Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

West Village: A New Shopping Precinct For Brisbane

This post has been written in collaboration with West Village

The way I shop these days has changed quite a bit from when I shopped pre-kids.

In those pre-children days, I loved nothing more than to spend a couple of hours in the city and browse all the shops from the top of the Queen Street Mall, making my way down to Edward Street.

I loved to shop. I still do.

I will never forget the week my husband and I had in when we flew to Melbourne and shopped a storm buying new clothes and shoes. Melbourne was a hub of brands and designers I had never heard. They certainly weren’t in Brisbane, because if they were, I would have known where they were located.

In the last decade, the shopping scene in Brisbane has changed. Queen Street mall has had its share of refurbishments with the QueensPlaza and Wintergarden. Boutique store hubs have also been added in parts of Brisbane like James Street, Emporium in the Valley, Portside and the Barracks. Those designer stores that I discovered in Melbourne, started to open in Brisbane.

Of course my lifestyle has changed quite significantly in the last ten years. I became a mum to three children and as a result, my choice of shopping destination relies on a number of factors including availability of car spaces, cost of car parking, how many shops are located in the one building so I can shop in the one spot and how family friendly is the centre – is there a playground I can bribe my kids to play on if they behave so mummy can do her shopping errands?

These days I’m spending more money on groceries than my wardrobe. But slowly the tides are turning and I’ve been able to re-establish some old shopping habits – but not all of course.

With the change in shopping and even the dining and lifestyle scene in Brisbane, I’ve felt a little left behind because I’ve been in hibernation of early motherhood. I felt a little chuffed to discover and write about the new West Village development at West End.

West Villge development

While the new development offers residential living, West Village will be a city precinct, providing a residential neighbourhood for those that don’t want to leave the city but still want to have the best dining and shopping options on their doorstep. West Village also offers a world class design destination for those of us that want to visit and experience the culture.

west village

West Village will be the shopping precinct you can park in, but shop like you’re in the laneways of Melbourne. It’s the place for families to bring their kids, where the kids can run around the park and parents can enjoy a much needed drink or alfresco coffee.

west village alfresco

Five major precincts will ensure there is something for everyone, available in the one place, but three of the precincts will offer cafes, alfresco dining options and boutique shopping precincts.

Each precinct is inspired in equal parts by the best global destinations, and what makes the local area special. Alfresco dining, cafes and boutique designer shops will frame the Mollison Green, making it a place to meet friends in a modern location, to catch up for coffee or brunch.

Factory Lane is the place to go for night time entertainment and drinks with inspiration being taken from Jazz Bars in New York. Relax and unwind to music while drinking a cocktail or two.

If you love fresh produce and market delights, Peter’s Square will offer provedores, artisan delights and fresh produce so you can take the best tastes and flavourings home with you.

West Village won’t be just another option on your list to visit when you want to go out for dinner, it will be the first place think of when considering a place to meet and eat.

If you’re excited about this new development and want to make it your home, visit the Display Centre at 97 Boundary Street West End. The phone number for all enquiries is 1300 985 465

In the meantime, I look forward to taking the kids to the awesome free art program currently on offer at West Village, and a little serenity for me at the first café in the precinct – Arista.

Disclosure: This post has been written in accordance with my disclosure policy.

We Weren’t Created to Wear Mud

At the beginning of 2002, I headed to a business college to get a Diploma in Business Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations. I didn’t know anyone at the college, but I was eager to learn and get a job so I could earn some money to save for a house.

I remember the first day, there were a group of girls similar in age to myself, waiting to enter the first classroom.

No one made eye contact, and I couldn’t stand not knowing who I’d be in class with, so I broke the ice and said hi. I told them my name and asked everyone to introduce themselves. There were 4 girls who were like me and had recently graduated from school the year before. We found out we were studying the same Diploma and we became instant friends.

I hung out with these girls after our first day by heading to a café. From there, we hung out at college throughout the year. When our classes were together, I would sit with them in class and we would always do group assignments together. Sometimes I’d join them for lunch, but most times I’d race to Post Office Square to meet Jacob for lunch. Those were the days of our young love.

I got to know the girls well enough, but not enough to be best friends. They knew how Jacob and I got together, how we went to church on Sundays and they were generally nice to my face.

But apparently, unbeknownst to me, they talked about me behind my back. I had no clue because I was in love with Jacob and focused on my studies.

The girls talked about how I met Jacob at a cult and various other weird stuff that they assumed which was incorrect.

How did I find out about this gossip?

At the end of the year, one of the girls in the group (let’s call her Mandy) told me about it. She apologized, because she herself was a Christian and knew what church I went to, but couldn’t help but join in on the fun of gossiping about me. She never told these girls that she went to church herself in case she got mocked.

I didn’t get upset by the revelation. Instead I thanked her for telling me and I understood why she did what she did. I felt compassion for her and was encouraged when she told me she was inspired by the way I lived my faith publicly and how I never cared what people thought of me.

To be honest, I did care what people thought of me, but I had assumed these girls had just accepted me.

I was wrong.

Despite the mud thrown my way, behind my back, I was oblivious to it. And it didn’t stick because Mandy knew the mud wasn’t true and the true mud wearers were the friends she hung out with who flung untruths my way.

While I’m by no means perfect, living true to my beliefs and values is important to me. And sometimes that can rub people the wrong way.

That experience all those years ago, always serves as a reminder to me that it’s easy to throw mud at others.

How many discussions can you reflect on that have happened in private where there’s outrage of someone else’s behavior?

‘I can’t believe she does that/did that/ she said what?!’

And often what is said about another person is only one side of a story. It’s one person’s truth.

But the sad reality is, if you throw mud at others, you yourself get muddy first.

We Weren’t Created to Wear Mud

don't wear brown mud

None of us were designed to wear mud. We were never made to throw it and we were never made to wear it.

But women are notorious for getting muddy. I’ve had a few mud fights myself. I didn’t come out pretty and I felt bit dirty afterwards. (pardon the pun!)

On reflection, my view of those girls dimmed because of what I learned. It made them less appealing to hang out with.

I haven’t seen them since.

But sometimes when I know my life is being judged by others – whether fairly or unfairly, I know that people watch for a response and the best response is to keep living to my values and not give in to what is being said behind closed doors. Silence is sometimes the best response to these situations.

So while I write this blog to inspire you with fashion advice and tips, I think it’s important to deal with the matters of the heart and soul. Because no outfit can hide a wounded spirit and style can’t camouflage a hidden agenda that pulls others down.

I don’t want to wear mud and I don’t want to be the one throwing it. Brown is honestly a difficult colour to wear. It doesn’t suit me and I don’t think it would suit you either.

Let’s leave the mud where it belongs and always believe the best in others even if they are a little different.

Ever been the subject of incorrect gossip? How did you deal with it? Do you wear brown?

How to Read Fashion Blogs and Stay Within Your Budget

How to Read Fashion Blogs and Stay Within Your Budget

In an attempt to not buy unnecessary clothes this year, I’ve had to put a plan in place to ensure I don’t sway from my budget.

The reality is, when I read fashion or interior blogs, I do get tempted to buy. In fact blogs are my biggest weakness when it comes to buying clothes because they do the hard work for me.

I don’t have to trawl online or through bricks and mortar shops, when I can read a blog post that will show me where and how to wear an item. With a few clicks I can instantly buy that item. But it’s not always good for my budget. And if I’m honest, the clothing purchase is not always what I need, it’s usually what I want.

There is nothing wrong with buying what I want. It’s good to indulge every now and then. But what are the little purchases costing me? A purchase here and a purchase there… if I add up the sales, the money could have been put towards an experience rather than something else to hang in my wardrobe.

Yet I don’t want to give up reading my favourite fashion blogs either because I enjoy them and for those of us that understand the business of blogging, it’s good to read and comment on similar niche blogs.

So how do you read fashion blogs and stay within your budget?

how to read fashion blogs

Here are some strategies that I used last year and will do again this year to prevent a fashion blowout.

1. Know my favourite blogger’s posting cycle. I know that some of my favourite blogs share their outfits or a ‘what I wore’ type posts on certain days. I also know that often the day they share about their new outfit, it often gets sold out within a day. So I read these posts a day or two later so I don’t get tempted to buy straight away.

2. I withdraw money from my paypal account so I don’t have money to spend. This one can be counteracted if you have your credit card. But it’s a good habit to keep limited money in your paypal account so there isn’t much money to spend on random clothes you may not necessarily need.

3. Make a wish list. If there is an item that I have to have (or need to have), I put it on my wish list. Right now I am wanting some new Bohemian Traders jeans. I won’t be wearing them till Autumn so I have a bit of time to get them. They have been put on my wish list. This gives me time to save to make my purchase.

4. Only buy what I need. Fashion blogs are great for recommendations. When I read a blog post offering outfit suggestions, I ask myself is it something I need or want? Visualising where I could spend that money also helps curb my purchases.

5. Sell something.  If I really have to have something that I read in a blog, I have to choose one item in my wardrobe to sell to make room for the new purchase.

I guess the easiest strategy is to avoid reading fashion blogs altogether, but reading them is one of my hobbies and I can’t not read them.

Each week when I do share different clothing options, they aren’t there to tempt you to buy (although of course it’s good if you do buy an item), they are there to show you options and save you time researching yourself.

Some of my best clothes have been bought on the recommendation of a fashion blogger. Yet it can be hard to not buy if you can be easily swayed or have the means to buy something new.

Before you spend your money, why not see if you could imitate the outfit with clothes you already own?

So tell me, do you find it hard to read fashion blogs and stick to your budget? What kind of fashion posts do you enjoy reading?

Wear What Money Can’t Buy

Wear What Money Can’t Buy

Are you sorted for what you’ll be wearing Christmas Day? If not, head here. Today is the last day to order a dress to get it shipped in time for tomorrow if you want to wear it Christmas Day.

The delivery of my dress has been delayed by Australia Post. It was supposed to be delivered today, but now it’s going to be delivered tomorrow. First world problems!

I’m sure I will be able to rustle up an outfit if it doesn’t arrive on time.

But I’m hoping it will.

Since taking my photo everyday after Phoebe was born, I have become a lot more confident in my style, knowing what I do and don’t like. It makes my internet purchases easier.

I’ve noticed a change in my body shape since those post-birth days, and this year particularly, I’ve noticed I’ve lost weight and my shape is starting to come back. I have a waist and hips and I can see a more defined chin.

wear a smile it's free

Yet despite learning more about my body shape and style through the #everydaystyle challenge, I know that the clothes I put on only make half of my look shine. There is one thing I wear that money can’t buy that gives each of my outfits sparkle. It’s something you have at your disposal as well.


wear what money can't buy

When I smile, it not only lifts how I feel, but it just makes my outfit a look a whole lot better. No matter how ordinary the outfit is, a smile is the winning accessory.

winning smile accessory

A smile adds confidence to an outfit and I much prefer to see a photo of someone looking happy, than someone trying to look like they’re off the set of the Bold and the Beautiful. Give me real rather than posed any day.

smile with jacob

When Jacob makes me laugh before he takes my picture, you can see the joy in my eyes. Those photos are the ones that get the most likes on Instagram – no matter what time they are posted online.

Laughter adds sparkle and it’s contagious.

They say a smile is the prettiest thing you can wear and best of all it’s FREE.

Having a well curated wardrobe is something everyone can eventually achieve, but adding a smile to your outfit? It’s something you can do every day.

And what better time to practice wearing a smile, than on Christmas Day?

christmas smile

On that note, this will be my last post before Christmas. Thank you for reading and commenting and clicking on links I recommend to make a purchase. It has helped my family this year and I look forward to sharing more styling posts in the New Year. May you have a wonderfully blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year. This year has been a mixed bag for me, but I’m ever hopeful that even better days are still ahead for all of us.

Merry Christmas. xx

Coffee With Kirsten – An Afternoon Tea Mingling With Friends and Raising Money for a Great Cause

I love attending events. Whether they are large or intimate, I enjoy attending a function. I also like to support events that my friends put on to support them and the cause they are raising funds for.

When Kirsten from Kirsten and Co announced she was organizing an afternoon tea event which would raise funds for The Pyjama Foundation, I tentatively penciled the event in my diary. When it was announced that Nicole from The Builder’s Wife was going to be presenting, I knew I had to get my ticket. This time of year can be so busy with events and I am apprehensive of overbooking myself – especially when life is busy already with a young family.

But having two of my blogging friends present at an event was the motivation I needed to book myself in for Coffee with Kirsten.

I’m so glad I got my ticket when I did because the tickets sold out. Not that I expected any different. Kirsten is a warm and inviting blogger. We’ve had our share of awesome moments together as bloggers and I always smile when I see her in a room.

I wore an Adrift dress which is sadly sold out. I’m loving off the shoulder dresses this summer.

wearing adrift off the shoulder dress

Anyway, last Saturday afternoon the event took place at Café Grenadine in Camp Hill. I didn’t know such a place existed! But it was gorgeous and quaint. The perfect place to hold an intimate fundraiser event. Each guest was served champagne on arrival.

Kirsten gave a little styling advice about swimwear and how to feel good in a swimsuit. It’s something all of us style bloggers are passionate about because we’ve all been on our own journey to accepting our bodies and wanting to live a full life – which means joining our kids in the water.

Kirsten and Co

We were served a stunning array of individual desserts for afternoon tea and Nicole gave us a lesson on how to create a vignette in our home. The advice was to use different heights, shapes and textured items and to always go with odd numbers – so 5 perfume bottles or three homeware pieces. Use books or magazines to add height to your vignette and you’re able to create interest in a room and make it more homely.

afternoon tea

nicole and Kirsten

nicole the builders wife

What I LOVED about the event is the number of bloggers that came along. There were 8 bloggers who attend, and whenever Kirsten or Nicole were presenting, they mentioned other bloggers in their presentation. This is what I love about our Brisbane Blogging Community. We’re not all about self-promotion (well not all of us), we take advice from each other’s blogs and give credit where credit is due when sharing tips, while also sharing tips of our own.

the builders wife

With Nicole from The Builders Wife

sublime finds

With Andrea from Sublime Finds

Have a laugh on me

With Emily from Have a Laugh on Me

coffee with kirsten

Eva from The Multitasking Woman, Emily from Have a Laugh on Me, Kirsten from Kirsten and Co and Nicole from The Builders Wife

It was a lovely afternoon and many of the guests walked away with gorgeous prizes that were donated by local businesses.


There will be another Coffee with Kirsten event next year. It’s definitely an event you might like to consider attending next year.

thank you bags

Do you like attending fundraising events? When was the last time you caught up with friends for afternoon tea?

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