10 Packing Tips – Win A Beauty Travel Case From Hideo Wakamatsu

This giveaway was sponsored by the Hideo Wakamatsu Australia.

For more information on sponsored posts check out this FAQ.

Omg 2 competitions in a week? That’s pretty awesome! This week is giveaway week and next week is craft tutorial week, I have a lot of sewing things coming up now that I’m home for a little bit 😀

Before we get to the winning part, I wanted to show you guys some packing tips using my new Hideo Wakamatsu luggage set because I often get questions about this kind of thing.

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Here’s the video I made about it while we were away!

I have been lusting after Hideo Wakamatsu suitcases for far too long as I first saw them in 2007 when I researched luggage for a trip to Japan. I was basically over the moon when they offered to send me a suitcase and the matching beauty case for review!

The brand is based in Japan/USA and the new collections come out here around twice a year. If you’ve ever seen the typical Japanese school backpacks (aka Randoseru) you’ve seen one of his family’s designs.

The set arrived in boxes and was sent via courier. Everything was wrapped up in plastic too. When James saw it unwrapped the first thing he said was “Well, everyone will know which one yours is!”. I’m sure there are statistics somewhere to prove this wrong but I also (probably delusionally) think having an awesome design like this would deter thieves because it’s so easy to spot.

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After unwrapping they look even prettier in person!

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I was sent the Sakura 62cm TSA Check-In Trolley and the Sakura Beauty Case. The pretty pink Saukra is the most popular in the range but f you’re into wilder things I suggest you have a look at the Safari range because it’s animal print!

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This is going to sound dumb but my favorite feature of the range (other than how adorable the print is) is the wheels. I don’t think you know pain until you’ve tried to drag a 23kg soft shell 2 wheeled suitcase which has a broken metal arm poking out through an airport. This moves like a cloud in comparison. My second favorite feature is the soft return spring on the handle which makes it go down slowly like those self-closing drawers from Ikea! It’s the little things….

This one weighs 5.4kg empty so if weight limits are an issue in your area I would take a look at the Tarpaulin range which doesn’t have the girly design but it is only 2.7kg so yay extra shopping space room. The Smart is another one to check out if you’re looking for shopping space because it’s foldable and can be put inside a suitcase on the way there and expanded on the way home for shopping – check out this video. It’s not available in Australia yet but it will be here in around August.

I would still recommend anything with 4 wheels, I actually pushed it through the airport (with 18kgs of clothes inside) using two fingers. Seriously.

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Not being weighted down by luggage when you are running through an airport? Best. Feeling. Ever.

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James has the worst airport luck ever so I try to minimize any potential problems. We call it McDuff luck. Seriously, I don’t think there has been a time we’ve flown in the last 6 years where there hasn’t been some kind of problem. He always gets security scanned too, I think he looks a bit dodgy  😉

Aaanyway… the whole range comes with TSA locks so if Customs officials want to look inside and search it’s relatively quick and painless.

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I found the snap locks to be very convenient and much quicker than a zip especially if like me, you tend to over pack things!

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It’s much easier to sit on the suitcase and snap lock it than it is to have to zip round the edge and try to force the zip when it’s caught or broken.

 

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The inside of the case comes with a lot of interesting gadgets. I don’t know if all of my previous luggage has just been super old but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one which has so many extra functions *_*

It opens completely flat which makes packing each half very easy but I’ve propped it up for the photos so you can see what’s going on.

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Each side is closed up with it’s own divider and each divider has a purpose. The top one is a garment holder and is detachable so you can take it out at the hotel. It even has it’s own little fold up coat hanger which clips into the top of the case to keep things neat.

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I actually used this to hang belts, scarves and stockings because they are the little things that I tend to have to dig for and can never find at the bottom of my luggage.

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The other side of the garment bag has a mesh zip section which I used for cables and chargers. That whole thing clips up to the top of the bag to hold everything in place and keep it safe.

I don’t think it was actually part of the suitcase but the paperwork came in a clear zip reusable bag which I intend to use for carry on liquids on future trips. For this trip I used to to hold our beach things. Everything has a use!

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The top of the coat hanger can fold down and actually grip on to the top of the bag so it’s locked in place too.

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On the other side the divider is a mesh sleeve which I used to hold flat things like notebooks and art suplies.

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This wouldn’t be a good review without pointing out things that I didn’t like. The only thing I had problems with while we were traveling was pressing the button to pull up the handle on the suitcase. My nails are ridiculously long at the moment so I couldn’t fit my fingers in XD I had the same issue with opening the beauty case until I realised I could actually use the plastic part of the keys in place of my fingers!

 

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Overall opinion of the suitcase? After traveling with it I can honestly say I love it. I’ve had a love affair with it from afar but I was a little worried that I’d built up unrealistic expectations. I hadn’t, it was totally awesome. I think the middle size is perfect for both domestic and international flights (especially with the lower weight limits these days). Completely stuffed full it didn’t exceed 18kgs. If it was an extended international trip I might look at the larger size but this managed to work for both James and I on a 10 day trip so I’m very happy with it. Pulling it was a breeze, I love the gadgets and features, definite recommend.

I am planning to customise it with my monogram on the front to make it even more of a deterrent to thieves ;D

Lottie seemed to think it was her new house -_-

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Now the beauty case!

Obviously I love the design, I also love that it has a lock and a combination code.

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Inside there were instructions, a pull out tray, a foldable mirror and stickers which you can spell out your name with.

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The tray clips into the case or can be clipped to the front for easier access. The mirror then clips on to the tray and can be angled to whatever is easiest.

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Inside were some elastic straps at the back to hold small items like jewellery. The lining is fabric and wipes clean of make up/spills quite easily.

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I loved the mirror and the removable tray, the lighting in the bathroom of the place we were staying sucked so it made it a lot easier to just carry everything to the balcony and do my make up and hair there! The main compartment is huge too. I easily fit my hair appliances, make up, skin care and a LOT of accessories in there. The sturdy construction and lock meant that I felt comfortable enough to actually check this in separately which was good because I had packed the suitcase so full there was no room XD

The only thing I wasn’t 100% on about the beauty case was that you couldn’t really keep small items in the tray while traveling. I had it checked in on the way up and of course it was shaken around and I’m sure probably stood upside down so when we got to the other size all of the small items had scattered everywhere. I solved this by wrapping a small scarf around the tray on the way back to secure everything inside. Easy!

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Over all thoughts on the beauty case? Love it too. I love that it’s a matching set, I love that I can check it in separately to save room for more clothes and I love that the space inside is so versatile. The mirror is super handy and the case is extremely strong so I don’t need to worry about damaging the things inside or anything getting crushed.

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Sorry Lottie, you can’t come with us =(

So what you’ve all been waiting for:

COMPETITION TIME!

Hideo Wakamatsu Australia have very kindly offered a Sakura Beauty Case  (value AU$129) just like mine for me to give away to you guys!

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your favourite Hideo Wakamatsu product and tell me your favourite tip for traveling in style. The more creative the better!

Here are the terms:

  • Competition will be open from now until midnight AEST on the 19th of April 2013
  • Winners will be contacted via email and must respond within 7 days to claim the prize
  • You may only enter once
  • Entries are open to Australian residents only!
  • Entries will be judged on creativity
  • The case will be sent to you via courier so you must give an address where you will be available to pick it up
  • The rest of the standard terms and conditions over here.
Thank you very much to Hideo Wakamatsu Australia and I can’t wait to read all of your entries!

 

 

Queensland Holidays!

Today we are heading up to Queensland to do a whirlwind tour of the Sunshine Coast and then spend a week in Brisbane. I won’t have much time to update so I thought you could keep up with me here! Check back everyday for more photos and I’ll be uploading daily mini vlogs before I have proper internet again in Brisbane to upload the real blogs 😀

We haven’t scheduled a proper meet up but on Saturday morning we will be at The Big Pineapple markets from around 9:30 if anyone wants to come say hi!

 

Visiting Canberra for #humanbrochure Day 3 – Snapshots

This trip was sponsored by the Human Brochure Campaign.

For more information on sponsored posts check out this FAQ.

Hello! Time for Day 3 of our trip to Canberra 😀

Read about Day 1 here!

Read about Day 2 here!

Read about Day 3 here!

Day 3 was the last day of our Human Brochure trip and it was both happy and sad. I was really looking forward to collapsing in a heap at home but I was also having so much fun in Canberra that I would have liked to stay a couple of extra days to do the things we missed out on like going to the Zoo etc.

We were up bright and early to check out of East Hotel, James went down for breakfast but I opted for a few extra minutes sleep XD

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And the vlog from the day, my favorite part is Lottie’s reaction to us coming home at the end!

 

Bye beautiful hotel room that was bigger than my apartment, I’ll miss you ;_;

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Everyone was just sort of milling around in the lobby waiting for the bus so we joined them and took some more photos.

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I *really* enjoyed our stay here, I wish all hotels in Australia were as thoughtful and interesting as East. Even just waiting around the lobby was fun because I got to watch their art exhibition on the gigantic projector screen. Thank you very much for having us, we hope we can come back again soon!

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Bergamot took advantage of the free candy. No surprises there!

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After everyone finished checking out we piled on to the bus. I’m going to admit I was still mostly asleep at this point >_>

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We were driven to the Museum of Australian Democracy for a picnic breakfast. It’s funny that Canberra is so well set out that everything is like 10min away from each other… in Melbourne sometimes it takes me more than half an hour just to get a few suburbs in the ctiy!

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I’m honest when I say I didn’t expect this part of the tour to be particularly interesting because, well, democracy…

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It was extremely nice to lay on the blankets and listen to the band while waking up slowly with breakfast though.

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There were a couple of speeches and then a different musical duo sang some political parody songs… which was honestly a little strange and unexpected.

We were told a little of the history of Canberra and how scary it is that the younger generations don’t feel the same connection with democracy and therefore don’t find it important. I had to disagree slightly with that,  I think many have lost faith in the people involved in the democracy rather than the system itself. But Australian politics and government is a rant for another day XD

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Relaxing jazz was relaxing though and I really enjoyed this group.

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After breakfast we were split up into groups and  went on various tours of the museum. We went on the tour that got to see the mace… yep it’s a gold mace that used to be used for protection back when politics was a lot more dangerous.

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I posed with King George…

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James voted in a mock election…

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I spotted another pretty “Ceiling of Canberra”…

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James posed in front of a lectern and pretended to give a speech…

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Government doesn’t interest me like it once did so I spent most of my time enjoying the beautiful architecture. This is Old Parliament House by the way, the actual politicians don’t go here anymore as they have a fancy new one.

So much dark wood! Apparently the green fabric that everything is made of was chosen because green was the cheapest dye at the time XD

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More beautiful architecture:

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There were some interesting exhibits here as well.

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This was the film crew which followed us around for the time we were there, they were very sweet!

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On our way out to the bus we were greeted with some of the staff staging a mock protest begging us to stay! It was very cute, their signs said things like “Vote NO to going home”, “Blogs not bombs”, “Make tweets not war” etc.

They were yelling a lot of chants too but I can’t remember what they were, totally cute though! I don’t think I’ll ever have anyone protest me leaving again haha!

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We all sat on the steps and took some group photos and videos.

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They gave signs to all of the kids to hold… and me too haha. I got this one:

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As we got on to the bus the protests started up again, so cute!

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From there we went to the Canberra Glass Works and I saw another bee! Now I’m a hard edged city girl I’m not used to all this nature!!

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The Glass Works is a gallery, shop and working studio. They also hold classes from beginners to advanced.

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The exhibits are mostly for sale too, how cool is this vase?

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James was mostly interested in these glass donuts XD

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My favorite was this seahorse, so elaborate *_*

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After a bit of a look around we were invited to participate in a glass making class and make our own tile.

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We used special pliers and glass cutters to cut up little scraps of glass and arrange them on to a base tile.

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The competition was fierce. You guys know how ridiculously competitive James and I get when it comes to these kinds of things!

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James made a “camera”. I say “camera” because it was more like a big black blob.

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I hadn’t though of any designs so I just piled some pink and green shards together and called it art > : D WINNER

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We left our tiles there to be fired and they mailed them to us a few weeks after. Ours arrived safely but I haven’t had time to take photos yet. Just imagine they look like the above but slightly melty 😉

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After our fail at being artistic we were given a private tour of the gallery and also the artists who were working below.

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SO MUCH ARCHITECTURE!

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Seriously >_< I was on pretty building overload.

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The glass artists working together to create some very cool things and the public gallery watching. I could have stayed there for hours because it was quite hypnotic.

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We wrapped up our tour and headed next door to the last stop of our packed tour: The Old Bus Depot Markets.

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It literally is an old bus depot but it’s been transformed into a massive market place.

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We thought we’d seen it all then realised there was an upstairs which was just as big as the section we already went though.

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They had a swing dance school who was putting on demonstrations, it looked like so much fun!

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Our hosts had bet us that we couldn’t leave without buying something and they were right. James picked some delicious blueberry jam.

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And I went home with handmade squid ink pasta. How can anyone say no to that?!

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And that was basically the end of our sight seeing, we met the group back at the bus and headed back to pick up our bags and off to the airport. Thanks for showing us around Sarah and Rei!

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I couldn’t not include this photo of our host Rei as she put her sunglasses on to see us off, the pose is total CSI Miami!

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So Canberra? What is my impression now I’ve actually been there?

Well I didn’t see one politician. I did meet a lot of extremely nice and passionate people.

There were no fireworks. But there were a LOT of amazing views.

Boring? Every second of our trip was packed with something interesting!

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Would I go back? Yes. I don’t think 2 and a half days was enough to see everything Canberra has to offer. We went to a lot of places but even then we didn’t see everything at those places. Canberra may not be as big as other cities in Aus but I think I would need at least a week to explore it properly. There are so many places like the Zoo and Questicon that I would like to go to. I’m always going to be a Melbourne girl but I could definitely see myself spending a weekend or two a year in Canberra to check out the exhibits.

Visiting Canberra did change a lot of my negative perceptions about it. It’s nice to be pleasantly wrong ^_^

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So thank you Canberra for having us, thank you Canberra Tourism and HumanBrochure for bringing us down and thank you to all the places we went and people we met!

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One thing I suggest though is maybe putting some shops or something into your airport… our flight was delayed and it was so boring that this happened:

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While he was asleep I entertained myself trying to take photos in the reflection of his sunplastics.

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We made it home safely (obviously as I’m writing this now!) and came home to an extremely happy puppy.

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On the walk from the station home we remarked how weird it was to have so many tall buildings around and how narrow the streets were. Such a big change from the weekend!

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Good bye pretty skies of Canberra, hopefully I’ll be able to visit you again soon 😀

I hope you guys enjoyed this series of posts, we’re going to be doing quite a lot of traveling this year both domestically and internationally so I can’t wait to show you where we go!

Visiting Canberra For #humanbrochure Day2 Snapshots

This trip was sponsored by the Human Brochure Campaign. For more information on sponsored posts check out this FAQ.

Hello! Time for Day 2 of our trip to Canberra 😀

Read about Day 1 here!

Read about Day 2 here!

Read about Day 3 here!

This was a pretty action packed day and probably my favorite of the three.

We started off the morning with breakfast at the OX eatery in the East Hotel. It was a buffet of pastries and fruits. I managed to snag a soft boiled egg too which was delicious. Apparently even the gigantic mirrors couldn’t stop me from looking like a bit of a tool when applying my make up XD

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And here’s the day’s vlog:

After breakfast we were split into two groups and headed to the buses. One group went to Parliament House while our group went to the National Library. I was really glad to be in the library group… because you know, books>politicians.

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The library also houses the National Treasures Gallery and several other photographic exhibits. We were given a guided tour of the Treasures and were spoken to by Eddie Mabo’s daughter about the pieces of his which were included in the exhibit. For those of you who are from overseas, Eddie Mabo is very important to Australian history because he completely changed the way the government recognises Indigenous land rights. There is a LOT of history there and a lot of it was new to me too so I definitely suggest reading up on it.

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I spent a long time enjoying the hand drawn maps. I love old maps. I used to study them and try to draw my own as a child so this was sadly exciting for me.

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The library also got me started on a project I did while we visited Canberra: documenting the city’s awesome ceilings!

I am completely aware of how stupid this sounds… but everywhere we went had some kind of amazingly interesting ceiling that I was compelled to take photos of. So here is #1!

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Then it was time for the books!

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We were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the library. I got to use their old pneumatic tube systems!

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We also met Charlie, the automatic book delivering robot. She’s very slow but she gets the job done apparently!

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The crushers which hold a lot of the books and publications are also apparently so old that they aren’t the kind you can emergency stop so people have received broken bones being crushed in them *_* Luckily, we got out alive!

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Another fantastic Ceiling of Canberra. I should trademark that >_>

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James enjoyed the photographic exhibit and I enjoyed the stained glass in the book shop.

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We had a delicious lunch at the Bookplate Cafe inside the Library. It was a tasting menu which was prepared specially for the group and it was nice to sit down and get to know some of the other people on the tour!

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Omg sooooo good. Generally when I think of a cafe inside another attraction I don’t think of fancy food. This is probably because of the crappy food we always have when we go to the Zoo here (ugh microwaved half cold arancini). This was not that. This was fancy. And DELICIOUS. I would fly back to Canberra just for the chocolate mousse.

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Bergamot enjoyed it too 😀

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It was so good that I didn’t even mind that both a bee and the world’s tiniest spider attacked me XD

Get off my food you evil bee!!

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Unfortunately both James and I didn’t pick our seats very well so we managed to get quite badly sunburnt  which kind of sucked  as I constantly had to rearrange my bag to avoid it touching 🙁

But you know what is awesome? A building with a gigantic squid on it! Apparently this is Questicon which is like a science museum thing. It wasn’t on our itinerary this time but I really want to go there next time!!

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After lunch we were picked up by the extremely lovely Chrissy and Charles. Chrissy has been reading my blog for pretty much forever and we developed a friendship via email. She is pretty much the nicest person in the universe and she even brought us gifts including the cute matching headbands we’re wearing! *dies* Also, you should go look at her blog, it’s so sweet!

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We went to Hipsley… because we’re so hip 😀 I like the motto, always overdress!

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There were some very artsy and cute shops in the area.

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I was feeling a little sun-stroke-y after lunch so we sat down for a nice cup of tea.

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We then went back to Charles and Chrissy’s house to chill out for a bit and she had made super cute cupcakes! We were so overfed on this trip, not that I’m complaining, more cupcakes please! XD

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We had so much in common and they were so nice to have us over when we’d never properly met before! They even put on a show for us 😀

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They are in a vibraphone/xylophone band together called Sticks and Tones. I was totally in awe, it was SO COOL!! James and I gave it a try and suitably embarrassed ourselves XD

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After that lovely break they dropped us back at the hotel for a quick make up touch up then it was back on the bus again and we headed to the National Art Gallery. Did I tell you this trip was packed or what??

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The National Gallery was awesome. They currently have an exhibit from Toulouse-Lautrec who I was completely obsessed with as a teenager. Seeing his work in person was so cool!

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One thing that struck me with all of our tour guides from this trip was how passionate they were about their subjects. The enthusiasm was really infectious and I found myself learning a lot while enjoying myself. I mean, our gallery tour guide had even dyed her hair red because Lautrec was known to prefer redheads, that is commitment!!!

Through talking to the tour guide we discovered the children’s room which had been completely renovated to look like one of the paintings and there were dress ups complete with puppet theatre and stage.

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A chance to dress up and be in a painting? HELL YES!

We totally fit right in.

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Ladies…

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I feel like these places have really made an effort to modernise. They weren’t the stereotype of stuffy and boring, they’re interactive and aimed at both children and adults. I think being able to talk to the staff made a huge difference as well because you got to see things through the eyes of someone who was in love with their job. Now every time I go somewhere like this I want to get to know the people who work there.

Also, another interesting Ceiling of Canberra:

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After we were finished we headed outside for drinks in the courtyard. The whole forest was engulfed in a smokey haze which was actually part of another art exhibit. Extremely cool and creepy!

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I was really excited to see the gift shop… I have extreme love for souvenirs and gift shops and the gallery one was particularly awesome.

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There were SO many things I wanted to buy.

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And of course we had left our bags with wallets on the bus so I didn’t get to buy anything ;_; Totally my biggest regret of the trip. Seriously, National Gallery, please open an online version of your gift shop… I want to buy things!!!

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The last stop on today’s itinerary was dinner at The Lanterne Rooms. We were told it was going to be delicious and they’d been given two chef’s hats so it was one of the best places in Australia, as someone who has been spoiled by eating at awesome places with food blogger friends in Melbourne I was a bit apprehensive when the bus pulled into a strip mall…

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I was SO wrong to judge it on first appearances though because once we were inside we might as well have been worlds away. It was so beautifully decorated and the service was great. I’m not a food blogger and my food descriptive skills suck, so this is the description from their website:

This Asian style bistro is Head Chef Jeffrey Shim’s innovative take on traditional South-East Asian food. Malay Indian spices, coastal Fukien and local Nyonya cooking are blended, skilfully refined and redefined to become the distinctive flavours of Lanterne Rooms.

We were again treated to a massive tasting menu, I lost count of how many dishes we had.

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The staff for the night were amazing. We were so full by the end and our waiter was still saying “You guys still hungry? Let me get you some noodles!”. Honestly I’m glad he did because the rice cake dish at the end was my favorite food from the entire trip. I don’t usually eat spicy foods but this was so good I had to keep going *_*

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By dessert we were about to explode but somehow I managed to power through trying 2 desserts… you know… so I could report on it… for you guys… >_>

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So I was extremely wrong in my first impressions, The Lanterne Rooms were fantastic and I would definitely go back. I love being wrong about things like this 😀

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My second favorite thing of the night was the pomegranate and rose water palette cleanser. Bergamot enjoyed it too.

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Bergamot enjoyed it a bit too much >_>

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When we got back to the East hotel, there was another cute little note with a bottle of wine and some handmade salted caramels for before bed. LOVE DETAILS!!

So ok. Amazing food, fun places to visit, and extremely nice and passionate people. A bit more interesting than politicians and fireworks, yes? And that was just Day 2, we packed even more into Day 3 *_*

Just wait and see what we got up to tomorrow because it’s pretty cool!

Visiting Canberra For #HumanBrochure Day 1 – Snapshots

This trip was sponsored by the Human Brochure Campaign. For more information on sponsored posts check out this FAQ.

It’s been a long time since I put up a snapshots post! Mostly it’s been because I haven’t really done anything interesting, this year so far has seen me sitting behind my computer a lot. That’s going to change soon though because we have a lot of trips coming up which I’m very excited about. It’s nice to get out of the house once in a while and when you’re being invited all over Australia that’s even better!

Recently we were asked by Canberra Tourism to take part in their Human Brochure campaign. Basically what that involved was being flown to Canberra and shown the sights to prove that it really doesn’t suck as much as everyone thinks it does. No seriously. I’m going to be completely honest here and say that I’d never been to Canberra before so I had the same impression of the city as most people I know: pretty small and not much there other than public servants and politicians. James remembered it from his last trip there: the only place in Australia where you can buy fireworks. We were both actually pretty wrong as we didn’t see 1 politician and you can no longer buy fireworks XD So with those misconceptions out of the way how was it??

Read about Day 1 here!

Read about Day 2 here!

Read about Day 3 here!

Well we were on the “Arts” leg of the tour and the weekend was so packed with interesting things that I’m going to have to break it up into each day *_* So let’s get started!

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We had a pretty good flight down though I was really sad to leave Lottie. I know it’s silly but this is the first time we’ve left her properly so I was really sad. She lived though and she was so excited when we came home!Canberra-Tourism-Human-Brochure-722

We packed very light, I really hate checking in luggage so we just took this overnight bag. I’m totally the master of packing light while still looking awesome.

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When we touched down in Canberra we were greeted by our hosts Rei and Sarah and organised onto a luxury coach to be taken to the hotel. Canberra is very green and open.

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There are trees everywhere and the roads are really clean and wide. It’s the complete opposite to Melbourne where everything is quite squished and tall, Canberra is very flat.

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The aircon on our bus was very happy 😀 I used this trip to try to expand my photography skills so I hope you guys are ready for 7 billion detail shots of things!

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We stayed at the East Hotel  and it was amazing. I use that word a lot but I’ve never stayed at somewhere like East before. Usually on sponsored trips like these we get put into tiny rooms because logic says “well you’re going to be out most of the time anyway, you’ll just be back here to sleep”. True to a point, but I really think that having somewhere comfortable makes a huge difference to the whole experience. I find that little details really effect my mood and when you’re already away from home stupid things like having a huge mirror to do my make up with or a really *good* cup of tea or being able to watch tv while I fall asleep make me so much happier about getting up super early in the morning haha!

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When we arrived we were greeted with a welcome pack. It had books about Canberra, handmade local chocolates and custom notebooks. I had stupidly left my notebook and watercolours at home so I was especially glad to be given one to use on the trip.

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Anyway before I went off tangent I was trying to say that East hotel really isn’t you’re average hotel, it’s very artistic. It’s only 6 months old and they have really embraced social media and technology. For example, there is a daily wifi allowance included with the room. I’m sure for overseas readers that’s nothing to care about but in Australia you’d be surprised how many hotels still have extremely overpriced internet. Hell, even most of our airports don’t have free wifi :/ There were complimentary computers to use in the lobby along with several flavours of water.

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It was decked out with information about art exhibits. And each month they display their own exhibits on a huge projector. It was kind of epic *_*

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Is it weird I was actually sad we didn’t get to spend more time in the hotel? It was so comfortable *_*

 

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The OX, restaurant and cafe was equally pretty. They had a selection of local handmade sweets too!

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I know, I’m going on a lot about the hotel but I have an obsession with them XD Perhaps it’s because I love details and I always dream that one day I’ll live in apartment as fancy as this!

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Another nice touch, vintage bicycles were available to borrow to ride around and explore the city.

 

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The room we were given was massive!

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Several comfy couches and extremely large bathroom!

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The kitchen area was also massive and even had complimentary Nespresso.

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As soon as we were settled there was a knock on the door and a lovely manager came to deliver a second welcome pack containing more local goodies including a jar of strawberry and pinot noir jam. That’s how you know you’re fancy: when even your jam has expensive wine in it >_>

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After settling in, we headed for a walk down the road to get some McDonalds like the super classy people we are! Even the walk was really pretty.

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We enjoyed a bit of a relax in the room then freshened up to head out for the next part of the itinerary. We met Sarah and Rei downstairs, this photo was from the last day but it was the only one I managed to get of us together. They were SO sweet. Honestly they were always on the ball making sure everything was going well and we were having fun. I felt like a Princess the whole weekend with people offering me things and being so nice *_*

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So much fun! I told them I was going to keep this silly photo for black mailing purposes later but it was too funny not to post XD

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We were loaded back onto the bus and taken to the Australian War Memorial for our welcome event.

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Every bus ride we took, I was surprised how scenic everything was.

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I was really unsure what the war memorial was going to be like. Fun is not one of the words that is often used in the same sentence as war… but it was!

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Quick side track but all of the landmarks in Canberra line up! Because the entire town was planned before it was built you can see directly to all the attractions, standing in front of the War Memorial this is the view to Parliament House!

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Anyway back on topic, we were greeted at the front of the memorial by historial re-enactors dressed from various time periods. I had to steal this photo from my instagram because they were too cute. The sailor even did a little jig for us. I didn’t catch their names so I renamed them Sgt. Awesome and Handsome Dan in my head ^_^

Did I mention everything here was scenic?

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We spent a lot of time looking for James’ great grandfather on the memorial wall but I didn’t work out until too late that you could actually look up on a map online and pinpoint people.

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We were welcomed officially by the team and there were a couple of speeches as expected. What made this part of the night really interesting was the stories and mini tours we were given by the staff.

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We broke off into small groups and toured the exhibits as we heard personal stories from wars. Some were very sad while others were hilarious like the man who thought taking on an entire army was a better choice than taking on his angry wife, so he ran off to war!

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By now you know I can’t help taking photos of flowers everywhere we go.

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Inside we had a delicious dinner and saw a movie about pilots that Peter Jackson made. I enjoyed the planes most of all!

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There was so much fooood. It was too dark inside to get very many photos but as a tribute to James’ love of tiny foods, here is a tiny chicken burger 😀

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We met up with Belinda from Bella in Bindyland and her husband Trent! We’ve spoken online for years so it was really nice to meet in person finally! They were on the Adventure tour and I didn’t envy how early they had to get up the next morning to go mountain biking.

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As things started to wrap up we headed out into the night to get a little fresh air. It was really stunning! It really reminded me how much I miss having a view of the sky from our apartment. I can only see a reflection of the sky from our windows 🙁

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When we arrived back at the hotel we were greeted with a very cute little surprise from East: two free tickets to the portrait gallery which we didn’t have time to use, a Berocca and a note which said “Word is you’re flat out tomorrow, so to ensure you make it through your day”. I LOVE LITTLE DETAILS!

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And that was the end of day 1! We pretty much fell into bed after that, traveling always makes me so sleepy. This was actually the least action packed day of the three so look forward to the next post tomorrow where we go to some really beautiful places!

I’m In A Book :D Toni and Guy Blogged and Bound

So that Sydney thing I did in February?

It’s a book 😀

…and it’s been released 😀

…and there’s a video 😀

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You can read all about the Toni and Guy Hair Meets Wardrobe Blogged and Bound campaign on their website. The general idea though is that they took some of Australia’s top fashion and beauty bloggers and showed how their hair products could work in with the wardrobes.

Now because it’s a very pretty book and I’m excited here are some photos from the inside!

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Hey that’s a familiar face!!

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All that food is real! I ate so many of those macarons on the day XD

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Aaaand the crew came to my house and Glamaz Melbourne to film the video version of it! Take a look  and let me know what you think! 😀

You can see the rest of my part including the interview I did and the full photos in the book over here. Make sure to check out the other bloggers too!

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