BEAUTY + WELLBEING

Cherry Blooms | Your Eyes BFF!

October 26, 2016
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As they say, “the eyes are the window to the soul” and certainly when it comes to enhancing our peepers, there are plenty of products out there in the market. From eyeshadows, eye cremes, brow kits, eye liners and kohl. It can all get a little confusing and rather overwhelming. So.. Imagine if I could promise you long fluttery eyelashes, smudge-proof liner and the chance to have beautiful brows in 10 seconds? I have come across Cherry Blooms, a beauty brand that has completely revolutionised the industry and if you’re obsessed with making sure your eyes are perfect, then this range is going to rock your world.

The company, whilst using a Korean formula is based here in Australia and I am very pleased to say they don’t test any of their products on animals. A win for me! Let me take you through a few stand out products and explain exactly how they work..

Mineral Fiber Brows | $49.50
Cherry Blooms found that there was simply no product out there that could allow us girls to create the perfect brow shape in an easy way. I am hopeless when it comes to crafting the perfect brow. I always end up filling them in way to dark and they can end up looking really strange. This product is a saviour! There are 4 shades on offer (yep – blondies you’re covered) and 3 stencils so you can pick and choose the perfect brow look for you – thin, thick and natural. To apply, you simply place your stencil over the brow, use the wand brush on the outside of your brow and work inwards to the thickest point. Wipe your stencil clean and repeat the steps on the other brow.. Voila! Brows on point!

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The Original Fiber Lashes | $69.00
This product was out of control amazing. I couldn’t believe how well it worked. It all looks quite complex on the outset, but actually so easy to use. Get ready for this.. You can amplify your lashes by 600% in just three steps. I am not kidding. All you need to do is apply around about 20 coats of the ‘Transplanting Gel’ to your lashes. Before it can get the opportunity to dry, apply around about 15 coasts of the fibres. All you need to do is focus on the middle of the lash and brush to the ends. You will literally see your lashes grow right in front of your eyes. It’s unbelievable. Seal your lashes in place with another 20 coats of the ‘Transplanting Gel’ and boom, you’re good to go.

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Vinyl Liner | $24.95
Does anyone else suffer the dreaded shaky hand when it comes to using liquid eyeliner? I am still trying to master the art and I take my hat off to everyone out there that can create that perfect flick. The vinyl liner by Cherry Blooms makes life a little easier I can tell you that! In fact it’s one of the best liquid eyeliners I have ever used. I am not sure if it’s the thin smooth brush or the texture of the liquid, but it was really easy to create that winged effect. Plus it’s smudge proof.. an added bonus!

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The overall result? Well I was very happy with the Cherry Blooms range and could certainly consider using all the products in my makeup regime. I found the Fiber Brow a little fiddly for day-to-day use, but loved the Vinyl Liner and Fiber Lashes!

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STYLE

Guest Post | The Aesthetics of Health: The Link Between Design & Well Being

September 29, 2016

This a first for Live a Little, something that I have not yet done before. I am so excited to share with you my first ever guest post written by Chloe Taylor.. 

Have you ever asked yourself why some places make you feel good, while some rooms you just can’t wait to leave? The ties between design and health go much deeper than plain aesthetics: different colors, patterns, light, materials, and shapes trigger different physical, cognitive, and emotional responses. 21st century office ergonomics rest on this premise, and the link between design and wellbeing is also the driving engine behind innovations in the world of home décor. Based on numerous research and my own experience as an interior designer, home aesthetics impact wellbeing in multiple ways – and here are the top four design features which you should bear in mind when updating your interiors with good health in mind.

1. The green light of wellbeing designs

Light is one of the most critical aspects of habitable space, as it is a factor behind the visual and stylistic flow – but that’s not all it does. Sunlight is the healthiest luminosity source, and studies show that buildings that get abundant sunshine throughout the day have a beneficial effect on occupants’ psychological and physiological wellbeing.

Natural light can alleviate depression, keep premature bone loss and cancer development at bay, and increase performance and engagement at work. During my career, I learnt that eco-lighting such as LEDs and CFLs also impact wellbeing, resulting in fewer health problems than conventional bulbs, including lower headache, eyestrain, and fatigue frequency. For this reason, I always suggest to my clients give a green light to both your own health and the planet and opt for energy-efficient over standard lights in their homes and offices.

31 Lambeth Ave Armadale Vic 4143

Image 2 source: bowerarchitecture.com.au

2. Paint your health the right colors

Colours are the main feature of every décor, and they are another aspect of interior design that can make or break long-term health. For this reason, aesthetically pleasing interiors feature a balanced color palette structured around natural colors, while intense contrasts are employed sparingly to minimize visual stress.

Scandinavian designers are well acquainted with the power of colors: pastels, earthy tones, and neutrals boost the aesthetic appeal and they also have a gentle, soothing effect on cognitive and emotional wellbeing. Intense shades, on the other hand, stimulate the nervous system and are therefore often used in areas where dynamics, alertness, and energy are required. In my design projects, I aim to achieve a stylistic unity of toned-down hues and strong, and I usually resort to bright colors only as accents to increase visual interest.

Image 4 source: onekingslane.com

3. Living in tune with Mother Nature

Another design feature that has a hand in human wellbeing, houseplants and organic elements add a dose of both aesthetic and literal freshness to décor. An unsoiled expression of natural beauty, indoor plants fight air pollution, boost mood, serenity, and self-esteem, reduce anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression, promote stability, memory, focus, and sense of control.

In addition to its air purification and aesthetic properties, indoor foliage also doubles as energy stabilizer. In Feng Shui, houseplants such as bamboo, pothos, and orchids can help balance out energetic dissonances, harmonize relationships, promote energy flow, and cleanse negativity accumulated in solid materials. I often use indoor plants based on their energy properties so as to maximize the benefits for occupants’ physical, mental, and emotional health. To achieve energy stability and a fresh sparkle, add bamboo or lady palms, draecena, English ivy, or rubber plants to your interiors.

Image 5 + 6 source: onekingslane.com

4. Sustainable designs for sustainable health

According to David Barrett Douglass, sustainable construction materials impact aesthetic value of interior design and wellbeing. During projects centered on sustainable design, I noticed that people tend to be less stressed when surrounded by natural elements compared to those who live in homes outfitted with equally beautiful artificial décor elements.

Buildings made from low-impact materials and furnished with pieces crafted from natural stone, wood, and clay have a soothing effect on energy flow and create a sense of aesthetic harmony more than their manmade counterparts. As Janine Bjornson says, upon entering a building made from and furnished with eco-friendly materials, the human body hits a deep energy undertone usually experienced in natural settings only. Swapping a synthetic over a  chic natural fibre rug is therefore a good start in greenifying your décor: replacing a manmade carpet with a sustainable alternative can dial up your home style, and your health as well.

Image 7 source: lillybunn.com

Interior design isn’t just about aesthetics: carefully thought-out décors impact psychological and physical wellbeing. The next time you decide to renovate your interiors, pause for a second and reflect on the vibes you’re picking up from different design elements: you may be surprised just how huge a difference lighting, color, materials, and organic details can make.

Written by Chloe Taylor for Live a Little. She is an art historian, social media lover and a young blogger.

BEAUTY + WELLBEING

Endota Spa | Organics

September 14, 2016
Endota Spa | Organics Range | Live a Little

On my radar at the moment, is natural beauty. Nothing over the top, just really simple and really clean. Heavy makeup, contouring, dark heavy eyes… it’s getting a little repetitive. I am loving the barefaced look and a much more relaxed approach to beauty. As for beauty products, the same goes – simplicity is key. Products that are full of goodness, with no chemicals or nasties. At the end of the day, you want the product to do what it says on the label and know that the ingredients are really going to make a difference. If you’re on the same wavelength as me, then let me introduce you to the latest range from Australian spa brand, Endota Spa, their organics range.

From an aesthetic point of view, I am in love with their simple, yet beautiful packaging. Neutral, yet striking, the range would look stunning placed together in a bathroom. Nothing is overbearing and for once, the packaging isn’t in your face. But enough about what the range looks like.. what are the products like and do they work?

Endota Spa | Organics Range | Live a Little

Sugar & Seasalt Spa in a Jar | $50.00
You can never go wrong with a body scrub, it is the best way to reinvigorate your skin or prep up for spray tan. This scrub is a combination of sugar and sea salt to really maximise that exfoliation. There is a gorgeous scent of lemon, thanks to the lemon peel oil that is super uplifting whilst scrubbing away.

Coconut & Grapefruit Melting Body Balm | $55.00
I was taken aback when I tried this body balm. I was expecting more a cream/lotion texture, but actually it was more of a oil texture. This is normally something I would avoid, as I hate feeling sticky, but the balm soaked into my skin so quickly and it felt really soft. Very luxurious, so nice work Endota! 😉

Hydrate Me Mist | $30.00
This beautifully cooling mist is such a fabulous essential to have at your desk or tucked away in your handbag. By the time 3pm rolls around, my eyes are so tired from being glued to the computer screen. A few sprits all over your face, and you feel good as new!

Multi-Vitamin Treatment Oil | $45.00
My new best friend! Argan, rose hip and avocado.. pretty much a trifecta when it comes to maintaining that gorgeous glow. I have very sensitive skin that is prone to flaring when switching between products, but this treatment oil actually improved the overall texture of my skin. I apply it now every night before to bed and let me tell you it’s so nourishing!

Overall the Edota Spa organics range was a pleasure to use. Simple ingredients, simple packaging but outstanding results. The price point is a little high for some of the products, but if you’re going to spend, you might as well get top quality products.

Hopefully we’ll start to see more beauty brands taking a more stripped back approach when it comes to their offering and packaging! 😉

SOCIAL

Back from my unintentional hiatus..

July 26, 2016
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It’s been a little while since I’ve had the opportunity to write. To be frank, life has been pretty darn busy. So busy, that is wasn’t making me feel good. It was getting to the point where I felt that time was flittering away by the seconds. I was waking up, working, coming home, going to bed, waking up again and repeating those steps over and over again. Guess what? When you do that, you’re not going to be happy! I have always lived by my mantra, what I base my whole blog off – living a little and I simply wasn’t doing it.

So what did I do? Well took drastic measures of course! Okay, that sounds quite dramatic, but I did take myself off the metaphorical hamster wheel. After great counsel from those close to me, it was decided that my health, relationships and general well-being were far too important. I worked out the pros and cons staying in my position and after completing the exercise realised that the cons were seriously outweighing the pros. Not good. I also thought back to how I was feeling January 2016. I promised myself that I would write more, photograph more, exercise more and enjoy life more. And here I was mid year feeling completely and utterly exhausted.

I sat down, took a breather and worked through what I actually wanted. Flexibility, space, time to finish my studies, but still be able to work in a creative and dynamic environment. I wanted some sort of capacity to visit my family, be with my partner more, and gain time to to see my friends. This worst feeling in the world is knowing that your relationships are getting neglected.

So where am I now? Well back finishing my studies – via correspondence, which gives me plenty of flexibility to fit my studies in and around my life. I have a new job, which is beyond exciting, I am finishing the renovations of my first home and slowly planning for a big trip in early 2017.

What about the blog? Well, I am back and ready to live a little.

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BEAUTY + WELLBEING

For the love of lipstick..

April 27, 2016
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The one rule that my Grandma always said? ‘Never leave the house without some lipstick on’.

I must admit, I always have something in my handbag for my lips – perhaps not always a lipstick, but a balm or gloss. For some people they feel naked without their mascara or bronzer. For me, it’s something not on my lips. I have to have something in arms reach.

Between you and me, lipstick can make such an impact. It can suddenly lift someone, give them a completely different look and can even finish off an outfit. However, I do understand that lipstick can be quite frightening… All I need to say is lipstick on the teeth and smudging?

The three golden rules I’ve learnt when it comes to lipstick wearing are:

  • Never apply lipstick to dry or chapped lips. The colour will always grab to the dry parts of your lips and looks uneven. Get into the habit of exfoliating your lips (I recommend Lush’s Popcorn Lip Scrub.. Delicious and does the trick!). Giving them a good scrub not only removes the dead skin, but brings blood to the surface, giving the appearance of plumper and fuller lips!
  • Always use a nude liner underneath – not only does this prevent the lipstick bleeding, but creates a perfect base where your lipstick will wear for longer.
  • Blot blot blot – I always use a Kleenex or even just some toilet paper. After applying your lipstick, just fold your tissue in half, pop your lips on and smack together – it removes excess colour that could lead to smudging or bleeding down the track. Plus, with all that excess colour gone, you can apply a clear gloss to give your lippy a whole new look.

I challenged myself recently to be a little adventurous with my colours – I thought it would be good to try something different and road test some different looks.

The Nude | Number 235, ‘Warm me Up’ by Maybelline
The classic nude – you cannot go wrong! Perfect for day or night, nude is one of those colours that is a great way to get used to wearing lippy. This shade has a slight brown tinge through it, making it a gorgeous shade for Autumn.

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The Coral | ‘Maui’ by Savvy – DB
A firm favourite of mine, coral shades bring a sense of warmth and colour to the table. I will admit I softened this look with a layer of foundation underneath and then a slick of lip balm, as I was wearing this for a day look.

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The Pink | ‘Take me to NY’ by Chantel Rahme
This pink is bright and poppy and perfect for special occasions. There is no need for any other heavy makeup – in fact a slick of mascara and a simple base is all you need to make this colour stand on its own.

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The Red | Number 645, ‘Red Revival’ by Maybelline
The classic red – how can you compete? A dangerous shade to master, but once comfortable, it’s a colour that suits all types of complexions. You’ve just gotta find your right red. For me I prefer a deeper shade.

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I love that lipsticks can bring out all the different facets of ones personality – wearing a deep red can represent something so different to rocking a bubblegum pink. I also love that choosing your lipstick can be like finishing off your outfit with an accessory. Whether you’re wanting something subtle or something daring, there will always be a shade out there for you. Don’t be frightened! I want to challenge you to try a new colour – go bold and live a little!

BEAUTY + WELLBEING

Be beauty ready for Autumn..

April 17, 2016
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I am currently curled up with my cardigan on, cup of tea in hand at the ever so relaxing Gaia Retreat & Spa. I am 2 days in on a mother and daughter retreat, utterly relaxed and feeling much more re-energised. It’s given me a chance to unwind after a busy period, de-stress and chill out. With all the free time to relax, I’ve also had some time to try and test some beauty products – specifically targeted to combat the cooler months.

Whilst the sun is out, there is definitely an Autumn chill in the air. In the mornings, there’s dew on the grass and the air is much crisper. I am finding at night, the temperature is dropping and for the first time in months I need a jumper or a jacket.

I find that my beauty priorities change once the colder months come along. For many of us it’s the ‘d’ word – dehydration. I find that my skin gets so much drier and scalier because I am wearing pants and long-sleeved tops. Additionally most of us have our heaters cranked up and have hotter showers. Whilst those hot showers feel AMAZING – ultimately it is wreaking havoc on our skin. Rich body creams, thick hair treatments and hydrating masks are critical.

I have tried and tested some natural and organic products from my dear friends at Ry.com.au. They have just released an entire selection of products that are 100% natural and organic, so if you’re a eco-beauty user like myself, you know exactly what you’re getting.

DNA Elements – Organic Lemon Face Scrub & Naturally Ageless Moisturiser | $29.95 & $59.95

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As I mentioned before, dryness is the worst and these two delicious products are perfect for combating scaly skin on the face. Perfect for all skin types, the lemon face scrub and moisturiser from DnA Elements is a beautiful combination. Let’s start with the scrub – as soon as you open the lid, you’re met with the uplifting smell of lemons.The lemon oil is perfect for brightening up the skin’s tone. The scrub itself is quite course, so be very gentle when you use it on your face. I would only use it one or twice a week given its texture. When it’s cooler you need a richer moisturiser… The Naturally Ageless Moisturiser is amazing! Again, you’re hit with the most uplifting smell when you open the lid. With a tonne of botanical based ingredients including lemon myrtle extract, shea butter, jojoba oil and avocado oil. When you list them off you can imagine how nourished your skin is! I love it because it sinks in beautifully and doesn’t leave you greasy or slimy. I’ve never used the DnA range before and was super impressed. All their products are made up from 100% certified organic ingredients. A triumph and complete win in my book.. 😉

The Little Alchemist – Cacao & Banana Face Glow | $65.00

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You can’t go wrong with chocolate and bananas right? It’s like a desert in a jar! I must admit, it was really fun trying out this one. All you need to do is mix 1 teaspoon with purified water in a bowl and apply for 10 minutes. Recommended once or twice a week, this mask really gives a deep cleanse. I did find once it was set, it was really dry on my skin, but as soon as I rinsed it off, my skin felt softer and smoother. You do need to follow up with a rich moisturiser (cue the DnA range!). Packed full of the most delicious ingredients – your face is getting the ultimate treatment.. Just to be clear, check out what each of these ingredients bring to the party!

  • Raw Cacao: High in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Nourishing and hydrating. Helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines
  • Banana: Nourishing, softening and soothing. High in B vitamins and potassium
  • Acai Berry: High in antioxidants. Free radical scavenger. Fights the signs of aging
  • Green Papaya: non abrasive exfoliation, high in vitamins, smoothing and skin renewing
  • Zeolite: Powerful deep cleanser that draws toxins and impurities from the skin. High in minerals
  • Turmeric Root: Skin brightner, cleanser. Soothes and helps to reduce inflamation.

Between you and me, when I think of masks, I do envisage something liquidy, creamy and quite thick. I was actually quite shocked how supple my face felt after using the Face Glow. It’s a great one to travel with, as you can make it anywhere, anytime and you know it’s not going to explode in your suitcase being just powder. I also can’t help loving the branding and packaging – so gorgeous!

Jane Iredale – Moonglow Golden Bronzer | $73.80

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Bronzer is a girls best friend during winter. When you look at yourself in the mirror and realise that you haven’t seen the sun in a few months and are verging on vampish, having something that is going to inject a little bit of life back into you is handy. I am OBSESSED with this luxurious bronzer from Jane Iredale. Definitely on the pricier end of the scale, it’s a beauty investment (and did I mention completely vegan?) but basically is a summer vacation in a tin. Let me tell you why.. Aside from being a beautiful face bronzer, you can use each of the four quads as eyeshadow, a highlighter and a body bronzer! I am obsessed with golds and warm hues on the eyes and the shades are gorgeous blended together. Use the lighter quads to highlight your cheek bones, down the bridge of your nose, chin and decollete.  Worth the investment right?

Coast to Coast – Coastal Coconut Lip Balm | $12.95

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I love coconuts and I love lip balms. When you put them together you get a very happy Sophie. I have not stopped using this product. It’s by my bedside when I am asleep, in my handbag when I am out and on my desk at work and at $12.95, it’s a bargain. Another win? It smells like a Pina Colada and is 100% natural. No one likes dry, chapped and flaky lips, so use this as a preventative and remedy if your poor lips get to that state. It’s packed full of Vit E, which helps with skin repair and healing and the perfect companion during the wintery months.

Don’t forget that all the products I’ve discussed are natural, vegan or organic. So there is no guilt there using them. The team at ry.com.au, have hand picked all the natural brands and put them together so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

As for me? Well I am embracing the cooler months and keeping myself in tip top shape. Armed with a beauty tool kit to boot I am actually excited! I can assure you if you loaded with these products, you will be ready to combat the wintery months like a pro.

S x

STYLE, TRAVEL

How to spend a Hens weekend..

March 6, 2016
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So just over a week ago I travelled to beautiful Byron Bay for a hens weekend. My friend Sarah, is a week out from getting married and I thought it would be timely to share what we got up to. We stayed in a beautiful part of Byron Bay called Newrybar, in the Byron Hinterland. Newrybar was formed in the late 19th century and is just the most gorgeous little village, with shops and beautiful cafes lining the street.

Our house was absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful architectural features. There was art everywhere, with stylish furnishings and details. I was told that it was originally a General Store and had been converted to a gorgeous holiday home – it was large enough to house 13 females and I felt there was enough space. Aside from a giant gourmet kitchen, there was multiple bathrooms, 2 spas and the most divine salt walter pool.

As part of our hens weekend activities, my friend Gabrielle, the brains behind Style My Soiree, held a floral crown making workshop. I must admit, I thought floral crown making would be extremely difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised how well I managed to put mine together. I found the entire process extremely calming and it was one of my favourite parts of the weekend.

What was lovely, despite everyone having access to a limited range of flowers (I am pretty sure Gabs and I cleared out each and every florist in the Byron area!), each crown made was completely unique. Naturally, the beautiful bride-to-be’s crown was all white. It was the perfect opportunity to snap away and get some gorgeous photos.

Aside from getting to know everyone at the hens a little better, the floral crown workshop was a necessity – after all, donning our crowns was part of our hens uniform! As we hit the town on the Saturday evening, it was what tied everyone together – and what a sight we were! We received so many compliments, comments and a few looks of bemusement. I do recall even having photos with a number of tourists! So what was the end result?

I thought it was such a wonderful idea for a hens party and I had an absolute ball. Byron was just the most magical place to spend some quality time together. All though we were only there for the weekend, I came home feeling like I had enjoyed a week long holiday!

Now I’ve got the wedding to look forward to. The countdown is now on!

TRAVEL

Valencia Dreaming..

January 17, 2016
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Well we are well and truly into the year of 2016 and I am feeling really excited by the endless possibilities and all the wonderful moments that lay ahead. I know we all have those day-to-day commitments which often can get in the way of mapping where we want to go and how we want to get there, but it’s so important to have those plans tucked away, even if you’re not intending to visit them anytime soon.. For me there are career goals, personal plans and the capacity to see new places.

..and, on that note, travel is most certainly on the cards. I am definitely ticking some new locations off the bucket list! I got the opportunity to visit some amazing places last year and never shared them with you on Live a Little, so taking a trip down memory lane, I thought it might be nice to be visually taken to the Spanish city of Valencia..


Over the next few posts, there will be some of my favourite snaps from my travels in 2015.. It was wonderful going through all my albums taking in all the places that I went to. Hopefully looking through some of my photo blogs will get you thinking about taking that trip you’ve always dreamed of. After all, it’s always important to live a little.

BEAUTY + WELLBEING

Best of Beauty – Christmas Edition

December 21, 2015
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So we’re officially on Christmas countdown. With less than a week to go, it’s all about those last minute gifts. For my best of beauty December edition, I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of my stocking filler picks and the added bonus? They’re all under $30!

1. Grown Alchemist – Intensive Hand Cream | $25.15
Every woman adores a hand cream. Given that it is a hand bag and desk essential, it makes it the perfect stocking filler. I am completely in love with the Persian Rose & Argan extract Intensive Hand Cream by Grown Alchemist. With a focus on ‘botanical beauty’, Grown Alchemist products are free from animal derivatives, synthetic colours, petrochemicals, silicones and all that nasty stuff that can be commonly found in so many beauty products. Aside from smelling divine, this hand cream is deeply penetrating and doesn’t leave a greasy feeling. Made up of Persian Rose, Tamanu Oil, Argan extracts, Pomegranate, Grape Seed Oil you know that you are applying something completely natural. I suffer from dry skin and found that despite being a hand cream, this was perfect to use as a body lotion – especially around my knees, ankles and elbows. So you’re keen to try or thinking it might be a perfect gift, well make sure you purchase from Activeskin. Activeskin is an Aussie e-store that stocks a range of beauty and cosmetic products.

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2. The Body Shop – Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder | $24.95
If you’re still on the hunt for stocking fillers, you cannot go wrong with a bronzing powder. It’s my makeup essential – in fact, bronzer is the one product that I could never live with out. I adore this bronzer by The Body Shop. I am loving the shade 04 – the darkest that the Body Shop do at the moment given that we’re enjoying the summer months. During winter I drop back to 03. This bronzer offers a matte finish – perfect for those who do suffer with shiner skin (like me!).

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3. Original Source – Vanilla & Raspberry Shower Gel | $4.40
I have been using this shower gel for quite a while and thought it would be perfect to include as a stocking filler. The one thing is the utterly divine smell. When you open up the lid, you’re hit with vanilla and raspberries! If you suffer from dry skin, then this shower gel is perfect. It’s super hydrating. As a extra bonus, it’s vegan too!
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4. Model Co – Exfoliate Double Sided Body Wipes | $13.00
I stumbled across this product and was intrigued to give it a try and how it works. Normally if I was to remove fake tan and exfoliate my skin I would use a salt scrub. However, what was amazing was how much tan could be removed with these wipes. On one side, there are small bumps, which make the exfoliation really easy and on the other, it’s smooth, so you can wipe the fake tan away. For anyone that uses tanning products, I am sure you can all relate to those small stubborn patches that stick around your ankles, elbows and near your underarms. It’s so hard to get rid of, but this product is exactly what you need to remove them. You can use this product in hard-to-reach places like between your toes. Overall I was really impressed, but will combine the wipes with a body scrub to get an overall exfoliation This is the perfect little stocking filler for ladies that tan!

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5. Lush – Latte Lip Tint | $9.95
You can never go wrong with any product from Lush. In fact Lush regularly feature on my blog – I am such a fan. This lip tint gives off a bronzey, natural tone and has just enough shimmer. It smells divine – imagine being in a coffee shop and getting the very faint whiff of a vanilla latte. The lip tint is a  blend of almond oil, organic jojoba oil and japan wax, giving you the perfect moisture boost, whilst giving your lips a little touch of glamour!

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There you have it – my best of beauty for the festive season.. Take some inspiration from my picks and don’t worry you’ve still got plenty of time to get your shopping in.

Wishing you all the most magical Christmas and a glorious new year!

SOCIAL

We dined en blanc..

December 7, 2015
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Diner en Blanc is one of the most spectacular events I have ever attended. Ever year it blows me away. Visually, it’s unbelievable and logistically, unbelievable too.

To set the scene for you – thousands of people (all dressed in white) get together in a secret location (only revealed the day of the event), set up their own table and chairs, bring their own food and manage to sit in a grid like system. There are very strict rules of what we can and cannot bring – paper napkins are most certainly a no-no and everything must be white. We drape our own tables with fresh flowers, fairy lights or any creative way in which we see fit, drink wine and enjoy each others company. To start our dinner, we wave our linen napkins in the air and to cease our dinner, light giant sparklers. It’s elegant, chic and visually looks stunning.

This year was incredible. Despite heightened security and a bit of a wait to get into the venue, setting up our tables on the Opera House Steps was very special. Surrounded by the beauty of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and a cruise ship that had docked temporarily, it was one heck of a backdrop.

We dined on a cheese and salami plate, with fresh figs, dips and olives, followed by a gourmet quiche, handmade sausage rolls with salad and finished with a beautiful chocolate cake with caramel sauce. The table was designed and put together by my extraordinarily talented friend Gabrielle, the brains behind Style by Soiree.

What I love the most about Diner en Blanc, aside from being in friends company, is how happy everyone is – everywhere you look people are laughing, smiling and generally just having a wonderful time. I feel very special to be part of something so incredible. Until next year Diner en Blanc! Santé!

BEAUTY + WELLBEING

November 2015: Best of Beauty

November 15, 2015
NOVEMBE (1)

I’ve been reviewing some amazing products the past month with two originating from other countries! We in Australia, are so lucky to have access to some of the worlds best beauty brands and it’s getting easier than ever with fast and reasonably priced shipping options. So what are my thoughts? Well read below…

Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter 1 hr Tan Mousse | $19.95
I have certainly tried a range of tanning products over the years and have developed my firm favourites. However, when something new comes along I am always keen to see the results. Now, Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter (an Irish beauty entrepreneur) is a beautiful tan – not just the colour, but to use! And, is so reasonably priced. Some tanning products are super pricey and can set you back $50, $60 or even more. You can have a beautiful tan for under $20! So how does it work? Well the mousse is really easy to apply and has a different texture to most other tanning mousses. Do you remember your mum using Wella hair mousse? Well Cocoa Brown is just like that! It’s light, airy and glides straight on the skin. Plus the tan itself develops in just 1 hour, so you’ll never have to worry about your stained sheets or clothes. If you like your tan a little deeper, then you can leave it on for longer, but no more than 3 hours (you just won’t need to!). Colourwise, you’ll end up with a beautiful brown nothing too over the top and certainly not orange. If you like your tan reaaally deep, then Cocoa Brown do have the same formula that is slightly darker. A few little bonuses – it’s paraben free and perfect for sensitive skin, it smells like a tropical holiday with its Tahitian Gardenia Floral Scent and always a firm favourite for me, Cocoa Brown is not tested on animals!

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Jamberry Nail Wraps
 | $22.00

We have seen a huge jump in new techniques when it comes to your nails. With the rise of gel polishes and shellac, wait time for colour to dry is now non-existent. One step up from shellac, nail wraps are fast becoming the manicure choice of many. Jamberry, a US based company started by sisters Lyndsey, Christy, and Keri had an a-ha moment after an expensive trip to the nail salon and decided to create a line of do-it-yourself nail wraps. With hundreds of designs, colours and options available, there will be a nail wrap to suit anyones personality. I was always thrown by the application process as it looked really complex but to be honest it’s super easy:

  1. Clean unpolished nails with alcohol wipe and push back the cuticles.
  2. Match nail (finger or toe) to the nail wrap that best fits.
  3. Peel off nail wrap and warm with a hair dryer for 3-5 seconds or until soft and flexible.
  4. When warm, press the wrap onto the nail. Apply firm pressure around edges to adhere the wrap to the nail. Use rubber cuticle pusher to seal the wrap around the base of the cuticle.
  5. Trim the top with scissors and file off remaining wrap using a downward motion to remove excess.
  6. Apply heat and pressure to the wrap again until it is bonded to the nail.

I’ve also noticed if applied properly, nail wraps will last much longer than painted nails AND doesn’t damage your nails like shellac can do. If you’re all about showing off your personality, then Jamberry should be on your purchasing list.

These are my favourite styles from Jamberry (Champagne Frost, Gatsby & Jewelry Box):
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Natural Pearl Skin Care – ‘Golden Youth’ | $225.00
One aspect of skin care that is really starting to play on my mind is that of anti-ageing. As I approach the latter half of my twenties, suddenly looking after the overall appearance of my skin is becoming a priority for me. Natural Pearl Skincare is the perfect solution. This effective and powerful anti-ageing skin system is made up of marine extracts for the deepest of skin penetration. I was given the opportunity to try ‘Golden Youth’ and so far I am really quite shocked by how well it’s working. Golden Youth’s main active ingredient is Marinoplex™, a natural mixture of powerful marine extracts. Marinoplex™ has potent antioxidant properties due to its rich polyphenol content, reduces sun damage, reduces hyper-pigmentation and clarifies the skin’s colour. In essence, it’s a skin serum,vitamin cream, a moisturiser and a skin lifting cream all in one. You can apply ‘Golden Youth’ before applying makeup and can even use it on the back of your hands – it’s very soft and luxurious to use. A truly beautiful product.

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Appelles Vitamin B5 Skin Lotion (500ml) | $44.95
Do you know what smells amazing? Mandarin Peel, Rosemary & Cinnamon… and this zingy, invigorating and delicious combination comes in a bottle. I love skin lotion, applying it every day, morning and night. I just had a weekend away in the Hunter Valley and stayed at the gorgeous Chateau Elan. Appelles was the bathroom products that the hotel used and I completely and utterly fell in love with their skin lotion. Apart from its unbelievable scent, the Appelles Vitamin B5 Skin Lotion packs a punch too. The mandarin peel assists circulation and may promote new cell growth, improving skin appearance, the rosemary has antimicrobial properties that can assist with skin conditions, whilst helping tone and moisturise and finally, the cinnamon bark has powerful antiseptic properties that help maintain skin health. With added vitamin B5, this lotion is the perfect option for maintaining clear and healthy skin.
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So there you have it – my beauty picks for the month of November. And dare I say it, these aren’t bad gift ideas either. After all, we’re only seven weeks away from Christmas!

Stay beautiful & always live a little x

BEAUTY + WELLBEING

New, natural and truly beautiful..Tania Louise.

October 20, 2015
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As you’ve probably started to gather (if you read my blog regularly), I am definitely a beauty junkie. A natural beauty junkie. What excites me is that so many independent brands, small businesses and boutique companies are taking the plunge and offering us more options than ever before. Whilst us ladies are always going to go back to our key products, it’s always nice to shake things up and consider something new. So if you’re looking to try something beautiful, that’s most certainly natural and independently owned, then meet Tania Louise.

What makes Tania Louise as a brand even more amazing, is the story of how the company started. Tania Wilson, the owner of her self-titled range was devastatingly diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but saw an opportunity to start something beautiful. It was during her 4 days of isolation in the Alfred Centre, Melbourne during her Radioactive Therapy where she had her ‘a-ha’ moment and started her very own skincare and Botanic beauty range. So what are my thoughts? Well read below..

Body Scrub – Certified Organic Argan & Fair Trade Arabica | $16.95
Are you a coffee lover? Can’t get going in the morning with out your cap or latte? Well to give you that coffee fix in the bathroom, then you need to use this scrub! Subtly scented with coconut oil, it is gentle enough that you can use it on sensitive skin. So how do you get the most out the scrub? Well firstly massage in a circular motion into body, hands and feet. I like to put a towel down before I jump in the shower and almost do a dry rub. It’s super important to concentrate on those problem areas – dry skin, cellulite, stretch marks or scarring. Then all you need to do is hang out for 2-3 minutes allow the caffeine to work it’s magic, hop into the shower and rinse off. According to Tania, “A percentage of the caffeine is absorbed into the top layers of skin and helps to stimulate circulation and shift toxins which are responsible for building up and creating cellulite”.

Argan Oil 100% Pure Certified Organic and Fair Trade | $39.95
Beauty with a purpose? Well this is it. This AMAZING Argan Oil is picked and hand processed by the South Western Womens co-op with proceeds going towards health and education for Moroccan women and their children. How satisfying is that? So what are the benefits of Argan Oil? Well firstly, Argan packed with anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids and Vitamin E. So it makes it the perfect anti-ageing product out there. No need to rely on preservatives and hefty scientific ingredients we can barely pronounce! If you suffer from acne, eczema, dermatitis, rosacea and/or stretch marks, then this will certainly be your best friend. Slightly too oily for me to use as a hair product, I am currently applying my Argan Oil at night. I wake up in the morning with my skin feeling softer and looking significantly brighter and clearer.


Rose Water Spray 100ml
| $39.95
It’s getting so much more humid and hotter. So to combat the issue, I always like to carry something in my purse to cool my skin. Tania Louise’s Rose Water Spray has been a Godsend. Created with steam distilled oil from freshly picked petals from the Damascus Rose –  Rosa Damascena, this oil has been blended with purified water, for a cooling and refreshing quick-fix. A few pumps of the spray and voila! Instantly cooler. Works beautifully before you apply the Tania Louise Argan Oil.

Mascara in Black | $24.95
I have a love-hate relationship with mascara. Whilst it is a makeup bag must have and I looooove having long, luscious lashes, I find when I use most mascaras, I find that my eyes get irritated and sore. If I ever occasionally commit the cardinal beauty sin of accidentally-going-to-bed-with-my-makeup-face-still-on (which we’re all guilty of.. Don’t deny it!), then I find my eyes are so much worse. I also can’t stand thick, gloopy and chunky mascara. It feels heavy on my eyes and just adds to the irritation. Tania Louise’s Mascara is made in Australia with Certified Organic Jojoba Oil, Certified Organic Castor Oil, and Certified Organic Carnuaba Wax with mineral pigments. Not only are your lashes going to look divine, you’re actually treating them! 2-in-1 bonus wouldn’t you say?


I have had the pleasure of trying four products from the range with great success. What I love about Tania’s range is that the range is developed and created in Australia, made up of natural, organic, fair-trade, botanic and mineral ingredients. Plus her packaging is just beautiful – from the logo to the labelling.

Please, please, please give Tania Louise’s range a try if you are on the hunt for something new. You’ll feel the benefits, see the benefits whilst supporting a company that has their morals in the right place. Live a little and be a part of a brand that really does echo beauty with a purpose.

*The images were taken in the lily ponds of the QT Hotel Port Douglas. 

DESIGN

Interior Inspired with Graham & Brown

October 6, 2015
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I am so thrilled to be writing this post..  Another area that I will be exploring on my blog, will be that of interior design! I recently and very proudly purchased my first home and as you can imagine, my mind is running wild with design ideas, interiors and furniture options.

Right now, the house is a little worse for wear, with floors ripped up, the kitchen dismantled and doors removed, but over the next few weeks, very gradually I will start to see my perfect home come together.

I am so excited to be partnering with UK based wallpaper and wall decor company, Graham & Brown throughout my project. The company was established in the UK back in 1946 by friends Harold Graham and Henry Brown, over time the company has grown and are now pioneers for providing beautiful options for your walls.

If you weren’t aware, it’s currently Graham & Brown’s National Wallpaper Week (5th – 11th) celebrating all that is great in the world of wallpaper, from its design, craft and heritage to how it can transform a space for even the most novice decorator in a matter of hour.

Each day, throughout the week Grham & Brown will be celebrating the ‘7 feelings of wallpaper’, with a different mood or design concept changing each day. So yesterday, the 5th, was all about the ‘Date Night’, so imagine passion, velvets, purples and rich textures and finishes. Today is ‘Calm’, so think tranquility, fresh air and creating a quiet sanctuary.

Going through each of the days, there was one specific feeling that hit me straight away and this was Wednesday’s. Inspired. In my home, I want to create a space that will radiate positive energy, somewhere where I can sit down at a desk and blog away without a care in the world. I’ve never had a study or workspace that is reflective of my personality and given that I do spend quite a bit of time in front of a computer screen, (you never would have guessed..) designing a beautiful, inspirational study space is definitely on top of my agenda. As Graham & Brown put it perfectly, “With four walls that envelope you in positive vibes, you’ll feel motivated to chase your dreams having spent an afternoon surrounded by this gorgeous theme“.

So after doing a little digging on Pintrest, here are three designs of office spaces that I think are beautiful and evoke exactly what Inspired is about.

From a wallpaper perspective I looked through various colour options on the Graham & Brown site and seemed to get drawn to greys. I am a huge fan of grey, whilst some people see it as dull, I see it as really calming and soothing, plus grey looks amazing with metallics, pops of colour, timber or just white. These were my final choices and the perfect way to start my Inspired space. 

From L - R: Bellagio White, Destiny Grey & Innocence Grey.

From L-R: Bellagio White, Destiny Grey & Innocence Grey – all are Superfresco Easy.

Bellagio White – This ultimate stylish concrete design adds a touch of urban to your home for a cool sophisticated back drop in any room.

Destiny Grey – This grey wallpaper would look fantastic in any room. Whether it’s covering a whole room to make your furniture stand out or simply highlighting a fireplace or feature wall.

Innocence Grey – A beautiful ombre mica sweeps through this tranquil natural twig design wallpaper, underpinned by a delicate calico fabric effect. This grey wallpaper design is subtle enough to use across an entire room whilst still making a real design statement.

I thought it would be fantastic to put together a mood board on how I might dress my study space to work with these beautiful wallpapers. In my head I envisage a mixture of greys, black and timber, with a touch of greenery and copper. Naturally the room needs to feel spacious and light but not clinical.

Rope light - World Effect, Desk, Cactus Canvas Print & Pillow - Zauni, Notebook - Kikki K, Chair & Desk Clock - Target, 'Be the Best You can Be Print - Zazzle.com.au, Candle - Cocolux, Potted Succulents & Wooden Letter Holder - Ikea.

Rope light – World Effect, Desk, Cactus Canvas Print & Pillow – Zauni, Notebook – Kikki K, Chair & Desk Clock – Target, ‘Be the Best You can Be Print – Zazzle.com.au, Candle – Cocolux, Potted Succulents & Wooden Letter Holder – Ikea.

I am really interested in hearing how you’ve treated your study space. What has inspired you? Would this be a sort of design you’d like? Do you have any design tips for me? I am truly excited to start my renovating project and for all my friends and followers to be a part of my design journey. I will certainly be sharing with you all the results over the next few months.

And as I always say, get inspired & live a little!

TRAVEL

A postcard from Port Douglas..

October 3, 2015
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I recently came back from a week-long break from beautiful Port Douglas. For those that aren’t aware, Port Douglas is about an hour north from Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. Visitors are a mix – you’ve got Australians requiring much needed sun, backpackers from all over the world and plenty of international tourists. If you’re looking for sunshine, great food, luxury hotel options, the Great Barrier Reef or the Daintree Rainforest then Port Douglas is perfect.

When you arrive, you’ll be amazed at all the tours, activities and trips you can do. There is so much to see and do in that area, but for us (Mum and I) we just wanted to pan out, relax and not do too much at all.

Live a little and enjoy my virtual post card! X

Where did we stay | The QT Port Douglas 
Where did we dine | Harrisons, Nautlius, On the Inlet & Sassi Cucina e Bar  
Where did we get pampered | SpaQ
What did we do? | Port Douglas Cruises

BEAUTY + WELLBEING

September Beauty Picks!

September 24, 2015
Shot by Samantha Macabulous.

September is my favourite month in the year. Why you ask? Well it might come across as slightly biased, but it’s my birthday month! Despite every year that goes by, I do enjoy my birthday. A little older, a little wiser (so they say…). Since I turned 25 in the last week, I thought refreshing, repairing and rejuvenating would the focus of my health and beauty picks this month.

Spot Medic | $14.95
Spot Medic is a teeny-tiny weapon of mass pimple destruction. You know that feeling when you can start to feel a pimple brewing ever so slightly under the skin? You touch it and it feels like a football is manifesting itself under your face. Before you know it, it’s red and starting to emerge. Spot Medic to the rescue. These little hydrocolloid gel plasters are designed to zap those pimples away. All you need to do is apply to the pimple and wear overnight. You’ll wake up the morning with a less red, less swollen pimple. So how does it work? Well, the little plasters are non-breathable and made up of non animal derived gelatin, pectin, carby-methylcellulose and other polymers that promote wound healing! I’ve used these little superstars a few times over the past month and I can honestly say they really do work.

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Naturamin Brain Booster Tablets | $35.99
It’s well past halfway when we reach September and sometimes we feel a little drained and exhausted by this point in the year. This is why I am loving Naturamin Brain Booster tablets. These scientifically formulated supplement tables are full of neuro-enhancing ingredients and assist in stronger memory, sharper focus, better cognition, higher levels of productivity and overall greater mental energy. Taken daily, with food, these tablets are a sure way to get you refocused and back on track.

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Scentcillo 5 Essential Oil Box Set | $105.00
You can never underestimate the power of essential oils. Used for thousands of years, oils can awaken you, uplift you, relax you or stimulate you. Applied to certain parts of the body or gently warmed, essential oils are truly magnificent. The essential oils from Scentcillo are inspired by various aromas from around the world. In the 5 pack, there is ‘Oracle’ a blend inspired by the Oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece, ‘Tango’, a floral scent combined with ylang ylang, palarosa and tangerine that creates an almost passionate and energetic aroma, ‘Shaman’ a refreshing and stimulating scent inspired by the Amazonian jungle, ‘Starlet’, a truly feminine and elegant scent that takes you to old fashion Hollywood and finally ‘Greek Island’, a fresh and invigorating scent that momentarily transports you to the Mediterranean. There are no synthetic or artificial fragrances in Scentcillo’s essential oil blends, with their products packaged in recyclable dark blue glass bottles to protect the essential oils from UV light.

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Ivadore Tanning Treatment (120 ml) | $48.00
I love tanning products. I still stand by the fact that fake tan is the best beauty product to ever be invented. Given that I live in Australia and still so commonly see people cooking themselves in the sun, despite all the warnings, it makes me such a strong advocate of faux tanning. What is a cherry on top of the cake, is when you hear that tanning products are not tested on animals and are plant derived! A double bonus! Meet Ivadore, a natural and organic based tanning product that works a treat. Being so natural, it’s suitable for those with sensitive skin and is even suitable for the face. The product itself goes on really lightly, is super moisturising and has a subtle, but sweet smell. Colourwise, I came out a beautiful golden brown, nothing OTT, but certainly gave me a gorgeous glow. The only downside, if I had to point anything out is that you need to wait 8 hours for Ivadore to develop. There are many brands that are on the market that can develop in just 1 hour, but I still stand by and am loyal to those tanning brands that may require a little more time to develop – you’ve just gotta have a little patience!

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All of these products are going to give you that much needed yes-I’m-in-the-ninth-month-of-the-year boost. I would be really keen to hear from anyone that has used Spot Medic, Naturamin, Scentcillo or Ivadore before as they were all super amazing products to try.

Live a little and always stay beautiful! X