Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

Another week has gone by, and it's time for one more What I Wore Wednesday. As you will see, I am really utilising my ten item wardrobe, so I hope you like navy, since I pretty much wear some form of it every day! I am posting a lot of my daily outfits on Instagram, so I would love it if you would follow me here.

Have I told you how much I love my Keds pointed sneakers? Not only are they super adorable, they are super comfortable as well, and the navy with tan accent fits in perfectly with my capsule wardrobe. This was the perfect school run outfit!

Sneakers: Keds
Skinny grey jeans: Gap
Grey tee: Sussans
Navy waterfall cardigan: Sportscraft

I took this picture right before I went to bed, which is why the lighting and colour is all funky! This was the perfect day-to-evening outfit and these Ann Taylor heels, despite their height, are incredibly comfortable.

Faux fur jacket: Estelle
Navy print blouse: Ann Taylor
Slim fit jeans: Ann Taylor
Handbag: Louis Vuitton
Navy heels: Ann Taylor
Pearl necklace: Myer

Maybe not 50 shades of grey, but coming close, and perfectly suited to the gloomy weather outside. Despite being a casual outfit, the monochrome and the blazer combined made be feel somewhat sophisticated.

Grey tee: Sussans
Grey ponte blazer: Ann Taylor
Grey skinny jeans: Gap
Black driving gloves: Dents
Black wedge sneakers: Wittner
Black and grey satchel: Mimco

After yesterday's sombre outfit, I felt like something prettier, so soft periwinkle blue and floral silk were the order of the day. Plus, I really wanted to show off my new handbag that just arrived!! I think this outfit also shows how versatile a capsule wardrobe can be - despite limited pieces, you can still create so many different looks. It really isn't as limiting as one might think.

Periwinkle merino sweater: Sportscraft
Slim leg jeans: Ann Taylor
Silk floral scarf: Sportscraft
Navy handbag: Michael Kors
Blue suede flats: Oroton
Blue enamel cuff: David Lawrence

Back to greys and blacks again! Again, this was a day-to-night ensemble, and I have to say, I am really loving the sports luxe thing that is going here. Its comfy, but put together enough for a restaurant meal out.

Black blazer: Ann Taylor
Black tank: TS14+
Black print knit pants: Estelle
Black bag: Costume Nationale
Wedge sneakers: Wittner

A pop of colour to brighten up the day, and the whole week! I just love these sweaters from Sportscraft. Made from a lovely merino wool, but machine washable on the hand wash cycle, I invest in one or two each season, and I now have a nice little collection since they seem to last and last.

Teal sweater: Sportscraft
Slim fit jeans: Gap
Light blue floral scarf: Gap
Navy bag: Michael Kors
Blue suede flats: Oroton

See you all next week!

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

The kids and I love chocolate peanut butter cookies (they are yummy and so easy to make!) but both are at nut-free schools, so they are no-go for the lunchboxes. These Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are nut-free and gluten free but still absolutely delicious. And with just a handful of ingredients, they can be whipped up and eaten in no time!

Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seed butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao powder (can use cocoa powder instead)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar, extra

  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  • Combine all ingredients except cocoa, baking soda and extra sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix using the paddle attachment for 5 minutes on a medium speed, until mixture is combined and no longer gritty. Scrape down bowl as necessary.
  • Add cacao and baking soda and beat for another 1-2 minutes, until incorporated.
  • Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoons), make small balls of dough and roll in extra sugar before placing on lined baking tray. Flatten slightly with a fork.
  • Bake for 10 minutes for softer cookies, up to 12 minutes for crispier ones. Leave to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies may look slightly underdone when you pull them out of the oven but they firm up on cooling.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

My New (Retro) Skincare Routine

Last month I had the unfortunate coincidence of running out of my day cream, my night cream and my night time cleanser, all at the same time. Ever since starting my career in cosmetics nearly 20 years ago, I have always relied on reasonably pricey department store brands (made much more affordable when I was receiving it all free or heavily discounted!), and have been quite happy with them. But when faced with an over $400 outlay in one hit, I not unexpectedly balked at shelling out all of that money. That same day, I came across this article in the Daily Mail comparing Nivea with Creme de la Mer, and I thought "what the heck, I'm going to give a retro skincare routine a go!" Worst came to worst, I would have wasted less than $20, and if it did work out for me, then what a saving I would be making long term.

Heading down to my local Priceline I "invested" in Pond's Original Cold Cream, Nivea Creme and Nivea Soft, and for just under $20, almost my whole routine was sorted. My mum has used the Pond's Cold Cream for almost all of her life, and she easily looks 15-20 years younger than she really is, so I was pretty certain this would be a winner. Created in 1907, by a company that has been creating beauty products since the 1840s, this is a vintage gem. I've been cleansing with oil for quite along time now, so using the cold cream was not an unusual feeling, other than it being a tissue-off formula rather than washing it off with a hot flannel. The smell is delightful (like a rich rosewater), and as I am gently rubbing it in, I automatically feel more glamorous!

Next was the Nivea Creme, which I used to replace my night cream. First produced in 1911, Nivea Creme is a true classic that has often been overlooked as high-tech products have come and gone. Using this as my night cream was an adjustment, as the texture is incredibly rich and thick. I wouldn't go so far as to call it greasy, but someone like me with combination skin definitely wouldn't be able to use this as a day cream. As thick as the Creme was, it never felt heavy on the skin, and I could absolutely see a difference in how my skin looks each morning - it is much more supple and radiant. A week after starting to use this, I ran out of my eye cream (running out of everything like this has never, ever happened to me before!), so I just started to use the Nivea around my eyes as well.  The Daily Mail testing showed a clinically noticeable difference in fine lines across the whole face, and I can attest to this as well.

Finally, the Nivea Soft was used as my day cream. A much lighter version of the original, this has been a lovely day cream that doesn't leave me overly shiny and doesn't seem to affect how my makeup wears throughout the day. I don't like the fragrance as much as the original, but it is light and inoffensive, so I'm not bothered. 

Of course, these are not the only three products I am using, since I'm not ready to go totally retro yet! Instead, I am saving my dollars for modern products that are clinically proven. I am using a clinical grade Vitamin C serum (Ultraceuticals) in the morning under the Nivea Soft, topped with a broad spectrum sunscreen (La Roche Posay), both products that have been scientifically proven to help prevent (and in the case of the vitamin C, reverse) spots and fine lines. At night, I am alternating a prescription strength retinol (again, scientifically proven, this time to reverse fine lines and spots, and boost collagen) with a high strength glycolic acid peel. I am also still using my Clarisonic twice a week with my La Roche Posay cleanser.

After using this routine for a month, I have to say that it is working a treat. This combination of scientifically proven with proven by the test of time products has seemed to strike the sweet spot. My breakouts, even the hormonal ones, have lessened considerably, and my skin is looking much smoother and softer. My hyperpigmentation hasn't faded at all, but it hadn't faded with all the specialised department store brands I was using before, so no loss there, even if there was no gain. Most of all, though, using these vintage products just seems to make me take some glamorous pleasure in routines that bookend my day.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

Winter is finally here!! OK, OK, it's still officially autumn here in Oz, but with the cold weather, rain and storms we've had this week, I'm calling it winter, and I couldn't be happier! When I've had the time, I've started posting my outfits to my Instagram, but I thought I would show them here as well!

Navy and tan, and spots and stripes are two of my fave combos, and this outfit has both!! I am in love with these Keds pointed flats - they are a slightly upgraded version of a classic, and so comfy. In fact, this whole outfit was about being comfortable and still stylish. The easy layers are perfect for transitional weather, but even as you remove warmer layers as the day warms up, your outfit still looks polished and thought out.

Navy merino waterfall cardigan - Sportscraft
Navy striped tunic - Avella @ Big W
Slim fit jeans - Ann Taylor
Tan bag - Kate Spade
Pointed toe sneakers - Keds

Today was such and grey and gloomy day, I thought that sweet pastels were just the lift the day needed! I think this outfit really demonstrates the power of colour and accessories; basically this is just a sweater and jeans, the mainstay of almost every mum uniform the world over. It could feel boring wearing a jeans and sweater, but in this periwinkle sweater and grey jeans, coupled with some colourful accessories, I felt anything but boring.

Sweater: Gap
Long sleeved tee: J Crew
Skinny distressed jeans: Gap
Pink handbag: Oroton
Bangles: Coach
Floral print shoes: Gap

Today was a "running around day", firstly at my son's first soccer game of the season, and then straight to a friend's birthday party, so the outfit had to do double duty. Blue suede shoes are not the most practical shoe for a muddy soccer pitch, though, so I took my trusty Hunter gumboots down just for the game!

Striped navy ponte jacket - Sportscraft
Grey tank - Eileen Fisher
Grey distressed jeans - Gap
Blue handbag - Kate Spade
Blue suede flats - Oroton

Despite being based around pants and a blazer, this turned out to be quite a feminine outfit for me today, and I got quite a lot of comments about it as I went about my day! It was quite coincidental that all the clothes were from Ann Taylor, but I am a firm believer that when you find a brand that works for your shape and your lifestyle, then stick with it. It's why you see so many AT and Sportscraft items; they fit well (I very rarely need to tailor them), they are definitely my kind of style, and they are well made. This blazer is older than my daughter, and it honestly looks as good as new!

Grey knit blazer - Ann Taylor
Floral print tee - Ann Taylor
Navy ankle pants - Ann Taylor
Blue bag - Kate Spade
Blue suede shoes - Oroton

See you all next week!

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