Thoughts of the week – 1/3

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1. Here’s some exciting news – yesterday I booked my flights for my end of year trip. The last two years I’ve been to Europe however this year I’m taking three months off and travelling across the US, Canada, Cuba and Mexico. Alone. It’s slightly overwhelming and now that my flight is booked it feels very real, but it’s also filled with possibility.

2. I’ll do a separate post on my plans but I fly in and out of LA and the rest is pretty much a clean slate at this point. I’m keen to hear feedback on cities people have visited (I’ve only been to LA and NY) and great things to do.

3. Some friends and I went to see Fifty Shades of Grey and I have to say, it was pretty terrible. I haven’t read the books but I was excited to watch two hours of Jamie Dornan. Can I say that the sex scenes are the least tacky thing in that movie – it’s the dialogue that really makes you cringe.

4. I went to buy this blue jumper at Uniqlo this week – that colour! That print! – only to find the sleeves were polar fleece while the body was cotton fleece. Say what? I regretfully declined as those sleeves will look pilled and crappy in a couple of months.

5. I killed a really big spider the other week and I keep thinking it is haunting me and sending other spiders to get me. Every time I feel something brush my leg I think it’s a damn spider.

6. How to make anyone fall in love with you. I need to sit down with Travis Boak and do this.

7. My Bloglovin’ is still playing up and it’s highly annoying.

8. I had to deal with Vodafone customer service for the first time ever this week and man, did they do a shocking job. Just poor all round.

9. I love a good TV kiss.

10. Off to the rugby tonight with a friend. Haven’t been in a little while so will be good to see the Melbourne Rebels take on my old home town team, the ACT Brumbies. I love AAMI Stadium too because it’s almost impossible to get a bad seat there.

 

Thoughts of the week – 1/3

La Crème of the crop

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I need another lipstick like a hole in the head but that doesn’t stop me coveting stuff. I know all my triggers – bright pinks, oranges and reds, luxe packaging, relatively affordable pricing, high ratings on Temptalia. The Too Faced La Crème lipsticks tick every one of those boxes. I’ve looked at them for quite some time now thinking one would have to come home with me eventually and that day finally arrived.

I picked the dark pink Jelly Bean though the range is one that’s packed with lust-worthy shades, so choosing is a definite chore. It’s a deep raspberry pink that actually doesn’t wear particularly bright and is really flattering on. I found the La Crème formula to be super creamy and it applies quite opaque with just a single swipe. The texture is really emollient and moisturising so you have to be careful not to smack your lips together too much and spread it around. There’s no odd taste or smell and on me I get a good couple of hours wear before it disappears evenly. Overall this lipstick is just so damn easy to wear and the gold tube makes you look good when you whip it out for a touch up.

I’ve had nothing but great experiences with the Too Faced products I’ve tried and this lipstick definitely gets a thumbs up from me. I’d love a coral pink in the formula but I think a red might get slightly messy. The La Cremes are $29 at Mecca or you can by them online via Beauty Bay or ASOS.

La Crème of the crop

What I’m reading next – March 2015

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Will wonders never cease – I’ve actually read some books instead of just singling out the ones I should be reading. The benefit of having a trip away with next to no phone or internet reception meant that reading was one of the few things I could do to pass the time (when I wasn’t swimming or eating or sleeping).

But first, here’s two books I want to have a crack at over the next month. The first is Megan Hess’ beautifully illustrated The Dress which looks at some of the most iconic moments in fashion. Hess’ work has been published in many magazines and it’s just beautiful – all at once timeless, modern and chic. A great coffee table book for anyone who loves fashion. The second book is called Dress, Memory by Lorelai Vashti and recounts the important dresses the author wore in her 20s. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this one.

Now, for the books I’ve read. I set myself the 50 book challenge again this year and then promptly didn’t start reading any books. Thanks to my trip though, I’ve gotten through four – The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn (disappointing), The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (another cracking read in the series) and People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann (OK but more ‘mommy’ focused than I was expecting). I also read Alexander McCall Smith’s re-telling of Jane Austen’s Emma. The book has been written as part of The Austen Project which has best selling authors re-write Austen’s classics in a modern setting. I quite enjoyed this and McCall Smith’s intelligent prose really suits the story. I have the re-writing of Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope and I’m looking forward to that too.

What I’m reading next – March 2015

Dublin

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Where I went: Dublin, Ireland

How long I stayed: Three nights with two and a half days, close to three days as I left quite late in the afternoon on my third day.

How long I should have stayed: This was more than enough for me. I felt a little bit underwhelmed by Dublin and I easily did everything I wanted in this time frame.

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Where I stayed: I stayed at the Best Western Academy Plaza Hotel and it was really nice, plus the staff were incredible. Just really lovely. It’s situated in the city centre so it’s a really easy walk anywhere you want to go, such as Grafton Street, Temple Bar and Trinity College. There’s lot of shops and places to eat nearby, it’s safe and there’s a bus stop for the airport bus only a couple of hundred metres away. It set me back around $120 a night for a single room with single bed.

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What I did: The Spire, Guinness Brewery tour, Trinity College including the library and Book of Kells, Grafton Street shopping, Temple Bar, walk along the Liffey River, St Stephens Green, red bus tourist tour.

Getting around: I walked pretty much everywhere – Dublin is surprisingly compact and it’s quite flat so no need to worry too much about getting tired. The only place that you will need transport for is the Guinness Brewery and it’s easiest just to get dropped off there and then collected on one of the tourist buses.

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What I thought: Before I went to Dublin I had so many mixed reactions to my plans to visit. Half the people I spoke to said it was one of their favourite cities ever, the other half told me they didn’t rate it at all. Sadly, after spending some time there, I probably fall more into the second category and I found Dublin to be a bit underwhelming overall. Let me say this though: the people are amazing and probably my favourite in the world. They could not have been lovelier or friendlier or more helpful. None of that tourist snobbery here.

There’s actually not a whole lot to do in Dublin so three nights was probably a bit excessive but I wanted to make the $300 return flight to London worthwhile. It was my only stop in Ireland so I didn’t have the luxury of having fewer days then travelling elsewhere. The must see things are the Guinness Brewery and you can do a brilliant and interesting tour there then finish with a pint in the Gravity Bar which has 360 degree views across the city (below). Don’t miss out on it just because you think you don’t want to drink a Guinness (plus it tastes better in Ireland, truly). There’s a lot of great places to have lunch while you’re there and I had a beautiful shepherds pie with salad and bread in the dining hall cafĂ©.

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The second must see is Trinity College (third and fourth pictures). The grounds are exceptionally gorgeous so it’s worth going in just for that but the absolutely best thing is the incredible library and Book of Kells, which is an illuminated manuscript dating back to around 800AD. The library is like something from a dream, it’s just stunning. They don’t let too many people in at once so it’s easy to look around and there’s a good gift shop at the end.

The shopping in Dublin is good without being great and has much of the same High Street stores as the rest of the UK. Grafton Street is the best place for a wander and it has a good mix of shops there including a Space NK. For drinking and eating and drinking then Temple Bar is the place to go. You can wander from pub to pub and there’s plenty of decent food on offer. I had dinner at a pub called O’Neill’s which is just out of Temple Bar on Suffolk Street and I highly recommend the food there. St Stephens Green is a huge park in the middle of the city and it’s a lovely place for a wander, as are the banks of the Liffey.

Overall I liked Dublin well enough without loving it. I think after travelling all these grand European capitals like Barcelona and Paris and Lisbon it will always feel underwhelming to walk into somewhere that’s more like a sprawling well populated village than a city. Also I think if I had of been in Dublin with family and friends then that would have made an enormous difference because it’s a place to have a drink and a good time. On your own it’s a little bit harder. I’d love to go back some time and have another shot and I definitely want to do some more travelling through Ireland.

So after arriving home nearly four months ago I’ve finally finished cataloguing every city I visited on my European adventure – Athens to Dublin. I can now move on to some more planning for my upcoming trips! I have two planned for this year and one will span three months, so that’s a lot of planning to take care of… I’ll keep you posted.

Dublin

Oscars 2015

rita ora marchesa

Jennifer lopez elie saab

laura dern alberta feretti

cate blancett galliano

reese witherspoon

Jessica chastain givenchy

Jennifer aniston versace

dakota johnson ysl

jenna dewan zuhair murad

87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Such a solid year for dresses. I was pretty disappointed in the awards shows in the lead up so I didn’t have particularly high hopes for this one. Thankfully I was proven wrong and a number of stars really brought it.

The top three are my favourites and I can’t quite decide between Rita Ora’s gorgeous navy and gold Marchesa or Jennifer Lopez’ glittering nude Elie Saab for my favourite. Jenny from the block’s gown was even better in motion when she presented – just stunning.

The speeches were also especially good – a lot of political statements but a lot of beautiful messages. Patricia Arquette, John Legend and Common, and Graham Moore were my favourites.

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I loved Lady Gaga’s performance of the music from The Sound of Music and John legend and Common performing ‘Glory’ was spine tinglingly good.

I took a day off to watch and it was awesome – champagne and smoked oysters on my couch for the win.

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Scrubbed up well

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When it comes to skin care, I am obsessed with cleansing. I don’t stockpile moisturisers generally but I’ll often have half a dozen cleansers, oils and scrubs tucked away in my bathroom, begging to be used. I can’t help myself.

When I was in the UK last year I came across Soap & Glory ‘s Scrub Your Nose In It at Boots and I was immediately interested. The online reviews were particularly good so I decided to give it a go. It’s a really finely milled scrub that has more of a microdermabrasion feel than your tradition scrub full of beads or crushed shells. As you can see from the image above, it’s actually quite hard to detect the scrub particles in the cream product until you rub it between your fingers. It also has a gently minty fragrance that feels quite refreshing.

I really like this because while it feels quite gentle on the skin, it also feel like it’s doing its job. My skin feels extremely smooth afterwards but not sandpapered to death. The grittiness of the scrub is almost like a very finely milled pumice and I find I can use it every second night without issue.

Soap & Glory is stocked at Mecca/Kit in Australia but sadly they don’t have this scrub. You can pick it up at Boots or Superdrug in the UK for around $15 – another one to put on your wish list next time you’re travelling (sorry).

Scrubbed up well

Things I bought 2015 #7.

7 What I Bought Make Up

Well, will wonders never cease. Somehow I managed to get through a week without buying something. Admittedly I was away for half of the week then back at work and incredibly tired for the other half. Either way I’ll take the win.

On the make up and skin care front it hasn’t been too bad either. Both my purchases were brought on by blogs after seeing them rated highly by people I trust. The Rimmel Glam Eyes HD 5 Colour Eye Shadow in Brixton Brown was stuck in my head after seeing it on Sleep and Water (plus she name checked some other heavy hitters). It’s been billed as dupe-ish for the Charlotte Tilbury quad in Dolce Vita so that was another selling point. So far I’ve just given it a quick test but the copper and pearl shadows are brilliant. I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this.

My second purchase came about after reading about the Body Shop’s limited edition Smoky Poppy range on Beautifully Glossy and Anissa raved about it. I’m not a big floral fan but the addition of smoke/spice was right up my alley so I gave it a test and subsequently loved it. It’s beautifully subtle and I have a feeling I’m going to be very disappointed when this one runs out.

Things I bought 2015 #7.