New Forest

Monday, 1 September 2014
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It never fails to fill me with awe to see ponies prancing about and trotting right up to the main streets of Beaulieu. They're completely at ease with strangers walking up to them. Each pony is branded with its owner's mark but is allowed to roam the forest freely. The donkeys are a lot bolder though. They'll poke their heads through your car window hoping to nab some food. I'm a city gal and sights like these are utterly foreign to me.

One other thing which only a fellow foreigner will completely understand and not snicker. New Forest was King William the Conqueror's hunting ground since 1079. Yup. That old. So I had to touch the soil just so that I can brag that I've actually touched a thousand year old history (give or take a few decades. What's a few when we're talking a thousand?!).

Evolving Style

Thursday, 28 August 2014
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Outfit: Rick Owens leather jacket, Helmut Lang t-shirt, The Kooples track pants (similar and on sale), New Balance 420 sneakers and Miu Miu sunglasses (much cheaper here if you don't mind eBay).


Recently, I had to tag nearly 1000 posts (!!) in order to make a few upgrades to the layout. It was a mind numbing exercise and required many packets of calorie laden cheezels (Ocado, my lifesaver, my BFF because you've FINALLY started stocking my favorite Antipodean snack) to keep sane. I have no idea how to categorize my blog as I flitter from topic to topic without any semblance of order. It's hard to believe that it's been 4 years since I started this blog. Who knew I can ramble on for this long?

It's also interesting to see how my personal style has evolved from the time I arrived in the U.K till now. It used to be a mish-mash of anything that took my fancy, edging towards a more feminine  and classic aesthetic. Since the weather in Auckland was more in line with the U.S west coast, that was where I drew most of my inspiration from.

Nowadays, I've adapted myself to the European fashion, namely French because their fit suit my petite frame and I don't have to fork out extra for alterations. It's also cheaper and more convenient to purchase European brands rather than having to pay exorbitant duty for overseas purchases and a pain to return if something didn't fit. I've chucked away most of my heels because I'm on my feet rather than in a car and yes, the weather's poles apart so leather jackets and coats rule my closet.

I've swapped my Juicy Couture track pants (yes.....no kidding but I drew the line on having the word Juicy stamped across my arse) for The Kooples and Petit Bateau more tapered styles. I've downsized my closet drastically. I stuck to black and grey with a smattering of burgundy and blues so that I can mix and match in 3 minutes flat.

I'm older and made enough mistakes to differentiate between clothes that I would wear repeatedly and ones that look awesome for an imaginary occasion. I'm definitely more comfortable in my skin. My love affair for jackets and coats continues to this day but I pay more attention to details, workmanship and that extra oomph that makes a piece stand out. I prefer a classic jacket with a contemporary and edgier twist. I want a statement garment that looks timeless too. An oxymoron but not entirely impossible.

I don't particularly enjoy shopping for clothes. I'd rather eat than shop which is why I adore online shopping despite its pitfalls because I can shop AND eat while my fingers do the work. I have no idea what to call my style these days. I guess the words - practical, sporty, tomboy and comfortable should fit the description rather well.

Has your style evolved over the years?





Another take on Paris

Tuesday, 26 August 2014
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Outfit: Rick Owens leather jacket (or here if you're in the E.U. I wear size IT 42), The Kooples track pantsChanel WOC, Louis Vuitton 35cm Speedy and Nike Flyknit sneakers (gifted)


If you're bored of looking at photos of Paris, I'm afraid here are a few more........ I felt like a proper tourist wielding a hefty DSLR and a smartphone. What's impressive these days is I'm seeing more and more people carrying around a telescoping selfie arm. It's a selfie revolution and a trend that's here to stay. We had a giggle at seeing one at work and marveled at how unself conscious some individuals were. Good for them. If I were a time traveler from the early 20th century, I doubt I'd understand modern English where words like selfie, hashtag food, Instagram, Facebook and so forth are so commonly used these days.

Over the years of making the journey back and forth between Paris and London, I've noticed that the much publicized mythical Parisian chic is only visible in specific arrondissements, notably the more expensive areas. I love the carefree and diverse fashion landscape in London as much as the more restrained but equally stylish personal style in Paris. My favorite activity in Paris? Gawking at chic ladies in St Germain while sipping a cup of coffee.

What are your favorite things to do in Paris?



Interesting Reads for the Weekend

Friday, 22 August 2014
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Why red carpet make up looks bad in real life.

What is it like to be discreetly wealthy? Here's the goss, straight from the horses' mouths.

What do parents REALLY feel when they brag about their kids.

10 incredible hotels in Bali for under USD $50 a night.

Skincare tips from around the world.

Inside Hermès: Luxury's secret empire.

Paris in 32 hours

Thursday, 21 August 2014
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Last week, I had to make a quick overnight dash across the channel for a photo shoot and filming. It never fail to astonish this Kiwi that I can hop on the plane at 07:10am, land in Paris within 45 minutes, get on the bus from Orly to the metro station (thanks to Anne for planning my route down to a T) and arrive at St Germain by 10:45am (including the time difference). That's barely 3 hours door to door. Bonjour Pareeeeeeeeeee!

Whenever I yap on about this incredible feat (wow, another culture and language 45 minutes away), my English friends nod and resist rolling their eyes or falling into a comatose state having had to listen to the same blurb for the 100,000th time. #sorrynotsorry.  I decided to travel light as I have to lug around everything I brought along for the next 2 days.

I was given a pair of Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 trainers to test them out (thank goodness because my New Balance 420s are suffering from Repetitive Strain Syndrome). I decided to launch a full on abuse on these sneakers since I would be on my feet for 17 hours each day and using every form of public transportation with the exception of boats (train, plane, bus, metro, tube). As a precaution, I slapped on a band-aid on the back of my ankle.



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First order of the day - COFFEE. I've been up since 5am, barely coherent with bloodshot eyes (enough to scare off any humans and critters). I stumbled into Laduree and downed a strong cup of espresso before attacking a frosted almond croissant.





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I have 2.5 hours to kill. It was a public holiday in Paris so most shops and cafes were shut. Bugger. The weather was borderline freezing - for August. I wandered around my favorite Paris neighborhood and felt my jaw fell to the ground when I spied the price tag of an apartment located on the Left Bank. I don't think my kidneys are worth that much.......or perhaps it's time to learn how to play the Lotto.



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I tossed back coffee number 3 at Les Deux Magots to revive my senses and brain cells. Time to concentrate and get some work done (whilst eyeing surreptitiously at the Pierre Hermé patisserie).



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On the move again to the next location, weaving in and out of Palais Royal, the Louvre and various famous Paris landmarks.




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Work done for the day and it's time for sustenance. Gluten and I aren't best friends these days. I had to abandon my go to comfort food lately -  favorite crusty bread and cheese. We opted for Japanese and settled on a set menu but the deluge of dishes that followed had my stomach groaning in agony.



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Outfit: Rick Owens leather jacket (or here if you're in the E.U. I wear size IT 42), The Kooples track pants, Chanel WOC, Louis Vuitton 35cm Speedy and Nike Flyknit sneakers (gifted)

The next morning, after getting more work out of the way, it was time to part company and set off.



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I wasn't ready to leave Paris without a visit to my favorite Pho restaurant (Pho14). Thankfully, being a lone diner has its advantages. I was ushered in fairly quickly and ordered my favorite "Special Pho" and a glass of jellies doused in coconut milk. I was dying for veggies and practically chucked all the bean sprouts and herbs into my pho.




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Back on the metro and straight to Le Bon Marché. After a quick wander through new selections of Etoilé Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno Athé, Maje, Sandro, Tsumori Chisato....... I found myself standing in front of the cake display at the Rose Bakery. I peeled myself from the cafe and ........... I don't know what happened. It was inevitable that I somehow ended up in the food hall.

I love fashion.....truly......but food has a way of waylaying any sensibilities. Common sense kicked in. Insanity is..... trying to lug a large tart on the metro, Eurostar, another tube ride followed by an hour on the train and expecting it to arrive intact.



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I hauled myself out of Le Bon Marché clutching a small bag of goodies for Lil L and headed off to Gare du Nord before I lick the cake display at the food hall. I glanced across the Eurostar lounge and saw my childhood friend whom I'd grown up with in Borneo and New Zealand. Suffice to say that we ended up having a gorge fest once we arrived in London.

Now, let's talk about how my cool Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 sneakers survived the beating. Pretty darn good. Thanks to the breathable mesh exterior, my feet didn't sweat incessantly despite having to wear them for an extended period. The well cushioned insole and flexible outer sole mold to the foot which is great for flat foot sufferers like myself. Unless you have narrow feet, I would suggest going up a size. More importantly, if you're into pairing trendy sneakers with casual outfits (may the trend continues forever and ever. Amen), these are light as a feather and easy on the eyes.

Au Revoir Paris! See you soon.



**Though the Nike trainers were gifted to me, any opinions either good or bad, are mine.

Best Scones EVER

Tuesday, 19 August 2014
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We were on location for a photo shoot when my friend, Mia pulled out the MOST divine scones I've ever tasted in my life. Fresh out of the oven, fluffy, buttery, melt in your mouth goodness with a nice crust. It was almost impossible to concentrate on work when all I could think of was scarfing down a scone or two, smothered in clotted cream and jam (jelly to my American friends).

They were better than the ones I had at The Wolseley. Like any Instagram addict, I was standing on a chair when guests popped by, gaping at the sight of me holding my smartphone over a scone. I mumbled some feeble excuse about doing a "photo shoot" (of my scone, not the interior of the property as I was hired to do). I begged for the recipe and thankfully, Mia obliged. Here it is:


Buttermilk Scones (adapted from Delia Smith's recipe)

makes 10

Ingredient:
2-3 tablespoons buttermilk (extra for baking)
225g self raising flour (extra for dusting)
pinch of salt
75g butter
40g golden caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten

1. Heat oven to gas 7/ 220˚C.
2. Sift flour and salt in bowl. Rub butter into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add sugar into the mixture.
4. Beat the eggs and buttermilk together and add to the dough with a palette knife. Finish it off with your hands. It should be smooth, not sticky. Add a tablespoon of buttermilk (at a time) if the dough is too dry.
5. Form the dough into a ball and tip it lightly onto a lightly floured surface.
6. Roll into a circle of at least 1 inch thick (2.5cm). Cut out the dough using a cookie cutter and give it a sharp tap to push the scone out.
7. Carry on until you've used all the dough.
8. Place the scones on a baking tray. Brush them lightly with buttermilk and dust with a little flour.
9. Bake on top shelf in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.
10. Serve with clotted cream and jam.


Interesting Reads for the weekend

Sunday, 17 August 2014
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All these talks about sun and aging. Here's how you really look.

The complacent generation.

When a fashion shoot goes too far.

31 before and after photos of Korean plastic surgery.

Perfectly timed photos.


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