Friday, May 31, 2013


Today, I head off for a few weeks overseas and so you may not hear from me for a while. So much happens in my life that I never get round to blogging about everything, and I never even finished blogging about my epic 5 months overseas from 2012. Anyway, I'm off again and you may recall I posted excitedly as one of the highlights is definitely going to Glastonbury 2013! So excited :)

In the meantime, I've scheduled a few posts while I'm gone and as always I'll be in twitter. You'll hear more real time updates about my holiday on twitter so click on the links on the right to follow me @AShoeAffair and stalk my holiday!

In the meantime, I leave you with this amazing photo of a place that is high on my 'to visit' list ;)
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, Maldives - CN Traveller Hot List 2012

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

iHerb order #2

I made a second order with iHerb recently when they had the 20% off Real Techniques brushes which I blogged about a few weeks back. I had credit to spend so my haul came to a grand total of $8 including postage which is bargain bargain bargain if you ask me!

I forgot to change the f stop on my camera setting so the photo is a little blurred but you get the idea!

It is pretty ironic that I ordered the Tea Tree oil antiseptic, a product from Australia, and had it shipped from the US. It cost US$8 from memory and I've never actually seen it in stores here (not that I've tried hard to look) but my threading lady uses it on me and I quite like it. Then again, I love anything tea tree oil related!

The middle is the Expert Face brush which people rave about though I haven't started using it. I think I'll use it for my liquid foundation to see how it fares against the stippling brush. I've been using BB cream more recently instead of foundation though so for that I've just been using a normal flat foundation brush.

On the right is cheapo US$5 rose hip oil. I get the feeling (based on colour) that this stuff is not very potent, but I wanted a cheapie to use on my body rather than wasting my expensive Trilogy stuff.

And finally in the middle was a freebie - a lip balm that I thought might be handy. It was free anyway!

Remember if you want to order at iherb use the discount code RLN426 to get $5 off your order or $10 off if its $40+.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

China Lane, Sydney

I went for an impromptu dinner at China Lane the other night, the offshoot to the ever popular China Doll which I also visited for the first time this year.

I have to say, I loved the decor and the vibe, and how easy it was to get a table. The food isn't too expensive, but it certainly isn't cheap either. It is all easy to eat, flavoursome fare which was perfect for the girly night we had planned and so we didn't want to have to think about the food too much.

(Note the better photos were taken on my S100, others on iphone oops!)
We started with these pulled pork buns - these were really cute and awesomely soft and fluffy. They had a spicy flavour which I really liked and overall these were a big thumbs up!

We had the pork belly (which I'd also tried at China Doll) and this was tasty and melt in your mouth, though pork belly has never been my favourite thing.

They have this amazing private room which looks moody and intimate, and has the perfect asian food round table which looks to seat around 8 people. I'm definitely keeping it mind for any future events or dinners!

We decided to try dessert because of the name which included something along the lines of 'szechuan meringue'. What could that be, we asked? The waitress didn't explain it too well so we thought we'd find out ourselves and this is what appeared. It was tasty (I mean, who doesn't love meringue?) and colourful with the beetroot jelly and strawberries but not particularly deconstructed or szechuan as the menu had described.

And I love the outside dangling lanterns/lighting and outdoor seating. If it was a warmer day I would totally have asked to sit outside!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: Dior

Vintage 1947 Dior. Breathtaking. Elegant. Definition of style.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Priceline 40% off Haul

Apologies for my tardiness with posting this - a few weeks back Prieline had 40% off all make up/cosmetics. I really didn't need anything but I went to take a look because I needed some retail therapy and got a few items I had actually been wanting (though didn't need).

Rimmel Liquid Eyeliner
I have 2 other liquid eyeliners - a Sephora one which I bought cheaply and had started using almost weekly, and a Dior one which is amazing but annoyingly time consuming to apply so not great for working day wear. So I thought I might as well stock up on a cheapie liquid eyeliner for those occasions I just want to fineline for going to work (which is quite a lot recently!). It came down to $6 or so I think so I wasn't expecting much, and it does an OK job.

Rimmel Lipstick
I just wanted a fun punchy lipstick so bought this one again for $6. I actually haven't tried it yet because my lips have been uber dry but will report back once I have!

I went to another store and got a few other items
Models Prefer falsies was just because at the cheapo price they are, I thought it would be useful to have in case I ever wanted falsies for an evening look.

Essence eyebrow pencil was again because I haven't got an eyebrow pencil and at $3, it was a worthwhile investment I think!

Garnier Sensitive Skin BB Cream
So I'd read amazing things about this BB Cream and even though I already have enough Foundation/Tinted Moisturisers to last me a decade, I thought this was my perfect chance to try it as it came down to only $14 I think from memory. I also realised the sensitive skin option (50ml) was the same price as the normal option (30ml) so of course went sensitive skin, seeing as that is also the best description for my skin type. I've been using it fairly regularly recently and while the coverage is a little too light for me I like the feeling on my skin and how natural it looks. SPF is always a plus also! I think the reason why I think coverage isn't so good is because I'm comparing to my workable MUFE Face & Body Foundation which I can layer to a coverage necessary for whatever blemishes I have at any given time.

Revlon Photoready Skinlights
This was more money than I really wanted to spend, but I've been looking for an illuminator that wasn't going to set me back big bucks seeing as I would barely use it. This is known to be a good dupe for Benefit High Beam in the pink light tone, but I ended up getting the bare light tone as it is more natural on my more tanned skin. I'm liking it so far though it is indeed very subtle and was quite pricey ($18 from memory)

Did you stock up at Priceline?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Life in Photos: May 2013

So these are going to be reallllly food oriented because well, that's all I've been doing lately. Eating! Which is terrible because a) I need to have a beach ready body for my holiday and b) My holiday means I should be saving $$.

Anyway, here comes an overload of photos :)

The Rook
I really loved the vibe and setting of The Rook - its high up in a office building so you have to know it to go there. It means the vibe is uber chilled, its not crowded, there is music that is loudish but not so much that you can't have a chat over drinks, lobster rolls and burgers. Here's one of their burgers with truffle fries

Lynns is a great place for Peking duck, dumplings and other tasty morsels. They're great because the food is authentic, without the grungy Chinatown feel and with great service which is non-Chinese-speaking friendly (definitely a must for me!). Other places will make dumplings and Asian food overly greasy but they do it healthily and to a reasonable quality considering the price. They also have an awesome Friday special on their Peking Duck ;)

And now for some randoms - I made scones recently, they were uber tasty. I <3 fluffy scones (though I've been using this new recipe which is never really that fluffy, though uber easy to make)

When I was in the UK I was introduced to Mr Kipling. It's awesome, and has recently been introduced in Australia. Only thing is, as with all things imported, its ridiculously expensive here so of course no one bought it and it went on uber sale! This is my sister's stockpile from making the most of the sale.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesday!

I had to steal this from a listing I saw via twitter recently - 52 travel tips you should really know!

1) Wash your clothes in the sink / shower.Use the hotel soap. Or take a little traveller sized bottle of laundry detergent with you. It's much easier than finding a Laundromat in a foreign country. And there are only so many times that you can wear the same pair of undies. 
2) Learn how to use a needle and thread. You've only got space for a few items of clothing. Sewing a broken button back on will save you a lot of hassle. 
3) Carry baby wipes / facewipes. This can be used to feel clean when there are no showers. Yes, sometimes there are NO showers. 
4) Learn how to say "no thank you". Most travel advice columns will tell you to learn how to say "hello",  "yes please", "thank you" and "do you speak English?". But in some countries you really want to be able to say "no thank you, please leave me alone". Think about the crowded market places in Asia. Knowing how to say "no thank you" in their language is going to give you a lot more peace. 
5) Grocery stores are a traveller’s best resource. Cheap food, local flavours. Find the nearest one to your hotel and you will save yourself a heap of cash. Have a picnic lunch every day. 
6) Keep an emergency stash of money. If you lose your wallet you will still need to eat. An empty Chapstick is a fantastic secret hiding spot. 
7) Learn how to drive a manual car. Stuck at an airport after your flight has been cancelled? You could drive. You will be smacking your head on the desk if they only have manual cars. 
8) Roll your clothes when packing. No creases and more clothes fit into your suitcase. 
9) Always keep a stash of spare plastic bags for dirty clothes / shoes.  Smelly socks will make your clean clothes stink. Always. 
10) Learn how to swim. You never know when you might need to on the spur of the moment.
11) Learn how to pack light. You do not need to take 20kg for a week of travel. You CAN wear trousers two days in a row or more. The less you have to carry, the happier you will be travelling. And if the French Metro goes on strike on the day you need to get to the airport - you will thank us. 
12) Know how much it should cost in a taxi. Carry a card with the hotel address and a map. Ask for taxi drivers to use the meter. Make sure they are legitimate taxi drivers. 
13) Always carry a hard copy map of the city you're going to. Save your phone charge for when you really need it.
14) Make sure your bank cards work. There is nothing more annoying on holidays than spending hours on the phone to the bank back home.
15) Carry tissues that can double up as toilet paper. Plus carry a hand sanitiser. 
16) Pack sandals or thongs for use in showers. Showers can be gross. You don’t want your feet to touch the floor. 
17) Learn how to change a tyre. Murphy's law says if you don't know and you head off on a road trip, you're bound to get a flat.
18) Be prepared to sleep anywhere. Ear plugs and eye patches will help block out the light. 
19) Learn how to take a decent photo. Don’t come home with a bunch of Instagram selfies. Memories fade and you'll want something to remember the scenery by. 
20) Pack smart. Put necklaces in straws so they don’t get jumbled. Use a button to keep earrings together 
21) Learn basic first aid. This is just a great life skill, if nothing else. 
22) Get folders for travel documents and itineraries. Keep them organised so you don’t have to mess about digging through pockets in your bag at the airport check-in. 
23) Use public transport. It's fast. It's easy, it's cheaper and it will give you a better travel experience. Get a map, learn the different ticket types and if you are heading to London – organise an Oyster Card in advance. 
24) Use little bottles for everything. It takes up less room. If you use plain bottles make sure you label them with a pen that won’t wash or rub off. Mistakes can and do happen. Moisturising your hair is not a good look.
25) Buy and wear good walking shoes. Blisters are not fun and high heels don’t work on Europe’s cobblestone pathways.
26) Ask the locals for advice, tips. The best beach probably isn't the most popular one. The locals can help you find those secret spots you will rave about. 
27) Eat where the locals eat. Just like number 26 - the same goes with restaurants. Ask the locals where they eat. Go there instead. 
28) Peg clothes to the outside of your backpack as you walk around in the sun to dry them after washing. Cheap and easy!
29) Know where the embassy is. Seriously. Find it on your map. Don’t think just because you are in a "safe" country you won’t need it.  All it takes is a quick Google search, write down the address and put it in a safe place.
30) Register your details with DFAT. OK, this one is obvious but surprisingly so many of us don’t actually do it. In cases like Boston or London, DFAT will be the place your family will turn to. Make sure they know where you are. 
31) Be aware of the local laws. Don’t get drunk on the streets of Dubai or expect to chew and spit gum in Singapore. You’re leaving Australia - don't expect our law system to follow you around the world. 
32) Get your vaccinations if you need them. Yellow fever is not fun. You will kick yourself if you could have prevented it and you didn't.
33) Scan your passport and travel documents. Give copies to family/friends. If you lose your passport or travel documents, this backup will save you a lot of heartache. It will also help your family to find you in the event of a disaster. 
34) Learn a few phrases of the local language. Speak to the locals. Experience their culture. Don’t just wander through it. 
35) Know the scams of each destination. 'Thai driver want to show you his best restaurant?' It’s probably his mate's. Get on the internet and work out the scams so you don’t become a sucker. Then refer to number 4. 
36) Learn the art of haggling. Haggling saves you money. Be bold. That extra $4 will buy you a coffee. 
37) Learn the basic geography of the country you are visiting. There’s nothing worse than a traveller who has no idea where they are travelling. 
38) Learn how to use a compass. Sounds extreme but it could help in a crisis.
39) Learn how to use chopsticks. Don’t look like a tourist asking for a fork. Chopsticks are a must. 
40) Get travel insurance. It's obvious, but probably one of the most important items on this list. The French always go on strike meaning your flight could easily get cancelled and accidents do happen, particularly if you want to ride a scooter in Bali. Get travel insurance. 
41) Allow relaxation time to get over jet lag. You don't want to be on the go for six weeks straight. It should be a holiday. You should relax at some point. 
42) Keep a change of clothes and basic toiletries in your carry-on. If your luggage gets lost you will be very glad. 
43) Travelling via Singapore? Pack your swimmers in your carry-on and take a break in the outdoor rooftop pool at the airport while in transit. You will feel 100 per cent better getting on the next flight. 
44) Research the airports you are travelling through so you can a) find the fastest way through and b) use the facilities. Don't just sit at the boarding gate. 
45) Take a jumper on the plane. It is cold. It has air conditioning. 
46) Take thick socks for the plane. Cold feet will stop you sleeping. 
47) Take Imodium and panadol/nurofen. The cuisine of other countries can be harsh on the tummy. 
48) Find out if the country you are going to sells tampons. Some countries don’t. Or they are really hard to find. Even places you wouldn’t think of - like Athens. 
49) Check if the drinking water is safe. That includes brushing your teeth, ice in cocktails and drinking water in the shower.
50) Be aware of altitude sickness. Give yourself time to adjust between altitudes, drink a lot more when you are high up.
51) Know the local road rules. Even in New Zealand the rules are different. 
52) Be respectful. Pay attention to how local women dress to work out how you should.
I leave on holidays in 2.5 weeks, eek!
Credit: Daily Telegraph

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kathmandu Sale Haul

When I heard there was this uber cheap deal on Kathmandu's online sale as part of Click Frenzy, I just had to make an order. I've got a few of these microfibre towels at home already that I used to use camping, but they're so small and light that they're great for the gym and I knew I had to get some to take with me camping for Glastonbury!

For the Large size, they were just $3 - yes that's correct, $3 for a microfibre large towel (1.5m long, so sizeable!) down from $30 something. The bargain website forums I read were overloaded with people buying 10 even with no use for them as they wanted to make the most of the $10 shipping but by the time I got round to ordering I could sadly only order 2 even though I wanted to order 5 (two each for my sister and I, one for my mum).

I also added in another sale item in the mix - some travel locks that are smaller than the normal size so perfect on my XL Longchamp Le Pliage that I bring with me travelling as my 'onboard' bag.

So for a grand total of $30 including shipping, I got these 3 items! Bargain, right?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: Women in Windows

Well, look at that alliteration!
Credit: Ormond Gigli via

OK so I'm cheating on this wordless one a bit - all I can say is there's a story behind this photo and if you want to read it click here.

The photo was taken in Manhattan and none of the women are models and none were styled, just told to turn up in whatever they wanted. And how magnificent does it look!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Universal, Sydney

I've been promising this post for ages but in February I visited Universal in Darlinghurst for what would be a first and final meal there as Christine Mansfield has sadly closed her famed restaurant last month. It was also a bit of a belated birthday celebration for me (they had a private function on my actual birthday so I sadly couldn't dine on that day).

I had never visited previously because a lot of people say its quite expensive and the portion sizes small.  Well, my verdict on that later.

Here are some photos not taken with my S100 (hence the awesome macro) but I took the photos quickly as I just wanted to tuck into the food. First up, cocktails yum!

The menu is setup such that there are savoury then sweet 'courses' which are more like small tasting plates so it was recommended that each person would eat 3-4 savoury, 1 sweet to be full. They are priced about the same as a base main course price point. Having read/heard that the courses were small, I was expecting degustation sizes but they were actually quite generous, I would say they were all entree+ sizing (but then again, I am not a huge eater). Amongst 3 of us, we made sure we all ordered 3 different courses each allowing us to try as much as possible.

One thing that I can definitely say about my meal at Universal was that every single dish was well balanced, absolutely popping with flavour and east meets west inspired but with subtle twists and underlying flavours which were just exquisite. Seriously technically amazing stuff. I'll let the food pics speak for themselves :)

Sichuan spiced duck, seared sea scallops, asparagus, lychee, smoked eggplant sambal ($32)
This was crispy, asian inspired with the sambal and lychee and absolutely delectable. As you can see, the duck serving was actually quite generous!

Hiramasa kingfish sashimi, sweet grilled eel, pickled seaweed, shiso and finger lime salad, yuzu jelly ($30)
I LOVE yuzu and sashimi and this was like a perfect summer salad. The eel added some charred flavour to the mix which went well with the salad items which by themselves would probably be too overpowering but all together was delish.

Prawn and coconut ceviche, green chilli salsa, palm sugar, popcorn ($30)
Now doesn't this dish look fun? It was like an asian inspired ceviche, but with popcorn that added texture without overpowering the dish. I hate dishes that are overly spiced but this was definitely spicy enough without going overboard.

Roasted john dory, spanner crab and mint salsa and spiced coconut ($32)
I hope I got this dish name correct - anyway this dish was not as I expected but turned out to be really great. The curry like dish took me to an indian malaysian diner in flavour, but with fine dining quality ingredients. Hearty and warming, but not too heavy either. This turned out to be one of the fave picks from my dining companions.

Seared ocean trout, steamed garlic eggplant, caramelised cherry tomatoes, ocean trout roe ($31)
I'm going to be honest here, this wasn't my menu pick so I don't actually remember this too much. Look at that roe though!

Rare roasted venison, beetroot and horseradish spelt risotto and goats cheese cigar ($31)
This was one of my faves by far - the spelt was seriously amazing. Each grain was soft and succulent without being mushy and the venison absolutely perfectly rare. But see, I'm a red meat obsessee so maybe that's why?

Onto desserts!

LIttle Miss Sunshine - passionfruit, banana, yoghurt sorbet, coconut clouds, pineapple, mango and red papaya ($20)
I love anything with meringue and passionfruit and this was like a summer fruit explosion in your mouth. The sorbet in the middle was light and balanced out the sweet fruity flavours!

Gaytime goes nuts - honeycomb icecream, caramel parfait, chocolate crunch , salted hazelnut caramel ($25)
This is Universal's signature dish so we had to get it, plus who doesn't love a Gaytime ice cream. This was seriously awesome! The detail and effort to making it really shows when we cracked it open as you can see in the second pic. Of course it was quite sweet (but not overly so) but as we were all sharing it worked well.

Madame pompadour - white peach curd, strawberry cream, strawberry meringue, buttermilk sorbet, raspberries ($20)
Now I wasn't a big fan of this dessert (while I know others rave about it) but thats probably because I'm not a big fan of curd. The mini macarons were really cute though!

So my overall verdict? Seriously amazing. One of the best meals I've had in Sydney and it is such a pity it has closed as we definitely talked about wanting to go again. We contemplated trying to fit in another dinner there before closure but that seemed too greedy! The reason it was so good was definitely due to the creativity, thought and balance of flavours. It is one thing to be fancy and all gastronomically crazy but its another to execute with subtle creativity and this is what defined it through and through!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Derby Day Autumn Carnival 2013!

If you follow my Twitter feed you'll remember I was originally really sad about not being able to go to Derby Day and see Black Caviar potentially run her last race. I love the races and usually only go with Members tickets (free entry, yay!) but this time there was such demand I wasn't able to get my tickets. Never fear, I managed to get last minute tickets on the morning of and my sister gave me a call while I was at dance class saying I had to get back, get changed and go go go!

So with that, I got home and had to come up with a headpiece, black and white outfit and accessories, quickly do my make up and head out within 1 hr! Luckily I have a collection of millinery ready to go for any racewear outfit and occasion and I went simple black shift dress for the occasion. If the weather had been cooler, I would have worn a white with black trim blazer I've been dying to wear on Derby.

Here's a rare headshot of me (you won't usually see my headshot on my blog!). I'm wearing a felt headpiece by Fiona Powell (which I posted about here) and YSL sunglasses. My hair is a bit messy because I've had it cut recently and it was too short for my normal chignon and as you can imagine, I was madly pinning it in 5 minutes!

Anyway, the weather was amazing. In fact, it felt more like summer carnival weather, and with that came the cringeworthy ubiquity of straw, strappy shoes and of course the always present eveningwear party dresses. Argh. I even whinged about it here if you recall!

It was so awesome to see Randwick Racecourse reopened after the refurbishment - its been a few years since I used to sit my university exams there and how has it changed! It looks really good and I think it will really herald a new racing culture that will match the new, fancy surrounds. Sydney just doesn't have a racing culture that Melbourne has and I think that is such a pity! Excuse all the dodgy pics - my clutch bag could only fit flats OR camera, not both so I went with flats and iPhone photos all day :)

I bumped into my super fashionable friend who works for Vogue pottering about as part of Vogue Style Stakes (i.e. Fashions on the Field). Here are the finalists lined up with Samantha Harris. Doesn't Samantha Harris look divine? She looked even more glamorous in real life!

I wasn't too happy with the girl on the far left being included in the finalists but I could tell she was included for the 'on trend' pick with the cat ears and cute collared dress. Don't get me wrong, I think she looked amazing and loved her outfit (and cat ears) and her accent red was great if I do say so myself...more on that later. However, I do feel like rules are in place at the Races for a reason as it is a very traditional fashion playground. Not to say you can't play and have fun with the fashion you do wear there, but it did seem a little too far. Anyway I will jump off my soapbox now :) In case you're interested, the girl second from left won!

Here's a random shot of my shoes for the day. So I went with the accent red accessories (belt and shoes) which I wasn't really wanting to do as I prefer to stick to the black/white but my outfit felt boring for the day so I needed something to make it look more polished. They're the Jimmy Choos I bought from the sample sale and posted about in December.

Enough about the random races going ons, the main event was clearly the racing of Black Caviar. And wow did the crowd go crazy. This was my sister's cute cocktail - Black Caviar inspired!

And the famous darling of the day!

We managed to get up to the barrier but on one of the furthest ends of the course but it allowed for a spectacular viewing both before the race (as they galloped past to get to the starting barriers) and also during the race of course.

All in all, a fabulous day out and I'm determined to find more time to go to the races this year :)