Winter Finale

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Winter is officially over down here in Australia. Sad really. I do love the cold. Not that we really get much of it over here. But still …
I took some photos about a month ago wearing (surprise, surprise!) almost all black. I bought the boots last winter and I’m afraid I didn’t really get much use out of them this season as it wasn’t really cold enough. Alas, I did get to wear them at least once. This is the second time I will have a crinkled skirt in my posts which is really annoying, so please don’t judge me. I only really noticed it afterwards when I was going through the photos but I just never really think about ironing skirts. Oh well, next time I’ll learn.
And now for my last outfit of the winter. Bring on summer, I say!
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Top – Now, Skirt – Sportsgirl, Boots – Target, Bag – Fiorelli, Necklace – Lovisa.

A x

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Winter Monochrome

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I have never kept secret my love of simplicity in clothing. My wardrobe does rather resemble a chess board, but that’s just me. I have never been brave enough to delve into the more violent shades, but I would not say that monochrome must always be bland and boring. In fact, it can be very daring. Exciting, even. The textures, the cuts, the fabrics, the details. So many possibilities…

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Shirt – Cue, Pants – Jacqui-E, Bag – Sportsgirl.

A x

Autumn Wishlist

With Autumn (or fall, as some call it) just around the corner for us down in Australia, it’s time for a little Autumn makeover in my closet. Although I still have plenty of cardigans, scarves and woolly jumpers leftover from last season, I always feel that the turn-over from Summer into Autumn is a great opportunity (or perhaps … excuse) for a shopping spree! And here is my wishlist:

1. ASOS: Skater Dress in Pleated Lace –

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2. Estee Lauder: Pure Colour Eyeshadow in ‘Hot Cinnamon Shimmer’ –

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3. Topshop: Knitted Woven Print Jumper –

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4. ZARA: Blouse with Jewel Applique –

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5. SABA – Anna Chino Pant:

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6. Bardot: Rude Cambon Jacket:

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7. Giorgio Armani: Rouge D’Armani Lipstick in ‘400’ –

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8. Witchery – Drape Spliced Jacket:

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9. Review: Pin Up Skirt –

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10. David Lawrence: Cubist Pendant –

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A x

Valentine Flicks

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Valentines Day is upon us yet again. And yet again … no valentine for me. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the day. My mother has this tradition of leaving little valentine gifts for my sister and I. Invariably it is a sweet card with a little message and some delectable (and expensive) chocolate. Just to let us know that we are loved. How sweet is that? This year was no exception. I awoke to find a beautiful black and white card picturing a sophisticated lady dressed in white against an elaborate background, and the words “Happy Valentines beautiful Aalyn, you are well loved” written inside. Accompanying this was a large square of the most delicious dark chocolate – ‘Willie’s Cacao: Madagascan Gold’. The only ingredients are ‘Cacao mass, raw cane sugar, and cacao butter’. And it was absolutely beautiful, so smooth and rich.

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As it’s the day to celebrate romance, love and devotion, I thought I might share some of my favourite valentine flicks. As you may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of film and I literally have a list on my laptop of movies I must see before I die … and it’s growing longer rather than shorter. Despite this, the list of romances I have seen could fill a book. I have to say that I am rather a fan of the awfully cliched ‘chick flick’, but also appreciate classic love stories. So here is a little bit of a mix of my favourites (in no particular order):

1. Roman Holiday. This has to be my favourite Audrey film. The first time I saw it I was only around 7 or 8, but loved it from the first. My Grandma had a collection of Audrey Hepburn classics and we used to always beg her to ‘watch Audrey’ whenever we stayed over. Her favourite was Sabrina, and so was my sisters, but I always had a soft spot for Roman Holiday. Don’t you just love the guitar scene on the boat?

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2. Love Actually. This is my family’s favourite Christmas movie. We watch it every year, as I mentioned in a previous post. I love the idea of different people’s lives all woven together and interconnected. My favourite ‘sub-story’ was always Daniel (Liam Neeson) and Sam (Thomas Sangster). Their journey is just so beautiful, and always touches my heart.

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3. Notting Hill. Sweet, funny and adorable, how could you not like this film? I’ve always liked Hugh Grant, and this has to be one of my favourites.

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4. Pride and Prejudice. Of course, I had to include Elizabeth and Darcy. Whether it’s the 1995 classic mini-series (my first introduction to the world of Jane Austen) or the 2005 Joe Wright version, I just love it all.

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5. The ‘Before’ series. That is, ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’, and (recently) ‘Before Midnight’. I realise that this is actually three different movies, but they’re all so closely connected that it almost feels like one continuous film. They may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I really love the slow-moving, naturalistic style of these films. It almost feels like you’re watching a documentary at times.

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6. Dirty Dancing. This is a recent discovery for me. After years of hearing how great it was, I watched it for the first time a few months ago. At first, I wasn’t sure why everyone loved it so much. However, after watching it again with my sister, I fell in love. It took me a while to grasp the magic of this classic film, but once I did, it quickly earned a place in my list of ‘all-time favourites’.

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7. Amelie. I watched this for the first time when I was around 10, and loved it from the first. This is such a quirky, eclectic, sweet, colourful film and I absolutely adore it!

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8. Moulin Rouge. I first watched this (again) when I was around 10 or 11, and was rather shocked at the crude nature of this over-the-top film. However, once over the shock of the overt sexuality, I became entranced at the heart-breaking passion and yearning of these two lovers. I’m not a major fan of musicals, but this is definitely an exception. A genius film, and a beautiful story, this one always leaves me red-eyed and heart-broken.

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9. Some Like it Hot. Not so much romantic as absolutely hilarious, this is my favourite Marilyn Monroe film. It never fails to leave me in fits, and has (in my opinion) one of the best ending lines in movie history. Definitely a must-see!

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10. Leap Year. One of my mum’s favourites, the scenery in this film always moves me. Oh and the story is great too! Funny, romantic, and sentimental … and you’ve gotta love the Irish accent!

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Well, happy valentines beautiful!

A x

The Time of New Beginnings

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I’ve never been much of a one for doing New Years ‘resolutions’. I have so far steered clear of this tradition, preferring to set myself goals now, rather than waiting until the 1st January to start my diet and exercise plan. But I thought it high time to give it a try. Who knows, perhaps it will work for me? I have to say that so far, so bad. The holiday season is still upon us, and holiday treats are at large in our household. Christmas chocolates, creamy cheeses, biscuits and all sorts of other naughty things are filling the cupboard shelves. Each time I reach into the fridge to grab a mango or a nectarine, some festive foe will gaze hopefully at me. It takes an obscene amount of willpower to turn down such a pretty face. And mine is slowly fading.

It probably wasn’t such a great idea to give myself such free reign in December, allowing myself to pretty much do whatever I wanted. Because in the New Year I would begin my brutal regime. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. Anyway, I thought I’d share with you some of my once-hopeful resolutions. Please tell me I’m not the only one. I would love to hear some of yours!

1. Of course, I had to put in the cliched ‘eat clean’ resolution. I vowed to eat only fresh, healthy and colourful foods (especially focusing on fruit and vegetables in season).

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2. Exercise daily. Hah, what a joke! Daily exercise is almost laughable in this heat. Do you know how hot it is here today? 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degree Fahrenheit) at the moment. And very high humidity to top it off. Urghhh! I’m not a fan of the heat, but I don’t think anyone would be game to go out and exercise in that! 

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3. Get at least 9 hours sleep every night. Now, this one has been a little easier since I’ve been so exhausted recently. I think it might be the heat. But I definitely don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. I probably average around 7 hours currently. And I’m constantly tired. Bring on the early nights, I say!

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4. Read more, watch less. I have to say, I’m not a great reader. Well, okay maybe I am compared to some people but I really don’t take the time to read a lot. It usually takes me months to finish a book, simply because I don’t really read it. The number of books I have picked up and not finished reading is shameful. I have this huge list of books I have to read, so hopefully I can un-stick my eyes from the screen and glue them back onto the pages of a book!

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5. Be more positive. I have actually already started this one, and so far it has worked wonders. The number of things I complain about is really disgraceful. Now, whenever I feel myself starting to complain about something, I think about all the people in the world who have nothing. When I moan about my job, I think about those who don’t have one (or who earn a measly $1 a day for hard labour). When I complain about my family I think about all those people who have no family. And so on, you get the gist. And although it doesn’t always work, for the times it does it makes a huge difference.

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These are the main ones, and the ones I will be focusing the most on. Hopefully I can slowly build my inner strength and make these resolutions a natural part of my life. Perhaps that seems a little too optimistic, but I’m trying to stick to the last point here. See, I’m doing it!

A x

‘Tis the Season of Festive Traditions

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It’s Christmas everybody! I hope you all have a lovely day filled with lots of Christmas cheer, Michael Buble and heapings of Christmas pudding. Before I share with you some of my favourite gifts this year, I thought I would mention some of our family’s favourite Christmas traditions.

Every family has them. You know, watching your favourite Christmas film, going to hear the carols, making snowmen. Unfortunately, here in Australia, that last one is simply not possible. But we do have our own Christmas traditions which are just as special. These are just a few that my family and I treasure each year:

1. The Christmas movie – yes, every family has one. The corny, terrible Christmas movie filled with cheap laughs and truly awful gags. But we still love them. We have a routine in our house for watching Christmas movies. On Christmas Eve EVE we watch the first two Home Alone movies (the best ones, I think). Then, on Christmas Eve we watch Elf. And on Christmas Day we sit back with a cup of coffee and some homemade chocolates (courtesy of my talented little sister) to watch Love Actually. I know, all extremely corny and, some would say, terrible. But we love them, and they make Christmas special!

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2. Going to see the Christmas lights – okay, perhaps we have outgrown this one. But luckily for us, we have two gorgeous little cousins (7 and 4 years old) who still find this tradition remarkably special. To watch their little eyes light up and their hearts fill with joy makes me melt. It’s just so beautiful … not the lights – the children, and the Christmas spirit. The lights are another story. Talk about tacky! All extremely garish and distasteful (some of them having absolutely nothing to do with Christmas – one house had dinosaurs and cacti!), but still festive all the same. And if you can’t be tacky at Christmas-time, when can you?

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3. Christmas dinner – now, I know a lot of people seem to celebrate Christmas lunch as the main meal of the day, but we have always been all about dinner. One year, I took it upon myself to cook up a huge three course meal all by myself. For starters – a fresh, garlic and prawn salad. For mains – roast chicken with juicy baked potatoes, sweet little glazed carrots, lightly cooked asparagus with butter and little roasted vine-ripened tomatoes. Oh, and gravy of course. And for dessert – a yule log with little chocolate leaves, some delicious rum balls and some kind of German biscuit (I forget the name). It was actually a huge success, apart from the dropping of the yule log all over the floor. I nearly screamed. But we managed to piece it all together (thankfully it was already wrapped in cling film so it wasn’t contaminated) and it still tasted delicious. Tonight we are having dinner out for a change – at the Sofitel in Brisbane City. It’s so beautiful in there, with grand open spaces, views of the clock tower, elegant displays of enormous gingerbread houses and intrinsically decorated baubles. I can’t wait!

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4. Air conditioning and iced water – so of course it’s summertime here in Australia and air conditioning is an absolute must. But it doesn’t stop it being a glorious luxury all the same. I just love the cool quiet of the unassuming white box in the corner of the room, slowly sucking up the hot, sticky air and replacing it with a cool, dry breeze. And pair that with a glass filled with iced water and you have yourself a little piece of heaven! I have so many memories of dragging my mattress into my parents’ room when I was little so that we could all sleep in the air conditioning. We never really used it much any other time. So it still feels like Christmas every time we use it.

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5. The family breakfast – whilst dinner is our meal, reserved for just our little family, breakfast is a time for everyone. The grandparents, the cousins, the uncles, the aunts. I don’t always get along with every member of my extended family, but at Christmas-time I can forgive almost anything. Recently, we have narrowed the gathering down to a handful of our closest relatives and it just feels so nice spending time with them. This morning I spent precious time with my three little cousins (the two mentioned before along with another little 2-year-old who has the most adorable smile you ever saw!). Seeing them with all of their presents, huge smiles on their little faces and laughter in their voices, makes Christmas really feel like Christmas. I’m so blessed to have the family I have. Really I am. I know a lot of people who can’t stand their family. But mine is truly special.

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Well, enough sentimentality. Onto presents! I will share with you only two presents, as this post is getting rather long and I don’t want to bore you. I shall make it brief.

1. Vogue – my wonderful little sister bought me a year subscription to American Vogue, which I LOVE her for! I have read the entire December issue from cover to cover and am eager for more. Come on January!

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2. MAC paint pots – and my best friend bought me two MAC paint pots: Camel Coat and Quite Natural. They’re so smooth and lovely to apply. And they stay on wonderfully!

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Well, a very merry Christmas to you all! May all your Christmas wishes come true.

A x

Christmas Wish List

On my Christmas list this year is a mixture of beauty products, books, household items and fashion goodies. What’s on yours?

1. Becca – Shimmering Skin Perfector (Moonstone)

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2. The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake

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3. Balenciaga – L’Eau Rose Eau de Toilette

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4. Eleven Paris Town Dress with Leather Neckline Detail (ASOS) –

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5. OPI – Embrace Dare Ya!

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6. NEST – Blue Garden Classic Candle

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7. Anna Karenina (the 2012 film)

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8. Caudalie – Beauty Elixir

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9. Topshop – Geometric Tassel Necklace

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10. Nikon – D5200 camera

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