Monday, July 30, 2012

5 Minute Face



I am a firm believer in trying to look polished almost all of the time. But, and it is a big but, I don't have the time (or the inclination, most of the time!) to spend half an hour "putting on my face". I timed my everyday look the other day, and I had it down in just under 5 minutes.  I change it up slightly from day-to-day - different colours, different textures - but overall, this 5 Minute Face is what I am doing every morning.

  1. Apply base with fingers - I am currently using Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua foundation in shade 40 beige, which is a sheer coverage foundation that looks exactly like my skin, only better. It doesn't completely cover the hyperpigmentation on my cheeks, but "hazes" them.
  2. Sweep on a single shade of eyeshadow on eyelids, up into crease, with a medium sized eyeshadow brush. I use the same colour almost everyday, a slightly shimmery deep nude (Clinique's Like Mink eyeshadow duo). If I look particularly tired, I will use Stila's Kitten shade instead.
  3. Line eyes - I find using a gel eyeliner with a flat eyeliner brush the quickest way (even quicker than a pencil, once you get the hang of it) and it seems to last so much longer on me. In the pic above, I'm using Bobbi Brown's Sepia Ink, a dark brown shade, which I like much better for daytime than a black, which can seem too harsh on me.
  4. Apply mascara - I pretty much use whatever I get for free; I only buy mascara when I exhaust my stash of freebies! Right now, the freebie I'm using is from Rimmel, which is OK, but can be a bit clumpy if I'm not paying attention.
  5. Swirl on blush - A quick dusting on the apples of my cheeks in sheer colour, usually a discontinued plummy shade from Clinique. 
  6. Swipe on lipstick - I constantly mix up what shade and type of lipstick I am wearing, but it is generally a cream or matte formula as they last longer. I don't bother with lipliner.
And that is it!! In 6 steps and less than 5 minutes, I look polished and put together for almost any situation. 



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Friday, July 27, 2012

Apricot & Berry Crumble


This Apricot and Berry Crumble is fantastic when you have unexpected guests, (or, if you are like me, want dessert - stat!) since everything is from your pantry and freezer basics. This is so easy, that with 5 minutes prep, and some waiting around with bated breath while it bakes, you have a warm and comforting dessert on the table!

300g Frozen berries (no need to thaw)
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
825g can apricot halves in juice, drained
130g wholemeal flour
100g rolled oats
40g dessicated coconut
90g raw sugar
130g butter

  1. Pre heat oven to 180 C/350F
  2. Toss frozen berries with cornflour and sugar in a 2.5 L (2.4 quart) oven-proof dish. Stir through apricots, and then bake for 10  minutes.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients in Thermomix, speed 4 for 15 seconds (or rub butter with fingertips into other ingredients until crumble forms).
  4. Spread crumble onto of fruit and bake for a further 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Perfect served with custard or icecream!
You can use any frozen berries with this crumble; its really great with mixed berries,  and raspberries are super yummy as well.

PS: the pic is of the crumble mix before I spread it on the fruit - lucky I took it, since the cooked crumble was being dug into while I was getting my phone to take a pic!!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday


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Another week, another What I Wore Wednesday as part of my quest to try and look a little bit better every day!



My husband thinks this dress is something a Yia Yia (Greek word for Grandma) would wear, but I love the 70's retro vibe it gives. I was feeling pretty lazy today, so no accessorising, just the boots.

Navy and coral print dress - Leona by Leona Edmiston
Brown buckled boots - Dr Martens


Off to the movies with the kids today, as we countdown the last few days of the school holidays. The kids are really looking forward to going back to school (if only we could keep these feelings in them beyond the early childhood years!), but I have really enjoyed our lazy days, and I'm not really looking forward to getting back in to the hustle and bustle of school days.

Navy knit top - Ann Taylor
Denim pencil skirt - Lands End
Horn cuff - Mai Tai Collection
Lace trimmed boot socks - Catherine Cole Studio @ Etsy
Brown buckled boots - Dr Martens


Nice and casual today, in varying shades of blue!

Navy floral corsage tee - J Crew
Denim trouser jeans - Ann Taylor
Navy and blue heels - Kenneth Cole Reaction

Out for a dinner dance tonight with the family. A great time was had by all!!

Navy and print silk dress - Boden
Black jacket - Basque by Myer
Black opaque tights - Levante
Gunmetal python heels - Ann Taylor
Gold cuff - Peter Lang





Nice and casual today, for a lazy day at home, followed by one of Irini's friend's birthday party at a local play centre.

Taupe jacket - Jane Lamerton
Striped tank - Old Navy
Bootleg jeans - Gap
Black sneakers - Converse
Gold key necklace - House of Harlow



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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday


pleated poppy

A few new additions to the wardrobe this week, which made getting dressed this week a bit more fun and exciting!!


Wednesday: I found this old knitted coat when I was going through a pile of old clothes that were too small for me, and was thrilled when I found that I could (just) fit into it again. I used to wear it with a wide belt but it doesn't look good like that on me anymore, but I quite like it open - what do you guys think? Does it look good open, or does it look a bit like a dressing gown? I paired my old coat with my new boots - I have been searching for a casual, but heeled, pair of brown boots for what seems like forever. So when I came across these Doc Martens on endless.com for half price, I thought I would take the chance, and now I am in love!!

Camel knitted coat: Banana Republic
Graphic printed dress: Leona by Leona Edmiston
Brown buckled boots: Dr Martens

Thursday: Well, when you get new toys, you have to play with them, right? Forgive the repeats from yesterday, I couldn't help myself!!

Camel knitted coat: Banana Republic
Grey and black striped long sleeve tee: Ann Taylor
Dark rinse skinny jeans: Ann Taylor
Brown buckled boots: Dr Martens





Friday: Today we took the kids to a fabulous puppet show at the museum, the Dinosaur Petting Zoo, which features lifesized Australian dinosaur puppets, followed by an amazing dinner at a new French style bistro that has just opened up at a restored heritage building in the city, so I wanted an outfit that was casual enough for a kids show, but smart enough for a fancy restaurant.

 
Red cardigan: Coldwater Creek
Red tie-neck blouse: Old Navy
Wide leg jeans: Ann Taylor
Gunmetal python heels: Ann Taylor
Hammered gold bangles:  Nordstrom
Gold bamboo hoop earrings: T Tahari


Saturday: Today we had the luxury (and the novelty) of going iceskating outside! For those of you in cooler climes, this is probably nothing special, but for the majority of us in Oz where it rarely gets cold enough to hail, let alone snow, an outside skating rink is definitely something to be excited about. It is only here for the school holidays, but it was great to get a taste of what so many of you probably take for granted!!

Navy printed blouse: Old Navy
Dark rinse skinny jeans: Ann Taylor
Brown buckled boots: Dr Martens


 Monday: At home all day today, other than a super quick trip to the supermarket. I was already wearing the twinset and jeans, so I just looped on the scarf and slipped on the slippers and I was ready to go.

Teal merino twinset: Sportscraft
Dark rinse skinny jeans: Ann Taylor
Teal and purple wool scarf: Sportscraft
Patent slippers: Talbots
Marcarsite bracelet: Lumiere






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Monday, July 16, 2012

Product Review: Revlon Colorstay Nail Polish

I've spoken before on how keeping your mani looking fresh is one way to look instantly polished, and I have been investing in shellac manicures pretty much for the last year, since this is the only way that I've managed to have my nail polish last more than a few hours. But, it is expensive, and worse, I have a lot of concerns about the UV curing it requires, even if I do slather myself with sunscreen first. So I was very excited when I read about Revlon's new Colorstay Nail Polish, which they claim lasts as long as a shellac manicure, when used with the matching base and top coats.


 

Myer recently had a 30% off Revlon sale, so I took the chance and bought the base coat, top coat and colour.  This is my nail polish after one week. The colour is bought was Spanish Moss, which is a gorgeous murky army green, and it has a slight cool shimmer to it, that is not visible without very close inspection, but seems to somehow add depth to the polish. The polish is really great to put on. I used two coats, but just one coat gave completely opaque coverage. The only (tiny) criticism I have was the brush, which seems to pick up a little bit too much product, which meant the application on my first hand was a bit streaky, hence needing a second coat. By the time I got to my other hand, I had got the knack, and one coat would have been enough.

As for wear, I would judge it in between a regular polish and a gel/shellac polish. As you can see, after a week of regular wear (housework, crafts, the usual), the polish still looks pretty good. No chips at all, which for me, is truly amazing. With a normal polish, whether we are talking cheap drugstore, or expensive name brands, I always seem to get a chip within the day.

 

But, as you can see in the pic above, it did start to wear at the nail tips (especially on my right hand) exactly like a gel/shellac polish does, but in this case, after a week rather than the fortnight I usually manage to get from a Shellac mani.

So, would I swap from my Shellac mani? Its a real toss-up.  With my Shellac, I love the fact that my mani is instantly dry. So, clumsy me is at no risk of smudging my fresh mani, I don't have to sit around doing nothing for an hour or so, and as anyone with young children knows, this is a real benefit! Plus, it gives me two weeks of beautiful shiny colour. But, it is expensive, and I am concerned about the UV exposure my hands are getting.

The Revlon Colorstay does give me a full week of polished nails, but I do need to sit around for an hour each time, so I need to factor that in, while balancing it up against the fact that compared to the Shellac, it is so darn cheap! So, like many other things in life, I can either save money or time.  Which is probably my answer - when I have the time, I will save myself the money and go for the Revlon Colorstay.


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Disclaimer: I purchased these products, and all opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lemon Scented Pasta Primavera


This absolutely delicious pasta came together quite out of the blue. I originally got the asparagus, beans and snow peas to make a completely different dish, but when we got home from swimming lessons, I realised that I had some cream that had just passed its best before date that I didn't want to go to waste.

This dish just screams spring-time to me and would be great with any spring greens (I'm thinking sauteed zucchini and zucchini flowers would be great additions), but even though it is the middle of winter here, it was still wonderful! I served it with red emperor meuniere (which is also super-easy, but looks and tastes fancy!) but it would also be great with some cooked chicken stirred through at the end, or even on its own for a light meal.

Lemon Scented Pasta Primavera

1 cup cream

zest from 2 lemons
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
500g dried pasta - I used spirals, but farfalle would be great, too
1 bunch green asparagus, chopped
1 cup snow peas, tailed and cut in half
1 bunch green beans, tailed and cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
100g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn




  1. Combine cream, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and put aside.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add vegetables to pasta, and cover with lid to return to boil. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until pasta is al dente and vegetables are tender-crisp.
  4. Drain pasta and vegetables, reserving 1 cup of cooking water, and return pasta to pot.
  5. Stir in cream mixture and Parmesan, and slowly add some of the reserved cooking water until a silky sauce forms, about half a cup.
  6. Toss through basil and serve.


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Thursday, July 12, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

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Well, its been a while, mostly because I wasn't sure anyone was interested in seeing what I wore day in and day out. But I got a few emails asking if I could start doing it again, so here we are, yet again!! 

 I have been super inspired by the character Lemon Breeland in Hart of Dixie. I am just adoring her lady-like retro style, and am trying to incorporate more of that into my outfits, without looking quite as costumey/granny as Jamie King does playing her. You might have noticed the influence in a few of my past outfits (like my tie-neck blouse ones), but this is the first one where I consciously went for a retro vibe (while still keeping it somewhat modern!).

Blue boucle tweed coat: Basque by Myer
Purple merino sweater: Sportscraft
Fuchsia jeans: Gap
Purple and fuchsia wool scarf: Sportscraft
Grey patent oxford heels: Talbots


 You know I love my jersey dresses, and pretty much live in them in summer, but I love them in winter, too! Still easy to put on, and with tights and boots, they are just as warm as a long sleeved tee and jeans, and just as comfy, as well.

Navy, white and black jersey dress: Basque by Myer
Black suede boots: Talbots
Gold pendant and necklace: Linneys

 Another shot at ladylike retro, this time with a classic twinset, updated in a vibrant fuchsia. this might just be my fave colour at the moment, can't you tell!

Fuchsia merino twinset: Sportscraft
Blue and grey tweed pencil skirt: Sportscraft
Black suede boots: Talbots
Grey pearl necklace: Anneliese
Enamel bangles: Coach

 Today, I did not leave the house, and this is a perfect example of a lounging at home outfit for me. While there is always a place for tracksuits and yoga pants, and you will sometimes even find me in them, I prefer to wear things a bit nicer. You never know when someone will drop around, or when you will need to pop out, plus, your husband and kids are around you, and don't they deserve a nice outfit as much as the strangers at the supermarket? These slippers are one of the favourite things I own; they are so comfy, warm and toasty!

Navy and white floral shirt: Old Navy
Tuxedo stripe jeans: Ann Taylor
Wool felt slippers: Ekohaus at Etsy


If fuchsia is my favourite colour, then purple comes a pretty close second, and this blouse with its different shades of purple and navy is one of my favourite pieces.

Navy cotton cardigan: Lands End Canvas
Purple, navy and white blouse: Boden
Wide leg jeans: Ann Taylor
Grey suede heels: Ann Taylor
Lace headband: Diva
 

 Weekends are for comfort and lazing and lounging, and what could be more comforting than a velvet cardigan over worn in jeans?

Cut velvet cardigan: Flower Clothing
Black tank: Basque by Myer
Bootleg jeans: Gap
Black loafers: Louenhide
Key necklace: House of Harlow


Winter has definitely arrived and is there anything better than wrapping yourself up in a warm and snuggly scarf? When it comes in purple and fuchsia?  Nothing!

Purple merino sweater: Sportscraft
Bootleg jeans: Gap
Purple and fuchsia wool scarf: Sportscraft
Navy denim and suede ballet flats: Lands End
Enamel bangles: Coach


The final retro inspired outfit for the week! I am truly in love with this one which is why I keep repeating the elements over and over!

Navy and grey tweed coat: Basque by Myer
Navy merino sweater: J Crew
Wide leg jeans: Ann Taylor
Shield brooch: won at a raffle
Grey suede heels: Ann Taylor



This is a new purchase in the recent sales the department stores have been having. Its a lot shorter than I am used to wearing, but with flats and opaques, I think it is OK.

Ditsy print jersey dress: Leona by Leona Edmiston
Wooden bead necklace: Witchery
Horn cuff: Mai Tai Collection
Patent slippers: Talbots


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