Little Luxuries

When it comes to beauty and skin care I usually look for a variety of things, great quality in product, packaging, and the ethos of the brand.

The Little Alchemist, an Australian natural skin care brand provides a distinctive range of products, such as natural perfumes, delightful body butters, and body serums, amongst other items to indulge in. Being a person with several allergies doesn't just indicate that I should pay close attention to what I eat, but it also means that I am always doing a bit of research when it comes to what I use on my skin.

The Little Alchemist (TLA) founder, Natalie Van Epen has created a beauty brand to treasure, and worth investing in—luxury and cruelty-free skin care that works for every lifestyle. It’s really the perfect beauty companion whilst travelling!

Since I am usually on-the-go or travelling for work, it’s essential to have a piece of my beauty corner fit in a bag. I wanted to share with you a few new arrivals (body serums) from the TLA line that I have recently tried out.

The first body serum that I used was the Cacao and Cardamom (the serums are made with acai fruit, goji berry, and wheatgrass). The smell alone already had me wanting more; sweet notes that remind you of a fresh baked cake or hints of hot chocolate. The anti-sticky formulas really set well with me, especially since they blend easily on the skin.

Next, the Lime & White Tea serum was great for feeling rejuvenated, as it has a clean citrus fragrance. You can definitely pick up the plant essences as you rub it on your body. At night I used Gardenia and Jasmine serum with the roll-on perfume, which has a sophisticated aroma of a fine floral bouquet. If you want to layer a serum under your perfume, it balances perfectly together. 
The Little Alchemist Australian skincare
 (Above) A-Lime and White Tea Serum, B-Cacao and Cardamom Serum, C-Kyella Rose Antioxidant Hydrate Mist, D-Gardenia and Jasmine Serum, E-Gardenia and Jasmine Perfume.

The Best Bits: these products are greatly concentrated and filled with ethically sourced components, both organic and operative. From vitamins to plant oils, there’s so much loveliness from the earth that is taken into consideration in the development of every product created by hand. So, if you’re a sensitive skin beauty darling or eco-devotee, you’ll appreciate these products. 

Another favourite element is the brand’s transparency: all ingredients are thoughtfully spelled out for you, and if you’re new to the natural beauty department, fret not! The Little Alchemist will have you covered with proper explanations and what the key ingredient(s) in each product actually does.

“Our mission is to bring the spa experience home ... creating a decadent daily ritual that your skin looks forward to.
                                                                   – The Little Alchemist

Here’s my beauty edit of top selections from the brand, including a new personal favourite, the Kyella Rose Antioxidant Hydrate Mist! I am not usually a rose scented type of lady, but this was highly favourable. The mist is refreshing and has key ingredients that nourish the skin as well as soothes irritation. It has the right amount of aroma—a pleasant and feminine light rose scent, (with Bulgarian rose, goji berry, and gotu kola).  

 (Above) A-Cacao and Banana Face Glow mask, B-White Tea Body Butter, C- Wild Apple and Mint purifying cleanser, Ultra C-Radiance Serum, Wild Apple and Mint Antioxidant Balancing Mist. 

I highly recommend these products, especially if you’re into sustainable brands like this and natural skin care. So, what’s on the next beauty wish list to try? Perhaps the Pineapple and Zeolite MicroPolish, it’s infused with Lady’s Mantel, wheatgrass, jojoba spheres, and plantain. Not to mention, it certainly sounds just as wonderful as the others!

What do you think of The Little Alchemist’s products? 

Shop the brand at www.thelittlealchemist.com.au
Images by: Fashion Tales, other photos courtesy of The Little Alchemist.

The goods: Kyella Rose Antioxidant Hydrate Mist, Serums: Lime and White Tea, Gardenia and Jasmine, and Cacao and Cardamom-Courtesy of The Little Alchemist. *All opinions expressed are my own. Try The Little Alchemist’s Serum Discovery Kit here.

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The Balancing Act: Neon

This outfit might be the most relaxed looks (for weekend attire) that I have without wearing a maxi skirt or jersey knit dress. This was a nice breakaway from my usual weekend style, because I usually live in dresses during the week. The fun in the sun type of summer feeling has been rubbing off on me the past couple of weekends.

I recently had to swiftly attend a seminar, but I was able to have a great conversation with several colleagues about making time for ourselves! It was all very interesting, as most of us work similar schedules or long hours. Even though only a few others and I claimed to believe that although we might be extremely busy at times, we still feel the best when there’s balance in our lives!

You should always make time to spend with those you love, but especially take time out for yourself. This could be going to get a manicure, working out, hiking, reading, planning a holiday, etc. Life should be enjoyed, and that is exactly what I do! I decided many moons ago, that I would not get burned out (and this applies to life, not just blogging). Whatever you need to do … just do it!

Are you hard at work with no time for play? Well, perhaps it’s time for a retreat! Sunshine and fresh blooms can restore our smiles. Just add a little gratitude, and optimism and you have quite the concoction and ingredients for an enjoyable life, regardless of the schedule. 

The summer festivities will surely start for us soon, as I just made an R.S.V.P. to my first wedding invite for the season a little bit ago. Fortunately, a few summer plans have been made; including the Mr. scoring some great tickets to see Norwegian soulful musician Bernhoft, which I am so excited about (more videos here)! As for the outfit: it’s simple, summery, and had a burst of happy colour. Ahem, I could not resist a dash of neon and pink-coral.
Read On ... Link Shares:
-Helen Bonham Carter and her question to Prince William ... hehe!
-An inspiring story about a thirteen-year-old entrepreneur. See, you can do anything with hard work and dedication.

What are you looking forward to this summer?
 coral and teal crochet lace 70s inspiration
The goods: Crochet Lace Top and Neon Hat-c/o Osasp, Denim cut into shorts-Lucky, Wedges-Nine West, Tank-H&M, Necklace-DIY, Yellow Lucite pendant-gifted, Canvas bag-(old) Delias NY, Watch-iKen, Other jewellery-Assorted bangles-Consignment shop, Nordstrom,Charity shop. 

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Printed: Neon Crops

Crop tops and printed bustier styles are always a bit tricky for me since I am tall, but short waisted. However, I love them and tend to find a different approach to making styles like this work for me.

I have constantly worn tops like these in the spring/summer months even when I was a teenager. But, with time our bodies and style selections evolve. You learn things about your body and develop a few style tricks of your own.

I was smitten with this graphic print, as it reminded me of being at the carnival and having barbeques with friends and family in the summertime. Of course, the small bits of bright colours and neon hues also struck me—yes, the happy dance commenced within a glance!

How to wear crop tops summer style
So, I paired this top with an old silk maxi skirt that I cut up and sewed a tier underneath. It was when I had an affinity for raw edge pieces, and black on black on black ensembles were pretty much most of my wardrobe options.

For me, this style was obviously modified, as I usually wear crop tops layered with other pieces. But, I played around with different styles for this piece. I would also wear this crop top with my skinny jeans and heels or resort-like trousers and sandals!

How was your weekend?
Crop tops Style bloggers
The goods: Printed Crop top and Colourful Necklace- c/o Oasap, Skirt-express/Ladyofashion, Leather sandals-Urban Outfitters, Straw tote-gifted, Eco Scarf-Gudrun Sjödén. 
  
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Insta-Living Vol. 04: Summer Inspired

Spring and summer constantly makes me ideally think of the sand, beach locations, and warmer weather. With the seasonal change in climate often comes inspiration for craft projects … or another tablescape and sometimes for no occasion necessary.


I wanted to share one of my crafty and fun little brunch centrepieces that I created—everything evocative of the seaside or a small bit of nautical embrace.

 Click photos to zoom!

I used white place mats and layered them with a sheer place mat for a textured effect. Then, I placed my macrame netting on the table, scrunching some of it in the form of waves. Next, I grabbed a few shells (not too many) and had fun with dispersing them along the netting.
After applying a think layer of glue to the top piece to the wooden nautical wheel and bottom piece of the lighthouse, I added shadowboxes and shells on the netting. I also had a handmade candle that I made years ago, so I added a tea light and a small starfish to it by heating the wax. I wanted to add a touch of elegance to the table, so the addition of faux pearls around the centrepiece was naturally a favourite.

For utensils and other accessories, I used a metal bucket and a small wooden container to hold them. The small fish pieces were hand painted for another project using wood paint, but I only painted half their bodies, which worked out well for the table.
    
 This little porcelain fish helped set the tone of the table. 
 (Above) Finished result of the nautical inspired brunch table.

What do you think of my nautical centrepiece? It was fun to make, and you can create a very easy, but stylishly effective table for your home.

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Summer Soles: Peperosa 2014

Peperosa Shoes is a luxury Italian footwear company that specialises in handcrafted designs for stylish women.  Their range in footwear varies from embellished modern creations to upgraded classic styles for the contemporary woman—all heel heights are welcomed and appreciated. 

I have collaborated with the progressive brand to show you some of the more diversely casual, but summer ready options for both daytime and nighttime. If you’re like me and adore leather paired with first-rate craftsmanship, then you may already know the brand well, as they have been in existence since 1956.

I chose the textured leather sandals in silver and the colour blocked leather heels in mustard yellow and taupe. These were great because they’re not too over the top, yet still matched my style. I’ll admit to being faithful in finding a style with a little dash of metal on the heel (I am absolutely obsessed with metal details)—it also paired well with my nautical day look.  I was looking for a more versatile style for resort wear, as well as styles that would be suitable with certain maxi dresses that I have waiting to be showcased for the season.
Both pairs of shoes are entirely different, but very comfortable to walk in all day and night. A wedge is usually the inescapably safe summer option for me, as it gives support with a wee bit of elevation. However, surprisingly wedges did not even come to mind when I went searching for which pieces to wear. 

Here are a few of my favourites that I selected from Peperosa’s latest collection, in addition to a couple styles in their autumn/winter line below. The silver flats that I am wearing are also available in gold. You can find Peperosa footwear at various retailers in the UK, Germany, and Italy.
What is your favourite style of shoe and height?

Do you tend to buy more colourful, and textured styles, or do you prefer solid hues?
 
(Above) AW 2013-2014 (Ankle Boots)-Art. #D405/1, SS2014 (White/Silver Sandals) Art. #G801/1, (Zebra Tassel Loafers)- Art. #B605/1, Fringe Heels-Art. # G101/2, and AW 2013-2024 Teal/Burgundy Wingtips-Art. #7435/3.
The goods: -Style-Art. #G306/1-Silver Sandals, and Style-Art. #F904/3-Colour Blocked Heels-Provided by Peperosa Shoes. All opinions expressed are my own. You may view more styles for spring and summer at www.peperosashoes.it.

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Leopard Tales

Leopard and denim has been a combination that I love recently, especially on the weekends. My denim jacket always comes in handy and why not add leopard for no rhyme or reason whatsoever? It was an obvious choice to pair a little leopard something with my outfit. I actually did this a couple of times in a week, once with leopard printed accessories and then again with a jumper that is currently my go-to style option for relaxing after a long day.

I know, most people relax in sweatpants, but sorry that’s not me! I feel comfortable relaxing in knitwear, occasionally yoga wear, or simple multi-layered silk pieces … it’s just usually printed, somewhat chic, or full of vibrancy!
I wore this outfit to a lunch date, and then met up at an art gallery with an old co-worker friend visiting, who now lives in Australia. I am pondering about spring/summer holiday, and even autumn already—trying to figure out where and when we should book tickets for some place soon.  Although, for now, using the last couple of gift vouchers for a spa weekend might really have to suffice until then.

Any plans to getaway or perhaps simply be a tourist where you’re located now?

*Congratulations to Alexis, of NorthOnHarper who won the NudeFood giveaway!*
The goods: Boots: Anne Michelle, Clutch-DIY, Leopard dress-Oasap, Denim jacket-Calvin Klein, Necklace-Vivien Frank, Belt-Michael Kors.

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Luxe Built: CalypsoCase

I love technology just as any style enthusiast, especially when it comes to my Smartphone. But, I decided to take a risk and walk on the not-so-wild side. Instead, I was quite spontaneous (I am that at times) and did the opposite. I chose a sleeker styled iPhone case versus a bold colour or vibrant print of any kind.

I have two Smartphones, one which I have to use strictly for professional work purposes and the other for personal use. Both phones have cases, although for my personal iPhone I actually have several different cases that I like to use. However, I noticed that I do not have a booklet style mobile case.

This prompted me to look into more accessories produced from the CalypsoCrystal brand. You possibly will remember the post that I did about their GPS travel tag, from the Smart Travelling Series, which was very useful. 
Calypso Crystal Luxury accessories
High-Quality: Get on Board!
When choosing a CalypsoCase, it’s important to think about several aspects—your lifestyle, whether you want a unique colour that says something, and where your Smartphone will be located the most. I selected the CalypsoCase Book in “Seattle Story.”  It’s a rich purplish and deep wine colour that has a distinct sophistication about it, which I felt would go with my handbag and other tech gadgets. 

This case is for my work mobile, so it’s usually used in professional settings. I also thought about when I would use it in public (crowded areas particularly), so having something similar to a luxury dust cover type of protective case seemed very smart and versatile for my diverse surroundings.

 To be honest, I would say that anyone that has the patience to use a stylus would likely love a book style of case. It’s dissimilar to having an all-in-one case, but definitely for a certain Smartphone user. I love the quality of the actual case (which is handcrafted in first-rate Italian leather) and I've become a fan of this style, as it’s entirely different than my other mobile cases.

“Everything is produced locally. No overseas mass production. Precision handcrafted.”
                                              -CalypsoCrystal
  Calypso Crystal Cases
Savvy Options: The Zest of Tech
I was intrigued by observation one day on my lunch and I randomly asked a varied group of co-workers what type of mobile case they preferred or had. Some chose a quick insert style like the Ring, several had a Book style, but said that they’d get a new one in colours other than black, two would select a completely new style of case other than what they already had, and the others chose the same style that they have currently, which was described comparable to the Cabrio. Just like how people choose fashion accessories, I am always interested in knowing what type of style of tech accessories people use and how they choose them!

How does one decipher if a book style or even ring style mobile case is for them? It’s easy: Are you the type of person that carries a phone inside a handbag or in your hand? Is it in your back pocket, or do you have your Smartphone laying upon a tabletop and desk surface the most?

If you’re very meticulous with your phone and case then you probably would gravitate to the book style. If you carry your phone in your hand the most or back pocket (gents) then you may love the Cabrio first, as its easy access for answering and using your device may appeal to you. Perhaps, if you aren't bothered by the minimal variance in time that it takes to open your Smartphone case; then you are like me and would choose a book style case. Overall, this case receives five out of five stars!
What style of case do you use for your Smartphone? What’s your favourite CalypsoCrystal Smartphone case?

For more information on ordering a CalypsoCase or to view more colour options visit www.calypsocrystal.com. (Images): By Fashion Tales, other images via CalypsoCrystal, edited by Fashion Tales. 
The goods: CalypsoCase Book in Style: Seattle Story-Courtesy of CalypsoCrystal. *All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

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Insta-Living Vol. 03

There are often times that I forget to upload bits and pieces from just normal living that I want to share, and even more occasions when I forget to capture those moments. But, I managed to save some images below of a few noteworthy snapshots and nostalgic pieces.

The past few weeks I have been helping a friend with some event planning in my spare time (believe it or not), so I took that as a chance to have a small gathering for an early dinner, as we discussed plans. It was also a perfect time to take out a few kitchen and culinary items that I purchased some time ago, including another smaller size chalk board for fine cheeses, nuts, etc. 

I was pleased to receive a few old original recipe books (seen below) handwritten from my mum, I also found some additional pages pieced inside from the late fifties and seventies, she managed to transfer most of them into another cooking pamphlet. I also found a booklet of colonial 18th and 19th century recipes (reprinted in the eighties) that included old English and American recipes.

I set up a more rustic-chic table for our concept discussion dinner, and kept my spring-esque tablecloth. By adding a few books for inspiration and baskets, it helped to combine the freshness of spring with white and cobalt, with natural elements like dark wood and cotton/linen together. 

I had no problem grabbing these mason jars from a small consignment/country gift shop. Everything still newly packaged in a box. I was chatting with the owners (a cute elder couple) about alternative suggestions for what they could use them for. They mentioned that they had too many for their little shop, and gave me some for less than the price of a tea cup … and helped me pack them as well!

I boxed twenty, but they told me that I could take even more. So, I boxed an additional twenty, said “thanks,” and “farewell,” then went on my way. There are far too many useful projects to use these jars for, remember this crafting goodness? Ah, yes, special plans are certainly in the works. But, I digress …
Although, afterward, I was firm in using some of the jars for our dinner. 

 (Above) Rustic French country theme: Churchill dinnerware, decorating my table, teatime, chalk cheese board, plate back, table view with jars.


Since I felt as if I had somewhat struck gold (thanks to the owners paying it forward), I gift packaged and shipped ten jars to a family friend who likes to do canning. Thirty jars are plenty for us! I did the math: twenty jars for hosting, or summer barbeques, and ten for crafting/gifts, etc.  It’s an equation that would unavoidably result with an excellent solution, given the charitable situation!
  (Above)  floral printed napkins, cut figs, and homemade pizza with, balsamic, blue cheese, figs and onions. pizza.
  
 (Above) A few behind the scene shots of bag making. Finished handmade clutches with feathers and leather, and bright orange straps (will style it on the blog soon).

Happy weekend! Do you have anything special planned this weekend? 

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*Don't forget to enter the NudeFood giveaway here!
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