A QT Weekend

What an awesome weekend!

A week or so ago, I was asked by QT Hotel Gold Coast to come along and test out the new spaQ, which is rather funny considering I’ve spent the past few years on the other side of the fence organising visits just like these for media.

I’ve been to QT’s Stingray Lounge on a few occasions (you might remember I had my birthday there last year and we hosted the Gold Coast/ Brisbane bloggers meet-up there in January) and have gorged myself silly dined at their ridiculously awesome restaurant Bazaar, but hadn’t yet checked out the refurbed rooms or the new spa – both of which I spent some time in over the past two days.

Let’s talk through the visuals, shall we?

After we checked in last night (homemade lemonade delivered to our room + welcome macarons = major boxes being ticked already!) we ducked down to Stingray for a quick drink before heading next door for dinner at the  property’s Japanese restaurant, Yamagen.

Hello cute husband, how do you do?

Yamagen is one of those restaurants that has been around forever, but for some reason, I always seem to forget about when planning a night out so it was a no brainer that while we were staying just upstairs, we’d be checking it out. Japanese is ALWAYS a winner in my books.

Yamagen’s a la carte menu had all the usual favourites like agedashi tofu (to-die-for!), edamame, teriyaki beef skewers, tempura vegetables, sashimi, sushi and hearty mains like Wagyu beef. For those wanting something a bit more interactive, you can sit at the Teppanyaki bar and have your meal cooked in front of you, but since it was just the two of us and we were keen to chill out and be pretty inconspicuous, we ordered most of what I’ve mentioned above (except the sashimi/ sushi/ Wagyu) straight from the menu.

Seriously delicious. In fact – and I almost feel bad saying this – we have a little favourite Japanese restaurant down the road from our house that does an amazing agedashi tofu, and we both looked at each other last night and said “This one’s better, isn’t it?”


After dinner, we headed back in to Stingray for a sneaky mojito and a spot of people-watching, before heading back to the room because OF COURSE, THE FOOTBALL WAS ON.

Say hello to our Saturday nights during the AFL season. Yes, really.

(amazing stripes everywhere)



As usual, we woke up early this morning and were greeted with a stunning – if not blinding – view out to the beach. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – winter is one of the best times to be on the GC.

I’ve thought what I’m about to say through and I realise it’s a huge call, but the bed at QT was the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. Hands down. And I don’t say that lightly – I’ve stayed at several Sofitel hotels in my time and they are renowned for their comfy beds, but the one I woke up in this morning was far superior… and of course, I now have a severe case of bed-envy.

Note to self: find out where to get our very own cloud of awesomeness, asap!

Before our breakfast at Bazaar, I went a bit nuts taking photos of all the rad decor and graphic elements in the room for future decorating projects.

View from the lift area. 

As far as breakfast goes, I’ll let the photos do the talking (just know that there was more food. So much more).

And what did I eat? Nutella on toast, this incredible potato bake, creamy mushrooms, aaaaand…. one of pretty much everything in the place. Yep.



Later today the really fun part arrived – a visit to spaQ, where I was booked in for a oh-my-god-how-divine-was-that?! facial. Not sure if that’s the official name of the package, but that’s certainly what I was thinking when I floated out the door in my robe and slippers an hour later!

The bathroom. If you can’t already tell, yellow features heavily at QT. Fresh, sunny, happy. GLORIOUS.

The procedure:

After filling out my details on arrival, I was shown around the spa and taken to the bathroom to get changed into my robe and slippers, before heading to the ‘chill-out’ room shown in the last image above.

The chill out room is designed with just that in mind, so you’re encouraged to grab a cup of tea or a glass of water and lay back and read a mag (I judge venues on the quality of the stash, and can assure you it was top shelf).

Not long after, my lovely therapist Lily came and collected me and it was time for a peppermint foot soak/ exfoliation so we could chat about what treatment I wanted and what I hoped to get out of it. All sounding amazing by this point, as you can tell. I’ve got super tight muscles all through my back and shoulders at the moment and was keen to relax and unwind so I went for a hydrating facial. What ensued was an hour of pure, unadulterated bliss, and for the first time ever, I almost fell asleep during my treatment.

What I loved:

+ All the products are natural and custom-blended for your individual requirements – for example, Lily used a deeper exfoliating product on a small patch on my forehead and around my chin to really “get right in there.” The products are all also made with active plant extracts, which means they smell absolutely beautiful and do what they need to do, gently.

+ The rooms are really light and airy – a nice alternative to your standard spa – and if the overdone “trickling waterfall sounds” CD drives you a bit bonkers like it does me, you’ll be pleased to know the tunes are as funky and fresh as the decor. Hooray!

So that was our “mini-cation” – a genuinely fun and relaxing weekend, just up the road from home.

Have you ever been to QT?

4 Fab Beauty Products I’m Loving Right Now

It’s been a while between beauty posts, so I thought I’d bring a little lightheartedness to our Friday and share with you a few products that are kicking some serious goals for me at the moment.

1. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Ok, how come no one told me about this stuff?

All right, all right, so all the beauty eds do tend to bang on about it and I guess it’s my own fault for holding out, but seriously, let’s just say… AHH-MAZING.

My skin has always been pretty well behaved, bar a few hormonal pimps every month, but after our wedding, it seemed to go through some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder issshue and I ended up with a couple of painful, red, ugly-as-hell pimples (lumps?) on my chin, which certainly made this newlywed feel rather stunning. Not.

I’d like to say I didn’t touch them at all but that would be a lie and I’d never lie to you guys, so I’ll instead tell you the real story: I spent several mornings and evenings lathering myself in every product in my beauty cupboard and prodding my lumpy foes with my tweezers (yes, really) and the result was… nothing. No change.

Until Mario came into my life early last week. Mario, my hero. My sweet, sweet, hero in a bottle.

After applying the solution with a cotton tip before bed, the angry little bumps basically disappeared and I was left with a teensy bit of dry skin (which went away once I  moisturised) and after one more day of dabbing – once in the morning, once at night – the spots were gone. Cue champagne corks flying everywhere!

I’ve tried pimple clearing gels in the past and it has seriously taken a month for the red spots* left after using the gel to disappear. I’m also not a fan of the way they seem to burn your skin a little. Has anyone else found that?

This stuff, however, is completely different. My gels actually went straight to the bin once I saw it work its magic, and at $26.95, I think it was money very well spent.

If you’re keen for a bit of Mario action yourself, you can find him hanging out at Kit Cosmetics. Or with Luigi.

* Just on the post-pimple red spots, the best way to get rid of them is to apply Clinique’s Even Better Clinical or any other cream aimed at reducing pigmentation – with vigour.

2. Too Faced Better Than False Lashes

This product will totally wig you out. Wiggy wiggy wigggyyyy.

What you do: apply a base coat of the mascara, followed by a coat of what I’ll call cotton-wool but is in actual fact, Flexistretch nylon fibres (pardon me). Finish up by layering on another coat of mascara and watch on in wonder as your lashes are magically transformed into Totally Luscious Works of Art.

If you’re after length, this baby will deliver by the truckload, but… and there’s a but… if you like length AND thickness (you greedy little thing, you) you might find you have to put on another coat of another mascara like I did (Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill, FYI).

It all depends what you’re after, but using this product is definitely the closest you’ll get to the length of lash extensions without actually getting lash extensions. It’s a girls-night-out-on-the-town superstar.

3. Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant +

Something happens when you’re a long time rosehip oil devotee.

If you fail to purchase a new bottle and go a week or two without it, your skin almost goes into shock. The punishment of course is that it gets all lacklustre and kinda meh and those expression lines under your eyes look decidedly deeper and OH HEY, FOREHEAD CREASE, are you new around here?

That’s what happens to me anyway. Especially in winter.

Thankfully, I’m fully stocked again on the rosehip front and I have to say that I now bypass the regular Trilogy oil for the fancy advanced formula Rosehip Oil Antioxidant +.

Why? Because Trilogy can do no wrong in my eyes, and if they’re ramping things up, then so am I. That’s all there is to it.

4. Dove Foaming Make-Up Remover

I bought this on a whim the other day as I’m still waiting for the perfect cleanser to jump off the shelf and into my heart (suggestions gratefully appreciated here my loves) and I have to say that I’m digging it.

I’m too lazy to do the whole remove-eye-makeup-and-then-cleanse scenario – with two different products, I mean – so any makeup removing product I used has to tick one very big box: it can’t sting my eyes, as it goes straight from the bottle, right onto my whole face. 10 points for Dove on that front – zero stinging is a big win.

I also love products that leave my skin feeling hydrated and smooth, not tight and squeaky, and I’m pleased to say this one does the former for me. Once I find a cleanser I can have a long-term love affair with, I’m sure it will take a backseat, but for now, it’s a keeper.

Do you have a favourite moisturiser/ cleanser/ serum/ mask/ hair treatment? I know we all love to try a great new product, so let’s unleash some love in the comments (also referred to as: shopping list time!).

Answer me this: what beauty products are you digging right now?


4 Cheap & Cheerful Beauty Buys That Actually Do What They Promise!

Bank account looking a little sad after the annual Christmas spend-a-thon, but you’re (literally) scraping the bottom of the barrel/ bottle/ tube of your favourite beauty products?

Never fear, my friend, I’ve found a few ‘cheap and cheerful’ goodies, and if you’re all about bang for your buck when it comes to beauty, I’ve got a feeling you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

* Excuse the ridiculous photos. Not my finest… obviously. Carry on. 

1. Garnier PureActive ExfoBrusher $11.99

I love a good novelty product, particularly if the funny roll-y knob or – in this case – crazy spiky head, is actually useful.

The idea behind the ExfoBrusher is that the soft flexi-bristle head gently yet deeply cleanses to reduce excess oil and nix blackheads. The formula contains 2% Salicylic Acid which helps remove dead skin and unclog pores, and, trust me on this – your face will seriously never feel cleaner than after to you use it.

I generally use this cleanser in the shower by wetting my face first, then wetting the brush, squeezing the bottle a little until some of the product comes out and then scrubbing my face by moving the head around in a circular motion.

I’m a huge fan of face massages and this is as close as you’re going to get without keeping your facialist on a weekly retainer.

2. Lush ‘Vanillary’ Solid Perfume $10.95

They call this one a “grown up gourmand” perfume and I have to agree. It’s super vanilla-ish, no doubt, but it’s not a flirty, sickly sweet, celebrity-scent kind of vanilla (if that makes any sense at all). Basically, it’s amazing and totally swoon-worthy and men will probably drop at your feet if you wear it. For real.

If you’re thinking of buying one for yourself, I’ve got both the spray version and the solid perfume, and I prefer the latter because it’s not as overpowering strong. Great little gift too, and the perfect size to pop in your sparkliest party clutch!

3. Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream $13.95

I picked up Garnier’s BB Cream over the Xmas break after hearing a bunch of beauty bloggers rave about it (what can I say, I’m a sucker for a bit of mad marketing hype) and I’m kind of in love with it!

The idea behind this bad boy (perhaps that’s what’s BB stands for?) (kidding guys, its Blemish Balm) is that it combines the best of skincare and the benefits of makeup, and for under $15, I can tell you that its definitely punching way above its weight. The cream is quite thick and nice and dewy – which is how I like it – and I adore that it evens out my skin tone, whilst giving my face a nice blast of radiance. Winner.

Garnier’s BB Cream is essentially a tinted moisturiser (on steroids) so I’ve been wearing it alone on weekends and mixed with a drop of foundation during the week for a little more coverage. For reference, I bought the Medium shade but it also comes in Light. It contains an SPF 15+ and while 30+ would be better obviously, some protection is better than none at all (note: I always apply a separate 30+ even if the product does have sun protection – one can never be too careful!)

In summary: if I had to describe the way this Miracle Skin Perfector will leave your skin looking in one word, I’d say ‘luminous.’ And who doesn’t want that for the price of a takeaway stir-fry?

4. Rimmel London ‘I Love Lasting Finish’ Nailpolish in Wine Not $5.95

I keep my nail polish in the fridge and there’s one shelf in the door that’s positively bursting at the seams with colourful polishes, ranging from pale, pale pinks to the blackest black. And yet, in that lovely collection, I didn’t have a decent wine/ mulberry coloured polish for some reason, so I grabbed this one in a rush from Priceline before my work Xmas party at the end of last year.

I’ll admit to throwing it in my basket thinking it would be good for a few hours and then my nails would be chip-central, but the price was ridiculously good so I didn’t really mind.

How wrong I was! Not only is the colour perfect, but this nail polish actually lasts longer than some of my $20 polishes – and dare I say, the consistency is totally on par. I’ve been wearing it to death since I bought it and quite a few people have complimented me on the colour, which is always welcome.

Wanna get vampy with it too? ‘Wine Not’ I say.

* Note: these aren’t my nails, pic from here.

+ Have you picked up any beauty bargains lately?

How to Organise Your Beauty Products!

Happy New Year my loves, I hope 2012 has been treating you magnificently so far!

Regular posting will resume around here next week but I wanted to quickly share with you my brand spankin’ new makeup storage unit.

I had a major organisation day yesterday and tackled my bathroom cupboards with vigour, throwing out a bunch of old makeup, half finished lip gloss tubes and tubs of face cream that had but a skerrick left in them.

Inspired by this post, I decided I too needed something fabulous to store my new pared-down collection in, so I headed to Office Works and found this clear perspex 4 drawer treasure, which came in at a very affordable $14.99!

I love that I can see everything in one place now and that I’ll be forced to keep my beauty loot clean and in order because it’s all on display in our bathroom.

+ What do you think? Are you in super organiser mode at the moment too? How do you store your beauty products?


I’m so crazy about these trays I decided to organise my jewellery too! Thinking they’d also be great for spices or condiments in the kitchen (the possibilites are endless).

Beauty Interview on bellaMUMMA

A quick (exciting) note!

Gorgeous Nikki from bellaMUMMA contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I’d like to be interviewed for one of her ‘Glow & Tell’ posts.

My response, of course, was ‘YES I’D LOOOOVE TO!’ as I’m a huge fan of bellaMUMMA. If you haven’t yet come across this stunning site, I highly recommend spending some time looking through the archives – Nikki finds the most incredible images and mixes them up with lovely words on life and beauty, which I know you all love!

In my Glow & Tell feature I talk about my favourite beauty products and tips, so head on over to bellaMUMMA today to check it out.

Huge thanks again to Nikki for featuring me! xx

5 Hair Products I’m Currently Loving

I’ve posted previously on the skin care products and fragrances I adore, as well as my makeup essentials, so today I thought I’d share a few of my favourite  hair products:

1. Redken All Soft Treatment


This little gem is a mainstay in my hair care arsenal. Believe me when I say, over the years I have tried more hair treatments than you can poke a curling wand at and out of them all, I have to say this is the one that works best for me. I wash my hair every second day and I use this in place of a conditioner (I only leave it in for about 2 minutes) because I’m hooked on how soft it leaves my hair. When I say soft, I mean light (not weighed down, which is a must for me as I have a lot of hair) and really hydrated. If I remember, once every few weeks I pop a big dollop in, wrap a towel around my head and let it work it’s magic for at least half an hour. Perfect for dry, tired locks! (Not sure why hair would be tired, but that’s what the ‘pro’s’ say on the ads, so I’m rolling with it).

Redken have a substantial range that tackle a plethora of hair woes, and you can take this as my wholehearted recommendation – give them a go! I recently thought I’d mix things up and went back to one of my old faves, Kerastase’s Resistance Age Recharge, but honestly, I prefer the Redken. And it’s half the price (the All Soft treatment comes in at $35) which means more cold hard cash for other important things like our wedding fund lip gloss.

2. Goldwell Kerasilk Shampoo



I’m not fussed on shampoo and will normally use brands like Dove, Sunsilk, Loreal or occasionally the Redken All Soft shampoo. I recently picked up the Goldwell Kerasilk and it appears to be doing what it’s supposed to.. which, I’m guessing is cleaning my hair? Ha! What else can I tell you? To me, shampoo leaves your hair feeling so-so unless you team it with a conditioner or treatment (would you say so too?) so it’s hard to judge it on it’s own, although this one does leave my hair feeling silky. The only people I’ve come across who love using shampoo without conditioner are aliens men. Apparently it makes their hair too “fluffy.” Righto. Where was I again? Moving right along…

3. Moroccan Oil (soon to be replaced with Pure Argan Oil)


I started using Moroccan Oil when my ends were really blonde (balayage) and although they’re not as light anymore, I still have highlights through the majority of my hair and the oil keeps it feeling silky smoooooth. I’ve recently read a bit about Moroccan Oil being full of silicone, and I know the other products I’m using are probably much the same, but if I can minimise the toxins from somewhere, this seems like a good place to start. Apparently health food stores sell Pure Argan Oil (which is much cheaper too – bonus!) so once my bottle of Moroccan Oil runs out I planning on switching to the pure stuff.

For use: I rub a five cent piece-sized amount in my hands and kind of pat it through the mid-lengths (and down to the ends) of my hair while it’s wet. Then I run my fingers through all my hair to spread it evenly. Great for smoothing frizziness and I find I get a much nicer blow dry when I use it. Looking forward to trying out the pure stuff!

4. Kerastase Oleo-Relax Serum


Much the same as Moroccan Oil, Kerastase’s Oleo-Relax Serum is a oil that smoothes frizzies and leaves my hair nice and shiny. I’ve had my bottle for ages as a little bit goes a long way, and I because I’m using Moroccan Oil in wet hair, I just use a teensy bit of this to smooth any fly-aways after a blow-dry. Lovely product if you want to splurge, but for a serum that won’t break the bank and will do essentially the same thing, I recommend Schwarzkopf’s Zero Frizz serum (can’t find a picture anywhere, but it’s about $9.95 from the supermarket).

5. Batiste Dry Shampoo


If you haven’t heard of dry shampoo, I’m about to change your life. Brace yourself. Yes ladies, some genius has come up with a product that will fix that greasy, desperately-in-need-of-a-wash hair you find yourself freaking out over when you realise that in 3 minutes time you should be racing out the door to get to work/ meet your date/ party the night away with the girls. Batiste is my favourite. I don’t spray it straight on my part – I either spray on my fingers and rub through or kind of lift up pieces of hair and spritz underneath, then mess it all through.

Dry shampoo is also perfect for nixing that “sweat halo” you get after a strenuous gym work out (who can be bothered waiting for the hairdryer at peak hour in the mornings at the gym?) I use the original version but I see they have a brunette version now too so I’ll switch to that next time. Have you ever used dry shampoo, and if so, what do you think of it?

+ I love, love, love product recommendations so tell us in the comments what you’re using! What are your must-have, can’t-live-without hair products?


My Beauty Essentials: Part 2 // Makeup

Welcome to the second part of my Beauty Essentials series. For those that missed it, you’ll find Part 1: Skin & Fragrance here.

This time it’s all about the makeup I’m loving right now, so without any further ado…

Face + Cheeks

Before I get into my current favourites, I have to be honest, I have quite a few half finished tinted moisturisers and foundations sitting in my bathroom cupboard that aren’t mentioned below. I tend to mix two foundations/ tinted moisturisers together with an illuminator to get a consistency that works for me and to create the level of coverage I like, which is light to medium for during the week and heavier if I’m going out on the weekend. The ones I’m using as “mixers” at the moment are mostly by L’Oreal and Maybelline.

M.A.C Mineralise Skin Finish Natural: I’d never used powder until about a year and a half ago when I got my makeup done at M.A.C and the makeup artist waxed lyrical about how great it was for keeping your makeup in place for special occasions or for photos. Fair to say she had me at “No More Shiny Forehead.” I decided to give the Mineralise powder a go and although I only really use it on my T-zone to counteract any shininess I get as a result of using rosehip oil and dewy/ slightly oily foundations, it’s definitely a good one to have in the collection. She’s a keeper!

M.A.C. Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15: I’ve been using this foundation for a few years now – it’s a staple that I usually wear out on weekends, mixed with a tinted moisturiser. I used to mix it with the delightful Maybelline Liquid Mineral Foundation, that was an absolute steal at $20 and worked a treat, but has sadly been discontinued. Why Maybelline, WHY? So what skin type will Studio Fix work for? It offers outstanding coverage and is a really nice formula – a little thick for me for during the week but nice for a night out as it stays put for hours – so I would recommend it to anyone looking for medium to heavy coverage that provides a bit of glow. I hear from a friend Studio Sculpt is great (possibly better) so will have to try that next time. Have any of you tried it?

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation: Picked this up in NYC, and not sure if it’s out in Australia yet, but I’m really liking it. Because it’s quite sheer and has a dewy finish, I’d recommend it to those with skin that’s a little on the drier side. I find it works well with a bit of M.A.C Mineralise brushed on my forehead/ nose/ chin. Wore it a lot in NYC where the weather was really cold and the wind was drying my skin out a whole heap and it seemed to lock in the moisture quite well. Nice.

Benefit High Beam: Oh Benefit, how I love thee! This healthy-glow-in-a-bottle has come to my rescue more times than I can remember and I truly believe I’ll keep buying it forever. I dab a bit on the apple of each cheek and pat/ blend it upwards and it provides an instant lift for my skin. I apply it after foundation, under my blush.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20: Oooh, oooh, can’t wait to talk about this one! I heard about LM Illuminating via Yaz from PRIMPED (who has the yummiest skin in the universe so when she shares her skin secrets, my ears are well and truly perked!) I blend a pea-sized amount in with my foundation and adore the luminous glow it provides. Bring on the radiance! It’s also great for minimising dark under-eye circles and contains an SPF 20. Good one.

NARS Blush in Orgasm: This has to be one of the most hyped cheek products on the globe, but let me tell you, the hype is totally justified. The gorgeous peach colour works for so many different skin types and the pigmentation is great, filled with lovely little gold flecks to give you a beautiful healthy glow without being over-the-top glittery. For me, it’s as close to the perfect blush as you can get!

NARS Bronzer in Laguna: Buoyed by my love for Orgasm (err, that sounds weird!) I trotted off to purchase the NARS Laguna Bronzer and I’m definitely a fan. I usually only use bronzer when I’m going out (when I normally have fake tan on my face and don’t really need bronzer anyway – go figure) but out of the bronzers I’ve tried over the years, this is the best. Doesn’t leave you looking “muddy” or orangey, has very fine gold flecks that catch the light and lasts forever.


Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara: I looooove a good mascara that adds volume and a bit of curl and have seriously made it my mission to find The One that does it all. One of the best mascaras I’ve ever used is Maybelline’s Sky High Curves (such a great price and far better than a lot of the others I’ve tried – still not sure why everyone raves about Maybelline’s Great Lash, which to me, has a horrible watery consistency and does nothing in the way or curling or thickening). Anyway, I got a sample of Mr Armani’s Eyes to Kill in a goodie bag and after using it to the clumpy, bitter end, decided it was time to invest in a larger one and I’ve been so happy with it. I’ve actually got lash extensions on at the moment – girly, frivolous and highly addictive FYI – but still use Eyes to Kill on my lower lashes. When I was using it on my upper lashes, I found it to be fabulous for thickening. I have reasonably long-ish lashes but always want more thickness and volume and it really seems to fill the gaps. Big thumbs up from me!

Eyeshadow and Eyeliner: It’s hard to get creative about eyeshadows and eyeliners, and really, they are something that most of us have quite a few of in a multitude of colours. I don’t wear eyeshadow all the time but my staples are loose pigments in grey, fawn/ taupe or sand. I also LOVE Bobbi Brown and highly recommend her amazing eyeshadows – so smooth and perfect for blending. The one shown above is called Stone. The pencils (and magnificent Stila liquid liner pen) are in grey, brown, black and navy – essentials in any beauty bag in my opinion.

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My entire lip gloss/ lipstick collection! Needs it’s own post, believe me. Notable mentions in the lip gloss category however are: 1. Vanilla Birthday Cake Lip Shine by Philosophy (adore vanilla scented anything and this gloss is delicious) (and no, I haven’t actually eaten it, but I may have considered it once or twice!) 2. Lancome Juicy Tubes in Berry Bold 3. M.A.C Dazzleglass in Steppin’ Out and 4. L’oreal Made for Me Naturals in Orchid. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s the best damn nude lipstick I’ve ever used. Yep.

+ Phew, that was huge!  How’s that shopping list looking now, ha!
+ Your turn – what makeup do you use and love? Can’t wait to hear your recommendations!

Images: taken by me