31 March 2014

Style It. Wining & Dining

Happy Monday beautiful people. Today is the start of week two of photoshoots at work for me so it's going to be another busy week. I hope you had a great weekend. I spent mine running errands by day and wining and dining with friends by night. We have been struggling a little with the weather here in the last week; there has been a whole lot of rain, and when it's not raining it's been very humid. Thankfully Friday night was fine and perfect for indulging in wine and tapas with my girlfriends [no frizzy hair to be seen]. Here's what I wore...

White Shirt by Mink Pink, Jeans by Billabong, Singlet by GUESS, Bag by Forever New, Shoes by Forever New

Photos by Krissie.

28 March 2014

One Day. Behind the scenes

Just a quick post today as I've been rather flat strap with work so far this week. For us gals in the fashion industry March/April is always a busy time for shooting; at the moment we are in the midst of our Summer 14' photoshoot for product that will be in stores later this year. It's always great to get a sneak peak of new ranges and see what's trending but at the same time it's also quite torturous because I find myself wanting to buy it all now, waiting 6 months is really hard! Here's a few sneak piccies from behind the scenes.

We have a lovely team of people at my work who we shoot with and it's always a super busy but fun time. Shoots can last up to 3 weeks so by the end of it we all go a little crazy being locked in a room together so it's a good thing we all get along. We have plenty to chat about, some of the discussion topics we've been throwing around so far whilst snapping have been our favourite Sex And The City moments, worst/scariest flights we've been on, the latest health crazes and our love lives [because it's impossible to get a group of girls in a room without it being mentioned!].

Hope you've all had a wonderful week and have got exciting things planned for the weekend.

Photos by Krissie.

26 March 2014

Suitcase. Planning your holiday, minus the stress

Flights, accommodation, timelines, transport, locations, itinerary, annual leave, insurance, luggage, clothes... Planning for a holiday sure is stressful but I can't help but smile whilst I'm [frantically] planning all these details.

I'm not the kind of person to just cruise along on a holiday. I like to have everything thoroughly researched so that when I get somewhere I know I'm making the most of my trip that I possibly can. After all, there is no worse feeling than arriving back home and hearing something mentioned about the place you just visited and realising you missed it; major holiday-er remorse.

 Over the last month my plan for my France trip has changed so many times; where to go, what to see, how long to stay... There's no doubt that by the time I actually leave in 3 months it will have completely changed again. But each day I come across new information that's helping me to make all my decisions.

So, with this in mind, I thought I'd put together a list of hints that I have found helpful to bring together the perfectly planned trip - wherever you may be going.

  • First, hit the library. You can't go past checking out what's been written about the places you're heading. Even if you don't have an exact location in mind then research a whole area. As far as I'm concerned you can't beat the lonely planet guides, I really do think they have the best information on a range of topics and are sure to inspire plenty of ideas.
  • Next, head to the travel agent. I rarely book anything through an agency as I prefer to do it myself, but if you can grab a few brochures on places and trips, you might find they inspire your own travels. You can even play copy cat and pinch a top deck or contiki itinerary; taking inspiration from their plans will help you cover all the must see places.
  • Don't be afraid to reach out to your networks. These days if you combine all your friends and acquaintances I'm sure they would have the whole world covered, so, ask for others' advice. What was good, what wasn't, where did they stay, best places to eat? And even better if you know someone living where you're heading check-in with them; local knowledge is always the best.
  • I like to check out travel sites like tripadvisor but I do take their recommendations with a grain of salt as you can't always trust that you'll think the same as someone else; we all have different tastes. Having said that these types of sites are great for garnering a basic idea about attractions, hotels, restaurants and cities.
  • Check out Google maps. In the past I have found the best hotels and restaurants by pulling up a map and just looking at what is in the area. Quite often it is the things that aren't greatly advertised that are the best so you can easily come across them this way if you use location as a starting point.
  • And finally, remember my favourite saying; hold on tightly let go lightly. Get passionate and excited about your ideas, act like a dog with a bone and use all your skills to arrange what you think is best. But, if at the end of the day you feel it isn't working don't be so involved that you can't step back, let go and move on to a new idea. Sometimes the first ideas/locations/plans aren't the best but what you learn from them will help you make better selections the second or third time around.

I'll be sure to keep you in the loop with how my holiday planning is going. It's just about 3 months and counting until I leave and I still have so much to plan. Aside from my flights I virtually have a blank canvas. By there's been a lot of research going on so I know when I do eventually set some plans down they will be good ones.

Photos via Pinterest.

24 March 2014

Eat Me. Uncle Ming's, Sydney

I just got back from an epic weekend in Sydney with my girlfriends. We had a great time exploring the city, hitting the beach and partying it up. Saturday night we headed out to dinner in the city. We wanted somewhere with a funky city vibe that was going to be a bit of fun. On a friend's recommendation we headed to Uncle Ming's Dumpling Bar on York St. This little hidden gem is tucked away right near Wynyard station and it's a little tricky to find as it's below ground. If you see a guy sitting on a throne on the footpath then you're in the right place; he checks the IDs.

Downstairs Uncle Ming's opens up into a funky representation of communist China with ethnic furniture and lots of red. Considering this place has no advertising and very little street signage they sure are doing well. Word of mouth is definitely working for these guys, the crowd ebbs and flows with arrivals and departures, but the tables are always full.The lighting is very moody and seductive [but you may need your phone light to read the menu!]. Their specialities? Cocktails and dumplings! What else do you need? Be sure to order a cocktail to share; they come in teapots. There's a great selection of dumplings and dim sims all of which were delicious. The BBQ duck bun was particularly delicious. Be sure to accompany your dumplings with some edamame.

This is a great place for a fun night and won't cost you the earth. Between the three of us we shared a teapot cocktail and had enough dumplings that we were stuffed and it worked out at $26 each. So for a quirky dinner with friends or date night definitely try this out. 4.5/5

Where: 55 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Bookings: you're best to just rock up and grab a drink at the bar if there are no tables
Phone: (02) 9299 8961

Photos by Krissie & Uncle Mings

Uncle Ming's on Urbanspoon

21 March 2014

One Day. Things I'm looking forward to

I've got a countdown app on my phone which I love to use to further inspire my excited-ness for upcoming things. I adore having things to look forward to! Usually I just have one or two events on there but it sure is looking chock-a-block right now, so I thought I ought to share it with you. Here's my countdown for the upcoming months... Three, two, one... go!

March 21st [i.e., today!!] - I'm off to Sydney for a girls trip. Myself and three friends [we are an awesome four-some] are reliving our girl's trip we had to Sydney in 08' - time hasn't flown at all [sigh]. So excited to explore the city; we are planning some lovely coastal walks during the day, a spot of shopping and of course plenty of partying at night. Sydney get ready.

April 17th - I'm spending the Easter long weekend in Melbourne with my Dad and we are planning to explore the Great Ocean Road. Really looking forward to seeing this beautiful coastal stretch as it's somewhere I've never visited before. We plan on making our way up to Warrnambool before slowy heading back. If you've got any tips on this neck of the woods feel free to share.

May 25th - A very important day of the year; my birthday! Haven't got a plan yet but needless to say there will be friends, family, the latest fashions and plenty of bubbles involved.

May 29th - QT's Gold Coast Fashion Week is on and I can't wait to see the latest fashions hit the runway. There are some great events on at this year's festival, you can read about them all in my post here.

7th July - Well I've saved the best til last! On the 7th I arrive in "Gay Paris" [you've got to say it with a French accent]. So excited to explore more of this beautiful city for the second time. I'll be there for a week before spending a further two weeks exploring the rest of what France has to offer; Loire Valley, Lyon, Annercy, Provence, St Tropez, Nice, Monaco. If you've been to this part of the world, I'd love to hear your suggestions

There are so many things I have to look forward to; life's pretty great. What's currently on your countdown list?

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.

19 March 2014

Must Have. Deshabillé Sleepwear

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that in every girl's wardrobe top ten must haves would be a gorgeous pyjama set. Something that looks great on (even if it is only you seeing it!) and is uber comfortable to sleep in. Enter this delightful Australian brand; Deshabillé.

Based in Sydney, Deshabillé design bespoke sleepwear, loungewear/knitwear and beachwear. All of their prints are custom designed by their own artists and are created using beautiful soft fabrics making them perfect for cosy-ing up!

I love this Chantilly set. The sateen shorts are so comfortable and I think the white and blue is a lovely combo. And you can't go past this for a pyjama top - it's exactly what every girl is looking for; silky soft but with an internal shelf bra so there are no unwanted peek-a-boo moments! Totally in love with my set and I will guiltily admit that I didn't get out of them all day on the weekend!

Deshabillé is stocked in David Jones and over 150 boutiques around Australia. Check their website for more information and to view their winter range which has just come available. This lovely brand often runs great promotions so be sure to check out their Facebook & Instagram for your chance to nab a deal.

This was a sponsored post courtesy of Deshabillé; thank you for the lovely product.

Photos by Krissie.

17 March 2014

Plate Up. Flossie's Roast Chicken

There's a story behind this very special roast chicken and it comes from a delightful lady named Flossie. The other week I came across a cooking show that was filmed in the early 90s; The People's Cookbook. On this particular episode was a darling little old British lady named Flossie who was sharing her recipe for roast chicken. She was so humble and I think very chuffed that she had come up with this chicken recipe herself which she was sharing on national television. The footage showed her cooking it in her farm house in country England where her kitchen had stone walls and a delightfully vintage Aga stove. Her recipe created a beautifully moist and browned chicken which I simply had to try making for myself.

What you'll need
1 chicken
1 teaspoon vegemite (or marmite)
1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch of fresh thyme
a little butter
a little olive oil
boiling water

What to do
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Wash and prepare your chicken for roasting. Get a large baking tray which has a raised rack (or you can put in a cooling cake rack) and place the chicken on top. It should be up off the bottom of the tray.

Gently pull the skin away from the chicken at the breast until you have a good pocket and squeeze your lemon inside. Then spread the vegemite over the chicken covering the breast, legs and wings. Gently bruise your garlic cloves and put them inside the cavity of the chicken along with some sprigs on thyme. Crumble a few remaining leaves over the top of the chicken. Finish off by placing teaspoon sized dollops of butter on the legs and wings and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Poor the boiling water around the chicken so it fills the base of the tray; it should be about an inch deep. Roast in the oven until cooked (generally 20 minutes cooking time plus an extra 20 minutes for every 450g of chicken, e.g., a 900g chicken would take an hour).

Serve with your favourite roasted veggies.

Image via UKTV

Flossie I hope you're up there watching because I love your chicken and am sure everyone else will too.

Photos by Krissie.

14 March 2014

Eat Me. Mexican Cantina, Mermaid Beach

I love Mexican food, I'm always cooking it at home whether it's burritos, enchiladas, or chilli con carne and it's so nice to go out and have this cuisine cooked by true Mexicans. Mexican Cantina sits on the Gold Coast Highway and if you're a local you've probably driven past it so many times, but like me, probably not noticed it's actually there. Sitting on the verandah of this converted home it feels just like your in Mexico; shabby-chic surroundings, coloured porch lights and the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

The restaurant is run by a father and two sons and they do a great job. It certainly has a great family feel. The menu is pretty extensive with plenty of Mexican dishes to choose from and some I hadn't even heard of before. It certainly isn't anything fancy but it's good, tasty food. I highly recommend the jalapeño poppers for entrée; these little green chillies are stuffed with cheese and then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Delish but very spicy so be warned. For main I had the chicken and avocado quesadilla which comes with rice and salad. It was really tasty and not to mention absolutely huge! I guarantee you won't finish your meal here. We arrived fairly early at 6.30pm on a Saturday night and by 7.30pm this little place was certainly starting to fill up so I daresay it's popular with locals despite it's lack of promotion; it's almost like a trade secret.

So if you're local and looking for a place to try this weekend head to Mexican Cantina, I will definitely be returning. This is a great place for dinner with friends; you can enjoy some jugs of sangria and margaritas and share some dishes while discussing life. 4/5

Where: 34 Cronulla Avenue, Mermaid Beach, QLD, 4218
Bookings: no need
Phone: (07) 5572 2009

Photos by Krissie.

12 March 2014

Suitcase. 10 New Holiday Hotspots

I love travelling. I haven't done enough of it in my life... yet. Yet being the key word in that sentence.

There are so many amazing places around the world that I can't wait to travel to. Some we've all heard of: hawaii, greek islands, florida, london, hollywood, paris - these are the hotspots everyone knows... but what about all the other little-known places that are sure to have just as much on offer. In honour of these littler places I've compiled a list of 10 New Holiday Hotspots to visit this year. Better hop to it!

Hamner Springs, New Zealand

 This quaint little spa village sits amongst some of New Zealand's most awe inspiring mountains. Best known for its naturally occuring thermal pools, Hamner is also a haven of adventure and activity with plenty of hiking and biking trails. You can't go past this picturesque location with its beautiful clear water. I can just imagine lying in the warm pools with winter snow all around.

Cythera, Greece

One of Greece's often forgotten islands, Cythera is said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite. With beautiful beaches and spectacular Grecian architecture you can't go past this place for a summer holiday. There a many old villages on the island, each with their own incredible history. Little white houses sqeeze together in cobble stoned streets and cafes abound with delicious meals and wine.

Annercy, France

Sitting below the Rhone Aples and at the tip of a lake you'll find Annercy which has long been referred to as Alpine Venetia; in other words it's a bit like a mini venice in the mountains. Colourful historic homes butt up against each other with canals for roads in parts of the village. This place is truly beautiful with snow capped mountains all around in winter and the startling turquoise water of the lake.

Maine, USA

There are so many things that this little corner of America has to offer. Endless forests, wild ocean, world class cuisine (including fresh seafood straight off the boat!) and a stunning range of seasons. The little colonial towns that dot this area are straight out of a picture book. Plus it's a great place for moose spotting!

Budva, Montenegro

Budva is the metropolis of Montenegrin tourism with its many beaches and bay of islands, not to mention its abundance of historic monuments. This old town is often referred to as a treasure chest of cultural heritage with narrow steets, famous buildings and open squares. Also, just 10 minutes away you'll find Sveti Stefan; this beautiful old town was built on an island just off shore and is pretty much the postcard picture for Montenegro... Isn't it beautiful?!

Gdansk, Poland

Sitting on Poland's Baltic coast, Gdansk is said to have a truly unique atmosphere that sets it aside from all other European cities. The old town is full of charming architecture and historic cobblestoned streets and the history here dates back 1,000 years so there are plenty of museums and churches to explore. I just love how colourful it looks!

Lord Howe Island, Australia

I didn't even know this place existed until recently, turns out a volcano left this land behind many years ago off the coast of NSW. Named Australia's premier bird watching destination, Lord Howe is also an island haven for fishing, surfing, snorkelling and diving with stunning and expansive reefs just off shore.

Glacier National Park Montana, USA

Now if this isn't some of the most beautiful scenery you've ever seen then I don't know what is! Lying in the northern rockies, glacier national park is known for its rugged mountain peaks, turquoise water and abundant wildlife; particularly mountain goats and grizzly bears. There is so much land here to explore and you can complete each day with a glass of vino in your log cabin soaking in the spectacular views... Bliss.

Corn Islands, Nicaragua

Known as a "quieter Caribbean", the corn islands are a forgotten tropical paradise with all the appeal of their famous Caribbean neighbours minus the hustle and bustle of tourism. It was a haven for pirates in the 17th century but now it's largely a Creole fishing region with tourism only in its infancy. For those who love the water there are some great dive sites and those who prefer land there's plenty of lush jungle to explore. Get in now before everyone else hears about it!

Krabi, Thailand

Krabi reminds me of the island paradise in the movie The Beach, except hopefully there are no shark attacks or drug lords! This southern Thailand region's stunning image is largely thanks to the angular limestone karsts appearing from the water. Great for water cruising by yacht or canoe and the white sandy beaches make the perfect tanning bed.

Photos via Wikipedia Creative Commons

10 March 2014

Plate Up. Date & Walnut Muffins

My date loaf recipe is probably one of my most favourite things to make, it just never fails me; so easy and so delicious. So, because I love it so much, I thought I'd find another way to combine my favourite ingredients and here's what I came up with; a spin on my good old date loaf - let me introduce you to my date and walnut muffins. The pleasure is all mine.

What you'll need
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (if you don't have this use regular milk and add a dash of vinegar)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to do
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and grease a 12 hole muffin tin. In a large bowl mix together the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix in the dates and walnuts. In a separate bowel whisk together the butter, milk, egg and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to gently stir together until just combined.

Pour into the muffin tray and bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin before digging in!

Photos by Krissie.

7 March 2014

Autumn Must Haves.

With the arrival of March, it's time to say goodbye to summer, beach days and bikinis; and whilst it's sad to say farewell to the warmer days I'm looking forward to dressing in the fashions of the cooler months; hello jeans, knits, boots and scarves. Here are my top picks to embrace the autumn season before the chill of winter well and truly sets in.

First and foremost, an essential item to go with every outfit - ankle boots. Whether you pair them with jeans, tights, dresses, skirts or shorts; these little booties beauties are guaranteed to go with everything and provide some trans-seasonal warmth too. I've gone for a neutral brown shade so they can be worn with everything.

Next, you can't go past a knit in a neutral shade to pair with your favourite jeans and aforementioned boots. From April to October I live in jeans, knits and boots; it's my favourite outfit choice. I love this cream ribbed design from Witchery with its statement hem.

I don't know about you, but as soon as autumn rolls around I suffer from cold-season-dry-skin. Enter this delicious little butter body that is sure to keep your skin supple and soft. With its combination of coconut oil and shea butter you'll smell amazing.

My pick of lipstick shades for the season is this deep-wine-burgundy-red. Perfect for sultry lips this season. Love this shade from M.A.C.

An autumn essential is of course a scarf; perfect for those in-between temperature days where a t-shirt is too chilly but a jacket is too much. I love this pale blue with its paisley print. Its soft structure makes it great to hang loose, tie or wrap for a multitude of styles.

And finally who can go through the cooler seasons without a trusty pair of jeans. I'm lusting after this pair from J Brand with its mid-rise waist that creates a longer looking leg.

What are your must haves this autumn?

Photo by Krissie.

4 March 2014

Style It. Oscars 2014 Best Dressed

Ahhh The Oscars... Who doesn't enjoy watching the world's most glamorous faces dress up in their finest, walk a strip of carpet where they are the centre of attention and sit together in a famous theatre, smiling and applauding those around them. Whilst I love the awards section and I think Ellen did a brilliant job of hosting [bringing pizza in was the best idea ever, now I have a craving], my focus every year is on the red carpet fashions. I love seeing the latest designs emerge and what are the feature styles of the season according to showbiz's elite. It seems block colours were the trend this year with sweeping designs and full hems making a statement. A little twinkle of sparkle was also included here and there. Here are my favourites from the evening, I think these lovely ladies nailed it.

Lupita Nyongo was a standout in this Prada number. The soft blue is so stunning and the soft chiffon-y drape on the gown was so princess-like. Perfect.

The sprinkling of rain didn't stop Kelly Osbourne from making a splash. I love her in this figuring hugging cream design with it's accompanying metallic lace cape. It's no wonder I'm in love, the dress is by my long-time favourite designer Badgley Mischka.

Sandra Bullock wowed in this stunning Alexander McQueen design with it's structured bodice and sweeping gown. The side swept hair was the perfect accompaniment.

Although she's been a little quiet in the last few years, Calista Flockhart was a standout for me. I loved her in this Andrew Gn winter white gown with it's all-over crystal embellishments and slinky cut.

Ahh J Law you can do no wrong, especially in Dior. The young starlet looked smashing in this red gown with its peplum waist and slight fishtail. Her reversed necklace and upswept hair completed the look perfectly.

And finally, I loved E! reporter Giuliana Rancic in this soft feminine gown from Australian designer Paolo Sebastian. I always appreciate her style at awards events; she manages to pull of feminine chic perfectly [despite her slight zipper mishap]. Love the embellished bodice combined with the full tulle skirt. Every girl's dream dress for twirling.

You can see my picks from the 2013 Oscars here.

Photos via The Daily Mail UK.

3 March 2014

Must Have. Mayde Noosa Turkish Towel

I've always loved things that are multi-purposeful, particularly items that you can use all year round which is why I'm so in love with this turkish towel from local Gold Coast designer Mayde. Not only is it named after my favourite holiday destination, Noosa, but this clever little thing can be used in a whole variety of ways.

Of course in summer it makes the perfect towel, beach blanket (it's nice and big measuring at 95cm x 180cm) and even sarong but as we come into the cooler seasons you can take it camping, use it as a picnic blanket, a scarf or a throw for your bedroom. Gotta love all that functionality.

It's made from super lightweight turkish cotton and folds up nice and small making it perfect for your beach bag [hello more room for books, tanning oil and snacks!]. It is obvious that plenty of love has gone into these designs and each towel is hand-loomed. The tangerine orange colourway is my fav but it's also available in pink, lime, mint and sand. Yellow, black and navy are also coming soon.
 photo mayde_noosa_towel_zps91058320.jpg

$39.95 Shop here and make sure you check out the rest of the collection.

Photos by Krissie.