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I’m what I would call an ‘active relaxer’; my idea of unwinding usually involves editing photos, fussing about the house, or whipping up some little jobs to do. Basically, I don’t know how to sit still. My mind is always buzzing, thinking of the next project that I can work on, whether it’s something personal, something work-related, or an idea I’ve come up with for my blog or YouTube channel. Even as a kid, I used to spend a lot of my free time drawing comics or making pet care guides, helping my grandparents out in their veggie patch, or attempting to sew outfits for my Barbie dolls. So when it comes to holidays, this same kind of mindset usually seems to prevail.
Most of the holidays that I’ve taken with Luke have usually been to places like Europe or the USA, where a jam-packed itinerary (that I’ve planned out months in advance), has dictated our daily schedules – like that saying goes, there’s no rest for the wicked. The Maldives however, was a location that we not only picked as our honeymoon destination for its serene beauty, but also as it was a place where we would have nothing on the agenda to do other than to essentially relax.
But even the anticipation of a trip to the Maldives can’t get the cogs in my brain to slow down and shift gears, so I wanted to share four tips that I have to get myself into ‘relaxation mode’…
1. Block out some time to get it off your mind
We might have been in the Maldives – or as I referred to it during our entire trip, ‘paradise’ – but I still found it really difficult to switch off. In the back of my head, I’d be thinking about emails I needed to respond to, photos I wanted to get edited, video descriptions which needed writing, blog posts I’d been planning and upcoming campaigns I’m working on. I’m the kind of person that tends to run things over and over in their mind – I’ll replay a scenario multiple times and fuss over minute detail – which is a habit I can’t seem to shake no matter how hard I try (if you have any secrets, please do share!). I tend to be a little bit hard on myself (perhaps this comes with working essentially two full-time jobs), so rather than drive myself – and Luke – crazy, I set aside a couple of 15-20 minutes pockets each day to run through some of the things I wanted to get done. While admittedly you could argue that these things weren’t ‘essential’, it kept me from thinking about a growing to-do list I’d otherwise be flying home to.
2. Live in the moment
Perhaps the most cliche suggestion, but live in the moment. Take in the scenery, absorb the atmosphere, and enjoy being somewhere new (or even somewhere familiar). This is the way that you’ll make memories that you’ll treasure for years to come; whether it’s something as simple as enjoying a beautiful red wine on the beach while listening to the waves lap up against the sand, or in my case, the joy from spotting the hundreds of fish and baby reef sharks that would swim around our over water villa, it’s these small experiences that can make somewhere special seem even more magical. And remember, you’re on holiday.
3. Try something new
I’m definitely a summer baby at heart, but I’ve never been the type who could spend an entire afternoon lying in the sun. As I’ve alluded, I have a relatively active mind, so while I can relax to a degree, I never switch off entirely. I certainly lapped up as much sunshine as I could while we were in the Maldives, however I found that it really helped to break up our day with new experiences. While I’m planning to talk through our entire trip in further detail in an upcoming blog post (which will accompany a Maldives vlog!), two of the really unique experiences we had during our trip included cocktails at the world’s first underwater sea restaurant, Ithaa, and a snorkelling trip where we saw not one, but two(!!), whale sharks. Not only did I find myself looking forward to these activities, but I found myself reflecting on the magical nature of these incredible experiences, both of which I know I’ll be talking about for years to come.
4. Indulge in a spa treatment
Finally, if those tips don’t help you to unwind, indulging in a spa treatment or two is always a fail safe road to relaxation. I booked in a couple of spa treatments while we were staying at the Conrad Rangali Island, including an Indigenous Maldivian Massage and a Tri-Enzyme Elemis Facial at their Spa Retreat. I don’t tend to visit the spa much at all at home in Sydney, so for me, this is a bit of a luxury, and one that had me leaving feeling very zen.
What do you to do to relax when you’re taking a holiday? x
It’s been a little while since I’ve chatted about new in beauty on my blog, so I thought I’d run through some new releases that I’ve been putting to the test recently, in addition to a couple of much-lauded beauty and hair care products that have been on my radar. Starting with the….
Rimmel Magnif’Eyes Eyeshadow Palettes
Of all the products here, this new eyeshadow launch from Rimmel was one of the ones that I was most excited by. These are marked as ‘eye contouring palettes’, and each palette has 12 eyeshadows ranging from light to dark, with a primary focus on shimmers over mattes. Perhaps the thing that excited me most was that the Nude, Blush and Smoke palettes all felt a little like affordable dupes for the Urban Decay NAKED Eyeshadow palettes, which ring in at more than double the price, plus I loved the inclusion of the ‘Colour’ edition palette, which was designed specifically for those with darker skin tones in mind. Above, I’ve swatched the ‘Nude’ Palette, to give a sense of the scope of the colours included, which are pretty broad. Of the four, I’d say this is probably my favourite, as it has all your bases covered if you like a golden or brown toned eye look (my absolute go-to). The darker colours tend to have a bit more pigment over the lighter ones, and they are slightly chalky, although for the price, I’m not complaining. I took a couple of these palettes with me during a recent stay-cation and they were the perfect companion for creating a lovely evening eye look. Definitely worth checking out if one of the NAKED palettes isn’t in your price range.
Rimmel Wonder’Fully Real Mascara
Of all the beauty products I use on a daily basis, a good mascara that doesn’t smudge all over my brow bone is usually pretty tricky. I have a few tried and tested that I usually go back to, but I do love the opportunity to find a new mascara to add into rotation. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect with this mascara; it has a pretty thick synthetic brush, and a very wet formula that initially can my quite clumpy when applying it to your lashes. But, trust me when I say that this is one worth persevering for. It gives really full and thick looking lashes, that don’t smudge.
Rimmel Lasting Finish Lightweight Concealer
I don’t tend to use concealer or even foundation for that matter too often, as I generally like to let my skin breathe, but I thought I would give this a go, as Rimmel is usually my go to when it comes to affordable base products. What really got me curious was the unusual sponge applicator – it’s unlike anything I’ve personally come across, and I wanted to get a feel for how this would work. A light to medium coverage concealer, this promises up to 25 hours of wear, and while I haven’t quite made it that long, I did find this to be really long-wearing. But, and this is a pretty big but, I found the application really clumsy. The product was really hard to squeeze out, and when I tried to use the cushion applicator to blend the product out under my eyes, it dispersed more product onto my skin. Essentially, I just found this a little fussy – while in theory, it’s a great idea, I’d probably look to apply this using my finger straight from the tube, and then blend out with a beauty blender.
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in ‘Euphoric Light’
Admittedly, I tend to make a point of avoiding powder highlight. My preferred go to beauty routine, whether it’s for day or for evening is always based on amplifying my features, and keeping things as natural as possible – something I don’t think can be achieved with a powder highlight. But, given Hourglass is always hailed as being at the top of the highlighting game (along with Becca), I thought it was worth a go, just to see what all the fuss was about. I opted for the ‘Euphoric’ Strobe Lighting Powder, which is a silvery pink toned highlight, something I thought would work well against my complexion, which tends to sit on the fairer end of the spectrum if I hadn’t had much sun. The product itself is very finely milled, and applies really smoothly, but as with most powder highlights, I do find that while the flecks of glitter pick up the light quite beautifully, they’re also not what I would refer to as subtle. Given this was a bit of beauty splurge, I’ve been trying to make the most of it, by using it to highlight the inner corner of my eye, or on top of a glossy cream highlight, to really make my highlight pop (perfect for our current Maldivian getaway). So, final thoughts? It’s a beautiful highlight but it doesn’t give that same natural glow as a cream highlight.
Covergirl Melting Pout Liquid Lipstick
I’m a sucker for a good lipstick, so I was pretty thrilled to get to try the new Melting Pout Gel Lipsticks from Covergirl. I have a small selection from the range, which from left to right, the shades are: 100 Gelebrity, 105 Gel-ful, 110 Evan-gel-ical, 130 – Don’t be Gelly, and 125 – Gell Yes. The product comes in a squeeze tube with a soft slanted sponge applicator, that applies slightly sheer – you need to swipe the product across your lips multiple times to build up the colour. This is something I personally really like, as sometimes all I’m after is a nice wash over my lips, but for the more pigmented red and berry shades, you’ll need to have a bit more precision with your application to ensure the pigment is spread evenly across your lips. These have a comfortable moisturising feel on the lips, and come across as a bit of a lip gloss and liquid lipstick hybrid – they had that slight stickiness that typically goes hand in hand with lip glosses. I did find that this does tend to feather and bleed into the skin around your lips, so it’s definitely one that you’ll want to apply after lining your lips first.
Oribe Dry Texturising Spray
This is a product I feel like I’ve heard a lot about from the beauty community, but with a rather steep price tag, it’s taken me until now to snap up a bottle (and a travel size bottle at that!). I don’t tend to do a lot with my hair, I consider it to be relatively low maintenance, so this was a bit of a splurge, but I was so curious to find out if it really did live up to the hype, or if it was just a glorified dry shampoo.
I spray this onto my ends after I’ve styled my hair, and I find that it gives it a gritty texture that makes my hair appear ‘piece-y’. While I don’t love the way this this feels in my hair, I do love the way that it looks, and it’s definitely changed up the way that I do my hair every day. Verdict? It lives up to the hype, but given how splurge-worthy this is, I’ll be using it as sparingly as possible.
O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum
You might see a little bit of a theme here, but I went on a real hair care binge recently, and this was one of the products that really caught my eye. Being half-Greek, I definitely inherited my mum’s hair, which even at the best of times, can be pretty frizzy so anything that will combat that is gold in my books. This is a really lightweight serum that’s best applied when your hair damp or been towel dried. I run a generous amount through the ends and smooth it across my my roots where my hair tends to be the frizziest.
This definitely isn’t a cure all for my frizz, but I do find that it adds a healthy looking shine to my hair, in addition to smoothing it out a bit – plus it helps that no matter how much serum I apply (to wet or dry hair!) it never looks greasy.
R+Co Soft Wave Spray
This was something that I bought as a bit of an alternative to the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray. It still cost a pretty penny, but I’ve heard so much about R+Co of late, that I wanted to give something from the brand a try. I’ve used this a few times now and honestly, I’m not really sure where it fits into my hair care routine. I don’t like to blow dry my hair as it adds far too much fluffy volume (that I can’t get rid of!), so spraying this onto towel-dried hair is a bit of a no go for me. I tried it – albeit only once – and my hair had a sticky grit to it that I couldn’t shake, and I couldn’t style it at all. Essentially, it was a huge fail. I have sprayed this onto my ends a few times when my hair has been dry, and scrunched it up a little to mimic ‘beach’ waves, and while it doesn’t have the same effect as salty air-dried hair, it’s my preferred way of using this product. Not one I think I’ll be repurchasing.
Even though we’re yet to jet off on our holiday, I’ve already been finding myself feeling inspired by the promise of a beachside retreat, and the possibilities of a few new wardrobe additions.
While I got this one shoulder ruffle top from Faithfull, with the full intent of wearing it solely as resort wear, I love how it pairs with this a-line mini skirt I picked up from RUBY last year. The cotton drill adds structure, where the linen gives movement and flow, and a pair of strappy heeled sandals finish off the look. As it cools down, I feel like this look also would work well with a little skivvy paired underneath, and a slick pair of sock booties – like these ones from Topshop (which are an incredible dupe for the Balenciaga knife boots).
It’s a pretty simple combination (like practically all my outfits…!), that still feels like a step outside my comfort zone; the subtle flash of midriff is typically something I’d usually avoid, but living in a city where summer temps are usually in the high 30s, I figure, why not just embrace it?
After a rather large wardrobe declutter (which is coming soon to my YouTube Channel), I’ve been focusing on building it up in a few areas that needed a little bit of TLC – namely resort wear and a few smart tops to see me through spring and summer. I have a bit of a tendency to go overboard – I have an obsessive, one track mind – though I’d say I’m about 50-75% of the way there. So, in case you missed it, I thought I’d share and quickly talk through my recent wardrobe additions in a little more detail.
Summer in Sydney is always tough, especially as I tend to walk 45 minutes each way, dressed head to toe in my full work kit. This time of year, I usually find myself on the hunt for a couple of tops to throw into the mix that are a little different, whether that means the addition of a print, or just an added ruffle detail. Usually anything sleeveless goes.
Perhaps my favourite recent addition of all is this polka dot ‘halter’ style top from J Crew. I love the subtle ruffle trim, the cross front detail, and the jazzy polka dot print. Next, I found myself in Zara with my sister-in-law, heading straight to the till with a velvet flocked ruffle blouse. A completely unintended purchase, but I love the button front detail and lower cut neckline; the combination of which stops it from being overtly sexy. The third top I picked up was with the Maldives in mind; I wanted something in a cotton/linen mix, which I could pair with just about anything high waisted. This gorgeous one shoulder ruffle top from Faithfull ticks all of those boxes and then some, plus I have a feeling that it could also work during the colder months, layered over a thin knit skivvy. Along a similar vein, I found an oversized linen shirt from Karen Walker on eBay that I had been trying to track down for more than a year now, which I think is the perfect cover up (and also features in my previous post!). The final top I picked up is this simple tee from RUBY. I’ve been shopping from RUBY since I was in my early teens, so my purchases are always marked with a slight hint of nostalgia. While I wasn’t in desperate need of a new white tee, I loved the sweet love heart embroidered detail on the bust.
SKIRTS & JEANS
While I absolutely thrashed my Willow leather skirt in the winter, I’ve really been struggling to find an alternative that works for the warmer months, that isn’t denim. It’s a gap I’m still looking to fill, but for the meantime, I opted to grab a few items that would work either for casual Friday (think lots of denim), for weekends or summer holidays.
If there’s one print that really encapsulates the current vibe of my wardrobe, it’s the polka dot print – I can’t seem to get enough of it right now – which would probably explain why I made a beeline straight for this lightweight button front skirt from Flynn Skye when I spotted it online. I don’t really foresee this as being something I can make work for the office, but I thought it’d make a great option for weekends, and particularly for our trip to New Zealand in about six weeks’ time. The second skirt I opted for is this frayed hem denim mini from Wrangler (this one from Topshop is a straight doppelgänger), which I picked up as an alternative to that white denim skirt from J Crew that I practically haven’t been able to take off. This one is a little shorter, but I love the frayed hem, and slight a-line style.
Even though it’s starting to really heat up in Sydney, somehow I found myself with three new pairs of denim. The team at Everlane really kindly sent me a pair of their modern boyfriend jeans to put to the test, which I’ve really been enjoying, and which I’ve reviewed here if you want to read more about them. I also picked up a pair of the mid rise skinny ankle jeans, which I have a feeling will be more of an acquired taste, down to the fit. Again, I’ve shared my thoughts on them in a blog post which you can read here. The final pair of trousers are again from Everlane, and I’ve been dying to buy them for ages, but seemed to keep missing the restock; they’re the wide leg crop trousers. The sizing on these can be a little tricky to figure out, but for reference, I’m usually a size 25 in jeans and I opted for the size US0. These fit me well, although there’s a bit of room at the waist – they do give a little but on reflection, I probably wouldn’t size down if I had the chance to buy them all over again.
I recently ‘discovered’ Need Supply, and have been loving trawling through their new in section on a weekly basis. It was there that I spotted this striped maxi-style shirt dress from Stelen. This has resort wear written all over it, and I can’t wait to wear this while we are in the Maldives. It’s made out of natural fibres, and has a slight stiffness to the fabric, the combination of which I really like.
SHOES & ACCESSORIES
Finally, let’s talk shoes and accessories. I’m a shoe fiend by nature, so any new wardrobe additions post (or video) is inevitably going to include at least one pair. Starting with a couple pairs of sandals, I was on the look out for some flat sandals that just slipped on. As much as I love the ease of wearing a pair with an ankle strap, they can often cut you off – basically, they aren’t always the most flattering. So, when I spotted these sandals from Sportscraft, I was sold. I love the nude nubuck leather at the heel, and the snakeskin effect leather that criss-crosses over the toes. They’re the kind of sandal that will pair well with every outfit, plus they’re comfortable too. The second pair of sandals I sprung for were these ‘lou’ mules from Alexander Wang (also here). I’ve been sitting on the fence about investing a little more in a pair of mules, and these struck me as a really ‘cool’ option. The cut out detail is a little more unusual, and really makes these a stand out piece.
I quite often like to buy things out of season – generally I can snag something on sale, or a piece that I know will be a staple for the months to come. That’s exactly how I approached buying a pair of Everlane’s boss boots, which are essentially a wardrobe replacement for the famed Acne Studios Jensen boots. Personally, I think Everlane’s offering is better; the price point is more palatable, the heel is slightly higher which is my personal preference, and I like the side zipper. A full review is here if you’re interested in a read. Then along with a pair of jeans, the Everlane team also sent me a pair of the Editor heels, which I’d coincidentally been eying up. I am absolutely smitten with the colour selection, in particular, the emerald and navy both seem like a beautiful option for autumn or winter. These are a snug fit in the toe box, but otherwise fit relatively true to size. I’m crossing my fingers these will come out in a leather option next year.
The final wardrobe addition are these incredible earrings from RUBY. I’ve been on the lookout for some squiggly earrings for a while now, and these were such a reasonable price point, plus I like the clasp – it makes them really easy to throw on. These are also a really incredible alternative.
I’ve shared a couple different ways that I’m planning to style up each of these items in one of my recent videos, which I’ve shared for you down below. Safe to say, I went a little overboard… but I’d love to know which piece you liked the most – let me know if the comments section! x