Hello Colour My Old Friend

18 September 2018

Ale by Alessandra

It’s about time I started to wear a bit more colour!

When I saw this print, I knew I had to have this dress. I loved the pink + red colour combo… and everything about it screamed spring celebrations. Colour! Flowers! Ruffles!

The dress is the Miranda Dress by Ale by Alessandra via Revolve.

The brand has a “Brazil-bohemia meets Malibu chic” kind of feel, featuring lots of colourful resort-style wear.

The print comes in two other dress styles: the Xiomara Dress, the Marcella Dress (on sale) and a Carmela Blouse.

The fit of the dress was a bit tricky though.

This dress is a size XS. I’m a size AU 6 and this dress fit on the lower end of my usual size 6. It was a good, tight fit on me… but I still managed to wear it to a fashion show and go dancing after!

The chest section of the dress was a bit awkward – in that, I don’t think my boobs were big enough?! The top of the dress (with the silicone grip-strip) kept curling and flipping forward. So I had to put a bit of extra padding in my bra to “fill the cups” to make the chest panel sit right.

Haha sorry, I know this is too much information, but I thought I might share some tips!

Here are some fit tips: I have 2 different silicone, stick-on, adhesive cups. I don’t usually use them on their own. I mainly only use them with other bras, because I find they don’t sit quite right when I use them on their own.

I have one I bought from Bras and Things (link is not safe for work!) and one I bought from Big W (Hollywood brand), which I bought 2 sizes up, so it actually cups over my boobs and looks natural, as opposed to making my chest look weird and lumpy. Funnily enough I use the Big W one more, because it looks more natural under my dress. I don’t really like to wear them, and only do if the dress looks wrong/loose because it’s an awkward cut across my chest.

For this dress I wore a bra similar to this one, which features a slim (not wide) connector between the cups.

Another fit tip: After wearing the dress once, I’ve decided that I love it and I plan to take it to my seamstress to sew in some moulded cups (much like in a swimsuit)? Or maybe she can suggest some tailoring magic to make it fit better on me!

On the product page, there are a few reviews about the awkward fit at the chest, so I knew it wasn’t just me.

Anyway, other than that, I love the high split, the ruffles, the sheer layer and the gorgeous quality of the dress.

I seriously felt like I was in my 20s again haha!

(If you’re not willing to risk the sizing issue, I found some very similar dresses here and here.)

Also wearing:

3.1 Phillip Lim Alix Clutch

Schutz Cadey Lee Heels

Mezi Gold Tassel Earrings (old)


 

What I Wore: Fashion Festival 2018 Opening Night

12 September 2018

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

I was thrilled to be invited to the Opening Night for the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival!

I’ve been to a few Opening Night Shows in Perth before… and I know there’s a fun tradition to dress GLAM.

Most of my cocktail dresses are nice, but not GLAM enough.

So I dug out a silver sequin dress that I bought from ASOS in 2011! It still looked great!

I paired it with the only silver shoes I had, which looked cool. However, they were cheap and cheerful $30 heels I bought off The Iconic… and boy did I regret wearing them. I was in agony by the end of the night – which made me cranky and spoilt my evening. My toes felt broken as I walked back to my car! So bad for my feet! Never again!

I guess this means I’m on the look out for good quality silver shoes? They are a kind of classic, right?

I wore my old faux fur jacket, bought from a Korean brand.

And a two tone Commes De Garcons pouch.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

I’m with my fashion friend, Sandy, standing in the “flower box” made by Natural Art Flowers, which was such a big hit with all the guests.

It was such a fun night!

xxx


 

Hunting for a Floral Dress for Spring

11 September 2018

I’ve been following New York Fashion Week, seeing an explosion of colour and florals and I’m inspired!

While I’m not quite ready for my own explosion of colour or florals… I AM looking for two floral dresses – one for a wedding in October (5 weeks away) and one in November (9 weeks away). Yay!

I do have this Azaelea Lace Dress from Self Portrait, and I’m looking for another…

Shopbop Spring Dresses

Ruffles have got me good this season.

Yumi Kim Waterfront Dress

How pretty is this dress?! How many wrap dresses do I really need? Will pastel yellow really look good on my olive skin tone? Is my chest perky enough for this dress? These are the big questions.

Fame and Partners Schalice Dress

I really like this structured ruffle dress. The pattern is just lovely. It looks very “Self Portrait” without the “Self Portrait” price tag.

But I could probably only wear it 3 times before my own photographs confuse my concept of time, date and event. Was that September 2002 when I broke my shoe and had to walk 2 kms in sand to get to the car? Or December 2003 when the bride’s dad fell into the swimming pool after the kid vomited in it?

Shopbop Spring Dresses

Zimmermann Tempest Cascade Wrap Dress

Ahh Zimmermann seems to do no wrong! ​Especially when it comes to girly floral dresses.

I looove the pattern: the dark floral colours with a hint of purple and grey.

I like that this dress looks suitable for both summer and winter. And I like the look of the fit.

The price tag does make me gasp, but the fact that I could sell it secondhand makes me feel a bit better haha.

Rebecca Taylor Emilia Tank Dress

​Ok this is more my price range and it helps that it’s super cute. Again I love the grey purple colour and the hint of floral pattern, that’s less in your face.

And again I’m thinking I could wear this dress many ways, even with sneakers. I guess I could wear sneakers with the Zimmermann dress, but honestly I don’t feel cool enough.

I’ll let you know how I go! :)

xxx


 

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 – Opening Night

10 September 2018

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

It’s that time of the year again!

I love this period of back to back Fashion Weeks happening all over the world, and I love that my city has a thriving fashion industry for local creatives too.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Telstra Perth Fashion Festival, we gathered at the shiny new Optus Stadium and were treated to a line up of top Australian designers for Opening Night.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

Morrison started the show with delicate ruffles, white polkadots, sheer layers and effortless silhouettes.

There was a lot more colour to this collection (namely yellows and reds) but as you can see from my photograph picks, I looooved the white polkadot, ruffled look.

I am a big fan of Morrison and love their journey and evolution as a label!

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

Dion Lee shows off his expert tailoring, with garment cut-outs, pleats, and silky drapes.

Most times I’m blown away Dion Lee’s runway work, but this collection left me feeling a bit puzzled – did I miss something?

It didn’t have Dion Lee’s signature WOW tailoring, or maybe it simply didn’t look like his past work, which is kind of a good thing? A new direction perhaps? A fresh twist?

I went home and took a closer look at my photos… and sure enough, his details/fit/drape/tailoring were impeccable. It was all there, just harder to see on a catwalk.

Having said that, I’m not a fan of cut outs and I may have dropped off his age demographic window – haha damn.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

Um, ok I’ll just take this green dress and go home now, thanks.

Guuuys this colour is insane.

I’m a huge fan of One Fell Swoop and their collection made me go… “Hmm, maybe I should go back to full time work, find a richer husband, or just rob a bank so I can afford ALL OF THESE DRESSES!!”

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

Romance Was Born is always a crowd pleaser with their glittering fabrics, sparkles, metallic details and out-there accessories.

Very 1920s art deco meets fairy royalty, with a bit of Madonna, Art Nouveau and Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. Love it darling.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1
Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

Scanlan Theodore had some smart looks with their crisp lines, mixed plaid, fluid wet-look fabrics and dark tropical prints. Very modern, elegant and a touch of edge.

Their selections were from their Summer 18 Ready To Wear collection so it looked a bit corporate and commercial coming down the runway (next to the opulent Romance Was Born looks!) but hey, fashion has to be sellable and wearable and Scanlan Theodore is very successful at both.

I am honestly not a fan of Scanlan Theodore (sorry!!!) but I know so many girls who are, and they rock it so well in their corporate ensembles.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

This black glossy two-piece set was a little out there for Scanlan Theodore, but quite cool!

Reminds me of Trinity from The Matrix.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2018 - Day 1

And Viktoria & Woods showed off their effortless wardrobe staples, featuring lots of linen, pastels and greys.

Again, I felt this collection seemed a bit flat coming down the catwalk, when compared to the others, as it all looked like very wearable, comfortable, smart/casual everyday wear.

But hey, I think their clothes are pretty awesome, hitting the trifecta of modern stylish, good quality and good price.

That’s a wrap for Opening Night!

I’ll be heading to the Fashion Festival every night, so do take a peek on my Instagram feed for updates!

xxx


 

Cleo Luxe Jewellery Review

5 September 2018

Brought to you by The Peach Box

The Peach Box - Cleo Luxe

I’ve been a fan of The Peach Box for years! I think their styles, range, quality is excellent, stylish and very affordable, especially when compared with jewellery from other high street fashion stores.

I own a few of their bangles and watches, which I bought on my own or were gifted. I bought two bangles about 3 years ago and I still wear them!

I like the way their pieces match – so you can buy a few items and wear them together, without having to think too much when rushing in the mornings.

Over the years, I’ve found that they do tend to look a bit dirty and “tarnished” (as it is with all fashion jewellery) but I just give them a good polish with a slightly damp cleaning cloth and they seriously look like new.

The Peach Box - Cleo Luxe

The Peach Box have recently launched their Cleo Luxe Collection – a range of bold earrings and dainty necklaces.

What sets this range apart is that all the jewellery feature 18K gold plated jewellery. There are some silver pieces which are stainless steel.

The team sent over some items (that I selected) for me to test out.

They looked really good. And they looked and felt like good quality pieces.

Then I popped into my local mall and had a peek at some high street fashion stores, so I could compare the quality of fashion jewellery currently in the market. I’m happy to say that these are FAR BETTER than Zara, Sportsgirl, Country Road, Witchery and some of the brands from Myer or David Jones.

I rate these pieces similar to the ‘cult’ jewellery brands you’d find in boutiques.

The Peach Box - Cleo Luxe

These are the Pearl Pendulum Earrings. I thought they might look a bit dorky, because they are not symmetrical and the pearls are obviously not real.

But it turns out that these are my favourite to wear hehe. I like them because they are different, fun, cute, still a bit dainty and they have a luxurious modern look to them.

They are very different to my classic stud earrings, which I wear all the time and do get a bit boring.

They don’t look or feel cheap. They look really nice actually, and I’ve been happy to wear them with everything.

As you can see from my outfit above, they give the whole outfit a little modern lift.

These sell for $54.00 AUD.

The Peach Box - Cleo Luxe

These are my second favourite pair – the Open Disk Earrings.

I looooove the brushed metal finish and they are 18K gold plated.

Again they are very minimal and modern looking, but with a bold tribal and slightly oriental kind of feel.

They are a nice fresh change for me, and I love wearing these with a tee and skirt.

These are also $54.00 AUD.

The Peach Box - Cleo Luxe

These Tribal Disk Earrings are a little bigger and bolder than the others. And I think because of the larger size and chunkier shape, I haven’t worn these as much as the other two.

It has a similar brush finished as the previous pair and it is also 18K gold plated.

Again these sell for $54.00 AUD.

My other pick would be the Coil Drop Earrings, which are less bold, but still modern and minimal. And they are slightly more affordable at $48.00 AUD.

 

Special Discount Code

The lovely team at The Peach Box have given me a special discount code to share with my readers.

Simply use the code “karenlycheng” and enjoy 15% off at the checkout.

Hope you find something you like for the new Spring season!

Enjoy!

xxx


 

My Isabel Marant Dicker Boots Review

24 August 2018

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots

I finally took the plunge and got myself a pair of Isabel Marant Dicker Boots.

They are boot classics and look aaaamazing!

This style has been around since 2010… and many other brands have since copied the style, so it’s kind of cool (ok, very cool) to have the OG pair.

I have been eyeing and drooling after a pair for years; stalking eBay for a black or tan suede pair, but none came up.

Anyway, Shopbop recently announced that they were going to stock Isabel Marant (leather goods) and Isabel Marant Etoile (clothes)… so I took that opportunity to splurge using a birthday discount, courtesy of Shopbop.

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots

Sizing: They are true to size.

I wear EU 36 / AU 6 / UK 3 for all my shoes and boots and these fit me perfectly.

They are super soft and super comfortable.

When I wear thin, cotton ankle socks, they lift up a bit when I walk. So I wear semi-thick, cotton socks and they fit great.

I’m hoping to wear them into Spring and maybe early summer, so I might still wear thin, ankle socks and hopefully my feet will expand a bit? I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Another thing to note: I have narrow/small feet. But I can imagine if I had a wider-than-average foot, these boots would feel a bit tight across the toes.

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots

The suede leather is lovely, supple and soft.

It is lined with a leather inner sock, so it keeps its structure… but the boot still buckles when you move, which is a nice thing!

(My Acne Suede Jensen Booties are very stiff in comparison.)

I did give the boots a double spray of rain and stain repellent (specially designed for waterproofing suede) too.

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots

I the zip is chunky, but kind of hidden.

The wood block heel is a good everyday height at 60mm.

They are very easy to walk in, and I can spend all day in them.

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots

I just love their cool, casual, raw, chunky look, with a boho and cowboy vibe.

I plan to wear them with dresses, ripped jeans, cropped jeans and denim shorts!

Haha I don’t have a bad thing to say about these boots.

I’ll let you know how I feel about them in 5 years time.

I bet I still love them :)


 

Review: Grana Easy Cotton Pants

23 August 2018

Grana Easy Cotton Pants

Hi everyone,

Today I’m talking about pants! I’m 5’2 or 160cm… and it is soooo hard for me to buy nice, cotton pants!

The pants that I try on in the shops are always too long in the leg or too bulky at the hips and bum. And it’s hard to find a plain, classic pair – with no frills.

I’ve tried on pants from Zara, H&M, Cotton On and other high street brands, where they cost around $49-$99. While they fit ok, I just don’t like the quality of the fabric – too see through, scratchy or cheap looking.

I recently had to opportunity to work with transparent fashion brand Grana and I jumped at the chance to pick out these Easy Tailored Pants made from 100% cotton twill.

Grana Easy Cotton Pants

I’m usually a size AU6 / UK6. So I picked out a size XS in these pants.

They are loose at the waist and hips. So I should have chosen a size XXS.

However, they are very comfortable when I sit down, they don’t pinch me and they are not too tight at various places, so I’m happy with this size. They are very relaxed and easy!

And when I wear a belt and tuck my shirt in, they are fine.

Grana Easy Cotton Pants

The cotton fabric is lovely and light. The fabric is perfect for warm weather.

The pants have a nice structure, drape and it keeps it’s tailored look.

The leg length is kind of perfect, as you can see. Especially for when I wear heels.

I would definitely turn up the cuff when I wear them with flats or sneakers.

They are AU$95, which I think is a great price for clothes from a transparent, ethical brand.

I’m not 100% sure if the cotton is organic though.

Overall, I really like them. I’ve never had cotton chino pants like these before and these are just great!

Grana have a few sales on at the moment.

They are celebrating Women’s Equality Day, with 21% off women’s clothes with the code: paygap21

They are clearing out their winter stock with 30% off selected cosy essentials with code: babyitscoldoutside

(It’s a great time to pick up on some cashmere jumpers!)

And if the sales are over after this weekend, you can always use my ongoing code for 10% off and free shipping, with the code: karenxgrana.

Happy shopping!

Enjoy xxx


 

Cinnamon Scrolls (with reduced sugar)

21 August 2018

Cinnamon Scrolls

This recipe is based on a combination of this recipe and this one.

I reduced the sugar, used half the butter, half the egg, and it still tasted aaaamazing!

I also reduced the steps to save on washing up haha.

Cinnamon Scrolls (with reduced sugar)

Dough Recipe
60g butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon of dried yeast
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 cups plain flour

Filling
20g of butter, softened
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Glaze
30g of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk

1) Melt the butter in a large heatproof bowl (I just pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds). Add the milk and heat again. Add yeast, stir and set aside for 2 minutes.

2) Throw the rest of the ingredients (egg, sugar, salt and flour) into the yeast mixture. Stir well for a good 5 minutes. I don’t use a mixer, I just use a big spoon and my hands, for easy washing up. Cover with cling wrap, set in a warm spot for 1 hour for the dough to double in size. I put it on my bench top in the morning sun.

3) Make Filling: Mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. OR you could skip this step and save on the washing up!

4) Make Glaze: Melt butter in microwave. Mix in icing sugar and milk. Set aside.

5) Lightly flour your surface. Give your dough a really good knead. Roll it into a log shape, about 40cm long. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out into a rectangle about 40 x 25cm.

6) Spread the butter, sugar and cinnamon filling evenly over your dough.

7) Start with the longest side, roll up the edge, and tightly roll into a scroll / log. Cut into 12 even pieces (I did 16 pieces). Place them side by side on a greased pan. Set aside for 30 minutes.

8) Preheat oven to 180C. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, drizzle over the glaze. Eat while hot! It can keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

xxx


 

My Oversized Pink Coat

16 August 2018

Pink Coat from Zara

I get lots of people asking about my pink coat!

Once again, I bought it from Zara when I was in London in Feb 2017. It was on clearance sale (yay!), so in the end I think I paid GBP 50 for it.

It’s not really wool. It’s a soft, wool-like material, unlined, oversized and in a “boyfriend” style. (Not that your boyfriend would wear a pink coat? Maybe he might?)

I managed to find a very similar one on ASOS called Pink Cocoon Coat by Current Air.

But you have to be quick, because it’s on 50% sale and there’s very low stock :)

Pink Coat from ASOS

 


 

What Cameras Do I Take While Travelling?

15 August 2018

Istanbul, Gülhand Park

Oh my, I love this photo! I love how it captures my son’s curiosity and wonder of the world.  I took this snap while we were in Istanbul, walking through some quiet back streets from Topkapi Palace to Gülhane Park.

I took it with my phone’s camera – and I believe that “capturing the moment” is much more important than using a “proper camera”. You see, I have a lot of photographer friends, who poo-poo my constant use of my phone camera haha!

I feel a little pang of guilt too, because in my freelance gig, I actually work as a photographer for some clients! My house is full of new and old cameras. I have very expensive camera gear and lenses. Yet they hardly ever leave my house :)

Two Cameras

So what cameras do I take while travelling?  

In the last few years, I’ve been to Singapore, Bali, Tasmania, London, Paris, all over Australia, Istanbul, Scotland and Dubai.

For all my trips, I took two cameras.

1) My iPhone –  To capture ALL the small moments.

Istanbul Photo Tile

Here’s a little edit of my camera roll during our last family holiday in Istanbul.

Basically, I like to take photos of us sitting, walking, eating, looking, smiling, laughing, horsing around.

But I’m very stealthy about it! I whip out my phone from my bag, take two snaps and immediately put it away. It takes me 4-5 seconds from identifying the moment I want to capture, getting my phone out and taking the shot, which is perfect for spontaneous moments.

I don’t go on and on trying to get “the perfect shot”. I don’t try to stage or force things too much. And I don’t like to be too intrusive to the moment itself.

I’m very aware not to annoy the people I’m with. But they do oblige me with a smile when I do.

The gallery of photos I take is like a frozen documentary of our trip. My kids LOVE it and can see the benefit of it, even days later, when we’ve forgotten all the details and order of events.

2) Sony RX100 Mark 4

This was a bit pricey for a compact camera. It cost me about $1,100 in 2016. It’s a high-end compact, with full manual controls and takes high quality video.

I wanted something small and compact to put in my handbag. I wanted to take high quality HDR + Raw photos. I didn’t want a mirrorless camera with inter-changable lenses, as I find them just as chunky as my DSLR pro camera.

It takes me about 20-40 seconds from identifying the moment, taking it out of my bag, unzipping the case, turning it on, waiting for it set up, check and change it to the right setting, then snap!

So I always find that I miss “the moment” with this camera.

I use it more when I know I want a higher resolution in my photo!

Another thing I wanted to share is my REASON for taking so many photos.

I take photos for my kids.

Not for social media, not to share with my friends (although, I usually end up sharing the highlights on Facebook).

I make photo books for all our trips, I stick the book on my bookshelf and every now and then, the kids will pull out the photo books and go — WHOA I REMEMBER THIS! THIS WAS AWESOME!

And I hope one day they will show all the photos to their kids!


 

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