Wednesday 11 December 2019

It's no secret that I love a bit of a fiesta, I'm so excited for the day that I have my own house so I can throw dinner parties, cheese and wine nights, 'pub quizzes' and celebrations every weekend. December is definitely the month to be a bit more out going than usual, and of course around the Christmas period there are usually endless amounts of family gatherings and drinking with friends. If you're hosting one this month, here are some fun things to do so that your guests don't make an excuse to leave early.

1. Make a collaborative Christmas playlist. 

Just because it's Christmas, doesn't mean every song on the playlist has to be festive. Make a Spotify playlist that is collaborative so that your guests can add songs they also want to hear throughout the night, that way nobody can complain about the music! 

2. Have some easy games lined up. 

At most gatherings over Christmas we either play Heads Up (a more modern and fun version of charades) on my phone and a card game called 10 Clues that I got as a secret santa present. Which I've played so many times I practically know all the answers already. Depending on the demographic of your party, you could turn things up a notch with my list of festive drinking games.

3. Host a secret santa present swap.

Who doesn't love giving and receiving presents? If you've got a big group of friends the easiest thing to do is just buy one present in the group through secret santa. DrawNames is a great website to randomly assign everyone a person to buy a gift for. Alternatively, you could buy something a bit more generic and on the wrapping paper just write 'this is a gift for someone who loves music/travelling/is always cold'. 

4. Make sure the wine is stocked. 

This box couldn't say it better. No one cares about how clean your house is, they care if you have alcohol. Since your guests might be a bit more sophisticated and not looking to get hammered on vodka redbulls, having a nice selection of wine and cheese will always be a crowd pleaser. If you're too busy planning to leave your house, Good Pair Days is a personalised wine club that sends 3 bottles of wine to your front door every month. Now that's my type of subscription box. They are tailored to your taste and they have a large variety of red, white, rose and champagne from around the globe for you to choose from.  I like a bit of everything, and since it is likely your guests will have different tastes too, something like the Italian Summer Stunners is a good choice. I'm obviously waiting to pop the champagne on New Years Eve.

* I received a complimentary wine box from Good Pair Days but all words and opinions are my own. 

5. Keep the food prep light, for your own sake. 

Hosting parties is fun, spending all day in the kitchen cooking 5 mains, 3 desserts and putting together a cheese board you found on Pinterest is not. Depending on who your crowd is, try and ease the stress by either just putting a couple of grazing platters on the table or even have everyone bring a little something to put on the table. You could even suggest having a 'international christmas party' and have everyone cook or bake something from a different country.

Do you have any party hosting tips of your own? Or is there a signature dish you love to cook or eat at Christmas? 



Tuesday 10 December 2019

This Christmas will be the first one ever that I will be spending it away from my family, and everyone else for that matter. Next week I will be embarking on a solo trip across the east coast of Australia and technically I will be spending Christmas Day, all by myself *queue Celine Dion*.  Well, alongside other backpackers and sailing across the beautiful Whitsundays, so there are worse places to spend Christmas. If like me, you're not going to be spending the holidays with your loved ones or just need that little extra push to get into the holiday spirit, here are some things you can do in the lead up to Christmas.

christmas tea with gi

1. Work your way through the selection of cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix. 

I've never been one for Christmas movies. I've seen Love Actually from start to finish once and find Elf annoying. I did quite enjoy Bad Santa and the Tim Allen Santa Claus movies though. Which is why surprisingly I've quite enjoyed some of the cheesy ones on Netflix, notably the ones featuring Vanessa Hudgens, The Princess Switch and The Knight Before Christmas

2. Buy yourself a gift. 

How many times have you gone into town with the intention of buying a gift for someone else and then ended up keeping it for yourself? guilty. Treating yourself doesn't have to be an expensive outing, it might be going into town and getting your nails done and buying an overpriced christmas drink from Starbucks. Or, you could treat yourself to a hand painted silk lingerie set from Natalie Begg. You don't need to even have anyone in particular to wear it for, but we all know we feel a bit more confident and sexy when we're wearing nice underwear underneath right?

natalie begg

3. Write some heartfelt Christmas cards. 

When it comes to birthdays, I am a boss at birthday cards. I fill it to the brim of fun memories I've had with that person and I know things like that always mean a lot to my friends. If you've got some time on your hands, instead of sending out basic cards with 'merry christmas! love from me' try writing a paragraph in each why you are grateful for that person in your life. 

4. Host your own boozy Christmas party. 

Since I won't be having any work christmas parties this year, I guess the other option is to host my own Christmas party hey? I've even got a blog post dedicated to festive drinking games so if you're hosting one this year, add these to your evening of events. Don't worry they're PG so even your nan can play them.

5. Donate a Christmas present. 

There's no better feeling than doing something for someone else without getting anything in return. A quick Google search will tell you what organisations in your city are set up for receiving donations for less fortunate kids this Christmas. Or even randomly paying for someones coffee behind you in the line, try it as see how good you'll feel inside.

How have you been getting into the festive spirit this year?



Tuesday 3 December 2019

My 10 months in Brisbane will be shortly coming to an end, and I thought now would be a good time to share with you guys what my favourite activities and ways to spend time in the city have been. Granted, Brisbane hasn't got a lot of things to do and see, but there is no shortage of good places to eat in Brisbane, nightclubs and bars, and alternative things to do with your time whilst you are exploring the city. So here it is, 10 alternative things to do whilst you are in Brisbane.

tea with gi brisbane

1. Kayak down the Brisbane river. 

This is such a great experience and you don't really need any experience to do it. I used to row and somehow I kayaked all the way up the river with my oar upside down, so my arms were definitely aching for the next 3 days! Riverlife offer a range of activities along the Brisbane river and I experienced the 'paddle and dip' one. We saw the sunset over the city which was beautiful, and then after an hour and a half of kayaking the group had some drinks and dips on a marquee by the river. 100% recommend!

* I received this activity on a complimentary basis for review 

tea with gi brisbane

2. Have a sunday session on a YOT. 

Sunday sesh's are a big thing in Australia - because who cares if you're hungover at work on a Monday? The YOT Club host a series of classy boat parties along the Brisbane river during the spring and summer months. I worked at a similar boat (different company) as a VIP waitress and it was so much fun just wish I could have been on the partying side of things!

3. See how much food you can stomach at EatStreet. 

Everytime I come here I say I'm just going to pick one thing. I end up having my meal, plus a sample honey donut, bubble tea and a marshmallow and fruit stick. This place is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays but it's definitely worth a visit. There are over 50 stalls and there's also live music and shows.

tea with gi brisbane

4. Start your night with some crazy golf and cocktails. 

Holey Moley is Brisbane's crazy gold and cocktail bar in Fortitude Valley. So it's a great place to start your night if you want to venture into one of the clubs nearby after! This was actually my first time put put-ing and admittedly, I sucked. Maybe because I was three cocktails in or because my hand eye coordination is just terrible. 

5. Find some second hand gems at a suitcase rummage. 

My only regret is that I didn't sign up for this myself before it sold out, because I have accumulated a lot of stuff that I don't really want to take back home with me! The Suitcase Rummage takes place in Brisbane City the first and third Sunday of every month, and it's exactly what it sounds like. People bring their clothes, shoes, books, jewellery etc that they no longer want, in a suitcase to sell. You'll also find a lot of small businesses too selling their handmade crafts.

6. Go on a pub crawl with other backpackers. 

If you read my other travel guides then you'll be used to this by now as 9/10 times I always add a pub crawl to the list! If you're not a drinker or like socialising with random people then go ahead and move on to number 9. If you are, Base Backpackers put on a Pub crawl every Thursday at 7pm that takes you to several bars and then their own nightclub Downunder Bar (definitely an experience in itself). I actually met one of my best friends here at one of the pub crawls!

tea with gi brisbane

7. Have a very instagramable picnic on Kangaroo point. 

Kangaroo Point has one of the most picturesque views of the city - especially at sunset! There are lot of electric bbq's set up along the area so all you need to do is bring the food and drinks. If you fancy something a bit more special, then Picnic Co set up beautiful picnic spreads for all occasions, and they can be customised depending on your preferences.   

8. Have a swim at Streets Beach. 

To get to a decent beach in Brisbane you'll have to drive for an hour or more to get to Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast. Or you could walk across the bridge from the CBD and go for a swim at Street Beach, Southbank's 'fake beach' complete with sand and a pool. It can get pretty crowded on the weekend so make sure you get there early. It's pretty interesting being on a beach but still seeing all the skyscrapers behind it!

tea with gi brisbane

9. Watch a free comedy show at the Powerhouse. 

To be honest this is something I wish I would have done more of whilst I was here, because I really enjoyed myself. Every Friday the Brisbane Powerhouse put on a free stand up comedy show, and well some of the acts are pretty funny. 

10. Have a tour of Brisbane on an electronic longboard. 

Since you are just visiting, I guess you should go and check out some of the sights hey? If walking is too boring for you, then try exploring the city on an electronic longboard with EskateAU. They offer a River City Tour and a Park Adventure, or you can customise your ride! The group size is pretty small (up to 4) so you get a personal experience too.

Have you ever been to Brisbane? Which one of these activities is most up your street?



Monday 2 December 2019

[Disclaimer: This post contains gifted items for review but all words and opinions are still mine and honest]

I think when it comes to shopping for clothes there are people who stick to the more traditional methods of you know, going into a shop and trying on clothes and those of us who prefer to shop comfortably from our bed and then end up buying too much and being too lazy to send half of it back. I probably lie somewhere in the middle. If I'm looking for outfits for nights out and festivals that's where I usually turn to the internet. About a month ago Femme Luxe Finery got in touch and kindly let me pick four items from their website, and it did take me a while to narrow down my basket to 4 as I debated which ones I liked best.

First Impressions 

The website is pretty similar to your standard online retailers - I Saw It First, Pretty Little Thing etc. I'd say the pricing lies somewhere between the two, which makes their clothing pretty affordable. There's definitely a Kim K vibe going on with a lot of the clothes so I'd say their target  market is women in their 20s-30s and who have that pear or blessed hourglass figure going on. There were a lot of dresses I loved but I thought I simply don't have the boobs for that. Shipping was surprisingly quick and I had my order in just over a week. 

My Picks

What I like about their collection is that they have quite a lot of mid-length dresses. I do like wearing clothes when I go out out that show off my curves but I'm not a fan of short dresses as I wouldn't say my legs are my best asset. I went with 3 dresses (which gave me an excuse to go out more this month) and a loungewear set which in hindsight, was a silly choice seeing as it's now 30 degrees in Australia but I thought it would be cute to wear to the airport when I was in chiller places.

White Belted Bodycon Midi Dress (£34)

So when I got the email from Femme Luxe funnily enough, I was searching for a nice white dress to wear for a Halloween party the following week. I was dressing up as IT but was also going to a fancy club so did want something on the sexier side, at least clothes wise! Choosing tight white clothing is always risky because there's always the chance of it being see through, or the material creasing up on the back of your thighs. The dress was fine with nude underwear but it did flatten my bum just a little bit. Nevertheless it still looked nice on and I got a fair few compliments! As you can imagine the dress didn't stay white for very long with all my red make-up. 

white belted bodycon femme luxe

Black Crop Loungewear Set (£19) 

Buying joggers online is always tricky for me as I've got big thighs and a small waist, so I usually run into the problem of them looking too tight instead of that loose fitted look. I went for a medium and they were fine on - not too tight but not baggy either. Once I'm back home and in colder weather I'll definitely be wearing this around the house more often. 

black crop top loungewear set femme luxe

Emerald Slinky Ruched Backless Midi Dress (£30)

This is probably my favourite colour when it comes to buying dresses, especially when I have a tan! I think it's so flattering. The trouble with slinky dresses is always the sleeves, since this dress is very low cut on the back all you have to support you is the little elastic that goes around your arms. Mine didn't seem to sit properly and kept falling down leaving a gap on the sides of the dress which made me look bigger from the front. It was very flattering from the back though!

Wine PU Cupped Corset Bodycon Mini Dress (£38)

This was probably my favourite clothing colour when I had wine coloured hair too. I was hesitant about ordering this because yes, the model looked smokin' in it but the material and style looked like you had to have a very particular body shape to pull it off. Luckily for me, the dress wasn't as short or stiff as I thought it would be so I could still move around in it (and breathe) and I didn't run the risk of exposing my bum to everyone on the night. I'll definitely be wearing this again! 

wine cupped corset femme luxe

Would I recommend Femme Luxe Finery to a friend? 

Yes. Their clothing is affordable and they've got great pieces for a night out. I was skeptical at first whether my items would arrive as one does when you hear about a new online clothing website, as there are so many scams out there. 

Have you ever heard of Femme Luxe Finery? Would you wear any of these pieces? 



Sunday 1 December 2019

[Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with LilyHair but all words and opinions are still mine and honest]

Having thick hair means I rarely style it as it takes too much time and effort. That being said, when it comes to dressing up for Christmas parties and special occasions I do make slightly more of an effort when it comes to styling my hair.  If like me you don't like spending more than an hour and a half getting ready for a party, then these are some simple and flattering hairstyles to wear for your next Christmas party. 

1. Retro waves. 

One of my favourite looks has to be retro waves as it looks so classy and quite effortless if you learn the technique properly with a curling wand or straightener. Pair it with a midi dress, pearls and a red lip and you'll look like you've come straight out of a Gatsby party. 

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2. Pin-Up curls.

Have you noticed a pattern here? I think this looks best if you've got short to mid length hair. My hair has grown a bit longer now so it doesn't quite have the same effect. Again this looks any party look look put together. To achieve this look use a thicker curling wand or grab large sections of hair with a straightener. 

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3. Fake it. 

The party season is all about making a bit more effort than you usually do isn't it? So it's a great way to experiment with different looks - whether that's going for something you usually don't do, wearing a wig or trying clip-in or flip-in hair extensions. 

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4. Low bun. 

I never used to wear my hair up, but since I got my balayage done it doesn't always look the best when I've had my hair up in a bun all day because of the colour contrast. So I just shift the bun downwards, pull the hair out from the sides a bit and there's your elegant low bun! 

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