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Review: Grana Trench Coat in Camel

30 January 2018

Grana Trench Coat

The people at Grana have been very generous these last few months!

With all the Grana gear I’ve been reviewing, I feel I’m fast becoming an official reviewer haha – only kidding. I’m not getting paid to review these items! They simply suggest an item to me, I say yes or no, I pick the colour and size, they send it to me, I give it a fair go (wearing it around for two weeks or so), and I write what I think about it – the positive and negative.

I do spend some time looking for similar items at Zara, Myer, Target, Country Road and other high street stores… pondering the deep and meaningful questions: How does it compare? Why would someone buy this Grana item?

(Only jokes)

Grana Trench Coat

So! I picked out this Cotton Classic Trench in Camel (AU $259) as part of their latest Coats and Jackets range.

What I really like about it – Classic, double-breasted trench style. Minimal design. No embellishments!

There are no fancy buttons. No shoulder epaulets. No shiny buckles.

It’s really well made and has a high quality feel to it. The stitching, full inner lining, edges, cuffs, collar, the buttons,  the button stitching, button holes… are all fantastic!

The cotton fabric is smooth, soft to touch, strong, has a good weight to it and feels thick enough (to withstand a cold breeze).

It does feel a little stiff and doesn’t drape as luxuriously as I would have liked. Maybe I haven’t worn it long enough for it to soften up?

Sizing – I am a standard AU/ UK 6, so I ordered a Size XXS.

The coat length finishes below my knee.

Sleeves and shoulders are perfect, woohoo! They are not embarrassingly long, or awkwardly short!

It’s a regular fit across the chest. It’s not a slim fit.

I can easily wear a thermal singlet, a white button-down shirt, a thick knit sweater (3 layers underneath) and the coat will NOT feel tight across my chest, back or armpits. It feels perfect actually. I found it great for layering up.

However, when I try to wear as a Spring outfit, with a light top + jeans, or a dress, it feels a tiny bit big and roomy for me in the chest. But as you can see, it looks fine and it’s me being super picky. Would I really have a Winter trench and a Spring trench? Who am I?

I guess you could size down and get a slimmer fit for yourself. Or maybe you have bigger chest than me and ‘fill out’ the coat perfectly? Anyway, I’m already the smallest size, so I won’t be able to have that slimmer fit.

Be sure to check out the garment sizing, it includes body measurements and the product measurements. Very useful.

Grana Trench Coat

Colour – On the website, the coat looks like a pale light camel colour. But in real life it’s more yellowy/sand brown, so a bit more like the Burberry trench.

Quality – This coat is much better quality than what you’d find in H&M, Zara and ASOS.

It’s about the same quality as clothes from Country Road, which, it turns out, has a trench coat also selling for $299.

Basically I think it looks and feels like a really good quality coat for its price point!

Price – I guess you have to weigh up between quality vs quantity with this one. Yes $259 sounds a bit high to pay for a coat you haven’t tried on before. But then there are heaps of designer coats on, say Shopbop, between $300 – $750. So in comparison, $259 is pretty good.

Years ago I reviewed a beige trench coat from the ASOS brand and I *think* it was around $80… it looked great, but the fabric was stiff and it wasn’t very fluid. It was OK for a cheap and cheerful coat… but I gave it away after a while, because I  didn’t love it. I’m not saying everything from ASOS is bad though! I guess I’m saying, you get what you pay for.

I definitely can’t wait for winter, so I can layer up with a white shirt, cashmere jumper, jeans and long boots.

Would I recommend to my friends? Yes! Totally. The classic style is gorgeous. The perfect fit across the shoulders and arm length is worth it (for petite shorties like me!) .

And lastly, Grana have once again given me a discount to share:

Special Discount Code

If you’re a new customer, you can use my code “karenxgrana” to enjoy 10% off your order and free shipping!

No Markup Sale

Oh hey, and Grana still have their “No Markup Sale” with lots of items still for sale. You might pick up a bargain. Do check it out!

Enjoy!

xxx


Review: Grana Silk Pyjama Camisole + Pants

14 December 2017

Grana Silk Pyjamas

Hey hey, it sure is getting festive around here!

The lovely team from Grana sent me some beeeeeautiful silk pyjama pieces to test out in the lead up to Christmas.

Do you wear fancy pyjamas to sleep? I have a few satin slips that I wear during summer, but I’m usually a soft, cotton t-shirt kind of girl.

I have never slept in silk before — that is, until 2 weeks ago!

Woohoo what a treat. It was so luxurious!

Grana Silk Pyjamas

I’m wearing the Silk Pyjama Camisole in Ruby Red in XXS here.

Like all Grana’s silk camisoles, the quality is awesome. The stitching is great, the seams and edges don’t look buckled (in that cheap-silk way), the straps, the joins, the corners… all look amazing.

The silk fabric is lovely, soft and smooth. It feels very strong like satin, but much softer. I don’t feel like the fabric will tear when I move around or sleep.

The top is also double layered, which adds to the quality feel of the garment.

The “jacquard shadow stripe” pattern silk makes it look extra special too.

I probably could wear it as a normal top too. Maybe I could tone it down with a black blazer?

While the XXS is perfect for my petite size, I found that it was a little tight across the chest when sleeping, as I’m used to wearing a much looser top in bed  – I move around and look like a running man when I sleep!

So I would have preferred to size up to a XS for sleeping.

Grana Silk Pyjamas

For the pants, these are the Silk Pyjama Pants in Ruby Red, and again I’m wearing the XXS.

Surprisingly the length of the pants fit me well. They don’t billow and drag on the ground. They just skim the ground.

If I was feeling daring, I probably could wear these pants out. I’m not sure where I would wear them, but I like to think that I could haha.

I really enjoyed sashaying around the house, lounging on the couch with a book, and sliding into bed in my silk pyjamas. They’re just soooo luxurious! I felt like such a movie star haha!

I honestly wouldn’t buy silk pyjamas for myself, but I’m over the moon that I have them now. I would definitely buy them as a gift for someone else, for their birthday or special occasion. Every girl should feel like a luxurious movie star once in her life :)

Again, while the XXS pants were perfect for wearing around the house, I wasn’t used to the firm fit around the waist while I was sleeping. So again, I would size up.

Grana offers a Silk Long Sleeve Shirt (if you don’t like wearing camisoles to sleep), a Silk Nightdress, and matching Silk Eye Masks too. I think a long sleeve silk shirt would feel lovely to sleep in, so I’m a bit bummed that I didn’t pick that one.

All these items come in a lovely Rose Blush colour. See the whole Sleepwear Collection here.

Special Discount Code

If you’re a new customer, you can use my code “karenxgrana” to enjoy 10% off your order and free shipping. It’s valid until the end of December.

No Markup Sale

Grana have also launched their “No Markup Sale” to make room in their warehouse, move along stock and free up space for next season items.

Cashmere jumpers are $55, long cashmere cardigans are $90, silk bombers are $67, silk slip dresses are $48, silk pants are $68, and silk camisoles are $25 — still lots of XXS/XS/S/M sizes, amazing sale, go check it out!

Happy shopping!

xxx


Review: Grana Silk Top, Silk Pants and Silk Bomber

27 September 2017

Grana Silk Review
Hi everyone!

The team at Grana sent me some silk pieces to see what I thought about them.

I chose these particular silk pieces, because they look like great basics for Spring and Summer. And yes, I chose all black items (haha!) so I can mix and match them easily with the rest of my wardrobe. Today I’m reviewing :

1) Silk Round Neck Camisole
2) Silk Flat Front Ankle Pants
3) Silk Bomber

You can read my original review here, where I compared Grana silks with some of my silk tops from Equipment, Isabel Marant, Tibi and a few others.

Basically, a lot of Grana silk pieces are made from “Crepe De Chine Silk”, which feels slightly velvety and textured (kind of similar to my Equipment Signature shirt). Some other Grana silk pieces are “Silk Georgette”, which feels a bit more slippery and satiny… so it depends on which “feel” you like.

In terms of cost, Grana are transparent with their markups and their manufacturing journey from fabric mills to production to shipping directly from their warehouse, fair labour conditions and ethical workplace environments. So even though their prices seem unusually cheap, I do feel pretty good about spending my money there. I’m a bit of a fan.

Grana Silk Review
1) Silk Round Neck Camisole – Firstly, omg this silk tank is only AU $62.

In terms of stitching, drape, seams, feel of the fabric, thickness, weight of fabric… it is really good quality. It’s made from Grana’s crepe de chine silk and it is so much nicer than silk from high street stores like Zara, H&M, Topshop, Sportsgirl.

In the past I have picked out size XS for Grana silk camisoles, as I’m usually a Size AU6.

But for some reason I decided to go with XXS and yep, it was a tiny bit small and tight across the bust/chest for me. You probably can’t see it in the photo, but it pinches me a little under the arms if I move my arms forward in a certain way.

I should have double checked the “Garment Size Chart” — oops! Ahh, it looks fine most of the time, and it’s still pretty comfortable, so I decided not to return it.

The top half of the camisole has a double lining of silk, which adds a nice weight to it.

I can comfortably wear a strapless bra with it, and it doesn’t peek out at the sides.

It’s a lovely basic top to have in my wardrobe.

Not so great things about it:

– It’s not BLACK black. Because of the “velvety” silk, the black colour is more like a faded dark grey.

– This top has a round neck front and racerback style back. However I already have a “Racerback Silk Camisole” by Grana (this one) which has a slightly different front, and a similar racerback style back. So they are quite similar.

I felt that maybe this Round Neck top should also have a “round neck” back to make it a more classic style?? (I just read the product page and this top is actually a “restyle” of the original “Racerback Silk Camisole”. So if you already have the Racerback Silk Cami, maybe you don’t need this one??)

– My wardrobe is quite FULL and all my clothes kind of PRESS together haha. So this silk top tends to crease (just a soft, floppy kind of buckle) that I have to steam out every time I wear it! Other’s might not be so fussy about soft, floppy buckles! It’s a bit annoying, but hey it’s silk. First world problem, sorry.

Nothing else to fault. It’s fantastic for it’s price!

Grana Silk Review

Grana Silk Review

2) Silk Flat Front Ankle Pants – These pants sell for AU$95, which is great value for simple, good quality silk pants.

I like that they are just plain pants, with a tailored look. No frills, no added details. They are slightly high-waisted and have an elastic waist, which is very comfortable, kind of makes me feel like I’m wearing pyjamas.

I’m wearing size XS Short. They are a PERFECT leg length for me (I’m 160cm). They are really comfortable to wear and move around in.

However, when I pull them up, I stretch the waistband fully and they *just* manage to stretch over my bottom. Stretching them to their maximum capacity makes me feel that I might tear or over-stretch them, and I think that maybe I need a bigger size?!

But once the pants are on my waist, tummy, hips and bottom, they are a perfect fit. I don’t feel that I  need a bigger size. I really like them.

Again they are made from Grana’s crepe de chine silk, and they are pretty strong and robust for pants. I like to sit cross legged on my office chair, and I can do that in these pants haha.

I actually have the Silk Ankle Pants (in white) which has a rouched front and it looks more casual. I like the Flat Front ones better, as I like the tailored look more.

Not so great things about it:

– They are not BLACK black. Because of the “velvety” silk, the black colour is more like a faded dark grey.

– Waistband is pretty tight to get over my bottom.

– They need a bit of a steam before I were them.

Overall, these pants get me on price and comfort.

I went to a few designer boutiques last month to do some window shopping. I tried on some silk pants and culottes. Yes their silk were thicker and felt more luxurious, but they were $700-$900 – eeek, way too expensive for me.

Grana Silk Review

3) Silk Bomber – This silk bomber is AU $178 and made from 22mm Silk Georgette Satin shell, 12mm Silk Satin Lining and 100% Cotton Rib for cuffs, collar and hem.

Initially I wasn’t keen on bomber jackets. I have so many blazers and knit cardigans that I really didn’t need another light weight jacket.

But because of the bomber shape and the 100% silk fabric, it has a really nice casual luxe look to it that sits nicely between “smart” and “casual” and I’m totally sold now. I really, really like it!

The silk is amazing for a jacket. It’s very robust, smooth and a bit matte (I don’t really like satin jackets). It feels so much nicer than polyester!

I don’t need to constantly steam the creases out of it every time I want t wear it.

It is BLACK black, which looks great.

Quality, stitching, seams, garment weight, fabric feel, thickness – all fabulous.

I chose the XXS, which fits well, makes me look slim and petite. But when zipped up, it is a bit tight at my waist and it rides up to give me a cropped look.

So I should have gotten a size up (XS) for a more relaxed and roomy fit.

Not so great things about it:

– I’m not crazy about the zipper. It’s a little “rough” to zip up or down. Not that I’ll be zipping it up or down very often. It’s NOT scratchy, sharp or rough to touch. When you look at the zip up close, the stitching, the seams and shape of the metal zips all look absolutely high quality. But if you look at it from far, I think it looks a little too shiny and hints at being a bit cheap. Maybe it’s the way the zip line bends?

– The price might be a bit high for most people (I think?). The fact that you could probably buy a very similar jacket from Zara, Topshop, H&M, Sportsgirl, or Witchery for the same price or less… might turn people away. I guess you would have to be looking for a good quality bomber jacket that was made by a brand, who prides itself as having an ethical manufacturing process, to feel that this jacket was worth its price, maybe?

Anyway, despite that, I still would LOVE to have this bomber in Bright Green. It’s on the wishlist. I might wait for the sale?

In the meantime, my black one looks awesome with skinny jeans, a white tee and some heels!

10% Discount + Free Shipping

If you’re a new customer, you can get a 10% Discount off your order and Free Shipping, just use my code “KARENxGRANA” at the checkout.

Phew. Hope you enjoyed my review!

You can read some more of my Grana reviews here >


Review: Grana Silk Cashmere Boyfriend V-Neck Sweater

7 June 2017

Grana Silk Cashmere

The kind folk at Grana sent me a few pieces from their Mongolian Cashmere range to see what I thought of them.

I already own a few Grana 100% Cashmere sweaters, which are so warm, snuggly, soft and I absolutely loooove them!

Today I’m showing off their Silk Cashmere Boyfriend V-Neck Sweater, made from a blend of Chinese silk and Mongolian cashmere.

The fabric surprised me.

I didn’t like it at first. I found it to be without a clear purpose. It was not appropriate for hot days and too thin for cold days. But after trying it out for a few weeks, I realised that I was wearing it like a knitted sweater… when I should wear it more like a top for layering.

After that, I really, really liked it!

It is not fluffy or wooly at all. In fact, it is more like a very fine, lightweight knit.

It looks similar to a fine Merino knit sweater, but this silk cashmere is NOT itchy at all.

It is the opposite. It is gorgeously smooth and soft, but it still feels strong and luxurious.

Grana Silk Cashmere

In terms of warmth, it’s not a sweater!

As I said, it’s like a light knitted top, for layering.

It’s breathable, soft, light and thin, so yep, it’s great for layering without being bulky.

Grana Silk Cashmere

What I like best is the luxurious look and feel of the knit.

I could definitely wear it to an office or meeting, and still have that smart, polished look.

Or I could wear it with a metallic skirt or some other kind of statement glam skirt.

I know this a bit random, but for some reason it reminds me of something Victoria Beckham would wear – a close fitting knit that is slouchy in all the right places. And I have a slight crush on VB at the moment.

The other best thing I like about this sweater, is that it solves my layering issues.

I always had a problem when layering in cold weather.

I would pile on my nice clothes to go outside. But when I go inside, into the warmth of a restaurant or someone’s house, I take off my nice layers and I am left with a homey, Big W cotton long sleeve top haha. Which yeah, looks a bit daggy.

So this is a really nice in-between knit to have.

Grana Silk Cashmere

 

I’m wearing the Size XS. It’s a perfect fit for me! It’s a boyfriend style, so the sweater is a little boxy and loose fitting in the body. But it drapes beautifully.

The V-neck sits really nicely on my chest. Being small/petite, I often have a problem with v-necks that dip very low on my chest.

The cuffs are a firm fit. They are snug, not too tight. But tighter than I’m used to in a knit or a top.

I don’t hang this sweater on a hanger the normal way. I fold it in half and then I fold it over the bar of the hanger. This makes creases in it, so the fabric does need a quick iron before I wear it, which is a bit annoying. But after that, it doesn’t cease when I sit down or lean back into my chair. So it’s all good.

10% Off Discount Code

You can get 10% off your total order and free shipping, by using the code “KARENxGRANA” at the checkout.

Or you can use this link, create an account and they’ll automatically send you the 10% discount code to use on your order (just letting you know, if you do make an order with the link, I will get some credit added to my account).

Enjoy!

Also wearing: Oak Leather Jacket, Acne Studios Skin 5 Jeans, Boohoo Loafers.


Grana Activewear Review

8 March 2017

Brought to you by Grana

Grana Move Activewear

The kind folk at Grana sent me a box of goodies to review, featuring a subject I’m very interested about – ACTIVEWEAR!!

I have loooots of activewear, all different brands, different prices, different fabrics, and different features. I’m not an ambassador for any particular brand, or anything like that, so I’m not particularly biased or loyal. I just like buying different stuff.

I asked the Grana Team to send a variety of sizes to try, so I could get my sizing right and try out a few different comfort levels.

OK here we go!

First of all, what kind of prices are we talking about?

Grana in general seem to focus on excellent quality fabrics at an affordable price. Considering that their silks are pretty awesome… you can get a nice silk button down shirt for AU$77 – that’s pretty good value! So they seem to be true to their word.

Grana have pitched their activewear at a mid-level price point and claim to have not compromised with the quality of their technical fabrics. Tops/crop tops are AU$36 – $42, leggings are between AU$56 – $65.

How’s the quality? 

Let’s get this out of the way. The leggings are NOT like Lululemon, in terms of their luxury stretch fit, super soft to touch, amazing hugging and butt lifting properties. (However Lululemon leggings start at AU$119 a pop.)

In my opinion, the Grana technical fabric is a pretty good, “middle of the range” quality.

The fabric is soft yet firm. It is not too plasticky or scratchy. (I’d say some of the inner seam stitching is a tiny bit scratchy though). The outside of the fabric is soft to touch, like jersey. But the inside is smooth and slightly slippery/spandexy like regular activewear.

The fabric feels nicer, stronger (and will probably last longer) than gear I’ve bought from BigW, Target, Kmart, Cotton On, Jeanswest, Sportsgirl.

Another nice thing: No logos whatsoever. Nice simple, minimal, clean designs. Love that.

Style: Because of this clean and minimal design, the Grana range has a very subtle, simple and understated style, which I like. Whereas Lorna Jane and some other brands are a bit loud, bold, electric and girl powerish… these Grana styles have quite the opposite vibe.

Grana Move Activewear

Many months ago, I saw a girl in my hot yoga class wearing a light pink (blush) bra top with cool cross-back straps. I wanted to get something similar and I looked the world over but couldn’t find anything like it (which I thought to be strange considering blush colours are all the rage now)… lo and behold, Grana have got that colour and I was SUUUPER excited to try!!

1) Active Crossback Sports Bra – Vintage Rose

I am so in LOVE with this style. It has bra hooks at the back. It gives your chest a nice lift. It has boob padding for a bit of extra shape and lift. I think it suits women with smallish boobs. But who knows, it might look amazing for women with bigger boobs too.

I definitely want this style in a grey or black!

The top stretched diagonally across my body and shoulders due to the cross back straps (which makes it feel slightly differently to a regular bra top). So I wouldn’t want to wear a smaller size or I think it would be uncomfortable and I might pop out during a work out??

Sizing: I am a very standard AUS /UK Size 6. This is a size SMALL. It fit me perfectly. As I said, I wouldn’t want to go smaller. It also comes in size XXS and XS. Which totally confused me, because ALL my other Grana clothes are size XXS or XS. So make sure you read the sizing info carefully before you buy.

Are they worth it? I’d say yes, for the price. But it’s more of a fashion choice. Do you need a hot looking bra top? Probably not haha.

2) Active 3/4 Leggings – Vintage Rose

When I got back from my UK trip I was about 48kgs, I struggled to put on these leggings, and when I did, they were so tight that they showed my panty line at both my hip and bum, they pinched at my leg crease and made my legs look horrible and lumpy. UGH!

Then I lost 2.5kgs and was back to my normal weight and now they fit beautifully! No lumpy legs!

Sizing: These are XS. They feel tight and like true compression tights. Great for working out in. If I wanted a more relaxed fit, I’d definitely buy S instead. I don’t think I’d be very comfortable lounging around in these XS all day.

I honestly didn’t feel any specific, ergonomic contouring or butt lifting. But they feel nice so that’s ok.

I like this style because it fits me in the leg length. No need to turn it up or bunch it up at my ankles.

I might get these in the Port colour too, because I can team it up with my black tops and they’ll look great.

Are they worth it? AU$56 for middle of the range quality 3/4 active tights, I’d say YES.

 

Grana Move Activewear

3) Active Racerfront Crop Top – Port

Oh wow, I really like this top style. It’s my second favourite item of the lot.

They are designed for low impact activities like yoga and pilates. They have no padding. They are SUPER comfy. And they look great!

That Port colour is divine!

Sizing: I’m wearing Size S, which feels perfect on me. It doesn’t feel too loose. Just comfortable. I wouldn’t want to go smaller with this style, again because I’m afraid I would POP OUT during a downward dog.

Are they worth it? Yes! Again, do you really need another cute yoga top? Probably not. But if you go through so many cheap Target activewear tops, this might be a good option to try next. For AU$36 you can’t really go wrong!

I definitely want this top in a black and grey too!

4) Active Full Length Leggings – Port

As i mentioned earlier, when I got back from my UK trip I was about 48kgs; I put these leggings on and they fit really well and were lovely and comfy (although they were too long in the leg).

But after I lost about 2.5kgs, they are a bit loose for me now.

Sizing: This is a Size S and like I said, I think they are too big for me. They are definitely too long in the leg and I will have to get them altered (which will cost about $15). They are actually really comfortable AROUND my legs. It’s like a hugged feeling, rather than a tight compression, and I actually prefer this level of compression on my legs.

But they are too loose on my tummy, hips, bottom and waist… and after a bit of walking around they slide down a bit.

They felt lovely and comfy, and I could definitely wear them all day around the house.

Are they worth it? Hmm. Personally I’d say no, because I’m short and the full length means I have to spend more money to alter it to my size. However, if I was taller and I got the Size XS, they would definitely be great value activewear at AU$65.

NOTE: I managed to tweak the fit by scrunching up the leg and folding over the waist (see below) and I made the leggings fit really well – so I kind of made 2 styles out of the 1 item. That might be a reason to buy a size up?

 

Grana Move Activewear

So these leggings are the SAME as the ones above!

4) Active Full Length Leggings – Port

As I said, I just scrunched up the length of the legs at my knees and folded the tummy part down. Looks and feels much better. It’s a much more relaxed fit for me. I could hang around all day in these leggings.

Are they worth it? Not for me. I’d rather buy the 3/4 leggings in a size XS for compression, and S for relaxed fit.

5) Active Structured Sports Bra – Grey

A very, very simple, standard bra top with racer-back design.

The fabric is nice, soft, yet strong.

It has some inner, mesh lining with a tiny bit of moulded boob padding.

Overall, I really liked this bra top.

The grey colour is nice too. It’s not marle grey. It’s more of a grey with faint dark grey stripe to add a bit of texture.

Sizing: This top is sized XS (while all the other tops I tried were Size S) and they felt a bit too tight for me. I struggled to put it on over my head. I’d feel better in a Size S.

Are they worth it? Yes! If you like a cleanly designed, super simple, comfortable bra top, with no logos or mesh panels or reflective random stuff, and with a tiny bit of lift and padding – this is a good one for AU$42.

Would I buy one? Er, probably not because I have so many sport bra tops. But hey, I might buy when my old ones eventually wear out.

 

Get 10% for New Customers

If you’re a new Grana customer, I have a special code for you to use to receive 10% off and free worldwide shipping! Simply enter the code “karenxgrana” at the checkout! Valid until the end of March 2017.

 

Hope you enjoy my review. Enjoy!

xxx


Grana Cashmere Cardigan and Boyfriend Shirt

21 November 2016

Grana Cashmere + Italian Cotton

Hi everyone!

I’m working with Grana again to show off a few basic (and lovely!) additions to my wardrobe.

I picked out two items.

Longline Cashmere Cardigan in Heather Grey.

I had a long grey cardigan for many years; I bought it from Country Road, it’s 100% wool, I wore it every year (all through Autumn, Winter and Spring), but now it has moth holes in it and I don’t really wear it anymore. I do still wear it out on the weekends or out to buy groceries… but I certainly don’t wear it to meetings or any where I have to look smart or professional.

So I’ve had my eye on replacing it, because as I said, I pulled it out of storage to wear it every year. It was always in high rotation for 9 months of the year. It was definitely a timeless wardrobe piece for me.

Grana Cashmere + Italian Cotton

I don’t have much experience with cashmere. I have a few cotton cashmere blend jumpers, a bamboo cashmere jumper and I have a longhair cashmere cardigan (which is really soft and fluffy).

But what I CAN say about this Grana Cardigan is — OH MY, it’s beeeeautiful!

It’s so refined, luxurious, super soft, not itchy at all, warm, yet lightweight and a bit breathable. It really does say this is a luxurious product.

Grana Cashmere Cardigan

I really like the cuffs too. It’s ribbed and double layered, so there’s a feeling of a superior finish to it – rather than floppy, cuffs that might/warp stretch over time.

The cardigan is not thin or flimsy. And it’s not itchy at all. Wool tends to be a teeny-weeny bit itchy, but it’s bearable. This cashmere is soft and smooth. I’m so happy to wear it against my skin. The knit feels really strong, tight, firm but super soft.

I did a quick search online (um, at Nordstrom and Shopbop) and found some “high end” brands offering something similar. Their price point ranges between $300 – $700. So this Grana one is pretty affordable in comparison.

I’m wearing a size XS, which I chose based on the chest measurement from the info about the garment measurements – very handy. I wish all fashion stores would have individual garment measurements!

The quality is just fantastic and I can’t stop raving about it!

Grana Poplin Cotton Shirt

The other item I chose is the Poplin Boyfriend Shirt, in Blue Stripe.

It’s made from 100% Italian Cotton Poplin – which HONESTLY means nothing to me. I have no idea what that is. It just feels like a man’s business shirt. A really nice, smooth one.

This Poplin Shirt has a lovely roomy, casual and relaxed feel to it. Yet because of the firm cotton, it has a business-like, polished look to it. I really like it! It’s a real classic piece.

I can definitely seeing myself wearing it for years.

(As long I don’t spill coffee on it!)

I measured my chest, compared it to the garment measurements on the site… and chose the closest matching size, which was XXS.

I thought, maybe I could try going two sizes up and go for the BAGGY look… you know, like I just spent the night at my boyfriend’s apartment, and I had nothing to wear so I grab his shirt and wear nothing else underneath — HAHA.

In the end, I just wanted a shirt that DIDN’T make me look fat, so I chose the size with the measurements that fitted me best. Ha!

10% Off Discount Code

Grana has extended the discount code for my readers until the end of December!

You can get 10% off your total order and FREE Shipping, by using the code “KARENxGRANA” at the checkout. Valid until 31 December 2016.

Enjoy!


Grana Silk Tank and Silk Pants – My Review

11 October 2016

Hi everyone!

Omg I sound like a broken record, going on and on about my Grana silk pieces.

I’m not being paid for this, really! Haha. The truth is, I bought some pieces from Grana (I wrote an honest review here), then they sent me some pieces (for free! for reviewing!) and then I bought a few more pieces myself after that. So I have lots of Grana stuff.

Grana also gave me a 10% off Discount Code, which ends on the 1st November. So I wanted to review and share my thoughts on the pieces I have, BEFORE the 1 Nov – so you guys can take advantage of the discount.

Grana Silk Blush Tank and White Crop Pants

(It was a windy afternoon, hence my wind swept look…)

I’m reviewing two lovely silk pieces today – the Silk Tank and Silk Ankle Pants.

I bought the silk tank myself. And I chose the silk pants for review, which was gifted from Grana.

Grana Silk Blush Tank and White Crop Pants

The Silk Tank is made from Grana’s 100% Crepe de Chine – it’s such a beautiful, soft silk!

I’m wearing the Size XS and it fits perfectly. I usually a size AU/ UK 6.

The neckline is not too low. The armpits are not too gaping. It hugs nicely, in a loose way, across my chest.

The body of the tank, falls straight down to my waist.

No flare, no slim fit. It’s a relaxed, roomy look.

At AUD $42 each, you should do your wardrobe a favour and buy one in Black, White, and Blush :)

Grana Silk Blush Tank and White Crop Pants

I love that you can wear pretty much any bottom with them; a smart pencil skirt for work, casual denim shorts, black skinny jeans, a pleated skirt, pop a blazer on top. It’s very versatile.

And if you buy a silk tank and the matching silk shorts… you can wear them together to look like you’re wearing a silk romper.

At this point, I can’t think of a negative to say about this tank!

I still haven’t tried washing any of my Grana pieces so I’ll let you know if I reach that point.

Grana Silk Blush Tank and White Crop Pants

The Silk Ankle Pants are AUD $99, which is really affordable for luxe pants.

They come in 10 colours – Black, White, Grey, Navy, Blush, Mulberry, Khaki, Light Blue, Forest Green and Rust.

Again, if you buy the matching coloured top, you can tuck the top into the pants and it’ll look like you’re wearing a jumpsuit.

I’m wearing the Size XS pants. They are supposed to sit a little higher on the waist, so make sure you click on the “Size & Fit” tab on the Silk Ankle Pants product page and double check your measurements with the garment measurements.

In terms of length, on the model on the website, they are “cropped” style. But on me – I’m 160cm – they graze my ankle… which is still cool! I like their slim fit silhouette.

They are lined (two layers of silk), which is really nice. It adds a good weight and quality to the pants.

If these pants were in a different colour, I wouldn’t be able to see through them. But since these were WHITE SILK pants, when I wore white underwear, I was able to see them faintly. I swapped to nude underwear and it was all good – couldn’t see my knickers!

If I had to say something negative about these pants, I’d say this: they are loose, floppy pants. So if you scroll back up and look closely at my crotch (yep!) and the seams, you’ll see that the fabric buckles a bit and it doesn’t look crisp or tailored. (Having said that, I should just buy suit pants if I wanted a tailored look.)

Otherwise I’m soooo happy with the pants for summer!

10% Off Discount Code

Get 10% off your total order by using the code “KARENxGRANA” at the checkout. Valid until 1 November 2016.

Thanks for reading, enjoy!!

xxx


Grana Silk Racerback Trapeze Dress – My Review

30 September 2016

Hey everyone! Remember a few weeks ago I reviewed some Grana silk tops, where I didn’t like one top (I returned it), and I fell in looooove with the other?

Well Grana got in touch with me and sent me a few items on my wishlist (wayhey!).

So I guess you can say I’m being sponsored, but I’m not actually getting paid to say a particular thing. I’m still just sharing my own opinion as usual, about the items that I chose, I just didn’t pay for those items myself.

Also, Grana offered all my readers a 10% discount code; you can be an existing customer or a new customer to use the code, scroll down to the end of this post to grab it.

Grana Silk Racerback Dress

As I mentioned in my previous post, I absolutely loved the Silk Racerback Top that I bought.

It is made of a 100% Silk Crepe de Chine – which is beautiful, soft, slightly velvety, delicate, looked luxurious and had a lovely drape to it. It was also extremely affordable for silk too.

This time, I picked out this Silk Racerback Trapeze Dress in a Mulberry colour, in the same kind of silk fabric.

I chose the Size XS, and I’m usually a Size AUS/US 6.

Grana Silk Racerback Dress

My first worry about big, shapeless, flowy dresses is always: does this dress make me look fat???

Haha. Well don’t know about that, but it does fit me very well on top and it hides my waist, tummy, bottom and most of my thighs under that flowy skirt.

Grana Silk Racerback Dress

OK actually my real concern for shapeless dresses is: how does it fit at my chest and under my arms?

Usually when I try on spaghetti strap dresses, the shoulder straps are always soooo long that the dress sits awkwardly low on my chest and I show too much cleavage. Or my bra peeks out at places. Not with this dress!

The fitting is just right for my petite frame.

And because it fit so well on top, I felt really confident to move around in it. I didn’t have to worry or fuss around in the dress – is my skirt riding up? Is it clinging to my butt? Did I eat too much, is my tummy sticking out? And other silly dress worries.

I just felt really relaxed and comfortable in it.

Grana Silk Racerback Dress

Again, the area under my arms fits me just right and you can’t see my strapless bra.

mirrorGrana Silk Racerback Dress_445

The back of the dress is a racerback style – it’s exactly the same style as my Tibi racerback top.

I like the back. It’s a bit different, and it shows off my shoulder blades?

OK, if I had to mention some negatives about this dress:

1) It’s SILK and such a pain in the ass to iron haha!! I have an iron with a “Silk” setting, but it doesn’t work very well. So I have to set my iron to ULTRA HIGH WITH STEAM setting and wave it over my garment bit by bit. It’s a bit dangerous (I could drop the iron on my garment and ruin it), plus it takes ages to get rid of the creases this way.

2) It’s a teeny-tiny bit long for what I like. I like my dresses to be short-ish, so that I show off a bit more leg. But that’s just my personal preference. Hmm, actually looking at the photo, the length is ok. It looks fine and classy.

3) It’s silk! And I have to dry clean it. So I’m a bit precious whenever I wear it.

4) It comes in 6 colours (Black, White, Navy, Grey, Olive and Mulberry) which is a good thing. But I would LOVE to have this dress in a Rose/Blush colour, and it’s not an option, booo.

Grana Silk Racerback Dress

Other positive things to point out about the dress…

The dress is actually double lined (two layers of silk) so the fabric hangs and drapes really nicely.

I decided to live a little and choose a vibrant colour, instead of a neutral colour, and I’m so glad I did!

It’s such a versatile style. You can wear it with heels, flats, sandals and sneakers. I actually wore it to a fashion show as a TOP, asymmetrically tucked into white pants, like this!

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2016 - Grana Silk Dress

This is me, with my lovely fashion friends, Grace and Sandy. Photo taken by the lovely Josh from inlovewithdotdotdot.

So there you have it; I think that’s about all I want to share about the dress.

My Conclusion: I love it and I can’t wait to wear it for summer!!

Here’s the link to it if you want to take a look – Silk Racerback Trapeze Dress

Aaaand, Grana sent me another dress to review, so that’s coming up soon.

10% Off Discount Code

Get 10% off your total order by using the code “KARENxGRANA” at the checkout. Valid until 1 November 2016.

Enjoy!

xxx


Silk Shirt Review: Equipment vs Grana

19 September 2016

Before I had an Equipment silk shirt, I desperately wanted to know what was the quality like, what did it feel like, and most importantly… why did it cost so much?

So I bought a near-new Equipment Signature Blouse (in Natural White, XS) and I completely fell in love with it. After that I bought an Equipment SLIM Signature Blouse (in Nude, XS).

Lately, I’ve been looking for more affordable silk pieces for my wardrobe and I came across Grana.

I bought TWO tops and a few weeks ago, I wrote an honest review on my blog about how I loved one and  disliked the other.

I returned the top I disliked, and with that refund, I bought a long-sleeve button down shirt.

Now I was keen to do a head-to-head comparison of my Equipment Silk Shirt vs Grana Silk Shirt!

This post isn’t sponsored or paid by Grana at all, soooo I guess can be totally honest and say things like wow this is shit! Haha only kidding. However I do have a 10% discount code for all new customers at the end of my post.

Equipment Silk Shirt Vs Grana Silk Shirt

This black top is the Grana Silk Classic Shirt (AUD$71) in Black, Size XS.

Equipment Silk Shirt Vs Grana Silk Shirt

This is the Equipment SLIM Signature Blouse (AUD$348) in Nude, Size XS.

Style comparison.

The Equipment shirt has pockets at the front and exposed buttons, which gives the shirt a casual look.

The Grana shirt has NO chest pockets and it has a flap that covers the buttons, so the front of the shirt looks very minimal and sleek. I’d say it has a more “polished, smart and formal” look, and would work well with office attire, smart outfits, or evening outfits.

I’d honestly say that I wouldn’t wear this Grana style (even in a different colour) with denim shorts, because the shirt just doesn’t look casual enough! But that’s just me. I’m sure other people would enjoy the juxtaposition.

The Grana shirt is slightly shorter.

The cuffs and collar of the two shirts are pretty much exactly the same.

The “slim-ness” of the two shirts are pretty much exactly the same too. I really like this slim size and think it fits me really well. It’s not too loose, not too baggy, not too fitted or tight either  – both are peeeerfect!

Silk comparison.

The Equipment silk is lighter and a tiny bit thinner. The silk feels lovely and soft, yet strong and smooth… and there’s even a slight slippery feel to it. Yet at the same time, there’s a very, very slight velvety texture that sets it apart from silk you buy from high street brands.

The Grana silk is slightly heavier and it has more of a velvety and furry texture to it. The velvety texture gives it a nice softness, which makes it drape very luxuriously. According to the website, it is called Grana’s “100% silk Crepe de Chine” and it used for most of Grana’s silk items.

The velvety texture also gives it a kind of velvety shine, so the black doesn’t look like a pure, dark, black. You know how velvet changes tone when you swipe it up or down? There’s a subtle hint of that effect with this shirt.

The Grana silk feels delicate and luxurious, however the 3 times I wore it, it did tend to build up a slight static and stuck to my body.

The Equipment shirt feels light, soft, luxurious and there’s no hint of static.

Equipment Silk Shirt Vs Grana Silk Shirt

 

Conclusion.

If I had to CHOOSE ONE, I would choose the Equipment shirt.

I’m sure most of my decision is an emotional one, based on my perceived value from its big price tag, my years of stalking after the brand and the cult following around the brand. However, I do like the casual look of the pockets and buttons more and I prefer the less-velvety silk.

However having said that, there’s actually nothing wrong with the Grana silk.

It’s different and it’s BEAUTIFUL!!

This Grana silk shirt is absolutely amazing value for AUD$71. I am super-duper happy with it, it feels gorgeous on my skin, I’m planning to buy a few more simple tank tops in different colours (hello, at $42 each???)

Equipment Silk Shirt Vs Grana Silk Shirt

10% Discount Anyone?

I have a 10% discount code (for new customers only) if you’re keen to buy something from Grana!

Just use this link, create an account and they’ll automatically send you the 10% discount code to use on your order. (If you do make an order with the link, I will get some credit added to my account, so if that upsets you, sorry!)

EDIT:

Since publishing this post, Grana got in contact with me and has given me a promo code to share with you guys! (Still not getting paid though haha!)

The offer is for EXISTING CUSTOMERS to get 10% off by using the code “KARENxGRANA”. Valid until 1 November 2016. (I don’t get any credit for this promo, but that’s fine with me, happy to share!)

Happy shopping or browsing!!

xxx


Grana Silk Camisole Tops – My Review

25 August 2016

Grana Testing

Hi everyone, just letting you know that I’m not being paid to write this… I wish!

I’ve recently become very interested in investing in a range of silk camisole tops for my wardrobe.

I have 3-4 silk shirts from Equipment (two I bought off eBay!), 2 silk tops from Tibi, 1 silk shirt from Isabel Marant, 1 silk dress from Zimmermann, 2 silk tops from Country Road (very old, with ruffles!), 1 silk top from Forever New (very old with a digital print), a few silk dresses from Sass and Bide and Aurelio Costarella. I think that’s about it.

So far, the silk I like from most to least is: Equipment, Isabel Marant, Tibi, Zimmerman, then lastly Country Road and Forever New (their silk feels more like a kind of stiff polyester silk).

(I didn’t rank the designer dresses, because I only wear them occasionally).

Now that I think about it, this scale possibly reflects the price of each garment too. I guess it rings true… you get what you pay for.

Anyway, I was keen to buy a silk racerback top from Grana, for AU$65.

I’ve heard nice things about their silk, plus their silk items are SO AFFORDABLE!!

When I was in Singapore, I was in a cafe, I saw this tall, gorgeous, young Asian woman, wearing a bright orange silk racer-back camisole and it looked AMAZING on her. I knew it was Grana, because her tag was sticking out! I wanted to let her know about the tag, and ask her if I could FEEL the silk of her top, but um, that would have been waaay too creepy!

SO what is the quality of Grana Silk like?? Where does it sit on the scale of all my silk items?

I bought these two tops above and here are my thoughts.

Grana Silk Tops Review

The Grana Silk V-Neck Camisole in Marzipan for AU$71.00 in XS.

The website describes the top as a “structured V-neck with the beautiful relaxed drape of Georgette Satin”.

For me, I didn’t like this Georgette Satin. Even though it was 100% silk, it felt more like a slightly stiff/slippery satin than silk. And it had a satin shine to it, which I didn’t like.

This “satin-look, slip top” may be on-trend at the moment (worn over a white t-shirt), but I felt that the material made the top look a bit cheap.

Having said that, it looks and feels like a high-quality polyester top from Witchery, which would probably cost you around $70-$80 anyway.

I liked the “structured” shape and soft drape of the top, but the XS was slightly too big for me (I’m usually a standard Size AUS/UK 6). It flared out slightly at my arm pits and it didn’t sit nicely on my chest.

I chose the size based on my equivalent AU sizing, but I should have chosen based on the measurements supplied on the site, which indicated that I should have bought a XXS.

I loved the colour though! It was a muted ivory and would work really well with the rest of my wardrobe.

I also loved that it was lined (double layered).

Unfortunately I decided to return this top.

I had to pay $10 for return shipping. I might buy some black shorts instead.

Grana Silk Tops Review

The Grana Silk Racerback Camisole in Rust, for AU$65.00 in XS.

The website describes the silk as “100% silk Crepe de Chine”.

I LOVE the silk for this price. It feels softer and more “buttery” than my Tibi top. It is DEFINITELY a winner, I’m very happy with it and I think it is super-duper good value for a silk top.

However, the silk does feel a little… delicate. It feels so soft, like it might tear or snag it on something sharp, where as my Tibi top feels a little more stronger and robust.

Basically I feel like I have to BE CAREFUL with the Grana top, where I simply don’t even think/notice that I’m wearing my Tibi silk top.

The Size XS fits me perfectly.

The top is lined (double layered).

The colour is OK. I was hoping for it to be a little darker (as shown in my shadowy photo above), but in fact it is more like on the photo on the website: a bright burnt orange.

I decided to keep this top, instead of swapping it for another colour, like navy, because I think I’ll get a lot more use from this colour than the other colours offered on the site (plus I already have a black, white and grey top in a similar style).

I’m trying to wear a bit more colour!

Take home message:

Read the fabric description carefully.

Buy the 100% Silk Crepe de Chine. It’s beautiful!

Look at the supplied measurements on each individual garment.

10% Discount Anyone?

I have a 10% discount code if you’re keen to buy something from Grana!

Just use this link, create an account and they’ll automatically send you the 10% discount code to use on your order. (If you do make an order with the link, I will get some credit added to my account, so if that upsets you, sorry! Just type in www.grana.com and you won’t get the 10% discount sent out to you.)

Happy shopping or browsing!!

xxx


What I Wore: Shirred Tops and Summer Silk

25 January 2018

Shirred Top from Seed

This outfit is from November! I wasn’t going to share it here, because I just snapped it for my Instagram feed. So why am I sharing it now?

You see, I tooootally fell in love with the Seed Heritage Summer Range when it was first released. They had so many great designs in such fun, pretty and wearable styles. (I find Country Road and Witchery are a bit too serious sometimes). What I like the most about Seed is their fabric. I love the fabric quality, textures, weight, colours and patterns.

Anyway, I added so many items to my cart. I whittled my list down to TWO and finally bought them.

They were cool, wearable pieces that went well with my wardrobe and the weather. Not too trendy. Good for going out in summer.

I bought this Shirred Top (sold out) and this Tie Sleeve Blouse (still on sale).

HOWEVER it’s 3 months later and these same tops are 60% off at the “End of Summer Sale” — oh man, I feel so much shopping regret! Don’t you hate that?!

Oooh I’m trying to justify my shopping.

I’m trying to buy better quality clothes… But they weren’t exactly low-quality, fast fashion clothes. They were great quality!

I’m trying to buy classic, timeless pieces… But then I get kind of bored of white t-shirts and blue jeans.

Plus I have worn them lots of times.

And, um they bring me joy, haha!

Also wearing Grana Silk Ankle Pants, Tibi Sling Back Heels, Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag.


What I Wore: Gold Silk Slip Dress + Leather Details

20 January 2018

Grana Gold Dress

This evening I went out to dinner with some friends and enjoyed a 7 course Omasake Menu (chef’s selection) at the extremely difficult-to-book-a-seat, Marumo Japanese Restaurant.

It was such a treat. I loved it!

I wore my new Grana Silk Slip Dress (in gold!) which I bought at their End of Year / No Markup sale (which is still on here) for $48. There were some complaints on Instagram about Grana’s slow delivery during that busy period, but my parcel arrived in 7 days, which was totally fine for me. I don’t think I received special treatment from the PR department, because I purchased and ordered from my personal account?

Anyway, I crossed my fingers and hoped that the gold wasn’t too gold… and omg I love the colour! It’s more of a muted bronze/sandy beige with a soft silk shine, rather than a ‘typical metallic gold shine’. I’ll share more pics soon.

I’m wearing the XXS (I’m usually AUS Size 6) and I also have the slip dress in red.

I took my 3.1 Phillip Lim Alix Clutch Bag out for a spin… and was quite pleased that it managed to fit my compact camera, along with all my other handbagy stuff.

I also kept my look clean and simple, by wearing my Tibi Kitten Heels (this style is sold out, but there are similar ones here, for a third of the price).

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

xxx


What I Wore: Sunshine and Rainbows

19 November 2017

Hello Parry Tee

Personally, I find t-shirt shopping to be incredibly boring. I’d much rather wear a silk top, or a shirt, or a camisole.

But lately, I’ve become a bit obsessed about finding a good tee.

I’ve tossed out a lot of my old ones (with holes and stains) and here I am… on the hunt for “the perfect tee”.

I bought two from Uniqlo. They were OK. I didn’t like the material. They just felt thick and weird. I found them too stretchy and they warped after a few washes. I still wear them though!

I bought one from Grana. It felt really lovely and had a nice shape, but it was too see-through. It’d be fine in a different colour, but not white.

I actually like the kids “Organic Cotton” range from Best and Less (which I’ve bought for my kids), but it seems a bit wrong to pay $4 for a t-shirt?? Something is not quite right with that pricing structure!

In the meantime, I picked up this super cute Sunshine & Rainbow Tee from Hello Parry, with embroidered text (not print). The cotton is lovely, thick, has a nice shape and much better quality than the Uniqlo tee. But the cotton is not as smooth/soft as the Uniqlo one.

Denim skirt by Lovers + Friends (omg I’m obsessed about this skirt! I’m wearing it everywhere!), Acne Studios Jensen Booties, APC Handbag, Celine Sunnies and Jeanswest denim jacket.

Have a great week!
xxx


What I Wore: Stud boots, which need upgrading

4 November 2017

Change in Weather

A couple of years ago, Chloe released these Susanna Stud Boots (link goes to FWRD), which I really liked, but I thought they were a bit too over-the-top to be everyday boots.

So instead of buying them, I got some good quality, leather, “inspired” boots from a Korean brand instead. All the high street stores like Zara and Topshop had versions of them (not in leather).

But just because everyone is copying it, doesn’t make it right. Part of me thinks that “inspired versions” are ok, but “exact replicas” are not? None the less, I feel quite bad for getting them.

Anyway, guilt aside. 4 years later, I still wear these boots ALL. The. Time.

They turn out to be very cool everyday boots. And they instantly up the vibe of any boring and everyday outfit!

So I think I’ll buy some real ones for next winter :)

Change in Weather

I’m wearing my Grana silk camisole, which I had previously said was slightly too small, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing it! It’s such a fab everyday top.

Lovers + Friends Black Denim Skirt, yep a bit expensive, but it doesn’t curl up at the hem!

Acne Studios Raya Cardigan, this cardigan was so itchy when I first got it. Thankfully it has softened up and it is just lovely to wear on cold mornings. It’s an XS, which on hindsight is a bit big for me. I should have got the XXS.

A.P.C. Half Moon Bag is definitely one of my favourite and most used bags. Small, cute, sturdy and structured, it fits all my essentials.


What I Wore: Grey Blazer and Flares

29 September 2017

Grey Blazer + Flares

Hi everyone, today I’m sharing few new things that have landed in my wardrobe recently.

Op Shopped Grey Blazer

During the last few weeks, I had been on a mission to go op shopping to buy myself a grey blazer.

You see, a long time ago, I bought myself a grey boyfriend blazer that fit me perfectly. But earlier this year, during a wardrobe clean out, I decided I wasn’t getting any wear out of it, and gave it away to the Salvation Army.

So you can imagine how hard I face-palmed myself when I realised that grey blazers were coming back into the street style fashion scene. Sigh.

Anyway, back to op shopping. You may have been following my shopping adventures on my Instagram stories, and you may have noticed how many racks of grey brazers there are in this world. So if you’re thinking of buying one, please head out to your local op shop and look there first!

I went to 4-5 op shops and from what I saw, you could pick up pretty good quality jackets by Country Road, Witchery, David Jones, Sussan, Table Eight, Basque, Cue, Marcs… from $15 – $5. Then you can get it dry cleaned for around $15 – $12. There were so many in size 8, 10, 12,14 and 16. I was looking for a size 6, which are a bit harder to find.

As for this grey blazer that I bought, it is by Cue and it’s in perfect condition. It was a perfect fit for me, perfect colour and pinstripe, and it was selling for a grand total of $1! The lining, fabric, cut and style were just amazing. It would have been $250 brand new.

It’s even better than my original grey blazer! Woo hoo!

Grey Blazer + Flares

Flared pants from Revolve

I find it so hard to buy pants online. But I was very keen on these flares, so I took a bit of a risk and guessed to buy a size XS.

Suffice to say, these are one of the most comfortable pants I’ve ever owned!

They are by Lovers & Friends and the exact style has been sold out. However they have released some new styles, Carmelita Flares (extra ruffly), Slash Pants (I also wanted these), Calista Pants (very sexy!).

I am wearing the XS and I had to take mine to a tailor to get about 15cm taken off – because I’m really short!

As much as I love my luxe fabrics, these poly blends are pretty amazing. They are soft, comfortable, breathable, strong, stretchy, forgiving, so robust and so easy to wear. Plus they don’t crease at all, so I can store them over a hanger, grab them in a hurry, chuck them on and elevate my whole outfit in 5 seconds.

Silk Camisole by Grana – This one is has a nice neckline and I don’t have to iron it every time I wear it!

Dahlia Shoes by Wittner – They also come in Navy + White Stars and Nude + Gold Stars.

SkinnyDip Clutch from ASOS – Love this little clutch to add a bit of fun and colour to my outfit!

Have a great weekend everyone! Hope you have lots planned!

xxx


Elevating Everyday Outfits with Metallic Flats

10 August 2017

Black + Gold

That’s right. The old jumper and jeans combo – ha!

While I won’t win any fashion awards for this one, it’s simple enough for me to race out the door in the morning and get me from A to B to C.

In this case, I was going from a school drop off, to a casual meeting with a client (picking up some products), to the dry cleaners, a catch up with my mum, back home to do some work, then back to the school to pick up my boy!

Black + Gold

So yep, whenever I dress in simple outfits, I always try to throw on a pair of statement flats to elevate my outfit.

This particular day I wore my Grana Boyfriend Cashmere SweaterAcne Studio Jeans, A.P.C Bag, ASOS Hat and Black & Gold Oxfords (old season) from Habbot Studios.

Gold, silver and metallic shoes are having a bit of a fashion moment lately, but honestly, I’ve had these oxfords for 6 years and I still wear them regularly (ie. I have lots of boring outfits to elevate) and hey, I just love wearing them!

I’m now on the look out for some more feminine looking metallic flats… so I’ve compiled a few on my wishlish below!

 

Shopbop Metallic Flats

 

Shopbop Metallic Flats

 

Shopbop Metallic Flats

 

Gold Flats

Repetto Cendrillon Ballet Flats – Can’t go wrong with a classic Parisian ballet flat by Repetto no less (I wish!).

Sigerson Morrison Simona Flats – Such beautiful details. I’d be staring at these babies all day. These will be in style for years.

Sam Edelman Rodney d’Orsay Flats – Slightly cheaper option and just as pretty.

Rose Gold Flats

Yosi Samra Serena Glitter Flats – Love this colour + sparkle! I can see myself wearing jean, tee and blazer with these.

Joie Adiel Glitter Mules – Such a cute style.

Yosi Samra Marry Me Marabou – Again the rose gold is adorable.

Silver Flats

The Fix Esmeralda Mules – OMG these are just WOW.

Alexander Wang Amelia Mules – Love the soft, folded details. Might look a bit dated in a few years though.

Frances Valentine Pauline Slides – Perfect with jeans!

Have a fantastic day!
xxx


What I Wore: Back Into Winter School Runs

5 August 2017

Winter School Run

Oh my gosh people! Camping for 4 weeks in the bush was epic!

I’m trying not to sound like a princess here: So while the adventure part was pretty cool, the reality of camping in winter meant I had to layer up and wear the same clothes every day until they smelled bad.

My camping wardrobe revolved around: 2 pairs of jeans, 2 fleece jumpers, 1 jacket… and lots of thermals.

Coming home, slipping back into my favourite cardigan, my favourite jeans, my favourite sneakers… made me feel so relaxed, at ease and sooooo happy to be back in my comfort zone.

They almost felt like new again!

Winter School Run

So I’m home and I’m straight back into mummy mode, with school runs and grocery shopping.

I’m wearing my Grana Cashmere Long Cardigan, which is all sold out – but Grana are currently having an Up to 70% Off Sale. You can pick up a Cashmere Jumper (I have 3 V-neck boyfriend cut jumpers!) for AU$102, Silk Cashmere Tops for $49, Classic Silk Shirts for $27 (odd colours though), or Silk Camisoles for $32-$35.

If you’re keen, feel free to use my link here to get 10% off your first order. I do get a little referral credit though!

Also wearing: GRLFRND JeansA.P.C Bag, Ben Sherman Shirt, Converse shoes and Sportsgirl Sunglasses.

 


What I Wore: Majorelle Knit + Rag & Bone/Jean Crop Flares

12 June 2017

Majorelle Knit + Rag and Bone Flares

I spent the weekend at a kid’s birthday party (hello little red cocktail sausages), dinner with my family (fish and chips and fried rice because we’re Asian), cooking up a storm of pancakes and hosting a brunch for my husband’s family… basically I was in multiple food comas all weekend and it was good.

Now that it’s the start of the week, I’ve discovered that I’ve been LIVING in my jeans and jumpers.

And on the days I need to elevate my style, I simply wear a NICE pair of jeans and jumper haha!

My Blush Off Shoulder Knit has been on high rotation.

Particularly because it looks and feels sooo lovely.

I’m still considering whether I should get one in a black?

Majorelle Knit + Rag and Bone Flares

Another thing I’ve been loving lately are cropped flare jeans.

These Crop Flare Jeans are an absolutely gorgeous pair by Rag & Bone/JEAN, which I bought on sale from FWRD.

Being cropped, they are a perfect ankle-grazing fit for short people like me.

They are so so soft, stretchy and comfy, that I can literally wear them after I have my morning shower (8am) to when I go to bed (11pm).

I recently bought a pair of regular-length flare jeans on a clearance sale from Grana. They were about $30. I bought them thinking I could rip the ends off and create an awesome ripped / distressed hem look.

But by the time I tore the 15cms off the leg needed to make them “cropped jeans”, they just looked like regular jeans and don’t even look like flares anymore! Major Fail.

So from now on I’ll be sticking to cropped styles and petite sizes if I want any distressed jean hems.

Also wearing: Loeffler Randall Handbag and Airflex heels.

Have a fab week everyone!


What I Wore: Blush Off Shoulder Knit

17 May 2017

Blush Off Shoulder Knit

A big trend for the new season is… the statement top.

Think big sleeves, flared sleeves, big ruffles, voluminous shapes, off shoulders, one shoulder, stripes, florals, tassels, bright colours, sheer panels — it’s all about going over the top.

But winter is coming in Australia, and I’m not really an OVER THE TOP kind of person when it comes to my daily dressing.

So here’s how I keep my everyday look fresh — with a Blush Off Shoulder Knit from Majorelle, courtesy of Revolve.

A few weeks ago, I featured the WHITE version of the knit here, and I loved it so much that I picked out the same top in BLUSH.

Strangely, this is a size XS (the white was also XS) and this runs a little big. So the sleeves were a little long and one side tends to fall off my shoulder.

I have to roll up my sleeves and roll up the length for a more polished look, otherwise it looks a little sloppy and slouchy, which is a different look.

Blush Off Shoulder Knit

Other than that, it is a gorgeous trans-seasonal knit!

The colour is just beautiful and so many people mentioned how nice it was when I wore it out. The fabric is soft and luxurious. It drapes and sits really nicely. The clinginess is nice too, it hugs all my curves and looks very flattering.

It’s very easy to wear. I just wear a strapless bra underneath. I give it a gentle hand wash and dry it flat in the shade. I’ve already washed it 3 times and it hasn’t buckled, loosened or lost its shape.

In terms of looking smart for an everyday wardrobe, this Blush Off Shoulder Knit is a winner!

I’m also wearing: Grana Silk Ankle Pants, Stuart Weitzman Heels, A.P.C Half Moon Bag.


What I Wore: White Silk Pants

12 May 2017

When I was a Stay At Home Mum to my little boys… I used to go to the park every day, sit on the grass, brush past my dusty car, sit on dirty park benches and have my boys wipe their tomato sauce fingers (or drippy noses) on my pants!

Suffice to say, I almost never wore white pants.

So NOW whenever I wear white pants, it feels like a super special occasion!!

Woohoo, look at me, all grown up!

Grana Silk Pants

 

Anyway, I’ve been looking for some nice, cropped white trousers, with a slight cuff. I tried on a few at Witchery and David Jones, but they weren’t quite what I wanted, in terms of fit and fabric.

It occurred to me that I already had a pair of white Silk Ankle Pants from Grana that fit really well.

So I wore them out the other day, rolling up the cuffs to make them look a bit more like cropped trousers. It worked out quite well!

I’m wearing the Size XS “Regular” in Off White. They are more Off White (with a hint of Cream) in real life, not a “bright white” as it looks in this photo.

They fall to just above my ankles, which is a really good fit for me. They are nice and comfy around the waist, and not too tight. Here’s my original post about the silk pants.

They are double lined, 100% silk, not see-through, comfy elasticised waistband, not staticky, lovely to wear… and uh, honestly a bargain at AU$99.

They are also a social conscience brand, believing in being transparent with ethical manufacturing, their low cost business model, their markup costings, and upholding a code of conduct when it comes to their apparel supply chain.

(Omg that sounded like such a hard sell, sorry! I’m not getting paid to say any of this! I genuinely love the brand. They occasionally send me stuff to review. I occasionally get some referral credit too. And I keep buying more stuff because it fits me and I love the quality. Plus I’m slowly heading towards finding brands with an ethical fashion conscience… but more on that another time.)

I just checked on the site, and Grana are now offering XS with a “Short” leg length, which is 5cm shorter in the leg, and would be more like cropped pants for me.

(These silk ankle pants are different to these silk culottes for AU$142, which – I believe – have a more satin like silk.)

Anyway I’m not buying another pair for myself – I really like these pants rolled up in this way!

(If you’re keen, you can use my code to get 10% off your order and free worldwide shipping, just use the code “KARENXGRANA” and head to this page!)

Outfit details:

Hello Parry Off Shoulder Top
Melimelo Rosalia Bag
Habbot Studios oxford shoe (old)


What I Wore: For Weekend Chilling

25 March 2017

Boyfriend Jeans by GRLFRND

Hi everyone!

This weekend, my husband is participating in a Perth to Rottnest Island, a 20km open water swim, well, his friends are swimming, he’s just kayaking!

It all sounds quite exciting. I’d love to do something like that, because it sounds so far out of my abilities and comfort zone haha.

It’s Saturday afternoon, I’m preparing for my 8 year old’s birthday bowling party: baking cakes, preparing party bags, making party food, and meal prepping for the week ahead.

My older boys are helping me with chores around the house: mowing lawns, mopping the floors, washing toilets, vacuuming, folding thet laundry.

I also have to take my boys to their basketball games.

Ok ok it’s not actually “a weekend of chilling”… but after all our jobs, I usually let my boys play computer games, hang out on social media for a few hours, while I jump on my screen or read a book on the couch.

Boyfriend Jeans by GRLFRND

I recently picked up these Karolina High-Rise Skinny Jeans (courtesy of Revolve) and eeek, they are amazing!

GRLFRND is a fresh take on vintage denim styles. The collection has 10 silhouettes, all named after iconic models like Cindy, Helena, Linda, Naomi and more.

Yes they are a bit more expensive than usual, thus I was very keen to see how the jeans compared to some of my other higher-end jeans.

I chose the size 25 (as I’m Size 25 for Paige Denim, Frame Denim, AG Jeans, Acne Studios)

How do they fit? I have to admit, they don’t look the same on me as they do on the model. (The model looks like the jeans were made for her legs.)

Maybe I should have chosen the Petite Karolina High-Rise Skinny Jeans instead?

Anyway, these jeans are slightly loose around my hips, thighs and calves. Ideally I would want to swap it for a size 24.5 (but I don’t think jeans come in “half sizes”!). Yet as I walked around in them, I fell in love with how comfy they were. I loved the baggy feel.

They seriously gave me a slouchy, rock star swagger haha.

Recently, I have been keen to experiment with baggy-styled jeans, mainly because, they look so good on other people! But I’ve tried so many different kinds: Boyfriend jeans, mom jeans, straight leg jeans. They all seem to make me look short and dumpy.

These Karolina Jeans are cut to be skinny jeans, so even though they are half a size too big for me, they still have that tapered and slim look, so I’ve decided they are a keeper.

The no stretch denim is out of this world. The fabric hangs so nicely and it’s insanely comfortable. These jeans are so different to the “stretched and hugged denim feel” that I’m used to.

Button fly, thick fabric, distressed details and faded colour for a vintage feel… they remind me of my old Levi 501s.

So how do they compare? It’s a bit difficult to compare stretch jeans to non-stretch jeans. So I will just say are just as fantastic in cut, feel and quality as my other high-end jeans.

I’m also wearing:

Grana Silk Camisole Top, ASOS Pointed Toe Slides, Sportsgirl Straw Hat, and Meli Melo Rosalia Bag.

Have a fab weekend everyone!

xxx


That Ultimate, Classic White Shirt

20 March 2017

White Poplin Cotton Shirt by Grana

Hi everyone! Ok, I’m not being paid, gifted, or sponsored for this … nor have I been asked to write this blog post.

This is totally off my own initiative, because I love sharing my awesome finds haha.

I bought this shirt myself… and I freaking love it.

It’s just a PLAIN, CLASSIC, WHITE, COTTON SHIRT.

You’d be surprised how hard it is to find a plain one?!

White Poplin Cotton Shirt by Grana

It is the White Poplin Boyfriend Shirt by Grana.

I do apologise for sounding like a crazy, Grana fanatic. But as I said, I bought it myself, and I also have it in a checkered/gingham pattern and a pinstripe pattern too.

The material just like a man’s cotton business shirt. It’s crisp, strong, really smooth, soft and opaque.

I have worn it by itself on a hot day, or layered with a singlet underneath and a knit over the top… and each time it feels soooo lovely to wear.

The XXS size is PERFECT for my Size AU6 frame.

The sleeve length is perfect for me. It sits just a touch beyond my wrist. The body length is perfect too. Not awkwardly long.

It has a relaxed fit. Not too baggy. And it fits nicely across the back and shoulders.

Best bit: Cost for quality.

It’s mind-bogglingly difficult to find a good quality white shirt at a reasonable price these days.

At AUD $79, it is such great value!

It also isn’t the end of the world if I spill something on it.

I’ve seen white shirts in Country Road (all have trendy details and over $100), Cue (styles are too fitted, over $100), Witchery (no plain styles), Myer (one was $550, hit and miss quality), Basque Petites (too fitted), Zara (quality wasn’t great), Shopbop (most over $100), The Iconic (trendy styles – big sleeves, embroidery), Forever New (trendy styles)… where else can one buy a plain white shirt? Er, not sure!

It seems as if all the stores assume you already have a plain, white, cotton shirt, so they all want to sell you ones with trendy details.

But I haven’t had a plain white shirt until recently. Most of my shirts have trendy details haha.

Anyway, even though this post isn’t a sponsored post, I did a sponsored post for Grana a fortnight ago and my discount code is still valid. So if you’re interested to buy, you might like a discount?

Get 10% off for New Customers

If you’re a new Grana customer, I have a special code for you to use to receive 10% off and free worldwide shipping. Simply enter the code “karenxgrana” at the checkout. Valid until the end of March 2017.

xxx


What I Wore: Tate Modern

10 February 2017

London

When the kids are all grown up, I’ve decided that my husband and I are going to do an Art Gallery Crawl across all the major cities of the world! #LIFEGOALS

I haven’t told him yet. However I might have to negotiate with him because he’d probably want to drag me to all the maritime and war museums too. And um, I don’t know if I’m up for that.

But what a life that will be right? Haha!

Yes the days have been cold and I’m actually enjoying all this rugging up in 4-5 layers thing.

I think I might actually miss it.

Here’s what I wore while traipsing through the Tate Modern.

I won’t be getting points for fashion creativity, but hey I was warm.

Uniqlo Heattech Singlet – I didn’t think it at first, but these are so handy for a bit of extra warmth without the bulk.

Grana White Linen Shirt – Not ironed and crumpled from being stuffed in my luggage, of course.

Uniqlo Cotton Cashmere Grey Sweater – These are no longer on sale, but here’s a similar Grana Crew Neck Cashmere Knit.

Topshop Double Breasted Coat – Oh man, this coat was so nice and affordable that I wished it came in a navy or dark grey. It comes in a Pink Blush and Light Grey, and I already have coats in those colours. They’re on 20% sale if you’re keen!

Frame Le Color Skinny Jeans – As I mentioned before, I pretty much lived in these jeans haha.

Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack – Great size for travelling and spending all day out and about.

Acne Pistol Boots – You know when you’ve bought well when you crack a quite smile whenever you put that item on. I’ll be smiling for years with these babies.


What I Wore: Out to Buy Milk and Layering Up

16 January 2017

London Street Style

When I left Australia, the weather was a glorious 35°C… so yes, I’m a little surprised by the 5°C winter days here in London.

I’m not going to pretend to be a stylish fashion blogger, extravagantly jet-setting around the world, effortlessly transitioning from season to season, country to country, like I was fluent in international living!

I just want to wear my comfiest and warmest clothes, that are practical for what I’m doing and try to look somewhat OK haha.

Here I’m heading out to the shops. I’m going to buy almond milk and to put money onto my Oyster Card (a smart card for using London transport).

On this particular day, it snowed!

I was walking to the bus and I had my first experience of snow falling on my face. Wayhey!

I’m wearing:

4 Layers On Top:

BambooBody Scoop Singlet – Lovely, smooth bamboo fabric. Nice and tight to keep me warm.

BambooBody 3/4 Sleeve Top – Feels lovely on my skin. Fitted but not too tight. Great for layering.

Grana Cashmere Sweater – I love this sweater! Feels amazing and so warm. Use my Grana link for 10% off + free shipping!

Obermeyer Tuscany Jacket – This is my water-proof jacket (for sports/hiking/skiing/everyday wear), which I bought in Mountain Design Australia, a few years ago. I’ve worn it mountain climbing in Scotland, hiking in Tasmania, and I’ve worn it every weekend in Perth in winter while watching my boys play football in the wind and rain! I like its simple / minimal design and it has a fur hood, which makes it look a bit stylish!

It’s been my best practical winter purchase ever! It was a bit expensive (AUD$350) but oh man, it has been worth the money so many times over.

 

Bottoms Layers:

Frame Le Skinny Jeanne Jeans – Probably not the warmest jeans to wear in winter, as my thighs were probably the coldest part of my body, as they got wet from the rain, snow and wind. But hey they are nice and comfy otherwise.

Acne Pistol Boots – I bought these secondhand off a private seller. I have been stalking these boots for years on eBay, and finally found a lovely girl in Sydney (on a Facebook designer sale group), selling hers in my size at my kind of price (under A$200). They are ridiculously comfortable! I walked around for 5 hours in them!

 

Other Layers:

Acne Narrow Canada Scarf – a bit of a splurge, but oh my it’s so warm and feels soft and smooth for a 100% wool scarf. Not itchy at all.

Pom Pom Beanie – Just some no-brand, cheap and cheerful beanie from a department store!

Leather Gloves – I bought these in Copenhagen, at the first high-street store I walked into, Pieces.

 

So after layering up like this for a week, I’ve gotten used to the bulkiness and walking around as if I’m wearing a sumo suit. Our apartment, shops, cafes, museums and buildings all have heating, so I just end up taking most of my layers off. I don’t mind it at all now :)


I’m Off To London!

30 December 2016

Flatlay for London

Guess what guess what? I have huge news!

OK ok it’s probably not huge news to you folk with no kids. Or to you jet setting people who fly around the world regularly.

I’m off to London in the new year and I’ll be gone for 4 weeks – WITHOUT my husband and kids!

Can you believe that? I can’t. I’m kind of pinching myself.

I’m both excited and stunned by the mind-blowing freedom I’ll have. And I’m a bit terrified, because I haven’t been away from my home, my husband or my kids for that length of time… since I was single and childless, 15 years ago haha!

My very amazing husband is taking time off work and going to be looking after the kids for the duration of the summer school holidays.

I’m going to be staying and hanging out with my sister, my brother-in-law, and their soon-to-be-born new baby! Yaaaay!

I’ll be helping them move apartments.

I’ll be changing pooey nappies (if I can remember how to do that).

I’ll be doing a bit of work.

I’ll be hunting down the coolest independent bookstores.

I’ll be exploring flea markets and cafes.

I’ll be doing yoga.

I’ll be zipping over to Paris.

Eeeep I’m so excited!

 

Pictured above in my Winter in London inspired flatlay, I have my Acne Studios scarf, Acne Studios Jensen Booties, Jeanwest Jeans, Grana Poplin Boyfriend Shirts, A.P.C. Half Moon Bag, Stan Smith Sneakers (on sale at ASOS), Charlotte Olympia Card Holder.

And judging from the fact that I have failed to lay out any coats or knits, tells us all how delusional I am about what 2°C feels like!

Lots more updates on the way!

xxx


What I Wore: All Black with White Sneakers

14 December 2016

Wearing Black on Black

On this particular day, I was on my way to my son’s Graduation Assembly. That’s right, my second son will be in HIGH SCHOOL next year!

I didn’t really know what to wear that morning, plus I had a meeting to go to after… so I just wore ALL BLACK. And I threw on a blazer because it was a “formal” occasion.

As I ran out the door, I thought, maybe I should wear some nicer shoes.

You know, make myself look a bit more grown up?

Maybe a pair of pointed toe, mid-heeled, black pumps?

Nah. I was happy with my white hi-tops. I don’t need to look more grown up than I already am, haha.

After all, I have to deal with the fact that MY KIDS ARE GROWING UP!

Wearing:
Alexander Wang blazer (similar)
Sportsgirl tank (similar)
Frame Denim jeans
Ecco Shoes sneakers (similar Converse hi-tops for $100)
Loeffler Randall Medium Rider Bag.


What I Wore: Cashmere and Stripes

26 November 2016

Grana Cashmere + Italian Cotton

Just showing off a few details of my outfit from the other day — basically the most comfiest outfit combo ever!

The weather may be warming up, but I find that the mornings, air-conditioning in offices and cars, are all enough to make me throw on a light cardigan to get me places.

Wearing:

Grana Cashmere Longling Cardigan

Grana Stripe Boyfriend Shirt

A.P.C Half Moon Bag from Shopbop

Frame Le Color Skinny Jeans

Black Pointed Flats from Charles and Keith

xxx


What I Wore: Tibi Silk Halter

27 June 2016

Tibi Top from Revolve

If you’ve been following me on social media in the last week, you might have noticed that I’m totally crushing this Tibi Silk Top from Revolve. I think I’ve already worn it out 3 times hehe.

Yep so, Tibi is a New York label with a gorgeously clean, modern-pretty, casual-chic style. I am such a big fan of their collections and I drool whenever I see their lookbooks. They are also super-duper, eye-wateringly exxy, which is why I’ve never bought anything by them before.

But Revolve had a few Tibi silk tops on sale (the sale is still on!) and I managed to nab this one for 45% off in size 0. Woohoo!

The silk is just beautiful. It has a slight shine to it and drapes really nicely. It’s much softer and smoother than Equipment silk.

The back is a racerback style, which kind of makes it a bit sporty and sexy. I really like it.

Untitled

The top is lined but it still feels really light. And even when I tucked it into my skirt, it still fell in a lovely way.

The Size 0 is a perfect fit on me, as I’m usually a Size AUS/UK 6.

The colour is a warm nude, but it’s called “Terracotta” and looks great against my skin! I thought it would look weird and washed out. So happy that it worked out.

Wearing:
Tibi silk top (fromRevolve)
Lace Skirt, similar ones here
Whistles Fur clutch from ASOS
Casey Lee Nude Heels by Schutz (from Shopbop)

Tibia Top from Revolve

So… now I’m a bit obsessed and currently hunting around for other silk racerback tops. By any chance, has anyone bought a silk top from Grana before? In particular their Silk Racerback Camisoles?

I have a 10% discount code is you’re keen to buy. Just use this link, create an account and they’ll automatically send you the 10% discount code. I’ve been keen to buy one (only $42 for a silk tank?!) but I can’t find a nice colour in my size. Maybe I’ll just start off with a black racerback one?


Taste of Perth Food Festival 2014

6 May 2014

Warning: Contains explicit images of amazing food!

On Friday night, I went to check out the Taste of Perth, a 3 day food festival happening in the city.

Originating 10 years ago in London, the Taste Festival has made its way around the world with the simple concept: they choose the city’s best and hottest restaurants to create 4 signature dishes in “taste” sized portions, allowing festival goers to pick and choose their own ideal degustation menu.

You have to pay an entry fee to enter the festival ($40), which featured cooking demonstrations, cooking masterclasses, cocktail making classes, and non-stop live music.  Then in order to purchase the “Taste dishes” and drinks, you have to buy “Crowns” –  the currency at the festival. $1 = 1 Crown.

I was invited as a “media guest” so I was given a complimentary ticket to the event, but I purchased $40 worth of Crowns for me to eat my way through the menu.

Taste of Perth 2014

Apparently I didn’t read the invitation properly – it was an outdoor event, and it was 7°C outside. So of course, I wore knee high stiletto boots with leather shorts, Isabel Marant silk and a Witchery blazer. What was I thinking?! Yes, I was a bit cold. and I was making holes in the grass with my stiletto heels, stumbling around like a drunk girl at the horse races.

Plus I went to the event by myself, so I was hanging around like a loser loner.

This year, 10 of Perth’s top restaurants participated in the festival: Bib & Tucker, Bistro Guillaume, Co-Op Dining, El Publico, Greenhouse, Lalla Rookh, No 4 Blake, Nobu, Print Hall and Silks. All big-name, popular restaurants, and I have only eaten at a few of them. So it was an excellent opportunity to browse!

Taste of Perth 2014

This was the scene at the stall by Bistro Guillaume Restaurant, well known in Perth for amazing, classic French dishes.

On the menu was Chicken Liver Parfait with pear chutney, croutons ($8) and Amelia Park Lamb Cutlets Ratatouille ($12).

Taste of Perth 2014

Decorated like a fancy Chinese restaurant, the Silks stall charmed the socks off me. It looked like a set of a Hong Kong ganster film, with dramatic back-lighting and two huge pots of water pumping steam into the air, making the atmosphere mysterious and seedy.

Taste of Perth 2014

However the food was far from mysterious and seedy. This is the Braised Pork Belly with lohan fruit and a steamed hollow bun ($12).

The queue was pretty long for this stall. There were 10 or so people waiting in the line. So I wiggled to the front of the queue (with my big camera in hand) and I found a lady who ordered this pork belly dish and I asked if I could take a photo of it.

It looked amazing. I could see the hot, juicy layers of fat sitting in the syrupy sauce. She poured the contents of the cup into the hollow bun, picked it up in her fingers and took a bite. I gave off a little gasp of envy, obviously it was my stomach speaking.

Taste of Perth 2014

I wiggled my way to the Nobu Restaurant stall, again the queue was very long. And again, I stalked a young guy, “Can I take I a photo of your pork belly?”

Yes, those were my exact words. And yes, he knew exactly what I was talking about.

Pork Belly, Spicy Miso Caramel ($12).

Taste of Perth 2014

Eventually I got tired of taking photos of OTHER PEOPLE’S MEALS, so I hoped into the queue at No.4 Blake Street and ordered a plate of Lamb Belly with pomegranate glaze, charred eggplant, fava bean tofu ($10).

Can you see a trend in the photos I’ve been taking? I was craving some belly in my belly!

The lamb was exquisite. It was soft and succulent, bursting with the smooth, sweet flavour of the lamb infused with herbs.

I was very inspired to try making some slow cooked lamb belly in my slow cooker now.

Taste of Perth 2014

This was another dish from No.4 Blake Street, the Chocolate Garden made with edible soil, macadamia rocks, salted caramel and peanut dacquoise, ($16)

It looked so cute. Lots of people were walking around, eating from their ceramic pots. I didn’t order it, because I didn’t want to eat dessert yet.

But again, I really wanted to try making this at home!

Taste of Perth 2014

I think the most popular stall for the night was Bib & Tucker (I did a review of their restaurant last year). I was itching to try their iconic dish (pictured above) Charcoal Roasted Fremantle Octopus, with Kipfler potatoes, ajo blanco, witlof and roasted almonds ($22).

But the queue was soooo long, and when I came back after 15 minutes, it was still long. So I huffed a bit and attached myself to the end of the line. I counted how many people were in front of me. Answer: 24. I pulled out my phone and after about 2 minutes of finger pecking, I looked up and hey, I was at the front of the line. It all moved along faster than I imagined.

Alas, they had just sold out of the octopus dish… noooooo! I gave the lady my sad face :( If I had tried this on my husband, he would have immediately, somehow, produced the octopus dish. But, in the rough and tumble of the food festival, I was just another hungry foodie… waah!

But she did noticed that I had a camera around my neck, so she let me take a photo of the last roasted octopus dish for the night (pictured above), before it went off to its lucky eater. I guess I’ll have to go back to Bib & Tucker to try the chargrilled octopus.

She also suggested that I could try the trout and I reluctantly agreed, only because I had lined up (for a grand total of 2 minutes), and I was really hungry.

Taste of Perth 2014

This is my Ocean Trout Tartare with harissa aioli, sourdough wafer, and crunchy capers ($12)

It was actually really delicious! The trout was so fresh and soft and juicy. The aioli was wonderfully tangy and smooth. And again I was quite inspired to try cooking this at home. Try, is the key word here.

Taste of Perth 2014

I wandered over to the Greenhouse stall, and made my third order.

Black Valley Beef Cheek with malbec braised beef cheek, bush tomato chutney, and saltbush leaves ($10). It was yummy, but not as soft, juicy or tender as the lamb belly. I was a bit disappointed. I probably should have chosen a dish that was “lighter” and more “salady” after eating the lamb and trout.

Truth is, this was actually a food purchase made based on cost. I had $18 of Crowns left on my card… I chose this Beef Cheek dish only because it was $10, BECAUSE I wanted to save my last $8 for…

Taste of Perth 2014

…this epic Salted Caramel Macaroon with salted caramel filling ($8)!

I walked back to the Bistro Guillaume stall and prayed that they didn’t run out of their dessert. Thankfully they had a lot stocked up! It was sooo large and soooo goood. It was delicious, even though I had to NOT think about all the sugar and butter I was ingesting.

As I walked towards the exit, full of good food, munching on my macaroon, I had a big smile on my face, and I concluded that yes, I had a great and fun time – even though I was by myself.

The food was fantastic! I loved trying the new and modern dishes from local chefs, knowing that I could try out more of their dishes at any time. For me it was a very culinary and artistic appreciation which inspired me to be more experimental with my own cooking.

For the total cost of the experience (it would have been $80), I think it was worth the money. I will definitely come back next year. But I’ll organise to go during the day, try out a cooking masterclass, sample a few more offerings at other stalls, and I’ll go with girlfriends who share my love for good food!

It’s also inspired me to book a table for dinner at some of the restaurants that I haven’t been to. And I suspect that might have been their marketing plan all along :)

If you check out the Taste Festival website, you might find out when the festival is coming to your city.

Enjoy!

xxx


Bib and Tucker Restuarant Review, Part 1 : My internal conflict. And I’m not talking about indigestion!

24 June 2013

I recently caught up with a few girl friends for dinner at a new restaurant by the beach, Bib and Tucker.

There’s been a lot of hype and fanfare surrounding the opening of this establishment, with the owners being Australian Olympic sports stars – Eamon Sullivan (swimmer), Steve Hooker (pole vaulter) and Jamie Dwyer (hockey player).

Perched on the sand dunes and overlooking Leighton Beach, Bib and Tucker (named after two West Australian bushrangers – outlaw bandits who became folk heros in the 1800s) was said to have a relaxed and beachy atmosphere, offering a modern take on traditional Australian fare. Since its opening, I have been very keen to try out their breakfast or lunch menu, and enjoy a coffee in the winter sun.

But my girlfriends had booked for dinner at 7:30pm on a Friday night… so when I arrived, it was pitch black, it was howling with wind and rain, and it was so cold! I raced out of my car and into the restaurant as quickly as possible and the whole “beachside feel” was totally lost on me. I promised myself I would come back another day for lunch!

Bib and Tucker offer a set menu for 10 people, at $70 per head. I really liked the idea of a set menu that everyone shared. It meant that we all got to try a lot of different dishes, instead of just two dishes (entrée and main course). But $70 per head (not including drinks) seemed a bit expensive to me… or ahem, am I just cheap?

Anyway, when I sat down and saw the menu…wayhey there were so many dishes that I felt that maybe it justified the price just for variety alone!

Bib and Tucker - June 2013

For starters, we had house marinated olives (not pictured) and wood fired flat bread with house made dips.

The bread was fresh, lovely and hot, with a perfect balance of soft bits and crispy bits. Eaten with the beetroot and feta dip, it was a yummy start.

Bib and Tucker - June 2013


Charred squid with fennel, almonds and chorizo.

This was a fantastic entree. It totally appealed to my healthy side and it felt like good “clean eating” food.

My girlfriends and I have been having big fancy dinners about once a month… and I don’t usually take photos of the food. But this time I wanted take some snaps for my blog, so as each dish arrived, I whipped out my big Nikon DSLR and went all paparazzi on them. My girlfriends thought it was hilarious :P

They even helped me style the food and find the best looking piece of grilled squid to plonk on top. Gotta love your girlfriends!

Bib and Tucker - June 2013

Quinoa, corn, pomegranate and mint salad.

This was a delicate and light salad. Although it didn’t look very pretty, the fresh mint flavour complimented the sweetness from the corn and the pomegranate really well.

Bib and Tucker - June 2013

Rotisserie pork belly, fennel and apple puree.

The pork was soft and juicy, however the flavours were perhaps too subtle – I felt it lacked a WOW factor.

Bib and Tucker - June 2013

Iceberg lettuce, pickled cucumber, seeds and sheep’s milk salad.

Ok this is where it got weird for me.

I understand the concept of reinventing “old fashioned” Australian dishes with a modern twist, but this dish really gave me… an internal conflict. And I’m not talking about indigestion. I’m talking mental confusion.

On one hand, if they just presented a boring side salad, with chopped lettuce and a bit of shaved cheese, everyone would have thought “HOW BORING!”. And I wouldn’t even be photographing and talking about the dish.

So yes, this dish got my attention. The concept and presentation was certainly unique, strange and interesting. It made patrons (like me!) stop and think about the combinations of food, the origins (I assume the “sheep’s milk” referred to the cheese), and why it was assembled that way etc.

But I think it was the fact that this dish was featuring something so simple as iceberg lettuce… it made me a bit annoyed because I was so distracted by the concept. My brain was churning away with conceptual considerations, like it was a controversial modern artwork… but it was just a side salad of mostly iceberg lettuce!! I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not! And even as I type this blog post, I still can’t.

Bib and Tucker - June 2013

Crispy skin fish, with romesco and char grilled squid.

Ah this was much nicer! The fish was soft, succulent and tender… and the romesco sauce gave it a great lift.

The presentation made me imagine that I was in the outback and a weathered, master fisherman was cooking good, old fashion “bush tucker” for me… and this is how it would look, fish and squid all cooked up, thrown together in this fresh, natural, unpretentious platter.

It tasted good, but I didn’t think it was OMG YUM.

Bib and Tucker - June 2013

Leighton Mess – Meringue, lemon curd, yoghurt sorbet and textures of strawberry.

OK THIS DISH was the MIND BLOWER for me. It was fricking aaaawesome!!

I didn’t look at the menu before it arrived, so didn’t know what it was. It looked like a smashed up messy dessert. And when I tasted it, I gasped with surprise and enjoyment and I knew it was a modern take on the classic Australian pavlova… and it was sooooo goooood!

The meringue was an amazing mix of crunchy, soft and gooey. The yoghurt sorbet was cold and mild with a lovely milky taste. The lemon curd gave a contrasting blast of tang and creaminess. And the strawberries wrapped it all up with berry-depth and sweetness.

It was such a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed the concept this time.

Bib and Tucker - June 2013

Last was the White chocolate and raspberry ice cream sandwich.

I got the old-fashion napoleon ice cream reference. I got the ice cream sandwich reference. It was like a reference to 1970/80 Aussie kids treats.

But I was so blown away by the previous crunchy-soft-gooey meringue, that I didn’t spend much time thinking about this dessert. I gobbled down my slice, and then went back to have seconds of the meringue. Oops.

It was a Friday night, the place was packed and noisy… but I still managed to have several in-depth conversations across the table. The service seemed fine, which contradicted several reviews I read. The waiter-dude serving my side of the table was very friendly and attentive. He was also very warm and pleasant when I asked permission to take photos.

Overall: I’m conflicted. I can’t decide whether the whole modern menu concept was pretentious or brilliant. Was this kind of dining… clever and unique, or just overpriced and trying-too-hard?

I thought the food was just good, not amazing. But maybe, not on a busy Friday night while trying to talk to my girlfriends about babies and boyfriends, I would have appreciated it better?

I would love to come back during the day to try out the lunch or dinner menu, on a week day/night. I’d definitely take up the opportunity to try this again, just me and a foodie friend. Hence I’ve called this post Part 1.

Bib and Tucker
18 Leighton Beach Bvd
North Fremantle, WA

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