Browsing Tag



My fave places to hang out in summer

8th December, 2018

One of my fave haunts is The Boat House at Balmoral Beach

Summer is the perfect time to get out and about as the weather is so great and everyone is in the mood to socialise. I have a list of regular haunts in my local area in Sydney but also have some die hard faves that I will make a special trip to visit. Here’s where you’re likely to find me…

Balmoral Beach

This is the number one place you will find me in summer as it’s so close to where I live. It’s my favourite beach as it’s ideal for kids as there are no waves. I take the girls here all the time and we love spending a day out there as a family.

The Boat House

I love going out for breakfast and this spot is located in Balmoral Beach and is right next to the water. The food and coffee is amazing. Be warned though: lunchtimes are ridiculously busy, especially if the weather is great. The menu is full of great options that I always find it hard to choose what to order.

Bathers’ Pavilion

We’ll sometimes go to Bathers’ for breakfast or to grab an early family dinner. It’s got great views and has a relaxed vibe that’s just perfect for summer.

Bistro Moncur

I am a fan of the original Bistro Moncur in Sydney’s Woollahra so I was pleased when they opened up a second location in Mosman. The menu is French meets modern Australian so there’s everything from sirloin with buttery Café de Paris sauce to pan friend barramundi fillet. Amazing.

Fratelli Paradiso

I love Italian food so can’t go past this restaurant in Potts Point. It’s cosy, the food is super hearty and is perfect when I just want to experience a touch of Italy.


Also located in Potts Point, Apollo serves up modern Greek food that’s unbelievably delicious. The main dining room is light and airy is one of my fave spots for a long, relaxing lunch.

Bondi Icebergs

When the weather is warm Bondi Icebergs is a definitely must. The view can’t be beat and the vibe perfectly encapsulates the special atmosphere during an Aussie summer.

What are some of your favourite summer haunts?


Fashion, Lifestyle

Kicking off Spring Racing Carnival

17th October, 2018

Last night I hosted a special dinner at the gorgeous Nobu restaurant at the Crown Resort in Melbourne to celebrate the launch of the Spring Racing Carnival. This is one of my favourite times of the year so I was thrilled to be able to kick it off in such a fun way.

I flew down to Melbourne early in the day and spent the rest of the afternoon prepping and getting ready at my hotel (not a hard ask considering the impressive rooms at the Crown Melbourne). My good friend Nadia Fairfax was also attending the dinner and staying at the hotel so we had a great time getting ready together for the event. My outfit for the evening was classic meets daring, comprising of a crisp white shirt, worked back with a Maticevski skirt that can only be described as a wearable piece of art and Off White heels.

Nobu is one of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne so it was exciting to be hosting a dinner there. It was a small event — I’d invited just 30 people, a mixture of friends, family and a few media people. This was great as it gave me the opportunity to catch up with everyone before the craziness of spring racing commences.

As you would expect the food we had was incredible. We were served a Japanese inspired menu of three courses and dessert featuring some truly delicious sushi and sashimi paired with amazing wine. I was in heaven and judging from my guests’ reactions, they were too.

Having my friends and family there, including mum and dad, made the night even better. We had a thoroughly great evening and it has made me more excited to throw myself into spring racing season.

Check out a few snaps of the evening below.

With my parents

Rebecca Vallance-Gasan and Elliot Garnaut

Lindy Rama-Ellis and husband, Adam Ellis

Melissa Singer and Brooke Meredith

Suzy Eskander and Sally Crinis

Nadia Fairfax

Actor Tim Kano and Mavournee Hazel

With Nadia Fairfax and Elliot Garnaut

The chic table setting

Our delicious menu for the evening

One of the amazing dishes of the evening

Beautiful florals set the scene

My guests relaxing and having a great time

Photography: Carly Ravenhall






Easy ways to relax when you’re time-poor

30th September, 2018

There are often not enough hours in the day to relax. If time was no object, I’d love nothing more than to disappear for a few hours, enjoy a luxe spa treatment and emerge at the other end feeling refreshed and looking glowy. Pre-kids that was possible but these days it’s mostly a treat for when I’m on holiday. But if you’re like me and have a crazy busy work schedule to juggle along with family and friend commitments then you’ll know that sometimes, you just crave some time out but don’t have the actual time to do it. It’s so crucial to our wellbeing to be able to recharge and unplug from everything around us and just escape the relentless commitments and breathe for a second. If you’re time-poor it doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself with a little down time. Here are some quick ways to relax in under 60 minutes—try them out this week to give yourself a break. You deserve it after all.

Have a cup of tea

Pour yourself a nice big mug of your favourite tea and sit. Yes, just sit. Don’t scroll through Instagram, don’t check your emails just let yourself be still and enjoy every sip.

Read a book

It’s an oldie but a goodie for a reason—getting lost in a book is great for taking you away, albeit for just a short space of time. So dust off that book you’ve been meaning to read and actually start.

Run a bath

Yes, you’d probably like more than an hour but honestly who doesn’t love soaking in a tub no matter how short or long the time? Just light a candle, pop on some relaxing music and chill out.

Get a mani or pedi

This is a win-win—relaxation and grooming. Whether you take yourself down to your favourite nail salon or DIY at home, there’s something quite therapeutic about painting your nails and seeing the end result.

Go for a walk with a friend

How often do we get the time to chat with a friend away from a screen? Instead of texting, this week try and make a time to catch up with a friend. Even if you just commit to a quick walk around your neighbourhood, enjoying a leisurely stroll  whilst chatting will do wonders to reinvigorate you.

Window shop

The idea of a enjoying a glass of wine whilst shopping my favourite online stores is heaven. Even if you don’t end up buying anything there’s something about the process of just switching off and browsing that can be instantly calming.

Pamper yourself

Book yourself in for a quick beauty treatment at your favourite spa. Whilst a loooong session is wonderful a quick half hour massage or facial is still a great way to unwind.


Whether it’s a cake, a slice or other decadent treat, there’s something relaxing about getting lost in a recipe and just zoning out. The best bit is you’ll end up with something delicious to enjoy at the end.


They were all the rage a few years ago but I think there’s definitely something to be said for the relaxing properties of colouring. Just watch kids zone out when they do it and you’ll see how effective it can be. Grab yourself an adult colouring book and get in touch with your artsy side.

Enjoy your favourite food

Think of the one dish that instantly makes you smile and go ahead and treat yourself to it. Don’t just mindlessly eat it in front of the TV though—take the time to stop and savour it, no distractions allowed.

Pamper yourself at home

Whether you treat yourself to a leisurely body scrub or do an at-home facial, there are so many DIY masks, scrubs and peels available right now that you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice as to which one you roadtest.

Get a haircut

Sitting down and reading a magazine for an hour whilst my tresses are tended to is one of my all time fave ways to relax. If you’re in need of a hair refresh, book yourself in for a cut this week and savour the time to sit and be still.

Photography: Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Fashion, Lifestyle

How to take a flattering Instagram pic

17th September, 2018

We spend an inordinate amount of time posting and scrolling through Instagram so if there’s a skill worth mastering it’s how to take a flattering Insta photo. Curating and sharing pics on my account is one major aspect of my job so over the years I’ve learnt a thing or two about how to share pics that I know I’ll be happy to look back over. Here they are…

Have good lighting

Every single photographer I’ve ever worked with has always emphasised the importance of good lighting for capturing a great image. Lighting is everything. Soft, natural light is always going to do you favours in the photo department. That’s why car selfies are so popular—the diffused light you get in a car is gold. Aim to take your pics early in the morning or later in the afternoon as midday light can be incredibly harsh and unflattering. Also avoid snapping a pic under fluorescent lighting as I guarantee it will not end well. Just think of the less than kind lighting in most department store change rooms and that’s what you’ll be working with.

Use a filter 

If I want to take an Instagram video but I feel I’m looking tired or my makeup just isn’t behaving then I’ll just use a filter. Cute face filters (animal faces are my fave) or shooting video in black and white is always a great way to cover up anything problematic.

Move around

Whenever I do street style shoots for the blog I’ll always try and move around to give myself the best chance of capturing a flattering image. I do this by walking away or towards the camera as well as  turning my body at different angles. I’ve found this also helps keep the image looking more natural as opposed to if I’m just sitting or standing still. Finding my most flattering poses has only come from trial and error during photo shoots over the years. So if in doubt, try snapping a few different angles of yourself to find your best side.

Use props

If you’re a little unsure of what to do with your hands in a pic then enlist the help of a prop. A clutch, a coffee cup, a pair of sunglasses are all things that look good in a photo and keep your hands occupied to avoid those ‘Where on earth do my hands go?’ dilemmas.

Don’t look directly into the camera

Look slightly above the camera or below but not straight on. This actually results in a more flattering gaze and expression.

Remember your posture

Stand up straight! Having good posture in a photo will naturally elongate your body resulting in a more flattering shot. Sitting or standing with your shoulders hunched will only make you look shorter and won’t do your shape any favours.

Plan your background

Always, always consider where you’re taking your pic. I’m a fan of anything with texture and character. This is why I generally always take my street style pics in places such as a cool side street, in nature amongst leafy trees or colourful flowers or something light and airy like the beach. Also, vibrant colours are alway a plus in any Insta pic as they’re so eye-catching.


My trip to the heavenly Qualia Resort in Hamilton Island

13th September, 2018

It’s not everyday that you are lucky enough to be invited to spend the weekend at Qualia Resort in Hamilton Island so when the offer arrives you drop everything and go. Luke and I received an invitation to enjoy two glorious nights at Qualia along with the amazing opportunity to watch an outdoor performance by The Australian Ballet at the resort. I think we’d already packed our bags before we had a chance to accept!

We flew out on Friday morning and arrived just in time to enjoy a drinks over a leisurely lunch. Our first day involved a relaxing afternoon followed by drinks and canapés hosted by the Oatley family who own and founded Qualia and The Australian Ballet. We also had the opportunity to check out an exhibition by award winning photographer Justin Ridler which was a great way to cap off a lovely day.

The highlight of the entire weekend was without a doubt being able to watch The Australian Ballet’s production Pas de deux in paradise, which is an annual outdoor performance held at Qualia’s Pebble Beach. The entire event takes place during a black tie dinner and was without a doubt something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The experience of being able to watch the dancers on stage whilst enjoying a delicious meal at one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world as the sun slowly set was pure magic and definitely bucket list material.

Given we don’t get to spend many weekends kid-free Luke and I took advantage of the situation and tried to cram as much relaxation as we could into our time away. Our villa with its own plunge pool was the ideal setting for some much needed down time, but the leafy picturesque surrounds of Qualia also provided the perfect backdrop for a calm, relaxing time whether were enjoying breakfast or taking the personal golf buggy we had during our stay for a spin around the grounds. We ate, we chilled out, were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime ballet experience and had the most beautiful time away. I can’t wait to come back again because Qualia really is the kind of place that once you visit you’ll want to plan your next stay as soon as you can.

Luke and I on our first night at Qualia

With my good friend Nadia Fairfax who was also invited to spend the weekend

Black tie ready for The Australian Ballet’s performance of Pas de deux in paradise

I was in white, Luke was in a tux, it seemed only fitting!

(from L_R) Nicky Oatley, Luke, myself and Nadia

Dinner with a view

This performance was incredible and so memorable


How to get your kids to eat more vegetables

5th September, 2018

Finding ways to get kids to eat vegetables is a constant challenge for most parents. I know it’s something that we have to deal with in our household on a daily basis, and finding new and creative ways to make vegetables appealing can become an impossible task at times. This is why I’ve enlisted the help of paediatric nutritionist and founder of Wholesome Child Mandy Sacher, who shared her great insights on kids nutrition on the blog a few weeks ago. Here she shares her tips on how to deal with a child who isn’t really big on vegetables, and how to make it a process that’s less stressful and more fun.

Create a “rainbow” plate

“Many children I see are repetitive vegetable eaters—meaning that they eat the same limited range each and every week. Whilst all vegetables are beneficial, the ultimate goal is to eat a diverse range of colours and groups to get the maximum benefit. We all eat with our eyes first, so it makes sense to engage your child visually when encouraging them to eat more variety. Encourage your little one to create their own rainbow plate, it’ll engage their imagination and will lead to a nibble or two!”

Include one new veggie a week—and lead by example

“There’s often a strong connection between children who eat the same vegetables each week and parents who do the same. Through parents expanding their own repertoire, children will have an opportunity to see and taste a variety—and watch their parents enjoying the broader range, too!  Try salad veggies, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and brussels sprouts, and starchy vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato.”

Don’t forget beans and legumes

“Beans and legumes are our most nutritious plant foods. Rich in proteins, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, fibre, minerals and phytochemicals. Hummus, lentil soup, bean stews and chickpea falafels are a fantastic way to introduce legumes to your child. Try kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas and lentils. For canned varieties, look for BPA-free cans wherever possible and rinse well beforehand to reduce sodium levels.”

Include sea vegetables

“Due to its high calcium content, seaweed strengthens bones and teeth. It’s also high in iron, has antimicrobial properties and is a good source of essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre which helps prevent constipation.

Nori, rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C as well as iodine also contains protein. Use it for sushi, shred it over salad or create veggie-filled seaweed wraps filled with julienned carrots, cucumber, shredded chicken (or protein of choice) and avocado. If your child likes the seaweed snack packs that are commonly found in supermarkets, seek out varieties that are free from additives such as MSG or added sugar.”

Remember to use fresh herbs and spices 

“Basil is packed with essential oils which are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Use in tomato-based pasta sauces, sprinkle on pizza and mix into rissoles. 

Mint soothes upset tummies and improves digestion. Chill mint tea with a dash of raw honey or add fresh mint leaves and orange slices to water and serve in place of juice. 

Oregano is often used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and urinary tract disorders.  Add to chicken, lamb or beef dishes. 

Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins and keeps the immune system strong, tones the bones and heals the nervous system.  It also helps to flush excess fluid from the body and support kidney function.  Add to smoothies, chicken soup and pasta sauces.

Spices – as well as adding flavour, spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are packed with nutrients too. Add turmeric and ginger to chicken soup, sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower and add cinnamon to pumpkin and butternut squash.”

Create a veggie patch

“Children love planting seeds, watching them grow, and eventually harvesting what they have planted. It’s the best way to help them make the association between earth to plate, and to engage their curiosity about different varieties of vegetables. If outdoor space is limited, start off with herbs such as basil or oregano, or better yet get involved with a community garden.”

Shop for and cook vegetables together

Encourage your children to touch, smell and engage with their food.  Let them help with grocery shopping and encourage them to pick up new vegetables from the shelves and place them in the trolley themselves – this begins the engagement with the new food.

Little ones tend to be more willing to eat what they’ve helped to prepare and it’s important for them to be exposed to vegetables in their raw state and to understand how the texture and look of a vegetable changes when it’s cooked. Get them involved by asking them to peel carrots and potatoes (using kid-friendly graters), cutting lettuce with a plastic knife or adding grated vegetables to muffin batter.

It’s important for parents to be patient and to recognise that change is often slow with children.  Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new vegetable or food the first time it’s offered – stay positive and freeze what’s not eaten and offer it again – persistent repetition is key here.”

What are some creative ways you’ve used to encourage your kids to eat more vegetables?


The drink you’ll be sipping non-stop over spring and summer

4th September, 2018

I’ll often go for a gin-based cocktail, especially during the warmer months so I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that I’ve been named an ambassador for Gordon’s Pink Gin. There’s something quite fun and stylish about sipping a drink that’s also such an on trend hue of pink (it’s definitely made for Instagram!). A classic spirit yet with a modern of-the-moment touch, this is one staple that I’m going to have on hand when I’m entertaining over the coming months. Here I chat to Krystal Hart, National Gin Ambassador to discuss how best to serve this drink at your next event including a recipe for what will no doubt become a fave beverage over summer.

What should people look out for when choosing a great gin?

Price doesn’t always mean quality. Think about what attracted you to gin in the first place and choose a gin that suits that occasion. If you like the aroma of citrus for example, there are options which uses whole citrus in the botanicals recipe. Or if you love the vast array of botanicals try something a little more exotic and rare.

What are some mistakes people should avoid when serving gin?

Not enough ice! You can never have too much ice. Ice keeps your drinks cold for longer, keeps your cocktails in balance and helps preserve carbonation of your at-home Gin & Tonics.

What’s the best way to serve gin? Do you have any tips for people who are planning to serve it at their next event?

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple, classic gin & tonic. Add some fresh herbs and citrus and you have the perfect way to start any event. For a splash of colour on a Sunday afternoon with the girls try Gordon’s Pink Gin as a Spritz, with prosecco, soda and some fresh strawberries!

Apart from a classic gin & tonic, what are some other great ways to hero gin in a drink?

The Spritz is such a popular cocktail and perfect throughout summer; just grab a bottle of prosecco, some soda water and your favourite gin.

For people who haven’t really considered gin a go-to drink, why do you think they should add it to their list?

As a category, gin is booming. It’s such an exciting time to be drinking gin with so many varieties and an incredible array of botanicals sourced right here in Australia you’re bound to find something that screams, “THIS is what I’m talking about!”

What do you think is the appeal in drinking gin?

Without a doubt, its versatility. Gin is one of the few spirits that speaks to people who love experimenting with flavour, or those of us who have decided to taste and stick to what we know and love. It’s also very welcoming to newcomers who haven’t quite embraced a love affair with gin; and pink is the perfect place to start!

What’s your favourite gin-based drink?

I’m a martini girl through and through. I travel quite a bit, so when I get a chance I get the girls together and we catch up over a great martini and even better conversation!

Gordon’s Premium Pink Gin Spritz

Want to impress during your next soireé? This Pink Gin Spritz* is a delicious cocktail that will have you coming back time and time again

*Contains 1.8 standard drinks per serve

  1. Fill a large wine glass with ice and add 45ml Gordon’s Premium Pink Gin
  2. Add 45ml Prosecco
  3. Add 90ml lemonade
  4. Garnish with strawberries

This post was produced in collaboration with Gordon’s Gin


Reader Question: How do you deal with jet lag and colds when travelling with kids?

29th August, 2018

I absolutely love hearing from all of my readers especially when it comes to receiving questions whether they be about fashion or parenting or just a beauty question that you’ve been dying to know the answer to. I received the below question from Elizabeth in the comments section of this particular blog post about travelling and I was excited to see it as it’s a topic that I’m sure other parents out there can relate to (especially if you’re about to go overseas on a family trip). If you ever want to submit a question for my reader Q&A don’t forget that you can do so by leaving a comment, contacting me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

“I see you travel a lot with kids – how do you keep them away from catching a cold on the plane and also what are you tricks for jet lag?” – Elizabeth

We all know that planes are absolutely full of germs and my kids have been known to catch a cold on them in the past so I now try and do as much as I can to stop it.

The first thing I do is around two weeks before we go away I give the girls probiotics. I use the powder form and just pop it in a drink for them. Alternatively you can also buy chewy gummy ones if your kids would prefer a lolly to a drink. I continue this ritual during and after travelling to help boost their immune system as much as possible.

When we’re actually in transit I am quite militant about using hand sanitiser on the plane and also washing the girls’ hands regularly. You just never know what they’ve touched so I prefer to err on the side of caution and just keep their hands as clean as possible. Also I tend to rug them up as planes can get chilly and I make sure to give them lots of fluids.

In terms of jet lag (which can be quite torturous when you’re travelling with children!), I just try and get them into the local time zone as quickly as possible so we can get them back into their regular routine as soon we can (with an hour or two leeway). This sometimes means that I will need to wake them up when they are still tired but I have found they always bounce back pretty quickly. There’s always going to be an adjustment period but if you get onto it straight away they’ll generally be on local time before you know it. And of course, you start the process all over again when you get home.

Travelling with kids is admittedly a lot trickier than when you’re sans children but it’s all so worth it when you think of all the happy memories you create while you’re away.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? Just pop it in the comments section below and I’ll answer it soon.
Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Holiday Dreaming

25th August, 2018

I always love putting together a holiday wardrobe. I think it’s because of the fact I know I’ll always be in a great mood in whatever I’m wearing and it will remind me of that particular getaway whenever I pull it out of my closet again at home. During my recent family trip to Thailand I wanted to bring pieces that were light, easy and also with an element of polish. I never really steer too far from my usual look when I am away, I just tweak it a bit so it’s a little more relaxed.

One of the first things I look for in any potential outfit for a holiday wardrobe is its versatility. I liked the fact that the below skirt and cami could be worn together and as separates, which allowed me to get more wear out of it while I was away. It was also perfect for the warm weather and I could wear it out to dinner without feeling too dressed up. I think that’s the thing with a tropical island getaway — you want to be able to wear pieces that look great but also don’t look too fussy or overdone as the whole vibe of the destination is so relaxed.

I spent most of my time away sans shoes or in sandals or slides as it was just easier, plus it was ideal for the weather. I brought the below pair of pink slides with me and pretty much lived in them. They were comfortable but the bow detail and the velvet fabrication made it look and feel a little more luxe. I’ll definitely be wearing them throughout summer, but every time I do I’ll always be reminded of the great family holiday we had.

Credits: Skirt and Cami, Camilla & Marc; Shoes, Ancient Greek Sandals

Photography: DDEN Studio (Trisara Resort, Phuket)


Grace’s 2nd birthday party

22nd August, 2018

Grace recently turned two and to celebrate we threw her a birthday picnic at our family farm in the Southern Highlands. We kept it quite a low key affair, just inviting our close family and friends. Luckily we woke up to a beautiful day so we could set the party up as a picnic and let the kids run around outside.

I always like to have entertainment at the kids’ parties so all our little guests are occupied so we had a birthday fairy entertain the children with various activities including games, dancing, face painting and colouring in. Mum also looked after the pony rides for all the kids which they all absolutely loved.

We wanted to keep our decorations simple so we had a pink and white colour theme throughout, which we carried through from the balloons to the cups and plates.

I always like to go for a menu that can cater to both adults and children so we decided to have a sausage sizzle and then scattered a few sandwich, cheese and fruit platters around. The kids had a few extras like sultanas, fruit, sandwiches, popcorn, cupcakes and a few lollies. The showstopper was definitely the cake which we had made by Stacy Brewer Cakes and it was decorated with pink flowers with a few gold accents. It was so pretty we almost didn’t want to cut it!

This was the first year Grace could really understand what was going on at her party and get involved with the activities so she had a ball. It was a lovely day spent with our nearest and dearest and I couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate our little girl turning two.

Cupcakes and the gorgeous Stacy Brewer cake

The drinks table and a few of our pink and white decorations

Grace with the birthday fairy

Kisses for the birthday girl!

The kids enjoying their picnic

Swing time

The girls with the birthday fairy

Sophia with our family dog

Sausage sizzle = no fuss catering

Mum looked after the pony rides for the kids

Sisters having a great day

Blowing out the birthday candles