Flight review: Qantas Business Class, Melbourne to London on Airbus A380

A lot of Australians love visiting Europe, but the necessity of book ending these trips with approximately 24 hours in a plane is regarded with unanimous horror. How to make this travel bearable is the subject of many conversations with family and friends, and everyone has their own favourite solution. Have an eight-hour stopover and book yourself into a hotel airport in Dubai to sleep. Go via Singapore and spend a few days sightseeing with the kids. Drink enough alcohol to forget how uncomfortable you are. Spend some time in Japan on the way back, and let the traditional hot springs soak the knots out of your contorted muscles.


Being unencumbered by adorable but expensive children, and wanting to maximise the time I get to spend in Europe, my personal solution is to fly straight through but NEVER DO IT IN ECONOMY. Use your frequent flier points for a reward booking or an upgrade, or pay for the ticket outright. I don’t care. Just get yourself up the pointy end of the plane if at all humanly possible.

I followed this rule for my recent trip, and accordingly found myself in Business Class on a Qantas A380 flight from Melbourne to London, with a brief fuel-stop in Dubai.


Chauffeur drive

Qantas offer a chauffeur service to all First and Business Class passengers travelling from Australia to Dubai or London. I am starting my journey with a connecting flight from Sydney to Melbourne, so have booked the service to take me from my Sydney address to the domestic airport. My driver calls the day before to confirm time and address details, and arrives promptly two hours before my flight. The vehicle that has been sent is much too big for just me and my bags, but the driver is polite and helpful, and my giant suitcase and I make it to Departures at Sydney airport in record time.


“Yes, thank you. You can definitely take my bags!”

Check in

The priority queue is very short at this time of day, and within seconds I have been called to the desk and am being checked in by a friendly Qantas staff member. She checks me and my bags right through to London, which means I don’t need to mess around with collecting bags or checking in again once I get to Melbourne, and I am soon tucking into a delicious smoked salmon bruschetta in the domestic Business Lounge. A short flight to Melbourne later, I grab my hand luggage and easily navigate to the international terminal, where I breeze through security with the Express Pass given to all Business Class passengers on check in, and enter the International Business Lounge.




The lounge is fairly standard and not particularly exiting, but it provides comfortable seating and is not crowded. There is the usual buffet of hot and cold food, with a reasonable selection of drinks, and power points for charging devices are plentiful. In my family, nobody is allowed to leave the country without first speaking to every other member of the family on the phone, so I spend most of my time in the lounge striding around, chatting on the phone while I do laps of the facility and try to get some walking in before the long flight!



The seat is comfortable and fully adjustable, with a massage function and the ability to “save” your preferred and angle and return to it after moving your chair to eat or sleep. Despite the airline’s claims, the seat does not recline into a 100% fully flat bed, but it’s close enough that I’m not going to quibble. After supper, flight attendants come around to offer “turn down service”, which involves fitting a mattress onto the seat and reclining it into the sleeping position, and well as providing a cup of T2 Sleep Time Tea, which is a nice touch. The real test of an airline seat (and the entire point of going business class, in my opinion) is whether or not I can get any sleep. With the help of a light sedative, I manage five uninterrupted hours, with another two after a brief stretch and a trip to the bathroom, so I’m a happy customer.


Yes, this will definitely do!



The entertainment system is easy to use, due to the hand held control at my elbow. The selection of films/television seems wide, but I am so tired by the time I actually leave for my holiday that I end up watching Full House reruns, because it’s all my brain has capacity for! The screen is large, with an adjustable position, and the Bose noise cancelling headphones work perfectly.



Qantas provides business class amenity kits in  colourful Kate Spade bag for women, and a more Sober Jack Spade version for men. The brand featured for toiletries is ASPAR by Aurora Spa, and my bag contains Sweet Orange & Shea Hand Cream, Vanilla & Orange Lip Moisturiser and an Ultra Hydrating Face Moisturiser, as well as the usual cotton socks, eye mask and toothbrush. Being the skincare fanatic that I am, I have brought my own  supplies for in-flight comfort and don’t use any of this, but it makes a nice extra gift for a friend I’ll be staying with in London.


I imagine this pattern makes it very hard for anyone to lose their Kate Spade amenity kit…

The amenity I DO get excited about is the famous Qantas business class pyjamas. The soft grey Peter Morissey-designed pj’s are 100% cotton, with the Qantas kangaroo printed on the front and a generous loose fit. These are handed out by flight attendants as soon as we board, and there is a rush to the bathrooms to put them on before takeoff. I am amused by the sudden uniformity of everyone wearing identical grey pyjamas, but most importantly, I am comfortable! Topping off the ensemble with some cashmere slippers from Banjo and Matilda, I snuggle down with a blanket and a book to await takeoff.


The famous Qantas pyjamas are just as comfy as they look.



The time of my flight means that supper is served first, followed by breakfast before landing. I have taken advantage of Qantas’ option to select your meal online ahead of time, and am quickly tucking into a bowl of pea and mint soup, followed by grilled trout on polenta, and a cheese board and chocolate for dessert. The food is good, if slightly bland, and served attractively with a linen cloth, heavy cutlery and sides of fresh bread and salad.


For breakfast, I opt for scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a cup of peppermint tea, and the eggs are probably the best I’ve ever had in the air.


I’m not too keen on the in-flight snacks (potato chips, bars of dark chocolate) but the food served at mealtimes is plentiful enough that this isn’t really a problem.



The service is friendly, with a personal welcome from the cabin supervisor, but flight attendants don’t seem to be allocated to particular groups of passengers, which can make service patchy in places. When I get up to ask for a bottle of water, I am told that there should should have been one waiting at my seat when I boarded. I explain that there wasn’t one, and am asked if I am sure. “We’re only allowed to give one to each passenger, and then we have to refill them” explains the flight attendant. I insist that I am not hiding my original bottle of water in order to snag a second one, and she finally gives in. This is a jarring note in otherwise pleasant service, and I am surprised that Qantas would be so stingy with the in-flight hydration. I make a mental note to stock up on bottled water when we stop over in Dubai, and resign myself to requesting frequent refills until then.



We have a brief stopover in Dubai for refuelling, and not being inclined to shop after such a long flight, I head directly to the Emirates Business Lounge. The lounge is giant, but well thought-out with elegant decor, and I remember the food being pretty good on previous visits. My first priority is to have a shower, and after a five minute wait I am shown to a clean and well-appointed shower cubicle, where towels, slippers and basic toiletries are in generous supply. Having rendered myself human again and dealt with some urgent skin hydration, I head to the area closest to my departure gate, and find a generous and varied breakfast buffet available. I snack on some of the Middle Eastern options available, before retreating to a table in the corner with a cup of tea and a giant bottle of mineral water.


Nobody can beat Emirates for bathrooms.

This is where my smooth stopover experience in interrupted, with one a one hour delay being announced, and then followed by another one-hour delay. When we finally board, two and a half hours after the scheduled time, the pilot makes an announcement to explain that bad weather has caused lengthy delays, and that many flights have actually been cancelled. He tells us he is determined to get us into the air this morning, but that we’ll have to wait for the go-ahead. Forty-five minutes later, during which the business class flight attendants have kept drinks, snacks and hot towels in generous supply, we finally take off. The delay was unfortunate and annoying, but I am pleased with the way Qantas has handled it and very relieved not to have been forced to disembark and check into a hotel to wait out the inclement weather.



After the delay in Dubai, we arrive at Heathrow around 6pm, and a second Express Path pass ensures that my Customs experience is quick and painless. After collecting my priority-tagged luggage I make my way to the arrivals hall, where a sign is being held up for all Qantas business class passengers who have booked the Chauffeur Drive service. There is a short wait, but I am soon introduced to my driver and on my way to my London Hotel.


Overall verdict

Overall, I enjoyed my flight. Service was not as personalised as you might find on some airlines, but the seat was comfortable, the food was good and I managed to sleep, which is my ultimate priority. At the end of the day, I arrived in London rested and feeling like a functional human being: you really can’t put a price on that.


Hydrating face masque applied? Yes! Qantas pyjamas on? Yes! LML is ready to fly 🙂

xx LML

Hotel Review: The Goring, London

I am a firm believer that every trip abroad should involve at least one very indulgent hotel experience, and for this jaunt to Europe I picked the Goring. London’s last family-owned luxury hotel, which has been operated by the Goring family for over 100 years, is a stone’s throw from Buckingham palace and seems to have borrowed some of that building’s innate mystique. It is the only hotel ever to have received a royal warrant, and its proximity to the palace has led to some very interesting stories over the years…

The Goring has a “three nights for the price of two” deal, which seems too good to pass up, and I arrive directly from Heathrow after a 24 hour flight from Australia that’s been delayed for several hours during a stopover in Dubai. It’s 7pm by the time I arrive, and needless to say, I am exhausted. My driver pulls up outside the elegant entrance, and two doormen are waiting to help me out of the car and collect my bags.


A welcome sight after thirty hours in transit!



I am ushered into a cozily lit reception area, where I am immediately checked in by a polished and friendly receptionist, who gives me a brief tour of facilities downstairs, before escorting me to my room.



My bags arrive moments later, and I am left alone in the Splendid Garden Room I have booked.


I am not too tired to notice that the room itself is lovely; much larger than I would normally expect from a London hotel room, with silk-lined walls and heavy drapes lending a cosy, luxe atmosphere on this chilly evening. In the morning, I will discover that the touch of a button opens the drapes to reveal a large balcony overlooking the Goring’s garden, the largest private garden in Central London.


My balcony, overlooking the lovely Goring garden.

Small touches- a choice of still and sparkling bottled water on a table near the bed, a hand-written welcome card, and a box of gourmet chocolates, ensure I feel welcome, and perched on one of the pillows in Baaaabara, the Goring’s signature cuddly toy sheep, which is given as a gift to each guest. Every time my room is made up, in the mornings after breakfast and at turn down service in the evenings, I discover Baaaabara in a different location: a whimsical detail I am charmed by.


Baaaabara survived the flight back to Australia and now resides on the bed in my spare bedroom.

The bathroom is larger than some bedrooms I have seen, and clearly designed for comfort. The Goring boasts of being the first hotel in the world to have an en suite bathroom for every bedroom, and the Norwegian Crown Prince is said to have elected to stay here when attending the coronation of King George VI for exactly that reason: he complained that at Buckingham Palace, he had to share a bathroom with three of four others, and the privacy at the Goring was much to be preferred!


Adjustable bathroom lighting is a trick many hotels seem to miss, but the Goring does it beautifully.


This commitment to bathroom comfort seems to have become a tradition. Two sinks, a deep bath, underfloor heating, heated towel racks, adjustable lighting, beautiful robes and towels, and a generous supply of Asprey toiletries greet me when poke my head in for a look. Needing no further inducement, I sink into the bath for a soak, and am asleep in the comfortable bed minutes later.

Heading downstairs for breakfast the next morning, I am awake enough to notice some decor details that had escaped me the night before. The Goring has different coloured wallpaper on each floor (“This way you can never get lost, Madam!”) and the hallways are decorated with charming vintage prints and one-off pieces of furniture which remind me I am not in a soulless chain hotel.


No, I do not think it is strange to collate a collage in honor of the hallway decor. Beautiful wallpaper is important, people!

Breakfast in the Michelin-starred dining room, a beautiful, light-filled space that feels opulent without being stuffy, is an unhurried affair. I am shown to a lovely corner table and receive service that stops just short of being *too* attentive.


Oh, that dining room…

I choose a delicious egg and salmon dish as part of the full breakfast option, and am also furnished with fresh coffee and fruit juice, yoghurt with fresh berries, buttered toast and a seemingly endless supply of fresh pastries. In the end, I have to tell the waiter to stop offering me the pastry basket on his frequent rounds; as I am at risk of being unable to explore London due to a pastry-induced coma.


Breakfast continues at this standard every morning of my stay, and a London-based friend who visits me for an early catch up just as impressed. However, being Australian, all either of us wants in the way of coffee is a flat white, and this proves a little too much for the kitchen staff. I am cheerfully told that of COURSE they can do a flat white, but what arrives at the table is a far cry from what I would find in a Sydney cafe. The hot chocolate, however, is superb, and the frequent, smiling refills reconcile me to ordering this as an alternative to my favourite coffee for the rest of my stay.


After breakfast, I wander through the newly refurbished lobby, where the concierge enquires about my plans for the day. Before I know it, he has arranged tickets for every attraction I mention wanting to visit, and when I come back downstairs after freshening up in my room, he hands me these in individually labelled envelopes for each activity. At my request, he has also booked me in to a nearby yoga class in the evening, and assures me that the hotel will furnish me with a yoga mat, towel and water when I leave for class. Having arrived with only vague plans for the day, suddenly I have an itinerary!


The Goring had a major facelift in 2015, and I particularly enjoyed the hand-painted mural decorating the entirety of the front hall.


Fighting jetlag and an impending cold, I order room service several times during my stay. The food is delicious and always arrives promptly and beautifully presented, and my requests for fresh organge juice with ginger grated into it, and salt and hot water to gargle for a sore throat, are met without the bat of an eyelid.


The Low Maintenance Lass is extremely susceptible to well-presented room service, even when she is ill.


Housekeeping is unobtrusive but meticulously thorough. Regular readers of this blog will know I am not a girl who travels with minimal skincare products. I leave two bags of assorted toiletries in the bathroom on the first morning of my stay, and when I return in the evening I find my products arranged BY BRAND on the vanity. Similarly, my half-hearted unpacking job has been completed by someone with far more patience than I possess. Clothing is folded, straightened and hung in the wardrobe, while more personal items like underwear and medication remain untouched in the suitcase. The perfect balance.


I want to live in a world where someone ALWAYS arranges my skincare like this.

I also invited a friend to join me for the famed Goring afternoon tea, which I will review separately in another post. For now, let me wrap up my saying that I stay in a lot of hotels for work, and usually wish I was back in my own home.  However, there have been a few times since I got home that I have found myself wishing I was at the Goring. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and will return, not least to secure a companion for Baaaabara the sheep!

xx LML


Going to the salon and we’re gonna get fa-a-acialed!

In the last few posts, I’ve talked about how a good daily skincare routine, targeted to your own individual needs, is the best way to keep your skin in a healthy state, rendering you the kind of annoying, smug person who can run out the door with only a dab of tinted moisturiser and still look fabulous.

However, to keep your skin in a really disgustingly good shade of health, sometimes you need to hand it over to the professionals. (Don’t worry. They’ll give it back.)


So relaxing, you may actually fall asleep…

I am talking about Getting A Facial, which for some reason, seems to freak people out a bit. Don’t worry, it needn’t. Here are some excellent reasons to treat yourself to a bit of intensive skin TLC:

1. A professional beauty therapist will be able to assess your skin and give you the best advice about your individual skincare needs. They can tell you what you need to work on, which is not always the same as what you THINK you need to work on. For example, I have quite oily skin, and I thought I needed to use astringents and mattifying products to reduce the oil and stop my skin from breaking out. My clever beauty therapist was able to tell me that actually, my skin was dehydrated, and that if I used proper hydrating products it would stop over-producing oil to compensate. A skincare professional will be able to advise you on what products to use for your skin and how to use them to best effect. Once you understand your skin, you’ll know what to look for when considering new products as well.


My excellent beauty therapist, Ann-Marie, very obligingly posing at Glow Girl Salon in Newtown.

2. There are some things you can’t easily do for yourself. Blackhead removal is the number one example. A skilled beauty therapist, using some kind of black magic I have never fully understood, will be able able to physically remove your blackheads without harming your skin or leaving a mark. Stronger treatments like chemical peels, which offer deep exfoliation and totally revitalise your skin, should also only be done by professionals.



3. It’s a very relaxing experience! A proper facial should take place in a lovely, quiet salon, with a comfortable temperature and soothing music playing. There is also usually some sort of massage involved. What more could you ask for?

So, assuming that you are now THOROUGHLY convinced that you need to book yourself in for a facial ASAP, here are some tips for getting the most out of your facial:

– Pick the right salon. Don’t just automatically make an appointment at the nearest Ella Bache. Independent local salons are often the best. Google salons in your area, read reviews, ask around. I am pretty evangelical about my preferred salon, Glow Girl in Sydney’s Newtown, and your skincare loving friends are likely to be just as evangelical about their favourites if you ask for advice.


My salon is totally my happy place.

– If you go to a salon and don’t feel it has quite the right vibe/style/attitude/coffee for you, don’t be afraid to try another one. The same goes with individual beauty therapists. Shop around until you find the right salon and therapist for YOU, not for your Mum of your friend or your favourite skincare blogger…

– Schedule your facial for the end of the day, on a day when you don’t have to go anywhere but straight how afterwards. Depending on the treatment you have had, you might look a little bit red or shiny afterwards, and your skin needs an evening to recover. Also, your facialist will have just put loads of lovely treatments and serums and nourishing moisturisers onto your face, and the results will be better if you give them time to do their work. That means skipping your evening skincare routine and not washing your face again until you wake up in the morning.

– Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some good ones include: What do you think my skin’s main issue is? How should I look after my skin after I leave here? Are there any after-effects I should be expecting? What is the one thing that you would recommend I do, to really make a difference to my skin?

– Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want! If you’re worried about your blackheads, ask your beauty therapist to focus on extractions. If you’re really there for a lovely, relaxing facial experience, tell them that. If the room is too cold, speak up. If listening to Enya triggers homicidal tendencies in you, ask for a change of playlist. You are paying for a luxurious treat, and there’s nothing wrong with (politely) making sure that’s what you get. Your beauty therapist wants you to be happy with the experience and come back, so communicating your wants and needs clearly is in everyone’s best interests.

Happy facial-ing, everyone! I’ll be flying from Australia to Europe for a holiday next week, so you can expect a post about in-flight and travel skincare shortly.

xx LML


Saving my skin on a work trip to Darwin

This not a real post, filled with helpful hints and bossy instructions. This is a brief note about how I’m handling this week’s skincare challenge.


I should stop whinging, because I get to work from HERE this week.

You see, I am working from Darwin this week, before heading straight to Perth with a brief stop in Alice Springs. I am very busy, and quite tired, and also I have a bit of a cold. Those factors combined mean that last night, I got on a five hour flight from Sydney to Darwin without taking any of my usual flight-busting skincare precautions!

I know, I know. You expected better.


More of this!

Skincare V: Sunscreen and BB Cream

Goodness, I’m so proud of us! We’ve cleansed, we’ve exfoliated, we’ve moisturised; we’ve figured out what the hell serums are for and why eye cream is a real thing.


Gatsby is proud of us, too.

Now for the top layer! When your skin is in great shape because you’re taking proper care of it, the top layer is basically just about protecting it from the sun, and adding a teeny bit of “help” in the makeup department if you’re so inclined.


First up, sunscreen. As I’ve said before, there is no point putting effort into a skincare routine if you’re not going to protect your skin from the sun. Sun damage will age your skin faster than anything else, and all of the creams and potions in the world can’t fix that. You must wear sunscreen on your face, no matter what the weather, and no matter how long you’re actually going to be spending outside. Even ducking out of the office for a sandwich can expose you to sun damage if you’re not wearing sunscreen. Listen to Aunty LML and just do it, okay?


“…and you have to wear sunscreen!”       (Annie knows. Look at that skin.)

More of this!

Skincare IV: Moisturiser, moisturiser and more moisturiser!

So, we’ve talked about pre-cleansing, and actual cleansing, and exfoliating, and serums. Now it’s time for the top layer.

I am a life-long fan of good moisturiser. Using the right one at the right time can make a huge difference to your skin. I’m also at the age when a lot of my friends seem to be living overseas, and many a late-night Skype session has featured someone in London/Paris/somewhere-else-far-cooler-than-where-I-am, laughing at me as I earnestly dab eye cream around my eyes while chatting.


Move along. Nothing to see here. (Image via http://www.seaalgae.com)

More of this!

Skincare III: Serums and face oils

The title of this post should really be “What Goes Under Your Moisturiser.” It is at this point of skincare conversations that people tend to start looking looking a bit panicked. Everyone knows they should be cleansing and moisturising, but when you start talking about adding other steps to the routine, it can all start to seem a bit much…


I do not look like this. You do not look like this. Actually, I’m pretty sure *she* doesn’t really look like this, either…

More of this!

Skincare Part II: Exfoliation stations!

Exfoliation is so important for clear, healthy skin, but it can so easily be done in a way that causes more harm than good. I have sensitive skin, and I shudder to think about my exfoliation methods in my teenage years and early twenties, when I’d rub firmly at my face with a variety of “scrubs” containing large granules of what basically amounted to sand, or those little plasticky “exfoliating beads.” I may as well have been using sandpaper on my skin; it’s no wonder I had so many breakouts!


I pretty much wanted to spend my teenage years like this.

More of this!

Skincare: Part I (Pre-Cleanse and Cleansing)

Skin care. A topic I bang on about incessantly to friends, colleagues and loved ones. It is essential to the whole philosophy of this blog. If you invest in having healthy, glowing skin, everything else becomes so much easier. You can get away with wearing little or no makeup, and what you do wear will sit better and look better on your face.


[via all dolls.org] I wish to look like this…


I have skin that is very fair and prone to sunburn, as well as being both sensitive AND oily and prone to breakouts. When it’s in good condition, I can achieve the  full-on porcelain doll, peaches and cream look with very little effort. But when I haven’t been looking after it, look out! Sun damage, pimples, flaky dehydration, oiliness… it’s not fun.


…but sometimes I end up a little more like this.

More of this!

Where exactly IS the Low Maintenance Lass?

I am an inappropriately red haired, porcelain-skinned Australian, constantly preoccupied with sun protection. I am currently living between our sleepy, peaceful capital, Canberra, and the more frenetic joys of Melbourne and Sydney. I work hard and love my job, which has me shuttling between the three cities on a weekly basis. I also love to travel (who doesn’t?!) and make it happen whenever I can. 2015 will see me returning to Europe and Japan for holidays, as well as a few mini-breaks within Australia and at least one sneaky trip to Southeast Asia for a yoga retreat.