Archive for January 2011

 

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I’m in Copenhagen, Denmark!

31 January 2011

Denmark, Copenhagen, City Hall

I’m in Copenhagen!!

I’ll be here for four days, to attend Copenhagen Fashion Week, courtesy of ECCO footwear! While I am busy discovering all about Danish design and checking out the Fashion Shows, you can still read a few posts I’ve prepared earlier.

But I’ll also be updating my Facebook and Twitter regularly throughout my whole trip. So if you want to keep up with what I’m doing REAL TIME – feel free to add me!

Add me to Facebook –
http://www.facebook.com/karencheng.com.au

Follow me on Twitter –
http://twitter.com/karencheng

Image of Denmark, City Hall Square, from Copenhagen Media Centre


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Rocking it in Thermal Underwear

28 January 2011

In preparation for my Copenhagen trip, I was advised by many, many people to invest in some woollen thermal wear – including several readers of this blog! Thanks for e-mailing!

Now in Western Australia, where I live, day time winter temperatures really only ever get down to 10C – 14C. I’m pretty susceptible to the cold, but even I can get away with wearing regular leggings under my jeans, and wearing a big jacket and scarf.

In fact, I have had no desire to buy woollen thermals, because to me, woollen thermals mean big ugly grandma knickers and chunky leggings that are itchy and scratchy.

Plus I like to wear skinny fit pants and jeans, and I suspected that chunky leggings wouldn’t be so welcomed in my wardrobe.

However the more people I talked to who have lived through a Northern European winter… the more they advised that I buy WOOLEN THERMAL UNDERWEAR!!

Okay, Okay, I’ll do it!

Karen in Woollen Thermal Underwear!So this is me, wearing 100% Pure Merino Wool Ultra Light top and leggings, from Ice Breaker.

Merino is the finest kind of sheep’s wool that there is (apparently). And the wool for my thermals was taken from merino sheep who lived on top of cold New Zealand mountains. The cold weather makes the sheep grow especially fine wool, which (apparently) makes it even warmer than ordinary merino wool.

It is the middle of summer here in Perth and the temperature for today is 38C (100.4F).

There is NO winter gear anywhere to be seen in the shops!

I had to go to a camping and hiking store to find this set. Seriously, this is where Perth people go to buy clothes for climbing Himalayan mountains.

I got talking to the sales guy. After a bit of chit chat, he asked me where I was preparing to go to. I could tell that he was hoping I was going somewhere amazingly adventurous and cold and dangerous. So I had to reveal where I was going.

No I’m not going hiking in the Alaskan Rocky mountains. I’m going to Copenhagen for a fashion show! Ha!

The top cost me US$90 and the leggings were also US$90.

So all up this outfit was US$180.

I must admit, I was a little grumpy about having to spend so much money on “clothing” I didn’t have my heart set on. And that nobody will ever see, because it’s underwear.

And what was even more irritating, was that there were a zillion choices to choose from. Long sleeve scoop neck, with print in black? Or short sleeve v neck, with no print in a coral colour? Or 3/4 sleeve with a hoodie, print on the side in navy or nude?

I just wanted something plain and black! Sheesh.

Anyway I got home and they fit fine under my skinny jeans. Phew.

I could also successfully layer up with pants, a shirt, vest, jumper, cardigan and coat. So all good there.

The top and leggings felt light and were comfortable to move around in.

However I found the fabric was still a little prickly and itchy. Even though it says “Silky soft, non-itch”. I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.

Now I’ve got them, I hope it is SUPER cold in Copenhagen, and all the events are outdoors. Otherwise, I’ll feel like I have wasted my time and money.

But if I don’t need them this time…

I’m sure I’ll use them the next time I’m say, hiking in Antarctica?


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Fish and Chips and Sharks

27 January 2011

In my home town is a very famous seafood restaurant/takeaway called Cicerellos. It’s right by the water, inside Fisherman’s Harbour in Fremantle. One day a few weeks ago, I was there for lunch with some girlfriends, and I had my toddler Liam with me.

Cicerellos is great because it is so much in the theme of seafood. Not only do they have old nets and floats and pictures of old fishing boats on the walls, they have really impressive aquariums for you and your kids to look at.

cicerello-tank

Although Cicerellos is an Italian family business, the way they prepare food is heavily influenced by the British tradition of “Fish and Chips”. The fish is deep fried in batter, and the chips are thick, short wedges of potato, also deep fried. Traditionally, both the fish and the chips were served wrapped up in several layers of old newspaper, because it was cheap, it absorbed the grease, and also kept the food warm.

Nowadays, you can still get it wrapped in paper for take-away, but the paper is nice and new and clean! But you can also get it served on a plate, if you want to eat-in.

Not many people know this, but almost all of the fish that is eaten in “Fish and Chips” is actually SHARK – because it is much cheaper. And whenever I order Fish and Chips at Cicerellos, I think of sharks in a different way.

Summer time in Australia always brings news reports of giant sharks appearing near popular swimming beaches, and beaches are often closed for hours at a time. And serious incidents DO happen. About ten years ago, a man was tragically killed by a huge Great White shark (in waist deep water) at Cottesloe, Perth’s most famous beach. And a couple of years after that, two men in a surf kayak were attacked at the same beach. The shark bit the kayak literally in half between where the two men were sitting!

cicerello-frame

Presumably because the shark didn’t like the taste of fibreglass, it just swam away. And the two men lived to tell the tale. No wonder they are smiling in the picture.

Cicerellos now have the bitten-in-half kayak mounted on their wall for everyone to see.

cicerello-kayak

My picture doesn’t really do justice to it. When you are there, you look at the size of the bite mark, and you really think twice about swimming in the ocean ever again. It’s like a cartoon.

But this is REAL. And it happened at my FAVOURITE beach. Where I take my KIDS!

So at Cicerellos, you can sit and eat your shark, while you think about a shark eating you.

Liam and I ordered Calamari and Chips on a plate (out of respect for the sharks).

cicerello-chips
Yum!


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Puddle Boys

24 January 2011

puddle-boys

A sudden down pour of rain.

A blocked street drain.

A very big puddle.

Two boys.

20 minutes of unrestrained, soaked-to-the-bone playtime.

Strangers drive by, honking their horns in delight, beaming smiles, and giving thumbs up.

I am so happy.


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What to Wear to Copenhagen in Feb

21 January 2011

Last week I announced that I was flying to attend Copenhagen Fashion Week, courtesy of Ecco Shoes.

It will be a very exciting trip for me…attending a fashion week, learning about a new city and culture, finding out how shoes are made, and staying in a place where the temperature might be -2°C (28F).

I asked my readers for a bit of advice on what to wear during one of the coldest winters in Northern Europe.

I had SO MANY emails and very, very helpful suggestions. They were all great! Thank you to everyone!!

Suggested must-wear items are: Leggings, hats, gloves, beanie, a big coat, closed-toe walking shoes and lots of layers, which can be added or removed to suit moving from the street to inside buildings. This advice seems pretty obvious now, but I just don’t have ANY experience of really cold climates!!

So I have been visually planning some outfits that allow me to to wear 3 or 4 layers, while looking relatively stylish, keeping in mind that it’s a professional work trip.

A Trip to Copenhagen - What to Wear

Here’s a nice and simple, classic, casual look – using pieces that are very versatile and great for travelling. My favourite pieces are the cream trench and denim shirt.

A Trip to Copenhagen - What to Wear

And another simple, classic, casual look. This outfit includes a pair of tan boots that I just received from the Ecco team. (Tan accessories are very on trend at the moment.)

A Trip to Copenhagen - What to Wear

This outfit is for a more stylish evening, using some of my current favourite pieces – leather pants, a gold sequin top, faux fur coat and wedge boots.

I had a lot of fun putting these outfits together, but I realised that they don’t quite work for a “complete travel set”. It would be very impractical to pack 3 separate overcoats just for a 4 day trip!

And I didn’t even begin to think of how I could wear a dress or skirt in cold weather!

So I think I’ll have to choose 1 or 2 of these sets and do a bit more mix and matching, making sure I have enough outfits for every occasion during my trip. Only ten more days to go!

By the way, I found all these images through Polyvore.com, which grabs them directly from online boutiques such as Net-a-porter, Browns Fashion, Miss Selfridge, Asos, etc. It’s a great resource for visual planning of outfits, but unfortunately I didn’t take note on where they each came from!


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Easy Pizza Dough

20 January 2011

Whenever I make my own pizzas, I have always used bought, pre-made pizza bases or used wholemeal pita breads.

But after I learned how to make a professional pizza, I’ve decided it was so easy to make my own bases, that I was converted.

This is a nice simple pizza dough recipe I found and modified.

Making my own pizza dough

Pizza Dough Recipe
Makes 2 medium pizzas

8g of yeast (or 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
2 cups of plain flour
2 tablespoons of olive oil
180ml (or ¾ cups) of warm water

1. Mix the warm water, yeast, sugar and salt into a bowl. Stir well with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes, preferably in a warm place.

2. Sift flour into the same bowl. Add oil and mix well with a spoon to form a dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 7 – 10 or so minutes.

3. Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl (if you’re lazy like me, just oil the same bowl). Cover with plastic wrap again and cover again with a tea towel. Put the bowl in a warm place and leave for 30 minutes.

4. Uncover the bowl, the ball off dough should be doubled in size. Give the dough a punch, and knead on a lightly floured surface.

5. Halve the ball of dough, and roll out to make 2 pizza bases.

Making my own pizza dough

6. Spread tomato paste on the base, making sure you leave a 1.5cm clean edge.

7. Cook in a 200°C oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Making my own pizza dough


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Clothing Alterations are a MUST!

18 January 2011

ASOS Lace Black Dress

Many months ago, I found a dress on ASOS.com – a gorgeous sheer lace dress.

I had it expressed shipped and it arrived in 3 days. I was mightily impressed.

ASOS Lace Black Dress - BEFOREWhen I received it, I slipped it on and omg it looked amazing. And it FELT amazing (which was the most important thing).

However, I noticed that the length of the dress looked not quite as I wanted (see photo of the left).

When I compared my photo with the photo on the ASOS website, well, it was a familiar situation. Just look at where the hemline ends on the ASOS model’s legs compared to mine!

No offense to the ASOS model – who is very hot and exotic – but she is so unusually tall! She has legs like a baby giraffe! And her arms are so looooong!

I think feel a bit sorry for her. I mean, there must be downsides to being THAT TALL? Obviously, she must fly business class, since she could never sit in an economy seat?

Anyway, as the dress sat on me, the length was pleasantly modest, and I have already worn the dress this way several times.

But I actually preferred where the hemline sat on the model in the photo – halfway up her thigh, looking like a mini dress.

Also the sleeves of the dress were an inch too long on my arm, and fell beyond my wrist when my arms were straight.

ASOS Lace Black Dress - AFTERIn the end, it was an easy decision. The dress was just gorgeous and I wanted to wear it again and again.

So I decided to get it altered.

I visited my seamstress to take up the hem of the dress. She also shortened the sleeves and took a bit off the hip and waist for a better fit.

All for AUD$25!

On the left is my AFTER photo.

It fits me perfectly! Happy Karen!

Unfortunately, this exact dress is out of stock now. But I did findthis OTHER black lace dress going for £45.

And I found more of those special sales for different countries again.

Australia:
ASOS.com SALE! Shop up to 50% off. Free Delivery Worldwide.

Singapore:
20% off Party Outfits at ASOS.com. Free Delivery Worldwide.

Rest of the World:
20% Off ASOS Women’s Collection. Use Code ASOS20! Free Delivery Worldwide.

So find a seamstress you like!

Enjoy!

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


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Superman and the World of the Lost Dinosaurs

17 January 2011

We recently returned from a 7 day holiday, and I discovered that the grass had grown up A LOT in the summer heat.

And look who was left stranded out on the lawn!

grass-superman

It was as though the colour green had sapped his superpowers, and he was paralaysed.

Well, Mr Superman, you don’t seem so super now, DO YA?!

Before we left to go on holiday, the boys had been playing an elaborate story-game on the lawn with all their action figures.

Superman, Darth Vader (who was a good guy this time) and Rocky Hammer had flown, jump or rocket-boosted from their home base (the barbecue) to a submarine (the wheelbarrow) which had delivered them to a secret island (the lawn). There, they had used their various superpowers (a tennis ball) to destroy an enemy base – made of MY pots and pan from the kitchen. ARGH!!

The boys thought it was so funny to come back and find the action figures all in the same place, but now surrounded by a jungle!

I had to order the boys to rescue Superman (and a few other superheros) before my husband cut the grass.

Then the lawn was mowed.

And look what was revealed…

grass-dinosaurs

A good variety of both vegetarian and meat-eating dinosaurs, snuggled down so low in the lawn they were untouched by the blades of the mower.

The boys looked at each other in amazement – the dinosaurs hadn’t even been part of the game they were playing! So I expect these ancient reptiles have been lost in the lawn’s underworld for a lot longer than one week.

Clearly, the boys have too many toys – they didn’t even notice they were missing an entire herd of dinosaurs!


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A Trip to Copenhagen!

14 January 2011

I have some very exciting news to share!

I have been invited to attend Copenhagen Fashion Week in early February, in a trip sponsored by ECCO shoes.

And I’m SO GOING!

Denmark Map

ECCO shoes is based in Denmark, which, as I have discovered, is the long bump on top of Germany.

As well as finding out all about ECCO shoes and how they produce shoes that are stylish AND comfortable, it will also be a high-paced lesson for me in Scandinavian design generally. Right now, I admit, I don’t know that much about the Scandinavian/Nordic countries.

I know that 1970s pop group ABBA were from that part of the world (Sweden), as are Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales, like “The Little Mermaid” (Denmark). Yes, it was a classic fairy tale before Disney made the movie.

copenhagen-mermaid

More recently, an Australian girl named Mary went to a pub in Sydney in 2000 during the Olympics, and fell in love with a guy named Fred from Copenhagen. Fred turned out to be Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark.

Can you imagine the conversation in a busy Aussie pub.

Mary: “G’day, I’m Mary.”
Fred: “Good Evening, I’m Frederik. So nice to meet you.”
Mary : “Nice to meet you too Fred. So, what do you do for a living?”
Fred: “Oh, I’m a Royal Prince of a fairytale European country.”
Mary (rolls her eyes): “Yeh right, of course you are. Haven’t you got any better a line than that?”

But it all worked out for them, and so now Mary-from-Australia is Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat, and she’s got four kids.

copenhagen-maryandfred

She just had two of them (twins) on Jan 8th, so she might be too busy to have coffee with me when I am in Copenhagen. But who knows, maybe she needs an excuse to get out of the palace.

But seriously, I do realise that a lot of very cool things are designed in that part of the world. For example, Ikea furniture (Sweden) and Nokia phones (Finland). And even the Sydney Opera House was designed by Jorn Utzon, another guy from Copenhagen.

The programme for the Copenhagen Fashion Week is full of many designers I have never heard of, so I am very excited to check it out.

copenhagen-festival

I admit that my knowledge of fashion is dominated by the New York/London/Paris/Milan catwalks. So it’s going to be a great education for me!

So, I have two big issues right now.

First, planning how to survive the longest flight of my life!

Perth to Copenhagen is a total of 27 hours, including stopovers, and a timezone difference of 7 hours. Yuck!

Some people can sleep anywhere, but not me. I’m a BAD sleeper. I like to have the same pillow, on the same bed, in the same room – every night. And whenever I travel, I am so excited, that my brain can’t slow down enough for me to relax and sleep. So I have pretty bad insomnia when I am away from home.

I will be in Denmark for four days, and then I have to do the whole travel thing in reverse, and arrive back home without being totally wrecked.

Second, I have no idea what to wear in Copenhagen at the coldest time of a Northern European winter.

I was born on a tropical island, and I live in a part of Australia famous for being DRY and HOT. Of course, I understand that it will be freezing cold outside, and wet and/or icy on the streets… but I also expect that I’ll be inside most of the time in toasty warm buildings – right? So, do I need normal clothes, but with one very warm overcoat? Or more layers? Are leggings + pants  sufficient to keep my legs warm? Are peep-toe skyscrapers totally out?

Anybody know what I should do?

Maybe I’ll just email Mary and ask her.


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Taunting the Waves

13 January 2011

nr2011-ridewaves

During our holiday, a cyclone (hurricane) was brewing more than a thousand kilometres away.

But it still made our sky churn and crackle with dark, tropical electricity.

Of course, my camera could not fully capture the real size of the sky and the ocean.

The beach shook as the waves hit, and I was deafened by the sand hissing like a snake, as the water sucked back out to sea.

I wish you could have been there.

In the middle of this amazing show, my two oldest boys were lost in a time warp of innocent, manic fun, learning the power of the sea.

Callum and Sean, tiny and precious, spent almost an hour daring the whole of the Indian Ocean to a game of “catch me if you can”.

It went on for so long because my husband and I were enjoying their pleasure.

When we finally dragged them away, they were exhausted…and exhilarated.


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Putting Together an Outfit – Stripes and Maxi Skirts

11 January 2011

Putting Together an Outfit - Stripes and Maxis

Last month I attended a fashion show… and due to a certain lack of planning, I ended up only having 30 minutes to work out what to wear!

This was my outfit and this is how I put it together.

First I started with the weather + a mood. It was a really hot day, and the evening was set to be warm. I wanted to be relaxed, yet look somewhat stylish.

I chose this black and white stripe top from Yes Style. It is a very casual looking top, and is made from a very lightweight, fine knit. It’s almost sheer. I bought it a few months ago… and I have been wearing it with jeans or shorts. Here’s a photo of me (and my little toddler) wearing the stripes with khaki shorts.

Putting Together an Outfit - Stripes and Maxis

Then I chose a slim, black maxi skirt that I bought from New Look.

When I was 16-17 years old, I used to have SO MANY maxi skirts.

I even made a few myself! I think I had 5 big, long floral skirts. 1 dark maroon, slinky, pleated maxi skirt, a long white one, one with an Indian inspired print, and 2 black maxi skirts – almost identical to what I am wearing above.

But in my typical teenaged thinking, once they went out of fashion, I gave them ALL AWAY.

So now I have been left with NO maxi skirts in my wardrobe. Sigh.

And for a while I couldn’t bring myself to spend any money on one. But I found one online – and on sale – and I really liked the look of it (a jersey cotton, slim-style version) so I gave in.

Lastly I tied up the whole outfit, and smartened it up, by wearing a white shawl collar blazer from Yes Style.

I absolutely adore this blazer. It goes well with so many outfits, and it’s a wonderful change from black blazers.

Shoes are suede ankle boots from Betts Online.


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My Street was on Fire

10 January 2011

It was the last day of school and I was driving home with the kids.

As I neared my street, I saw a HUGE PLUME of black, boiling smoke rising up into the sky. It was thick and scary looking. And it was very, very close to us. It was just behind some trees and behind some houses to where I was driving…. and I slowly realised that OMG the fire was in my street.

My heart almost stopped.

WHAT IF MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE?????!!!!!

I had to choke back a scream.

I pulled into the final turn, and it seemed as bad as I had feared.

A guy in a uniform was stopping traffic going into my street, which was a haze of smoke. People were milling around in curiosity and panic. A fire engine roared past me, and stopped in front of my house.

And then I saw the actual fire.

It wasn’t in a house.

It was in a car, parked outside my house.

The whole front of the car was a ball of fire, just like in a movie, and the air was poisonous with the smell of burning plastic and paint and god knows what.

I was so relieved, I was fighting back tears.

I could see that the car hadn’t crashed. It was just parked like normal… but on fire. A guy I didn’t recognise looked like most people would look if they were watching their car on fire and they can’t believe it was happening. I was so glad I was not him, watching my house burn down.

My boys in the car were going – THAT’S SO COOL!!

The fire brigade men and women raced through an obviously well rehearsed procedure, and in literally three minutes, the fire was out.

car-on-fire

They opened up the car with special breaking tools and gave the poor owner the keys and his wife’s soaked handbag.

The crowd began to disperse, and I realised it was all over. The fire crew started rolling up their hoses, and changing out of their protective gear.

One of the fire crew noticed my boys watching, so let my boys sit inside the fire engine, and I got chatting to the fire guy.

sean_firetruck

He told me that his crew put out a car fire about once every two weeks – and he said it as though putting out a car on fire was no big deal.

And I suppose if you are trained to risk your life going into multi-story buildings that are on fire, and carry unconscious people out on your back, then a simple car fire in a suburban street probably is no big deal.

I thanked the fire guy a lot. I was trying not to say “You’re such a HERO!” and then faint into his arms, but I honestly had never needed an emergency service before, and I was so glad they arrived so quickly, and that they were so professional. The car was parked under a tree, and the tree also covers the house next to mine, so it could easily have been a house fire (or two) if left for a few more minutes.

And do my boys now want to be firemen when they grow up?

No.

Why not?

Because they have seen inside the fire engine, and it was cool – but there were no guns!


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Wanderlust + Co’s Summer Sale

8 January 2011

Wanderlust + Co Sale

Wanderlust + Co are an online jewellery boutique that offer a gorgeous collection of jewellery at great prices. I reviewed them in this post a few months ago.

Their regular updates of new collections have certainly caught my eye. In particular, these photos! I really like the way the bracelets and rings are mixed together here.

Wanderlust + Co Sale

Usually I don’t like the “piled on jewellery look” – where masses of bracelets or bangles are bunched together in a vague colour code. I feel so messy and cluttered. And I’m also not too fond of the sound of clashing and clinking metals when I move.

But after checking out these photos, I’m keen to give it a go. It looks pretty, stylish and graceful. And it’s just minimal enough for me!

The Wanderlust + Co team also let me know that there is a HUGE sale on – right now – up to 50% off and nothing over $35 on sale items!

Enjoy!


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Firecrackers Under My Feet

6 January 2011

A particular species of Eucalyptus tree makes buds in the summer heat.
gumnut-fireworks01

When the hairy yellow flowers burst out of the buds, the bud casing breaks into tiny, perfect half shells, and they fall to the ground. Thousands of them snow down.

gumnut-fireworks02
There, they roast all day on the hot concrete path, becoming drier and drier.

And then I walk along the path, and the shells crack under my feet, making the sound of teeny-tiny, Chinese firecrackers.

Such a beautiful and happy sound.


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Online Fashion Store – Eskay Affairs

4 January 2011

Clothes from Eskay Affairs

I’ve discovered a new online fashion boutique based in Australia – Eskay Affairs.

Eskay Affairs carry a brilliant collection of carefully selected styles from Australian and International labels, like Bebe Sydney, Ever, Poppy Lissiman, Tonight, Palma, and they have international delivery.

They sent over some dress samples for me to review, and they were all kick-ass winners! They all had some gorgeous feature, or stylish edge. And the prices were great. I was so impressed.

Above, I’m wearing a Poppy Lissiman Shelley Maxi Dress. It looked and felt absolutely amazing! Damn I wish I could have kept it!

There are heaps of other cocktail and party dresses at great prices, check out the dress section here.

Clothes from Eskay Affairs

On the left, I’m wearing a Scallop Cut Away Dress by Palma. The emerald and silver beading were heavy enough to sit elegantly and flat on my arms, and the cut-out shoulders just felt fabulous. It’s a gorgeous summer dress and would be a very stylish and affordable addition to any wardrobe.

On the right, I’m wearing a Bat for Lashes Top by Bebe Sydney. It was just beautiful! The beading, material and the cut is flattering and elegant. This brand has lots of great stuff. I’m very happy I stumbled across it – see more from Bebe Sydney at Eskay Affairs.

Clothes from Eskay Affairs

This last dress, the Tonight Firecooker Frock, was a kind of blue shift dress with a cool checkered print. It was really well made, had good quality material and it was a great fit for me. I thought I’d change the look of the dress with a bit of simple styling.

On the left, I’m wearing the dress on it’s own, great for after work drinks or going out with girlfriends. In the middle, I wore it with a scarf and grey boyfriend blazer to give it a smart daytime look – for shopping, lunch in the city, or visiting the gallery. Then on the right, I gave the dress a professional office look with a simple black suit jacket and pearls.

Happy shopping and don’t forget to take advantage of the New Year sales!

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


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Trapped in a Lift

3 January 2011

The other day I went to a fashion event in the city. I parked my car in a multi-story car park, and made my way down and out to the event. It was a lot of fun!

5 hours later, it was almost midnight.

Usually at the end of the evening, I try to get someone to walk me to my car. It’s fairly safe to walk through the city at night, but I like to live carefuly. I usually ask a friend, or a friend of a friend to walk with me. It’s a pretty common practise, and it’s no trouble to anyone really.

But this evening, the multi-story car park was literally just around the corner from the event. So I decided to walk back to the car by myself.

There were a few people out and about the streets at that time. Some young party-goers. A couple in their mid-fifties. Three scruffy backpackers.

I made my way to the car park, paid my parking fees and stepped into the lift.

Trapped in a Lift

I pressed the 6 button, to take me to the 6th floor.

The lift doors closed. Then it made that little jolt to move upwards.

Up, up, up.

1st floor. 2nd floor.

Up, up.

3rd floor. 4th floor.

Then it stopped.

I assumed that somebody pressed the button on the 5th floor, and that the door was going to open, and the person was going to walk in.

But the door didn’t open.

And the little computer screen on the lift wall went BLANK.

I thought – Hmm, what does this mean?

Trapped in a Lift

I waited a few more seconds.

I looked around the lift space, to see if there was a security camera. Maybe this was a joke? Maybe someone was watching this? Maybe the car park people were a little bored tonight and they wanted to WATCH MY REACTION.

I casually leaned towards the button panel – as if it were a webcam and someone was watching me – and pressed 6 again, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

Nothing happened.

OK. So I then casually pressed “DOOR OPEN”.

Nothing happened.

I pressed “GROUND FLOOR”

Nothing happened.

Then “5” and “4” and “3” and “2” and “1” and “6” again.

Then I stepped back and sighed.

Can this really be happening?

Am I really stuck in a lift?

No way.

So I pressed “DOOR OPEN DOOR OPEN DOOR OPEN DOOR OPEN DOOR OPEN” , because I COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE STUCK IN A LIFT!

Then I was suddenly very, very aware of the space around me. The very LITTLE SPACE AROUND ME… and I started to sweat and feel a little closed in.

I was surrounded by silvery walls. Not mirrors. Just metallic panels, that reflected my silhouette in a smokey kind of way…I was alone, and it was a bit spooky.

Trapped in a Lift

Eeeeeek!

In my brain, I kinda shouted HELLOOOOOOO in a tragic forlorn kind of way, and the walls seemed to echo back at me HELLO HELLOO HELLOO HELLOO.

Then my brain started to whiz around and I started to freak out.

OK I’M TRAPPED IN THIS LIFT. THIS IS NOT GOOD. THINK KAREN. THINK KAREN.

THIS IS NOT A MOVIE. I AM NOT GOING TO SUFFOCATE. I AM NOT GOING TO DIE. THE LIFT CABLES ARE NOT GOING TO SNAP AND HURTLE ME 5 FLOORS TO MY DEATH.

And at that moment I noticed the BIG RED EMERGENCY BUTTON on the lift panel.

But I hesitated.

Is this really an emergency? What’s going to happen if I press it? Will alarm bells ring? Will the lights go out? Will I be launched into emergency red alert? Will I still have oxygen supply?

So I chickened out and decided to press the TELEPHONE BUTTON instead.

But nothing happened.

Okokok. Fine. I’ll press the EMERGENCY BUTTON.

But still nothing happened!

I felt very alone.

Crap.

Then.

Finally. I heard this little tiny voice coming from the walls. I kid you not. It sounded like there was someone hiding in the wall or ceiling or something. It was freaky, yet comforting.

But I couldn’t make out what the voice was saying!

It was so soft and mixed with buzzing sounds.

Where were the speakers?

Where was the microphone, so I can talk back to this voice?

So I just shouted into the air, like I was talking to myself. Or God.

WHAT? HELLO! I’M STUCK! I CAN’T HEAR YOU PROPERLY!

The small voice said “What’s going on?”

THE LIFT IS STUCK!

“Where are you?”

I’M HERE! IN THE FRICKING LIFT!

“Can you open the door?”

NO I CANNOT OPEN THE DOOR!

“Have you tried pressing the Door Open button?”

YES. I. HAVE. I said in the most condescending tone ever. Does he think I’m an idiot? I felt like punching the guy in the nose.

Then the voice went quite. And I thought. Oh no, hang on. Don’t go! Don’t leave me here! I didn’t mean to be rude! I’m so sorry! Help! Hello?

I slapped myself on the head and thought, I can’t believe this is happening. I’m just standing here talking into the air, talking to this little voice, in the walls, or in my head, like it’s some kind of conscience.

Then after the longest few seconds of my life, the little voice came back and said simply,

“Press number 8”

I almost jumped for joy at the sound of his voice. HELLO! YES I’M STILL HERE! I STILL NEED YOUR HELP!

But then I registered what he said and I hesitated.

Why number 8? What’s on level 8? I don’t want to go to level 8. Is this guy messing with me? Is he watching all this? Is this a joke? What the hell’s going on? Should I ask him why 8? Should I explain to him that I actually want level 6? Or should I just do what he says?

After another few long seconds. I thought, Oh what the hell, I’ll just do what he says.

So I press level 8.

And miraculously the lift hummed to life!

It gave a little jolt, like it woke up, and it started to go up.

I WAS FRICKING ECSTATIC! OH THANK YOU MY WONDERFUL LIFT! YOU’RE SUCH A GOOD LIFT! A MOST EXCELLENT LIFT! YOU CAN DO IT! JUST A LITTLE MORE! GO GO LITTLE LIFT!

It reached Level 8, and the doors opened.

OMG I’M ALIVE! I’M SAVED! I WILL BE ABLE TO GO HOME TO SEE MY HUSBAND AND KIDS!

Cold air swept in as the doors came apart. I literally LEAPED out of the lift. But I remembered the voice, so I quickly turned around, stuck my head into the lift and shouted THANK YOU!

And then I quickly pulled my head OUT OF THE DOORWAY, in case it got caught between the doors.

But Phew. Adventure over.

The lift seemed to be working now, but I was so rattled that I decided to walk – in high heels –  down the two sets of stairs to my car parked on Level 6.

Man I was happy to get out of there.

It’s pretty much every person’s nightmare.

But I must say, it could have been worse.

I could have been trapped for a long time. Or with OTHER PEOPLE who were smelly. Or with a serial killer. Now that would have been really bad. And at least I didn’t need to pee!

So, remember.

If you are ever stuck in a lift – just press “8”.