Saturday, September 29, 2012

Iconic order!

I made my first order on Aussie online store Iconic a while back when they had a rare further 25% off all items (including sale items!)

The order came pretty promptly considering I ordered at 2am on a Friday and was wrapped pretty nicely too. My only complaint is that the Aus Post delivery people just left it at my doorstep when I had specifically requested it to be left at the post office instead (you can specify when you make the order on Iconic). The great thing with Iconic is that their stuff can be returned within 100 days. Great for people like me who often do not have the time to return straight away, even though it will sit there unworn and ready to be returned at any point.

I ordered two items - a House of Harlow starburst ring which my sister already has in black. It was further reduced to $55, with 25% off again so that was a pretty good deal! Plus it was the last one left so I just had to buy it. It's one size too big but I can just wear it on different fingers instead.

And because I was ordering anyway (free shipping!), I ordered this hearts cardigan from a random brand because I thought it looked cute for quite a small sum of money. Turns out the size 6 is far too big for me and more fitting for a size 8-10, so this is going back. Apologies for the bad photo for this one - I took this photo late one night when I got home and realised my order had arrived!

So far the returns process has been pretty easy (though a bit confusing with the instructions being quite long) but will see how long it takes to get my money back!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weekend out and about!

A few random pics from my weekend/week:

The weather on Friday was AH-MAZING in Sydney, and so as I headed to dinner I walked along George St and these vintage buses from the Sydney Bus Museum were shuttling people around as part of Art and About which kicked off on Friday.

Aren't they so cool?

Then I was at the Rocks and there was an outdoor pop-up dinner type thing. It's not quite October so I don't think its part of Crave but I was just thinking to myself what perfect weather for an outdoor dinner. Beautiful!

And this one is a bit random, but during the week I visited one of my clients for work and they decided they would feed us (only 4 of us) some pastry treats! This was after some were already consumed actually so no we didn't finish them. Trying to be good, you see :) Yum I love me a good pastry!

Actually this is from the weekend before, but I did a spot of shopping (will post about my buys when I get round to it!) and stopped by at Danks Street Depot to refuel.

I ordered the pulled pork + corn toasted sandwich. It was tasty, if a bit dry, but not amazing. It definitely needed some relish or a light sauce to counteract the dryness.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

iPhone 5!

I pre-ordered my iPhone 5 last week and it arrived promptly on Friday morning, the first day of release yay!

I have to say, I don't think the new features are hugely different to the old one (I currently have a iPhone 4) and the increased length wasn't something I was so keen on, but my old phone is getting old and my contract needs renewing anyway so figured I might as well get one!

I take photos of everything so here's some first looks:
The box...same as always really.

And iPhone 4 v iPhone 5 - not a huge difference in size but definitely a little thinner. Look how scuffed up my old case is, but I love it. I picked one awesome case and used it for the entire 2 years I had my 4. Now I'm on the lookout for cases for the 5, but no one is stocking any yet or they're only allowing preorder and most of them aren't to my liking. I want thin, light weight, brightly coloured without being tacky as well as made from a great material. If anyone sees any meeting my very specific requirements, please let me know!

And these are the new much anticipated headphones - the storage container is pretty neat hey?

I'm going through the laborious backup process at the moment - see I'm downsizing from a 32GB to a 16GB and so this is taking longer than it already takes with all my apps and downloads!

Have you got the new iphone, and how do you like it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Uniqlo coming to Australia!

The last 12 months has brought the announcement of a tonne of overseas retailers announcing their arrival to Australia which has been a great coup to the Australian consumers.

Well, to add to the list is today's announcement that Japanese superstore Uniqlo is slated to open in Australia in August 2014.

The huge boom of Australians purchasing online has definitely caught the attention of overseas retailers because I feel like every month I'm hearing about new arrivals (Topshop soon, H&M in the future, and rumours of Sephora - I'm planning a post about that soon!). It definitely makes sense, and is definitely starting to put Sydney on the map, so who's going to say no to that?

Uniqlo sells some really awesome stuff for uber cheap which given the quality is great, though personally I don't buy a huge amount from there when overseas. But nevertheless, excited to see what they will be doing! I think the announcement this early for an estimated opening almost 2 years away is a bit rich, but many are cheering already!

Meanwhile, I'm a little late on this story, but one store I'm insanely excited about is homewares giant Williams Sonoma opening in Sydney (in Bondi too!) by the end of the year!!! I cannot contain my excitement because I used to regularly visit WS when I was in the US because I loved their offerrings so much. Plus it's not just them, it's their associated brands Pottery Barn and Elm Street also!

Photo I took at WS - one of my favourite aisles!
Great wins for Sydneysiders!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wedding Invites

So last week I received a very last minute wedding invite for a wedding in 2 months time. Now I am totally all about the bride+groom doing whatever they want because it's their day, so even though I know I'm a very last minute invite (my friends received invitations at least 2 months ago now), I am not bothered by this in the least bit.

However the reason I'm posting about it is because I wanted to hear some others thoughts about what they think the etiquette is with wedding invites - so it is an away wedding being held on a Friday during  the day. It's a couple of hours drive away so do-able, however with it being fair last minute now the accommodation in the area is either quite limited and/or fairly expensive. With the wedding being in the afternoon and the reception at night, I think we would need to stay one night. There's also the factor that guests will have to take the day off work (if possible, again, at last minute).

So while I would love to join in the celebration, there is quite a bit of organisation that needs to happen for me to attend, not to mention the cost.

My sister and I were discussing this though - it almost feels like the etiquette is such that if you are a) available to go b) financially able to afford the expense (as in you're not going to be living on bread and water to afford it), one should accept the invite?

Would you expect all people in this situation to accept, providing all that needs to be organised (leave, accommodation) can be done?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Laduree Sydney

If you're into sweets + macarons, I'm sure you probably heard about the much anticipated opening of Laduree in Sydney this week. The French creators of the humble macaron opened their first Australian store in Westfield Sydney with a kiosk and mini tea salon type setup right outside the Mulberry store.
They opened on Tuesday at 2.30pm after quite a few delays so I popped down after work to see what they had on offer. My theory was that the first day items should be the best they have available for the opening. There were of course hoards of people lining up - don't get me started on Sydneysiders liking to jump on bandwagons - and I reluctantly joined and found myself being one of the last people served for the day. To be completely honest, I just didn't want to stay at work late that afternoon and so getting some macarons was a much more exciting thing to do!
Long queue of eager people
Now I'll start with the disclaimer that I've never been a huge fan of Laduree macarons - give me Pierre Herme anyday! When I'm in Paris nowadays I don't bother with the crowds at Laduree's Champs Elysee store because well, they just don't compare to Pierre Herme. Of course its hard to live up to that so while it's great that Sydney has the 'original' French macarons, I am probably a harsh critic. My main aim was see if the quality was the same as the Paris originals - you see Laduree has three factories with our Sydney macarons being shipped directly from the Swiss factory. Laduree's other worldwide stores are serviced by their factories in France and Monaco. Now of course there is the factor of shipping time causing some deterioration of the shells (flavour isn't usually the issue, if anything flavour develops better with time) so I did take this into consideration.
I am a little disappointed to say there was quite a lot of inconsistency which I wouldn't expect of Laduree. Some shells were a little dry, others too chewy and fillings a bit here and there also. My vote goes with vanilla and pistachio (because that's their signature flavour) though they had sold out of salted caramel by the time I got there. See in the pic below, there is such inconsistency in the filling - some have the right amount, others have too little!

Also they didn't have the best flavour ever - Rose - because of customs issues and I have been told it won't be available until closer to Christmas. When I get my hands on one, I'll let you know my thoughts!

Having said all of this, it's still great that Australians can finally be educated about what real macarons should be like! Have you been by and what are your thoughts?

(Sorry the photos are all iPhone ones - I couldn't be bothered uploading photos from my S95!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Travel Tip Tuesday: Flightfox

When I was in the US, my friend based in San Fran took me to an Australian startup event. There, a whole heap of budding Aussie entrepreneurs were pitching about their new big idea and one of those was Flightfox.

Flightfox is a new crowdsourcing type website which helps individuals find the cheapest and best deals on Airfares. How does it work? You write in with the details of your preferred travel dates, any specifications in terms of airline preferences as well as any flexibility and of course your destinations. To do this, you pay a small fee. People then go searching for the best deals for you and if they suggest you the best deal, they get a small 'finders' fee.

Many of the people are travel experts, people who are expert flyers or just people who know the ins and outs and secrets. People have found amazing business class round the world fares for the same as a normal round the world fare and others have just managed to get amazing savings on simple return flights.

Examples are people getting round the world fares for $3k for business class!

Now, if you're anything like me and really picky about flight times, stopover locations, airlines and the like, then it may be a bit harder to get such cheap as chips deals but if you're not fussy and just want the cheapest fare then check it out!

Flightfox was by far the best idea I saw of all the 10 or so startups I learned about that day and I think it will really take off in the next few months!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wishlist: McQueen Bracelet Scarf!

Did you go to Vogue's Fashion Night Out? Shamefully, I didn't, but I've been crazy busy with work that I haven't had a chance to do much lately.

Never fear, I caught up on it by reading blogs, looking at photos and keeping up to date with all the shopping offers on facebook and other social media! I'm sure those who went had a great time, right?

Anyway, I couldn't help but post about this new item I was emailed about which is totally going on my wishlist.

The Alexander McQueen Bracelet Scarf was released for VFNO in New York and it is fabulous. Exclusive only to McQueen's boutiques and online stores, the colourways are brilliant and just scream McQueen and I love a great colourful bracelet.

Aren't they amazing? You can get your hands on one for $295 at their online store (and if you're from Oz, with the help of parcel forwarders).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Counting down to November!

I just cannot wait until November because then I'll be....

Going to Bali!!

I've actually never had any desire to go to Indonesia or Bali, especially when there are so many exciting places to go around the world, but when I saw cheap Jetstar flights that coincided with certain dates that allow me to have a mini reunion in Asia, I just had to book flights!

Plus life has been so hectic lately that I am dying for a break. I am seriously wishing my holiday is for next week because all I want to do is sit in the sun, laying out on a sun bed and reading a good book. Relaxation and sun is all I need! So that's why I was OK with going to Bali and I cannot wait.

I'm looking at accommodation at the moment and it all looks so...blissful. Have you been to Bali and where's your favourite place to stay or favourite thing to do?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Foodie Hats Off

The Good Food Guide 2013 awards have just been announced and there are a few surprises from my perspective!

I had a little giggle when I realised they had accidentally titled the One Hats as Three Hats oops smh!

Anyway, the surprises for me is Ms Gs as a one hat (that's from nothing) and the huge number of new One Hats. I'd been meaning to go to 4Fourteen so now this is even more reason to go!

Who else is hungry now?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Spring has sprung!

Happy first weekend in Spring everyone! Well, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere like I am :)

It has really been quite a beautiful week of weather leading up to the first few days of Spring, despite a few rainy days here and there. I'm just hoping it is here to stay! Weather makes such a huge difference to mood and morale and there are many a psychological study to back this up - I remember learning about it in University psyc many a time.

Anyway, my weekend was spent visiting Costco for a bit of a stockup on all the awesome bulk buy things they have there like 1kg+ of chocolate coated almonds! Yum yum.

I also took some time for lunch at Gazebo Wine Bar for some tasty snacks and enjoying a bit of the outdoors. It was a bit chilly though it was nice to get out and about.

Here are some terrible photos of some of the food we ate:

  Pate + Bread and Gourmet Veal & Chorizo Sausage Rolls

Squid (this was so tasty!) and Bubble & Squeak croquettes

I opened the newspaper this morning and was interested to find that Matt Kemp previously of Balzac and Montpelier fame has been hired by the Keystone group to take over dining/food at Gazebo! Can't wait to see what he gets up to. Love the vibe and area of Gazebo, just hate the parking there.

What did you get up to on the first weekend of Spring?