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lifestyle

Fashion

On a budget…activewear

24th July, 2019

When it comes to exercise, sometimes just having a cute workout look can help motivate you to go to that gym class or pound the pavement and go for that run. And whilst nice exercise gear is great, there’s no doubt that sometimes activewear can end up costing a fortune once you start adding up everything from leggings to a sports bra and shoes. So if you’re not a Khloe Kardashian with enough cash to spare that you have your very own closet just for your sneakers, how can you still look great without spending a fortune? Here are some great ways to do it.

Stock up at sale time

As with most things in our wardrobes, sale time is probably the best time to replenish any items as you’ll often save a whole lot given most things are discounted. So it’s the ideal time to snap up any workout gear you might need. Hit the sale section of your fave sites for activewear and pay a visit in store to see what might be sitting on the sale racks. You should also take advantage of deals that offer an extra discount on sale items or spend and save deals where the more you buy the bigger the reduction.

Shop the chain stores

You don’t always have to buy activewear from an activewear brand. These days chain stores such as H&M, Seed and Cotton On, and even Target and K-Mart are now doing their own exercise gear from leggings to tees and socks, and the quality is arguably as good as what you’ll find from more expensive brands.

Shop the clearance section

Hit up your fave activewear brand’s clearance section online. For example Lululemon have a ‘We Made Too Much’ section on their site which sells surplus stock at heavily discounted prices. You’ll be able to snap up pieces from a top brand but with a smaller price tag.

Spend up but only on certain things

In an ideal world you’d have a matching top to toe workout look every time you hit the gym but your bank account may not agree. One way to get around this is to invest in the truly important things such as a sports bra which is crucial for giving support during a training session and quality sneakers which you’ll need if you’re regularly exercising. When it comes to other things such as tees, socks and even leggings however, you can afford to go with the cheaper option which can help extend your activewear dollars further.

Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Social

An easy family beach getaway that you don’t have to leave Australia for

11th July, 2019
Going on a walk around the resort with Sophia and Grace

As most parents will attest, the words ‘holiday’, ‘easy’ and ‘kids’ don’t always go hand in hand. From the mammoth packing challenge ahead of you to travelling to your destination and finding enough family-friendly things to do, there’s a little more effort involved compared to just going on holiday sans little ones. So when you find a place that’s ideal for a getaway with kids it’s your public duty to let parents everywhere know…and that’s exactly what I’m doing! We recently spent some time at the newly renovated Daydream Island and it was such a great vacation with kids and here’s why.

1. It’s easy to get to

I always take travel logistics into consideration whenever we’re going on a family holiday and Daydream Island definitely ticked that box. You can fly straight into Hamilton Island and then get a 30-minute ferry ride to Daydream Island.

2. There’s lots of entertainment for kids

A holiday with children requires loads of entertainment so we were quite pleased with the facilities available. There were several pools for the girls to play in plus we could also go to the beach. Not only that they had an aquarium where kids can play with sea creatures and a living reef where you could watch the stingrays and baby sharks go past as you ate breakfast. Also there’s a marine biologist on site who the kids could direct all their questions to about the animals. We also did an additional activity where Sophia and Grace were able to feed the baby stingrays. And there’s also a great kids’ club on site which is ideal for days of inclement weather or you just want to spend a few hours doing other activities like water sports or relaxing by the pool and reading a book.

Sophia and I walking around the resort
Sophia and Luke at breakfast

3. Wildlife aplenty

My kids are five and three and just love animals so they were excited that as soon as we got to the island there was a wallaby just hanging out! Not only that, it wasn’t uncommon to see a kangaroo hopping past as you walked to breakfast, not to mention all the sea creatures in the aquarium and the living reef.

4. You can easily island hop

It’s really easy to check out the neighbouring islands. Hamilton Island is close by if you want to check it out. We decided to go on a helicopter ride to beautiful Whitehaven Beach and were able to have a picnic there with the kids.

With the girls on Whitehaven Beach
Seeing the sights in the air

5. The climate’s great

It was 25 degrees in the middle of winter when we were there so you can expect the temperature to be alright most of the year. If you wait till later in the year however, I imagine the weather will be gorgeous and balmy and perfect beach temperatures.

6. A range of activities for adults

It’s not just about the kids! One day we popped the girls into kids’ club and decided to go on a jet skiing tour of the nearby islands. The girls were able to enjoy themselves and Luke and I were able to take a little break which was a win-win situation for everyone when you’re on a family holiday.

Happy parents!
Fashion, Shop, What I Wore

What I Wore: Daydream Island Launch

25th June, 2019

Attending the official opening of Daydream Island called for something fun, vibrant and bright! Enter this amazing co-ord set by Toni Maticevski. The gorgeous chartreuse shade was the ideal option for such an event as not only was it a nod to the sunshine and tropical weather of the location but it’s the perfect punchy colour that’s just made for party dressing. I’ve worn designs by Maticevski before and the one thing I love about them is that everything is guaranteed to have a knock out feature. In this instance the cascading ruffles on the skirt and the asymmetrical statement sleeve on the crop top.

For a look that’s already so bold I didn’t really need to go overboard with accessories. I opted for a simple, minimalist nude heels and a white statement clutch with embellishment for a bit of fun. As I was wearing my hair in a side swept style with accompanying florals, it was the perfect opportunity to show off some great statement baubles. These pearl drop earrings by Reliquia were just the thing and so perfect for the event.

Arriving at the event with Luke
Myself with Lincoln Lewis and Phoebe Burgess
With Phoebe Burgess
Enjoying the evening with Luke

Shop the Look:

Top: Flaunt Sleeve Bodice in Chartreuse Yellow, Maticevski

Skirt: Basque Ruffle Skirt in Chartreuse Yellow, Maticevski

Shoes: Kosumi Milk Denver Heels, Tony Bianco

Earrings: Cocoon Earrings, Reliquia Jewellery

Fashion

My week on Instagram

23rd June, 2019

Escaping the cold Sydney weather to Daydream Island has been such a great trip for Luke, Sophia, Grace and I. The girls have absolutely loved exploring the resort and everything has been so family-friendly too. Checking out the Living Reef where the girls were able to feed the stingrays was a definite highlight for the kids and so educational too.

If you’re looking for a little beauty inspo, don’t forget to check out my post sharing all my looks from Fashion Week. One of my fave makeup artists Michael Brown did all my makeup for the week and has shared how he achieved each look and what products he used.

Hope you all have a great week!

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Lifestyle & Social, Shop

My favourite children’s cookbooks

13th June, 2019

Cooking is an activity that Sophia and Grace really enjoying helping with. We baked a cake for Sophia’s birthday a few weeks ago and with the girls helping out with little things like stirring the batter and cracking the eggs into the mixture. This is why I’m always out on the look out for cookbooks that contain recipes that are not only kid-friendly but something they can easily assist with. There are so many books available out there but these are the books I really rate for their easy to follow recipes that are tasty and guaranteed to please even the fussiest eater.

Mandy Sacher is a paediatric nutritionist and definitely knows a thing or two about recipes that are easy, but also jam packed with nutrients to satisfy any growing child’s needs. I love the fact that this turns familiar kid favourites such as muffins and mac and cheese and gives it a healthy spin. Also she’s got plenty of dishes that are ideal for fussy eaters and also perfect for meals for the entire family.

Firstly, if you don’t have a Thermomix, this book is also available in a version that uses conventional cooking. But if you do, this is a great one to have on hand. Louise Fulton Keats hails from one of Australia’s most well known cooking families with her grandmother Margaret Fulton a cooking icon. As a qualified childhood nutritionist, Louise has pulled together a collection of recipes that are perfect for both toddlers and babies, and also super easy, so busy parents will definitely find it a handy tome to refer to whenever they’re stuck for what to cook.

Donna Hay is without a doubt one of Australia’s most well known names in cooking and now she’s turned her hand at writing a cookbook that’s made entirely for kids. What I liked about this book is that all the recipes are easy to follow and also something that the girls and I can cook together. I’ve referred to a Donna Hay recipe or two in the past and this book delivers the same style she has adopted for her other cookbooks: accessible, appetising and with dishes that you’ll come back to time and again.

Fashion

A girls’ trip in Orange: what to eat, see and shop

6th June, 2019
Private tour and wine tasting at Ross Hill Wines

I always love a road trip out of Sydney as it’s a great way to relax and have a change of scenery. This time around I went on a girls’ getaway with my friends Nadia Fairfax and Yan Yan Chan. We were lucky enough to be invited by Destination NSW and the city of Orange to experience everything this lovely regional city has to offer. After a busy few days at Fashion Week last month we decided to take them up on their offer and head off for a few days of rest and relaxation and some girl time. Orange is around a 3.5 – 4 hour drive out of Sydney so we all jumped in my car and headed off on a Tuesday morning. We definitely could have used more than three days enjoying the city but here’s my list of the best places to see, eat and shop.

Where we stayed

We stayed at The White Place House which is a gorgeous heritage cottage within walking distance to the Orange CBD. It’s always good to be in such close proximity to the action so we loved how central our accommodation was. Whenever I rent a house when I’m travelling I always inevitably see something whether it be a beautiful trinket or a luxe blanket that I really want to take home, so I was rather pleased to find that The White Place House has a store which sold an edit of the furnishings in our cottage. I may have taken home a souvenir…

The dreamy interiors inside The White Place House
SO much interiors inspo

Where to eat

It was my first time to visit Orange and one of the great things I discovered is that they’ve got a thriving food scene so we were really spoilt for choice as far as restaurants and cafes went. We checked out Orange’s hot new restaurant Charred Kitchen & Bar which uses local produce and cooks everything up in a wood and charcoal oven (their wine list also won an award from Gourmet Traveller Wine) and Mr Lim Korean and Chinese Diner where we enjoyed a great dinner and even better cocktails. I always like to scope out a good cafe whenever I arrive in a new town and we particularly rated Groundstone which is a Scandi-inspired cafe with good food and the coffee was awesome. Also Byng Street Local Store is a fave of locals (always a good sign) and we enjoyed a lovely breakfast there one morning. If picturesque surrounds are your thing make a point of sitting down to lunch at Racine Restaurant—it overlooks a vineyard and view is to die for.

Dinner at Charred Kitchen & Bar
Drinks at Mr Lim
Breakfast at Groundstone

What to do

If you’re into wine Orange is definitely the place to be as they have so many incredible vineyards. We enjoyed a private wine tour and tasting at Ross Hill Wines which is always a nice way to while away a few hours. Also we paid a visit to Heifer Station Wines where we were able to ride bikes and prune the vines and also sit down for a relaxing cheese and charcuterie picnic. Another spot I’d highly recommend is Swinging Bridge Wine where we also enjoyed a wine tasting and Rowlee Wines where we were lucky enough to enjoy a private tour of the estate. And don’t miss grabbing a drink at Ferment in the Orange Wine Centre which is both a wine store and tasting room.

If you’re in the mood for something active do the bushwalk to Federal Falls. It’s a 4km loop track that starts and ends at Federal Falls campground. You’ll pass through lots of tranquil scenery but the enormous rock faces we saw were a definite highlight. Get up early then reward yourself with a delicious breakfast at one of the local cafes for all that exercise!

Picnic at Heifer Station Wines
Pre-dinner drinks at Ferment
Making friends at Rowlee Wines

Where to shop

The girls and I had to check out the local shopping scene of course, and stumbled across a few gems. The Sonic is a must if you’re after beautiful, unique homewares, they also have a good edit of clothing that’s worth checking out. We also popped into Angus Barrett Saddlery & Leather Goods which has some amazing hand-crafted leather goods such as belts and bags. Hawkes General Store was another spot we liked, they had a great selection of clothes, shoes and accessories and really cute kids’ clothes.

Nothing better than a girls’ trip

This post was produced in collaboration with Destination NSW and Orange360

Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle & Social

My week on Instagram

2nd June, 2019

Another big week on Instagram (and on my blog)! I shared a few snaps from Sophia’s 5th birthday on our family farm in the Southern Highlands – if you’ve got a Disney princess lover in your life check it out! 

Also given it’s officially winter I’m sharing my new skincare routine. The cooler weather means I’m more focused on looking after my skin – nothing worse than a dry, damaged complexion so I’m employing a new beauty regimen.

Here’s to another great week ahead!

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Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Social

Sophia’s 5th Birthday

29th May, 2019

It only seemed like yesterday that Sophia was born so it’s hard to imagine my little angel is now five! To mark such a milestone occasion we threw a party for Sophia at my parents’ farm in the Southern Highlands in NSW. We always like to host parties there as there’s plenty of room for the kids to play and run around.

This year the theme was pretty much what every five year old girl I know is into: Disney Princess! I love a themed party as it makes everything else easier from the cake to the entertainment as there’s a distinct theme to work around.

For food, we did a sausage sizzle which is something we’ve done a couple of times that works really well for feeding both adults and kids. That’s my number one piece of advice when throwing a kids’ party: don’t double cater. We also had a few fruit and cheese platters and sandwiches, whilst the kids had a few treats like popcorn and lollies. We had a Disney Princess cake by Sweet Mama Cupcakes and cupcakes by My Little Cupcake.

As far as entertainment went we had pony rides for the kids (always a crowd pleaser!) and a jumping castle. I also always hire a birthday fairy to help keep the kids entertained and in the one spot. The kids love it but as a parent it’s always good to know that all the little ones aren’t running off doing their own thing.

We had gorgeous weather for the party so it was a perfect day for Sophia to celebrate with all her friends. Until next year’s party!

Luke and I with the girls
Grace enjoying the cake
The birthday girl getting ready to blow her candles
Sophia with the Birthday Fairy
Princess pinata!
Enjoying the yummy cupcakes
Playing games
Princesses and pony rides!
The princess themed jumping castle
Sophia’s princess cake up close
The kids had a ball
Party details

Entertainment: Princess Belle by Birthday Fairy 

Jumping Castle: Princess Carriage Combo by Castle Kingdom

Cake: Custom made by Sweet Mama Cakes

Balloons: Highlands Helium Balloons

Cupcakes: My Little Cupcake

Fashion

My tips for throwing the perfect Mother’s Day celebration

7th May, 2019

When it comes to Mother’s Day I find that sometime it’s often nice to bypass the busy restaurants and cafes and host a great brunch or lunch at home. My mum and sister-in-law both live close by (my parents actually live in the same apartment building!) so it’s really great to get everyone together at home and put on a lovely spread. Whilst I love entertaining, I don’t like having a stressful time prepping for it so I’ve learned how to make the process a whole lot easier. Here are some of my tips.

Prep early

I don’t like having to make a mad dash to the shops on the day of any event I’m hosting so I like to do things in advance. I’ll often buy all my groceries ahead of time so the fridge is stocked with everything I need so all I have to do is assemble everything on the day.

Go for a simple menu

I favour a simple menu whenever I’m entertaining. I’ve found that if I’m hosting a brunch or lunch that putting together platters of food is far easier than having to whip up an entire meal. I’ll often do a sweet and savoury platter, so lots of fresh fruit and a cheese platter. It’s also easy to serve up things like pastries or delicious gourmet sandwiches. I find you can still have a really abundant looking table this way but you’re not having to slave away in a kitchen for hours.

Ensure drinks are pre-chilled

It’s easy to forget to put drinks in the fridge on the day so I make a point of just popping everything in there the day before. I like to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks so I’ll always have juices and water and some beverages chilling. For any Mother’s Day event I always make a point of having something like rose, wine or champagne. I’ve worked with Sterling Vineyards in the past to throw a party and find their range to have some good options.

Dress the table

Part of any event is a really inviting table so I make sure that I put in the extra effort to dress it up. I’ll always have bunches of fresh flowers scattered on the table and also throughout the house. I also like to work with different types of flatware, dinnerware and glassware, mixing and matching pieces to work to a particular colour scheme or theme. I find having different platters of various shapes and sizes add an element of interest to the table. I think the aim is to always make the table look abundant so it’s inviting and pleasing to the eye.

Create a relaxing ambience

It’s always good to have a welcoming environment whenever you are entertaining and I’ve found a great way to do this is to have a beautiful scented candle burning. There’s just something about an inviting scent throughout the home that makes it a place people want to be. Also I like to have some relaxing music playing softly in the background to help lift the mood and add a fun vibe to the occasion. They’re easy and simple things to do but they can make all the difference.

Fashion

My favourite things to do/receive on Mother’s Day

3rd May, 2019

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to spoil your mum and show her just how much you appreciate her. In case you’re at a loss for what to get her this year, I’ve decided to share my favourite gift ideas — things I’ve got my own mum in the past and things I’ve received. These five things have always been a success on the gift front and I’m sure they’ll put a smile on your mum’s face too.

Spa Treatment

Image from Gillian Adams

You’d be hard pressed to find a frazzled, busy mum who wouldn’t welcome being gifted a relaxing massage. I’ve always been really excited to be given a massage as a present as it means I can have a little time to myself. Plus not only is it usually something that most mums wouldn’t regularly purchase for themselves but it’s a luxe way for them to unwind.

My fave: A warmstone massage from Gillan Adams, Turramurra

High Tea

Going to high tea is one of my favourite things to do, especially with my mum. I think it’s a lovely way to spend Mother’s Day and a great idea for a gift as you can enjoy a nice meal and spend some quality time together too.

My faves: Burnt Orange and Gunner’s Barracks, Mosman

Perfume

I have a weakness for beautiful fragrances so I’m always thrilled to receive a new addition to my perfume wardrobe. The great thing about being gifted perfume is that every time you wear it you’re reminded of the person who gave it to you. I’m sure any mum would be happy to receive a lovely new scent this Mother’s Day.

My faves: Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb and Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede

Books

I always enjoy looking for books to give to my mum and I myself love receiving new tomes to add to my collection. I’m a fan of biographies so I always gravitate towards that genre, and I’m particularly keen to read Michelle Obama’s book Becoming.

My faves: Becoming, Michelle Obama and The Audrey Hepburn Treasures

Personalised Gifts

Adding a personal touch to a present is always a guaranteed way to ensure any gift is a success. I think creating a crafty gift is always lovely when you’ve got younger kids, and they really enjoy making it too. And given we all have so many memories stored on our phones I think anything photo related is always such a beautiful present, especially these days when it’s so easy to print or create something special with just a few clicks on your mobile.

My faves:

Mini Mothers Day Kit, Hand in Hand Activity Kits

Image via Hand in Hand Activity Kits website

Picture Postie photo gifts

Picture Postie do great personalised photo gifts