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”)
I used the Vaniday Beauty App
to book a facial recently. It’s a new beauty booking app and site with a variety of salons and wellness centres under Australia’s biggest, booking platform. Bookings can be made, paid for and completed within 2 hours of the desired appointment time.
There are over 500 salons throughout Sydney on Vaniday!
I quickly found a salon I wanted to go to near me and booked a Classic 75 minute facial. The services span across all beauty requests you might have – including spray tans, hairdressing, manicures, masages.
I was happy to see that so many spas and salons were able to book me in on the weekend and at such short notice. I booked only a couple of days in advance for a midday Saturday. Initially I thought all those would be booked out.
The Vaniday app is kind of like an Uber. When you think it’s too hard to book appointments, it is now at your fingertips and can be done at the click of a mouse.
Here are my booking details:
Appointment Time: 12pm
Spa duration: 75 minutes
There are a couple of bad reviews for Alysium Spa at the Hilton hotel. I googled them again before I went in for my appointment. I have tried a massage there a couple of years ago and must say I wasn’t that impressed. Not with the quality of the service, but the ambience and the location of the spa itself. I believe the negative reviews also came through around the same time I went to Alysium Spa for the first time. My first impression, like other reviewers as well, was that the entry to the spa via a health/fitness club where you had to sign yourself in and walk through the gym was a bit un-spa like. It started the experience off on a wrong note. There is no entrance to the spa off the street so you have to get led in via a scan pass only lift. This creates a bit of confusion. After reading those reviews, I wasn’t sure what to expect any more, but it seemed no one was really complaining about the quality of service but rather other aspects of the spa such as the entrance, not being offered a drink on arrival and not being served quick enough in some instances.
When I arrived for my facial, I approached the concierge at the Hilton and he called the spa so that someone could come up and collect me from the lobby. The lady that came up to take me through was very nice and friendly. This time we didn’t go through the gym and I didn’t have to sign in as there was a separate entrance to the spa by-passing the fitness club. This is a much better outcome and I was offered a tea on arrival. (It is my understanding that before, there was some issue with the separate entrance and therefore people had to use the gym entrance temporarily).
The facial was incredibly relaxing. The products used were Payot skincare. I enjoyed the full 75 minute facial with a neck and head massage included. My skin felt amazing afterwards and I really recommend booking yourself in for regular facials. It can be a bit costly but it is an investment into your skincare regimen. I have started thinking a lot about skincare recently and for me the most important thing is that my skin stays well-hydrated and preferably out of the sun. After the facial I was asked to take my time getting dressed and ready to go out again. I was offered water or tea at the end of my treatment and I left with glowing skin and beaming , feeling very relaxed and happy after my facial.
I would recommend the Classic Facial Treatment at Alysium Spa – the price is actually quite reasonable for 75 minutes and I would go back again.
Let me know what you think of the app and your beauty appointment
If you’re into contouring here is a quick product that does the job. I also love my cream contour palettes but when you’re in a rush and just need a quick contour fix, use this Tarte Sculptor.
So many beauty bloggers love this contouring crayon, including Chloe Morello.
The Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer
A slimming face slenderizer in tarte’s signature park ave princess™ shade making it easier than ever to contour like a pro
I love that it’s retractable and the colour I have is just dark enough to be blended for a perfect shadow, but not too dark. I sound like I can’t describe what I am talking about so best to show in photos.
I just trace where I want the contour to be. The nose, cheek bones and also the jawline.
After that I blend
After the full contour I apply foundation called Elixir Superieur Whitening Liquid Foundation( I still can’t get this foundation in Australia, it’s Shiseido brand and I did a review on it a Long long time ago here, but because it’s one of their MANY brands, I can only get my hands on this one in Japan). Is anyone going to Japan soon?
For powder I use Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and as it comes in three different shades in the palette, I use the darkest one as a bronzer/blusher.
The finished look was done with Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette for Eyes
Rimmel Provocalips Transferproof Lipstick in “Kiss Fatal” Shade
I’ve recently been testing the Cover FX Contour Palette and really like it as well. For quick contouring on the go, the Tarte Sculptor is rated among the best.
Watch this review by Beauty By Shirine for the full product demo and you can also see the awesome Tarte Contour Brush which I use to blend. Ranks 5 stars on the Sephora rating system.
If you’re thinking of your next travel destination for a getaway, have a think about receiving a premium spa treatment with luxurious Parisian range of skincare products form La Biosthetique at an exclusive island resort with a cool name.
Lizard Island had officially reopened its doors to guests this month. The Essentia Day Spa is going to be providing signature treatments for guests and as there is only one resort on the island, you can completely relax in the tranquility of North Queensland tropics and enjoy all the Day spa has to offer.
Lizard Island Paradise
A bit of history on Lizard Island -
It was named Lizard Island by captain Cook because lots of large lizards aka iguanas were spotted living on this remote piece of land in the Pacific Ocean.
Due to cyclone damage earlier this year the resort had to be rebuilt and fixed up. A multi million dollar investment went into the island to make it pristine, beautiful and superbly luxurious again. With all that work, Lizard Island is set to reclaim its position as one of the World’s leading premium resort.
Now although I haven’t been to the resort yet, I have been able to try out the signature spa treatment at the Sydney HQ for La Biosthetique – Bauhaus Hair in Waterloo.
Bauhaus Hair: Entry, Lobby and Salon
This treatment is now available at Essentia, the island spa. It’s a 2 hour treatment that lets your tension melt away and gives your body a full nourishment and relaxation.
The treatment I had was a full body exfoliation and a customised facial using La Biosthetique products inspired by a Nobel Prize discovery in age management.
Bauhaus Hair is a great salon. I’ve walked passed a few times but didn’t realise how big it was on the inside. It’s mainly a hair salon but they also do body and facial treatments.
For the first time in my life I was going through a La Biosthetique skin test with special colourful serums which upon wiping the side of my jaw and nose, could tell me which type of skin I had – oily vs dry, dehydrated or normal. It turns out I have dehydrated skin, so I’ll be extra careful from now on with nourishing my body with enough water during the day and then also using skincare products to moisturise my skin really well.
La Biosthetique Skin Testing
Sarah, who was my beauty and spa therapist, walked me through the treatment after doing the skin consultation.
The scrub was extremely gentle and the wrap relaxed me so much I wanted to fall asleep immediately. Talk about complete relaxation!
When I was all wrapped up and cozy Sarah started the facial.
La Biosthetique Essentia Spa Brushes
I loved it so much and my skin is still glowing with radiance from all the beautiful products that were put on my skin. The whole procedure starts with a ritualistic brush massage which welcomes you to the signature treatment at the spa and helps release any tension. It’s easy to continue chatting away, but after the soft bristles started to swirl around my complexion, all I wanted to do was be quite and very still and just enjoy the experience.
My favourite part was the masque that was applied and also I think vitamin capsules! Sarah explained to me that the vitamin capsules were like multivitamins for your skin. To be used especially in times of stress or lack of rest. Just like our body, our skin needs nourishment and this treatment surely delivers all the goodness in one little capsule, like a serum, but in a little silicon pill.
I might do a cheeky getaway to Lizard Island soon just to experience the spa treatments in this amazing resort, since I am already sold on the treatments!
Lizard Island Bookings
More on Essentia Spa
La Biosthetique Products