Q&A: Shelly Horton, Journalist and Founder of ShellShocked Media

2016-02-23 17.12.57

Shelly Horton and Philippa Giles @ The Wine Library Woollahra

Shelly Horton is journalist with one of the bubbliest personalities in Australian TV; one of the most opinionated too.

At the end of 2015, and with nearly two decades of journalism experience under her belt, Shelly and her now husband Darren quit their jobs, moved house, got married in Mexico and founded a video proaction company, Shell Shocked Media.

The name, a play on her name, also fits with the type of clients the dynamic duo want to represent; those who are happy to be a bit controversial or need to shock to get attention. Her personality shines talking about topics that would make most people blush.


I have followed Shelly’s story through Instagram over the last few years. I love her boldness, and openness to share a variety of life’s challenges – including her challenge with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); a condition I have too.

I am so proud to have had the opportunity to sit down with her and share her story with you as the inaugural Q&A on A Quaintrelle Life Blog where we discussed love, work, family and PCOS.

Q&A: Shelly Horton, Journalist and Founder of ShellShocked Media


When did you launch Shell Shocked Media?

We launched in late January 2016 but I feel like I was working on the business for a year! I was surprised at how much went into starting a company – legal, website development, business names – it’s overwhelming. But six months in everything is calmer and we’re kicking goals!

Who are your first clients?

Our first clients are Target, Vagasil (because I love talking vaginas!) and the McGrath Foundation for its new campaign. I’ve also been brought on by Triumph bras as an ambassador to discuss minimizers (which I incorrectly thought were just for old ladies) It’s like shape wear for your boobs! Did you know you can choose your breast shape? You can choose to be round or tear drop! Who knew?


How does Darren deal with constantly discussing ‘lady issues’?

Well, it’s not just listening to it. He does all the video editing so he sees and hears it on loop. When we did the Vagasil video, he joked he heard the word vagina 4000 times in one day. He said never wanted to hear that word again. Poor guy. He has been amazing.

How has it been working with your husband in a new business? 

I love it but it has been a huge test on our relationship. During our four year relationship he has worked six nights a week which gave me plenty of me time. Now, we work together 24/7 in the same space. We work and live in the same loft so I cannot even slam the door and have some alone time. The bathroom is the only alone space we have. But we are ying and yang; I am on camera and doing various activities off camera, while he is the workhorse behind the camera. I am finding his work ethic is harder than mine, and I’m a workaholic.

How do you like working for yourself? 

It’s not all roses! But I like being my own boss. I have a bit of an issue with authority – I can be quite lippy! I’ve had a few jobs where I’ve felt I could do to the job of the boss but it wasn’t my dream to do so. Even when I had a team of 30 staff, I didn’t enjoy it – most of it was management work and I wasn’t doing the work that I love! So, my plan with ShellShocked Media is to keep it small and niche.

How do you manage the pressures of a new business?

We’ve only just started having one day off on the weekend because we were working seven days. I was getting quite antsy but my agent reminded me to breathe and have a day off otherwise I’d likely fall in a heap. If I collapsed what would the point be of having these dreams?

How do you unwind? 

We’ve starting going for a swim together at the end of the day. It’s so nice because the stress of the day is wiped off. During summer we did go down in the middle of the day but when you go back into the office, the work is still there.

What else keeps you busy?

We are also working on a travel series. We even did some work in Mexico while on our honeymoon. We did a story about the Day of the Dead, which is a really beautiful way at looking at death – it takes the sadness out of it. We then travelled to the Bahamas and did a story about swimming with the pigs – friggin giant, wild pigs! The story is awesome! The pigs have learnt to swim. You look at them and think, ‘what the hell’. I was actually a bit scared but some of piglets were cute.

When we went back to the Gold Coast over Christmas, we also did a story about catching sand worms with our hands. I grew up doing this, so it was really nice to relive a childhood memory. I interviewed my Dad, Kev. He was amazing on camera. Darren said, ‘Now I know where you get it from!’ Dad has the gift of the gab – his nickname is Captain Have A Chat.

With a large online following, is trolling an issue?

I typically only get trolled when I say something on TV and people don’t like it – they just attack and say the most horrible things. Doesn’t matter what I say, they will get really personal and makes comments about how fat I am. In one particular incident when we were discussing the dog laws, I had over 100 messages saying things like ‘I am going to bring my dog around and have it rip your throat out’.

Do these threats scare you?

I’m not scared people will follow through; I am more scared that it will affect my mental health. I was friends with Charlotte (Dawson) and she committed suicide two years ago because of online bullying. That’s where I am very aware and I have been very vigilant. So, if people put nasty comments up I delete it straight away. I used to leave it there because I thought people had a right to say what they want but then I thought no they don’t – it’s my page, my profile. Some of my followers would then defend me but I didn’t want them getting involved in those types of conversations either.

You’re confident and vocal about issues important to you – do you think that’s why some people follow you?

Absolutely. That’s why I have no problem posting photos of me beetroot faced at the gym or the one when my cyst burst and I had a massive hormonal break out – not many people would do that – that’s our PCOS life! And it sucks!


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a topic you’ve helped bring to mainstream media. As it manifests differently in each person how do you manage your PCOS life? 

I would bleed for three weeks at a time. So many years ago I had an IUD inserted; it goes up your razoo and my period completely stopped. That was really good but then I was still getting the ovarian cysts and they were bursting, so I had three operations to help manage those. If you’ve ever had a cyst burst, you will know that it is horrendous! Your body freaks out because it thinks it’s bleeding internally; at one stage I was projectile vomiting and had diarrhea at the same time. The pain at times was also so bad. Since then, I’ve seen Dr Ginni Mansberg as she specialises in hormones and women’s health. She wrote a book called “How To Handle Your Hormones” which was really helpful, because I gave it to Darren for context. When we were really trying to lose weight I would lose 600 grams a month and Darren would lose 6kgs; I was doing more exercise than him! It completely destroyed me. So he came to Dr Ginni with me because I needed her to give him the medical advice first hand. He even asked Dr Ginni if I had secretly been eating mars bars! It’s clearly a hard situation anyway but particularly when that’s what people think.

Dr Ginni then put me on the pill and that controlled the ovary pain. I’m still getting the hormonal pimples, and back acne, which is charming! Really! It really is the most unattractive syndrome to have. Hair growth can also be an issue. Early on in the relationship with my husband, we were having breakfast at a local cafe and while he was reading the menu, he looked up to see what was on my face – it was a long chin hair! I was mortified and called my laser service straight away.

Why do you think PCOS isn’t talked about very often?

A lot of doctors don’t seem to understand it and it doesn’t help that the symptoms are so different in each person. My mum was never diagnosed but she had a hysterectomy at 32 because she had so many problems – now they have a definition for it. When I was 13 my doctors put me on the pill because of my extra long periods. Unfortunately what that did was mask the bigger issue, and just dealt with the immediate symptoms.

How do you deal with having PCOS?

It has been a long battle, and honestly, I still battle it with.

In addition to your intense gym sessions, what else do you do to build exercise into your daily life? 

Walk and talk meetings! Everyone has embraced it.

You recently got married, tell me about the dress. 

I bought mine for $187 from Etsy! It was a size 20 so I knew it would be too big and would require being taken in but it was exactly what I wanted. I also had to buy a corset, which meant going to a fetish shop in Newtown. As I’ve never had a waist in my life, it was awesome; even though I couldn’t breathe. I was so happy!

I paired it with a Viktoria Novak crown and as I walked down the isle, Darren was crying. The first thing he said to me was ‘It looks like you’re going to the Oscars’. And that’s why I married him!

Where was the ceremony? 

In Peurto Vallarta in Mexico. It was a gorgeous restaurant called Le Kliff; I changed into a reception dress designed by my talented friend Catherine.  I wanted something feminine that I could dance in. And boy did we dance.

How did you meet Darren?

I walked into a bar. I was invited to the Vanguard in Newtown for a themed Burlesque night  – batman Burlesque! So six of us turned up, I saw Darren and I was so shy I couldn’t speak. Me? Part of why I couldn’t talk was because he looks like my celebrity crush Michael Chiklis. Actually, Darren is better looking than Michael. I didn’t end up talking to Darren that night – I just smiled at him like an idiot.

What’s the most romantic thing Darren has done? 

Before we even had our first proper date, he asked to be my boyfriend. We were texting back and forth and before we had a proper date we knew everything about each other. He didn’t want to wait till date night, so he invited me over to his place for lunch and my first thought was ‘what do I wear to a day date?’ I got a blow dry and then messed it up so it didn’t look like I had been for a blow dry; matched with jeans, shirt and blazer. As I drove to his place, and turned the corner into his street, he was standing there waiting with a long stem, red rose. I wound the window down, and he kissed me without saying anything. WOW.

What’s the best present Darren gave you?

Darren peeled off the label from the first bottle of champagne we shared, dried the red rose he gave me on our first date, found the text where he first ask to be my boyfriend and then had a calligrapher write it out. He put it all together and framed it. 

Biggest potential dating mistake?

I nearly gave up the initial evening date with Darren to watch The Voice.

What do you drink?

I like red wine and champagne but I love an orange Bacardi Breezer.

Least and most favourite part of your body? 

My tummy. My boobs are awesome, massive but awesome.

What did the teachers say about you at school?

She talks a lot. A guidance councilor even said to me I was too opinionated – I decided then that was what I wanted to do!

Dating philosophy?

Be cruel to be kind.

Life philosophy?

Fake it till you make it. 

What’s your must have winter fashion item?

Knee high boots from Ted & Muffy made especially for girls with big calf muscles. I ordered them from London about five years ago and I still love them. You measure your calf muscle and give your foot size and they make them just for you.

In the cooler months, what’s your must have beauty item?

Moisturiser! I use Evidence Based Skincare (ESK). The bottles aren’t pretty, the product doesn’t smell pretty but it makes your skin pretty and with PCOS that’s what I need.


Shelly Horton


Shelly and husband Darren in Mexico


Shelly in her reception dress


Honeymoon: Shelly and Darren

NB: Images courtesy of Shelly Horton






Mussels with bacon and white wine


Seafood is one of my favourite types of food; one I typically associate with summer. But not mussels! In a stew or in this case a sauce, they are so comforting.

I typically make them on the weekend, but as they are a quick meal, they can very easily be enjoyed on a week night too.

This is my own recipe so I hope you enjoy!


1kg black mussels, scrubbed

4 slices of bacon, diced

1 cup of white wine

3/4 cup of cream

Half an onion, diced

Half a leak, sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons of butter

Salt and pepper

2 cups of parsley, to serve



Fry the bacon in a pan with one tablespoon of butter. Once the bacon has some colour add the garlic, onion, leak and two tablespoons of butter. Stir gently until the onion is translucent.

Add the wine and stir. After about 30 seconds add the cream and the mussels. Stir so the ingredients are well mixed.Turn the heat down slightly and put the lid on the pot; let the ingredients boil for 3-5 minutes.

Once all the mussels have opened, add the parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Bon appetite!




My journey to & beyond anorexia nervosa


Earlier this year I joined a Lulu Lemon Summer Series Yoga class, down at Balmoral Beach in Sydney.

I started chatting with the instructor; a gorgeous, blonde and incredibly sweet Canadian. We started talking about bodies, wellness, confidence, body positivity, fitness and health…we focused on mental health. It was at this stage that Lauren opened up about her struggles with anorexia nervosa (more commonly known as anorexia).

The fascinating thing about humans is everyone, EVERYONE has something they struggle with – but the stories which unfold as a result are even more fascinating. How do people find a way to keep moving forward?

I am proud to say that Lauren agreed to pen her story for A Quaintrelle Life. So this is her story about her journey to and beyond anorexia nervosa…..


Thank you for the opportunity to share with you the journey my eating disorder – from the beginning to end and all that happened along the way.

I was 10 years old when I first experienced a deep sense of loss and uprooting in my life. My mum sat down with my sister and I, her arms around each of us, and told us that our Dad has just passed away. From the moment I heard the news, I felt unraveled, afraid, and just not okay.

That year was by far one of the toughest yet, and when I was 11 years old, I was hospitalized with anorexia nervosa. After my Dad passed away, I felt depressed and lost my appetite. I wasn’t trying to diet or to lose weight, but food was one of the only things I felt in control of in my life. I felt worthless, that I was fat, and that I was not enough.

My relationship to food became destructive & soon I was limiting and restricting all food into my body. I lost so much weight that my body was hardly functioning and I ultimately lost complete control.

Eating, or controlling my eating, thus became my way of managing the psychological distress, the grief, and the fear that I was experiencing. I became completely disconnected from my body and overwhelmed by my thoughts, leading to feeling hopeless and lost for such a long time.

Eventually, 3 years later, with the support of physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, dieticians and my family and friends, I was discharged from the hospital. However, the negative thoughts I had about my body and the struggle I had with food never really subsided, and every day was a battle against the destructive and distorted perceptions I had of my physical self. As you can imagine this lead me to feel more disconnected to my body than ever.

So what changed? The biggest influence on my recovery was my introduction to yoga. Disordered eating and thoughts of being ‘fat’, worthless or not enough are destructive, and for me, yoga has played a meaningful role in reviving my love for my body and myself just as I am.

Disordered eating is like a war against the body, and for me the practice of yoga played a role in reviving it. I am now able to listen to and respect my body, have confidence in myself, and feel empowered. My relationship with food is positive where I don’t restrict what I eat, diet or let food determine or control my sense of self-worth.

It was a long journey that was full of ups and downs, lots and lots of tears and lots of pain. However through the journey there was a lot of growth, learning and understanding of myself and who I am. Fully recovered now, I have a purpose. I have a purpose and have made a commitment to share yoga with those who are on their own recovery journey.

Don’t ever be too afraid to seek help when it doesn’t feel right. Whether your appreciation for yourself isn’t there or your relationship with food is a struggle. You deserve to live in place of joy with yourself, your body and with food – you’re too important not to.

Lauren is a social worker, yoga teacher & fitness instructor. Lauren is the co-founder of Love Body Yoga, a program in partnership with eating disorder treatment centre BodyMatters Australasia, that introduces yoga as a step on the journey to eating disorder recovery.
Lauren also teaches yoga at Yoga Sivana in Mosman & Heat Studios in Balgowlah and is a fitness instructor at Physicore Sydney.

5 Tips for Chub Rub


This is not a glamorous post but chub rub, or thigh chafe, is a real and serious issue.

Chub rub happens when skin is irritated between thighs because it’s continually rubbing together – it often occurs during summer when it’s hot and humid.

My whole life I’ve had chubby thighs; lets call it a family trait! So without a doubt I am an expert in this field. I have plenty of memories where I could no longer walk because the skin between my legs had been worn away. Thankfully, I have developed my own techniques to manage the situation – often than not, expensive products are not needed! Clearly this post has not been endorsed 😉

Even though thigh rub is often seen as a ‘big girls problem’, there are plenty of people who suffer due to vigorous exercise. My hints to avoid or reduce the symptoms will help a wide variety of people.

Here are my tips to sooth your inner thighs:



We cover babies michelin bums and thighs with talcum powder to prevent nappy rash, and it’s no different for us! This works a treat as it absorbs extra moisture between the legs; however, if it’s a humid day or you’re walking a lot you’ll need to reapply or use with some of the other listed items.

Keep.It. Cool.

This next step is not sexy so you’ll most likely do it alone – or when you’re married :/. When you get home, put the air con on, lay on the couch or on your bed, spread your legs and …. fan it. Yep! Stay there for as long as possible so ensure the remote, computer and snacks are near by.


The moisture between your legs is what helps agitates and aggregates the skin. So when you get out of the shower/ocean/steam room/gym make sure you take some time to dry the skin properly and keep it dry! The extra time is worth not feeling the chub rub pain.


When the skin is dry and less inflamed moisturise the buggery out of it. Help the skin repair by feeding it with the good stuff and you can get back to business faster.

Create a protective barrier for the skin

In summer I will often be seen in shorts because it helps protect the skin on my thighs from rubbing together; they also absorb excess moisture. Shorts also allows me to not worry about flashing the goods in very unlady like positions – but thats another story….

I hope these hints have given you a different perspective on how you can avoid chub rub!

Feel free to comment or message me with any other ideas you have to prevent thigh chafe.




Tips to have a clutter free wardrobe


As all my friends will attest, I do not lead the clutter free lifestyle. I don’t buy junk or nick knacks, but I have a small apartment with minimal storage space, and I have so many clothes. Most of my ‘stuff’ is clothes. I just really, really love clothes. So in order to tame what some may consider a disaster, here are my top tips to keep my wardrobe functional and relatively clutter free.


A wardrobe which has been with designated to maximise the space and with specific spots for shirts, dresses, skirts, pants is an ordered, easy to use wardrobe. When I designed my wardrobe, I specifically wanted sections for clothing categories. This was the best decision! When I’m short on time, I know exactly where to look for the perfect party dress, or that favourite shirt and skirt combo. I even take it one step further and colour code (white through to black); this may be over the top, but again, it helps me make a decision fast while showcasing all my beautiful clothes.


Why is it that the ugly jumper your mum gave you for your birthday 5 years ago still in my wardrobe?  with several holes you bought five seasons ago still necessary? You might plan on using it to paint your future house, but what purpose does it play in your life now?  How many ugly sweatshirts are you hanging onto just because you might wear them to paint the garage some day? Put those suckers out to pasture. (And when painting day comes, we promise you’ll find a way not to be topless.)


Style changes but there are items in my wardrobe which I still love, and no longer need. My size also changes faster than I would like to admit. I find the best way of unloading these items, giving them to charity (the feels are good with this option), sell directly to friends (who get a ridiculous bargain) and eBay . Local markets are also an option but that’s a significant time and energy investment.


Clothes are highly emotional tools. An outfit can change the way you feel about yourself, so why would you own clothes which don’t make you feel like the slayer you are or want to be? Unless you feel like a goddess in it, throw it out.


The beauty of buying classic, great quality items is you want to wear them all year round. They look and feel great, so with a few minor additions a summer wardrobe can easily be turned into a wardrobe suitable for the cooler months. A good rule of thumb: Your entire yearly wardrobe should fit in your drawers and closet. If it doesn’t, you need to purge.


I was discussing space (or rather, a lack of) with my aunty and she told me that for every item she buys, she throws an item out. Ever since I stick to this rule like glue. When I buy a new pair of shoes, I throw a pair out. If I buy a new top, I throw an old, hole-y top out. Because I like to bend the rules, I sometimes throw something else out. I buy a new dress, so I throw some old sheets out. Whatever the case, if I buy something new, another item has to go.

RIP Muhammad ‘The Greatest’ Ali, boxing legend


In Sydney, Australia the skies have opened as we mourn the passing of another great man; Muhammed Ali.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Ali was best known for his skills in the boxing ring; winning 56 of his 61 fights.

Modestly named “The Greatest”, he was acknowledged for his fight talk. I loved the way he knew he was as his nickname suggests – The Greatest. No maybes, or I’d like to be but rather, he was.

But, like many great people, he stood for more than boxing. He was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who pushed the boundaries of sport, race and nationality.


I admire anyone with passion, fierce determination and fights for causes greater than oneself. He was one such man.

Thank you for the wise words, Ali;  here are some of my favourites:

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. 
I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.

Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.

There are no pleasures in a fight, but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.

Slow Cooked Green Chicken Curry


Recipe courtesy of Taste.com.au

The cooler months have finally arrived, so one of the first things I did was pull out my slow cooker.

One of the easiest recipes in my collection is a slow cooked chicken green curry. I put it on early Sunday afternoon and by dinner time, it’s ready ! Quick to prepare, no fuss, easy and plenty of leftovers for the coming week.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do:


6 chicken thighs

1 x 230g can bamboo shoots, drained

1 x 125g pkt frozen baby corn

4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn in half

1 x 400ml can coconut milk

1-2 tablespoons green curry paste (see note)

125ml (1/2 cup) Campbell’s Real Stock Chicken

1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons fish sauce

Fresh basil leaves, extra, to serve

Steamed SunRice White Medium Grain Rice (or cauliflower rice), to serve

Lime wedges, to serve


Place chicken, bamboo shoots, corn and 2 lime leaves in the slow cooker. Combine coconut milk and curry paste and add to the slow cooker. Pour in stock. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Shred remaining lime leaves. Add to the slow cooker. Add basil, sugar and fish sauce, and stir to combine. Top with extra basil. Serve with rice and lime wedges.