December 31, 2015

The 9 best 2016 diaries to get your life in order

Inspired by the fresh start that the new year offers, I decided to go on the hunt for beautiful diaries and planners. Better late than never, right?

Paper planners are more my thing lately, and they're more difficult to ignore than a calendar tab on my browser that I can easily close - or scrawled post-it notes that my otherwise amazing boss leaves stuck all over my desk. (New Year resolution #1... to work on his organisational skills!)

I've collated a few of my 2016 diary favourites here, in all shapes and sizes and range from boudoir pink to eye-catching neon orange and seductive dark blooms. With one of these diaries, you need never miss an appointment again.

Sassy and fun, with a little bit of glamour, this Mi Goals diary comes in navy too... but hello pretty pink with rose gold embellishments. I'm not normally a rose gold girl, but that's what a new year is for... to try a new you, and to like new things! (The cool kids at Mi Goals also have a killer range of diaries with sneaky little swear words on them... I'm a fan.)

Draw attention to your big year ahead with this Rifle Paper diary. It will be an eye-catcher on anyone's desk, and you can even match your notebooks and phone cover to this decadent design from Paper Source.

You definitely don't need to spend a lot of money get an ontrend planner with clever features, this Molli & Mimi style from Target is just $10 but will keep you as on track as more expensive styles. And I'm a sucker for the nifty elastic band closure, too!

4. Inaluxe Diary (available from Biome Eco Stores)

I adore the bold designs of Inaluxe, and they've backed up the phenomenal success of their calendar last year with this week to a page diary. One for the modern art lovers.

5. J Burrows Neon Orange Diary (available from Officeworks)

Another super bold style, this neon orange PU cover is awesome for those of us who *may* occasionally spill coffee on their diaries and notebooks. Wipe clean? Yes please. It is a classic week to a view, with extra telephone and address pages so it's a one-stop shop. And neon orange. Did I mention that?

Another genius organisational diary, this limited edition beauty features a soft leather cover with gold press stud closure, inspirational quotes at the beginning of each month, monthly planner spreads, tear-out to do list pages and tear-out DIY business card pages. Literally everything you've every wanted in a diary! Blokes will love the sleek style of this one, too.

Always a popular planner with Australian women (and an awesome gift for any mum), this hardcover diary is filled with valuable health information for women of all ages, and more importantly, funds from the sale of this diary supports the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia research programs to help provide a brighter future for women with breast cancer and their families.

Whatever your goals or intentions are for the New Year, making them happen will require a little bit of soul-searching and a whole lot of planning and the 2015 MNB Diary will help you do just that. I've used the 2014 and 2015 MNB diaries, and am thrilled to see that next year's version is in a classic navy cover, with lots of gorgeous watercolour illustrations inside.

My gorgeous gorgeous friend Nikki of Bliss Inventive has really upped the ante on her new Daily Dream Creator. If you need a 2016 diary that can handle your incredibly busy, incredibly creative life (and those lives around you), this is the planner for you. Definitely beautiful enough to leave out on the desk or kitchen table, and portable enough to take everywhere. It’s larger (both wider and taller) than A5 notebooks, but smaller than A4... Nikki planned this so it would fit in most handbags, genius eh?!

How do you like to tackle your new year resolutions? Any hot tips to sticking to them?

Also, I'd like to very briefly say thank you for stopping by my blog this year - thank you and I love you. It's sometimes crazy to me to think that there are people sitting on their couch, on public transport, at their desk or anywhere, reading the words I write. I'm not changing the world, but I'm hopefully making you smile and think good thoughts. Happy 2016, awesome folks.

December 27, 2015

Comfort and Style: New Year's Eve outfit 2016 - Boohoo Embellished Dress

We're less than a week away from 2016. Let that sink in for a minute or two.

This time around, I have no idea what I'm doing to ring in the New Year - I've had a few pretty good invitations, but I'm working until 5.30pm that day so don't want to travel to Brisbane or the Gold Coast. I will definitely enjoy a few drinks, but where and who with... yet to be decided. If you are having a rip-roaring party in the vicinity of my house (ideally walking distance), maybe I could come to yours, hehe? I'll bring the rosé.

New Year's Eve is nothing if not the night of sparkly, sequined dresses. NYE is the night I dress unashamedly like a fashion magpie. If it’s sparkly, shiny and/or covered in glitz, I’m wearing it. Because if you can’t sparkle like a Dancing with the Stars contestant on the first and last night of the year, when can you?

I've even taken my love of the NYE bling on camping trips - really. One year, we were on Fraser Island for NYE, and while everyone else was in swimmers, tank tops and shorts all day and night, I stepped it up with a black ruffly cotton frock and a giant Swarovski necklace so sparkly that I could signal ships with it. And of course, a glass or three of champagne.
This blinged-up embellished chiffon number from Boohoo is going to be the perfect frock for whatever I get up to this year - easily dressed up with nude heels and a muted gold leather clutch, or I could dial it down a little with flat sandals and a crossbody bag to enjoy a more casual night out at a friend's place.

What are you doing to welcome 2016? Do you take the opportunity to wear sparkles on special nights like NYE?

Don't forget to sign up to get Katy Potaty via email to go into my December subscriber draw to win a Glasshouse Christmas Cheer candle!

I'm joining in with the Fresh Fashion Forum. Head over and see what all the fashionable folks are wearing these holidays!

December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015 - time to celebrate!

It's that time again. Time for booze at breakfast (mimosas if you're classy, beer if you're not), and lazing around eating way too much, and most importantly... feeling loved.

Contrary to popular belief and seasonal supermarket ads, Christmas doesn't need to be an enforced long lunch shared with every relative in the country. As someone who comes from a small family (there are four of us in total), I get that sometimes Christmas is a lovely quiet day. In fact, these are my favourite kind of Christmases. So if you're not hosting 18 people around a table with makeshift seating, or going to Great Aunt Edna's family reunion of 75 long-lost cousins, please know that I'm with you in spirit.

Enjoy a day doing what you love, whether that's with many folk or few. Take time to do something nice for others (leaving a few beers out for the garbage man is popular in my street), and take time out to be by yourself or with the very special ones - your partner, your mum, your kids, your pets.

I wish you all the most wonderful Christmas, and thank you for stopping by. I love having you here.

Now for a little festive fun that I hope you get the chance to enjoy over the Christmas weekend...

“The Late Late Show” host James Corden created a little Christmas treat by delivering a Christmas version of his carpool karaoke segment featuring artists Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Reggie Watts, Jason Derulo and Iggy Azalea.

Re-read that, folks. Yep, I said Stevie Wonder, Carrie Underwood AND Justin Bieber. What more could the discerning Christmas carol viewer want?

The slew of talented singers belt out their version of “Joy to the World” while driving down the sunny streets of LA and it’s awesome. Iggy Azalea even offers up a free-style rap for the tune, but only makes it one line in before bursting out into laughter.

Enjoy, chuckle and sing!

December 23, 2015

Comfort and Style: Christmas Day outfit - Bella Lido kaftan

Who says you can't be cute and comfy on Christmas Day? Particularly in Australia, where most of us spend some time by a pool or beach, and it's often one of the hottest and muggiest days of the year!

My gorgeous Bella Lido kaftan will be a great Christmas Day outfit for me, the lightweight and super-breathable rayon voile will keep me cool and the coral and red palm print is pretty much my idea of tropical perfection.

I thought I'd style it a couple of ways, to share how easy it is to wear such a simple style that most women only imagine can be worn to and from the beach.

For a casual Christmas Day around the pool at home (or at my folks' place, so there's no cooking/cleanup required), this is great to throw over togs when we're in and out of the water all day long. Add a few chunky bracelets and a gigantic sunhat perfect for napping under, and I'm set. Don't forget flat sandals to show off your Summer pedi!

Bella Lido Ku Pu kaftan*, Finch tankini (awesome for a bugger bust!), Blue Bungalow wide brim hat, Bella Lido bracelets (old - similar here), Holster jelly sandals (old - similar here)

On the other hand, if we were headed out to a restaurant or more formal lunch affair at a relative's place, I'd add a low nude heel and matching clutch, and up the glamour with a little bling - a big ol' dangly Samantha Wills earring would do the trick nicely.

If we were going to a really nice place (I'd class this as somewhere they pull your chair out for you, and where you have a multitude of forks to choose from - I'm classy like that), I'd say wear a slip underneath the kaftan instead of swimwear and add some bright lipstick for a splash more colour. I mean, it's Christmas. Can you ever be too bright at Christmas? I don't think so, Joe.

Bella Lido Ku Pu kaftan*, Billini Perth sandals from The Iconic, Witchery hard-case clutch, Samantha Wills earrings (similar here) and bracelet (similar here)

Now I've already told you this, but if you're a local, you really need to pay attention - Claire of Bella Lido has opened her pop-up shop in Mooloolaba this season and the result is a Summer-lover's dream! Bella Lido is also stocked in lovely boutiques in QLD, NSW and WA, and the online store is full of beautiful styles.

What sort of Christmas day are you having this year - casual or fancy? Do you plan your outfit in advance?

Want to win a Glasshouse Candle? Sure you do, sign up to get Katy Potaty via email and go into my December subscriber draw to win a Glasshouse Christmas Cheer candle!

*gifted items

And of course, I'm joining in today with Kimba of Kimba Likes for Wardrobe Wednesday. Head over and see what all the fashionable folks are wearing for Christmas!

December 19, 2015

Festive Day Out: visit the Southbank Christmas Markets in Brisbane

I am finally feeling the festive spirit, after visiting the Southbank Christmas Markets with Brooke of Blonde Ambition during the week. Working in retail always casts a little bit of shade on the Christmas season, but not working full-time during this Summer is an absolute delight - it means I get to do all the Christmassy things!

The Southbank Christmas Markets are based on the traditional, charming Christkindlmarkts that spring up in Germany, Austria and other countries during the Advent season, and just like their European counterparts, you can shop for unique, handmade holiday gifts and decorations from local vendors, drink Glühwein (spiced mulled wine) flavoured iced tea, and taste European inspired food and delicacies during December - all without rugging up and braving the northern Winter chill.

Before hitting the Christmas markets, why not stop by the Southbank beach for some peoplewatching, swimming, and getting some sand in your cityslicker toes? Southbank's beach is as popular as ever, and with lifesavers on duty all school holidays, it's a fantastic day out!

Arriving to the sounds of traditional carols played by a brass ensemble puts you in a festive mood straight away!

One of my favourite stalls, Fox and Fallow, where you can shop for super-adorable chalkboards, cards and stationery. Owner/designer Janet was painting this lovely Christmas message and chatting with market shoppers at the same time, and I loved pretty much everything in her stall.

I mean, how gorgeous and special is this Fox and Fallow Christmas card? You can't blame me for stocking up for next year, can you?

More sweet cards... you can guess which one was my favourite, can't you?

I"m so predictable.

After a little Christmas shopping, I highly recommend stopping by the Nitrogenie stall to get a little energy kick; and if you've got kids, they'll love watching the magic icecream being made.

Brooke and I each enjoyed a Christmas donut topped with condensed milk and custard icrecream, with a generous serve of gingerbread crumble on top. That icecream = amazing!

While you let that condensed milk goodness course through your veins (or block your arteries, whatevs), take a seat in the market square and watch the entertainment. These little angels were cute enough to wrap up and give on Christmas Day, but I'm sure there are laws against that kinda thing. On the upside, I walked around humming acapella versions of Silent Night and Jingle Bells for the rest of the evening.

Iced tea. This is where it's at, folks. I tried the Glühwein-flavoured version, and it was DELICIOUS! Think a slightly tropical and chilled version of mulled wine, and you've got the right idea. So refreshing for a Summer night in Brisbane.

As the sun dropped in the sky, the lights scattered throughout the precinct started to show.

Some of the lights are interactive too - it you cycle fast enough on the elf-bikes stationed at the large tree, the lights shine even brighter. Perfect for working off your donut, or churros, or Christmas ham and gravy roll, or German kransky, or chocolate brownies... yep, there's plenty of food here to try!

Can you imagine anything prettier?

When all your presents have been bought, you can pop over to the lovelies at Santa's Wrap Bar, where elves will wrap your gifts in the sweetest scandi-print wrap for a gold-coin donation to Youngcare and Hummingbird House. Good looking gifts = good karma vibes, y'all.

I kept my outfit simple and Summery with a festive twist. Muui off-shoulder ruffle chambray dress and Harris Scarfe sandals, with my market-staple giant green Louenhide bag and a sentimental favourite coral, jade and silver necklace from our engagement holiday in Port Douglas to add a little merry red and green.

Thank you to Brisbane Marketing who spoiled me with a collection of great goodies from vendors including Fox and Fallow, The Design Farm (their ontrend pieces can be found locally at Lamington on Hastings St), Curly Jo Design, and The Cocoa Elf. It's so great to see small businesses given the opportunity to have a lot of foot traffic at markets like these, particularly when the shopping centres have such a large portion of the gift-giving market wrapped up (see what I did there). I'll take a day at the markets over a day at a Westfield any time!

I had a great time at Southbank, and would really love to make visiting the Christmas markets an annual festive tradition - not least because it's perfect for picking up some unique and handmade last-minute gifts! The markets are on from 11am-8pm daily through to Wednesday 23 December, except 17-21 December when they will be open until 9pm - so make a night of it and chefck out the Christmas movies showing, as well as the fireworks displays! (Hot tip, while most people are still at work at the start of this week, head to the markets on Monday or Tuesday to avoid the weekend crowds and get the chance to chat to the vendors - quieter days at markets are always my favourite.)

If you're not local, Mantra on the Quay has a great accommodation deal this Summer if you're planning on visiting Brisbane to enjoy all the free events in the city:
Stay 3 nights and save up to 10% - rates start from $158 per night for 1 bedroom apartment
Stay 5 nights and save 20% - rates start from $140 per night for 1 bedroom apartment
(Offer is valid for booking and travel until 29 February 2016, subject to availability, minimum 3 night stay & 5 night stay respectively, conditions apply. for bookings.)

Where have you purchased the bulk of your Christmas gifts from this year? Small businesses and market vendors, or larger stores? Why not experience the wonder of a traditional Christmas Market with a Brisbane twist?

Want to win a Glasshouse Candle? Sure you do, sign up to get Katy Potaty via email and go into my December subscriber draw to win a Glasshouse Christmas Cheer candle!

December 16, 2015

Wardrobe favourites: kaftan love

In the 60s, former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland called the kaftan (recently adopted from African culture to being resortwear) 'the most becoming fashion ever invented.' Ah yes, Diana. You weren't wrong. I am now firmly a member of the kaftan-wearing society, and I think most Australian women get the chance to wear this super-comfy style at least a few times every year.

A friend sent me a text yesterday, asking for some kaftan inspiration to add a little glamour to an Aussie Summer, and I figured that since I was going to be curating a little collection of my faves for her, I could share it here and you might just find something you love!

I love that there's never the need for spanxy-situations wearing kaftans, and they really do hide all manner of sins. Something to keep in mind when kaftan-shopping however, is length. I'm 165cm, and wear heels only to weddings and funerals, and really need kaftans to hit on or above my knee, or right on my ankle to avoid that 'I'm just wearing a bedsheet' look; and my shorter BFF Peta always looks out for styles that have a petite option. That said, the flowy fabric of a kaftan can easily be tied up a little to customise it to your height. 

iAllure kaftan* (2013 collection)

Now, I've taken iAllure kaftans on every Summer holiday since I got engaged in Port Douglas, and there's one good reason: easy peasy lemon squeezy. There's something so right about iAllure kaftans, they're crush-free, the regular length is perfect for my height (plus they do offer petite versions), and the sleeves don't get in your way when you're eating (and I'm always eating on holidays). Oh, and they all look way more expensive than they are!

Peta looking babin' in her iAllure Painters Palette kaftan in grey
(gorgeous image from Styling You's 2015 Summer shop)

iAllure Vibrance kaftan in sea green (and if you like the colours in this, you'll fall deeply in love with the Painters Palette style in turquoise - check it out, it's on sale too!)


This glamorous Anannasa kaftan (I blogged about it here) with its smattering of sequins and beads is perfect for weekend entertaining, or wearing out to dinner on stinkin' hot evenings - it's a more opaque georgette and a respectable length, so there's no danger of having to remember to pack the right undies!

The print of this Anannasa Cat kaftan paired with the mega-bling going on around the neckline is super-whimsical, I love it! In fact, I'm wearing it as I type this - it makes me smile so much!

Bella Lido

Bella Lido Beach kaftan in pink/red coconut palm print

I've known local designer Claire of Bella Lido for a few years now, and love her super-simple and flattering styles, the lightweight and oh-so-breathable rayon voile she uses, and her fresh prints *insert Will Smith Bel Air joke here, haha*!

Kaftans and sundresses and Summer homewares, oh my!

Most school holidays, Claire opens a lovely pop-up shop with a few other designers in Mooloolaba for a few weeks, but this Summer she's gone it alone, and the result is a Summer-lover's dream! Bella Lido is stocked in lovely boutiques in QLD, NSW and WA, and the online store is full of beautiful styles.

Claire's fun prints are so great for dressing up or down, I'll be sharing a few ways I wear mine on the blog very soon!

Isle of Mine Lourdes kaftan in white (available from Sequins and Sand)

Confession: I don't own any Isle of Mine kaftans... yet. I have quite a few of their loose flowy shirts from Sequins and Sand, but I'm chomping at the bit to get a kaftan version. Why? Simply put, the soft breathable rayon fabric is exactly what I want to wear from now until eternity. The white kaftan above fulfills everything I'm searching for in a Christmas-Day-by-the-pool outfit - white, light and breezy.

Full-length (model has it tucked up in the above image), swoon-worthy perfection. Le sigh.

Now, it wouldn't be an Australian round-up of kaftans without including a Camillla - because we've all got a lazy $600 to spend on a kaftan. (No. No we don't. If I had $600 just laying around, it's unlikely I'd spend it on a beach dress to wear to cocktails, when I could spend it on a beach holiday AND cocktails.)

That said... Camilla prints are everything. And I firmly believe every woman should own something fantastically expensive and frou-frou at least once in her life. Perhaps a Camilla (or three) would be mine?

I hope this helps my friend out, and perhaps you'll find a new Summer staple here too!

Are you open to kaftans? Do you think they should stay poolside, or do you wear yours out and about?

Want to win a Glasshouse Candle? Sure you do, sign up to get Katy Potaty via email and go into my December subscriber draw to win a Glasshouse Christmas Cheer candle!

*gifted items

I'm joining in today with Kimba of Kimba Likes for Wardrobe Wednesday. Can't promise that I'll do it regularly, but I try!

December 13, 2015

#Everydaystyle weekend - visiting Brisbane (and a great Mantra Brisbaneaccommodation deal)

I used to be a Brisbane local. I lived in one of the most beautiful riverside suburbs, and caught the CityCat (fast ferry for outtatowners) to work in the CBD. BB and I regularly took ferries to the football, and to Southbank for brunch and for date nights, and we've always thought the best thing about Brisbane is the Brisbane River.

So when there was a little mix-up with our accommodation at Mantra Midtown a few weekends ago when Peta and I we were in the city for Styling You's awesome #everydaystyle birthday party, I really didn't mind when the concierge said 'I'm so sorry Miss, we're going to move you to our riverside property, Mantra on the Quay'. I mean, river-view upgrade? I'll take it.

After a beautiful afternoon swanning around like we were internet-famous, we checked in to our new digs for the night. (Let's all agree that I'm not the world's greatest real estate photographer. And also that I'd had a few many wines at the luncheon by the time we checked in, and clear photos were low on my to-do list.)

The lobby is lovely, and roomy enough for a few photo opportunities without the concierge seeing what you're up to. Totes important.

Our rooms were plenty big enough - none of that 'squeeze two small bedrooms into what should be one bedroom space' situation here. We've all seen it before, and it ain't pretty.
(Above three images from Mantra.)

A decent bathroom to get ready in is always a priority, and the ensuite certainly sufficed.

My view the next morning was fantastic; I got up early, drew back the blinds and snuggled back in bed with a cuppa to watch Brisbane come along on a Summer Sunday morning.

A large balcony with a river view for happy snaps is always appreciated!

Peta and I didn't get the chance to check out the pool and barbeque area, or the gym (as if I was interested in using that!) because we had to head back to the Coast early-ish, but the hotel is well-equipped for longer stays, with everything you could need in CBD accommodation. I'll definitely be heading back to Brisbane for a longer trip this Summer, visiting has made me homesick for my favourite city.

Mantra on the Quay has a great accommodation deal this Summer if you're planning on visiting Brisbane :
  • Stay 3 nights and save up to 10% - rates start from $158 per night for 1 bedroom apartment
  • Stay 5 nights and save 20% - rates start from $140 per night for 1 bedroom apartment
(Offer is valid for booking and travel until 29 February 2016, subject to availability, minimum 3 night stay & 5 night stay respectively, conditions apply. Visit for bookings.)

Do you have a favourite Australian city? Somewhere you've lived or visited that you love?

*One night's accommodation at Mantra on the Quay was gifted to me to attend the #everydaystyle party; but as a longtime Mantra lover (all our engagement, wedding and anniversary holidays have been at Mantra), I'm super-happy to share what I love about these hotels. Thanks Mantra, and thank you to Brisbane Marketing too.