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christmas

Lifestyle

My Christmas entertaining tips

24th December, 2018

I try and make this time of year as stress free as possible so my summer entertaining usually involves a lot of BBQs, really easy salads, fresh fruit and cheese platters. I’d rather be spending time with my nearest and dearest than hanging out in the kitchen so as much as possible I do lots of my prep beforehand or just pick really simple things to make. Here’s what I do when it comes to managing festive gatherings….

Stock the fridge

As I said I am a very casual entertainer so I always make sure to have the fridge stocked up with fresh ingredients. I always do a big online shop to get my supplies in order. I usually go on the Harris Farm website and order all my fruit and veg, cheeses and everything I need before the weekend so it’s always on hand in case I unexpectedly have people pop in. I think great produce is always key so you can make really simple, easy things that will still be a hit with guests.

Prep platters

I’m all about a great platter as I think it’s a great shortcut when you’re busy or low on time. Whether it’s pastries or fruit platters in the morning or it’s prosciutto and cheeses or ham for lunch they’re great for being able to lay on a spread quickly.

Whenever I have people over I always have a selection of cheeses, various types of dips and crackers ready to go as I like to make sure people are fed as soon as they walk through the door. And you never know when people are just going to pop in. We live close to the beach so we get lots of people dropping by all the time and platters are something you can put together really quickly if you have everything in the fridge (this is why the first step is so important!).

Take advantage of Christmas hampers

One of my little tricks is to use the contents of Christmas hampers whenever I’m entertaining. They’re stocked with such a variety of different condiments or nibblies that it’s great for putting together an interesting platter of goodies that are just slightly more special in nature.

Have drinks on hand

As it’s so hot I like having drinks that are really refreshing. I’ll stock up on bottles of champagne, beer for the boys or have the ingredients for a quick cocktail or mocktail ready to go such as peach juice in case I want to make a peach bellini. Aperol spritzes and mojitos are also a favourite during summer as they’re so refreshing. I always make sure to have some sparkling water in the fridge to serve to guests. I think overall the most crucial thing to remember is to keep everything as simple as possible so you can get onto more important things, and that’s spending time with friends and family.

What are some of your favourite Christmas entertaining tips?

Fashion, Lifestyle, Shop

What to get the kids in your life this Christmas

14th December, 2018

Shopping for kids can be both stressful and fun—on one hand there’s no shortage of adorable things to buy, on the other their interests can be so short-lived that it can be daunting to choose a gift that will engage them longer than it takes to rip the wrapping off. I’ve been on the hunt for gifts to give my girls and nieces and nephew along with friends’ kids so I’ve scoured high and low for just the right thing to bring a smile to a little one’s face.

Tutu du Monde Twelfth night tutu dress

I’m a huge fan of Tutu du Monde for Sophia and Grace and can attest to how gorgeous their pieces are. And what will bring a smile to a little girl’s face more than a gorgeous little tutu of their very own?

Stella McCartney Kids polka dot skirt

For a special occasion, I can’t go past this adorable little skirt.

Hucklebones London trapeze dress

A splash of colour for the little girl who loves all things bold and bright.

Dolce & Gabbana Kids geranium printed hoodie

It’s a splurge item but it’s hard to resist things in mini-size…

Little Marc Jacobs logo t-shirt dress

A casual number for any little girl on the go.

Burberry Kids trench dress

For those times when you want something classic and timeless, this dress would be perfect for an important event.

Baby Gap reversible print hoodie sweater

Anything that serves a dual purpose gets my vote.

Speedo Kids Marvel Spiderman shorts

For the superhero obsessed, these shorts are ideal for wearing throughout summer.

Le Toy Van Budkin Triple Pirate Set

A cute collection of stuffed toys that aren’t run-of-the-mill.

Bonikka Priscy doll

If my girls are anything to go by you can’t really go wrong with a doll, especially one as cute as this.

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes Counting Book

I’m all for giving books at Christmas and also love to receive them. This one is great for any child who’s just learning to master counting.

Our Generation Adelita doll

The little accessories that come with this doll will mean hours of entertainment.

Orchard Game Pop to the Shops

A great little game that helps kids learn about money.

Burberry Kids short sleeve cotton shirt

Have fun dressing up any little boy in your life with this cute shirt.

Micro Scooter mini micro deluxe

Earn some brownie points this Christmas with this compact scooter.

Trunki Flora Fairy ride on suitcase

Heading on a trip? This suitcase is great for travelling and getting kids from A to B in an airport terminal.

Giraffes Can’t Dance book

David Jones have partnered with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation and made available a series of kids books that you can buy and donate to kids in refugee, indigenous and marginalised communities. Buy one on behalf of your child and remind them of the true meaning of Christmas.

Corolle Mon Bèbè Classique  doll

A classic doll with hair that can be styled for kids who love a little game of hairdresser.

Billabong Kids Sundays Lo Tide boardshorts

A quintessential summer staple with a great print.

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle, Shop

How to be a great gift giver

11th December, 2018

This time of year can be quite challenging in that coming up with present ideas for friends and family all at the same time can be quite an arduous task. Thinking of the ideal gift for one person is tough let alone a lengthy list of loved ones. We all want to select a present that the recipient will actually really love and enjoy but it will involve being a little strategic. So how can you become great at choosing gifts for others? Here are some tips to remember.

Don’t shop at the last minute

Tempting as it may be to leave everything to Christmas Eve it’s probably not going to result in finding great presents for everyone. It could also end up quite an expensive retail excursion as you start to panic that time is running out and just end up buying whatever gift you think will do. The best thing to do is start as early as you can.

Consider what they buy for themselves

What someone chooses to spend their own money on is a great indication of what they’re into and thus a great insight into what kind of gift they’d appreciate. Pay attention to the things they’re passionate about and that should point you in the right direction.

Check out their social media channels

Generally people post on their social channels the things that they’re into so it’s often a great clue provider for the ideal gift. Whether they’re constantly posting about books they’ve read, or pictures of dishes they’ve cooked or restaurants they’ve eaten at, what people reveal about themselves online is often a good insight into the things they love.

Ask around

Usually people will reveal to those closet to them what they’ve been wanting or needing so if you can, hit that inner circle up for some clues. A quick enquiry will often yield plenty of ideas and will avoid you doubling up on something they’ve already got.

Gift an experience

Often experiences are a lovely choice for a Christmas gift. Think of what the person likes doing in their spare time and try and gift them an experience that ties into it. If for example your bestie’s been going through a crazy home renovation, consider giving them a massage to ease stress. If your dad loves to cook, why not give him a voucher to a cooking class of a type of cuisine he really likes.

Pay attention

Take a moment to really think about the person you’re buying a gift for. Do they always chat about their fave bands? Have they spoken about how much they’d really like to learn to garden? These are little clues that can often provide great insight into what will make for the perfect gift for them.

 

Fashion

What to wear on Christmas Day—using what’s already in your wardrobe

21st December, 2017

What are you wearing on Christmas Day? Whether it’s a family BBQ or a formal sit down lunch if you’ve yet to sort out your outfit and are quickly running out of time then you’re in luck because your ensemble could be sitting in your wardrobe right now. That’s right, with some new outfit inspiration, key pieces in your closet can be reworked and turned into a fresh new look. And the best bit is it doesn’t cost a cent.

Inspiration: A midi or maxi dress + sneakers

This is an easy place to start. If you’ve got a favourite dress in your cupboard that’s feeling a bit tired simply change up the footwear. A pair of sneakers is an easy go-to and looks instantly on trend without much effort at all.

Inspiration: Layering neutrals + a pop of colour

I’m betting you have a handful of neutral pieces in your wardrobe so why not bring them back to life again by opting for a tonal colour palette. Working your outfit within the same colour family results in a chic, considered look and the addition of a bright statement shoe instantly adds an element of interest.

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Inspiration: A singlet + pants

If you have a trusty white singlet and a pair of dressy pants you have this look sorted. You could also swap the pants for a pair of shorts or culottes and it works equally as well. Add a pair of sandals or heels and you’re set.

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Inspiration: A slip dress + scarf

Given how huge slip dresses have been of late I’m sure there’s a lot of you who may have one sitting in your cupboard right now. The key to refreshing it is in the accessories you pair with it. A scarf tied around your hair is very of the moment and looks bang on trend.

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Inspiration: Basic tee + wrap skirt + slides

A trusty white tee is a given in most wardrobes so why not pair it with a dressy skirt for a high-low mix that looks instantly stylish. A wrap skirt is a current trend that looks fresh for summer and a pair of slides makes for instant cool.

Inspiration: Striped shirt + denim

A striped shirt paired with a denim skirt is the ideal ensemble for a family lunch that may end up turning into an evening event. You could also opt for jeans if a skirt isn’t your thing.

What are you planning to wear on Christmas Day?
Fashion

Christmas gift guide for the fashionista in your life

11th December, 2017

Whether it’s your mum, sister or best friend if you have a fashionista in your life, Christmas shopping can either be a) be all kinds of fun because you can also stumble upon some goodies for your wish list or b) is a gruelling expedition trawling online and bricks and mortar stores alike for days on end trying to find the right thing. If it’s the latter, this year I’m making shopping just that little bit easier. I’ve rounded up my top gift picks that will put a smile on any fashion-obsessed loved one’s face. So if you’re looking to win major brownie points and spoil someone rotten or just want a budget-conscious gift that’s still guaranteed to impress these gift ideas will certainly get the ball rolling…

Saint Laurent Jerry bow-tie sunglasses

Black sunglasses are a classic addition to any woman’s wardrobe however the geometric style frames on this pair make it a knockout accessory.

Aquazzura Forever Marilyn pumps

Who wouldn’t want to find a beautiful pair of shoes under the tree? These are classic with a hint of playfulness with the tassel embellishment and cut-out detail.

Balenciaga bug silver tone ring

You can never go wrong with a piece of jewellery. This is for the fashionista who loves her accessories to be a talking point.

Studio.W marbled candle

The marble trend shows no signs of waning and this will add a luxe touch to any home.

Gucci new ace leather trainers

Gucci anything is a surefire way to guaranteed gift giving success, most especially a pair of trainers that are versatile and ultra chic.

Katerina Makriyianni earrings

Let me say it once again: you can never go wrong with jewellery. The vibrant stones in these earrings make them the ideal head-turning addition to any outfit.

Chloé Nile small leather shoulder bag

This on-trend style is an ultra stylish shoulder bag that’s the perfect finishing touch to any ensemble.

Aquazzura powder puff pom pom slides

With its adorable pom pom feature, this is the ideal shoe for the woman in your life who loves to have fun with what she wears.

Gucci leather wallet

A great wallet is always a welcome addition to any fashion lover’s wardrobe. Loving the floral detail on this style.

Vix bikini top + briefs

A black bikini is a beach staple and with its gold detail, this set by Vix will add a touch of glam to any trip to the seaside.

Ancient Greek slides

Slides are without a doubt one of the shoes to have this summer. Ancient Greek sandals are not only comfortable and well made, this particular shade will go with virtually any outfit.

Jo Malone London body crème collection

Cute packaging and gorgeous scents make this body crème collection a Christmas crowd pleaser.

Fashion, Shop

13 outfits to get you through party season

15th December, 2016

Are your days becoming a blur of parties and endless social gatherings? The festive season is one of my favourite times of year but I know it can also be a tricky time as far as outfits go. So many occasions, so little time to shop! I shared my top tips for party dressing last week to help make things a little easier and now I’ve hand picked some of my favourite party dresses to help making shopping that much easier. Have fun!

Lifestyle, Shop

Christmas decorating with Etsy

13th December, 2016

One of my favourite parts about Christmas is decorating and now having both Sophia and Grace, it’s nice to be able to make our home as festive as possible for them. At the same time I also like decorations to complement the interior of our home and this is where Etsy has come in handy. For anyone who has ever lost a few hours trawling all the beautiful crafts and homewares on the site you’ll know that it’s the perfect spot to find just the right decorations to suit any taste or budget. I’ve stocked up on a few things so I’m now all set to add some festive touches to our home and here are some of the top tips I’ve picked up along the way…

You don’t have to stick to Christmas colours

Red and green are synonymous with Christmas but they’re not exactly hues that will work with every home colour scheme. I am all about neutral tones and I’ve found that Etsy have some great Christmas decors in that colour palette that will look ideal with the rest of my house. Don’t be afraid to step away from the traditional Christmas hues for something a bit different.

Find things that you can use all year

If you use a white table cloth or decorations in gold such as gilded cutlery for your Christmas table it can be reused throughout the year so it’s not just limited to a single season. However adding elements such as kraft paper Christmas crackers will ensure you maintain the festive vibe.

Add personal touches

I love anything that’s personalised so am planning to extend it to my Christmas decorations. For example personalised name cards are a great addition to a festive table and is something that guests can take home as a souvenir. A Christmas plate with your kids’ names or glassware are also a nice way to add a personalised festive touch. Christmas gift stickers with your name are also a great for turning ordinary wrapping into something a bit more special. Also make sure to think outside the box when it comes to decorations – I found the personalised tags below in the Etsy wedding section!

You don’t have to go big to make an impact

I live in an apartment so I don’t want massive decorations that I have to store for the rest of the year. I like small things that still give the Christmas effect and give a visual impact without taking up too much room. This is where cute Christmas tree ornaments or a rustic wreath or garland can work around the home. The difficult part is just deciding which ones to buy!

Lifestyle

The 3 things I’m doing with my kids this Christmas

8th December, 2016

kids

Now that I have the girls and my brother has two kids, Christmas for us is all about the kids. I think it’s really nice having young children running around on Christmas Day as it really helps to bring the spirit of the season to life. Whilst Grace is still a baby and is a bit too young to understand what’s going on, Sophia is old enough to know what Christmas is about so she’s getting more and more excited about it. Christmas was always such a great time of year with my family when I was growing up so I’m trying to ensure that it’s the same for my own. Here’s how I’m tackling the festive season with my children…

Start traditions 

I believe this is one of the things that kids remember the most about Christmas, it’s the little things that they always do with their family. For us it’s getting our Santa photo taken. We always go with my brother and his kids and we visit Santa and get a pic taken every year. It’s a nice memento to look back on as we’ve watched our family slowly grow.

This year’s Santa photo as a family of four

Quality not quantity 

This is the first year that Sophia is understanding the concept of Santa and that he brings presents if you’re a good girl. It’s really exciting seeing her getting so excited about it. I don’t like to go too crazy around Christmas time as I don’t want to spoil my kids with a million gifts but this year, Sophia has told me many times that she wants Santa to bring her an Elsa doll so I’ll definitely be trying to get my hands on one. I think it’s all about looking for one gift that she’ll really love as opposed to several things that she may lose interest in.

Get them involved 

I’ve ordered a tree and we’ve already put the lights up at home and we have stockings with the girls’ names on it so we do like to create quite a festive atmosphere at home. As the years go on I think we’ll get the girls involved with this process. For now, we we’ll try to include Sophia in the Christmas preparations such as making gingerbread houses or wrapping some of the presents. I think getting involved in the lead up to the festivities is half the fun!

How are you getting your kids involved during the Christmas season?

Fashion, Shop

The gift hub that’s making Christmas shopping easier for fashion fans

7th December, 2016

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The countdown is on to Christmas and I’m well and truly in shopping mode. I am quite a frequent visitor to Matches Fashion throughout the year and have definitely made a purchase or two so I was excited to discover their Gift Studio. I’m all about anything that makes life easier during this busy time of year and this certainly makes gift buying a cinch! The edit on the Matches site is always top notch, and they always stock my favourite designers so I know I’m guaranteed to find something perfect, but to make it easier to locate the ideal present, the dedicated Christmas hub narrows down present ideas into different categories, price range and style so it serves up just the right list of suggestions. It really takes the stress out of shopping. Plus if you’re a little short on time to gift wrap you’ll be glad to hear that every package comes in their signature marbled packaging so you don’t have to worry about wrapping. The packaging is so beautiful so it’s guaranteed to impress and their delivery times are super quick so if you’ve left things to the last minute, don’t worry, it’s not too late!

Here are some standout gifts that I’m sure will put a smile on someone’s face (I know I’ve bookmarked them for myself)…

Statement shoes

Whether it’s Aquazurra’s iconic Wild Thing sandals or Valentino’s beautiful Rockstud leather mules Matches’ shoe selection will satisfy any shoe addict. Flats don’t need to be boring these day either so I ordered a pair of Nicholas Kirkwood backless loafers.  These shoes are just the right style to ensure whoever receives them will get plenty of use out of them whilst still making a head-turning statement.

Bold jewellery

One huge trend at the moment is statement jewellery. The bolder the better. Whether it’s a pair of Gucci pearl-effect earrings or a gorgeous gold cuff any woman would be pleased to see something so special under the tree on Christmas morning.

Embellished bag

Gucci have really nailed it this season, especially when it comes to bags. The Dionysus embellished bag is the stuff designer dreams are made of. It’s gorgeously artistic and completely striking and is the type of wardrobe addition that will certainly impress.

Sunglasses

I’ve mentioned my love of sunglasses previously and I think they make a great gift. Whatever the style, beautiful frames are the perfect way to update an outfit and are a summer staple.

Lingerie

Why not treat yourself to beautiful lingerie? It’s the ultimate indulgence but oh-so right when it’s as pretty as this.

Accessories 

Whether it’s a Dolce & Gabbana iPhone case or a hot pink Givenchy card holder a mini designer hit is the kind of gift that is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone receiving it.

 

 

 

Beauty, Shop

The fail-safe Christmas gift I love to give and receive

28th November, 2016

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Christmas is just around the corner so I’ve already started to compile a list of gift ideas for my friends and family. I’ve found the one kind of gift that is always a definite people pleaser are beauty gifts. I tend to buy my mum beauty products as presents and I have to admit I love receiving them too. Plus they’re the kind of present that is suitable for everyone from your closest girlfriend to your mother-in-law, so it solves the problem of having to wrack your brain trying to find the ideal gift.

I know it can be tricky sometimes trying to pinpoint the right beauty product to give to a particular person which is why I particularly love the special Christmas gift sets that are released at this time of year. I always tend to gravitate towards them as they’re always beautifully packaged, contain a perfectly curated edit of products and they last long after Christmas is over, so the person receiving it will be able to enjoy it for quite awhile. This year, I’ve got my eye on SK-II’s Festive Sets, especially the Ageless Beauty Set which includes their famed Facial Treatment Essence. I’ve used the products myself so I know that whoever finds the set under the tree on Christmas Day will be quite pleased! The set also comes with SK-II RNA Moisturiser, SK-II RNA Eye Cream and SK-II Skin Signature 3D Redefining Mask so it’s like an entire skincare regimen in one box.

If your Christmas shopping has already got underway I’d look to the beauty counter – you’re definitely guaranteed to find something that will impress!

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SK-II Ageless Beauty Festive Set, $399, is available at Myer, David Jones, Adore Beauty and Sephora

Photography: Sophia Athas