How to unwind when you’re on vacation (and you don’t really know how to relax!)

how to relax
how to relax
how to relax
how to relax
how to relax

Grana white linen shirt (10% off with JAMIExGRANA – I also like this option), Wrangler denim mini skirt (I also love this one), Sportscraft straw hat (old but this is a lovely alternative, as is this option)

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

Wearing a one shoulder ruffle top

faithfull one shoulder ruffle top
faithfull one shoulder ruffle top
faithfull one shoulder ruffle top
faithfull one shoulder ruffle top
faithfull one shoulder ruffle top

Faithfull one shoulder ruffle top (luxe option), RUBY a-line mini skirt (old but suede alternative here), Maje strappy heels (similar here), Chanel boy bag (affordable here)

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?

The cotton/linen shirt

minimal outfit wearing cotton linen shirt
minimal outfit wearing cotton linen shirt
minimal outfit wearing cotton linen shirt
minimal outfit wearing cotton linen shirt

Karen Walker linen shirt (similar, and I also love this style), J Brand skinny jeans (also here), Paul Andrew heels (flats here), Celine trotteur bag (more affordable option)

I thought I’d share a quick outfit to wrap up the weekend, featuring one of the newest additions to my wardrobe, a cotton/linen shirt I picked up second hand from eBay. Luke and I are currently on countdown for our long overdue honeymoon (we’ll be making our way there this time next week), and it’s safe to say that this rather oversized shirt will be getting a top spot in my suitcase – it’s lightweight, breathable, and will be the perfect coverup for days spent lazing in the sun.

The secret to elevating a casual outfit

minimal outfit stripe top denim mini mademoiselle
minimal outfit stripe top denim mini mademoiselle
minimal outfit stripe top denim mini mademoiselle
minimal outfit stripe top denim mini mademoiselle
minimal outfit stripe top denim mini mademoiselle
minimal outfit stripe top denim mini mademoiselle
minimal outfit stripe top denim mini mademoiselle

T by Alexander Wang stripe top, Wrangler denim mini skirt (similar), Everlane editor heels* (similar here), Phillip Lim pashli bag, Astrid & Miyu bracelet

Whether you’re a regular here on my blog, or familiar with my what I wore this week videos on YouTube, then you’ll know that my style tends to be pretty relaxed these days. It’s a far cry from the heels and button down shirts I used to wear daily, which marked my initial foray into experimenting with fashion and my determination to project a timeless, classic style (even at the age of 18!).

The shift in my day-to-day style has been punctuated heavily with the addition of denim (and lots of it), low blocked heels, loose silk camis and a-line leather skirts; essentially, four of the key basic pieces in my wardrobe that I reach for almost daily. It’s this shift in style that has forced me to look at my wardrobe a little differently, and think about how I can elevate these more relaxed outfits to work for the office, or for a night out. So, I wanted to share four quick and easy tips that I apply to my outfits, to elevate an otherwise simple or casual look.

K.I.S.S; Keep it simple, stupid. This has pretty much been my motto when it comes to building my outfits. Coco Chanel once said that as you walk out the door, you should look in the mirror and take one thing off, and I ascribe to that daily – there’s an elegance to simplicity that can’t be matched. As much as I love the idea of wearing something that’s a little ‘extra’, a simple striped tee, a frayed denim mini, and a pair of heels can look just as good.

Wear a pair of heels; It’s about as simple as it’s going to get, but I find adding a pair of heels to a simple – and casual – outfit instantly adds a bit of lift and elevates your entire outfit in one swift step. The team at Everlane kindly sent me a pair of their new launch, the editor heel, which I’ve been pairing with more simple outfits such as the one above. I adore the combination of the pointed toe and delicate kitten heel, and the squared off cut at the foot. I decided to jump on the ‘taupe’ pair, which come off as a warm chestnut-hued tan shade in person, in my usual size – US 9.5/EU40. I haven’t had a chance to properly break these in yet, but I do find them quite snug in the toe box, though I’m not sure going up a size would be quite the right solution as they’d probably slip off your feet. It’s nothing too uncomfortable, but worth taking into consideration if you’re planning on picking up a pair.

Throw some fine jewellery into the mix; Playing on that mantra that it’s all in the details, the addition of some fine delicate jewellery to the mix provides a subtle elegance where costume jewellery might come off as a little gauche. Dainty little rings, fine chain necklaces and minimal bar bracelets are a good place to start.

Opt for a structured bag; My final tip is to opt for a structured bag. Adding another layer of refinement to a casual outfit, a bag can make a bit of an impact on how your overall look is perceived, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I tend to favour a structured bag over a slouchy one (especially with how relaxed my outfits are these days!).

How do you like to elevate a simple outfit?

Wearing boyfriend jeans with a frill tee

everlane modern boyfriend jeans
everlane modern boyfriend jeans
everlane modern boyfriend jeans
everlane modern boyfriend jeans
everlane modern boyfriend jeans
everlane modern boyfriend jeans

Karen Walker frill top (old but similar here), Everlane modern boyfriend jeans (also here), Valentino tango pumps (also here), Chanel boy bag (affordable version here), RUBY earrings (I also love these)

We’re about mid-way through spring now, and I’m still getting a chance to flex those denim-wearing muscles, thanks to some pretty mild weather this weekend. So, I took the opportunity throw on the modern boyfriend jeans from Everlane, which I’ve been dying to road test since sharing my thoughts on their skinny jean earlier this week.

I’m not sure if it comes down to the wash you opt for, but the denim of the boyfriend jeans is soft and has a good amount of stretch to it, and also fits very differently too. Again, I opted for the size 25, though there’s some give at the waist, so if you are after a closer fit, definite go down a size. For me, I love my boyfriend jeans to be slightly loose throughout the leg, and have a decent enough length that I can roll them up (twice) at the ankle. For me, this is the most flattering fit – and the ankle cuff is a must have – as it helps to create some much needed shape and expose the narrowest part of the leg. Let’s just say, these are a huge winner for me, and it’s likely that this won’t be the last time you see me wearing them.

Perhaps the one thing I do find tricky about boyfriend denim, is styling, so I figured I would keep things pretty simple with a minimal colour palette, and some of my favourite accessories. For a casual lunch and a few drinks at the pub, I opted for this frill tee from Karen Walker, which I’ve had in my wardrobe for a good few years now. This is a staple piece in my wardrobe, as I love the dressed up take on the humble basic t-shirt. For shoes, I went for my Valentino tango pumps; I haven’t worn these much since the day heels from Everlane entered my life, but these have little details to them that I absolutely adore, from the slightly rounded almond toe, to the little panel that extends up the back of the leg. Finally, after investing in a Chanel boy bag a few months back, I’ve been making a real effort to start getting the cost-per-wear down, so it’s been my go-to bag for the weekend as it’s a little too small to fit all my office essentials. I love a good monochromatic look, and this fits the bill, while stepping *slightly* out of my usual creature comforts of an all black outfit.