Happy Six Months, Style Unearthed!

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Today, my little blog turns six months old! In March, I was stuck in a style rut. I was losing weight and trying to work out how I would update my wardrobe now that the majority of my clothes didn’t fit. The idea of writing about my experience, and possibly helping other people along the way was born. Along the way Style Unearthed has had a make over, moved to a .com and I decided to start writing about beauty, health and wellness, and home as well. Unearthing my style has become even more than just my wardrobe.

I am excited to see people reading, and love the emails or comments I get on Facebook. It’s nice to see familiar names and to start to build relationships with people that I don’t know in person! I am going to take this opportunity to ask you what you would like to see on Style Unearthed in the next few months. I have a long list of things I would like to cover, so let’s add to it. New ideas and topics to write about are wonderful, and having readers ask me to research or discover new products on their behalf is great fun. If you have a particular topic, trend, product or project that you would like me to write about, please let me know in the comments section.

You can follow Style Unearthed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Thank you for reading, and visiting this space. Here’s to the next six months!

So, what would you like to see on Style Unearthed? Any shops I need to visit, beauty products I need to try or rooms I need to renovate? Don’t be shy, please tell me below.

Summer Casual Outfits

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I’ve been doing a little shopping lately. We had an early pop of summer, and as all last year’s clothes were too big, I had to go shopping (so sad, ha!). Although there are lots of gorgeous summer clothes on offer, I knew I had to still be practical and choose things I could wear for both work and while I was with my own kids. I didn’t need any more dresses, but I found some lovely tops with prints and other embellishments. I also picked up some tailored shorts and cute skirts which I will share with you in the coming weeks.

The above outfit is super casual, and perfect for a summer’s day. I’ve been on the search for a good pair of denim shorts for a couple of years. They’re either too tight, too short or just not right. The ‘Baby Bear’ complex. I finally found the perfect pair at my local Target, and they were on special. Double win! I paired them with a white singlet and my gorgeous Ashloc Designs* necklace for a pop of colour. You can find the shorts here and the singlet here. I bought the sandals from a surf shop last year but you can find similar here and here. If you don’t think you’re a surf shop kind of person, don’t discount them on face value. They have fantastic hats, sunglasses and casual shoes as well as swim wear. I would like some casual tan sandals for this year, after my post a couple of weeks ago, but I might put them on my Christmas list.

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I bought this dress last year when I was starting to re-evaluate my wardrobe. Chevron was everywhere (and still is), but the dress wasn’t black and it was something that differed from what I normally wore. It’s almost like a dress/kaftan hybrid. It feels really nice on, and I love the batwings and lower back line. It’s a little on the big side now, but it’s become one of my firm favourites. I have also worn it with black wedges for a dressier look. It’s not available anymore, but you can find similar here and here.

Please excuse the pony tail – it’s super windy here today, and I’m due for a hair cut this afternoon. Why do I always choose rainy and windy days to book in at the hair dressers? I am planning about a hair-centred post – stay tuned for that. Am I the only person who goes to the hair dresser with little intention of what to do? I often end up in two minds. I’m trying to grow my hair which is a long process, and it’s at the awkward in-between stage. Watch Instagram for the results!

Do you have a favourite Summer casual outfit? Do you make plans before you go to the hair dressers?

 

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This post contains a reviewed product (marked with a *), and affiliate links, in line with my disclosure policy.

How to Find the Perfect Summer Hat

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It’s getting to that time in Australia – the annual search for the perfect swimsuit, and the perfect sun hat. The swimsuits we will look at in another post, but today we will talk about how to find the perfect summer hat. As an Aussie kid of the 80’s and 90’s, I have the ‘slip, slop, slap’ message implanted firmly in my brain. I have fair skin thanks to my English and Scottish heritage, and although I had my fair share on sunburns as a teenager who was lax with sunscreen, I am now extra careful in the sun. The Cancer Council recommends a wide brimmed hat, with a weave that is close together so it doesn’t let in much sun. We all know that wide brimmed hats can be less than fashionable, so I have searched for six of the best.

Wide Brim hats

1. Billabong Love Me Floppy hat – $25.99  | 2. Forever NewLindsay Lurex hat – $34.99 | 3. Roxy Summer Time Hat – $29.99 | 4. Dents Wide Brim Paper Braid sunhat from Birdsnest – $24.95 | 5. Akubra Balmoral hat from Hats by the Hundred – $89.95 | 6. Bondi Beach Bag Co Wide Brim hat from The Iconic – $50

One of the best places I have found fashionable hats over the years is surf shops. Brands like Billabong, Roxy and Element make great hats for the beach and outdoors. Many have wide brims and are tested for proper UV protection, which is important in the harsh Australian sun. A classic hat like the one from Bondi Beach Bag Co, with big sunglasses and a flowing maxi dress will create instant summer style, and would look great on a lunch date. For something a bit different, wrap your favourite silk scarf around the base of the hat to create a colourful band that can compliment your outfit.

Fedoras and trilbies are other hat shapes that have become very popular in the past few years. They don’t provide as much sun protection as a wide brimmed hat, but they look great and would be fine for a short amount of time under the rays.

Trilbies and Fedoras

1. Portmans Floral Aztec Fedora – $25 | 2. Target Summer Fedora – $15 | 3. Tigerlily Sonal Fedora from Westfield – $70 | 4. Sportscraft Liberty Trilby from Westfield – $60 | 5. Dents Woven Paper Trilby from Birdsnest – $25 | 6. Sportscraft Monica Trilby from Westfield – $50

I love the shape of fedoras and trilbies, and the fact that they bring a casual feel to an outfit. Perfect with a pair of shorts and some cute sandals, they really work as an accessory and not just sun protection. Being small means that they can easily fit inside a beach bag without being squashed, meaning that you are always ready for the warm weather.

Try to store your hats on a hook, or stacked gently in a pile so they don’t get damaged. Squashing or bending them can ruin the weave of the material, letting in more sun and rendering them not as protective.

The Cancer Council recommend using hats with a UPF protection rating of 50+, in conjunction with wrap around sunglasses, at least 30+ sun cream, sufficient clothing and shade to keep yourself safe from the sun.

Do you wear hats in summer? What style is your favourite?

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Head to Toe – Ben Sherman

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Ben Sherman has been an iconic British brand for the past 50 years. Their unique style, bold prints and hard wearing fabrics are some of the brand’s hall mark features. After returning from living in America in the 1960s, Ben Sherman wanted to re-create the classic button down shirt with a British flair. Their collection has been evolving ever since, with the addition of casual and tailored pants and shorts for men, and pants, dresses, skirts and blazers for women. We are lucky to be living in Australia, as we are the only country that can purchase Ben Sherman’s women’s wear in-store. The brand caters for the warmer southern hemisphere weather, altering fabrics and fit to suit our lifestyle. I love a bit of prep, and the brand certainly caters for that! Department stores like David Jones often stock the brand, but if you don’t have access to DJ’s it can be found at Ben Sherman’s online store or at The Iconic.

I bought my first Ben Sherman shirt in 2008, and have been wearing it regularly ever since. It still looks brand new, and is incredibly comfortable. It is great for work, with jeans or black pants. I have also worn it tucked into a black pencil skirt. Although the price may be more than you would normally pay for a shirt, the cost-per-wear makes it more than worth it. I love that the shirts are made with long arm lengths – being tall I am used to shirts coming half way up my forearm. This is not the case with this brand. This season, their classic Westminster fit shirts come in a variety of limited edition Liberty prints, exclusive to Ben Sherman.

Let’s have a look at what they have to offer this season.

Ben Sherman for Work

1. L/S Ponte Blazer – $199.95 | 2. Sleeveless Ladder Lace Shirt – $99.95 | 3. Long Sleeved Shawl Collared Blazer at The Iconic – $249.95 | 4. Floral Spliced Pencil Skirt – $119.95 | 5. Tailored Cigarette Pants – $129.95

One of the things I love is the classic, tailored work wear. Blazers in bright colours, and fitted pants and skirts. Pieces can be mixed and matched, and can effortlessly flow into your existing wardrobe.

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1. Sleeveless Floral Print Tank at The Iconic – $54.95 | 2. Double Layer Stripe Double Breasted Sweat at The Iconic – $67.01 (on sale) |  3. Embroidered Stripe Top – $119.95 | 4. Ponte Pencil Skirt at The Iconic – $60 (on sale) | 5. Biker Jean – $129.95 | 6. Lampshade Style Ponte Mini Skirt at The Iconic – $79.95

The brand also caters for casual wear, with brightly coloured knits, cute skirts and fashionable jeans. I especially love the double breasted sweat jacket – perfect for a casual outfit with jeans and Converse while the weather is warming up. While the skirts are on the short side (and having long legs makes them extra short!) they can be paired with leggings for modesty.

Ben Sherman Dresses

1. Blue China Print Dress at The Iconic – $249.95 | 2. Sleeveless Tie Waist Dress – $149.95 | 3. Short Sleeved Sweetheart Neckline Dress at The Iconic – $199.95

I love the dresses in this season’s collection. From tailored to classic and floral, there is really something for everyone. I particularly love the Blue China Print Dress. My Nana has a large collection of blue china, so it immediately reminding me of that. It would be perfect for a garden wedding or a girly high tea.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse into Ben Sherman’s collection. Head to Toe is a new series in which I will focus on a brand that I love. If you have a brand that I need to know about for the next post, please email styleunearthed@gmail.com.

What is your favourite piece from the Ben Sherman collection? Do you have a go-to brand that you love?

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Roast Vegetable Salad

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I am a big fan of simple recipes in Summer, and this one is no exception. Roasting the vegetables is the most time consuming part, but once they’re peeled and chopped you can put them in the oven and go about your business for the next 40 minutes (or so). Healthy and very adaptable, this will be a regular offering on our summer table again this year.

Roast Vegetable Salad (serves four)

Time Approximately 60 minutes (20 minutes prep time and 40 minutes roasting time).

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato

2 large potatoes

Half a small butternut pumpkin

Mixed lettuce leaves

1 Lebanese cucumber

Six cherry tomatoes (halves or quartered)

Half a red capsicum

Half a packet sprout mix (sprouted lentils and chickpeas)

Method

1. Wash and peel potato, sweet potato and pumpkin.

2. Chop vegetables into small pieces.

3. Place in roasting pan and lightly drizzle with oil.

4. Place into oven pre-heated to 180 degrees Celsius and cook for approximately 40 minutes or until brown and crispy.

5. While the vegetables are cooking, rinse and chop the remaining vegetables and place in a bowl.

6. Allow the roast vegetables to cool, then mix through the cold salad mix.

7. Serve with a piece of bread if you wish.

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This salad has so many variations, which is one thing I love about it. I have previously roasted chickpeas and capsicum, and have also added walnuts and pine nuts. Feel free to adapt it to your tastes, and add your favourite salad ingredients. It is a very filling dish, and being able to add protein through the chickpeas and lentils is great. If you eat meat you could easily add some chicken pieces, but to be honest it is lovely on it’s own!

Do you have a favourite salad recipe? What will you be serving in your salad bowl this Summer?

How to Wear Tan Sandals

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Spring has sprung, and the weather is warming up. As a result, I am on the look out for a cute pair of tan sandals to add to my wardrobe. The perfect summer shoe can be worn with dresses, skirts or denim, and can be dressed up or down. Yes, my favourite buzz word again. Versatile! I need something that can fit in with my pre-existing wardrobe, as well as with the pieces that I have purchased already for the warmer weather. Sticking to a neutral shoe means that it will match your clothes on the majority of occasions, and let the colour in your outfits take centre stage.

I have put together a casual, dressy-er (it is Summer and beach weather, after all!) and denim outfit to show case some neutral sandals. Most are all available from Australian stockists, and all can be found online.

Casual Tan Sandal

 

1. Just Because Safron Sandal from The Iconic – $69.95 | 2. Sussan Scoop City Tank – $19.95 | 3. Reiss Jeans Portia Tan Belt – $85 (US) | 4. Forever New Jersey Striped Maxi Skirt – $49.95 | 5. Lovisa Blue Crystal Twist Necklace – $24.99

My striped maxi skirt from Forever New has been an absolute workhorse over Winter. I am looking forward to teaming it with a simple singlet and some flat sandals for the warmer weather. A statement necklace will add some interest to a plain tank. I love this chunky crystal neck piece from Lovisa. A belt around the waist would break up the outfit, and looks great with the tucked-in tank.

Tan Sandal Dress

1. Spurr Jenna Sandal at The Iconic – $30 | 2. Forever New Karlie Mirror Printed Dress – $99.95 | 3. Lovisa Silver Asymmetric Bangle – $14.99 | 4. Old Navy Crochet Straw Fedora – $9.97 (US)

This outfit would be perfect for a casual lunch by the beach with friends, or an afternoon of sipping cocktails by the pool (yes please!). It could also go from day to night by swapping out the flat sandals for some chunky heels or wedges, and losing the hat. A cute white cardigan or bolero would keep the cool nights at bay.

Tan Sandal Denim Outfit

1. Bett’s Detention Sandal – $89.99 | 2. Target Longhorn Print Tank – $7 | 3. Forever New Lexie Ripped Boyleg Short – $49.99 | 4. Diva Electric Blue Statement Stone necklace – $14.99

Rolled up denim shorts, a casual singlet or tee and sandals are the ultimate in Summer cool. Whether you wear them to a festival, a shopping trip or to a BBQ, you will look great and feel comfortable. You could easily follow the botanicals trend with this outfit – there are so many floral tops adorning the shelves at the moment.

Do you own the perfect pair of Summer sandals? What is your Spring/Summer uniform?

A Party Fit for a Super Hero

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Last weekend, we celebrated my son’s birthday. He has loved all things super hero for the better part of a year, so what better theme to have for his birthday party? I love planning parties for my children – it’s such a joy seeing their little faces light up when they see the decorations. I probably enjoy it a little too much, matching colours and picking themes.We still have some of the hanging decorations on display, because who doesn’t want their birthday to last a little longer?

When I started planning the party I decided I didn’t want to use the super heroes in their ‘normal’ forms if I could help it, so I turned to Pinterest and Etsy. Given that he was turning five, I thought I would be able to get away with this cute printable set from Print Magic. It came with so many options and while it was a bit time consuming printing, laminating and cutting out, they looked fantastic and more importantly my son loved them.

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I think my favourite things were the super hero cut outs that I mounted on sticks, and stuck inside tin and plastic buckets from Pink Frosting. I bought the buckets two birthdays ago and they’re still going strong! The cut outs looked really cute on the table, and have the bonus of being able to put on puppet shows after the party.

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The party was in the afternoon, and we served a mixture of hot savoury food, fruit, crudites with dip and of course some lollies. My son has a dairy allergy, so everything was dairy free (bar one flavour of chips). It’s always hard when he goes to someone else’s party as he has to question what is in everything, so I love that he can just pick anything off the table at his own party.

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We had an epic game of pass the parcel, and with 19 guests it was no easy feat! Luckily some of the kids decided that a lolly pop was good enough and didn’t wait around to see if they would get a big prize so it narrowed the field. I used Spotify to make a play list of themes from super hero TV shows which had lots of people singing along. I picked up a $5 quoits game from Kmart which we called the ‘Baterang’ game, and the kids loved playing. We had also found a Spiderman target game that provided entertainment, but most of the smaller children just loved running around in the back garden and playing on the swings. I had found some Wonder Woman, Super Man and Bat Man bubble baths at my local supermarket to give away as prizes, and some magic face washers with Batman and Spiderman that expand in the bath. There were also ‘power bracelets’ for the girls.

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The printables set came with cute colouring pages, and I made up a basket with some cardboard masks from a local art store. I popped in some other crafty bits and pieces, and some of the older children enjoyed decorating their own super hero mask. They even had the idea of using the stripy paper straws I had bought to make them into masquerade masks!

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I bought some colourful paper lanterns from a discount shop and strung them up across the dining table where we had the food. I used some of the printables to decorate them, and strung red, blue and yellow streamers up as well. The lanterns were only $2 each but they looked so effective, and they are going to be relocated to the birthday boy’s room this weekend.

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You could also use tissue paper pom poms to get a similar effect, or string them together in a bunch. They have really come down in price since they first hit the market, and I noticed that our local party shop sells them now as well, when I could only previously find them online.

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Mr Style Unearthed is the cake maker in our family – he loves experimenting with tricky designs and fondant. I’m more of a packet mix and butter cream icing kind of girl! I made my son’s first birthday cake, but since then my husband has been the designated baker. In past years we have had Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba, a fire engine, and Mike the Knight. This year was ‘Super H’, complete with cape. It had a vanilla layer and a chocolate layer, and tasted great.

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And with a view of the cape…

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It has become tradition for my wonderful mother-in-law to make cupcakes to fit the theme of the kids’ parties, and this year she and my father-in-law out did themselves! They made Spiderman cupcakes with dairy free white chocolate Spidey faces, and Batman cupcakes with fondant bat signals.

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The kids loved them, and they tasted great too. There were a few with just the tops eaten off – glad to see that icing is still the best bit of a cake for a kid!

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What would a party be without party bags? In the past I have tried to do themed party bags but I left my run a little late this year. A trip to the party shop, discount shop and KMart did the trick and I think everyone went home happy. We had lots of bubbles left over from a previous party, so I used the chocolate wrappers from the printable set to label them. The party bags were simple paper loot bags that fitted the colour theme, and I stapled themed labels to them.

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The labels were really cute, and made the bags look great sitting there altogether waiting to go home with the kids.

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I think all the guests had as much fun celebrating as I did planning, which is the most important thing! Now on to planning for round two in October, when our littlest will turn two. Stay tuned!