How to make Pretzel S’Mores

How to make Pretzel S’Mores

While I’m on my great big USA Tour extravaganza, I have asked my fellow Bloggerati buddies to share very special American themed guest posts with you!

Today I’d like to introduce you to Kelly from Be a Fun Mum. I met Kelly on our trip to Dubai, where we road in vintage Land Rovers and watched the sunset over the Dubai desert. Her colourful blog is all about embracing your own style of motherhood and having a fun time with it. Her simple recipes are great go to’s when you don’t have a lot of time up your sleeve but had people to impress.

Kelly’s Pretzel S’Mores are quick, easy and highly addictive! The perfect addition to your weekend agenda and the beginning of those chilly Australian autumn days.

S’mores are one of those right kinds of wrongs. So bad, it’s good.

This traditional American campfire treat consisting of chocolate and marshmallow sandwiched between Graham crackers is perfect combination of salty, and bitter, and sweet. Yes please!

The beloved s’more is adopted in many different forms, and my favourite way to serve the combo is in a pretzel sandwich because it gives you that extra kick of salt in the mix. They can be made ahead of time and served after dinner as a sticky treat with hot chocolate, coffee or wine.

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Travel Wardrobe Ideas – How many pairs of shoes do you need?

Travel Wardrobe Ideas – How many pairs of shoes do you need?

Travel Wardrobe Ideas
Travel Wardrobe Ideas
I have finally hit upon the perfect minimalist shoe combination for all my travels!
After spending far too much of my luggage allowance on shoe weight in the past, I’ve taken a very analytical and practical approach to finding the best options that can handle my style of travel.
I needed:
  • Business meetings and public speaking engagements
  • Dinner dates and dancing
  • Long walks and shopping days

Basic Requirements:

  • Hot and cold weather
  • Suitable for long dresses, skirts or casual jeans
  • Incredibly comfortable and well fitting


How many shoes to take when travelling for two months

Left: Clarks Carousel (now on sale!)  Right: Clarks Azizi Immy (now on sale!)

As someone who not only has a specific shoe cabinet complete with it’s own showcase lighting, I also have around 130 plus pairs of shoes in rotation. The concept of being able to pare down this huge selection to only two for the next two months, was incredibly daunting. Shopping for shoes has become such an ordeal. It seems that the more fabulous shoes on offer, the less there are that actually meet the comfort and style factor.

While I’m okay with shopping for shoes online, it is still a bit risky. This is one purchase that I’m happy to trawl the malls to make; and trawling I did for these two pairs. After exhausting all the usual haunts I spotted the Clarks store out of the corner of my eye. I can’t say that I was drawn in by anything other than desperation at this stage, but I was in for quite the shock.

Gone was the old sensible school shoe type of store, and in it’s place I found such a great selection of beautiful new heels it was difficult to narrow down my choice to only two pairs. I’ve read lots of other bloggers in the UK and USA having fantastic finds in Clarks, but until recently, these had not hit Australian shores.

The sizing is slightly different to what we’re used to in Australia, so I highly recommend asking the sales attendant to help fit you properly. My choices? The classic black ballet flat takes me everywhere and is something I’m decidedly picky about. There are too many poorly manufactured options out there, offering no support and creating more problems than they solve.

I went with the “Carousel” in black patent leather and they have taken me everywhere. From Dubai to New York, around Melbourne and back to Philadelphia. These are the sorts of shoes I buy as many (in as many colours) as I can afford at the time and put away for back ups. They are that important to have in your shoe wardrobe.

The black “Aziz Immy” heels are a suede and yes, I even wore these on the cold streets in early New York winter. With a few good coats of waterproofing spray, they have handled the conditions admirably. No stains, no stretching and not even any scuffing. The gold detailing makes them the ideal blend of fancy and chic, allowing me to wear them with cocktail dresses and business attire. The footbed is so well constructed, with padding in all the right places, that I can wear these all day without the usual crippling effect of high heels.

These two simple pair of shoes are taking me everywhere for the next two months as I journey around the USA.

Pinup hair and makeup

Adventure Time

Adventure Time

Yes, it truly is my Year of Living Bravely! There is more on the agenda at the moment than I can believe and life is changing at an amazing pace.

As per usual there a million stories I’ve yet to tell you and much more that will unfold over the coming months, but today is about two brave things I’m embarking on.  Yes, there is new hair! I haven’t had a fringe for more years than I can count, and even though I love the look, I’ve avoided it as it can be quite stereo typical in the whole “Pin Up” scene. But after playing around with my faux fringe / bangs for a while there, I came to the conclusion that I should just do it because I love the way it looks. Avoiding things just because they can be seen as cliche and missing out on something you truly love, seems a great way to be an idiot. Just like those other things I said I’d never do, e.g Cowboy boots, which I now adore! So I did it.

It may not seem like much, especially given some of the more extreme hair adventures I’ve had in the past, but I really needed the change. I needed, in the wise words of Taylor Swift, to “Shake it off”.

 Vintage retro bangs fringe hairstyle Vintage retro bangs fringe hairstyle

The other big adventure on the horizon is truly that; and ADVENTURE!

On the [dt_highlight color=””]25th March I’m heading across to the USA for a two month tour! [/dt_highlight]

There is still much of the itinerary to be confirmed but I would simply love to organise a meet up with you guys in various places. I’ll be on both the east and west coast between that time and the end of May.

The plan is to not only relax and take in all the sights, but also to do loads of blogging on the road, meeting up with other vintage enthusiasts, checking out some of the most iconic venues and places, as well as having a bit of a chat about what I do at various conferences.

So here’s what I need your help with; if you’re located in any of these cities and would be up for helping me to organise some meet and greet sessions for other vintage enthusiasts as well as just bloggers in general, PLEASE contact me!

Vintage retro bangs fringe hairstyle

[dt_button size=”medium” animation=”none” icon=”” icon_align=”left” color=”” link=”” target_blank=”true”]I’ll be in:  Philly, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Denver[/dt_button]

Raffles Dubai. Divine Decadence

Raffles Dubai. Divine Decadence

Dubai Raffles Hotel

Wind swept desert plains, the delicate softness of a muslin wrap around your face and the sweet stickiness of fresh dates; these are the sensations that I dream of when I imagine trekking into Egypt, Agatha Christie style.

Always on my “Must Visit” list, I have not yet taken that adventure, and so it lives on in a romantic fantasy inside my mind.

In one small afternoon visit, who’s purpose was entirely different, I caught a glimpse of a place I am longing to visit again; The Raffles Hotel in Dubai. Ostensibly our visit was for the purpose of a Christmas themed afternoon High Tea, but as our bus drew along side the portico I felt the bitter sweetness of anticipation and the desire for time to stretch itself, allowing me to bask in the splendour of this building.

Dubai Raffles Hotel

Dubai Raffles Hotel

Through the etched wings of Isis we entered a foyer of grand proportions. Polished sandstone and marble, the scent of lemon grass trailing behind us as our hostess greeted us with a wave of her hand and a motion towards a most sumptuous setting.

There amongst the lofty ceilings, pillars rising like creamy asparagus spears, was our table set with a decadent and delicate array of treats.

Dubai Raffles Hotel

The care and attention in each create evident by the placement of individual petals, Tendrils of snow peas placed, no doubt, with a surgical precision. The perfect geometry of pumpernickel bread sandwiching smoked salmon and cream cheese curls. Slices of fig atop circles of creamed chicken and cranberries, cresting toasted discs of light white bread.

Dubai Raffles Hotel Dubai Raffles Hotel

Chocolate creations of Christmas cheer, gleaming like polished plastic, the scent of gingerbread rising from tarts and men alike. The Raffles Festive Collection High Tea was both a spectacle of perfection and indulgence. I’d recommend allowing yourself a few solid hours to full appreciate and enjoy this experience, there is so much to take in and like me, you’ll also want to capture each morsel for your photo brag book.

Dubai Raffles Hotel

With only a minute to spare before we needed to head to our next engagement, I grabbed my camera and tried to capture the magnificence of the setting. All I really wanted to do was grab a gin and tonic, and lounge in the foyer soaking in the ambience of ancient glamour.

Dubai Raffles Hotel

I’d love to be able to host a big blog meet up here and have you all around for drinks and tales of your own grand adventures. Perhaps one day, I shall be able to do just that. Even as I write this, I’m planning more trips for this year, especially to the USA. If you’re interested in arranging a meet up, please let me know. I’ll be headed to quite a number of cities and am considering hosting both meet ups and workshops, so any feedback you can offer would be wonderful.

Stay glamorous my friends!

It begins in New York

It begins in New York

The Next Web New YOrk

I had a big first this December just gone. I went to my first New York conference!

Blogging has become more than just a pastime for me, it is an all consuming passion. From the very humble beginnings this blog had way back when, it has not only grown to become a beautiful little community, it has tapped into my latent geek tendencies and spawned all kinds of new ventures. Having the opportunity to spend time with innovators, leaders and up and comings, is something I crave in my quest for inspiration.

The Next Web conference was held at the hollowed out shell of the former Goldman Sachs building on Wall Street, directly opposite the Stock Exchange. There is a beautiful poetry in seeing fresh minds of the new digital economy presenting their ideas in the rubble of the old. While the topics of the conference won’t interest you much on this blog, (you’ll find out where they will later), there are a hundred tales I have yet to tell you about my New York adventure.

Only four days long, my first trip to New York was all too short. The temptation to miss my flight and be snowed in was so extreme, that if it wasn’t for Christmas being just around the corner… well.. In all my travels, before this moment, I had yet to spend anytime in a city location where it snowed whilst I was there. The whole concept of being so cold that it snows, while in street clothes, was an alien one to me. I’ve only ever spent time in the snow rugged up like a Yetti in my ski gear!

Flying directly from Dubai straight into a New York winter was one heck of a packing challenge, yet one I managed with outfits to spare! I know you’d like to see how it was done, so I’ve been putting together a big post on this for you to come out next Wednesday.

Arriving at JFK in my knit dress and cashmere pashmina was fine, until they opened the external doors. Sweet crusty cheese on a cracker! That’s not just cold, that’s Arctic! Freezing wind and rain whipped across my face, instantly freezing my lashes in spiky black shards. I stood dreaming of the extensive coat wardrobe left behind in Melbourne.

Once I finally arrived at my hotel, took a steaming hot shower and thawed into the semblance of a human being, there was just enough life left in me to eat before coma time set in.

For those of you who are regular travellers to NY, or perhaps even live here, you’ll have a hard time understanding just how surreal your city is for this Australian. Our T.V screens are so populated by your sitcoms and drama shows, that the city has become a caricature of itself. Can you imagine how stunned I was to see something as simple as steam coming from the drain covers? I couldn’t believe it was actually real, and it gave me a very strange feeling of being written into show I hadn’t been told about.

New York Street view at night from above

As a traveller, I’ve visited many cosmopolitan cities, but none of those have featured so heavily in the fictitious landscapes we’re exposed to every day. They all have their unique charms and new experiences, but no other city, not even L.A, comes close to the feeling you get as an Australian in New York.

Oddly, New York has never been on my travel hit list. I’ve visited the States numerous times, but never had the inclination to go east. People looked at me like I was crazy, “But New York has YOU written all over it!” I’d continue to be dismissive (oh so very hipster of me); New York was on everyone’s to do list, shouldn’t mine be more exotic? I admit, I was wrong; so very wrong.

I don’t know if I was in a post Dubai travel haze, or if the sheer impossibility of New York overwhelmed me, but either way it felt like every moment in this incredible city had been hand crafted just for me. The timing of pre-Christmas celebrations could not have been a better one. Even in my conference attire, and heading out with notebook in hand to listen to pearls of wisdom by the glow of standing gas heaters, there was magic.

Christmas on Wall Street

As I stood here for this photo at the front of the NYSE, it began to snow. Tiny fluffy flakes of Christmasy goodness getting in my eyes and making me blink as they landed on my lashes. Every one around me may have been dressed (no doubt), like proper New Yorkers, but here I was in my white vintage coat, suede heels and a stupid grin. That’s happy right there!

New York is the city that my wardrobe should live in. It seems that it has all of the perfect backdrops for my 1930’s gowns, my chic 1960’s suits and a much better winter than Melbourne for my Lilli Ann mohair coats. Of course this means that before I plan my next trip, I’m in the market to find the right airline miles club that will always give me extra luggage privileges to be able to bring these beauties with me next time!

Designer Abayas in Dubai

Designer Abayas in Dubai

dubai getaway

dubai tourism platinum heritage bloggerati australia 1001 events

I discovered many things during my holiday in Dubai, but none more amazing and thrilling to me than what I learnt about their culture through the language of fashion.

Generally speaking, the West has a very uninformed view of Middle Eastern fashion, what it is and all the hidden secrets. My education began in a most unexpected way.

One afternoon while wandering The Dubai Mall alone, I took myself on a mission to capture the beautiful fabrics and finishes of the pieces I’d seen in the windows of the Souk. Incredible colours, fine embroidery and jewelled hems all called my name. I had very much wanted to purchase an Abaya on my trip, but after seeing these jewels, I was a little afraid to look at the price tags. So I stayed at arms length, appreciating from outside the glass.

As I wandered along, a well-dressed young man smiled at me from the doorway of one of the more opulent stores, “Please come in, have a look around.” I almost shook my head but tentatively stepped inside, a bright and gleaming countertop catching my eye. This was no ordinary store. Like being dropped into a museum gallery, I realised at once that what I could see was something extraordinary. True artisan works of the highest quality, showcased like a medieval tapestry.

Designer Abayas in Dubai Designer Abayas in Dubai Designer Abayas in Dubai Designer Abayas in Dubai

Eager to demonstrate their wares, he began to remove the fabric piece by piece, placing it softly on the countertop. He could see I was hesitant to touch the pieces and immediately started to drape them over my shoulders with, “please, see the quality of this stitching. Each piece is unique and takes over two years to complete.”

Stunning, utterly stunning. The weight of the fine silk, the hand rolled hem, the carefully selected colour variations giving depth and life to the motifs. I began to exclaim at their beauty and compare fabric weights, asking questions as I went along. We looked at each other and realised that the other had a true appreciation for the skill in these pieces; he offered to dress me in the full ensemble.