Australia Update: the best and worst

Fraser Island Australia

Apologies again for my sporadic posts since coming away, I would blame the terrible wifi over here in Oz but that would sound like the worst excuse. But it is largely the excuse, along with simply having too much fun ofc. I always feel really weird about apologising for not posting on my own blog, like anyone would actually be upset about it, but you know what I mean! If you have been sat refreshing my home page for the past month then soz to u and I will try to improve.

I've finally got an actual apartment for a while, so goodbye hostels, g'bye shared rooms, shite wifi and name labelling my food, and hello to an actual wardrobe, double bed and internet connection, I have missed you all. I now miss my friends as I got somewhat used to living in the same room as them. I now have to watch random Late Late Show Youtube videos while getting ready just so I don't end up talking to myself. PS anyone else think this one is basically Kim admitting to Khloe or Kylie being pregnant?

Anyway, this was totally going to be a post all about how to travel the East Coast of Australia, what trips to do and how long to spend where etc, but as I seem to have rambled so much and made it into more of a diary entry I think I'll keep it as an entirely separate post so that the poor souls who come Googling East Coast tips don't end up having to deal with my own personal woes.

I now feel like it has to be a bit bulkier than this, otherwise it's just a three paragraph rant so here are my top 5 favourite and least favourite things about Australia:

Favourite things about Australia:

1. The weather, obvs
2. The beaches
3. The friendly people. They always sound so bloody jolly when they say 'How're you going?'
4. The kangaroos. I did the Friday trivia at work last week and discovered there are 25 million of these lil cuties in the country - who would've guessed? Not me or my team members unfortunately
5. The food. There is so much choice and so much variety, and all of it is really authentic too. The sushi here in Brisbane is amazing, Edo Sushi has been my favourite so far. Oh and let's not forget the dessert places, there are doughnut bars, chocolate bars, churro bars – you name the dessert and I'll probably be able to direct you to a venue solely dedicated to it.

Avocado salad cairns australia
fraser island australia
Magnetic Island Hike Australia
Base Magnetic Island food

Least favourite things about Australia:

1. It's difficult for me to feel festive in 30 degree heat and sun
2. My family aren't here
3. Everything is bloody expensive (which is kinda irrelevant when you get paid as the wages are so high, but still)
4. Chocolate just melts
5. Cockroaches. They get everywhere, especially in hostels!

Magnetic Island base

I'm thoroughly enjoying this list making so here's a bonus for you...

Weird things about Australia that you probably wouldn't expect before travelling here:

1. You won't see that many spiders. I've seen a couple in the rainforest, and one huntsman (which is the huge, ugly yet non-poisonous one) on Fraser Island
2. Australians say 'hey' at the end of their sentences a lot
3. It actually rains, a fair bit
4. Instead of the traffic light food product system thing, they have a health star rating. We actually love this, you don't need to know about the sugar or fat content specifically, your food is simply rated from 0-5, and it feels like a great achievement when you get a 4 or 5 star product. Abbie was thrilled when she noticed her cheese was rated 5 stars. PS if you're an Australian who knows how they figure this out I'd actually really like to know
5. They serve bugs at really nice, standard cafes and restaurants

magnetic island barbie car rental

What to do in Melbourne

Hosier Lane Melbourne
Luna Park Melbourne
Eureka Skydeck Melbourne fashion blogger
Eureka Skydeck melbourne
Hosier Lane Melbourne
Hosier Lane Melbourne quote
Hosier Lane Melbourne
Hosier Lane Melbourne
Southbank Melbourne fashion blogger
Melbourne river
skydeck melbourne fashion blogger
skydeck melbourne fashion blogger

Visit

1. Hosier Lane

This graffiti-covered street is world famous for its often political artwork, it's completely legal to graffiti here now so people literally must do it constantly, when we were there we saw one girl writing a quote (the one above) and groups of people creating something undecipherable down an alleyway.

Cost: Free

hosier lane melbourne fashion blogger

2. Eureka Skydeck

Via the Eureka Skydeck you can reach the highest point in the southern hemisphere at 297.3 metres, and if you're as idiotic/thrill-seeking as us, you can opt to hang out the top in a 4cm-thick glass box for an extra $12 on top of your $20 ticket.

Also, there was some special effects included as part of the box experience, involving being semi-convinced you were going to die.

Abigail describes this as:

"One of the best experiences of my life, if I was a mega fan of skydecks." (she was not a mega fan of skydecks)

Cost: $20 - $32

skydeck melbourne fashion blogger

www.eurekaskydeck.com.au

3. Luna Park

So I was desp to go here after seeing Mary-Kate and Ashley's Our Lips Are Sealed film aged 10. In the film they visit Luna Park in Sydney, which btw I think is v different lols.

This one was kinda small, but very cute and vintage-y. As it was $10 a ride, we decided to choose just one, and again for thrills went for The Great Scenic Railway which, slightly worryingly, is the oldest continuously operating ride in the world at 105 years old. It really wasn't that scary, in fact, just to demonstrate how lacking in bumps and danger it was, I'll let you know that the operator stood up on the carriage throughout the ride, but this might not be the impression you'd get from Abigail's face in our photo:


Rach describes the Luna Park experience as: "A once in a lifetime opportunity to walk in the footsteps of my childhood heroes." (soon to be repeated more accurately when we go to Sydney, I'm sure)

Cost: When we went it was free entry and $10 for a ride, but apparently this occasionally changes to an entry cost and free rides.

www.lunapark.com.au

Eat

1. Sister of Soul

Whether you're vegan or not, this is such a great restaurant. Most of us weren't even vegans yet we all bloody loved it. Just look at this burrito:


The salads and curries looked delish too.

Cost: $10-$20 (cheapish for an Oz meal)

www.sisterofsoul.com.au

Abbie the Pescetarian's thoughts on Sister of Soul:

"It was the dream."

2. Higher Ground Melbourne

I went to Higher Ground with my cousin from Melbourne who said it had been recommended. It definitely lived up to expectation with its hipster vibe and total Instagram-worthy meals, I mean, the customers next to us had a plate of what literally looked like 100% flowers. As tempted as I was to copy (for the sake of the gram/novelty) I was genuinely quite hungry so decided to order actual food instead:


Poached eggs with a creamy sauce and I think asparagus and truffle (I can't actually find it on the online menu anymore, but there are tons of similar, delicious items).

Cost: $10 - $20


Drink

1. Section 8

This is the kind of place chill place where you can chat to your pals over the prettiest cocktails (see below) or relax on your own with a book (well someone was doing this when we were there and they didn't look too out of place). It's made up of just a shipping container and a carpark with some benches and heaters. What more do you want.

Cost: Average

www.section8.com.au

2. Goldilocks

Again, this was recommended by another of my family member in Melbs, it's a semi-hidden rooftop bar and is well worth seeking out.

Cost: Average, cocktails are more expensive but if I remember correctly a cider was about $5.

www.goldilocksbar.com.au

3. Garden State Hotel

Another recommendation – this has got to be one of the prettiest beer gardens I have ever seen, plus this place has won a Gourmet Traveller Wine award.


Cost: pricey but worth it (for the cocktails)

www.gardenstatehotel.com.au

4. Day of the Dead, St Kilda

We were staying in St Kilda and have a friend who lives there so we met up with her and went to Day of the Dead, a themed bar which has a really cool atmosphere and amazing artwork.

Cost: Average

www.dayofthedeadstkilda.com

Do

Orz Escape

We have been wanting to do an escape room for ages, one of my friends has done a few previously, the other three of us had no clue what we were in for. But even the friend who was familiar with the escape room situations was a lil bit shocked at this one.

I won't give the game away, but it's cryptic, involves clowns and we are still quite baffled by the final stage. To give you an idea of the level of crypticness, we gave up and had the last part explained to us yet still did not fully understand.

Cost:  $32

www.orzescape.com.au

Things we didn't do that I want to do when we return

1. Queen Victoria Market

2. The State Library of Victoria

3. Federation Square

3. The Botanic Gardens

4. The Fitzroy Gardens

5. Melbourne Museum

6. Philip Island

7. Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Tour

8. Visit the penguins on the pier in St Kilda


Beauty Wish List


I've recently discovered Love the Sales, a site that collates hundreds of sales items from across the net and I am loving their very, very(!) extensive beauty section. Here are my top picks:

1. Max Factor Masterpiece Eye Luminizer Brightener - £6.50, reduced from £10.57 
I have an olive skin tone, which (while most people want skin that tans easily etc) can be a bit of a nightmare as it can make you look ill if you don't have a tan. I hate the dark circles under my eyes so something like this eye luminizer would be perfect for me. As well making your eye area look bright and luminous with light-reflecting particles, it hydrates too so will help keep your skin healthy and wrinkle-free over time.

2. Guerlain Terracotta Kohl Eye Powder in Noir - £22.05, reduced from £26
I love emphasising my eyes with a lil bit of kohl for a night out, and the packaging of this Guerlain one is so pretty.

3. Revlon Colourstay Gel Envy Nail Varnish in Queen of Hearts - £5.00, reduced from £7.99
Gel-effect nail varnishes are the way forward. I am forever in search of nail varnishes that are easy to apply, that look smooth and also stay put, and the closest I have came to perfection, without going to a salon, is this gel effect one from Revlon. I also love this specific shade and it goes with most outfits as it's such a classic colour.

4. Guerlain Precision Felt Eyeliner in Ultra Black - £21.00, reduced from £28.00
Another one for the eyes as I love creating that 60s/70s cat eye look. This is here because I am terrible at creating decent flicks yet felt pens make it soooo much easier, especially if you want a thicker line. Honestly try it if you haven't already.

5. Giorgio Armani Giorgio Rouge in 403 - £15, reduced from £27
Love, love, love this colour. How pretty?!

6. Re-Nutriv Ultra Radiance Creme Makeup with SPF15 - £59.95, reduced from £80
Makeup that's also good for your skin? Totes in. This is full of anti-oxidants and vitamins to keep your skin looking young and to get rid of imperfections. Also the discount is pretty immense so make hay while the sun shines!

www.lovethesales.com

Review: Revuele charcoal range

Revuele Charcoal range

Acne and spots get most of us at some point (if they haven't got you then you don't know how lucky you are!). If you do happen to suffer from spots. whiteheads or blackheads, this range is a must try for you.

 As you may be aware if you have seen any of my previous skincare posts such as this one on achieving clear, glowing skin, this recent review of a healthy hair hero product I stumbled across or my Top 5 Summer Beauty Essentials – there's a strong theme, and it's all focused on achieving a healthy glow, for both the skin and hair. Unfortunately, I suffer from breakouts too, so I'm always balancing products that give that 'glow' with those that clear my skin. This can be difficult, because most products that are aimed at acne are drying, while most products that give you that beautiful glow are pore clogging. Getting the balance right is basically an art form.

To add to the difficulty, my skin is massively sensitive, and can easily react with burns/rashes. Despite this, I really wanted to give this charcoal range a go because I'd heard great things about black masks and the detoxing effects of charcoal. In fact, I'd already tried the much talked about L'Oreal Pure Clay Detox mask with charcoal which personally I'm not 100% convinced on. I didn't see amazing results, and 50% of the time it left my skin a bit red and blotchy (probably mainly due to the other products I was using). So how was this peel off charcoal mask going to fair against my difficult needs and high standards? I'll kick straight off with a review of the mask before chatting through the other two products in the range...

Revuele black charcoal peel off mask

Revuele No Problem Black Mask

Okay so the things I like about this mask include:

  • It's peel off. Not only is this fun (hello PVA glue throwback), it feels like it really is pulling the s*** out of your pores and, like with facial cleansing strips, you can actually see the stuff that has been yanked out of your pores if you look closely enough. Gross, but great. 
  • It removes dead skin too. What a multitasker.
  • The list of ingredients includes zinc and silver ions which have antibacterial properties, thus help prevent acne and blackheads.
  • If you're going through an oily skin phase, it's great as it does a fantastic job of magnifying your skin.

What's in it?

Some of the important, cleansing and spot reducing/preventing ingredients include:

  • Zinc Oxide – something you should look for in acne products. In a previous skincare post, I recommended taking a zinc supplement to help fight acne, but, as well as consuming zinc, applying zinc oxide topically works wonders too, it decreases inflammation (making your spots less visible and red - yey!) and helps reduce oil.
  • Charcoal Powder – as mentioned, charcoal is a detoxifier. People even drink it when hungover to pull the toxins out of their bodies. Whether or not it's strong enough to stop you throwing up and inject some life into your aching bones, who knows, but in my experience, it certainly seems to work in terms of encouraging dirt, oil and whatever else is blocking pores to get out.
  • Silver Citrate – while I've researched the other ingredients quite a bit over the years, and heard a lot about them, I'm not as much of an expert on the benefits of silver, but Revuele claim it has antibacterial properties, and from a quick Google I've found many others agree.

If I was comparing this mask to the L'Oreal Charcoal Clay Mask, I'd definitely give this one a much higher score. Not only are the results more visible, it irritates my skin less too. Plus, it's cheaper.

Overall scoring:

Sensitivity: 8/10
Acne-clearing: 8/10 (obviously it isn't a cure, but for an over the counter product, it's bloody good)
Overall ease-of use: 7/10 (can be a bit painful to remove, but I am a wimp)


Revuele 3 in 1 Gel Scrub Mask

Revuele 3 in 1 Gel Scrub Mask

Next up, we've got this '3 in 1' product which claims to be a gel, a scrub and a mask. A miraculous, money-saving, time-saving, space-saving product if true.

So with three different application methods which are summarised as:

mask method: put it on your face as a mask, leave for 5-7 mins and rinse
scrub method: massage into skin in circular motions then rinse
As a cleanser: apply onto wet skin and rinse

This product contains very similar ingredients to that of the above mask, it includes charcoal and silver but no zinc oxide. The bottle claims that, thanks to the 'most effective natural exflolient' the activated carbon microparticles (which I think are basically tiny lumps of activated charcoal), it exfoliates and removes blackheads, while the clay renders skin matte and evens out your complexion.

I tried using this product all three ways but to be honest, I ended up leaving it in my shower and using it as a face scrub, replacing how I would normally use my St Ives Apricot Scrub ( 3-4 times a week, mid-shower). It worked well all three ways but for me and my sensitive skin, using it dry felt a bit harsh and I prefer the peel off mask when it comes to using a mask.

Overall scoring: 

Sensitivity: 7/10
Acne-clearing: 7/10 (more beneficial to blackheads than other forms of acne, which it could irritate if used too much I think)
Overall ease-of use: 9/10 (loses 1 point due to the fact the 3 in 1 sitch is a bit confusing, and it is basically a creamy scrub in my opinion)

Revuele matting facial tonic toner

Revuele No Problem Matting Facial Tonic

This alcohol-free toner contains salicylic acid, zinc oxide and silver among the acne and shine-fighting ingredients. It removes any oil and dirt from your skin and leaves it feeling clean and matte without drying it out. For me, this is a great alternative to products such as Clinique's anti-blemish toner which does contain alcohol and can be too drying. 

I really like this toner, it's great for situations in which you might want to quickly and easily cleanse your face and ensure it has no bacteria residing on it, for example before heading home from the gym if you have been super sweaty or if you have picked at spots or touched your face and you know you shouldn't have (lol so me) and are now panicking about making said breakout worse.

It also ensures you have a good, clean and small-pored base before applying makeup.

Overall scoring:

Sensitivity: 8/10
Acne-clearing: 8/10
Overall ease-of use: 10/10


Click here to get your hands on the 3 in 1 Gel Scrub Mask, Black Peel Off Mask and Matting Facial Tonic

Let me know your thoughts if you have tried this range too!

*Revuele gifted me the products but the post was not paid for and opinions are 100% my own

Food Review: Neanderthals Deli

Neanderthal's Deli Norton buddha bowl

Having recently moved to Teesside from Newcastle, I was very excited to hear about a health deli having opened in Norton. As mentioned in this review of Clean & Press in Jesmond, I am a huge fan of healthy food and healthy eateries, so I was very excited to see what Neanderthals had to offer.

From a bit of research (primarily Instagram) I discovered they serve buddha bowls, salads, healthy sweet treats, loose leaf teas, coffees and smoothies etc and it was opened by the same people who own the fitness studio above (Marss Fitness). I got in touch to see if they would like a review and they were very happy for me to do one so here's how I found it...


I popped along one lunchtime, mid-week and it was surprisingly busy – a great sign, so my hopes were high!

Drinks-wise, I opted for the Mint Chocolate Tea (because chocolate), while my mum went for her go-to cappuccino (the day she goes for another beverage I will hand her a medal for bravery). As you can see in the above photo, my tea was loose leaf and in a cute AF teapot – 10/10 for quality and aesthetics. It tasted much more minty and chocolatey than I had imagined to be honest, it's definitely one to try if you're a chocoholic trynna be healthy!

Neanderthal's Deli Norton buddha bowl

The Buddha Bowl – I feel like the pic pretty much says it all. It was so delicious, so filling and SO HEALTHY. You choose your meat, base and carb, so obviously I went for salmon, seasonal vegetables and sweet potato and butternut squash mash. The salmon was crispy on the outside and super soft in the middle (plus the fillet was quite large!), the veg was al dente and the mash was so smooth and sweet. Oh and it also came with homemade pesto (I think) hummus, which was quite honestly the best hummus I have ever tried and I could have gotten through way more! Especially since my mother stole some... It just left me wondering why I have never put pesto in hummus before.

Neanderthal's Deli Norton buddha bowl

Finally, can you guess what my mum ordered? A BLT – the same thing she opted for at the previous healthy eatery review I took her along to. So luckily for you BLT lovers, we're basically doing for BLT's what Parmo Hunters are doing for parmos. The BLT Chronicles will be coming soon. 

This BLT was an all around winner apparently – top points for the bread (I have never heard anyone express so much admiration for a bun), homemade slaw, salad and filling. Unfortunately we totally forgot to get a snap of the inside of the bun but I trust my mum's 100% thrilled reaction to the sandwich and its sides. It was a good'un.

Neanderthal's Deli Norton blt

The cafe itself is lovely – all wooden tables, cute candles and rustic decor, and the staff were lovely too, we had a little chat to the co-owner, Emma, who explained why they opened Neanderthals (to provide healthy, back to basics food to us Teessiders). They're definitely succeeding! Head to www.neanderthalsdeli.co.uk for more info and to see the full menu. The deli is just on Norton High Street and is weeelll worth a visit!




OOTD: THE SLOGAN TEE

UK fashion blogger floral wrap skirt slogan tee
Despite many people believing fashion is a completely superficial industry all about aesthetics. In my opinion it's a direct reflection of – and reaction to – society. It's an outlet by which to express not only our personalities and beliefs but our frustrations with the world. In doing so, we might even be able to encourage change. 

Fashion is art, and while I cannot profess to taking it too seriously or choosing my clothes based on the socio-political problems or stances they appear to address, you've got to admit that a lot of current trends, such as slogan tees (most of which feature feminist phrases) and gender-neutral clothing for example, are a result of those atop the fashion pyramid recognising that we're all bloody frustrated with issues such as gender divides and discrimination.

Not only is this slogan tee just a bit of a joke, but I see it as also being an indicator in this turbulent time that we are all human, and as humans we should respect each other, be kind to each other and do our best to make each other's lives easier and more enjoyable. 

Fashion can have negative or positive consequences, but I fully support trends like the slogan tee, and encourage everyone to splash out on one!

Anyway, scroll down for some less heavy notes on styling and product links...

UK fashion blogger floral wrap skirt slogan tee
UK fashion blogger floral wrap skirt slogan tee
UK fashion blogger floral wrap skirt slogan tee

Styling a floral skirt for me almost always involves grunging it up a bit. I like to add leather, studs, chunky boots and in this case, fishnets. I just love adding a bit of a tough edge. I think it's important too to think outside the box, and not always pair your items with the first piece or colour that comes to mind – this will also help your cost per wear for items, because you can rewear them in different ways. When I'm struggling to do this, I find Pinterest is a great place to go for a bit of inspiration, or to some of my favourite bloggers who I know will have similar items.

UK fashion blogger floral wrap skirt slogan tee
UK fashion blogger floral wrap skirt
Top: Illustrated People via Topshop (sale)
Skirt: Topshop
Jacket: All Saints

Let me know what you think of this outfit :)


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Review: Dazzy Coffee Scrub

Dazzy coffee scrub review

You may have seen them in stores, on Insta and on beauty blogs but what exactly is coffee scrub, what does it do, and what are the benefits?

Well, it's a 100% natural scrub for your face and body that claims to help clear impurities such as spots and acne, as well as other skin issues such as cellulite, stretch marks, psoriasis, eczema and small veins. All while making your skin 'softer' and more hydrated.

This particular coffee scrub is made up of coffee (obvs), virgin coconut oil, almond oil, brown sugar, vitamin E and other 'miracle ingredients'.

As mentioned in this blog post, my skin has all of the problems. As well as trying to achieve clear, glowing skin, I want to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles forming as I don't think it's ever too early to do this! So bearing this in mind, scroll down for my review of the Dazzy coffee scrub...

Dazzy coffee scrub review
Dazzy coffee scrub review
Dazzy coffee scrub review

So, does it do what it says on the, er, packet – or is it all hype?

Well, as far as I can tell, it does what it claims. I don't have cellulite (that I'm aware of, probs do), stretch marks or small veins, so I can't profess to know whether or not it helps with those problems, but I do have VERY sensitive skin and I'm prone to breakouts and clogged pores. I'm very picky about what I use on my skin, but this scrub is 100% natural, so I decided to give it a shot. It's not too harsh at all. In fact, despite leaving it on for a little longer than I should've the first time, (I was getting the above snap etc), it didn't sting or redden my skin like a lot of masks and scrubs do. It smelt delicious (very strongly of coffee, which was left me wanting a cup even though I'm a herbal tea only person!) and left my skin feeling beautifully hydrated, soft and glowing. 

You can really feel the oils getting to work hydrating your skin (hydration is vital whether you have dry or oily, spot-tone skin because it will both solve dryness and reduce irritation which leads to breakouts!), meanwhile the coffee and brown sugar work to remove dead skin and impurities, bringing a fresh, clean glow to your skin.

What I love most about this coffee scrub, however, is that you can use it on your body too and it has the same glowing, hydrating and refreshing effect.

Would I recommend the Dazzy Coffee Scrub?

I would definitely recommend the Dazzy scrub to anyone who wants to try something new to give their skin a healthy glow, soft texture and fresh appearance. It's ideal for a pampering evening in, and I'd definitely recommend using it in the bath because one thing to note about this scrub is that it can get messy! Just make sure no one's gonna walk in on you when you're covered head to toe in coffee because it freaks them out, trust me. 

I tried the Coffee & Citrus scrub, but they do a variety, check them out via their website here and head here to purchase.

Sensitive skin rating: 4/5
Ingredients rating: 5/5
Spot/acne rating: 4/5
Glow rating: 5/5
Practicality rating: 2/5


* I happily received this scrub free of charge from Dazzy as I have been excited to try a coffee scrub for a while, but this was not a paid for post and is 100% my honest opinion!




OOTD: MELLOW YELLOW

Crop flare jeans UK fashion bloggerCrop flare jeans UK fashion blogger
Crop flare jeans UK fashion blogger
Crop flare jeans UK fashion blogger

Top: ASOS
Rings: Dixi & Rock 'N Rose

The rest of the items are out of stock or unavailable in the UK but similar can be found in the Get the Look widget below!

Jeans: ASOS 
Bag: ASOS 
Necklaces: Primark 
Boots: ASOS
Sunglasses: Random brand from holiday


I am LOVING the colour yellow at the moment. It's very on trend for this year and I just think it's so eye-catching. Admittedly, it's taken me basically eight months of the year to warm to it having never previously worn any yellow at all but hey, it's a grower. 

I think, in fact, that I got put off the colour after my childhood bedrooms from age 0 to 10 were bright yellow, despite the colour, which was I assume chosen originally as a gender-neutral option pre-birth, was definitely not necessary for that whole time as I clearly am female. I hope.



Get the look: