Because all we see is ugly, when what we really should be seeing is how beautiful everything is.

Be. Wine – Drinking just got so much more beautiful.

I love to drink – I think everybody knows that. But I must admit that I am more of a social drinker. I don’t feel the need to open a bottle, or to have a glass to wind down at the end of the day. A glass of milk will do for that. But in a social event, wine is a must.

Early this year, I came across this amazing bottle label that was doing something quite different. Their campaign was fresh, different and very obviously aimed at women. It was quite the change and I was instantly intrigued. This winery was called: Be. Winery

What they had done was match their wines with different beauty looks. Say what!? Wine matching with food is as old a tale as any, but matching with beauty looks? That’s gotta be a new one. Check out the campaigns they have done, it’s really quite amazing.

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With 3 different wines to match your mood, I really like the playful vibe and cheekiness of the entire advertising campaign. The colours are gorgeous too and really, what’s not to love when there’s energy, wine and makeup all rolled into one?

I had the chance to look over the style cards that were produced for the campaign, I think the Luscious look would float my boat the most. I adore red lippies as you know, and you really can’t go wrong with sexy. It is an extremely wearable look, and I can just see all you ladies hitting a night on the town rocking this absolutely luscious look!

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Over the next few months, I will be bringing to you videos and photos on these looks as I try them on myself. It won’t be exact replicas of these looks, but more inspired by. These juicy looks have really got my creative buds going, and really, doing your makeup while sipping on a glass of wine? What more could you ask for, really?

Thursday Fashion: Court Shoes?

Wherever you choose to look for your clothes, be it plus size clothing catalogues, the high street or vintage charity shops, sometimes you need to look a bit further for guidance and ‘how to’ tutorials. Seeing a mannequin in a shop window with your desired item is great – you get inspiration on how to wear certain things. But if this piece of clothing is only paired with specific looks (say, for a formal occasion) it can be difficult to picture the garment with other outfits… which is where this post will come in handy… today we’re focusing on court shoes!

To work
It’s probably the most popular location to don the court shoe. It’s a smart, stylish and sensible heel for the office that’s high enough to make a statement but low enough so you won’t feel self-conscious on your feet. Opt for a glossy, patent shade for an uber-smart effect. If your office has a more laid back dress code, you can still incorporate the court heel in your 9-5 wardrobe. Team with chinos and a floaty blouse for a gorgeous daytime feel.

On a Date
It’s not just about the office either. Court shoes are a fantastic way to add sexy style to any outfit – and what could be more appropriate here than a date? The key here is to keep it simple and effortlessly glamorous – you don’t want to look as though you’ve tried too hard but naturally you want to look gorgeous. Why not pair together black skinny jeans with red heels, a casual printed tee and a flick of red lipstick – it’s a guaranteed flawless look.

Brunch with the girls
There’s nothing better than meeting up with your best girl pals and having a much needed natter, especially if you’ve not seen them for a while. Of course, you’re going to want to look casual and laid back, but there’s nothing more chic than putting a little effort into your outfit and making your lunch date seem more like a scene from Sex and the City! Nude court shoes are great here. Pair with your favourite blue denim jeans and a floral top for a gorgeously girly feel.
From being a predominantly office-based accessory, the court shoe is actually one of the most versatile heels around at the moment. It’s set to be the shoe shape of the season so it’s totally worth investing in a pair (or two..!)

The strength to be beautiful, comes from within.Cwong

I sometimes forget, and sometimes think we all need a reminder.

Stay strong, my lovelies.

Easy Cooking: Japanese Potato Salad

With the weather being so hot, the last thing you want is to eat hot food and slave over a hot stove. So what better way to cool down than with a chilled Japanese potato salad?

This recipe was originally inspired by Adam Liaw. In fact, I should say that this recipe is his, as I have done little to modify it. However, I have since adapted this recipe into my way cooking and the recipe I am giving to you today is from memory, the way I make it.

It’s incredibly easy to make, very fast and forgiving and so, so tasty. Even the most inexperienced of cooks will be able to handle this with ease.

Japanese Potato Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 6x medium sized potatoes
  • 1x 300g bottle of kewpie mayonnaise
  • 1x cucumber
  • 1x carrot
  • 2x eggs

Method

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. It doesn’t matter what size they are as they will be mashed.
  2. Boil the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes till they are soft enough to mash.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, cut cucumber into thin slices and sprinkle liberally with salt and leave for 15 minutes.
  4. Once potatoes are done, drain water and mash with a fork. Set aside to chill.
  5. Slice carrot into half moons and cook in boiling water for 4-5 minutes or till soft. Drain and set aside.
  6. Rinse the salt off the cucumbers and drain.
  7. Hard boil the eggs, chill once done and slice into thin wedges.
  8. Add cucumber and carrot to potato and stir kewpie mayonnaise through.
  9. Garnish with hard boiled eggs and serve chilled.

Notes

I like to hard boil my eggs for 15 minutes from cold. This usually yields beautiful eggs with just-cooked yolks.

http://becoming-beautiful.com/2013/02/easy-cooking-japanese-potato-salad/


Potato Salad

It’s hard not to fall in love with this potato salad. It’s incredibly easy to make and so easy to eat. I’ve made it for multiple occasions now and it’s always been a winner. So why hesitate? Try it today!

Valentine’s Day: All the feels!

When I was a child and first read the story behind Valentine’s Day, I would clutch my book to my heart and dream of the day I had a person that I would love deeply. I was a die-hard romance at heart and my head filled with cheesy romances fuelled by TV shows and Romance novels.

And yet, they (the boys I dated) would hasten to tell me that “they didn’t do Valentine’s”. And thus every Vday passed me by with my growing resentment.

Good things come to those who wait, but who has the patience to wait? One day, my resentment outgrew my heart and burst forth. And that was how for Vday this year, we found ourselves at the Planetarium with 20 or so other couples to learn of the love that lies within the stars.

vday adelaide planetarium

Did you know that Adelaide had a Planetarium? I didn’t, and yet here it was, hidden amongst the other University buildings at Mawson Lakes. I had a little giggle at the cheesy trail of hearts that showed us where the session was taking place. In a university building, the trail of red hearts seemed rather out of place and even the boy couldn’t hold back a smile.

The first photo shows a projection of the title slide on the ceiling of the dome. And thus that was how we spent an hour of star-gazing, on our backs with a projection of the nightsky against the ceiling of the dome. We were told stories such as the cowherd and the weaving maiden, the Pleaiades and of course, the story of Orion and the Scorpio.

And that was how I spent my first Valentine’s Day. Quiet, low-key and educational. And it suited me just fine.

How did you end up spending your Valentine’s Day?

I’m back!

It’s been rather quiet around here, and I must admit, life took over and for awhile there I found myself unable to breathe.

Starting a new job, a new routine, in a new state and essentially a new life became my only focus. I could think of nothing except how exhausted I was, how much I had to do, and the list went on. My mind was too crowded to accomodate blogging, and thus my beloved blogs (and you, my readers, as a result) went neglected.

But I won’t say I am sorry. As that is what happens. We are not perfect, I am not a blogging machine and these things happen.

For awhile there, I contemplated giving up blogging. I contemplated giving up this ‘hobby’ that I’ve been doing for almost 10 years, this ‘past time’ in which I had poured my heart and soul into. My heart, mind, life were too full and I wondered if I would ever have the space for blogging once more. I asked myself the crucial question: Why am I blogging?.

I think it is important, from time to time, to ask yourself the hard questions that nobody else wants to ask. To go back to basics, and ask why this blog exist in the first place. Where I once had a crystal clear answer, this time I struggled with my answers and while I was waging this war within me, I knew that I could not return to writing on my blog as my voice would not ring true and clear.

The answer came to me, as clear as day when I sat down to help a few other bloggers with their blogs. I blog because I love sharing my experiences and my knowledge. I blog because I know that we all make mistakes, and I hope that you are able to learn from mine while laughing with me at them. I blog because it brings me joy. I blog because of you.

And with that knowledge, I smiled.

An Alternative Valentine’s Day – what are you doing for Vday?

Being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Once you’ve opened your overpriced card, soon to be wilted flowers and chocolates, it’s just another normal day isn’t it? Perhaps we sound a little harsh? Not at all, it’s just that those three words can sometimes feel a little forced with such clichéd gifts. This year, why not indulge in something a little different – something a bit personal with the one you love. Take a look at some of the Valentine’s Day options that don’t involve ill-chosen women’s fashion or dodgy perfume from your partner…

Take part in a class
Learning a new skill, such as wine tasting, cheese sampling and so on, is a really great way to enjoy a new kind of date night. Not only will you get to sample the finest delicacies, you’ll be taught by professionals and become experts in your chosen class!

Weekend Away
Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a weekend of it. Why not pack your things and go for a romantic weekend away somewhere; be it the Lake District, London or Paris.

Spa Break
If you can’t make a weekend away then how about booking the day off work and heading to a spa for a day of pampering? What could be more relaxing than indulging in an all over body massage or facial with that special someone in your life?

Volunteer as a couple
How about doing something truly altruistic this Valentine’s Day and volunteer with your partner? There are so many volunteering opportunities to choose from so this will really depend on your personal interests. A coastal clear up is a great way to spend the day on the beach with your partner, as well as feeling rejuvenated with all the fresh sea air you’ll be getting – not to mention the great feeling of knowing you’re helping to make a difference!

Tree Planting
Forget roses, get closer to horticulture this Valentine’s Day and plant a tree. Planting a tree is not only more environmentally friendly, but it will last much longer than a bunch of roses. It’s also a lovely token of your love, as it will last long after you’re both gone.

What do you think? Can you recommend any other alternative Valentine’s Day date ideas?

Image credit: madlyinlovewithlife

I Heart Organising: The Storeroom

I think the storeroom (or garage) can often bring up a look of fear in people’s eyes. Everything that doesn’t belong in the house gets shoved into the storeroom. This usually means that the storeroom is where things go to die. It’s a graveyard. And graveyards are never pretty. At least not my graveyard.

organising store room _ becoming Beautiful

This is not a true before photo. Before this, it was even worse. Before this, there was no cleared path for walking. I had begun clearing it out before I remembered to take a photo and really didn’t have the energy to recreate the mess, so this is a sorta before photo.

The problem, is that I combined two houses. And I needed to do it fast, as I had only 24 hours before I had relatives over for Christmas. What I couldn’t unpack and store away into the house immediately, got shoved into the storeroom. At that point, there was no visible floor space. Every single tile was covered by a box, and boxes on top of those boxes. To make things worse, the storeroom doesn’t have a door. So while the relatives were very kind not to mention it, I cringed everytime somebody walked by.

After they left, I decided that the house needed a huge Spring Clean. There were things that really should be donated or thrown away as there were duplicates, and the store room was also giving me a minor heart attack every time I walked by.

organising store room _ becoming Beautiful

Voila! Doesn’t that look much better? Things are a lot more organised, and there is visibly more space due to the change of direction of the shelf. Even a simple change of direction has helped opened up the room. I hid all the collapsed boxes behind the shelf, brought in another piece of furniture that I was storing and stacked the other boxes onto those.

organising store room _ becoming Beautiful

On the front of the store room, I also have the kitty corner. The cats have their litter here, so I wanted to make sure that they had clear access to it. We also keep our stockpile of kitty litter right next to it for ease of changing, and I was pleased to see that there was just enough space to slot the bin in next to the litter tray.

There’s still some work to be done, but given that there is more stuff in this room, than any other room in the house, I’m really pleased with the transformation. I’m sure we will be revisiting this room again as I do more organising around the house, but for now, what do you think?

The Fashion Capitals: What they’re wearing in Spring/Summer 2013

With a new season on the horizon, we can only expect great things for the Spring/Summer 2013 fashion scene. From the finest fashion capitals of London to New York to Paris comes impeccable taste, so what’s on the radar come March? Read on for a quick guide to some major trends of the season and find out what those celebrated designers are doing.

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London
As part of the best-of-British fashion clique, Stella McCartney has truly made a name for herself across the globe, especially in her beloved hometown amid the British capital. This spring and summer, expect to see some extremely fashionable swimwear dominating the high street, as inspired by McCartney’s love of bold prints and cute designs. Polka dots will be perfect for turning heads on a hot summer holiday, while floral bikinis in pastel colours will create the ultimate girly-girl beach look. One-pieces will be bang-on-trend too, so look out for extravagant designs in dark colours with beautifully wrapped bodices and plunging necklines to show off those curves.

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New York
The fashion hub of the USA will be raving about ethereal chic this spring, as influential fashion elites such as Donna Karan pave the way for light and floaty dresses in ocean blues and mint greens. This look is perfect for a stroll across Central Park on a warm summer’s day or a cool evening out with friends. Furthering this sophisticated ‘sea goddess’ look will be the dominance of the embellishment craze: think pearls, lace, mesh, silky collars as well as flowing peplum trimmings, and you’ve got it! In terms of colour, there’ll be a lot of creams, champagnes, greens and blues so make sure that you keep an eye out if you have a keen eye for Newyorkian fashion!

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Paris
Embrace effortless Parisian style this spring with a liberating loose-fit look. Follow the likes of Dior and go for dynamic full skirts in chiffon or metallic satin, paired with a smart masculine blazer or waistcoat to add an androgynous edge. Make sure to steer away from body con: next season it’s all about flair in France amongst a mix of midi, maxi and mini lengths. Dior has experimented with an array of colours, from lilac to acid green to all-black ensembles, so get creative with colour and make sure that you get it right! A black jersey dress paired with sunnies oozes Parisian glamour but don’t be afraid to go for something eclectic and exciting to mix it up a bit!

Regardless of whichever city you find yourself basking in this spring and summer, make sure to be daring with your style and remember these top trends in order to prevail as a fashionista wherever you go.

Image credit: London || New York || Paris

Easy Summer Recipe: Cucumber and Cherry Tomato Salad

When it’s summer, it’s often too hot to be slaving over a hot stove. You want nothing more than to stay away from anything that generates heat. So, here’s a salad that you can throw together without needing to turn on the stove, hurray!

Easy Summer Recipe: Cucumber and Cherry Tomato Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 x Cucumber
  • 6x Cherry Tomato
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water

Method

  1. Cut the cucumber into slices, it doesn’t matter what shape, as long as it is in slices.
  2. Sprinkle salt liberally all over the cucumber and mix well.
  3. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, slice cherry tomatoes into halves.
  5. Gently wash away the salt from the cucumbers and drain.
  6. Add tomatoes and all other ingredients and mix well.
  7. On a particularly hot day, chill the salad before serving.

http://becoming-beautiful.com/2013/01/easy-summer-recipe-cucumber-and-cherry-tomato-salad/


It’s incredibly simple, is it not? Tasty, flavoursome and you are getting a good kick of veges while you are at it.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad_ BecomingBeautiful

If you do end up trying this recipe, why not take a photo and share it with the rest of us?

I have recently installed a new plugin that will allow you to share your stories with me and the rest of the amazing people who read this blog. Just take a photo of any recipe or outfit or anything you’d like to share that was inspired by this blog and upload it via the footer widget that is now hovering at the bottom of your screen. Check this out:

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I did say that 2013 would be the year that you are going to be more heavily involved with Becoming Beautiful! And this is just the beginning. So share away!