Tuesday, 26 January 2016

La vita é bella

This charm I got for Christmas is the famous Italian saying; life is beautiful.
Sometimes despite how wrong everything may seem and how nothing is going your way, life is truly beautiful. As cheesy as it sounds, it does take experiencing the worst thunderstorms for one to fully appreciate the rainbow afterwards.

For a while I have felt like I am walking in and out of a thunderstorm with only a slight glimpse of a rainbow, but I believe that my rainbow will appear in full.
No matter how troubled or complicated our lives may seem, I believe that some things do happen for a reason. Overcoming the most challenging obstacles life has thrown at you will make you stronger and more resilient, and it will be worth it in the end.
Surrounding yourself with positive people is so important and I am grateful for my friends and family every day.

I'm going to find a chain to link it on so I can wear it as a necklace; as a constant reminder for the need of positivity in my life.

I am so lucky to live Australia as it is such a gorgeous country. The opportunities available to me are endless, and one day I would like to help those struggling in other countries have the same opportunities for education, health and wellbeing as I have.
Last night my mother made pavlova, and I had to share it with you all because she did such a fantastic job (as always) and it tasted as good as it looked.

Happy Australia Day! 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Sydney Snapshots

On Friday 22nd January, my friends and I caught the train up to Sydney and explored the Queen Victoria Building & Pitt Street Mall.
Here are some snapshots of my day

{Lunch at Chat Thai}

{Dress at H&M}

{Ladurée macaroons}
{The Ladurée macaroons I purchased}

{Lush bath bombs}

{Lush face masks}

What have you been up to lately? Talk to me in the comments below! 


Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Italian Diaries; Chapter One

Gualdo, Tadino

In September 2014, I travelled to the town of Gualdo, Tadino in the province of Umbria, in Italy. Gualdo is situated around 2 hours from Rome and 3 from Florence, so it's right in the middle of Italy. We caught our flight from Sydney to Dubai, and then Dubai to Rome. From Rome we travelled on a bus to Gualdo which felt like it took forever mainly due to the fact that I felt incredibly ill and I had the inability to sleep.

Credit to Google Maps

The first day in Italy was the worst, because when we arrived in Gualdo I was jetlagged, running on the little sleep I had had and I felt sick in the stomach. A new environment filled with many people I didn't know, and I had a stomach bug. Perfect. I was feeling home sick as soon as I had said goodbye to my parents at the Departures gate at Sydney airport, but now that I was on the other side of the world I felt a strange mixture of both anxiety and excitement. 
The first day may have been terrible, but everything went uphill from there.
Gualdo's piazza (town square)
Gualdo is a classic Italian medieval village and it looks more beautiful than the photos I had seen on Google before my arrival.
The image above is of the piazza (the town square). Gualdo is a hillside village and the piazza is situated at the top of the hill. Here in the image is the Duomo. There is a street on the left of the Duomo, and after walking down a few meters there is a small lane on the right. In that street is the cutest little Italian bakery & pizzeria I have ever seen. It's run by two elderly ladies who -hands down- cook the best pizza in the world. The square base is thin and has a good crunch to it; the napolitana sauce is mouth watering paired with the variety of cheese on top. It's so simple yet it is perfection. 

Street garden
Flower pot and statue of the Virgin Mary on the sidewalk
Living here for two weeks with my host families was a dream come true. I attended school there with my host sister Elena, and it was an incredible experience. It was a challenge at first as I had learnt French at school and not Italian, however many of the Italians were learning English at school. 
I learnt the very basics of the Italian language before arriving- i.e. ciao, come stai, non capisco, per favore- and that's where my knowledge ended. 
During my time in Italy I learnt some of the language and my skills progressed- as did the English skills of my Italian friends! It was certainly a win-win situation for us and taking part in their English classes was a lot of fun. 
Friendships were formed and I began to bond with my new Italian classmates. I got asked the typical questions for any Australian in a foreign country, like "Do you have a kangaroo in your backyard?" (The answer being no, which surprised many). 
Latin classes were interesting as I had no clue what was going on, but just sitting there and observing the environment I was in made me reflect on how different my school was to theirs. (The biggest difference being it isn't an all girls Catholic high school, that's for sure). 

Faux flowers on a windowsill

The experiences gained from attending school in Gualdo and participating in their cultural events such as Giochi Dele Porte were incredible. Giochi Dele Porte translates to 'Game of the Gates' which is the Medieval festival that takes place every year in Gualdo during September. Gualdo is divided into four districts who compete in medieval games over the course of around four days. There are also parades on the opening night, the second night, and a celebration on the final night. It was amazing to experience the festival life as there were traditional costumes worn by families in the parade, games like archery and donkey racing being held across the town, and lots and lots of food to be eaten! I especially enjoyed the roasted chestnuts on the side of the street in a small cart, cooked by a lovely old Italian man. He was very kind and gave me one to try before I purchased a whole cone full- and I am glad to say that it was delicious. Chestnut carts are apparently a very popular business for Italians all across the country, and I saw at least one in majority of the places we visited.

My host sister, Elena (right)
The old church was transformed into an art gallery, and this artist was refurbishing the paintings already plastered on the walls
Artwork of Barack Obama in the old church
Wall in the old church
I loved exploring Gualdo and walking around its quiet streets. On our second day we walked to the Rocca Flea, which is the castle on the mountain. It has breathtaking views of the mountain, the flower garden surrounding the ancient bricks were stunning, and the trees and greenery surrounding the castle were so incredibly beautiful. Living in Gualdo and becoming a family with its people would most certainly have to be one of the most beautiful experiences I will ever have.
After I graduate high school I plan on returning to Italy and going to Gualdo, to reunite with my Italian family and friends.
The memories I made in Gualdo will stay with me forever, and I cannot wait to return to my second home.

Rocca Flea garden
Street near the Rocca Flea
This is the first part in my series of posts documenting my Italian adventure of 2014. Tell me what you think of chapter one & share your travel stories with me in the comments below!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Summer Loving

Nothing says summer like swimming and eating fresh fruit by the pool.The Minkpink mirage halterneck one-piece is perfect for summer days like today; I love the bohemian pattern and I think it's very fun and stylish for summer. The swimsuit is incredibly comfortable and I think it has become my favourite! Even better, I was lucky enough to grab it from David Jones for the bargain price of $62, reduced from $90. 

What's your favourite swimsuit & what do you like to do during summer? Share with me in the comments below!


Friday, 8 January 2016

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

After a friend reccomended to me the new Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara, I was slightly hesitant to try it because I have never really been a big fan of mascaras, which is evident as I used to only own two (now I own three..).
I think after many, many years of dance concerts I grew sick of it and never wanted to use it again! My lashes have a natural curl to them already and I never really felt the need to buy mascara; however, I am pleased to say that I have found a mascara I quite like.

The worst things about mascara for me are clumping, heaviness and the formula going onto my eyelids when I blink. Overall I am very impressed with this mascara as I experience little clumping, it isn't as heavy as other mascaras I have tried and the mascara isn't incredibly over the top so much so it would smudge onto my eyelids. I purchased the washable version although I didn't see a waterproof version in store. So even if I was unlucky enough to smudge it, I could easily wipe it off and start again without ruining much of the rest of my makeup.

I like the two sections on the brush, both the large and small sides. The larger side is good for applying the mascara normally, whereas the smaller side is more suited for touch ups and curling the inner part of the eyelash that is most often hard to reach.

I find that there is indeed a noticeable difference before and after application of this mascara. I find that my eyelashes have a more prominent curl while also looking bold, which is a look I love. The mascara stays on for the entire day; say if I apply it in the morning around 9am, it will still look the same until 6pm when I come home and take it off.
I purchased it at Priceline on sale for $15, although the RRP is $21.95. I know that The Chemist Warehouse were selling it for $12.50 recently, but it's available virtually everywhere between the $13 - $22 price range.

I'm satisfied with my latest addition to my small, but good, mascara family. Each mascara gives a different look, and I think the Maybelline Lash Senational is my favourite.

What do you think of the Maybelline Lash Sensational? Have you tried any other mascaras lately? Talk to me in the comments below. 


Sophie Digard: From France to Madagascar

This evening when I came home and checked the mailbox, I was quite surprised to find a letter in there addressed to myself. It is only on a rare occasion when I receive mail by the good old fashioned postal service, other than my birthday and Christmas or unless I've ordered something for myself online (which of course is another story...). I was intrigued as to who would be sending me a card, on the 7th January, so I eagerly flipped the card over to see the name and address of my Dad's godmother, Sue.

Last month towards the end of December my family celebrated my Nan's 70th birthday in Sydney and Sue was there. I complimented her beautiful handmade flower necklace that had been crocheted, and she explained that she bought it at a locally owned store near her daughter's house. The Parisian designer, Sophie Digard, handcrafts all of her accessories by producing and dying the fibers in France and then ships them to Madagascar where her pieces are individually crafted.

Selvedge describes Digard's work as artwork that 'begs to be touched- curious crocheted flowers velvety with soft buds, each leaf and petal knitted individually. Alongside her super sweet roses are beautifully crafted jewellery, scarves and berets in intricately patterned stripes and swirls, reminiscent of a painting by Klimt. Her extensive colour palette- each hue is made up of sixty threads in merino, mohair, and velvet- gives rich, intense individual tones and makes each item unrepeatable.'

When I opened the envelope from Sue I was gifted with a beautiful card; the message inside made me smile and feel absolutely wonderful and cheerful. Then, inside the card was my very own Sophie Digard necklace.

I absolutely adore it; it is most certainly one of my favourite gifts I have ever received- and of course it is one of my favourite necklaces. I think it is so wonderful, quirky and unique. Digard is quoted to have said "My work is beyond time. It takes from ten days to two months to create a scarf, and several months of work for an armchair. [For clientele] to be touched by a product that can be kept for a long time, on that has the value of work, as opposed to the current logic of urgency". Digard's high-quality products help the lives of those living in Madagascar; as through Fair Trade she has set up her studio in Madagascar and employs local women. These women are then taught the skills needed to create the products- i.e. crocheting, knitting and weaving.

You can find my necklace online here, and some of Digard's other products here and here

Sue, if you read this, you will get a card in the mail from me shortly with my reply but this is a public thank you for the beautiful gift. I am so very lucky and appreciative of your kindness, which has made 2016 a wonderful year already for me. Your letter and gift has filled me with joy. Thank you.

What do you think of Sophie Digard's work? Have you seen or purchased any other Fair Trade products before? Let me know in the comments below!


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

5 things to do on a rainy day

I personally love rainy days, they're perfect for staying at home and relaxing unless I have school or work, so in that case I dislike rainy days because it means I have to go outside in the wet, and who likes that? For the past few days the weather hasn't been too bright, and the rest of the week doesn't look any better- even though it is supposed to be an Australian summer right now.
So with the dismal weather, I thought I'd share 10 things I enjoy doing on a rainy day.

1. Read a book

I love curling up in bed, being cosy and warm and reading a good book. I'm currently reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood which is a dystopian novel published in 1985 about the oppression of women in the fictional Republic of Gilead, narrated by a woman named Offred. As the Republic have a declining number of births, the Handmaid's are hired to give birth to children for wealthy families. The Handmaid's Tale is a feminist novel that shows the reader the life Offred lives in the Republic. 

2. Make a cup of tea or hot chocolate

Nothing says warm and toasty like a hot beverage! A cup of your favourite tea or hot chocolate will easily warm your chills on a cold, rainy day. I love English Breakfast with lemon and honey and peppermint tea for something a bit lighter on the stomach.You can never go wrong with hot chocolate, especially when marshmallows and whipped cream are involved!

3. Have a movie marathon

Get your favourite DVDs out (or Netflix), pop some popcorn and get comfy on the lounge as you re-watch your favourite films. If your friends can brave the rain and get outside of their own house, then having a sleepover or movie day would be a fun way to rid your boredom.

4. Take a bath

I find baths so relaxing and I really enjoy just taking time for myself. I use Lush products in my bath and I would highly recommend them to everyone, so to jazz up your bubble bath try one of their amazing bath bombs! 

5. Sleep

Seems like an obvious one, but why not spend the day in bed sleeping. Who knows- maybe you'll wake up the next day to gorgeous, sunny weather!

What do you like to do on rainy days? Let me know in the comments below!

Image credit: Tumblr

Sunday, 3 January 2016

A few of my favourite things: December

This is a new series of posts I am introducing to the blog that will feature my monthly favourites! I'll be posting them at the end of every month or the beginning of the month after.

As 2015 came to a close, here are a few of my favourite things from December...

First up, is The Body Shop's Fuji Green Tea set which includes body lotion, body wash and a shower puff. I love the smell of the Fuji Green Tea, it is one of my favourite releases of the year and I would recommend purchasing these while you can!
Mine came in a small cube box for $9.95, and when I go back to the store again I'm hoping to buy larger bottles.
I use the body wash in the shower and then moisturize with the lotion when I'm dry- and both are the perfect combination for skin that is glowing, moisturized, and smelling soft and fresh.

The other item in the photograph below is The Body Shop's Moringa Body Butter.
I only purchased the 50mL as I wasn't sure how frequently I would use it considering I had also purchased the Fuji Green Tea lotion.
The Moringa Body Butter is a thick butter which is a combination of shea butter + cocoa butter. I quite like it as it is different from the Fuji Green Tea lotion and leaves my skin feeling silky and refreshed; although I do prefer the lotion as it is lighter and leaves my skin smelling for longer.

I recently purchased my first pair of Doc Martens a few days ago after admiring them from afar for quite a while now. I've been waiting for my feet to stop growing so I can finally invest in a pair (size 39 EUR, of course!) in the lovely cherry red.
I contemplated buying the plain black ones however the cherry caught my eye and I couldn't resist going with this colour. I luckily scored them for a bargain price of $150 from Platypus Shoes and I couldn't be happier with my purchase.
I wore them for the first time today and throughout the day my feet were slowly killing me but once I break them in they should -hopefully- be the comfiest shoes ever.

I've been loving the Smashbox Full Exposure Eyeshadow palette, and even though I purchased this in November 2013 in Hawaii I've only really been using it frequently up until now. I like the gold shimmer and I think it's perfect for the holiday season.
The neutral shades work with every outfit which is good because instead of having colourful eyelids, I like to go for a bright or bold lip colour. Kate Moss' Rimmel London in shade 107 has been my favourite as of late, and it is a deep matte red. I find that it doesn't stay on for long amounts of time so I think I should invest in a lip liner!

When I went to the QVB in Sydney I picked up this bronzer from Mecca Maxima. I've been using my bronzer from H&M in Italy for over a year now and as it has almost run out I thought it was time to try another one. This one is the Too Faced Beach Bunny bronzer, which will hopefully last me as long as the one from H&M has!
I'm naturally very pale and I'm not a huge fan of spray tans or DIY tanning, so I use bronzer to help give me a slightly darker glow.
I'm excited to use it after reading positive reviews online, and how incredibly cute and adorable is the packaging? I love how compact and small the bronzer is- perfect for taking away or even fitting it into a purse to use on the go.

For Christmas I was given a Haigh's Chocolate Teddy Tin. This was a part of their Christmas range this year and the milk chocolate teddies are absolutely delicious. Not only are the chocolates themselves good, but the tin and wrapping are stunning too; and would be perfect to store other Christmas sweets after the chocolates have been eaten.

What are your favourite things? Let me know in the comments below!


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