April 28th, 2015

Staycation 2015

I’ve felt an incredibly strong desire for a holiday lately, but time and money constraints have made it impossible. I decided that we’d try a ‘Staycation’ and spend one night away from home somewhere in our own city. This ended up being far less expensive than heading away for the weekend, but we still felt like we’d gotten away for a bit. I did a bit of research and decided on Rendezvous Scarborough, because it’s a place we’re familiar with and the location is quite lovely. To add to the experience, I booked us both in for a Swedish Back, Neck, and Shoulder massage at Vanilla Face & Body Spa, which is located within the hotel. We both had a lovely experience at Vanilla. The service was top notch, the facilities were great, and the massage itself was wonderful. The only downside for me was that I came up in a horrible rash (which I noticed the morning after the massage) – but I do not put any of the blame on Vanilla. They gave us a form to fill out prior to the appointment, and I clearly stated that I had no allergies to nuts (which is the oil that was used during the session). Well, as it turns out I do have a kind of allergy. The more you know. After our massage we checked in and headed up to our room, and were happy to see that we had a beautiful view of the ocean from our balcony.

Now it was time for us to wind down. What I’d been waiting for all week. We kicked back, relaxed, and tuned in for some blissful uninterrupted TV time. It’s funny, if we watch TV at home I always feel like I have 100 other things I could be doing and I never really relax. Having all of that taken away from me really made it easier for me to unwind. We watched a couple of episodes of Daredevil, and then decided on dinner. I initially wanted room service, and although there were quite a few gluten free options available on the dinner menu (props to Rendezvous for that), nothing caught my eye. We decided on Grill’d, which is conveniently located at the base of the hotel. Grill’d now offer a gluten free bun option on their burger menu (although I am confused as to why there is a disclaimer that it may contain gluten, no other product that ‘may’ contain gluten that I’ve come across ever calls itself gluten free), and happily it was quite delicious. Yes, that is Seinfeld in the background. We only have one season left!

Sebastian wanted something quite specific for breakfast (a smoked salmon bagel), so we did a bit of a google search and discovered The SandBar just down the road had exactly what we were after. Sebastian ordered his bagel and I ordered poached eggs with mushrooms, bacon, and gluten free toast. I like a big breakfast. The breakfast was delicious, and the gluten free bread was so yummy I even asked the waiter which bread they use and I’ll be attempting to hunt it down sometime soon. After breakfast we went for a stroll along the foreshore and witnessed a man doing some vigorous dancing on the grassed area near the water. What a way to start the day! We headed home mid-morning, and both felt refreshed after our mini Staycation. I think it’s a great way of taking a break without traveling too far from home, or spending too much money.
April 27th, 2015

Product Review: Hourglass Ethereal Glow Blush

I just realised it’s been a long time since I posted a product review on the blog, but this blush is well worth the honour of being the first review in quite a while. I love my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette (although I’ve been using it a lot less after dropping and smashing it), so I was really intrigued when the brand released this line of blush. To be honest I couldn’t really justify the price with a cupboard full of blush waiting to be used, so I tucked them away in the back of my mind for future reference. When Christmas came around last year I made sure to pop them on my wishlist, and was lucky enough to receive Ethereal Glow as part of my gift from Sebastian. This is a lovely blush, but I think the reason it works for me is because I have such fair skin. The blush is dusty and the payoff is faint, which means I need to apply a lot of product to get any sort of colour to show on the cheeks. When the colour does show it’s a stunning soft pink with a hint of shimmer to it. I love it so much I even included it in my capsule makeup collection for Autumn. The Hourglass Etheral Glow Blush retails for $46 AUD and is available for purchase from Mecca Cosmetica/Maxima.
April 25th, 2015

Thoughts of the week…

01) It’s been a busy time for blockbuster movie trailer releases lately! Batman vs Superman (Dawn of Justice) looks surprisingly good. I like that they seem to have used a voice distorter for Ben Affleck as Batman. Much better than Ben Affleck putting on a dodgy Batman voice.

02) Speaking of blockbuster movie trailers… NEW JURASSIC WORLD TRAILER.

03) Apparently Perth is getting ALDI stores soon. I’ve been told this is a wonderful thing. So tell me, what’s so good about ALDI?

04) It arrived! And I am in love with it already.

05) Things that are depressing when you’re trying to save money – your favourite musical artists announcing new shows in your city. Ed Sheeran and Hozier, I’m looking at you.

06) I was really disappointed to see that Neil Degrasse-Tyson isn’t having a show in Perth, because I think we definitely would have scrimped our pennies together to see him talk! Everyone else should check this out.

07) This video is absolutely adorable.

08) This video is absolutely AMAZING.

09) This wins the award for cutest news story of the week.

10) To be honest, I haven’t seen much of Amy Schumer’s work, but this video with Tina Fey, Julia Louis Dryfuss, and Patricia Arquette is pretty funny (warning: not for the faint hearted).

April 24th, 2015

Gluten Free Dessert Recipes (via Pinterest)

At this point in time I’ve managed to cut around 90% of wheat and gluten products out of my diet, which is a huge achievement for me. I’m feeling the benefits of it already, which is a great reward for something that has been a bit of a personal struggle. Thankfully, gluten free alternatives are everywhere these days, which means people who are avoiding gluten don’t have to go without. And that includes desserts. I already have two favourite gluten free “sweet treat” options available to me around where I work, but I wanted to look into recipes I could make at home when I felt like baking something special. Here are some delicious options I found on Pinterest recently –

Please let me know if you have any tried and true gluten free dessert recipes!
April 23rd, 2015

The Year In Food (and drink) Jan-April

There is no way around it, I love to eat. One of my favourite things to do on a night out is to visit a new (or an old favourite) restaurant here in Perth. We have such a great food scene here in Perth, and more and more amazing restaurants are popping up all over the place. I thought I’d borrow Emma’s idea, and share with you a little insight into what (and where) we’ve eaten this year so far.

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend – I ordered this bad boy from iHerb recently, as it’s a gluten free alternative to Nutella. It has a different consistancy (more of a mousse?), and tastes more nutty and less sweet than Nutella, but I really love it. Koko Black (Perth) – The 140 William building in Perth City houses some of my favourite foodie places, and Koko Black is where we go for dessert whenever we’re in the city at night. Their salted caramel delice is to die for delicious, and also happens to be gluten free. Win Win (for me).

Homemade Caramel Slice – Whenever we have morning tea at work, a co-worker of mine brings in this caramel slice and we all pounce on it like rabid dogs. This is a killer slice, and I’ll be posting the recipe sometime soon. I make it every now and then when I have something to go to that requires baked goods. I whipped up this batch before our Easter celebrations, as my Auntie from the USA had never tried it before. And yes, she liked it. The Local Shack (Perth) – We were struggling to think of somewhere to have dinner in the city one evening (from now on we will always go to BamBamBoo), and we decided to try this place as we were both in the mood for a burger. I ordered the ‘Pickle Me Pink’ as I love a good pickle on my burger. Long story short, it was a sweet pickle (am I the only person who doesn’t know what ploughman’s pickle is?) and I didn’t enjoy this burger at all. The meat was dry, and the chips weren’t salted. SALT IS KING, PEOPLE.

The Noodle Night Markets (Perth/Northbridge) – I was so excited when I saw advertising for the Noodle Night Markets here in Perth, as I know a lot of my Sydneysider friends are big fans. We went to the markets twice – once on a bit of a whim after work one evening (we didn’t realise there were 3 areas to check out), and again that Saturday to check out the other two areas that we had missed. It was a lot of fun, and such a great initiative. I hope they bring it back again next year.

Homemade Cinnamon Scrolls – I fail at baked goods that require yeast. These cinnamon scrolls were a huge failure, but haven’t deterred me completely. I will try again one day. I still have romantic dreams about the cinnamon scroll I ate at a farmer’s market in the US and I can’t wait to eat another one later in the year. BamBamBoo (Perth) – This is currently our favourite restaurant, and we’ve been back over and over again since first discovering it earlier this year. We now know exactly what we like, and are at the stage where we order the same thing over and over when we go there because we know we love it (me: crispy squid and prawn hargao, sebastian: pork and chive dumplings). It’s great to have a dumpling place available in the CBD, because can be a real effort to trek into Northbridge sometimes.

Coles Bagels – Our local Coles has an in-store bakery, and their bagels are DIVINE. This was a regular weekend treat for us, but now I can’t have a lot of wheat/gluten it’s going to be a once in a while kind of treat. I love my bagels with butter and vegemite, which might seem like blasphemy to some but WHATEVER. I can’t wait to gross out Americans by slathering my bagels with vegemite when we’re in New York. The Stables Bar (Perth) – We popped to the Stables Bar after work one Thursday evening before a team dinner with my co-workers. This place seems to have steadily increased in popularity since it first opened a little while ago, and it’s a great place to pop for a quick drink. Definitely not for a quiet drink though, if that’s what your after. My drink of choice: vodka and crankberry juice. Sebastian’s drink of choice: Scotch.

Monggo (Mount Lawley) – Sebastian is a huge fan of Rendang curry, and although nothing so far has compared to what we had at Mamasan in Bali (or my dad’s homemade beef rendang) we are still on the lookout for a delicious frontrunner in Perth. We popped to Monggo for a date night earlier in the year, and although their beef rendang was delicious, it was also covered in and contained a lot of coconut – which Sebastian is not a fan of. The search continues! Homemade Carmelitas – I was in the mood to whip up a sweet treat one weekend, and carmelitas seemed perfect. These were delicious, but not something you want to have lying around the house too often as they are incredibly indulgent!

Homemade Chicken Ceasar Salad – Ceasar salads are a new discovery for Sebastian, but I’ve been eating them for years. In fact, whenever I went out for dinner in my early 20’s my go-to meal choice was Chicken Ceasar Salad. I’m just that basic. Anyway, I’ve taken to making it at home and it’s pretty good if I do say so myself. The next step in the ‘mastering ceasar salad’ process will be creating my own sauce. Occy’s (Dunsborough) – Did you know Rosé and Lemonade actually taste really good together? I didn’t, until I ordered this delicious drink at Occy’s when we were down south earlier in the year. It instantly became my summertime alcoholic drink of choice.
April 22nd, 2015

3 Small Things That Changed My Life

This might seem like a bit of a strange post but when I put the call out on Twitter last week for post requests, Claire suggested that I write about books that changed my life. That was a tough one for me to answer, but I could think of three small things that changed my life that I can share with you all. I may come across as a bit hippy-dippy in this post, but so be it!

01: What the bleep to we know? This has a bit of a strange story behind. I was at a crossroads in my life, and a friend of mine kept raving about this ‘documentary’ and how it had changed his life. At this point in time it was not readily available to watch online, so I just tucked it away in the back of my mind for future reference. Soon after that I was browsing the TV guide and saw that it was showing that day in the afternoon. Which was too much of a coincidence for me to ignore, so I sat down to watch it. It may sound strange, but it was pretty much exactly what I needed to see that that point in time. I felt a bit lost, and the idea that I could help create my own future just by being positive and setting my intentions for the day was quite intriguing to me. So I tried it, and it worked for me.

02: This is Water by David Foster Wallace. My best friend let me borrow her copy of this essay/speech, and I’m so glad that she did. The underlying message of this story is something that we should all take on board. I try to re-read (or listen to) this every few months, because it helps shift my perception back to where it should be.

03: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray. I know, right? I didn’t read the whole book, but what I did made so much sense to me. If you’ve ever come across road blocks in your relationship in the area of communication – try reading the communication sections of this book. It helped me so much. It’s amazing for me to look at how I’ve been trying to communicate with my partner as I would like to be communicated with, but he needs something different. I’ve changed the way I communicate with Sebastian after reading this, and it all feels so much easier now.

If you have any little things that have changed your life that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!

April 21st, 2015

FOTN – Pot Luck Dinner Club

One of my best friends decided to start up something called Pot Luck Dinner Club, where once every 6 months or so we all meet up at someone’s house for a themed dinner party (to which we all bring a dish). The ‘pilot’ dinner party was a Vegetarian Mexican Fiesta, and I decided to slap on my Autumn Capsule Makeup for the evening and share it with you all. Here’s what I wore: Givenchy Photo Perfexion Foundation in Perfect Ivory, YSL Touche Eclat in #1, Laura Mercier Loose Powder in Translucent, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow, Urban Decay Primer Potion, NARS Kalahari Eye Duo, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Hustle, Hourglass Brow Arch in Soft Brunette, Lancome Hypnose Mascara, Chanel Lipstick in ‘Rivoli’.

April 20th, 2015

Adore Beauty Haul

Adore Beauty is by far my favourite Australian online beauty store, and I often place orders with them to stock up on my beauty cupboard essentials. Yes, this is my second haul in the past couple of weeks (all part of my crazy period of spending recently), but these are all essential items that I can justify purchasing because I know I always use them up until they’re finished. Here’s what I bought –

Kerastase Nectar Thermique: I recently discovered a nearly-finished tube of this in the bottom of my bathroom cupboard, and remembered just how much I LOVE it. I’ve been using it every day since then, and needed to purchase a back up for when I ran out. This is a staple in my hair care routine.

Skindinavia ‘The Makeup Finishing Spray': Another staple in my beauty cupboard. I use this every day to set my makeup, and when I can feel the bottle running out, I immediately repurchase it.

Lancome Hypnose Mascara in Noir Hypnotic: By far my favourite mascara, and one that I’ve learned that I can’t live without. Apologies to all the other mascaras in my collection, but hypnose is number one. You can read my review of this wonder product (from back in 2011!) here.

As with every Adore Beauty order over $30, mine came with some free samples. I got the Alpha H Liquid Laser, the Alpha H Liquid Gold (which I’ve been dying to try out for years as I know so many beauty lovers who swear by it), and a $35 Hello Fresh gift card (which unfortunately I can’t use, as they don’t deliver to Perth). Oh, and a Tim Tam but that was snatched up pretty quickly by someone other than myself.

April 18th, 2015

Thoughts of the week…

01) My family are all in Bali at the moment, and it’s so depressing! So many amazing photos popping up on social media. I’m jealous! Oh, to be lounging near a pool somewhere sipping a cocktail right now. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Sigh.

02) I know what you ALL needed this week is a bit of Channing Tatum twerking. Right?

03) If you cook one thing this week, make it pan roasted brussel sprouts with bacon. Yum.

04) It was international sibling day (or some such thing) during the week. To celebrate, here is a picture of me with my sister, circa 1980-something.

05) NEW STAR WARS TRAILER

06) I think it’s pretty clear that the battle between John Krasinski and Anna Kendrick will prove to be be the best of all lip sync battles yet.

07) The True Detective season 2 teaser is out!

08) This GoPro spacewalk footage is amazing.

09) These two pranks are amazing. In the haunted house one, I feel like my reaction would be close to the guy standing near the curtains grabbing his head in disbelief, although I do love the guy who kicked the chair as it moved towards him.

10) I’m in the market for a blog planner, and I’d love to hear any suggestions you have for me!

April 17th, 2015

iHerb Order

Following my decision to go gluten free for a little while (to see what positive effects it has on my stomach issues), I realised that the majority of the food items in my pantry contain gluten. Which, if I do in fact have an intolerance, could explain a lot of the health issues I’ve been dealing with lately. There are a few staples required in a gluten free household, and I decided to pick up a couple of things from iHerb to supplement what I’ve alreadyy purchased from the small gluten free section in Coles. Here’s what I picked up –

I haven’t placed an iHerb order in quite a while, and I was surprised at the amount of gluten free foods they have available. It’s great! Thankfully the shipping time (or expense) isn’t too bad, so soon I’ll have yummy chocolate hazelnut spread in my life once again.