Monday, September 19, 2016

Upcoming Tropical City Holiday Capsule Wardrobe - By The Pool

This upcoming holiday we are planning to spend plenty of time at the pool, just chilling out. And with a pool like this at out hotel (Marina Bay Sands) you would have to be crazy to not want to spend a heck of a lot of time here!  The kids seem to alternate between being ridiculously excited, and a little bit scared; it is on the 57th floor after all!

I'm definitely excited, not scared, regarding the pool, but at the same time, wearing swimwear out in public always makes me feel incredibly self conscious. Planning out what I am going to wear always seems to help somewhat. Obviously, I have control issues!!  I'm not sitting on a mega yacht on the Med (I wish!), so super glam is not necessary, but a little bit of glam never goes astray.

By The Pool

For any beach or pool outing, I think the following seven items are your must haves.

  1. Swimsuit. Obviously the most important item! And finding one is never easy, especially since we are usually looking in the dead of winter with pasty skin, and perhaps a few extra kilos. I usually only take one swimsuit on a holiday, but since I plan to spend at least some of everyday at the pool, this time I am taking two. And, I struck gold with these two! The black and white one piece is from Lands End, and their claims of it shaping and enhancing really are true! This is a very flattering swimsuit, and the neckline and white trim make for a sleek but glam look. The second piece is from Myer, and the leopard print and cut is real old-school glam. It's also flattering, as well as being very comfortable.
  2. Sunscreen. The second most important item! If you want to look younger, then the very simple, inexpensive, non-invasive way is to slather on the sunscreen. I love the Anthelios range by La Roche Posay, and this Cooling Water Lotion one feels so light and fresh on the skin. Remember to reapply at least every 80 minutes, but also as soon as you dry off with a towel.
  3. Coverup. When staying at a hotel, you usually have to walk at least part of the way, in public, in your swimsuit, and while I'm actually by the pool I don't feel strange, I certainly do if I happen to be in a lift or a corridor, only in a pair of bathers! Yes, you can fall back on the hotel bathrobes, but I prefer to pack a light coverup. This is also a great solution for when you decide to grab a bite to eat at the poolside restaurant. I am packing a sheer black skirt coverup as it looks great, packs down to nothing and is so easy to slip on and off. I can't tell you where I bought mine, as it is at least 5 years old and the label has worn off, but the Jets one I've linked to in the collage looks like a great option. 
  4. Hat. An absolute necessity! Not only is a hat a stylish accessory, it is invaluable in helping protect your skin from aging and skin cancer. It amazes me when women I know spend literally thousands of dollars on their skin, and then go out in the sun without proper protection. Crazy, I tell you!!
  5. Sunnies. Again, style and protection in one. I prefer polarized lenses, but any good, UV rated pair will do their job. I love aviator styles for summer holidays, and my rose gold pair are just perfect against (faux) bronze skin.
  6. Flip Flops. We call them thongs here in Oz, but just to clarify, I mean the things that go on your feet!! Again, you could just wear the hotel slippers, but I'm telling you that you'll feel a whole lot more stylish in a simple pair of (nice, not grody) rubber flip flops.
  7. Tote Bag. Probably not a necessity, but makes your life so much easier. I received this straw tote in the summer limited edition POPSUGAR MustHave Box, and it is awesome! The leather handles really up the style stakes, and it is so nice and roomy, so you can fit all of your bits and pieces, like room key cards, sunscreen, and a great poolside read as well as your sunnies and coverup when you are in the water.
 I would love to know what you think I should take to sit by the pool!

Linking to these great websites here

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Upcoming Tropical City Holiday Capsule Wardrobe - On the Plane

In a few weeks, the family and I are off to a fabulous vacation in Singapore, and I Can. Not. Wait! While it hasn't really been that long since our last trip, we are all feeling like we really need a getaway at the moment, so it couldn't have come at a better time. But, as regular readers will know, half the fun of a trip for me is in the planning and packing stage, so as usual, I have been planning my holiday capsule wardrobe.

Singapore is always a funny one for me, packing wise; while it is a tropical location, it is a very cosmopolitan city, so I need my wardrobe to be suitable for the sticky and humid days, but not look as if I have just come from the beach. As such, I've planned my wardrobe around cooling natural fibres, but in shapes and pieces that won't feel out of place in a bustling and vibrant city.

As with any capsule wardrobe, the first place I start is with my colour palette. Be guided by what you normally wear at home - a holiday is not really the time to be busting out a full suitcase of bright tropical prints if all you ever wear is black - even if you look spectacular, I guarantee that you won't feel that way. In my case, my regular closet has pretty much evolved into a minimalist palette of black, camel/natural/beige, blush pink, navy and white. For this trip, I honed it down even further to just three neutrals: natural/beige, and white.

On the plane, my ethos is stylish comfort. Obviously, sitting in a cramped spot for hours is never going to be a barrel of laughs, so choosing clothes that are breathable, stretchable, and just down right comfortable becomes a necessity, not a luxury. However, and this is a big however, that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice some style. Think about all the celebrity pap shots you see at airports.

Granted, they have all just alighted from a spacious and luxurious first class cabin, but if you break down their outfits, they invariably follow the same outfit formula.

  1. Comfortable jeans or pants. This is where you need to consider your style of pants. I have a great pair of Blue Illusion Bengajeans that I would happily wear on a long haul flight, but a regular pair of skinny jeans, no way! For this trip, I am not planning to take any jeans (too hot!) so I am wearing my Eileen Fisher wide legged cropped washable crepe trousers. Made out of a stretch knit fabric, they are incredibly comfortable, but will get great use on the trip as well because they transition from casual to dressy with easy. Black leggings also make a great choice, IF, like Chrissy Teigan above, you wear a longer top - no one wants to see your butt hanging out!
  2. A relaxed and/or stretchy top. Again, anything with some stretch and some breathability is going to make your flight more comfortable, and leave you looking presentable at the other end. Obviously, stay away from anything that is going to crush or wrinkle! Personally, I like to keep this piece black, just to minimize the impact of any spills that may happen, especially travelling with kids. My pick is an Eileen Fisher viscose jersey tank - the fabric looks more polished that plain cotton, but feels like I am wearing pyjamas.

  3. Large scarf.  Not only does it add a touch of colour or pattern to a simple outfit, it can be a great solution when the weather is cold at one end and hot at the other. Also, planes are often freezing, so a scarf that can double as blanket is a great idea. For this trip, since it is only short haul, and we will be going from warm weather to hot weather, I have packed a light weight scarf, rather than a blanket weight scarf.
  4. "Third Piece". This third piece is what can elevate any outfit from ho hum to stylish. Whether you go for a cuddly long line wrap cardi that can act as a blanket on the plane as it surrounds you in warmth, a blazer or a light weight sheer kimono, this third piece really helps to complete your outfit, and if not needed while seated can be easily stashed in the overhead bin or your carry on bag. This time, I'm going the blazer route a la Jessica Alba above, in a natural coloured linen blend blazer from Blue Illusion. My top tip is, once again, look for something that doesn't wrinkle. This blazer is a linen BLEND and the the other fibres means that jacket will still look presentable even after wearing it on a plane for 5 hours. For longer flights, a knit or ponte blazer is probably a better option comfort wise.
  5. Slip On Shoes. Note, I've specifically said shoes, and not sandals! With travel security (necessarily) the way it is, it is highly likely you will need to remove your shoes at control points. This means a) for ease, you want shoes that slip on and off easily with no fuss, and b) you want to be wearing socks, so you don't need to walk bare foot over that dirty floor. This is a great time to wear your (stylish) sneakers so they don't take up room in your luggage, or else, a great pair of patterned flats, or a sleek ballerina shoe. I decided on a pair of leopard print espradilles, also from Blue Illusion; the colours match perfectly with my chosen palette, they are super comfortable, and they look great with pants, but also fab with dresses, of which I'm planning to pack two. Feel free to wear heels if that's your thing; I'll be honest, though, while I am a heels lover, trying to navigate through airports with two kids, a husband, luggage and with heels on ain't going to be a thing for me anytime soon!!

  6. Hat. I love carrying a hat so I have something to put on at the other end to cover up my flat airplane hair. You may not have this problem, but I have super fine hair, and the minute I hop on a plane, it doesn't matter what I do, what products I use, my hair ends up flat and lifeless and a little bit too oily for dry shampoo to rescue. Hence, whacking on a hat!

  7. Oversized handbag/backpack. But not too oversized! As a family, we still take one carry-on onboard, that carries my son's and my medications, toiletries, as well as a spare set of undergarments and our swimsuits, just in case out luggage gets delayed we are set for the first night and day. As well as this, the kids and I each take one backpack, to hold our inflight entertainment (iPads, headphones, snacks, colouring books etc). Travelling with kids, I prefer a backpack rather than a handbag as it keeps my hands free, and my backpack from Michael Kors is a great size and a fantastic colour.
So here is the collage of what I will be wearing on the plane so you can get a visual of the pieces put together. Most importantly, all of the items will be a key part of my holiday capsule wardrobe.

On The Plane

Linking to these great websites here

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mask Monday: Double Masking

Today for Mask Monday, we are dipping our toes into the trend of double masking. As long time readers would know, I firmly believe that facial masks are a cornerstone of my skincare routine, rather than simply a pampering luxury. And if you haven't added facial masks into your routine already, you couldn't have picked a better time, with almost every skincare brand  on the market going pretty mask crazy.

For the past few months, I have been pretty much firmly on the sheet mask bandwagon, just because they are so. damn. easy. Come on, sheet masks are the ultimate busy mum solution - tear open pack, slap on face, relax for 15 minutes while watching Netflix, pat in, go to bed.  Really just too easy. But perhaps too simple. Don't get me wrong, a sheet mask is a great fix, and wonderful for deeply hydrating your skin, but often, that is not all your skin needs, which brings me to the double masking that I tried last night.

Double Masking, like most beauty trends, seems to have come out of the Korean beauty scene, and can refer to two different techniques. The first type, which I used last night, is applying two different types of masks, on different parts of the face, at the same time. The second type is where you actually layer two different masks on on top of the other, which can be great if you want to use a highly active mask but are not sure your skin is up to it. For this method, which I plan to try in the future, layer your more active mask first, then apply a soothing/nourishing mask directly over the top.

Double masking, two places, same time

This technique is perfect for when you face is feeling somewhat unbalanced, or when different parts of your face has different needs. Obviously perfect for combination skin, but can be adapted for any type of skin that is feeling out of whack. Lately,  due to changes in medication, I have been feeling somewhat congested through the T zone and right across my chin/jaw area, so I wanted to utilize a purifying mask, but was concerned that it might be too drying for my cheeks that tend to be dehydrated.

On my T zone and chin, I used Sukin Super Greens Detoxifying Clay Masque, which combines a host of "super greens" with avocado, baobab and kaolin and betonite clays. In hindsight, I do feel I could have used this all over my face, as it was a very different clay mask to the ones I have used in the past. While it is a detoxing clay mask, it doesn't *feel* like one on the skin - it doesn't dry and crack like the ones of old - and while my skin felt clean once removed, it didn't feel dry or dehydrated at all, but rather, supple and nourished.

On my cheeks and under my eyes, I spread Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Masque, a milky gel chock a block full of hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, squalene and glycerin. This is a pretty basic mask, (I don't mean that in a bad way!) with no spa-like fragrance or hi-tech ingredients, but it does what it says it does, and that is why I love it. PS: This mask is *amazing* for travel - on our last overseas trip which involved 17 hours of travel (one way!) I applied on clean skin every few hours, and I credit this mask with saving my skin from the dehydration dry cabin air usually causes.

So there you have my take on the double masking trend. Have you tried it? I would love to read your mask combos in the comments.


Linking to these great websites here

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

All In One Beef Stroganoff Pasta

I love All In One dishes because they are just so easy to prepare, cook AND clean up, and yet, they are invariably tasty and please the whole family. This Beef Stroganoff Pasta ticks all of those boxes. On the table in less than 30 minutes, this meal is perfect for busy weeknight dinners. I like to serve with a garden salad to round out the meal.

All In One Beef Stroganoff Pasta

Spray of olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
500g (1lb) button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
500g (1lb) beef mince (ground beef)
2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 L (4 cups) beef stock
300g spiral pasta
1/2 cup sour cream
Parsley, chopped, to garnish

  1. Heat a large non-stick saute pan over medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in sliced mushrooms and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Add beef mince, and cook until browned. Stir in paprika, followed by tomato paste, and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce, beef stock and dried pasta. Season to taste with salt and ground pepper. Stir well, cover with lid and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes until pasta is cooked.
  5. Turn off heat, and stir in sour cream. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, and serve with a garden salad for a balanced meal.

Linking to these great websites here

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Two Step Eyebrow Routine

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then our eyebrows are definitely the frame to our personal portrait. I cannot stress highly enough how important your eyebrows are to your overall look. Brow fashions come and go, from the ultra thin, penciled in brows of the 1930's, through to the Instagrammed drama of Kylie Jenner's, or the full and feathery set belonging to Cara Delevingne. Personally, I like to take the middle ground, keeping them reasonably full, with a defined but not exaggerated arch.

There are basically only two steps in my brow routine - shape and tint, followed by gel or pencil. Every month or so, I get my brows professionally shaped and tinted, maintaining in between with very careful tweezing. Most of the time, I make the drive into the city so I can go to the Benefit Brow Bar to have them done. I have tried and tried plenty of other places, but for me, the girls at Benefit always do the better job.

Scary with no makeup whatsoever! But you can see that because of the shaping and tinting, even with no products, the brows still frame the face nicely.

There are plenty of tutorials on line if you prefer to shape them yourself - Into The Gloss also offers some insight on how to fill in brows. My only tip is to be ultra conservative when shaping by your self. It is easy to pluck hair out; from personal experience, it is a much more painful process to grow them back in! So, once my brows are in tip top shape, I use two different products depending on the look I am after.

For everyday wear, I prefer a natural, feathery look, but still with some definition. To achieve this, I love the Eyeko Brow Gel. The gel is lightly tinted, and while it goes on glossy, it dries down to a perfectly natural (but better!) finish with good hold and absolutely no flakiness over the course of the day. It has a wonderful brush that makes it really easy to get in to all the hairs, and is small enough to be able to go right through the tail of the eyebrow. I brush through starting at the nose end, brushing upwards in small, light strokes, before gliding through to the ends. Make sure to remove excess product on the brush before starting!

These are my eyebrows with the Eyeko Brow Gel brushed through. As you can see, there is slightly more definition and fullness compared to my naked brows, but it is still natural looking and not at all over the top.


For a more polished look, I always reach for a pencil, and in my opinion, you just can't go past Hourglass' Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. Available in an eye-boggling 9 shades, you will have absolutely no issue finding the right shade for you! I use Soft Brunette, a cooler toned dark brown which while defining my brows beautifully does not come across as fake or over the top. The reason I love this pencil so much (apart from the perfect colour) is that it is so ridiculously easy to use. Basically combining pencil, powder and wax in one product, the triangular shape of the pencil tip makes filling in and defining my eyebrows a job completed in just seconds. I use the pencil tip horizontally to line across the top and bottom of the brow (defining the shape), followed by the side of the pencil tip to fill in the bulk of the brow. Go easier on the inner third of the brow, and heavier towards the tail end. I also don't line the inner centimeter or so on top. I then use the "point" of the triangle to shape the tail and finally, brush through with the attached spoolie to blend and soften.

Defined and polished with the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. Not sure why the lighting looks *completely* different now; this pic was taken less that 10 minutes after the last one! This is obviously a more made-up look, which I would tend to wear if I'm going out, or with more polished outfits. I tend to wear my brows like this to balance a heavier eye, or a dark lip.

So there you have my two step eye brow routine. I would love to know what products you use to keep your brows in shape.



Linking to these great websites here


Monday, June 27, 2016

My Autumn And Winter Lipstick Wardrobe

It's no secret that I love makeup! Maybe its my years in the beauty industry, or maybe I fell into that industry because I love makeup so much, I really don't know. Regardless, I love it, and I think I will always love it. Which is why I am loving the fact that winter has finally arrived here in Perth. There is just something about winter that screams out for a slightly heavier hand when it comes to makeup, and on most days, it tends to be a deeper lipstick colour that I am reaching for.  Just like I have a capsule wardrobe for my clothing, I have also pared back my makeup collection, and now have a nicely curated wardrobe of lipsticks to select from as I play with my makeup.

Lipsticks from left to right: Nars Sheer Lipstick in Dolce Vita, Aerin Rosebalm Lipstick in Rose Liebling, Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle, Clinique Pop Lipcolour in Love Pop, Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in Trans Europe Express, Tory Burch Lipstick in Tomboy, Honest Beauty Truly Kissable Lip Crayon in Mulberry Kiss, and Aerin Rose Balm Lipstick in Wild Lilac.

It's funny, because it seriously looks like 8 lipsticks that are all almost exactly the same colour, but I promise you, they are not!! Obviously, though, I veer towards shades in the mauve, rose, berry family, and as winter comes, it is the deeper ones in the family that I am reaching for most often.

Nars Sheer Lipstick in Dolce Vita

I have only recently started wearing Nars lipsticks and I honestly don't know why I have waited so long! The colour range is gorgeous and the textures delightful. The Sheer Lipstick in Dolce Vita is what I would consider a universal shade that suits almost everyone, except for people with very highly pigmented lips. This is a dusky plum, is (as the name suggests) sheer, and applies with an almost balm like feel. It is what I would call a My Lips But Better colour. I love wearing this on weekends when I don't necessarily want to look "made up"but I still want a hint of colour and polish.

Aerin Rose Balm Lipstick in Rose Liebling

This is my desert island lipstick. I have written before about how much I love this range of lipsticks, and I am now onto my second tube of this one, which is unheard of for me! This is "my" nude lipstick, but if I were to describe it accurately I would consider it cool toned mauve. It appears much darker in the tube than it does on the lips, but applies to give a lovely flush of colour. All of these lipsticks are rose scented, but not overly so, and are lovely and hydrating on the lips. This is a colour I wear all year round, and one I reach for in winter if I have gone with a heavier eye.

Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle

It's Chanel, what can I say? I'm a long time fan of the Rouge Coco range; they have a silky, buttery feel on the lips, while still being long lasting, and the finish is luminous without being shimmery. Mademoiselle is (another ) dusty rose shade in my collection, but ones that packs much more punch than the Aerin Rose Liebling. It is warmer in colour, and certainly deeper, and this has become my everyday school drop off, errand running lipstick. I can foresee that it will have a permanent place in my handbag until at least spring!

When I was working, this is a shade I would have called a perfect meeting or ├»nterview  lipstick. There is enough colour to appear polished and made up, but it wasn't distracting like a red or dark berry may have been.

Clinique Pop Lip Colour and Primer in Love Pop

This was a freebie in a Clinique GWP, and I was surprised that I loved the colour. The colour looks absolutely nothing like the outside of the tube, nor the tube of lipstick itself, both of which made me think this was going to be a deep brownish berry. Considered a "violet" shade by Clinique, I found this to be an adorable shimmery raspberry pink, and perfect for when I need a POP of colour (see what I did there??!!).

 Supposedly a combination of lip primer and lipstick in one, I found this lipstick very long lasting, despite its shine, and nicely hydrating on the lips. I would definitely purchase this once my smaller gift size runs out.

Nars Semi Matte Trans Europe Express

This is a very deep rose, almost red shade that I am applying again and again now that the cold and grey weather is here, and after the Chanel Mademoiselle lipstick, probably my most worn so far this winter. Nars calls this semi matte, but I think it is comparable to most true matte lipsticks out on the market. It has a velvety feel on the lips and is very long wearing, without being drying.

Tory Burch Lipstick in Tomboy

This is a lovely lipstick with packaging to die for, that a mostly wore during autumn, when I wanted something a touch deeper than my summer shades, but wasn't quite ready for the cool toned deep roses and berries that I am wearing now. Tomboy is a sheer warm tawny shade, a rosy brown colour with a golden shimmer to it. It is definitely warmer than almost every lipstick I own, but I have found it marvelous for summer evenings, and wonderful through autumn days, when warmer shades just seem right.

Honest Beauty Truly Kissable Lip Crayon in Mulberry Kiss

I received this lip crayon in my winter Zoe Box of Style, and I love it! Like the name suggests, it is a deep mulberry shade, that skews slightly pink on my lips. A demi-matte, it goes on beautifully, is relatively long lasting, and as a wind up crayon, it is easy to apply. I did not find it drying at all, in fact I found it quite hydrating. I do need to wear a lipliner with it however, as it does seem to bleed occasionally.

Aerin Rose Balm Lipstick in Wild Lilac

This looks kind of scary in the tube, like I may turn into a goth version of myself if I put it on, but it is actually one of the most beautiful and wearable colours I have ever tried. On the lips, it is a gorgeous deep wine colour with hints of berry and lots of shine, and absolutely on trend for this season. Not as long lasting (but still decent) as a matte or demi matte would be, I happy to trade that off for the shine this lipstick offers. What I love most about this lipstick is its versatility; you can apply it very lightly to give a very pretty berry stain (almost like the cult Clinique Black Honey), or amp it up for a full coverage deep wine.  Like the other Rose Balm lipsticks, it feels divine on the lips and has the signature rose fragrance.

So there you have the eight lipsticks that are making up my autumn and winter lipstick wardrobe for this year. I would love to hear what colours you are reaching for on a daily basis.

Linking to these great websites here

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Guest Post: 5 Tips To Make Make Up Storage Cleaning Easier Than Ever

I have been completely absent for ages, and for that I apologize! I promise to be back on board soon, but in the meantime, I have a wonderful guest post from Tilly Rose with 5 tips to make make-up storage cleaning easier than ever.

Do you often struggle with removing makeup stains from your furniture, make-up table or dresser? If you are experiencing some of these problems you should really consider the way you are storing your makeup. You can make your life and your cleaning much easier, if you just stored your make up the right way.

Depending on your storage preferences, there are a ton of ways you can store your make up and make sure everything is easier to clean. For example, if you like to keep your makeup in a drawer on your dresser, but do not have an organizational system, there is one very simple thing you can do to arrange your makeup drawer and make it easier to clean. Get yourself a kitchen utensils tray and separate your makeup in it, and put the tray in the drawer. This will get rid of the chaos in your drawer and make everything easier to find and clean.

And if you really do have too much makeup, I would suggest you buy yourself a hanging shoe organizer. Pick a door to hang it to - your closet door, your bathroom door, or you bedroom door and use it to organize all of your makeup tools and makeup products. This will leave you with more counter space and less clutter. Plus this way you can be sure that there will be no falling of your makeup and accidental spilling. They will be all neatly arranged hanging in their pockets.

On the other hand, if you hate keeping your makeup brushes out in the open where they can get dust all over them, you can store them in pencil boxes or old glasses cases. This will prevent them from getting dusty and then you spreading that dust all over your face. Plus, it will keep them from spreading makeup all over table.

And finally here is one trick that you probably knew nothing about. Did you know that you can make your own makeup brush cleaning spray? Mix distilled alcohol and water in a spray bottle, add drops of an essential oil or your choice, and you will have a makeup brush cleaning spray. Keep a piece of cloth with it, and keep them in your makeup storage space. This way after every use of your brushes you can spray them and clean them, so that they are always in clean and do not distribute makeup all over your storage space.

There is nothing prettier and satisfying than having neatly organized and clean makeup. To me at least there isn't. And I have been struggling for a while until I found out the best storage method for me. It helped me enjoy putting my makeup on even more, and it makes cleaning my makeup storage space very easy. I use towel rods with baskets attached to them. I have separated my make up in them and they are close to my make up mirror, and I have no problems with the cleaning. Everything is neatly arranged and organized, and easy to maintain clean.

You can try my personal method, too, it can work for anybody.

Tilly is from London. She runs a small cleaning company called TenancyClean SW6

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!

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