“I always knew that I wanted to work in the media, so when I left high school I was at a bit of a crossroads where it was a choice between acting or journalism.
I’d been acting and doing theatre since I was a kid and had a lot of friends that went to NIDA, so that path seemed obvious in many ways. But I was also drawn to writing and storytelling in a more journalistic capacity, and the opportunity to travel, experience amazing things and interview interesting people. So I chose the latter and was awarded a scholarship to study Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. In my final year, I did an internship at Channel Nine and at the end of it they offered me a job. The rest is history!
With my job, I love that no day is the same and that I’m constantly learning, meeting interesting (and often extraordinary) people and experiencing new things.
It’s changed a lot since I’ve transitioned from exclusively working in television towards a more digital and project based career, but while it wasn’t something I planned, it’s been a blessing to have more flexibility, autonomy and creativity – especially with a young family. One day I’m testing recipes for my cookbooks and another I could be recording my food podcast The Pass, hosting Nigella Lawson or doing a shoot for a brand I love. It keeps me very inspired and fulfilled, but most importantly, it still affords me the opportunity to live in Byron Bay and be with my kids, and for that I’m extremely grateful.
My personal style has changed a lot since moving to Byron Bay and becoming a mum.
It’s definitely more relaxed, but I still love glamming up for a red carpet. I tend to adapt to my surroundings, so when I’m at home in Byron, I pretty much live in linen, flowy, dresses, swimsuits and sandals. There’s a lot of white and neutrals, which is crazy with two messy babies! My staple designers are My General Store, Estilo Emporio, and Spell when I want to go a bit more boho. St Agni are my go-to for leather sandals. My favourites for basic pieces like t-shirts are Jac and Jack and Bassike, and pretty much all my knitwear is from First Born which is all handmade and fairtrade. When we travel I switch it up and tend to wear more black and tailored pieces, and my red carpet style can be really varied depending on my mood and the event. I actually really love putting the whole outfit together, from heels to makeup and accessories. Some of my favourite Aussie designers are Zimmermann, Scanlan Theodore and Toni Maticevski, and I love Christie Nicolaides earrings. They’re real statement pieces and always make the outfit.
My beauty routine is way more low maintenance in Byron – which is convenient being a mum of two as I’m lucky if I have 5 minutes to get myself ready!
Unless I’m doing a shoot or hosting an event, most of my days involve little or no makeup at all and like to stick to the more natural based products, especially when it comes to skincare. This actually came out of necessity a few years ago when I was working long hours and wearing heavy makeup on TV every day. My skin really suffered and I started breaking out in rashes that wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t control the makeup part but I realised that I could use much more lowtox products on my skin, so I made my own completely natural toner, moisturiser and eye cream and my skin literally cleared up in a day. I’m sure it wasn’t just the products – things like stress and hormones have a lot to do with it too – but I’ve been using simple and natural based skincare ever since. Becoming pregnant with Archie four years ago was another incentive to use cleaner products, plus for some reason I became really sensitive to the smell of certain fragrances and chemicals. I’m definitely not a total purist, especially when it comes to makeup, but there are so many great natural products out there now that it’s easy to do.
I very much believe in a gentle, non-abrasive approach as well as the powerful role of wholefoods in attaining glowing and strong skin, hair and nails. I swear by good fats like bone broth for this as it’s literally packed with collagen, as well as adding ghee, coconut oil and hemp oil to my meals. It’s boring but drinking lots of filtered water probably makes the biggest difference to plump, hydrated skin.
I moisturise with Sodashi Rejuvenating Face and Neck Moisturiser or sometimes just a few drops of Oil Garden Rose Hip Oil. Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream is also a favourite during the cooler months as it’s quite rich. Then I fill in my brows with Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil and dab some NARS Radiant Cream Concealer under my eyes to hide the mumbags! I usually leave it at that but if I have a meeting or want an extra lift, I love LUMA Just A Touch Lip and Cheek Tint in Signorita for a dewy natural flush on my apples and it really is the perfect natural lip colour. I’ll also dab a bit of the LUMA Illuminating Highlighter in Golden Glow on my cheekbones. I like to have really clean skin before I go to bed, especially if I’ve been working and have makeup on, so I use some sort of oil like coconut oil or African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil to remove the first layer of makeup, sunscreen and impurities. It smells so good! Then I cleanse with something foaming like Chantecaille Rice and Geranium Foaming Cleanser (which is 80% natural) as the gentle exfoliating beads of rice bran give a thorough clean and I can use it to remove eye makeup too. I follow this with my Oil Garden spritz and Sodashi moisturiser. I really like trying new products and I’m always on the lookout for something natural and amazing, so I tend to mix it up every few months.
I use natural essential oil based soaps handmade by my friends Church Farm General Store in Byron Bay and they’re gentle enough to use on the kids too. Because I spend a lot of time at the beach with sunscreen, I like to give my body a good scrub regularly with Mukti Organics Bioactive Body Polish. It leaves my skin feeing so smooth and nourished, and smells heavenly. For both of my pregnancies and in the months after, I massaged Weleda Stretch Mark Oil on my belly which has worked wonders. I like to treat myself to a hot bath now again with epsom salts and a few drops of Oil Garden Relax & Unwind Silk Bath Oil which feels and smells divine.
In the day and most of the time, my beauty look is natural, fresh and feminine. But if I’m going out to an event, I love to glam it up.
In terms of celebs, I like Gwyneth Paltrow’s pared back beauty and Blake Lively’s red carpet glam. For nights out, I use Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation. I’ve been using it since the TV days as it’s light enough for a daytime look and yet you can build on it in the evening. When I want glowy skin, l use LUMA Liquid Light Illuminating Primer underneath. I swear by NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna for contouring and that sun-kissed look, and NARS Blush in Orgasm. If I’m getting my makeup professionally done, I find that adding a few individual lashes to the eyes make a huge difference. And I think that having a good quality set of makeup brushes is essential.
I have long, thick, coloured hair so my hair needs plenty of moisture.
I’m yet to find a great natural shampoo so if anyone has any tips, let me know! I’ve always used Kérastase but my hairdresser recently put me on to Iles Formula shampoo, conditioner and Finishing Serum and love it. It’s super light and makes my hair feel super soft and silky. It actually does what it says on the bottle and the packaging is really nice and sleek too. When my hair is particularly dry, I’ll often add a heap of coconut oil in it and slick it back in a bun all day before washing it at night, and I always add serum to the ends after a blowdry or tonging. Speak of which, a thick tong is the best tool for achieving a beachy wave in minutes.
My top tip for healthy hair is to do as little as possible to it. When I worked in TV, I used to have to wear hairpieces to make up for all the breakage from constant teasing and hairspray. Since moving to Byron, my hair is thicker than all the pieces put together! I credit this to leaving it alone and eating a lot of good fats.
My mum has amazing skin and she’s always taken good care of it.
She encouraged my sister and I to do the same using quality products. While she’s far from high maintenance, she’s always told us to make an effort when we leave the house. I’ve always been interested in makeup and beauty, most probably influenced by my older sister and mum so I was quite diligent about cleansing, moisturising and wearing sunscreen from an early age. This seemed to be more of a priority than makeup.
But the main thing both of my parents constantly told us is not to stress and stand up straight, because no amount of makeup can fix that.
When I’m in Sydney I see Jocelyn Petroni at The Facial Room.
I’ve been going to her for years and everything about her treatments – her beautiful, calming salon, the massages, and reiki – is on another level. She was the first to introduce me to Omnilux, a 20 minute non-invasive light treatment that gives skin a radiance. She’s all about bringing out one’s inner glow and I feel like that’s the key to true beauty. Her facials are heavenly!
I’ve been getting my brows done with Kristin Fisher in Sydney since back in the day when she had a tiny room at a Paddington gym , while my makeup artist Ashlea Penfold does the most gorgeous glowy, beachy, goddess makeup. In Byron Bay, I get my facials at A Little Company which is a gorgeous serene space like something out of Kinfolk magazine, and Aleshia Marie in Bangalow. For haircuts, colours and blowdries I go to Edwards and Co in Surry Hills and Byron Bay. The stylists are always amazing and I relish the time to myself to read the latest fashion and creative magazines and drink coffee without kids pulling me in every direction. Gaia Retreat & Spa in Byron Bay is a special, peaceful retreat that I like to go to with my mama friends to unwind and get a massage.
I’ve never had a regime when it comes to exercise, and it’s only now a few months after my second baby that I feel ready to be active again.
So I’ve started with some gentle, restorative yoga which I do a couple of times a week at home with my teacher, Brooklyn, and we build the intensity as I get stronger. It’s impossible for me to drive to a class while still breastfeeding so having her come to me is a godsend and the highlight of the week. If I can grab 30 minutes at the end of the day, I love a jog on the beach or quick standup paddle on the river. Other than that, most of my training is carrying Charlie and running after Archie.
While supplements definitely have their place, like magnesium to help with sleep and muscle tension, day to day I try and get the bulk of my nutrients from eating real wholefoods as I feel that their much more bioavailable. So for skin, hair and nails, there’s nothing better for me than bone broth, ghee, coconut and hemp oil. There’s a locally made honey here called Vallentine’s which is twice as strong as manuka and great for wound healing.
For relaxation, yoga is my go-to as it ticks all the boxes in terms of nourishing the mind, body and soul.
When we had our second baby, Charlie, Darren (Ed’s note: Magdalena’s partner) and I negotiated two mornings every week where we get to do whatever makes us happy while the other takes the kids, to maintain some sanity amongst the chaos. So mine is yoga. It’s gentle yet strengthening, and so good for my energy and emotional state. We live between the river and the ocean, so I also love standup paddle. There are few things more peaceful and relaxing than gliding along the water in my straw hat with my own thoughts – such a luxury. Sometimes I don’t see a soul for half an hour, just fish and stingrays.
I’ve fallen in love with reading again while breastfeeding Charlie and if the kids are asleep or with my mum, and I really enjoy cooking and coming up with recipes in my own time. When the kids a bit bigger, I look forward to doing the Byron Bay lighthouse walk early in the morning again. It’s such a beautiful way to start the day, followed by a beach, swim and coffee. And I love my Oil Garden essential oils. I use them everyday as a mood lifting fragrance and in the diffuser.
When we made the sea change to Byron Bay to open Three Blue Ducks on The Farm, I started a blog sharing my favourite wholefood recipes and tips for living a more natural life.
It started off as a bit of a hobby as I was really inspired by the lifestyle and approaches to food and wellness here – there is such a strong connection to food. We’re surrounded by lush farms and passionate producers, and shopping at the farmer’s markets and eating with the seasons is a way of life. I was learning so much from a lot of really amazing people so I wanted to share it with others. It really took off so I was approached by a publisher to turn it into a book, which became Happy & Whole.
Cook, eat and enjoy real food.
We absolutely love it, it’s our life and livelihood at Three Blue Ducks. There are so many different diets and lifestyles all claiming to be the best or the healthiest, that it can be very difficult working out what to eat – so for me it’s about keeping it simple and getting back to basics. By this, I mean eating wholefoods that are unprocessed, grown without the use of sprays and chemicals and areas close to their natural source as possible. And cooking the way our grandmothers or great-grandmothers used too – things like pickling, fermenting and slow cooking to bring out the maximum flavour and nutritional value of an ingredient (and it’s much cheaper than superfoods!).
I also don’t see any particular food as good or bad. Sure, cakes and marshmallows aren’t as nutrient-rich as a bowl of chicken broth, but they are sometimes foods and, for me, perfectly fine on occasion, especially if they’re made with real, whole ingredients. Sometimes, a lovely piece of cake is the only thing that hits the spot on a rainy afternoon with a cup of tea. Same as morning coffee and a glass of red wine – mother’s tonic! It’s about listening to your body and eating foods that work for you.
My days on a plate can be quite different depending on what work commitments I have on.
But when but when I’m not travelling or doing something like a photo shoot or podcast recording, I wake up when the kids wake which is usually about 6am. I make a cup of peppermint tea and then breakfast which is usually porridge with almond butter, a little cinnamon and apple or banana. Darren, the kids and I then go to one of our local cafes for a flat white and do the crossword. It’s super nerdy but it’s our morning ritual before work begins at 9am.
If I’m at home, lunch depends on what we’ve picked up at the farmer’s market or what’s in season, but I cook for myself and Archie so it might be something like spelt pasta with pesto, feta and greens like broccoli and zucchini. Sometimes I might cook the pasta or veggies in bone broth and then we drink the rest.
In the afternoon, I’ll often bake something with Archie, which doubles up as entertainment and an afternoon treat. Most of what I make is wholesome but I don’t mind an old-fashioned homemade cake now and then, especially if it’s made with beautiful butter and eggs. It’s good for the soul and I really crave something sweet when I’m breastfeeding so I don’t fight it. I use this as a chance to test recipes too, and put on a slow cooked dinner like a wild rice and chicken pilaf or stew. It’s super easy to prepare and I just let it go for a few hours and then it’s ready. Once the kids are asleep, I love a glass of red wine or chamomile tea while Darren and I unwind and catch up on the day.
Throughout the day, I’ll snack on everything from cheese to blueberries to homemade chocolate (which is actually super easy, the recipe is in my book). Sometimes it’s a smoothie, other times it’s fresh sourdough and butter, and both feel just as nourishing.
It’s a beautiful thing and something I’m surprisingly at peace with. As long as I’m healthy and happy, I really don’t have a problem with a few laugh lines. And I hope that ‘filters’ and heavily doctored images of unattainable ‘beauty’ that many young people are being bombarded with on social media are a passing phase, and society will once again embrace the raw and real – because there is nothing more beautiful.”