Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Romantic Chinoiserie



Dear Lovelies,

If the blog title sounds like Chinese to you - you are not too far off!

Chinoiserie (English: /ʃinˈwɑːzri/) is the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions, especially in the decorative arts, garden design, architecture, literature, theatre, and music. (Source: Wikipedia)

It is most prevalent in art and interior design, boasting opulent yet delicate prints mostly of flowers, birds and asian motivs. The fascinating and eyecatching thing is the colour combinations: dark navy with blush, lush teal with pink, frequently paired with metallics like silver or gold.

For maximum impact in fashion, it can be worn from head to toe (think: Victoria Beckham's white and navy Roberto Cavalli dress or Nicole Kidman in the movie "Australia"). 

For a more gentle entry to this beautiful style, I chose to accentuate my outfit with a clutch. Although I have to admit that it doesn't just accentuate it, it actually is the pivotal center of it. Sneaky little clutch with an impressive pattern. 










With Love,

Coffeebeanlilly



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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation / Tarte Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette

Dear Lovelies,

Although people say "never change a winning horse", many of you will agree that from time to time change is necessary and unavoidable. Your personality evolves and with it your style and your taste. Trying new things can be like a breeze of fresh air and give you a real feeling of empowerment.

In my case I was looking to trade up from my drugstore foundation that I had loved for many years and invest into something that I perceived as "better", sold via a designated shop for cosmetics, such as Sephora. 

Not only did I think that I'm finally "old enough" to invest into pricier cosmetics, but since going off the pill three years ago (you can read my journey *here*) my skin has gradually changed and needs different care now.

That I bought the eyeshadow palette from the same brand was purely a coincidence. Trying to find a great assortment for hooded eyelids led me to this one and I loved that there was an assortment of matte and shimmer tones in this.




I've been using these products for three months now and here are the pros and cons of both:



Tarte Rainforest Of The Sea Foundation (30ml, AUD$57 via Sephora):

Pros:
 Lightweight
 Buildable
 Waterbased (not oil based, which is great for oily skin)
 The dropper is a hygienic way of applying the product to your sponge or brush

Cons:
 The dropper is a bit flimsy and only dispenses one drop at a time
 Application with a brush can make it look streaky easily    
 No SPF, so wear a primer with SPF underneath








Tarte Tarteiste Pro Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette (AUD$83 via Sephora):

Pros:
 Smells like Cookies when you open it
 Blends very well when applied with brushes
 Highly pigmented, even without the use of primer
 Stays on all day without smudging or hiding in the eye crease

Cons:
 Some of the matte shades are too pinkish / reddish for people with hooded eyelids





Do you have a favourite foundation and eyeshadow palette? Which one and why?


With Love,

Coffeebeanlilly



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Monday, 1 January 2018

Gingham Pants

Dear Lovelies,

Gingham is such a questionable trend, don't you think? There's something so oddly appealing about it, something that takes you back to the old world, a touch of class and the smell of power.

On the other hand, if not done right, it can quickly make you look like you were a band member of ABBA back in the days (no offense, I love ABBA).


So, to keep it classy, I decided to style these eye-catching pants with a simple black top. 

How do you pull off your Gingham pieces?

With Love,

Coffeebeanlilly












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Friday, 29 December 2017

Recipe: Coffee Rub Kangaroo on Fig & Blue Cheese Salad with Roasted Beetroot

Dear Lovelies,

Ok, I admit it - the title of this post is quite a mouthful. Yet it doesn't even begin to capture all the yummy ingredients in it, let alone how amazing this tastes!

I did not come up with this myself from scratch. It is simply my own spin on two separate recipes I combined, as I liked some ingredients in one recipe and some in others. 


Turns out that this was a great decision, as the distinct, deer-like flavour of the kangaroo goes super well with the sweetness of the figs and blueberries. It's not overly sweet though (which I don't really like in a salad - in the end it's still a savoury dish), as the sharpness of the blue cheese cuts through it.

For best results, the kangaroo should not be cooked further than medium rare. 

Can be served warm or cold. It takes approximately 40 minutes (plus 30 minutes marinating time for the kangaroo) and feeds 3-4 people. Or 2 very hungry people :-)

For the kangaroo in coffee rub:
500g Kangaroo loins (steak and fillet also works)
2 tbs ground Coffee
1 tbs Brown Sugar
1 tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp each ground Coriander and ground Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp each Salt and Pepper

For the salad base:
300g Rocket
50g Baby Spinach leaves
3 Figs
1/2 cup of Walnuts (roasted and in small pieces)
a handful of Blueberries
75g of Blue Cheese (a semi hard or hard style, nothing creamy)

For the roasted vegetables:
a bunch of Dutch Carrots (approx. 150g)
4 small Beetroot (one large on quartered works, too)
1/3 cup Olive Oil

To help you with time-management, the following order of steps is best:

Marinate the meat, then roast the vegetables. While they are in the oven, you can arrange the salad bed and lastly, fry the meat.

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

2. Prepare the meat: in a plastic bag or tupperware container, mix all ingredients and add your meat. Make sure you whirl it around in the spice mixture thoroughly. Put aside to warm up to room temperature for approx. 30 minutes.

3. Create little aluminium foil parcels by placing your bunch of carrots (green tops cut off) and beetroot in them separately, pouring the olive oil over it and wrapping it up. Place the veggies in an oven dish and roast them in the oven for 40 minutes.

4. Wash and spin dry your rocket and baby spinach and arrange on a platter. Quarter the figs and put them around the outside. Roast the walnuts, crumble the blue cheese and sprinkle both over the rocket and spinach leaves. Save the blueberries to sprinkle on top once the kangaroo and roasted veggies have their place.

5. Time for the kangaroo to jump into the frying pan. Sear all sides using high heat, cooking each side for approx. 4 minutes (cooking times will vary depending on type and thickness of meat). The vegetables should be ready now or you may have already taken them out - place the kangaroo in aluminium foil, wrap it up and place it in the still warm oven to rest for approx. 10 minutes.

6. Slice the kangaroo and together with the roast veggies arrange on salad bed. Don't forget to sprinkle your blueberries over it. Enjoy!

OPTION: For those of you who can't live without salad dressing: use the meat juice that has built up when the meat rested as a base, place in a small tupperware container. Add 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbs of live oil and shake vigorously. Pour over dish.






With Love,


Coffeebeanlilly

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Boxing Day Sale Haul

Dear Lovelies,

For those of you who don't reside in Australia: Boxing Day is quite a shopping phenomenon. 
For those of you who live here: you either love it and get up really early or you hate it and stay as far away from shops that days as you can.

I thought I'd have to experience it at least once and although I'm not quite sure yet which group of the above I belong to, I still wanted to show you the pieces I got that day.

Admittedly, some of them were not reduced and I could've bought them any other day, but it's all one experience, right?

Do you normally go overboard on Boxing Day or do you think it's an overrated sales event?

With love,

Coffeebeanlilly



Cropped Top - $54.99
via H&M


Graphic Print Shirt - $54.99
via H&M


Bianca Spender - Midnight Check Looking Glass Top - reduced to $183 (from $465)
via David Jones


Bianca Spender - Midnight Check Artemis Skirt - reduced to $248 (from $495)
via David Jones


White Story - High Waisted Pants - reduced to $339.50 (from $485) 
via David Jones


Culottes - reduced to $45.95 (from $69.95)
via Zara


Striped Pants - $89.95
via Zara


Graphic Print Skirt - reduced to $45.95 (from $69.95)
via Zara


Striped Shirt - $59.95
via Zara



Polka Dot Shirt - reduced to $39.95 (from $49.95)
via Zara

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The shoes you didn't think would work with culottes!

Dear Lovelies,

We're currently transitioning from summer to winter and Sydney tends to get quite chilly at night, but balmy during the day.

It's not too cold yet to wear culottes, but chilly enough that you want to wear closed shoes.
Culottes are quite amazing - they are super comfortable, yet look sophisticated. However, I always feel like they need to be worn with high heels in order not to make my legs appear to be super stubby.

When I was asked how I would wear a certain pair of brogues that I bought the other day, it made me think 'do they work with culottes?'. And the answer is: surprisingly yes!

So here it is: my interpretation of what I feel like works with feminine culottes: tomboy-brogues!

I'm not telling you anything new when I say try to keep it streamlined on top as you've already got a lot of volume going on at the bottom, but apart from that have fun with colours and textures!

All items shown below are currently available from:

Culottes: Piper
Shoes - Zazou
Blouse - Zara
Bag - Louis Vuitton







With love,

Coffeebeanlilly


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Pillow Tutorial

Dear Lovelies,

When I think of pillows I think of snuggling, cosiness, feathers, pillow fights, dreams, warmth and comfort.... I simply LOVE pillows!
If it was just me, the whole bed would be covered in pillows! Unfortunately my better half is already struggling with two, therefore you can imagine that my pillow addiction causes a fair bit of tension.

On my journey to finding the the right pillows I stumbled upon a few questions and found so many pretty pillows that I found it very confusing to choose the right ones. Here are a few things that I learnt:

Choose a colour scheme
When it comes to colour there are a few things you need to consider.
First of all, what is the base colour of your couch/bed?
And: is there a particular colour in the room that is already present or that you like a lot?
For example you decorated your room with mint vases or have a feature wall in red?
While I'm not saying that your pillows have to reflect the identical colour of these decorations, it is recommended that you stay in the same colour family. This will make the style of the room look "complete" and your pillows will effortlessly tie back into the entire look of the room.
You could also choose to have the pillows in complimentary colours, but always make sure you don't end up with too many colours in your room (unless you love it of course, then please go ahead!).

My favourite colour combinations at the moment are:

1. Navy, Sea Glass, White

2. Berry, Rosegold, Beige

3. Mint, Rose, Beige




Have fun with textures, patterns and glitter
Gone are the days when mixing patterns were considered too busy and inconsistent. Have fun mixing a chevron pattern with flowers and stripes!
Also, add an additional layer of depth by combining different materials. Fake fur, cotton and velvet can look really nice together.

As a rule of thumb: Fake fur or knitted fabrics are considered a better decoration for winter because they appear cosy and warm and will make the room appear warmer too.
For summer months, cotton and linen will look fresh and crisp.

But once again, this is also up to personal taste - I currently have knitted pillows on my couch and outside temperatures reach 25 degrees - I just love the cosiness on the couch <3



When it comes to glitter, sequins or animalistic patterns (leopard, zebra, etc.) less is often more! They are such strong designs that they should be used as just the tip of the iceberg. If you overdo it, things can start to look a bit tacky very quickly.


Size matters!
Think outside the box and don't just choose the standard 45 cm x 45 cm pillow. Think of all these cute round pillows and the rectangular ones. Go ahead and mix them. Little round or rectangular pillows tend to look best as a feature piece to finish the look off, using them sparingly i.e. just one or two will already create the desired effect.

How many pillows?
I wish I could say "endless", but too many nice things can be a bit overbearing. Keep the space you want to cover in mind. A three-seater couch or queen sized bed should probably not have more than five pillows on it. I usually choose odd numbers over even numbers as I personally believe it looks better.

What is your favourite pillow colour combination?

With Love,

Coffeebeanlilly



Saturday, 5 September 2015

A dusty pink kinda spring!

Dear Lovelies,

Being on the other side of the planet also means that our seasons are the other way around.
While Europe is heading into Autumn, Australia is heading into spring.

There's no doubt about it, you can see it everywhere: the days get longer, the skirts of ladies shorter and there's so much laughter everywhere as the hearts seem to get lighter just like hair does in spring.

Having recently traveled overseas where Autumn is knocking on the door I was lucky to spot some colour trends of the colder season and immediately fell in love.

I'm talking about wine, or call it bordeaux - this velvety dark red with a hue of a purplish pink. Absolutely gorgeous. Dusty pink is the little sister and because it's lighter it fits perfectly into spring. Combine it with neutral colours and a touch of gold and you have an easy-going casual outfit.



Top: Zara | Pants: American Eagle Outfitters | Shoes: Louis Vuitton





With Love, 

Coffeebeanlilly


Amsterdam!

When I think back of our 3-day-trip to Amsterdam in September 2011, this loveable city still puts a smile on my face.

Being the Netherland's largest city (805,166) and capital, Amsterdam often gets viewed as one of the top financial centeres in Europe (the stock exchange is the oldest in the world!) as well as a cultural capital with the highest density of museums.



Expecting a big city feeling when in Amsterdam? Far off!

Swans swimming in the gorgeous canals, hundreds of friendly Dutch people on bikes, the relaxed atmosphere around the Coffee Shops and areas overgrown with weeds everywhere in the city make you feel like you're on a country trip.

We wanted our trip to be as authentic as possible so we chose not to book a hotel room, but instead to live on a houseboat just like approximately 4500 other people in Amsterdam. And we would definitely do it again!
The lovely Annette that owns Ark16, which is a housboat anchored in a former workers district called Jordaan, was such a great host. http://www.ark16.com/en
Ark16 was a great basis for us to check out the city and as many attractions as you can see in 3 days. 

Here is my Top 7 of things to do:

1. You probably expect me to say "Rent a bike.". Umm, no! Simply because there's SOOO many bikes out there (approximately 50% of the population rides their "Omafietsen").
Even worse: there are so many tourists on bikes which are not familiar with the traffic in Amsterdam - it can quickly turn into quite a dangerous fun thing. Infact, isn't experiencing a city by walking everywhere much more rewarding?

2. Eat a Herring! Raw Herring! Actually: eat as many Herrings as you can, they will never taste better anywhere else! You will find a quality fish stall on almost every corner where this delicacy gets served either with or without cornichons, onion and bread.



3. Visit at least one of their beautiful markets around the city! We went to Lindengracht Market (www.amsterdam.info/markets/lindengracht) which is located in Jordaan which has become one of the most upscale locations of the Netherlands and a favourite place for students, artists and young professionals. While you're there: don't miss out on Poffertjes! These baby pancakes are deliciously fluffy and traditionally served with powder sugar and butter.

4. Visit the Anne Frank House. Walking through this part of our history will send a chill down your spine and even I may have cried a little. Worth seeing, but best to go there relatively early as queues get very long. 

5. A cheese shop! You have to indulge in all those varieties of cheeses as they might not be available in other parts of the world.


6. Go to the Bloemenmarkt - Amsterdams flower market - to buy tulip bulbs for your loved ones at home.

7. Take a stroll though the Red Light District, but be prepared because the beautiful girls in the windows don't care if you're female. They will still try to pick you up. On this note: while we were strolling through the city we saw these...umm..modern (?) Public Toilets everywhere. Strange to see and hear certain parts of someone elses very private business!



There's so much more to see and do in Amsterdam, like going to the Rembrandt or Van Gogh Museum or take a canal tour, but we simply ran out of time. But there's no doubt - we'll be back one day!


With Love,

Coffeebeanlilly

Sunday, 1 February 2015

About Nemos and Coffee Plantations - Cairns!

Dear Lovelies,

For my hubby's 30th birthday I booked a surprise trip to the Great Barrier Reef. As a full blown Aussie he had never seen it before!
I've been twice before and although I don't really have a bucket list, I believe this is one thing to do before you die. The beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is simply out of this world and hard to describe with words.

There are different places in Northern Queensland from where you can start your trip from. I chose Cairns simply for convenience reasons since it's a good 3 hour flight from Sydney.

Cairns with its roughly 150,000 inhabitants is a rural "city" full of backpackers and built on tourism. There are not many things to do there except have a nice barbecue at the Esplanade, join the free yoga classes in the morning, get on a boat to go to the reef or get absolutely hammered with other tourists in one of the many bars.
If the last thing I mentioned is not for you, then I strongly recommend renting a car and exploring the beautiful Atherton Tablelands surrounding Cairns as well as the rainforest with its hidden waterfalls! Situated only one hour west of Cairns it is well worth the trip! To find out more about the Atherton Tablelands please click *here*.

On the edge of the rainforest.

Cairns Esplanade.

The Cairns Marina.

Public pool with a view.

Sunrise.
Public barbecues at the Esplanade.

Yum!


The Great Barrier Reef attracts millions of tourist per year and consequently there are hundreds of boat companies offering different tours. From snorkelling to diving to helicopter flights and all the above in combination with one another - the offers are endless and choosing a particular provider can be confusing. Different companies will also take you to different parts of the reef. Regarding the diversity of species they are all relatively similar but some reef groups may attract a more specific type of fish.
And in the end it really depends what you like - I prefer smaller boats that offer a higher level of service and do snorkelling tours but everyone is different. To give you a starting point, we chose Deep Sea Divers Den for this particular trip and were absolutely happy with our choice. Click *here* to get to their website.

On our way to the Norman Reef.
The Norman Reef - photo credit: Deep Sea Divers Den


Since I am madly in love with coffee, there was no question about it: we had to visit the iconic Skybury Coffee Plantation.
As one of the world's finest, the Queensland highland Arabica is well known across the planet and visiting the plantation in tropical North Queensland is a must for everyone who's interested in great quality coffee. Click *here* to read more on their website.

Termites on the way to the plantation.
At the Skybury Coffee Plantation

Coffee in the making!

Coffee cherries.



There is no way I can cover all the amazing things to do and see, so I'd love to hear from you about your adventures in and around Cairns!

With Love, 

 Coffeebeanlilly