Sydney’s Hidden Eateries

1. 1821 – Made in Greece

I can unreservedly proclaim that 1821, located at 122 Pitt St, Sydney, is the most glamorous, opulent and satisfying dining experience on offer in Sydney’s central business district.

Over three levels of Athenian inspired interior design, paying homage to the Greek revolution against the Ottomans, designer Dimitris Economou has established a unparalled and awe-inspiring venue that is both opulent and sophisticated. Paying tribute to the traditions, heritage and future of Greece, attention to detail is obvious in the design and execution of the interiors, food, staffing, etc.

“I employed a designer from Greece and flew him in to design it,” Kospetas says. “He is a highly regarded in Greece. The whole essence of 1821 is that we want it designed and built in Greece so it actually is a Greek interior.”

Backer Jim Kospetas — who drove the opening of the successful Alpha restaurant in Sydney’s CBD Hellenic Club — says the fitout costs are climbing but added that he is confident the project will have a midyear start.

“It’s been very expensive,” he says. “I don’t think we’re going to get much change out of $2m. It may even get up as high as $3m. But we’re taking Greek food to the next level.”

 The Daily Telegraph

The stunning high ceilings, powerful columns, detailed white horses mounted to the venue entry and wide windows creates an unrivalled eatery appropriate for formal gatherings, and/or casual Friday night drinks with colleagues.

Whether you are enticed by the delights on the desert menu, the finger-licking good main dishes or the reasonably priced (yet ever so fancy) beverages, 1821 has to be next on your ‘to go‘ list!

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph. (02) 8080 7070

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2. Gemelle Ristorante Italiano

Hidden in the side streets of Liverpool sits a fine-dining white tablecloth experience that will not disappoint you (or your purse strings). During a weeknight, Gemelle provides sensational dishes thriving off fresh ingredients, attention to detail and exceptional unobtrusive customer service. On a weekend, Gemelle has proven to be a suitable location for parties and events, oozing an undeniable sense sophistication and charm. Frankly, Gemmelle is the George Clooney of the suburban Italian food restaurants.

Recent interior upgrades such as the addition of stone walls, an impressive glass clear on restaurant floor and winding staircase leading to an upstairs function centre are individual features of the eatery. Down-lights and jazz music add to the flair and up-scale ambience of the restaurant, particularly on busy Saturday evenings.

Whilst dishes are arguably slightly dearer than counterpart restaurants, the overall dining experience and quality of the produce and foods are unrivalled, transporting you from the back streets of the western suburbs to the most elegant eatery in Sydney. In the event that you are searching for alternative locations for a date night or event outside of the central business district, ensure 79 Bathurst St, Liverpool is at the top of your list.

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph: 02 9602 5294

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3. The Public Dining Room

Okay, so perhaps this suggestion is cheating as Balmoral’s The Public Dining Room isn’t necessarily ‘underrated‘, however, on the basis that I knew nothing about it until the moment I ate at the restraunt, for arguments sake, it’s underrated.

The Public Dining Room is an incredibly upmarket venue that boasts unobstructed breathtaking views over the picturesque Balmoral Beach. Having only eaten at the restraunt on Valentine’s Day 2016, of which I cannot recall whether there was a set menu for the evening, the lasting impression of the food was that the kitchen delivered.

Whilst prices are on the higher end, The Public Dining Room is not a venue that one would dine at on a regular basis, instead it would be reserved for special occasions. Considering the beauty of the venue, the professionalism of staff, abilities of kitchen staff and opulance of the interiors, one can make an exception and for-out $40(ish) dollars per meal every so often.

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph. (02) 9968 4880

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Happy dining!

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Easter Sunday Look Book

Anyone who grew up in the Church would tell you that Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day somewhat resemble an exotic fashion Show in Milan. Whether it be polished shoes, manicured nails, perfectly placed hair or exquisite gowns; Easter Sunday is always a time of celebration, family and putting the regular ‘Sunday best’ to shame.

Well versed and knowing this will be the case, I sought to outfit my old-world conservative lace tier dress with youthful accessories to create a playful, yet Church appropriate look.

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Shop my look:

Seed Heritage Lace Tier Dress

Gucci Blooms 

Hugo Boss Nude Shoes

Longines PrimaLuna L8.110.4.87.6

MAC Velvet Teddy Lipstick

Wishing all a happy and safe Easter!

Disclaimer: well-aware that the canines pictured are by far the best accessories to any outfit.

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Styling Menswear

Throughout my years of retail experience, I have met men from various walks of life who have different levels of competence when ‘outfitting’. As a result, I felt it necessary to share some helpful hints and tips I have aquired from my 2.5 years working in men’s fashion.

1. Trans-seasonal Layering

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Tran-seasonal periods are when both men and women have the opportunity to exhibit their personal approach to fashion.

Unlike the warmer months, it is hard to dress with style in mind when your primary concern is not melting in the heat. Personally, I believe that during the colder months one can layer high street pieces into a decadent (yet stylish and affordable) outfit that both looks and feels incredible.

The best tip that I could ever offer is to invest in staple pieces.

Whilst fast fashion can be riveting and playful – certain items of clothing should not be compromised for trends. A classic investment piece of clothing can be worn hundreds of times without looking worn and tattered. Whether it be a wool jacket, suede desert boots, a comfortable pair of boat shoes, high quality yarn knit-wear or a cashmere scarf – pay attention to the fine details of your clothing investments, as these are the pieces your outfits will revolve around.

Now I know what you’re thinking – I bet that you’re scrolling through your phone or sitting behind your computer screen rolling your eyes thinking… “yeah okay, and how much do you expect me to invest?“. Well, the truth of the matter is that high fashion companies are lifting their game – no longer do luxury materials and well fitted pieces have to be purchased from the luxury market. Newsflash, in this competative market, quality garments and expensive price tags are no longer mutually exclusive. Everyday accessible brands such as Connor, Tarocash, YD, Industrie, Saba and Country Road can offer fantastic alternatives to designer clothing, with a similar finish.

When investing in basics, pay close attention to the fabric content and don’t be afraid to ask the sales associate of the best ways to clean the garment, or how it will wear over time.

Alternatively, if you own a classic coat that needs updating, take that coat to an alterations shop and taper the shoulders and waist to flatter your figure. The smallest details can be the difference between items looking mass-manufactured and made for you.

2. Everyday-wear

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Working in men’s fashion you quickly learn that every sales assistant gravitates towards different styles, so much so, that as colleagues we direct customers to one another if we feel our personal style aligns with a customers. If you are after trend-driven casual streetstyle that revolves around fresh sneakers, I could blindly assist you with sizing and not much else. On the other hand, if you are after a collared shirt, fitted chinos and boat shoes – I’m your girl.

For everyday outfitting, I suggest that you consider what appeals to you most and working from there. Determine whether you appreciate sportier styles, trend-driven streetwear styles, or anything in between. Once you know the look you are trying to achieve, it is easier to shop for individual items.

The ‘preppy’ look always spoke to me – the timeless blend of comfortable everyday clothing with a touch of formal flair. This appreciation inspired me to style the model (pictured above) in a quintisential preppy look appropriate for university, casual fridays in the office, or weekendwear.

3. Work-wear

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Dressing for work isn’t too complicated. If you stick to a few golden rules, there’s not much that can go wrong.

Firstly, always match your belt and shoes (and workbag if you so wish). Far too many times men have come into the mens-wear store I work at with the intention of purchasing a semi-matching belt for their work outfit.

I’m sorry, but no.

There are some things in this world that are fundamentally wrong…this is one of them.

The purpose of wearing a belt other than for functional reasons, is to tie the details of an outfit together to achieve a polished look. If your belt and shoes do not match, the proportions of the outfit are scewed and you are better off untucking your shirt and sporting the shoes on their own.

I note that whilst in this image the workbag is black and the other accessories are a deep chocolate brown, the subtle hardware of the bag paired with the brown patch detailing on the strap ties the outfit together.

Further, do not fear the ‘dress chino’. Whilst a lot of mens fashion brands are yet to jump on the bandwagon, I am a great believer in the versatility, practicality and beauty of the dress chino. This is a pant that can be worn for work and paired with a different top, can be transformed into an everyday pant for casual day-to-day life. If purchased in a subtle color such as black, navy, ink, camel or sand, the dress chino can be the perfect addition to a capsule wardrobe (whilst still looking professional and polished).

Whatever your style, experience or confidence with men’s clothing, we all have to start from somewhere. Thanks to my delving into clothing styles, I have progressed from the completely inexperienced 19 year old to a reasonably well-versed near 22 year old – I have no doubt that you can do the same!

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February Favourites

Fashion

1.  Dior Tribal Earrings

The En Dior Tribale earrings have quickly established themselves as a staple piece of every bloggers wardrobe. For that specific reason, I vowed to never show interest in the seemingly over-hyped pair of earrings. Whilst I am a huge pearl enthusiast, I like many was unwilling to look past unbranded accessories that exhibited great craftsmanship and individuality, for mass-produced pieces that are not even freshwater pearls.

My stoic attitude was however challenged by one of my favourite bloggers Lydia Elise Millen, as she unboxed a stunning sterling silver pair of Tribal Earrings from Paris, with an unrivalled intricate design. From there on, I could not get the less common tribal earrings designs out of my mind, helplessly watching the items sell for ludicrous prices on the consignment market. For that reason I decided to invest when I had the opportunity and jump on the tribal bandwagon…and I have not looked back since!

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2. Gucci GG Blooms Continental Wallet
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As exhibited in my previous posts, the GG Blooms print truly is the apple of my eye. With that in mind, let’s not act surprised that I am insanely in love with my GG Blooms Continental ‘Zip Around’ Wallet.

Even though fashions are moving away from continental wallets towards sleeker card cases, I proudly rock my floral beauty like a nana with her decades old fur jacket – wearing it without a care.

If you are on the market for a sturdy canvas wallet that can be utilised as a clutch (and that isn’t sported by every Tom, Dick and Jane) – I would unreservedly recommend this piece.

3. Zoe Wittner – Clide Shoes

Quite literally my ‘go-to‘ shoe.

Work? Clide.

Date night? Clide.

Mountain walk? Clide.

Wedding? Clide.

Funeral? Clide.

Okay, perhaps exaggerated slightly, but nevertheless these shoes scream Aquazzura vibes to me (minus that painful Aquazzura price tag) ! This attention grabbing pair is always the focal part of conversations, and/or outfit. After spending a day in the city shopping with my mother, she came to the opinion that women and other on passers spent more time staring at my shoes than they did anything else. They are the perfect comfort sandal, with a durable suede lining, paired with that certain pazazz you do not often see in high street.

My love runs deep for them, so much so that I returned to purchase the style in all provided colours – not even sorry!

Beauty

1.  Guerlain ‘Rouge G de Guerlain’ Lipsticks

Guerlain is a brand I always wanted to try, but somehow never got around to (like most things in my life). Hearing esteemed lifestyle bloggers rave about the velvety and luxurious pigment of the lipsticks made me instantly lust for one of my own. As if that wasn’t enough, the heritage of the company had me swooning unimaginably, with the House of Guerlain was founded in 1828, when Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his perfume store at 42 in Paris.

I finally took the leap into Guerlain, and have not looked back since.

The two colors I can not get enough of are the Orgueil M69 and Luxure M27 (pictured below). As someone who rarely stray from my holy grail nude shades, and in the rare occurrence that I do it is to sport another nude, these shades are a well needed sophisticated nighttime shade.

2. Omorovicza Skincare

I first encountered Omorovicza products in Mecca Cosmetica and to be blatantly honest, the moment I heard of the process behind the product, the efforts chemists went to and the active ingredients, I was listening.

The moment they told me the story of Margaret and Stephen, the founders of the product, they had my attention.

Fast forward to the early days of this century Margaret and Stephen met in Budapest. Stephen took his future wife on a tour of Hungary and their first stop? The thermal baths. Here, they were amazed at the transformation of their skin and so enlisted the help of a Nobel prize-winning laboratory to harness these healing waters into a pioneering new luxury skincare range, using Hydro Mineral Transference.

Origins of Omorovicza

The moment they told me the product originated from Budapest – I was sold.

Irrespective of the product packaging, indifferent to the scent and/or the popularity, Omorovicza is by far the best skincare I have ever used (finally, something knocking Clinique Anti-Blemish Solution Review off it’s pedestal).

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3. MECCA COSMETICA (store)

Okay, so, newsflash to everyone else out there who like me, didn’t know that Mecca
a does not purely specialise in makeup (Mecca Maxima), but also in skincare!

Further to that, I can hand on heart attest to the fact that I have never been so impressed with the sales assistants as I was in Mecca Cosmetica. After wandering aimlessly into The Galleries store, I was so thankful to have met a brilliant sales person named Alma who spent in excess of an hour with me, discussing the heritage, stories and skincare products within the store. What struck me was how much knowledge these women possessed and the inconceivable passion they had for exceptional product and helping
clients with their skin needs.

I will be hard pressed to shop anywhere else for my skincare needs from now on. Through old fashioned customer service, I will happily blow the trumpet and be an ambassador for Mecca Cosmetica. If you too feel like you are wasting hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on ineffective creams – head into your nearest Mecca Cosmetica and merely ask for help.

4. Carolina Herrera, Good Girl

My first encounter with this scent was in the duty-free shopping of the Pacific Jewel.
From that first whiff, I could not get the flirtatious fragrance out of my head, so much so that I woke up the next day knowing that I could not resist brining the stiletto shaped bottle home. Carolina Herrera’s new fragrance is a delicate balance between sweet floral scents and deep sexy undertones.

5. Priceline Hair Care ‘Goody Bag’

This month Priceline offered customers a ‘Goody Bag‘ with product amounting to $260 when customers spent $50 on hair care products.  This bag consisted of various full-sized products which to my surprise were of impeccable quality and value.

Miscellaneous

1. 7/11 Iced Coffee

At the risk of sounding like a ‘BB’, iced coffee is the man-kinds greatest creation since sliced bread.

Why not enjoy a guilt free iced coffee that will only set you back $2, in comparison to cafes that will end up being a robbery by daylight?

2. ECOYA White Peach & Orange Blossom Reed Diffuser

As an appreciator of all scents peach, it seems fitting that my room constantly smell of sweet citrus!

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3. Spotify – Sleep Playlist

I am still unaware of what the third track on the playlist is… I am always in a peaceful slumber by that stage.

4. T2 Tea Flask

I was lucky enough to be gifted the much anticipated tea flask for Valentine’s Day. H999BU078_t2-stainless-steel-flask-lilac_r1.jpgWhilst I was advised that the tea will stay hot for 6-8 hours, a claim that I was sceptical about, I found that tea could stay hot for much longer. I can confirm that these claims are not mere puff and they are completely and unreservedly worth the money.

My flask was my number one item used on my recent cruise, addressed in Travel Tips & Tricks: Cruises. A stunning gift and addition for anyone who loves there tea anywhere near as much as I do.

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day has always been a special event in my eyes. Albeit, I acknowledge that the day to many is merely driven by consumerism and Hallmark’s advertising team. To me on the other hand, it is a day of love, celebration, sentiment, romance and perhaps a cheeky rose or two!

My partner, ever the romantic, outdid himself this year.

Leading up to the big day, I pitied my lover and the mammoth task set-out for him of beating last years celebrations. Needless to say I was touched that he organized a stunning hot air balloon ride for us to experience sunrise together, followed by a buffet breakfast, an intimate picnic lunch and dinner at the location we had our first date.

Safe to say he has his work cut out for him next year!

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Whilst I appreciate that I am incredibly lucky, everyone has experienced a lonely and painful valentine’s day. For that exact reason, I think it is incredibly important to think of both your friends and family and what their experience of valentine’s day will be like.

Whether it be a simple text letting them know that they are in your thoughts, a coffee catch-up throughout the day, attending an anti-valentine’s day event with them or gifting a basket of goodies that you know they would appreciate – it’s important to think outside of merely your romantic relationship and show platonic love to those who also matter to you!

Sending love to all this valentine’s day,

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2016 Favourites

As a consumer who gullibly believes the claims of beauty companies, I have dabbled in various products and their claims to determine what is and isn’t mere puff.

To celebrate the beginning of the new year, I would love to share the products that proved exceptional, that I will continue to use throughout 2017!

Skin Care

Clinique Anti Blemish Solution

2016 was the year of acne.  Vicious, aggressive and unyielding acne. Quickly I learnt that  teenagers are not the only ones to fall victim to the curse of cystic hormonal acne.

Thankfully, with the assistance of the Clinique Anti Blemish Solution Range (review available at: Clinique Anti-Blemish Solution Review), my skin has been afforded the opportunity to clear up. I recommend these Clinique products to those struggling with their skin, yet do not want to use harsh chemicals or reach to prescribed oral or topical medications.

Frank Coffee Scrub

When it comes to ensuring soft luxurious skin, coffee scrubs have been all the rage this year. Every Tom, Dick and Jane have released their take on the humble coffee scrub. Meanwhile, I have been the foolish consumer who has purchased dozens of coffee scrubs in an attempt to knock the most popular of them all, being Frank. Unfortunately, said venture has led me to some skin issues. Some of the scrubs have been too coarse, causing grazing and irritation, some have had far too many chemicals, causing mild allergic reactions, whilst the others were bluntly underwhelming. Through my hundreds of wasted
dollars and my many skin issues, I have come to the final determination that Frank is not at all overhyped and that it is about time I show fidelity to the original coffee scrub brand.

The Frank: Peppermint and Coffee Scrub has established itself as a staple of my beauty routine. Beyond the fact that I am a stickler for anything peppermint flavoured or scented, the scrub has an incredible ability to penetrate the skin’s surface to leave a luxurious sheen to the skin (of oil), whilst relaxing tense muscles. I particularly appreciate this particular coffee scrub for post-workout relaxation (as discussed in my first point in 16 Lessons Learnt throughout 2016!).

Makeup

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Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

There is a reason why the Double Wear Foundation is the number one selling makeup product from the internationally acclaimed skin care brand. The medium to high coverage buildable foundation is incredible for both day-to-day wear and for special occasion makeup.

It is no secret that a wide range of influencers speak glowingly about this product (to be fair, I was late on the bandwagon), but repurchasing on multiple occasions throughout 2016, I would not enter 2017 wearing anything else.

p.s I recommend wearing the matching pressed powder on-top so not to look caked. 

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer

I originally purchased this product purely on the premise of price. Cosmo Cosmetics in Sydney was clearing their Giorgio Armani range (still in date) for a fraction of their retail cost. As a constant fake tan user, I was recommended the fluid sheer in shade three, which is a luminous colour corrector that I mix with my foundation. I love the natural highlight that the fluid sheer provides and the fact that it alters to my individual skin tone.

It is also worth noting that the product packaging is stunning and can easily be used as a decorative piece (as discussed in Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget: Budget Friendly Luxury Design).

Too Faced: Better Than Sex Mascara

One coat of the carbon black, collagen-fuelled mascara formula and lashes are full, defined and stretched to unbelievable lengths. Two coats and lashes are even more luscious, curled and dramatic. Three coats and achieve the most intense black, oversized, multidimensional lashes possible! A mascara so amazing it’s Better Than Sex!

Mecca Details

…took the words out of my mouth.

Physicians Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Liquid Eyeliner 

I struggle with liquid eyeliner. Watching me create a winged eyeliner somewhat resembles a scene from the Trojan War. The Physicians Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Liquid Eyeliner is an incredibly thin brush that is easy to control, which is always a positive when working with carbon black eye products.

Mac Lipsticks: Angel and Honey Love

Considering actions speak louder than words, let us appreciate the fact that I have repurchased the Frost Lipstick Angel six times this year!

Angel is a stunning hybrid of glossy pink and nude that provides medium to full coverage on the lip. Whilst I begun using Angel without a lip liner, I soon determined that the shade suited a slightly darker nude lipliner (currently using one from Nude by Nature). Surprisingly, I recently wore the shade without the lipliner and came to the determination that the colour was slightly too pink and youthful without a darker undertone (which might suit those with lighter coloured features).

At the same stage I started reaching past Angel, I was inspired by the infamous lip combo of my favourite blogger and YouTuber, Lydia Elise Millen. I was gifted Honey Love for Christmas 2015 but did not wear the colour as I am not a fan of Matte lipsticks (seemingly unlike the rest of the world). Lydia prompted me try the shade and have not put the lip product down since!

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Hair Care

For as long as I can remember, my best friend has tooted on the horn of BioSilk silk infused hair therapies (which fell upon deaf ears).

Whilst sailing through the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, my hair became dry and brittle due to the effects of the harsh and unyielding elements. In returning from the ocean, I fell into the habit of running the BioSilk treatment through my hair after I washed it. In no time at all my lifeless mop turned light, luscious and felt nourished – somehow my hair looked and felt far better than it did leaving Australia.

Since returning back to Australia, I am pleasantly surprised to find out that Priceline Pharmacy has decided to stock BioSilk therapies, which were previously only available from the American or in Europe.

The entire BioSilk collection including the shampoo, conditioner and leave in treatment  has revolutionised my hair care routine. I would unreservedly state that this find was the find of the year.

Fashion

Monogram (Hot Stamped) Leather Goods

Up until 2013, it was rare to see an everyday working woman sporting hot stamped leather. Whilst some were lucky enough to get their hands on hand painted Louis Vuitton, the rest of us were left googling images of celebrities showing off their initials.

Irrespective of how common and ‘on trend’ monogram has become, there is still a wow factor about someone taking their wallet to bag to the next level. I personally believe that people look at a hot stamped speedy and appreciate it first and foremost for the reason that it is a genuine Louis Vuitton piece. The initials take a backseat to the name behind the brand. TDE and Monpurse have branded solely around the complimentary hot stamp service. The fact that your bag isn’t mass manufactured for millions of people to wear worldwide adds a sentimental value to your item.

Personalising a Trend: Monogram

From phone case, laptop cover, cosmetics bags, pencil case, pouches, card wallets, purses and everything in between – I purchased it in 2016 and I will continue to love it in 2017!

Miscellaneous

Zara Home Car Air Freshener

Having a immaculately clean car is a must for me. The most commonly used phrase said in
my car from friends is generally “wow, your car is so clean!”, to which I hide an inconspicuous smile well-knowing that I vacuum it multiple times a week. I pay just as much attention to the scent of my car considering how many hours I spend in my vehicle in the week.

Zara Home in Sydney stocks beautiful car air fresheners that are beautiful and luxurious smelling. My favourite scent that I continue repurchasing is the wild berries scent that resembles my favourite triple scented candle.

BOSS The Scent for Her

THE FRAGRANCE

INGREDIENTS:

TOP NOTE: ATTRACTION
The fruity and floral Honeyed Peach and Freesia meet in an exquisite, head-turning combination that creates an irresistible attraction.
HEART NOTE: SEDUCTION
Warm and voluptuous heart notes of the oriental flower Osmanthus connect the top and base notes in an initially light and delicate allure that evolves into a darker, heady quality.
BASE NOTE: ADDICTION
Locked together and powerless to resist, the fragrance unleashes an irresistibly rich base note of Roasted Cocoa. An enigmatic element with strong hidden qualities, it offers an addictive boost that arouses the senses, making the protagonists relinquish control in the moment.

Hugo Boss

The fragrance is stunning and no description can honestly pay it justice! I was lucky enough to be gifted this fragrance for Christmas (features in my Christmas Gift Guide: Women who have Everything!) and I am certain that this will be the scent of the new year!

Clarisonic Mia 2

My boyfriend generously gifted me the pink Clarisonic Mia 2 in the baby pink after I dragged him through Sephora on a summers day.

I love the fact that the Clarisonic cleans six times deeper than washing your face and body with your hands, moving at more than 300 movements per second to deeply clean the skin. Unbeknown to the Clarisonic company, their product is also a vital and effective part of my fake tan skincare routine and preparation. The Mia 2 is waterproof and the cleansing head is wide enough to be used for the rest of the body surface making it multifunctional (also ladies, we are getting our cost-per-wear down).

The only downfall of the Clarisonic is the fact that the charger isnt made for Australian powersockets, thus it requires an adapter which can be bulky when travelling.

The Clarisonic has been a constant companion in my self-care routine and I am certain that it will continue to do so in the new year.

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Wesołych Świąt!

To the Poles, much alike other Eastern Europeans, Christmas Eve (Wigilia) is one of the most important days of religious observance in the year.

The meaning and traditions of Wigilia are representative of the Roman Catholic faith, the significance of family, the perseverance of traditional customs and carb-laden hearty foods.

Wigilia along with the rest of the festive season is a time of year that I always idealised and continue to look forward to. I distinctly recall as a child my mother  preparing beautiful and indulgent foods in the kitchen, whilst the rest of the family obediently cleaned the house (including the dreaded windows). I have come to value these menial tasks and memories with age and hope to uphold these values in the future with my future family, in hope to preserve the Polish culture in my life and in hope that my children will love the festive period as much as I do.

With that said, I would love to share with you what Wigilia looks like at my home and how traditional European customs and the modern life we live in Australia intersects, creating our hybrid ‘Wigilia’.

Oplatek

Breaking oplatek with your beloved family and friends is an ancient tradition, whereby
communion bread is broken by the head of the family (traditionally the husband to the wife) and well-wishes are shared between the couple, to be continued with the rest of the table. These well-wishes are strictly to take place before the sharing of the Christmas Eve supper.

The Christmas wafer symbolizes the unity of the family,[8] which many consider to be the main pillar of society. According to beliefs, the bond of unity should exist between family members. The father is seen as the link in the unbroken chain of One Body, One Bread, One Christ, and One Church, while other family members join him in this eternal procession. The wafer also symbolizes forgiveness and reconciliation.

Oplatek

Whilst my best-friend and I dreaded the awkwardness that the oplatek brought, and the
inevitable “I hope you get good grades at school” line – I have come to appreciate these moments as an adult, as honestly, how often do we take time out of our day-to-day lives to appreciate our families and wish them well in their future endeavours?

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Christmas Eve Supper

Tradition dictates that there is to be at least twelve (12) meals at the Christmas table, representative of the Twelve Apostles, the twelve days of Christmas and the twelve months in the year.

Wigilia dinner is to be strictly meatless, influenced by the practice of fasting to show respect. As a result, seasonal foods such as boiled potatoes, pickled herrings (sledzie), mushroom soup, beetroot soup, kompot (recipe available at Eastern European Christmas Classics: Kompot) , beans and sauerkraut (groch i kapusta) and other heavy food groups are used.

Polish people also are to prepare spare cutilary, cups, plates and enough food for an extra visitor. This empty place at the table is to represent those who are far from us on this special day, the less fortunate and those speding wigilia alone.  My favourite memory is when a man dressed as santa walked through our neighbourhood wishing everyone a Merry Christmas was invited into our home to share in the Christmas Eve dinner and celebrations.

Bombki

Hand painted and designed bym-iw-bombkaaubles play a significant role in Bombek.JPGaccessorising Wigilia and the family Christmas tree.

This year my partner surprised me with a personalised hand-painted bauble with our names on it. This gift is something I will always hold close to my heart due to the strong cultural influences of hand-made bombki, and the fact that this is a sentimental object that we can continue to use into the future. He further outdid himself by both reading and gifting me the Zimmermann Circular Link bag I discussed in both Christmas Gift Guide: Women who have Everything! and the Luxury Addict Tag (lucky me).

Zimmermann.JPG

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Niech czas Bożego Narodzenia upłynie w atmosferze radości i miłości, a Nowy Rok spełni wszystkie wasze marzenia.