Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesday: Flights!

I'm currently booking my internal flights for my upcoming holiday - more about that in another post probably - and I remembered a tip that I use that a lot of people don't seem to know.

When booking one way or point to point flights, it can often be much cheaper to search for a return flight instead of a one way!!

Why? Well when I discovered this a while back, I asked my travel agent and he mentioned many of the airlines still haven't cottoned on that it makes more sense to charge based on single legs (regardless of whether you travel one way or return) and so think giving a discount for a return journey will entice customers. Clearly we are more savvy than that!

So if a return flight is cheaper, just make sure you book the flight you actually want to take as the first flight (i.e. outbound) then just cancel your inbound flight once you have arrived. Be aware you can't do it the other way round (i.e. cancel your outbound flight and take the inbound) as they will cancel your whole ticket if you do not turn up for your first flight.

I'm guessing a lot of people know this tip already, but for those that don't, hope it proves useful next time you're booking flights :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ballet shoes

I took ballet classes as a child and absolutely loved it. It's definitely one thing I wished I had continued beyond just doing first grade RAD exams. Anyway, I'm trying to mix up my normal dance classes at Sydney Dance with some ballet for some improved strengthening and toning. A few years back I tried their beginners class thinking it would skip all the stuff I know (foot and arm positions, plies etc) but it was far more advanced than I expected so now I've tried out Absolute Beginners which is definitely not for the faint hearted if you've never even tried ballet. In the class I attended a few weeks back I was probably middle of the class in terms of skill but only because there were at least 10 people there who had never even been in a ballet class!

Anyway I thought I'd finally get myself some ballet shoes instead of wearing my jazz shoes :)
Got these leather Bloch dansofts and had them fitted because I have a ridiculously narrow fitting. I love the girliness of ballet shoes - I think because they remind me of my younger ballet days. I still have my first pair of satin ballet shoes somewhere and they're just adorable!

Now I've got to try and get out of work early enough to get to dance class! Things have been hectic lately - this week I ate dinner at work 3/5 days - but I'm hoping to go to ballet next week :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nail Polish Pro store

I'd been meaning to go to the ProNail Supply store for aaages as I've been fast running dry of my all time holy grail top coat Seche Vite. The last time I bought this was when I did a mass order online with some friends from the US from 8ty8beauty to save on postage costs, but I really don't need anymore nailpolish, just seche vite. You wouldn't believe it either but when I was in the US I could not find it anywhere, and despite my searching both on the internet and in stores everywhere (even in NYC!) its quite difficult to find.

Anyway, I made a trip to the store in Sydney because I had heard they stocked it. The place is amazing for any nailpolish fiend. Not only is it cheap considering you don't have to pay postage, the range is pretty good for an Australian store. It will never live up to the US online distributors who literally have hundreds of shades but its not bad for a store that I can just walk into at any time!

They had all the major brands - China Glaze ($6 a bottle), OPI ($8), Essie ($6 from memory), Seche ($6) and a few other bits and pieces too. To be honest, I don't think OPI is worth it at $8, but the others are definitely worth it. They have a plethora of other nail supplies that you can buy in bulk too if you're wanting buffers, gels, acrylics etc.
More random tidbits
The main thing for me was that they had my Seche Vite! Woot! Now I don't have to be using the dregs of my old bottle which has now turned tinted pinkish/red from my overuse. Can you see the bottle on the left in the pic below is tinted?

I also bought a pink tone from China Glaze - then went home and realised I totally have too many pink tones anyway!

What's your holy grail nail polish colour or brand?

ProNail Supply
9 Greenfield Parade

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gianvito Rossi

I recently came across Gianvito Rossi shoes online - Gianvitto is the son of the one and only Sergio Rossi, so clearly shoemaking runs in the family!

There are a few pairs which are beautiful and lots of really wearable pump styles. So far I haven't found anything I am head over heels in love with, but I'm definitely keeping my eye out on him as I can foresee him really becoming a shoe idol in his own right.

I love the delicate grunge look of this gold pair above. I have to say, a lot of the styles are very...Italian. What do I mean by that? There's a very European sensibility to the designs - delicate, elegant but with a sense of personality. I wish I could describe it better but I can't so I'll stick to showing more pics!

I believe net-a-porter stocks his shoes but you can also see more at www.gianvitorossi.com

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Alio, Surry Hills

Alio has been in Surry Hills for several years now - in fact I remember eating there when I was still in school some 10 years ago! Lately they've been participating in a lot of Groupon type vouchers with their 10 course degustation-like menu on offer for a measly $70 for two.

Anyway, we went recently and have to say there was a good mix of food and it was nice and comfortable being able to just sit there and have food brought to us at a leisurely pace to share amongst the table. We even got a house cocktail to begin our meal!

Pumpkin and ginger soup - pretty delectable though perhaps could be a bit warmer.

And a really terrible photo of our 'antipasto' type courses - they were all served as a communal shared tasting board which worked well but was also difficult to take photos of quickly as my dining guests impatiently waited for my photo-taking!

Of these below, the croquettes were probably amongst the best. The two on the right were the mushrooms and vegetables which were great for some variety but not what I would call my favourite.

And onto the pasta! I <3 pasta, but unfortunately by this point I was getting really full. I was unfortunately fairly ill the day we dined, but the booking had been made so far in advance that I didn't want to cancel!

And our seafood risotto... this was actually quite good, with punchy flavours and the consistency was pretty spot on.

And finally, my favourite course, dessert! The brownie (right, first pic) was definitely my favourite, but you would know I'm a big chocolate fan. The second pic shows the cute little jars of panacotta. I love the tasting plate type dessert because you get to try a bit of everything and it gives you the false sense that you're not being as sinful.

Sorry for my lack of descriptions, the Christmas hecticness is finally hitting me and I think I've hit a wall. Or maybe it's just because I'm back to work now (sadface!).

Anyway, for those who like the look of the piccies above, the Alio deal is pretty regularly appearing amongst all the group buying sites so just google and there is definitely one happening at the moment!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Boxing Day Shopping Haul...Part 2

I'm so slack, aren't I? It's really getting lame and ridiculous that I'm only just posting Part 2 of my Boxing Day haul when that was over 3 weeks ago practically! Anyway excuse my tardiness...here is more of my splurge shopping.

I think I was pretty good this year actually, the things I bought weren't completely ridiculous, nor was the amount I spent. Plus I barely shop during the year, so I count this really as just making up for the previous months.

So I got an Oroton black pashmina scarf. 50% off everything AGAIN there, and its running for weeks. It's quite a surprise that they're doing it so often nowadays, back in the day when I worked there it was once every two years. Anyway, it was silly of me to never buy this scarf when I worked there so I finally just caved as it will be useful on my Europe trip in June.

Other boring things in the pic - a 1TB WD hard drive - super cheap at $97! Yes the price was marked wrong on the box! And 40% off hosiery as an opening day special - its hardly ever that cheap. 30% off is pretty standard, but 40% off is an added bonus. Anyway, I wore one of the sheer black pairs on my first day back at work and within 4 hours I had a tear the size of my lower leg so one of the pairs was quickly ditched. Discounted, it was still $5 too, so I'm pretty disappointed. Even my $1 pairs are lasting longer at the moment!

So I also got a whole lot of Apple accessories from DJs cos they were 20% off (a better deal than I get even from my friends who are Apple employees). I didn't need any of them, but I had a gift voucher so the total of $140 that they came to wasn't too bad. And I just love how pretty the keyboard and mouse set are - and useful since I use an external screen setup. I know I could just use all my existing non-Mac specific peripherals but I'm a sucker for prettiness so I was one of those idiots who got sucked into paying for overpriced Mac accessories.

I also ordered a whole heap of stuff on Bonds online...if people saw my order they would think I was ordering for my child but actually they're all for me (despite being in 'Girls' sizes). They fit surprisingly well if you just order the largest size available! And it all came in at under $50.

Technically this one was pre Christmas and not Boxing Day - I bought a Sass & Bide dress from Ozsale. So OK its a mullet dress, but the mullet can be tied up so that its a normal draped dress. And the fabric is quite a good silk, so for $120 it seemed reasonable.

I don't have a picture of it on, but here's the yellow one from another online store.

Aand finally...this one has a bit of a story. So I've been looking for maxi skirts to wear for when I'm in Morocco later this year. I'm picky...really picky. It has to be pretty, but light weight, and in a good fabric. Now you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find something that meet the criteria of the item having to fit me and not be a big puff ball of badly cut fabric. I traipsed around Bondi Junction going into every store I never ever go into and ended up buying the skirt I had seen on boxing day at Marcs. Of course right, it is only one of my all time favourite stores. I'm a bit bummed I didn't just choose to fork out the money when I first saw it on Boxing Day as by the time I got it I could only get a size 4, when I would prefer a size 6. But on the plus side, it was $20 cheaper than Boxing Day. So win! And I <3 it! I don't have a good picture of it, but I wore it the other day with my Ferragamo Varinas. Its black with a tan narrow belt.

Phew! Ok maybe I did buy more than I thought!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life in Photos: January 2013

I already feel like the year is zooming past and its only Day 13! I'm already thinking of things happening in March, planning my holiday in June and then before I know it I can just tell it will be Winter again.

Anyway, on the topic of seasons, how crazy has Sydney weather been lately? There was that scorcher of a day on Tuesday and this was the temperature in the car at 6.30pm at night! Not to mention the weirdness for me that this time last year, I was living through 40 F weather and now a year-on I'm living through 40 C.

So of course I did what anyone would do - go to the beach at night! I live right near a few beaches which are in walking distance so I went to my favourite. It's suddenly been 'discovered' by people all across Sydney so it was packed! At 7pm at night! Insane. But it will still be one of my all time favourite Sydney spots. I'm not telling you where it is because I want to keep it my little secret to avoid more people overcrowding it!

On the same day there was this beautiful sunset...magnificent.

And who's had a chance to go and see the giant duck? I'm dying to see it up close...will have to find time in the next few weeks! In the meantime, this is the view of it from the firestairs at my work. There are actually windows closer by that would get a good shot of it, but I didn't want to look like that weirdo taking photos from around different parts of my office. It is so adorably cute!

How is everyone recovering from the festive season and the daily grind of having to be back at work? I'm sure not enjoying it - I want holidays again! Le sigh.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Boxing Day Shopping Haul...Part I

I know I'm a little late with posting about this, but the last few weeks have literally been insane. It was back to back everyday lunch and dinners of catching up with friends I haven't seen in ages or just running errands.

Anyway, I always have the same plan attack for the Boxing Day sales which has never failed me thus far. This year, it worked again.

This was my first haul...
Bloch ballet flats at DJs - 50% off and down to $75. I hadn't yet got my Christmas Gift card otherwise this would have effectively been free! I'm sure I'll spend my Gift Card eventually though as it lasts for 2 years.

Marc by Marc Jacobs mouse flats in red leather. I love MbMJ mouse flats - I have them in all incarnations and forms (from leather to rubber, from the older style to this newer style) and so of course I had to get these when they were the last left, happened to be my size, and were just $125 at Myer (further 50% off the already reduced price)! I probably would have bought them if they were more expensive even...

Marcs blouse for $75 (from $150). Marcs has always been my go-to favourite store for beautiful fashion and workwear that fits me perfectly. I've been shopping there since my days working for Orotongroup when they owned Marcs and hence got 50% off all the time, and often wish I still had that discount! This is the back of the blouse, with the front being just plain. I might return this just because I don't need it, but its 100% silk which is better than a lot of the cheaper chain stores, though admittedly you do pay half the price for something similar.

Aaand finally, a bit of pre-Christmas shopping with my kikki-k weekly planner which was 50% off and the pink notebook from Smiggle was full price (but I needed it for something specific!). I actually made a complaint to kikki-k as their sale items are never marked with the sale price and in four stores I went to there were such inconsistencies, so be warned - when you go to kikki-k pick up every single item and search to see if it has the I <3 sale sticker or see if the sale price is marked. Even if there is no price marked, it may still be on sale so head to the counter and ask them to price check!

I also did a lot of online shopping this year, checking out the deals that were available online and then going into store to try and find them. For my Bonds basics I wasn't able to find what I wanted at Target (even though they were cheaper) so just went for the 40% off with free shipping on the Bonds website. They're yet to arrive, but it was so easy and I didn't even have to leave the comfort of my chair!

Another post to come because I've been ducking in and out of the shops randomly when I've been meeting up with friends and picked up a few other things along the way...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Nicholas Kirkwoods

I want, no need, these Nicholas Kirkwoods. They're amazing and on sale! I'm really loving this collection of Kirkwoods <3

P.S I survived my first day back at work for 2013! =)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Back to Work

This is me today...

Because I have to go back to work tomorrow after a few weeks off for Christmas! Sad :( Anyway, this time of the year is really hectic for me workwise so I'll be on a little bit of a blogging hibernation. I've got some posts scheduled and I'll still try and post twice a week but if you don't hear from me for a while you know why!

Friday, January 4, 2013

UBER launches in Sydney

When I was in the US my tech start-up friends were constantly using/talking about UBER - an easy to use limousine service. It works much like a taxi service, except that you order the car/driver on your mobile in a few easy steps and within minutes a black car will arrive to drive you in style to your destination.

You don't even need to pull out any money because once you reserve your car and your driver drops you off at your destination, the credit card associated with your account will automatically be charged the fare and off you go! Of course you'll get receipts and confirmation of your reservation via text or email so it's super easy and quick.

Well anyway, the exciting news is that it has launched in Sydney! All you have to do is download the app on your smartphone or via their website. Of course the fare is probably not as cheap as it would be to travel around in the US, but there is a handy fare estimator as part of the app so there won't be any huge surprises.

And in case you're not convinced, click here to sign up and you'll get $10 off your first ride (or alternatively use the code uberASA10).

UBER is already huge in the US and Europe and apparently Britney Spears, Glee's Harry Shum Jr and Ed Norton are just some celebs who use it!

P.S Talk is that Melbourne will launch soon too so keep your eye out Melbournites!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013!!

Is anyone else wondering, how on earth did 2012 fly by so quickly and how is it already 2013? I vividly still remember when we were all welcoming in the year Y2K and now that was over 12 years ago. Insane, right?

Anyway, I am hoping for new beginnings in 2013 and hopeful that awesome things are in store. Wishing the same for all my readers too!