Personal style and fashion blog

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Uniqlo U Trench



Wearing: ASOS Sunglasses, Uniqlo U Trench Coat (similar), H&M Jumper and Trousers (similar), Ganni Trainers

Anyone who knows me, or has been following this blog for a while will know that I'm a big advocate of Uniqlo. Their fine merino knits are some of the best and most affordable on the high street (I go for the men's for a looser fit, plus the women's seem to sit quite short on the body) and they do a great tailored trouser.


It's the collabs and special collections that really do it for me though. Loose-fitting Hana Tajima tunics and trousers have been a staple in my wardrobe since the first collection was released a few years back, and I felt like I'd died and gone to high street collab heaven when Uniqlo teamed up with Lemaire. Then of course, there was the recent JW Anderson collection (which I now look back on in longing and wishing I'd invested in a few pieces), and offerings from Tomas Maier and Marimekko for those with a bolder approach to style. 


It will come as no surprise then, that I eagerly anticipate the new Uniqlo U collections released each season; an ongoing line designed by Christophe Lemaire following that original collaboration (in fact, I've just been earmarking a few bits from the upcoming AW18 collection, due to launch mid-September). It's Lemaire style but at Uniqlo prices - what's not to love? This trench coat is the most recent Uniqlo U piece to enter my wardrobe. It was on sale, the only one left and came in a large, giving it that oversized fit that I love. It's also light and waterproof, so has become my go-to when that chill hits Melbourne or the rain clouds descend on us (yes, unfortunately, it does sometimes rain in Australia). 

*Not an ad or sponsored in any way, just a love letter to Uniqlo, the unsung hero of the high street




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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

A Weekend on the Mornington Peninsula



Dress: Ganni
Trousers: COS
Boots: Dr Martens
Coat: ASOS (similar)

Before arriving in Melbourne and becoming reacquainted with city life, we headed to the Mornington Peninsula for a weekend of food, wine and pure relaxation by the sea. It's the kind of place where you can do a lot or not much at all, and our weekend fell somewhere between the two. 

Like most visitors, our first stop was the Hot Springs, which unfortunately didn't quite live up to our expectations. Admittedly, we didn't pick the best time to go (unbeknown to us, it was school holidays and the place was packed with kids and families. Having to queue up to use the baths, only to have people jumping in next to you and a load of teenagers taking selfies wasn't exactly the peaceful experience I had in mind) so word to the wise: choose an off-peak time to go and opt for the Spa Dreaming Centre rather than the general Bath House. 


Apart from the incredible beaches, the main attraction for us was the wineries that are dotted around the peninsula (and the food, of course - the Winey Cow and D.O.C were our favourites in Mornington). There are loads to choose from and you could probably spend a good week sampling them all but one of the most impressive has to be Port Phillip Estate. 


Architecture fans will love it for its bold, sculptural concrete shape that manages to incorporate both smooth curves and sharp lines, and huge windows that offer unobstructed views of the vineyard below, as well as the sea in the distance. The wine offering is good, as is the food (although a bit on the pricey side - they do a great lunch deal though so go for that if you want to sample the good stuff without spending a huge amount) - my best bet would be to rock up for a tasting at the cellar door and enjoy a glass of your favourite out on the balcony.


Because one winery is never enough, next on our agenda was a visit to Polperro, about a five minute drive down a tree-lined road from Port Phillip Estate. It was a lot smaller and less formal but the perfect place to while away an afternoon. They offer food too, which we didn't try but looked good, and the wine was some of the best Australian wine I've tried since arriving here back in February. Go on a sunny day and plonk yourself on one of the deck chairs overlooking the vines (they provide blankets in winter), or go to the intimate cellar door for tastings. 


Pictured: Port Phillip Estate 






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Friday, 6 July 2018

Carriageworks, Sydney



Dress: COS
Ring: COS
Bag: MM6 Maison Margiela (in black)
Shoes: Zara 

We're fully into winter in Australia now (although at 14 degrees and bright sunshine most days, it certainly isn't winter as I know it) and we're about to move to Melbourne - Sydney was our original plan but having spent our time so far travelling around (some of) the country, we've decided that Melbourne is going to be a better fit in terms of job opportunities, living costs and, well, the food and coffee options are second to none. 


I'm excited to truly get to know the city - there seem to be a lot of exciting events coming up in the next few months and there are some local brands that I'm ready to spend some serious dollar on. That's not to say I still don't love Sydney though, and I'm looking forward to having some weekends up there. These snaps are from a couple of months ago (yup, my blog updates have been a little s l o w of late) when we spent the day at Carriageworks, an arts centre that's home to exhibitions, a farmer's market, events and the like, plus it plays host to some of the shows during fashion week. 




The building itself is a mix of a former railway carriage and blacksmith workshops, and that industrial nature has been retained in much of the redevelopment - expect lots of concrete, big open spaces, plenty of steel and original features. 


I wore a white COS dress that ended up becoming one of my go-tos during the balmy Sydney autumn - simple and light, but with slightly voluminous sleeves that fought off the chill that arrived come sundown. All in all, worth the trip if you're ever in Sydney (plus it's free and there's a great little cafe). Take a look at what's on at the Carriageworks website and stay tuned for Melbourne finds. 







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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A Travel Guide to Byron Bay


The Pass

During our five week road trip up Australia's east coast, one of my favourite (if not the favourite) stops was Byron Bay. It had pretty much everything I look for in a relaxing beachside spot: a beautiful unspoilt coastline; an abundance of great cafes, bars and restaurants; independent shops; and a completely unique personality. We stayed for four days which would suit a great little mini break, but you could probably stay for a couple of weeks if you wanted more of a holiday.

Hat: ASOS
Biki: Solid & Striped
Dress: Mango
What to Do 


Main Beach
One of the best things about Byron Bay (for me) was how laid back it was, forcing (yes, forcing) you to do not a lot but relax on one of the many beaches, swim in the sea and try out a bit of surfing. There's Main Beach at the top of the main street, which although has great views of the sea and distant mountains, can get a bit busy so keep on walking until you reach Clarkes Beach for a less crowded spot. Along from Clarkes is The Pass, which is popular with surfers, while further around the coast lies Wategos and Little Wategos beaches which are smaller and less spacious but still beautiful. There are a few more too that we didn't have time to visit, but would be well worth exploring.



One rare day when we weren't on the beach, we made our way to the Arts and Industry Estate just behind Belongil Beach. It was a bit of an odd place - half car mechanics and industrial park, half hidden gems of shops and coffee shops. One such gem was Comma, a small modern day spa tucked away in minimal, laid back, heaven. The space was full of neutral shades, raw concrete and touches of natural wood, making it look more like a stylish interiors store than a spa - and all the better for it. There are a few different treatments on offer depending on what you're after but I can guarantee that you will have one of the best spa experiences you've ever had. Plus, there's a coffee shop outside serving Allpress coffee and the Stone & Wood brewery across the way which offers tours and tastings.

Comma

Comma

Comma

Where to Eat and Drink




A quick walk around Byron Bay and you'll soon fall over the many cafes, bars and restaurants that line the streets. Of course, we didn't have time to sample them all but these were some of our favourites:

Bayleaf Cafe, 2a Marvell Street - This was actually recommended to me by Brittany Bathgate and soon became a firm favourite. The food was delicious, the atmosphere relaxed and unpretentious, and the coffee (of course) impeccable. This place is popular but you shouldn't have to wait too long for a table - if you do though. it's worth the wait. Beware though, it shuts at 2.30pm.

Byron Fresh, 7 Jonson Street - Another cafe just minutes from Main Beach, which is open from breakfast through until dinner. We stopped in for lunch one day and ended up going back almost every day to buy pastries (they're freshly made each day and all go down to $3 after 5pm).

The Mez Club, 85-87 Jonson Street - It was my birthday while we were in Byron and this was the restaurant we chose to spend the evening in. Mediterranean-inspired, it has great mezze share plates (I'd recommend getting a load of these rather than opting for the main dishes) in a white-washed, rattan-filled space.

Miss Margarita, 2 Jonson Street - This Mexican spot always had a queue of hungry punters outside the doors and while we didn't go, I'm told it's worth the hype...think nachos, burritos and cocktails in a colourful cantina. 

Where to Shop


ST. AGNI

One of the great things about Byron for me was the number of independent boutiques. You won't find many on the main street but walk through the side streets and you'll stumble across a lot of gems. Citizen Nomade (1/30 Fletcher Street) was a standout for me, full of simple, floaty linen pieces you'll want to fill your holiday wardrobe with.

ST. AGNI Yuka Slides

Back to the Arts and Industry Estate and you'll find Design Twins, a furniture and homeware store filled with pieces from Australian designers and ST. AGNI, which has the best selection of handmade leather flats and sandals I've seen in a long time (also available on Net-A-Porter). Just behind the estate is Habitat, a live/work/dine/retail space which is also well worth a visit - here you'll find clothing and homeware stores filled with a carefully selected range of brands and one-off collaborations.

Shirt and Trousers: Oysho




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Saturday, 19 May 2018

One Black Wrap Skirt, Three Ways



Top: Saturdays NYC
Skirt: Zara
Sandals: By Malene Birger

One of the hardest things about moving to Australia (aside from leaving family and friends, of course) was the wardrobe situation. I had just one suitcase with a weight limit of 30kg plus a carry on which, if we're being real here, is essentially what you'd take on a long holiday. The clothing cull before I left was hard but it was actually a great process - whatever I didn't love or need didn't get a coveted spot in the case (well, there are a few pieces that I couldn't bear to permanently part with so  an exception was made and they've taken up residence at the house of my ever-patient and accommodating parents). 

It's a mentality that I've stuck to during my time in Aus too and I've only bought one new item of clothing since I've been here (the Saturdays NYC top above, which is actually men's but I saw it in a sample sale in Sydney and it was boxy linen heaven). It's been three months, which I think is a record for me. Maybe I'm the new Marie Kondo?


Top: Zara
Skirt: Zara

Anyway, aside from quality, longevity and timelessness, one of the key elements of choosing the pieces I did take was versatility. Will it work with the rest of my absolute must-takes? Will it suit different occasions, climates, footwear? This wrap skirt from Zara was one such piece that ticked all the boxes. It came in my favourite colour (black), had enough detail to make it interesting (the wraparound style, the big white button) and unlike a lot of skirts I come across, was actually a shape that I liked.


Top: Rick Owens
Sunglasses: ASOS
Skirt: Zara
Sandals: By Malene Birger

These outfits are just a few ways I've been wearing said skirt over the past few months. It came with a matching top so that too made its way into the virtual basket (natch), and that's made an easy co-ord for going out to dinner or for those times when I want to look and feel a bit smarter. For a streamlined look in the hotter parts of our trip I paired it with a simple Rick Owens vest (thank youuu The Outnet) and for giving it a boxier, looser silhouette, the aforementioned Saturdays NYC top has been the perfect accompaniment. 



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Sunday, 29 April 2018

Travelling Australia's East Coast: Sydney to Cape Tribulation (and back again) in Five Weeks


Byron Bay
When we first came out to Australia the first thing we wanted to do was a bit of travelling before we got stuck into work, paying rent and, well, all the fun things that come with being in your late 20s. So, after our first week in Sydney we picked up a campervan (nothing fancy, it was essentially a van with a mattress in the back) and set off for five weeks on the road.

I'll be honest, there were times when I hated the travelling. Australia is huge and there were days when we drove on a seemingly endless stretch of road for hours on end, with nothing to entertain us but views of fields outside and a carefully curated playlist. Our campervan was basic and had definitely seen better days (word to the wise: if you're considering a road trip in Aus and want to get a camper, hire one well in advance. We booked ours a couple of weeks in advance and it was slim, slim pickings), and in that summer heat it wasn't the most comfortable of places to get a good night's sleep (we soon affectionately renamed our camper 'the sweatbox'. Another word to the wise: buy a battery-operated fan before you start your trip to keep those unbearably sweaty nights at bay).

For someone who has always lived in British cities, Australia is also very buggy - especially in the more rural places - and midges on the east coast are rife. Then there's the camping itself. You have to get used to sharing bathrooms, kitchens and living with just the bare necessities. You'll also have to get used to wearing the same clothes for days on end, purely because you can't bring yourself to rummage through the van to try and find something clean/not creased beyond repair.

Byron Bay
But then, all that was a small price to pay for what was an incredible experience. There's nothing like finally arriving at your destination and camping right next to the beach, in the middle of a forest or at the foot of a mountain for a mere $30 a night, spending your days exploring some of the best of nature and your nights barbecuing under the stars with a few cold beers and a kangaroo hopping past. Plus, I'm a firm believer that spending a few weeks in not much more than your favourite bikini, no makeup and no cares in the world is extremely good for the soul.

I'll delve into my favourite places we visited in separate blog posts over the next few weeks but for now, this was our route:

Sydney - This is where we flew into and spent a week before embarking on the road trip. We didn't camp so I don't know what it's like if you have a camper but it goes without saying that this is a must-visit. Read my travel guide to Sydney for more on this wonderful city.

Yamba. Swimsuit: ASOS
Yamba - We found that there weren't a lot of places between Sydney and Byron Bay worth vising, but Yamba was a pleasant surprise. People say it's like Byron Bay 20 years ago and while I can't vouch for that, it definitely had a nice vibe. It's quite small and quiet, with a slow pace of life and not much to do but spend your days on one of the many beaches nearby that hug the coast. A couple of days here is probably enough - make sure you have time for a sundowner at the Pacific Hotel for some of the most dramatic views you'll get with a glass of Sauv, and breakfast at Leche Cafe.

Byron Bay
Byron Bay - One of my favourite places on the trip, so it'll be getting a dedicated blog post all of its own. I thought it was a bit strange at first. Being full of hippies and backpackers, it almost felt like a step back in time but a couple of days in and I was hooked. It's hard to put a finger on what I loved so much about it but to use a phrase that I hate (but can't think of a better alternative), it had a great vibe. The food offering is also second to none, the coastline unbelievably beautiful, the shops tempting, and there's no shortage of things to do. We stayed four days but could have stayed for four weeks.

Coffee Iconic, Brisbane
Brisbane - We only had a couple of days in Brisbane but I was pleasantly surprised by the city and definitely could have stayed a few more. I didn't really have many preconceptions about Brisbane but loved its riverfront location (visit Southbank for the man made beach on hotter days) and variety of coffee shops and bars - head to Contessa on Roma Street for casual lunch and coffee or try one of the many spots on George Street. West End is great for food and bars too, we didn't have much time to sample them but I can vouch for Catchment Brewing Co on Boundary Street if you're a fan of the old craft beer (the brewery is also on site).

Fairy Pool, Noosa. Swimsuit: & Other Stories
Noosa - Noosa is a bit more resort-y than the other places we visited (and as a result, more expensive) but worth stopping at for a couple of days. There are some great beaches and the coastal walk through the national park is something else - keep an eye out for koalas in the eucalyptus trees and make sure you stop off for a swim at the fairy pool. Eumundi, a short drive from Noosa, is worth a day trip too for the iconic markets (a lot of tat but a few gems) and shops along Memorial Drive (stop into Humdrum Espresso for great coffee).

Fraser Island
Fraser Island - A must stop on any east coast road trip. The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island (or K'Gari, to give it its traditional name) is wild Australia at its best and is home to perched lakes, the purest strain of dingo and the starriest skies you'll probably ever see. You can get to the island on your own via ferry but you'll need a 4WD to navigate yourself around (there are no 'roads', just tracks). We went on a tour with Drop Bear Adventures which I'd highly recommend if you're a first timer on the island - they showed us how to drive 4WDs along the beach and through the forested areas, took us to all the best places and kept us fed and entertained the whole time, as well as giving us the history of the island and the indigenous people that once inhabited it.

1770. Bikini: Solid and Striped
Seventeen Seventy - A funny little place with not a lot going on, but Seventeen Seventy's got a charm all of its own. It's tiny (essentially just one street), with just one restaurant/pub and a beach but it's the kind of place that really forces you to slow down. We spent our time here paddle boarding, surfing in nearby Agnes Water and taking advantage of our beachfront location with a few sundowners.

Whitehaven Beach
Whitsundays - It was quite a drive from Seventeen Seventy to Airlie Beach so we stopped at a campsite at Capricorn Caves (a forested area with baby kangaroos making a few appearances) just north of Rockhampton along the way. Rockhampton was a bit of a ghost town when we were there mid-week but it's worth stopping off for a couple of hours to take a look at the Victorian-era architecture (particularly along Quay Street) and pop into the Criterion for a drink. From there it was up to Airlie Beach which we used as a base to visit the Whitsundays. It was beautiful and Whitehaven Beach is just as white-sanded and crystal clear-watered as you will have seen on the pictures but if I'm really honest, I found it a lot more commercial than I thought it would be. Airlie Beach itself is a bit tacky and full of backpackers but you can stay on one of the resorts on the islands for a heftier price. Having said that, it's definitely worth visiting because you don't come across those kinds of beaches very often - we went on a boat trip which is probably the best way to do it, just check the itinerary carefully before you book as some companies say you'll 'see' Whitehaven Beach which actually means you'll see it from a distance but not actually set foot on it.

Palm Cove. Dress: Ganni
Palm Cove - Palm Cove was a bit of an impromptu stop on our trip after it was recommended by a friend. It's just north of Cairns (I wouldn't bother stopping in the city itself) and is made up of just a few streets but it's wonderful. Leaning palm trees dramatically line the beach and cafes, bars and restaurants fill Williams Esplanade behind it - we drank at Chill Cafe (they do a great happy hour for that post-beach wind down), ate at Il Forno and breakfasted at Espresso & Co, and they were all wonderful.

Cape Tribulation - By the fourth week on our road trip we'd reached Cape Tribulation in Tropical North Queensland. A remote place, it's where the rainforest meets the beach and development has (thankfully) been kept to a minimum, so there isn't much to do but hike and soak up the incredible surroundings. We spent a night there which was probably enough for us but you could easily spend a few days if you want to truly switch off (phone reception is practically non-existent). From there we turned back around and made our way south again, stopping off at Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest for a couple of hours first (a must, I've never seen anything like it - a bit like a real-life version of FernGully for any fellow fans of that early '90s classic).

Lake Maraboon, Emerald
Emerald - After leaving Cape Trib we were a bit short on time to make it back to Sydney so opted to go inland for a shorter drive rather than back down the coast. I'm glad we did because we got to drive through the Outback and see parts of Australia that we would probably never step foot in otherwise. Towns-wise, there isn't a lot I would necessarily recommend but interesting to stop in to see a completely different side to the country. We had a night in Charters Towers (perhaps the strangest place I've ever been) and an equally strange night in St George (make a trip to Nindigully if you're in the area - it has a population of 6 and is also home to the oldest pub in Queensland), but Emerald was a pleasant surprise. We stayed on the edge of Lake Maraboon, where the sunset was like no other and the place completely peaceful. We also had another night in Lake Keepit, a state park where you can camp in the bush and will more than likely be having breakfast next to a group of kangaroos. 

Somewhere in the Outback. Vest: Rick Owens. Jeans: COS
Hunter Valley - From there it was on to Hunter Valley for a couple of days of wine tasting. There are loads of wineries and great restaurants in the area and you could spend days sampling it all but we went for a winery tour (mainly so neither of us had to drive and take it easy on the wine...). We went with Two Fat Blokes (weekend tours get booked up so book in advance) and were definitely given our fill of wines (I also developed a new-found appreciation for Cabernet Sauvignon after being a die-hard Blanc fans for year), and ended with cheese and wine pairing session (the best kind of pairing, in my opinion). 

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains - Our last stop before heading back to Sydney was the Blue Mountains, about an hour or so out of the city. We weren't prepared for how cold it was going to be, especially after spending weeks in the high 30s, so pack a few jumpers and jackets as well as warm weather gear. We stayed in Katoomba which was the perfect base for hiking as well as having plenty of pubs, restaurants and coffee shops (Cassiopeia on Lurline Street served up the best, as well as a few cakes/pastries). We also ate at Station Bar (great if you like craft beer and pizzas) and drank at The Lookout in Echo Point where although the prices were definitely geared towards the tourists, the view and setting couldn't get any better.





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Sunday, 22 April 2018

On Taking a Break from Blogging



Jumper: Uniqlo U
Trousers: Uniqlo
Sandals: St Agni 

It's been pretty quiet here on the blog over the last couple of months. You may remember from a post I published back in January that my boyfriend and I decided to up sticks and leave the UK for a new adventure in Australia. We arrived mid-February so we've just reached the two month mark, five weeks of which were spent travelling up and down the east coast in a campervan.

So it will come as no surprise that while I've been a prolific Instagrammer, my blog has taken a bit of a backseat to beaches, coffee, wine in the sun and exploring the country I'll call home for the next two years (yup, we love it that much we're currently doing our regional work to extend our visas by another year).

To be honest, I've been glad of the break. Before I left the UK I worked in content marketing for a luxury fashion ecommerce business and while it was great and I got to do what I'm passionate about every day (and get paid for it), I was ready to live a life away from a computer screen and a keyboard for a while. I had also kind of fallen out of love with blogging, felt uninspired by what seemed like the same imagery pop up again and again on Instagram, and was lacking direction with where I wanted my small space on the web to go.

Then I reminded myself that one of the main reasons for moving out here in the first place was to enjoy life a bit more, stop sweating the small stuff and stop just going through the motions. Taking a break from something that wasn't bringing me any joy and not worrying so much about how many likes I'd got on my recent post was all part of that.

I wanted to get back to why I started blogging in the first place, which was to share what I'm interested in (fashion, travel, interiors) and be able to create content that was purely for me - not for anyone else, not to make money for somebody else, and with no restrictions over what I produced. When I first started out I didn't think anyone would even read my posts, never mind that I would work with brands that I'd loved for years or have experiences that I'd only dreamt about, purely because of this blog.

It's taken this step back to remind myself of all of this, to stop comparing myself to others and to remember that this is a creative outlet, not something that should be dragging me down. So, that's the plan going forward. No pressures to grow, make money or question what I'm creating. Just me, what interests me and what I'm wearing. I'll be writing about my time in Australia too - starting with our five week road trip once I get round to sorting out my thousands of pictures - so if there's anything you'd like to know about moving out here or what life is like, feel free to send me an email, comment below or message me on Twitter/Instagram.

Oh and here's an unrelated snap of an outfit I've loved wearing recently (we're currently in Victoria in the south of Australia and we're fully in Autumn, so the heavier pieces have started to come out).





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