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

Adding Print to a Classic Wardrobe

minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle

Grana silk cami (10% off with JAMIEXGRANA), Stella Morgan houndstooth skirt (I love this gingham option), Everlane trench coat, Everlane day heels, Chanel boy bag, Dior zodiac twilly

One thing you’ve probably noticed, particularly if you’ve been a long time reader of my blog, is that it’s not often that I add a bit of print into the mix. Having made a concerted effort to simplify and strip back my wardrobe – not only to make getting ready in the morning 10x easier, but to also strengthen and define my personal style – there hasn’t been much room for prints in the classic wardrobe that I’ve spent years building.

So, how do you add print to an otherwise classic wardrobe, without detracting from your personal style? Firstly, the focus has to be on finding the right print for you, which is versatile, and works within your style guidelines. Over the years, you’ll have noticed a handful of prints which have been in heavy rotation; polka dots, stripes, and more recently, a bit of gingham and houndstooth. With a wardrobe that is is grounded in basic staples in a fairly neutral colour palette, my focus has been on complementing that with prints, in a way that is fun (and that will hopefully also become staples that I’ll want to reach for in the seasons to come!).

For example, a couple of the things I like about the houndstooth skirt I’m wearing above is the architectural tie at the waist which acts as a focal point for the piece in addition to adding a bit of whimsy, the asymmetrical hemline, and the tightness of the print – the latter of which is one of the keys to making it such a subtle complement to my existing wardrobe.

I’ve had my fair share of hits and misses when it comes to building my wardrobe – overall – but below are the four rules that I apply when deciding if a print will work with the current contents of my closet…

IS THIS A TREND PIECE?
In an age of Instagram, there seems to be a constant stream of new trends to try and add to your closet. I try to be pretty selective about which trends to incorporate into my closet, and try to focus on styles which have a timeless appeal to them that I can see lasting more than a month or two. Same rule applies to prints – go for the ones which are less focused on a seasonal trend, as not only will they be less likely to date, but unlike a bold print, they won’t feel ‘tired’ after a few wears.

CAN YOU WEAR IT AT LEAST THREE WAYS?
As with any new purchase, one of the best ways to predict its longevity – and whether you’re going to actually reach for it – is if you can imagine wearing it in at least three different outfits. Or even better, five outfits. The more versatile it is, the more classic it’s likely to be, and again, the more staying power it will have. Prints might have a reputation for being bold, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t prints out there which will stand the test of time.

DOES THIS FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE & WHEN WILL YOU WEAR IT?
It’s so easy to get swept up in the magic of buying something new, that you can forget to stop and think, ‘does this actually fit my lifestyle?’. While an ikat printed playsuit might seem like a great complement to your wardrobe in theory, is this something that you’re likely to only wear on vacation or is it an item that you can see yourself reaching for more than once a week? Perhaps the biggest change to my own closet the last two years has been acknowledging that a large proportion of my previous wardrobe didn’t accurately reflect my lifestyle, since I stopped working in a corporate office. The same goes for prints – know when you’re likely to wear them, and add them to your wardrobe accordingly. For me, I like simple more subdued patterns for everyday, and love the idea of a bolder print for summer weekends and tropical holidays.

DO I WANT IT TO BE A FOCAL POINT OF MY OUTFIT, OR A SUBTLE COMPLEMENT?
Finally, the last thing I like to consider is whether the print works best as a focal point of my outfit or more of a complement. Printed dresses and jumpsuits might be easier to throw on as they’re a total outfit in themselves, but they’re less likely to get as much mileage as a printed top or skirt, or a fun accessory like a pouch or a pair of shoes (such as these leopard-print sandals). I tend to opt for printed separates so that I can tone them down with a block colour – it’s a much softer introduction to print, and it can make them a lot easier to wear.

Do you have any prints that have become classic staples in your wardrobe?

#DOSEETHEWONDERFUL

pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle

images 1-3: classic hearts of pandora ring, fairytale sparkle ring, lavish sparkle ring, two tone signature open bangle, essence collection silver bracelet with pandora signature heart charm & patience essence charm, cascading glamour small hanging earrings, cascading glamour necklace

images 4-7: classic hearts of pandora ring, sparkling droplets ring, radiant hearts of pandora ring, teardrop silhouette ring, hearts of pandora halo ring, two tone signature open bangle, essence collection silver bracelet with pandora signature heart charm & patience essence charm, hearts of pandora earring hoops, hearts of pandora collier necklace

I’m all about those subtle statements; small accents that help to finish off a look, whether it’s a classic watch you reach for everyday, a simple wedding band, or a delicate diamond necklace that sits on your décolletage just so. Depending on how much of a rush I’m in before heading out the door, it’s not unusual to see me just sporting my wedding bands (or if I’m in too much of a rush – not even at all!), so when I got the opportunity to play dress ups with Pandora’s newest collection, I couldn’t really say no.

As someone who not only works a full time ‘9-5’ job and also spends about 99% of any spare time working on my YouTube channel and blog, I’m always on the hunt for inspiration, whether it’s a new concept for a blog post, a new trend I want to incorporate into my otherwise ‘classic’ wardrobe, or a new creative idea. Perhaps without surprise, it’s often the little things that I find myself drawing inspiration from; the promise of a new day, the excitement of a new adventure, or the sparkle of a pretty pair of earrings.

#DOSEETHEWONDERFUL serves as a reminder to see the wonderful in the subtle details of every day, recapturing that magic and wonder with which a more youthful eye would take in the world around them.

Taking inspiration from the essence of Pandora’s new campaign, I wanted to play around with some – new to me – jewellery styles, keeping everything else paired back and minimal. A slinky black slip dress and a make shift studio in our living room set the scene, while trying to play off the light streaming in through the windows that frame the front of our home.

Unlike 95% of the photos you see of me online, I self-shot all these photos – something that takes a hearty dose of perseverance, combined with trial and error just to get the perfect shot, and i couldn’t be happier with how they turned out – I mean it’s hard to complain when you’re working with a generous selection of dainty, sparkly jewels.

I’ve narrowed it down to some of my favourite picks from the new collection, so if there’s anything in particular that catches your eye, I’ve provided details of every piece I’m wearing above. But if I could only pick one piece? Hands down it has to be the cascading glamour small hanging earrings; not only are they incredibly elegant (and comfortable to wear), but they have this timeless old world feel to them which I am absolutely smitten with! x

wearing Grana silk slip dress throughout – use code JAMIEXGRANA for 10% off

Styling up a cotton maxi dress

outfit wearing grana pima maxi dress isabel marant blazer
outfit wearing grana pima maxi dress isabel marant blazer
outfit wearing grana pima maxi dress isabel marant blazer
outfit wearing grana pima maxi dress isabel marant blazer
outfit wearing grana pima maxi dress isabel marant blazer
outfit wearing grana pima maxi dress isabel marant blazer

Grana pima cotton maxi dress* (10% off using the code JAMIExGRANA), Isabel Marant blazer (collarless here and I also love this one), Tibi heels (similar here and affordable here), Celine small trotteur bag (medium size here)

I’m the kind of girl who always tries to look beyond the obvious way to wear something; I say this time and time again, but I want my wardrobe to do double duty, and I like everything hanging in my closet to really earn its keep. So when this cotton maxi dress from Grana came my way, I started to think about how I could style it beyond a casual summer maxi dress just worn on its own (because let’s face it, this is a great summer vacay piece).

So I decided to layer the maxi dress underneath a thick structured blazer – mine is from Isabel Marant and honestly, it’s such a dream to wear! – with some strappy heeled sandals, to give it more of a dressed up vibe. I feel like this would be a great outfit to wear for dinner or evening out (we’re headed to Toko this Friday night so I’m thinking this could be a good option), which is why I chose to keep the colour scheme monochromatic, though would you expect any less from me? I also love the sexy side split – it’s a little something that you wouldn’t really expect, and it makes for some great leg-baring moments! For reference, I’m wearing the dress here in an XS; it’s snug around the hips but there’s a bit of give around the waist which I typically expect with dresses like this.

Also, if you hadn’t spotted it already on my Instagram, I thought I’d give you all a bit of a sneak peek of my latest wardrobe addition; a rather spendy purchase from Celine. I’m planning to share a little bit more about this cutie later this week both on my blog and on my YouTube channel so make sure you keep an eye out! x

Blazer, straight leg jeans, and a simple white tee

scandi minimal style outfit straight leg jeans
scandi minimal style outfit straight leg jeans
scandi minimal style outfit straight leg jeans
scandi minimal style outfit straight leg jeans
scandi minimal style outfit straight leg jeans
scandi minimal style outfit straight leg jeans

Grana boxy t-shirt, Topshop straight leg jeans, Helmut Lang blazer (I also love this option), Everlane day heels (more affordable here), ASOS sunglasses, Proenza Schouler PS11 satchel

If you take a quick look at my Pinterest boards, one thing is achingly clear; I’m heavy into everything norm core with a healthy dose of Parisian styling. Since giving my closet a much needed declutter, and taking the time to sit down and really define what it is that I want my wardrobe to look like, I’ve found my outfit options have started to lean more masculine, and more relaxed, in that nonchalant, just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-threw-this-on kind of way.

Tailoring is back – long live the classic black blazer – and now that the weather has finally cooled down a notch, I’ve been incorporating a bit of suiting to help dress up a pair of distressed denim, or add a casual elegance to an oversized sweater (these trousers from Uniqlo have become a fast favourite!).

Perhaps the biggest change for me, in terms of aesthetic and styling, has been the addition of these straight leg jeans from Topshop, with a raw edged hem. Rather than a full slim fit through the body, these have a looser silhouette through the leg, with plenty of breathing room around the ankle, and while I’m still getting used to figuring out how to pair them with the rest of my wardrobe in a flattering way, I love how they look with a mid-heel and a simple while tee tucked in. It’s the kind of styling that I would have shied away from this time last year, but a little Parisian style tunnel vision never hurt anyone.

I’ve been building up my wardrobe with some core basics that I think are going to see me through the winter season, and then some, and I can’t wait to share with you all a full post on my new wardrobe heroes, that may be rooted in my core style, yet still feel like a bit of a step outside the box of my usual every day outfits. If you’re keen to get a little bit of a sneak peek of what I’m wearing lately, I’d highly suggest checking out my Instagram, as I’ll be sure to be sharing some of my current winter looks during my upcoming trip to New Zealand! x