31 January 2014

One Day. The Face of QT Fashion Week 2014

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending QT Fashion Week's first event for 2014; the announcement of their 'face'. The evening was held at the QT's Stingray Bar; this swanky spot exudes an uber-chic, vintage Californian vibe making it the perfect venue for a fashion event. From over a hundred entrants, ten lucky girls had made it through to the final round on Wednesday that was to be judged by leading Queensland fashion and media figures. Only one would be selected to be at the forefront of the Gold Coast's premier fashion event that will be held in May this year. The lucky winner will be the feature face for the event and will have the distinguished honour of opening the runaway.

Image via QT Fashion Week

Ten lovely girls strutted their stuff on the runway in signature 'model-wear'; a pair of jeans and white shirt, before displaying their gorgeous bodies [to plenty of enviable stares] in swimwear. The field was then narrowed to three and the girls had a mini question and answer round before the winner was announced.

Image via QT Fashion Week 

A big congratulations to the lovely Silka Kurzak who took out the prize. You'll be seeing plenty more of this eye-catching brunette on the runways in May.

Photos by Krissie.

29 January 2014

One Day. What's in my bag

It never ceases to amaze me, the abject horror that you see cross a man's face when you ask them anything to do with reaching into a women's handbag. "Honey could you just grab my phone?", "the date of the party, it's in my diary, just grab it out of my bag...." their response? Like you're asking them to put their hand into a piranhas tank. Boyfriends, fathers, mates, brothers; they all respond the same way. Come on guys, it's really not that scary; sure you might find the odd tampon or condom but we usually keep these tucked away in a pocket that we won't refer you to so nothing is going to jump out and say 'boo',

For you stylish ladies I thought I'd give you a sneak peak inside my bag and for those tentative men here's proof you have nothing to worry about; there's nothing scary to be found here.

Of course there's the basics; phone, wallet, keys, lip gloss; the staples you can't go without. Next there's my iPod with my matching pink Marc Jacobs headphones; nail file because I'm loathed to be caught without one when I catch a snag; my diary so I can keep up with everything that's going on; a pen... for signing autographs [obviously!]; perfumed face mist to keep me feeling refreshed and smelling good throughout the day; and of course a little light reading, if I have any down-time you will always find me reading a fashion mag.

What's in your bag?

Photos by Krissie

27 January 2014

Plate Up. Crème Caramel

I have very fond memories of crème caramel as it was often an indulgence in my childhood. Hardcore foodies will probably think it's sacrilege but I used to really enjoy the ones you bought from the supermarket. It wasn't until now that I'd thought to make them myself. I had been a bit turned off by hearing the difficulties, you know how it goes... "anything to do with a custard is tricky," and "hot milk and cold eggs; be warned." But I'm here to tell you it's actually really simple. They turned out perfect on my first go so I encourage you to try them, just be sure to follow the recipe carefully.

What you'll need
750ml full cream milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways with a sharp knife
180g sugar
5 large eggs

What to do
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan over medium heat and bring it just to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and cover to let stand while you make the caramel.

Set aside 8 ramekins ready. To make the caramel, put 100g of the sugar, and pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of water in a small heavy-based saucepan. Heat until the sugar without stirring (you can do the occasional 'swish' of the pan) until it turns a caramel colour and remove from the heat. Be careful not to go too far here, it really does change in an instant and if you go over you'll get a bitter burnt taste. When it stops sizzling, pour it carefully into the ramekins, it should end up about half a centimeter deep; just enough to cover the base.  Set the ramekins in a baking tray and add enough boiling water to the tin for it to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Set aside.

Back to your milk mixture, add the remaining 80g of sugar and another pinch of salt. Stir well until dissolved. Remove the vanilla pod.

Put the eggs in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the warm milk (make sure it's not hot) into the eggs and stir well. Ladle into the ramekins.

Carefully transfer the tray to the oven and bake for about 20-25 or until the custard is set. You'll know it is ready when you can insert a skewer to the centre and it comes out clean. Dish up by flipping the ramekin onto a plate. Plenty of ooh's and aah's are sure to ensue as the caramel runs out.

Serves 8.

Photos by Krissie.

24 January 2014

Style It. Australia Day Fashion

This weekend in the land of Oz we celebrate Australia Day; the perfect excuse to drink all day, work on our tans, burn too many things on the BBQ and stick Aussie flag tattoos all over ourselves! This year I'm going to Floatopia here on the Gold Coast; an event where hundreds [hopefully thousands] of people bring a lilo and set up in the waterways here to create a giant pontoon of floating people. Sounds pretty awesome right?

Top by Sportsgirl, Shorts by Topshop, Watch by Michael Kors & Sunglasses by Dot Dash

I wanted to have a bit of fun with this flatlay and before I realised what I was styling I was pulling out an outfit of Aussie flag colours; guess I better wear it on Sunday [that is before I strip down to my bikini and jump in the water!]. Love this slogan tee from Sportsgirl and these shorts have a blue colour reminiscent of the golden Levi's era.

Happy Australia Day beautiful people! And for those of you not in Oz I give you permission to celebrate too, it's a pretty awesome holiday.

Photos by Krissie.

22 January 2014

Must Have. Kenneth Jay Lane Seashell Necklace

I love any fashion that embraces summer so this little seashell necklace is definitely a must have for my wardrobe. Designer Kenneth Jay Lane has embraced the seaside trend with this gorgeous seashell necklace. The French-rope style chain is the perfect glamorous offset to this beachy piece. I'm seeing it worn with white jeans and a tee for a seaside chic look whilst strolling down main street in the Hamptons [I'll admit I've been watching a bit too much Revenge lately!], or dress it up at night with a black outfit.

 photo kenneth_jay_lane_seashell_necklace_zpsad8c4214.jpg

$99 Shop here.

Photo courtesy of Kenneth Jay Lane.

20 January 2014

One Day. My Happy List

A new year means new hopes, dreams, aspirations and life adventures. So I thought I'd compile my own little list; a list of what make me happy. Here are the things that never cease to make me smile, let out a giggle and be thankful for the life I have and what a wonderful world this is.

my happy list.

the new york skyline  |  the smell of puppies  |  rain on the roof  |  random acts of kindness  |  house floor plans  |  learning something new  |  wearing brand new socks  |  when traffic makes way for emergency vehicles  |  the peak of weightlessness on a swing  |  reading a great book  |  lindt chocolate  |  cuddling baby animals  |  singing in the car  |  a bunch of flowers  |  the sound of a can opening  |  browsing asos sales  |  visiting somewhere new  |  the power of music to transform any mood  |  crab sandwiches  |  a fresh shellac manicure |  popping a bottle of champagne  |  cuddles from a loved one

I'm sure this is just the beginning of my list... As I was writing it I realised how hard it was to think of the things to write them down. It's more that I realise them when they actually happen to me so I'm going to make an effort to consciously remember what brings a smile to my face so I can continue the tradition of this list; because who doesn't love to be happy?

After all, I truly believe that happiness is a state of mind... So choose it.

Photo by Krissie.

17 January 2014

Plate Up. New York Chocolate & Walnut Cookies

I got this wonderful book for Christmas so prepare yourself for plenty of great recipes coming soon. Everytime I flick through it my mouth starts watering; there are some great American classics in here that I'm dying to whip up, like a traditional American pie, challah bread, pop tarts and blondies. Here's my first recipe and it was a real success. Gotta love those doughy New York cookies.

What you'll need
250g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
125g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pinches sea salt
2 eggs
400g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
200g chocolate, coarsley chopped (I used a mixture of milk and dark)
50g walnuts, chopped (you could also use hazelnuts or macadamias)

What to do
Beat the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, salt and eggs and beat until smooth. Next, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, chocolate and nuts. Then combine the dry and wet ingredients together. Spoon together until a dough forms then shape into a ball using your hands and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Take the dough out and place it on a sheet of baking paper. Use this to shape your dough into a sausage shape about 10cm in diameter. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut the roll into thin slices about 1.5cm thick. Arrange them on lined baking trays and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Garnish with a further crack of sea salt, it makes the chocolate taste extra delicious.

Makes approx. 20 cookies.

Photos by Krissie.

15 January 2014

Must Have. Enamel Bangles

I have long been lusting after enamel jewellery; the eye-catching designs are a great way to jazz up your jewellery collection without the huge price tag because whilst very noteworthy, enamel jewellery has relatively friendly price points [bonus!]. Originally made famous by Hermes' iconic enamel bangles, this style of jewellery is now being designed by a whole range of fashion houses. I love the range of colours available and there's something so chic about the addition of a candy coloured bangle with accents of silver or gold to any outfit.

These designer enamel bangles are my top picks:

 photo j_crew_enamel_bangle_zps10ce1d6f.jpg
J. Crew Etched Enamel Bangle $58 - subtle and elegant

 photo marc_jacobs_enamel_bangle_zps2598a476.jpg
Marc Jacobs Skinny Logo Bangle $48 - slim and fun

Chloé Logo Embossed Wide Bangle $410 - dark and sophisticated

 photo kate_spade_enamel_bangle_zps245afcb3.jpg
Kate Spade Mix and Mingle Bangle $92 - bright and summery

And of course the iconic Hermes Enamel Bracelet $200 - $800 - the classic

Photos courtesy of J Crew, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Kate Spade and Hermes.

13 January 2014

Plate Up. Cauliflower Soup

I'm really into making homemade soups lately. My potato and leek soup is probably up there with my favourite recipes so I thought I'd broaden my cooking horizons and give cauliflower ago. This one is equally delicious and quite filling; it easily creates a meal on it's own. Definitely one to add to your cooking repertoire.

What you'll need:
50g olive oil
50g butter
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, diced
800g cauliflower, cut into small florets
900ml chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
1/3 cup grated cheese (the type is up to your preference, parmesan can be nice and sharp or you could add gouda for a softer flavour)

What to do:
Heat oil and butter in a heavy based pan; add garlic, onion and season well with salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and sweat over low heat for 10 minutes or until florets are soft. Ensure they are lightly browned as this is what creates the delicious flavour.

Add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very soft.

Remove from heat and process soup until very smooth. Return to the pan over low heat and add the cream and cheese. Serve with some extra cheese and a drizzle of cream.

Serves 6.

Photo by Krissie

10 January 2014

Style It. 1920's Masquerade

New Years Eve 2013/14 and I had a pleasure of attending a murder mystery dinner party that my friend was hosting. If you've not been to one of these before it's sort of like a real life game of Cluedo. Everyone gets given a character that you must 'be' for the evening, then halfway through dinner someone is murdered and the guests have to figure out who-dun-it.

My character for the evening was Blondie Fawn, renowned Hollywood actress. The venue was a 1920's themed masquerade ball. Both were totally up my alley so I was excited to plan my outfit.

Here's what I went for; classic black dress with my favourite faux fur stole (found in a vintage shop in New York), signature Audrey Hepburn-esque cigarette holder and netted mask that I made myself with some materials from Spotlight.

And for those who are wondering, I wasn't murdered [thank goodness] but I did figure out who the killer was! That's Detective Blondie Fawn to you.

Photo by Krissie.

8 January 2014

Eat Me. Il Centro, Brisbane

Off to Brisbane I went last weekend... of course I managed to have the superb timing of heading to Queensland's capital city during its heat-wave weekend. 40+ temperatures were not conducive to the amount of shopping I had planned and, as expected, the heat got the better of me; after 3 hours sweating it out I headed back to the hotel with one measly pair of shorts.

But not to worry because I had dinner to look forward to at the famous Eagle Street Pier precinct. If you're not a Brissie local, this little corner of the city sits on the river over looking the iconic Story Bridge and is home to a range of the best restaurants around. It really is a lovely area that has a great atmosphere. I ate at Il Centro "where the centre of attention is you" and I will say the restaurant stood up to it's slogan. We had a lovely dinner with fantastic service from a lovely waitress named Simone, she had an uncanny knack of anticipating our every need, I was very impressed.

Il Centro is probably what you'd called modern Italian with a fine dining twist. They are renowned for their Sand Crab Lasagne so I thought I'd better give it a try; especially considering crab is probably in my top 3 favourite foods. The meal certainly didn't disappoint, the lasagne is packed full of delicious crab and served with a creamy crustacean sauce. It was really delicious but perhaps a tiny bit too rich. I ordered the entree size which I would definitely recommend, at $27  it was plenty big enough; I couldn't finish it. But if you're feeling especially daring you can opt for the main size for $40. Also on the menu are a range of enticing pastas, fish and meat dishes from veal scallopini to duck breast.

I was determined to try some dessert so after waiting for my lasagne to digest (it took a good hour before I was ready for round two!) it was time to tuck into the profiteroles which were really delicious. Rather than being filled with the usual creme patissiere they had hazelnut gelato inside. It made for an intriguing change but don't worry you still get the creme patissiere and hot chocolate sauce on your plate.

For an evening out with a great view of the bridge, good service, delicious food and a very extensive wine list then I would definitely recommend Il Centro. I look forward to returning. 5/5

Where: Shop 6/1 Eagle Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
Bookings: Essential
Phone: (07) 3221 6090

Photos by Krissie

Il Centro on Urbanspoon

6 January 2014

Must Have. Fendi Monster Earmuffs

It's nice to see that even the world's top fashion designers can show their fun side. Check out these little monster earmuffs from Fendi. Yes you heard right, monsters.

The savvy fashion house created a whole collection of little critters, including purses, bags and shoes. I think it's great to see something a bit different.

Fendi's 2013 Monster Collection

Whilst worth a chuckle, these earmuffs are still a serious fashion piece, they feature mink, leather and fox fur. The perfect addition to your outfit on the slopes for a hint of playfulness.

$1,585 Shop here.

Photos courtesy of Fendi.

3 January 2014

Plate Up. Vegetable Pasta

I really do have an all-consuming love of pasta. There's nothing more satisfying that devouring a big bowl of it, especially when it's a new creation like this one. I was hankering for a big dose of veggies the other day so this is what I came up with. I'm going to say it's 'Tuscan-inspired'.

What you'll need
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch squares **
2 zucchini, cut into 2cm slices
half a butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm squares
2 carrots, cut into 1 cm slices
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 packet spaghetti
1 tin tomato puree
1 onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic infused oil
handful basil leaves
50ml white wine
grated cheese to garnish

** Note: If you haven't prepared eggplant before, prior to cooking, cut it in half and rub with a generous amount of salt. Leave to sit for half an hour before squeezing out the juices and rinsing. This gets rid of any bitter taste.

What to do
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celius and place your chopped veggies in a baking tray. Make sure you pay attention to their sizes above, as they all cook at different speeds you need to make sure you cut them accordingly so they finish together. Add the cumin, paprika and sage to the dish along with the oil and water. Season well and toss around to coat. Then cook in the oven for about an hour or until tender.

Have a little break and a glass of wine then, heat your garlic oil in a medium pan and fry off the onion until translucent. Add the tomato puree and basil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Meanwhile get your pasta water boiling and cook your spaghetti.

You should now be ready to take the veggies out of the oven. Transfer them into the fry pan and toss them in the sauce. Then serve up your pasta and pour on deliciously big scoopfuls of the veggies and sauce. Garnish with plenty of grated cheese.


Photos by Krissie.

1 January 2014

Suitcase. Top Five Travel Destinations for 2014

New year, new destinations. What's that saying about visiting some place new every year? Well, mister saying-writer, one is just not enough for me, I hope to visit several new places because, after all, "2014 is my year", my Kikki K diary told me so.

Here are the top five destinations on my travel wishlist this year:

1. Bora Bora
For as long as I can remember I've wanted to visit this tropical island. Quaint little burees over crystal clear blue waters sounds just perfect to me.

2. Italy
I'm talking everywhere; Tuscany, Florence, Sicily, the islands, the coasts and the "boot-bit". My heritage is partly Italian so I have a special interest in this beautiful country, not to mention how much I love pizza, pasta, wine and tiramisu. I think it's a match made in heaven.

3. New York City
Yes I have been before, but I can't get enough of this place. It really is my addiction; I'm so in love with the city that never sleeps.

4. Alaska/Canada
Yes I will admit those Rocky Mountaineer train ads have gotten to me. The scenery here looks breathtakingly beautiful; the snowy mountains, the chalets and the crystal clear water. Yes please!

5. Switzerland
I'm not sure of an exact place but I'd just love to visit this country, from its ski fields to the quaint little villages. It looks picture perfect. Plus I can practice my French "tres bien!".

Ok so this was intended to be a list of five but I can't help but add one more destination...

6. Hawaii
The perfect stop over on my way to America. Waikiki is calling my name; sunshine, long boards and shopping; perfect!

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons