It’s that time of year again – Christmas Party season!
Every year, November brings with it the search for the perfect affordable and stylish dress to wear to work and social occasions.
These are some of my favorite dresses under $80 (some even under $60!), with key trends covered like off-the-shoulder (OTS isn’t going anywhere this Summer), ruffle sleeve and quirky prints. And I’m amazed, there’s not a stripe amongst them!
The navy B Collection Broderie dress from Big W is the perfect budget option for a work Christmas party, while I love the floaty boho style of the Erin Louise maxi and Chasing Case pattern dress for casual family barbeques by the water. And the quirky Santa-hat-wearing flamingos of the Mandy Little Party Dress are fabulous for ANY festive celebration!
Which is your favorite? I don’t think I can go past the flamingo LPD, or the Amy Pineapple shift! (Predictable, I know!)
You’d think that with my term-time job working in the sports department at a school, I might like to stay well away from young people on school holidays; but the families that live next door and across the road in our quiet little street have some pretty fantastic kids, and I’m always happy to spend time with them.
When I heard that my holidays coincided with the four kids’ break from school for just a week, I starting thinking about what I could do with them for a great day out together. I dropped a few hints in the lead up to the end of term, asking what they’d done around the Coast lately, and with BB’s encouragement, came up with a plan.
Being Sunny Coast locals, BB and I have long talked about going to Australia Zoo together. I haven’t been for about five years, and we are constantly hearing about new exhibits opening, with incredible animals. We also both believe pretty strongly in the late Steve Irwin’s message of conservation and education. Unfortunately, BB has been working away lately, and wouldn’t be able to get time off an important contract for a zoo-day, so he missed out this time – although I’m hoping I can take him there really soon, I know he’d love it!
The kids didn’t know what they were going to be doing with me that day, as I’d tricked them into believing I was just ‘babysitting’ and we might go to a park, run some errands and maybe clean my house a little – HA! I would never choose to clean my house when there are naps to be had, so I sure fooled them! After loading up in the car and heading to the highway, we passed a few theme parks signs and even an Australia Zoo sign – young Thomas noticed it and immediately said ‘Oh, Australia Zoo would be so cool, I’d love to see the crocs’!
I pulled up at a park at Landsborough (just up the road from the Zoo) and as everyone got out of the car for a run around in the playground, I said ‘Wait, I’ve got something for you!’ and handed them each a little bag containing an animal print balloon, a couple of Cadbury Furry Friends chocolates, and an Australia Zoo brochure. As soon as they all realised that we were about to spend our day at the Zoo, I had four kids talking at me, 100 miles an hour! ‘What? We’re going there now? Will we see crocodiles? Are we really going there now? Today? All of us? Is Tommy going to get to swim with the crocodiles?
(No, lovely neighbours… I would never let your kids swim with crocodiles. Well, not hungry ones over 20 foot long, anyway.)
Why should you visit Australia Zoo with children? Well, here are eight great reasons! (To be honest, I could probably come up with a hundred.)
To be honest, there is a good chance that Pasang, the young Red Panda might be asleep when you visit Australia Zoo – he’s a typical teenager who needs plenty of rest, and enjoys having his meals brought to him. Fortunately when we visited, he was clambering around his large enclosure, leaping and climbing along tree branches.
You can’t visit Australia Zoo without seeing koalas! Australia’s most famous marsupials are incredibly sleepy and whilst there are a few different large enclosures with koalas in specially-designed trees to showcase them, it’s more fun to stroll through the walk-through Koala area and look up in the trees to spot them. We found a couple of different volunteers showing koalas, and were able to get up close and personal, and pat and stroke them (usually on their bottom)!
As a regular visitor to Fraser Island, I’ve seen dingoes before – but of course I’ve never been this close! These beautiful animals are Australia’s wild dog, and they’ve been here for over 5000 years. Seeing Archie (with the white coat) and his sister Eve was wonderful, they are such curious and beautiful creatures and reading about the conservation work that Australia Zoo is doing for them was great! Dingoes are also walked through the park on a meet and greet stroll daily.
Watching the Asian small-clawed otters Mayhem and Rosie at feeding time is certainly a good laugh. As his name suggests, Mayhem really is a little troublemaker, trying to muscle in on Rosie’s breakfast!
These guys have short but very flexible, sensitive claws, useful for digging, climbing and also for grabbing and holding on to prey. Australia Zoo provides funds for research and conservation projects, monitoring and safeguarding native otter populations in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South China and Himalayan regions.
Since the last time I visited Australia Zoo, they’ve built a wonderful African exhibit, and these gracious giants are an incredibly beautiful addition. It’s easy to understand why giraffes top the list of so many people’s favorite animals. Their elegant stride, outrageous eyelashes, and calm expression give them an air of refinement.
Kangaroos are perhaps Australia’s best-known animal and are found in stories, movies, and even as sports team mascots the world over, but here on the Sunshine Coast we’re fortunate to have healthy populations all over the place. They’re not exactly the kind of animals you can just stroll up to though, so having the opportunity to feed them was lots of fun.
Did you know that a group of rhinos is sometimes called a ‘crash’? Best name ever.
Rhinos, with their hard hides and gentle eyes, are my favourite wild animal, and it was magical to watch these herbivores just cruising around without fear of poachers. I could’ve stood watching them in the expansive African plains enclosure.
Crocodiles, of course!
If there is one thing you’ll never forget when you visit Australia Zoo – it’s the daily Wildlife Warriors show in the purpose-built Crocoseum! Featuring wild birds including the largest raptor in the world, an Andean Condor, giant snakes and of course the stars, saltwater crocodiles! There’s much to learn about these fascinating reptiles, and the Zoo takes the view that the more you know, the more you’ll care about them.
Whilst strolling around the extensive grounds of the Zoo was fantastic, I definitely loved the show most. The exuberance of the Wildlife Warriors is infectious, and I found myself (and the kids) all shouting ‘Crikey!’ and hollering along, like a classic pantomime – it was so much fun! The colourful birds in this show never cease to amaze me, I would go back just to experience the beauty of being so close to these impressive birds, flying free around the Crocoseum.
There is quite a lot to do at Australia Zoo and if you can only spend one day there, I’d recommend checking the website to plan for an Animal Encounters and shows. It is also best to get there early if you can to avoid the midday crowds, and bring snacks and lunch so you can just stop wherever you like to have a picnic. I took along lunch for us – and yes, if you were checking out my Instagram stories, you would’ve seen that I made leopard-print pikelets for the occasion!
We all had a fantastic time together, and I’m so glad I have great kids in my life to experience a day at the zoo with me!
Most people know that I’m a passionate Sunshine Coaster, born and bred here and impatient with visitors to the area who may think of it as the second-rate sister to the older, gaudier Gold Coast. I rarely visit the GC as I know how lucky I am to have everything I need right here. But when my gorgeous mate Brooke of Blonde Ambition asked if I’d like to head south with her for a weekend, of course I decided to change that and take a fun trip to the Gold Coast!
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, and I loaded up my car, kissed my husband goodbye and beat the Bruce Highway traffic to go meet up with Brooke after she finished her Pilates session. A quick hug and back into our separate cars – hers was too full of bike to fit me in – to cruise south on the surprisingly traffic-jam-free M1.
Our first stop was Harbour Town, Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre. Brooke and I were super-excited to include Harbour Town in our GC itinerary as we’d heard about the Premium Mall which had opened in May 2016, with Kate Spade New York, Furla, Michael Kors, Coach, Oroton and other high-end retailers. Did we mention Kate Spade New York? (Hello, my name is Katy, and I’m a Kate Spade-oholic.)
The outlet stores offer anywhere from 30 to 70% off sales everyday, so we were even more delighted when the Harbour Town team generously offered us a gift card each to help us splurge a little. After cutting a few laps of the Centre to make sure we weren’t missing any must-haves, we shopped our socks off and I’m now the delighted owner of this Kate Spade tote, along with one of her gorgeous idiom bangles too! My tip to the wise… don’t accompany Brooke to a Kate Spade store without a good book and a pair of headphones, her indecision is becoming legendary.
Happily, this was the Kate Spade New York tote* that I was eyeing off when we traveled through Singapore Airport last year, and now she’s mine!
Harbour Town also has a dedicated Tourism Lounge which offers complimentary services including tea and coffee (free coffee AND outlet shopping? sweeeeet) and a free tourist-only shuttle bus every Tuesday to Saturday. The only problem I can imagine is that you might buy too much to cart back to your hotel on the bus!
We packed our new goodies in our cars and drove to our home for the evening, QT Gold Coast. This was my first time staying at a QT Hotel after lusting over the Port Douglas hotel on my last few trips north, and I was suitably impressed with the much-anticipated ‘fun factor’.
QT Gold Coast is a retro-lovers dream with midcentury decor and colourful surf-inspired artworks, and quirks like a giant Connect 4 set by the astroturfed pool lawn. Level 1 houses the restaurant and QT Spa, while the ground level is home to spacious reception, cocktail bar and cafe areas, and a split-level loungeroom reminiscent of the Brady Bunch which is used to host their high teas (aptly named Qteas).
We dumped our shopping and overnight bags on our beds, and immediately went down to the pool deck to try a few cocktails. Brooke had previously stayed at QT Gold Coast and had a favourite tipple so didn’t require a menu, but I was torn between a couple, so of course tried them both!
I’m sure you’ll agree when I say it ain’t a tropical holiday without a tiki drink, and this Mexican Tiki Punch with lashings of Guava, Pineapple and Coconut was a tropical treat!
After a few drinks, it was back upstairs to change into our brightest frocks and head a few blocks south to Cavill Avenue, where we’d been invited to check out a Summer fashion parade at Soul Boardwalk. The mall was jumping, and the show’s DJ had us toe tapping, so after the fashion show, we nipped along the Esplanade to Sandbar, a recent addition to Surfers Paradise’s share-plate restaurant scene. Because we’re both complete party animals ready to whoop it up on the GC, our next move was back to the hotel to crank the air-conditioning, jump into our beds at 7.30pm and watch Nicolas Cage in National Treasure. Like I said, we’re wild like that.
The next morning, we spent some quality time aquainting ourselves with the impressive breakfast buffet (Brooke enjoyed a softserve icecream with breakfast… really) before we packed up, headed downstairs and gave the Connect 4 set a quick workout and then checked out of QT.
Brooke had mentioned taking her new bike down the Gold Coast for our weekend away and enjoying a pleasant cycle along the beachfront, but I’m firmly of the opinion that bikes are for people who enjoy wearing lycra and have a much less sensitive butt than I. I mean, there’s not much joy in panting and gasping, is there?
I thought I’d be the clever one and contacted the crew at Crooze Electric Bicycles at Broadbeach to see if they would be able to help with my ‘I want to cycle along the beach but not get hot and sweaty’ conundrum, and they generously came to the party, loaning me one of their super-cool Noosa electric bikes. (FYI they both hire and sell their cruisers, so you can definitely try before you buy!) Now when I say electric bike, I mean a bicycle that can be pedaled, with options to add a power boost from a discreet electric motor, not a scooter. Obviously I wanted to be able to pedal A LITTLE, in case we rode past cool cycling people who would mock me whizzing by with no effort at all!
Let’s clear a few things up – I am a very reluctant cycler, I don’t feel comfortable riding my old clunker ladies’ mountain bike around the footpaths of my quiet suburb, let alone hitting the streets. But something about being shown the gadgets and gizmos on the Noosa cruiser got me excited, I donned a bright pink camo helmet and off I zipped. Electric bikes are now so technologically advanced and quiet that not even Brooke knew when I was pedalling and when I was nudging the throttle. Sneaky – I like it.
The Noosa cruiser is a super-cute step-through style, which makes it easy to ride while wearing a frock. Seriously!
See – frocking awesome!
(Sidenote: I got home from my weekend away, waxed lyrical to my husband about how much I enjoyed riding the Noosa cruiser and he’s decided that we’re driving down to the Gold Coast this week to trial them together – a Noosa cruiser for me, and for him, the manlier-looking Cooly electric bike; and then maybe bring a couple home! He loves to cycle, but I’m always letting him down and slowing him down, so this could be the coolest-looking compromise ever!)
Seriously, this was the coolest and cruisiest ride ever. Thanks Crooze team!
We tootled to Mermaid Beach and then along Millionaires Row and Hedges Avenue, real estate shopping and dreaming of the luxurious mansions we could own if we just, you know, knuckled down and saved a bit more, then stopped at BSKT Cafe at Nobby’s to drink ALL THE COLD THINGS before turning around to cycle the 4.2km back to Crooze at Broadbeach. That’s right, we cycled 8.4km, and I wasn’t even puffed.
The cutest little exhausted Brooke that you ever did see!
It’d been a big morning so it was time for a light lunch and more cold drinks at Beaches Off Tedder before a big hug with Brooke and back into our cars to hit the M1 and drive home. I managed to miss a bunch of storms and any dramatic Sunday afternoon traffic, which was quite the win too!
It was a smashing way to spend a weekend with one of my best mates, and I’m definitely looking forward to going down to the Goldie again this week to enjoy a ride along the beach with my husband!
I don’t know if I’m ready to kick my bias against the Gold Coast to the kerb just yet, but I’ve certainly seem an unexpected and more family-friendly side of the region now! Anyone for a game of giant Connect 4 and Tiki cocktails?
*Kindly gifted, and only shared here because I love it!
Oktoberfest Brisbane is Australia’s largest German Festival, and it is run by local German-Aussies with a passion for sharing their heritage to ensure an authentic experience. I’ve been to this before, and it’s always a massive blast, with plenty for everyone to do, and definitely no cheesy ‘beers and boobs’ atmosphere.
Held over two weekends in October (7-9 and 14-16), Oktoberfest Brisbane is expected to be even bigger this year, as the festival celebrates the 500-year anniversary of the famous ‘Bayerische Reinheitsgebot’, the famous ‘Bavarian Purity Law’.
For 500 years, this law has limited the ingredients allowed to brew German beer to water, malt, hops and yeast. Fast forward to 2016, and the anniversary of this law means that ye olde German brewers were onto something clever – we’re all chasing simple and pure food and drink!
Thousand of people hit Oktoberfest Brisbane every year to enjoy traditional German food, beers and wine, and experience authentic German culture. So grab your lederhosen and press your dirndl, and head to Brisbane Showgrounds for a festive day of German food and music. For more information, visit Oktoberfest Brisbane’s website or Facebook page.
Now, here’s the fun stuff – I’m giving away TWO double passes to Oktoberfest Brisbane (to be used over the weekend 14-16 October 2016), simply check out my Instagram or Facebook to find out how to enter!
*Double pass giveaway and all images courtesy Oktoberfest Brisbane, all opinions my own – I love this event!
You may remember that I recently spent a weekend gorging myself on the best produce, meals and drinks that Brisbane and the Lockyer Valley have to offer, all in the name of research for the Regional Flavours event, held at Southbank Parklands in Brisbane.
I am pleased to say that the festival is this weekend, and I will be in Brisbane from this Friday evening until Sunday – ostensibly to attend an industry dinner with my husband and to celebrate my birthday week – but we all know it’s to eat my way through Regional Flavours, right?
Here’s a little list of deliciousness that I’m planning on eating and drinking at Regional Flavours 2016:
QLD pork belly and black garlic dumplings with XO sauce from Stokehouse at River Quay
Crumbed Mozzarella with local thyme-infused honey from Popolo at River Quay
Chocolate macarons from Aquitaine Brasserie at River Quay
The very freshest fruit, vegetables and condiments from the Producer Showcase – berry me up!
And of course, a flight (or three) of excellent James Squire beers at The Hunting Club
If that little taster (see what I did there?!) has whet your whistle for a weekend of amazing food and drink – as well as celebrity chef features, edible garden treats food trucks galore and just a really supportive environment for people who like to eat their way through life – pop over to the Regional Flavours website (here) to check out the final program and plan your visit and if you see me hanging suspiciously around near the Food Trucks, come say hello. My mate Brooke of Blonde Ambition will also be cruising through Regional Flavours, so there’s a red hot chance you’ll find us both entertaining a crowd with some top-notch karaoke at The Hunting Club at some point!
Regional Flavours is on this Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July 2016 from 10am to 5pm at Southbank Parklands, Brisbane. The Hunting Club will open 4pm to 7pm on Friday, 15 July and 10am to 7pm on 16 and 17 July. Parking in the area will be limited so your best bet is to catch a train, bus or CityCat.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I recently experienced a gourmet’s ultimate weekend experience, heading to Brisbane for a 24 hour whirlwind trip of the city’s best food and then out west for another day and night to the Lockyer Valley to see where most of that food is produced.
As well as enjoying great food with exceptional company, I also faced that classic food blogger problem… my pants were too tight for me to try everything! So heed my warning if you’re planning to head to the Regional Flavours event on 16th and 17th July, elastic-waist trousers and loose dresses will be what those in the know are wearing!
My taste buds are already tingling as I start thinking about the delish fare which will be served up at Brisbane’s Southbank Parklands. The eighth annual festival aims to offer visitors a taste of the varied and quality produce Queensland has to offer, and educate consumers and home cooks on the benefits of eating food grown right here in the Sunshine State.
Celebrating our fertile soil and homegrown harvests isn’t exactly new,
this vintage tourism poster just screams ‘Eat our fruit’!
This year’s event will dish up a culinary delight, with the Parklands filled with cooking demonstrations by notable chefs, free tastings and stalls run by local food producers, restaurateurs and traders, food trucks, kid’s activities and live musical entertainment. Oh, and the whole weekend’s festivities are free too!
I’ll definitely be heading down for the weekend, and I’ve listed my favourite producers, providores and picks that I recommend you keep an eye out for!
A carnivore’s paradise, this family-owned butcher and delicatessen chain should be proud of its Plainland and new West End locations that follow the same formula for produce-to-plate philosophy – it’s worked for them for over 60 years! When I visited, my blogging companions and I were lucky enough to be given a tour of the premises by Alistair Macleod, well-known chef and tv host, and a proud ambassador for the Lockyer Valley. Offering a huge range that includes Yagaburne beef, Lockyer Valley veges and Granite Belt wines, Schulte’s is serious about quality and community.
The trend towards locally sourced products doesn’t end with food, with many folks looking for regional herb and spice growers as well. I was fortunate enough to spend time at Holmwood Produce’s beautiful lavender and native food farm during my tour through the Lockyer Valley, and as well as having the friendliest donkey greeters, the fresh lavender and lemon myrtle used in the afternoon tea treats were so scrumptious that I fell in love with the property.
Bauer’s Organic Farm Every now and then, you meet someone SO passionate about something that you can’t help but join them as an advocate. That someone was Rob Bauer, long-time Lockyer Valley farmer and convert to organic farming over 30 years ago, well before the current organic fad really took hold! Seated at a long table under the eucalypts and hearing Rob share stories about local farmers getting sick and dying from exposure to common chemicals used in farming, the entire table of guests began to think differently about the way we shop for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Bauer’s is a diverse property, supplying carrots, potatoes, corn, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin and beans, as well as numerous other smaller crops – all on one of Australia’s first certified organic farms.
The Charming Squire Southbank’s own microbrewery is probably the perfect weekend venue for discerning Brisbanites, with something for everyone. The talents of their brewers, who are constantly creating new beers, and the constant communication between chef and brewer showcases beer and food pairing in a new (to me) and exciting way! The tasting plates that were offered were beyond amazing, featuring such tasty gems as Woodfired Corn Cobs with parmesan spiced crust, puffed quinoa and chipotle butter; and my favourite, the Slow cooked beef croquettes with Turkish almond & tahini dip. If you’re looking for BB and I at Regional Flavours, you’ll probably find us propping up the bar at the atmospheric and moody pop-up bistro and bar The Hunting Club, where we’ll be working my way through the Charming Squire drinks list! Hosted by The Charming Squire and Target 100, this venue will also host the likes of Paul West, Alistair Macleod and Hayden Quinn.
Having experienced a ‘cupping’ session at Australia’s largest independently owned and operated coffee roaster, Merlo Coffee on my recent food adventure of Brisbane, I now feel that I have earned the right to call myself a real coffee connoisseur. Tony and Frith led us through
a short history of coffee, sampling their current blends, using our senses to differentiate between blends and getting expert advice on making the best coffee at home, at Merlo’s Fortitude Valley Torrefazione. Possibly the best way to start my day, really. Interested in kicking off your own food adventure of Brisbane with a decent cuppa? Merlo hold public coffee appreciation sessions at various Torrefaziones in Brisbane.
Make sure you stroll all the way along the Parklands (you’ll probably need to, to digest all that food) to River Quay. This strip of fine dining establishments is home to Stokehouse Q, Aquitaine Brasserie, The Jetty, Cove Bar + Dining and my favourite, Popolo Italian Kitchen and Bar. I’ve dined at Popolo before and it’s right up there in my list of favourite Brisbane restaurants.
The menu walks that perfectly fine line between too simple and overly extensive, the food is fresh with a lot of emphasis on showcasing local produce, and the whole place has that classic Italian ambience. It’s casual without lacking in service or quality of food, but at the same time classy without being pretentious and stuffy. I’m going to get specific now, and tell you exactly what I’ll eat at Regional Flavours from Popolo, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll be stuffing these morsels in your mouth too. The crumbed Mozzarella with thyme-infused local honey is going to be the bee’s knees. (See what I did there?)
Could eat these all day, every day. The Bee One Third locally produced honey is also going to be available at Regional Flavours… my top tip is to get there early and try and snag your suburb, they sell out quickly!
Regional Flavours 2016 is a fantastic opportunity for local food producers, restaurateurs and traders to showcase their mouth-watering wares, and to show everyone that QLD is no longer the backwards banana-bending state of old. The event which is staged over two days at my favourite polace in Brisbane – Southbank Parklands – will definitely exceed expectations and appetites. I urge you all to put the dates in your diary and come along, as there will be something for everyone – whatever your personal tastes.
All the Regional Flavours stage presenters, stallholders, food trucks and vendors have been hand-selected and are definitely hungry-tummy-approved. Adriano Zumbo, Maggie Beer, Hayden Quinn, the Masterchef lads Gary, George and Matt, Miguel Maestre, Alistair Macleod, and River Cottage’s Paul West are just a few big names that will be hitting the stages, but check out the full program on the Regional Flavours website for more details. You’re going to want to start planning your eating agenda now.
I’m planning on being in Brisbane for the entire weekend, staying at Brisbane Marriott, so come hang with me. We can eat until our belts explode.
For stays between 14-18 July 2016, Brisbane Marriott Hotel is offering a special discounted rate of $199 a night if you book before July 1, 2016. Will I see you at Regional Flavours 2016?
*I was a guest of Brisbane Marketing, the listed venues, and Brisbane Marriott for my recent foodie adventure through Southbank, Brisbane and the Lockyer Valley – they do great work showcasing this corner of the world, and I am incredibly happy to support them. All images my own, or supplied by Brisbane Marketing
If you’ve only just stopped by, you might like to click back to this post, it’s Part One of What I Wore: Port Douglas holiday… this one is a little more pictorial, because I’ve been busy and working hard, and have no words left.
Now, it wouldn’t be a tropical holiday for me without some poolside relaxing. Yes, we have a pool at our home, but it’s nowhere near as relaxing lounging in the water when you have a houseful of chores just metres away. I love laying by a pool that is a LONG way from my dirty laundry and a dishwasher that need stacking, so holiday pool time is my favourite.
I love swimsuits. For a curvy girl with bumps and dimples in all the wrong places, I give little thought to how people see me when I’m on the beach or lounging by a pool. I hope that never changes. (That said, outside of a watery environment, I’m crazy-insecure about my body. Go figure.) This gorgeous new Capriosca Cancun Twist Bandeau One Piece* with the moroccan tile-inspired print is probably my favourite one-piece of ALL. TIME. SERIOUSLY. The team at Sequins and Sand are so helpful too, you can email or call Anita and the team and get so much great advice on sizing and fit, which is so useful when buying swimwear online.
I adore the glam print, the ruching, the DD shelf bra that actually does what it’s supposed to, and most of all, the removable and adjustable straps. I mean, you guys surely know how I feel about tan lines. I was so hesitant to take the straps off, because there’s nothing cute about hauling a bandeau top up over and over again by the pool, but the shaping of the cups means that I didn’t even need them! And that means I can wear this swimsuit under so many of my strappy, strapless and off-the-shoulder beach and pool dresses. Hip hurrah!
On our actual wedding anniversary, we had a super-relaxing day of strolling around Port Douglas. I wore one of my favourite off-the-shoulder tops (of course I did, I’m original like that) with super-tropical-cute palm-print shorts from Witchery. These shorts are brilliant for Summer holidays, because there’s no ironing required, and they wash and dry so quickly that you can wear them more than once… which I obvs did.
When on holidays, wear no makeup and let your hair air-dry. Please, for the love of relaxation, do it.
Speaking of relaxation… my husband enjoyed his first pedicure ever! I’d been telling him for ages just how relaxing they were, and my dad (who doesn’t exactly has attractive manfeet) has been waxing lyrical for years to BB about the pleasures of someone else attending to your feet, and I finally managed to persuade him to give it a try. BB has quite nice feet, I think, so I knew he’d have nothing to be self-conscious of.
And now he wants to get one at least monthly. Can we just say ‘I told you so’ already?
By the second last day of our trip, I was all but forgetting to take photos of our holiday, I was just in full-blown vacation mode. It wasn’t until I saw other people snapping away on the Cairns-Kuranda SkyRail that I remembered!
Kuranda Scenic Railway Station is flipping adorable. It’s just like the railway stations you imagine from the books The Railway Children, but with excellent coffee available. Nawwww.
This lame tourist photo at the railway station features pretty much the exact same off-the-shoulder top and shorts situation from a previous day, albeit with the coral version of the Katies top. What can I say? When I find a good thing, I stick to it.
Taking the obligatory arm-out-the-window photo as we rounded the bends of the Barron Valley meant that I had quite the conniption as BB risked the life of my iPhone.
Food, food, food. One of the highlights of any trip to Port Douglas for us is dinner at Bucci Italian. The blue cheese and cauliflower arancini were a hit, and the roast pumpkin gnocchi (below) served with little dollops of the most delicious goat’s cheese… I can’t even.
After all that cheese, I was feeling VERY cheesy and loved up. (You knew there was a bad cheese pun coming, admit it.)
Apparently I’m going through an off-the-shoulder phase. Who knew?
What it’s actually all about for me. You can take away the sunbathing and afternoon cocktails, the excuses to wear tropical-print clothes, the food (although please don’t take away the food), and my anniversary trip to Port Douglas is really just all about spending time with this silver fox.
Happy Anniversary, BB. You’re the cheese to my pasta.
* Thank you so much to the team at Sequins and Sand, for gifting me this gorgeous swimsuit, and helping me find my perfect style and fit. Big big love.
Well, that Summer season just really whizzed by, didn’t it? I had probably one of my most relaxing Summers ever, with no real craziness, which was amazing. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I am LOVING both my jobs, and really feel settled and content in them. Now that I’m a casual at Lorna Jane instead of management (I stepped down from management responsibility over a year ago, and hello excellent sleep quality), I worked a little less than I’m used to over Christmas and New Year, and it was grand.
A few of my favourite Summer outfits – so many dresses!
This next season should be a little busier; BB and I have some travel planned (more on that once we’re confirmed), and a few Australian holidays booked (Port Douglas and Melbourne, and even chilly Hobart) before Winter arrives to make me grumpy.
And yet again, there needs to be a wardrobe clear-out. I have struggled the past few weeks, finding my boring black shorts and pants to wear to work, and the clothes I never wear (because they don’t fit or I just don’t like them any more) seem to be multipying, taking up all possible wardrobe space. Cheeky sods. Time to turf ’em and shop smarter, I think.
So, according to fashionista-types, what’s on-trend this season? Well, let’s not look at the catwalk, because IMPRACTICAL. What are real people going to be wearing in Autumn 2016?
Here in (mostly) sunny Queensland it’s all about layering, because our autumn temperatures range from 13 to 25 degrees Celsius from March to May. We still get the odd stinking hot day, however, when the coastal breezes are a godsend!
1. Skinny Jeans
Skinny jeans will always be a favourite for me, as their streamlined silhouette allows you to layer multiple items on top for warmth – although unless you’re headed south, you really only need a tank or tee. Wear them with ballet flats and a light blazer in the day or wedge heels and a beautifully-draping silk top for a night out on the town. These go-to pants can do no wrong, and I’m literally MAD about the ASOS Curve ones.
In winter your outerwear is the most important aspect of your wardrobe so why not make a statement? A bright coat will add a pop of colour to any neutral or all-black outfit – and this red stunner is going to be a Winter classic. (In related news, I’ve never had a decent wool coat, nor a coloured one before, so I’m excited!)
Super-sexy and warm as toast – ain’t no chilly ankles here. Living on the Sunshine Coast means that I rarely have call for knee-high boots, but heading south to Victoria and Tasmania is always a great excuse to pull them out of the cupboard and dust them off. I particularly love flat riding-style knee-highs, they can be dressed down with jeans and a sweater for a casual day, or glammed up with a dress and tights in the evening.
The easiest way to show a little leg and stay cosy at the same time is by wearing a knitted jumper dress. For added warmth, I pop leggings or tights underneath, and a coat on top. Bonus points for finding a stripe version, folks!
While I first scoffed, I’ve grown to quite like a giant scarf wrapped all around me – like a doona on couch situation, really. There are countless ways to style this, either thrown carelessly over your shoulder or wrapped around multiple times. This Surafina version is pretty perfect for any Winter outfit, and will make a mighty fine in-flight blanky too!
Once the realm of nerds like Steve Jobs and Velma from Scooby Doo, turtlenecks are actually a fashion classic. My only suggestion is to be careful if you’re big-busted, because chunky versions can make you look like a linebacker! Turtlenecks do look great with pretty much anything though, whether worn under a sleeveless dress, or simply worn alone with jeans.
A leather jacket is essential for every cool-girl winter wardrobe, so the jury is out if I actually need one. They add instant edge and just scream badass, so at the very least, it might be useful for late night grocery trips when I want to make it through the checkout without chit-chat. Toss a black one in classic moto-style over your jeans and tee on the weekend or grunge up a frock with a beat-up tan version.
Ankle boots are a perennial wardrobe staple that I jumped on slightly later than everybody else, but am playing catch-up because comfort AND style, people. I love to wear mine with dresses and skirts during the day, skinny jeans or leggings at night. Remember #leggingsarepants and #ignorethehaters.
Awesome Ankle Boot (yup, they’re really called that!) by Jo Mercer
Who else is looking at building on some pretty awesome Autumn/Winter basics this year? Anything you’ve seen that I just HAVE to have?
Also, for more super-cute AW2016 style, check out Blonde Ambition. Brooke just posted her entire shopping list for the season, and I feel like I need everything.
It’s that time again. Time for booze at breakfast (mimosas if you’re classy, beer if you’re not), and lazing around eating way too much, and most importantly… feeling loved.
Contrary to popular belief and seasonal supermarket ads, Christmas doesn’t need to be an enforced long lunch shared with every relative in the country. As someone who comes from a small family (there are four of us in total), I get that sometimes Christmas is a lovely quiet day. In fact, these are my favourite kind of Christmases. So if you’re not hosting 18 people around a table with makeshift seating, or going to Great Aunt Edna’s family reunion of 75 long-lost cousins, please know that I’m with you in spirit.
Enjoy a day doing what you love, whether that’s with many folk or few. Take time to do something nice for others (leaving a few beers out for the garbage man is popular in my street), and take time out to be by yourself or with the very special ones – your partner, your mum, your kids, your pets.
I wish you all the most wonderful Christmas, and thank you for stopping by. I love having you here.
Now for a little festive fun that I hope you get the chance to enjoy over the Christmas weekend…
“The Late Late Show” host James Corden created a little Christmas treat by delivering a Christmas version of his carpool karaoke segment featuring artists Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Reggie Watts, Jason Derulo and Iggy Azalea.
Re-read that, folks. Yep, I said Stevie Wonder, Carrie Underwood AND Justin Bieber. What more could the discerning Christmas carol viewer want?
The slew of talented singers belt out their version of “Joy to the World” while driving down the sunny streets of LA and it’s awesome. Iggy Azalea even offers up a free-style rap for the tune, but only makes it one line in before bursting out into laughter.
Who says you can’t be cute and comfy on Christmas Day? Particularly in Australia, where most of us spend some time by a pool or beach, and it’s often one of the hottest and muggiest days of the year!
My gorgeous Bella Lido kaftan will be a great Christmas Day outfit for me, the lightweight and super-breathable rayon voile will keep me cool and the coral and red palm print is pretty much my idea of tropical perfection.
I thought I’d style it a couple of ways, to share how easy it is to wear such a simple style that most women only imagine can be worn to and from the beach.
For a casual Christmas Day around the pool at home (or at my folks’ place, so there’s no cooking/cleanup required), this is great to throw over togs when we’re in and out of the water all day long. Add a few chunky bracelets and a gigantic sunhat perfect for napping under, and I’m set. Don’t forget flat sandals to show off your Summer pedi!
On the other hand, if we were headed out to a restaurant or more formal lunch affair at a relative’s place, I’d add a low nude heel and matching clutch, and up the glamour with a little bling – a big ol’ dangly Samantha Wills earring would do the trick nicely.
If we were going to a really nice place (I’d class this as somewhere they pull your chair out for you, and where you have a multitude of forks to choose from – I’m classy like that), I’d say wear a slip underneath the kaftan instead of swimwear and add some bright lipstick for a splash more colour. I mean, it’s Christmas. Can you ever be too bright at Christmas? I don’t think so, Joe.
Now I’ve already told you this, but if you’re a local, you really need to pay attention – Claire of Bella Lido has opened her pop-up shop in Mooloolaba this season and the result is a Summer-lover’s dream! Bella Lido is also stocked in lovely boutiques in QLD, NSW and WA, and the online store is full of beautiful styles.
What sort of Christmas day are you having this year – casual or fancy? Do you plan your outfit in advance?
Want to win a Glasshouse Candle? Sure you do, sign up to get Katy Potaty via email and go into my December subscriber draw to win a Glasshouse Christmas Cheer candle!
And of course, I’m joining in today with Kimba of Kimba Likes for Wardrobe Wednesday. Head over and see what all the fashionable folks are wearing for Christmas!