Things I bought #15.

36 Uniqlo navy sweat

I’m writing this post early as I’ll be away this weekend so fingers crossed it stays current. Though I do plan on finding some shops in Adelaide so we’ll see how that works out.

36 Uniqlo navy sweatshirt $30 – Safe to say I’m pretty much obsessed with Uniqlo at the moment; it’s simple but it’s great quality and always looks good. It’s the brand I’ve bought most this year and I’m getting a lot of wear out of the pieces. When I was putting together my wardrobe for my 48-hour footy trip I initially thought about taking my cream Uniqlo sweatshirt before realising navy would be better. Only I didn’t own a navy one so here we are.

While I was in store I also picked up some of their famed Heattech thermal undergarments. I was freezing at the footy last weekend and rather than repeat that performance I wanted to be prepared. Only problem is that I’ll be in for a long night in heated pubs afterwards so I can’t wear too much bulk as I’ll then over heat and also end up having to carry a ton of stuff. The Heattech stuff is a really fine gauge so it would be easy to remove and won’t pad me up like the Michelin man. I got a long sleeve crew neck and also one of the sleeveless tops and the fit is really good. I’ll see how they actually perform and then perhaps post a bit more detail.

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On the make up and skin care front the only thing I got sucked in by was half price Maybelline at Chemist Warehouse. I bought one of these Maybelline Face Studio highlighters in the US last year and loved it, so I decided to go for a more wintery look with the bronze and plum. This one is super flattering to wear but you don’t get as much of the red tint as I expected or would have liked.

 

Things I bought #15.

Thoughts of the week – 26/4

lest-we-forget

ANZAC Day is one of my favourite days of the year – I always feel like it’s the ‘real’ Australia Day and a chance to reflect on the sacrifices others have made for our country and our way of life. I’m not one of those people who wander round with a flag wrapped around them or is super overtly nationalistic but ANZAC Day always feels me with a quiet pride.

This year I’ll be in Adelaide watching the football, but I’ll definitely be proudly wearing a poppy and a Rising Sun.

Lest we forget.

Thoughts of the week – 26/4

The surprise packet

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For a long time I’ve been a big fan of those sample bags you can buy at David Jones twice a year that come filled with a heap of different products you may never have tried (or wanted to try) until then. I like the ritual of sorting through them all to try and find one that is as close to everything I want, then getting it home and starting the testing process.

These two tubes of own brand Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner came in the last bag I bought and I didn’t think much of them because they didn’t seem terribly exciting. The only thing I considered they would be good for is travel given their smaller size, however I honestly can’t say I expected the product to be much chop.

I took the dynamic duo on my recent trip to Tasmania, washed my hair and thought nothing of it. Until the next day when I woke up with the softest, silkiest, shiniest hair I’ve had in aaaaages. I know it had to be this stuff because I hadn’t added a single other product – no serums, no oils, no creams, nothing. I put it down to possibly being a one off but nope, after using it a few more times I can safely report that this stuff is as good as it purported to be.

The 500ml bottles of the stuff retail for $15.95 at David Jones, which makes them a veritable bargain. I’m going to keep using my tiny versions but anyone looking for a new shampoo and conditioner to try out should throw aside prejudices and have a crack at these. Fantastic.

The surprise packet

The fifteen – favourite fragrances

perfume lilac

I am a total perfume junkie. Beyond anything else I buy for myself skin care/cosmetics wise, fragrance is the one thing I can rarely resist accumulating. So many special or important moments in my life are punctuated by what I perfume I wore and just catching the merest hint of the scent can take me out. These are my 15 favourites (though it was very tough to narrow it down)…

1. Gucci Rush – My all time favourite and what I’d consider to be my signature scent. There’s not a thing in the world like it or could be mistaken for it. I first smelled it on a magazine strip in 1998 and thought it was incredible. I’ve been wearing it ever since, however it definitely one for night time only as it’s pretty loud and in your face,

2. YSL Nu EDP and EDT – Sadly long discontinued, Nu is to YSL what Rush is to Gucci. Both scents were created by Tom Ford during his time at the fashion houses and they are so undeniably sexy. The EDP and EDT are quite different, mostly because the EDP is so immensely powerful. The scents are woody and spicy d dark and intense. They certainly aren’t to everyone’s taste but I hold on to my bottles like they are worth their weight in gold.

3. Kate Walsh Boyfriend – I bought this in NYC in 2011 and it always makes me think of the city. Boyfriend is meant to capture a woman’s fragrance blending with her boyfriend’s, so it’s kind of masculine but also warm and sweet. I absolutely love it, though unfortunately I think it’s been discontinued. I find it perfect for cold weather weekends.

4. Estee Lauder Youth Dew Amber Nude – Hey! Another great discontinued perfume! Another great Tom Ford fragrance! If you’ve ever smelled the original Youth Dew you’d realise it smelled like nannas. This smells nothing like nannas. It’s powdery, warm, woody and amber-ish and incredibly sexy in an upmarket, expensive way. I bought a giant bottle from StrawberryNet a while back and am holding on for dear life.

5. Robert Piguet Visa – The only fragrance I ever associated Robert Piguet with was Fracas, which was too immensely floral for me. When I discovered all the other scents in the range Visa was the one that blew me away. It smells like an extremely chic secret agent, all classic trench coat and red lips. Again, it’s warm and spicy but there’s an overripe alcoholic fruit note to it that turns it into something else totally amazing.

6. L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore – I bought this blind after reading a review on a blog and thinking it wold totally be right up my alley. The Bosphorus is the straight that intersects Istanbul and is considered to divide Europe and Asia. This perfume smells like Turkish Delight and leather and is incredible. I loved it from the second I smelled it, it’s something magical like an Arabian princess would wear.

7. Agent Provocateur – I’ve already raved about this recently so I won’t go on except to say it’s a powdery, rosy sexy cloud of a fragrance that more people should wear.

8. Chanel Coromandel – I nearly died from excitement when I had a stop over in Qatar en route to Europe last year and the Chanel in duty free stocked all the Les Exclusifs scents. I must have spent  good 20 minutes there sniffing them all and trying to find the one for me. Coromandel smelled like me straight away – a spicy, smoky, woody patchouli scent. I tried to get some of the others to fit because I wanted something different before realising that sticking to what I love best is always the right idea.

9. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess – Nothing, but nothing, smells better for a tropical summer holiday that this coconut filled gem. It’s the bar by which all other warm weather scents are measured and I challenge anyone not to like it.

10. Kim Kardashian – One of the most underrated celeb fragrances out there and has long been my fall back fragrance for dinners or drinks out. It’s a rich lovely floral and no matter how you regard the celebrity herself, it’s well worth a try. I don’t even like florals and I love this.

11. DKNY Be Delicious Night – I’ve owned a few of the Be Delicious apple scented fragrances over the years and all of them are pretty nice. However the Night version is my absolute favourite as it smells like ginger beer in the best way possible.

12. J.Lo Miami Glow – This is a very close second behind Bronze Goddess for being the best summer scent of all time. However if BG is a beautiful chic resort in the Maldives, then Miami Glow is cocktails by the pool on spring break. It’s so trashy and fruity but delightfully so and reminds me of the first summer after I moved to Melbourne.

13. Dolce and Gabbana Sicily – Another summer favourite and another discontinued fragrance. It was a soapy floral but something about it was just perfect for warm weather. I don’t tend to love florals but this was a stand out for me. if you ever see it, buy it.

14. Estee Lauder Sensuous – I own all three versions of Sensuous (original, nude and noir) and they’re all fantastic, however this remains my favourite. It’s also the first Estee fragrance I really loved because up until this beautiful sandalwood thing they were all too floral for me. I love that it’s so versatile and can go from day to night, plus it wears close to skin in the sexiest way.

15. Chopard Casmir – When I was in high school I was obsessed with the Body Shop’s vanilla oil. It always smelled so warm and incredibly delicious; to this day it’s probably the fragrance I have owned that incited more positive comments from complete strangers than any other. Casmir is the grown up’s version of that vanilla oil or the Coty Vanilla Fields fragrance you might have worn when you were younger. It’s completely vanilla but not in a childish way and the spiciness to it gives it an extra kick.

The fifteen – favourite fragrances

USA 2015 – travel planning part 1.

USA

For those who are unaware, I’m taking three months off work at the end of the year to travel. I’m using a combination of long service leave and annual leave, so fortunately I’m going to be paid the whole time I’m away (yay). I leave on 23 September and arrive home on 10 December in time to go to the Taylor Swift concert. Then I have around a week off before I go back to work sometime close to 20 December.

Three months is a big effort. It will be the longest time I’ve ever been away travelling and I anticipate that while it will absolutely be the experience of a life time, it will also be incredibly hard at times. I will be solo for much of it, though catching up with friends at various times and also staying with my brother who is living in Toronto at the moment. I also anticipate it will probably set me back somewhere in the vicinity of $25,000 all up, which doesn’t bear thinking about. Yep, I realise that’s a house deposit. I could pay off my car. I could invest it. It’s alarming but I also recognise this is a very rare opportunity to do something incredible.

Once I became eligible for long service leave I started contemplating how I would use it. My parents were not impressed I planned to travel for such a significant time and encouraged me to save it. “That’s money in the bank,” my dad kept saying. However unlike my dad I don’t anticipate staying in the same job for the next 20 years and I would be utterly disappointed to resign, get the cash and miss out on the time. I want to use it to do something amazing.

So with that in mind, I started to consider where I would go and what I would do (remember this post?). With three months up my sleeve almost anything was achievable. I could rent an apartment in Paris and learn French. I could visit every single European country I could. I could walk the Great Wall of China. I could try and get an internship in New York doing something fun. The world was my oyster. While I was doing that, I put my application for time off in nearly 18 months head of when I would go – I didn’t want anyone else to jump in first.

In the end I decided the thing I wanted to do most was basically a road trip across the USA. I’d start in LA, drive up to Seattle and Vancouver, travel across the top of the States/bottom of Canada, get to Boston, head down the east coast to Miami, spend some time in Cuba, travel through the South – preferably by car, get back to the west coast, visit Mexico, go back to LA and then fly home. Simples. My time off was approved and I booked my flight nearly two months ago. I’m going.

Now comes the hard/frustrating/exciting part – I have to plan it all. I have five months to map out exactly where I’m going to go, what I’m going to do and how I’m going to achieve it. I have this horrible fear I’m going to leave it all until the last minute because it just doesn’t feel totally real yet. With all my other holidays I’ve listed all the days I’m going to be away and then mapped out what city or country I’m going to be in, then booked hotels and activities. This time it will be a little bit different, partly because I don’t want it to be so rigid. I want the freedom to leave a city early because I don’t like it or stay someone longer because I’m enjoying it so much. That said, there will have to be some set destinations and times to allow for booking flights, cars and hotels around peak times such as Thanksgiving.

What I intend to do is get a map and work out which cities I’m keen to visit, then determine a rough route and time frame. I know that I’m going to spend longer in the south than the north because more places I want to visit are in the south. I’m also desperately trying to convince myself that I could fly to London for a few days because it’s so relatively close (like, really?). But until I set my route, it’s hard to do anything.

So that is step one. I’ve ordered an initial couple of books to help with the planning (this and this) because I get frustrated spending hours poring through websites and find it easiest to work with a hard copy guide. Over the coming months I’ll start to lock in transport and accommodation and activities with the benefit of being able to pay as I go. I’m going to do a few posts on the planning as I think it will help me stay motivated and remind me that the trip is getting ever closer. But I won’t deny that as exciting as it is, it’s also incredibly daunting on so many levels. If there’s anyone else out there who has done a similar trip or has recommendations for places to visit and things to do while I’m there, I’m all ears.

And away we go…

USA 2015 – travel planning part 1.

Gotham

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One of my favourite things about flying is watching movies. And free international alcohol. But mostly the movie watching part. I find it helps make time go past a whole lot quicker and I get to catch up on whatever I’ve missed out on recently at the cinemas. On a long haul flight to say, Europe or America, I could easily watch 5-6 movies. My last flight was to Bali and given its a relatively short one (because six hours is short to Aussies) and the movie selection wasn’t the best, I ended up watching TV and this is how I found Gotham.

I’d heard of it before in a kind of passing way. Gotham is essentially the pre-Batman story and focuses on Jim Gordon shortly after he joins the police force. You see him first come into contact with a young Bruce Wayne not long after his parents are murdered and Gordon is assigned the case. Interspersed throughout are a lot of the other series characters and again, you see their beginning before they develop into the goodies and baddies we know better down the track. Penguin, Catwoman, Alfred, Riddler, Two Face and more all make appearances, and it’s interesting figuring out who is going to be what and how. It’s not a hard and fast version of either the comics or later movies and is more of an interpretation based on Gordon’s perspective.

I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a huge Batman fanatic. I’ve seen the movies and I quite enjoy them, but I’m not an obsessive and I don’t think you need to be to enjoy Gotham. It’s a good old fashioned superhero meets cop show action drama that’s just a fun 44 minutes to watch. It’s fast paced and they’ve done a good job with the cast – Ben McKenzie is great as Gordon and does the whole cop thing pretty well, Jada Pinkett Smith is sublime as smooth criminal Fish Mooney and I like Sean Pertwee’s version of Alfred, the Wayne’s beloved butler. I ploughed through all eight episodes they had on board and will be definitely hunting down more. Highly recommended.

PS I was never a big O.C. fan but geez, Ben McKenzie has aged beautifully.

Gotham

High fashion lashes

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If I was under duress and had to pick the single make up item I could only use for the rest of my life it would actually be fairly easy: mascara. Having been blessed with four eyelashes on each lid, when I don’t wear it I look half asleep and absolutely terrible. A great thickening and volumising mascara is always top of my list of things to hunt down.

My preference is for non-waterproof versions with rubber or plastic bristles. On rare occasions I find great bristle bushed ones (Revlon Grow Luscious, Too Faced Better Than Sex) but generally the rubbery wands work best on me and I find them easiest to use (Cover Girl Lash Blasts in every iteration). I’m a stickler for chucking mascaras after three months so I like drug store brands rather than shelling out $50 at a time for something I know won’t last long. I find Cover Girl tends to be best and I’m consistently disappointed by Maybelline, Revlon and L’Oreal products that promise the world but deliver an atlas.

Until now. The L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes So Couture Mascara (say that five times quickly) would have to be one of the best mascaras I’ve ever used. I’m talking a probable top five. It’s definitely easily the best L’Oreal mascara I’ve had. I picked it up on a whim during a Superdrug sale in London last year and didn’t think too much of it. It has been love from first swipe though and I can’t rave about it enough.

Firstly, it actually delivers volume. Serious volume. The brush is easy to use and manages to capture every lash, which helps immensely with that whole volume thing. Also it never seems to imprint itself on my upper lids, which is a problem I have with so many other mascaras where I end up wearing more on my lid than my lash. It doesn’t clump, it doesn’t flake, it doesn’t take 45 products to get it off at the end of the day. Honestly, there is nothing not to love because you end up with thick, fluttery lashes. And best of all it’s available in Australia now – though I can’t say I wouldn’t enjoy a trip back to London just to get more.

High fashion lashes