If you’ve watched some of my more recent videos on my YouTube channel, then you may have noticed that I’ve been sticking to my guns and actually trying something new: adding some real colour into my wardrobe.
It all started with this gorgeous silk cold shoulder top from J Crew, with its fluttery sleeves and delicate heart micro-pattern all over. I don’t often buy things like this on a whim, but I spotted it during the sales in the lead up to Black Friday, and the price was so good that I couldn’t really resist – I figured if I didn’t love it, I could easily send it back. But, it’s proven to be one of my favourite purchases that I’ve made, if not only during the tail end of 2017, but for the whole year. I haven’t been shy about sharing my own frustrations with my wardrobe, and my compulsive need to actually mix things up and make it feel fresh again, and this top does exactly that.
At the very last minute, I decided to pack this in my suitcase for our trip to the Maldives – I figured at the very least, it would make a cute option to wear during the evening for drinks down at the bar. I actually ended up reaching for this on one of our first days there for cocktails down at Ithaa, the Conrad’s undersea restaurant, pairing it with this a-line skirt from RUBY that I snapped up during the sales much earlier in the year. For something so bright and playful, it worked pretty well with a lot of the items I decided to pack, making it a good option for when I wanted to wear something that was a little more dressed up, and as you might be able to tell from the photo’s above, dry hair was optional (shoes too, as it turned out!).
As I start to think a little about my autumn/winter wardrobe for 2018 (I’ll definitely be making the most of the sales), it’s become pretty evident that this surprising purchase has shifted the way I think about colour palettes, and how I want to evolve my wardrobe for the year to come…
I recently shared my round up of my most worn items for Spring over on my YouTube channel, so I thought I’d also share a little wrap up on my blog too, for those who missed it (you can also check out the video below, with try on’s!).
I thought I’d kick things off with a little comparison of the Acne jensen boots and the Everlane boss boots. I’ve had a lot of questions about how these two compare; the boot shape is similar with the key differences being the zip up closure and slightly higher heel on the Everlane boots. As spring in Sydney does tend to be on the warmer side (around 25-29 deg C), I didn’t have the opportunity to wear the Everlane boss boots as much as I would have liked, but my impressions so far is that they’re well worth the money. Well made, nice and sturdy yet malleable soft leather, and very comfortable. Personally, I prefer the way these look on my feet over the Acne boots, plus I prefer the higher heel height – I think it’s a little more flattering but it hasn’t seemed to put any additional pressure on my heels, and I walk a lot. I’m actually planning on selling my Acne jensen boots which I guess is pretty telling of my final opinion; the Everlane boss boots are the way to go. They have a more attractive price point, and the quality is pretty much on par with what you get from the Acne Studios boots (perhaps the leather is a touch thinner – but that’s about it!). If you have your heart set on the style of the Acne jensen boots, then I highly recommend these boots from Marc Fisher; I have a pair in the suede and they literally feel like wearing slippers, plus they’re a dead ringer for the jensen style but at a much more palatable price point.
Next up is my white denim mini skirt from J Crew. I bought this earlier in the year while in Dallas on a bit of a whim. We were heading into winter here in Sydney, but I was after a longer replacement for a Lover denim mini I had in my closet, and this seemed to tick all the boxes. Since, I’ve worn this so much that it’s become one of the key staples I reach for in my closet. It just so happens to go with everything, and I like the fact that the cut can be dressed up or down. It’s now sold out but if you’re looking for a similar alternative, this one from Topshop is an excellent option (which I also picked up as a replacement!).
I’ve really been getting into t-shirts this year, something which I think has come with embracing a more relaxed wardrobe. My favourite is from Brandy Melville (old but this one is a good altnerative!), a black tee with a thin white stripe throughout. It’s loosely fitted through the body, and I find their tees to just be so comfortable that I reach for them over the others in my drawers (Grana aside as their pima cotton is lovely!).
With the warmer temperatures that we’ve had, I’ve been relishing the chance to get a lot more wear out of my Chanel-inspired two-tone pumps from Vaneli. These have a low block heel and look good with everything; they’re a great option for when you want to elevate your outfit a little but want to wear something that’s ‘easy’ to throw on. I adore these so much that I decided to pick up the charcoal grey wool flannel pair, which I thought would be perfect for the autumn and winter months next year.
Very similar in style to the J Crew mini skirt is this coated vinyl skirt from H&M, which is a real wardrobe workhorse. I’ve reached for this one a lot on those mornings where I don’t know what to wear to the office, as I love the streamlined cut of this style, and the unexpected glossiness of the coated vinyl.
One of my absolute favourite wardrobe additions of the year is the polka dotted ruffle sleeve top from Sussan that I’m wearing in one of the photos above. Unfortunately this sold out some time ago, but this is a good option or alternatively you could go for this style if you were looking for something similar. This is another one of those ‘go with everything’ pieces in my wardrobe; I love the loose fit throughout the body, and the playful ruffles on the sleeves.
If you watch my ‘What I Wear in a Week’ videos, then you’ll know I wear my Linjer tote bag on an almost daily basis. But the bag that has been reigning supreme on the weekend has definitely been my Chanel boy bag. This was a massive splurge for me, but it’s an undeniable classic, and it’s proven to be the perfect size for weekend wear, while elevating my otherwise casual outfits. If you’d like to get the look without paying Chanel prices, this is a really good dupe!
I really got into wearing watches this year, and the one that I probably found myself reaching for the most over Spring was the classic Sheffield style from Daniel Wellington. I love the silver hardware, and the black leather strap (though note, this is a little stiff – more so than I’d like!), as it goes with absolutely everything in my rather monochromatic wardrobe.
A dress that I reached for frequently throughout Spring was this gorgeous navy shift dress with a dramatic ruffle from Karen Walker. I’ve been wearing Karen Walker since I was a teen, and even though I tend to prefer cleaner silhouettes these days, I still like to keep my eyes out for that ‘something special’ from each of her new collections. This is definitely one of those things that I know I’ll be continuing to wear as we head into the thick of summer, and well into autumn and winter next year, with a merino skivvy underneath.
And finally, to wrap things up, for those spring days where it’s been a little chilly, I’ve found myself reaching for this faux leather jacket from MVN. I was on the lookout for a real leather jacket for some time, but let’s just say that my champagne taste is a little above my beer budget!! This looked like a really lovely faux leather option, and it’s incredibly well made and convincing in real life. I love the silver hardware too.
So that’s my full wrap up for Spring 2017 – I’d love to know, what was your most worn items for the season? x
Unless you’re counting (and I promise, I’m trying hard not to…!), Christmas is just three weeks away, and I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about what gifts I’ll be popping under the tree for my loved ones. So today I’ve teamed up with Etsy Australia to share some of my favourite finds which would make the perfect gift this Christmas – from thoughtful stocking stuffers to beautiful gifts that stand out on their own.
Aside from the opportunity to support local sellers and small businesses while hunting down the perfect gift, I love the fact that I can find an item that’s unique and one-of-a-kind, plus it’s the ideal marketplace to stumble across some incredible independent brands, with many items falling under the $50 mark!
I first discovered Etsy many years ago, when on the lookout for a piece of customised jewellery, and it’s still my first port of call if I want to find something that’s quirky or a little out-of-the-box. These Frida Kahlo inspired bamboo earrings are unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I love that they’re hand-crafted. For a more modern option, I adore these beautiful gold double disc earrings, and I’ve featured some of my other favourites in the carousel below.
One of the kinds of gifts I really love giving are the ones that are a little more personalised and tailored to the person it’s for. Gifting a beautiful monogrammed leather clutch at Christmas is such a classic gift that you can be sure is bound to get a lot of wear during the festive season, particularly with New Year’s Eve on the horizon. Another gorgeous personalised option is this saffiano leather cardholder, and if you’re looking to go all out (or perhaps just #treatyourself) then Etsy is also home to some pretty amazing handbags – I personally have my eye on this caramel leather tote in particular.
Given one of my favourite things to browse on Etsy are their gorgeous hand-made or vintage homewares, it probably goes without saying that this is also one of my favourite types of gifts to give. A thoughtfully selected hand-poured candle is one of those small luxuries that you often don’t buy for yourself; a 100 gram candle is a really great choice for a stocking stuffer, and this Nectarine & Mint candle from Maison Blanche not only looks beautiful, but smells absolutely sensational – just like summer.
Finally to wrap things up, a beautiful marble notebook and some ink pens, or a planner for the year ahead are a lovely gift to snap up for the stationery lovers in your life – or for those who like to start the year two steps ahead of the pulse. On my own shopping list is this peachy-hued 2018 planner from MiGoals – not only will the colour pop inside my handbag, but I love the layout of their diaries, which not only helps you keep your schedule on track but encourages you to reflect on your goals and achievements every season, which is great motivation to keep you going throughout the year!
Since embarking on a style journey that led me to first, paring back my wardrobe, to capsule wardrobes and beyond, there’s been one constant that I’ve been continually chasing: effortless style that makes getting ready each morning a breeze. I might continuously joke that I have two full-time jobs, but the reality is, that juggling the responsibilities of my traditional 9 to 5 with the hours I spend creating content to share online means that I’m often rushing out the door each morning, as I try to keep up. And this is where uniforms, or style recipes as I’ve frequently referred to them as over the last few months, come into play.
I’ve shared a lot about uniforms in the past; those combinations of outfits that make you feel and look like a million dollars, but to me, the concept of the style recipe goes a little beyond that. It’s a combination of ‘ingredients’ which when mixed together, aren’t so much of a uniform as it is more of a reflection of your personal style. I’ve waxed lyrical over the years of my longing to look and dress just like a French girl, but in the last few months have come to the conclusion that I’d rather have a look that is my own, than continuously trying to chase something that in all honesty, isn’t *quite* me (though if I magicked up a ‘French girl’ wardrobe overnight, I probably wouldn’t complain!). As I inch closer and closer to 30, I’ve found a few things just slowly falling into place, in addition to the realisation that a number of my new wardrobe additions over the year had the right intentions, even if they were misplaced on the wrong kinds of items. I’m planning to share a little bit more about this in the coming months so for now, I thought I’d quickly talk you through this summer wardrobe style recipe that I’ve been reaching for a lot recently.
It all started with this white denim skirt from J Crew. I was looking for a replacement for a Lover denim skirt I owned, which fit a little bit on me and this felt like a fresh take; high waisted, with a close cut to the body and a raw edged hem. What started out as a rather impulsive ‘holiday’ buy, turned out to be one of the best wardrobe additions I’ve made this year to date – I’ve worn it so frequently for work, for weekends, and on vacation – and I’ve got nothing but love for this piece. As someone who has a narrow waist but wider hips, I was on the lookout for a skirt that wasn’t too a-line or bell-shaped, but that wasn’t overly figure hugging either, and this ticked all the boxes, in addition to helping me realise that this is my preferred style of skirt to wear. It’s classic, yet the denim fabric and the raw edge hem add a youthful and fresh element to the style, which I really adore.
Next comes the top. I’m a lover of polka dots through and through, and if polka dots could be a ‘key piece’ in my wardrobe, they undoubtedly would be ranked somewhere at the top. I don’t tend to go for too much colour (though that seems to be changing a little at the moment…), so a spotted top adds some interest to my outfit, and helps to break up my typically monochromatic looks. What I love the most about this top in particular – and it’s probably worth noting that in summer, I’m usually in something sleeveless – is the wrap front and ruffle detail. It’s smart enough to be worn dressed up with a pair of tailored trousers, but I think it looks equally as good worn as above, with my favourite denim.
For shoes, I’m always on the lookout for a nice pair of low-to-mid heels. They’re my poison of choice, and I think are a much more practical option over a stiletto, especially if you work in a more relaxed office like I do. In today’s outfit I’m wearing a pair from Paul Andrew; these are in a gorgeous suede with a slingback, and I find the grey hue goes with absolutely everything, plus it feels like one of those classic items that I probably would have seen my mum wearing too.
The final item in this style recipe is a bag, and today I’m wearing a small messenger satchel from Rebecca Minkoff. While I usually take a tote bag to work on week days, my weekends are spent toting about something a little more compact, and this bag is definitely my preferred size. It’s enough to fit in all my weekend essentials, yet small enough not to get in the way, and the adjustable shoulder strap makes switching from a shoulder bag to a cross body really easy. Unlike all my other bags which are leather, I nabbed this in a soft grey suede, which I feel gives the classic bag silhouette more of a modern update.
I’ve made little secret over my excitement to head on our recent trip to the Maldives – a cluster of approximately 1,100 islands in the Indian Ocean, south of Sri Lanka. It’s been high on my wishlist for many years, and when Luke and I made the leap to finally tie the knot, we couldn’t think of a more idyllic location to spend some time in for our honeymoon.
After doing a bit of research online, we decided to book our stay at the Conrad Rangali Island Resort. It’s safe to say that the location, and the accommodations are nothing short of spectacular. Rangali Island is located a short 35 minute seaplane ride from the Maldivian capital of Male, in the South Ari Atoll. When you arrive, you’re greeted at the jetty and treated to a refreshing drink, before being checked in and taken to your room.
Split across two islands which are connected by a 500 metre bridge, the Conrad has a mix of overwater villas sitting on stilts over the ocean, and beach villas nestled in foliage, with direct access to the beach. We spent our first three nights staying in one of their beach villas (which had the most gorgeous lush entryway to the beachfront), and our final three nights in an overwater villa, with an infinity view out to the Indian Ocean. Both were absolutely beautiful in their own right; the beach villa is generously sized, with two lounge areas, a unique outdoor shower and bath (thankfully it never gets cold in the Maldives!), and a covered verandah at the rear – perfect for lounging on during the rain. The water villas delivered that iconic experience of staying in such a beautiful location as the Maldives; each morning you wake up to the sound of the waves lapping the shore beneath you, and not only does the deck offer unparalled views of the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, but you can head for a quick dip by taking the staircase which leads straight into the water.
I try not to play favourites but staying in the picture perfect overwater villa was all kinds of magical (true Aquarian and water baby at heart!), and if there’s one thing you can’t beat, it’s the undeniably stunning location.
WHAT WE DID
Perhaps the thing that made our vacation truly special, were the activities that puncutated our stay. I’ve never been the type of person who knows how to just sit still, and as much as I enjoy laying in the sunshine listening to a podcast or flipping through the pages of my next good read, when it comes to a holiday, I crave activity, and there was no shortage of things to do at the Conrad.
I don’t typically go out of my way to exercise too much when we’re on vacation, but I did make use of the gym facilities on-site, which were modern and fully-equipped with everything you would need for an intensive workout (though I opted to keep to the treadmill and the mats for a bit of ab-work). There’s also a water sports centre located right on the beachfront, where you can hire jet-skis, kayaks, paddleboards and the like; the island is also home to a full tennis court, and there’s a generous array of exercise classes which you can participate in, including my personal favourite: yoga (in addition to private yoga sessions!).
The Conrad also offers a huge range of excursions – a few of which we went on, more below – including a number of snorkelling trips, a trip to the Conrad’s private island for a secluded picnic on the beach, island hopping to nearby local villages, dolphin or sunset cruises, big game fishing trips, diving trips and a cruise on the hotel’s glass-bottomed boat, to experience the reefs and sea life from a totally different perspective.
Snorkelling with Whale Sharks
Without a doubt, this had to be one of the biggest highlights of the entire trip. I hate to sound cliche, but this has always been on my bucket list, and the excursion was something that Luke and I were both really looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. We were out on the boat for a little over three hours (pack lots of sunscreen and be sure to reapply – trust me on this!), and during that time we had two underwater encounters with whale sharks; the first was 7 metres long, and the second was 10 metres long. It might look like they are moving pretty slowly but you really do have to paddle furiously to keep up! Following our snorkel with the whale sharks, we were taken to a nearby reef, which had an abundance of marine life – from octopi to reef sharks, sea turtles and countless fish species, the entire experience was a really special one.
Dining in an undersea restaurant
Another remarkable experience is dining at Ithaa, the world’s first undersea restaurant, which sits 5 metres under the water, just off the main island. Of all the incredible dining options available, I’d consider this to be the most unique, and if you’re only planning to visit the Maldives once, it’s definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that cannot be missed. We visited the restaurant for champagne and canapes, and spent the majority of our time under the sea in complete awe of our prime position under the sea. Reef sharks, clownfish, oriental sweetlips, parrotfish and triggerfish (among many others) swam beside us and above our heads, while we sipped on champagne – safe to say it’s something that I’ll never forget.
A sunset dolphin cruise
One of the other excursions that we were looking forward to was the Luxury Lucky Dolphin Cruise, which heads out into the Indian Ocean onboard the Conrad’s luxury yacht, to try and spot a pod of the playful spinner dolphins who call this beautiful part of the world home. It was pretty special to get to see them swim under the bow of the yacht, and we delighted in watching them flip and spin as they leapt out of the water.
A cooking class at Ufaa
Luke’s the main cook in our household, but that didn’t stop us from both being excited about a cooking class in Jereme Leung’s award-winning Chinese restaurant. We spent approximately 30 minutes in the kitchen with one of the restaurants chefs, learning how to pack dumplings, make dim sum (which looks easier than it actually is!), and the secret to the restaurant’s signature handmade pulled noodles noodles. Afterwards, we enjoyed the fruits of our labour as we feasted on the food that we had learned how to prepare. We’ve taken away a copy of the recipe so I have a feeling now that we’re home, it’s only going to be a matter of time before we become pro at making dumplings!
There really is no place like the Maldives for some much needed R&R, and as someone who literally doesn’t know how to stop, it was the perfect spot to relax, live in the moment, and catch my breath. But for those who want to take relaxing to the next level, the Conrad Rangali Island has two beautiful overwater spas on-site. Luke and I booked in a couple of treatments at The Spa Retreat, which is situated at the far end of the main island, with the most stunning views of the Indian Ocean.
I knew I’d be in for a treat when I learned that the spa uses Elemis products, so I was sure to also get a facial while there (and pick up a couple of new beauty treats to take home with me…). I opted for the 60 minute Tri-Enzyme Dynamic Resurfacing Facial; 60 minutes of pure bliss that left my skin feeling fresh, glowing and bright. I also visited the spa for two massages; a 90 minute Indigenous Maldivian Massage which involved a full body coconut scrub, massage using heated coconut sticks, and a scalp massage with coconut oil treatment (let me just tell you, this was heavenly!); the second massage treatment I had was a 60 minute Aromatherapy Massage, which again was incredibly relaxing!
I tend to suffer from a lot of tightness in my upper back (in addition to a sustained injury in my left hip), but I don’t think I’ve ever felt such total relaxation as I did during our time in the Spa Retreat – and if we have the opportunity to visit Conrad Rangali Island again in the future, a spa treatment will be at the very top of my itinerary.
Finally, I wanted to talk about the food. As massive foodies at heart, Luke and I both have pretty high standard when it comes to what we eat, and we weren’t disappointed during our stay at the Conrad Rangali Island. The Conrad offers up 12 sensational dining options, from the undersea restaurant I mentioned earlier, to an al fresco nine-course Japanese meal, and restaurants sitting above the water, overlooking the coral reefs below.
Our first night at the Conrad, we were immersed into the Maldivian culture during a Maldivian dinner on the beach. As someone who wasn’t previously familiar with Maldivian cuisine, this was an incredible opportunity to try dishes prepared by local women from neighbouring islands, while listening to traditional Bodu Beru music against the backdrop of the glittering Indian Ocean.
Another special experience was lunch at Mandhoo restaurant, which is set on stilts above the lagoon, 100 metres out from shore. The food here is simply divine and focuses on the five basic elements of air, earth, fire, water and plant. We dined on a delectable crabmeat salad with avocado, which was superbly paired with a blueberry granita, and for my main, I selected the sage marinated spatchcock which rested on a bed of pumpkin risotto. What added to the special lunchtime meal was that at 1.30pm, you can catch a pretty good glimpse of the reef sharks that swim along the shores of the island which visit Mandhoo for their own daily lunchtime feed.
Our other favourite spot, which we didn’t really discover until about halfway through our trip was The Quiet Zone Lounge Bar. A tented beach lounge which has the beautiful aspect of looking out across the water, cocktails here were positively dreamy, and we found ourselves stopping in every afternoon and night (for a night cap, of course!) to enjoy the atmosphere.
Our stay at the Conrad Rangali in the Maldives was nothing short of spectacular, and it’s safe to say that we’ve already started thinking about how we can find ourselves getting back here in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. It was a little slice of luxury in what I can only surmise as being absolute paradise; a holiday that Luke and I will never forget. If you’d like to get to see a little more of our trip, then please do be sure to have a watch of the video below! x