Thursday, 24 December 2015

Gift Guide: Last Minute

So it's Christmas Eve and you've suddenly remembered that your second cousin, twice removed, Rupert, told you he would be at the family Christmas dinner and you haven't bought him a present. There's no need to panic, simply read on to find out what gifts you can get at the last minute that aren't super lame.
1. Gift cards

Some people think gift cards are a cop out but personally, I love getting gift cards. It means I can choose something that I really want and don't have to risk a dodgy gift that I'll never use. You can also tailor these to suit the person e.g. Bunnings Gift Card for Dad/bro/boyfriend. Another smart idea to make the gift look less last minute is to find a nice card and write something like "I know how much you love Ed Sheeran so please use this iTunes gift card to buy his new album". It makes the gift look more thoughtful.

2. Wine/whiskey/alcohol in general

Who doesn't like alcohol? To disguise the fact that you had to leave work early to run to the bottle-o to pick up some last minute gifts, spend a little more and get a decent bottle of wine/alcohol rather than the $5 eye stinger that you see first. 

3. DVDs/Blurays

These are great because even Coles and Woolworths sell DVDs and Blurays. You can do the same sneaky trick as with number 1 and write a note to say "I know how much you love the Avengers so here's the new Age of Ultron movie". This is also great for the post Christmas lunch/dinner exhaustion when you've eaten your body weight in prawns/roast potatoes and you just really need to lie down for a while and chill.

4. Subscription Box
Subscription boxes are great because they're the gift that keeps on giving! Not only will you have something awesome to show them on Christmas day, they'll keep getting little gifts from you all year long. There are beauty boxes, food boxes, soap boxes and everything in between so you can tailor the gift to suit. 
5. Experience vouchers
Another gift that keeps on giving is experience vouchers and there are literally thousands to choose from. You can get everything from skydiving to gourmet meals to massages to rally car driving. It may be a last minute gift but it's one that they will remember for a while!
Any other last minute gift ideas to add?
Dani XO
PS Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful readers!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Brisbane's Best Breakfast Spots

With summer here and the holiday season just around the corner, there are more relaxing weekends available for long breakfasts than ever before. If there's one thing I love, it's a good old fashioned breakfast! Here are my top picks for the best breakfast spots Brisbane has to offer.

Everyone raves about the Eat Street Markets and while they are delicious, there is a hidden gem just around the corner. The Northshore Harbour Cafe is nestled in parkland just metres from the Brisbane river. The views are amazing and the menu is even better. You could even take a refreshing stroll down the river to work up and appetite/work off breakfast. 

Try: The House made waffles with peanut butter gelato, maple bacon and caramelised banana.

2. Pancake Manor (Brisbane CBD)

If you've even been out on a big night in Brisbane, Pancake Manor will be a familiar name. The 24 hour restaurant is located inside the heritage listed former St Luke's Church of England. Trust me, it's pretty surreal to sit and eat delicious pancakes in an old church at 3am. As well as an exhaustive menu of pancakes, there are also other options if you are one of those weird people who don't like pancakes.

Try: The Short Stack with butter, maple syrup, cream and ice-cream.

3. Lady Marmalade Cafe (Greenslopes)

Although Lady Marmalade is small, the meals are hearty and the service is friendly. My favourite touch is the use of plastic animals in place of table numbers. The menu is pretty small but the meals themselves are amazing!
Try: The ‘Gringo’ baked eggs with wagyu, chorizo and black bean ragu, herbs and feta,

4. Vintage Kitchen (Coorparoo)

If you like to eat breakfast somewhere between 1960 and 1985, then Vintage Kitchen is the breakfast spot for you! Not only do they do a beautiful breakfast, you can also shop to your vintage heart's content from a selection of clothes, games, pictures, cutlery and crockery. 

Try: The Vege Stack - Roasted pumpkin, spinach, feta, avocado and aioli on sourdough.

5. Foxy Bean (Woolloongabba)

There is only one word to describe Foxy Bean and that is cool. The atmosphere is cool, the wait staff are cool and the decor is super cool. Not to mention the menu! On the hottest days of summer, you can catch a cool breeze at the tables out the back while you sip your coffee and chow down on some fine breakfast fare. 

Try: The Hello Haloumi bruschetta - avocado on sourdough with grilled haloumi, tomato salsa and lime & chili dressing. 

What's your favourite breakfast spot?
Dani XO

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Gift Guide: Under $20

This is the third installment of my Gift Guide series (click through to read Part 1 and Part 2) focusing on budget gifts. Christmas is a really fun time of year but with all your long lost cousins, great aunts and extended family coming together, you can end up spending a fortune on gifts. Here are a few suggestions that are affordable, but still fun and thoughtful.

For Her


Candles, they aren't just for nanas. I personally have a candle collection to rival any Dusk store and love (seriously, LOVE) candles. Revlon usually release a candle range around Christmas and for under $20, they are amazing! My personal favourite is the Sugared Macaroon scent which smells like marshmallows and vanilla.


If you don't love Lush, there is something seriously wrong with you! They have an enormous range of Christmas goodies from the $100 gift boxes all the way down to this guy, the Secret Santa. It also comes in a cute little reusable Santa cloth wrapping so it's the perfect gift for the eco-friendly.


This unusual little watch is the perfect Christmas present for anyone who loves to accessorise. The blue beads fill up the watch face making it not only a great gift, but also a great talking point. If you haven't heard of My Cavallino, you can check out my review here.


This is the perfect gift for the ultra-organised person in your family. I know everyone has everything on their iPhones these days but there is something special about a real diary. Personally, I can't think of things properly until I've seen them written down. This Buffalo Diary would be a welcome gift under my Christmas tree!

For Him


It's about time that everyone just accepted that socks, undies and bad jumpers will appear at Christmas. But, just because they're predictable, doesn't mean they have to be boring. These ASOS trunks are micro fibre aka super comfy and come in a range of prints. My personal favourite is this outer space themed pair.
2. Shot Flask ($9.79)

Hip flasks are always a good gift but this one is on a whole new level because it comes with its own shot glass! How cool is that? 

Beards are all the rage at the moment with everyone from hipsters to your grandpa sporting one. This set is perfect for the image conscious beardie. It comes with a handy fold able comb for grooming on the go, beard wax to keep those whiskers in place and beard scissors to trim unruly tangles. 


There are few things that my man loves more in this world than cheese. He could eat cheese sandwiches for the rest of his life and still be happy so he's the perfect candidate for this gift. These handy little Teflon coated bags are designed so that you can simple pop in your cheese sandwich, stick it in the toaster and have a perfect grilled cheese sandwich ready to go. No washing pans, no flipping sandwiches, just pop it in the toaster and then eat. The bags are also dishwasher safe so you don't even have to wash up afterwards!
What are your best budget gift ideas?

Dani XO

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Top 7 Basics from H&M

It seems like Brisbane is the younger sister of Australian cities, the one who gets all the hand-me-downs after the older sister cities (Melbourne and Sydney) have finished with them. The lag time does seem to be decreasing though as we now have not only a Topshop but also a Zara and three (yes, THREE) H&M's. I'm a huge H&M fan. I love that the clothing is on-trend, affordable and easy to wear. With that in mind, here are my top basics picks from H&M right now.
1. White Crop Top ($19.95)

I've never really been keen on the teeny bopper trend of tiny crop tops and bum-baring shorts but this crop top is on a whole other level! It's loose and flowy with delicate lace trim making it perfect for pairing high waisted skirts. 

2. Black Satin Top (29.95)

Tips on how to look ready for a night out with minimal effort: Step 1 - buy this top. Step 2 - pair with jeans/skirt/shorts/whatever. Step 3 - you are now ready. This sexy satin top can take a simple pair of jeans from daggy to dressy and pair perfectly with just about everything. 


I like this shirt for days when you're in such a bad mood that you don't even want to speak to people. When anyone asks how you are, you can just point to the thunderclouds with a deadpan look. Also, glitter.

4. Black Scuba Skirt ($14.95)

A basic but flattering skirt that's long enough for work but the mesh sections make it just racy enough to wear out too. This would pair nicely with the white crop top.

5. Denim Shorts ($29.95)

I always seem to struggle to find denim shorts that lie in the middle realm between "butt cheeks hanging out" and "grandma's gardenng shorts". This pair is one of few that fits the bill. They're fitted and flattering but can accommodate my (large) bottom with no trouble. I still feel cute but without the hassle of constantly worrying whether a bum cheek has popped out to say hi.

6. Straw Hat ($19.95)

It's summer, I live in Australia ergo, straw hat. I was worried this was too reminiscent of my school panama hat but thankfully, it's worlds apart. It's cute, comfy and trendy. It's the perfect addition to a simple outfit to make it look like you're fashionable when really, you have no clue i.e. me.

7. Black Lace Brogues ($29.95)

I cannot resist a good pair of brogues! I absolutely love the lace detail on these which I think makes them look a lot more feminine. I actually bought these at an H&M in London but they are available in store in Brisbane RIGHT NOW!

What are your top picks from H&M?

Dani XO

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Gift Guide: Luxe

Next up in my Gift Guide series (you can read the first installment here) is a guide to the most luxurious of gifts. These are the type of gifts you don't mind shelling out for because they really are amazing. I'll be focusing mainly on the ladies here (sorry gents) but some of the skincare items are unisex. Let's get luxurious!

This year Nuxe have really outdone themselves with these two beautiful gift sets, the Prodigieux le Parfum Set ($69.99) and the Huile Prodigeiuse Set ($39.99). I personally LOVE the Nuxe Oil simply beacuase of it's fragrance and versatility. Both gifts sets come with a candle so your entire house can smell fresh and French. The Parfum Set comes with a 50ml perfume and the other set comes with a full size Nuxe Huile (oil for the non French speakers) and a mini shimmer oil too which is perfect for adding a radiant glow on a night out. Although they are super luxe, the price tag isn't actually that high and they're an afforable yet elegant gift option.

When these showed up at work, I just about died! Although the Bold Metals brushes are pricey, they are well worth it. If you need convincing, you can read my full review here. This set is available at select stores (including Priceline Queen St where I work) and come with three brushes, including an Angled Powder brush which is exclusive to the set. Pretty sure I will be treating myself to an early Christmas present this year!

3. Clarisonic Mia 2 ($199.00)
This has been a god send and an absolute saviour for my skin. I've been using my Clarisonic Mia for about two years now and whenever I stop using it for a while, I can always see my skin problems resurfacing. This is well worth the price tag and by using different brush heads, you can tailor the Clarisonic to your personal skincare needs.

4. GHD Air ($200.00)
My amazing boyfriend gifted this to me last Christmas and to say it's been appreciated is an extreme understatement. Before using this, I never really thought that more expensive hairdryers actually made a difference. I'm now a complete convert and they're going to have to price my GHD Air from my cold, dead hands! It leaves my hair silky smooth and less frizzy and also takes a much shorter time to actually dry my hair. If you're going to invest in any hair styling tool, make it this!

5. Tiffany Necklace ($250.00)
This one is purely a chance for me to sneak in something from my personal Christmas list! I've been coveting a Tiffany Necklace for years. Although I'm doubtful, there is a very slim chance this gorgeous piece might make its way into my stocking this year.

6. JORD Wood Watches (from $129.00
A good watch is a gift that lasts a lifetime and the JORD Wood Watches are no expection. The fact that they're made of wood makes them a little more unusual, but all the better for a personal Christmas gift. They come in a huge range of different colours, woods and designs. I personally own the Fieldcrest Maple Watch and absolutely LOVE it! I think anyone who finds a JORD watch under the tree on Christmas Day will be one lucky person!

What will you be spending on this Christmas?

Dani XO

The Nuxe gift sets and JORD Watch were provided as PR samples but, as always, my opinion is my own.

Images sourced from brand websites.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Battle of the Brows: ABH vs Ardell

Let's get ready to rummmmmmmmble!

Everyone knows that Anastasia Beverly Hills is the Queen of Brows. Her Dipbrow Pomade is legendary, if a little pricey and occasionally hard to find. Ardell specialise in lashes and brows and have recently come up with their own answer to the ABH Dipbrow in the form of their Brow Pomade. Shall we put them both to the test to see who comes out on top?

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Gift Guide: Fragrances

December is here and I can hardly believe that Christmas is just around the corner! This year, I thought I would start a Gift Guide series to help make holiday shopping just that little bit more bearable. Here is the very first Gift Guide which focuses on fragrances.

Girls

Daisy holds a special place in my heart as it was the first "proper" perfume that I ever wore. I still purchase it to this day. My love for the original Daisy will never fade but the new (limited edition) Daisy Sorbet is an absolute winner. I might actually buy it instead of the original when my current Daisy runs out. It's fruity and floral, like the original Daisy, with a hint of citrus.


This is a newly launched fragrance and the first for Jessica Mauboy. The bottle alone sold me, it looks much more expensive than the $34 price tag. It's fresh and fruity with yummy green apple scent. It's actually a really great dupe for DKNY Be Delicious. If you loved So Fresh but don't want to fork out, or you're on a budget, Be Beautiful is the perfect fragrance to pick up. 


Davidoff has never really been a fragrance brand that I've been interested in. I loved the men's Cool Water fragrance but never paid much attention to the female ones until I picked up Sea Rose. It's such a beautiful, delicate perfume. Everything from the bottle to the actual scent is light and pretty. The fragrance itself is a mixture of sweet pear and pink peony. I'd suggest this scent for anyone who doesn't like super strong smells but still wants something light and fresh.


This is a bit more of an unusual choice but Eau de Gaga is one of my all time favourite fragrances. It would be perfect for someone who doesn't stick to the rules and likes things that are a little different. It's citrusy and woody and a little bit masculine but the lime notes are what really sell me on this one. The bottle is also gorgeous and would look perfect in a minimalist bathroom....so not mine but I still love it. You can read my full review on Eau de Gaga here.

Guys
*Side note: boyfriend had a lot of input for this section as I personally don't know much about male fragrances.


If the awesome fist punching bottle doesn't sell you on Only the Brave, the super masculine scent soon will. Although it's very manly and leathery, it also has notes of citrus and violet, making it a little less in-your-face and a little more wearable. This is a great daytime fragrance and makes an awesome display piece in the bathroom too.


And here I thought Ronaldo was just a football player! Turns out he's a man of many talents, having just released his debut fragrance, Legacy. The packaging makes it look like a higher end perfume and the gold and black are a very classy combo. It definitely packs a punch with notes of wood, amber and smoked vetiver. These are tempered by a little lavender and green apple to give a well rounded and very masculine scent. Boyfriend also gave this his official seal of approval.


This is possibly my favourite male fragrance, there is something extremely sexy about it. I like the slightly unusual packaging, it screams "I've been stranded on a desert island but I still want to smell like sex on legs". It's sweet and spicy with just a hint of grapefruit and raspberry. This gets MY official seal of approval.


Soul is probably the hardest of the bunch to track down but you can still find it. It's fresh, spicy and citrusy and pairs nicely with a sharp suit and fresh shave.

Will you be picking up a frangrance for youself or someone special this Christmas?

Dani XO

Be Beautiful, Legacy and Eau de Gaga were provided as PR samples but, as always, my opinion is my own.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Lacto-Free

Ah summer! The season for ice-cream, creamy cocktails, cheese platters with wine and numerous cups of coffee to see you through the silly season. In short, all of the things that I can't eat because I'm lactose intolerant. 
What started at around age 15 with a disagreement with a block of cheese slowly progressed to include all of my favourite things: ice-cream, milk, cheese, cream, frozen yoghurt and pretty much all of the things I enjoy eating. Over the years, I've come to terms with the fact that I can't eat dairy. The fact that so many companies now produce really yummy dairy-free products and that most coffee shops now provide soy or lactose free milk (for a small fee) has also helped. But you know what? Sometimes, I don't want to refuse that mouthwatering cheese platter. Sometimes, I really want to eat my body weight in frozen yoghurt and sometimes, nothing makes life better than a tube of Ben and Jerry's.

Enter Lacto-Free ($19.99 for 100 pills). I was pretty skeptical that two teeny tiny pills before a jumbo cup of froyo would make any difference at all. I was fully prepared to spend and uncomfortable and cramp-filled night regretted my decision. But, surprisingly, they actually work! You just pop two pills from the discreet container (it looks just like a sweetener container) and then indulge away in all of your favourite and previously forbidden dairy treats. 

Most of the time, I do stick to my lactose-free alternatives but it's really nice to pop over to a BBQ and be able to eat the cheese and crackers without dying in a painful and gassy way moments later. I love that I can eat my favourite treat (frozen yoghurt) without worrying about where the nearest toilet will be. These things are honesty a God-send and I'll always be carrying some with me from now on.

Any other lactose-intolerant friends out there who have tried this?

Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as PR samples but, as always, my opinion is my own.


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

NARS Eyeshadow Collection

If you've been with me for a while, you might remember this post on my NARS collection. Since then, I've added a few new eyeshadows to my stash so here's an updated post on my NARS eyeshadow collection.

This baby is one that I included in my last post but it's too pretty to not include again. Strada is a beautiful lilac shade with an iridescent gold shimmer. It's not typically a shade that I would go for but it's just SO FLIPPING PRETTY! I couldn't leave it out of this post!

This eyeshadow was an absolute bargain! As it's a discontinued shade, I scored it at a very rare Mecca sale for $15! It's a special shade for me because Namibia is one of my favourite countries, I had the most amazing holiday there when I was younger and I'm reminded of it every time I wear this eyeshadow. It's a beautiful matte grey and reminds me of the awesome Namibian elephants that live in the desert. 
Swatches top to bottom: Strada, Namibia, Jardin Perdu grey and purple.

It seems I have a bit of a thing for purple and grey as this duo shadow is also purple and grey but these are both metallic. Both shades are really pigmented and the metallic finish is just stunning. These shades are very space-y and remind me of David Bowie. Also, Jardin Perdu translates as Lost Garden which just speaks to my soul so long story short, I love this duo. 
Image via Pinterest
Tell me what your favourite NARS shadows are in the comments.

Dani XO

Jardin Perdu was gifted to me by NARS but, as always, my opinion is my own. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Urban Decay Naked Smoky

I'm back from a long and unexpected hiatus. Long story short, I thought I could manage uni, work, blogging and my occasional weekend job (and, let's face it, a pretty crippling addiction to Netflix) all at the same time. As it turns out, I couldn't. Now that I've finished with uni (THANK THE LORD!), I have a little more time, I have a little more time to devote to blogging.

I thought I'd get back into it with a bang and review the newest addition to the Urban Decay Naked family, the Naked Smoky ($81.00).
 I originally wasn't at all interested in the Smoky, I was more than happy with my collection of the Naked Original, 2 and 3....and then I started seeing swatches....Oh my glob! That basically sold me and I had to sprint to my local Mecca to pick one up. 

The packaging is a little different to the first 3 Naked palettes. It's very sharp and rectangular and I have to say, I LOVE the packaging with it's beautiful smoke spirals and silver text. The inside is very similar to the other palettes with a mirror and double ended brush included.
The actual shadows are arranged from shimmery to matte and include a much better range of colours than I originally expected. I was anticipating mostly greys, deep browns, blacks and blues and wasn't that keen. When I saw that the palette also included golds, bronzes, nudes and even a beautiful champagne shimmer shade (High) that's become a favourite of mine. The pigmentation is fabulous, fallout is minimal and I find that the shades are wearable for daytime looks as well as more smokey, nighttime looks. Compared to the first 3 palettes, Naked Smokey is cool-toned, much like the Naked 2 but with more cooler toned shades. Temptalia has much better swatches that I could manage so check them out here.
Shade L-R: High, Dirtysweet, Radar, Armor, Slanted and Dagger.
Shades L-R: Black Market, Smolder, Password, Whiskey, Combust and Thirteen.
Overall, the Naked Smoky has quickly become one of my favourites and is definitely giving the Naked 2 a run for it's money in the competition for "Dani's Favourite UD Naked Palette". The only reason i'm not giving this palette 5 stars is because Smoky is spelled without the "e" which really bugs me but *shrugs* M'urica, right?
Dani the Girl XO gives the UD Naked Smoky:
Did you add the Naked Smoky to your collection?

Dani XO

Sunday, 18 October 2015

3 Manicure Secrets

I love doing my nails, I'll paint my nails once or twice a week and I can't stand the sight of a chipped nail. Over the years, I've been through shellac, acrylics, regular nail polish, nail wraps and everything in between. I've managed to get doing my nails down to a fine art and I've picked up some pretty handy tips along the way. Here are 3 of my secret manicure products to make doing your nails just that little bit easier:

The first step to any manicure is getting rid of the old stuff and this is a magical invention that takes literally seconds. All you do is insert your finger, twist it a few times, pull it out and BOOM! No more nail polish! I also find that this lasts a lot longer than conventional nail polish remover, I guess cos you don't waste any pouring it out. It also works a treat at dissolving the glue in press-on or glue-on nails.


My friend and fellow blogger Cassie from Makeup Maniaah put me onto this stuff and it's life-changing when it comes to manicures. Technically, it's a nail hardener but I use it as a top coat. Because it's so strong and hard, my nail polish lasts for at least a week with only very minor wear. For someone who has to remove all their polish when they see the first chip appear, this is amazing!


For me, this is a Holy Grail product, it cuts drying time down to minutes. It comes with both a dropper and a little brush, I personally find the brush easier to use. One bottle of this lasted me about a year, a little goes a very long way. You just apply a coat or drop to your wet nails and they're touch dry in 20-30 seconds. They can still smudge though, but it means that if you need to be out the door in a hurry, you don't have to wait around.
What are your manicure secrets?

Dani XO

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Get The Look: Beach Babe Hair

I don't know how long it's been since I did a hair-care related post, which means...it's time for another hair-care post! Since I cut my hair short last year, I've had to be a little more creative with my hair styling because "shoving it up in a bun and hoping people think it's stylish" is no longer an option. My favourite go-to look is beach babe hair; disheveled, loose and textured. Here's how I get the look:
These came in my last Parcel from Marie Claire and at the time I was a little bummed because I wasn't especially blonde. Then I found out that the shampoo was a purifying shampoo that removes product build up but also hydrates AND it's not just for blondes. Both the shampoo and conditioner are minty-fresh and leave my hair shiny and volumised, perfect for the beachy look.

I usually try to curl my hair the day before if I'm aiming for beachy waves, just because beachy waves look better (on me) once I've slept on them. I find that first day curls can look a little too "done" and not as effortless. I love this straightener because it doesn't leave those funny crimpy marks when I curl and you can adjust the heat settings to suit your hair and style.

3. nak Surf Styler ($19.50)
This stuff is a little weird and has a scent that reminds me of a My Little Pony I had when I was younger. It's definitely not a bad smell, just a little usual. This is a bi-phase spray, you have to shake it before use to mix the layers together. The spray is a little bit like a jet and tends to go everywhere so be careful! I like to either spray this through dry, slept-on hair to add texture or spray it on towel-dried hair so that it dries with a nice, effortless beach-babe texture.
What are your top picks for beach-worthy hair?
Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as PR samples.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Keep Calm & Colour On

Adult colouring books have suddenly become a huge "thing" and I am over the moon! I cannot draw to save my life but colouring in, I can do. Not only is it calming and soothing, but you end up with a really nice (well, depending on your skill level) end product that you can get really creative with and frame or display. I love that even though I'm not an especially good artists, I can still do something arty. I don't know what it is, but it's just a very calming activity. For anyone who get's anxious, this is the perfect activity. As I type this out, I'm colouring in and watching YouTube videos and it is perfection!

Here are my two favourite colouring books:

The Animal Lovers Colouring Book ($9.95) and the Hipster Colouring Book ($14.99).
I know this was a super short post, but I had to share something that I've fallen in love with.

Are you on board with colouring in?

Dani XO

Thursday, 8 October 2015

5 Thursday Things

I was going to go with "Word Vomit" for a title, but Thursday Things seemed a little more appropriate. Today's post is just going to be a list of things that are on my mind or that have been happening to me.
1. Wedding planning is hard, especially when you're on a budget. This post pretty much sums up my experiences to date.

2. I cannot wait to be done with my Diploma. While I definitely don't regret going back to study, it's been an uphill battle. I just want my qualification dammit!

3. I wish I was a better cook. I always see such delicious looking recipes that then involve you needing to buy 7,000 unusual and hard-to-find ingredients or require you to stand at the stove stirring clockwise then anticlockwise then clockwise at 10 second intervals. My diet consists mainly of toast....

4. So many good movies are coming out and do you know when the last time I saw a movie was? It was the Avengers Age of Ultron.....before that I think it was the first Hobbit movie....oh, the shame!

5. One of my hobbies to to plan an entire holiday, flights, accommodation, even restaurants. Sadly, they are all imaginary as my current holiday budget is about $5. A girl can dream, right?

What's been on your mind lately?

Dani XO

Monday, 5 October 2015

Real Techiques Bold Metals

I don't think there has been such a highly anticipated range launched in Australia for a very, very long time! Aussie beauty fans were drooling over these gorgeous metallic brushes for several months because, like pretty much other beauty launch, Australia is the last country to get anything. The drooling briefly stopped when we found out how much these beautiful babies were going to set us back (the soul of your firstborn child, the tail hair of a unicorn, moss gathered from the high reaches of an Albanian monastery by blind monks, etc etc) but when they arrived, they were so stunning that we simply forgot about the price...almost.

Real Techniques launched the Bold Metals collection in Melbourne (I live in Brisbane so I spent the night crying and stalking people at the launch on Instagram). I was lucky enough to get my hands on a couple of the brushes though and after playing around with them for a while, here's what I think.

I didn't have high hopes for this brush as it's generally not the type I like to use. I prefer the RT Buffing Brush or a beauty blender to apply my liquid foundation. After a few weeks of using this brush, I've decided that it works really well for thinner, lighter coverage foundation. They apply like a dream and the finish is beautiful. However, for creamier or heavier coverage foundations, these tend to leave streak marks, which was my initial worry. Given that I don't usually go for heavier foundations, this brush was an unexpected surprise and is a firm favourite.


I was also a little worried about this brush, it's pretty big for an eyeshadow brush. But again, I was very pleasantly surprised. It's size makes it quite versatile, meaning you can use it to pack shadow onto the lids or turn it to its side and use it as a crease or blending brush. Another winner to add to my collection.
Both brushes are super soft and the metal handles feel really weighty. They're also tapered with flat sides to stop them rolling off tables. The face brushes, the 100 series, are all gold, the sculpting brushes, the 300 series, are rose gold (and stunning) and the eye brushes, the 200 series, are silver. They are very expensive but if you're after a little bit of luxury and some great quality brushes, these are a great buy.

Dani the Girl give the Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes:
Have you splurged on  any of these yet?

Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as PR samples.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Spring Scents with AHAVA

Cue the advent of spring and prepare yourself for 502,301,232 posts on new spring fragrances. Guilty as charged! Except that this fragrance is very different, it definitely doesn't fall into the usual basket of "celebrities releasing new scents in slightly different packaging just because it's spring". Technically, it's kind of not even a "fragrance" in the tradtional scent but that what I use it as and it makes me feel fresh and happy so we're all going to pretend it is.

I was lucky enough to receive a GORGEOUS Summer Essential package in the mail (you can check out my pic on Instagram @danithegirl_xo) and this was included. I was initially a little confused as to what it was but as soon as I opened it up and spritzed some on, I was in heaven. Technically, it's a body oil aka a moisturiser but I apply it (liberally) to my pulse points. The scent is just so fresh and yummy, I could literally bathe in this stuff.

AHAVA products are made with Dead Sea plants and minerals. This particular body oil is free from parabens, petrochemicals and all the other assorted nasties. There is a whole range of the Cactus & Pink Pepper scent too so if body oil isn't your thing, you coudl go for the hand cream or body wash instead. I definitely encourage you to try out this heavenly scent. It's the perfect spring companion!

Tell me what your favourite spring scent is in the comments.

Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as PR samples. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

My Cavallino

If you're on the hunt for cute, kitsch little jewellery pieces, fabulous scarves, adorable notebooks and cool-as-a-cucumber sunnies, then this post is for you! 
My Cavallino is a Brisbane-based online store that opened in 2012. It's run by the beautiful Brittany Kahler, who has an awesome eye for funky, fashionable pieces and a flair for online business. She believes in a simple shopping experience and in providing good quality, affordable pieces.

Here are my favourite pieces from the site:
 
1. Silver Ring Set ($9.99) 
 Midi-rings are the bomb! I love how delicate they are, I feel like they make my fingers look really long and slim. This set is currently sold out but there is a pretty cool set that I've linked to that's really similar....is it bad if I buy another set?
 
Again, my love of delicate silver accessories shows through. I love the way this necklace sits, it's super cute and really works with my (pretty much non-existent) style. The necklace featured on the sire right now is a little different but just as gorgeous.

3. Cat Scarf ($11.99)
Image from My Cavallino
I love cats, I love scarves, this was a win-win for me. This pashmina-style scarf is super soft and the cat print is little enough not to scream "crazy cat lady" rather "sophisticated cat lady with a tonne of style".

If you'd like to shop at My Cavallino, you can use the code DaniXO for 20% off your total. You also get free shipping if you spend over $35 so get shopping!

Dani XO

This post is not sponsored and the link is purely a discount code for you guys, I do not make any money from it.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

5 Uses for the Palmers Swivel Stick

For lazy people, like me, nothing is more convenient than a multi-use product. Who wants to carry around 4 or 5 different products when one will do? The Palmers Swivel Stick ($4.99) definitely fits that category. It has that classic Palmers cocoa butter scent and creamy formula but in a super concentrated formula. Here are five fabulous uses for this one genius product:
1. Let's start with the obvious: lip balm. Although it's a little chunkier than the usual lip balm, the concentrated formula makes it perfect for chapped, dry lips. I took this with me on my last trip and it was the perfect long-haul travel companion.

2. This one is a little unorthodox but the Swivel Stick is perfect for soothing your under-eye bags. When I arrived in England on my last trip, my skin was super dry and none of my makeup would stick to my face. I started using this on my under-eye area, which was especially dry and uncomfortable, and noticed an immediate improvement.

3. I am plagued by hangnails all the time. My nails and cuticles get really dry and this was perfect to pop straight on to my nails and massage in for a quick fix.

4. The Swivel Stick is perfect for popping on any patches of dry skin from elbows to hands. You literally can't ever use too much of it!

5. Though I haven't actually used it for this purpose yet, the Swivel Stick would be perfect for  soothing a dry nose when you have a cold. Constantly blowing my nose when I'm sick always leaves my nose red and raw. The Swivel Stick would be amazing at hyrdating and soothing poor red noses.

Have you used this multi-use miracle stick yet?

Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as PR samples by as always, my opinion is my own.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Wanderlust Sneakers

I am a bona fide jeans and sneakers kinda gal. Not that I don't occasionally glam it up with dresses and heels but my go-to outfit for almost any occasion is jeans and sneakers. My collection has been growing and growing....and growing! Today, I want to show you the latest addition to my collection, the Wanderlust Sneakers by Holster. 

These are literally everything I could ever want in a shoe. They're comfy, relatively affordable and (my favourite) they're covered in black glitter. Nothing says "Yes, I wear sneakers, but I also like to look a little fancy" like black glitter. They do also come in a white and silver version if black isn't for you.

For my photo shoot (I felt absolutely ridiculous, by the way. I would make the most awful/awkward model in the world), I styled them with some loose denim pants and a white singlet. I like to keep it simple and let these awesome sneakers do all the talking.
Let me know what your go-to outfit and shoe combo is in the comments.

Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as PR samples but as always, my opinion is my own.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

7 Beauty Products You Need to Own

I'm a huge believer in the fact that beauty is a very individual thing. Some people (me) love makeup and everything about it but I appreciate that some people don't. This isn't mean to be a "buy these products or you'll look like the troll from Harry Potter" post, more like a "if you're going to use makeup, these are the type of products that are good to start with" post. So....
1. Brushes

I could talk about makeup brushes for years! There are so many on the market, and you don't necessarily need to spend a tonne of money for good quality brushes. The Jessup sets that you can find on eBay (which I own) are excellent starter kits and start from around $10. The one pictured here is the Real Techniques buffing brush, which is a favourite of mine. The Real Techniques brushes are awesome quality and are also fairly affordable. They're a great starting point for beginners and are fairly easy to find at either Priceline or online through iHerb.

2. A decent, versatile base

My go-to base is usually a BB Cream. They're easy to use and a decent one, like the Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream, will also give you good coverage. They can be used alone, under foundations or under powders so you can tailor them to suit your needs.

3. A kick-ass concealer

The Maybelline Age Rewind concealer is THE BEST under eye concealer. It's lightweight yet still manages to brighten and cover even the darkest of under eye bags. You might prefer a creamier under eye concealer, or one with a different applicator but do yourself a favour and check this one out first.

4. A good powder

A good powder can be used alone as a fondation or on top of a BB Cream or liquid foundation for added coverage and shine control. The one picture here is the Nude by Nature Loose Mineral Powder. It's perfect for people with sensitive skin, as it's mineral based. Some powders can give medium to full coverage so you don't need to wear else under them. A good powder is a must for any makeup kit. 

5. An easy, peasy liquid eyeliner

Winged eyeliner can pull together anything from a super-simple look to an uber glam smokey eye. It does take practice but an easy-to-apply product like the Maybelline Master Precise will definitely help. This is my personal favourite liquid eyeliner. It gives a nice, solid black winged liner look that lasts all day. 

6. A red lipstick

Finding the perfect red lipstick for you is a process but once you've found it, it can complete any look. A good red lipstick can make you look polished, poised and put together. I like to go for a matte, long-wearing formula like the Rimmel + Kate Moss Lasting Finish collection. Kiss of Life (Shade 111) is my perfect red.

7. A killer mascara

A killer mascara is a mut-have, no negotiations! Everyone has their own prefecerence when it comes to brushes, formulas and application techniques so tracking down the perfect mascara for you can be a mission. One of my current favourite is the Scout Cosmetics Mineral Mascara with Fibres. The fibres stick onto your lashes giving you lashes for days! You can also layer this mascara alone or with another mascara for tonnes of volume.

What are your makeup must-haves?

Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as PR samples but as always, my opinion is my own.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Blog Sale!

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I've had a clear out of my makeup collection. I didn't want all the products I no longer use to go to waste so, I'm having a blog sale! If you click through to the sale page, you'll be able to see all the details and (most importantly) what's up for grabs.

If you don't know where this is from, you're dead to me!
Happy shopping!

Dani XO

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Rant Pants: On Blogging

Today's post is something a little outside my usual realms but it's something that's been bugging me for a while. In classic Dani fashion, I've decided to put my rant pants on, write a post about it and get it off my chest. Here's what's been bugging me lately...

When I first started my blog (a year and a half ago), I did it as a way to express my creative side and talk about something that I was interested in. I had very little idea how blogging actually worked, how big the beauty community was or how many amazing things would come my way as a result. Before I get into the nitty gritty, I do want to just say that by and large, I love the beauty community. I love watching YouTube videos, I love the blogger groups that I'm part of and I've loved being able to meet and mingle with fellow bloggers. 

However, as with most things in life, there are a select few who make it an unpleasant place. In the past year and a half, I've come across more and more people who want to hop on the blogger bandwagon for nothing more than the freebies. I've seen so many people recently asking how to start a blog just so they can get free products or what the best way is to ask PR companies for products etc etc etc and it really makes me mad! To me, and most of my fellow blogger, that's not what blogging is about. If you're in it for the freebies, then you'll quickly get bored. Blogging may be a hobby but it requires a lot of time and effort to produce good quality posts that people actually want to read.

A second point, why so much competition? Certain bloggers tend to get very bogged down with how well others are doing, who has been sent free stuff, who is making more money, how they are making it and so on. To use one of my favourite quotes, calm your tits! It's not a competition! We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. The beauty blogging community is small enough that word gets around when someone is dishonest or not very nice to work with. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  Leaving a nasty comment achieves nothing.
Which brings me to point number three: there are very few bloggers who make it to the big time. My guess is that most of them didn't worry about how many Instagram followers they had or how much free stuff they were getting. I've recently felt a lot of pressure to monetise or make my blog into a business. I'm not staying that's not an amazing and fabulous thing to do but I've realised that maybe it's not for me. I started blogging because it was, and still is, something fun that I enjoy doing and I'm more than happy to leave it that way for now. The odds of making it big in blogging are pretty slim, so why not just enjoy it because it's something fun to do? If you happen to get the opportunity to do amazing things, work with awesome brands and generally have fun at the same time then HOORAH! 
With that massive word vomit over, I do just want to say thank you to everyone who reads my blog, likes my Instagram photos and watches my videos. I'm one of the bloggers unlikely to make it to the big time but I'm still having the time of my life being a blogger and writing about things that I love.
Dani XO

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Rimmel + Kate Moss Nudes

If you're a frequent reader here, you'll know how much I love Rimmel. They've been killing it with new releases lately and the latest batch of newbies are spot on. I actually picked up one of these new releases in England and when I arrived back in Aus, there they were! So pleased that these are now avaialble here, they are so pretty that everyone deserves to own them.
Rimmel + Kate Moss Nudes in 42, 45, 48 ($12.95 each)

These come in the same packaging as the original Rimmel + Kate Moss lippies but with a nude instead of a red or black container. There are 5 shades in the range and I picked up 3 (hey, there was a 3 for 2 sale, what else could I have done?). 42 is a soft pink/brown nude, 45 is a nude pink and 48 (my favourite) is a really unique brown/plum nude. Every single time I've worn 48, I've been asked what I'm wearing, it's a really gorgeous colour.
In terms of wear time, these are part of the Lasting Finish range so they do wear pretty well. They have a semi-matte kind of finish and while you really don't need a lip liner with them, I would suggest pairing them with the Rimmel Lip liners in Natural, Cappuccino or Coffee Bean.

Swatches (top to bottom): 42, 45, 48
Dani the Girl gives the Rimmel + Kate Moss Nudes:
Have you tried the latest offering from Rimmel yet?

Dani XO

Sunday, 6 September 2015

JORD Wood Watches

I have an obsession with watches that started many years ago with my very first watch, a Mickey Mouse number. I was so proud of it because it was my reward for learning how to tell the time. It had a bright red strap and Mickey's hands moved to tell the time. The watch has long-since been lost (RIP Mickey), but my love for watches lives on. My latest love is this pretty unique wooden watch from JORD.
This baby is the JORD Fieldcrest Watch in Maple, a beautiful maple wood and silver number. I love the chunky face, the raw wood links and the way it goes with pretty much every outfit. I've had non-stop compliments on this watch, which makes me love wearing it even more! Even the packaging was gorgeous, I'll definitely be finding a use for the little wooden treasure box that my watch came in. It's too pretty not to use.

I was a little hesitant about getting a wooden watch because I'm fairly clumsy and I was worried I might accidentally spill something on the raw wood and ruin it. Thankfully, this watch is splash-proof and can be treated with lemon or orange oil extracts to prolong the life. All JORD watches come with a 1 year warranty so if you're as accident-prone as I am, you don't need to worry.
You can check out the whole JORD range here or via the link below. They have a huge range of watches for both men and women and I can't recommend them enough.
What do you think of wooden watches?

Dani XO

Watch Gift Ideas

Products in this post were provided as PR samples but as always, my opinion is my own.  

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Thin Lizzy

You might remember Thin Lizzy from "those" infomercials back in the day? Well I'm happy to report that Thin Lizzy has come a long way since then. I've been road testing a few star pieces from the Thin Lizzy collection and have been pretty pleased with most of the results. Here's what I've been using:
1. Thin Lizzy Concealer Crème in Duchess ($29.95

This is probably the product that I was most impressed with. It's a super heavy duty concealer that will cover anything from acne to tattoos but still looks and fees lightweight. It contains ginger extract to help heal and soothe red or broken skin. It's also water-resistant, making it the perfect tattoo cover up. I was lucky enough to see some of the Thin Lizzy products in action at a Masterclass and the tattoo cover up was probably the part that wowed me the most, so impressive!

2. Thin Lizzy Mineral Foundation in Duchess ($39.95)

The foundation is the product that I'm still on the fence about. I found that building up coverage took a little bit of effort, you can probably get to around a medium coverage. Because the powder contains mica, the more you buff it in, the glowier you get. If you love a dewy, glowy look, then this is definitely the powder for you. However, if you prefer a matte look, this powder is not your friend. I personally think it looks beautiful used as a finishing powder to give a little glow, kind of like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders. It would also be stunning for bridal makeup.


This is probably the powder that you would have heard the most about. The 6-in-1 powder can be used as a blusher, bronzer, face framer, contour, eye shadow and lip colour(phew!) and comes in a light and a dark shade. I wasn't expecting much but this powder has become a firm favourite for me, especially as a contour and face framer. It's perfect for people who don't like wearing a lot of makeup or who don't like using lots of different products. The 6-in-1 kit comes with 2 sets of the powder plus brushes, eyeliners and lip glosses. It's a pretty perfect catch-all kind of kit.

Dani the Girl gives the Thin Lizzy range:
Tell me what your favourites from the Thin Lizzy range are in the comments.

Dani XO

Products in this post were provided as free gifts for attending the Thin Lizzy Masterclass
 

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