You got engaged, perhaps had your engagement party and it’s now nearing to the end of winter and I am sure many brides-to-be are thinking, spring is the perfect time to get married. Those brides won’t be wrong as the most popular months to get married in Australia are in fact all of spring; September, October and November. The weather is balmy and the rainy season seems to have stayed away for long enough to enjoy the blue skies.
Even if you’re planning a wedding for next spring, which is still a year and a bit away (The average engagement time in Australia is 21 months by the way) you’re probably already considering a lot of details and it’s no less busy 12 months out than 3 months out, although it does get a bit more hectic.
Here are some of the things you should start considering (from experience) at around a 12 month mark.
- Save the date – you have to make sure your family and friends can attend the wedding so make sure to let your guests know as soon as you decide on the day so they can keep the date free. The most popular wedding day to get married in Oz is Saturday, so keep in mind that it will be the most expensive day to book venues, cars, DJs etc. TIP: Ask around and see if your guests could possibly attend a wedding on a weekday, or a full weekend away in the country somewhere or perhaps a destination wedding? That way you won’t have to fork out for the most expensive day, as weddings are pricey enough without having to bid for the most popular day.
- Set a budget – yes it sounds boring and tedious, but without a set budget and actually understanding what you can afford – no matter who is paying for the wedding expenses, the wedding costs can quickly blow out. Half of Aussie brides spend over $30,000 on their weddings and if you think about it, that’s a deposit on a property gone in 1 day. What’s scary is that most final wedding costs in the end are 53% higher than originally budgeted. You also want to go on a nice honeymoon, after all, with all the wedding prep and the long day that ensues, you two deserve a romantic getaway and you want to make sure you’ve got some budget for that – trust me, the honeymoon in a way is more important than a huge, expensive wedding. TIP: Track your finances using user friendly software like Xero and see where most of your spendings are. Assess your average spend and what you are willing to spend on a wedding and work from that sum. Of course there will be fluctuations and some potential surprise costs, but do your research and ask friends for recommendations on services like photography to potentially get good rates.
- Dress shopping – brides, please don’t leave this to the last minute (and even 3 months out). As I’ve found out, a lot of the salons in Australia get their dresses shipped over (Europe or Asia) when you actually purchase the dress, and this shipping process can take 3-6 months, and sometimes longer. You also have to leave enough time to get alterations done – there will be multiple fittings and almost definitely changes. TIP: Go dress shopping by yourself, with your family and with your bridesmaids on separate occasions. Don’t get bowled over with other’s opinions or latest trends and get what is most flattering for your body shape. After you selected the type of dress (A line, princess, fishtail etc), see if it’s available online as the rates are much cheaper. You can always get alterations of the dress separately if it doesn’t quite fit, but make sure to leave plenty of time for shipping!
- Fitness regime – for you and your fiancee. Love it or hate it but love handles make it hard to pick find a flattering dress and boys, don’t just hide your belly under your tux. Getting into a good fitness routine together, will not only help you get fitter and slimmer but will also give you an activity to spend time together and not just doing wedding planning. After all, with a 12 month wedding planning regime, day in day out, any couple will experience frustrations. TIP: Use your fitness time to do something fun e.g. play tennis, go snorkelling, in other words, stay active but don’t burden yourself with the thought of ‘must lose weight’ or ‘must look good for wedding’. Enjoy your time together and make it a habit that takes you beyond just wedding preparations.
- Wedding dance – all of us have been to at least one wedding where the newlywed dance is a spin in a circe with awkward movements until the song is over (thank god its over!). I am sure you’re both dreading it but if you’re well prepared and have at least some kind of routine sorted, the impression you’ll make on the guests is phenomenal and you’ll both walk away feeling like you’ve been on Dancing with the Stars! Google your local dance school and you’ll be sure to find wedding dance choreography instructors. You’ll be working with professionals, they will pick out a routine that’s right for you and with music of your choice and soon enough, you’ll dazzle your friends and family with some pretty impressive moves on the dance floor! TIP: If you can, try and go for something more jazzy than the traditional waltz or tango and pick perhaps a Latin Dance routine such as bachata, bachatango or zouk (Youtube these dances, you’ll fall in love with them in no time!) you can even do something completely unorthodox and seal the day with a bit of “Thriller” moves by Michael Jackson!
- Looking your best – We all want to look our best on our special day. Of course it doesn’t have to be your wedding day, but that day is ranked pretty high on the happiness scale. There are certain things that can help us look and feel our best and the top examples of these services are:
- Hair: Having the right hair can make you feel like a true hollywood star. TIP: Do your research and go with the hairstyle that suits you and you feel comfortable with on the day. Don’t go with anything that is completely new without trying it out at a salon first.
- Tattoos: Many of us have tattoos we got in our younger years, thinking that it was the coolest thing in the world, but if you’ve got a spring wedding, chances are your dress will be sleeveless and showing off your shoulders and back. An old tattoo coupled with a gorgeous wedding dress for many brides is not the ideal look for the day. Tattoo regret can be caused by many things, and wanting to start a new chapter in life can definitely be one of them.
Luckily you now have tattoo removal services that use laser technology to help you get rid of unwanted tattoos. TIP: If you’re thinking about tattoo removal, it is recommended to start as early as possible and some tattoos take longer to remove than others. (At least 6 treatments are usually required to fully remove a tattoo, and sessions have to be spaced 8 weeks apart.)
The friendly tattoo removal specialists at Sydney Clinic Fade To Blank will be able to help you with any queries. If you’re thinking about tattoo removal, read this article on why Winter is the Perfect time to get your tattoos removed.
-Teeth: Teeth whitening is a popular service for any occasion and is ranked very high on wedding preparations list. I recently blogged about tips on keeping your teeth white here but if you’re after a no fault service call up your dentist and ask if they provide in chair treatments. I used whitening gel with custom trays – not only did I find that it took a long time to whiten teeth, but it was also a very painful experience. In chair treatments are almost instant, work with sensitive teeth and get your teeth 4-6 shades whiter.
Yes there are many more things to consider before getting married, such as choosing the right venue, picking a photographer, deciding on the music, flowers, cake… the list can be forever expanding. However, I listed the things I thought about when getting married and that I thought took a bit of prep time, rather than a decision in booking or purchasing. Looking our best can take a bit longer but in the end its all worth it because it’s not about the one day, it’s about the memories and a start to a happy and hopefully long life together with your partner.
Most importantly, enjoy every moment of the day as it goes by so very quickly!
Good luck with your wedding preparations!
Statistics from Easy Weddings Annual Survey of Weddings in Australia (2015)
Photos: Julia Kim Murphy personal wedding photos (2012)
World Organics have just launched in Australia and they have skincare and makeup products with ingredients sourced from all over the World. Most of the organic ingredients come from India – making it more sustainable and supporting a lot of the organic farmers, creating better opportunities for the local people and building harmonious communities.
Originating in New Zealand, this organics brand will stun you with an array of makeup and skincare products. The pigments of the lipsticks, eyeshadows and blushes are soft but at the same time radiant. The skincare products are incredibly fragrant and you can soak up the goodness of all the oils, serums and moisturisers with no worries that the ingredients could be harmful as they are 99-100% natural.
Organic Skin and Co and River Veda Skincare
It was an eventful day at the World Organics launch as I got a facial and then makeup done by celebrity makeup artist, Noni Smith. Noni was using all World Organics cosmetics on me and I noticed that the range of the colours and products available is more extensive than any other organic makeup brand.
River Veda Skincare Range
I was most impressed with the concealer and foundations – both were extremely velvety with great coverage. The blush and the lipgloss had natural pigment and the lipgloss was 95.5% organic and 100% natural ingredients. It’s important to have natural ingredients, especially in our lipsticks and glosses because we ingest more of this product than any others, but all skincare and makeup gets absorbed by our skin so ends up in our organism anyway, making it that much more important to use natural and organic products.
You’ll be mesmerised by the packaging of the makeup – aesthetic, light and beautiful, with bamboo lids and compacts. Most of the skincare comes in aluminium tubes – recyclable but also protects the creams against light exposure.
World Organics Makeup
World Organics Sun Kissed Bronzer with 71.45% Organic Ingredients
Mineral Eyeshadow Palette – Twilight Star
I also had the pleasure of meeting the World Organics founder Megan Douglas. Megan is not just a lovely person to have a chat with, but she is also a qualified Herbal Practitioner and Naturopath. We talked about the origins of World Organics, Megan explained to me a lot of the processes that go into getting an Organic Certification, starting from the ingredients down to the certification of the plant and process. We also had a look at some photos of the staff at World Organics visiting the farmers in India – there were so many smiles and so much colour in those photos and what a great way to introduce all employees to all stages of the product production + meeting the people who grow the organic ingredients; plants, flowers for these beautiful products.
Meeting Megan Douglas and Noni Smith at the World Organics Launch Australia in Sydney
I learned that World Organics use Supercritical extracts as the main ingredient in their products. This technology is a breakthrough in herbal extraction; the cleanest, purest way to extract a plant’s value with maximum nutritional benefits. These extracts are extremely concentrated, wonderfully pure and super potent (more than 50 times stronger than conventional extracts.) Megan showed me some of the extracts and I had a smell of some of the oils – they smelled phenomenal – like being immersed in a field of flowers. Nothing synthetic or artificial about them. I couldn’t believe the difference this Supercritical Extracts makes to retaining all the natural fragrances + nutrients.
Calendula Cream – all natural pigment and calming properties
Colour swatch: Lipstick (Sahara), Lipgloss (Iris), Sun Kissed Bronzer, Eyeshadow Palette (Twilight Star)
You can purchase World Organics skincare and makeup from the online store
Some more facts about World Organics:
They do not test on animals. A lot of the products are certified vegan which requires that no testing on animals occurs.
The vegan products:
The Organic Skin Co. – Lipstick
The Organic Skin Co. – Lip Gloss
The Organic Skin Co. – Blush
The Organic Skin Co. – Mascara
River Veda – Nurture SPF 30+
River Veda – Rejuvenate – Heavenly Words Lip Balm
Over 90% of all World Organics products are certified ‘organic’ or ‘made with organic’ (70%+ organic). They can be identified by the BioGro logo stamped on their packaging.
State of the Art Manufacturing Plant:
Some of the World Organics products are manufactured in a purpose-built, state of the art industrial plant in India. The plant is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified, and one of the few facilities in the world that is mainly solar-powered.
How to check if a products is organic?
- Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated claim about the environmental or natural benefits of a product. It happens often because much of the cosmetics industry remains unregulated.
- A product which claims to be natural might only contain 1% natural ingredients. Customers can protect themselves by reading the ingredients listed on the packaging and by looking for certification stamps.
There is no better accessory than a smile and if you’re wondering on the best way to keep your teeth dazzling white, below are my recommended tips on maintaining a healthy, bright white smile.
1. Watch what you eat and drink
Try to keep staining foods and drinks such as coffees, teas and red wine to a minimum. All the darker liquids that you drink will stain your teeth as over time the top layer of your teeth the enamel will absorb the colour. Beetroot, berries, balsamic vinegar, soya sauce,amongst others can cause staining to your enamel. The solution, keep the hard staining foods and drinks to a minimum. Too much coffee and too many glasses of red wine are not great for you anyway, so keep to a reasonable daily dose. We still want to enjoy life so regular rinsing and brushing after consuming these are a great way of keeping the stains at bay!
Smoking is definitely something that’s not great for your health in general, and just another reason to quit – keeping that white smile bright!
TIP: Drink your coffee at cooler temperatures. Apparently the hotter your coffee, the higher the chance of staining due to little fractions in your teeth that are formed by hot drinks – these then attract staining components.
2. Brush, Floss, Rinse
Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day, not forgetting to also floss. Flossing really helps prevent stains and keep your teeth whiter so if you get into a habit of flossing and brushing after drinking coffee, you may just see positive results.If you don’t have a toothbrush on hand give your mouth a good rinse with warm water. There are many mouthwash alternatives now on the market with whitening properties. Finding a toothpaste which has whitening benefits may also help in combination with brushing twice a day, flossing regularly and using a good mouth wash.
3. Try alternative methods
There are so many other methods of whitening teeth out there if you're into trying alternative new things: Coconut oil, salt, baking soda, you name it. Remember these items will not dramatically whiten your teeth but can help get rid of built up stains from beverages and food. There are many pros and cons on using yet another social media elevated beauty method, but I will leave it up to you to judge. Personally have not tried any of the things listed except for baking soda. Baking soda is already an active ingredient in many whitening toothpastes, so it's something that has proven to work. (or at least not cause harm).
4. Whitening strips
Whitening strips were always dominant in the US while the market in Australia hadn’t really seen these properly until a few years back. Now brands like Oral B and Colgate have all sorts of weird and wonderful whitening products, including strips. I used Crest whitening strips when I returned from my Canada trip and found them ok, but I never got into the habit of using them regularly, which is what you need to do to get the claimed results. They cannot provide exact all over coverage and therefore not all teeth are whitened evenly.
5. Bi-annual dental check ups
It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene and no better way to do that than go in for a dental check up at least every 6 months. I am going to be honest and say that I probably miss the bi- annual check up on a regular basis and make it a more annual frequency instead. That I am getting better at, promise! When I am in the dentist’s chair, I opt in for a full check up and a clean.
There is nothing like a professional dental clean with an extra dose of fluoride to keep your teeth squeaky clean and with an added bonus of shine. Most importantly, your dentist will be able to see if you need any dental work or if you're in need of any treatment, which like any medical issue is best treated early. Having regular examinations and cleaning appointments make sure you dont have big dental problems and contributes to you having overall great health.
6. Professional teeth whitening
The quickest and most foolproof method is always going to be professional teeth whitening at the dentist. Only a dentist can get your teeth their whitest. I’ve tried take home treatment with trays before and that can be quite costly but worth the investment if you’ve got a big life occasion such as a wedding or a big birthday or just want to look your best. The down side of the professional take home kits are you must use them daily for 14 days or more to get a noticeable result.
Recently I’ve tried the brand new Philips Zoom Quick Pro Whitening, which takes 30 minutes and whitens teeth up to 4 shades whiter the first time. A repeat treatment (recommended within a few days) can whiten teeth up to 6 shades.
If you’re interested try Pitt Street Dental Centre one of the leading and most experienced dental practices in Sydney.
Additionally to get the ‘Wow’ Factor and 8-15 shades whiter teeth in 90 minutes try the World’s most requested professional in-chair whitening system, Philips Zoom White Speed. The results are instant, fast , safe and very dramatic. Look years younger instantly. These two professional systems work on everyone provided you have your own natural teeth. NB: Teeth whitening products cannot change the colour of porcelain crowns or veneers.
If you’re located anywhere else, ask your local dentist about options for quick whitening solutions.
TIP: If you have sensitive teeth, tell your dentist and they will find a more tailored solution. My teeth are generally very sensitive but I didn’t feel any discomfort with the new Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening treatment.
Pitt Street Dental Centre are giving my readers a special offer – Call and mention this article to get the Philips Zoom White Speed at $595 including a free dental check up and dental show bag with some great sample products to try!
Philips Zoom Quick Pro Booster Treatment at a special price of $220 – Call and mention this article. (“LIVESHOPTRAVEL BLOG”)
If you haven’t heard of ghd hair straightening irons before, you would have had to be living under a rock.
ghd stands for, simply enough a popularly used phrase “Good Hair Day”, and the UK brand quickly took off when the company was founded in 2001.
With a patent to an invention by a South Korean Innovator, the ghd founders have sold millions of hair irons since opening up and have supplied more than 50,000 (and counting) hair salons worldwide.
What is the appeal?
I am a proud owner of a ghd and acquired mine back on 2009. This model is not the ‘rolls royce’ of irons as the Daily Mail had titled the ‘eclipse’ ghd edition in 2013, but I have been using my early 2000s model regularly and with gusto.
The 2013 model is able to maintain a 185 degrees celsius heat , with 6x sensors on the plates, the optimum temperature for hair styling results. The iron also allows you to start styling almost the instance it’s switched on, 20 seconds in heat up time to be exact.
Stylist claim that working with irons that heat up to temperatures above 185 degrees celsius can cause hair damage and as a result hair will become ‘thirsty’ quicker, making it drier and frizzier, dropping the style much quicker.
Popular hair styles created with a ghd
The styles you can create with a ghd range from straight and sheen- the hair so popular in early 2000s, to wavy just like Charlie’s Angels would have liked, a style that continues to charm past the 70s era and into 2015 when the 70s came back with a furore,
another popular style is just straight up curly hair which with a bit of practice, can be achieved with a straightening iron (ironically, pun intended).
Wavy Long Hair
Most importantly, a ghd iron can be used every day to style hair before work and then again in the evening to get you party ready with a bit of wave, curl and volume.
Not to mention, your hair will be healthier when styled with the ghd because not only does a ghd iron reduce hair breakage by up to 50% but also creates smoother, shinier hair (by up to 20% vs untreated hair).
For inspiration on ghd hairstyles click here
What is new with ghd stylers?
The beauty of the tropical Azores islands have inspired the makers of ghd to create 3x limited edition irons that reflect the mood of the islands.
The irons come in 3 colours:
I’ve received the Marine Allure ghd iron for the purpose of this review. This styler is absolutely stunning, I have never seen a hairstyling tool that looked so alluring. It is called Marine Allure for a reason after all.
If you’re a collector at heart, this styler is for you. This limited edition, almost glowing, pearlescent iron is one that you might not even want to take out of the box, just like a real collectors item.
Benefits of this iron:
- Limited edition marine allure finish on the styler & roll bag – both collector’s items.
- Advanced ceramic heat technology delivering a consistent optimum temperature – 185 degrees for perfect styling.
- Smoother plates – contoured with a high-gloss finish to glide through the hair.
- Rounded barrel to easily create curls, waves, flicks and the perfect straight hair.
- Ceramic heaters & contoured plates – glide through your hair for versatile, snag-free styling.
- Automatic shut off to switch your styler off after 30 minutes of non-use, for peace of mind – easy and safe to use. How many times have you thought to yourself – “Did I switch the hair iron off?” when leaving the house?
- Universal voltage to deliver the same outstanding performance wherever you are in the world – this is awesome because you will definitely want to take this hair iron travelling with you!
I’ve used this styler to straighten my hair as it’s quite a bit shorter now after a new cut, but I love the way the ghd iron works with my reasonably thick hair, but keeps it healthy and shiny.
The iron heats up very fast and stays hot at the optimum temperature. I didn’t feel that the heat was too much for my hair and I absolutely enjoy having this styler in my collection. Even though it’s not too hot in Sydney at the moment, after using this styler, I am dying to take it to a tropical holiday with me!
I hope you enjoy your ghd Azores styler, and if you haven’t got one yet, you can obtain one here with free postage to Australia.
Article by Julia Kim Murphy, founder and editor of liveshoptravel
Julia is a passionate about content and creative on anything lifestyle, beauty, fashion and travel.
Follow @liveshoptravel on Instagram
There are many reasons to love curly styled hair -
- Looks fancy
- Suits all outfits
(If you have naturally curly hair – embrace it! Look at all the ways us straight haired people try to make ours curly :))
If you’ve watched your 100th youtube video on how to curl your hair with a flat iron and still not getting it, this product from VS is here to help! It’s called Fashion Curl.
I am not a hair stylist but I love volume in my hair – I already have a lot of hair, but more can never hurt. Trust me, more is more when it comes to hair.
I use my Fashion Curl to get VOLUME.
Start off with completely dry hair, well brushed.
Separate your hair into thin strands – I work with around 2 cm in width.
Keep the Fashion Curl positioned with “This side to face” and insert hair strand in – the curler will pull it in automatically.
Continue this process around your hair – depending on how much volume you want.
More curls = more volume.
It’s recommended to wait for 4 beeps once the hair strand is inside the Fashion Curl. As you’ll find out, after 4 beeps the curl is very strong and super wavy.
In order to get volume, I don’t wait for the 4 beeps on all the strands I’m curling – so half of them are curled and the other half is semi-curled.
This creates more “oomph” if you’re seeking volume.
Brush out with a flat brush and voila – you have voluminous hair:
As with any piece of technology, there will always be a ‘what not to do‘ – so here I wanted to show you what happens when the piece of strand is too wide, messy or isn’t fed into the FashionCurl completely (i.e. you see some strands coming out the side).
Fashion Curl can’t get a proper grip of my hair as demonstrated in this gif, and so it stops curling – if this happens, just let go of the hair strand and make sure it’s thinner and fed into the roller in a neat fashion.
Benefits of using Fashion Curl:
- EASY: The automatic curling system gently draws in the hair for a fast way to create curls.
- SAFE: No burnt fingers or getting hair burnt off like so (I think this happens quite a bit actually, you’ll be surprised)
3. Thick curls/volume:
The curls done through the VS curler are much more dense, so in order to get bigger, wavy curls, it’s recommended that you get a flat paddle brush and brush out the curls to create volume.
4. Thin curls:
If you prefer thinner curls, then leave the curls to cool before touching them, and set with hairspray.
*This product was gifted to me for an honest review and feature on the LIVESHOPTRAVEL blog.
Author: Julia Kim Murphy
When we want to make some changes in our lives, we look up to the stars in search for inspiration, but be honest, how often did those stars on the sky respond to your demands? Unlike them, our red carpet stars are showering us with their styles, fashion choices and even home décor. And when it comes to hairstyle and beauty there is actually no one better to show us the way, than the always fashionable A-listers. Let us take a look at what some of them have prepared for us now.
Jennifer Lawrence and Her Je Ne Sais Qui Hair
The X-Men and Hunger Games star is a hairstylist’s dream. She does not steer away from changing her hair drastically (whether for a role or just for some drama), and she has tried it all – from short to long, from brunette to ice-blond etc. Since it would be impossible to name all of her phases, we will single out a few you can try:
● A classic wavy textured bob (Oscars 2016) is easy to pull off – cut your hair, use hair tongs to create the waves, shake it up a bit and you are good to go.
● Choppy crop (Golden Globes 2014) – ask your hairdresser to try to frame your face with a short hairstyle, leaving the bangs slightly longer and across your forehead.
● A stylish up-do (Oscars 2013) – Jenny did not just stole an Oscar statue that night, but all the attention too. Her sophisticated yet rather simple hairstyle is something you can try to recreate in the comfort of your home.
Emilia Clarke and Her Flawless Skin
The Mother of Dragons sure knows a thing or two about turning heads (and even more about breaking hearts), and she is just as gorgeous off camera, so it cannot be a bad idea to steal some of her beauty secrets.
● Style your eyebrows with Vaseline to get a more refined look.
● Start your skincare routine with perfectly cleansed skin. According to experts from L’occitane, the best way to do it just right is to use a gentle face scrub, wash your face and apply a moisturiser.
● Use a high-quality tinted moisturizer instead of a foundation.
The Best Celebs’ Beauty and Hairstyle Secrets
There are too many stunning celebs in the Hollywood realm and beyond, so it is difficult to name them all, but that should not prevent us from using some of their best beauty tricks, right?
● Douse your hair in beer if you want it to look as lively and fresh as Catherine Zeta-Jones’s.
● If using a spoon as an eyelash curler sounds too strange for you, just remember that Miranda Kerr is doing it too.
● Another beauty trick from Kerr is to use a lip balm instead of a highlighter around your eyes.
● Put avocado onto your strands (you can mix it with a spoon of olive oil) to deep condition your hair, and you will discover why Denise Richards’ hair is so fabulous.
● Spray your skin with rose water after you are done applying your makeup to achieve the flawless and fresh as Liv Tyler’s.
● Have you ever wondered what the secret is behind Isla Fisher’s seductive look? It just might be her habit of blow drying her eyelashes before using a curler. Celebs might be blessed with amazing facial features and sublime hair, but they also need to invest some effort in their looks. Steal these secrets and get inspired by hairstyles and makeup looks, and you will be red-carpet- approved.