Tag: #whitechalklifestyle

Eat and Drinks Diary – Ho Chi Minh City- Part One

Eat and Drinks Diary – Ho Chi Minh City- Part One


One of my favourite cities.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  Formally known as Saigon..

It is famous for the pivotal role it played in the Vietnam War, stunning French architecture, traffic mayhem , cheap guesthouses and 5 Star hotels, street food and high end roof top bars, crowded markets and luxury designer stores.

It is a crazy and intoxicating clash of commerce and culture. And it will grab you by the throat and drag you along for the ride. This is why it is one of my favourite cities…


So, we left a chilly Melbourne winter and flew via Singapore with Jetstar to Ho Ch Minh. Its an easy trip. We arrived at 9pm local time and after a seamless exit through customs and visa approval, we hopped straight into the pre booked a car that was waiting kerbside. I always suggest this as my preferred option upon arrival. It can be a bit daunting landing in a foreign country at night and its just easier to spend a little more and get to the hotel. (**check with your hotel prior to travel, as most will offer courtesy shuttle, so you can pre book it before you leave home.)

I had booked the Hotel Liberty Central Riverside. It is as it sounds, on the Saigon river, located in District One, which is the best district for nightlife and shopping. 600 mtrs to the Ben Thanh Market, 20 minute walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon and only 15 minutes to The Saigon Opera House. It has a fitness centre and roof top bar with a pool..so all my preferences were ticked!

Life balance!




Day One:

After a traditional Vietnamese breakfast which consists of Pho Bo ( beef noodle soup), lots of chilli, coriander, bamboo shoots and fresh lime…we hit the Ben Thanh Markets.


This is the place to find local handicrafts, ‘faux’ Nikes and lots of T-shirts, sunglasses, belts , travel bags and electronics …You name it ..and it is here. It also has an amazing array of market food, fruit, vegetables, dried fruits and most important the Vietnamese herbs and greens for the traditional street foods and soups.


Expect to spend about 2- 3 hours here and prepare to bargain. Start at half asking and creep up to no more than two thirds of the original price. The Vietnamese people thrive and expect bargaining…so don’t be shy.

Getting used to the traffic in Vietnam is probably the most difficult task to master.  The streets are full of honking trucks, taxis and motorbikes on a intensity level not known in Western Countries, with road rules that don’t exist. Bikes, cars and people seem simultaneously, collectively and individually to be heading straight at each other.


Be warned, drivers will not slow down, or stop, so therefore you must be confident. Step out into the traffic, start walking, keep an even gait at all times  and just keep walking.

DO NOT STOP. I liken it to blood flow. It keeps going and flowing at a natural pace. The traffic will ebb around you. They anticipate your speed and adjust to suit. The honking of horns is considered a polite gesture…to let you know they are near…not as an angry one. So take a deep breath and go for it. (it will take you a day to get used to it.)

Once we had loaded up at the markets, it was time for lunch. Vietnam is all about fresh  and light food. So we headed to a local restaurant and ordered all the traditional options. More Pho soup, fresh rice paper rolls, vegetable noodles and completed the feast with my new obsession.

Vietnamese Coffee.


Iced or hot, this is an addictive blend of ox-strong black coffee and sweetened condensed milk. Addictive. Delicious. Heart Racer. More please.

After lunch we did what any other 3 gals would do next…hit the day spa. We found a clean, modern beauty salon near the market and proceeded to spend the next four hours being completely pampered. Leg scrubs, body massages, facial steams, eyelash extensions, tummy wraps, pedicures, manicures, eyebrow wax, hand massage, foot massage, head massage..total cost $300.

It was the best few hours and totally refreshed we headed back to hotel to change for the night time activities.

… Sx


Clarins Self Tan – Radiance Plus Golden Glow

Clarins Self Tan – Radiance Plus Golden Glow


I think I may be bordering on tan-orexic…

You know…when you think you’re never quite brown enough…but everybody is telling you that you most definitely are?

I’ll admit I am a little obsessed with self tanners.

Ok. I’ll admit I am a lot obsessed with self tanners.

I have a cupboard full of tanning creams, foams, gels, sprays, mitts, aftersun, before sun, during sun and everything in between. I may even consider myself somewhat of an expert in the self tanning field!

So when this little bottle of liquid gold appeared in my hand recently, (thanks Mum) I was intrigued.


What it is:
A skin booster to be mixed with your day and night cream for a radiant, sunkissed glow.

What it is formulated to do:
Three drops to sunkissed skin. This is the first ever self-tanning innovation from the Clarins laboratories. From sunkissed to sun-drenched, simply mix with your regular day or night cream to gradually develop natural-looking, beautifully bronzed skin. Golden Glow Booster’s 99.8 percent natural formula combines natural DHA and erythrulose with aloe vera extract to help preserve skin’s softness while giving your complexion a healthy-looking glow.

What else you need to know:
Golden Glow Booster must be mixed with moisturizer—never use straight from the bottle. You may resemble an Oomp-Loompa. And remember… wash your hands.

It’s actually marketing genius. The bottle is cute and bronzey and because its so small (15mm) it gives the impression it must be a very powerful elixir!

And,  you ‘customise’ how many drops you add, so you feel like you are more in control of your level of tan. But in reality, we can just spray more, or foam more if we want a deeper tan the old fashioned way with the regular products.

I used it for the first time in the AM. You know how by the end of a working day you can look a little washed out and tired? Well, this booster quietly kicks in around noon and slowly  washes you with some sun kissed glow. Thus, reducing the need to touch up makeup, and you look a whole lot fresher.

Overall, I liked it.

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RRP is $35 and available from Sephora, David Jones, Myer and Mecca.

Treat yourself and give it a shot….


Baubles For Your Ears…

Baubles For Your Ears…

Spring has certainly sprung.

Social gatherings and events have picked up their pace.

There are 10 more Fridays until Christmas.

Ok. Now Breathe and take a look at these beautiful sparkly creations I recently found at an online store called The Accessory Concierge.

They have the perfect sparkling little baubles to glamourize any outfit.

Think.. Summer Nights, Spring Racing Carnivals, Christmas Parties and Functions.

I picked up a few trinkets for myself, all in the name of research…and now I must patiently wait for them to arrive.

Half the fun is the waiting, then forgetting you bought something, then the parcel arriving, then getting excited again…A double treat!


Accessory concierge

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Click this link to go direct to their website :


Statement Jewellery Pieces…

Statement Jewellery Pieces…


Is there anything better than finding the perfect statement necklace piece for your wardrobe. I think not.

And the best part of a statement piece..is that is should be versatile.

The key to not looking like an expensive hooker, is to downplay the outfit and let the piece do its thing.

When you think glitz and glam jewellery, we tend to only identify wearing such a piece with a formal dress or a black tie occasion.

Not so.

The quirk of the understated statement piece, is to mix it up and throw it head first against a more relaxed and edited outfit. Think denim shirts and diamonds.

Think bold, coloured gems and white jeans.

Think gold chunky baubles and grey knits.

And with so many online and chain stores carrying a huge variety of jewellery these days, spending a fortune is not always necessary either.


So, while I was shopping the other day, I wandered past ‘Secrets’ (http://www.secrets-shhh.com), and spotted an amazing dramatic necklace in their window.

‘Secrets is a high end costume jewellery store, and has some pretty remarkable faux statement costume jewellery. So I detoured and went inside hopeful.

So many shiny baubles, instantly my pulse started to quicken.

The first piece I tried on was a MAJOR statement piece. Lots and lots of diamonds and diamond shape drops and clusters.

The Glacier.  And It was quite stunning, very Miss USA pageant and as much as I loved it..it had a limited wearable potential because it was such a showstopper.

So I twirled, asked for world peace and moved onto the next display case.

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Click to Buy: http://www.secrets-shhh.com/product/glacier-necklet

The next piece I was drawn to, was the Adventurer Necklet.

This was the quiet, but confident younger sister to the ‘pack a punch’ Glacier.

It was gold and bronzey and more delicate, shorter in length…and stunning.

This one has a much better adaptability to many dress codes.

I tried it on and fell head over heels. It sat flat, wasn’t itchy and added a little pop of luxe to an otherwise ordinary day.

This was the one for me.

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Click to Buy : http://www.secrets-shhh.com/product/adventurer-necklet

So, this is now my new best friend and she is sitting proudly on my jewellery cabinet, waiting to be taken out for brunch, in a faded denim shirt, ripped jeans and runners.