30 June 2014

Plate Up. Top Ten Healthy Foods

It's less than a month until I'm officially a London resident and I'm excited! The first thing that springs to mind about living in London is all the wonderful opportunities the city has to offer.... The second thing that I think of is... weight; yes I'm talking chubby, fat, kilos and pounds. It is a well-known fact here in Australia that anyone who moves to London eventually comes home several kilograms heavier. I'm very lucky that a stomach flu or break-up aside my weight has never varied by more than a kilo, but just to be on the safe side here's my list of the top fresh, nutrient-rich foods that are sure to keep you healthy and feeling great. My list includes all the tasty things so you can actually enjoy them whilst still being healthy. There's no Noni juice to be found here!

1. Water, water, water. Ok so it's not a food per se, but it's still really important. Staying hydrated is essential for good body function and it works wonders for the hair, skin and nails.

2.  Blueberries. They are full of antioxidants which recent studies have shown help brain function and can actually decrease your risk of Alzheimers.  Try and eat them in their raw, pure form to get the most nutrients.

3. Garlic. Although also said to ward off vampires, garlic is actually a very powerful disease fighter that combats E.Coli and also works as a great anti-inflammatory. Include it in meat dishes and stirfrys but don't cook for too long because more than 10 minutes exposure to heat reduces its effect.

4. Salmon. This red fish is full of essential omega-3 fatty acids which help keep your skin and hair looking supple. Omega-3 is good fat that is said to help improve your brain function and memory and promote healthy joints. Sardines are also a great option.

5. Low-fat yoghurt. Yoghurt is richer in calcium than milk and the low-fat variety actually contains ingredients that will help keep your metabolism nice and speedy. It's a double bonus!

6. Chia seeds. Would you believe these little things contain five times the amount of calcium that milk has. They are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Sprinkle some over your morning cereal or in your salad.

7. Sweet Potato. This humble vegetable is very high in vitamin B and iron which provides us with high levels of energy. They are also a good source of magnesium which is a relaxation and anti-stress mineral.

8. Lentils. Among the most nutritious legumes, lentils contain cholesterol-lowering fibre and are a great source of lean protein. Despite their low calories, they are very filling and are a positive contributor to good heart health.

9. Spinach. For muscles like popeye! Ok maybe not but it is said to be a great cancer-fighting vegetable with immune-boosting antioxidants.

10. Walnuts. Would you believe these nuts are packed full of an amino acid that your body needs to create the feel-good hormone serotonin. They're digested slowly which contributes to mood stability and lower stress levels.  Plus their fatty acids will help give you shiny locks.

Photo by Krissie.

27 June 2014

Suitcase. Long Haul Flight Travel Essentials

I absolutely love to travel, particularly to far-flung overseas destinations, but I will say that spending over 24 hours in a less-than-metre-squared space isn't always so fun. Thankfully the trip is made a little easier these days thanks to the great selection of food and entertainment provided by the airlines. Here's my tips for what to pack in your carry-on to get you through the travel period and arriving feeling fresh and ready to explore!

  • Obviously the essentials; passport, wallet, phone, cash, currency card, tickets and paperwork. Forget any of these and you've got yourself a travel headache.
  • For entertainment I like to take: a book (make sure it's one you're already into, I find it hard to start reading something new on a plane), iPod and noise cancelling headphones [essential!] and a travel guide for the area that you're heading - plane time is perfect for studying up and getting excited! I also like to pack a travel journal and a pen for jotting down all my thoughts and experiences.
  • To keep myself feeling fresh and looking good I take make-up wipes, face-mist, lip balm and a tinted moisturiser. I feel much better if I don't have to step off the plane feeling bare-faced. I also keep a small bottle of hand-sanitiser to keep the germs away.
  • For comfort I pack a pair of comfy warm socks and a jacket to use as an extra pillow or back-rest. Even if it's not cold they always come in handy.
  • I like to wear loose fitting clothes that are warm but comfortable like harem pants and a knitted jumper. Then I take a spare outfit for getting on and off the plane. I don't like walking through airports feeling like I'm in my pyjamas.
  • I never fly without gum and a vicks inhaler to keep my head clear and avoid a compression headache. Panadol is also essential because there's nothing worse than feeling in pain on a long flight.
What are you travel essentials?

Photo by Krissie.

25 June 2014

Plate Up. Bloody Mary & Pimms Cocktails

I was mixing up some drinks over the weekend and thought I ought to make them English themed, what with my impending move to London and all! I love a good cocktail; it's something that I'll always choose over wine, beer or straight spirits. I had a great time shaking and stirring, it was like going back to the days when I worked in a bar. Here are the recipes for two of my favourites - now you have the perfect excuse to host a cocktail night yourself!

Bloody Mary

What you'll need
45ml vodka
90ml tomato juice
squeeze of lemon juice
a dash of worchestershire sauce
a dash of tabasco sauce
salt & pepper
celery to garnish
crushed ice

What to do
Fill a hi-ball glass with ice and pour in the vodka, lemon juice and sauces. Top with the tomato juice and season to taste. Garnish with your celery stick - it really does make it so much more enjoyable!

Pimms Garden Cocktail

What you'll need
60ml Pimms
45ml lemonade
45ml ginger beer
garnishes like strawberry, orange, cucumber and mint
crushed ice

What to do
Combine the Pimms, fruit, mint and ice in a boston shaker and shake well to infuse. Pour into a glass and top with the lemonade and ginger beer.

Photos by Krissie.

23 June 2014

One Day. Just Keep Swimming...

I wake up each morning and the first thing I hear is a menagerie; magpies warbling, ducks quacking and swans honking. No I don't reside on a wildlife reserve, but I am lucky enough to live on one of the Gold Coast's many beautiful waterways. Probably the number one benefit of this, aside from the glorious views, is the plethora of animal watching I can do. It really is the perfect venue for a Sunday brunch; poached eggs on the deck, the latest mag and a view that even David Attenborough would be jealous of. My lake is home to ducks, water hens, swans, pelicans, seagulls, cormorants, and the occasional sea eagle. Over the years I have had a wonderful glimpse into the many goings-on on this little stretch of lake: some inspiring, some tear-jerking and some downright bizarre. It can be quite the soap opera out there and there is always a story-line to follow; births and deaths, flighty females who primp and preen, and aggressive males who stake their territory with their chests out and have no qualms about banishing unwelcome guests.

Of all the animals, I most enjoy watching the swans because you can really see the story of their lives unfolding. Swans are monogamous creatures, although researchers have reported a 6% divorce rate, particularly after a nest failure. So it's clearly not all smooth sailing in the bird-relationship world either, especially if you have problems with real estate. Each year, around November, there is always plenty of commotion on the waterways as the swans engage in what can only be called their version of speed-dating. The males and females all cavort around the lake with a great deal of flapping and honking. You can then count on the fact that a few weeks later, the pair who have "fallen for each other" will mate, a ritual which involves a whole lot of neck rubbing and twirling around and just about drowns the female every time.

By December there is nest building, which most often happens right in my backyard; evidently I live on a prime piece of real estate that is coveted by swans. Over the Christmas period the nest takes shape with all manner of leaves, sticks, twigs and, to my concern, the occasional can being included. And obviously, since a nest can't be locked, they never just get up and leave; one is in attendance at all times, you know just in case a robber came to steal a particularly comfortable branch...

Through January eggs start to appear, this year we had five, and as February rolls around they begin to hatch. There was one year that didn't run so smoothly, the swans sat patiently on the eggs for months, you could tell they were just thinking "this will work, this will work" but in the end all the eggs opened up with nothing inside, it was very sad to see how upset the swans were; they left and didn't come back until this year. Thankfully this time round, we had success! All five eggs hatched and one by one little chirping grey balls of fluff appeared.

If you look closely you'll see one little one is hitching a ride on mummy's back.

Needless to say, being a first-time parent is a throw-you-in-the-deep-end kind of experience and for the swans it was no different. Clearly. Because without sugar-coating it, they were pretty terrible parents. In the nest the parents would stand all-over the babies with their great feet and I watched in horror as the bubs were totally squashed. Not to mention that on the second day, after the five babies were born, the parents decided it was the perfect time for a swim on the lake, and not a quick dip mind you but an extensive venture that lasted several hours. Yeah, great idea mum and dad, you really thought that one through. They returned to the nest later, and after counting, I realised that one baby was missing - it wasn't long until I found it. The poor little thing was still stuck in the water and was clearly in distress as the bank was too high for it to scramble out. What was worse was that mum and dad seemed completely oblivious to the fact that one was missing. Hello, did you bother to do a head count? Sadly when we saw them the next day five had officially become four and I have no doubt that it was the littlest one that had fallen victim to the wild. Thankfully Mum and Dad seemed to pick-up their parenting game after that; I think they needed a reality check.

Four months on and I smile each time I see the little family swim by. The bubs are much bigger but they still have their fluffy grey feathers. They aren't around as much now because not long after February they moved on from their nest in my yard. Perhaps they had a stake in swan shares that paid off well and they were able to upgrade to a better property with more bedrooms and larger waterfront access.... Whatever it is, they seem very happy - things must be going swimmingly.

Photos by Krissie.

20 June 2014

Suitcase. European Wanderlust

Wanderlust - a strong and insatiable desire to travel.

For as long as I can remember, Europe has been my ultimate travel destination. There isn't a country on the continent that I don't want to visit; from the ocean to the alps and all the bits in between. I am fascinated by the history and culture of the area, the ever-changing seasons and the people who call that corner of the world home.

Now that I'm making the move to London I think I will have the perfect opportunity to spend some time exploring Europe - and can I just tell you how excited I am. So the other day I sat down with a cup of tea, pen and paper, my grandma's atlas and my laptop and set about making my European Wanderlust list. After several hours and multiple cups of tea here is what I had come up with. The list is a perfect 50 without my even trying, so I daresay that is a good omen.

Some say 50 is too many and maybe I am over-doing it because I'm not sure when I'll have the time, but as they say - shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars.

I plan to make a page on Pearls of Style with this list and each time I visit a place I'll cross it off and make a link to my travel journal of that city. I can't wait to share my adventures with you. If you have visited any of these places I'd love to hear about your experience.

Photo by Krissie.

18 June 2014

Style It. My Top 5 Fashionable TV Characters

Over the years I have often been inspired by the fashions of my favourite TV shows. I'm sure that the wardrobes the stylists have access to are incredible so with their selection and choices I find it great to take inspiration from what they put together. I'm often asked how I would describe my style and I find it hard to answer because I do like to chop and change and try new looks out. Here are my Top 5 TV Character's Fashions that I'm lusting after - all of whose style I like to pinch occasionally and make it my own.

1. Carrie Brawshaw - Sex & The City
Honestly, who else could be number one on my list - it has to go to Carrie. A fashion-forward writer living in NYC with a tumultuous lovelife; it is obvious that fantastic style goes with the territory! From clashing ensembles to bold silhouettes you can always count on Carrie to step out in style especially when wearing her trusty Manolo Blahniks.

2. Serena Van Der Woodsen - Gossip Girl
A killer designer wardrobe with all the latest couture? You would expect no less of an Upper East Side trust-fund princess. Ah Serena, to have your wardrobe in real life; from the cocktail dresses to ball gowns and the painfully chic shorts and blazer combinations. She's super stylish and perfectly walks the line between preppy and feminine with several dashes of designer added in for good measure.

3. Ashley Davenport - Revenge
She may not be the main character in Revenge but her fashion certainly steals the show with sleek dresses, pencil skirts and feminine blouses. Ashley's outfits are always accessorised perfectly with a combination of dainty jewels and statement pieces.

4. Naomi Clark - 90210
This babe from the revamped 90210 never fails to look stylish. Her style mixes up-to-the-minute fashions with 90s trends for a super chic result. Think mini dresses, pops of colour, statement accessories and Ralph Lauren knits tied around the shoulders.

5. Marissa Cooper - The OC
Ah Marissa - she made such a huge impression on me during my teenage years. Thankfully I was inspired by her fashion and style and not her drunk and drug-taking antics. The girl could pull off so many different looks: couture dresses, preppy twin-sets, varsity hoodies and even polo shirts. Her endless supply of Chanel handbags was inspiring, as was her ability to wear ballet flats with EVERYTHING and still look amazing.

Photos via Pinterest.

16 June 2014

Eat Me. Barefoot Barista, Palm Beach

It was lunchtime at work last week and I was inspired to take a trip down to Palm Beach from my office in Burleigh. I was catching up with a beautiful friend of mine who is a photographer, and aside from having wonderful chats, she gives me a crash course on my SLR camera each time I see her [bonus!].

We had a bite at Barefoot Barista just off the Gold Coast Highway which boasts some funky, log-cabin chic decor and delish food to boot. Tables and chairs are available street side and also in a little courtyard out the back which has a lovely rainforest-y vibe. The service is friendly and the food is fairly prompt making it the perfect place for lunching when you've got an hour to burn.

I ordered the vegetarian burger which listed haloumi, mushrooms and onion relish as the main ingredients. Yum! It certainly lived up to my expectations although beware the mess - this is not something to order on a first date because you're not going to look glamorous as you open wide and let the juice run down your fingers. Definitely friend-catch-up-burger material. On the menu are a variety of other burgers and salads which have classic and innovative flavour combinations. There's also a very tempting sweets cabinet. 4/5

Where: Shop 5/10 Palm Beach Avenue, Palm Beach QLD 4221
Bookings: no need, although beware the lunchtime rush
Phone: (07) 5598 2774

Photos by Krissie.

Barefoot Barista on Urbanspoon

13 June 2014

Style It. Must See Fashion Documentaries

I have always been fascinated by the world of fashion - the extreme pace, emerging trends, what brings a magazine spread together and the characters behind iconic designs. I've been lapping up every issue of Vogue and Harpers Bazaar that I could get my hands on since I learnt about the concept of a magazine subscription when I was 10. Posters of beautiful models and fashion-forward trends adorned my cupboards and I was forever playing dress-ups to "walk down the runway".

I was enthralled with publishing and fashion before I even knew it was the industry I wanted to work in - so whenever a new fashion documentary makes the rounds I get a little thrill because an insider glance into what I consider the most exclusive and elusive industry in the world is just too good a chance to pass up. Here are my favourites that you simply must see...

The September Issue
This is Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington at their best. The two creative spearheads of American Vogue take you on the journey of piecing together their most important issue of the year - the September issue. Step inside the polished glass doors at the offices of Condé Nast for a glimpse into the chaotic yet artistically beautiful world of fashion publishing. This particular issue now sells for upwards of $100 on eBay so consider yourself lucky if you're in possession of a copy; it's a bible.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel
Diana held the position of fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar for 26 years before moving onto Vogue magazine and then curating the fashion exhibition at The Met. This intriguingly brilliant woman had bold ideas and opinions that made her a true pioneer of the fashion publishing industry. This doco takes a look through old footage of her career highlights and shows that she truly "saw things in people before they saw it themselves".

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's
An intriguing behind-the-scenes look at New York's most loved department store; Bergdorf Goodman. This film explains the history of the store and takes a particular interest in the talented fashion director Linda Fargo. Definitely one for the shopping addicts, this is fashion at its finest.

The Tents
For years the tents lining Bryant Park marked the start of a week-long fashion extravaganza, but step inside and you'll find it's not all champagne and glamour as one would expect. This doco exposes the reality behind NYFW from where it all began to now.

This film is a time capsule of one of fashion's most exciting eras. Come on a journey with Christy Turlington during Spring Fashion Week in the early 1990s. There are also glimpses of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Carla Bruni. This is behind-the-scenes footage at its best from fashion's heyday.

Photos via Wikipedia Creative Commons

11 June 2014

Must Have. Dresses

I'm a sucker for a beautiful dress. Anything that is suited to a fancy cocktail evening and I'm in love. Here are my top picks this season - from flashy sequins to elegant full-lengths and even a peeky lace twin set. What's not to love?

Photo by Krissie

9 June 2014

One Day. London Calling

I have some big, exciting news to share... are you ready, because this is really life-changing stuff!

I am moving to London!

After 24 years in the beautiful land down under I thought it was time for a bit of a sea city change. My heritage is from England and my grandparents were originally from London so I guess you could say I'm going back to where it all began. I'm really excited to make the big move and can't wait to embrace all the career opportunities that the city has to offer.

It's all been a rather sudden decision but considering I'm off to France in July it seems like the perfect opportunity to stay in Europe and give it a go. What can I say? London's calling!

Would love to hear from any of you lovely bloggers who are on that side of the world. I can't wait to call your city home - the sites, the shopping, the buzz, the gateway to Europe! I'm just a little apprehensive about the weather because I have been known to get cold here in a mere stiff breeze of 22 degrees. Here's hoping I adjust.

London: T minus 46 days and counting!

Photos via Pinterest.

6 June 2014

Eat Me. My Top 5 Restaurant Irks

I love eating out as much as the next person, in fact probably more. I really enjoying trying new places, indulging in a few wines and ordering delicious dishes that I wouldn't cook for myself at home. When everything is right it makes for such a wonderful evening; great food, great service and great ambience. But there are a few things that happen every now and then that really make me sigh - it can all be going so well and then one of the following instances pops up...

1. A waiter sashays over to the table proffering a giant pepper mill, "would you like some cracked pepper?". I mean does it look like I'm not capable of using my own pepper mill? Because I absolutely can, what do you think I do when I'm at home? I'd really rather do it myself because sometimes I just want pepper on one portion of my meal. Or maybe I do want pepper but I don't want it just yet, I want to crack it onto the center of meal after I've eaten a bit... Is that ok with you?

2. Tight squeezes between tables. There's nothing that frustrates me more that having someone bumping into the back of my chair; waiters squeezing past, or the patron behind me getting up. A kicked chair is annoying enough at the movie theatres, let alone whilst I'm enjoying a meal. I could go so far as to say it's a choking hazard.

3. "Good evening ma'am, I'm [insert name here] and I'll be your waiter for this evening." He seems like a nice fellow, I think to myself, competent and friendly - great. But two seconds later I have waiter B bringing me my drink, waiter C taking my order, waiter D bringing my order and waiter E collecting my bill. When did it become ok to shuffle waiters around like a pack of cards. It hardly inspires me to tip when I can't keep track of who is serving me. What happened to the nice fellow you promised me in the beginning, I'd like him back please.

4. I've been to a few restaurants where I can only assume they are performing some sort of elaborate magic trick in the kitchen. Because how else do you explain receiving a fully-cooked meal in a shorter time than it takes to pour a drink. It baffles me how often I order a glass of wine and let's say a seafood pasta - and "ta-da" there are appears my pasta a good five minutes before my wine follows. It might be magic but it sure is annoying.

5. "You look lovely this evening." "What?" "I said you look lovely this evening." "What?" Does this sound familiar? Too many times I spend my entire dinner repeating what's been said because the restaurant is just so bloody loud. I would rather you line the walls with ugly shagpile carpet if it means I can hear better. Sometimes design needs to be sacrificed for some functionality; you may need to forgo your uber-chic polished concrete because it reverberates like a cave.

What do you think? Am I being too picky or do these things bug you too?

Photo via Pinterest.

4 June 2014

QT Fashion Week 2014 - Up & Coming Designers High Tea

What girl doesn't love high tea? Miniature sandwiches, cakes and champagne, need I say more? Well, this high tea was made that little bit sweeter with the addition of the up and coming designers fashion parade on Saturday at QT Fashion Week. I think there may have still been some sore heads around from the previous evening of swimwear but the guests quickly perked up with a hair-of-the-dog glass of bubbles and a good dose of fashion. Showcasing designers were: Mariam Seddiq, Misha Collection, Lucid and Anna Hulm. Here's what we saw...

Misha Collection
For chic eveningwear, Misha Collection had it all. A monochrome palette with form-fitting shapes guaranteed to flaunt and flatter in all the right places. There were some bold cut-out features and plenty of [my favourite] luxurious lace.

Anna Hulm
This range is full of bright, silky kaftan-style dresses in summery 'pop' colours. Styles are made to wear loose or belted and are perfect for seaside mimosa-sipping.

Statement silhouettes are bountiful in this range as well as bold graphic artwork designs. Lucid offered some killer skater skirts with some 60's references thrown in. This is for the playful and bold.

Mariam Seddiq
Embellishments, embellishments, embellishments - that's what this range is all about. Luxurious beads and sequins adorned beautiful designs. The range featured a monochrome palette with some statement silhouettes thrown in for good measure.

Which are your favourites?

A big thank you to QT Fashion Week for hosting such a wonderful event.

Photos by Krissie.

2 June 2014

QT Fashion Week 2014 - Swimwear Parade

QT Fashion Week kicked off on Friday night with the up and coming swimwear designers' parade. Set under the stars on the QT pool deck and with all the big names of the Gold Coast social scene in attendance, there was overflowing champagne and fresh tunes courtesy of the hipster DJs. The showcasing designers were: Smoking Water Australia, Zingiber, La Biquini and Shapes in the Sand. It was great to see their latest designs; ideas fresh from their sketch books for Spring. There is definitely some talent brewing. Here's what we got a taste of...

Shapes in the Sand
This collection featured bold geometric prints in bright statement colours. The range also included some pioneering swimwear shapes. With its white tone base and flattering shapes this is what I call new-age resort wear.

Smoking Water
Think feminine summer with this range. Classic and retro shapes were created in soft tones and floral prints. Designed to flatter any body shape and perfect to wear peering out from under your favourite summer dress.

This collection was all about bold shades and block colours. Bikinis featured custom prints with some sultry yet classic mesh details. Definitely a range for the contemporary Bond Girl.

La Biquini
An essential summer range for any girl's island getaway. Tropical floral prints were mixed and clashed with plain block colours and classic shapes.

And if you hadn't noticed, it seems the colour for the season is navy! Perfect for blondes and brunettes and a match made in heaven with summery white.

Photos by Krissie.