Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Get to know: Shameem

Shameem is the spiritual, fruit-loving, soulful singer that my life has been missing, and I promise that you need this lady (or at least her music) in yours too!

This socially aware powerhouse is all set for the release of her second album, The Second City, and enjoying the drop of its first single, Under One Sun

She's the type of person who likes to share, so audiences for her upcoming national tour are in for a treat - the stories and inspirations behind the songs.

So I'm going to let her introduce herself, meet Shameem.

Hi, I'm Shameem Taheri-Lee, better known as Shameem.
 But you can call me Sham, because that's easier to pronounce properly. I know that "Shameem" looks easy to say, but it's not; people always get it wrong!

I'd describe myself as a passionate, spiritual, rather workaholic musician.

Currently I love summer: the sun, the heat, the frangipanis, the fruit! Mmm, mangoes...

I'm a musician because I'm crazy about making music. And I think that music is a powerful way to get a positive message out there to a lot of people.

The first thing I do in the morning is eat some fruit. Gotta start the day with fruit.

I'm most excited for  January 16 [2015] to roll around, as that's when I release my new album.

I can't wait to perform in cities all around Australia in February - we are doing a national tour to support the album release. Yay!

I'm most proud of my younger brother, who took time off his studies this year to do volunteer work in Broome. The world would be a better place if people would give priority to serving others, and not just getting ahead in the rat race.

I'm excited for this album because I've been working on it for a long time, and it's been finished for a while now, so I want to release it and get it out there already! It's definitely a more mature and well-developed sound than my previous recordings, so I'm really keen to see what people think of it.
I'm nervous that I need to sell a lot of tickets for my album launch in Perth. It's at a really fantastic, big venue. These are the little things you worry about when you're a self-managing musician.

Don't tell anyone but the first big concert I ever attended was 5ive - you remember, that British boy band? I was completely smitten with them when I was around 12-years-old and I still have two of their albums!

At school I was a floater who hung out with everybody: the geeks, the Asians, the white people, the musicians, the sporty people...everyone except the "cool" people; they didn't like me.

I couldn't live without my diary. I'm such a busy person, and my diary is like my lifeline.

I want to perform at Live Aid.

My biggest fan is a middle-aged man on Facebook. In fact, there are a few middle-aged men on Facebook who are super fans. They come to heaps of gigs, are always commenting on or sharing my online posts and are really supportive of my music! It might sound a bit strange - [a] young female artist with older male fans - but seriously they're all really lovely, nice people.

I want to sing for Sting. He is my song-writing idol; I simply LOVE his music.

My favourite song is changing all the time. I have a new favourite song at least once a week I think. Right now it's "Heaven" by Emeli Sande.

I love to watch Star Trek. Next Generation is my favourite series, followed by Voyager. I don't get much time to watch TV, so I rarely get to watch it, but I always hang out for it when it's on.

Right now I'm reading the Qur'an. I'm not a Muslim; I just want to know what it says for myself, instead of getting second-hand information from either a fanatic religionist or up-jumped layperson who has no idea what they're talking about.

When I'm not singing I'm on the computer, promoting my music like a good self-managed musician should do.

When I'm on my phone I'm playing solitaire to chill out and defrag my brain from all the things I have to think about all the time.

Something not many people know about me is that I am a primary carer for my mum, who is rather disabled having been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 12 years ago.

I would tell my thirteen-year-old self that building a career in the music industry is going to take time, so be patient! And don't wait for anyone to anything for you: you have to do it all yourself.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holly Hastings // Love Holly

In a world of mass-produced, sweat shop sourced clothing, it's people like Holly Hastings that really shine.

Since 2013, Love Holly has been selling British designed, British made clothes to the world. Love Holly is all about casual but class, the less effort the better. A mix of Britain and the Californian sunshine vibes, this online boutique aims to offer amazing products made to premium quality. All whilst ensuring its workers are paid fairly and treated just the same.

Holly Hastings
Not everyone can pull off something like this, but Holly isn't just the namesake, she's the driving force and is going from strength to strength.

Love Holly is the whole package - clothes, lifestyle and attitude.

Mahalia: For those new to Love Holly, can you give us a little sneak into how your boutique was born?
Holly: I wanted to create an online boutique encapsulating an affordable and easy-going collection with an element of subtle luxury - using British labour, materials and values. So every Love Holly piece has been hand-made in different towns and cities all over England. The website and all of the packaging have also been sourced and manufactured in Britain. When setting out to create Love Holly, I wanted to take pride in valuing ethical production, fair wages, decent working conditions and positive environmental impacts. Having a 'Made in Britain' business is so important to me as I know that everything is made fairly and by manufacturing in the UK, I know I'm helping the British economy back to growth.

M: What is your personal favourite season to dress for?
H: The Love Holly collection is so trans-seasonal and I live in off-duty pieces - jeans and tees or dresses and wedge trainers and layers of dainty jewellery. I guess Autumn/Winter is my favourite season to dress for. I love crisp mornings and I'm a huge fan of layering and faux-fur, which is kind of awkward to pull off in the warmer summer months.

M: What is the most loved item in your wardrobe?
H: I live in my black Mia tee dress! It's so versatile that I can wear it during the day, dress it up at night and it's also a perfect holiday throw on too.
Mia Tee Dress in balck

M: Obviously you are British yourself, but what is it about the style of Britain that inspires you?
H:  I love an effortless, cool style and always feel great in just black, grey and white. My mum definitely influenced my style growing up, investing in timeless pieces that look amazing forever, but I'm also inspired by girls all over the world. I adore the contrast between European chic and the slouchy Californian lifestyle, and always end up with one basic piece in my outfit no matter the time or occasion. For me, it's all about essentials, muted tones and textures and then accessorising to change up a look. I like to feel comfortable and look good, but not spend ages doing it.

M: Since the start of Love Holly how has it expanded? What's changed?
H: Since I launched Love Holly in 2013, a lot has changed. I'm in the process of creating a new covetable collection to be launched next year - think animal print, classic two-pieces, clutch bags and metallics...But all will be revealed. Stay tuned!

M: Which item do you think every girl should have in her wardrobe?
H: A great fitting tee - I think that's essential for both girls and guys!

M: If you could style anyone in the world, who would it be and what would they wear?
H: I adore the Olsen twins and Nicole Richie - they have a great look and a real edge. I think they would look great in a Lottie long cardi with the faux-fur collar and layers of dainty jewellery.
Stacker rings

M: Does Love Holly have anything it lives by? A motto or saying perhaps.
H: Love Holly is THE online destination for simple, stylish and utterly effortless pieces. The collection is easy and laid back for an everyday 'off-duty' look. Luxurious jersey basics and dainty jewellery, designed and made in Britain, with exclusive vintage pieces sourced from around the world delivered to your door.

Don't forget to use the code LOVEHOLLY1 to get 10% your first order!

If you love Holly as I much I do, make sure to check out the site! Click here:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Forest Falls // TOUR DIARY

Tour diaries are my personal favourite (so maybe I'm a nosey person..). And the wonderful guys and gals from Forest Falls have been kind enough to share one from their recent tour with Love 'Em!

Listen to their music and read their words; theirs' is a world I wouldn't mind visiting.

The Heavy Hearted Girl Tour was a departure from the norm for us. We have done the trip up the east coast before but this time round we did it without a drummer. The obvious drawback was there was no boom-tsh for punch lines during on-stage banter. However, we did find there were many pluses. Firstly, the car ride was infinitely more spacious. On our last trip one band member had to cuddle a floor tom in order for everything to fit in the car. More importantly we really honed the set during our percussion hiatus. Having no beats to hide behind meant that we were super aware of our parts and how the dynamics worked. We made a lot of alterations to improve the tunes and our performance as a whole. We'll be releasing some live tracks from the trek in the near future.

The first leg of the Heavy Hearted Girl Tour was action packed. Although the first show at the Wesley Anne was sweet and intimate, it was marred by an unfortunate event. We have so much gear at the moment, much of it newly bought in the latest stint of recording, all of it black and imperceptible like all music gear. Basically, I'm angling towards the fact that it's hard to keep track of it all. Sure enough we left our beloved Casiotone keyboard behind. I know what you're thinking, "what's the big deal? Just go back and get it!" and you're right, but our gig was on the eve of Melbourne Cup and we planned to leave the next day. Jon packed an alternative keyboard but was so paranoid that it didn't have a case that he wrapped it in a doona. We hadn't even left Melbourne yet and we were all a little edgy. When we arrived in Canberra all our worries just dissipated. We were blown away by just how lovely (and resourceful!) everyone was. Our friend Nigel at the Canberra Musicians' Club managed to track down a Casiotone keyboard and put us up for the night.

Before the gig at Smith's Alternative we stopped by the studio at 2XXFM for LocalnLive with Reuben Ingall. Reuben's silky smooth radio voice soothed our nerves and we played a couple of raw versions of Coming Home and Heavy Hearted Girl. It was recorded with three regular mics that we usually use for talkback. Even so, we were pretty content with the performance at the time. When we listened back later it sounded so bass heavy. Our eyes quickly fixated on Jez who sings the lowest harmony of the song. We soon found out that ironically Jez had hung further back from the mics in an attempt to lay low. While everyone else sung close to one microphone, he had unwittingly tripled his input by singing to all of them from further back. He maintains this was an accident, although I have a sneaking suspicion he was craving the spotlight. We'll have to fling him another recorder solo like the one [he had] in Julia to keep him happy.

A jam in a Canberra Garden
We met another of Canberra's loveable music industry icons when we arrived at Smith's for sound check that night. The venue's resident sound guy, Bevan, had a phenomenal presence in the city and was revered by all the acts, organisers and radio peeps we met. He had a fully digital set up and was eager to learn the inner workings or our set to ensure the best sound on the night. We felt so comfortable on stage and the relatively petite venue was filled to the brim with our tunes.

The next day we set off early to drive to Sydney. After a couple of hours on the road we eventually arrived at long-time Forest Falls' friends, Chris and Sarah's.The gorgeous couple had housed us twice before on other musical endeavours but had recently upgraded to a new pad. We were prepared for the tiniest smidge of floor space to sleep on but instead [we] were given the kapua-suite. A hidden loft that not even Chris and Sarah's real estate knew about - it was legit although scaling the twenty-rung ladder to get to bed proved difficult on the night of the show.
So, the show! The show went really well: Dylan Wright, who had supported us as a solo act, was headlining and he and his band smashed it. The opener, Forster Anderson, had an equally commanding presence on stage despite being but one man. We were so impressed by him in fact, [that] we asked him down to Melbourne for our last show of the tour and he said "yes" everyone!*

Road Trippin'

So after the show we embarked on the ten-ish hour long long drive to Melbourne. Things got a little loopy there for a while, especially when Gabe ("Mumbles") and Jon got on the CB radios together. Gabe relentlessly impersonated other commuters on various channels and Jon proudly sang Queen songs - acapella and in their entirety. Somehow we all made it home unscathed and still friends, ready for the next few shows in the city of Melbourne!


*Just quickly, Gabe is emphatic that we shout out to Satellite Cafe in Newtown. He swears it's the best coffee. Reuben: juice, second coffee and muffin he's ever had in one sitting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Anna O // Symphony Launch

Let me introduce you to Anna. Anna O.

She's the red-headed powerhouse whose name you should familarise yourself with.

I may be a blogger, and in turn a writer, but sometimes my words really can't justify something. So instead, read Anna's and listen to her music. I'm sure that you'll love her just as much as I do.

Mahalia: Congratulations on the new single! How are you feeling?
Anna: Thank you! I am so stoked with how well Symphony has been received so far, and excited to see where it goes.

M: What's it been like working on Symphony?
A:  Symphony was the last track that I wrote for the EP and it was a very last minute addition. In terms of writing, it came together quite quickly, but we spent a fair bit of time on it in the studio. The team [of people] I have around me are unreal; my producer, Rhys Machell, put the bulk of the tune together, with the help of my guitarist, Simeon Nelson. Then it was sent off to Karl Cashwell, who added in the amazing string parts and some extra ear candy. It was so cool hearing each new mix as the song developed and I knew it was the right song to release first.

M: What were you feeling once it was released?
A: I was really keen to get the song out, but once it was out I tried not to put too much expectation on it.

M: Did it get the initial response you were hoping for?
A: The response Symphony has been getting is so much bigger than I could have hoped for. I'm feeling really good about the direction my sound is taking, and that's been confirmed for me in so many ways, which is nice! Getting featured on HillyDilly a few days after I put the song up on Triple J Unearthed was definitely a highlight and has opened up some really great opportunities for me - but you'll hear more about that soon!

M: What's happening for you now?
A: At the moment, I'm just under a week out from the single launch show of Symphony at Amplifier Bar on Saturday (December 13th). So I am currently in rehearsals for that and preparing to hit Sydney and Melbourne with a couple of shows in January. There's a few other exciting things on the horizon, but yet to be announced, so keep an eye out!

M: What should people know about your upcoming EP? What should they expect?
A: I'm yet to settle on a title for the second EP, but people can expect a shift in [the] sound from my first release. I would say it's less pop and more electronic sort of vibes, but there's still lots of similar elements in the melodies, vocal layers, and beats. Lyrically this collection of songs are based much more around storytelling than personal experience. I wanted to communicate particular emotions and explore different concepts that haven't necessarily happened to me but are common human experience. I'm really with how the tunes are coming together and can't wait to release them to the world next year!

M: What inspired you to take up music?
A: I've always been drawn to music, and I've never loved anything else enough to stick at it. It's like I have this deep-seated knowing that music is what I'm meant to do, and I've never been able to shake here I am!

M: And just because it's nearly Christmas - are you a candy cane taker or leaver?
A: I feel like such a party pooper to say it, but I'm not a massive fan of candy canes. Give me Mum's Christmas roast any day.

Don't miss Anna, follow her music:  AND

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cheeky Babe Gear & Bling

I've been posting a lot on my Facebook, Instagram (@mlovee123) and on the sidebar of Love 'Em about Cheeky Babe Gear & Bling. And once you have a browse of the online store I'm sure you'll see why! (PLUS you can use LOVEEM for a discount at the checkout.)

The owner of Cheeky Babe, Nathalie, is passionate about clothes; specifically those feminine and comfortable. And a little bit fun and cheeky.

So indulge yourself in the interview and in the boutique, too!

Mahalia: For those new to Cheeky Babe Gear & Bling, can you give us a little sneak into how your online boutique was born?
Nathalie: Cheeky Babe was born out of my passion for travelling, warmth, beaches, freedom and my need for cheeky yet feminine yet comfortable fashion. The online boutique allows me the freedom I was seeking, as well as the privilege to indulge in, and share, the gorgeous fashion created by designers all over the world. I am lucky enough to travel the world for inspiration and also very lucky to have a mother-in-law who is a wonderful seamstress. Together we are working on the next Cheeky Babe exclusive collection. also, at the centre of my project was the desire to create a company that would help empower other entrepreneurs...and that's why I created the socialite (affiliate), party goddess and wholesale programs: to share Cheeky Babe's collections and success with other business oriented fashionistas.

 M: What is your personal favourite season to dress for?
N: Summer. I love the warmth and the beach. I was born in Canada where it sometimes gets down to -40 Celsius. I'm sure you can understand why I love the warm weather so much!

M: What is your most loved item in your wardrobe?
N: A white chiffon maxi dress. It's fresh, crisp and comfy. I can dress it up or down, layer it in winter, take it to the office or the beach...and it's not black.

M: What are your hopes for Cheeky Babe in the future?
N:  As well as sourcing fashion items from all over the world, I am working on designing an exclusive Cheeky Babe collection, only available from us...I aim to create cheeky, comfortable, feminine clothes for every [girl] to enjoy. I [also] want to grow the team. I would love to have 100 active distributors/promoters in Australasia, Europe and America. We currently have 5. We currently have clients in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I'd like to expand to Asia and America.

M: Which item do you think every girl should have in her wardrobe?
N: A nice large scarf that can be used as a sarong, top, skirt or a scarf! A good quality, neutral coloured scarf is the most important item in a girl's wardrobe.

M: What about for guys?
N: A pair of blue jeans. Everything starts from a pair of jeans for guys.

Black dress as seen on Skye during Big Brother Australia 2014
M: If you could style anyone in the world who would it be and what would they wear?
N: If I could pick just one person, I'd pick a woman who is fighting for her life. Whether it's someone with a health problem, an economical challenge, a victim of violence or bullying. I'd love to help this woman feel better, have fun and maybe even start her own business with Cheeky Babe. She'd wear whichever items in our collection made her smile the most.
If I could style many women, I'd style all the women who don't like their bodies. I'd love to help them feel good about themselves. Help them reveal to themselves how beautiful they are. I don't support the super thin models pushed upon us as the only format for feminine beauty. As you see on my Facebook page, the real life "models" are from various sizes, shapes and ages. A confident and comfortable woman, at any age, is a beautiful woman.

M: Does Cheeky Babe have anything it lives by? A motto or saying perhaps?
N: Go cheeky!

To have a little (a large!) online shop, click here: 
**Don't forget to use LOVEEM at the checkout to get a 20% discount until Christmas!**

Friday, December 5, 2014

Casetify // Casetagram

I got a whole lot of love for my Casetify case. I didn't realise anyone cared so much about what I was doing until they started commenting on my case every time I pulled my phone out! To be fair though, it is an amazing case.

My first impression was the packaging - obviously, but it was amazing. I was really impressed with how it arrived at my doorstep. Aside from the posting being surprisingly quick, my new case turned up in perfect condition. I loved how quirky and old-school the tie was. The colour scheme of black and gold, was classy and understated, which worked so well with such a colourful product!
I wasn't really sure what I was going to get when I ordered this case. I'm not the fussiest person when it comes to decorating my phone, but I AM quite careless with it (accidentally, I swear!) so any case I buy needs to be good quality and durable. Which, I am super happy to report, Casetify totally rocks at.

I was a little hesitant about these cases as I personally found them a little on the pricey side, I most likely wouldn't have attempted an online purchase without the lovely discount I was offered. But I am promising you guys, that the price is 100% worth it. (And maybe I'm just a cheapskate when it comes to my phone..) Also, every case has free postage which helps a lot.

I didn't do this, but a really fab feature of Casetify is that you can create your own, one-of-a-kind case with photos from Instagram, Facebook or your computer. I was lazy and I bought an already made one, but if you're feeling creative or need to buy a present for someone lovely, definitely give this feature a try!

Basically, I honestly loved this case. It's gorgeous and it feels really lovely in my hand - I often actually won't buy a case purely because it doesn't feel nice. I will definitely be looking on Casetify again when I need another pretty thing for my phone!

Note: To clear up any confusion, Casetagram recently renamed itself to Casetify. It's still the same brand, just with an updated name. 

Selfie generation..

If you want to get a matching case, go here: Young & Wild Case
Or if you'd like to have a browse, click here:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tanee Clothing // Modella Clothing

I am so stoked to review for Modella Clothing! From the very first email, phone call and now to this post, working with Krys and the brand has been so wonderful.

I thought this was such a lovely touch.
One of my favourite things about online shopping is the beautifully presented products; despite a most likely bumpy trip through the post, clothes always seem to arrive less crumpled then when a shop assistant puts them in a bag at the store. I don't know why that is, but Modella definitely didn't let me down. In fact, my expectations of online stores has only increased. I felt like I'd been given a birthday present! Which I kind of did; every purchase from Modella comes with a little surprise gift.

Although the clothes I was sent actually could've been worn as a set, they just wouldn't work on me. The top wasn't the best cut for my body type, so with the shorts, while it wasn't a terrible outfit by any means, wasn't something I was completely comfortable in or would actually wear. So, because who wants to see someone in a sort-of-okay outfit, I matched the top and shorts with clothes that I already owned. It worked SO much better this way and I actually ended up loving both pieces. (Despite a rocky start.)

Black 'Zippy' Shorts - Tanee Clothing
Butterfly Braid Top - Tanee Clothing

As I said, this Butterfly Braid top and I got off to a dysfunctional start. But I honestly think it was just the cut wasn't as flattering as it could have been when I first tried it on. The material didn't have any give in it, so a top that would be long enough on my torso and fitted absolute around my chest probably wouldn't have been something I could find. Nevertheless, once I paired it with this high-waisted skirt and tucked the front half in, I started to soften towards it.
I would definitely wear this out, tucked in but if you have a non-curvy body type it would look just as nice loose. It's unusual to have clothing made of such stiff material (but soft!) nowadays, so having the right size and fit in a garment like this is super important. I'm kind of disappointed that I couldn't pair this top with the shorts but I think it ended up even cuter with a flowy skirt.

The shorts I honestly have no bad words about at all. Unlike the top, I loved them as soon as I saw them. Super soft and comfortable, these shorts are the perfect mix of I-didn't-want-to-try-but-I-needed-to-look-good. The best of both worlds really. I wore these to a dance rehearsal and they were so easy to move in and I got so many kind words about them! I love the half-zips on the back pockets and the lining meant that I could even wear them comfortably in a Tasmanian Spring! I've been recommending these shorts to so many people, I'll be wearing them a lot this Summer.

Use the code 20PROMO for 20% off until 31st December!

Big thanks to MODELLA CLOTHING for working with me. MAKE SURE TO HAVE A BROWSE HERE: