Travel Adventures - Santorini, Greece

by Kimmy in


Santorini has always been at the top of my bucket list and I was ecstatic to finally see it in the flesh. It is one of the most breathtaking and scenic places I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Even though I only had three days on this stunning island, I was still able to enjoy some of its best-kept secrets:

 

Sleep: When you learn that Gianni Versace reserved every room at The Tsitouras Collection (Main Street, Firostefani, +30 2286 023747) for an entire month, you know instantly that this boutique hotel must offer some seriously luxe accommodation. Guests are treated to private chefs (rooftop dining), stunning views, designer gallery-style rooms and exceptional service. Check out the full review here.

 

Eat: If you are after fresh seafood, head to Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna (Ammoudi Bay, Oia, Kikladhes, +30 2286071606). Guests can handpick their catch-of-the-day, which will be thrown on the grill and straight onto your plate. Insider tip: don’t miss the Lobster linguine, it’s exquisite.

For traditional Greek cuisine head to Metaxi Mas (Exo Gonia, Pyrgos, +30 22860 31323). This restaurant is a local favourite due to its down-to-earth home cooked meals (healthy portions), well priced menu and unbeatable views of the Santorini landscape. Insider tip: there is always a line here and tables are fully booked every night so make sure you have a reservation.

 

Drink: Treat yourself at the Domaine Sigalas Winery (Oia 847 02, +30 2286 071644), an old traditional family vineyard that produces some of the most renowned wines in Greece.

 

Play: If you are in Santorini, you must book yourself on a SailSantorini (Vlyxada marina, +306936712542) adventure. You can choose from a morning half day or sunset boat ride, both options offer on-board lunch/dinner (gourmet seafood BBQ) with hotel transfers. We spent the luxurious trip basking in the sun, swimming in private red, black and white beaches, experiencing volcanic thermal hot springs and revelling in the unbeatable views of the Aegean Sea.

 

Happy Travels x


Travel Adventures - Madrid, Spain

by Kimmy in


It was a whirlwind trip to Madrid this summer, only two days to savour this amazing city. Below are some of my travel tips for those considering a Spanish adventure.

Sleep - we chose the 60 Balconies Urban Stay (Plaza Emperador Carlos V, 11, +34 917 55 33 92) apartments. Situated directly across from Atocha station this little urban escape is centrally located for those who want easy access to local trains (for those day trips you have planned). To top it off, countless cafes, restaurants and bars are on your doorstep.

Cheap Eat – Museo Del Jamon (Carrera de San Jerónimo, 6, +34 915 21 03 46), yes it literally translates to “Museum of Ham”. The best way to describe this place is “delicatessen on crack”. There are more cured meats, marinated goodness and Spanish delights than one could ever dream of. Sit down for a full jug of Sangria and two plates of jamon for only 9 euros! If you are feeling naughty go for a serving of their Paella. It’s not a fine dining experience, but the paella will change your life.

Special Treat – if you are going to Spain for the first time and land in Madrid first (like us), definitely book a table at Metro Bistro Plaza Mayor (Calle Imperial, 3, +34 913 66 33 19). This local gem serves up a traditional Spanish degustation with a modern twist. The small but well thought out dishes provide a delicious glimpse into the world of Spanish cuisine. The Black Pear; baby squid with risotto venere and Ras el Hanout (blend of spices) is to die for!

Drink – there’s nothing better than a rooftop terrace during the balmy summer nights in Madrid. Head to Gaudeamus Café (Calle Tribulete, 14 - 4th Floor, +34 915 28 25 94) for some of the best mojitos you’ll ever taste! Set atop an 18th century monastery and now converted library, this bar serves fantastic (potent) cocktails and mouth-watering tapas.

Tourist Must See – if you are up for a bit of history, I would highly recommend seeing the Royal Palace of Madrid.  It’s the official residence of the Spanish Royal family (but is only used for state ceremonies these days) and it’s absolutely breathtaking. 

My biggest insider tip? The city comes alive after 10:00PM so reset your body clocks! 

Happy Travels x


My Perfume Portrait

by Kimmy in


Okay, I’m not going to lie – I've been wearing the same ‘eau de toilette’ since I was 14 years old. I've always been completely overwhelmed by the concept of picking my personal scent. How the hell am I supposed to choose a single perfume to represent my entire being? My style, my personality; all in a single bottle? Impossible!

That is, until I discovered the personal ‘Perfume Portrait’ services at Peony Haute Parfumerie. The guru of Artisan perfume, Jill Timms welcomed me into her emporium this week in an attempt to save me from “cheap and dreadful top notes sold by mainstream marketing”.

A personal ‘Perfume Portrait' is a very in-depth one-on-one consultation with the fragrance queen herself. Jill asked me to name some perfumes that I have liked or have liked on others. She dissected each answer to find the common essences (using the Michael Edwards Fragrance Database). We spent some time trying different fragrances and Jill studied my reactions carefully. It was a meticulous and fascinating process. 

She also taught me some key rules along the way;

1.      The Fragrance Pyramid;

All perfumes are made of three layers; Top (head), middle (heart) and base notes.

The top notes are the stronger more striking aromas, it’s the initial impression you get of a perfume. However, due to the volatile nature of these molecules – the scent only lasts for a short period of time.

The middle and base notes contain the long lasting scents which create the real essence of the entire perfume. Jill’s tip of the day? “Always wear a fragrance for at least 15 minutes before purchasing it”. After the initial spray, you will notice the scent slowly fades - most of the time, the fragrance completely changes and sometimes, it almost disappears. This depends on the acidity in your skin as well, some fragrances will dissipate after 15 minutes. So always let your perfume sit on your skin for a little while, before committing to it!

 

2.      Long lasting fragrances;

Finally, now I know the difference between; eau de cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfume and perfume! These are categories of quality and strength. Eau de colognes and eau de toilettes contain roughly 7% -10% essence whilst parfumes and perfumes contain around 15-40% essence which makes them longer lasting on the skin.

 

3.      Where you should be applying your perfume;

I was shocked to find that your neck is the worst place to apply perfume! The skin around that area is very sensitive and wearing perfume (with its high level of alcohol) can cause serious damage to skin when exposed to the sun. According to Jill the best places to apply perfume are;

  • Wrists; transfer from one wrist to the other by patting gently, avoid  rubbing as it causes friction and heat which ruins the perfume
  • The back of your neck; this is the area that keeps the perfume subtle yet mysteriously prominent when you are speaking to someone and especially when you greet your friends/family with a hug or kiss.
  • The back of your knees! I was surprised by this tip, but it’s very effective if you are wearing a skirt or dress. It leaves an light trail of fragrance when you walk, very posh!

All-in-all, it was a very insightful day at the parfumerie. Finally, I have graduated into the elegant world of fragrance! What did I take home? A beautiful 100ml bottle of Amouage, Honour. A decadent parfume with white floral notes and a subtle oriental kick. I love it!

Hope this article has inspired you to discover your personal scent.

Good Luck x 


Our Launch Party

by Kimmy in


The day has finally arrived; the Luxe Travel & Style launch party is here!

It has been in planning for months, every single detail has been meticulously managed with crazed obsession. The team have been buzzing with excitement and it’s finally time to test their endurance.

12pm – Final venue inspection at The Emerson. We’re located in the VIP booth on the rooftop and have successfully prepared 400 white roses, 22 vases, 50 glass candles, custom LT&S cupcakes, Veuve on ice, champagne glasses lined up, polaroid camera on site and the crew is ready to roll.

2pm – Wriggling in my seat at the Andy.R Salon anxiously awaiting the reveal of my hair transformation. Only an insane person would decide to go platinum blonde on the day her company launches to the public.

6:30pm – The lovely people from Heartwood Hire arrive with our very luxe 'LT&S' light letters!

8:00pm - The LT&S team are ready to party! Melbourne’s most fabulous VIPs arrive and the party begins…

Credits


The little Zakynthos gem..

by Kimmy in


Okay, the secret is out so we might as well talk about it! If you are planning on traveling to Greece in the near future, please consider visiting one of the world's most beautiful beaches; Shipwreck Beach, Navagio.

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About:

In 1981 a smuggler's ship lost engine power and was washed ashore onto this beautiful cove. The ship was abandoned by it's crew and has remained in the same spot for over 30 years. That's where the nicknames; Smugglers Cove and Shipwreck Beach have come from.

Getting there:

The Shipwreck (Navagio) beach is located on the north-west shore of Zakynthos Island, Greece. It's enclosed by large limestone cliffs and can only be accessed via boat. To get there, you can hire boat services from;

  • Porto Vromi located to the south
  • the Harbor of Saint Nikolas in Volimes, located to the north 
  • the island’s capital city of Zakynthos

Insider Tips:

  1. The secret is slowly getting out, so naturally - Luxe travelers are swarming to the area. A once hidden gem, is now open to the world. So, if you are going to visit Shipwreck Beach, try to go as early as possible or after 3pm to avoid the crowds. 
  2. If you are serious about travel photography, we'd recommend you follow the signs to the Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery - when you arrive there, use the road to your right to get to a small viewing platform some 600ft above the wreck. You'll get some amazing shots from this point.
  3. Even though it's now a popular 'must-see' location, it's still a secluded beach and there are no facilities there. If you're planning to visit, make sure you bring all your amenities with you i.e. water, beach umbrella, sunscreen, snacks...etc

 

Happy Travels! x


Travel Essentials

by Kimmy in


There's nothing better than traveling and discovering the wonders of the world;  experiencing different cultures, tasting exotic cuisines and taking in the breathtaking scenery. But we all know, everything comes at a cost - limited cabin bag allowance!

It's important that you pack the core essentials to ensure your long haul flights don't leave you tired and looking a little worse-for-wear.  Here is a checklist of the essential items every traveler must include in their cabin baggage;

  • Moisturizer - exposing your skin to the cabin's harsh air conditioning for a prolonged period of time can cause some serious damage! You need to keep your skin hydrated by packing a light moisturizer, I'd recommend using something gentle like Olay Complete Defence Moisturizer $13.99 
  • Mouth wash - gotta make sure we stay classy and reach our destination "refreshed", especially if you are meeting someone special at the arrival gate! Get yourself an Aesop travel size mouthwash 50ml  contained in the $75 travel pack
  • Your Camera - the best shots are taken within the first few minutes of arriving on location, so make sure you pack your camera in your cabin luggage so it's easily accessible. Nothing worse than missing those priceless photos because your camera is sitting at the bottom of your suitcase. The Canon EOS 600d is a great travel camera for intermediate photographers, $549. 

Happy Travels x


Colors of Success

by Kimmy in


What are your clothes saying about you?

Psychologists all over the world are telling us that we react very strongly to colors. In fact, 60% of a consumer’s first reaction to a product comes from its color.

So, next time you have a job interview or want to impress someone with your fancy new suit, think about these key color rules;

1. Blue/Navy: Trust, calm, peace

Wear it to establish trust and credibility 

2. Grey: wisdom, efficiency

Wear it to show confidence and efficiency

3. Black: Authority, power, commanding

Wear it when you want to appear reserved, unapproachable or authoritative

*Note: don't forget, these rules are secondary to the Holy Suit Commandment; Thy suit must always be perfectly tailored to fit.


Game of Thrones – the amazing travel locations

by Kimmy in


With an average of 14.2 million viewers per episode, there is no doubt that Game of Thrones is the must-see-phenomenon of the small screen world. Whilst viewers are mesmerized by the nail-biting war scenes, beautiful actors and mystical creatures – there is one thing that fans can actually experience in real life; the Game of Thrones Travel Locations.

Below are some of our favorite locations from the GOT scenes;

1.   Grjotagja cave, Iceland – the hot pool where Jon Snow “spends some quality time” with Ygritte.

1.   Grjotagja cave, Iceland – the hot pool where Jon Snow “spends some quality time” with Ygritte.

2. King’s Landing or Dubrovnik (Croatia) if you want to be politically correct.

2. King’s Landing or Dubrovnik (Croatia) if you want to be politically correct.

3. Remember when Daenerys and Khal Drogo got married? It was here in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

3. Remember when Daenerys and Khal Drogo got married? It was here in Ouarzazate, Morocco.


The After Party Looks

by Kimmy in


"Best and Worst dressed at the Oscars" - it's on the front page of every magazine and every newspaper the next morning. But, the red carpet looks are boring - the Oscars After Party is where the jaw-dropping outfits really come out. 

See below for some of our favorites from the 2014 Oscars After Party.


Adorable Fashion

by Kimmy in


Yes, we've all said it before "I've loved fashion since I was a little girl". No you haven't, not like this little fashion queen;

Photo courtesy of Instagram @2sisters_angie

Photo courtesy of Instagram @2sisters_angie

She's only four years old and she's already rocking the runway looks. According to this little girl's mother, Angie (@2sisters_angie) - little "Mayhem" refused to wear "store-bought princess dresses" and so she started an amazing journey of creative design. Angie and her daughter work together to create these stunning dresses using everyday items found in their craft box; tissue paper, construction paper, wrapping paper, gift bags...etc 

I'll order one in each color please Ms Mayhem!


Travel Trends for 2014

by Kimmy in


What's the new travel trend for 2014?

Luxury. Customized. Private.

That’s what travelers are wanting on their vacations this year. We no longer have to suffer in shoe-box sized hotel rooms with no windows. The world of luxury private villas, which used to be reserved only for Hollywood superstars and VIPs, is now opening its doors to the everyday traveler.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to get your very own piece of heaven. The introduction of private hosting websites such as Airbnb, Flipkey and Roomorama has dramatically changed the game of VIP traveling.

See below for some of Luxe Travel and Style's favorites;

Photo: Courtesy of AirBnb How about a Cave villa in Santorini?

Photo: Courtesy of AirBnb

How about a Cave villa in Santorini?

Photo: Courtesy of Chiawa Camp There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of glamping (glamour camping) – when in Zambia!

Photo: Courtesy of Chiawa Camp

There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of glamping (glamour camping) – when in Zambia!

Photo: Courtesy of Carpe Diem Luxury Travel Italian farmhouse in Umbria – five bedrooms, tennis court and a heated pool.

Photo: Courtesy of Carpe Diem Luxury Travel

Italian farmhouse in Umbria – five bedrooms, tennis court and a heated pool.


Top Picks from London Fashion Week FW14

by Kimmy in


In complete contrast to New York's monochrome, the streets of London are bright with colors this year. Statement accessories, bold color blocking and relaxed-no-effort hair are the trends of the town.

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The runway is following suit! We're seeing some beautiful sleek high shine pieces but there is a hint of creative color behind every look. Below are some of our favorite looks from Fendi, Gucci , Prada and Moschino.

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New York Fashion Week '14

by Kimmy in


Everyone loves a little bit of Street Style. Let's see what our favorite fashionistas are wearing in New York this week. Major trends this season; 

  • Over-sized fur
  • Bold Ecru 
  • The Boyfriend trench

Garden party anyone?

by Kimmy in


Planning an outdoor soiree? Get some inspiration from our garden event styling album above. Some key points to remember;

  • Selecting the right season - all your fabulous guests will be enjoying your party outdoors, so we want to avoid sweating or freezing to death. An outdoor event should be restricted to milder temperatures; Spring & Fall are best.
  • Appropriate Dress Code - if your event is located somewhere with soft foundations such as sand or dirt, please don't expect your guests to be dressed in full fancy gear. No one enjoys heel sinkage or dirt stained dresses.
  • Outdoor luxury  - okay, yes you are having a garden party but you still need to bring the Luxe. Ensure there is a good balance of outdoor charm and modern day luxury. Candles always do the trick. 

Good luck!


NYC Must See - Queen Of the Night

by Kimmy in


The Luxe Travel & Style team were buzzing with excitement after attending the decadent, dark and luxurious "Queen of the Night" launch party. The Diamond Horseshoe (beneath the Paramount Hotel) finally unlocked it's mysterious doors after more than 60 years. What was inside?

Entire walls created from real butterfly wings, a knife-throwing temptress, beautiful acrobats and a royal feast. Yes, all this in one night under one roof. Queen of the Night is an immersive theater experience from the creators of Sleep No More. Guests are treated to an elaborate night of debauchery, mystery, excitement and decadence.  

We arrived at the Diamond Horseshoe at 8:45pm on New Years Eve, the opening night of the show and had no idea what to expect. We were ushered into the dark lobby to check in our bags and coats and were specifically told "No cameras - The Queen would like to keep this event private and intimate".  As soon as we entered the ball room, a beautiful young man in a white tuxedo and cut off shorts grabbed my hand, caressed my neck and kissed my forehead. He lured me away from the group and took me deeper into the crowd.... the rest, is a secret. What I can tell you is, its an unforgettable night, you'll never experience theater in this way anywhere else in the world. You don't just watch a show, you become part of the show. We wined and dined like royalty; lobsters, whole sucking pigs and hand-fed Hazelnut Dacquoise. We danced. We discovered. We enjoyed.

It's truly an experience not to be missed - by far, the best show I've ever been to.