Things I bought #19.

45 sportsgirl khaki shirt

This has been a bit of a shirt week for me. It’s funny, I love shirts and how they look on me, but I actually don’t own or wear that many. Consider that rectified.

45 Sportsgirl Khaki Shirt $55 – I really wanted this at full price but couldn’t justify the $90. When I saw it on sale with an extra 30 per cent off I snapped it up; I reckon it will be great on weekends during the colder months. The colour is the perfect khaki green and the shirt is quite a thick cotton drill. I can’t find it on the website but this shirt is quite similar.

46 Target Long Sleeve Check Shirt in Green $30 This shirt has such a great fit and is super comfortable. It’s a navy and dark green check and again, I reckon I’ll get lots of casual wear out of this through winter. For $30 it’s a total bargain.

19 things I bought make up

On the make up and skin care front, everything except the Topshop nail polish in this photo is thanks to the Chemist Warehouse sale – all the make up combined set me back under $20 and the Tresemme spray was half price. I bought the Topshop nail polish and a lipstick (which I already can’t find) while wandering Chapel Street after my hair cut last Tuesday – the polish is called Shameless and is a metallic matte teal. The lipstick is fantastic, a dark sheer plum called Twin and I sense a review coming already.

Things I bought #19.

Thoughts of the week – 24/5

house on the water

1. I am going to put myself out there – because there may be people who intensely disagree – but I thought Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood clip was a massive let down. Or maybe it just didn’t live up to all the hype from the spaced out Instagram pictures showing her celebrity mates. Either way, it was good but not the great I was expecting.

2. Has anyone had the Naked Truth chocolates and lollies? You can get them at some Coles and they have jam doughnut chocolate. It’s amazing.

3. I went and got my hair cut again this week at Boda Haircutterss and it was as amazing as ever. When I sat down in the chair, Angie my hairdresser asked if I had a blog because someone had come in based on the post I had written raving about my previous cut. I would love to know who that was!

4. I’m off to the footy again tonight, this time to see Sydney v Hawthorn. Hoping it’s a decent night out and not too bloody cold.

5. I also have a baby shower on Sunday then I’m going to my best friend’s house to have a BBQ and watch the Port v Richmond game, so it’s a busy weekend.

6. Luckily I have Monday off.

7. You know what I’ve really come around on in the past couple of years? Linen. I used to hate it but now I quite enjoy it. I’m seriously considering these pants.

8. I really enjoyed this list of approved cat calls.

9. A few nights recently I’ve fallen asleep with my make up still on and it’s really wreaked havoc on my skin and made me break out.

10. I painted my toe nails with OPI Ski Teal We Drop this week and I’ve been very impressed by it. A cool cold weather colour.

11. Hot Neville is hot.

12. Port Adelaide getting beaten by Brisbane. I CAN’T EVEN DEAL.

Thoughts of the week – 24/5

Winter wash

santuary body oil

Though I’m not the sort of person that generally has dry skin, once the cold weather hits that statement gets a bit more unpredictable. My face is fine but my limbs tend to suffer and if I can’t be bothered forget to use body lotion for a few days then I easily end up with dry and itchy arms and legs. Problem is that I’m lazy and when it’s cold and I’m tired I just want to put on pyjamas and go to bed rather than go through the whole moisturiser routine.

This Sanctuary body wash has saved me somewhat though this autumn. It’s actually an oil – the 2 Day Moisture Shower Oil to be exact – and it does an excellent job of moisturising your skin while you’re still in the shower. The product is quite thick and it lathers only slightly, however it cleanses your skin without stripping it of moisture, plus the oil adds a layer of moisture of its own without ever being greasy. I like to use soap or other tougher body cleanser anywhere I sweat (underarms for example) but overall this does a pretty decent job.

My one bone of contention with this is the scent, which is kind of a herbally not quite unpleasant but not really pleasant smell. Santuary could of made this amazing, something sweet or nutty so it’s a missed opportunity but not enough to make me stop using it. It’s perfect for those nights when I can’t be bothered with all my routine by just holding the drying process at bay. A bottle of this will set you back $12.95 at Priceline and I recommend it to anyone with drier skin.

Winter wash

Scented spaces

summer

The lovely Jessica tweeted a few months back that when she wore her Byredo Gypsy Water perfume, her partner said it reminded him of Bali. There’s something to be said for the smell of something transporting you back to a place and time – all it takes is the barest whiff of the Body Shop’s dewberry or vanilla oils and suddenly I’m 17 again. Or the smell of Stella McCartney’s rosy Stella and I remember the terribly depressing time I had in early 2005. Gucci Rush is every good night out I’ve had in nearly 20 years and continues to be my signature scent and go-to party perfume.

For that reason I love picking something from my perfume stash to use whenever I go on a trip. It has to be something relatively untried that has no lingering attachments already. It also helps if it suits the area and climate I’m going to, meaning no heavy woods in Asia or tropical scents in a European winter. Then when I come home I have a scented memory of time away exploring new cities and seeing great things.

It got me thinking about the places I have been and the perfumes I’ve used…

New York 2011 – Comme des Garcons Wonderwood and Kate Walsh EDP (the latter I bought in NYC) / Japan 2012 – Kenzo 7.15am in Bali / Thailand 2012 – Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess / New Zealand 2013 – Fresh Cannabis Santal / Italy 2013 – Pacifica Lemon Blossom / Hawaii 2014 – Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude and Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black (the latter I bought there) / Greece/Spain/Portugal 2014 – Firebird Fig + Honey perfume oil / Bali 2015 – Kenzo 7.15am in Bali (how could I not?!) / where to next…

Scented spaces

USA 2015 – Travel planning part 3.

USA plans

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – or so a Chinese philosopher once said. For me I’d already taken the first step and organised my time off, then a second and bought my ticket, then even a couple more beyond that. The step I seemed paralysed on was actually opening up a map and deciding where exactly I wanted to go.

I’ve been putting this off for weeks now because it seemed like such an enormous task. And it is, but with only four months to go before I leave I could feel every hour ticking past as an hour I hadn’t bothered to start my plans. So this past week I did and I learned quite a few things.

Firstly, you think two-and-a-half months travelling somewhere gives you an immense amount of time and you’ll be able to see and do everything you want at an incredibly leisured and relaxed pace. Wrong. When I wrote down the 48 cities I wanted to visit and realised I only had 78 days to see them in, I knew something would have to give. My idea of a holiday isn’t staying one night in every place then having to move on. I’ll get tired and cranky before a fortnight away is out. For the record, this is my original wish list of destinations:

Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey/Carmel, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore/Rapid City, Kansas City, St Louis, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Portland, Boston, Cape Cod/Nantucket, New York, Montauk/the Hamptons, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Miami, Havana, Tulum, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Denver, Alberquerque, Grand Canyon/Phoenix, Las Vegas, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego, Palm Springs, Los Angeles.

My usual plan with trips is to write down every single day I’m going to be away and then allocate a place to them eg. 1 October – Chicago, 2 October – leave Chicago for Toronto, 3 October – Toronto, etc. That way I know where I’m going to be for every single day and which days I’m travelling on. I did a version of this starting on 23 September and running through to 10 December and it was hard work. Also while I fit in every city bar one, there were a lot of days where I would arrive in a city on one day and leave the next. Again, that’s just a recipe for ending up exhausted and angry very quickly. I knew I needed to re-think things and make a better assessment of what was important to me on this trip.

I started by noting my ‘second tier’ cities – these are the ones I could live without seeing. By removing them I could allow for those days and travel days to be spent sight seeing in the places I wanted to visit the most. Of the destinations listed above, 14 are second tier and I’m going to re-jig my plans and see how things look without them. I also made a spreadsheet on the premise I use above (listing the location next to the day) and printed a few blank copies above because I find it easier to understand when I have it in hard copy. I’m expecting to make more than a few revisions so having a couple of spare sheets on hand is good. My original map plan is in the image above so I’m interested to see how different the final version looks.

Initially when I dreamed up this trip I thought it would be more casual and relaxed with less planning in terms of being in specific locations at specific times. I’d just jump in a car and wander. Now I’ve realised that because there’s so much I want to do, I’m going to have to be more rigid to get it all in. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though.

So far I’ve done the following planning for my trip:

  • Organised my long service leave
  • Bought my return flight
  • Bought my travel insurance
  • Developed a preliminary itinerary

The idea of it being just four months away makes me squirm.

USA 2015 – Travel planning part 3.

The fifteen – favourite cities

travel the world

I thought this list would write itself and to be honest, it didn’t. I could have added 10 more cities to it, all places I’ve loved and had an amazing time in. I’ll also point out that these aren’t ranked (apart from number one) because that would add an extra layer of headache to this post.

Also, I didn’t add Melbourne because I live here but please, take it as a given.

1. London – BEST. CITY. IN. THE. WORLD. I love everything about London and even after three visits there’s always more to see and do. I love visiting my old favourites (National Gallery, Greenwich) or checking out new things, and the shopping is outstanding. I adore the history of the city and the fact you walk past these incredible buildings that were constructed hundreds of years before they ever even came to look for our country. Honestly, there’s nothing I don’t love about it.

2. New York – One of the easiest cities in the world to explore because everything is laid out so perfectly on the grid pattern and it’s infinitely walkable. If you want it, New York has it – great shops, fantastic museums, amazing food. A city full of possibilities.

3. Kyoto – Just edges out Tokyo as my favourite city in Japan thanks to it’s beautiful architecture and incredible temples. Kyoto is lovely and calm compares to the capital’s energetic chaos and it’s also home to one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life – the bamboo forest in Arashiyama.

4. Lisbon – How can you not love a city filled with bakeries that stay open until the wee hours on a Sunday night serving the best custard tarts of your life? Sweet treats aside, Lisbon is a brilliant city. It’s gorgeous to look at, there’s plenty to see and do, and the old cobblestone streets and pastel buildings give it a charming appearance. Plus the people are beyond friendly.

5. Barcelona – Probably the most fun city in the world. There’s always something happening and the atmosphere of the city is just complete joy. You can’t go here and not have a great time. The tapas, museums and the brilliant La Sagrada Familia are enough to rock your world.

6. Canberra – I adore Canberra and reckon it’s one of our most underrated cities. Admittedly I called it home for eight years so I have something of an emotional attachment to it, however it has some of the country’s best museums, there’s fantastic shopping and it’s a city that loves its sport. Can’t go wrong.

7. Honolulu – Hawaii is one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited and Honolulu is a big part of that. Sure, it’s touristy and the areas away from Waikiki are decidedly questionable, but that patch of beach is magnificent. If you want somewhere to go that manages to be both fun and relaxing, this is it.

8. Bangkok – Lots of people seem to visit Thailand and never go to Bangkok. I’m not sure why because it’s this great big, interesting city full of crazed activity. The food is incredible, the public transport is amazing and the Thai people are some of the friendliest citizens in the world. Oh and the shopping is pretty amazing too.

9. Paris – The first time I went to Paris I thought it was underwhelming. Where was the magical city I was expecting? Last year I went again and I absolutely loved it. I planned out a day and visited all the museums and sights I could handle, and let’s be honest Paris does both pretty well. Paris has a unique charm that’s not replicated in any other city.

10. Sydney – The most beautiful city in the world. Expensive and the traffic is hideous but those views are priceless. I just love the feeling when I’m in Sydney – it feels like I’m back with my (NSW) people. While I don’t have any plans to leave Melbourne just yet, I know I’ll probably regret never living in Sydney as an adult.

11. Edinburgh – If you’re in the UK and keen to escape from London then I highly recommend Edinburgh. A gorgeous fairytale city with a castle looming over the town, it’s the perfect place to spend hours wandering though. The people are brilliant as well.

12. Madrid – Barcelona’s counterpoint – Madrid is cool and refined and elegant. One of the most aesthetically pleasing cities in the world, it has all the same things that make other Spanish cities great like amazing food and wonderful people. Also if you love art, this is one of the best cities in the world to visit.

13. Venice – Venice is like a city out of a dream. It is, without a doubt, the most fantastical place I’ve ever been and until you see it with your own eyes (and even then) it’s hard to believe. It’s amazing and mysterious and frustrating and wonderful, all at once. It also has incredible landmarks, awesome markets and good Italian food.

14. Athens – Easy to find your way around, packed with history, great people and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Don’t let it’s dusty, run down exterior scare you off because Athens is a cracker.

15. Adelaide – Every time I’ve been to Adelaide I’ve had a brilliant time and my last visit was no exception. I think it’s another underrated gem, a beautiful city perfect for a weekend getaway.

The fifteen – favourite cities

Textured

garnier fructis full and luscious  texturising spray

To be honest, I haven’t done too badly in the hair department. While I don’t have wash-and-wear hair, it only takes me 10 minutes to straighten or curl it with a GHD and I’m set. Once it’s done it tends to stay done and because I look after it with treatments and oils and a multitude of other products, it always looks shiny and healthy.

The one thing I didn’t get was thick hair. Luckily I have a lot of hair so it’s not wispy, however I’ll never be someone with a gorgeous head of Kardashian style locks. A bun is fairly sad on me too. Now that my hair is above my shoulders I prefer to wear it a bit choppy and messy and salt or texturising sprays make a huge difference. My favourite is the David Babaii Bohemian Beach Spray but my bottle is slowly dwindling and I’m always on the lookout for a cheaper alternative.

Cue the Garnier Fructis Full and Luscious Texturising Spray. I find this is a similar feel in the hair to say, a clear dry shampoo. I don’t get huge, voluminous hair from this sadly and it doesn’t give a traditional ‘textured’ finish, but it does add a bit of weight and doesn’t tend to get clumpy. I do find you need to use a fair bit as it’s quite light on, though that may suit people who don’t need a truckload of product. Overall this is a decent, every day spray for adding a small amount of texture to give your hair movement or just assist with giving it grip for up-dos. While it’s not my all time favourite, a bottle will only set you back around $5 so it’s well worth a try.

Textured