Archive for February 2011

 

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ECCO Shoes – From Cow to Shoe

28 February 2011

I have to be honest and say that when ECCO shoes approached me and asked me to join their media press trip to Copenhagen, I didn’t know very much about ECCO shoes.

I think I had walked passed one of their shops a few times. I’d never actually been in an ECCO store. I felt that they sold “practical” shoes, as opposed to “fashion” shoes, to which I am clearly addicted.

So, I was a little embarressed to discover that:

ECCO is the 3rd largest producer of casual footwear in the world.

ECCO shoes are sold in over 90 countries.

ECCO is the only major shoe manufacturer that has chosen to own its own tanneries and factories, allowing them control of every detail of supply and manufacture, from cow to consumer.

ECCO has a set of ethical principles that are applied in all company operations throughout the world. It includes respect for human rights, freedom of religion and supports the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

And what interested me was talking to the ECCO people and finding out what ECCO think about their shoes, and why they feel they have a unique range. Apart from being seduced with free international travel to a fashion week, my interest was piqued by the idea of seeing the whole design process, and what inspired that design.

I was excited about getting an education!

So off I went on a jet plane, and 30 hours of travelling later, I arrived in the coldest place I have ever been to.

Ecco Press Trip 2011 - Tonder

The ECCO Centre is nestled 4 hours drive away from Copenhagen, in a small little rural town called Tonder. There were snowy fields, winter trees, cute little cottages and wild dear. I was in fairytale heaven.

The ECCO Centre is  a huge and lovely place – with multiple open and spacious buildings, every wall covered in original art. There are dorms for visitors to stay. A cafeteria that looks more like a restaurant. An indoor golf driving range, beautiful gardens and sculptures.

Talking to a lot of people, the biggest thing I learned about Danish culture is that – the people place a high importance on work-life balance and having a high quality of life.

Did you know that in Denmark, most workers have 6 WEEKS ANNUAL LEAVE? Their work hours are 8am to 5pm every day, and half days on Friday. Mothers have 12 months maternity leave, fathers have 6 months leave. They do have high taxes, but that means a high level of social welfare – free education and health care.

No wonder why they are often called “the happiest people in the world”!

Anyway, on to the shoes.

Ecco Press Trip 2011

In a guided tour of the ECCO Centre, we saw inside the ECCO branding department, and saw some shoes that won’t even be released  for several seasons ! I noticed that ECCO have brought in lots of new stylish looks for their collections.

Ecco SS11 Golf Shoes

These are some current SS11 Women’s Golf shoes. I love the bright colours. And you don’t even have to play golf to own a pair.

Ecco Press Trip 2011

The ECCO team gave us a tour of their design and development centres. The above photo is of one of the shoe designers sketching away in his creative space. This was where I was able to check out how they made shoes. The designer in me was skipping along doing the happy dance – I was so fascinated by everything!

I saw a huge selection of high quality leathers that had been developed at their tanneries. From soft, supple, natural toned, buttery leathers, to striking, patent leather in bright red with crocodile skin embossing.

Apparently, ECCO produce such high-quality leathers, that they sell them on to high end designers brands such as LV, Coach and even Porsche.

Ecco Press Trip 2011

This is a “mock-up” for a kid’s shoe. The designer puts together colours and textures, leathers and ribbons to create a more tangible look of the shoe design, and then they make a prototype – pictured in the background.

Ecco Press Trip 2011

This is a 3D paper shell of a shoe, onto which a shoe designer has sketched the more functional and technical aspects of a shoe – what can be done with the current range of leathers or straps or velcro or buckles.

From there they create prototypes which are then tested on “foot models” to check for comfort and fit.

Ecco Press Trip 2011

I did not know that designing a shoe upper (as opposed to the inner or the sole) is like putting a 3D jigsaw together. There can be up to 50 pieces of leather or fabric all in all kinds of weird shapes.

Ecco Press Trip 2011

I discovered that most regular shoes have their upper part stitched or glued onto their sole. But ECCO is the world leader in direct injection soles, where the shoe uppers are placed into a sole mould and the sole material is injected into the mould, bonding directly with the upper.

Apparently it’s the strongest way to attach the sole to the upper, it makes the shoe watertight, very flexible, the sole moulds to your feet and it’s very comfortable etc.

Above left is a photo of the direct injection machines, which were actually funny little robots rolling around the room, hissing and humming. A bit like the Dr. Who Daleks (without the angry shouting).

Above right, is a photo of ME trying to sew bits of leather together to make a shoe upper. It was so tricky and stressful (especially when you have a pro standing next to you). BUT I was actually quite good at it! I was so proud. If ever this blogging thing doesn’t work out, I might go into making my own shoes haha.

We spent hours at the development centre and I can say that I now definitely have a higher respect for shoes made with higher quality materials and craftsmanship. I didn’t realised that the shoe design and making process was so long and complicated!

Overall this was been *such* an enjoyable and valuable adventure for me.

If ECCO’s objective was to get me to realise what the consumer is paying for when they purchase high-quality shoes – it worked.

So now, I’ve found that when ever I pick up a “fashion” shoe – I immediately start to inspect the quality, the way it had been assembled, and I wonder how the materials were sourced. Yay to being a shoe geek!


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Vintage Fashion Advertising for Men

25 February 2011

This landed in my inbox the other day, and I thought I would share it with everyone, since I like to subscribe to a broad range of fashion experiences for entertainment. Enjoy!

The ads had no credits, so my apologies to the original editors.

Vintage Men Fashion
This says – “Jump into the hottest fashion idea of the season… with a smooth, comfortable fit that makes the most of your body. The stretch terry jumpsuit comes with or without hood in washable, natural cotton and polyester blend. Designed for people like you who makes things happen.”

Vintage Men Fashion

Various magazine spreads offering the latest looks in menswear. Apparently mustard and graphic prints were in.

Vintage Men Fashion

A magazine dedicated to “MEN – In Belted Sweaters”

Vintage Men Fashion

“Things Happen When You Wear ELEGANZA!”

What I find most funny is the way the women are portrayed in all these advertisements – literally hanging off the shoulders of the hunky men.


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Liam at 23 months

24 February 2011

Liam 23 Months

Liam is almost 2 years old.

His is definitely his own little person now – with his own little personality. I say that with such surety, because he is now doing things that his older siblings do not do, and have never done.

He is a little fuss pot. If there is a boy-version for the word PRINCESS, then Liam is it. He is so picky about everything.

And trust me, my first two kids were NEVER like this. They were all relaxed and not-fussed about small things.

But Liam! He doesn’t like sand in his sandals, he doesn’t like to have dirty hands, he doesn’t like to wear certain t-shirts, he only wants to drink from the PINK cup, and the pink cup has to be CLEAN.

It’s kind of annoying, but at the same time very cute. And because he is my last baby, I can feel myself looking past all his peculiarities and going all lovey-dovey on him.

Playtime

Liam has two big brothers to entertain him all day. He is constantly surrounded by noise and movement and talking. So when the older kids are at school, Liam comes to me looking to be entertained. He wants someone to read him a story, someone to talk to him, someone to wrestle him, someone to just watch.

He’s not great at playing by himself, or with other kids his age.

But again, that’s fine because I just love hanging around the little guy. Did I mention he’s my last baby?

Usually I have to take him out during the day – or else he will trash my house.

I can’t do many chores at home while he plays around me in the house, because he gets bored and “tries to help” by throwing all the kitchen stuff onto the floor, pulling all the books off the shelves and tossing them into the hallway, yanking all the shoes out of the cupboards.

Liam is super active, but he loves his sleep. At night he sleeps, from 7pm to 7am. He needs to take a 1.5 to 2 hours nap sometime during the day. And he drinks half a cup of cow’s milk before bed.

Eating

Liam eats whatever we eat. I don’t make him a separate meal. But most times he pushes the meal away and says, “I no like it.”

Some weeks he will refuse to eat anything but corn chips for dinner.

Other weeks (like this week) he will only eat green lettuce, peas, corn and carrot sticks. In fact, yesterday he hungrily ate 6 large lettuce leaves for dinner and kept asking for more. Crazy!

So I figured that within a month, he’ll get enough vitamins and minerals to keep him healthy and well balanced! I hope!

Development

Mr Messy and Mr Bump

He just LOVES the Mr Men characters.

If there was a hero to sum up his early childhood, it would be his favourite character Mr Messy, followed closely by Mr Bump.

We read Mr Men books ALL DAY, we draw Mr Men characters ALL DAY and he drags around a stack of Mr Men books wherever he goes. He can identify 30 of all the Mr Men listed on the back of each book.

None of my other two kids were particularly interested in the Mr Men series. But I really like them… they’re hilarious!

Liam 23 Months

Turns out that he’s remarkable at identifying shapes. My other kids never did this at such an early age.

He loves his pointing and shouting “SQUARE! SQUARE! RECTANGLE! RECTANGLE! RECTANGLE!” at every single brick on a paved pathway. It takes us forever to walk anywhere.

So I’ve started teaching him shapes, numbers and letters of the alphabet.

He can now point to letters on the street and on signs boards, he can recognise numbers on food packaging, and he can identify his own name. It’s kinda scary if I think about it too much (argh he’s growing up so fast!), but most of the time I’m very nonchalant about it.

Liam is very, very, very talkative. It surprises a lot of people. And he’s like a little parrot – mostly repeating the last three words of everything anyone says.

His older brothers have taught him to say words like “Stupid” and “Disgusting”. Which really annoys me. But I don’t turn it into a big deal, so he doesn’t say it around me. He just says those words (and others!) around his brothers, who respond with laughter and lots of new words.

Sometimes Liam will say something that will totally floor me, like…

“Mummy! Liam watch TV. Despicable me! On TV.”

or “Mummy, play scissor, paper, rock with me!”

The kid’s not even 2 yet!

A few months ago, I wrote a post called, The Relentless Rollercoaster about how Liam’s development was driving me totally batshitcrazy. Well, I can’t believe that was the same kid! Things are peachy at the moment. It is a rollercoaster indeed.

And lastly, here are some interesting photos. They are of Sean (my second born boy) looking exactly the same as Liam does now. Scary!
Me and Sean (1 year old)
Sean at 22 Months
Sean at 23 Months


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Approaching Autumn

22 February 2011

Autumn / Winter OUtfit 2011

Can you believe I’m looking forward to the cold weather already? After a week in Copenhagen, I’m itching to wear more Autumn/Winter pieces and colours.

Starting with these. I just love a shirt and jeans combo.

Hat: Pieces
Shirt: Yes Style
Jeans: Nobody
Handbag: Ecco
Shoes: Betts (from new shoe boot collection)

Scarf: AlexanderMcQueen
Bracelet: Wanderlust + Co


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14 Hours at Bangkok Airport

21 February 2011

Early this month, I went on a media press trip to Denmark to attend Copenhagen Fashion Week and to check out the Ecco Shoes Headquarters.

It turned out that my flights went from Perth / Bangkok / Copenhagen. With a 7 hour wait at Bangkok. Both ways!

At first I thought, I’ve never been to Bangkok! I wonder what it’s like there?

I guess I toyed with the idea of zipping out to check out the city. But since I wasn’t a frequent [read: confident] traveller, I had a movie-styled scene playing in my head that involved me being in a road side traffic accident, then me being stuck in the waiting room of a police station with creaking ceiling fans, and then me arguing with the local police “I NEED TO CATCH MY PLANE IN ONE HOUR!!!”

So I decided to stay in Bangkok Airport for the whole 7 hours.

I don’t know how many of you can appreciate this – but as a parent of 3 young kids, I hardly ever get 7 day light hours to myself.

I literally didn’t have any where to go. Anything to do. Meetings to attend. Appointments to keep. Chores to do. Food to make. Kids to pick up. I had no time schedule to constantly check.

All I had to do was to pass time and enjoy the experience.

And believe me, when an opportunity like this comes around, simple things can make me very happy indeed.

14 Hours at Bangkok Airport

When I stepped off the 7 hour flight from Perth to Bangkok, I took a long stroll through the whole airport to stretch my legs. It felt great to walk. It was as if the simple motion was re-setting all my muscles and bones back into place. It felt good.

14 Hours at Bangkok Airport

I watched the sun set, from behind glass. I know, it’s a brilliant photo.

14 Hours at Bangkok Airport

Then I decided, since I was in Thailand, I’m going to look for some Thai food for dinner. First thing I thought of was, Tom Yum soup.

But it occurred to me that I probably SHOULD NOT eat spicy, seafood, Tom Yum soup in a different country, just before an 11 hour flight.

I certainly didn’t want to be running down the plane aisle to get to the toilet all night long.

So I cancelled my meal order and changed it to something less potentially lethal – roast duck noodle soup. Yum.

I sat there and ate my meal slowly and leisurely. I read a magazine from cover to cover. I read a bit of my novel. I enjoyed the busy hum of the restaurant. And most of all I enjoyed the sheer quiet of my personal space – no one nagging at me, no complaining, no rush.

Just me and my own thoughts.

It was divine.

14 Hours at Bangkok Airport

Later I found a little cafe, which looked very low key and homey. It had dodgy looking food, and weird Asian spelling for their dishes. But it was quiet, and it had free WIFI.

I sat down and did some work.

So quiet! It was so amazing. I got so much work done. I felt incredible!

14 Hours at Bangkok Airport

Lastly, I found this massage place.

Before my trip, someone told me about the “famous massage place at Bangkok Airport” and I swore I would go check it out.

It was so soooo goood. I had a 1 hour feet and neck massage for AUD$25.

I was lying back on the lounge chair, with this lovely Thai woman rubbing oil on my feet, and I was thinking – I could go home right now and I would have had the best holiday.

Ahhh. Simple things. Karen happy.

It was all so satisfying, that on the way BACK home from Copenhagen, for my other 7 hours at Bangkok Airport, I planned to re-do every experience, exactly the same as before.

14 Hours at Bangkok Airport

But of course, it didn’t turn out like that.

Before I got on the return flight in Copenhagen, I went on a shopping spree to buy presents for my family. I bought my kids Denmark T-shirts and key rings – and I bought my husband a bottle of his favourite whiskey.

Then 12 hours later, at Bangkok Airport, I got stopped at security and the guards pulled me aside and said, “You seem to have more than 100ml of liquids in your bag.”

And I was all, “Omg I totally forgot about the whiskey! I’m so sorry! It’s a gift to my husband! I just crammed it into my bag and it was 12 hours ago, and I completely forgot to take it out before the xray…”

But they were apologising to me. And why were they apologising to me?

Because they were going to confiscate my bottle of whiskey!

Apparently, back in Copenhagen, the Danish woman at the alcohol check-out didn’t put the whiskey bottle in a sealed Duty Free bag for me. So according to the Bangkok Airport Security Guards, I was carrying “illegal substances”.

I was devastated. But I was more devastated for my husband, who is a big fan of whiskey. He is originaly Scottish, and in Scotland, whiskey is more precious than gold.

Of course, you don’t get into an arguement with airport security guards – not even if your Scottish-born, whiskey-loving, stayed-at-home-with-three-kids-while-you-went-on-holiday-for-a-week husband will be devastated.

So I said, “OK I’ll give you guys the bottle, but first let me take a photo of the bottle in the bin.”

This threw them off a little, and they gave me this strange look like, who is this crazy woman and why does she need a photo? (I get it all the time).

I was almost going to retract my proposal, I mean, should I really be messing with the minds of Airport Security Guards?? So I just told them the truth – I needed the photo to prove to hubby that I really did buy the bottle for him.

Then they lightened up and had a bit of a chuckle when they saw me place the whiskey bottle ceremoniously in the bin, nestled next to the discarded half-empty water bottles.

Thankfully it was just a “gift size” whiskey bottle. And I got a replacement one at Perth Airport.

And I still wonder – do Airport Security Guards really just throw a full bottle of whiskey in the rubbish – or do full bottles of whiskey find their way to a happy home?

I hope so!


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Trends I’m Loving: A/W 2011

18 February 2011

Trends I'm Loving: A/W 2011

Fire Engine Red: La Petite S**** Skirt, Anna Molinari Skinny Jeans, DKNY Strapless Dress, all from net-a-porter.

Trends I'm Loving: A/W 2011

Stripey Camel Jumpers: Long Sleeve Top from Dorothy Perkins, A.P.C. Strip Pullover, Jaeger Stripe Batwing Sweater from ASOS.

Trends I'm Loving: A/W 2011

Brightly Coloured Silk Tanks: Chloe Purple Tank, Maurie & Eve Pink Tank, Walter Magenta Tank.

Trends I'm Loving: A/W 2011

Mixed material Wedges: ASOS Leopard Print wedges, Rebecca Minkoff Wedges, Betts Wedges.

Trends I'm Loving: A/W 2011

Metal coloured Nail Polish:
OPI and Chanel.


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Because He’s A Crooner

17 February 2011

Ok I have a hideous confession to make.

And the only reason I’m telling the world… is because I know there are OTHERS LIKE ME LIVING WITH THIS SHAMEFUL SECRET.

I have a thing for Michael Buble.

michaelbuble

I know. It’s so lame. It’s such a boring cliche – “30 something housewife likes Michael Buble”.

The fact is, it’s JUST NOT COOL to admit to someone else that you actually like listening to… disgustingly sweet, completely sappy, unrealistically romantic, lovey-dovey music about teenaged, starry-eyed love.

Which is why I’ve never really admitted it to anyone. It’s just embarrassing.

But when I found out that Michael Buble was coming to my hometown for a performance at the Sandalford Winery, I soooooo badly wanted to see him.

However, I had no one to see it with.

My husband was out of the question.

And the result of NOT ADMITTING THAT I LIKED HIS MUSIC TO ANYONE, was that I didn’t know anyone else who liked him, or would pay money to see him.

I had a problem… Do I really go and see Michael Buble BY MYSELF? Haha I didn’t know which part of that is more sad.

So I decided that since I was too embarrassed to solicit a concert partner, I wouldn’t never be able to see him live in concert. It was the fate of my own embarrassment.

That is. Until I got a phone call from one of my closest girl friends.

In fact. She didn’t even call me. She texted me!

It was kind of an “out there” stab-in-the-dark question, wondering if I wanted to pay $250 to see Buble in concert.

Haha. Of course I said YES.

So now that I’m going… I decided to suck it in and just tell everyone. I even say it with a little girly squeal for added effect.

“I’M GOING TO SEE MICHAEL BUBLE IN CONCERT! EEEEEEEEEE!!!”

And oh look, suddenly every chick I talk to is a Michael Buble Fan.

What do you know. Isn’t that funny.

My husband thinks I’m mad. He doesn’t see any appeal at all.

One evening, after we discovered yet ANOTHER of my girlfriends was a fan, we tried to explain to him in an incoherent, babbling, blushing girly way…

“He’s smooth, sincere, arrogant, confident, puppy dog vulnerable, a man who sweeps you off your feet, a knight in shining armour… and he’s just so unashamed about being a romantic. And most of all, he’s a croooooner…” haha we laughed ourselves silly that night.

I can’t wait.

Me and Michael.

(And 6000 other secret Michael Buble fans).


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Al & Alicia – Feature.03 Private Party

15 February 2011

Al & Alicia

Last year I wrote about an up-coming Singaporean designer label called, Al & Alicia.

This year they have launched their Spring Summer 2011 collection, Private Party, capturing the dark, hidden corners of New York’s after dark parties. Featuring playsuits, cigarette pants, and bartender shirts, I must admit that I’m rather smitten by many of these pieces.

Above I’m wearing Al& Alicia Bartend Vested Shirt, over a Tankers Dress with to die for Mesh Leggings (soo cool!). My own jacket and belt.

Al & Alicia

Most Spring Summer collections are about bright colours, florals and prints. But this collection is much more subdued and understated, with block colours of dove, creams, and dusty corals.

Here I’m wearing Mr Tapered Pants, which might be my new favourite crop skinny pants now. They are perfect for a sharp, smart look in hot weather.

And I’m also wearing a No Frills Pocket Tank and a Cupro Multi Jacket.

Al and Alicia - 0.3

The rest of the collection is very relaxed and cool, yet edgy and smart. I like it a lot!

( 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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Nikon D90 + 35mm f/1.4G Lens

14 February 2011

Nikon D90 + 35mm f/1.4G Lens

Everyone knows I’m pretty crazy about cameras. So you will have to bear with me, while the geek in me leaps up and does the happy dance around the room….

OMG! I HAVE AN AMAZING NEW CAMERA AND LENS!

Ok, it’s not really mine. Nikon contacted me and asked whether I’d like to test drive a D90 camera. I fell off my chair and said YES faster than I could update my status on facebook.

So they sent over a demo camera for me to borrow.

I currently own a 5 year old compact camera (Canon A700) and a three year old DSLR (Nikon D80) that I bought a couple of years ago when I decided to move into more careful, professional photography.

So this new Nikon D90 DSLR is the next model up from the camera that I currently own (D80). It’s basically a semi-professional DSLR camera, and a favourite among the Nikon fans.

Right now, I am excited because the D90 has three new features I like.

The D90 can take video (it was apparently the first DSLR in the world to offer a movie mode), AND you can preview the frame-in-view on the screen (just like in a compact camera).

But most importantly, the D90 is more sensitive to light, and so can take better photos in low light (the D90 can do ISO 3200, compared to the D80’s 1600).

But WAIT! It gets even better.

I asked Nikon if they could send me a new lens with the D90. Based on my experience with the other lenses I already have, I wanted a wider angle lens, and I wanted it to be as “fast” as possible – one that can get a lot more light in.

I really don’t enjoy how  flash photos look. I think flash looks so harsh and garish. I want to be able to take photos with only the naturally available light – and that means having a “fast” lens.  So I asked Nikon if they could lend me the lens I have been dreaming of owning, but could never afford to buy.  It costs a LOT –  like AUD$2,300.

And they said YES!

It’s the 35mm f1.4G Nikkor. This lens is new to the market, launched in Sept 2010. It is a totally drool worthy fixed focal-length, wide-angle, very fast lens. That’s why it is so FAT!

It is absolutely perfect for low light situations, especially with the Nikon D90’s more sensitive light sensor.

AND I am SO SO EXCITED (like jiggling-in-my-seat and shouting-out-to-the-world excited) to play with it more and show off the photos!!

Nikon also gave me a complimentary entry into a one day session of NIKON SCHOOL – which I will write about more next time!

Standby for lots of natural light photos!


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Copenhagen Fashion Week 2011

11 February 2011

In 3 days, I managed to attend EIGHT fashion shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week. It was crazy I tell you. The whole experience was just exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

A few outstanding experiences.

Scandinavian winters are fricking cold. At some shows, I had VIP access, so there no waiting, thanks to my friends at ECCO shoes. But at other shows,  I found myself having to wait outside for up to 45 minutes, with temperatures below 0°C.  I was so. very. cold. Even my eye lashes were complaining.

Street style fashion spying is so much fun. With all that waiting around outside, watching the fashion crowd grow, I fell in love with the sheer entertainment of seeing people arrive wearing crazy and beautiful things – from feather helmet-sunglasses, to multi-coloured patchwork fur coats, to sweeping superhero capes.

Backstage at a fashion show is always the same. It all looks chaotic and jumbled, but there is always method in the madness. Creative spaces and people everywhere – I just love it.

So here are some highlights of the shows.
Copenhagen Fashion Week(These two images taken by me.)

Kick starting the fashion week, was the ECCO Walk in Style Awards.

I was expecting Scandinavian fashion and styling to be serious, dark and practical, but as you can see, there was also a much lighter, humorous side to the shows as well.

Nude models, jellyfish helmets with dangling breasts and lots of other weird sculptures! Not to mention an exciting new range of shoes by ECCO.

Copenhagen Fashion Week 2011

Kopenhagen Fur Show. This show featured several designer capsules all showcasing real fur, and no one seemed even slightly apologetic about it. There were some pretty amazing fur creations… and I was confronted and amazed at the same time.

There were anti-fur protesters outside the show, but even they were so nice, friendly, and smiled for the cameras. Very Danish.

Copenhagen Fashion Week 2011

Rützou Show. Lovely jewel colors, golds, khakais and a dash of bright red. There were a lot of silky-flowy fabrics (which, I admit, was quite unexpected for me), mixed with some more structured pieces and leathers. All very ready to wear pieces.

Copenhagen Fashion Week 2011

Karen by Simonsen. This show began with an almost naked muscular guy, in teeny tiny boy shorts, dancing and writhing behind glass. It certainly caught my attention!

Here are the dark, moody clothes and silhouettes I was expecting, put together in another wearable range.

Copenhagen Fashion Week 2011

Astrid Andersen. This show was very, very entertaining for me – set in a beautiful music hall, there was a solo pianist, and a commentator who sounded more like American rapper, Snoop Dog, saying things like “Yo G, looking pretty fly!” to the models as they walked down the catwalk. There was so much tongue-in-cheek humour in it all. Loved it.

The collection featured edgy guy’s street fashion with fur highlights. And check out that gold chain basketball sack! Ha! I – personally – don’t know anyone who would wear this look, but I loved it as fashion art. Great ensemble of fabrics, especially on these yummy beefcake models.

Thought I’d just share 5 of the 8 shows that I went to, and I hope you enjoy the photos. I think I have had my dose of fashion shows for this year already!

(All other images courtesy of Copenhagen Fashion Week.)


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You know you have to do some housework when…

10 February 2011

Washing Machine Spider

The other day, I opened up the lid of my washing machine to wash some clothes….

And I found a little spider, busily making a web inside my washing machine.

At first I was surprised – How on earth did it get in there? My washing machine lid was shut?

Then I was annoyed – Great. Now I have to catch the darn thing and put it outside. I have a zillion things to do today and the last thing I want to do is go around saving spiders.

Then I paused.

OMG when was the last time I did the washing?? Surely it had not been so long that spiders had made a permanent home in my washing machine?

Cobwebs in my washing machine!

Is that a sign of being TOO BUSY or what??


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Copenhagen Adventures: What I Wore

8 February 2011

Copenhagen Adventures: What I Wore

A smart casual and casual outfits I wore during my trip. On the left, I went on a tour of the ECCO headquarters  in a black blazer by Living Doll, top by Alexander Wang, leather panel leggings by Kind of Wonderful. On the right, I was going out to a casual lunch in a cafe, wearing a camel coat by Gap, singlet by Rick Owens, top by Theory, grey jeans by Sass and Bide.

Packing for an overseas trip is always such a headache.

For my trip to Copenhagen, it was particularly difficult, because I had to pack a range of casual day time clothes, professional day time clothes, something to wear to a fancy awards dinner, and clothes to wear to day time and night time fashion shows (7 fashion shows in total).

And it all had to fit into one suitcase!

Not to mention that the weather was from 4ºC (39 F) during the day, to -6ºC (21 F) in the evenings.

To summarise what I wore – I threw “practicality” out the window and I turned into one of THOSE CRAZY FASHION WOMEN who strutted around in nothing but leggings, a mini dress and a coat, while it was 1ºC outside.

Ha! Yes! Me! From a tropical island!

You see, it turned out that I spent most of the time indoors. If I was outdoors, I only spent about 5 – 10 minutes in the cold. And during my whole trip, I only went for a long stroll outside, twice.

I discovered that most indoor places were nicely heated – restaurants, cafes, conference rooms, fashion shows. I forgot that these Northern Hemisphere Countries know a thing or two about indoor heating.

My first day, I layered up, then when I went indoors, the place was so warm that I had to remove all my layers to reveal my last layer – a $12 three quarter sleeve, black jersey Target top. Not exactly the kind of stylish impression I was planning to give.

So on hindsight, I packed too many casual warm clothes. I was so afraid that I would be cold, that I packed a lot more jumpers and cardigans than I needed.

I should have packed more smart / dressy tops. And in the end I ran out of nice things to wear.

I packed a semi-sheer, silk singlet, at which my girlfriend said – ARE YOU INSANE??

And at the time I thought that yes, it was a little insane, but it goes so well with my leather leggings!

I also only packed 4 pairs of shoes. Black flats, tan flat boots, black boots, and 5 inch black heels. I should have packed a couple more high heeled shoes!!

Copenhagen Adventures: What I Wore

This is me going to the Opening Launch of Copenhagen Fashion Week – The ECCO Walk in Style Awards.

It was 1ºC outside and I was wearing a velvet, one shoulder mini dress (from Urban Outfitters), black leggings, a  faux fur vintage style coat from ASOS, and suede pumps from Betts Online.


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Back To Basics

7 February 2011

Vine Twine Time

Yes I am back home in Australia, and I have yet to write up about my adventures in Copenhagen!

I have zillions of emails to read. Hundreds of photos to look at. I’m severely jet lagged. My kids and husband are all very happy for me to be home, and I’m dying to spend some catch up time with them.

Yesterday we took a stroll in the park, and we just sat on the warm grass, under the bright blue sky.

I found some lengths of vine and taught my kids how to braid rope.

I was so relaxed and inspired by the experience.

Ah it’s so good to be home.


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A Product Review for Cellnique Skin Care

4 February 2011

Cellnique is a brand with a range of skin care products, and they asked me whether I would like to be paid a fee to review their skin care range.

I said SURE BRING IT ON!

I gave them a warning though.

I said that I was only going to share my honest experience, as if I was talking to my best girlfriend.

And I also told them this – I have been buying and using skin care products for the last 16 years. And in those years, I have never bought the same product twice!

OK to be honest, I really like the products of some of the more high-end brands. But realistically, I can’t afford them. US$500 for 100ml of face cream? Come on, I’m trying to pay off a mortgage!

So I have been on an endless quest to find a mid-priced product that I like.

And it’s been a long, long journey. There always seems to be something wrong with the mid-priced-range skin care products – the bottle are crap, it’s too hard to pump the cream out, it smells chemically and weird, the texture is too gooey, it doesn’t give me that clean fresh feeling, it makes my skin a bit too dry on my cheeks, the cream is way too greasey, and most times, there seems to be no difference to my skin.

Also, when I get together with my girlfriends, we often spend an embarrassingly large amount of time talking about make-up and skin care products we’re currently using. And most of my girlfriends are like me – not faithful to a single brand.

So it was highly unlikely that I was going to instantly fall in love with the Cellnique brand, and write amazing things about it on my website.

But Cellnique said, “No worries, just give it a go, and tell us what you think!”

OK!

My Skin Type

Cellnique asked me what my biggest skin concern – acne, aging, congestion, dehydration, discolouration, open pores, sensitive or scarring.

I said “Aging”. I’m 30 something, and my skin is starting to show faint fine lines, patchy dryness, it seems to be losing it’s radiance and glow, and more often than not, it’s looking a bit dull.

So they sent me a set – which I have affectionately called THE OLD WOMAN KIT.

I have tried a number of other well-known brands with anti-aging features, all of which were actually pretty good. But they are so fricking expensive, that there was no way I could keep buying them on a long term basis.

Cellnique products seems to be placed in a mid price range. I think their prices are similar, and possibly slightly more affordable than products from Clinique, Biotherm, Clarins, Shiseido, to name a few.

The Review

So here is my review. I’ve included links to the products, where you can find more information, other reviews, prices and you can even buy them online.

cellnique-gelwash

Cleanser (Moisturizing Gel Wash)

I really liked the smell of this cleanser – fresh green tea, I think. It had a nice soapy feel and it made my face feel very clean. I actually quite liked it. I only had to use a little bit of the gel which made enough foam to wash my whole face.

It has sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in it though, which has a reputation for drying out skin and being bad for people with eczema or sensitive skin. I usually try not to buy products with it, but it’s in everything!

And the bottle leaked a few times when it got tipped over (I told you I was going to be honest!)

Would I buy and use it again? It’s an adequate cleanser and it does the job. It’s actually better than some of the other cleansers I’ve used.

But no, I probably wouldn’t use it again. My face felt a bit drier than usual after a week of using it. I felt that I had to use a stronger moisturiser during the day. But I don’t know if the dryness was actually caused by this cleanser, or the weather, or all the swimming I’ve been doing recently with the kids?

Maybe I’ll try a cream cleanser next time.

cellnique-toner

Toner (Moisturizing & Balancing Lotion)

Again, the smell was really nice – sweet, earthy and natural. I felt like I had just spritzed soya bean drink all over my face. Yum!

Did it moisturise my skin and restore pH balance? I have no idea! But it smelt nice!

Would I buy and use it again? I’m always a bit sceptical about toners and how supposedly necessary they are for your skin. I only use it reluctantly, because some “expert” says I should. So I usually only choose the toner that goes with the cleanser I have bought.

So since I probably wouldn’t use the Gel Wash Cleanser again, I guess I wouldn’t use this toner again.

Too bad, because it smelt really nice.

cellnique-cream

Moisturiser (Vital Cellular Repair Emulsion)

This product also smelt very nice. It didn’t smell chemically, or rich, heavy and perfumey. It smelt light and fresh, in a sweet, earthy, natural soy bean kind of way.

The colour was a bit weird though. It was yellow greyish cream – like soya beans. Maybe that’s because it is quite “natural”?

It was an adequate cream. It felt nice, and absorbed well. But you would probably have to use this cream for a while before you saw any actual changes or effects. It is supposed to “repair damaged cells and promote healing process”.

Would I buy and use it again? Maybe. I’m a bit torn on this one. It’s quite hard to find a good moisturising cream with healing and restoring properties – that doesn’t smell gross or feel gross. So this one was pretty good in that respect.

But I like my daytime moisturisers to have some level of SPF (Sun Protection Factor), because I live in Australia and live an very outdoor lifestyle, so I NEED SPF. So it’s a bit of a hassle to have to put another layer of SPF moisturiser over the top. I guess you can’t always get everything you want in a day time cream.

However, just as a night time cream – OK, YES, I would buy it again.

cellnique-diamond

Serum (Reversal Diamond EGF Drop)

Ok this product came with a whole lot of mumbo jumbo skin care promises. It is supposed to brighten skin tone, firm your skin, boost texture and appearance and promote new skin growth.

It smelt and felt wonderful! It was like smoothing super-enhanced rose hip oil on your face. It made my skin feel very hydrated and very smooth the next day.

Would I buy and use it again? Probably not. I was a bit iffy about the whole “nano diamond particles” thing. Not to mention, it was a bit costly for such a little bottle. I think I would prefer to use plain old, organic rose hip oil on my face.

cellnique-intense

Serum (Amino Collagen C Intense Set)

OK. This was my real surprise.

The serum comes in two parts. Part One’s main active ingredient is L-Ascorbic Acid (a natural form of Vitamin C). It looked like pale yellow water, and when I rubbed a little over my skin, it stung a bit. It was as if, I put a bit of lemon juice on some sensitive skin. Just little stinging tingles. I left it for a minute. Then proceeded with part two.

Part Two is… haha I have no idea. It’s main active ingredient is Hyaluronate Acid, a natural moisturiser. It looked like clear oil. And when I spread it over my skin, it feels a tiny bit oily.

5 minutes later, I was quite sure that my whole skin and face felt a little plumper, firmer and perkier. The pores seemed smaller, there seemed to be less fine lines. It all seemed a bit too good to be true.

I used this whole regime for a week. And I do believe that the skin on my face continued to feel magically plump, firm and perky. Now is that the magic words everyone wants to hear, or what?

Of course the sceptic in me was very cynical. Maybe I was just imagining it.

And so I started to experiment with it, like a mad scientist, but in a very non-scientific way.

I kept using the cleanser, toner and moisturiser. But I stopped using this Amino Collagen C Serum, and in 2 days, my skin went back to normal. That is, it was not magically firm and perky.

Then I used the Serum on one half of my face for a few days. I noticed a difference.

Then I stopped using the cleaner, toner and moisturiser, and only used the Serum for a few days.

Then I tried it on my husband, who said I was mad, because he couldn’t feel any difference.

And I also tried it on my tummy, on the back of my hands, and I tried using more on my nose, where the pores were bigger.

My conclusion is that … whatever chemical cocktail they put in this serum, it does seem to do something VERY GOOD to my skin. Using this serum on my face seemed to give it a fresh healthy glow, and my skin did feel firmer and plumper.

Was I surprised? Very.

Was I happy with it? YES!

But I realise that the downside is that I would have to keep using it every day. Should I be using this kind of chemicals on my face, everyday for the rest of my life? It’s not a cure to aging skin. It’s a cosmetic.

So would I buy and use it again?

Yes! But I wouldn’t waste it on my husband’s face or my stretch-marked tummy. It’s a bit expensive, so I’d only use it for special occasions.

My summary!

Overall, I quite like the stuff from Cellnique. I think I’d like to experiment with other products in their range. Including their “most raved about products” featured on their site, which look and sound quite cool.

I also like the fact that Cellnique are active on Facebook, they have a large following (over 23,000), and they are pretty good to their members – offering promotions, freebies and competitions etc.

I guess it shows that they don’t hide behind a wall of “elite corporate branding”, they are not afraid of hearing what their users actually think about their products, and that they are pretty confident about their products.

So, I hope you find my review to be honest and well balanced.

If you’re a bit like me, and like to try out different skin care brands, Cellnique is definitely an option and worth having a look at.


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Happy Rabbit Day

3 February 2011

I wish you all the best for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rabbit, or as my kids have apparently been calling it – Happy Rabbit Day!

A Sunday stroll in Tonder

I say apparently, because right now, I am in Denmark, having a fantastic time meeting lots of interesting fashion people, and feeling very short, Asian and black haired amoung all these very tall, blond people (who are really friendly and happy). So I have been hearing about my family only from a brief phone conversation each morning.

In the picture above (taken on Sunday on a friend’s iPhone) I was in Tonder, a small town in the rural part of Denmark, as part of a rigorous organised tour of Danish design and culture. Now, I am in Copenhagen at the Fashion Festival. And I’m LOVING it.

But….

I have missed out on my family New Year reunion dinner on Wednesday night. I’ve never, ever not been at it. And I really missed the thirty of us all crammed into my Grandmother’s tiny house.

And Wednesday was also the first day of school for two of my sons. I wanted to be there to see their excitement and angst about new classmates, new classrooms, and new teachers. But I was here in beautiful, amazing Denmark.

And when I rang home last night, my husband was cooking a favorite recipe for the boys. I could smell it over the phone.

I don’t think I am actually homesick…I have been far too busy for that…I think I just feel like I am missing out on really important stuff in my family.

Why can’t I be HERE, and be THERE at the same time?!

Why do I have to choose?!

ARRGH!


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Kind of Wonderful – Online Boutique

1 February 2011

Kind of Wonderful - Dress

I’d like to introduce everyone to a new boutique I’ve tested out!

Kind of Wonderful is an online store based in Singapore, with international delivery.

Best thing about it: A pretty collection at very affordable prices. The styles are superb – I saw lots of pieces that caught my eye. The quality is ok (great for how much you pay), the website is excellent, and the customer service is lovely.

Above I’m wearing a magenta Herve Leger inspired bandage style dress, which I have re-styled to wear as a top too. Love the colour.

Kind of Wonderful - Dresses

Their collection of dresses is just lovely! If you like the simple, elegant, classic and pretty styles, then I you’ll definitely find something you like – all under SGD$30.

Kind of Wonderful - Twist skirt

Here I’m wearing a very good looking Grey Wonder Twist skirt. I styled it up with my own animal print top, belt and white blazer for a smart look. Me thinks every girl should have a grey jersey skirt in her wardrobe – it goes with any colour.

Kind of Wonderful - Leather Panel Leggings

And… this might not be for everyone, but it has definitely fit right into my wardrobe – Leather Panel Leggings. How cool do they look?!? *Drool*

I have looked far and wide for a pair of panel leggings, these look fantastic and they were *such* a great price!

Most dresses, tops, skirts, pants and jackets seem to be under SGD$30, so I hope you find something you like at Kind of Wonderful!

Happy Shopping!

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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