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Forcast of the Day: Winter is Coming

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Forcast of the Day: Winter is Coming. Its Monday. You need something subtle, something that says pay ah-tention to get through the week. You remember the steal of a dress you picked up a month ago that you’ve forgotten about. It sucks everything in and has cut outs in all the work-appropriate places. Its figure-hugging but not so tight you can’t skip up the stairs if need be. You slip on the court heels that you’ve been wearing all week (no breaking in needed! haven’t had any blisters so that gets a huge tick!), shrug on a coat in this season’s it colour and you’re done.

Recreate my Look:

Sydney Double Breasted Coat / Sophia Exposed Dart Dress / Adelle Contrast Court Heels (all c/o Forcast)

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One Two Chi Chi Chi

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If you are looking for a deliciously fluffy, full skirted dress, stop by Chi Chi London for the prettiest, flounciest ones. It’s a pastel and floral frock shock but regardless of your day to day style, tell me you don’t want to have a good twirl and bounce in something so fun. I paired my lovely mint dress with some strappy heels but if you were going to a themed fifties party or garden day, some little sneakers would be just brill too!

If you’re interested in this dress, its made of a lovely thick material but something that you will definitely need to have steamed so it floats nicely. I would also recommend looking in the petite section if you were after a dress that isn’t so long. Available on their own site with free worldwide delivery and also Asos!

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Dress (c/o Chi Chi London) / Heels signoff2

Perrie

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As you all know by now, Style Smorgasbord is a paradoxical blend of high and low, girly and masculine, tight and loose. Today, I decided to shake up the common denominator and went with boxy, structured everything.

Its the monochromatic equivalent of silhouettes.

When I build a look in my head, there’s always the hero piece that magnetises everything else together. This look centred around my new work bag from Paul’s Boutique SS16 collection. I worked with Paul’s Boutique last season so I was delighted to see their line sheet for the new season. There are so many beautiful pieces in seasonal neons but my personal favourites are those in tonal shades of stone, off white, navy and black. They are slowly releasing their lines and the ‘Perrie’ is from the Trinity Collection which is available in navy, blush and silver. The ‘Perrie’ is almost the perfect bag but I wish it could fit my 13 inch macbook air – it just falls short by about 2 cm 😦 ! I also love the classic silhouettes of the ‘Amber‘ and ‘Hunter‘.

Recreate my Look:

Shirt / Pants / Heels / Purse (c/o)

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Bottle / Phone Case (c/o) / NARS Products / Watch / Purse 

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Seas the Day with P&O

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Ahoy! I have returned back on shore with sea legs and a full belly after seeing some of the ‘Secrets of the South‘. Last week, I spent 8 nights onboard the newly launched Pacific Eden which sailed from Sydney to Kangaroo Island and back. To give you a little idea of what a day in the life of a cruise-ling is like, I present to you a 48 hour recap that consists of one port day and one sea day.

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Port Day

0700 – Breakfast at The Pantry: The Pantry is the closest thing to a buffet that you will get on the Pacific Eden. Gone are the days of sticky salad tongs and soda dispensers. Instead, the citrus coloured interiors are divided into cuisines and everything is served by cruise staff. If you want quick food without the hassle of waiting for a 3 course meal, The Pantry is the place to go. My favourite sections were the salad bar and the dessert bar 🙂

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0800 – Shore Tour: A port day means that the liner docks for a whole day  (usually around 7am -5pm) and you’re free to roam the place as long as you get the last tender back to the boat. This particular boat docked at Eden, Mornington Peninsula, Portland and Kangaroo Island. I squeezed in a couple of shoots at these places so I can’t wait to show you more beautiful photos in the coming weeks.

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1900 – Dinner at Waterfront: As the name suggests, this is the restaurant with views of the ocean. Serving up ‘Modern Australian’, Waterfront was my favourite dining option that didn’t come with a cover charge because the menu changed every night, the staff were wonderfully enthusiastic and the decor was stunning. There’s three courses for lunch and dinner plus an extra sharing platter for the evening that is another meal in itself!

2000 – Pre Show Drinks: The drinks on the Pacific Eden were flowing every hour of the day and there are plenty of bars all around. Keep your wallet at home – all you need is your cruise card and everything purchased is put on your tab.

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2045 – Velvet Rope at the Marquee: There was live entertainment on most nights but the Velvet Rope was my favourite because it coincided with The Great Gatsby party. Expect lots of singing, dancing and beautiful costumes – all delightfully tied up in a neat 45 minutehigh action show.

2230 – Late Night Movie: If you’re still not ready for bed you can always head over to the Torquay to catch the last movie of the day. Some of our options included Jurassic World, Kingsman, Gone Girl, Age of Adeline and Fantastic Four.

Sea Day

0800 – Morning Dip: Sea days are the perfect opportunity to test out all the amenities starting with a swim in the many pools available.

0900 – Breakfast at Waterfront: Then its time to have a long breakfast complete with all the juices, pastries and sweet and savoury breakfast options in the world.

1000 – Zumba in the Dome: With all the 3 course meals you’re consuming, this is a great morning workout to do. Can you still pull a one leg stretch with sea legs?

1130 – Hair Appointment at Elemis Spa: The Elemis Spa has a a huge variety of services available including massages, fire and ice manicures or even a chop and colour which is what I had done!

1300 – Lunch at Angelos: Aside from the Waterfront, there are two other restaurants that are included in your ticket. Angelo’s does Italian and Dragon Lady does Pan-Asian.

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1400 – Silver Screen: Breakfast at Tiffany’s: There’s always a classic flick on in the afternoon. I’ve been meaning to watch this Audrey Hepburn film for the longest time so this long sea day was perfect for that!

1530 – Gym: Get your body ready for dinner ha!

1730 – Spa: There’s an outdoor jacuzzi for those who don’t mind the natural elements but if you want to spoil yourself, try the Elemis spa rooms. There’s a wet and dry steam room, a jacuzzi and my personal favourite, the heated ceramic beds which dry your wet swimmers.

1900 – Dinner at Luke Magnan Salt Grill: Salt Grill comes with a $49 cover charge but its still a price that can’t be beaten if you were to experience his food in one of his physical land stores. The French and Chinese fusion inspired menu is presented in a simplistic way that still packs an incredible punch of flavour.

2145 – Comedy: A bit of cheeky fun for all the adults on board.

223o – Bianco White Party at the Dome: There are a ton of parties on board and there’s a great atmosphere created when everyone gets involved in the theme. Our cruise had a sail alway, a back to school party, a gatsby night, a bianco white party and a las vegas pool party.

2359 – Midnight Snack and Zzzzz: Your stewardess makes your bed twice a day which is service that I have never experienced. They will first make your bed in the morning and then whilst you’re having dinner, they get it ready for the evening by dimming the lights, placing a tray of midnight snacks on the bed and twisting your towels into animals. You will feel incredibly spoiled and taken care of for sure!

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Post created in collaboration with P&O Cruises

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Nook of the Day

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As soon as Christmas was over, I sprung into action and got everything straightened out to welcome the new year. I threw out a lot of junk and added some new bits and bobs to my work nook and bookcase. Here are some of my January rituals that I like to always complete:

  • Donate old clothes, accessories, etc. – anything that hasn’t been worn for more than 12 months should go. I let a lot of old costumes go that I had been saving for future dress up events but I decided that I’m better off with a whole empty drawer than one filled with things that I may or may not wear once in a blue moon.
  • Delete duplicates of photographs – as I create 100% of the visual content on this blog, I have a LOT of pictures in my hard drive. Whilst I like to keep a few hilarious candids, I have so many pictures that are basically the same that I like to delete as much as possible to free up future storage space.
  • Unsubcribe to email lists that I don’t even open. This is a serious chore but just something you have to do. Put on a lighthearted sitcom in the background or some YouTube vlogs and get rid of all that spam.
  • Get a new calendar! Kind of an obvious one but there are so many free printables on Pinterest that look gorgeous on a clipboard 😉
  • Swap out your photo frames – I always have quotes in my frames so I like to change my mantras every year depending on what life goal I am aiming towards. This year mine is ‘good things come to those who hustle’.

I’m so glad I started early too because would you know it, I caught a cold on NYE ( almost didn’t make it to midnight!) and spent the next few days finishing off the last season of Friends. It was frustrating not being able to catch the new year bug and be all motivated, creative and fit. I’m on my last few sniffles and have been snapping photos, writing emails, editing and writing up drafts all day in preparation for my cruise. As you read this, I will be sailing away from all my responsibilities on the Pacific Eden for just over a week! I am very lucky to be working with P&O to bring you guys some very fun content so look out for that soon. If you have any queries as to where certain decor pieces are from, just ask in the comments but the answer will probably be Kmart or Ikea 🙂 If you are looking for some throwback SS, check out my desk decorating post from last year or my last shelfie
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‘January’ calligraphy thanks to cable car couture

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Topdeck NZ Northern Explorer

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When I was initially researching this trip, I looked high and low for a review about this specific Topdeck tour but I couldn’t find anything that answered all my questions and was also recently published. Now that it has been almost a month since my return, I wanted to create a post for anyone who is looking to do the Northern Explorer tour in the future. I will be covering accommodation, food, attractions and the people 🙂

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I booked my tour a few months in advance with STA travel but you can also book online directly through Topdeck’s own website. I would definitely recommend doing it in person through an agent because you can ask as many questions as you please, the price is exactly the same and you don’t have to pay the whole trip up front, only a small deposit. If you don’t want the hassle of booking flights and buying insurance separately, STA are happy to hook you up as well but if you want to save some money you can grab those through Webjet which is what I did.

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Accommodation

My friend and I went together so we upgraded to twin share which was an extra hundred each. This was a really great decision on our part because our room was always much nicer and we would always have access to our own private bathrooms and amenities. I think the accommodation was fantastic in terms of variety, as you can see we stayed in a ski resort, a Maori Marae (which is the sacred meeting place) and also a small boat!

These are all the places we stayed at:

  • Pre-Accommodation at Travelodge Hotel, Wellington
  • Skotel Alpine Resort, Mount Ruapehu
  • Maori Marae, Rotorua
  • Sudima, Rotorua
  • Rock the Boat, Bay of Islands
  • Tanoa Paihia Hotel, Tanoa

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Rotorua Museum of History & Art

Attractions

I paid for three optional extras: Hobbiton, Hell’s Gate mud spa and Rock the Boat. There is a ton of other cool things that you can also participate in such as white water rafting, zorbing, inflatable kayaking and bungee jumping.

Hobbiton: to read more about my Hobbiton experience, you can visit my first New Zealand post here.

Hell’s Gate: was a nice experience after having skipped way too many showers on this trip! We spent an hour in the hot mud and springs where our noses accommodated to the sulphurous scent of Rotorua.

Rock the Boat: this was my favourite part of our entire trip! For 22 hours we went on a tiny little boat and saw all 144 islands with a very enthusiastic local crew. There was a paint balling introduction, fishing for dinner followed by night kayaking which was breathtaking. We paddled out at 10pm and the water was filled with phosphorous algae so when we dipped our paddle or arm in the water, a beautiful trail of glow in the dark algae moved along with us. We also lay in our kayaks and looked up at the glowing night sky and it was quite magical 🙂 After kayaking, the brave kids jumped in for a swim. It was cold but so worth it because as we swam, the algae continued to glow and everyone felt like a mermaid. Once all warmth had escaped our bodies we jumped back out and sat by the fire. The next morning we went snorkelling and hiked up a lush island barefoot. I don’t think I’ve ever had that many adventures in under 24 hours!

The activities that were already included in our tour were just as great and the night at the Marae was my favourite. Some of the things included a hike in Tongariro which you can read more about in my previous post here, a rugby lesson at the NZ Sports Academy and a night learning about Maori culture including the haka and poi dances at the Marae.

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If you choose not to participate in an activity you have the option of exploring the city yourself. None of the activities are affiliated with Topdeck so you can do as little or as much as you would like. Here’s a snap of me ‘skydiving’ and another of my friend bungee jumping.

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Te Papa Museum

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Food

Breakfast is included every morning at the location of the accommodation for the previous night. We had a combination of cold and hot breakfasts and three dinners were included. Lunch was always up to us and we were given the opportunity to go to grocery stores and stock up on water and snacks if we were heading somewhere remote.

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People

For the trip we had a tour leader, a driver and an extra person who did both jobs whenever the main people were tired. No tipping is required and they were all very helpful. Most of the the other travellers were Australian like myself but around 30% were from overseas. We had a big group of almost 40 including people from the UK, US, Germany, France and Switzerland. The best way to describe the environment would be like a big school camping trip. I know tours like these have a reputation for being party tours but I think it usually depends on the group itself. This was a bit of a quiet group so there was no pressure to drink if you didn’t want to and the places we travelled to lacked night life so there wasn’t much on offer in terms of after hours entertainment.

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Waiotapu Geothermal

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Overall, Topdeck tours are very fast paced adventure packed trips. If you want to see lots of scenery, I wouldn’t recommend going on one because we were only allowed 10 to 30 minutes tops at some scenic lookouts. However, they are very well organised so you don’t have to do much thinking aside from getting to the bus on time.

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Huka Falls

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I never have much use for souvenirs so I only bought one thing for myself – a kiwi charm (only available to purchase in New Zealand) to finish off my pandora bracelet for 2015.

Hopefully this whopper of a post was helpful for some people. If you have any questions in general about Topdeck tours or more specific ones about the northern explorer I would be happy to answer them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with a fashion post on Friday! Lets hope this weather clears up a bit too eh?!!

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Black for the Summer

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Happy New Year! I have had a two week break from Style Smorgasbord because I wanted to recharge, reflect and redirect my energy towards the holiday season. Whilst we should aim to improve upon ourselves daily, the first day of the year is always a great ritual of self assessment that demands personal honestly and reinforces humility. Instead of coming up with new year resolutions for 2016, I decided to create a list of 101 things I want to achieve in 1001 days. You can see my list here

I would say I am a very excitable person. Thusly, I rarely wear black especially head to toe black. However, I love a good oxymoron and black in the summer is refreshingly that. I received this boater for Christmas and plan to wear it forever. The brim is wonderfully wide and perfectly practical and adding it to any outfit just makes me feel like I am on vacation somewhere tropical.

Hat / Top / Skirt / Scarf

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/ Photography Credits – Matthew /signoff2

Conservative Trending

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Top / Jeans / Belt / Bandana / Watch (c/o) / Flats / Bag / Nails

I’ll always go to the clearance section of any store before I even glance at the new arrivals. Further 50 percent off emails and banners make my hands sweat with excitement. Pricing an online store from lowest to highest gives my great satisfaction. Lets face it, I’m not the biggest fan of spending money on trends. Its easy to see what’s going to go out of style and what to invest in. I like the whole 70s thing that every chainstore is shoving down our throats but not enough to commit to a pair of flared jeans for more than a month. Instead, I add a red bandana and brown cross body both stolen from my mum’s wardrobe and I don’t have to spend a dime.

That’s not to say I don’t like to splurge on the finer things. Timepieces are something I thoroughly enjoy and this year I have managed to acquire quite a few unintentionally. One of which includes this Rumba Time piece. The beautifully cut edges reflect light and create the prettiest rainbow effect on your walls. Unfortunately Rumba Time’s website only ships to certain places. However, you can buy this exact style on ShopBop which I recommend because the shipping is crazy fast even if you live in Australia.

So save those dollars and invest in lasting pieces that your children can steal from you down the road. Or put it towards that holiday you’ve been meaning to take yourself on. Experiences are always greater than material things. Period.

rumba14rumba3rumba4rumba8rumba13rumba12rumba15Edit: I have decided to update my sign off with a more personalised touch. Writing Christmas cards and gift tags helped me come up with a new way of spelling out ‘much love karen’. Let me know what you think of it and thank you so much for reading.

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Vitamin Sea

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It’s almost that time of the year again … Not Christmas though … STUVAC is rolling in with one week left of uni. I almost didn’t write a blog post today because I thought I didn’t have anything to put up but then I realised I still had this draft sitting pretty since June just after I had wrapped up semester 1. One of the biggest motivators for me during STUVAC last semester was texting my study and workout buddy each morning with motivational quotes so I hope this post gives you a little inspiration to go out and tackle your finals head on. Don’t forget to get off your studying bum once in a while, stay hydrated, eat clean and get a lot of vitamin sea. Also, I thought I would include my 10 STUVAC Commandments:

  1. Wake up and go to sleep early: a good night’s rest = clear mind; trumping last minute cramming = groggy mind
  2. Stay active: an active body equals an active mind – go for a walk outside or do some Blogilates
  3. Plan something to do outdoors after your exams: I like to go to the beach for some much needed vitamin sea
  4. Find a study buddy: to cheer you on and keep you sane ❤
  5. Beat unproductive days: with the Pomodoro Technique 
  6. Be comfortable in: // Sweater: Old (similar here) Pants: Uniqlo / Sneakers: Nike //
  7. Study in different places: you’ll be more likely to recall information in a foreign location come exam time
  8. Clean: your bedroom and other studying spaces before everything starts to go crazy
  9. Consider using a: bullet journal if you struggle with organisation or plan like me!
  10. Use: Self Control 

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If you are still keen to extend your study break (are you procrastinating on SS haha, check out some post exam inspo here ) / Photos by study buddy: Adela x Styliminal 

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Bright Winter Things

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I was shooting for a Southern Curls & Pearls  inspired colour scheme and I thought it turned out alright. Salmon and coral may be from the same section of the colour wheel but they go together beautifully when broken up with some white and tan. I can’t believe my winter break is over already! It was definitely a fun break and I’ll be sure to create a jam packed July wrap up before August trickles in.

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