Growing Up

19 September 2017

Work Uniform

Hi everyone!

Life doesn’t seem to stop around here.

Whether we like it or not, it’s just bam bam bam, milestone after milestone. We can’t seem to slow things down. Our kids just keep growing up! Anyway, it’s all good. We’ve had lots of great stuff happen to our little family. One of the biggest things for me, is this.

My oldest boy (yes, my first born son!) is now 14.5 years old and last week, he started his very first job.

He’s working at a cafe and he’s earning about $11 per hour.

He’s starting at the bottom; clearing tables, wiping bench tops, washing dishes and organising the drinks fridge.

He is absolutely loving the challenge, meeting new people, being in a new environment, having a bit of independence and earning money.

But it’s completely FREAKING ME OUT!

I feel so old. I’m a mum of a teenager, who goes to work?!?

I feel so nervous that my child is going out into the world. Hanging around other adults and older teenagers. Interacting with complete strangers.

I feel so unsure, because I never had a job when I was 14. (I was about 19 when I had my first job.)

I don’t know if this is a good idea or not? He’s going to be working for the rest of his life. Does he really need to start at 14?

I guess in the end, we decided that even though he is a really bright and well-rounded kid (good at school, very sporty, lots of friends, fun/happy personality) he, like most teenagers these days, still preferred to spend their spare time playing computer games and watching youtube haha.

He needed a hobby and going to work was an excellent hobby!

We’re making him do all the hard stuff himself, like applying for a Tax File Number, emailing his boss, checking his roster, managing his own schedule, setting up his bank account, checking his pay slips… all good life skills!

I guess I am proud and excited — but equally freaked out!!


 

New Season Picks to Freshen Up Your Wardrobe

15 September 2017

Brought to you by Shopbop

I’m a little embarrassed to say this, because it could come out wrong.

I made this wish list mindful of my age haha!

What I mean is, I’m someone who’s in the “mid-thirty approaching forty age group”. In terms of personal style… I’m already happy, confident and bordering on not-giving-a-shit about what others think. I already have lots of basics, classics and investment pieces. I do tend to get stuck in a rut, so I’m just looking for a little style update for the new season, but not too much.

Haha that all sounds very sensible and grown up right?!?

I don’t believe that once you hit a certain age, that you have to dress a certain way.

It’s all about what you feel comfortable in!

Anyway, I just want to add a few cool things to my wardrobe and freshen it up a bit. I’m eyeing up these things :

Shopbop New Season Picks

Etre Cecile Touche T-Shirt – Graphic tees are everywhere, but I’m so picky with the kind of print or wording on them. I don’t believe in band or city t-shirts. I don’t really like statements like “Choose Happiness”, or “Groovy”, or “Need Coffee” haha. I like this black and white script one though – TOUCHÉ!!

Marni Circle Sphere Earrings – I love the mixed metals in these earrings. They are not too girly. Not too statement. They are modern, subtle but still look a bit special.

Cult Gaia Acrylic Ark Bag – Inspired by retro Japanese bamboo picnic bags, designer Jasmin Larian created Cult Gaia handbags focusing on good design, ethical manufacturing and sustainability. I love the design and look of it!!

Shopbop New Season Picks

Amanda Uprichard Crawford Top – Bright red is a great colour for spring. This top shows a bit of skin, but not too much. Looks modern and polished. Can wear it for day time or night. Very versatile!

KENZO Mini Tiger Earrings – Love these Kenzo tiger studs. I’m so bored of my pearls and diamond studs!

Tibi Lia Slingback Pumps – You may as well get used to seeing these now. Sling-back kitten heels are back in fashion. And just like the slides, get a good pair that will feel amazing and last you a few years.

Shopbop New Season Picks

KENZO Tiger Classic T Shirt – Did I mention I really like the Kenzo tiger graphic? A cool, coloured graphic tee is even harder to find than a black and white graphic tee.

Furla Red Cross Body Bag – I’ve learned how to head out the door with less. Phone, keys, credit card, lip balm. It feels so liberating to NOT carry all my heavy crap around! Now I want to celebrate with a new small bag haha!

PUMA Clyde Core Leather Sneakers – I’m so bored of wearing my black and white Nike sneakers around the place. I feel like I’m trying too hard to look like a teenager (because that’s all my teenagers wear on their feet these days!). I’d like some stylish leather sneakers please.

Shopbop New Season Picks

Style Mafia Helene Top – Go the ruffle and the girly pleats! Love this top! It’s on the “more affordable” scale.

Gucci Lightness Square Sunglasses – Bold, white sunglasses are back in. I don’t like my sunglasses too chunky, so these are a really nice look instead. Can’t go wrong with Gucci.

Chiara Ferragni Star Sandals – And because I love a good statement shoe… I’ll say YES to stars, glitter, gold and silver any day. These strike the perfect balance of fun + bold without going over the top :)

Enjoy your weekend!


 

What I Wore: Red Evening Gown

7 September 2017

Lovers and Friends Red Dress

Hello hello!

Gah I am absolutely loving this new Lovers + Friends Red Dress, courtesy of Revolve.

I don’t own a long, red evening gown – so with lots of big events coming up, I figured it was time to get one :)

Looking at the model’s photo, I thought the dress might look a bit plain… but it’s just lovely in real life. It sits very firm against my chest, waist and skims of my hips to a swishy skirt. It’s super comfortable!

I think the appeal is in its simplicity and elegance.

I like that it shows some skin, but it’s NOT an off-shoulder dress, as that style will eventually go out of fashion. This style is a bit more timeless, I think!

Lovers and Friends Red Dress

Simply throw on some bling, put on some nude (or black heels), a smudge of red lippy – and you’re good to go!

After I took these photos, I decided to take the dress  to a seamstress to get the hem taken up. I didn’t like the way the skirt dragged on the floor and bunched up at my feet. I almost tripped over it!

Now it sits just above the ground and it has a nicer, more polished silhouette.

It’s currently on pre-order, with a delivery date for Nov 9. Perfect for Christmas functions or Chinese New Year next year! And if it doesn’t work out, you always have free returns!


 

A Helicopter Ride and Lunch in Dunsborough

5 September 2017

Last weekend, 5 of my girlfriends and I went on a girls only weekend in Yallingup (beautiful coastal town in the South West).

We stayed in a lovely house, which belonged to one of my friend’s mum, with spectacular views overlooking the ocean.

Most importantly, we did a whole lot of NON-MUM things like:

– ZERO cooking.
– Ate cheese for dinner.
– Slept in.
– Winery lunch.

We also had a last minute helicopter ride before lunch!!?

Helicopter Ride, Dunsborough

My other friend’s brother-in-law is a helicopter pilot and owns a helicopter (as you do). He was in the area that weekend and wondered if we wanted a joy ride?!

It could only fit 3 passengers, so we split into 2 groups. My friend Lucy and I had to play “Scissors Paper Rock” to see who would sit in the front seat haha!

I won. But somehow her photos turned out so much better than mine, as I had a lot of reflection from all the glass.

Helicopter Ride, Dunsborough

We took off from Dunsborough and flew south, towards Gracetown on the coast. We went past Canal Rocks, Sugarloaf Rock, The Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and over Dunsborough town.

Yup, it was pretty amazing!!!

Helicopter Ride, Dunsborough

I have been in a hot air ballon before (read my blog post here) and I’ve also had hands-on flying experience in a small airplane (blog post here – omg such a fun read, if I do say so myself).

This helicopter ride was much different. It was faster, noisier, we covered more area, I felt much more agile in the air, and I was able to see so much more. Because there was so much glass, I felt like my body was flying through the air. I felt closer to the ground and like I could reach out and touch stuff.

It was a once in a lifetime experience!

Helicopter Ride, Dunsborough

Amazing arial view of Canal Rocks!

This photo taken by my friend, on her iPhone.

The helicopter ride took about 30 minutes. I think it was long enough for me, as I was getting a bit motion sick at the end.

Cullens Winery 2017

After that, we drove over to Cullen Winery to enjoy a late lunch, dessert and coffee.

Then we went back to the house, where I sat back on the couch to read until sunset, while a few of my girlfriends went for a walk, and much later, we ate cheese for dinner haha.

It was such an awesome day! It was definitely one of those pinch me moments, where I was so thankful and grateful to all the lovely, generous and soul-healing people in my life! xxx

Cullen Winery 2017


 

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2017 – Fashion Central Events at Forrest Place

1 September 2017

Brought to you by City of Perth

City of Perth Fashion Central TPFF 2017

Hi everyone!

I have some very fun and exciting news — in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working with the City of Perth to be one of their Official Bloggers for the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival.

I’ll be attending a whole list of shows at Fashion Central (at Forrest Place), updating live on Instragram (@karenlycheng), Instagram Stories and Facebook (@karenchengblog)… and just exploring the city, walking, shopping and eating in between shows.

Hopefully you’ll join me over on my social channels, take a peek at my adventures and be inspired to pop down to check some of it out too!

The festival is split over two weeks:

First Week – Free runway events at Fashion Central (Forrest Place)
Second Week – Ticketed runway events at the Crown Pyramid (Burswood)

If you have never been to a fashion show, you should give it a go!

Take the morning off, come down during your lunch time, or pop down after work.

They’re not as scary and intimidating as yo might think. They are a great way to find out what’s new in the fashion season, get ideas on how to style outfits together, do something fun with your girlfriend (or boyfriend?), get dressed up, see some beautiful creations and support the local creative industry.

So here’s a list of events for the FIRST WEEK at Fashion Central presented by Act-Belong-Commit.

 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

MYER Fashion Runway – 6.30pm
(Attendance is free, but front row seats are $50)

Apparently there’s going to be a red carpet and sparkling wine! The runway show will showcase collections from Morrison, Alex Perry, Misha Collection and more, with a special appearance by MYER ambassador Kris Smith.

 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Wesley Quarter Runway – 1pm
(Free Event)

You know how much I love activewear and street style (aka wearing jeans). This show is all about perfecting your street style, activewear and cool urban look with G-Star RAW, Wittner Shoes, Oxford, Lorna Jane and more.

 

Enex Perth – 5.30pm
(Free Event)

A huge show with a huge variety of styles. Check out the Spring/Summer hotlist from Mimco, Calibre, DECJUBA, Nine West, Gorman and POLITIX.

 

Culture Kings – 7.30pm
(Free Event)

Get dem beats, street style and ultimate cult trends from around the globe. This should be a fun show, full of energy, music and attitude.

 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

140 Perth: Forever New and Cotton On – 11am
(Free Event)

I’m such a fan of both these stores! It’s always very cool to see how a stylist puts outfits together for the runway. I’m always surprised how clothes look so much better on a real, moving person – instead of hanging on a rack or on a mannequin.

 

Chirriger: Aboriginal Runway – 1pm
(Free Event)

This show is a collaboration between Sandra Rivers and local Aboriginal Artist Peter Farmer, creating a fusion of ready-to-wear styles featuring artworks by Farmer.

 

The Language of Fashion: Multicultural Runway – 3pm
(Free Event)

Celebrating diversity and honouring the variety of cultures in WA! This show features African, Indian and modest fashion collections.

 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Jack London & Alannah Hill – 12pm
(Free Event)

Check out the latest season range for menswear label Jack London and feminine designer Alannah Hill.

City of Perth Fashion Central TPFF 2017

Hope to see you there! Thanks for reading!

xxx


 

What I Wore: Majorelle Portia Dress

31 August 2017

Revolve x Majorelle Portia Dress

Hi everyone!

Spring in Australia is literally one day away and I just had to dress up for the occasion!

The amazing team at Revolve have sent me some gorgeous Spring + Summer dresses and I’ll be featuring them over the next few weeks.

The whole “minimal trend” is starting to make way for “over the top styling” with patterns, florals, lace, mixed textures, ruffles, volume and more.

I picked out this Majorelle Portia Dress because I love a good wrap dress!

It’s not too “over the top”, but it’s just perfect for me. I know it’s the kind of dress I’ll wear a lot.

It’s a very flirty style – deep V neck (not wide though), short mini skirt, ruffled details, big bow. Makes me look 5-10 years younger I reckon haha.

The sleeves are longer than usual, which is a nice thing. It keeps it balanced and slightly modest (ok maybe not).

I think you have to have boobs for this dress, or at least wear a kick ass push up bra (I wear this one!), and be happy to show a bit of cleavage.

I like that the V is narrow. I dislike wearing wide V necks, because I hate wearing double-sided tape.

Revolve x Majorelle Portia Dress

Since it’s a wrap dress, I did have some concerns about the dress unwrapping and “popping open”, as there are no buttons or zips to keep it together. It’s like wearing a robe?

The only way you are stopping the world from seeing your girls, is with your ability to tie a knot.

I never did any girl guides courses, so I made two shoelace knots, and a bow at the end. Looks a bit wonky but it did the job!

* Sometimes I like to use a hidden safety pin JUST TO BE SURE, but I didn’t have to in this case, because the length of belt is wide, so you can feel it firm in place against your skin.

Anyway, I love that it’s a simple WOW dresses, that tucks in at all the right places and makes you feel like a million bucks.

I’m wearing a Size XS and I’m usually a size AU6. When it was first released, the dress was completely sold out, then restocked. It’s now on Pre-Order, so more are coming soon.

Remember, Revolve have free returns for Australian customers!

Revolve x Majorelle Portia Dress

Wearing the Majorelle Portia Dress , ​Rosalia by Meli Melo, Aquazzura Sexy Thing Heels, and vintage scarf (from my mum!).

Can’t wait for that Spring weather!

xxx


 

A Quick Self-Tanning Product Review

30 August 2017

 

Self Tanning Review

Hello hello!

A few people have asked about which self-tanning products I use – so with Spring just around the corner, I’m running through a few brands and products I’ve tried, liked and disliked.

Pictured here are some random bottles I happen to have in my cupboard. Three of them are months old and their solutions have turned green, so I threw them away after I took this photo – oops!

This isn’t a sponsored post.

In the past, I’ve declined to accept tanning sponsors, because… well, the products are either great or crap. I don’t see the point of dancing around the truth and recommending something I don’t like. Plus, what works for me, might not work for someone else.

Side note: I find it so hard these days to find good, honest, balanced product review from bloggers!!

OK whatever, let’s get started.

As much as I LOOOOVE my natural skin colour, which is a fair olive tone, I am rather addicted to self-tanning.

When my skin is a deep, warm, honey brown colour, it makes me feel healthy, lively, full of radiance and glow.

Yet, I’d be rubbing tanning mousse into my legs and I think OMG this is totally stupid, fake and unnatural haha!

But if I spend 4-5 hours in the sun, my skin would be exactly the same darker shade?! So IT IS natural!?

At least with a bottled tan, the glowing brown colour is evenly spread out across my body AND there’s a significantly reduced risk of developing skin cancer, sun spots and ageing skin.

I’ve never paid for a spray tan – I’m sure I’ll get around to it one day – I just like to buy stuff to use myself.

I’m pretty flexible (thanks to yoga) so I can reach my back just fine.

I’ve been using different brands/mousse/sprays/oils for about 6 years now, here’s a quick rundown on what I think:

Not a fan of these….

Ecotan – Strong smell, too orange, feels sticky, it’s always patchy due to my poor application, too bad because an organic, chemical-free formula is a nice idea.

Bondi Sands Mousse – Used to buy this often, loved the end colour. But it stains my clothes/sheets DAYS after, very annoying, strong smell, feels sticky.

Le Tan Mousse – Patchy (maybe from my poor application), comes off in patches/flakes and shows creases in my skin after a few days. Don’t like it.

Le Tan Instant Spray Tan – This used to be awesome, so quick and easy, lovely colour, fast drying, but maybe they changed the formula because the last can made my skin greenish brown and so I never bought it again.

Loves these…

St Tropez Mousse – omg hands-down perfect wow colour, flawless even colour (even with poor application) but ugh so expensive.

Rimmel Mousse  – Develops in 1 hour, perfect for last minute tans, great colour, so cheap, I always have a bottle handy, absolutely zero staining on white dresses/tops which is a bit disconcerting!?

JBronze Mousse – Absolutely love this one, no staining, no strong smell, have bought it 4 times in a row now. (Notice the multiple bottles in the photo!) I also love the face tanning one.

Loving Tan – never tried this, but very keen after reading lots of really good reviews.

I also like Dove Summer Glow – Gradual Self Tan, more like a body moisturiser to help my tan last longer. makes my skin feel a bit sticky though. Nice smell, doesn’t stain.

I usually buy the darkest shade in any brand, which looks best with my skin colour. Medium and light hardly make a colour change on my skin.

Lastly, here’s a tip. Watch out for products on sale/clearance. I suspect the products/solutions are a bit old, and therefore not as effective. Every time I’ve bought a product on a clearance sale, I noticed it didn’t work as well, or looked a bit different??

By the way, no one paid me to write this review, however my links to products are through an affiliate, so I do get a 3-5% commission if you buy something! Just don’t buy the crappy ones!

Happy tanning!

xxx


 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies (With No Extra Sugar)

28 August 2017

Gluten-Free (With No Extra Sugar) Chocolate Brownies

Hi everyone!

I’m not sure what to call these, as they are a slight variation of my Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe, which I have featured on my blog many times before!

I made this recipe, because I needed something NOT TOO SWEET to throw into lunch boxes, and for quick on-the-run snacks.

My boys also need extra protein for growth/muscles, and this brownie is pretty much made from almonds (protein), egg (protein), butter (protein) and chocolate (bit of protein)!

Yup, they are perfect for my boy’s school lunch boxes.

They are soft and moist like cake, but they hold together really well, like a fudge brownie.

Their taste and texture are similar to that of a light, chocolate cake.

They are SO yummy and easy to eat, as they are not super-sickly sweet.

They don’t taste weird, bitter, overly nutty and “healthy”.

So easy to make, only uses 4 ingredients!

I use 140g of cooking chocolate — half milk chocolate (70g) and half dark chocolate (70g) in order to reduce the sugar. Too much milk chocolate is too sweet, and too little milk chocolate makes it a bit bitter. Maybe you’d like to play around with the ratio to suit your own tastes, but I found my perfect ratio is 70g milk : 70g dark.

I tested this recipe about 12 times now haha!

Gluten-Free (With No Extra Sugar) Chocolate Brownies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies (With No Extra Sugar)

Ingredients
100g butter, salted
70g cooking milk chocolate
70g cooking dark chocolate
3 eggs
140g of almond meal

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

2. Slowly melt chocolate, butter on VERY LOW heat, and keep stirring until JUST smooth. Then let it cool for 10 minutes.

3. Whisk the eggs lightly in a separate bowl. Sift in the almond meal, or just stir out all lumps.

4. Stir egg + almond meal mixture into the chocolate mixture, until well combined.

5. Pour into the cake tin. Give the tin a thump to get rid of air bubbles.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until your skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for another 10 minutes. Slice it up and eat!

Super easy! Enjoy!

Gluten-Free (With No Extra Sugar) Chocolate Brownies

So moist and yummy to eat!

Gluten-Free (With No Extra Sugar) Chocolate Brownies

They are easy to freeze and store too!

As some of you might know, I used to make a lot of protein balls – which is basically a mixture of almonds, oil, dates/sugar – but omg I hate rolling those balls, because they are messy and I’m lazy.

For me, these are much easier for me to make!


 

Review: Däv Rain Boots

24 August 2017

Hi everyone!

This isn’t a sponsored post. I was given a pair of rain boots to test out and to see if I liked them. I’ve had them for 2 weeks and I’ve given them a good go – in the rain, mud, grass, school runs – and they are awesome!

Dav Rain Boot

I have been a soccer mum and footy mum for a total of 8 YEARS!

At some point, all THREE of my sons played football, so I was going to 3 games each weekend – including all their training sessions too. That’s a LOT of standing around in the rain, on cold, wet grass.

During those 8 years, I had always wanted a pair of “investment” rain boots (you heard me right, don’t judge!)… but they were ahem… AUD $260. I tried them in a store once, but because my calves are small, the top of the boots  flobbled around and made me look like a pirate. I couldn’t really justify the cost, so I didn’t get them.

I did get some $25 Target rain boots though. But I found they lacked cushioning, they weren’t great for the soles of my feet. Plus they were a bit stiff, so my walk was more like a march. Again the top of the boots were so wide for me, and there was so much flobble.

Anyway, Däv Rain Boots offered me some rain boots this winter and I jumped at the chance to try them.

I picked out these Glasgow Ankle Boots, because they were under AUD $90 and I loved that they looked like classic Chelsea Boots.

Dav Rain Boot

They don’t even look like gumboots! They look more like stylish, patent leather boots.

The inside of the shoe is really comfortable, it has a bendy + flexible sole, the sole has a good grip, it’s super easy to slip on and off, and the mesh panel makes it breathable.

I’m usually a Size AUS 6 for boots. But I chose the EU 36 – AU 6.5 (because it was the smallest size available). It was a perfect fit, with socks.

I wore some thick sock with them one day, and I swear they felt as comfortable as sheepskin ugg boots. I was happy to walk in them all afternoon.

The only thing I wasn’t too happy about was, when I first wore them, I wore ankle socks, and one of the inner stitching at the top kept scratching my ankle and was quite painful. I found I only could wear thick, long socks with them, which suited them just fine.

However, after a few wears, the itchy stitching disappeared or maybe it smoothed itself off. So it’s all good now, I can wear ankle socks with them now.

Even though I’m not a soccer or footy mum anymore, I’m still in the park every other day with my kids and I love wearing these boots to keep my toes dry.

Däv Rain Boots have recently launched their boots in Australia, offering Free Shipping over $100 Australia wide from their website. They have a pretty good range of styles, and I had a hard time picking my favourite.

Apparently they’ve been seen on various celebrities. And I did a bit of snooping around and they used to be stocked on Shopbop.

Hope you enjoy my review!

Hope you keep your toes dry too!

xxx


 

Hello Big Studs

23 August 2017

Raye Caged Stud Mules

Eeep, sometimes it’s fun to throw a bit of caution to the wind and get the crazy, statement shoes!

Last week I wrote about “elevating outfits with metallic flats”… well these Raye Stud Mules (courtesy of Revolve) definitely fall into that category :)

I picked them because they look similar to these Alexander Wang sandals – less intense, but equally fun to wear.

I’ll be wearing these with casual cropped jeans, swishy culottes and baggy shirts.

Either my outfit will look “elevated” or just way over the top?!


 

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