February 21, 2017

KP and B do the GC


Most people know that I'm a passionate Sunshine Coaster, born and bred here and impatient with visitors to the area who may think of it as the second-rate sister to the older, gaudier Gold Coast. I rarely visit the GC as I know how lucky I am to have everything I need right here. But when my gorgeous mate Brooke of Blonde Ambition asked if I'd like to head south with her for a weekend, of course I decided to change that and take a fun trip to the Gold Coast!

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, and I loaded up my car, kissed my husband goodbye and beat the Bruce Highway traffic to go meet up with Brooke after she finished her Pilates session. A quick hug and back into our separate cars - hers was too full of bike to fit me in - to cruise south on the surprisingly traffic-jam-free M1.

Our first stop was Harbour Town, Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre. Brooke and I were super-excited to include Harbour Town in our GC itinerary as we'd heard about the Premium Mall which had opened in May 2016, with Kate Spade New York, Furla, Michael Kors, Coach, Oroton and other high-end retailers. Did we mention Kate Spade New York? (Hello, my name is Katy, and I'm a Kate Spade-oholic.)

The outlet stores offer anywhere from 30 to 70% off sales everyday, so we were even more delighted when the Harbour Town team generously offered us a gift card each to help us splurge a little. After cutting a few laps of the Centre to make sure we weren't missing any must-haves, we shopped our socks off and I'm now the delighted owner of this Kate Spade tote, along with one of her gorgeous idiom bangles too! My tip to the wise... don't accompany Brooke to a Kate Spade store without a good book and a pair of headphones, her indecision is becoming legendary.

Happily, this was the Kate Spade New York tote* that I was eyeing off when we traveled through Singapore Airport last year, and now she's mine!


 Harbour Town also has a dedicated Tourism Lounge which offers complimentary services including tea and coffee (free coffee AND outlet shopping? sweeeeet) and a free tourist-only shuttle bus every Tuesday to Saturday. The only problem I can imagine is that you might buy too much to cart back to your hotel on the bus!

We packed our new goodies in our cars and drove to our home for the evening, QT Gold Coast. This was my first time staying at a QT Hotel after lusting over the Port Douglas hotel on my last few trips north, and I was suitably impressed with the much-anticipated 'fun factor'.

QT Gold Coast is a retro-lovers dream with midcentury decor and colourful surf-inspired artworks, and quirks like a giant Connect 4 set by the astroturfed pool lawn. Level 1 houses the restaurant and QT Spa, while the ground level is home to spacious reception, cocktail bar and cafe areas, and a split-level loungeroom reminiscent of the Brady Bunch which is used to host their high teas (aptly named Qteas).



We dumped our shopping and overnight bags on our beds, and immediately went down to the pool deck to try a few cocktails. Brooke had previously stayed at QT Gold Coast and had a favourite tipple so didn't require a menu, but I was torn between a couple, so of course tried them both!

I'm sure you'll agree when I say it ain't a tropical holiday without a tiki drink, and this Mexican Tiki Punch with lashings of Guava, Pineapple and Coconut was a tropical treat!

After a few drinks, it was back upstairs to change into our brightest frocks and head a few blocks south to Cavill Avenue, where we'd been invited to check out a Summer fashion parade at Soul Boardwalk. The mall was jumping, and the show's DJ had us toe tapping, so after the fashion show, we nipped along the Esplanade to Sandbar, a recent addition to Surfers Paradise's share-plate restaurant scene. Because we're both complete party animals ready to whoop it up on the GC, our next move was back to the hotel to crank the air-conditioning, jump into our beds at 7.30pm and watch Nicolas Cage in National Treasure. Like I said, we're wild like that.

For the evening's festivities I wore this fun neon SheIn OTS frock with tan NiKKi heels (I won these through a recent Styling You/Frankie4 competition!) and a gorgeous beaded Sana Clutch*.

The next morning, we spent some quality time aquainting ourselves with the impressive breakfast buffet (Brooke enjoyed a softserve icecream with breakfast... really) before we packed up, headed downstairs and gave the Connect 4 set a quick workout and then checked out of QT.


For a morning of cycling in the sea breeze, I prepared poorly and wore this breezy Piper frock, Target slides, Malani Co fringe earrings and my super-fun Potaty Miss London clutch from Miss Monogram.

Brooke had mentioned taking her new bike down the Gold Coast for our weekend away and enjoying a pleasant cycle along the beachfront, but I'm firmly of the opinion that bikes are for people who enjoy wearing lycra and have a much less sensitive butt than I. I mean, there’s not much joy in panting and gasping, is there?

I thought I'd be the clever one and contacted the crew at Crooze Electric Bicycles at Broadbeach to see if they would be able to help with my 'I want to cycle along the beach but not get hot and sweaty' conundrum, and they generously came to the party, loaning me one of their super-cool Noosa electric bikes. (FYI they both hire and sell their cruisers, so you can definitely try before you buy!) Now when I say electric bike, I mean a bicycle that can be pedaled, with options to add a power boost from a discreet electric motor, not a scooter. Obviously I wanted to be able to pedal A LITTLE, in case we rode past cool cycling people who would mock me whizzing by with no effort at all!

Let's clear a few things up - I am a very reluctant cycler, I don't feel comfortable riding my old clunker ladies' mountain bike around the footpaths of my quiet suburb, let alone hitting the streets. But something about being shown the gadgets and gizmos on the Noosa cruiser got me excited, I donned a bright pink camo helmet and off I zipped. Electric bikes are now so technologically advanced and quiet that not even Brooke knew when I was pedalling and when I was nudging the throttle. Sneaky - I like it.
The Noosa cruiser is a super-cute step-through style, which makes it easy to ride while wearing a frock. Seriously!

See - frocking awesome!

(Sidenote: I got home from my weekend away, waxed lyrical to my husband about how much I enjoyed riding the Noosa cruiser and he's decided that we're driving down to the Gold Coast this week to trial them together - a Noosa cruiser for me, and for him, the manlier-looking Cooly electric bike; and then maybe bring a couple home! He loves to cycle, but I'm always letting him down and slowing him down, so this could be the coolest-looking compromise ever!)
Seriously, this was the coolest and cruisiest ride ever. Thanks Crooze team!


We tootled to Mermaid Beach and then along Millionaires Row and Hedges Avenue, real estate shopping and dreaming of the luxurious mansions we could own if we just, you know, knuckled down and saved a bit more, then stopped at BSKT Cafe at Nobby's to drink ALL THE COLD THINGS before turning around to cycle the 4.2km back to Crooze at Broadbeach. That's right, we cycled 8.4km, and I wasn't even puffed.

The cutest little exhausted Brooke that you ever did see!

It'd been a big morning so it was time for a light lunch and more cold drinks at Beaches Off Tedder before a big hug with Brooke and back into our cars to hit the M1 and drive home. I managed to miss a bunch of storms and any dramatic Sunday afternoon traffic, which was quite the win too!

It was a smashing way to spend a weekend with one of my best mates, and I'm definitely looking forward to going down to the Goldie again this week to enjoy a ride along the beach with my husband!

I don't know if I'm ready to kick my bias against the Gold Coast to the kerb just yet, but I've certainly seem an unexpected and more family-friendly side of the region now! Anyone for a game of giant Connect 4 and Tiki cocktails?

*Kindly gifted, and only shared here because I love it!

January 02, 2017

Showcasing Small Biz in 2017

I know that Christmas is behind us, and all that most of us are thinking about is spending less, eating less and exercising more. (No... just me? Righto then.) But we'd be lying if we said we were going to stop spending altogether, right? Why not make that spending as pleasurable for the store as it is for you?!

This year, I'd love to introduce you all to some of my favorite shops, both online and locally on the Sunshine Coast. Supporting local and small business is supporting continued growth, prosperity and healthy competition, as well as providing local entrepreneurs and business owners (real people, not giant companies) with continued cashflow. Not only are you more likely to find something unique but it really does feel awesome to to shop small and support these people who are trying to make a living doing what they love!

This month, my blog will be getting a long-overdue facelift (yes, from a local small graphic design business), and I'll enjoy hanging out here and writing so much more when it's all pretty and tidy. Along with sorting the the aesthetic side of the blog, and my irregular random thoughts (blogger/oversharer = same/same), I'm hoping to showcase fabulous stores and businesses each week, so if you know of a small Australian-owned business which you think I'd love, let me know!

Now, to my first little round-up of small biz awesomeness.

1. Dew & Rose teal crystal stud earrings - These oversized teal crystals in a simple rose gold setting aren't just the perfect accessory, they come beautifully packaged and ready for gifting. Dew & Rose supports girls' education through partnering with One Girl onegirl.org.au, so you're really giving the gift that gives twice. Winning!

2. H&G Designs black grid mood board - Getting organised for the start of the school, uni or work year never looked so good, with this black wire mood board to display current projects, goals, ideas, photo’s, design objects and memos. The suede straps to hang are super-cute too!

3. The Hello Workshop 2017 desk calendar - Still on the organisational theme, this quirky desk calendar has more than a little nod to the fun-lovin' 80's, with bright pastels in geometric designs.

4. MinPinShop Grumpy mood ring - This sterling silver mood ring is definitely the grown-up version of a piece of jewelry you might have worn as an angsty teen. With other mood options available too, you could fill your fingers and really confuse your friends!

5. Clutch Zuha beaded clutch - Need a clutch fancy enough for the big events, but also neutral enough to go with every outfit in your wardrobe? The new arrivals to Clutch are all gorgeous, but this tan, ochre and black beaded zip clutch is my pick, the detachable cross-body strap was the clincher for me.

6. Inactive Wear Can't Even tank - Created by local genius and all-round sassypants Lauren Jane, Inactive Wear is for the fit and not so fit, who don't want to take themselves (or their gymtime) too seriously. I'm dying over the Can't Even, but wait until you check out the Good Fat or the Gluty Call designs, they're too cheeky!

7. Miss Monogram Miss Victoria large pouch - Sunshine Coast local Natalie Tink recently launched her new personalised accessories line Miss Monogram, and the simple and elegant styles have caught my eye - especially the A4-sized Miss Victoria. In pink, taupe, black or navy (my fave), it's a classic.

8. Indah Koin Australian 2 cent coin necklace - I have one of these gorgeous silver necklaces from my husband's birth year, and I get so many compliments about it - one of these necklaces would make a fabulous gift for a special birthday or anniversary! Indah Koin also have bracelets, bangles and rings.

9. Soak Society rose wellness bath soak - Another clever local, Natalie decided that she was sick of seeing lurid and bright bath bombs full of all kinds of nasties, and got back to basics with a range of gorgeously-scented products; and has recent;y branched out into beautiful gift packs too. (Don't worry everyone, I'll remind you with plenty of time for my birthday, hehe!)

Now head on over to these amazing stores run by incredible people. Let’s all shop small a bit more everyday!

Do you run a small business?

December 06, 2016

Homewares trends for 2017

I've become a little homewares-obsessed lately. Maybe it's because we've been living in this home for three or so years, and have started personalising it and trying to add value with small renovations and upgrades. Maybe it's because my husband is working all the way through Christmas, and we're not taking a trip anywhere, so I'm pottering around the house trying to make it feel a little fresher.

Whatever the reason, I've been cruising and perusing home and interiors magazines for a while now and would like a large influx of cash into my bank account, please. Some of those renovations are not cheap! Failing bank robbery or an unknown great-aunt leaving me her ill-gotten fortune, I've resorted to smaller additions to our home decor, which surprisingly still pack a big punch.

Since I buy those home and interior magazines for research purposes of course, I thought I'd share some of the top homewares trends I'm seeing for the next year. They're all easy enough to adopt in either small or large doses, and you could even mix and match a few!

There's a one-stop-shop for all homewares in Australia, and that's Reed Gift Fairs. Celebrating the latest in the homewares and gift space,they bring together the people and the products behind everything that’s hot in the design and gift space. With the next one to be held in Sydney in February next year, this fair gives exhibitors the chance to showcase all their new and exciting products, and retailers head there to pick and choose upcoming stock. Sounds like an interiors dream, right? I just need to find a way to nab a ticket!

Top Homeware Trends for 2017

Trend forecasters have started planning for the new season, which will bring with it a change in mood – one that will see earthy tones, hints of mixed metals, and the return of natural materials. I've sussed out some of Reed Gift Fairs' exhibitors to see what they'll be bringing to the table (literally to the table, in the case of some tableware designers LOL) next year.

Terracotta
The earthy tone of terracotta will become a key element in many homes, and a leading trend in the New Year. No longer will you find terracotta restricted to pots in the garden! Unique Australian homewares and jewellery company Jones & Co provides plenty of inspiration on how to incorporate hints of earthy tones to the home. 

Selection of gorgeous pots and planters


Indoor Plants
Succulents have become so popular lately, with groups popping up on Facebook dedicated to growing and swapping succulents - and no hipster cafe is worth it's salt without succulents in unconventional containers on each table! I'm sure we'll see this trend grow even more, bringing the outdoors inside with indoor plants. Displayed in classic concrete pots, woven bags or a glass vase, Reed Gift Fairs will leave you feeling inspired, with exhibitors such as Florabelle, who will show off beautiful displays of indoor planting. I've actually got a few Florabelle artificial plants in my guest rooms, and they always get compliments from visitors!

Green Appeal
Despite seeing an abundance of pastel shades of pink and blue this year, dark shades of green will become a leading trend in 2017 - and I'm thrilled about it! Expect to see this colour incorporated into lots of soft furnishings. Kelly Lane have a great range of statement pieces from cushions to wall art, which will help add a hint of green to any room. 

I love the idea of pairing a rich dark green with lighter aquas, and adding plenty of plants for a really lush tropical look.

Kelly Lane bedroom decor

There are few things better than coming home to a beautifully decorated home. Keep an eye out at your local homewares stores in the New Year and snap up some quick additions to transform your space into the sanctuary you’ve always wanted!

Keen on any of these trends? One step ahead and already featuring indoor plants in your home?

November 23, 2016

Turning your home into a tropical paradise, just in time for Summer

This post is brought to you by Jason Agustina.

I just spent the past weekend Spring Cleaning (my efforts are totally worthy of capitalising those words) with my husband, and while the result is lovely - we're still not quite Summer-ready. You know, where everything is fresh and clean, and looks entertainment-ready for any unexpected drop-ins. (Please note, I will not accept unexpected drop-ins. You are required to call or text your intention to visit at least 45 mins in advance. I need time to freshen myself AND my home up!)

There’s no better way to freshen up your home in Summer than with tropical statement homewares. Not only is it easy to incorporate, but this vibrant trend creates a refreshing vibe indoors and outdoors - and has been my go-to interior decorating trend since I was a young teenager, living directly across the road from the Big Pineapple. Having that fruity view really affected me!

To create a classy look with this trend, think luscious jungle and bright animal prints paired with casual, natural materials like warm wood and bamboo. I like to add some greenery (fake, if the occasion or your black thumbs call for it - no judgement) to 'lush up' the space and really compliment tropical touches. Like most trends, the key is to work from a good base - pieces that are well-made with great simple designs will stand the test of time. I love the range from Jason Agustina, it's a small collection with something for every type of living area, made from gorgeous timbers and fabrics.

1. Jason Agustina Volt Sofa in Blue 2. Blue Thumb Sticky Beak limited edition print by Emma Ward 3. Drunk on Water Monstera and Pineapple cushion 4. Jason Agustina Beholm Coffee Table in Oak 5. Annabel Trends artificial banana bunch and cockatoo

Some of my favourite colours for the tropical trend this year are yellow, green and all the shades of citrus - I love seeing these combined with a soft blue or crisp white for an elegant finish. If you already have some blues in your home decor, you can still adopt a tropical vibe, just pick sea-green and deep-ocean hues, and make sure you add plenty of greenery.

1. Jason Agustina Locke Sideboard in Natural 2. Kmart belly basket 3. Kmart Anthurium plant 4. Drunk on Water Watermelon print 5. KMart succulent in concrete pot 6. Annabel Trends artificial large pineapple

So make sure your key furniture pieces are classic, simple and beautifully made (check out Jason Agustina's story for their wonderful commitment to customer care), choose some tropical pieces and create your own slice of paradise this Summer. I promise you that it'll help your summer cocktail vibe for sure!

Is it possible to have too many pineapples in your home, if you live in an estate that was once pineapple and sugar cane farms?


November 09, 2016

Brisbane Fashion Weekend 2016 - making a weekend of it!

Inaugural events can be a little hit and miss, but the first Brisbane Fashion Weekend held last month was, in my entirely non-fashiony opinion, a smashing success!

I wore a stunning Yannika Designs (local Queensland brand) shift dress to BFW, perfect for the 30 degree day and rushing around like Andrea Sachs. Low nude heels and a bright yellow Mimco clutch borrowed from Brooke of Blonde Ambition and French Connection raffia tassel earrings finished my outfit.

Held at the recently opened Royal International Convention Centre (where parking was a breeze!), BFW featured two days of runway shows, a well-curated pop-up precinct, a Pamper Room where a small donation to fabulous local charity Dressed for Success got you a hair and makeup freshen-up, and two stages with programs full of styling advice and fashion industry experts and influencers. If all that got too much, the Moet Lounge was the place to sit and rest those weary high heel-clad tootsies!

But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

I headed down to Brisbane the evening before Day 1 of BFW, as Adelaidean Jenni of Styling Curvy was in town and had organised a meet-up for some of her Queensland blogging mates. That's how lazy relaxed Queenslanders are, we wait until someone comes to visit us, then let them organise it so we all go catch up with them. #hakunamatata

I'd planned to get ready at Brooke's place, head out to the meet-up and not get lost (yikes... alone in the Valley, as Brooke had fancy Singin' in the Rain plans) and then crash on her couch, so was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at my host's apartment and asked 'So, where's this hip venue I need to get to?' and her response was 'See that building less than a block away? There.' GOLD.

Traffic had been pretty decent heading into Brisbane, so I had time for a shower, wash and curl my hair, to give myself a mani/pedi and catch up on some work emails. Instead, I napped, watched the end of Season 2 of UnReal, showered super-fast, then helped myself to Brooke's plethora of dry shampoo and hairspray options. My fingernails and toenails would have to wait.

Keeping it simple in a Country Road flutter-sleeve frock - basic black is always a great comfort zone for me when I'm meeting bloggy-types.

I know I've said it before, but blogger events and meetups are usually pretty awkward for me. And even more so when it's stylish people like fashion folk. *insert hand-wringing and excuse-making here* Unless I know someone really well to latch on to, it's typically just me standing in the corner near the food.

So many gorgeous girls crammed into one terrible-quality photo!

Jenni had arranged for the event to be held at the Tryp Hotel's rooftop bar, Up on Constance, and it was perfect for a bunch of blinged-up ladies enjoying champagne cocktails on a warm October evening. It's a gorgeously NY-inspired open space, with chilled music and great views. One of the brands that Jenni works with - Capriosca Swimwear (stunning styles!) - unexpectedly and generously put on the lovely spread of food and drinks, thank you so much Marcia!

This late-night phone photo is about as fuzzy as I expected, the Apricot Dream tequila cocktail really made some heads spin!

My pineapple glo-mesh clutch from (of all places) Domayne loves an outing, and a city view.

On to the main event!

Of the thirteen stunning labels appearing on Brisbane Fashion Weekend's Runway, including Tengdahl, Saylor & Saige, LouenHide (always love their stuff!), 400 Co and Kahlo Kahlo, my favourites were SunSoaked and Wilde Willow. Brooke loved Wilde Willow so much that she punched me during their runway and whispered 'Gotta BOLT outta here the minute this show finishes and buy that sequin kimono'. So she did.

Brooke in her new prized possession, the Wilde Willow Charms of Light Kimono.

I'd love to share more photos, but you'll find that the best photos and videos I took were on other people's devices! I loved being there to help my mate Brooke as she prepared to speak on the Centre Stage as an online fashion influencer (we both cringe at that word, but she DOES influence me to buy things I don't really need, so applicable), and then rock her model socks for the awesome Cate Massi of Individual Style 101. I will also take full credit for making sure Brooke turned up where she needed to be, at the times she needed to be there - I feel that without a 'PA for a Day', she may have been found wandering the foyer in one shoe, loaded up with purchases from the Pop-Up Precinct stores.





Thanks so much to BFW for the invitation, and for such a spectacularly well-run event - kudos! Cheers to Jenni for her perfect timing, it was wonderful to see local ladies that I never really get to see. And big ups and proud mama feels to Brooke for nailing her presentation, saying no to bootleg jeans, and generally being a babe.

For more comprehensive wrap-ups of the event, I highly recommend you check out the following:

Sally of Steele My Style's blog