Archive for Fashion & Shopping

 

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Best Buy: Gorjana Hoop Earrings

30 May 2016

Gorjana Hoops

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

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

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

Turns out, I love wearing them EVERYWHERE!

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

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

Gorjana Hoops

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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


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A Squeaky Clean with the Clensure Rotating Facial Cleanser

27 May 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clensure Professional Facial Cleanser RC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clensure Professional Facial Cleanser RC

My thoughts on the brush.

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

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

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

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

My thoughts on the sponge and massage attachment.

I like the sponge attachment!

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

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

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

Clensure Professional Facial Cleanser RC

My thoughts on the clean.

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

My skin feels squeaky clean, smoother and tighter afterwards.

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

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

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

I works really well for me.

My thoughts on long term usage

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

 

Special Promotion

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

Purchase a Clensure RC Rotating Facial Cleanser and…

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

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

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

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

xxx


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Nab a Bargain at Revolve

24 May 2016

Equipment Shirt Flatlay

Everyone loves a good sale.

I can let my inner cheapskate run wild!

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

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

So an email landed in my inbox announcing…

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

(There are a few brand exceptions though.)

 

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

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

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

Lover – Australian label. Beauuuuuutiful lace dresses.

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

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

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

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

Hope you find something you love!

xxx

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


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Back to Khaki

20 May 2016

Khaki Shirt

Hi everyone!

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

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

Daun & Co

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

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

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

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

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

Khaki Shirt

Thrifted Shoes

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

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

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

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

 

Digging Into My Archives

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

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

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

Have an amazing weekend!

xxx


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From Affordable Knits to Luxe Knits

18 May 2016

Knit and Boots

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

I’ve become rather fussy with my knits lately;

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

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

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

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

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

It is SO beautiful!

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

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

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


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Stripes, Stripes, Baby

10 May 2016

Equipment Stripes

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment Stripes

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

Equipment Stripes

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

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

Do pop over to check out the Revolve Sale here!

Happy shopping!


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3CE Korean Makeup from Sephora

5 May 2016

Sephora Australia - 3CE Korean Makeup

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

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

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

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

Sephora Australia - 3CE Korean Makeup

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

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

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

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

Sephora Australia - 3CE Korean Makeup

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

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

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

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

Have you tried it before? Do you like it?

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

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

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

Enjoy!


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Feather Touch Eyebrows from 4NE1 Korean Beauty

4 May 2016

Brought to you buy 4NE1 Beauty

I’m slightly late on the Feather Touch Eyebrow scene.

I have girlfriends who have been doing it for years… friends who travel to Asia to get it done, friends who spend $2000 on designer brows, friends who go to “home salons”.

Heck even my mother, most of my aunties and my younger cousins have had their eyebrows feather touched.

I’ve waited this long because 1. the cost (ie. I’d rather buy shoes) and 2. I don’t want a permanent tattoo – turns out the feather touch technique is NOT a tattoo and is NOT permanent.

4NE1 Beauty feather touch eyebrows are semi-permanent, they use organic inks from Europe, the treatment lasts 1-2 years and are supposed to look natural.

The treatment is spread out over 2 sessions. The first session starts with a consultation. Then the eyebrows are drawn in with a pencil to confirm the shape you want. Numbing cream is applied. The feather touch treatment takes about 1 hour for both eyebrows. No it doesn’t hurt. The second treatment is called a “Touch Up” where they go through exactly the same process. Both sessions are included in the price.

 

Most feather touch eyebrow reviews only show Before and Immediately After photos.

But what does it look like after 4 weeks? That’s what I really wanted to know!

So I’ve been tracking my eyebrows for your viewing pleasure :P

Feathertouch Eyebrows from 4NE1 Korean Beauty

Left photo: BEFORE! Showing off my natural eyebrows. I am just wearing foundation, some colour on my cheeks and some nude lip colour. No eyeliner or mascara. I’m about to head out to the beauty salon.

Right photo: AFTER! Shows my eyebrows after the feather touch treatment. It only took 1 – 1.5 hours to do. This photo was taken 3 hours later. They look awesome! So natural! Eeek I looooove them!

Pain: Numbing cream was a dream during the treatment.

After care: I was given a print out sheet on how to look after them! No sweating, no sun, no swimming or spray tans for 3-4 days after. No rubbing, scrubbing, cleansing the eyebrows for 3-4 days. It will itch and flake. No picking, scratching, or picking the treated area. Let it exfoliate itself naturally.

After two weeks, they faded to about 20%, they were very light. I was quite surprised/annoyed that they had faded so much, and I was keen to go back to get my touch up. I don’t have a photo of my faded eyebrows.

Feathertouch Eyebrows from 4NE1 Korean Beauty

Left photo: After my touch up. (I had since had a hair cut.) During the touch up treatment, I asked the beautician to make my eyebrows bolder and straighter (not so arched) because I knew they would fade. She laughed at me and said that “Everyone is scared the first time around, and everyone asks to make it darker the second time around!” Haha glad it’s not just me.

I also had eyelash extensions, as I was going on holiday to Bali and going to a wedding! They looked amazing! I wasn’t wearing any eyeliner, just the lashes.

(Btw, I was also wearing an off shoulder top. I wasn’t naked!)

Right photo: 2 weeks after my touch up. My eyebrows look pretty amazing. They look super natural. I’m wearing foundation, blush, lipstick and eyeliner. Half of my eyelash extensions are still there, so I’m not wearing any mascara.

 

Overall – As an everyday natural look, they are perfect! It’s so nice to wake up in the morning, slap cream on my face and have a good set of brows to make my face bright and bold. However personally, I prefer my eyebrows to be even more darker and straighter, so I will be booking in to get yet another touch up.

Feather touch is simple, effective and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Cost: I know people who have paid $1000, $800, $600, $450 at different salons around Perth and even $200 at home salons.

4NE1 Beauty does feather touch eyebrows for $350, they call it the “3D Nature Eyebrow”. But it’s the same thing.

The ladies at 4NE1 are all highly trained beauticians, therapists and make up artists, with years of experience in Korea. When they migrated to Australia, they used to work in home salons but have come together to set up an actual business and shop front. They are pretty popular nowadays and it’s great to know that they are fully booked out some days! I am more than pleased to help spread the word about them.

Another interesting thing to note: I noticed that many salons tend to draw eyebrows in a very slim, arched style. Maybe it’s a European thing? Maybe it has been the fashion carried on from the past? Maybe it’s what the more mature ladies prefer? Well I tend to like straight, thick and bold eyebrows (with a slight curve, so it still matches my eye sockets). It’s a style that is more a popular in Korea and Asia, and all the beauticians at the 4NE1 salon were rocking it, so I was confident they could deliver!

I’m pretty happy with my brows, happy with the process and the super friendly, efficient service, I can’t wait to go back for my touch up!

Thank you so much to the girls at 4NE1!

4NE1 Beauty and Nails
98 Kooyong Road, Rivervale WA
9361 4425
Mon – Thur 9am – 5:30pm
Friday 9am – 8pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm
Closed on Sunday and Public Holidays


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Acne Studio Jensen Booties

2 May 2016

Acne Jensen Ankle Boots

Hi everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

Acne Jensen Ankle Boots

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

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

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

xxx


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What I Wore: The Simple Silk Shirt

19 April 2016

Blush Silk Shirt

Hey everyone!

Last week I raced out the door and headed into the city wearing this very simple outfit.

Simple, casual, minimal, tailored and polished.

I’m not going to win any street style fashion awards with this one, but who cares really. I felt lovely, put together, confident, comfortable, happy and completely at ease with myself and the world.

I walked along the footpath, enjoying the twinkling sunshine, the footsteps of the crowd around me, the silky softness of my shirt against my skin, the soft leather soles of my shoes and having a bright smile on my face.

Life is good when my perspective is sweet and simple.

Hope you all have a gorgeous week ahead!

Wearing: Equipment Silk Slim Signature Blouse | White jeans from Fendi (ebay) | Acne Studio Pumps | Loeffler Randall Handbag | Gorjana Earrings


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Lover Poppy Fitted Dress

18 April 2016

Lover Dress Poppy

I’m off to Bali for a girlfriend’s wedding soon, and I finally bought a dress to wear!

I splurged (kind of) on this Lover Poppy Fitted Dress in blue. Eeep it’s so pretty!

It wasn’t really a splurge, because it was on sale here, and I also received an extra 25% off (the sale is still on, just enter the code “EXTRA25″ at the checkout). So it was really just the price of a normal dress :)

There are other Lover dresses in a similar style in nude, black and white here at Revolve (with significant markdowns).

Can’t wait to wear it out!


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Street Style and Fresh Hair

8 April 2016

New Hair Cut

Super Soft Grey Tee ($35) from HelloParry | Denim shirt from The Iconic | Frame Jeans from Shopbop | Hi-top sneakers from Ecco Shoes | Ray-Bans from Sunglassesshop

 

The other afternoon I was out with my 11 year old boy. We were buying a new school sweater for him, picking up some vegetables from the Asian grocery store and then heading over to the bank.

It was one of those rare afternoons, where we just hung out, walked down the street together, chatted and laughed about stuff, and bought a sneaky pack of chocolate biscuits to share. We were on a mission, but it was like a crazy road trip with my best buddy.

Our conversation floated between basketball, teachers, coding video games, sports brands and Instagram.

So as we walked past a white garage door… I took the opportunity to take a few street style snaps (and to show off my new hair cut) haha. He was quite good about taking the photos! I might get him to take more!

Fresh haircut by Curi Hair in Subiaco.


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Morning Light and a Special Sale

5 April 2016

Loeffler Randall Rider Bag

I have a little treat to share with you!

Shopbop is having a Friends and Family Sale, and you can use the promotion code “INTHEFAM” to receive 25% off full price and sale items (some brand exclusions) until 8th of April.

I managed to nab a little something from Charlotte Olympia, I was much too slow to get the Kitty Flats in my size so I chose a little Charlotte Olympia Purse instead.

I also took the dive and picked up some Acne Jensen Booties, because I have been saving for months and I absolutely adore the pointed toe and the stacked heel. (However they are one of the brands excluded in sale). I chose the suede because I was looking for something a bit different too.

Whilst I was browsing, I eyed this Equipment Shirt, this Diane Von Furstenburg Lace Dress in navy, this Loeffler Randall Saddle Bag in tan, some Alice + Olivia Dresses. All these fall into the 25% off category.

I hope something catches your eye too! Have fun!

Loeffler Randall Rider Bag

As for my photo, I just adore capturing the morning light that comes through in our bedroom window.

This was me getting ready to head out to a meeting with my Loeffler Randall Rider Bag that I purchased during the last Shopbop Sale, YSL Bold 1 Sunglasses and Suede flats by Charles + Keith.


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Bellabox Beauty Goodies

4 April 2016

Hi everyone!

Today I’m reviewing the subscription beauty box service, Bellabox.

They sent me a box to test out and I’m going to try my best to take an objective point of view and answer the biggest question in my head (and maybe yours):

Are these boxes a waste of money??

Bellabox Subscription Beauty Box

Bellabox was founded in 2011. I believe they were one of the first and one of the most popular subscription beauty boxes in the Asia Pacific region. I certainly remembered when they first came out, there was a huge buzz that surrounded them back then.

Personally I have never signed up for a subscription beauty box. Because…

Firstly, for some reason I thought the price for these boxes was $49 per month?! I thought this was just ridiculous… but the subscription price is actually only $18 shipping per month. That is $15 for the box + $2.95 for shipping.

Or you can choose to pay $16.66 per box, but pay for the whole year.

Secondly, I am drowning in samples already. I am a fashion and lifestyle blogger and I am on quite a few PR companies mailout lists, which means I get sent lots of free stuff to try. For most of the items, I don’t ask for them, so they are not suitable for me, or I am not interested in trying out, or they don’t suit my skin type, so I usually send a note of “thanks but no thanks” back. Then I feel really bad!

Lastly, back then (when considering a subscription box), I felt that I had reached a stage in my life where I don’t like to experiment with new beauty products. I just wanted to stick to my usual stuff.

But funny thing is that, it turns out that in the past couple of years, I have become more experimental and keen to try new beauty products. Maybe a sign of getting older and wanting to stay young? Wanting to remain in the cool gang? Haha!

Bellabox Subscription Beauty Box

March Box ContentsBlue chalk hair colour (probably would have liked pink chalk), Neon & Co Hair treatment. (hair treatment oil is always fab), Bliss Body Butter (I always need body cream for my legs and feet!), Benefit Pore Minimiser (so cool , I have always wanted to try this), MonoDermà A15 Retinol – Vitamin A (yikes, I have always wanted to try this kind of vitamin A capsules to apply directly onto my skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles).

So what is good about these subscription boxes anyway?

I had a good think about WHO would benefit MOST from them, and WHY someone might like to try it out.

1. Samples save you money. I actually love getting samples. They allow you to try before you buy. A full bottle of cream can be $16 – $22 or more! I have bought so many crappy products.

I have many regular beauty items I have discovered through samples. My Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation that I have been using religiously for the last 5 years, came from a magazine sample. Keihl’s body cream, Aesop hand creams, philosophy scrubs, AHA masks and more.

2. Access to product samples. If you don’t have access to product samples, subscription boxes are a pretty good way to get them. Especially because someone else chooses and finds them for you.

3. Value for money. Standard shipping alone in Australia is about $9 – $13 for a small box? So getting 5 samples sent to your door for $18 is pretty cheap.

4. Saves you time. I once had a few hours spare to go shopping… so I went to Priceline. I opened bottles, sniffed products, dabbed them onto my hands, felt the consistency, looked up the products on my smart phone while standing in the aisle, read the reviews. I tried out eye liners, lip stains, tanning creams, bb creams, foaming face wash, oil cleansers. I read the back of packets, looked at ingredients, I just wanted to know what was out there and to test out what they felt like. Suddenly it was 2.5 hours later and I was absolutely KICKING MYSELF that I wasted so much time!!

I seriously would have preferred someone ‘in the know’ to recommend me a few good products so I could try.

5. Trying new stuff is fun. If you enjoy experimenting with new and popular beauty products, then 5 samples per month is a good place to start. If you don’t have any skin sensitivities or allergies, then it can be quite exciting to try new stuff for your skin/body/hair/face. You’ll never know if something will work for you if you don’t try it right?

6. Receiving surprises in the mail. Most people adore this. It reminds us of the good old snail mail days. The box is lovely and the products are very well packaged.

 

So to answer my original question – Are they a waste of money?

YES, if you are completely not interested in experimenting and someone else choosing beauty products for you. or if you have sensitive skin. Or particular about colours. It’s not for everyone!

BUT if you like experimenting, receiving samples, saving money on products and saving time on research… then NO, it’s not a waste of money – it’s actually pretty good value.

As for me…

I pick up a new mascara ($25) or a BB cream ($18) or a new lip colour ($23) or a different nail colour ($17) ALL THE TIME, just because I saw it in a magazine and just to try something new. If I wasn’t already drowning in product samples, I would definitely sign myself up for a monthly subscription.

I’m not getting paid for this review, but if you decide you like the idea of a subscription box, you can check out the  Bellabox Beauty Boxes here and if you subscribe, I’ll get a little commission on the sale. No pressure though. Like I said, it’s not for everyone.

Enjoy!


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Fashionable Statements by Totally Jewel

31 March 2016

Brought to you by Totally Jewel

I completely adore wearing shiny hardware or sparkly bling on my wrists.

I always pop one (or two) bangles on my arm whenever I go out. And I feel quite bare and underdressed without them!

Totally Jewel Bracelets

Totally Jewel is an online store based in Sydney, specialising in on-trend, affordable, fashion jewellery for women.

Their focus is on popular styles and affordable prices.

They have a nice edited range of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings. Compared to other online stores that sell similar items, these are more affordable and I’d say that they are exactly the same quality.

I think they strike the perfect balance of costume jewellery quality and price. They are not TOO el-cheapo, and not TOO wtf-exxy.

Totally Jewel Bracelets

This is the Paved Duo Stud Cuff. It comes in Rose Gold (pictured), Gold and Silver.

It is made from plated stainless steel, with cubic zirconia gems. It has a nice weight to it.

I really like this cuff!

Because the cuff doesn’t go all the way around my wrist, it goes well when paired with other bangles and bracelets. Hello shiny arm party!

Totally Jewel Bracelets

This is the Roman Numeric Cuff, which also comes in Gold (pictured), Rose Gold and Silver.

I had such a hard time deciding between gold and rose gold. I picked the gold, and I love it.

But I might have to get a Rose Gold too, because… it’s so pretty!

I actually have another roman numeric cuff (in silver) that I bought from another store. It was slightly more expensive than this one and… as I mentioned earlier, the quality is exactly the same.

Totally Jewel Necklace

As for neckwear… I love a good statement necklace. It always adds a fabulous oomph to an outfit.

This is me, out and about with my Frost Forest Necklace from their Necklace Collection.

I like that this necklace is a bit different, in a kind of modern-vintage style. I already have a few floral, leaf and tribal necklace designs, so this is a lovely addition to my collection.

It also has a great weight to it. It feels heavy and secure, much like my J.Crew necklace, only a quarter of the price.

Totally Jewel Necklace

I think what also sets these guys apart is their lovely and down to earth customer service. Just chatting to them over email, they come across as friendly, patient, genuine people and they are quick to respond and answer any of my questions.

My most frequently asked question: Will the jewellery tarnish?

Being fashion jewellery, it will naturally fade over time. The site has some nice Love and Care Info on how to look after the jewellery to make sure it outlasts the fashion itself.

If you’d like to get 20% off your first order, head over to the Totally Jewel site, scroll down to the bottom and sign up to their newsletter.

Happy shopping everyone!


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GoTidy Packing Set and A Leather Overnighter Bag

29 March 2016

Brought to you by CiaoBella Travel

I have a few overseas trips coming up this year and I’m super excited for a bit of a getaway!

While I’m not a frequent jet-setter who travels around the world every month – I do have a few pearls of wisdom to share.

One of my travelling peeves is:  having messy luggage.

Argh I can’t stand it! I’ve tried to separate my clothes with zip lock bags, dry-cleaning plastic clothes bags, drawstring cloth bags, even paper shopping bags to keep them tidy.

But it never works. My nice, fragile, delicate clothes always get messed up with my casual/stinky clothes.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

Enter the Go Travel 3 Piece Organising Set.

I have been itching to get my hands on this product for my upcoming trip :)

Especially since I’m going to an overseas wedding and I have several delicate garments to pack.

I was the one who initiated this blog post. I hunted it down, found it online, tested it out and now I’m dying to share how cool it is!

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

The pack comes with 3 little rectangular cases.

They have a depth, like a box, but they are made from a breathable, nylon cloth, with a zip and have a little plastic window each.

They are not hard and stiff like a cosmetics case. They are cloth-like bags and compress nicely with the rest of my clothes.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

They are perfect for my silk dresses, my delicate lace dresses, sequin skirts, soft fabrics, fine knits and more.

The smaller case would be great for lingerie, ties, silk camisoles, even shoes.

The small case is 23cm long, the medium is 28cm long and the large is 45cm long.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

The large case is perfect for business shirts, silk shirts or even a small jacket.

I’d say that the large case can comfortably fit 3 business shirts.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

I like that my clothes are all neatly secured in these cases.

I like that if my luggage gets tossed around, my clothes won’t churn around and end up so they snag on the luggage zip. Or if my luggage springs open, my delicate clothes won’t end up on the floor.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

I love that they zip up into rectangles too. So neat and tidy! It makes my inner neat-freak happy.

The cases also come in white, blue and violet.

Check out the Go Travel 3 Piece Organising Set here.

(Get 15% off your order with my discount code below.)

 

Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

This next item is something that has been on my wishlist for a long time: A Leather Overnighter Bag

This is the Manzoni Overnighter Bag and this one is in Tan.

While I adore handbags and totes, I’ve found that it’s pretty difficult to find one suitable for travelling.

Basically I wanted a sturdy, carry-on bag for the airplane. I wanted one big enough to fit all my carry-on requirements. And I wanted it in leather.

This bag has been perfect for me!

Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

You see, during my last few airplane trips, I realised that I needed a much bigger and better carry on bag.

I realised that like to travel with lots of stuff – cardigan, book, water bottle, snacks, toiletries bag, camera, purse, phone, iPad, notebook, document wallet. And that’s just my stuff. Being a mum means I have to carry stuff for some of my kids too.

Anyway, I know lots of girls who love their Longchamp Le Pliage or Country Road Canvas Duffle Bag and use them for travelling, but for me, because the sides are nylon or canvas, I feel that they don’t offer enough protection. They are just too floppy and I don’t feel good about putting my camera and devices in them.

I love that this bag is made from a lovely soft grain leather. It is strong, thick, relaxed leather and not stiff and hard. It doesn’t stink too.

The craftsmanship is lovely. The zips are smooth. The handles and base are strong.

The bag is sturdy yet looks slightly slouchy. It really is a quality bag.

Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

I went to all the big department stores and a few specialty luggage stores to see how this Manzoni bag compared to others in the market.

The verdict: Excellent! Which is why I’m doing this review!

Duffle travel bags are not very stylish (here’s an example). It’s difficult to find one in a nice minimal style in leather. The nice leather ones are super expensive and priced over $400!!

So this Overnighter Bag is MUCH more affordable, excellent value and stylish.

It is a fabulous size too.

Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

Currently the Black version is on sale. Which means with my discount below, it only costs $204 (without shipping). Err, you can’t even buy a leather handbag at Witchery for that price.

It also comes in red, orange, navy and dark brown, check them all out here.

Im so, so pleased with my bag and again, I can’t wait to use it on the plane for my next trip!

Get 15% off your TOTAL order from CiaoBella Travel

Simply use the code “KAREN15″ at the checkout to receive the discount.

Promotion expires on 31st May 2016.

Happy shopping everyone!


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Crushing: Simple Evening Outfits

25 March 2016

My husband and I have been going out on regular summer date nights, without the kids!

Whenever we go out, I always wear something simple and elegant – not too dressy or fancy or glamourous or over-the-top.

And while I’m out, I always check out what other women are wearing on their date nights. It’s always so refreshing to see what real women are wearing. No surprise, I’m always drawn to the simple and elegant outfits.

Here’s what I’m crushing at the moment: This dress by Diane von Furstenberg.

Diane Von Furstenberg dress and accessories

Diane von Furstenberg Fleurette Dress – Super pretty, silk and it also comes in a nude colour.

GAS Bijoux Huichol Flores Earrings – love a touch of boho style for day or night

Diane von Furstenberg Shimmer Embossed Clutch – need a nude clutch to go with everything

Diane von Furstenberg Florence City Sandals – mid heel thanks

What are you crushing at the moment?


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Diva Drape for Swimwear Cover-Up

22 March 2016

Brought to you by CiaoBella Travel

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

Hey hey everyone! I’m going to Bali in a few weeks – for the first time!

In preparation for the hours of poolside lounging and cocktail sipping, I’m testing out this Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel.

Yes there are a lot of photos of ME in this post, standing in exactly the same pose, with the exact same smile. So if that creeps you out, feel free to scroll on by, haha.

I also have a 15% off discount code to share, so again, feel free to scroll to the end to grab the code.

What is it:

The Diva Drape is a versatile drape that can be worn 10 ways or more.

It’s a made from a light weight, quick-dry, crinkle chiffon, so you don’t have to iron it. You can just roll it up and pop it into your bag, or tie it in a knot on your handbag handle like a scarf, or just wear it as a scarf on the plane. It’s pretty cool!

I thought it might look a bit daggy as a kaftan… but it’s actually quite sexy and looks great!

Here are some of my favourite ways to wear it:

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

The drape is actually two bits of soft fabric held together with some metal studs.

You can pop your head through it and the drape becomes a shawl top.

I’d be very happy to wear it like this, over my swimsuit. But I guess you could wear it as a top – with jeans and a tank top underneath.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

If you turn it the other way, it becomes a kaftan.

I really like this one and would definitely wear it like this.

I like that that is it sheer enough to see my bikini, but *just* enough to cover up too.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

I really like this version too!

The drape becomes a strapless dress. I just tied a double knot at my chest, and it felt secure and comfortable.

Because the fabric is thin, the knot wasn’t bulky and it was easy to move around in.

Again the fabric is just sheer enough to show off a bit of my swimsuit.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

The drape also turns into a sarong.

I like this version because it’s so simple, comfortable and easy to tie up and go.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

Hey look, I made this version up!

It’s kind of a halter neck dress and it just needed a small double knot behind my neck.

It looks quite stylish! You’ll definitely see me wearing this by the pool with a book and cup of tea!

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

This one was quite nice too. It’s a bolero robe style and it was just so effortless.

If I was wearing a tank, with jeans or a skirt, I would be happy to pop this over as a cardi / shawl thing.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

Lastly, I like that when I fold the drape lengthwise, it becomes a scarf.

It’s not bulky, heavy or itchy. It’s versatile and lightweight.

Despite all the folding, draping and tying, the textured fabric still looks great. No need to iron!

This drape design also come in other colours. It is also made in Silk, or a Spandex Mesh material. So it depends on what you prefer.

I was tempted to try this Diva Drape in Black Silk or this Red, but I thought that the Champagne would be a nicer for daytime and compliment my floral swimsuits better. See all the Diva Drapes here.

Overall, I love versatility of it and can’t wait to try it out when I go to Bali!!

Get 15% off your total order from CiaoBella Travel

Simply use the code “KAREN15″ at the checkout to receive the discount.

Promotion expires on 31st May 2016.

Happy shopping everyone!


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What I Wore: Blush Off Shoulder Top

17 March 2016

ASOS Off Shoulder Top

Hellooo everyone!

What have you been up to this week? I went out to dinner with a girlfriend the other night. We ate Argentinean BBQ food in a tapas style and it was deeelicious! Plus I didn’t spill anything on myself haha.

It was also the first time I wore this pretty, new top I bought – Off Shoulder Top with Ruffle Sleeve from ASOS (on sale!).

ASOS Off Shoulder Top

I absolutely love LOVE the nude/blush colour, the ruffle bell sleeve, the length of the top and the whole  off-shoulder look.

I took a hunch and bought a size 8 (usually I wear size 6) but I wanted to have a bit more room to move in my shoulders… and it was a perfect fit.

The top comes in a gold style, a slightly different pale blue style and a slightly different white style too.

Are you sick of the off should look yet? Personally I think it’ll hang around for one more summer, so I’ve been stocking up on a nice variety of colours. I’ve got 2 whites, 2 black, 1 blue, 1 stripe and now this blush top… so I think I’m about done heh.

I’m also wearing:

Frame Jeans from Shopbop

Tony Bianco shoes from The Iconic

Alexander Wang Marion handbag (I bought it 2 years ago, preloved)

Have a marvellous weekend! We’re celebrating more birthdays on Saturday and Sunday :)


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Crushing On: Nude Watches

10 March 2016

Nude watches by The Horse

These nude beauties are by The Horse from SurfStitch and are priced at AUD$139 each.

Here’s a tip: If you sign up to their newsletter you can received $20 off your next order and buy it for $119, which is a pretty excellent deal for a good quality, minimalist fashion watch.

I already own The Classic Unisex Leather Watch, which has a slightly smaller face and a black strap, for $189 (but I bought mine for $169).

Happy shopping!

xxx


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Ray-Ban Aviators in Pink and Gold

8 March 2016

Ray-bans Gold and Pink

I love my aviators sunglasses and I wear them all the time!

I find them slightly dressier than my plastic frame sunglasses; and I find that the gold frames (bling!) go really well when I wear delicate or fine jewellery.

I already have a pair of aviators with gold frame with green lenses and so I recently picked up a pair of gold frame with pink lenses.

Ray-Ban 3025 Aviator Gold

These are the Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses (3025) and they are size 55mm (Small). I have tried on the 58mm (Medium) and they are OK fit for me, but I just prefer the Small Size.

SunglassesShop have given my readers a 15% off discount on all orders, from today until the 22 March 2016.

Use the code at the checkout: KAREN15

Enjoy!!

xxx


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Nude Equipment Silk Shirt

3 March 2016

Equipment Silk Shirt

I took advantage of the recent Shopbop Sale (which is still on!) and picked up this gorgeous Equipment silk shirt, courtesy of Shopbop.

This is the Slim Signature Blouse in Nude (XS). It is a perfect fit for me as I am usually a size UK6 and US2. I think if i bought the XXS, it would be too tight across the back and shoulders.

I already have a Signature Blouse in Natural White (XS) and it has a slightly relaxed fit, which is lovely too.

They are absolutely classic in style, tailored, very versatile and work so well with jeans or dressed up a bit.

Equipment Silk Shirt

Yes they are a bit pricey, but I think the silk is worth it. It is amazing quality, feels super soft, not see-through, not thin and it’s nice, comfortable and hardy, so that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to tear if you suddenly stretch your arms up or something.

Here’s me hoping that it will never go out of style and it’ll last me years and years!

xxx


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Shopbop Spring Sale

1 March 2016

Shopbop Spring 2016 Sale

Just a quick heads up, Shopbop are having a Spring Sale with some pretty cool savings!

I’ll share what I bought when it arrives :)

(Here’s a hint…)


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Pops of Lip Colour!

29 February 2016

Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick

I don’t know about you, but every 2 or 3 months, I get soon sick of my lip colours.

Whether it’s lip gloss, lip balm, lip crayons, lip stain… I just get so bored with cycling through them.

So I start to stalk other girls with my skin colour. To see what colour they are wearing and whether I can imagine myself wearing it. But that’s a bit creepy right? Staring at someone’s lips?

Anyway the lovely team at Rimmel, sent over some new lip colours, Rimmel The Only 1 Lipsticks, for me to try out and they are fantastic!

They are SO hydrating, full of colour, great lip coverage and they “taste” nice. Plus they are affordable.

Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick

My favourite shade is this perfect everyday nude colour called, Naughty Nude 700.

Second favourite is a slightly pink nude called, It’s a Keeper 200. (Pictured second from the left)

Enjoy!


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Blue Bell Crush

24 February 2016

ASOS Blue Bell Sleeve

Ok so I have a bit of a crush on this girl! Her top, her hair, her shorts, her outfit, her smile!

I absolutely love her top – the bell sleeves, the mixed navy pattern, the relaxed fit, the v-neck, the little bow, the boho floaty style and the fact that it’s under $50 and on sale at ASOS!

I can’t really decide if it will actually suit me though…?


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Wardrobe Staples to Wear Year-Round

22 February 2016

Frame jeans, Anine Bing Tee and Raye Sandals

Raye slides | Anine Bing T-shirt | Le Color Skinny Jeans by Frame

With March just around the corner and a slight change of season in the air, something interesting has happened on a sartorial front.

For the first time in years, I looked at my wardrobe and I didn’t have that dreaded “I have nothing to wear” feeling. It seems that many of the items in my wardrobe are year round staples, slipping me easily into the new season.

I bought this Anine Bing T-shirt about 8 months ago, during winter, and it’s still being cycled through my outfits once a week. It has a very cool, relaxed, worn-look to it. And the more I wear it and wash it, the better it looks!

These Le Color Skinny Jeans by Frame are quite possibly my perfect black jeans. They have an amazing stretch, they hug beautifully around my waist, hips, bottom and crotch, and they don’t pinch when I sit. I had to get them altered, taking them up a bit at the legs, but I do that to all my jeans, since I’m so short. They are so so good.

These Raye slides have absolutely grown on me. I have tossed out my rubber flip-flops and never lookied back.

With such high wearability ratings, they’ve definitely been worthwhile purchases!

 


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What I Wore: ShowPo White Dress

20 February 2016

Dress from Showpo

I love a good cotton dress! This dress is from Showpo and is called the ‘You and I’ Dress in white.

I’ve bought and returned a couple of duds from various online stores over the last few months… but this one is a winner. I’m so happy with it. It’s gorgeous, simple, flattering and well fitting.

I always prefer my summery dresses to be slightly fitted, as they don’t overwhelm my petite frame. I also like my dresses to look pretty but not too pretty, and most times I like them to have sleeves too, so they offer a little bit of sun protection for my shoulders.

Dress from Showpo

I went to a lunchtime meeting by the river and I felt so light and fresh sitting under the shade of the trees and umbrellas.

Ah there were so many other dresses I wanted to get, notably this white crochet dress or this long sleeve playsuit.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

xxx


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Hey There Selma

19 February 2016

Michael Kors Selma Bag

Out to lunch with my girlfriends and my Michael Kors Selma bag (from Shopbop).

We were having dim sum and the waiter accidentally knocked over a cup which splashed tea onto my bag and my skirt!

The tea stained my skirt, but thankfully it wiped straight off my bag. Thank goodness for the hardy leather!

Hope your lunch was less dramatic than mine :)


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Lace Up Heels

13 February 2016

Aaaah *just* when I decide that I have enough shoes, and I really shouldn’t buy any more… a new season of gorgeous designs come out and I’m completely smitten.

And what seals the deal?

A 30% – 40% OFF sale! Yikes!

(I might have to start selling my less-worn pairs. Ebay anyone?)

Lace Up Heels at The iconic

Senso May lace up heels in black suede, 30% off.

 

Lace Up Heels at The iconic

Tony Bianco Kappa in Tan, Velvet Suede, 30% off.

 

Lace Up Heels at The iconic

Tony Bianco Kappa in Black Kid Suede, 30% Off

Senso Rhiannon VI in Black Matte Kid leather, 40% Off. (I have this pair)

There are heaps of other styles and sizes that are under the Final Clearance Sale here.

(Sorry. Not Sorry!)


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Rimmel ‘Brow This Way’ Eyebrow Kit

10 February 2016

Rimmel Brow This Way

I have always used a brow pencil and brush to shape and fill my eye brows. I have a gorgeous Calvin Klien pencil (in black) that I use all the time.

Then 6 months ago, I was sent this Rimmel ‘Brow This Way’ Eyebrow Kit (003 Dark Brown) to try out. At first I resisted using it, because it was new and different to what I was used to… but once I tried it, I loved it!

I think the dark brown colour suits my balayage hair colour much better than black, and it also gives my face a more natural and daytime look.

Black brows seems a bit harsh and glam; good for the evening but not so suitable for daytime and everyday wear.

The wax is excellent for definition, shaping and colour. The powder sets the wax. However, I don’t use much of the powder, just teeny tiny dabs.

The brushes are surprisingly nice too, very precise and soft, yet still firm enough to spread the colour around.

Pretty good stuff for $12.95, considering that this Bobbi Brown Dark Brown Kit is $75 and this Benefit Brow Kit is $55.

Do you have a favourite brow kit, that’s not too expensive? Hit me up!