Browsing Tag

travel

Beauty, Lifestyle

My pre-holiday beauty prep

21st August, 2017

Kate Waterhouse travel pre-holiday beauty prep

When I go on holiday I like to keep it as low key as possible when it comes to beauty maintenance. I prefer to just focus on getting out and about and making the most of each day as opposed to having to spend time grooming my eyebrows or doing my nails so I ensure my pre-holiday beauty prep allows me to do that. I’m sure a lot of you have a similar checklist give or take a few steps but these are the key things I always get done before I even pack my bags

Get a spray tan

A spray tan is always a must for me before I go away on a trip. My favourite place to go is Bronzalicious in Sydney’s Neutral Bay as they always get the colour spot on. I find when you’re bronzed you don’t need to wear much makeup plus you just generally feel more confident with a little bit of a glow, especially if it’s a beach holiday and you’re in bikinis a lot.

To help with maintenance while I’m on holiday I’ll take an exfoliator to get rid of excess colour from my spray tan and a bronzing mousse for top ups.

Get a mani/pedi

I like neat, tidy nails when I’m on vacation so I make sure to squeeze in a manicure and pedicure as part of my pre-holiday beauty prep routine. I usually go sans polish on my fingernails because I hate chipped nails and don’t want to have to worry about getting them done when I’m away from home. On my toes I will get Shellac so it lasts a couple of weeks and will usually either get a light shade such as OPI’s Bubble Bath or a deep burgundy such as OPI’s Malaga Wine.

Have my eyebrows shaped and lashes tinted

A visit to Amy Jean Eye Couture in Sydney’s CBD is a must. I get my eyebrows shaped and eyelashes tinted and curled. I always curl my eyelashes so this way I don’t have to worry about it and I’m set for the day. If my brows and lashes are looking good then I find that I can get away with minimal makeup as it helps me looked polished.

Refresh my hair

I’m usually very good at having a regular cut and colour so I always make a point of booking a session at Valonz in Sydney’s Paddington right before a trip. I get my hair recoloured and cut so it looks fresh for my trip. It’s a bit of running around getting all my beauty prep done before going away but it’s all worth it in the end as I can just focus on enjoying myself and not have to worry about a thing.

What are your pre-holiday beauty prep essentials?

 

Date with Kate, Lifestyle

Date with Kate: Patricia Schultz

2nd July, 2017

Patricia Schultz is a travel author who has been No.1 on the New York Times best-seller list. A travel writer with 25 years’ experience, her books including 1,000 Places To See Before You Die have inspired bucket lists around the world. The New York-based author was in Australia this week and chatted to me about her career, travel tips and how she is overcoming her fear of flying.

What are you doing in Australia?

This year and next I’ve been asked to be the global ambassador for Trafalgar. This year is their 70th anniversary so I’m doing events all around the world … While in Sydney I finally did the Bridge Climb. It’s included in my book so I’ve wanted to do it for a long time.

How did your upbringing influence your choice of career?

My family took us to The [Jersey] Shore [south of New York] every summer and that wasn’t a big outing but it was important to my family as it was special family time. So I understood how important travel was … My first memory ever was when I was four years old and we were going off to The Shore and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world.

Where did your love of travel come from?

I’m not sure, my parents never travelled, ever! I came from a very modest family – my mother was born in Italy and my father was from an immigrant, modest family. Luxury for them was having dinner on the table and putting me through university without a single student loan. Bless my father, he worked every day of his life, dropped out of school at 11 – imagine for him to travel, it just wasn’t on the radar. And yet when I was 15 I had befriended a girl at school who’s family was from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, which for us in New York State was exotic as it got – when, in fact, it was a five-hour flight away. And my friend said in passing, “Oh you must come and visit”.

Did you go?

Unbeknownst to me, my father took out an extra shift for many months and saved for my ticket and I was 15 and it was my first passport and my first stamp, and that is how supportive they were of whatever gave me joy. I really picked the right parents. It was nothing that they ever inspired for themselves but at 15 they were all about making my life as full as possible.

How did that experience influence you?

So I got on that plane and went to visit this beautiful Caribbean Island … and it just flew open the door and turned my life around. I was immersed for three weeks with this Spanish family, everything about it was totally new for me and it was an eye-opener. And that was kind of the beginning of it.

How did you get into travel journalism?

That really was fluke, it wasn’t planned. I was a fashion stylist and we were in Quay West in Florida and we were doing a fashion shoot for Men’s Vogue Italy and the editor was to interview this very eccentric American man who was a legendary sunken-treasure hunter … But the editor was called back home for a family illness and gave me this assignment and asked if I could do it and I said “sure” because I always said yes to everything, and that was my first interview … And I thought “I think there is a career here”.

How many of the 1000 places from 1,000 Places To See Before You Die have you visited?

My gut feeling is about 80 per cent … I’m still at it, I’m still travelling unashamedly. And I mean I will never stop unless I have to. I am very aware there is only so much time and money and I am aware that I’m no longer 24 years old, so carpe diem, make it happen while you can!

Where is you favourite place to travel?

Antarctica – that probably is my single most astonishing, eye-opening trip. It is not of this earth, in the most positive sense, and yet it’s achievable and attainable. But the place I keep returning to is Italy; I could go back a million times.

Is there any place you haven’t been to that’s on your future travels list?

I’m very embarrassed to admit that I have never been to New Zealand. I’ve been here [in Australia] a dozen times and there is no reason why … but it will happen.

Have you ever been to a travel destination that you haven’t liked?

There are many places I would never return to and there many places that I don’t think “oh I could live here”, but equally there are many places that did not make it into the book, but there was always an experience.

I read that you are scared of flying. How do you overcome that?

I know! I’ve gotten better but I’m not good with turbulence – a small bump and I freeze. But I’m proud enough that I won’t scream or cry out, but inside I’m dying. And I don’t resort to heavy drinking or drugs, but I probably should!

What is your number one travel tip?

It would be to travel! Get off the sofa. The best time to travel is when you finish university and you don’t a care in the world; the kids and the job obligations aren’t there yet. But the next best time is today.

You must have nailed the art of packing. What’s your top tip?

You should pack light. It sounds flippant but are you ever going to see these people again? I repeatedly wear the same thing, I bring a lot of layers, I bring a lot of accessories, and I bring a dozen scarves so they can dress it up in different ways, and only two pairs of shoes, never three! And there is that wonderful expression to lay all your clothes the night before on your bed and “pack half the clothes and twice the money”.

You are constantly on the road. How do you and your husband juggle your travel commitments?

It’s a long story, but I can just summarise it by saying he is beyond supportive and understanding, and that needed to be a given from the moment we met because without that we would have never have lasted.

Does he ever get to travel with you?

Sometimes, not on trips like this, but I am a guest speaker a lot on cruises and many of the opportunities [come with] a plus-one.

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO Q Dining at the Pullman Quay Grand, Sydney Harbour.

WE ATE Antipasto; Jerusalem artichoke consommé with cocktail onion and nasturtium; Charred octopus and scallop with white miso and ruby grapefruit; Cape grim entrecote with celeriac and sauce bordelaise; Riso nano risotto with pumpkin, washed rind and lemon.

WE DRANK Sparkling mineral water.

photography: Fairfax Media.

Fashion, Lifestyle

Reader Question: What are your tips for travelling light?

22nd March, 2016

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Welcome to my first ever reader Q&A! I tend to be thrown a fashion question or two quite regularly whether it by on social media, at an event or right here on this very blog so I thought I would start featuring my answers here in case it’s something another reader has also been wanting to ask. If you’ve got a question you’ve been dying to know the answer to feel free to post other questions in the comments section, send me a Facebook message or write on my wall, comment on my Instagram or send me a tweet. The more questions the better!

 

Hi Kate,

Any ideas please for packing to travel overseas. I am going to Ireland, Scotland and Denmark in July and would love to get an idea of basic mix and match and practical travel clothes I will wear rather than have excess luggage.

Kind regards, Robyn

 

You’ve come to the right place, Robyn! I’ve become become quite good at taking the bare minimum when I’m travelling. I used to pack so much every time I went away and my thought process would usually go something like this: “Oh I love this dress, I’ve never worn it in Sydney but I might wear it overseas!” and just apply the same logic to pretty much everything in my wardrobe. And let’s face it, the reality is, if I would never wear it in Sydney, why would I wear it overseas? These days I limit myself to one piece of luggage when I’m travelling (even tinier if it’s just a quick trip interstate) and make sure I take a tight edit of clothing. Here’s how I do it:

Bring separates

Packing separates means you can get multiple looks out of each item. Every separate you take you should ensure that not only can you get multiple wears out of it, but that you can also easily dress it up or down. For example I’ll always take a little black skirt that I can dress up at night with a black singlet top or wear casually during the day with a tee or singlet and sneakers. I normally take one little black skirt, maybe a longer skirt whether it’s a midi or maxi skirt and some shorts. I’ll always take white t-shirts, I’ll always take a black singlet top, and even if it’s summer you’ll still need a little cardigan just in case it gets cold. So the cardigan I wear on the plane is the cardigan I’ll wear throughout the trip. Usually I’ll take a cardi in black is it will go with a lot of outfits.

Limit shoes

Fact: shoes are heavy when you have multiple pairs on your hands. Don’t go nuts in the shoe department when you travel. I’ll always take a black pair of heels, they might not be my favourite heels at the time but they’ll go with everything. And usually they’re the only heels I will bring. When I went to Switzerland with my family over Christmas last year it was black tie events each night and I only had one pair of heels with me that I knew I would be able to wear to every single event. Also if you’re heading to Europe you’ll encounter plenty of cobblestoned streets which are quite romantic and lovely to stroll along but are wildly inappropriate for walking on in heels. For this very reason make sure you bring a pair of wedges. I go to Taormina in Italy a lot and I know I wouldn’t be able to survive a trip (and most likely end up with a broken ankle) without wedges.

I always take flats with me like sandals and sneakers. I’ll take sandals for the beach and Adidas sneakers or Nikes that I can wear casually or on a power walk. But I always keep flats to a minimum and make sure that they work with everything that I’m bringing.

Bring a multipurpose bag

I always bring a tiny Chanel cross body bag that I can wear during the day and then at night I can tuck the chain in and use it as a clutch. If you decide to take something with you it should always serve more than one purpose. I’ll often have a bigger bag for the plane which can fit my computer and Sophia’s stuff as well, but I’ll make sure that bag is the bag I’ll use as a beach bag or a baby bag during the trip.  There’s no need to bring a million different bags.

Do laundry

Don’t be one of those people who doesn’t wash clothes during the trip! Just take a small ziploc bag of detergent with you in your suitcase so you can easily wash things like underwear in your hotel room. Don’t bring 100 pairs of socks and underwear because you don’t want to wash. That’s precious suitcase space all those superfluous underpants are taking up!

Make accessories multitask

Take a variety of different accessories as they don’t take up too much room but they’re really great for changing your outfit. One thing I always take is a black sarong because I can wear it as a scarf and also wear it as a cover up at the beach or as a towel if I don’t have one with me. Plus if I’m going sightseeing to places such as a church where I might need to cover up my shoulders or need a scarf around my head, a sarong can always be used for that too.

Be ruthless

You don’t need multiple options for the one type of clothing. You have to decide and choose to bring only one. So for example I always limit myself to one pair of jeans. If I bring a pair of white jeans then I don’t take blue jeans. Just stick to one pair. And only ever take one swimsuit.

Do a trial run

I will lay some clothes out a week before and I will slowly take things away during the week. By the end of the week I’ll have a pretty limited number of outfits but I know they all work together to form a good capsule wardrobe.

Have a two-occasion minimum

While separates are great you can take summer dresses or a playsuit too but just make sure that you can wear it at night with heels or a statement necklace. Or if you bring a maxi dress you can wear it to the beach but also in the evening if you’re going out to dinner. Make sure you look at something and ask yourself how many times can your wear it and in how many different ways? You should always be able to come up with a minimum of two occasions in which you will be able to wear it during your trip.

If you follow the above tips you should be well on your way to being able to pack light so that you’ve got plenty of space to bring home all those holiday mementos. Or just shop a lot.

Photography: Sophia Athas

 

 

 

Lifestyle

My first trip to a health retreat

25th February, 2016

The tranquil surrounds made for prime relaxation conditions

I went to a health retreat for the first time a few weeks ago and I have to admit I’ve always been a bit scared at the prospect of doing so. I’ve often associated health retreats with strict detox diets, waking up at the crack of dawn to exercise and being removed from modern conveniences so for someone who loves coffee, wine, good food, her iPhone and Wi-Fi I wasn’t sure it would be a good fit.

I had heard so much about Gaia Retreat & Spa in Byron Bay that Luke and I decided to head up there for a weekend away together to celebrate his birthday.

AA Komala Bath (2)

Inside a villa at Gaia

All my fears were set aside as soon as we arrived. The suite was lovely and had Wi-Fi, a TV and a library of movies we could watch so we weren’t completely removed from technology. Plus the retreat is quite relaxed so you could choose your activities (no exercising early in the morning unless you wanted to) and enjoy coffee in the morning and a glass of wine in the evening.

There was yoga available in the morning and activities throughout the day, but Luke and I were on a mission to chill out and relax so we booked some spa treatments and decided to make it quite a leisurely weekend. The spa is definitely world class and all the products used are organic so I took some home to try it out.

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One of the amazing dishes I had at Gaia

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All the meals we had were Instagram-worthy

One of my great pleasures in life is going out to dinner and eating good food so before we arrived I thought ‘Oh god am I going to be eating salad for the next three days?’ The food however, was incredible. I actually took home a cookbook that’s how good the food was.

While there’s no menu and everyone has the same meals, Gaia do tailor the food to suit your requirements. As I’m pregnant I didn’t have the raw food but everyone else had it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was a feast. It also enabled me to try dishes that I might not otherwise have ordered if I were to see it on a menu. I had a dish with noodles, pumpkin and tofu (pictured above) that was particularly delicious. I have a huge sweet tooth so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we also got dessert.

Luke and I only managed to get away for a weekend however it was such a relaxing experience that we would definitely consider going back and staying a bit longer next time.

Have you ever been to a health retreat? How did you find the experience?

 

 

 

Fashion, Lifestyle, What I Wore

My tips for a great weekend away

22nd December, 2015

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For me, the lead up to Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year as it’s always buzzing with energy. However, it can also be one of the busiest times with so many social occasions. To help get through this busy time I like to try and escape from Sydney for a quick getaway before the festivities ramp up. If you’re planning a long weekend here are my tips for making the most of some time away:

Pack something special 

I always make sure that I pack something which is easy to wear but also something that makes me feel special. For me, going away is a time to experience new places and do something I wouldn’t usually do at home and this means wearing things I wouldn’t normally get to wear on a day to day basis.

So many times I have splashed out on an amazing dress for a special event and not known when to wear it again. A weekend away, is the perfect opportunity to re-wear these amazing pieces in a different environment.

My TOME shirt and skirt are a perfect set to take away because it is lightweight and easy to travel in for the car trip. Plus as they’re separates it’s easy to mix and match them with other pieces which means less to pack.

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Stick  to neutrals

The classic blue and white makes this outfit a winner to take away because it is easy to accessorise. Accessories are a must for short trips because it lets you change up the outfit depending on how the plans unfold. Switching between flats, heels and even sneakers allows an entirely new look for what I am wearing.

Try before you pack

It is important to try on the outfits before you go away to make sure that you pack a really tight edit of outfits. The more you plan, the less you have to pack as you won’t bring any unnecessary items. I always check that my outfit options will work with accessories such as the sunglasses and hats I pack to make sure I can wear things in multiple ways.

Bring a book

For most of us, time at home doesn’t lend itself to a lot of time spent reading because we’re all so busy. This is why I always pack a good book when I’m going away for the weekend as there is nothing better than lying in the sun with a book and getting lost in the pages.

Do your beauty prep before you go

I always make sure I have my hair done and nails painted if I am going away to ensure I’m beauty-ready for any occasion that may come up. My picks at the moment are OPI’S ‘Lost on Lombard’ and Bobbi Brown lipgloss.

When you get away, it is the perfect time to also indulge and pamper yourself and this includes catching up on beauty treatments. I have been using the KORA organics skin care range, which leaves my skin feeling so refreshed.

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Pick an easy location

Luke, Sophia and I pack the car early in the morning and enjoy an easy ride to our getaway destination. From Sydney, one of my favourite short trips is to the Southern Highlands. It is a perfect way to escape a busy week and have a relaxing weekend.

Luke, Sophia and I love to make the most of weekends by doing something different and creating special memories together.

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Lifestyle

My tips for travelling with kids

15th December, 2015

sophia airport

We’ve always travelled with Sophia a lot but most of our trips were interstate trips. However earlier this year we had to fly to Sweden to attend a relative’s wedding which meant we had to face the daunting prospect of doing a long haul flight with a very active 14 month old! I’m a big routine person but when you’re on a plane generally all rules fly out the window and the aim is just to make the flight as comfortable as possible for you and your child. We’re heading off on a family trip overseas this week and these are some of the tips I’ve picked up along the way that I’ll definitely be using.

Bring entertainment

It goes without saying that you need to come armed with toys and activities to keep your child amused. However schedule the toys so they’re given one new toy at a time and introduce a new toy only once you see boredom start to set in. Toys that can keep them amused such as colouring books and puzzles are great and if you have one at your disposal bring an iPad. I usually load one up with Sophia’s favourites, such as episodes of Peppa Pig and Peek-a-boo farm apps. I also try and bring one of Sophia’s toys (or you could also bring a blanket) to give her something familiar from home during the flight.

Load up on snacks

Airline food can be a bit hit and miss so I bring plenty of snacks for Sophia which keeps her fuelled up.

Time your long haul flights

If you can, try and schedule yourself to fly on an overnight flight to help to fall in line with your child’s sleeping times.

Come with a well stocked baby bag

Arriving to a new, unfamiliar destination and frantically running around trying to find a place to buy nappies does not make for a great start to a trip. This is why it’s important to come armed with all the essentials you’ll need for at least two days to give yourself enough time to acclimatise to your destination without having to factor in replenishing your supplies. I always bring:

  • Nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • A change mat
  • Bottles for milk and a spill-proof sippy cup
  • Snacks
  • A first aid kit with kids’ Panadol, thermometer, band-aids, nappy rash cream, teething gel
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Spare clothes

Accept help

Spending hours on a plane trying to keep a baby or toddler entertained and under control can be exhausting so if someone offers to help, take up their offer. This can be everything from entertaining your child while you quickly eat your meal or even just letting you in front of them in the queue to board the plane.

Board early

Speaking of boarding, be sure to try and board early. This will enable you to have plenty of time to store all your belonging and get your child settled.

Book a bassinet

Sophia is now too big for the bassinet so she sits on our lap but if your baby is young enough definitely get the bassinet if you can, ring the airline well in advance because usually you have to reserve it. If you can, also ask at check in if you can be seated somewhere with a vacant seat next to you as this gives you a bit more room.

Bring plenty of milk

I find Sophia drinks so much more milk on planes so I always pack more than needed as I don’t want to be stuck without. I also give her a bottle during take off and landing to help relieve the pressure in her ears.

Organise a small go-to bag of essentials

It can become quite cumbersome having to lug a baby bag around every time you need change a nappy so pack a zip lock bag with some nappies, wipes and a change mat to help make it easier. Those small toilets are hard enough to navigate without bringing a big baby bag into the mix!

Always bring extra clothes

It goes without saying you’ll need some spare clothes for your child but don’t forget about you too. Accidents happen and you don’t want to spend the rest of your flight in a t-shirt covered in milk because you have nothing else to change into.

Invest in travel specific accessories

We bought a Baby Zen YoYo pram for our last trip and it was great as we were able to take it onto the plane. It’s compact enough to tuck away into the overhead compartment so we didn’t have to go through the hassle of checking it in. Plus it’s great for when you’re in transit. Also if the hotel we’re staying at doesn’t have a cot I bring a Baby Bjorn travel cot. It can be set up and dismantled quite easily so it’s handy to have around plus it’s something Sophia is already familiar with.

What are some of your tips for travelling with kids?

Fashion, Lifestyle

My London travel guide: what to see and where to eat

26th August, 2015
walking the streets of London.

Walking the streets of London. See What I Wore HERE.

Play date in Hyde Park.

Play date in Hyde Park.

London Days. See What I Wore HERE.

London Days. See What I Wore HERE.

High Tea at Claridge's.

High Tea at Claridge’s.

Visiting Buckingham Palace.

Sophia looking for Prince George at Buckingham Palace.

Natural History Museum london.

Natural History Museum, London.

Checking out Notting Hill. See What I Wore HERE.

Checking out Notting Hill. See What I Wore HERE.

Cocktails at the Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel.

Cocktails at the Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel.

I’ve just come back from a family trip to London and had such a great time. You’re definitely spoilt for choice in London as far as things to do and places to eat. We filled up our days taking Sophia to see the sites (she was determined to find Prince George at Buckingham Palace!) and enjoying the endless assortment of restaurants and stores on offer. If you’re planning a trip to London, here are some things I highly recommend you add to your list.

BRUNCH

Granger & Co – For those who love Bill Granger’s restaurant Bills in Sydney, this is his restaurant in London. They do a great scrambled eggs on toast and best of all his famous ricotta pancakes make an appearance on the menu. The food is fresh, tasty and is a nice touch of home.

Jak’s on Walton Street – A lovely chilled out cafe that’s located behind Harrods. If you love food that’s organic and healthy, this is a great place to kick start your day.

Rose Bakery – This place is a great pit stop to recharge for a day of power shopping in Mayfair.

LUNCH:

The Ivy – This cosy restaurant located on King’s Road is a great spot to grab lunch. Definitely try to book a table outside so you can enjoy the lovely courtyard. 

Beast – Just a word of advice: if you go here literally don’t eat anything all day as you are in for a lot of eating. Their specialty is crab and steak, in fact that’s pretty much all they serve. I recommend doing the ‘Beast Experience’. Definitely one for the boys.

C of London – A lovely Italian restaurant located in Mayfair. If you’re in need of refuelling after a big day of shopping definitely stop in.

The Arts Club – For a touch of history check out The Arts Club which was founded in 1863! The brasserie is a great spot to lunch.

DINNER

Chiltern Firehouse – This is a former firehouse that’s been converted into a designer hotel. The lounge is great for drinks, but be sure to stay for a hearty feast. Expect everything from Welsh lamb to fried chicken.

Nopi – Prepare to be spoilt for choice. Upstairs is more formal while downstairs is communal dining.

La Bodega Negra – If you’re in the mood for a Mexican food fix, this is the ideal spot to do it. Lots of great food.

Scott’s – I love this restaurant. They do amazing seafood and there’s a gorgeous oyster and champagne bar worth checking out.

THINGS TO DO

High tea at Claridges – High tea at this gorgeous hotel is such a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Portobello Markets in Notting Hill – This iconic shopping destination is a shopper’s haven. The streets are filled with everything from antiques to clothes and the seemingly endless array of stalls will satisfy your every shopping whim.

Feed the ducks and have lunch in Hyde Park – If you’re travelling with kids this is a great way to spend some time in the great outdoors. Sophia really loved hanging out here. 

Natural History Museum – A gorgeous building and filled with lots of interesting exhibits. Kids will love it.

Dover Street Market – This multilevel department store is great for shopping. They stock a range of different designers and the space is just a little futuristic.

Sloane Street – So much shopping to be done on this street! It has everything from Harrods to Selfridges and Browns.

Have drinks at Artesian Bar at the Langham – Artesian was named the world’s best bar in 2014 so you can imagine the kind of experience that awaits. The cocktails here are incredible and not to be missed.

Have you been to London? What are your fave spots?

Fashion, Lifestyle

Travel Photo Diary: Taormina

24th August, 2015
Mazzarò beach.

Mazzarò beach.

Chilling with my girl.

Chilling with my girl.

Bam Bar - best granita's in town!

Bam Bar – best granitas in town!

Beach days.

Beach days.

Mazzarò beach.

Beachside at Mazzarò beach.

Cruising in culottes.

Cruising in culottes.

Taking Sophia to the church where we were married.

Paying a visit to San Giuseppe Church where Luke and I were married.

Taking Sophia to the church where we were married.

Taking Sophia to the church where we were married.

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Exploring with Sophia.

Cooling down at a water fountain in the public gardens.

Cooling down at a water fountain in the public gardens.

Family time.

Family time by the pool.

Feeding the fish in Taormina's public gardens.

Feeding the fish in Taormina’s public gardens.

Sunset drinks at The Grand Hotel Timeo.

Sunset drinks at The Grand Hotel Timeo.

After recently spending some time in Sweden for a wedding, we decided to take a side trip to one of my favourite places in the world – Taormina in Italy. It’s actually the first time I’ve been back since Luke and I were married there and this time around we had a special guest in tow, Sophia. It was nice to have some quality family time and enjoy the summer sun. It was particularly special having Sophia there with us as we took her to the church where we were married and the gardens where we had our wedding photos taken. I’ve been spending time in Taormina with my family since I was very little, so it was nice to be able to enjoy it with my own family this time around.

See my favourite things to do and see in Taormina HERE.

Lifestyle

A girl’s travel guide to Dubai

23rd July, 2015
All set! With the girls in the First Class Lounge prior to take off!

All set! With the girls in the First Class Lounge prior to take off!

I recently had the opportunity to visit Dubai as a guest of Dubai Tourism to experience the city with a group of girlfriends. Who better to go with than my fellow Fashion Bloggers girls Nadia, Sara and Zanita? If guys go to Vegas for a boys’ trip, Dubai is definitely the ultimate destination for a girls’ trip. You can do everything from enjoy cocktails by the pool, to indulge in spa treatments and shop ’til you drop. Below is my guide to what to see and do during a visit to this incredible city.

How to get there:

We flew to Dubai with Qantas and quite enjoyed having a slumber party of sorts in our pyjamas during the flight!

Flying to Dubai on Qantas Airways.

Flying to Dubai on Qantas Airways.

Pyjama Party! With the girls in our Qantas PJ's.

Pyjama Party! With the girls in our Qantas PJ’s.

 

Where to stay:

If there’s one thing Dubai knows how to do it’s luxury hotels. We stayed at the Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa. It was a gorgeous hotel right by the beach and was incredible. We hung out by the pool and enjoyed a lot of amazing meals there. For a totally different experience we also stayed at the PER AQUUM Desert Palm which was right near the desert. The hotel hosts the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge and was a beautiful location.

Anantara Dubai The Palm

Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa

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Beachside at the Anantara Dubai

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With my girls!

Per AQUUM Desert Palm

Getting glammed up for dinner

Per AQUUM Desert Palm.

PER AQUUM Desert Palm’s beautiful surroundings

Hanging with Nadia at Per AQUUM Desert Palm.

Hanging with Nadia at PER AQUUM Desert Palm pool

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Strolling through the gardens

 

What to do: 

Visit the Al Fahidi District which is the historical quarter of Dubai. It’s got some really beautiful sightseeing and was a great insight into the history of the city.

Do a longtail boatride to take in the city via water. The boat leaves from the Anantara Dubai and goes to the Dubai Marina. They do four return trips daily.

If you’re feeling adventurous try indoor skydiving at Inflight! Such a great adrenalin rush. Just don’t do what Nadia did and attempt to do a photoshoot mid-air…

Pamper yourself with a spa treatment. Dubai really knows how to do spa treatments! I had a great spa experience at both the Anantara and Per AQUUM.

The weather will be really hot so take some time to hang out by the pool and just relax. Order some fresh coconuts and enjoy an afternoon in the water.

Exploring in the historical quarter of Dubai - Al Fahidi District.

Exploring in the historical quarter of Dubai – Al Fahidi District.

Desert Sands.

Desert Sands

The long tail boat ride.

The long tail boat ride.

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Pool time while sipping coconuts. Is there anything better?

Poolside - Per AQUUM Desert Palm.

Poolside

 

Where to shop:

Prepare your credit card for a workout as Dubai definitely has some amazing malls to satisfy every shopping whim. Head to Dubai Mall, one of the biggest shopping malls in the city to enjoy some retail therapy.

Check out the Spice Souk for spices, the Textile Souk for textiles and the Gold Souk for jewellery (Dubai has some of the cheapest prices for gold anywhere in the world). I picked up a few pashminas of really beautiful quality and some little ornaments for Sophia. You can also pick up some great homewares such as cushions and blankets.

Spice souk.

All the amazing spices at the Spice Souk

Old Souk - textile shopping.

So much colour!

Old Souk - textile shopping.

Beautiful homewares at the textile souk.

 

Where to eat/drink:

The Eden Beach Club is the perfect place to have a drink. We went there to have cocktails and watch the sunset and it was gorgeous.

Enjoy a delicious Jewel Afternoon Tea at the PER AQUUM Desert Palm, complete with views over the polo fields. If you’re looking for gourmet experiences try Gaucho, Zuma, La Petite Maison and Nobu.

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Cheers!

Sunset at Eden Beach Club

Sunset at Eden Beach Club

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Cocktails at Eden Beach Club

 

Must-do: 

You can’t miss the Arabian Desert Safari. It was incredible. We drove through the desert in four wheel drives and when we got to our location joined a camel train and were able to ride on camels through the desert to get to our camp. When we arrived at our campsite we were greeted with lavish tents with beautiful Persian carpets. We enjoyed a traditional Arabian feast at sunset after which we also had henna tattoos done, smoked shishas and were entertained by bellydancers. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The scenery was so picturesque Zanita actually did a photoshoot right there in the desert.

 

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Getting up close and personal with a falcon

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Our ride!

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Having too much fun with the girls

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The sand dunes provided the perfect backdrop

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Riding to camp

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The desert surroundings

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Our glamorous dinner location

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Magical trip with these ladies

What to pack:    

Dubai is very hot. When we went where it was 40 degrees everyday so bring lots of light and airy clothing. However be mindful that it’s a more conservative culture so no midriffs, have something to cover your shoulders and wear skirts to the knee.

 

Want to win your own Dubai experience? You can win a dream holiday for two to Dubai thanks to Fashion Bloggers TV!  The prize includes return premium economy flights to Dubai with Qantas, 2 nights at the exclusive PER AQUUM Desert Palm and 2 nights at the beachside sanctuary, Anantara Dubai the Palm Resort & Spa. To enter, simply create a Dubai inspired flatlay, follow and tag in our partners @anantaradubai @peraquumdesertpalm @qantas @fashionbloggerstv, and #mydubai plus #followinourheels. The most creative post will win! Entries open to Aus/NZ residents only and close 19 August. Winner to be announced on INSTAGRAM and Facebook 20 August. Full terms and conditions here – http://bit.ly/1MjueXx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Visiting Taormina? Here’s the must-see list I give to my friends

25th March, 2015

Taormina

Taormina in Italy is without a doubt one of my favourite places in the world. Not only did I used to go there a lot when I was little, it’s also the place where Luke and I got married. I always get asked by my friends what they should see and do when they visit there and I always share the same list with them. If you’re planning a little trip away to enjoy the European summer this year definitely consider adding Taormina to your list – I promise you’ll love it. Here’s the must-see list…

Things to do: 

  • Visit Mazzaro beach and/or Isola Bella Beach.
  • Go to Bam Bar for a granita (an ice drink the Italians eat for breakfast). This is where all the locals go. It’s delicious!
  • Do a boat tour to see the grottos. You can get a boat at Mazzaro beach.
  • Visit the Greek Theatre in town (see if there is a performance you can see at night).
  • Visit the Taormina Public Gardens (Giardino Pubblico). It has stunning views over the bay to Giardini Naxos and Etna.
  • Visit Castelmola, a small town above Taormina. It has incredible views (and visit Bar Turrisi – it’s hilarious!).
  • If you have a few days, do a tour to Mt Etna. (It takes a day and it’s REALLY cold up top so take a jumper!)
  • You can also do the Godfather tour.

Places to eat:

  • Il Delfino Restaurant- it’s on Mazzaro Beach so it’s great for lunch off the beach. Really nice fresh fish!
  • Maffei’s Restaurant. Best food with a lovely courtyard setting.
  • Hotel Timeo (this is where we had our wedding reception) go there for sunset drinks and/or dinner. Delicious food and a stunning setting.
  • Ristorante L’Arco Dei Cappuccini- great food!
  • Ristorante Baronessa- rooftop dining so it has a beautiful view.
  • Granduca Restaurant- great pizza.

Places to drink: 

  • Metropole Hotel- great for sunset drinks.
  • Grand Hotel Timeo – stunning setting for sunset drinks (and try their peach bellini’s!)
  • Morgana Bar- garden bar for after dinner drinks…. and dancing!