Life should be full of excuses to get together, to enjoy the company of friends and to indulge in a little revelry. So instead of saving your festivities for Christmas and New Years, why not break out the streamers a little early this year and enjoy the excitement of Halloween? Here are three reasons why you should throw a Halloween party this October.
The sheer delight of dress-ups
With its traditional emphasis on getting dressed up and scaring the senses out of each other, Halloween presents the best opportunity on the annual calendar to stage a full-scale dress-up party. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love slipping into an alter-ego for an evening and pretending to be someone or something else?
The practice of dressing up at Halloween is said to have its roots in Pagan festivals around Hallowtide, and traditionally costumes are meant to represent frightening or supernatural themes. It’s thought in Celtic traditions, the costumes were designed to resemble or placate evil spirits. However, since the 1930s costumes have taken a more mass media turn, meaning it’s the norm to come as your favourite cartoon character or famous personality.
I have collated some cool Halloween costume ideas above. Looks like these people got creative and worked on their costumes themselves. If you’re short of time or don’t have as much creative flair as these people, there are some great costume hire shops in Australia, such as Disguises, where any flight of costume fancy can be turned into a Halloween reality. Check out this post for more inspiration.
We love to be scared
Halloween is the night that taps into the inner adrenalin we feel when we encounter something spooky or downright frightening. It’s a celebration of the things that get the spine tingling, the nerves a little frayed and the shivers going. The fascination is the same that sees you rent a scary movie or deliberately jump out from behind something to scare a friend.
That’s not to mention the spooky factor either. Halloween traditionally has its roots in rituals of death and prayers for the souls of the departed. Marked in the Christian faith, it also has ties to Roman and Pagan traditions surrounding death, hence the fascination with ghosts that form such a basis for Halloween.
Exciting for the kids
Halloween has all the ingredients that children relish – costumes, a little bit of spooky stuff and the chance to dress in character (how cute and wacky are the different costumes above?), so it’s a great opportunity to gather some friends and children for a night of fun.
And then of course there’s the trick-or-treat element. Trick-or-treating is believed to have its origins in a medieval practice known as ‘souling’, which involved going door-to-door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead. Meanwhile, the Middle Ages also had a number of festivals involving people dressing in costume and going door-to-door to receive treats.
Far from its supernatural origins, these days, Halloween represents an opportunity to dress up, decorate the house and engage in some fun. It’s the chance to share an enjoyable evening amongst friends, with a nod to the more superstitious traditions of the past.
Will you be celebrating this year?
My least favourite activity when I’ve got spare time is cleaning. I can tidy and make the bed, stack and unstack the dishwasher, do the washing, but a full house clean can take up to 4 hours to do. Even then, I wouldn’t prize myself in performing as good of a task as a professional would. So when I got a chance to trial Australia’s newest Cleaning Services Website HomeHello, I decided to give them a go!
The process is simple -
1. Sign up to HomeHello
2. Book a cleaner for the day/time you wish
3. Leave the house for a few hours and get your dwelling spotlessly clean!
That’s just what we did! I left some instructions for the allocated person who was visiting us on the day and she followed all the instructions fully. The whole idea behind the website is that cleaners can register themselves on the site and then get matched up with those who are seeking their services. I must say, when you know that it’s a person from a website coming to visit your house, you do feel a bit uneasy at first. Then when we left for 3 hours, I felt like I let a complete stranger in my house. Despite that feeling, I know that it would be silly for someone to do anything strange in your house because their files are on record with HomeHello and they assure that every person listed on their site undergoes a strict check and a face to face interview. It’s nice to have that guarantee but there is still a big worrying cloud in your head – to tell you the truth. I was quite sceptical at the beginning….
I booked a cleaner for 3 hours and the website did an assessment of what was required and the consensus was that 3 hours is probably not enough time to do 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and kitchen + living area. You can then choose to prioritise the services you need so I listed living area and the two bathrooms as priority. Our originally allocated cleaner couldn’t make it so I received an email from HomeHello on Saturday that we had someone named Greta coming instead. I thought that was quite impressive for an online service to email on a Saturday and also the cleaner to come in Sunday afternoon. Greta called once she was outside, having shown up exactly on time. Good start I thought! I then showed her around the apartment and where the cleaning supplies were. We then left our home in the hands of HomeHello!
Upon our return the only thing I saw was that Greta did an amazing job. She stayed for the full 3 hours ( we saw her pop out of the front of the apartment building just as we were driving into the carpark – not that we were deliberately there at that time). To be honest, I thought that she might finish quickly and leave earlier – its a Sunday after all, and I wouldn’t have minded at all! But no she stayed the full hours allocated and when we got back the house was spotlessly clean. She went above and beyond our expectations and I was very happy with the service. You’ll receive a message once the clean is finished and then there is an option to review your cleaner on the site. You’ll only get charged once the clean is complete and if you’re not 100% happy another cleaner will come and clean your house again for FREE.
The Prices are set from $25 per hour and I believe the cleaners can charge anything upwards of that rate. The only thing they don’t do is end of lease cleans. This service is for people who just want someone to keep their home tidy and give it a clean every month or so. You can choose frequency of service as well, if home cleaning is a recurring need, which I imagine for most humans with lack of time it is.
I’d recommend HomeHello to busy, young professionals and roommates in particular. Because life needs to be spent doing other things and cleaning is best left to the professionals!
HomeHello kindly allowed me to trial their 3 hour service complimentary for the purposes of this review. All opinions in this post are my own and completely truthful. Based on real experience, in other words HomeHello have not reimbursed me in any way to promote their service.
Mother’s day every year is a great occasion to get together as a family and celebrate the one person in our lives who is by default the closest person who knows you. We can’t underestimate how much our Mums have done for us over the years.
I thought that it would be cool to think of some unique gift ideas for Mother’s day apart from restaurant lunches and beautiful flowers. Something personal with a custom feel seems fitting to give to Mum on this day to celebrate her and also somehow show appreciation for nothing other but well, just being Mum.
Here are some ideas on what to gift to your mum this Mother’s day (Sunday May 10th in Australia).
1. All Mothers love flowers. I get my Mum flowers every mother’s day, so a nice addition I thought would be a personally engraved vase to put those flowers in. The blooms will wither but the vase with a thoughtful message will remain. The vase also makes for a great decorative piece Mum can keep in her glass cabinet or on the buffet.
2. A more of a token sort of gift is an engraved pen. Something that can be kept around the house and just comes with an additional message of thought.
3. If you’re more of an experiences person, perhaps its best to give a voucher. Most preferred are spa/massage day vouchers. Those are great for Mum as they allow her to unwind and when it’s an appointment at a spa, there is always a lot of relaxation involved. Just what she needs! Great place to get those vouchers are websites like Red Balloon or go directly to the Spa sites.
List of some of my favourites:
In Sydney -
Endota Day Spa
Spa at The Darling
In Melbourne -
Spa de Marrakech Read LiveShopTravel‘s review here
4. Finally, on my top gifting ideas for Mother’s Day – high tea! On a list of my favourite things to do in Sydney and in my opinion the best place that does high tea – Burnt Orange restaurant in Mosman.
And the Langham Hotel Sydney puts on quite a spread. I took my two Mums there at the beginning of the year. There was A LOT of food and the service was quite exquisite. We had a great time!
Both engraved gifts can be found on the Personalised Favours website in Australia. It’s a great personalised gifting site with reasonable prices.
Wishing you and your Mums an awesome Mother’s day this year! I hope your Mum feels spoilt with love and affection She deserves it!
Have you decided to renovate or redecorate your bedroom? Here are five keys ways to give your bedroom a whole new look.
The obvious starting point for any bedroom makeover has to be the bed. There are lots of ways to achieve this; you can go the whole hog and get an entirely new bed, or simply buy some new bed linen or add a decorative headboard to your existing bed. If you’re keeping your bed, be sure to check the mattress to see if it’s still as comfortable and supportive as it used to be. If it isn’t, you might need to factor in a new mattress as part of your bedroom makeover. If you decide to buy a whole new bed or to replace your mattress, be sure to strike the right balance between comfort, support and style. You can take the guesswork out of buying a new bed simply by getting the right advice. Rather than heading to your nearest department store or furniture outlet, get yourself along to a mattress specialist, like Sleepy’s, who can help you find the perfect bed for your comfort and support needs.
Furniture is the next cab off the rank in terms of a bedroom makeover. Typically speaking, the overriding rule for any design project is to use functional furniture that suits the space. Large, bulky pieces will dominate small to average sized rooms, as will dark furniture. Stick with the bare essentials as too much furniture further reduces space and creates a sense of clutter.
3. Décor and Colour Scheme
Décor and colour are probably the most cost-effective ways to completely change the look and feel of your bedroom. Even if you keep all of your existing furniture and bed, a change in colour and décor can be enough to totally revamp your room. While many people opt for light, airy colour schemes and decorative items, you may have the right type of room and furniture to go for a dark, sultry look. If you’re decorating a child’s room or you like a bit of colour, you might like to introduce some bright hues to your scheme. Just be sure you don’t go over the top though as this might be too stimulating. Rather than large lashings of colour, aim for small, strategically placed bursts of accent colours using vases, lamps, artwork and cushions. If your budget permits, you may also want to review your window furnishings and floors. Curtains can either work for or against your room. Soft, billowing fabrics work well for some bedrooms, but if your room is small, you probably want to stick to simple, space-enhancing options like venetians or roller blinds. If you have hard floors, add some comfort and colour by using a rug.
The effect lighting has on any room is quite extraordinary. Aim to have at least one powerful light that you can use while putting clothes away or when trying to find something in your cupboards. You might also want a reading lamp if you do a lot of this in bed. However, for the rest of your bedroom, soft down-lights and lamps fitted with warm white globes will create a comforting and soft ambience.
A cheap and fast way to change the look of your room is simply by changing its layout. By doing so, you might increase the room’s overall sense of space as well as making it more functional. Or perhaps you’re into Feng Shui and want to incorporate some of those design principles into your bedroom.
Our bedrooms are like a sanctuary – a place of retreat, relaxation and rest. If your room seriously needs a new look, stick to the principles above to create a truly inviting and comfortable space.
I enjoy doing home ambience features on the blog occasionally. Here you’ll see things like Vaporiser candles with essential oils and natural diffusers. I love candles for decorating and for functional uses
Today I want to showcase these Fragrant Discs from Aromabotanical - an Australian home fragrance company.
The discs are made out of ceramic. The material is shaped into a stamped circular ornament with a ribbon tied to it. This circle is then infused with beautiful fragrance. I received 4x in a box
- the top selling fragrances are:
Pear and Ginger
Rose Gardenia and Bergamot Spices
My favourite thus far is the Pear & Ginger combination. What’s really cool about these discs is that once it runs out of ‘flavour’ you can top up with the little bottle of perfume that comes in each pack.
That is by far the coolest thing! The discs can be used to scent your wardrobe, drawers, linen cupboards and even the car. Infused with Australian-Made fragrance, containing essential oils & pure extracts.
And now the part where I reveal a bit of how my wardrobe looks. It is a bit of a mess! I did however want to show how the disc is hanging there, attached to a coat hanger. Now whenever I open my wardrobe I am pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous perfume that comes out. Big fan! I’ve slipped these discs into my other clothing drawers.
These discs are $9.95 for a pack of 12 (bargain right?)and each one lasts up to 3 months including the perfume top up. Shop directly on the online store with free shipping on orders over $100.
*This product was given to me for a review. All opinions are LiveShopTravel’s own and the blog post is written solely by Julia Kim Murphy.
If you happen to be in Melbourne and after some amazing relaxation, be sure to check out the beautiful Spa de Marrakech. Yes it is a bit of a drive out to Yarra Valley from central Melbourne, but I guarantee you it is worth it. In a way the drive actually means you get to get away from the busyness of everyday life.
Spa de Marrakech
is Victoria’s brand new luxury Moroccan Spa
& Roman Bathhouse and has just opened their doors. From when you arrive at your destination in the Yarra, to the time you leave, there is a complete peaceful aura that surrounds the Spa. I loved being taken through the entire building while the owner, Deborah Quitt, talked us through the beautiful finishings, spa services and treatments. Every finishing touch from the lanterns to the framed tapestry and hand crafted mirrors have been imported from Egypt, Morocco, Dubai and Syria.
Entering the beautiful Moroccan Spa – checkout these amazing doors!
A unique aspect of the spa is the dining experience you can get in order to completely feel immersed in the Moroccan culture. In the private dining booths, decorated in Arabian nights fashion. You can enjoy a treatment and lunch or dinner. The menu items include Tagines, B’Stilla, Harrira soup and Persian Love Cake, prepared just for you by the in-house chef, Michael.
Moroccan Tea and Turkish Delight after the Roman Bathhouse – delicious
At the heart of Spa deMarrakech
is a Roman Bathhouse where we got to relax in hot mineral spring water. It’s amazing how relaxing you feel when immersed in the pure water. I’ve never visited a Roman bathhouse before and if you haven’t either I would recommend you book it in along with a treatment of choice. It’s $170 pp per hour to enjoy the Roman Bathhouse
which is amazing because you can enjoy the bathhouse, steam room, colour therapy and the ice fountain to cool off between visits to the steam room.
The Roman Bathhouse
Spa treatments you can choose from include
- Luxurious massages (with or without the Roman Bathhouse in the package)
- Hammam rituals (scrubs, treatments and full body pampering)
- Colour therapy (Ayurvedic healers, chromatherapy or colour therapy on the body’s seven chakras)
- Facials (Choose from Radiant Date or Aromatherapy Facial)
Enjoying the bathhouse, ice shower and steam room
Treatment Rooms, Colour Therape and Spa De Marrakech Robe
And if you just can’t get away the spa also extends to include oriental style accomodation as there are Japanese and Balinese spas next door.
Spa de Marrakech is the perfect destination for a girls getaway, the solo traveller or a romantic couples retreat.
Booking information here