once upon a december

1. Tiny moon  2. My tragic makeup drawer  3. The nail strip obsession goes on  4. Friday night pho  5. Oh Christmas tree  6. Etsy popup shop  7. Cranberry Joy body butter  8. Chai latte with almond milk  9. Gingerbread house  10. Green tea frappe  11. Lunch at Chat Thai  12. Doughnut cake

If you ask me, one of the best things about blogging is the ability to effectively time travel. I'm shamelessly going to admit that I love reading my old posts, whether it's because I like feeling secondhand embarrassment for my past self or nostalgia for the good times I would have forgotten otherwise! If my posts from last December are anything to go by the HSC and impending uni offers were the only things that mattered, but a year on that all seems like a lifetime away. Whilst I've had my ups and downs dealing with a quarter life crisis (at eighteen?) and dwindling friendships, I'm glad to have been through what I have, but am also ready to finally say goodbye to the past year.

Anyway, I’ve never been one to do grand recaps at the end of each year or anything like that, but I just wanted to say thanks so much for reading this blog! After almost four years I feel like this corner of the internet has finally found a direction to grow in, and it just wouldn’t be possible if there weren’t people reading it. Even though blogging is ephemeral I enjoy it so much, not just for the satisfaction of reading every nice comment but also for the pure process involved. I know my track record hasn't been that great but I'm excited to get motivated and organised for once, so here’s to the new year and more regular posts to come. I hope you enjoy your New Year's Eve whether you’re partying or spending a night in with the family and TV for company (like yours truly), and I'll see you back here when it's 2014!
Posted by : Mani

round in limbo

Dotti blouse, Zara skirt, Innovare sandals, Sportsgirl tote, Lovisa bracelet

So with the new year upon us in just three days (meep!), I feel like I've entered a limbo where I'm left thinking... now what. Christmas was an amazing day spent eating, catching up with cousins and laughing until our sides ached, so it's no surprise that the following days fell a little flat! In that time I've been catching up on my favourite shows and blogs, only dragging myself out of bed to eat and shop the Boxing Day sales. Aren't holidays a wonderful thing?

Anyway, today the shopping madness continued and here are some blurry shots of what I wore! You wouldn't even know this skirt was new if I didn't tell you, but I've never had one in the silhouette of an actual circle skirt. Admittedly it's a bit too flare-y for my liking and requires shorts underneath, but I just can't seem to have too many black skirts in my collection. It's kind of becoming a problem, now that I think about it...

I also borrowed these shoes off my mum, since I was getting bored of my go-to black ones and have no brown sandals of my own! I'm a bit of a sucker for 'ugly' shoes, and these have the perfect clunk factor with the added bonus of being easy to walk in. Not to mention, I hate showing more of my feet than is necessary, so these should tide me over until I come across the perfect pair. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy your weekend (it's the last one of the year, after all)!
Posted by : Mani

happy haulidays

Wow, when was the last time I did a haul (excluding the video kind) on this blog? I absolutely love snooping when other people share their purchases, but haven't done the same in a long time for some reason. Anyway, seeing as all I've been doing lately is shopping away, I thought it'd be the prime time to show you some stuff I bought recently!

You know those items that are completely not your style, but you end up being attracted to them anyway? This Wish dress is one of those things. It's pretty much an earth-shattering event whenever I wear bright colours (just ask my friends), but I loved the silhouette of this too much to leave it in the shop. It kind of reminds me of the sixties vibe you get from Mad Men, and I don’t even watch the darn show!

I snagged this smock-like dress from Miss Shop on sale, and it's so soft that I could probably use it as a nightie! Now, I just have to figure out how to style it so that it doesn't actually look like one...

I finally repurchased my beloved Cranberry Joy Body Butter from the Body Shop, and couldn't be happier! Even though it's a Christmas scent, I definitely have no problem with smelling like a giant cranberry all year round.

If you hadn't heard NYX has finally found its way to Australian shores, and you can now pick up the brand in Target (albeit for a seriously inflated price)! Some of the popular items were already sold out when I got there, but I managed to pick up this soft matte lip cream in the shade Istanbul and absolutely love it. The matte finish isn't like anything else I've tried, and while lollipop pink isn't usually my lip colour of choice I've found myself wearing it quite a lot!

So, the creme de la creme of my purchases has to be these heels that were on sale from Zu Shoes! I tend to be a bit iffy about wooden heels, but once I tried these on there was no going back. The sole is extremely cushiony, and since I'm lacking sandals in my shoe wardrobe I just couldn't say no. After all, I might need them someday for a special occasion that I'm not sure exists yet, but you know... I can't be the only person that justifies purchases like this, right? Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the holidays and I'll see you soon!
Posted by : Mani

the grounds

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I'm awful with trends. I'm usually the last person to see a movie, and when it comes to talking to me about popular books? You can forget about it! Anyway, the Grounds of Alexandria has been hyped on everyone's blog and Instagram feed for awhile now but it was only yesterday when I had time to sneak in a visit with friends. Evidently we weren't the only ones with that idea, as the place was already packed before twelve on a weekday! I can't even imagine what the wait would be like on weekends.

For the clueless, the Grounds is more of a concept space than a lone cafe. It's surrounded by little stalls, gardens, an outdoor dining area you can hire out and is even home to some farm animals (not for eating though)! On any other day I might've gotten something from the takeaway menu to enjoy outdoors, but on this particular occasion we ate inside to avoid the heat.

Banana smoothies, The Grounds iced tea, steak sandwich

There were so many things to choose from in the drinks menu, but true to form I went for the iced tea. The English Breakfast brew with lime was surprisingly refreshing, not too sweet and definitely something I need to try at home! I think I also would've enjoyed the smoothie despite my aversion to bananas, but I was so full after my meal that I was grateful for the extra stomach space. Regardless my companions seem to like the concoction, and it sounded pretty darn good with ingredients like yoghurt, banana, and honey topped off with seeds.

The food didn't take long at all to arrive, which is probably crucial at a bustling place like this one. Anyway, I went for the steak sandwich and there was only one word for it... huge. I barely even knew where to start, but thank goodness I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty because it tasted amazing! Although the sandwich was overflowing with sirloin steak, caramelised onions, tomato, lettuce, pickles and garlic aioli, it was the bread that really did it for me. If only I knew what it was...

Smashed avocado, duck and pear salad, side of chips

I didn't eat much of the other food, but I think the general consensus was that it was ridiculously satisfying. My friend even thought her salad was extremely filling, and we were probably ready to enter a food coma by the end of it! Considering how full we were chips were probably a bad idea (even though we shared), but they were super crunchy and just the way I like them. The chili mayo was quite nice too, and kind of reminds me of the Sriracha and mayo combo I make occasionally.

Some sights to be seen around the Grounds. Not pictured is Salts Meats Cheese, which is a nearby warehouse that supplies a lot of obscure ingredients and food products. We wandered around whilst waiting for our table and wanted to try out some Turkish Delight ice cream we spied, but obviously dismissed that idea after stuffing ourselves! Maybe next time.

Given Sydney's obsession with cafe culture and all things rustic, the Grounds is a genius concept. I'm still a bit sad that I didn't wake up early enough to catch the brunch menu (which closes at 11:30am), but I'll definitely be back! Breakfast is my obsession and given the experience, I don't think it'll disappoint.
The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon
Posted by : Mani

all that glitters

Material World tee, Ladakh skirt, Sportsgirl tote, Wandering Souls sandals, Lovisa earrings

If you've ever experienced an Australian summer, you'd know that wearing anything besides the bare essentials is unthinkable. I think that's why I'm biased against fashion in the warmer months, since I think it's so boring without the opportunity to play with layers and extra clothing pieces! After all, with all that humidity in the air who's bothered to have an extra bracelet or necklace sticking to them? I'm already longing for the colder seasons when I can finally pile on the layers and accessorise to my heart's content.

Anyway, even though last week was quite mild at 29°C I couldn't bear to wear anything complicated to traipse around the city and eat tonkatsu. Enter this skirt I picked up on sale  I've decided that I don't own enough separates, so naturally when I saw this one with a subtle gold sheen throughout it I couldn't say no! Even though it can look a bit dressed up when it's not wrinkled (whoops), I toned it down with these shoes and tote that I can't seem to shake off. They're just so easy to throw together with any look, and I should probably get more basic accessories before every outfit of mine starts to look the same!

In other news, when I haven't been complaining about the heat lately I've been wallowing in the fact that my favourite shows don't start again until January. I guess this would be a prime time to catch up on that uni coursework I was meant to plough through these holidays, but we all know how my efforts to self-study pan out... Anyway, hope you all have a relaxing Sunday ahead of you!
Posted by : Mani

festive roundup

Can you believe that December 25th is exactly a fortnight away? I don't tend to get very Christmassy all up in this blog (or life in general), but I have to admit the trees and lights and sweet treats everywhere make me a little excited for the silly season. Anyway, with the festivities looming I thought I'd share a few seasonal links with you all!
  • I know I'm ten years late on the bandwagon, but I recently watched Elf for the first time when it was on TV. I'm a big baby and obviously enjoyed every bit of it, but my favourite part has to be this rendition of Baby It's Cold Outside. This version by Jayme Dee is spot-on too, and I still find myself coming back to it in the middle of the year!
  • Etsy's newsletters are probably the only ones I don't mind receiving, and I've come across so many cute items through them recently! I especially love the idea behind this unconventional tree from Cardboard Christmas.
  • After many failed attempts I swore never to bake macarons again, but these peppermint ones look too tasty not to try! I think it'd be an awesome way of using those pesky candy canes that always seem to be left once Christmas ends.
  • These DIY gold mugs are simple but pack a punch, and I seriously want to customise them for myself now! I think they'd make perfect gifts for any tea or coffee lover in your life.
  • The likelihood of a white Christmas in Australia is akin to that of ever seeing a unicorn, so these Anthropologie-inspired snow globes are probably the closest I'll ever get to one! I'd even swap out the ornaments just so I could use them all year round.
  • I'm probably jumping the gun here, but I can't stop marvelling at this 2014 calendar from Rifle Paper Co. The illustrations are gorgeous, and I'd get it in a heartbeat if I didn't need a calendar that I can actually write on!
If you have any other interesting tidbits to share, feel free to do so! Meanwhile I don't know what's going on with the twinkly picture that animated itself, but I hope you enjoy it and the rest of your week.
Posted by : Mani

true blue

Thrifted cardigan, Kenji top, DIY jeans, Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Misbehaved

Wow, long time no outfit post! Despite having three younger siblings none of them are willing to be my minions, so unfortunately taking outfit pictures is a lot more finicky than it could be. This isn't helped by the fact that I'm a perfectionist, especially when it comes to messing around with tripods and self-timer settings... Anyway, here's a simple outfit I wore to the shops last week, although I switched out the heels for my fisherman sandals that I've practically been living in. My mum absolutely despises these jeans and despite looking like a homeless person, I'd probably wear them all the time if it were socially acceptable! It's a shame that jeans with gaping holes are still way too warm for Australia's summer, so I'm savouring the comfort of these before I really start to feel the summer heat.

In other news, I'm wearing the Sally Hansen nail strips I mentioned in my Priceline haul and am completely obsessed with them! Recently I've been on a  self-imposed nail polish ban since my nail beds are in such bad condition, but I couldn't resist trying out this design. I'm not usually one for glittery nail polish, but these are the perfect option without having to deal with the hassle of removing it. Anyway, I hope you have a great end to the week and see you back here soon!
Posted by : Mani

november recap

1. Homemade pad see ew  2. Tea and red velvet cake at My Sweet Memory  3. Rainy days in with a cup of choc chip chai  4. On the rare occasion that I get a haircut  5. Chai latte and fake plants  6. Homemade bagels  7. Cloudy sky  8. Finally trying out my Twinings samples  9. Spring roses

With a new month comes another instalment of my insta-recaps, so here are some snapshots that I took throughout November! Honestly, I feel like these posts are getting more and more redundant as it becomes obvious that I spend a disproportionate amount of time drinking tea and taking pictures of it. This is probably owed to a few drizzly days that graced Sydney in the past weeks, but the accompanying thunderstorms also made it clear that summer is well and truly on its way.

Arguably the most eventful thing to happen to me was that I had my first haircut in two years, despite the fact that it didn't make enough of a difference for anyone to notice! Can you tell that I haven't been up to much lately? Anyway, I have a few things to look forward to before the end of December but until then I can't wait to say good riddance to 2013. It'd be an understatement to say that this hasn't been my year, and although I'm not overly superstitious I feel like I'm luckier when the year ends in an even number. Someone please tell me that I'm not the only one that has this delusion!
Posted by : Mani