Friday, October 25, 2013

FRIDAY FIVE: ASHLEIGH D'MELLO

I'm always proud to see an Aussie making a go of things in New York. Or any other city in the world, for that matter. It takes guts and a lot of preparation to leave our isolated shores even for a holiday, let alone for months or even years. But that is precisely what Ashleigh D'Mello has done and I take my hat off to her for making it happen! I first discovered her fashion blog Poison in a Beautiful Bottle while she was still a uni student living in WA. Fast forward a couple of years and she's swapped the sandy beaches of Perth for the proverbial Concrete Jungle (where dreams are maaaade), New York City. With model looks (she puts me in mind of Olivia Palermo and Penelope Cruz), splendid sartorial tastes and brains to match, if anyone's going to make it in New York, it's this girl. 


Favourite coffee/dining/drinking/dancing establishments in The Big Apple? 
Coffee: Toby's Estate in Williamsburg. Australian coffee at it's finest - American's have NO idea how to do good coffee, or coffee in general really!
Dining: I feel like the worst person for answering this question this way, but if I could eat Shake Shack for dinner every night of my life, I would...
Drinking: La Esquina is one of my favorite places for both a drink and dinner. You have to go through the kitchen and down stairs to get to the bar area, it's awesome! I'm also a sucker for a good dive bar, you can never go wrong with any dive bar in this city! Oh, and rooftop bars! One of my favorite rooftop bars is Berry Park in Williamsburg - such a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline.
Dancing: Self proclaimed worst dancer EVER! I usually try to keep my dancing to my apartment, but if you're looking for a good night out, hit up anywhere in the Meatpacking District - go to The Standard!
Current Beauty Favourites?

Lip Colour - I'm the worst when it comes to make up products - I wear minimal make up so I never really factor in a lip color! I terms of lip products though, I'm a fan of a good lip plumping gloss. 
Nail Colour - Baby's Breath by Essie - currently obsessed. 
Hair Product: All I need forever and ever is Moroccan Oil!
Skin Product - I've always been a lover of Clinique moisturiser. My mother brought me up using it and it's always been so good for my skin. 
Fragrance - Marc Jacobs Dot. 


What's something we would be surprised to know about you? 
I never really know how to answer this question! I guess people are surprised when they find out I have a Law degree (it still surprises me, to be honest!)
What does your typical day look like? 

I work 5 days a week so my days are pretty unexciting! A usual working day consists of a mini sleep in (the working day starts a little later in New York... not going to complain about that one), some morning news programs, swinging by my local coffee shop (Toby's Estate) for my morning coffee, then jumping on the subway to go to work. I usually finish work around 7, then it's on the subway back to my apartment where I'll cook dinner and either crash on the couch or go out for dinner/drinks with friends! My weekends are a lot more fun than that, usually doing some shopping, hanging out with friends, running errands and exploring this incredible city.


Tips for first-time visitors to NYC? 
Definitely try and live the life of a 'local'. Do all the touristy things, but definitely do your research and speak to people who live here and get some pointers on things to do that are lesser known with tourists but the most amazing. This city has so many hidden gems that you only discover after being here a long time, so you need someone to point you in their direction! Also, don't stay in a hotel, rent an apartment through Airbnb or Craigslist - it gives you a much more authentic New York experience!

 Be sure to visit Ashleigh's blog here and follow her on instagram @ashleighdmello

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

JOHN FRIEDA FULL REPAIR RANGE


As you might know by now, this blog is a place I only really share the things I think are worth raving about. 99.99% of posts are generated by me (not a PR) and, to be perfectly honest, I think I'd rather not blog at all than feature products only because I was given freebies or being paid to.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sent items from the John Frieda Full Repair range: a shampoo, conditioner and deep conditioning treatment. I'm normally never impressed by new shampoos, especially when they are "repairing" ones, because usually I find my hair is left feeling greasy, heavy and without volume. For over a decade I have had on rotation 5 brands, both salon and supermarket varieties. I've tried new ones every so often but usually end up throwing away a half-used bottle because it doesn't perform as well as my favourites.

I was, surprisingly, really impressed with the John Frieda range. So much so, I intend to buy another batch as soon as this one runs out. My hair was left silky, full of body and completely weightless. As well as cutting my blow dry and straightening time in half, it also smells delicious. As you know, I'm also a sucker for a good fragrance and these were intoxicating! I'm digressing here but a number of years ago I discovered Cacharel's Gloria fragrance. Have you smelt it? It was one of the finest perfumes I ever possessed and I was heartbroken when it was discontinued. The Full Repair range smells almost exactly like my beloved Gloria and as you can imagine, I'm constantly clutching my strands and trying to smell my own hair now!

My sister also used the products while she was staying here. She's quite the critic when it comes to haircare and gave it two thumbs up. So, take it from us: this is one product range you're going to absolutely adore. Look for it in your local supermarket or pharmacy :-)




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

THE BEST HEN'S NIGHT EVER


I have just had the best weekend you can imagine. I don't even know where to begin. My cherished friends and family began flying in on Wednesday from all over Australia to spend time with me and celebrate one of the most important nights of my life - my last "knees up" as Anna R.
The festivities began on Saturday afternoon. Old friends met new friends and it felt as if we'd all known each other forever. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful. thoughtful and generous group of people to celebrate with. We enjoyed cocktails in glasses that Kate and I had personalised...

^^Sisters from another Mister... Aren't they gorgeous?^^
The sun was streaming in, the doors to the outside were wide open and we were surrounded by the fragrance of gorgeous flower arrangements my mum had given us. I love a party that kicks off like that!


Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for dinner. The house was buzzing with girly energy and gossip as we dolled ourselves to the nines. It felt like having a roomful of sisters, with my friends asking each other for outfit advice and help with hair. I've promised myself to organise more girl's weekends in future. Once we were done, we made our way to the very cosmpolitan Double Bay for cocktails and dinner at Pelicano...


I had never been to Double Bay for a night out but I absolutely loved it - the vibe in those streets is awesome, especially on a warm day when everyone is out on the streets and the air is filled with chatter and the smell of champagne! I will definitely be returning. Everyone made a little speech about me, which brought a tear to every eye and reinforced for me the fact that I am so lucky to have so many truly wonderful people in my life.


When we arrived home, the most incredible, romantic surprise was waiting for me. I was told to sit in the middle of the couch because there was an important game I had to play. The girls wanted to see just how well I knew my fiance. Rachel and James had secretly arranged for him to film himself answering all the important questions. On the night, Rachel acted as quiz master and I had to answer the questions before she would hit play on the video and we'd see how well I did. James was a standout - he acted out the answers so creatively and was both funny and sweet enough to make me cry. When I got an answer wrong, I had to gulp my champagne and one of the girls had to whip me with a little riding crop my friend Urszula had bought me as a present ;-)


Now, a hen's nights isn't a hen's night without a little bit of cheekiness. Shortly after our Q&A, we heard a knock at the door. When I opened it, a young man was standing there and told me he was here to perform for me! He went to one of the bedrooms to get changed and I was told to sit back in the middle of the sofa and wait for what was to come. Out he came from the room in a big red cloak with Puppetry of the Penis emblazoned on the back. It was fair to say I was laughing already. I can't show you his face (or any other part of his anatomy) but let's just say the man was very talented! Before the initial shock and questions of whether I really should be watching, it wasn't that awkward after all. I'd say of all the "nude" things you might find at a hen's or stag night, this was probably the least gross and definitely most unsexual. I'd say that this, or a nude painting class, might be the best bet if you must bring an "entertainer" along to a hen's night. We then had to rush for the door as, I was told, a taxi was waiting. I think I screamed and said "ohmygoodness" a dozen times when I saw what was waiting...


I had no idea just how much fun a stretch hummer would be! Now, I'm definitely not the type of person to have one as my wedding day transport but for a wild night out, well, I think they're just the most fun! The car came with glasses for all our booze, music, lights and thumping speakers. We danced in our seats and I think at one point I was taking up the whole vehicle but the best part was when Rachel and Kate had their heads out of the window screaming over and over "ANNA'S GETTING MARRIED" as we flew past people on the streets. We got a lot of waves and smiles and congratulations and I felt so spoilt by it all. In the best possible way, of course. After an hour of riding in that big disco machine, we headed for the clubs where I had a few challenges to complete before dancing the night away. I'd be lying if I said we didn't end up at Hungry Jacks on Oxford Street at 3am. The sign of a truly, truly good night, eh?

Monday, October 14, 2013

THIS PAST WEEK


I've been a bit of a bad blogger lately, evidenced by the fact that the last posts were two Friday Fives in a row! Things are really hectic at the moment. We're less than a month out from the wedding and our house is undergoing repairs so executing a blog post has been nearly impossible. I have often found myself saying "I really want to share this with everyone on the blog" about loads of stuff that I have been doing lately but instead I find myself taking a picture really quick and uploading it to instagram. It just isn't the same, I don't care what anyone thinks! Anyway, here's a quick rundown of some of the things in my life these past few days:

Renovations. See that brick wall there? They're the original bricks from when this terrace was built, can you believe? We've had to strip the render off to allow a damp proofing guy to fix some water damage. Today he's back, rendering the wall again (sadly, because a huge part of me is attached to the brick now). I've also got an electrician downstairs putting in downlights and, come Tuesday, I'll have a team of painters to make the walls look fresh and new again. Which reminds me, I also have to arrange for the carpet guys to come by with some samples... I can't wait 'til it's finished and you can see the final product!

Shaking up the hair routine. At my wedding hair trial I discovered my hair could do with a change. I totally switched up my part (it makes a huge difference to my face) and decided to lay off the straightening irons. I can now confidently blow dry my hair and I both suit and enjoy having more volume in my tresses. I think having bigger hair makes the body look smaller too - win!

Hens Night Prep. From Thursday, I will have a stream of visitors coming to stay and celebrate my hen's with me! The actual hen's night is Saturday but I imagine there'll be plenty of gossip and mischief the whole long weekend ;-) My sister is planning the whole thing and I am completely in the dark about most of it. I did, however, take it upon myself to organise personalised sashes from here and I've booked us a table for dinner because I'm pretty certain we'll regret it if we don't line our stomachs sufficiently! 

Books. Well, I had time the other day to read just one book (Nikki Gemmel's latest) but I don't see too much more reading happening in the next few weeks. I've ordered this batch for our honeymoon. I hear The Silent Wife is this summer's Gone Girl. I can't wait to lie down by the pool and gorge on them!

Exercise. That has been a non-negotiable lately. If ever there was a time to be in the best shape possible, it's one's own wedding day. Let's face it, those photographs of me are going to cost more than any others I'll ever have in the family album - best make it worth it! I've been trekking to Bondi and back most of the time, which is about a 13km round trip. Yesterday it was searingly hot outside and I walked all the way to Coogee before turning and heading to Bondi. Once I got there, I could not walk any more. I was overheating, dehydrated and my symptoms were starting to flare. All I could think of was jumping into a body of water (preferably without too many waves because I mightn't have the energy to fight a current) to cool off. I took a taxi to Murray Rose Pool, where I floated swam and then floated some more. It was so glorious I found myself smiling from ear to ear as I lay in that water, my face toward the sky. I think I'd go so far as to say it was a spiritual moment. I was weightless, without pain and completely immersed in that moment. Psychedelic!

Desperately seeking sewing skills. See that picture of me in hot pink? That's a dress. I loved the top section but not the bottom half so I had it turned into a top with the intention of wearing it to my hen's night. It irritates me that I cannot alter my own garments. It bothers me that I have to pay so much for clothing and alterations when I could make better things myself if only I had the technical skills. I hate having the ideas in my head, the hunger to create but no means of doing so! I hope that I can be well underway with sewing by the end of the year, it's a skill I've always wanted to have. Perhaps even one day I will master the art of pattern making and will be able to confidently clothe myself in anything my imagination comes up with. Please hold me to this?

I've got a few more things to do now so I am going to have to bid you adieu until next time! What's new with you? Tell me everything! Oh, and if you have any hen's party tips, let me know!

Friday, October 11, 2013

FRIDAY FIVE: MALIN RICHARDSON


You're all familiar with this kind of blog. You stumble across it one day and find yourself entranced, scrolling back through the archives and devouring every single post as if it were a 1L tub of of cookie dough ice cream.
That's precisely what happened when I discovered Mogi by Malin Richardson. It isn't often you find a fashionista who is able to strike such a perfect blend of young, high-end and colourful, but Malin does it all so well. It is clear that this 23-year-old full-time blogger is quite at home in the world's most stylish places. Regular readers of her blog will know she's always on the go, travelling to the world's most covetable locations and indulging in the finest food and shopping you could imagine. Think afternoon tea at The Plaza in New York or dinner at Michelin Star winning Restaurant Gastronomique in Loire. Currently, Malin is based in the trendy St Germain district in Paris, a natural choice for the stylish Swede who has also called Italy, Belgium and the USA home. Those who appreciate the finer things in life and their fashion served with heapings of colour and texture will adore Malin's blog. Her star is well and truly on the rise in the blogosphere and beyond (she's just been recruited as fashion blogger for Metro, Sweden's highest circulating newspaper) and so it was certainly a privilege to have the lovely Malin stop by for the Friday Five.


Tell us something we would be surprised to know about you? 

Not surprised perhaps as it is very clear from my blog and Instagram how much I love tea but perhaps my readers don't know just how much I love it! I drink at least 5-6 big cups of tea per day. I love it so!

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up and eat a huge breakfast, love love breakfast! Then I answer my emails in my inbox to then go off to meetings. I usually have 1-2 meetings booked during the afternoon. When I get back from the meetings I usually post an entry on my blog and answer more emails. Then I eat dinner and socialize with friends or family or my boyfriend!


A film about your life: Who would you ask to play you and why?

I would love if Natalie Portman would play me, she is an amazing actress!


What is something people frequently observe about you?

I always wear colors and patterns, big statement jewellery and eat lots of food. Food is a huge passion of mine! I love desserts most of all!


Current obsessions?

Shourouk jewellery, I discovered her designs 2 years ago and I have been in love ever since! Amazing statement pieces!


Be sure to say hello to Malin at her blog, here (she posts frequently, which is awesome). You can follow her on instagram, here (handle: @mogis).

Saturday, October 5, 2013

FRIDAY FIVE: ROZALIA RUSSIAN


First of all, I must apologise for the lateness of this post. It's still Friday somewhere in the world though! It's now just over a month until the big day and we're about to start a bit of a renovation in the house so things have been a wee bit hectic for us. Anyway, back to the point of today's post...

I was scrolling through instagram when I first stumbled across Rozalia Russian. Her feed was utter eye candy. Not only does she possess uniquely stunning looks (with legs for days, I might add), she also has incredible personal style, reflected in her envy-inducing wardrobe and her home's luxe interiors. She and husband Nick are arguably Melbourne's hottest couple, and not just because of their model looks, either. Rozalia has some 28,000 instagram followers, a wildly successful blog and Nick's the man behind uber-trendy Melbourne nightspot, Eve. It's exciting times for the in-demand couple: they were married last year (she was captivating in J'Aton) and will shortly welcome their first baby into the world. Naturally, Rozalia's pregnancy style is out of this world and already the tot, commonly known as Baby Russian, has accumulated her fair share of designer duds. I was lucky enough to do a quick Q&A with the gorgeous Rozalia. 


What's something people frequently observe about you?
When people see me in person, they always comment on my freckles across my cheekbones!
In photos and when I have to wear heavy make up you can't notice them, but in person you always see them!
It was actually the first thing my husband commented on when he saw me without make up for the first time!
I remember going to see a dermatologist and they were trying to convince me to have them lasered off, but I love my freckles and you don't see too many people with them.

A film about your life: Who would you ask to play you and why?

Ashley Olsen. Not that I think we look anything alike (haha) but she has an amazing sense of style and being the main character she would have a say in the wardrobe!
Her style is so laid back chic and would love to raid her wardrobe!


Current obsessions?

Chai Latte - I wake up in the morning craving a Chai Latte. I never drank them before being pregnant but now I can't get enough

Mens Perfume - Since being pregnant sweet smells make me sick. This includes perfumes. I have always loved mens fragrances and even more so now I find myself stealing my husbands scent.

Massages - I can get enough! My belly is so big that my back gets really sore. I get a pregnancy massage every 2 weeks and have noticed a huge difference!

Champagne - I haven't had a single drink since being pregnant and find myself drooling over champagne! When I am around people who are drinking it I'm a weirdo and sniff it! 4 weeks till I can have a glass and I am super excited!

Flowers - I will always be obsessed with having flowers in my house. I love going to the market and buying beautiful blooms each week. I think a house with flowers looks like a 'loved/lived- in' house. 
Having greenery around the home makes me happy and adds warmth to my house.


"Best 24 Hours Ever" - What would your plans be?

The best 24 hours would definitely be my wedding day/night and I would do anything to do it all over again!
Everyone said to me before that your wedding day goes by so quick and its true.
I was so relaxed and honestly had the best time. It was perfect.

Pet peeves?

Bad manners. It's not very hard to say "please, thank you, excuse me"
As soon as I meet someone with bad manners it completely puts me off the person.


Thank you so much for your time, Rozalia!
Isn't she just gorgeous, people?  Be sure to follow Rozalia on instagram here and visit her blog here.