13.8.14

See You In 5 Weeks!

Cinque Terre photo by Gray Malin (via Erika Brechtel)


Bologna via Pinterest


Positano via Pinterest


Venice via Pinterest


Santorini via Pinterest here

This will be the longest break from blogging I've had, but considering our schedule will be pretty full over the next five weeks, (read: I will be so overwhelmed), I don't think I will have time to post here on MLP nor bother with tackling all the varying levels of WIFI that I'm sure we will encounter in Europe.

But I do want to take the time to say thank you. Yes thank YOU wonderful reader for taking the time to browse MLP. If it weren't for your comments, and the sense of community that I feel is starting to build up while I create, shoot and write on here, I think MLP would be a pretty sad empty space.

I'll leave you a few sweet images of some of the places we're visiting. They're from a collection of images that I've been hoarding over time on Pinterest under my TRAVEL DREAMS board. I hope they inspire you with a teeny day dream or two, or just simply remind you that you too, also deserve a break from the hustle and bustle of work and life.

We fly out this afternoon and I know we are going to miss Bailey Buster Lee so much. The first pit stop to London will be a very long haul, but this trip has been a looooong day dream that must be fulfilled this year. If you want to follow Jase and I on our travels, I'll be on the line from time to time and will most definitely be posting up a pic or twenty on Instagram!
See you in 5 weeks!
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12.8.14

Juxtapose

White Blazer / Zara,
Chambray Shirt / Bing Harris (on sale!),
Boyfriend Jeans / Gap,
Black heels / Tony Bianco (similar here),
Clutch / Country Road (love this one too!)

Ripped jeans would never pass in any corporate environment, even if it was casual Friday. But here at MLP headquarters, with employee roll; 1, ripped jeans totally passes in the MLP office dress code. A crisp white blazer and polished heels will inject sophistication into any casual outfit with ease. Wearing juxtaposing pieces like this is my favourite way to dress and it's also the best way to break up a potential denim on denim cowgirl look. Keeping staples like a well fitted blazer and a good pair of black heels in your wardrobe, can be used in so many different ways, that they both will definitely pass the "cost-per-wear" logic test.
I'm on the hunt for a new pair of ripped boyfriend jeans though, because as comfy as these Gap jeans are, I keep stepping into the holes when I put them on, and the rips are getting bigger! I'm still going to pack them in my suitcase for our trip though...perhaps they'll turn into denim cut-offs while we're away?
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11.8.14

Perfect Mushroom Pasta for One

It's normally difficult enough to portion out ingredients when cooking for two. Getting leftovers for days after a meal obviously shouldn't be a "problem" to complain about, but when things go to waste, then that is a real problem!
Now that I'm at home during the day and I have the added luxury of freshly home cooked lunches on most days, it is sometimes a bit iffy to portion out for one serving.

Here's a recipe I nutted out that I'm recently loving. It is largely based on dry goods you can keep in your pantry earlier on, only requiring a couple of store bought ingredients. Flexi enough to accommodate singletons with smaller or larger stomachs and can be made in under 10 minutes.








Perfect Mushroom Pasta for One Recipe

Ingredients
  • Couple stalks of Spring Onion finely chopped (or quarter brown onion finely chopped)
  • Small handful / 25gm of Dried Porcini Mushrooms, soaked in half a bowl of hot water
  • 3-4 TBSP Cream
  • About 50gm of Dry Long Pasta (about a AUD10c diameter bunch of pasta when held between finger and thumb) of your choice : I much prefer linguine for that slurpy goodness
  • A Handful of Protein of your choice (Optional); I chose leftover roast chicken
  • Fresh Thyme Sprig/Pinch of Dried Thyme (Optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese & Chopped parsley 
Steps
  1. Squeeze out excess moisture from the soaked Dried Porcini Mushrooms when they become tender and soft. Depending on your preference, either leave the squeezed mushrooms whole or chop them up into pieces and place in a separate bowl to set aside.
  2. Strain the excess Porcini mushroom liquid to get rid of any grit, save this liquid and set aside
  3. Place a medium saucepan with 3/4 of water to boil, once the water is boiling, drop your pasta of choice into the water to cook for approximately 7 minutes or until al dente (remember to season the water with salt & a bit of olive oil!). 
    • Tip: Place a wooden spoon on top of your saucepan to stop it over-boiling
  4. While pasta is cooking, saute chopped/brown onion in small frypan with a dash of olive oil until slightly soft.
  5. Toss the Porcini Mushrooms, your protein, (fresh/dry herbs) and the Porcini liquid into the frypan, mix this together and then turn heat down low to let the sauce gently simmer and bubble away for a couple of minutes.
  6. Mix in the cream once the liquid has reduced to your desired level of liquidity for a pasta sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Strain your pasta once 7 mins is up and toss into the frypan of sauce so that it can soak up a bit of sauce while it is porous and hot. Season with salt and pepper if you think it's needed.
    • Tip: Save a bit of the leftover strained pasta water so that if your pasta has soaked up too much sauce and has become too dry, you can mix in a bit of pasta water to loosen up the pasta again.
  8. Serve with a good grating of parmesan and freshly chopped parsley. 

This would be so perfect with cubes of crispy pancetta too! Make it for a first date, make it for your girlfriends for a girly lunch with a few wines. Just double, triple, quadruple the recipe depending on your party number!

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6.8.14

The Two Primers That Beats Them All

Go on, grab a cup of coffee/tea and some cookies if you fancy, and let's have a little chat about foundation primers.
Now I don't profess that I've tried every single foundation primer out on the market, but I have tried quite a fair few over the years, namely:
I must also preface to say that my skin has progressed from an oily pimply faced teen, to a typical combo/oily 20 year old adult, and then that progressed onto a mid-20 year old adult with combo/oily skin and severe jawline acne (the most horrible skin episode of my life), and then to a combo/dry skinned adult with the occasional pimple and an occasional eczema episode (hello adult skin sensitivities!).
After I found an amazing facial lady (hello Dee!) who performed miracles and stopped me from going on the unnecessary step of using Roaccutane for my severe acne, she kindly advised that I must steer clear of anything that contains oils or silicon, and also told me to beware of anything with minerals which are particularly pore clogging. This was quite contrary to my beliefs from all the mineral makeup advertising that I had succumbed to. But upon the advice from Lisa Eldridge, I do believe higher end cosmetics that use quality mineral oils would not be pore clogging at all, and would be nutritious for the skin more than anything else.

I didn't necessarily believe in using foundation primers until I did some research and applied makeup on other ladies, to find that foundation makeup does stay put for much longer than normal and foundation applies smoother too.
And of course, if you are blessed with picture perfect 'normal' skin that doesn't require much foundation in the first place, then perhaps a basic moisturiser is all you need before applying foundation. But for girls that have skin on either of the dry/oily spectrum, and require a bit more skin coverage, then primers are perhaps life changing.

For me, I tend to stop searching for better when I find a product that fits my everlasting list of requirements. To me, a foundation primer must:
  1. Help your foundation/base "stick" to your face, prolonging overall longevity of your makeup
  2. Look natural with no trace of white or paleness shining through (even with camera flash)
  3. Lightweight, basically feel like nothing more than moisturiser
  4. Leave my forehead and nose free of shine by the end of the day
  5. Not cause a pimple/acne breakout
  6. Not cause eczema or any dry skin flare up further or show upon foundation application.

Numero Uno: Napoleon Auto Pilot Primer*

This primer and I go way back. Back when it was the original black and white packaging to right now in its shiny gold art deco repackaged best.
This primer for me, is kind of like that first love you had when you were young, and you didn't necessarily want to commit to, so then you part ways, go on to use others, but always seem to come back to this original love. There's something about the clean fresh scent that brings me back to my makeup academy days with Napoleon cosmetics, and now that my skin has become drier as I've gotten older, it seems to love drinking this moisturising primer right up, leaving a beautifully moisturised base for further makeup application.

It comes out like a gel moisturiser consistency. If you're a foundation stick user, this primer is great in helping your foundation adhere to your skin smoothly. I sometimes like to even mix the primer with a bit of foundation stick to warm it up before application.
It's a trusty number in my makeup kit, as well as in my personal makeup bag, a makeup item I have repurchased through the years. I love using it to massage into client's skin as a first step before anything else, and for myself, I even use it in place of normal moisturiser should I run out of my normal daily moisturiser. I have used this on mature skin too, and it works a treat.
With Vitamin E and other good stuff like Chamomile extract, what's not to love?

Bonus tip, if you need to reapply day-old makeup to later go out, use this to massage and wipe away the old makeup first so that your skin can feel pepper up and refreshed before reapplication of makeup. Two steps in one!

Numero Duo: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer*

I'm new to this beauty brand but I've heard a lot of murmur and great comments in the beauty blogging world, so I decided that a good test would be to start off trying an item that the brand has received the best reviews. This primer promises to minimise large pores, fine lines and shine, provide protection from the sun, and most importantly prep the skin for makeup application while extending durability.
Now I must admit I have only used this primer a handful of times, however with each use so far, this primer has delivered results. Let me tell you my ever enlarging pores are filled, leaving an ultra smooth base for foundation or BB cream to glide over. I was just amazed that no pores were showing through the foundation. No pimples or clogged pores have resulted and the slight eczema I had on my lower cheeks in all the times I've used this primer did not show through as foundation flakes. If you're on a particularly dry skin day though, don't forget to moisturise well before popping this product on.

The product comes out in a milky consistency but as you dab and rub it onto the skin, it dries and feels like a smooth silicon-y texture. It doesn't seem to have any sort of scent. There is a tiny speck of SPF to give it that extra boost, it is waterproof and it's free of so many nasty fillers that even the most sensitive skins would have to give this one a go.  Don't be deterred by the white colour, you'll be surprised that it adds a slight luminescence to your complexion.

The major downer is that this little gem comes with a hefty price tag (AUD 79 / USD 52 for 30ml). But luckily, there is a mini option for a fraction of the price (AUD 25 / USD 18 for 10ml) so you can at least give it a go. A little goes a long way, for me I only need 1-2 pumps to smother my rather large face, in the areas that I need it. I purchased a mini bottle to start with but I am definitely going to repurchase a full size for myself and for my makeup kit. This would be so perfect for future brides, especially the ladies with oilier skin.


Now I know both these primers are on the mid to high end price range, however I haven't yet found a primer on the lower price point that also fits the bill. I'm currently testing out the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser so we'll see how that goes!
What are your favourite base primers? I am convinced by Charlotte Tilbury that her Magic Cream is worth trying (there is something with her husky, lispy, sexy, English accent that makes her so convincing). I'm waiting till we get to London to make an assessment before buying this very high-end cream, but would love to know what anyone's thoughts are!

If you want to read my beauty reviews for other items I have tried and deem true to its promise, check out the following:
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*All products purchased independently
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