THE GROUNDS OF THE CITY

Sydney is definitely up there when it comes to the fine art of dining with some truly stand-out places dotted around the city. Recently, there has been a buzz about town with a certain new-ish arrival on our doorstep: The Grounds of the City. When my friend initially mentioned this place, my go-to response was: “The grounds of Alexandria? Perfect! I love it there!”, to which she responded “No, you goose! The Grounds of the City. Totally different. It’s a restaurant on George Street!”.

Huh. One can see where my confusion may have come in (right?), and alas the name does indeed make sense as both places were created by the same team. The Grounds of the City has been around for the past few months now, but I can tell you the hype has not died down in the slightest. My first word of warning: Book. In. Advance. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. My friend and I rocked up, eyes gleaming, mouths watering, stomachs rumbling, only to find we had one whole hour (cry) to wait until a seat and table would be available.

Torn between finding the next nearest place to inhale and chow down on something (anything!!) or wait, we decided to take a deep breath and be patient. Behind a rather intimidating red rope and before two ladies standing guard in an information-desk-hole-in-the-wall, we gave our mobile number and meandered on our not-so-merry way to kill some time. 45 minutes later, and we were in!

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Wow. Stepping inside was like a jump, hop and a leap back in time. Think an old 1920s hotel. Stained glass windows, marble, antique pendant lighting, a lady wheeling around a tea trolley brimming with cakes and pastries. It had it all! Through a huge, heavy cast-iron door, we were led past all the comfy looking leather-bound booths and placed on stools at the bar. Not my first choice of place to perch, but hey! I should’ve listened to my own words of wisdom. Book in advance Alix, book in advance.

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The place was packed! Behind the bar, staff were busy making cocktails and crafting up coffee. For my photos, they even kindly offered to artfully grace a swan on top of my caffeinated brew! Now that’s service.

There were many delicious looking items on the menu, with most standing around the $20 mark. Not cheap, but I later learned is reasonably priced for the portions that come out. Let your eyeballs feast on this!

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We ordered the handmade Marrickville burrata (served with brioche, olive crusts, heirloom tomatoes, basil and fresh mint), pumpkin tart (with buffalo curd, roasted onion and thyme) and the smashed potato side (complete with bone marrow, thyme and burnt onion). Can you believe that giant bowl of goodness is a side?! Holy potato! My friend was most impressed with her burrata dish, and my pumpkin tart was melt in your mouth. Hugged in gorgeously delicate pastry, the flavours were absolutely delicious. On top were sprigs of what I assume to be parmesan-crusted kale chips which were crispy and delightful. A side salad you would usually think not to be noteworthy, but this was not your average side salad. A lot of care went into this little pile, I could tell. It was made up of layers! Lettuce, zucchini, radish, squash, a sprinkling of pine nuts and a lovely coating of dressing. Not too much, not too little. Nothing tiffs me off more than a salad that’s drowning in dressing or if a few leaves of lettuce, chunks of onion and tomato are chucked haphazardly on the side of your plate, dry as a desert. But nope, the vegetables and dressing were in perfect balance. Good job, guys! In my eyes, that little bit of extra care went a long way.

We followed up our banquet with a pot of chai tea and lovely little dessert to share; the lemon meringue tart. Smooth, creamy, and brimming with lemony zesty zing. The meringue was the crispy kind, rather than the soft pillowy kind, but that didn’t bother me too much – it just made for a slightly more crumbly experience!

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The damage at the end was around $30 each for a really filling, unique dining adventure. Not as bad as I was expecting! Overall, I was rather impressed with the whole experience. It is definitely a busy, moody, crowded place, so if that doesn’t appeal to your taste then I’d encourage you to perhaps try somewhere else. But, if you’re all about the hustle and bustle and are after a different-than-usual fooding experience, definitely give this place a go and see what you think!

Just book in advance. Did I mention that?

Alix xx

KORA ORGANICS NONI GLOW FACE OIL

It’s only recently that face oils have come into my life; I was always led to believe, as a naturally oily-skinned gal, I should avoid oils at all costs. The general code I followed was: find oil-free products, and products that would strip my skin of the oil to achieve supple, mind-bogglingly dreamy skin. Did this work? For the most part, but if I didn’t stick to my skincare regime, my skin would be glistening and pooling with oil. Lovely. It’s like my skin went into oil-making overdrive!

I’ve come to learn that there’s a reason for that. Stripping your skin of its natural oils can result in your skin freaking out that it has no more oil left (understandable), so it thinks it needs to make more! I initially, reluctantly, introduced face oils into my regime, but consider me a convert. Face oils have completely changed my skin. I can’t believe I went so long without them in my life! All those years wasted… ah well, better late than never.

Fast-forward to now, and the newest addition to my face oil collection is the Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil. This is a collection front-lined and curated by Miranda Kerr, so you can imagine my expectations going into this one. Supermodel skin with just a few drops of this elixir everyday? Sign me up!

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In addition to certified organic noni oil, this little bottle is supercharged with pomegranate oil, rosehip oil, rose quartz (!!!) and buckthorn oil so it is packed to the brim with antioxidants and essential fatty acids to keep your skin smooth, hydrated and protected against those nasty free radicals. Every ingredient is natural and organic, and there are no parabens, sulfates or phthalates. It claims to help with dullness and uneven skin tone, also boasting to help balance your skin’s pH levels.

I use about 4-5 drops morning and night, warming the oil first between my fingers before massaging it into my face, neck and chest. One of the first things I noticed was the smell – while not overpowering, my nose picks up both a floral yet earthy scent which is pleasant to use. Although, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not my favourite smell in the whole world, but it’s definitely not intrusive or offensive at all.

IMG_0442The oil itself is quite light and thin, and sinks into my skin straight away, leaving a nice dewy finish which isn’t greasy at all. Not bad! After several uses, I can definitely vouch for its hydration – my skin is left smooth as a baby’s bum with not a patch of dryness to be seen. Additionally, if used just before foundation, you will be left with a lovely healthy glow!

In comparison to where my skin was before, I haven’t noticed too much of a difference in terms of skin tone, but I was using another face oil right up until I made the switch, which may be why. If you are going from being starkers to using this, I have no doubt you will see a beneficial change.

I will note that I have broken out just a little since switching to this face oil, and I’ve found my skin has been speckled with a few more mysterious red marks where I previously had none. This could be attributed to different factors of course, but it’s something I’m keeping an eye on! My skin’s pH levels have been slightly altered too – I’ve noticed my skin is producing more natural oil than it was before, so it’s not quite as successful as I’d hoped with that in mind.

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At $80AUD per 30ml bottle, this little guy isn’t cheap. If you’re using it morning and night everyday, I’d say it’ll last you around the 2-3 month mark.

While this oil is nice to use, it’s not quite enough to overtake my all-time favourite Face Hero from Go-To Skincare, which I find is far more decadent and effective, and more me, and about half the price.

However, if you’re looking for a light face oil that will leave your skin silky soft and have the money to do so, give this oil a go and see what you think. I have heard people absolutely adoring this oil, but for me it fell just a little short, especially for the price!

Alix xx

AESOP’S GERANIUM LEAF BODY SCRUB

Have you ever wanted to feel like you’re showering in a rainforest, with birds faintly chirping and a creek bubbling and trickling in the background? With air so crisp and clean, you feel totally calm and at peace? When you step away from your little showery bliss, you feel free and soft and pampered and ready to take on the world and become who you’re really meant to be??

No? Just me? (That may have escalated a little quickly)

Well, if you’re like me and live in the city far away from any of that, Aesop’s Geranium Leaf Body Scrub is pretty damn close to achieving that sensation.

Heaven. In. A. Tube.

I’ll begin by expressing my fondness of Aesop as a brand in general – can they do any wrong? The products I’ve tried from them in the past have been the epitome of luxury, and make me feel so fresh. And clean. And like a brand new human. A brand new human that smells like a freshly cut orange or freshly mowed lawn (in the fanciest way possible).

Let me tell you, this scrub did not disappoint.

The packaging itself is just lovely. That gorgeous green colour is superb! It feels sturdy and is definitely something I wouldn’t want to hide from visitors. In fact, I display it out in the open, quite proudly.

 

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The product itself smells gorgeously (as the name suggests) like geranium and (as subtly hinted earlier) makes me feel like I’ve taken a step away from city living and transcended time and space to a little forest-y heavenly bubble.

The granules are made of bamboo stem and pumice so +1 for nature friendliness and also, as it’s not a sugar scrub, you can really work that exfoliation! Nothing to dissolve here, folks.

There’s a bit of foaming action too, so if you feel so inclined you don’t even need to follow with your usual soap/shower gel routine (I KNOW!). Except in your armpits, which I would recommend giving a bit of a rinse. Or do people exfoliate their armpits?

*crickets*

Anyhoo, I also love that the metal tube is topped off with a clicky-cap (this is, of course, its official technical name). This makes sure no water goes in to cause total chaos, death and destruction of the product. Yay!

What else is there to say really, other than “buy it” (ya know, if you feel so inclined). It may be on the pricey side retailing at around $40 AUD, but I do feel you get a lot of bang for your buck as it lasts a fair while. Plus it makes you feel like a nature princess. A little bit goes a long way, and you only need to use it 1-2 times per week. Zzzziiinngg!

Have you tried this scrub before? If so, let me know in the comments what you think!

Alix xx

Review: Fresh Sugar Face Polish

After the sudden death of my Clarisonic Mia (R.I.P) a while back, the hunt for a replacement facial exfoliant ensued. With each passing day I could feel my skin getting ickier to the touch. I never fully felt clean, even after washing my face (sometimes even three times a day!). How could anything replace the good times that I had with my trusty ol’ Clarisonic? I knew I wanted to branch away and try something new, but I was struggling to find something that I could trust.

On my nose, I went back to my pre-Clarisonic/teenager days, and super-gigantic-monster pores developed that soon transformed into super-gigantic-monster blackheads (you are so welcome for that image). I was getting desperate! And then I came across Fresh Sugar Face Polish.

I was drawn to this as I read a whole bucket load of positive reviews, claiming it to smell divine and to work wonders on the skin. It was on the pricier side ($99.50 for 125ml – YEOW!), but I decided to take the plunge (and perhaps skip a few meals for the next few weeks), as like I say, I was desperate!

I hear you ask, “was it worth it?”. Honestly, it is a great product in that it looks and feels luxurious. It is in a really sturdy porcelain-feeling jar with a thick plastic lid, and the design itself is simple and classic, something I wouldn’t be ashamed to display in my bathroom. As soon as I opened the pot I was greeted with the most luscious scent! A very fresh and calming lemon-strawberry-brown sugar smell, I really had to refrain myself from eating it (admittedly a wee bit dribbled in my mouth at one stage, and it didn’t taste too bad – bonus)! It worked really nicely with my skin – absolutely no redness or stinging sensations. It’s a really gentle scrub; the brown sugar mixture just melts into your skin and leaves you feeling soft and silky! Just lovely.

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I must mention though, this isn’t just your average exfoliant. You scrub it around your face until the sugar dissolves and then you leave it for about ten minutes before rinsing it off, leaving your skin smooth and supple! That part I can vouch for, however, the actual exfoliating that it does is very gentle. This is a product that would be good to use on a daily basis, if not a few times per week. To get rid of my gigantic blackheads however, this product isn’t the one for me. Additionally, when I use it in the shower, I have to briefly turn the shower off as to not get water in the jar, and then I tuck the jar out of the shower to avoid melting the product from the heat.

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However, I will continue to use it as it does leave me very soft, and I really do love the smell! Due to its price, I’ll probably keep an eye out for something a little bit cheaper, but there’s no doubt that this product is nothing short of luxurious.

If you’re after a gorgeously gentle and truly luxurious scrub, and can afford the rather hefty price tag, then give this product a go!

xx