My 6 Weaknesses

Friday, 23 January 2015
Olympus - Hermes leathers

Ahh.....Hermès....Hermès, my love affair with you was cemented over a decade ago in a chatroom frequented by equally bag obsessed ladies (like myself). Thanks to you, many friendship are formed and continue to this day. Our pockets are lighter because your sky high prices continue to rocket, year after year. If only UK's GDP performs as well as you do. You're mysterious, difficult to get hold of, desirable, look better than Pierce Brosnan and Hugh Jackman put together but unlike them, you're arrogant because you simply do not give a damn. And people still want you.......

tweed jackets
chanel jacket

I'm partial to tweed. A beautifully tailored Chanel tweed bouclé jacket is at the very top of my list. When planets align, unicorns trot on the grounds of New Forest, I lose 10 pounds in my sleep and win the million dollar lottery jackpot.......then I'll buy a black Chanel jacket at retail price. Otherwise, it's either buying alternatives say, Isabel Marant jackets or trying my luck at nabbing a Chanel bouclé jacket on the secondhand market.

Miller Harris candle

I used to scoff at the idea of buying flowers and candles. It's frivolous. A little like chucking money down the drain. Or using dollar notes as kindling. I blame my current addiction on Instagram. There are just waaaaay too many photos of flowers and candles. And cashmere....why buy cashmere when wool will do the trick? Weeeeell......never say never. As winter drags on, even the most hardcase dudette succumb to it.


My baking skills are rusty from lack of use. I've put off replacing my dead mixer for well over a year. I figure that if I don't bake, I won't be tempted to scarf down an entire cake. I caved in during the Christmas sales and bought a bright yellow Kenwood mixer. I've dusted off the covers of my cookbooks and unearthed old recipes that I'd adapted on my blog. Sigh. There goes my New Year's resolution which bombed before it even had a chance at success.

Instagram & Beauty Secrets

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Remember the prolonged brain fart that I'd mentioned here? It'll explain why I've disappeared from blogosphere for a week at a time. I'm still alive............on  Instagram because it's easier to churn out images than words. I'm a woman of few words.....*laughing hysterically*.....  Yeah right. Such an oxymoron. On a side note, thanks to this lovely lady - Vina, I found out that I was on the list of 20 Amazing Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram. Do pop over to check out the other 19 Instagramers. Thank you, Brit and Co for placing me next to such talented ladies.

I've used my share of anti-ageing beauty products in the past year or two but it's hard to gauge whether they truly work or not despite reading having read the reviews. I've been dying to find out beauty secrets from women who simply don't look their age. So......I started a series on Swoon Mag called "Beauty secrets from women who don't look their age". The title is a mouthful but what better way to get advice than from those who've walked the walk?


Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Clockwise: Chanel WOC, Hermes Dogon coin pouch, Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 45mm f/1.8 lens, Bose SoundLink Mini, Apple Macbook Air 11"

One of my biggest pet peeves has got to be clutter. I was born to parents who are hoarders, married to one and given birth to another. I'm constantly on a warpath to de-clutter our flat. It has to be done weekly or else my two roommates (husband and child) will squirrel away more junk in our tiny place.   Enough to start our own junkyard.

The other thing I've been doing for the past two years is downsizing. I've been slowly replacing some of my things with mini versions that are more lightweight and portable. Frankly speaking, my shoulders and back are killing me these days after years of lugging around too much crap in my bag. I've either given away or sold my heavier bags. Space is a commodity in my flat. Anything that won't cover the entire surface of a table gets a thumbs up from me.

These are some of my favorite items at the moment. Frankly speaking, the 11 inch Macbook Air has been one of the best presents I've ever received from the hubby (he now understands that his wife prefers gadgets over jewelry). It's just a tad heavier than an iPad but packs in every feature that I need and more. I can fit it easily into my Louis Vuitton Speedy 35cm. It's so flat and ridiculously fast. Love. Love. Love.

I think my bluetooth Bose SoundLink Mini gets the most oohs and aahs from visitors. Many rushed out to get theirs afterwards. It's just like a baby. They're tiny but boy, can their voices travel..............

It took me years before I finally caved in and bought the Chanel caviar WOC (wallet on chain). *major purchases tend to make me break out in hives* It has saved my rubbish shoulders on numerous occasions, particularly when I'm away all day in London. Have you noticed that bags are getting more and more expensive and heavy? Physiotherapists around the world must be raking it in.

I've been on a lookout for a small coin pouch. Just enough for a few bankcards, coins and receipts. The Hermes Dogon coin pouch is just the right size but I've also got my eye on the Comme des Garcons embossed leather pouch which is finally back in stock.

The Olympus OMD E-M10 camera is a new purchase. I rarely carry my monstrous Canon camera out  anymore unless I'm on a photo shoot. The massive lens attracts waaaaay too much attention, particularly from men (shame to say that neither my friend nor I get a look). The darned thing weighs just over 1.5 kgs and the Olympus is just a third of that. It works just as well as its bigger sibling, if not better but it's far more portable and easier on my back too. What have you downsized lately?

New Year's Resolution vs The Reality

Friday, 9 January 2015
avocado on toast-3

1. Eat healthy! Lose weight! Get rid of that extra 10 pounds
Jan 1: Frantically searching for flax and chia seeds in shops for that extra omega 3 infusion in the hope of keeping dementia at bay and increasing my IQ by another 20 points. Never mind emotional intelligence. Just make me smarter. Period. Child and husband were force-fed vegetable and fruit smoothies while I recite the health benefits of each ingredient in their mud colored slush. I convince us that it tastes MARVELOUS, dah-lings! We're getting healthier.......and smarter.......

Jan 7: Lunch consists of rye bread with flax and chia seeds, topped with avocado and rocket leaves. Washed down with a glass of Coca Cola. Yes, the sugary drink. My rationale...... 1) I've been tooooooo healthy for a week. A WHOLE week! I deserve a treat.   2) Coca Cola cleans my gut as well as my toilet bowl.

2. Be fearless. Take more risks!
Jan 1: Scribbling down all the incredible projects I'll be doing. Journey into the depths of the most rural mountains of the world. Explore the universe. Give my blog a kick in the rear end with exciting posts that it desperately needs.

Jan 7: Prolonged brain fart. There's a deep butt shaped indentation on the sofa.

winter outfit
Barbour parka, Zara skinny jeans, Uniqlo sweater, Johnstons of Elgin cashmere scarf and New Balance 420 sneakers.

3. Be as stylish as those famous fashion bloggers and movie stars. 41 is the new 31!
Jan 1: Mentally pairing all the different pieces in my closet. Chanel! Isabel Marant! Rick Owens! Starts to hyperventilate thinking how cool my outfits are going to be in 2015. The streets of England will be my runway!

Jan 7: Day 1 of 2015 - black skinnies, black jumper, parka and sneakers. Day 2 of 2015 - black skinnies, striped jumper, parka and sneakers. Day 3 of 2015 - black skinnies, black jumper, parka and sneakers. Day 4 of 2015 - repeat of Day 1. Day 5 of 2015 - repeat of Day 2. Day 6 of 2015 - repeat of Day 3. Day 7 of 2015 - repeat of Day 1. Notice a very similar pattern forming??

4. Maintain a calm demeanor while attending to parental duties
Jan 1: Zen. Serenity. Peace, harmony and all that jazz. Speak to my child lovingly the way Mother Theresa did to the kids in the orphanage.

Jan 7: Apologize to numerous passers-by while Lil L and her friend run, skip and piggy back each other and narrowly missing innocent victims who had the misfortune of sharing the same sidewalk with us. The flat trembles while the child plays deaf as I channel Pavarotti's powerful vocal chords telling her for the millionth time to take a bath, clean her room, change her clothes, have dinner, GO TO SLEEP etc etc. MAJOR FAIL.

Forget about numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. I give up.

Étoile Isabel Marant S/S 15 Collection Review Part 1

Monday, 29 December 2014
Isabel Marant Cassy dress Isabel Marant Cassy dress 3

I haven't been THIS excited about an Étoile Isabel Marant collection in a long while (give or take a couple of years). I'm pleased to see that her magic touch is back with more exciting options available for her Étoile line. Her Spring/Summer 2015 clothes are playful, wearable, "fresh" without deviating from her effortless French boho chic style that she's known for. The new collection is interesting but the clothes are also pieces that I can see myself wearing for years to come.

First up, the Étoile Isabel Marant Cassy dress which I've been eyeing for a while. I was wearing a 36 in the first photo which is actually a size down from my usual 38. I look like I'm wearing a sack and have piled on an additional 10 pounds in a blink of an eye. I tried on a 34 (shown in the second photo) next and it was far more flattering. The material's made of 65% cotton and 35% viscose. Thankfully, it's fully lined in 100% cotton so it won't be so sheer when worn. The Étoile Isabel Marant Cassy dress costs £340 and is available in blue, white and black.

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10. I love the design but I would've preferred it to be made in 100% cotton or perhaps a linen/cotton blend. Personally I think it'll look better on someone taller (I'm 5'2 for reference) and not so petite. On the other hand, it's so pretty, flirty and eye-catching so I'm still very tempted to get it.

Isabel Marant Glenn jacket Isabel Marant Glenn jacket 2

The Étoile Isabel Marant Glenn jacket is a copy of the Julia from the current A/W 2014 collection. Thankfully, it's made of a cotton blend material which saved me from scratching unceasingly like a monkey covered in fleas. Oops. Sorry for the horrible visual.... that was what happened to me when I tried on the Julia jacket recently. I mean...the scratching bit. I'm not explaining myself very well, am I??!

What can I say about the Glenn jacket? LOOOOOOOOOVE it! The narrow sleeves made my arms look amazingly slender which in itself is quite a feat. I have a complex about my batwings so any jacket that gives them an optical illusion of model-like arms gets 10 extra points. The black exterior with striking white stripes keeps the jacket looking interesting instead of blending into the background. In fact, I can easily see the jacket paired with my usual ripped jeans or a properly tailored pants or even a dress. The Étoile Isabel Marant Glenn jacket costs £260 and is available in black and cream.

Verdict: 9 out of 10. Take your usual size. In my case, I wore a size 38 here. The price point of £260 is still easy to stomach. I love how it flatters my apple shaped torso even after the Christmas gorge fest.

Isabel Marant Gemma dress Isabel Marant Gemma dress 2

I'll be honest. I didn't think much of the Étoile Isabel Marant Gemma dress when I first saw its photo. To me, it looked like a plain black dress with pleats. I took a size down (size 36) and........this horribly grainy photo does NOT do it justice at all. It's beautifully constructed and gives me a bit of curves despite the fact that I was feeling rather bloated when this photo was taken.

The fabric is thick and solid which gets a nod from me because I'm always worried about pleats on a skirt during a particularly windy day. I'm not all that keen on doing the infamous Marilyn Monroe flying skirt act....... I'm small boned but in no way am I skinny. I love how flattering it looks on me even though I don't have a model-esque build. Étoile Isabel Marant Gemma dress costs £245 and is available in black and white.
Verdict: 9 out of 10. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! I can see how versatile the dress is. It rocks whether you dress it up or down. I don't normally wear dresses but I can totally see myself in this. Take a size down if you prefer a slimmer fit.

Isabel Marant Vicky 2 Isabel marant vicky

I tried on the Étoile Isabel Marant Vicky embroidered top with its matching skirt and.............. I managed to scare myself looking in the mirror. The skirt was so short that it barely covered my butt cheeks.  I may consider it if I were 20 years younger .........or maybe not, seeing that my conservative Asian parents would've skinned me alive. The longer Gilmen skirt is a safer bet. Still flirty and feminine without the risk of inadvertently flashing your tushie on the unsuspecting passerby. The Étoile Isabel Marant Vicky embroidered top costs £160 and is available here.

Verdict: 5 out of 10. Take your usual size. I don't dislike it but I don't love it either. There's nothing remarkable about the cut or design. In fact, I've seen a few similar peasant tops from High Street shops for a lot less.

Christmas bargains & Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014
BoxingDay copy

1.  Jerome Dreyfuss Momo pony skin bag £445 now £224.99
2.  Smythson Panama cardholder  £115 now £58.99
3.  Barbour olive faux fur hood waxed cotton parka  £299 now £175
4.  Something for the kids or yourself - Micro Scooter Sprite £79.95 now £71.95
5.  Valentino rock stud bracelet  £205 now £105
6.  Sophie Hulme monster card holder  £125 now £75
7.  Étoile Isabel Marant Joff jacket  £265 now £159
8.  For the little one - Petit Bateau cotton jersey dress  £36 now £21.60
9.  Prada tortoiseshell sunglasses  £230 now £138.99 
10. Kenwood kMix hand mixer (rated best hand mixer by independent consumer Which magazine) £65 now £40
11. Markus Lupfer Bonjour au Revoir jumper  £250 now £175
12. KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L stand mixer  £429 now £299.99

I'm sorry I've been MIA for the past week and a half. We're currently in Manchester spending Christmas with my brother and his family. I consider it a miracle that I even have a sibling in the U.K seeing how most of my family members are scattered all over the globe. This blog is just over 4.5 years old which is also another miracle in itself as things are becoming obsolete and redundant at the speed of light these days.

I'm rather amused but I'm not complaining about the sales now hitting BEFORE Boxing Day. I haven't gone crazy with shopping but I'm pleased I don't have to pay retail price and then wait nervously for the sale on the 26th. I've put together a collage of some pretty decent bargains here which I've also taken advantage of for myself and the family.

Shopping aside, I want to say what a privilege it has been to have conversed with some of you via email and social media. I've also have had the opportunity to meet a number of you face to face too. Thank you for your continual support and friendship. Here's wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a fresh beginning in 2015.

Spring/Summer 2015 Trend: Broderie Anglaise

Monday, 15 December 2014

No one does broderie anglaise tops better than Isabel Marant. I've worn mine so much over the past 3 years that they're falling apart having been washed more times than I can count. I love how she takes a fresh approach with embroidery and manages to churn out wearable but very appealing summer clothes every year. These days, Isabel Marant clothes are readily available online and in stores so I tend to wait till the sales season instead of paying full retail price. On the other hand, her broderie anglaise tops are almost always sold out within weeks of hitting the stores despite being relatively expensive.

This time, I'm beyond ecstatic that she's finally introduced them to her diffusion line and the prices are far more palatable to my taste. This crochet top costs £140. Another voile cotton blouse is very similar to the popular and costly Olympe (it had a price tag of £390) but thankfully, it's  £280 this time around. It's so difficult to choose as I want nearly every broderie anglaise top and dress from the spring/summer 2015 collection. Decisions......decisions.......


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