favourite colour of flower is, I don’t even know if I can pick my favourite flower (probably the rose or the peony). All the vibrant colours and the nice fragrances that the flowers omit really elevate my mood and make me feel good about life. I love having flowers in my kitchen, on the dinning table or on my desk to make me smile!

You know that someone special thought about you and appreciates you.

Getting flowers is about so much more than just the pretty thing sitting in a vase on the desk. It is about that special person who thinks so highly to get them for you. The fact that my boyfriend would want to do something so sweet for me is a beautiful thought. And “just because” is probably my favourite reason for receiving flowers. “Just because” I deserve it. “Just because” he wants to make me smile. “Just because” it’s a nice thing to do. That is pretty special to me. Although, I also think any reason is a good reason for flowers!

Flowers can say so many different things and they say it well.

I love that flowers can convey a bunch of means. “I’m sorry”, “get better soon”, “good luck”, “happy birthday”, “I love you”. So many little sentiments and messages can be punctuated with some flowers. And I love that you can capture someone essence and their identity with your choice of flowers. It’s an art.

Colour Combinations: Teal & Aqua


Images: X | X | X | X

I adore this colour combination. The two shades of green based blues really compliment each other well. I think that this colour combination would be best as accents to a more neutral colour like white, bone or cream. They could be used in interior design, fashion or as a colour palette for graphic design and web design. I would love an evening gown based on this combination!

June Goals


I am taking a little break from the Photoshoot Diaries, it will be back soon! I thought I would start writing little month recaps with what I achieved the month before and new goals for the month ahead. It will be great to be able to record everything and pause to appreciate the things that have happened!


  • I feel like I am coping better with my PhD and having to work while studying full-time. It’s taken me a long time to adjust, but I feel like I am finally starting to cope with everything better.
  • I have started making a new website for my freelance business idea. So hopefully that will be ready to launch in the next month or two.
  • I went to an Arctic Monkey’s gig! They are wonderful. Although I did make a fool of myself by saying “who’s Alex Turner” REALLY loud as we were in the crowd walking out! (For those of you who don’t know, Alex Turner is the lead singer – I am a twit.)
  • I was interviewed for an academic paper about Burlesque and it’s role in Australian culture and dance. This was really exciting because I am not only a Burlesque Cabaret performer but I also wrote my Honours thesis on the notions of empowerment inherent in neo-burlesque, so it was great to share my knowledge.
  • Probably the thing I am most excited about this month is that I have learnt to knit! I have completed two projects so far: an brown infinite scarf (pattern can be found here) and a red loose knit dress to go over swimmers but can also be work over a long sleeve top and tights with boots in winter.


1. Launch my freelance business – I am starting a freelance branding, marketing and design business. I am hoping to cut down my teaching hours and work from home instead to allow more flexibility while I am doing my PhD. I will write up an official launch post when the project is ready but I am so excited about it! It will mean I regain control of my life which is something I have been feeling the need to do for a long time and I will be doing what I really love which is designing graphics, printables, websites and branding strategies!

2. Exercise more often – This time last year I was in the gym everyday! I have really fallen from the metaphorical horse and find myself struggling to even go once a week! So my June goal is to re-light that fire! I know that I get really obsessed with going to the gym and I start to crave it along with eating properly, so it shouldn’t take too long to start needing it again! Hopefully I will be able to get back into it this month.

3. Finish a knitting project – As I mentioned, I have learnt to knit! This month I hope to complete a gorgeous vest pattern that I found. I am making it in a creamy white wool – 100% Merino. I have the four balls sitting here, waiting to go! I will share a pic in my June recap!

4. Laugh and smile more – I realised about a week ago that while I smile and laugh every day, it’s not enough and sometimes I don’t really mean it. I want to enjoy the every day more. Find reasons to be happy and thankful. So my little personal, self improvement goal this month is to try to have a genuine laugh and smile regardless of what is happening.

What are your goals this month? I would love to hear them!

Giveaway! LOFT Gift Card!


To celebrate the two year blogiversary of The Modern Austen, I have joined my friend Marissa, along with 14 other amazing bloggers to offer this great $250 LOFT gift card! Marissa has been a lovely, welcoming friend as I have began to blog. She has always inspired me and I love the message behind her blog. So, head over to The Modern Austen and check out her post on the evolution of this great blog! It’s one of my daily reads! Unfortunately, this competition is open to continental U.S. residents only – I know that’s not great for my Australia readers, hopefully I will be able to offer you something soon! But in the meantime, get to know some great bloggers and enter this wonderful giveaway!

Here are the details:

  • Giveaway will run from 5/26-5/30 at midnight.
  • Only open to continental U.S. residents
  • Winner will be chosen randomly and emailed on Saturday, 5/31.
  • Winner’s entry will be verified for authenticity.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Colour Combinations: Light Grey and Purple


Images: X | X | X | X

I am really enjoying exploring colour combinations lately. More and more I am noticing beautiful combinations and the feelings that they create in different contexts. The softness of this colour combination is so soothing. I think it would be lovely for an interior such as lounge, bedroom or bathroom. I think it is too soft for clothing for me – my skin is quite fair so it would be too light for me but would probably work well for ladies with darker hair tones.

Five Things That Inspire Me


1. Words

Nothing inspires me quite like beautiful words. Whether it’s in a book, a thought-provoking quote or the sweet whispers of my loved ones. Words often have the ability to hit my core and make me feel. I subconsciously (and not so subconsciously – I have a Pinterest board dedicated to gorgeous quotes I find!) absorb phrases, sentiments and written ideas. I guess, in a way, my careers both as a marketer and marketing teacher and as a Performance Studies PhD candidate are both ties up with words. Sure, I believe that there are times when words fail us, like in the embrace and sweet kiss, but generally I find inspiration here!


2. Design

I just love browsing the web and Pinterest for awe-inspiring design. I spent far too much time doing this actually! But I just love it, all the ideas and wonderful concepts. I have been spending a lot of time looking at mood boards, branding and logo design lately!


3. Fashion

I wasn’t always ‘good’ at fashion growing up. And for a few years in late high school, early uni, I often felt like I was missing the mark. Not quite wearing the right things – after all, I didn’t look like the girls in the magazines (how often have we all have that extremely cliche thought!). A few years ago, I realised that my style shouldn’t be based on what other people are doing. I can draw inspiration from others but at the end of the day fashion is just another form of creativity. Another way of expression. So now I do it my own way. I create the person I want to be through the clothes I choose. I still love looking at the magazines and clothing ideas on Pinterest, but now it is to get ideas for ME, and not some imaginary version of myself!


4. Music

Before I was anything else, I was a singer. So music is fundamental to who I am. I can feel an array of emotions by listening to a single song and I always feel inspired not only to sing but to create. Music makes me want to create art. Beautiful art. I love that music can transcend culture and time and give joy to people regardless of where they are from and what they are going through. In terms of specific artists, there are so many! Florence and The Machine always ignites passion in me! I feel her music in my bones and it really makes me want to create!


5. Photography

As you can probably tell from the Photoshoot Diaries, I absolutely love photography. I love being the subject of photography, I love to take photos and I am a scrap booker from way back, turned Project Lifer! There is something so incredible in capturing that perfect photograph. I adore black and white photographs and I can spend hours trawling through Model Mayhem looking at the creative, artistic things people are doing! And there is nothing that inspires me more than a photo of my friends and family to put in my Project Life album!

What inspires you?

Fall Wardrobe Inspiration


Since winter last year, I have lost a fair bit of weight! Most of my winter clothes no longer fit me and so now seems like the perfect time to start fresh with a brand new wardrobe. I am loving neutral tones with splashes of colour like dark blue, red and pink. I have been browsing Pinterest, and here are two of my favourite looks I have found so far! On my shopping list is a pair of jeans, brown knee high boots and some nice jumpers and jackets. I also would love to knit myself a red scarf like this one!fw14_1

Gratefulness, Friendship + Yoga


A bit of a personal post today. I am so fired up this morning! Last night I went to a yoga class called The Future Sound of Yoga in the city with my beautiful friend Jacqueline and let’s just say it was an incredible experience. I am new to yoga, and if you asked me before last night, I would tell you that I am ‘not very good at it’. In fact, I even said that to Jac in the lead up to the class. What a load of rubbish. I am exactly what I am meant to be at this point and last night taught me that not only is my yoga perfectly fine, my life and everything in it is too.

Firstly, let me share the amazing atmosphere that we walked into. There was a transcendent quality, walking into that grand sandstone church. Nestled on the edge of the busiest city in Australia, Paddington Uniting Church seems to sit comfortably on the edge of Oxford St. You could feel it the moment you walked through the opening, instantly the smell of incense filling you lungs. It felt religious, but it was our own kind of religion – one free of any kind of rules and judgements.

Wandering into the hall, the vast ceiling above was filled with dim colours of pink, blue and purple. The lights were off, and bursts of colour were projected up the sandstone walls, illuminating the room. Jac and I found a quiet place at the back of the room and I rolled out my brand new yoga mat. It felt symbolic in a way – yoga is so new to me and after completing my five week beginners course that Gav bought me for valentine’s day, I was keen to try out what I had learnt in a new setting. Rolling out that mat for the first time felt like the beginning of something. Chilled beats were playing, a DJ set up in the centre of a slightly raised platform stage. The room was already quite full, people sitting on the mats – stretching, chatting. Jac and I followed their lead and did the same. We always have far too much to talk about, Jac and I, so we take every opportunity.

The class was amazing. There was an energy in the room that kept ebbing and flowing with the music and it escalated at different times. Eventually the class built up to a dance party and everyone just let loose. It was amazing to just get lost in a room full of moving bodies. One of the best things about going to this with Jac is that she is not clingy. We were able to do our own thing and be comfortable that we were doing our own thing together. There was no need to stick side by side. There was just a pleasant safety in knowing she was there – somewhere.

The class ended with a few minutes of free pose time where you could do whatever your body needed – I love this concept. It was lovely to just listen to my body and say “hey body, what do you need right now?” During this time I started thinking about all the things I had to be thankful for. I know people always say to count your blessings and we think that we are taking the time to be grateful but how often do you actually let it touch your soul?

I let it touch my soul last night.

Through the free pose period I focused intensely on each of the things I have to be grateful for and it filled me with such a sense of hope. Like an explosion of glitter in my heart – a weird analogy, but if you know the showgirl side of me you’ll know an explosion of glitter is a GREAT thing! I thought about my family – how my Mum is my rock, my never-waivering companion. I thought about Gav and how much he has taught me, the safety and completeness I feel every day simply because I know him. I thought about Rosie and how rare a dog like her actually is – like seriously, that she is a dog doesn’t change the fact she is ridiculously intelligent and can hold awesome conversations. I thought about my work and my PhD and how incredibly lucky I am to be in the position to not only a. research and spend time pondering in academic enquiry but also b. transfer knowledge through teaching. Even though sometimes (a lot lately) I feel drained by the prospect of teaching for five hours in a day, I realise how privileged I am to be standing in front of a marketing class at one of the best universities in Australia. And I also thought about the trails and tribulations I have had with bad health and I took a moment to be thankful for movement in my limbs, air in my lungs and thoughts in my head.

And then I thought about Jac. As I laid in shavasana (which is basically laying flat on your back with your eyes closed, arms out to the side, palms up – also known as corpse pose) I thought about how Jac has been a truly treasured friend for the past 6 years. I barely remember meeting her. All I remember was that we were in a class at uni, a performance studies unit, and she was like a ray of sunshine. We were sitting in a circle and we had to say something about ourselves. She said she made clothes and sold them online and I remember seeing the cool rings on her fingers. That’s it – that’s what I remember about the day we met. Somehow she became one of the most valued friends I am sure I will ever have. One that wasn’t introduced to me by someone else. One that wasn’t my friend as a matter of circumstance. We decided, the two of us, to be friends. We made it ourselves.

Suddenly I remembered a time that I am not even sure if Jac would remember. A time we were sitting in our favourite cafe on campus – Ralph’s. We would text each other “meet you at Ralph’s in ten?” and then that was always followed by a hot chocolate! This one day we were sitting in Ralph’s with our hot chocolates and Jac was asking me about my Arthritis (for those of you who don’t know, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an autoimmune disease and nothing like old person arthritis, despite what most people seem to think). I was telling her about it, about my childhood and growing up with it and I just remember looking up and seeing tears rolling down her cheeks. It was that moment I knew I had someone special sitting in front of me. I doubt she would remember that day and it might embarrass her to know I shared that story but it meant the world to me.

So I lay there last night, in shavasana, arms out with palms up and Jac takes me hand at the exact moment that I was thinking how lucky I am. This is friendship.

Pure. Simple. Friendship.
Thank you yoga. That was a good lesson you taught me last night. Friendship and gratefulness.

Photo credit: The Future Sound of Yoga