Wednesday, April 6, 2016

HotMilk Giveaway Winner

Hi everyone! Just letting you know that the original winner of the Hotmilk bra giveaway did not get back to me, so I have redrawn the prize and the winner is Maria from Greece! Congratulations, and I can't wait until you get your new bra - you will love it!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hotmilk Bra Giveaway

I am so happy and excited to share this giveaway from Hotmilk lingerie with all of you! Hotmilk contacted me recently offering me a nursing or maternity bra to review, but when I explained I was well past that stage of life, with no plans to return, they generously offered to give a bra away to one of my readers instead! 

The reason I am so excited about the giveaway is that Hotmilk offers such a fantastic range of products. When I was pregnant with Stephen and needed to invest in maternity bras, I was horrified with what I could find in larger cup sizes. Honestly, it was a sea of industrial beige over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders, that looked awful on the rack, and didn't look much better on. I found that during pregnancy, I felt incredibly sexy, and post birth, I wanted to regain those feelings; having to wear those beige monstrosities certainly wouldn't have helped with either!

And then I came across Hotmilk lingerie, a new (at the time) range of lingerie from New Zealand that was innovative, fashionable, and sexy! Most importantly, these pretty scraps of lace not only came in sizes larger than a C cup (up to a J cup!), they actually supported those larger cups! These bras (and associated pieces) helped me look and feel fabulous as my body went through the myriad of changes that come with pregnancy and nursing.  The range was (and still is) very well designed, some with side-sling supports (great for maximum skin-to-skin contact) and some with A-frame supports, which I preferred as they offered great support and made breast feeding modestly much easier. The nursing clips were also amazing - easy to undo with just one hand, but completely unobtrusive.

Today, though, instead of highlighting their "pretty" bits and pieces, I want to introduce you to their latest offering, the Activate Sports Bra. (although, please, if you are pregnant, make sure you check out the rest of their range - you won't be disappointed!!)

A sports bra during pregnancy and nursing? Really? Yes!! More and more mums have realised the importance of exercising during and after pregnancy, and Hotmilk has come to the rescue for all the larger cup mums out there. Available in D to H cups (smaller sizes will be available in June) the Activate  Sports Flexiwire bra is the perfect option whether you are taking part in prenatal yoga, or something higher impact. Made from CoolMax moisture wicking fabric, coupled with mesh panels on the cup and the back, the Activate bra will keep you cool and comfortable. Most importantly, the A frame support, together with the Flexiwire, means that regardless of what activity you are doing, you will supported. Finally, the feature I loved most about my Hotmilkbras is the way that all of their bras are designed with stretch at the top of the cup to allow for growth throughout your pregnancy and then during the nursing period.

Hotmilk has generously offered one of my readers any bra of their choosing from the Hotmilk range, and the giveaway is open internationally! I'm keeping it simple, so head on over to Hotmilk, and leave me a comment about which bra you would choose (and please make sure I can reach you - leave an email address if you are not logged in through blogger). I will randomly select a winner on  Tuesday 22 March 2016.

Linking to these great websites here and here

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What's In My Handbag

After finishing my What's In My Carry On post last week, I thought it might be fun to share what's in my handbag with you all.  I try not to carry too much in my bag, but it is often a losing battle between my stuff and the kids bits and pieces. When laying out my bag today I was pleasantly surprised that there was no junk in it at all!!

Today I was carrying my Michael Kors Selma Medium tote. I fell in love with the pale peachy pink, and it is the type of colour that goes with everything in my capsule wardrobe. The medium size is a great everyday size, but helps me to keep my contents limited. It does fit my iPad, but I try and avoid carrying it around with me when possible, as it just adds extra weight which is not great for my back.

My wallet (3) is a recent purchase, the Tory Burch York Continental Wallet, bought to replace my old Oroton one which finally gave up on me!  This wallet is so functional, yet sleek and stylish. It has plenty of card pockets inside, a zip coin section, and room for an iPhone (though not my iPhone 6). I have also been able to fit in a lipstick, and use it as a wristlet with its detachable strap, which has been really handy.

I always tote around a little makeup case (10) from Mor, which today contained a Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara (7), my Aerin Cool Gel Eyeliner (8) and a brush on powder sunscreen, Colorescience Sunforgettable (9). The eyeliner and mascara are great for touch ups during the day, post gym, or if I ran out of time to do my makeup in the morning. I use the powder sunscreen at least three times a day, especially just before the afternoon school run, and this is something I recommend to everyone, since UV rays can penetrate car windows, increasing your risk of sun damage and skin cancers. Usually I would have a lipstick in here as well (at the moment, Tomboy by Tory Burch) but I need to hunt it down since it obviously isn't where it should be!

Shiseido Blotting Papers (4) and Chanel Vitalumiere Compact Douceur (5) are on high rotation at the moment with our heat and humidity. I touch up with the blotting papers mostly, and with the pressed powder now and then if things are getting really shiny.

Finally, I always have a bottle of water on hand, LactoEze tablets (1) in case I'm not sure if something will contain dairy, and a pair of sunnies (11) which I cannot live without, even in winter! I also have a little pouch re purposed from my Aerin Compact (2) that contains various store cards and coupons, since I seem to collect so many that I can't fit them in my wallet.

So there is a peak into my handbag. I would love to know what essentials you carry around!

Friday, February 26, 2016

February Empties: Beauty, Bath and Hair

Can you believe that we are already at the end of February? Winter sports training has started for the kids, and despite the fact that our weather is firmly in the summer camp, I can just feel the year flying by! Does anyone else feel like the year seems to go by faster and faster? This selection of empties is what I have collected since my last empties post back in October and it doesn't really seem a lot; although it does feel like I am coming to the end of a lot of other products now, so my next empties post may come around sooner next time!


This was, of course, the bulk of my empties, mostly because I am a beauty junkie!!  This month my finished products were a mixture of first time and well loved products.

Aerin Rose Lip Conditioner

I am completely shocked that I have not previously done a review on this lip balm, which is absolutely a desert island item, and my holy grail lip balm!  Every since I started using this lip balm, my chronically chapped and cracked lips have disappeared completely, replaced by soft and supple ones. With a slight rose fragrance, and the merest hint of colour, this balm adds shine and moisture to your lips. This has already been repurchased (multiple times!) and I have one in my car, one in my bag and one in my bedside drawer. That's how much I love it! It's fragrance reminds me of By Terry's Baume de Rose, but I prefer this one, and it's cheaper. Just like the Baume de Rose, I also use this as a cuticle balm, and occasionally on my face if I get a little dry patch.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Extra Mild

I bought this as an affordable morning (non-foaming) cleanser, and while it was alright, I probably won't repurchase, having moved on to Alpha-H's Balancing Cleanser, which I much prefer. I felt like it did its job, and left my skin soft and supple afterwards, (absolutely no tightness after washing) but the smell just didn't do it for me. I can't quite describe it other than "Clinique" smelling - all their products seem to have this non perfumed fragrance to them. It's technically recommended for dry to very dry skin, but it seemed to work just fine with my combo/normal skin.

Sanctuary Spa Brightening Facial Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser

This is a great dupe for Eve Lom's cult cleanser, but in my opinion, smells better and does a better job, and for a far better price. I don't faff around with the whole muslin cloth thing, instead keeping a basket of plain old fashioned face washers next to my bathroom sink. They wash easier, and mean I can afford to have more than a weeks worth sitting there ready to go. This cleanser is amazing at taking off makeup, and since switching to it I have really noticed my T-zone settling down. I haven't repurchased yet, simply because I am using up another hot cloth cleanser that I already had, but I am sure to buy this again in the future.

Pevonia Power Repair Age Correction Marine Collagen Cream

I was recommended this night cream by my facialist and it is divine. Does it do everything it names suggests is should do? I don't know. But it feels amazing on the skin, when I wake up my skin is supple and plump, and the smell is gorgeous (but strong - if you are sensitive, I would give this one a miss). Full of supposedly miracle like things such as Hyaluronic Acid, Collagen and Squalane, this cream did keep my skin ultra hydrated, and over the long term I did see an improvement in fine lines and the overall texture of my skin. Haven't repurchased yet because I have a stash of night creams to get through, but depending on how those other ones stack up, it is likely I would try this cream again in the future.

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum

This serum is absolutely gorgeous, feels amazing on, and (if you like the proprietary Chanel "scent") smells lovely. I bought this when my skin was feeling particularly dehydrated last winter, and it made a huge difference immediately. Containing micro droplets of camellia oil within the serum, the texture is very "wet"unlike most serums which are either more gel like, or more oil like. This felt lovely and light on the skin, and played well with all of my other creams. Haven't repurchased, simply because I like playing around with my skincare, and I have moved onto something else. I do, however, recommend it, and might circle back again down the track, because really, who doesn't love a bit of Chanel on their vanity?


Nivea In Shower Conditioner

I got this in a sample bag a while ago, and found it quite a useful product, especially on busy mornings when I don't always have the time or inclination to apply body moisturiser after my shower. Basically, you use it in exactly the same way as a hair conditioner, but on your body after you have washed. You then rinse off, and you are done. It was an OK product, but I found it left an almost filmy feeling on the skin, and I wasn't 100% keen on the fragrance, so it ended up taking a long time to finish, and I wouldn't buy it again.

Dermaveen Daily Nourish Soap Free Body Wash

I don't use this body wash myself (I like things that smell pretty!!), but it is a must have for the rest of the family who suffer from either eczema or psoriasis. Soap free, PH balanced, and containing colloidal oatmeal, this is one of the only body washes I have found that not only doesn't irritate their sensitive skin, it actually soothes them when they are having flare ups. I highly recommend this to anyone who will listen, and it is a must have in our house.

Sanctuary Spa Two Day Moisture Shower Oil

Can you tell I love Sanctuary Spa? I purchased this shower oil to use over winter because my skin was so, so dry and this promised to help. And it did! I'm not sure the moisture lasted two days as claimed, but it was deeply moisturising and hydrating, and had a pleasant (but not amazing) fragrance. I haven't repurchased because I like something lighter with a more refreshing scent for summer, but as the weather gets cooler (eventually!) I would definitely go and get another bottle.



Revlon Professional Nutri Colour Creme

If you colour your hair, either yourself or at a salon, then I am telling you, track down one of these in your shade and add it to your hair care routine. It is that amazing. A 3 in 1 treatment, colour refresher and shine enhancer, this will help extend and protect your colour. It only needs to be on for three minutes, and it works its magic. It comes in a range of colours - 1002 is great for removing any brassiness in blonde hair, and so I mix some in with the main colour that I use 812 (light pearl). This really keeps my lightened hair in tip top shape, and maintains that just been to the salon colour.

Kerastase Cristalliste Lumiere Liquide

This is a heavily scented (so may be off putting for some) but lightweight oil for hair, that I mostly used on damp hair straight from the shower, but is actually designed as a finishing oil on dry hair. I never really used it as a finishing oil because I simply found it too heavy for my ultra fine hair, and because I didn't want to throw out a full bottle of expensive hair oil, I thought I would try it as a treatment product instead. Given it wasn't being used for its purpose, it worked pretty well, but it is definitely something I would recommend for people with thicker hair than mine.

So there are all of my empties for this month! I would love to know your thoughts on these products; are some of them your favourites, too, or do you have other products you think I should try instead?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What's In My Carry On

When travelling, we would all like to be flying in first class luxury, in our our butler serviced, private shower included, suites a la Jennifer Aniston spruiking Emirates and Nicole Kidman with Etihad.  Unfortunately, I don't think that will ever happen in my lifetime, so I try and recreate my own (almost) first class experience in my cattle class seat. As cabin luggage restrictions become more strongly enforced, it is even more important to be selective with what you back in your carry on bag.

Carry on handbags


I always travel with a large handbag (with cross body strap) as my allowable personal item, and a backpack as my carry on item. This keeps my hands free, which is important when dealing with kids, tickets, passports etc.  This time, I am took my LV Soft Lockit, and the Splendiosa Backpack from Mimco. Both choices worked out really well. The Mimco backpack had plenty of pockets, including a padded laptop sleeve which I used for my iPad, making it easy to find items when I needed them. I used the backpack mostly for inflight items, and my TSA necessary liquids bag, while my handbag held our passports, travel documents, pens, baby wipes and my non-liquids makeup bag.

In Flight Entertainment


  1. Frends Taylor Headphones - forget using the flimsy airline supplied headphones, and invest in a good pair of foldable ones. Some people spring for the noise-cancelling ones (Bose ones are meant to be amazing) but I have never found that I needed to go that far. For me, I like to marry form and function, and the Frends Taylor in Gunmetal Rose Black Leather hits that sweet spot for me. They come with their own vegan leather pouch so cords are not getting damaged. These were a lifesaver for me, however, if you plan to sleep while listening to music (which I don't) then earbuds may be the better option.
  2. iPad Air 2 - My iPad comes with me on an almost daily basis in my regular life and is invaluable on a long air trip. We will be travelling for over 15 hours to get from Perth to Tokyo, and sleep and the movie will only get me so far. I load up my kindle app with books, and my Zinio app with magazines and I am all set. As you can see, I am on a real rose gold kick at the moment, so when I saw this gorgeous glitter Kate Spade iPad case I had to have it!!
  3. Anker Power Core 20100 - This is capable of charging my iPhone 6 seven times, or my iPad nearly 2 times, and can charge 2 devices at once. This is invaluable when travelling - I pretty much only use my phone as my camera, and this way I know that on the trip itself my phone will always be fully juiced. On the plane or on transit at the airport it keeps my entertainment options running! Over the whole trip, I only needed to use this once, since all of our flights except one had usb charging points in the seats, but it was such  peace of mind throughout knowing that I had battery backup if needed/
Resting on the plane


  1. Ann Taylor Poncho - part of my airplane outfit, this poncho is warm and comfy and replaces the airline's scratchy and thin blanket. You could sub in a blanket style scarf or a pashmina depending on your style, but I find the poncho sits nicely and doesn't slip off while you are sleeping. All four of our flights were freezing as soon as we took off, so having this poncho was a lifesaver. It as also super convenient as it easily turned into a neck scarf as soon as we got off the plane and were transiting from one end of the airport to the other!
  2. American Tourister Travel Neck Pillow - yes, this is not the most stylish item, but bringing my own neck pillow has single handedly made flying a much more pleasant experience. George Clooney's character from Up In The Air just fainted at that statement, but I stand by it! I am a side sleeper, and have just never been able to get comfortable in those tiny plane seats, with those tiny pillows, unlike my husband who seems to have this knack of falling asleep before the plane is even in the air! My pillow from American Tourister is convertible, so it switches between a U shaped neck pillow and a regular oblong shaped pillow. Most importantly, it comes with  a hook that allows me to clip it on to my backpack. I can't stress how important this hook is!! If your pillow doesn't come with one, either buy another one, or sew one on your self.
  3. Slip Pure Silk Eye Mask - I don't care if I look like a bit of a tosser wearing a sleep mask, but cutting out the light has made a huge difference to my sleep quality while flying. It was invaluable this time, as our first flight left at midnight, and despite the crew turning off the cabin lights, there is still plenty of light from TV screens and other people's reading lights. Plus, tiny rant here, but why, why, why did the airline serve a full dinner at 2am, when really, who is hungry? And then only a teeny tiny breakfast snack box at 6am when everyone was starving??


Now if you are a regular reader, you just know this is going to be my longest section!! I really like to treat my flying time as a little DIY spa session. Firstly, the flight itself is incredibly dehydrating, so I want to counter that, and secondly, when else do I get an eight hour stretch of enforced doing nothing time??!  I get a lot of sample size products, so I like to fill up my flight kit with a mix of favourites and products that I haven't used before. Do not try this if you have sensitive skin!!

The first thing I do after take off is

I can't bring myself to sit on the plane scaring small children with a sheet mask, so an overnight mask is the next best thing, because you can't see that you are wearing it!! Throughout the flight, I will respray with the toner a number of times and on a long trip like this one, I reapplied more mask at least once, switching between the overnight mask and Aveda's Intensive Hydrating Mask (8), a new product to me, which I really liked as well - very refreshing. I pat on more eyecream every two hours if I am awake. Make sure your toner actually contains moisture holding ingredients like glycerin or hyularonic acid; sprays like Evian that only contain water will actually dehydrate your skin more if using on their own.

I also really look after my lips and hands during the flight, since the dehydrating air can do a real number on them as well. As often as I remember, I will massage in Aerin's Rose Balm (1) into my cuticles, followed by a good helping of her Rose Hand Cream, which I decant into a smaller container. The Rose Balm jar is a bit big and heavy to take with me, but I honestly haven't found a good substitute, so along it comes! I could use the same balm on my lips, and did on the overnight flight, but during the day time flights I used Aerin's Tinted Rose Lip Balm (7) which gives a gorgeous hint of colour.

Towards landing, I follow the exact same procedure, but replace the overnight mask with a tinted SPF Day cream, in this case Alpha H's Protection Plus Daily 50+ (9). Most of these products are little sample sizes, usually just enough to last me two flights. Extras are packed in my luggage for the return flight, and as I finish the tubes, I ditch them.

Quick and simple makeup is the go when you need to apply in-flight. I don't believe in hogging the toilet to apply my makeup (there was literally only 2 toilets on one of our flights for all of economy and premium economy), so everything needs to be done in my seat. All of these items, bar the two Aerin Balms, went outside of my liquids baggie and I wasn't stopped once, but the rules are not entirely black and white, so your milege may vary. This is particularly true of lipsticks and similar products, where some countries consider them a solid, and others a liquid.

  • I already had a tinted base from my moisturiser, so a quick touchup under the eyes, and around the nose area with By Terry's Touche Veloutee Enlightening Concealer Brush (7) gives me a fresh and awake look, despite over 15 hours in transit. I am not exagerating when I say this concealer is a miracle product!
  • I dust over the whole face with the top left shade (Dim Light) from Hourglass' Ambient Light Edit palette (4) which just gives a gorgeous glowy (but not glittery) finish, followed with the bottom left shade (Mood Exposure) a beautiful plum toned blush. I brought my contour brush (1) from Sigma beauty along, and used the same brush for all of the different powders.
  • A swipe of Laura Mercier's Caviar Stick eyeshadow cream in Rose Gold (2), together with Aerin's Cool Gel Eyeliner in Black (8), and Hourglass' Film Noir Mascara (3)  gives me an enhanced but natural eye look. 
  • A dab of the Rose Balm on my cheekbones for a dewy look, and the Rose Lip Balm on my lips for a hint of colour, and my fast and simple face is complete.

So there you have how I tried to make my flights a little bit more pleasant. Packing a few key luxuries, while not overloading yourself, makes all the difference! I would love to see what your inflight essentials are!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Festive Freekeh Salad

This gorgeous summer salad was a big hit at Christmas dinner, and despite its name, it would be great at anytime of the year. Like the rest of my entertaining recipes, this salad is super simple to prepare and can be made ahead of time.

Freekeh is a "trendy" grain at the moment but don't let that put you off - it is nutty and delicious and chewy, making it perfect for a substantial salad. Freekeh is toasted green wheat, but if you can't find it, feel free to substitute brown rice or barley - the salad would still be just as yummy.

Festive Freekeh Salad

300g Freekeh (whole, not cracked)
2 bay leaves
1 quill
1 jar fire roasted capsicum (peppers)
1 jar char grilled eggplant (aubergine)
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted seeds (I used a seed blend that had pumpkin, sunflower, flax and sesame, but I might try slivered almonds next time)
Juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional, but delicious)
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pomegranate

  1. Put the freekeh, bay leaves and cinnamon in a large pot together with plenty of water, and boil for 45 minutes, adding more water if necessary. The freekeh should be tender but still chewy, with a bite to it.
  2. Drain, and leave to cool. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon quill.
  3. Place all remaining ingredients except pomegranate into a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.
  4. Pour into a wide but shallow serving dish. Cut pomegranate in half, and holding cut side down over salad, bash the pomegranate with the hilt of a chopping knife or a large spoon so the arils and juice fall over salad.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to a few hours.

Linking to these great websites here

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Raspberry, Nougat and Rosewater Parfait

Merry Christmas everyone!! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and best wishes to you all for the New Year to come.

I don't know where I originally found the recipe for this delicious summer dessert, but it has become a staple at Christmas time in my household. This parfait not only looks and tastes amazing, it is a wonderful recipe for entertaining as it comes together in just minutes and can be made well ahead of time.

This recipe makes two loaf dishes of parfait, enough for 12-16 people, but the recipe can easily be halved if you only want to make one dish.

Raspberry, Nougat and Rosewater Parfait

1 kg (4 1/2 cups)  ricotta
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tbsp rosewater
600 ml thickened cream
100 g toasted almonds, chopped
300 g crunchy nougat, chopped
300 g frozen raspberries
Fresh raspberries, Pashmak (Persian fairy floss), edible pearls and edible flowers, to serve

  • Line 2 14cm x 21cm with baking paper to cover the base and up the long sides at least 5 cm 
  • Blend ricotta, sugar and rosewater until smooth. Whip cream until soft peaks form.
  • Combine ricotta mixture with nuts and nougat. Fold in the whipped cream and then gently fold in the raspberries.
  • Divide into prepared loaf tins, smooth top, then cover with foil.
  • Freeze until firm.
Half an hour before serving, place in fridge to soften slightly, before turning out onto serving platter. Decorate with fresh berries, pashmak (Persian fairy floss) and edible pearls and flowers as in the pic above, or drizzle with berry or chocolate sauce.

Linking to these great websites here

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Figgy Pudding Bircher Muesli

We are now in the home stretch, and Christmas is just around the corner. If you need a break from all of the rich and heavy foods, but still want to indulge in some festive flavour, then this healthy Figgy Pudding Bircher Muesli will surely do the trick! Sharing all of the delightful Christmas spices, but none of the "baddies", this make-ahead dish lasts up to a week in the fridge, can be doubled or tripled in quantity, and would also be good for a Christmas brunch buffet spread.

Christmas Figgy Pudding Bircher Muesli

250g natural (untoasted) muesli - I used half a packet of Carmen's Bircher Muesli
1 cup natural Greek yoghurt
3/4 cup apple juice
3/4 cup milk of choice - I use unsweetened almond/cashew milk
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp molasses
3 dried figs, chopped
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
chopped fresh fruit of choice - I used grated apple and chopped fresh figs this time

  1. Combine all ingredients except fresh fruit in a medium size mixing bowl, then cover and leave in fridge overnight. I mix and store in a 6 cup pyrex glass storage container to minimize the dishes!
  2. The next morning, serve into individual bowls, and add in chopped fresh fruit of choice. You may like to stir in a bit more milk if it has thickened up too much for your taste. 
  3. Without the fresh fruit, it will last up to a week in the fridge.
 Serves 4-6

Linking to these great websites here

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Holiday Capsule Wardrobe Planning

These holidays we are off to Japan, going on our first family holiday to a cold location. All of our previous holidays have been to hot tropical locations, which made it so easy to pack lightly, so I have found planning this holiday capsule wardrobe more problematic than I am used too. Just the type of items needed for a winter sojourn mean less compact luggage by their very nature. This is coupled with the fact that despite us having a "winter" season, a Perth winter's temps are often around the temperatures that many European locales experience in their summers!! So, I have had to buy a lot of items specific to this trip, such as thermals, proper winter coats, and hats, gloves and scarves.

Like any capsule wardrobe, it is helpful to start with a colour palette, and then to carefully consider each item to make sure that it can work in many different outfits. For a holiday wardrobe, I like to pack darker colours, as they tend to show dirt and grime much less, which will give you much more wear out of your items that don't need to be laundered each day.

For this trip, we are going to Tokyo for a week, and then up to Sapporo for the week of skiing. Since for the first part of the trip I will be in a major cosmopolitan city, I decided to pack a monochrome wardrobe of black and grey, which is a) not out of my comfort zone, b) will look appropriate, and c) will be practical. For the second week skiing I would have loved to be in the snow in a array of winter whites, like this:
but, while I adore the look, shades of white are just not going to work for me, and neither is packing a second capsule just for the resort, since any extra space will be taken up by actual ski gear! So, black and grey it is, with clothes that will transition from urban Tokyo to apres ski in a ski lodge. Layers are key; from my time time in Japan previously, I know that while it may be near freezing outside, shops, restaurants and hotels keep the central heating pumping indoors. So, I will be toting a lot of my Eileen Fisher silk basics that pack into next to nothing, but still look appropriate if I start stripping of layers. Layers will also be vital for my airplane outfit, as we will be leaving in the peak of summer (and while Perth winters may be mild, we more than make up for it with our stinking hot summers) and then 15 hours later touching down in the middle of winter.

Airplane Outfit

My planned outfit, as you can see, is all about comfort, while still maintaining some style. When leaving Perth, I will be in cashmere track pants, my black matte silk jersey Eileen Fisher tunic tank, and my EF merino double faced cardigan jacket, paired with my Sorel Toronto snow boots. In my backpack will be the grey and black Ann Taylor wool/cashmere poncho (similar) which I will pop on once we hop on the plane (that way I can do away with the scratchy airplane blanket) and the merino wool Eileen Fisher tunic sweater, just in case the aircon is blasting on the plane. I forgot to include in the collage above my foldable ballet flats which I will pull out after take off.  The backpack will also hold my Lands End Primaloft coat (which packs down to hardly anything) (similar), wool knitted hat, and gloves, ready to be popped on as we exit in Tokyo. The poncho comes off, and converts into a looped scarf.

When I travel, I only ever take 3 pairs of shoes, which for previous holidays has usually been a pair of trainers, a comfy pair of sandals and a dressy pair of sandals. Sticking to three pairs for this trip was much trickier, but even more important due to space and weight limitations. It meant carefully considering my priorities for this trip, and in this case my priorities were staying warm, dry, comfortable and safe. This meant no heels, and shoes that would be safe on potentially slippery paths. It also meant that one of the shoes needed to be suitable for wearing in the snow when we head to the ski resort.

Cold weather shoes and accessories

So, the three pairs I ended up deciding on were the Tory Burch Minnie Travel ballet flats, my fave Reebok v Melody Ehsani trainers, and the Sorel Toronto Lace Wedge snow boots (I'm not counting the little wedge as a heel!!). Hopefully, these three meet all my needs, keep me warm and toasty, and still let me be a little bit stylish!!

Limited space also means that I will be limiting the amount of accessories that I will be bringing. If you are a long time reader, then you know that jewellery and accessories have played a big part in my summer holiday capsules. This time round, I am only planning to take a couple of rings and one pair of earrings, since I am assuming that the majority of the time any jewellery will be covered up by gloves, hats and outerwear. Instead, I am planning on taking 3 scarves, two hats and one pair of gloves. (This is extra to the ski gloves and fleece scarf for when we are skiing). Two of my scarves are from Mimco, a great Australian brand whom I have a number of pieces from. The one on the left is silk and embellished with cascades of beads (similar), which I plan to use to dress up my basic outfits for evenings. The one on the right is a silk/wool blend with tassels, and can be worn so many ways. Lastly, I have the Ann Taylor poncho from my airplane outfit, which can be worn as a poncho or as a neck scarf, and will be great for cold days spent mostly outside.

I am also taking two hats, the first a hand knitted wool beanie with fur pom pom purchased from the seller All Is Yay on Etsy, and the second a faux fur Cossack style hat from Marks and Spencer for a bit of glam! Finally, I am taking these gloves from Lands End, the Polartec Powerstretch Active Glove. These gloves are amazing - I wear them at least once a week when I take Irini to iceskating and they keep my hands so warm. The tech touch feature on thumb and finger actually works so I can still use my phone, and the matte finish means the gloves cross over from ultra casual to smart casual with ease.

Now onto the clothes themselves!

Winter Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

I pretty much followed a 3x3x3 formula, so three sweaters, three tops and three pants, with a faux fur vest, two coats, a dressy silk blouse, and 4 silk underlayers (that can be worn on their own), thrown in for good measure, and everything able to be layered with each other. I cannot stress how important it is to try on your clothes before you go - there were two tops I was seriously considering, but both had dropped shoulders and were so uncomfortable under another sweater or a coat. You don't want to be discovering this fact when you are already away!!

Stay tuned, as I will post some outfit ideas later in the week.


PS: There are no affiliate links here; I just linked to sites because I though it might be useful. I would love to know in the comments if you like (or don't like) the links.

Linking to these great websites here

Monday, December 14, 2015

What's On My Bedside Table

I have seen a lot of these posts from fellow bloggers, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon, too, and share what's on my bedside table.

The mirrored tray I have had for the longest time, and honestly have absolutely no idea where I got it from! Regardless, I love it, and find it useful at corralling my stuff and keeping it looking somewhat organised. On it, I have my jewellery tree (from Myer), that as you can probably see is missing a branch after it came off second best when the kids and I were horsing around! Even missing one branch, I find it very handy for placing my jewellery before bed. Once a week or so I will go through it and put everything away in their correct spots but, in between, it keeps necklaces from getting tangled and earrings from losing their partners.

The little heart dish is from Royal Albert and my daughter has a matching one in her room. I mainly use it for hair ties and loose change. The hair brush is from Rock and Ruddle and it has the prettiest acorn and butterfly print. I have the large one, and my daughter has the matching child size one. I much prefer this brush to my previous Mason and Pearson one. For starters, it is much cheaper, but more importantly, the bristle part can be removed for easy cleaning. I use dry shampoo in between hair washes, and was finding it was building up on my previous brush. With this brush, I give it a quick wash once a week and it is fantastic.

I always have a hand cream on or in my bedside table, and because the Aerin one is so pretty I am happy to have it out. Next to the hand cream is a body lotion from Fragonard that my mum brought back for me from Provence. The last item on the mirrored tray is a cute calender featuring retro housewives and snarky comments - it never fails to make me smile!

The grey thing that looks like a night light is actually an ultrasonic vapouriser called Bloom that I use to mist essential oils into the air. In winter I tend to use cold and flu type oils like peppermint and eucalyptus but at the moment I am using a sleep blend by InEssence. The kids also have one each in their rooms - as well as being a vapouriser, they also work as a nightlight - and both kids love setting it up for themselves each night.

I always have a stack of books on my table. Even though I would say 90% of my reading is now done on the kindle app on my iPad, there is nothing that compares to a real, hold it in your hands, turn the paper pages, book. I have been a book lover since I was a small child, and despite my whole hearted embrace of technology, I don't think I will ever completely give up on real books.

The books that are currently on my bedside are a pretty good representation of the type of books that I do buy hard copies of versus digital. Style, decor, cooking, and craft books just scream out to be held and pored over, and I just don't think that the digital versions are there yet in replicating that experience.  Fiction, biographies, health and fitness - these all suit me much better digitally.

From top to bottom, I am currently reading:

Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance by Jennifer L Scott
The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski
French Chic Living: Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful by Florence de Dampierre
The Healthy Life by Jessica Sepel

Polish Your Poise and French Chic Living I both purchased courtesy of an Amazon gift card I won from Life With Dee, a fantastic blogger that I have been following since before I even started blogging. She recently relaunched her blog, and if you are a reader of my blog, and you haven't discovered Dee yourself already, I am sure you will love her style!

I was waiting with bated breath for the latest book by Jennifer L Scott (aka The Daily Connoisseur) to arrive, because as you all know, I am am unabashed fan of Jennifer and her writing. Unfortunately, the timing has been terrible, arriving right in my busy season, and I am only half way through. This is in no way a reflection of the book; so far I am loving it - lots of timely reminders, especially at this time of the year when poise can easily vanish in a blink of an eye - it is simply the time of the year. School's finished, but instead we have swimming lessons everyday, work has been crazy and the hours I am putting in seem to be growing higher and higher, and by the time bedtime comes, I can often only manage a few pages before I need to go to sleep! If you are tossing up whether to buy this for the kindle or in hard copy, go the hard copy - it is simply divine. The illustrator has outdone themselves, and the paper the book is printed on is beautiful.

This is the book I was reading before Polish Your Poise arrived, so again, unusually for me, another half finished book. This book is simply fascinating, a look into American fashion history of the every day woman during the first half of the last century. You can tell the author is an academic, because the writing can be a little bit on the dry side, but her research seems impeccable, and I found what I have read so far not only incredibly interesting, but inspiring as well. I look forward to finishing this book in the New Year.

This lovely looking book arrived at the same time as Polish Your Poise, and so far, all of I have done is remove the plastic it was wrapped in! I honestly haven't even peeked inside. From the outside, though, it looks beautiful, so I am really looking forward to dipping into this one shortly.

Jessica Sepel is an Australian wellness blogger, and though Australian wellness bloggers as a group have taken a bit of a hammering over the past year (see Belle Gibson, Pete Evans and Jess Ainscough), I have always found Jessica Sepel ground in reality, with a balanced outlook on life. Her first published book, The Healthy Life is filled with a lot of great ideas (and recipes) that I really do plan to incorporate into my lifestyle, but right now, unfortunately this has taken a back seat, just like my reading! Again, bookmarked for the New Year after our holiday.

And so that is what is on my bedside table. I hoped you enjoyed this little peek into my space!

Disclaimer: The amazon links are affiliate links and if you click through I get a small (tiny!) rebate to my amazon account at no cost to you! All items were purchased by me.

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