Thursday, November 16, 2017

Get shopping - A Wild Tea Party gift guide 2017

Yes, it's back! You loved last year's gift guide, so I've done the hard work for you and rounded up some great gift ideas for the ladies in your life.

I know this is an expensive and pressuring time of year (yupppp), so I've presented a range of price points and categories.

And don't panic, but there's only... well, just over 5 weeks until Christmas. Ready, set, go!


I love a good hair scarf, they're so handy, and perfect not just for hair but also to tie round your neck for a dash of whim with a sundress or on the handle of a handbag. You can try something like the Nifty Nylon 50's Style Hair Scarf in magenta with black polka dots from Doll Me Up which comes in under $20 and has free worldwide shipping!

There's something so fun about tassel earrings for making a statement but not weighing down your ears! These gorgeous Glitter Tassels are from Milly & So for just $20 + shipping.

Ok, so this isn't technically a 'stocking stuffer' because you can't physically put it in a stocking, but it's one of my favourite budget gifts that can be given to anyone around the globe and brings 25 days of pure joy. The Jacquie Lawson Advent calendar is one of my December highlights, with each day bringing a new activity or gorgeous illustrated video. Last year's theme was a British seaside village at Christmas, this year it's a gorgeous Alpine Village but you can order either! And keep an eye out for secret little surprises that you click on and they interact, but you have to hunt hard! The advent calendar is just $4, but you can order more and it gets cheaper.

This is legit one of my favourite products from Lush - it makes me feel calm and rested, and I find it best used in the evening before I slap on my Sleepy body cream *ahem*. Twilight is part of the Christmas release, so make sure to snag yourself a bottle before it vanishes, it's just $19.95 for the 250g bottle.


While you can make a direct donation on someone's behalf to the RSPCA, if you'd like to give a gift that feels good and tastes good too, then head into Peter Alexander and buy the P.A. Charity Chocolate Bars with their cute retro designs. 100% of the proceeds go to the RSPCA. They're just $7.99.

The first time I put a sample of this eye cream on I remember feeling how much firmer my under eye area felt and was shocked, and then raved about it for ages. In fact, I'm still raving. The S√ČLA PEARL RICE Radiant Replenishing Eye Contour Cream is $117 + shipping.

It might seem like an odd idea at first, but giving the gift of meditation is an investment in someone's wellbeing, and who the hell doesn't want everyone around them to feel better? If you mention meditation these days, nearly everyone chimes in with the Headspace app! And with good reason. There's a guided meditation for everything from stress to pain to sleep!

I was given a sample of the Bondi Scrubs coffee scrub and I was like a crazy woman in the shower polishing myself, and inadvertently spraying coffee all over the shower, and making people touch my really soft skin ("No, feel ittttt!"). And I mean, who doesn't want to smell like Coconut Coffee Scrub?! It's $22 plus shipping.


Nothing says glamour like a pair of statement earrings, does it? These Lawrence VRBA crystal earrings are wonderful frosting for any outfit year round, and comes from the magical treasure trove called Harlequin Market for $350. 

Bear with me, this so isn't as morbid as it looks! This is actually a memento mori style eternity band. These Georgian inspired design comes from Vulpecula Jewelry and comes in a variety of stones and metals, like this emerald one! Now if this isn't romantic, I don't know what is!

The new Meridian Horizon watch from Jord is just droolworthy! I am a huge fan of my own watch from Jord, as I find the wood band so comfortable on the wrist, and it never pinches or leaves marks. Judging by how many people ask me where I got my watch, it's a safe bet this is a gift that will be adored! It's $429USD with free worldwide shipping. And yes, if you click through to the Jord website from this post, you'll be able to grab some great discounts ;)

As if I could do a post without an amazing pair of shoes?! The La Belle Swarovski embellished sandals from Roccapina are so perfect for summer parties, which in Australia means all damn December! They're $315 + shipping and made in Italy. 


If you've never seem the simple brilliance of Matou En Peluche you've been missing out! These gorgeous art prints are perfectly priced to brighten up a room with artworks ranging from shopping mermaids, mid-century glamour girls, Art Deco flappers, and cute kitties! This artwork is called Edward and Eliza and comes in two sizes. 

Know a girl who likes novelty jewellery? You can't look past some fun acrylic accessories, like this 3D Under The Sea Necklace, $45 + shipping from new designer Louna Rae. Her work is just crazy good - make sure to check out the earrings too. 

I have tiny wrists, so I get really excited about Dinosaur Designs having bangles in a range of sizes! Of course, they do an amazing array of jewellery and homewares, and who can go past a classic pair of drop hoop earrings? Wear them with a t-shirt and jeans, wear them with an LBD, team them with sandals and a playsuit in summer, or a turtleneck in winter. Totally your call! The Mineral Hoop Earrings in gold are $250 + shipping. 

Who doesn't love a beautiful scented candle? (Well, except my father). This is my total forever fave candle in the world, from Australian brand Jaye Niemi. The scent of Lavender Mt Blanc, Valencia + Clary Sage is so calming burning in my bedroom, and I admit sometimes I just take the lid off the sniff it when it isn't lit! It's $34.95 + shipping. 


Daisy Jean Floral Designs is a brand I thoroughly love working with, because I know how wonderful the products are while remaining affordable! This year Daisy Jean Floral Designs has an Australian themed Christmas brooch range! How cute is this little Koala? There is also a sweet magpie, a sandman, and even a Bah Humbug brooch! Each brooch is $35 with free shipping, and if you order 3 brooches you get an extra freebie! 

This necklace might be part of the The Snow Queen collection from N2 by Les Nereides, but if it doesn't have Christmas vibes, well pluck me like a turkey for dinner! Kay Setting Off On An Adventure On Its Horses-Drawn Sleigh Necklace is $149 + shipping. There is also super adorable earrings in this range, check them out!

There's something magical about the idea of candles burning in lanterns at Christmas time - which is why this Lantern brooch from Martinis & Slippers really caught my eye! It's $45 + shipping, and would look great teamed with the silver bells brooch too! 

Every year I like to swap the artwork around to reflect the season, and Janet Hill's work never disappoints. Her Peppermint Family series are the sweetest and most stylish Christmas art you can imagine. This is called The Peppermint Family Trim the Tree - imagine this above the mantle!

Good luck shopping... and no, I couldn't find two front teeth to add to this list for those that want them... 

Love Ellen x

Friday, October 6, 2017

Team colours

Some people are passionate about sport, or space travel, or wine, or dinosaurs, or insects. My passion (other than Welsh mythology and tea) is of course.... shoes, and I wore my "team colours" today - shoe earrings, a shoe top, and shoes... yeah I added the and shoes and thought well duh, but, pointing out the obvious is sometimes necessary to create a list.

This t-shirt cracks me up, because of course I need to remind myself sometimes to keep calm when my workload is a little nuts, and there's a lot going on with me personally too (like a ridiculous pelvic/back/shoulder issue and a little baby dog who doesn't feel well). When the make up is off lately I've got some epic dark under eye circles going on (briefly remedied with this insanely expensive eye cream sample I got and concealer) and I can't seem to fall asleep before 2am, and then won't stay asleep for a full eight hours. My mind is full of thoughts - some creative, some problem solving, some from fantasy land, others rooted in insecurity and upset.

I try a lot of things to get my mind to settle - tossing and turning myself into a burrito, a wheat bag, Sleepy body cream, breathing exercises, mindfulness activities like colouring in, turning off electrical devices at least half an hour before bed, drinking chamomile tea, doing gentle stretches. Nothing seems to be helping with my monkey mind.

At least in life there's fun things like rose print skirts and fun jewellery, and sweet nylon scarves to dress up a tired face and long Friday. And shoes, my beloved shoes. This pair of wedges I've had ages and I've forgotten how comfortable they are, being a cork base. They always seem so specific in my mind with their colours and print, yet I think in this case they really work.

Shoes have the power to transform an outfit, this we all know. But they also have the power to shape how we feel about ourselves and our environment. We've all had those days when our shoes were horrendously uncomfortable, when the balls of our feet throbbed, or our toes lost circulation, or rubbed us into a blistered, bleeding state. And no matter what you're doing, this painful betrayal by our shoes taints our enjoyment. Shoes also have the power to elevate us (figuratively and literally). There's something powerful about wearing great shoes and strutting down the street, and knowing people are looking, or standing up and feeling confident to do your best work. A new pair of shoes certainly make me smile too, not that I buy that many anymore! Yes, shoes are a friend I wouldn't trade in for another passion, not even while sleep deprived and definitely not for dinosaurs. And wearing these shoes today definitely filled me with springtime optimism and a little joy.

T-shirt: gift
Skirt: Retrospec'd
Nylon scarf: Daisy Jean Floral Designs
Shoes: Seychelles Footwear
Bangles: Dinosaur Designs
Earrings: Gorman

Monday, July 10, 2017

How to wear bright lipstick - A Wild Tea Party guide

I love wearing bright lips, in case you've not noticed! And maybe you never have, perhaps you're so used to seeing it on my face you don't give it a thought, yet alone a second one! Whether it's blue red, bright red, orange, hot pink, rose pink or various shades of plum, I now feel oddly underdone going out without my lipstick. And while I wear my 'war paint' for myself, I always get compliments on my lipstick. People love seeing bright lips!

Often though when I talk to admirers of a bright lip, they're terrified of it for themselves. There's a long list of reasons... "My significant other doesn't like it", "I don't suit red", "I don't want to look overdressed"... the list goes on.

So if you've been harbouring secret longing for a juicy bold lip but these excuses have left you nude, let's tackle these three common ideas before we get to some fabulous lipstick wearing tips.

1. Ah kissing! Well, it's true, bright lipstick isn't exactly the best friend of a make out sess. But hey, in private who cares how messy it gets? In public, encourage your partner to kiss the back of your hand. It's wildly romantic! Or fist bumps are cool. There are also kiss proof varieties of lip colour - but I warn you, they are (mostly) drying to your lips! 

2. "I don't suit red lipstick" gets muttered at me over and over. If I had a dollar for every time I heard it...  Everyone can wear red; it's a matter of finding the right red, and then not being scared of it!  The trick is the base tone. Reds come in a myriad of varieties - blue based, orange based, pink based, brown based, true bright red etc. I'm lucky, I can wear most, but some peoples' base tones are more suited to specific shades of red. Ask the consultant at your favourite make up counter for help.

3. Feeling a bit too dramatic? Well, it's not as impractical or outrageous as say a feather boa and stilettos at the beach. It's two lines on your face, and you can remove it if it's really not working. But, it probably is. It looks great with that dress, girl! It gives a polished look to your office ensemble, with that tee and jeans look for a barbecue or even walking out of the gym!  Colour has a direct influence on how our brains feel, after all!

Remember that "It's not as bold as it looks". If you're not a lipstick wearer, suddenly having a bold lip can be utterly terrifying when you first look in the mirror and you'll want to wipe it clean off! I always say to newbies to apply their lip colour and even if it's so strong it frightens them, leave it and walk away from the mirror for a few minutes. Go fold laundry or feed the dog or put your sunscreen on or something (no seriously, always put your sunscreen on!), and then come back to the mirror. You'll be amazed how less scary your bright lip looks on second glance.

So, let's get into a little colour theory if you're feeling tempted to take the plunge but want a little guidance on how to approach it!

I find a bright true red is often the most versatile colour in my lipstick wardrobe - it pretty much can be worn with everything under the sun, and you'll probably find the same. Why do I say this? Well, a deeper red can look quite heavy with a breezy summery outfit, or even an outfit with lighter tones of red in it. A prime example is when I got this wrong and teamed this very deep red with a Christmassy outfit. Oops.

But, that's not to say deep reds aren't amazing! I find they look great with more moody, wintry tones or outfits in the same tone of red.

Pink is a firm favourite of mine, and many others! I love going for really bold pinks, like this hot coral pink lipstick, teamed with a pink top. If an outfit has pink in it, I will pretty much always reach for a hot pink lip, or else a very 60s cool tone bright pink. A cooler toned pink is also great with pastel outfits, as it's softer.

Orange is a colour I live for in summer, I just crave wearing orange lipstick when the temperature rises! It looks great with outfits that need a little less drama than red, or have orange tones in them, which I just find suits my summer wardrobe so well. It also seems to suit outfits with a lot of tan in them, for some reason!

Purples and plums always get pulled out every few winters are they're dramatic, but they come in such a spectrum I don't always think of them seasonally. Plum looks best of course with a winter clothing palette, but a bright purple/plum can do all year round duty when teamed with bold colour choices like kelly green, teal, fuchsia, white or yellow.

Basically what I'm saying is when you start out, coordinate your lip colour with your outfit and you're going to find it a lot easier!

Keep in mind too the rest of your make up when you wear bold lipstick. I always recommend starting with a more neutral eye make up look until you're feeling more confident and again, look for eye shadow that compliments your lips. One of my key tips though is to put your lipstick on before your blush so you see how much blush you really need. You know you've got it right when your face somehow looks like it's bright and come together. I don't know how else to explain that, but you'll see!

For my day to day life, I often just wear concealer, a brush of mattifying powder on my nose, eyebrow gel, a swipe of mascara and the red lips and it looks like I've put a lot more effort in than I really have. You can actually pare back on the rest of your make up with a red lip, or really work some film star noir vibes with a full on face. But, who doesn't love a quick beauty fix? 

Love WTP x

P.S. Want to know the best way to apply your lipstick so it lasts all day? Check out this great application video from fellow red lip lover and friend NoraFinds.

P.P.S. Greasy food and red lips don't mix... so maybe don't wear red lippy to your local burger joint...

Monday, May 1, 2017

Late bloomer

A belated Easter post? So unlike me. I usually am all over that chocolate coated holiday of dreams with my floral ensembles. But this Easter was different, and my weekend escaped into a blur of things that didn't go to plan. I won't go into it, but needless to say, getting a blog post up hasn't been priority one these past few weeks.

Autumn is starting to creep into Sydney finally, after all, it's now May, and I admit I'm not thrilled. I have some great winter clothing, but as I work mostly from home or in private residences, my excess of silk velvet and fur tipped jackets is overkill (though will be greatly appreciated in a few weeks for MBFWA). This dress was lucky to get an outing really!

I teamed it with a hair scarf and gloves for a traditional look you guys know I can never resist, but like to deviate from. My taste in clothes is so all over the place in the best kind of way - I feel so free these days to wear whatever I like when I take the fancy, after all, clothes are just fabric that express an attitude. And who knows, tomorrow I may wear a sequin mini skirt if it takes my fancy!

The Vintage Drawer 1950s dress, Zomp heels, Vintage 50s suede gloves, Daisy Jean Floral hot pink scarf

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Halcyon hair tutorial: Emma Garland 1940

So, who has seen The Halcyon? I'm feeling ripped off that not only did Home Fires get canned after two amazing seasons, but also that The Halcyon has only had one. So much for being the 'new' Downton Abbey. I've only seen episode one (aired on ABC on Saturday, Australian peeps if you want to play catch up) and spent most of my time drooling over Emma Garland's up do.

This 'do is so appropriate for a polished working girl in 1940, and I know later into the season we'll see some pretty 40s waves in her hair, but I like the tidy feel of this one - you definitely don't need to get the curlers out! It's also a great alternative to Victory Rolls and Gibson roll, which I'm making an educated guess that they weren't widely, if at all, worn in the way we are used to associating with the war yet. The hair on this series still screams 1930s.

So, here's my take on Emma's do!

You'll need:
Three clear hair ties
Bobby pins
A teasing brush
A regular hair brush
Hair spray
Hair extension piece (optional)

Start with well brushed hair, then part your hair to one side. You can of course do this hair do with a centre part as well if that suits you better.
Section from the crown of the head to behind your ear off on both side and pin out of the way.

Take the back loose hair and put into a pony tail using a clear tie to secure.
Divide the ponytail into two sections and plait them, securing with a clear band at the end. If you have short hair, or very fine hair, this do can be hard to achieve, so this is where a plaited piece of hair extension could come in very handy to either weave in with your own hair, or use your own hair as one plait and it as the other.
With one plait, wind it in a spiral on one side and pin securely, making sure to tuck the loose end under and hide the clear band.
Repeat on the other side. This is the basis of the do.

Let one side at the front out and give it a good solid teasing (be gentle though). This will give you height through the twist at the front.
Twist your hair back, careful not to pull too tight, then work it across the top of the two plaits and wrapping it around the spiral on the opposite side and pinning in to secure.

Repeat by teasing the opposite side for height, twisting, bringing across the top of the two plaits and twisting it into the updo. Pin to secure it into place. Then, hair spray the lot and you're done!

A very simple, elegant do that looks a lot more complicated than it is! Let me know if you try it, and if you have any requests let me know!

Love WTP x

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wild Tea Party in South Africa

Hello everyone! Now that you know how I packed, let's see what I did in South Africa. What a whirl wind three weeks it was! I travelled with Astin and her family, and I admit South Africa had never been on my 'to travel to' list before, but they invited me to join them so I figured I would go along with them to see what it was like.

Not long after that decision, my mind went into full freak out anxiety mode. Thanks Brain, for the months of distress before the trip. I will admit, that with OCD surrounding safety (home break ins, fires, health etc) that travelling to a country that has high crime rates wasn't exactly soothing to my brain.

I flew into Johannesburg directly from Sydney - the flight was about 12.5 hours, which given the time zones you cross seems a lot more friendly than flying to London!

Now, forgive me for saying this Joberg residents, but Johannesburg is the worst city I've ever visited.  It was so strange to me to be in a place with giant, architecturally impressive shopping malls, crazy road works, traffic lights that don't work because people steal the cables for the copper, intense poverty and the wealthy, suburbs full of walls and electric fences and barbed wire, and knowing I couldn't even leave my hotel and cross the road to walk to the shopping mall on my own. It didn't help that the city decided to put on a spectacular display of cold rain while we were there. The hotel we stayed in was hilarious. Clean, functional, great buffet breakfast (what were they putting in their hot chocolates?!) but with the service lifts out of order, and rather than repairing them, they instead put a box around them and had people paint the box, with a sign saying that if you didn't like the colour to contact management quickly haha. Then the hot water ran out one morning. We quickly adopted a humorous response to these sorts of things: Only in Africa.

I spent five days initially in Johannesburg, seeing family members and friends, being dazzled by how cheap food and alcohol was for us on our Aussie dollar, exploring Monte Casino, Sandton Mall and Mall of Africa (look, it's big, but it was, at the end of the day, an oddly laid out shopping centre), touring around Soweto (that breaks your heart!), and going for a drive out to a Lion Park, Lesedi Village and the Elephant Sanctuary. I admit, the Lion Park was... a mistake I wouldn't recommend. For all it painted itself as a conservation effort, keeping groups of lions in small fenced areas where they can't hunt was simply depressing, and I felt like I was experiencing 'canned lion'. These lions are bred in such a way they could never be introduced into the wild. These majestic creatures deserve a life free to hunt and roam, and I promise seeing them on a game lodge is a far more valuable experience all round. The elephant sanctuary was a different experience for me, and I was thrilled to pat an elephant. Elephants are one of my favourite animals, and I was amazed to feel their hide and tail hair, and walk with them.

Soweto was an eye-opening experience, and we were lucky enough to have a local guide. He was a great guy, and answered our questions as comprehensively as he could. I was impressed that he spoke six of the 11 official languages of South Africa! I can't even begin to express how sad it is to see shanty towns, and know how rife poverty is, and hear about the struggles during apartheid. For all this is a new nation, it is one still scarred by the past. It was a place I didn't feel comfortable taking photos either, like I was looking at the way people lived for entertainment, so I left my phone in my bag and took it in instead.

We then travelled onto Cape Town, and what a beautiful place Cape Town is! Table Mountain rising above the city bowl - one particular day we saw the fog rolling in from the ocean over the city from the heights of Table Mountain, and the cloud table cloth, whisping off the sides of this flat topped mountain. I went to the top on the cableway and had to laugh at the Dussies stealing food at the top and even trying to eat cigarette butts. I walked around Lion's head, the smaller peak near the mountain, and spent a few minutes in the gorgeous Bo-Kaap, originally known as the Malay Quarter in Cape Town at the bottom of Signal Hill. It's brightly coloured houses and multicultural feel I absolutely loved, and wished I could have spent longer there.

We took a drive out to Cape Point too, and what a spectacular national park space. We were delighted to see a tortoise on the road, and then a family of baboons crossing. So sweet to visit this time of year and see all the baby animals, especially the baby baboons. They're so small. The alpha male waited for everyone to cross safely before he did. What a good dad! We also stopped at Boulders Beach to swim with the penguins, what posers they are!

We travelled a lot out to the wine region of Stellenbosch, for the wedding we attended, as well as lunches with friends of the family. Boschendal was the location of the wedding, and this beautiful old wine farm was the perfect location, what with the rolling green lawns bordered by mountains, and a beautiful function hall where we dined under fairy lights. They also make a good Shiraz and Merlot *coughs* (Brought some back duty free!) It was lovely to take a dip in the pool, eating passionfruit fallen on the ground, consuming pizza under the oak trees of an evening, see the sun dip behind the mountains of a sunset and chat with such different and interesting people. We had brunch on the lawn of Rhone Homestead, the oldest remaining building on the property (1795!) and a beautiful example of Cape Dutch architecture.

We also had a delightful lunch and enjoyable afternoon with the owners of Rozendal Vinegar and Guest Farm. We sampled their delightful vinegar range, and I loved patting Truffle the pig and playing with the dogs and feeding the greedy alpacas haha. I couldn't resist taking some vinegar home in my luggage.

Lunch at DeMorgenzon in Stellenbosch was quite an experience as we dined with owners in their gorgeous home. I was in love with their two Jack Russells (who reminded me of my own little pup who I was desperately missing) and enjoyed the behind the scene tour of their wine production. The smell of all those grapes being pressed was insane!

We also spent a few nights in Hout Bay, and what a glorious spot it is! Shame the Atlantic Ocean is pretty much unswimmable, but we dipped our toes in for a frozen, numb effect that worked for pictures haha. Drinks down by the beach at Dunes though was so pleasant thanks to sushi platters and cheap cocktails. 

The highlight of this trip for me was definitely the game lodge. I stayed at a smaller lodge which meant the likelihood of seeing the animals was higher, and boy did we hit the jackpot! I was thrilled to see giraffes, zebra (with their babies!), a tonne of different buck, hippos, elephants (including some that pulled down a tree in front of us to eat), rhinos, cheetahs and lions. The lions are so magnificent, but slightly terrifying as you're in an open vehicle! We drove right past the male sitting by the road with the kill and it gave me quite a shock... Before you ask, I will explain the open vehicle. In the Lion Park, the lions associate vehicles with food because they don't hunt and food is brought by humans, where at the game park where these lions hunt for themselves they don't see vehicles as food bringers, just one large car-fume-smelling noisy animal, so they're unlikely to try you out if you're sensible and keep your distance and don't get out of the car or stand up! We also visited a nearby park for a cheetah interaction, and had the hilarity of seeing meerkat antics too. A stray cat had placed her babies in their enclosure and the rangers had to rescue the kittens before the female meerkat killed them. The cheetahs were amazing, purring from pats and very sweet, but it did make me sad to see them in an enclosure too, and raced for exercise (what they mean is entertainment).

I also indulged in a massage at the game lodge spa which was bliss. So nice to get to rest and relax, which I also did by the pool, drinking cocktails and dozing. The 4.50am wake up calls for the drives were a challenge after all! Unfortunately I picked up a stomach bug on the second last day so I did have to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom after that and felt pretty rotten from it, as you can see in the pic with the cheetah.

So, was it safe? Well, I will admit I rarely felt safe. Some places we avoided stopping in while driving, or travelled as a big group so were a less likely target for crime. I certainly didn't feel a stroll around the suburbs was an option, nor that I could go off on my own and just explore, something about travel I really enjoy. It was insane to sleep in places with iron gates across the bedroom section of the house so no one could get in, and all the gates and walls and electric fences, and it's just confronting to be somewhere you need that. The term gilded cage was mentioned to me, and I felt that. While nothing happened to us, thank heavens, while there a family member was attacked. The reality is, Cape Town and Johannesburg aren't that safe, no matter how you want to paint it and how many walls and security guards you have.

All in all, I tell people it was an interesting trip, and I am very thankful to have seen all of the wonderful things I did, and meet so many fabulous people. But, I'm also glad to be home again, and to appreciate the benefits of living so comfortably and safely as I do.

Love WTP x

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