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Of all the beauty treatments that exist, massages are my favourite. Maybe that’s why I’m so critical, and at some times, cynical; I’ve had more massages than hot dinners. And I feel like most typical day-spa massages are too clinical and light handed, while my local Thai massage parlour has me feeling as though I’ve been assaulted by someone’s Asian grandmother.
I am the proverbial Goldilocks; I can’t find one that is just right. That was until my friend told me about a guy based in Sydney and his healing Ka Huna massage. She said that Gavin, from Spirit of Man uses a traditional Hawaiian technique that involves breathing, firm touch and healing energy. She said that she thought it was up my alley, and that I should go with an open mind.
Open mind in my skull, off I went. I met with Gavin at his Bondi Junction space, where we discussed any injuries and he explained what I was in for. Next up I was face down on the massage table, covered in only a sarong.
When he told me to remove all jewellery and clothing (even knickers), I wondered how a teeny G-string could get in the way, and I was about to find out.
Over the course of the treatment, Gavin uses firm, flowing, full-body strokes from the feet up to the scalp, down the sides of the hips and over the bottom. The pelvic region is covered by a modesty cloth, but other than that you’re open and exposed (in both a physical and spiritual way).
Half way through you flip onto your back, at which point he works your sternum, belly and the rest of your front. All the while Gavin is breathing rhythmically and encourages you to breathe deeply, too, to let out pent-up energy.
I know what you’re thinking. This all sounds a bit creepy. Trust me, it’s nothing but professional and a little sensual (but not at all sexual).
It made me realise that “regular” massages, where they move rigidly from body part to body part, never fully relaxed me; I am always too aware of the therapist’s movements to surrender. Gavin’s dance like rhythm had a seamless flow was almost hypnotising.
I left feeling both deeply relaxed and perfectly energised. I knew the treatment had truly affected me when I didn’t even reach for my phone once outside (I was that “zen”). If you know me, you’d know that’s a massive deal. I slept like a baby (who sleeps a lot), too.
Not for the prudish, totally for those who are up for new things and want to leave this world for an hour or two.
The spring/summer runways were littered with candy pinks, sorbet yellows and mint greens last year. Sounds like prettiness wrapped up with a bow, right? But designers like Balmian and Burberry took a different approach to the girlie trend, bringing man-style silhouettes and fierce accessories to the runway. Yep, pastel has discovered a whole new side of itself.
Don't be scared by soft candy colours this season, here’s how to wear the trend your way…
Pastels look one: tough it up
Mix pastel blues with denim, it still gives the impression of head-to-toe colour but is way more wearable. Pare back with grey and metallic accessories and you’re ready to go.
Hat, $99, Lack of colour.
Top, $79.95, She’s Electric.
Shoes, $269, Mode Collective.
Shorts, $79.95, Stussy.
Pastel look two: play with texture
Wearing a vinyl skirt in a pastel pink hue adds a modern edge to your outfit. Toughen things up by adding gladiator-esque heels.
Shirt, $69.95, GAP.
Skirt, $41.35, Missguided.
Shoes, $199, Minty Meets Munt.
Photography Paul Suesse. Styling Nicole Lucas.
Last night I was lucky enough to be in the audience for the surprise Kylie Minogue concert at Sydney’s Beresford Hotel.
And I was in the best spot, too – front row, centre!
I waited two long hours in and among sweaty, die-hard fans for the pop princess’s arrival (one guy had been waiting for 12 hours and managed to score a selfie with Kylie… respect!), but it was all worth it, because I had nothing short of the best time.
From The Presets performing during the wait, to all the Kylie hype, it was an unforgettable night – but of course, my favourite part of the night was Kylie’s long-awaited appearance.
Wearing a figure-hugging red dress, she came on stage and belted out her latest hit, Into the Blue, and the crowd couldn’t stop chanting her name… and neither could I.
You probably remember him as a contestant from last year’s The Voice but Michael’s been busy releasing his debut album, touring the country, oh, and getting engaged to his girlfriend. We caught up with the Melbourne-raised musician to chat proposals, Neil Diamond and life on the road.
Your debut album has just dropped and you’re getting ready for your Australian tour, how are you feeling about everything?
“It’s been a crazy couple of months actually. Getting the album ready, and the tour launch, and getting engaged all in the space of three weeks! It’s been a very busy start to the year.”
Yes! I believe congratulations are in order! Tell us about the proposal…
“Yeah, thank you very much! It was on a cliff top, actually. Over a beach at Phillip Island [in Victoria] on New Year’s Eve.”
Wow, that sounds just perfect. So, let’s talk about the album. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your track Weary Stars?
“I think I wrote it in a couple of hours. It encapsulates my feelings of not letting setbacks get you down and always being brave and facing up to challenges and changes with courage. You’ll always end up making the best of life if you go into things with that attitude.”
I love the film clip…
“Yeah, we really wanted to convey the sense of, not so much death, but aridness and starkness. I think for anyone who’s gone through a break up, or has lost their job, or anything like that, it feels like you wake up the next morning and you’re in a desolate world where nothing is alive. So, we wanted to convey that visually.”
You play a little bit of piano in the clip as well as your guitar. What came first, piano or guitar lessons?
“I started learning piano when I was four. So that was definitely first! I picked up guitar when I was about 13, when I realised that piano wasn’t cool anymore.”
What was the first song that you learnt on guitar?
“It was a song called Cherry Baby by Neil Diamond, it was my dad’s favourite song.”
Let’s talk about The Voice. You were on Joel Madden’s team. What was that like?
“It was a great experience. I went into the whole thing wanting to be challenged and wanting to learn new things, and that’s exactly what happened. So, I’m really glad for the experience.”
Finally, can you tell us three unexpected items that we’d find in your suitcase on tour?
“That’s easy! Coconut Oil, canned wild smoked salmon, and chia seeds. I follow a Paleo diet, so we cook a lot on tour.”
Watch the video clip for Weary Stars…
Michael's album Weary Stars is out now.
At Cosmo, I’m dressing women of every size and shape for every single issue. And sadly, it’s particularly hard for me to find fashion forward brands that cater for women over size 14.
I literally have the fashion world at my feet when it comes to having contacts, so I can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be for other women trying to access great fashion in all sizes.
So when a brand that Cosmo already loves launches a range that goes up to size 24, I need to announce it to the world. Now.
Today Boohoo.com launched an exclusive range for spring/summer 2014 in sizes 16-24. The best bit? New styles will be added on a daily basis.
Here’s a sneak peek of the on-trend collection below – expect to see cool chalky pastels, skorts, culottes, denim, floral and brights...
These are the colours and trends you’ll be wearing next season:
Colours: Pink, cobalt and navy blue. Plus denim and anything leather will be big.
Trends and prints: sports luxe, checks, floral, arty prints, western, midi skirts, pleats, pencil skirts, culottes and marble print will be everywhere.
Shoes you’ll love: pointed toe heels, skinny strapped stiletto, jewelled flats, ankle boots and over the knee boots.
Need some tips on dressing to flatter your figure? Accentuate your best bits with a print or statement piece, teaming it with a plain basic in black or navy. Use a belt to give yourself a waist – even a sweater or knit jumper will suffice.
Create the illusion of being taller by trying high-waisted pieces (like a skirt or leather shorts) or wear loose items on your bottom half worn with heels (like a midi skirt or loose wide-leg trousers).
Or, if your legs are your favourite body part, wear something short like a mini skirt or pair of shorts, but layer a long shirt over the top so the outfit doesn’t appear too skimpy.
If you follow me on Instagram (@mslotta) you would have seen the below pic I posted back in December. The diary is from Typo and the pouch is from Oroton. To say I was thrilled when I received these would be an understatement – I’m kind of a little bit (OK, a lot) obsessed with all things monogram.
There’s just something so luxurious about owning something with your initials or name on it, don't you think? And it seems I’m not alone in my obsession, more and more brands are embracing the trend and Oroton and Typo are just the tip of the iceberg.
Want an example? This week Burberry Prorsum sent a legion of models (fronted by Cara Delevingne, of course) down their autumn/winter 2014 London Fashion Week runway sporting monogrammed check blanket ponchos. (CJD stands for Cara Jocelyn Delevingne, for those of you wondering).
This is bound to be on every fashionista’s shopping list come autumn (including mine) and will set you back, ahem, $1,795. If you've got an It girl trust fund, head here to buy it.
If not, keep dreaming, ladies…
If your life doesn’t already revolve around Game of Thrones, we can only assume that you’ve been living in some remote, TV-less, cave for the past three seasons. Or you’re blind and deaf.
But luckily for you and your empty, GOT lacking life – season three is released on DVD tomorrow (Wednesday). And to celebrate, Rose Leslie (aka Ygritte – the wildling love interest of Jon Snow) dropped by the Cosmo office today to say hey. And it was ace.
Excuse the serious girl crushing, but I can now die a happy woman after meeting Rose. The red-headed babe was engaging, intelligent, gorgeous and witty – just like her character in the show.
But unlike Ygritte – she has a REALLY posh English accent. True story. (My mind is still boggled.)
So in light of all this, I’m going to spew out a Game of Thrones recap for all of you who, like me, are counting down the seconds until season four. (Early April, FYI.) And also for all the GOT virgins out there. (Seriously – what’s your deal?!)
Anyway, back to Rose. When you put yourself in Ygritte’s snowshoes she really is one lucky girl. Mainly because she’s been having steamy fun times with our imaginary boyfriend Jon Snow – which she tells us is “just like making out with any other guy.” Whatever.
And *SPOILER ALERT* there were plenty of sex scenes between the pair last season. Ranging from their romantic and passionate first time, to straight up banging each other in any cave they can find.
“Filming the sex scene was a bit awkward but it all turned out okay because we’re friends which made it more comfortable,” she told us today, when we pressed her on the good stuff.
There’s also no shortage of the usual blood, guts and death in Westeros land in season three. There are dragons burning people alive, entire families being brutally murdered WHICH WE’RE STILL NOT OVER and slimy King Joffrey being a general prick.
But while we highly recommend having tissues at the ready, because NO character is ever safe, Rose assures us that Ygritte and her trademark accent (“Jon Snoooow”) will be around for a while yet. Phew.
And the final thing we’ll say on the matter - grab some popcorn and plonk yourself down on your own iron throne ASAP to binge-watch the first three seasons, or even just re-watch season three to get back up to speed. Because it really is thrilling and captivating like nothing else on TV.
Plus Rose and I are practically BFFs now, so you really need to support my friend’s show.
The other day, a friend of mine tried to give herself cheekbones but instead she looked like she’d let her nephew loose with her makeup brushes. Babe, this blog goes out to you…
When it comes to contouring, you need to think of the colours you would use on your face in a similar sort of way to when you’re choosing whether to wear your LBD or LWD. Black (obvs a dark hue) will always hide, diminish and downplay certain body parts. Whereas white (light and bright) is known for emphasising.
I’m not telling you to paint your face like a zebra, but picture the colour grades of foundation, bronzer and highlighter and think about what you might be making look more or less obvious on your face.
Anything lighter than your foundation should be used on what you what to make noticeable, and anything darker is what you want to soften in terms of your complexion. Bronzer and brightening concealer are a grey area in terms of highlighting and hiding, depending on where you use it and whether it’s matte (which shades) or shimmery/with light-reflecting particles (which can both draw and bounce light).
Not only can contouring be confusing in general (hopefully it makes more sense explained in black and white terms above); it’s also puzzling ‘cos we all have different face shapes. You may not fit into any specific structural category, but you can gain a better understanding of how to contour your face by looking at the images I’ve created below.
In the following images, I’ve gone overboard so that where to apply your makeup is obvious, but in reality it should look VERY natural if it’s blended well. Depending on the consistency of your foundation, you can blend with a brush, sponge or your fingers. Here I’ve used a very dark foundation to shade and a lighter foundation to enhance – and a bit of blush for good measure.
It’s official, the oval shape is inoffensive in terms of structural correction, although it can lack cheekbones and dimension. (Hi, my name is Amelia and I have a flat face. Therefore I have an addiction to bronzer and blush <i>andhighlighter!). I paint cheekbones on with petal pink and golden powders and smother my face with illuminator so it’s shinier than an Oscar statuette. I also bronze my temple hollows, forehead and chin to create shadow.
With gorgeous full cheeks, it’s important to highlight this key feature – but not <i>too much. You can use a slightly darker foundation or matte bronzer on the outer edges of the mid to lower section of your face for a narrowing effect. For overall length, highlight the bottom of your chin as this will draw light to the lower area of your face making your face appear longer. Don’t be afraid to apply subtle blush the apples of your cheeks.
If you have a square face like the stunning Olivia Wilde, you might be familiar with features such as a broad forehead and an equally broad, square jaw. Think of this face shape as an opportunity to fine tune your shading skills and bronze the sides of your forehead and your jawline to reduce the width. Create subtle width on your cheekbones for dimension by adding a pearly highlighter.
Sarah Jessica Parker has a longer face, can you relate? Well, you can create width by shading the top half of your forehead and the bottom of your chin (making your face appear shorter). Want even more width? Get gleaming with iridescent powder and rouge on those cheeks!
A heart-shaped face like Reese Witherspoon’s is broad at the forehead and flows around and down to a narrower chin. You can add width (and therefore balance) to your cheeks and jaw-line with a sweep of highlighter and rosy up those cheeks. To soften a pointed chin, shade the area with a matte bronzer or a slightly darker foundation. Blend, blend, blend!
A pear-shaped portrait has a narrow forehead with a broader chin. Balance your forehead with your jaw (giving the illusion of width up top) by adding illuminator or a slightly lighter foundation to either side of the forehead from your temples upwards. The angle of the jaw can be lessened with a soft shading of deeper colour.
The mirror will reveal a narrower forehead and chin in comparison to those naturally defined, strong cheekbones we all dream about. Enhance the width of either side of your forehead and the angle of your jaw with lighter tones. Shade the pointed section of your chin and the peak on your hairline to reduce the length of your face – giving you overall balance.
A strange man rubbed me naked, and I liked it.
Yes, there are ways to man-up sorbet colours this season…
Cosmo’s associate art director was front and centre at Kylie Minogue’s surprise Sydney gig...
Queenstown is sweet as... Mucking around on our last Cosmo shoot in NZ with fash director @nicoleadolphe model @chloelecareux makeup artist @katrinaraftery and @nsfotog
NZ weather turned it on for our Cosmo shoot. Fash director @nicoleadolphe and senior fash ed @mslotta posing it up #queenstown via @airnz #airnzau @helitoursqueenstown
Up up and away! The fash team about to depart on today's shoot with @helitoursqueenstown #queenstown
We didn't think @laurenconrad could be any sweeter! @cupcakesdelivered
A few of the Fash girls getting shady at the #clearlyau store launch @nicolelucasstylist @rachel_dowling @lauren_pirreca
In need of some fresh threads? The April issue has a 25% off voucher inside for Miss Shop (in store and online). Even better news? It's late night shopping night! #freestuff #cosmoaus #missshop #myer #fashion
It's been a day full of sugar at Cosmo HQ! And with the big storm setting in in Sydney, we may be stuck in the office until the rain subsides. Thanks for the dinner, @magnum! #magnum5kisses
Behold, a Tim Tam suitcase courtesy of dessert king #AdrianoZumbo in celebration of Tim Tam's 50th Birthday 🍫🎂👜🎈🎉 #nevertooearlyforchocolate
We're getting techy at the #Google head office this morning 🔎 #GoogleYumCha
WOW! Our Fun Fearless Female of the year, Turia Pitt, is having a fundraiser in conjunction with Interplast, so we offered to help gather a prize in the way of beauty loot. We asked some of our fave brands to donate a few products and we're overwhelmed with the response. A HUGE thank you to @Benefitcosmetics, @elizabetharden, @palmbeachcollection, @orlynails, @sanctuaryspa, @fudgehair, @lanolips, @clarinsnews, @lauramercier, @sttropeztanau, @slipsilkpillowcase, #DrLewinns, #PacoRabanne, #Nivea and #Remington
And that’s that – all done! We told you it’d only take a minute. Now, go. Enjoy!
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