Thursday, 24 December 2015

Gift Guide: Last Minute

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So it's Christmas Eve and you've suddenly remembered that your second cousin, twice removed, Rupert, told you he would be at the family Christmas dinner and you haven't bought him a present. There's no need to panic, simply read on to find out what gifts you can get at the last minute that aren't super lame.
1. Gift cards

Some people think gift cards are a cop out but personally, I love getting gift cards. It means I can choose something that I really want and don't have to risk a dodgy gift that I'll never use. You can also tailor these to suit the person e.g. Bunnings Gift Card for Dad/bro/boyfriend. Another smart idea to make the gift look less last minute is to find a nice card and write something like "I know how much you love Ed Sheeran so please use this iTunes gift card to buy his new album". It makes the gift look more thoughtful.

2. Wine/whiskey/alcohol in general

Who doesn't like alcohol? To disguise the fact that you had to leave work early to run to the bottle-o to pick up some last minute gifts, spend a little more and get a decent bottle of wine/alcohol rather than the $5 eye stinger that you see first. 

3. DVDs/Blurays

These are great because even Coles and Woolworths sell DVDs and Blurays. You can do the same sneaky trick as with number 1 and write a note to say "I know how much you love the Avengers so here's the new Age of Ultron movie". This is also great for the post Christmas lunch/dinner exhaustion when you've eaten your body weight in prawns/roast potatoes and you just really need to lie down for a while and chill.

4. Subscription Box
Subscription boxes are great because they're the gift that keeps on giving! Not only will you have something awesome to show them on Christmas day, they'll keep getting little gifts from you all year long. There are beauty boxes, food boxes, soap boxes and everything in between so you can tailor the gift to suit. 
5. Experience vouchers
Another gift that keeps on giving is experience vouchers and there are literally thousands to choose from. You can get everything from skydiving to gourmet meals to massages to rally car driving. It may be a last minute gift but it's one that they will remember for a while!
Any other last minute gift ideas to add?
Dani XO
PS Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful readers!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Brisbane's Best Breakfast Spots

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With summer here and the holiday season just around the corner, there are more relaxing weekends available for long breakfasts than ever before. If there's one thing I love, it's a good old fashioned breakfast! Here are my top picks for the best breakfast spots Brisbane has to offer.

Everyone raves about the Eat Street Markets and while they are delicious, there is a hidden gem just around the corner. The Northshore Harbour Cafe is nestled in parkland just metres from the Brisbane river. The views are amazing and the menu is even better. You could even take a refreshing stroll down the river to work up and appetite/work off breakfast. 

Try: The House made waffles with peanut butter gelato, maple bacon and caramelised banana.

2. Pancake Manor (Brisbane CBD)

If you've even been out on a big night in Brisbane, Pancake Manor will be a familiar name. The 24 hour restaurant is located inside the heritage listed former St Luke's Church of England. Trust me, it's pretty surreal to sit and eat delicious pancakes in an old church at 3am. As well as an exhaustive menu of pancakes, there are also other options if you are one of those weird people who don't like pancakes.

Try: The Short Stack with butter, maple syrup, cream and ice-cream.

3. Lady Marmalade Cafe (Greenslopes)

Although Lady Marmalade is small, the meals are hearty and the service is friendly. My favourite touch is the use of plastic animals in place of table numbers. The menu is pretty small but the meals themselves are amazing!
Try: The ‘Gringo’ baked eggs with wagyu, chorizo and black bean ragu, herbs and feta,

4. Vintage Kitchen (Coorparoo)

If you like to eat breakfast somewhere between 1960 and 1985, then Vintage Kitchen is the breakfast spot for you! Not only do they do a beautiful breakfast, you can also shop to your vintage heart's content from a selection of clothes, games, pictures, cutlery and crockery. 

Try: The Vege Stack - Roasted pumpkin, spinach, feta, avocado and aioli on sourdough.

5. Foxy Bean (Woolloongabba)

There is only one word to describe Foxy Bean and that is cool. The atmosphere is cool, the wait staff are cool and the decor is super cool. Not to mention the menu! On the hottest days of summer, you can catch a cool breeze at the tables out the back while you sip your coffee and chow down on some fine breakfast fare. 

Try: The Hello Haloumi bruschetta - avocado on sourdough with grilled haloumi, tomato salsa and lime & chili dressing. 

What's your favourite breakfast spot?
Dani XO

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Gift Guide: Under $20

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This is the third installment of my Gift Guide series (click through to read Part 1 and Part 2) focusing on budget gifts. Christmas is a really fun time of year but with all your long lost cousins, great aunts and extended family coming together, you can end up spending a fortune on gifts. Here are a few suggestions that are affordable, but still fun and thoughtful.

For Her

Candles, they aren't just for nanas. I personally have a candle collection to rival any Dusk store and love (seriously, LOVE) candles. Revlon usually release a candle range around Christmas and for under $20, they are amazing! My personal favourite is the Sugared Macaroon scent which smells like marshmallows and vanilla.

If you don't love Lush, there is something seriously wrong with you! They have an enormous range of Christmas goodies from the $100 gift boxes all the way down to this guy, the Secret Santa. It also comes in a cute little reusable Santa cloth wrapping so it's the perfect gift for the eco-friendly.

This unusual little watch is the perfect Christmas present for anyone who loves to accessorise. The blue beads fill up the watch face making it not only a great gift, but also a great talking point. If you haven't heard of My Cavallino, you can check out my review here.

This is the perfect gift for the ultra-organised person in your family. I know everyone has everything on their iPhones these days but there is something special about a real diary. Personally, I can't think of things properly until I've seen them written down. This Buffalo Diary would be a welcome gift under my Christmas tree!

For Him

It's about time that everyone just accepted that socks, undies and bad jumpers will appear at Christmas. But, just because they're predictable, doesn't mean they have to be boring. These ASOS trunks are micro fibre aka super comfy and come in a range of prints. My personal favourite is this outer space themed pair.
2. Shot Flask ($9.79)

Hip flasks are always a good gift but this one is on a whole new level because it comes with its own shot glass! How cool is that? 

Beards are all the rage at the moment with everyone from hipsters to your grandpa sporting one. This set is perfect for the image conscious beardie. It comes with a handy fold able comb for grooming on the go, beard wax to keep those whiskers in place and beard scissors to trim unruly tangles. 

There are few things that my man loves more in this world than cheese. He could eat cheese sandwiches for the rest of his life and still be happy so he's the perfect candidate for this gift. These handy little Teflon coated bags are designed so that you can simple pop in your cheese sandwich, stick it in the toaster and have a perfect grilled cheese sandwich ready to go. No washing pans, no flipping sandwiches, just pop it in the toaster and then eat. The bags are also dishwasher safe so you don't even have to wash up afterwards!
What are your best budget gift ideas?

Dani XO

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Top 7 Basics from H&M

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It seems like Brisbane is the younger sister of Australian cities, the one who gets all the hand-me-downs after the older sister cities (Melbourne and Sydney) have finished with them. The lag time does seem to be decreasing though as we now have not only a Topshop but also a Zara and three (yes, THREE) H&M's. I'm a huge H&M fan. I love that the clothing is on-trend, affordable and easy to wear. With that in mind, here are my top basics picks from H&M right now.
1. White Crop Top ($19.95)

I've never really been keen on the teeny bopper trend of tiny crop tops and bum-baring shorts but this crop top is on a whole other level! It's loose and flowy with delicate lace trim making it perfect for pairing high waisted skirts. 

2. Black Satin Top (29.95)

Tips on how to look ready for a night out with minimal effort: Step 1 - buy this top. Step 2 - pair with jeans/skirt/shorts/whatever. Step 3 - you are now ready. This sexy satin top can take a simple pair of jeans from daggy to dressy and pair perfectly with just about everything. 

I like this shirt for days when you're in such a bad mood that you don't even want to speak to people. When anyone asks how you are, you can just point to the thunderclouds with a deadpan look. Also, glitter.

4. Black Scuba Skirt ($14.95)

A basic but flattering skirt that's long enough for work but the mesh sections make it just racy enough to wear out too. This would pair nicely with the white crop top.

5. Denim Shorts ($29.95)

I always seem to struggle to find denim shorts that lie in the middle realm between "butt cheeks hanging out" and "grandma's gardenng shorts". This pair is one of few that fits the bill. They're fitted and flattering but can accommodate my (large) bottom with no trouble. I still feel cute but without the hassle of constantly worrying whether a bum cheek has popped out to say hi.

6. Straw Hat ($19.95)

It's summer, I live in Australia ergo, straw hat. I was worried this was too reminiscent of my school panama hat but thankfully, it's worlds apart. It's cute, comfy and trendy. It's the perfect addition to a simple outfit to make it look like you're fashionable when really, you have no clue i.e. me.

7. Black Lace Brogues ($29.95)

I cannot resist a good pair of brogues! I absolutely love the lace detail on these which I think makes them look a lot more feminine. I actually bought these at an H&M in London but they are available in store in Brisbane RIGHT NOW!

What are your top picks from H&M?

Dani XO

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Gift Guide: Luxe

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Next up in my Gift Guide series (you can read the first installment here) is a guide to the most luxurious of gifts. These are the type of gifts you don't mind shelling out for because they really are amazing. I'll be focusing mainly on the ladies here (sorry gents) but some of the skincare items are unisex. Let's get luxurious!

This year Nuxe have really outdone themselves with these two beautiful gift sets, the Prodigieux le Parfum Set ($69.99) and the Huile Prodigeiuse Set ($39.99). I personally LOVE the Nuxe Oil simply beacuase of it's fragrance and versatility. Both gifts sets come with a candle so your entire house can smell fresh and French. The Parfum Set comes with a 50ml perfume and the other set comes with a full size Nuxe Huile (oil for the non French speakers) and a mini shimmer oil too which is perfect for adding a radiant glow on a night out. Although they are super luxe, the price tag isn't actually that high and they're an afforable yet elegant gift option.

When these showed up at work, I just about died! Although the Bold Metals brushes are pricey, they are well worth it. If you need convincing, you can read my full review here. This set is available at select stores (including Priceline Queen St where I work) and come with three brushes, including an Angled Powder brush which is exclusive to the set. Pretty sure I will be treating myself to an early Christmas present this year!

3. Clarisonic Mia 2 ($199.00)
This has been a god send and an absolute saviour for my skin. I've been using my Clarisonic Mia for about two years now and whenever I stop using it for a while, I can always see my skin problems resurfacing. This is well worth the price tag and by using different brush heads, you can tailor the Clarisonic to your personal skincare needs.

4. GHD Air ($200.00)
My amazing boyfriend gifted this to me last Christmas and to say it's been appreciated is an extreme understatement. Before using this, I never really thought that more expensive hairdryers actually made a difference. I'm now a complete convert and they're going to have to price my GHD Air from my cold, dead hands! It leaves my hair silky smooth and less frizzy and also takes a much shorter time to actually dry my hair. If you're going to invest in any hair styling tool, make it this!

5. Tiffany Necklace ($250.00)
This one is purely a chance for me to sneak in something from my personal Christmas list! I've been coveting a Tiffany Necklace for years. Although I'm doubtful, there is a very slim chance this gorgeous piece might make its way into my stocking this year.

6. JORD Wood Watches (from $129.00
A good watch is a gift that lasts a lifetime and the JORD Wood Watches are no expection. The fact that they're made of wood makes them a little more unusual, but all the better for a personal Christmas gift. They come in a huge range of different colours, woods and designs. I personally own the Fieldcrest Maple Watch and absolutely LOVE it! I think anyone who finds a JORD watch under the tree on Christmas Day will be one lucky person!

What will you be spending on this Christmas?

Dani XO

The Nuxe gift sets and JORD Watch were provided as PR samples but, as always, my opinion is my own.

Images sourced from brand websites.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Battle of the Brows: ABH vs Ardell

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Let's get ready to rummmmmmmmble!

Everyone knows that Anastasia Beverly Hills is the Queen of Brows. Her Dipbrow Pomade is legendary, if a little pricey and occasionally hard to find. Ardell specialise in lashes and brows and have recently come up with their own answer to the ABH Dipbrow in the form of their Brow Pomade. Shall we put them both to the test to see who comes out on top?


Thursday, 3 December 2015

Gift Guide: Fragrances

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December is here and I can hardly believe that Christmas is just around the corner! This year, I thought I would start a Gift Guide series to help make holiday shopping just that little bit more bearable. Here is the very first Gift Guide which focuses on fragrances.


Daisy holds a special place in my heart as it was the first "proper" perfume that I ever wore. I still purchase it to this day. My love for the original Daisy will never fade but the new (limited edition) Daisy Sorbet is an absolute winner. I might actually buy it instead of the original when my current Daisy runs out. It's fruity and floral, like the original Daisy, with a hint of citrus.

This is a newly launched fragrance and the first for Jessica Mauboy. The bottle alone sold me, it looks much more expensive than the $34 price tag. It's fresh and fruity with yummy green apple scent. It's actually a really great dupe for DKNY Be Delicious. If you loved So Fresh but don't want to fork out, or you're on a budget, Be Beautiful is the perfect fragrance to pick up. 

Davidoff has never really been a fragrance brand that I've been interested in. I loved the men's Cool Water fragrance but never paid much attention to the female ones until I picked up Sea Rose. It's such a beautiful, delicate perfume. Everything from the bottle to the actual scent is light and pretty. The fragrance itself is a mixture of sweet pear and pink peony. I'd suggest this scent for anyone who doesn't like super strong smells but still wants something light and fresh.

This is a bit more of an unusual choice but Eau de Gaga is one of my all time favourite fragrances. It would be perfect for someone who doesn't stick to the rules and likes things that are a little different. It's citrusy and woody and a little bit masculine but the lime notes are what really sell me on this one. The bottle is also gorgeous and would look perfect in a minimalist not mine but I still love it. You can read my full review on Eau de Gaga here.

*Side note: boyfriend had a lot of input for this section as I personally don't know much about male fragrances.

If the awesome fist punching bottle doesn't sell you on Only the Brave, the super masculine scent soon will. Although it's very manly and leathery, it also has notes of citrus and violet, making it a little less in-your-face and a little more wearable. This is a great daytime fragrance and makes an awesome display piece in the bathroom too.

And here I thought Ronaldo was just a football player! Turns out he's a man of many talents, having just released his debut fragrance, Legacy. The packaging makes it look like a higher end perfume and the gold and black are a very classy combo. It definitely packs a punch with notes of wood, amber and smoked vetiver. These are tempered by a little lavender and green apple to give a well rounded and very masculine scent. Boyfriend also gave this his official seal of approval.

This is possibly my favourite male fragrance, there is something extremely sexy about it. I like the slightly unusual packaging, it screams "I've been stranded on a desert island but I still want to smell like sex on legs". It's sweet and spicy with just a hint of grapefruit and raspberry. This gets MY official seal of approval.

Soul is probably the hardest of the bunch to track down but you can still find it. It's fresh, spicy and citrusy and pairs nicely with a sharp suit and fresh shave.

Will you be picking up a frangrance for youself or someone special this Christmas?

Dani XO

Be Beautiful, Legacy and Eau de Gaga were provided as PR samples but, as always, my opinion is my own.

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