Wednesday, 20 August 2014

My Outfit Pick of the Summer 2014

I had heard of instagram being a marketing tool and didn't understand quite how that worked until I saw this dress featured on the instagram of the lifestyle blogger Amanda Brooks.

I don't have her physique nor do I normally take notice of outfits in relation to my wearing it but this dress just looked so comfortable and feminine.

Regular readers know that I don't normally do personal style posts but I am making an exception for this dress.

Most of you know that I had avoided shopping at any type 
of high street brand after I went through the trauma of packing up my belongings for my house refurbishment.  
I was so disgusted with meaningless junk of all forms I had accumulated that 
I became very strict with purchases.

This dress is from Zara and is affordable at £36. 
This is the sort of dress that has made Zara a success.
I am showing the dress on a hanger and on myself.
It is a strapless dress so I have worn it with a cardigan.

Selfies are not my thing and they are very difficult as I don't have a proper flattering selfie mirror.  I used the very narrow mirror in a small nook of a bathroom so please forgive the pics.

This pose isn't "act natural and lean against the wall". It is me trying to fit myself into the narrow mirror!
Yes I am wearing black and blue.
But the blue is more indigo and denim so it wasn't jarring.

These pics really aren't very good to the extent that I nearly didn't post this...
But I have to tell you that it was a dream to wear as it is slightly fitted but also loose in the right places.
(I took a large size. I fit into the medium until I had to zip up around my chest.  So while I like the way it fit better from the waist down in the medium I had to settle for large due to my bust.)
The dress also has pockets which I adore!
It can be worn with or without a cardigan and I have paired it with a jacket which I plan to wear in the autumn.

But I have rarely gotten so many compliments on the dress from my friends and complete strangers in London ( in London!!)

So for that reason I thought I should share this find with those looking for a staple basic that you will get a lot of use out of.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Tanning Tips According to My Mother

It will seem incongruous to some to give out tanning tips in the age of SPF 50 and repeated campaigns of Slip Slop Slap.  
In some circles, tanning tips might seem akin to tips on how to smoke like a 1940's movie star.  
But alas, sun worshipers like smokers still exist.

But I find it always amusing to see people's acquired holiday suntans particularly while living in the UK.

The "serves you right for wearing your cap on backwards after the age of 15" tan.

 The Neapolitan ice cream tan.

I have been guilty of the "why did I keep my watch on holiday when all I had to do was flip over and eat" tan.

  Three pics above via  

There is an art to sun tanning and 
I don't mean the simplistic avoidance of the sunburn and/or increasing melanin in your skin.

One summer during my late teens while lounging around the pool, 
I remember reading a book under the trees.   
My already bronzed mother who was meticulously positioned 
to tan her body but not her face nor hands insisted 
I get some sun.

For those who may not be familiar,
 Asians normally don't tan and and try to stay fair but my mother has her own quirky ways. 

I put my sunscreen on (we wanted to be brown not wrinkled) and laid out but mother was still not done nagging guiding me. 

She told me laying on my side or at an angle to shade my figure was the optimum position while sunbathing.  Another option was the Brazilian way of tanning which is standing up which is not as relaxing.

Otherwise if you just tanned front and back,
 she called it the ice cream sandwich tan which 
she thought was a bit vulgar and very amateurish. 

My mother having artistic tendencies said we must aim for chiaroscuro which means the use of light and dark and shadows in overall composition in most art forms. 

But alas make up artists who work on swim suit shoots always put a dark foundation patch on the sides of the body.

Even dresses such as the body con dress by Stella McCartney  that shave off an inch on either side of the silhouette are highly flattering.

But all idiosyncrasies aside,
I know the risks of skin issues as I have lived in Australia.  
In Asia I was surrounded with the exception of my mother 
by women who were obsessed with acquiring a neon white complexion.  The "Facekini" might seem a little excessive for some but I know a lot of Asians who will look at this picture and think - fair enough.


But I have reached my own personal method for bronzing.  
I rarely stay in the sun if I don't aim to have a proper suntan.  Any direct sun is purely for Vitamin D replenishment or a premeditated holiday pursuit.
  I freckle due to my father's side so even when I do suntan 
I keep a hat on and stay under an umbrella.  It takes longer to develop a color but it also stays for longer. I also apply for purely cosmetic reasons extra sunblock on my face and my hands and decolletage. 

I also put on solid pancake foundation as a physical barrier as 
I find that I still develop loads of freckles even when I apply high SPF factors.

And don't forget there is always spray tan!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Hermes Zebra Pegasus Scarf

I normally try and get a scarf each season at Hermes as I fancy myself as a scarf collector.  But I hadn't gotten anything the last season as the print I had my eye on didn't have a colorway that suited my complexion and I couldn't justify the purchase. 

I was still toying with a few scarves in the Hermes spring summer 2014 collection when I saw this scarf that I had never seen on Heidi's 
from An Adelaide Villa's instagram account.

Via An Adelaide Villa's Instagram account

I thought it was originally a vintage scarf as I hadn't seen this before and she told me it was her new scarf 
 from the just released latest collection. 

I wasn't the only one who noticed this striking pattern because Faux Fuchsia also got the hot pink version for her recent birthday!

Via Faux Fuchsia Instagram account
I also fell for its charm...
Now we are scarf triplets!

You can see the other color options on the Hermes website.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Architectural Digest September 2014

As the September issue is usually synonymous with fashion,
 the theme for the AD September issue was the homes of fashion designers.

There was so much in this issue that I am cutting straight to the editorials.

The first home was the Long Island home of the Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa.
His home was streamlined and minimal as you would expect from a designer of that brand.
Except for his library which seems cluttered at first glance but is filled with books which for a library doesn't mean it is cluttered but doing its duty.
I only included these three because streamlined design is pretty similar visually and there wasn't much to take away from white walls and furniture.

Aren't you curious to see what Natalie Massenet's house looks like?
She is the founder of Net a Porter and 
sold her stake for a sizable sum.
She supposedly sold her stake for £50 million and stayed on as the director.
This is the home she bought with the windfall.
She purchased a mansion in South Kensington.
A staircase and an outdoor courtyard like this is normally seen in hotels or government buildings in London.
Yes it is a nice kitchen but as a Londoner, 
I am looking at the space and the features.
The interior is lovely but nothing so striking that it will start a trend elsewhere.
The sofa is in the legendary L'arbre de Matisse which is very popular for upholstery.
I wrote about the fabric in this post last year.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Little Venice and the canal walks of London

We have been having a glorious summer in London.
I thought I would make the most of the weather and my dose of Vitamin D.  I had to meet my brother to pick up Millie so decided to go the scenic route.
 I started in Paddington Central which is a modern development right by Paddington station for your guide. 

What you see in the picture above are old warehouses that would have received delivery of goods of stoneware and wool from the industrial North of England.

Due to the sun, the water has a green overgrowth that looks like astro turf if you didn't know better.

The bridges are main arterial roads that lead to the A40 and the Marylebone Road.

Even houseboats are squeezed in every possible berth.

Gardens and barbeque sets are just as important to boat dwellers.

There are a few local turns but you should look for the
Jubilee Walk ( click for link ) and follow the canal if in doubt.