Archive for May 2016

 

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Best Buy: Gorjana Hoop Earrings

30 May 2016

Gorjana Hoops

A few months ago, I picked up these Gorjana Viceroy Earrings from Shopbop.

I was actually just trying to bump up my order to US$100, so I could qualify for free shipping (ha!).

So it was more of an impulse purchase, which was ok, because they were only US$30.

Turns out, I love wearing them EVERYWHERE!

They are not TOO big and TOO hoopy-gypsy-looking.

I love wearing them with a casual t-shirt, a fluffy jumper, or with a simple black dress.

Gorjana Hoops

They are 18k gold plated, made in New York, so hopefully they will last a lot longer than my usual el-cheapo jewellery purchases.

One thing though, these earrings don’t come with rubber stoppers, so used stoppers from another pair of earrings, just to make sure they don’t slip off my ears.

Gorjana do a lot of minimal, modern, delicate jewellery, which are good quality and at an affordable price. I have my eye on some slightly larger (or hoopier) earrings now!

Enjoy!

(Btw, my skin is not that nice all the time. I’m wearing SO MUCH makeup it’s unbelievable!)


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A Squeaky Clean with the Clensure Rotating Facial Cleanser

27 May 2016

Over the last few weeks I’ve been testing out a facial cleansing brush.

Yes I know! I don’t even own an electric toothbrush! How could I possibly enjoy using an electronic face brush thing?!

The kind folks at Aniqa (online Korean Beauty Store based in Australia) sent me one to try out.

I’ve always been a bit scared of these cleaning brushes. They remind me of paint stripers. Wall plaster sanders. Wood flooring polishers. Electrical power tools. And therefore I associate them with words like “strip, harsh, strong, scrape, grind, raw” which are not good words when it comes to skin care.

But hey, these brushes have been in the market for years, lots of big brands are getting on board and releasing their own brushes… so they must work for some people.

I’m always up for a challenge, but most of all, I’m curious and I wanted to know… what was the big deal about these brushes?

Clensure Professional Facial Cleanser RC

This is what I tested, the Clensure Rotating Facial Cleanser RC. The unit comes with two cleaning heads, a soft brush and a soft sponge. You can also get a massage attachment which aids in circulation and absorption of products such as serums and essences.

The first thing I did was find out how it compared with the other facial brushes on the market.

The Clensure brush is made in Korea. Some of the others are made in China, Germany and USA.

The Clensure brush is more affordable at AUD $84, than other big name brands, which range from AUD $150 – $285.

The Clensure unit rotates a soft brush (or soft sponge attachment), while other brushes vibrate, pulse or have a special “sonic frequency movement” which involves different oscillations of outer and inner brushes.

The Clensure brush uses AA Batteries. So this makes it much easier to travel with. No need to take power cords and special plug adaptors.

The Clensure people claim (printed in the instructions) that the brush has a waterproof design, so you can use it in the shower. However I haven’t tested this claim! Some other brands/face brushes are waterproof too.

Clensure Professional Facial Cleanser RC

My thoughts on the brush.

The brush was surprisingly soft. I was shocked. It was almost too soft.

I expected it to be scrubbier and bristlier, like a floor cleaning brush for a car garage?? (Only joking) But this Clensure brush felt like it was made up of cashmere teddy bears or something.

When the brush spins over my face, it feels ticklish and I don’t actually think that it’s doing a good job. But once I wash away my foaming cleanser, the result is pretty good.

The brush is soft enough that I am happy to use it every day, or every second day.

My thoughts on the sponge and massage attachment.

I like the sponge attachment!

Honestly I can’t feel the difference in the results after using the sponge or brush – they both leave my skin feeling clean, smooth and soft.

The massage attachment feels a bit weird, but leaves me with a nice feeling after. Like my face had a nice gentle massage. I use it after I apply my essence (or after I remove a face sheet mask) and run the massage attachment all over my face for 60 seconds.

I’ve found that if I run the attachment under hot water first, the massage balls are nice and warming for my face – which is super nice!

Clensure Professional Facial Cleanser RC

My thoughts on the clean.

It is a gentle clean, but it’s a good, deep clean.

My skin feels squeaky clean, smoother and tighter afterwards.

My face gets a bit oily in my T-zones, so I try to focus on those areas.

It does a good job cleaning in the crease of my nose, where I get lots of build up of oil, suncream and makeup from the day.

It’s a pretty quick process too. I use a makeup remover first. Then I only use the brush for about 60 seconds.

I works really well for me.

My thoughts on long term usage

I usually do an exfoliation scrub once a week… and I rub quite hard. I also buff quite hard with a towel too. That’s how I usually get my squeaky clean feel – the manual way.  This cleansing brush action is much more gentle than how I scrub my face.

So, using this brush replaces the need for me to have a weekly exfoliation scrub.

My face seems to respond nicely to the brushing. I have no breakouts, no dryness, no pain or sensitivity. I am super happy to use this long term.

But I have a feeling that I’ll get a bit lazy and skip the daily usage and end up using the brush once or twice a week – which I think will work fine for me too.

 

Conclusion

I really like using my cleaning brush. It’s an easy way to keep my face smooth and radiant, on a daily basis. And I’m really happy that I have one!

However, it’s not really a must-have item. It’s like an electric vs regular toothbrush, if you are happy to do it manually, then stick with what you like.

Buuuuut I would definitely TREAT myself with one, for my Birthday, for Christmas, or if there was a special promotion.

And I would definitely put it on my wishlist of presents I’d like from my kids/husband for my next Birthday or Christmas!

A lot of online reviewers are fanatical about their cleaning brushes… and I might now be one of them :)

 

Special Promotion

The team at Aniqa have a special promotion for all my readers!

Purchase a Clensure RC Rotating Facial Cleanser and…

Receive a free Mizon Rice Real Cleansing Foam 150ml (suitable for all skin types) a perfect cleanser for using with the cleaning brush!

Just enter the promo code “karensblog” at the shopping cart. There will be no added item on your order, but the team will see the code and add the cleanser to your order box. Promotion ends 1 July 2016.

Hope you enjoyed my review, I’m really pleased that I managed to stick to a skin care routine for 3 weeks!

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

xxx


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Nab a Bargain at Revolve

24 May 2016

Equipment Shirt Flatlay

Everyone loves a good sale.

I can let my inner cheapskate run wild!

I try not to pay full price on my designer and high street items these days. I usually try to wait for the sale.

It all takes a bit of planning though. I always do a bit of online stalking. I always fill up my Wishlist/Favourites bag. Then when a sale arrives, I have to be quick to grab the ones I want!

So an email landed in my inbox announcing…

Revolve are having a 20% Off Everything Sale for Australian customers for 3 days!

(There are a few brand exceptions though.)

 

Best brands for the good stuff, and my favourite brands on sale:

Equipment – An excellent time to grab a classic silk shirt! I bought the striped shirt (pictured) at the last sale.

IRO – French brand. Best for casual, luxe wear. I bought a t-shirt!

Lover – Australian label. Beauuuuuutiful lace dresses.

Lover + Friends – LA brand. Super pretty dresses and tops. Simple and flattering designs. Affordable.

Tularosa – LA brand. Very pretty dresses and playsuits with a Californian desert festival feel. Ugh, I want so many dresses.

Rebecca Minkoff – Fabulous, on trend bags. Great leather. Will last you a long time. I have 2 RB bags.

Viktoria + Woods – Australian label. Lovely minimal styles, and really good looking knits.

Hope you find something you love!

xxx

(Pictured is the Equipment silk shirt I bought during the last Revolve sale, One Teaspoon shorts, my old Converse sneakers)


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Fitness: How I Keep Motivated and Active

23 May 2016

Running

This past week, my fitness mojo has been struggling. It’s a real, begrudging, constantly-hitting-snooze kind of struggle.

The weather is now cold, wet and rainy… and the LAST thing I want to do is take off my 3 layers of warm, snuggly clothing, put on my running shorts and go outside – oh god!

But it turned out that my various pseudo-motivation techniques won out and I did manage to get a few workouts done haha.

I’m not a fitness guru, or model, or celebrity, or anyone who has to work out and look good as part of their job.

I’m just a regular, suburban mother of 3 kids… I genuinely love the feeling I get when I exercise, I love when I feel fit and strong, I love being out and about, I love pushing myself, I love the dialogue in my head when I exercise, I love the post-exercise feeling and I love my body being the shape it is.

So here are some ways I keep myself motivated and active!

 

1) Have fitness buddies.

I don’t actually exercise with them! I just have a few fitness-keen friends, who I chat to over Whatsapp or Messenger… we shoot each other messages now and then, saying “Been to yoga recently?” or “Did you run on the weekend?” or “My bum hurts from my workout!!”

Fortunately for me, I have 2 very keen fitness crazy sons (aged 13 and 11) and they like to keep fit for their sports. So they are always nagging me to go for a run, do a round of workouts, do some weights. It’s awesome.

 

2) Mix it up.

Yes I get hell bored when I do the same thing over and over.

I always try to mix my fitness up: Yoga. Running. Sprinting. Boxing. Weights. Pilates. Workout routines. High intensity interval training workouts from Youtube.

 

3) Be flexible.

If I make too many goals or plans, I often break them and feel really annoyed at myself.

So I don’t have a structured routine. I tend to be very flexible with what I do each week.

 

4) Try something completely new.

I’m about to start Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, (not so much because I want rock hard abs like the girls on Instagram) I just want some new routines and a more structured workout.

Rock hard abs maaaaay be a nice side effect, but I doubt it, because I eat too much chocolate and instant noodles.

 

5) Try a drop in class 

To find new activities and to add a bit of fun and adventure in my life… I’ve been popping into places which offer a free trail.

I tried Hot Yoga class (38C) the other day aaaaand…. it’s not for me. I didn’t really like the sweating and the intense heat. I felt that I could get an equally effective workout doing a regular yoga class or a HIIT workout.

I’m keen to try a barre class, a proper boxing class and do a bit more rock climbing?

 

6) Buy in bulk.

Buy a pack of 10 class passes to save money.

I’m not a fan of gyms anymore, as they don’t suit my fitness interest, lifestyle and the fact that I get bored easily.

But I appreciate they suit of lot of other people. And I know that “Not Wasting Money” is a good motivator!

Hence if I buy a pack of 10 passes, you can be sure that I’ll be going to all 10 classes dammit.

 

7) Exercise at night

My kids go to bed around 8-8:30pm. My husband and I will usually head over to the lounge room to relax, chat about our day, turn on the TV or hop on our computers.

I will usually set up my yoga mat and start doing some gentle stretches (because it feels really good at the end of the day)… soon my body warms up and I’ll start to do harder stuff (like crunches), then I’ll get annoyed that I’m doing a workout in my jeans, so I’ll change into my fitness gear and start doing a full workout.

I usually do this every evening. And I feel absolutely fantastic after!

 

8) Get nice activewear.

Yep I’m pretty vain. I like the nice stuff. I like the quality. I looooove the feeling of amazing tights against my skin. No more Target or Kmart stuff for me.

I get the good stuff so I can make an excuse to wear them every day!

 

Yep, I think that’s about all the motivational stuff that actually keeps me going.

Hope you find it useful!

Have an amazing week!

xxx


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Back to Khaki

20 May 2016

Khaki Shirt

Hi everyone!

It’s been ages since I’ve taken an outfit photo in my home studio — which had been turned into a temporary store room!

Anyway, I managed to move a few boxes out of the way and snapped a few shots before heading out to dinner.

Daun & Co

While shopping in Seminyak, Bali, I stumbled across a nice boutique called Daun & Co. It was full of casual, relaxed, but polished style clothes, made and designed in Bali. The draping and cuts were all so lovely.

The colours of all the clothes were plain and muted, including ivory, oatmeal, dove grey, blush, rust, faded navy. I fell in love with this khaki colour.

My mum and I tried on lots of tops and dresses, most were one size (I think), and I settled on this top.

I love the 3/4 length sleeve, the V neck and there’s a drawstring with a cute tassel (not pictured). It looks great with denim shorts and skinny jeans. And I kind of want the top in every colour now :)

Similar khaki tops from my first choice (Forever New), then a few similar ones here (ASOS).

Khaki Shirt

Thrifted Shoes

I’ll let you on a little secret… I buy lots of my current season shoes from eBay.

I’m a huge fan of Tony Bianco shoes; I love their styles, I love the quality and comfort of their leather, and I love that their shoe sizes are so consistent. The problem is that I want so many styles (ha!).

I know I am a Size AUS 5.5 (which is a pretty rare size) and I know that any Tony Bianco 5.5 will fit me perfectly. So I can confidently stalk eBay and bid on shoes with ease.

These LYLA shoes are current season, retailing for AUD $199, but I got them in near new condition, for $50! I have bought about 4 shoes this way only, never paying more than $50. It’s awesome!

 

Digging Into My Archives

Like everyone, I tend to rotate through a small capsule of newish items and I tend to forget about my older clothes.

So to make the most of my WHOLE wardrobe, I’m digging deep into my clothing archives and wearing some of my old favourites.

This black, jersey skirt is a simple winner from ASOS. Similar black, jersey midi skirts here.

Have an amazing weekend!

xxx


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From Affordable Knits to Luxe Knits

18 May 2016

Knit and Boots

After weeks of research, I recently picked up a new knit jumper by Splendid (on sale at Revolve).

I’ve become rather fussy with my knits lately;

I often tend to buy more affordable knits from high street brands (under $70), just so I can get the right colour and cut. I am always painfully careful to take care of them, washing them gently, folding them and packing them away carefully at the end of winter. I want them to last a long time, even though the time I wear them only adds up to 5 months of rotated use.

However by the end of the second season, my knits look pretty daggy. Do you find that too? The fabric is often pilled, the hem folds upwards or the collar warps. I often have pilling on my boob area (which looks hell weird) and at the sides where my arms brush past.

It doesn’t surprise me – that’s just the wear and tear of clothes – but seriously, some are so bad that I have to get rid of them. I have so many B-team knits!

I thought I hit the jackpot last year, with my $40 Uniqlo cotton/cashmere jumper, but alas, the collar looks a bit stretched already and I have a light stain on tummy area. My bamboo/cashmere (from BambooBody, my review here) knits still look amazing though. I totally recommend those.

Anyway, this is my first luxe jumper at AUD$280 (eeek!), but I got it for $150 on sale.

It is SO beautiful!

It is 40% cotton, 35% wool, 25% nylon – a cotton/wool blend, which I prefer, because I do find 100% wool to be a bit itchy on my skin.

I love the weight, the softness, the feel of the yarn, the cut… and the arm length is just perfect for me. I just adore clothes from Splendid. I think the quality of most their items (I have about 4 tops!) is amazing.

Here’s hoping it won’t become a B-team knit soon!


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Colour From The Gloom

16 May 2016

Flowers in The Garden

My heart has been a bit wobbly this last week.

There’s been news of illness, tragedy and sadness within my circle of friends and loved ones.

Then we too have a few heath issues to deal with (one of my boys) and while it’s nothing catastrophic, it’s a stress and heartache. It’s a grey gloom that follows me around. A tightness in my chest. A stab of panic that shoots into my lungs when I least expect it.

Colour. Nature. Flowers. Leaves. Trees. The blue sky. They lift my gloom.

Looking. Soaking. Breathing it all in, reminds me that life is still pretty amazing.


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Loving That Moment

13 May 2016

Swimming at Suarga, Uluwatu, Bali

I was doing a quick backup of my most recent travel photos from Bali and I came across this photo.

I was with my mum, staying at a fancy, eco-sustainable clifftop resort — and due to a broken air-conditioner, we were upgraded to a luxurious private villa with its own infinity pool.

I was pinching myself. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a place this luxurious. I was sooo excited by the bathroom sink! The hand woven rugs! The floor boards!

I definitely was not accustomed to it all.

My mum and I woke up at 7am. We had a jam-packed day, but we still were keen to make the most of our day.

We decided to have a spontaneous dip in the pool.

I was so relaxed and happy in the water, and I think my mum perfectly captured my goofy smile.

I was truly loving the moment.

No rush. No angst. No stress. No wandering mind, stirring up internal conflicts.

No reevaluation of my life choices up to this point.

No delusions about how my life could be like this forever.

Just me in the water!


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My Kid’s Favourite Banana Smoothie

11 May 2016

Banana Smoothie

I don’t really like banana smoothies, but I often make them because my kids love them.

It’s also good way to use up bananas, either fresh or frozen. Plus it’s a great way for the kids to get some extra calcium and protein in their diets.

Truth is, I’m writing the recipe here because my kids can now make smoothies for themselves.

So this way I can just tell them to look up the recipe on my blog and I don’t have to shout out the recipe from another room, haha!

I’ve found that the simplest recipe is always the best.

Simple Banana Smoothie (Makes about 2 cups)

1 large banana
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (or vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling naughty)

Enjoy!


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Stripes, Stripes, Baby

10 May 2016

Equipment Stripes

Cold mornings, puddles on the road, hot matcha lattes… the change of season is definitely here, and all I really want to do is curl up under a fluffy blanket and read a book!

I’ve decided to invest in a few shirts this Autumn – so that I’m not always wearing my chambray / denim ones.

I picked up this Equipment Stripe Shirt (which was on sale!) from Revolve Clothing.

Oh my, what a gorgeous shirt. The silk is lovely, the cut is just beautiful (I’m wearing XS), and the black and marshmallow stripe pattern is a timeless classic.

I also love the way this shirt will easily see me from day to night.

Equipment Stripes

This is me, cracking up, as my sister snaps a photo of me, while pointing out that I forgot to steam the front of my shirt. Gotta love sisters.

Equipment Stripes

Equipment shirt | Frame Jeans | Acne Studio Boots | Rebecca Minkoff Backpack | The Horse Watch | Totally Jewel Necklace

It’s an excellent time to buy winter gear at the moment, because most northern hemisphere stores are trying to clear out their winter stock as they head into summer.

Do pop over to check out the Revolve Sale here!

Happy shopping!


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An After-Holiday Fitness Update

9 May 2016

15k Run
Hi everyone!

It was Mother’s Day yesterday… and my husband and kids asked me what I wanted as my Mother’s Day Treat.

I said, “I’d like 2 free hours so I can have a run!”

So after a morning of pancakes and presents, my wonderful husband took all three kids to the city for the day, just so I could have my run. Yay!

I ran around the Swan River, around the 3 Perth Bridges (The Narrows Bridge, the Causeway and the Graham Farmer Freeway).

I think I ran 12km (at a 6:30min/k pace) and walked 3kms, totalling a distance of 15km. I was pretty happy with that. I felt great after. A bit sore and tired though.

I haven’t had a big run in aaaages. The last time I ran 12kms was two months ago. Since then I’ve been doing short 2 – 6 km runs here and there. Then I picked up swimming. Then work got busy. Then I went on holiday.

I’ve slowly started to fill my week:
Sunday – Long Run
Monday – Rest, evening yoga at home
Tuesday – High intensity training workout
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – EMS session (I did a review here)
Friday – Yoga
Saturday – Light stretching in the evening

It’s been so nice to get back into the fitness groove again!


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Mums Are The Best!

8 May 2016

Uluwatu Alison and Karen

I’m not a huge fan of Mother’s Day… but I just wanted to share this pretty photo of my mum and I, while we were in Bali!

We hung out together for a few days, lazed by the pool, had long conversations, did some exploring, swam at the beach, ate lots of yummy food, and basically had a blast together! Best quality time with my mummy ever!

I’m wearing a Lover Poppy Dress (still on discounted sale at Revolve) and my mum is wearing a top and skirt from Myer.

 


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3CE Korean Makeup from Sephora

5 May 2016

Sephora Australia - 3CE Korean Makeup

3 Concept Eyes (otherwise known as 3CE) is a range of beauty products by super-popular, K-Pop fashion brand, Stylenanda.

The brand celebrates everything that’s hot in the Korean makeup scene at the moment – dewy skin, pinky lips, flushed cheeks, puppy style eyeliner, and straight brows.

Lots and lots of beauty fans have raved about this brand and I have been itching to try it out for a while now.

Sephora Australia stocks 3CE on their online store and kindly sent over a few samples for me to try!

Sephora Australia - 3CE Korean Makeup

3CE Creamy Cheek Stick (Marry You) is a fantastic little stick blush! I just dab it onto my cheeks and use my fingers tips to blend it in to create a pretty flush. The colour is vivid and lasting, I really like it!

Best thing about it: I can pop it into my hand bag and travel with it and it won’t CRACK and make an almighty mess like powder blush.

3CE Duo Color Face Blush (Make Me Blush) – I found this blush to be quite nice. It was vibrant on my skin, which is a good thing right? So I only used a little, tiny dusting of it to give me a deep pinky glow. It lasted fine too. To be honest it wasn’t amazing – it was just a good, simple, little duo blush.

3CE Super Slim Pen Eyeliner (Brown) – Ok I really liked this product. I never used a brown pen eyeliner before so it was very different and I liked the subtle eyeliner effect it gave me, as opposed to the harsh and striking black eyeliner look. The tip is fine and very flexible (more than I was used to) and I really liked how QUICK and EASY it was to apply my eyeliner in the morning. I’m sold!

Sephora Australia - 3CE Korean Makeup

3CE Back To Baby BB Cream (Only one shade) – I was very suspicious about the one shade thing. Seriously, how can I wear the same colour as the Korean girls with porcelain white skin? I’m soooo many shades darker than the typical Korean beauty, especially since I’m outdoors so often (in Australia!) and I use tanning cream on my face (ha!).

I tried it anyway. It came out of the bottle looking very pale, but it melted and blended into my skin soooo beautifully. I might say right now that it is one of the best BB Creams I’ve tried in a while.

It gave me a nice dewy finished, as promised. It smelt really lovely. It has SPF35+. It didn’t cover up all my blemishes, but I probably needed some industrial concealer for those babies. Only kidding. It was very easy to build up over the top with my regular foundation. 5/5, you must try it!

3CE Glossing Waterful Foundation (Natural Ivory) – A very strange name for foundation! Lots of beauty fans have raved about this product. It seems really popular and everyone seems to love it. Unfortunately I was sent a colour that was waaay out of my skin range. I tried it on and yes it did make my face dewy, but it also looked a bit TOO dewy, almost greasey. It was sheer and had a very low coverage, so I had to use more of it, and then it just looked weird. I couldn’t make it work for me.

Have you tried it before? Do you like it?

Anyway, do check out the rest of the 3CE Producst at Sephora.

The prices are very reasonable and match the prices of global drugstore brands.

If you’ve been keen to try Korean makeup but don’t want to spend a fortune on shipping from Korea, buying from Sephora is a brilliant idea!

Enjoy!


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Acne Studio Jensen Booties

2 May 2016

Acne Jensen Ankle Boots

Hi everyone!

I recently picked up these Acne Studio Booties (partly using a gift card c/o Shopbop) and I have been happily wearing them out and about, now that the cool weather has set in.

They have a gorgeously stylish pointed toe, smooth suede outer and a 4cm stacked heel.

The suede is not soft and slouchy. It was surprisingly hard and stiff, but that’s a good thing because the shoe keeps its shape and structure.

Usually I’m a size 35 or 35.5 with Acne shoes, but I decided to buy one size up to 36 for these boots, only because I like to wear thick socks with boots. However these Jensen boots are quite narrow so they do squeeze at my toes a little (they are pointed after all) and I can only wear them with thin socks.

But no real complaints from me! They are still comfortable and an absolute pleasure to wear!

Acne Jensen Ankle Boots

I was actually thinking to buy these Rag & Bone Newbury Booties or Rag & Bone Ashby Booties but both are chunkier and have a higher heel.

These days I’m more interested in upping my everyday casual wear, so I’m happy to go for comfort (lower heels) over looks. I can’t believe I just said that :)

Hope you have a pair of trusty boots to see you through Autumn and Winter!

xxx