There are some hotels that have a certain je ne sais quoi so memorable that just a certain smell, texture or shade of light will immediately bring them back to the forefront of your mind. The Urban Newtown is one of these places.
If the dictionary had pictures, The Urban Newtown would be smack bang next to the phrase 'industrial chic'. Exposed concrete roofs, retro road signs, cork board panels and industrial lighting gave this Sydney hotel a cool and undeniably fashionable edge.
With a vibe more hipster than a soy-latte loving Barista, wearing vintage chinos and listening to Arcade Fire, The Urban Newtown is the perfect laid back to contrast to the uptight 'fashion' vibes of MBFWA.
Best, of all, it is located just 1.5km from Carriagworks, the hub of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. This meant that cheeky Uber rides were cheaper than a Subway Footlong.
When I was feeling super stingey, I toddled down to Newtown Station (just a 3 min walk) and let my poor tootsies metaphorically scream for just a little bit longer.
On my balcony. Romeo, Romeo, where art thou in Newtown?
I was lucky enough to be given a King Superior suite, which came equipped with a lush king size bed, an ensuite (with swanky toiletries), a full kitchen, a flat screen TV and a balcony.
What made the Urban Newtown the perfect choice for fashion week was the roomy desk area and the free wifi. This made staying up until midnight editing photos far more enjoyable.
But my highlight of the room was the espresso machine! Early mornings and endless fashion shows call for caffeine hits and this made is super easy.
Shout out to the reception team who totally didn't care that I came down every morning in my sweaty Sesame Street PJs for espresso machine pods and pastries!
Amazing side note: free pastries for breakfast, free yummy vegetarian lunch options & sushi snacks at reception. **Insert pig emoji**
The hotel's courtyard was a little bubble of outdoor greenery surrounded by rustic walls and exposed beams.
The poor cleaners probably got tired of seeing me with my tripod taking outfit photos here. Just doing it for the 'gram...
The Urban Newtown: Newtown's most instagrammable hotel? Yes-siree!
What did I do after a long day of MBFWA shows? I chilled out with a glass of wine from The Urban Newtown's free minibar!
Gone are the days of that $5 bag of chips or that $20 bottle of wine. As a matter of fact, if you book directly through The Urban Newtown Website, you get a whole mini fridge full of goodies for free! Woo-hoo!
Entering the MBFWA street style scene is a bit like becoming a metaphorical comma and jumping into the depths of 'Marie Claire'. You're surrounded by loud exclamation marks, capital A-listers, and perhaps the odd italic question mark.
From endless embroidery, to that gingham wrap blouse I had my eyes on forever, here's my MBFWA street style diary...
This wrap blouse had me at balloon sleeves. Add the gingham, off-shoulder and flattering wrap shape into the mix and was hooked.
For a MBFWA street style ready look, I paired it with ripped jeans and my trusty Gucci lookalikes. I layered fishnet tights underneath to hide that cheeky slither of un-toned tummy. Truth be told: hectic days at fashion week often end up in chowing down on Dominos in your undies at 10PM.
Nope? Just me? Enough said.
These earrings look like they have been stolen from Cleopatra's treasure trove and transported into the 21st Century. I'm such a fan of shoulder-skimming earrings and I have been wearing these on repeat lately.
'Wait Rach; only one outfit for day 2?'. Read your mind, didn't I?
Fear not, I had the mandatory outfit change and I photographed my more dressy evening ensemble at my hotel, The Urban Newtown.
**Click here to be magically transported to Urban Newtown post to see said outfit**
MBFWA Street Style Day 3: The shift dress with a difference
Can you spot the circle details? Hint, there are absolutely everywhere.
I took inspiration from the unique circle details on this C/Meo Collective dress and echoed them in my earrings and handbag handle.
Although Sydney was surprisingly mild to the locals, my tropical blood couldn't hack it. I layered this cute Victoriana style blouse under my dress to stop any impending pneumonia. Just kidding, it was like 20 degrees (aka. an English Summer).
When I glanced in the mirror on day 3, I remember thinking that I looked like Disney Prince-Pirate, but in the best possible way. Yep: I'm aware that isn't even a thing.
MBFWA Street Style Day 4: The off-shoulder, embroidered, big-sleeved extravaganza
This dress is like a dreamy lovechild of all the trends I have been loving at the moment: off-shoulder, embroidery, bell sleeves, extra long sleeves. Then just when you thought I couldn't get anymore '2017 trend cliche', I topped it off with a corset belt, fishnets and loafers.
Although your Nan may think I'm off my trolley, I absolutely loved my final street style look!
Best of all, every single garment in this post costs less than a $100!
That's a wrap on my Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia posts!
Beach beauty is all about that age old question: 'is it really OK to wear makeup to the beach?'
And when you add scorching heat, sweat and salt into the mixture, it's hard to know what will stand the test of sunshine time, and what will melt off your face in twenty seconds flat.
Read on for my beach beauty dos and don'ts
Those of you born in the rave era, fear not! I'm not asking you to get out your glow sticks and pump your fists in the air to 'There's No Limit' (although that would be fun). Strobing refers to using illuminating products to highlight specific areas of the face.
Beach beauty is all about keeping it natural, but there's nothing wrong with a teeny bit of enhancement. A creamy strobing stick, such as the Maybelline Master Strobe Stick, is perfect. Rub a little on the tops of your cheekbones and below the brow and let the light reflect off your face in all the right places.
Don't: Kimmy K Kontouring
Picture this: deep contouring lines at the side of your face melting down your neck like chocolate, blotchy noses sans flu and . Now that looks krap and kheap. (Sorry, had to).
Beachy beauty is all about working with the elements. And contouring and Summer is the human approximate of putting a Barbie doll in the microwave.
When your two hours of perfect contouring melts down your visage into a sweaty pool, there's only one thing left to do.... Wilson, is that you?
Do: Your Preparation
I hate to break it to you, but even your best friend doesn't want to see the bikini line you haven't shaved in months.
Beach beauty starts before you even hit the sands! The night before a beach day, or vacation, get your hair removal hat on and get shaving/ waxing/ epilating.
Rather than baking it out, give yourself a cheeky fake tan the night before.
Strong UV rays, scratchy sand and stingy salt do not make pretty babies with freshly shaved hair glands.
Do: Invest In A Specific Sunscreen For Your Face
Those of us who suffer from problem skin will know that 'any old sunscreen' will give us the worst ever breakout.
The number one beach beauty product I recommend forking out on is facial sunscreen. Opt for oil free options that have a matte finish. Le Tan Daily Face is like a BB Cream, making it perfect for beach bums who prefer a little coverage.
Don't: Rely on Makeup
Even if your makeup is harder to crack than the seven horcruxes, it's not going to protect you from the sun's harmful UV rays.
Before starting any beach beauty routine, make sure you apply a high factor facial sunscreen. Neutrogena Clear Face sunscreen is practically like being naked.
Do: Embrace Your Inner Boho Queen In A Hair Band
Hair band and salty locks are sexier than Zac Efron in 'Baywatch'. Well...ok, you got me!
Nonetheless, a cute hair band will give you all of the beautiful boho beach vibes, without the greasy fly-aways.
Don't: Scrimp On Sunscreen
Here come's the Nana bit **you roll your eyes**: you may be tanned today, but tomorrow you will be wrinklier than an old prune.
Even worse, the dreaded C. Pass the Factor 50 gurrrl!!
Do: Go For High Quality, High Factor
A car is a bit like your skin; you need it to get around. Would you buy the cheapest possible car that could be dangerous?
Check the labels to ensure the sunscreen is certified.
A hot red or coral lip is a sure-fire way to take your beach beauty game from 0 to 100 in one easy step! Make sure you go for a waterproof lippie, such as a lacquer or stain, to avoid looking like Ronald McDonald when you decide to go for a dip!
Now get ye to the sea and be the ultimate beach beauty!
There's something so magically nostalgic about a gingham outfit. From primary school 'Summer uniforms', to Dorothy's pinafore in 'The Wizard of Oz', a gingham outfit is enough to make me dream back to my childhood.
But before you declare the gingham outfit a silly, childish farce and hit that 'x' on your tip right hand corner of your screen, I'll stop you in your tracks!
This seasons gingham trend is sexy and cute in equal part. Think Dorothy grown up and shopping in the Hollywood Hills, retro shapes and cheeky flashes of skin that would make the original 1950's-gingham-donning-housewife blush and cover her mouth.
By the end of this post, you will be craving a gingham look smack bang in the centre of your wardrobe!
Don't believe me?
Here's 10 adorable gingham outfit ideas to copy...
(Photo Source: www.modaoperandi.com)
This stunning conglomeration of gingham and pin stripes gives me cartoon heart eyes springing from the sockets.
The folds and shapes are practically a work`of art.
If you want to style a gingham look with multiple prints, opt for those in the same hue to keep it looking chic and put together.
(Photo Source: theposse.com.au)
Gingham: check. Ruffles: double check.
Pop on an adorable hat and you're ready to hit the beach, the bar and everywhere in-between.
(Photo source: instagram.com/maria_bernad)
A few seasons ago I had a sartorial obsession with co-ords. This picture alone makes me want to re-light my love for the two piece and go all-out gingham.
The basket bag and sneakers make it as effortless as breathing.
You really thought that you could get through this whole piece without seeing my old mug!
Although I'm not exactly adorable, I just wanted to waffle on about how much I've worn this gingham wrap blouse! It puts the v in versatile.
(Photo source: fashionmenow.co.uk)
This gingham outfit goes out to all my Aussie ladies in Sydney and Melbourne freezing their butts off!
Cover up the right way with gingham pants and pop on a classic leather jacket to shield from the cold.
(Photo source: instagram.com/lissyroddyy)
Gucci and gingham go together like Bert and Ernie!
If Gucci is further off your radar than Zac Efron, a slogan or plain white tee will make an equally beautiful gingham outfit.
(Photo source: shopstyle.com)
Side note: this girl is like Jessica Alba as a model!
If you want a cute and girly look for frolicking the streets of Florence, cafe-hopping in LA, or tanning in the tropics, look no further than a classic blue and white dress.
This is one trend to go all out girly girl on, so opt for pieces with bows, ruffles and the works!
(Photo source: refinery29.com)
There is something so darn Italian about this delightful print clash!
Orange prints and gingham are about as retro as you can get, and this gingham look can take you from day to night seamlessly.
(Photo Source: glamradar.com)
Have I convinced you that you need a gingham dress yet?
A longer length off-shoulder dress screams classy Riviera chic.
(Photo source: wannab.us)
Please note: an adorable gingham look does not include complimentary adorable pooch,
A plain black tee and gingham pants make for something quirky and cute.
Shop The Gingham Trend
Have I convinced you that you need a gingham outfit in your wardrobe?
Today I'm the gingham fairy godmother and have searched the internet far and wide for the best gingham goodies!
When you are heading on holiday, the last thing you want is to stuff enough shoes into your luggage to be over the limit.
When it comes to shoes, I’m all for ‘the more the merrier’, but unfortunately, they weigh approximately the same as a baby elephant when it comes to that dreaded check-in travel desk.
Wedge sandals are a versatile, beach-ready style that can be paired with practically everything in your vacation wardrobe.
Today I style Bussola’s* wedge sandals for the beach and for the bar.
Styling Wedge Sandals For The Beach
No matter how many squats you torture yourself through, it can be hard to feel 100% comfortable showing off your pins on the beach.
Wedge heels are a fantastic way to elongate and slim out the legs, without looking like some sort of uncoordinated newborn baby giraffe.
These Bussola wedge heels are a comfy and cute way to add instant height to your beach bod. The shoes were designed with the traveller in mind and their lightweight and durable design makes them perfect for throwing in your suitcase for your travels.
Best of all, they have been given a cheeky antibacterial mildew treatment, meaning that sandy feet and salty toes won’t make them smell like the cheese you forgot you had in the back of the fridge.
For my beach look, I styled the wedge heels with my vintage Levis jeans and this cheeky off-shoulder crop top.
Styling Wedge Sandals For The Evening
Anyone who has ever vacationed to exotic climes will know that some surfaces aren’t exactly high heel friendly. **Cue images of stilettos in Italian cobblestones & slingbacks breaking on uneven Thailand pavements**
The wedge heel is a fabulous option for exploring on an evening, or heading out for holiday dinner or drinks.
Opt for a neutral, beige pair and you have a comfy heel to be worn with every single cute dress in your wardrobe. Boom!
Dear culottes: I have missed you! As soon as I received this cute brown pair from Forcast* my undying love for you has returned. **Culottes where for art thou?**
As I had a business meeting to attend, I dressed up my culottes with a pin stripe blouse and this cape. I arrived at the meeting feeling like some sort of fashion superhero.
The red lips, tassel earrings and boots kept it from looking too overly cooperate. However, if your #girlboss status greatly exceeds mine and heads towards the ranks of Michelle Obama, swap the boots for a slick pair of black, pointed toe heels.
Being bottom heavy can be an absolute paint in the fat arse when it comes to Summer. Teeny tiny shorts, micro skirts and mini dresses are enough to make us want to walk around in a pair of shorts with 'thunder thighs' slapped accross the behind.
Stop. Breathe. Relax. Culottes are the answer!
Wear culottes with a tight fitting or crop top to show off that teeny waist and slim out those pins.
You've read the latest issue of Vogue, you've re-organised your wardrobe and your Pinterest board is fuller than Kim Kardashian's backside. So how on earth do you feel so freaking uninspired when it comes to your style? If you feel like you've exhausted all known methods of searching for style inspiration, it's time to turn to these cheeky style inspiration sources! Here's 5 unusual ways to find style inspiration...
1. In Nature
"Oh god... here she goes with her dippy hippy cuffuffle", I hear you murmur. But before you go ahead and press that 'x' on this page, what is about to follow contains no cliches of 'feeling like the wind' or 'being at one with the ocean'. **Gags** Everything is based on nature and just stepping outside can give you inspiration in terms of colours, textures, patterns and layers. Walk through that forest, examine that impressive architecture in your city... you might just find some inspiration that will make you view the contents of your closet in a whole new light!
2. In Old Movies
Remember in the 00's when we found our style inspiration in Lauren Conrad's 'The Hill's' Closet? Or when Reese Witherspoon totally made us want to don a pink suit a la Legally Blonde? With the rise of social media and a growing online presence of style icons, TV and movies just aren't cutting it when it comes to style inspiration. Have a retro movie night and enjoy old classics such as 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' or 'Clueless'. These are just two of the thousands of movies that could give you that little bit of style inspiration that you really need.
3. The Elderly
Forget Gigi and Alexa, some of the best style icons are old enough to be our grandparents. Iris Apfel, Karl Lagerfeld.... need I say more? Although the old lady next door may not exactly be rocking Iris's funky glasses, she may know a thing or too about those tailored 1950s jackets that you never got to experience. I adored looking at my Nana's old photos from when she was in her 20s. She made a trench coat out of animal feed bags during World War 2 and she rocked it!
Travel is one of the most inspiring things you can do in so many elements of life, style included. With so many cultures in the world, each with unique traditional ways of dressing, as cheesy as it sounds, the world is practically a runway. My love of chunky bohemian jewellery stems from my travels through South-East Asia. My love of surf wear and effortless denim was born during my Summer working at Catalina Island, California. If you can't afford to travel yourself, travel magazines and travel websites are another great source of style inspiration.
5. Classic Literature
This is probably my nerdy inner English Literature grad coming out dressed in full-clad Ophelia gear donning a Great Gatsby headpiece to deliver her spiel.
Jokes aside, getting lost in a good book is like transporting yourself to a whole new world. With this, comes style inspiration from times gone by or from fantasy lands.
It will have to do until the invention of time travel...
Let me just start by saying that this post is in no way sponsored by Alice McCall (yes, you can revert your initial eye roll), I just freaking love this Australian brand so much that I want to go to some high building like an absolute idiot and scream about it into a megaphone.
Alice McCall. Alice McCall! ALICE MCCALL!!!!!!
Ok, Rach: you can calm down now!
Having gone through my British-based teenage years glued to the glitzy collections of London Fashion Week, I never expected that I would fall so head-over-heels-in-love with Australian fashion.
Alice McCall is undoubtedly one of my favorite designers from down under.
Intricate detailing, an air of playful femininity and glam bohemian vibes are what make this brand one of my faves. In short, Alice McCall is the epitome of my personal style.
If there's one thing that can make any outfit look now, it's the baker boy hat.
Nautical, effortless and great for a bad hair day (just saying), my baker boy hat has got me feeling all Kate Moss circa 1997.
If you're not convinced that the baker boy cap is the next big thing, read on for the reasons that may just convince you to click **add to cart**.
The baker boy hat is an accessory by many names: baker boy cap, newsboy cap, captains hat, driver hat... But whatever you call this magnificent millinery creation, it is the one accessory that you seriously need to get your paws on this season.
The baker boy hat has been seen on the likes of Suki Waterhouse and Kendall Jenner is a go-to piece for supermodel legend Kate Moss.
As soon as my ASOS baker boy cap arrived at my door, I was totally in love with its 60s style non-challenge.
So without further waffling, here's why you need the newsboy cap in your life...
1. A Baker Boy Cap Makes Everything Look Effortless
It has that sort of je ne sais quoi that French women seem to be born with. Adding a newsboy cap to any outfit just makes it seem that little bit cooler.
**Puts on garbage bag and baker boy hat and walks out of the door**
2. No More Bad Hair Days
Sweaty strands? Hair a little more than 'just worn'. Pop on a captains hat and all those hair worries just sail away...
If there's one 'it' item on the street style scene right now, it's the Gucci slogan t-shirt. It has taken over our Instagram feeds, featured in numerous glossy mags and dwells on every it girls wardrobe.
But before you go ahead and add that t-shirt to your wardrobe, I'll warn you that the cute Gucci slogan tee will set you back $450.
**Hairs on back of neck firmly raised**
Don't sweat it! I've searched high and low for the Gucci slogan t-shirt lookalikes that will give you that designer look for less.
Here's 10 Gucci slogan t-shirt lookalikes for under $60 AUD
Cos we all can't afford $450 for a bloody t-shirt...
Disclaimer: this post is not meant to de-fame or mock anyone that does have the real shirt. As a matter of fact, I can raise my hands to the sky and say I'm jealous.
If you can afford the coveted Gucci slogan tee, be my guest! If I could afford it, there would be one firmly sat in the front of my wardrobe as we speak.
But this post goes out to all my fashion homies that can't afford the real deal.
Without further waffling, here's the Gucci slogan tee lookalikes that start at just $20!
Click below and away to the store sights you go...
TK Maxx set me a challenge: to get an entire outfit for a tropical Winter break for $150.
Well TK Maxx , I only have one thing to say: Challenge accepted!
Join me as I browse racks upon racks of stunning goodies and find this gorgeous gingham Summer look that is perfect for a tropical Winter break.
The Treasure Hunt Challenge
When it comes to bagging a bargain, it doesn’t get much better than TK Maxx. Growing up in the UK, I would often spend hours treasure hunting through packed racks of discounted brand name goods in search for that one piece that gave me literal heart eyes.
Australian ladies: rejoice! TK Maxx has arrived down under and is delivering big brands at small prices. Best of all, Cairns has just opened a TK Maxx in the DFO, meaning us ladies up North can get that tropical luxe for less.
The babes at TK Maxx sent me on a mission: to visit the Cairns store and grab an entire outfit for just $150!
The theme: dressing for a tropical Winter break.
**Insert James Bond theme music here**
As I entered the Cairns DFO store on my top secret CSImission, I felt like a kid in Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory that had been given a pass for $150 dollars worth of sweet treats.
If you followed along on TK Maxx Australia’s Instagram, you would have seen me rummaging through an abundance of clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories on their Instagram stories.
So how exactly do you find that piece you need (and by need I mean… want 😉) Here are my treasure hunting tips…
When the indecisive shopping addict tries on the whole store.
Pick a rack and find your size! The categories are split into sizes, making it easier for you to find that perfect piece.
If you love it, grab it! Everything available is on the floor and there is no backroom stock. Please note: trolleys/baskets/running around like a loon with 10 items hanging from your arm is totally acceptable.
Try it on! If you never try, you’ll never know…
If styling a whole outfit, start with one piece and carry around the store with you to put together a cohesive look.
The Outfit: Dressing For A Winter Break In The Tropics
Can you believe I got this whole outfit for less than $150?! #Yesway
Dress, basket bag, hat, sandals and sunglasses: All from TK Maxx* Total cost: $139
Finding a basket bag has been like trying to find the seven horcruxes. Luckily, TK Maxx had a number of cute ones and I snapped up this must-have piece for only $29.99!
My gingham prayers were also entered with an abundance of cute pieces in this seasons must-have print! I chose this cute drop-waist dress. The fit is unique, flattering and unlike any other dress already in my overflowing wardrobe.
I injected a bit more wicker with this cute sun hat. It’s perfect for covering up sweaty tropical hair or salty locks and it was less than 20 bucks!
Likewise, these red sunnies are made for popping over a make-up free beach face. I adore how they compliment the vibrant red pom poms in the wicker basket bag!
Finally, I stepped it up (excuse the Dad joke :P) in these black leather sandals. They were the RRP at $50 and will go with literally every single thing in my wardrobe.
Plus, the one-inch heel adds a saucy bit of leg length, without me towering over my 6ft boyfriend.
It may still be Winter in the tropics, but I feel sizzling hot in this bargain ensemble! TK Maxx: You have my bargain-loving heart! Sincerely yours, Rachel.
If you're worried about looking like you've joined Macklemore on a thrift shop raid, opt for a shorter retro floral dress.
Showing off those pins keeps it fresh and young.
If you opt for a maxi dress with retro florals, break up the print with a plain belt, or tie a denim shirt effortlessly around the waist.
4. Straddle The Line Between Loose and Fitted
Finding a happy medium between loose and fitted is integral to rocking retro floral prints. A tight piece with large florals may be unflattering. On the other hand, a loose piece may look frumpy. Find the happy medium and go for loose piece with fitted waistbands, or simply add a belt.
5. Use Accessories To Bring Out A Secondary Colour
Take a less occurring colour in the floral print and bring it out in your accessories. This will tone down the print and compliment it at the same time.
Forget diamonds, handbags are a girls best friend! Whether you have literal heart eyes for a bucket bag, or are looking for that everyday companion, Catch has a range of designer handbags at ridiculously low prices.
If date night ideas were a dictionary, I would have gone from A-Z twice in my long term relationship. Luckily, some of the best date night ideas don't have to break the bank!
Today I let you in on some of my favorite cheap date night ideas. From UberEATS al fresco style, to local music, read on for the cheap date night ideas that your other half will love....
1. Eat Out At Home
Ok, so this date night may sound like a total oxymoron, but hear me out! Picture this: it's Wednesday night, you are both exhausted from work and can't be bothered to go out, but you want a little hump day treat.
Personally, I know that mid-week, I would sometimes rather stay at home than attempt to spend hours de-Shrekking myself to look decent to head to a restaurant. Rather than forcing Jake to cook, we order UberEATS and enjoy a restaurant-cooked meal in the comfort of our own home. UberEATS just arrived in Cairns last week and it's safe to say that we are addicted.
Last week, we ordered this scrumptious seafood banquet from Ochre and enjoyed it in our outdoor eating area.
Ordering from UberEATS and 'eating out at home' is a fantastic way to save that precious dollar too!
2. A Home Spa
For anyone on any type of budget, a spa date night is pretty much equivalent to taking your other half on a flying unicorn.
Rather than forking out a bomb on heading to a spa, create a cheap date night with a home spa. Stock up on scented candles, massage oil and a nice bottle of wine.
Cheers to that!
3. A Board Games Night
Growing up in the 90s, we didn't always depend on electronic devices to have fun. Before I go on a "back in my day" rant, I'll cut to the chase: board games are fun.
Get nostalgic with some of your childhood faves such as Monopoly and The Game of Life. This cheap date night idea is bound to be fun of hilarity.
Jake and I are both really competitive against each other, so I recommend pairing this date night idea with a bottle of wine to stop any married-couple-style quarrels.
4. Explore the Local Live Music Scene
A ticket to Beyonce or Ed Sheeran may set you back a couple of hundred, but local live music is often free.
Search online to see if any local bands are playing in any bars or venues, then spend date night creating your own live music bar-crawl festival.
If you can stand the thought of your beau seeing you stumbling around in clown shoes, this one's for you! Bowling is always a great cheap date night idea and will result in laughter, fun and even a bit of exercise (who needs the gym when you can spend hours hurling 8lb of metal).
When it comes to eating in beautiful locations, restaurant prices seem to triple. Rather than chowing down on a $15 meal deal at a dodgy pub, find somewhere beautiful and let the food come to you!
Jake and I packed a picnic blanket and some plates and headed down to the Cairns Chinese Friendship Garden at the Centenary Lakes. We ordered Thai food from UberEATS and enjoyed the quintessential Asian al fresco dining experience.
Photos taken at Palm Cove, Tropical North Queensland
Anyone who has been reading The Daily Luxe for a while will know that I have enough bohemian clothes to cater for half of the audience at Coachella. However, the stunning bohemian print on this Hale Bob Aria Maxi Dress * made my heart leap from my chest Looney Toons style.
This beautiful boho maxi dress is made of ranyon, which makes it cool and comfy in the tropical heat. Jake asked me how I walk in maxi dresses without falling flat on my face (gotta love men) and I explained to him that the cute slit detail on the front of this maxi dress makes it a total breeze.
What makes this bohemian maxi really stand out is that stunning mixed print. Panels of white floral-dotted fabric pop from the main blue and beige print in a way that really enhances and flatters the female figure. With prints like this, it's no surprise that Hale Bob's pieces are popular with the likes of Heidi Klum and Halle Berry.
To rock a boho maxi dress for a beach holiday, I recommend pairing with cute pom pom sandals that bring out some of the lesser occurring hues in the print.
Although a plain clutch bag may be a safer option, I went a little bonkers and added a printed clutch. For a fail-safe, on-trend look, I recommend adding this seasons must-have bag into the equation: the basket bag.
I wore this dress for a casual lunch date with the other half at Palm Cove. Me being the piggy I am, suggested getting Mexican food, only to become an eye-watering mess at how darn spicy my nachos were.
Note to self: tell waitress that I cannot handle spice.
Luckily, I cooled down with a yummy gelato and spent the rest of the afternoon prancing around feeling like a total boho queen in this dreamy creation.
Dear Aria dress, you are sincerely invited on many beach dates and tropical getaways with me and the other half. Plus, you have the same name as characters off two of my fave shows, "Game of Thrones" and "Pretty Little Liars", so I think it's fate ;)
Ladies, I have a confession to make: this Zaful wrap blouse, is actually supposed to be a dress. Mind blown.
Although I may be 5ft 7, this 'dress' would fail to live up to its genre on anyone over 5ft. Although I was disappointed that this piece wasn't a dead ringer for the stunning Realisation Par star print dress, I'm still loving it as a wrap blouse.
In some sort of New-York fashion week-inspired daze (oh to have a Portkey to NYC)..., I teamed it with my trusty ripped boyfriend jeans, heeled loafers and baker boy hat. As for the sunglasses, Jake refers to them as my 'mad scientist' glasses but I think that they are giving all the right retro vibes.
If you are looking to fake a slimmer waist, the wrap blouse trend was made for you! This baby pulls you in in all the right places and even gives your...ahem..tatas a cheeky lift.
Those pear shaped ladies who wish to enhance their bust and balance out their figure should opt for a piece with ruffled edges.
As for me, this star print wrap blouse has the cutest modern nautical and Americana vibes. I adore the way the ruffles enhance my bust and balance out my bottom heavy figure.
Cheers to a long term love affair between the wrap top and my wardrobe!
Ahhh.. the printed boho dress.. although it may scream 'resort', 'beach' and 'festival', there's more versatility to this garment than meets the eye.
With a few key styling tweaks your boho dress can be totally appropriate for evening wear! And, let's be real, boho pieces, like this Hale Bob* printed boho maxi, are waaay too pretty to not be seen when the sun goes down.
Read on for 5 ways to transform a boho dress for evening...
1. Add An Embellished Clutch
Minimalists may be screaming as I say this, but an embellished clutch and a punchy boho print dress are a match made in heaven.
A metallic, jewel or beaded clutch immediately transforms your boho dress for the evening. Opt for a gold or silver piece and match with jewellery to keep it streamlined.
2. Opt For Chunky Boho Jewellery
Speak of the devil, go for big, bold and boho. A boho dress is loud and proud, so you need jewellery that will compliment the vibe, without getting lost in a sea of paisley and florals.
My number one tip is to choose a necklace that sits above the neckline of your boho dress. Too much overlap can lookmessier than naughties hair extensions.
3. Dress It Up With Nude Heels
The best things come nude, heels included (hahaha). A nude heel with lengthen your legs, without taking the attention away from all that boho goodness up above.
4. Add A Dark Lip
Not heading home between beach and bar? Enter the dark lip! This vampy hue is all it takes to transform your boho dress from sunshine-drenched days to Summer nights.
Message for your overflowing holiday luggage: you're welcome.
5. Remember, More is More!
Unlike a little white dress, or a statement lace piece, when it comes to a boho dress, more is more! Bohemian by nature is crazy, out-there and accessory-laden, so don't be shy to pile on that extra bangle, rock a giant tassel earring or add a septum ring.
In the words of Michael Jackson: "Don't stop til you get enough".
There's something so elegantly Italian and timelessly stylish about cat eye sunglasses. They have a certain quality that makes them take any outfit and instantly make it a hundred times more chic.
My LMNT Kate Sunnies* have barely left my face since I received them and have since proved themselves to hide bags, mascara run-off, hangovers and smudged eyebrows (ain't nobody got time for that).
The slightly oversized frame and slight flick at the edge makes them flattering for many face shapes, including heart shape faces, longer faces and square faces. If what I'm saying is practically Dothraki for you, check on my piece on how to find the right sunglasses for your face shape.
The basket bag trend has been huge over the European Summer, so it's barely surprising that its set to be the must-have accessory for the Australian Summer too!
When paired together, cat eye sunglasses and a round rattan basket bag are like an Italian vacation in a nutshell, and I love it!
Melbourne has been on my bucket list since before I emigrated to Australia, so Jake and I decided to pay this iconic Aussie city a visit.
A foodie and art lovers haven, Melbourne has left me craving another visit full of Australia's best pasta, endless shopping and close-by natural wonders.
From our luxurious high rise apartment, to the Dior Exhibition, to wild penguins, here's the best bits that Melbourne has to offer...
Where To Stay: Platinum City Serviced Apartments
High up in the sweeping city views lies Platinum City Serviced Apartments. Located in the hub of Melbourne's CBD, this cute and stylish apartment complex was our home during our four day stay in the City.
We were lucky enough to stay on the 32nd floor, which came equipped with sweeping city views that spanned to the ocean on the horizon.
After I'd grown a pair and got over my slight vertigo, the apartments large window became the perfect place to enjoy breakfast.
At night time, the window transformed into a twinkling array of fairy-light dotted skyscrapers and was the perfect backdrop for a glass of red wine and a cheese platter.
Getting ready to see Aladdin The Musical, which was like a childhood dream come to life.
Melbourne: you are bloody cold!
Yep: I actually made this breakfast. Shock horror.
I call this process de-Shrekification. On another note, how cute is this minimal hotel bathroom?
The best thing about Platinum City apartments in the central location. The apartments are situated in La Trobe Tower, which is smack bang in the middle of the CBD, making it the perfect basis from which to explore this bustling city.
Fashionistas: this hotel is a quick 5 minute walk from Melbourne Central, one of the cities largest shopping centres. I could even see H & M from the balcony (temptation much?)
The apartment had all the amenities needed for a luxurious city stay. A comfortable bed, rainwater shower and fully equipped kitchen.
Confession: we did not actually cook in the kitchen. Melbourne restaurants are just too darn tempting!
It even had an espresso machine! Platinum City Apartments: you know the way to a girl's heart!
With a jam-packed three day schedule, Jake and I only had one day to explore the city itself. Believe me when I say that one day is no where near enough. Also believe me, when I say that I almost caught hypothermia it was so cold. Sorry Mum and Dad... I'm the worst British person ever!
Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you my one Autumn outfit post for the year!
Exploring the iconic Hosier Lane
I'm much more of a nature freak than a city girl, but there was something so bustling and eclectic about Melbourne that totally stole my heart.
We spent our city day exploring the city centre and it's most iconic locations and stopped by the stunning graffiti lanes of Hosier Lane before sipping on scrumptious Baileys hot chocolate.
I also forced Jake to shop #SorryNotSorry.
The House of Dior Exhibition
Ladies, get ready to drool! I went to see The House of Dior Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria and it was like an embellished heart eye emoji on steroids.
The House of Dior exhibition celebrates 70 years of Dior and displayed over 140 pieces designed by Christian Dior Couture.
There's stunning vintage pieces from 1947, the latest 2017 pieces and everything on that beautiful timeline in between.
The exhibition explores the story of the iconic design house through time and features the iconic pieces by the seven designers who have made Dior the influential design house it is today. Filled to the brim with breathtaking couture gowns, I was so blown away by the pieces that I literally almost cried.
Penguins at St Kilda Pier
Talking to locals can result in fantastic travel experiences! The man working at the car rental service told us that St Kilda Pier is home to a colony of fairy penguins. Being the nature-lovers we are, we flocked to this seaside spot to watch the wild birds emerge from the ocean and waddle across the rocky shore to their nests.
Above: tropical blooded creatures freezing their butts off in Melbourne temperatures. Oh yes... and a fairy penguin!
As we had rented a car, we decided to explore some of Victoria's most beautiful nature destinations. First stop: Phillip Island, a beach-fringed wonder just 90 minutes from Melbourne.
We jumped aboard a seal watching cruise, which took us to seal rock, 2kms off the coastline. The rock is home to a huge colony of over 5,000 seals. Mind blown. It stank of rotting fish, but seeing the adorable seals leaping in and out of the water was totally worth it. Our trip to Phillip Island was short and sweet, as we raced back to Melbourne to see a Broadway production of Aladdin. It was totally worth it and ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. Side note: the magic carpet actually flew!
Our next adventure was to the famous Great Ocean Road and believe me when I say that it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen Down Under!
As a matter of fact, it's so gorgeous that it deserves it's own post, so stay tuned!
As we only had one day, we focused solely on The Shipwreck Coast area around Port Campbell. Get ready for rugged rock carvings and crashing oceans, here's The Great Ocean Road in one day...
How To Visit The Great Ocean Road In One Day
Although it's pretty much impossible to drive the entire 243km of The Great Ocean Road in one day, it's possible to see all of the stunning rock formations of 'The Shipwreck Coast' around Peterborough and Port Campbell.
As Jake and I drove to The Great Ocean Road from Melbourne, we started the day from the Bay of Islands near Peterborough and worked backwards towards the Twelve Apostles. As self-confessed nature junkies, we were blown away by the sheer beauty of The Twelve Apostles & London Bridge, as well as smaller wonders such as The Grotto and The Arch.
A full day is plenty of time to stop at all the stunning coastal formations of The Shipwreck Coast, so if you're looking to see the Great Ocean Road in one day, here's the route I recommend:
The Great Ocean Road attractions we saw were:
1. Bay of Islands 2. Bay of Martyrs 3. The Grotto 4. London Bridge 5. The Arch 6. Loch Ard Gorge 7. The Twelve Apostles- Lookout 8. The Twelve Apostles- Gibson Steps
Bay of Islands
Located just west of Peterborough, The Bay of Island sees rugged limestone stacks towering above the Southern Ocean.
The layers of the rocks and the variety of colour and texture along the coastline makes this natural wonder a must-see!
Bay of Martyrs
Two minutes down the road from The Bay of Islands lies the stunning Bay of Martyrs, a beautiful beach from which to admire the rock formations.
Jake and I had this entire beach to ourselves, making it a fantastic contrast to the bustling and busy tourist hubs of The Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
This cute little wonder was one of my top picks on The Great Ocean Road!
A serene blue pool fills this formation and looks almost photo-shopped against the crashing ocean waves in the backdrop. And you guys know that I have a thing for blue water!
Fun fact: The Grotto was formed by sinkholes in the limestone cliff.
As a British girl, I couldn't help but giggle when I saw 'London Bridge' pop up on a sign post. This giant arch has colours and textures so detailed, that you can't help but imagine Mother Nature sitting there with a palette of watercolours and a paint brush.
London Bridge isn't particularly a bridge formation anymore, as the strip of rock that attached the arch to the main land fell in 1990. Apparently there were two people stranded on top of the arch as it fell. Scary.
The Arch is literally five minutes away from both London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge, making it another natural wonder well worth seeing!
This formation is best seen during rough seas, as the waves crash in and around the arch.
Loch Ard Gorge
It's incredible when a single place is so detailed and stunning that you could spend hours upon hours there. That was certainly the case with Loch Ard Gorge.
This dreamy gorge has many short walks around it allowing you to gaze out to the ocean at the Gorge's natural formations.
Having stalked Instagram and good old Google before our trip, Loch Ard Gorge was the spot that we were most excited about seeing. It's safe to say that we left with literal heart eyes.
The gorge itself is a beach nestled in a narrow passageway between cantaloupe-hued sweeping cliffs. From the clear, sparkling ocean, to the details of the rock layers, Loch Ard Gorge is packed with natural beauty. You can access the beach down a short walkway from the Loch Ard Gorge lookout point.
The razorback is a short stroll from Loch Ard Gorge. A long, slim stack and an array of smaller stacks tower above the crashing ocean.
The Thunder Cave
The Thunder Cave gets its name literally! When the waves crash into the depths of this cave, it sounds like thunder.
The small island that lies at the edge of the gorge can be seen from another lookout point.
The 12 Apostles
**Insert drum roll** The Aussie icon is here!
The Twelve Apostles are truly magnificent and the view points accessed from the visitor information centre offers sweeping views across these grand rock stacks.
Eight Apostles are left standing, with the most ninth stack meeting its briny fall in 2005.
Although The 12 Apostles is undeniably beautiful, I wasn't a fan of how crowded and touristy it was. Bitumen paths and buses upon buses of tourists made it seem too much like a run of the mill photo spot.
My advice is to make sure you have time to visit some of the lesser-known spots, such as The Grotto or Bay of Islands to be fully swept away in the areas natural beauty.
The 12 Apostles- Gibson Steps
The two apostles that lie on the Western side can be viewed off the beach at Gibson Steps. It's great to see them at ground level as they basically dwarf you with their grandeur!
Velvet: I'm crushing on that furry goodness, but how exactly do you wear velvet without looking like an extra from Saved By The Bell?
Get ready to embrace this retro fabric, I'm about to show you how to wear velvet without looking like a bad 90s throwback.
Time to frolick in these sunflower fields in my stunning Hale Bob* velvet dresses...
Flashback to 1997 and you will see a mini me: clad head to toe in crush velvet with a leopard print skirt and a high-neck black top. Flash forward twenty years and here I am doing my velvet-y thing once again.
Today's looks are a bit more of a bohemian take on the velvet trend. Hale Bob has quickly become my go-to mecca for cute boho pieces and my wardrobe is slowly being overtaken by their boho maxi dresses.
Live from these Cairns sunflower fields (well, not really..), I share my tips on how to wear velvet...
When shopping for a velvet dress, make sure you opt for a modern and on-trend cut. Avoid overly 90s cuts such as crop tops and halter necks and opt for classic pieces that will stand the test of time. Believe me: I've learned the hard way. After the huge 90s revival a few years ago, my wardrobe is left with a plethora of overly retro halters and quintessential 90s shapes collecting dust.
This Hale Bob velvet silk maxi dress has a cheeky little slit to keep it sexy and modern.Plus the stunning teal hue makes it ideal for my tropical Summer climate.
3. Add An 'It Piece'
As self-confessed Instagram and Pinterest addict, I am 100% sure that the newsboy cap is the 'it' item for the remainder of the year!
Wear velvet with a statement trend piece to keep it modern and relevant. A new heel, a statement earring or a beautiful bag are a wonderful way to refresh an older velvet dress too.
4. Velvet Shoes Are Always A Great Idea
Ok, so I went all out velvet and added velvet shoes to a velvet-detailed dress. However, a freaking amazing way to wear velvet is by incorporating velvet shoes into your look.
As a matter of fact, I often throw on my favorite pair of velvet ankle boots when I want to funk up my look a little bit.
5. Keep Colours Simple
When styling up a full velvet dress, keep the palette simple and let the textures do the talking!
Black accessories and shoes are a sure-fire way to let that velvet dress do the talking.
Plus, nothing screams 'so effing 90s' like a brightly hued velvet dress, an accessory overdose and crazy coloured shoes. Sorry Sabrina...
6. Tone It Down With Natural Fibres
I use this round basket bag so much that it may as well have it's own Instagram feed!
As well as being 2017's must have bag, the natural rattan fibre makes a beautiful contrast to the luxurious velvet and tones it down a little.
7. Go For Boho
I know I've said this a million times, but incorporating a boho theme into a busy outfit is somehow like flicking a magic wand and watching the magic happen.
Add cute boho jewellery and accessories and just go with those Coachella vibes...
8. Know Your Body Type
How to wear velvet successfully depends a lot on your body shape. As velvet is quite a clingy fabric, it's important to opt for cuts and fits that hug you in all the right places.
As a bottom heavy pear shape, I love the way that this velvet maxi dress hugs my slim waist and is looser around my hips and thighs.
Top heavy apple shaped ladies should opt for flowy shapes that skim over the waist and draw attention to those gorgeous legs.
Hour glass and very slim girls: wear your velvet as tight as you want it!
9. Find Pieces That Are 'You'
If you don't love it, don't wear it! On the other hand, if you feel like an absolute killer queen in a 90s retro multi-coloured rainbow dress that is as 'young Olsen twins' as humanly possible, you rock it girl!
Ladies, get ready to sizzle: red outfits are going to be huge this season!
Whether you're heading into the Aussie Summer, or a Northern Hemisphere-e getting ready to embrace the cold, there's one trend that will have you slaying harder than Buffy: red.
As a matter of fact, psychologists have proven that this saucy hue can increase sexiness, confidence and power. Boom!
Ready to turn up the heat on your wardrobe? Here's 16 saucy red outfits that are sure to make your feel like the ultimate babe...
Red Outfits For Summer
Although this firey shade my often be associated with Fall, there's something tantalizingly appealing about rocking red under the Summer rays.
Red outfits are gonna be huge this Australian Summer and whether you're planning a beach getaway, or a cheeky date night, this hue needs to be the main course on your sartorial calendar.
This section is dedicated to my fellow babes down under....
(Pssst.. freezing your t*ts off? Skip to the red outfits for Autumn/Winter section)
(Photo Source: vogue.com.au)
Red ankle boots: I'm coming for ya! Everytime I see a pair of these pop up in my Instagram feed I let out a plethora of 'oohs' and I'm determined to make them work with my wardrobe despite my sweaty, sticky tropical climate.
This ultimate babe paired her red ankle boots with a flowy red dress for an eye-catching all-red outfit. That lady in red emoji better watch her back!
(Photo source: prismboutique.com)
If you are blessed with abs of steel, this tie red crop top and high waist combo is your ultimate Summer combo.
Add gold earrings and sunglasses to get that sunkissed glisten.
(Photo source: whowhatwear.co.uk)
At first, I found the pink-and-red trend a bit too 'Penelope Pitstop', but it's seriously growing on me!
A white tee takes this pink and red slip dress and makes it daytime appropriate. Add some red mules and you'll look straight out of the front row of a Dior show.
Guess who? Mwhahaha! A maxi red slip dress can look incredible with a tan. Simply add some statement gold earrings, a red lip and you're ready for a tan.
This sizzling red frilly outfit shows us one other reason why Shay is one letter of slay.
(Photo source: whowhatwear.co.uk)
If you're looking for a gorgeous red Summer outfit, just follow this equation:
Printed red tea dress + basket bag+ floppy hat + heeled tan sandals
This is one of the more flattering red outfit options for Summer and would look great on women of all shapes and sizes.
(Photo source: atlanticpacific.com)
Clashing pinstripes and gingham can look totally adorable, as blogger babe Blaire Eadie shows above!
Add to the picnic-chic with an on-trend basket bag and you're ready for Sundays by the seaside.
Transseasonal Red Outfits
(Photo source: instagram.com/maria_bernad)
I've said it before, I've said it a million times: a wrap blouse is like a boob job and a tummy tuck all in one! This saucy red floral wrap blouse is taken over to the demure side with hair waisted white linen pants.
This is the trans-seasonal answer to the red trend at its best!
Just little old me proving that you don't need to be a supermodel to rock those red outfits!
This red star-print wrap shirt is a fantastic year-round piece and I've already been teaming it with denim shorts for the Cairns heat.
Now someone get me some sort of marching band drum!
Autumn/Winter Red Outfits
Just looking at these cosy red outfits is enough to make me sweat the River Nile in my tropical climate! However, these Autumn and Winter-appropriate red outfits will keep my Northern Hemisphere hotties looking....erm... hot!
(Photo source: belshadid.tumblr.com)
Bella Hadid seems to be rocking a lot of red lately and this all-red extravaganza is my ultimate fave.
With red pants, a red fitted cami and a red coat, I feel like this outfit should just be called red². Shout-out to those sunnies too!
(Photo source: manrepeller.com)
Have I convinced you that hot pink and scarlet are the best combo ever yet?
This red sweatshirt and pants is given a saucy 60s edge with velvet pink boots.
(Photo source: instagram.com/somethingnavy)
Florals for Spring may not be groundbreaking, but Winter florals are something else!
Team an oversized floral red jumper with slim fit jeans and red heels and get longer legs without freezing your butt off.
(Photo source: vogue.es)
Pear shaped ladies: this red and monochrome striped extravaganza is the answer to your prayers!
Bold red horizontal stripes on top will draw attention to your tiny waist and slim shoulders, whilst monochrome vertical stripes will elongate and slim those pins.
Note to self: need to create a Summer version of this.
(Photo source: popsugar.com)
Ohh-la-la: a red beret and classic British trench make this red outfit an eclectic mix of European trends.
Flared ruffle pants and a tie pinstripe top mean that this look is ticking at least four trend boxes!
(Photo source: hannahmontazami.com)
These slouchy stripes will inject an air of the French Riviera into your gloomy Autumn days.
Swap the tee with a tight-fitting jumper for an extra warmth boost.
(Photo source: simplebeyond.com)
Red knits may make you think of Santa and egg nog, but this outfit above proves they can look amazing all Autumn and Winter long.
Add a wide-brim hat for something a little bit different. Bobble hats are far too predicatable.
Paradise-dreamers: get ready! Today I'm bringing you a frilly Summer look from the Tropical North Queensland utopia of The Frankland Islands.
Get ready for some Summer frills and island thrills... Frills (n): "a trimming, as a strip of cloth or lace, gathered at one edge and left loose at the other; ruffle" Thrills (v): "to affect one with a wave of emotion or excitement."
Although I've lived in Cairns for almost five years, I'm still finding new paradise treasures to feast my eyes on and feed my adventurous side.
The Frankland Islands area group of pristine tropical islands in the middle of the Great Barrier reef just south of Cairns. With white sand beaches, crystal turquoise oceans and a surrounding reef buzzing with an abundance of wildlife, this place was like walking into a tropical postcard.
Donning my fave nautical-style pieces and armed with some of my fave girlfriends, I snorkeled the reef, enjoyed the serene beaches and completely indulged myself in this tropical paradise.
Drone shot by my gorgeous friend Krystal of Le Gypsy.
BAG: TK Maxx*, ROUND TOWEL: Ecococo*
As we were heading out to a tropical island, I thought I'd go a little bit all-out nautical. Striped skirt: check. Straw hat: check. Blue and white colour scheme: check. If I added anything else even remotely nautical I'd look like Popeye's long lost sister.
Jokes aside, I bought this striped skirt a couple of years ago and I've been styling it up ever since. You can see other ways I've styled it here and here. I just adore the unique asymmetric shape.
Now enough about the outfit... isn't this place enough to give you a cartoon heart pumping in and out of your chest?
The Frankland Islands may just be one of my new faves. The Frankland Islands tour is the only vessel docked on the island, meaning that you have your very own slice of private paradise. And with oceans this clear and pristine who wouldn't want that?
Alongside this, the reef off the islands is surprisingly pristine and colourful, which is wonderful to see! As a matter of fact, if you snorkel a couple of metres off the main beach, you can see Nemo!
And now for a stereotypical British weather forecast... it's getting pretty darn hot up here in Far North Queensland, 30 degrees to be exact. And before all you Northern Hemisphere readers start flicking v's at the screen, I'll also let you know that the humidity is around 80%.
So why exactly am I telling you all this? A: my accent has become so Australian that I felt the need to reiterate my Britishness. B: dwelling in a sauna means one thing: sweaty hair.
That's where the baker boy hat truly comes in and saves my style bacon. Just one accessory and sweaty Aussie Summer hair becomes a thing of the past!
I teamed this must-have accessory with this Riders by Lee* denim skirt. With a subtle green stripe down the side and an effortless raw hem, this baby is gonna be on repeat this Summer!
As for this top, I bought it from ASOS about 7 years ago and just found it when I was foraging in the dusty depths of my closet. The subtle ruffle details make it a wonderful trend piece for the Aussie Summer and the print is so adorable.