Recently mum and I travelled to Cabeceiras de Basto in Portugal, a small town where my parents were born, as well as yours truly. To get to Cabeceiras, we needed to travel to Braga which is a large city near the top of inland Portugal, which you can either drive, take the bus or take the train. Well, I’ve never driven in Portugal in before (the drive on the opposite side of the road compared to Australia – we drive on the left hand side so the thought kind freaks me out. Haha!), I will never go on the bus ever again as I get severe bus sickness like you would not believe (so not joking!!) and so the last option is the only option for us: the train.

From Amadora (which is about twenty minutes from Lisbon), we took the train to the Gare do Oriente train station which is in Lisbon and it takes about three and a half hours to get to Braga, and you have free wifi now on the train which was brilliant for me, as I sit here working on my latest post for you guys.

For any long travel, I prefer to dress casual but with still a hint of style but staying true to comfortability and for me, I chose once again my trusty jumpsuit, as you all know I have a deep love affair with play-suits and jumpsuits.

Jumpsuits are one of my ultimate favourite clothing staples with for a few years now and I probably own around 10 or 11 jumpsuits (and playsuits too), which range from casual to very dressed up.  With a jumpsuit it’s literally just putting it on and go. For me, they are extremely stylish, have an edge to it (depending on the designers cut and style of it) and are very comfortable. Unfortunately, not every woman is able to wear a jumpsuit and you really need to be careful with jumpsuits that have ‘loud patterns’ as majority of them will not flatter any figure in my opinion.

I bought this jumpsuit recently at a budget clothing store here in Amadora (Portugal) called ‘Loja Shangrila’, which sells lots of clothes all made in China for 9 euros which converted to Australian dollars is $15.00. I just love the casual cut and style of it, giving the impression its a dress when really its a jumpsuit. I loved it so much that I went and bought it in chocolate brown!

Gare do Oriente train station, Lisboa (Portugal)
Train heading to Braga

Wearing: Jumpsuit bought at a Chinese clothing store which doesn’t have a website but similar hereherehere and affordable here and here)
Novo Shoes flip flops (affordable here)
K-Mart Australia fedora hat – $9.00 (similar here)
K-Mart Australia cross-body bag – $9.00 (affordable here)

photos by Mateus Barroso

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Lisbon was voted earlier this year as the best European city to visit worldwide. Like, hello?!! OK, I may be biased as I’m Portuguese and majority of my family lives in Lisbon, however when you arrive into Lisbon you are greeted by the warmth of the people, the old and new worlds colliding within each other and creating such magical beauty.  The sun is constantly shinning ,highlighting the city’s unique architecture and beauty.

In this weeks post, I’ve rounded up my favourite stores I am forever shopping at whenever I’m in Portugal and even though a few of them exist here in Australia finally now, because I first discovered them many years in Portugal, its still my preferred place to shop at. And what I am about to reveal is the God honest truth – because I own a holiday home in Amadora (city thats 10 minutes away by train), when I travel back to my homeland, I take a (enormous) suitcase with me but it only has clothes that I want to leave behind in my house in Portugal. So whenever I am there, I’m wearing clothes from Australia and when I’m my way back home to Australia, well… let’s just say that suitcase is the biggest you can buy from a store and it is completely and utterly packed out to the max!! I buy EVERYTHING over in Portugal and bring it back home to Australia.  😀

ZARA

I fell in love with Zara many many years ago and every time I flew back to Portugal for holidays and I would just stock up Zara clothes as Australia for a long while didn’t have a Zara store until it finally opened up in Sydney in 2011. Now, I shop at both Zara in Australia and Portugal, combining both of their different seasons. #winning

Few clothing brands keep up with the latest fashion, are of high quality and more importantly, yet affordable. It’s probably all of these qualities that have made Zara, the Spanish clothing brand become the go-to fashion brand for all all over the world, and still dominate many years later.

The secret to Zara’s success is largely due because of the way it keeps up with street fashion with the changing times. The brand takes a look at how fashion is changing every day and makes new designs and puts them into stores in a week or two. Most other fashion brands tend to take a whole six months to get their new designs onto the market.

BERSHKA

Bershka was first launched in 1998 and to make them stand out from all the other clothing stores, Bershka utilises music, screens, projections, modern graphics, fashionable colours, contemporary furniture design, state-of-the-art lighting, to make their store a welcoming happy shopping environment for all of its customers. I can assure you that this little blogger here, is always very happy shopping in their store. 😀

“Bershka’s public is characterized by adventurous young people, who are aware of the latest trends and are interested in music, social networks and new technologies.”

I fell in love with Bershka, I think it was about eleven or so years ago and have continued on since then buying in large loads  of clothes, shoes and  accessories, whenever I’m back in Portugal. Their style is a little alternative, with a very cool and laid back stylish vibe.

MANGO

Mango first begun operating in Spain in 1984 and is now found all over the world. Mango is characterized by offering fashion for the young, modern and urban woman. It has its own design which adopts the latest fashion tendencies and is presented from casual, to suit and evening, and MNGJeans.

Mango has created a diverse collection so that every woman will find garments, form the pure basics to the most fashionable, which match her style and her personality. I first started shopping at Mango about twelve years ago and been a huge fan of their collection since then.

Even though we have Mango here in Australia, I do find that the store here is a tad more expensive than what it is in Europe. But either way, I have always been a fan of the simplicity cuts and styling of Mango and am constantly adding to my wardrobe. I do tend to buy up big whenever I am back in Portugal. I always make sure whenever I am travelling back to the motherland, its usually during August and September, as that is the best shopping time as throughout Portugal (and pretty much all over Europe) that is when the MASSIVE sales on! And when I say MASSIVE SALES, the discount sales are incredible!!

LEFTIES

Lefties is one of the more affordable fashion companies, as it adapts to the needs of the market, providing design and fashion trends at a reasonable price and is currently  only in 4 countries (Spain, Portugal, Russia and Mexico) with a network of 127 stores. It belongs to the Inditex, which is one of the largest fashion and distribution groups in the world.

The Lefties brand is designed for all types of customer and for all age groups. The company has three sections: women, men, and the children’s section (baby, girl & boy). Womenswear is the most visible section, and most representative of the brand.

Their stores also include really footwear and accessories and are all at such amazing affordable prices. And when its sales time at Lefties, I can tell you – you will just bring home so many great clothes at ridiculous sales prices.

PULL&BEAR

Pull&Bear first started in 1991 with a clear intention of dressing young people who are involved with their environment and relate to each other. Their whole structure is about people who have a casual dress sense, who shun stereotypes and who want to feel good in whatever they are wearing. Pull&Bear take extreme notice of what the latest international trends are, mixing it with the influences that are seen on the street and in clubs, and then reworking it so it fits in with their style.

Pull&Bear evolves at the same pace as its customer, always watching out for new technologies, social movements and the latest artistic or musical trends. All of this can be seen reflected not only in its designs but also in stores. It brings the latest international trends to the street in the form of easy, comfortable and casual clothes. 

I got introduced to Pull&Bear by my cousin ten years ago and my first buy was this AMAZING A-line burgundy coat, that even though back then it cost me 95 euros (about $160.00 Australian), this coat has remained in perfect condition even though I pretty much have worn it to death! I find that their clothing are very trendy but still remaining that cool edge about them.

H&M

Now seriously, who doesn’t love H&M? It’s like the holy grail of high-street stores, and you can pretty much find one practically anywhere in the world. H&M is a Swedish clothing-retail company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. It first opened up in 1947 (say what?!!) and is ranked the second largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain-based Inditex (Zara, Mango etc). H&M which relies on taking advantage of fashion trends as they appear and getting their products onto the shelves from the design room floor as quickly as possible

The best days to shop in the H&M stores are Mondays and Thursdays—that’s when they receive their new shipments! 

H&M have changed their clothing lines over the past few years to maintain the momentum where it now includes the Conscious – Sustainable Style (meaning environmentally friendly), Premium Quality (a tad more pricey) and Guest Designer (yep, very pricey but still kinda affordable). I love H&M for their street style edginess and affordability.

Tell me about your favourite stores you love to shop at if you travel overseas, or even at home?

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I had heard that Tommy Hilfiger and Gigi Hadid a while ago were going to be collaborating and to be honest I didn’t think too much about it (.i.e. I didn’t get that excited). I knew it was to be nautical and military inspired, also that it would be a good collection because of the brilliance of Tommy Hilfiger. But one day as I was going about my usual window shopping expedition at Colombo Shopping Centre in Lisbon (Portugal), I walked past the iconic designers store on the second level and abruptly stopped, right there and then!

Oh. My. God!

What I saw, standing from outside the store was this to die for long military coat on the mannequin, my mouth literally dropping to the floor and then to see the cropped wool jumper that seriously  then sealed the deal for me to go into the store to check it all out. Those sailor trouser pants!! There was no way that I could NOT buy these sailor trousers! Yes they are expensive but my oh my they are so worth it!! They are figure hugging and really accentuate and compliment your body. They have a zipper on the left hand side and the top part of the trousers fits over waist and sucks you in, giving the hour glass curve. The cut and style of the trousers will suit more for women/girls who have a bit of height to them to be honest, due to the length of the leg of the trousers.

The TOMMYxGIGI collection is a combination of both the iconic designer and the supermodel’s signatures style which has created a truly memorable and show stopping package even though the nautical style isn’treally that original, however the pieces are all draw-dropping gorgeous. Most items have sold out online and there is a rumour that the pair will collaborate again for next season (YAY!!).

In this collection there are skintight pleather pants, embellished black motorcycle jackets, long navy pea-coats, striped fitted sweaters and sweater dresses, oversized cream crew sweaters and boyfriend jackets, letter shirts, oversized hoodies, satin basketball tanks and boxing shorts – are just a few of the amazing pieces!! All I know is I want each and every item in this collection – I am seriously obsessed!!

Wearing: Vintage top (similar here, here, here, and here), TOMMYxGIGI Denim Sailor Trouser , TOMMYxGIGI Sailor Hat, H&M digital watch and clogs.

SOME TOMMYxGIGI SUGGESTIONS

TOMMYxGIGI Denim Sailor Trouser  – $242.00 (AUD / £ 150.00

TOMMYxGIGI High Waist Button Detail Skinny Trousers – $183.00 (AUD)

TOMMYxGIGI Sailor Hat – $96.46 (AUD / £59.99

TOMMYxGIGI Cable Knit Jumper – $302.00 (AUD)

TOMMYxGIGI Elastic Heeled Ankle Boots – $262.00 (AUD)

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I recently caught up with a longtime good friend of mine, Claudia for a catch-up date at my favourite coffee house in Amadora, called Dom Café. The coffee house has just recently undergone a renovation and I am just loving the complete new style of the place. It has an ecletic mix of art deco, cuban and brasillian influence to the entire coffee house.

The perfect outfit for me for when I’m catching up with a friend, is the trusty jumpsuit. Jumpsuits are one of my ultimate favourite clothing staples I have truly been obsessed with for a few years now. I own around 8 or 9 jumpsuits, which range from casual to very dressed up.

With a jumpsuit it’s literally just putting it on and go. For me, they are extremely stylish, have an edge to it (depending on the designers cut and style of it) and are very comfortable. Unfortunately, not every woman is able to wear a jumpsuit and you really need to be careful with jumpsuits that have ‘loud patterns’ as majority of them will not flatter any figure in my opinion.

I bought this jumpsuit recently at a budget clothing store here in Amadora (Portugal) called ‘Loja Shangrila’, which sells lots of clothes all made in China for 9 euros which converted to Australian dollars is $15.00. I love the casual cut and style of it, giving the impression its a dress when really its a jumpsuit. I loved it so much that I went and bought it in the colour black!

"All You Need Is Love & A Good Coffee"
My close friend, Claudia. Love ya amiga x

FOUR WAYS TO CHANGE UP YOUR JUMPSUIT

  • ADD A BELT: this trick will define your figure
  • ADD A SHIRT or TURTLENECK: layer it with a shirt or a turtle neck to make you even more street style edge.
  • ACCESSORISE in the SAME COLOUR: match your accessories to take your look to another level
  • MONOCHROME IT: wear just the one colour from head to toe, this will make you stand out (only in a good way!). It makes it for a very stylish impact.
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I've been a huge fan of facial masks for quite a few years and over time they have become one of my absolute favourite skin care products that I religiously use.

They’re so easy to use and deliver results straight away.  The most amazing thing about using a good facial mask is the way how your skin feels afterwards: clean, ever so smooth and nice & tight. 

And ladies, that’s just after one single use!  J’adore!

‘SO, SHOULD I USE A FACIAL MASK?’

Abso-freaking-lutely!  100%!!  I do believe everyone should be using them! Even if you don’t want to do the whole cleansing, toner and serum routine, then at least use a facial mask a few times a week.

It won’t take you that long and you can sit in your snuggly pjamas, curled up on the couch whilst watching your favourite show, all with your facial mask on!

With the right facial mask, you can will help hydrate your skin and remove any excess oils and help improve the appearance of your pores.  It’s also going to help you feel a little more relaxed, especially when you’ve had a stressful day at work. There are some masks that come infused with aromatic essential oils such as mint and rosemary, lavender and bergamot, which will lift up your spirit by stimulating your senses. In the end, seriously your skin is going to thank you big time and soon you will be glowing. Basically its like pampering yourself in the comfort of your own home!

Mmmmmm, chocolate!’

I was recently in a store here in Portugal and stumbled upon a facial mask product made by a spanish company called S&S that seriously stopped me in my tracks. It was chocolate. Yes, you read that right, chocolate! Now first let me make it clear, that its not actual everyday chocolate that you eat. Oh no no, it is not! This product has cocoa (or the correct word being, cacao) and flavonoid properties that works within the skin as well as it does internally. Chocolate flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light which help protect and increase blood flow to the skin and improve the skin’s hydration and complexion.

CHOCOLATE IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN’

Chocolate is already used in so many skin care products such as body butters, scrubs and moisture soap bars. One awesome thing to remember is that dark chocolate is really rich in antioxidants and they will help to keep your skin nice and firm, resilient and smoother as you get older. Sounds like a good enough reason to add a piece of dark chocolate every night as an evening delight! 😉 So try to look out for more skincare products that have cocoa in it.

A few benefits of using chocolate in skin care products include:

  • Chocolate is high in anti-oxidants and contains anti-ageing properties
  • Chocolate will give you a healthy glow to your face (seriously!)
  • Increases the production of collagen and lightens blemishes and acne marks
  • Hydrates and nourishes your skin and softens delaying the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
  • Acts as a deep moisturiser, keeping the moisture locked in
  • It can help calm and heal irritated skin
  • Promotes skin cell rejuvenation and also, rejuvenates it from the inside out (like I said, eat more chocolate!)
  • It promotes circulation to the skin

THE FACIAL MASK TO BUY

HOW TO APPLY A FACE MASK

  • Now, I’ll be honest you’re going to make a mess! *LOL* Just make sure that you pull back all of your hair so its not near your face and also make sure to wear clothes that you won’t mind getting messy from the mask.

  • I always cleanse my face before applying a facial mask. I hear you ask why? The reason being is that you want to remove all of the surface dirt, oils and make-up as this will help to ensure that you receive all of the benefits of your facial mask. The way it was made to!

  • Now I’ve recently started to use a make up brush to apply my facial mask. Its cleaner and less messier this way. With downward strokes, apply your mask all over your face. Make sure to avoid eye area, keep your nose nice and clear so that you can breathe nice and easy. Apply the mask all the way from the face even down to the neck (even over your décolletage area, your upper chest area). The neck and the décolletage are very important areas to always remember as those two areas are the actual places a woman will actually see first signs of ageing (hello??? turkey neck?!).

  • Main point to always remember: it’s called a facial mask, so you should look like you’re wearing a mask.

  • If your facial mask says “leave it on for ten minutes” then you leave it on for ONLY ten minutes! If it says, “leave it on for fifteen minutes” then you ONLY leave it on for fifteen minutes. NEVER EVER leave the facial mask for longer than that as the benefits of the product could end up dehydrating your skin, and basically that just defeats the purpose of a hydrating mask then wouldn’t it?

  • A simpler way to remove your mask is to get a small face cloth and rinse it in warm water. Gently wash away the mask off with the face cloth. Within a few minutes it will all be gone. Use plenty of water and remember to be gentle to your was whilst removing the mask. Once the mask is all off, pat dry, don’t rub your skin.

IMPORTANT NOTE

As much as I am a major sucker for facial masks, basically any anti-ageing products, I always look at the back of the product to check out the ingredients thats been used to make it. A key point to always remember is this: what you put on your skin, gets absorbed by your body, internally. So it can, affect your inner health. Please be safe.

INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN ALL BEAUTY & SKIN CARE PRODUCTS:

  • Ethyl, Methyl, Butyl or Propyl (these are parabens)
  • DEHP, DHP, DBP 5, Dibutyl Phthalate (these are fragrances)
  • Triclosan, Chloro, Phenol, Irgasan  (theses are as known as an endocrine disruptor, playing havoc with thyroid and reproductive hormones)
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG, PPG, Cocoate), propylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene mineral oil, Isobutene  (these are Petroleum byproducts)
  • Lead acetate, thimerosal, mercurius solubilis, mercurius sublimates, mercurius corrosives, mercuric chloride (these are lead and mercury, and have been known to be linked to cancer)
  • Formaldehydes (ie: FRP’s preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth however has been linked to certain cancers)

Do you use a facial mask? If so, tell me which is the one that you swear by and why! How many times a week do you use a facial mask?

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