It’s in the Jeans! Mum and I add some Essentials to our Winter Wardrobe.

IMG_2741Looking at my rather dismal winter wardrobe, I decided it was high-time for a spruce up! My life has dramatically changed since last winter given I was pregnant, so a few new pieces are desperately needed. I’m thinking light knits, comfy denim and easy to wear jackets and coats, no fuss and easy to fold pieces.  Jeans West tick all the boxes with a great range of wool blends and stretchy denim, particularly handy after having a baby.

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IMG_2938A typical day see’s me throwing on my Super Skinny jeans from the Luxe Lounge denim range which offer the softness of knitted jersey, with the authentic look of worn-in denim. Couple that with a light wool blend jumper and a jacket, Hello outfit!IMG_2677

I need practical, simple style that is easy to throw on and pack, Layla and I have already been on several trips in her short little life and packing isn’t as easy as it used to be. Having pieces that I can easily fold into a suitcase that team together well and are lightweight are everything!

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IMG_2899My Mum accompanied me on my winter wardrobe shop and after vowing she would not be talked into a pair of snug jeans walked out with “the most comfortable and flattering jeans ever”, her words! She looked amazing in her ‘skinny jeans’ from the Luxe Lounge which fit snug through the hips and leg for a sleek, smooth silhouette.  She teamed it with a stylish shirt creating a fashionable look. Mum, also a traveller loves the fact that these pieces do not require ironing and are light weight and easy to pack.

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Carry me Away Baby! Freedom with Stokke MyCarrier.

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All hail the baby carrier! Having the use of both of your hands while getting along with your day, whether it be doing the shopping, cleaning, exercising or walking the dog is everything! Of course they have been around for thousands of years, prior to the 1900s, parents worldwide used a variety of long cloths, shawls, scarves and even bedsheets to snuggle up their babies and get the chores done. Baby wearing was and still is a necessity in some countries.

African mothers use a ‘Khanga’ which is a short-ish piece of cloth tied around the torso, so baby sits low on the back.  Papua New Guinea mothers use a Bilum-a net bag held at the forehead with baby hanging at the back, ouch my neck!!  Aboriginal mothers used to keep their babies in carriers made of bark, as did Native Americans. Thankfully the baby carrier has come along way in comfort and functionality for both mums and bubs. ‘Baby wearing’ has great value not in only convenience but also bonding with baby and aiding development. I’m all for them and as a single mum the carrier is my best friend!IMG_8289

There are many on the market and setting out to buy one that is right for you and your little person can be overwhelming.  At three months I put my little one in the Stokke MyCarrier. I felt confident that she was supported in all areas. At first it took me a little while to take my hands off her completely but once I did, it was freedom!! I remember our first walk with the carrier and she slept after 5 minutes, I was over the moon!

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Not sure about you but I was always concerned about bubs hips in a carrier, I was reassured that the Stokke MyCarrier has been acknowledged as a hip-healthy baby carrier by the international Hip Dysplasia Institute and medical experts, perfect, one less thing I have to worry about!  It is an ergonomic design with inward and outward facing options and fully adjustable for ultimate support and comfort. Layla is perfectly snug and I am able to kiss her little head as we walk.IMG_4967

Once my baby is seated and the carrier is fastened to fit just right I barely feel like I am carrying her because it is completely adjustable for correct weight distribution, the carrier is developed to fit mums and dads of all sizes as well as your growing baby.  It feels light but strong and very comfortable given it’s made of cotton and breathable mesh.

So far I have only had Layla in the parent facing position but MyCarrier has front facing and back carrying options all of which the baby is properly supported and no matter the movement will be safe and comfortable.

It is an absolute game changer and I can’t wait to move her into the back carrying position when she is a little bit older for another take on our adventures together.

 

Over the Shoulder Boulder Holders!

Any new mother or mum to be will tell you that comfort is everything especially when it comes to your bra. Finding a suitable, well fitted bra is imperative during pregnancy and post birth. I can’t tell you how a good bra can change your life, one which meets all the requirements of your ever changing/growing breasts.

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I have road-tested a few and here are some of my favorites.

FERTILE MIND

Superbra Nursing

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What I love most about this bra is that there are no back clips. The extra elastane gives sublime comfort and stretch so no fiddly fastenings are required. I also love that I can simply slip it on over my head and voila!  I find myself reaching for this bra every day.  It offers great support and the comfort is out of this world, you barely know you are wearing it, but it still offers all of the needed support. The superbra nursing will also be super handy for feeding once bub arrives.  I also feel it will support heavy milk boobs and grow with them. Perfecto!

 

www.fertilemind.com.au

 

CAKE MATERNITY

Cinnamon Waffles 3D spacer nursing bra

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This bra is the rolls royce of sexy and comfortable maternity bras!  I put this bra on and it gives me the instant lift and support I need.  It has flexible wire, which feels really comfortable and unlike most bras with underwire you can’t feel it. The flexible wire assists in shape, which is perfect for wearing under t-shirts and fitted dresses.

The lace bra frame and back band look feminine and also give me the confidence of support.

The spacer nursing bra has a satin top cup trim which looks and feels great.  All this and super easy for feeding with the drop down cups.  Definitely one for the undie drawer!

Luxury Seamless Bra

This bra is built for comfort and I can’t argue with that! I have the Raspberry cotton candy bra and it certainly is delicious, given it’s seamless silky soft nature.  It has double-layered side sling and strength panels and T-back structure to maximize lift and support without restriction.  I can see myself wearing this bra throughout the whole of my pregnancy and post pregnancy.  It will also be nice to wear on walks once baby is born as the support is great.

 

www.cakematernity.com

 

Heidi Klum Intimates

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This bra is so pretty and feminine. It is my going out bra, it’s not one that I would wear out for a walk, but it’s not designed for that anyway. It does look great under T-shirts and its beautiful lace side panels make it a sexy little number, especially with its matching lace under pant.  It’s nice to feel sexy sometimes throughout your pregnancy and post because if you’re anything like me, sexy is the furthest thing on my mind, this Opal Dream set is your answer.

www.heidiklumintimates.com

 

Queen Bee 

Isabella Nursing Sleep Bra

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This maternity nursing sleep bra is so comfortable and lovely to sleep in. I also like to wear it around the house on lazy days.  It feels just like pajamas but with support, it’s also easy to wear while feeding.  I will be packing this one for the hospital when I have bub, infact I will be buying more to keep in every drawer of my room!  This bra has an inseam pocket to slip in breast pads.  An absolute must have!

 

www.queenbee.com.au

 

Surf, Dive & Ski. The Ultimate Californian Road Trip!

Not my usual format, but wanted to share with you a recent feature I did for MAXIM Magazine.  I was asked to do a three page spread on California, ahhh no worries! It was an absolute pleasure and a brilliant little adventure. Please enjoy, I hope it inspires.

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Living out my Dream in Tonga

Swimming with whales has always been a dream of mine, and the experience didn’t disappoint, in fact it had such an affect on me, I draw on it all the time. I will never forget my extraordinary encounter with the majestic giants of the sea.
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I discover the magic of Volcanic Sand at Bali’s Alila Villas Soori.

Walking through the stunning foyer at Alila Villas Soori the first thing you notice is the black sand beach which stretches out like a rich velvet blanket before the resort.  Silvery fragments scattered in the soft black sand shimmer in the sunshine and at sunset it seems to behold jewels.  You’d swear this volcanic sand has magic powers, and according to the spa it does. The resort has bought the power of the magic sand to the spa and invite you to try! I for one was not leaving until I tried the healing powers of the volcanic sand!

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The Balinese people have used the healing power of volcanic sand from Mount Agung (Bali’s largest live volcano) for medicinal and spiritual purposes from its ancient beginnings. When Mt Agung last erupted in 1965 it spit rock and lava from its east-central jungle location all the way to the sea. Over the years, it has been transformed into a fine, nutrient-rich exfoliate. The volcanic sand comes from a spiritually “hot” place where lush, water-spinach fields overflow bubbling spring water into the ocean. Volcanic sand combined with black coconut husk ash is added to actively exfoliate while drawing out impurities resulting in new, fresh, younger looking skin.

Draw out impurities, younger looking skin?! Sign me up!

The Treatment:

I was lead to a beautiful seductively lit room in the resorts Spa, once I changed into a fluffy white robe my feet were massaged and cleaned before laying out on a comfortable bed where I first received a back and shoulder massage then I was smothered in the volcanic exfoliant which combined volcanic sand, bamboo ash, rice powder, cinnamon powder, reviving oil (lemon, rosemary and petitgrain) and chamomile.

The mixture went on cool and wet all over my body then the therapist went back over the magic exfoliant and massaged it into my skin.  I was on a sandy spiritual high and my tingling, clean skin could contest it was doing the trick!

Finally the black magic was washed off with a viscy shower and my newly refreshed skin almost squeaked as I left the spa. I truly felt at one with my surroundings as I floated back to my villa along the black beach on which it sat.  I felt energised, and clean with an earthly purity which encompassed the unique landscape of Tabanan. It was such a nice way to leave the area, I felt I was taking a little of it home with me.

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sunset at Soori

 

WALK THIS WAY

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I have been a fitness fanatic most of my life. Born into an extremely active and athletic family, playing more sports than I can even remember as a kid and becoming a Fitness Instructor at 18 its fair to say Fitness has been my life. I love the way keeping fit makes me feel, it brightens my mood and my days.

With my busy lifestyle which is largely comprised of travel these days it’s not always possible to get to a gym or find a swimming pool so walking has become my exercise of choice. You can pretty much do it anywhere anytime and its the best way to explore and tone at the same time!

People are always asking me how I keep fit and don’t believe that mostly walking keeps me in shape. I’m talking Power Walking here though no dawdle in the park or around the corner to my fave cafe. Also I have a secret weapon or “personal trainer” my Border Collie Abbey who needs at least 8km’s a day. She is definitely my favorite walking companion and we get out there rain hail or shine! Just this morning we did 7 undulating kilometers, discovered a new dog friendly park, met some lovely locals and had a juice in the sun over looking the ocean. Bliss!

Laura Csortan-Abbey

I have always believed that exercise should be something that you love to do. If you love the water swim, if you’re a keen weight lifter get to the gym and pump some iron, if you like to get physical with pumping beats and feel the energy of others in a room hit the studio! Of course you can mix it up so it doesn’t get monotonous. I love walking and look forward to it every day. I choose different routes daily and when I remember brace my abdominal muscles and squeeze my gluteus to get a deeper workout. I enjoy waking to music or chatting with friends I can talk into coming with me.

My walking sessions are quite extreme..sometimes I will stride it out for 2 hours, however just 30-40 minutes a day can do you the word of good. Obviously exercise within your capabilities and try to extend the distance and level of intensity gradually, I promise you will see great results.   Walking will melt your thighs and perk up your bum, manage stress, lower blood pressure and improve your mood. It’s also has a significant risk reduction for developing type 2 diabetes…brilliant!

Walking is simply one of the easiest and safest activities for burning calories and tuning up the cardiovascular system.

Already looking forward to tomorrow, I’m thinking Bondi to Clovelly!

Laura xx

Visiting Rome?! You must check out my Do’s and Don’ts!

The best thing to do in Rome is to get lost because around every corner in the intricate historical city is another amazing site and one flick of the guide book and you will find it has a plethora of history.

Taking in the beauty of the Pantheon.

Taking in the beauty of the Pantheon.

The sights, the smells, the people, the buzz, whenever I’m in Rome I’m floating and not because I have vino with every meal (well maybe that has a little to do with it) it’s a magical city.

Stunning Rome!

Stunning Rome!

There are however a few things you should and shouldn’t do when visiting. Here are some of my DO’S and DON’TS when exploring the ancient city.

Don’t go on a tour in Rome, it’s better to use a map and walk around getting lost. Three blocks in any direction and you will find another famous Roman ruin, fountain, church or something fascinating.

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The fascinating Roman Forum.

Do check out the Pantheon and have dinner in the square, Piazza della Rotonda. There’s nothing like pasta and vino on a balmy Roman evening with the two thousand year old Pantheon as your back-drop. For a cheaper option check out the restaurants in the alleys adjacent to the structure.  You must go inside the Pantheon, it can get very busy if you hit the crowds, try and time your visit. Mind your valuables as pickpockets do work the area.

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The Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27AD-14AD)

 

Interior of the dome on the Pantheon in Rome

The light show inside the Pantheon.

Do visit the Spanish Steps, with its irregular butterfly design, the beautiful “Scalina Spagna” are just one of these must see places when in Rome and a great example of Roman Baroque Style. It’s a great place to just sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and views of the Eternal City. The stairs connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline. Stroll the narrow streets, glance in the boutiques and enjoy a gelato.

Don't eat on the steps, just a little tip....it's the law!

Don’t eat on the steps, just a little tip….it’s the law!

 

Do check out the Colosseum and let your imagination run wild. Spend some time walking around and lose yourself in history. Between 50,00 to 80,000 spectators would flock to the amphitheater to for gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas.

The breathtaking Colosseum.

The breathtaking Colosseum.

Don’t pose with a “fake” gladiator unless you are prepared to pay him something outrageous like 10 Euros for the picture.

Only pose with these guys if you're prepared to pay!

Only pose with these guys if you’re prepared to pay!

 

Do check out the Vatican. Although it can be a hassle lining up with the hoards it really is worth the visit.  It’s not necessary to do an expensive Vat tour, it you want to know who sculpted/painted what, pick up a book in the Vatican bookstore (printed in multiple languages) that describes the art in St.Peter’s basilica and elsewhere.

A visit to the Vatican is a must!

A visit to the Vatican is a must!

Do not, take a photo in the Vatican, the Vatican police are very serious about enforcing the “no photo” rule, so make sure you don’t get in trouble.

Do dress appropriately. Pack a scarf to cover your shoulders and try to cover your legs for the Sistine chapel.

The fascinating architecture of the Vatican.

The fascinating architecture of the Vatican.

 

Do grab a business card of the hotel you are staying at on your way out, just incase you lose your way home. Rome is an intricate city and easy to get lost in. It also has the local language on it so you can ask the locals which direction or even the taxi driver if you’re too tired to walk home.

Enjoy your Roman holiday!

Happy Travels. Laura XX

 

My Bright and Beautiful Resort Wardrobe.

When I’m on holidays or reporting from a beautiful travel destination half the fun is dressing in accordance to my surroundings.

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On my recent trip to the Alila Villas Soori in Bali I went for gorgeous, loose, light and bright pieces from the Camilla collection. I love to slip on a silk, beaded dress at any time of the day, they feel as light as a feather in the warm Balinese sun and float on your body rather than cling in the sometimes hot/humid weather.  Throwing a silk dress over a one piece Camilla swimsuit is also perfect as they compliment one another and both pieces together serve as a great transitional ensemble for the pool to lunch, dinner or to the bar!

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The Blue Python high shorts and split back top from Watson & Watson is a perfect little vacation piece which suits any activity and is also smart enough to wear out. It’s a flattering two piece which can also be worn as separates, allowing your wardrobe to go further.

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I loved the NOOKIE black Playa neoprene bandeau top and bottoms for soaking up the sun and lounging around the pool. The top also works really well under a dress, with or without straps, again making an easy transition from the pool to the bar, lets face it a black bikini top which doubles as a bra is a must for any girls holiday wardrobe.

Happy Travels. Laura XX

 

Luxury Plus at Alila Villas Soori.

I’ve been to Bali numerous times now and every time is a unique experience. To date, this one is my favourite and certainly the most luxurious.

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Another fan of Alila Villas Soori is none other than The Bieb’s, that’s right Justin Bieber has visited for the last three years with his Mother. It’s no wonder as Tabanan, where the resort is located is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak and Kuta. You could be anywhere in the world at this secluded resort located along the southwest coast of Bali. Soori embraces all the stunning nature that surrounds it. The lush green fertile land which is home to an abundance of rice terraces and the beautiful black-volcanic sand beaches which shimmers at sunset and feels as soft as icing sugar under your feet.

The minute you enter the resort an ease washes over as the friendly staff guide you to your villa, not before welcoming you with a refreshing ginger welcome drink and a cool lemongrass infused towel.

Driving to Alila Villas Soori was an experience in itself. We cruised through beautiful frangipani lined streets where villages and temples form the landscape in their splendid original form, no Hard Rock Cafe’s here!

Alila Villas Soori is also located just 20 minutes from Tanah Lot Temple, one of Bali’s most sacred temples. Soori’s surroundings are as special as the resort itself.  Opening the door to our villa was like walking into a dream…the ocean crashed in front of our uninterrupted view and the pool surrounding our room created the illusion we were floating on water. No stone has been left un-turned in the stylish, luxurious and contemporary villas.  I’m not one for relaxing usually but this place has a magical vibe which would send even the most hyperactive person into the zen zone.

I woke up every morning to the smoothie of the day followed by the most beautiful yoga class right next to the ocean. Starting with a meditation followed by a series of yoga moves, I was floating after each class. Breakfast, my favorite meal of the day changed daily and never failed to impress. The small portions meant I could try a few dishes, all unique in flavor and varied from healthy to well…pancakes, caramelized banana and bacon, I tried them all, everything is calorie free on holiday!  After breakfast the hours seemed to gently drift on by, either spent by the pool, in my seaside villa or in the world class spa getting a local massage as only  the Balinese can.

Each night the sunset would spill it’s orange and gold brilliance over the resort. Basking in the golden glow my boyfriend and I walked the black glistening beach until the sun finally sunk into the ocean. Wine by the fire pits followed over-looking the Indian Ocean, needless to say the ambiance was out of control.  We had dinner nightly at Omak, the outdoors restaurant next to the illuminated crashing waves. I was beyond relaxed and ready to do it all over again the next day. How does one return to reality?

Stay tuned for more Alila Bali adventures and pics, coming soon!

Happy Travels, Laura xx

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