Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fog.... and Guilty Confessions

This morning my walk to work looked like this:

Sydney has been blanketed by a covering of fog/mist for the last two mornings. It's such an unusual occurrence. I don't think I've ever seen fog here before.
It was quite beautiful in a damp kind of way. Plays havoc with one's hair, though!

The next part of this post is a confession:

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. I have coveted and then succumbed to ordering items from J Crew. I had vowed to stay away for whole month, but have fallen off the wagon 2 days early.......
Mitigating circumstances exist, however. My crocheting superstar friend, C is in New York this week on a work trip. She offered to pick me up a few little bits and pieces from Sephora and J Crew, and it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. Prices are much lower in the US, plus she got the 30% off deal... so in reality I saved money (can you believe the utter nonsense I tell myself to justify my crapness?)

C got me the lovely necklace above, and this scarf below:

I love the floral punk print, but didn't think any of the clothes would suit me. The scarf will add a touch of brightness to my foggy days.
The necklace is just pure indulgence.... hope it suits me and that I like it!

The other confession is this skirt:

I've become a bit obsessed with it since it appeared on the site. C offered to get it for me too, but it wasn't reduced and it's too big of a risk to get it and then not be able to return it if it's a disappointment or doesn't fit.
Beach Chic Style has reviewed it on her blog and had a bit of a sizing issue - it fits very small, apparently. This could be a good thing for me, but it's risky to get it without the option of returning it.

Anyway, I took the plunge today and ordered it with the magalog15 code that gives international customers 20% off and free shipping and returns. It is back-ordered 'til 13th July, so patience is in order.
Many thanks must go to both C and Wendy, for offering to mule it for me from Canada. It seemed silly to put Wendy through the hassle for a $30 saving, not to mention the aforementioned risk of not being able to return it.

So endeth my confession.
Have you sinned recently? I hope so!!

Monday, May 27, 2013


M (oldest child) turned 12 yesterday. It seems amazing that 12 years can have passed so quickly. I remember her birth as if it happened just recently.

We celebrated with family members yesterday. M will celebrate with her friends next weekend, as this weekend she had other birthday parties to attend. May is a very birthday-heavy month!

Opening presents. 
M loves writing, so her main present was an old typewriter sourced on ebay:

The rest of the family was very excited too, including one of the cats, who is determined to sleep on it!

M also got money and books, and a small J Crew package, containing the top she's wearing, a hoodie and a letter 'M' pendant. She was thrilled with all her presents, but Super pleased with the money!

The cake. It was a raspberry cheesecake surrounded by 12 cupcakes. Made by my wonderful mother!

Making a wish...

The cats got a present too: A scratching post. They've wrecked the upholstery on most of our furniture, but hopefully they'll transfer their attention to the scratching post from now on. So far so good!

Did you have a good weekend?
Did cake feature as heavily as it did in our house?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cheap vs $teep

Today's post is sort of inspired by a great conversation that happened over on Wendy's blog, One can't get over the habit of being a little girl all at once.
The post was about 'Investment' dressing, which arguably doesn't really exist. I mean whoever heard of clothes increasing their value over time?

Perhaps a very special, one-off piece worn by a Very Famous Person (Lady Diana or the like) might go up in value, but the normal stuff worn by us normal folk is unlikely to increase its value, so the work 'investment' is a total misnomer.

However, clothes as a personal, non-monetary but self-satisfying form of investment are certainly possible, in my opinion.

The conversation over at Wendy's was very interesting, with lots of incredibly smart and insightful advice from many stylish women. I highly recommend you nip over and read it here.

Anyway, Wendy's post got me thinking about some of my so-called 'investment' purchases and whether they've served me well or not.

I've spent a lot of money on clothes in my life. In my teens and 20s I worked at Harvey Nichols in London to earn extra $$ as a student. Most of the money went on clothes (and travel) - It was hard to resist the call of the Sloane St boutiques and the generous staff discount at Harvey Nics.

Once I graduated, I moved to France, then Russia, then Japan, and had a very well-paying job that meant a lot more expensive clothes.... Yamamoto and Comme Des Garcons etc. This was the early to mid 90s and black, drapey grunge was my friend!
Then a stint in Italy (cue Prada and Miu Miu, lots of Helmut Lang, not to mention an obsession with Dries Van Noten)
I think you get the idea.

A lot of my old 'investment' purchases from those heady days of a high disposable income are safely stored in boxes and occasionally get an outing. Most of them are being kept for my daughter, in case she has an urge to wear a petrol blue jumpsuit by Katherine Hamnett from 1987 or a very grungy, deconstructed Comme des Garcons sweater from 1993. 
I'm not sure if this means that they were a good investment or not, but I've certainly banked a lot of memories in them!!

My current situation means a much lower disposable income. Kids, a mortgage and a lower-paying job means that the days of splurging with gay abandon are over. (Hmmm. I think my partner might disagree with me there.)
So, this week's outfit pics showcase some of my more recent 'investment' clothes, along with much cheaper additions that probably won't make it into my daughter's storage box. I'm a great believer in wearing my 'posh' clothes as much as possible. There's no point in saving them for best as I rarely go anywhere fancy. Hence I'm one of the most overdressed people on campus.

This leather jacket was very $$$ when I bought it in 2007/2008, but it's been worn to death. So much so that the lining will need replacing soon as it's ripped in the underarms. I shall get it replaced as I hope to continue wearing it for another couple of years at least.

The dress was also a bit of a splurge. APC is a French mid-range brand, but their prices are high for my budget these days. I bought this in 2009 after visiting the shop it was in 3 weeks in a row to try it on! it's a beautiful wool paisley pinafore and I still love it, so this too gets the seal of approval.

The wool knit under it was a cheapy chain store buy. It's already got holes so won't last beyond this year. Fail.
The bag is from 2010. I don't buy bags very often. It will be used for another year or 3. Tick!
The scarf is a cheap, viscose thing that has pilled a lot, but I like the size and colour, so it will be sticking around for a while. Tick!
I have 5 J Crew enamel bangles in different colours. I love them, but not sure how many years they'll get worn....

This outfit features the leather jacket from above.
The v-neck is a cheap-ish knit from Country Road - a sort of cheap, but-not-really chain store in Australia. It's a merino/silk blend, and so far I'm very pleased with it. no pilling, washes well and seems to have kept its shape thus far. It may well be kept for some years, in which case it will be a total winner.

The skirt is a total splurge Paul Smith Black Label tweed skirt that was bought for me as a gift by a very generous relative (he also bought me the Prada coat below).
It's totally amazing, lined in silk (Dani would be happy!), with fabulous, arse-enhancing tailoring that you can't really see due to my crappy iphone pics. Sorry.
This skirt is 3 years old and it gets a lot of wear. I really, really love it, and imagine I'll be wearing it for a good many years to come.... or perhaps I'm delusional and it will date.

The Fendi shoes are being worn as well. They pass the test as they were a BARGAIN! See this post for their story.

Finally, the biggest splurge item in the last 3 years, my Prada coat from Winter 2011. This was a gift from a very 'price insensitive' relative. I'm such a goose that it makes me smile whenever I wear it.
It's black wool, single-breasted with big silver buttons (as you can see, sort of).

When I wear it, it has the magical effect of making all the other items I'm wearing suddenly look much, much better. I also get stopped by people commenting on it. It is a bit theatrical, I guess.
I have no idea if this will be worn in 5 or 10 year's time, but I'm trying to wear it as much as possible now!

Do you have 'investment' pieces in your wardrobe? If so, do they get worn, or saved for best?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

J Crew CFDA collections - I'm gobsmacked......

....... By the prices.

J Crew's CFDA/Vogue collection has just been added to the website.
Here are some of the offerings:

I can just see this beach blanket getting lots of use - such great price that I may even get one for each of the family!! It's always practical to take a cashmere blanket to the beach. Great for wiping greasy fish & chip hands and for soaking up sunblock and ice cream spillage!!

The Cashmere knits are priced reasonably too. I can totally imagine paying almost $400 for a tank. 

Sarcasm aside, I really think they're taking the piss with these prices.

Is anything catching your eye from this collection?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I've won a Liebster Blog award!!!

I don't think I've ever won anything in my life, so imagine my surprise and excitement when Naomi, from CouldaShouldaWoulda contacted me to offer me the award! I'm honoured to be asked, especially as I'm in awe of her blog. Based in London, she writes about her travels, fashion, home decor and interiors (plus Mad Men!). If you haven't visited her blog, I highly recommend a look.

It's also cool to win something seeing as this blog has only been around for just over 3 months. I started it when I was recovering from ankle surgery, and couldn't walk or leave the house. I wasn't really sure whether or not I would continue for long, but I've enjoyed the contact and community that exists in the blogosphere and here I am, still posting blurry pictures of my outfits from my work loo and enjoying it.

Thanks so much to Naomi for the award, and thanks to all of you who visit and/or comment.

Here are the questions that Naomi passed to me:

1. If you could look like anyone who would it be?

Hmm. This is a difficult one. I'm going to cheat and choose two:

Uma Thurman

Adrian Brody
I'd love to spend a day or so as a man, and it may as well be as a man I find attractive.... He looks like some Modigliani painting with that wonderful nose.
Uma is just gorgeous - what an amazing face!

2. What character from a book do you most identify with?
Hmm. Hard one. I rarely find a character I can truly identify with, but perhaps Nora from 'A Doll's House' by Henrik Ibsen. She is strong and feisty. Another great character is Bathsheba Everdene, from Hardy's 'Far from the Madding Crowd'. Both of these characters are strong women living in a time when it wasn't common to show strength as a female. It's interesting that I've chosen books from the 19th Century written by men.
I actually found it very difficult to answer this question.

3. What is your favourite flower?

I love snowdrops. They don't grow here in Australia, but I loved spotting them in the woods in the UK every winter.

4. If you could meet one person from the past, who would it be?
Probably my Grandmothers. They died when I was very young, so I would love to meet them.

5. What would you talk about?
Family, history and their lives. They were both born in the early years of the 20th Century and lived through WW1 and WWII in the UK

6. Have you ever won anything? If you have, what was it?
This award!! And a meat tray at the local pub last year!

7. Which bag would you choose between a Chanel 2.55 bag or Hermes Kelly bag?
Hermes Kelly - not a fan of Chanel bags AT ALL. Can't bear all that quilting.

8. What one event will forever remain etched in your  memory?
The births of my children - the pain and joy and sorrow.

9. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one book, which one would it be?
At the moment, I'd take William Dalrymple's 'Return of a King' because I'd probably actually manage to concentrate and read it.

10. What made you finally write a blog?
Being confined to bed for almost 6 weeks and being obsessed with clothes and fashion in general. I saw all these lovely blogs of women in their clothes (not the pro bloggers, just normal people) and thought to myself 'I'd like to do that too!'. I had free time to do it for the first time in decades!

Friday, May 17, 2013

No J Crew shopping update

Some of you may have read my post 'Back to Work' at the beginning of May saying that I was going to try to go cold turkey on the JC purchasing for a whole month. Well, I am pleased to report that so far I have succeeded. Yes, not one J Crew purchase has passed my shopping cart into checkout!
This is in spite of J Crew sending me a discount code for 20% off and free shipping! Oh I am just a model of discipline and fiscal moderation....

One of my best friends, crocheter par excellence, c, is off on a business trip to New York next week, so my ban may have to go on a slight pause. It would be too sad to miss a potential bargain!
Having said that, there's very little I want or need on J Crew at the moment. It's getting colder here, so summer duds are of no use.

Today the J Crew Sterling skirt made its debut. I bought this in February on super sale for about $65, but it's been too warm to swear it until now.
For reference, this is a size 00 petite ( can't believe such a size exists) and it is a perfect fit on me. It's a touch smaller in the hips than the number 2 pencil skirts that I own, which is a good thing for me. I'm a bit lacking in the hips and bum region.

I'm wearing it with a black v neck sweater, leather jacket, Sportscraft scarf, J Crew bangle and .......  

Drum roll.......

Fendi shoes purchased during ankle-gate at 80% off.
I walked to and from work in running shoes, and the foot was a bit miffed at them, but no damage seems to have been done. It was thrilling to wear heels! (Albeit chunky, 3" ones)

It's been a foul, busy and long week at work. TFIF!!

Hope you are having a better week than me!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Expensive cosmetics. More purple and yellow.

Today I went to a special event at my local make-up emporium.... It's called Mecca Cosmetica, and for those of you in the UK, it's a bit like Space NK. I guess it's like a very small version of Sephora (for N American readers). If I wasn't typing this on an iPad I'd link to their website so that you can see the type of items they sell, but I'm afraid you'll have to google yourself as I can't link for now.

Anyway, I occasionally buy a posh lipstick or other make-up item from them, and also buy my perfumes there, as they stock Serge Lutens and other niche scents. I love the staff and it's always fun to pop in. Tonight, I went to an event with a 'famous' make-up artist from Hourglass (I love this brand of make-up very much). Of course, I'd never heard of this make-up artist, but I went along and had my face done. I should have prefaced this post by saying that I don't really wear much slap on a daily basis, usually just eyeliner and lipstick, with perhaps a bit of tinted moisturiser if I'm feeling blotchy. I despise heavy make-up on me, so was a touch worried about how it would turn out. I've had some pretty bad make-up done in the past!

Well, I am stunned by how good it looks. She used a bit of tinted moisturiser, some amazing 'magic' powder that makes one look airbrushed and just a bit of eyeshadow! I am thrilled with how natural it looks.... Sort of like a better groomed and softer focus me. 

Truly awful pic of me looking vaguely crazed, but you may be able to get the general idea. Not too heavy at all.

As always at these events, there's an understanding that you'll buy some of the products, but I was pleasantly surprised that the Hourglass women didn't try to sell me much at all. In fact she advised me to see how I felt later and come back another day if I liked the products. I'm such a soft target, though, that I ended up buying some magic powder and a lipstick. The powder is pretty fab... It's called Ambient light in shade 'dim' and it has the effect of making one look as if one is hanging around in dim candlelight. Great for blurring the wrinkles!

All of this did get me thinking about how much $$ it can cost to buy all the stuff that one supposedly 'needs' to look groomed these days. Some other customers at the event were spending a LOT of dosh. I'm a bit of an old cynic about all the amazing claims that are made about cosmetics, and I really don't think I could fathom spending $100+ on face cream that i doubt will make any difference to my skin. However, I'm a total sucker for a new lipstick (or magic powder!!)

How about you? Are you minimal or maximal with beauty spending?

And just in case you were missing my crappy loo shots, here are some pics of this week's outfits so far:

Purple J Crew dress, yellow Gorman coat, Jenny Kee scarf, black suede Daniele Arancani boots, yellow J Crew bangle. I am loving yellow at the moment.

Black Country Road knit, J Crew pixelated houndstooth skirt, pink scarf, Lover leather jacket.

In other very exciting news, I went back to my regular yoga class last night after a 12 week absence due to ankle surgery. It's the longest I've been absent since I started yoga 14 years ago. Even after childbirth I only missed 10 days!!
It was great to be back, and I was amazed at how much I could do, considering the trauma my poor ankle has been through. It was bloody hard, though. Humbling to realise how quickly the body loses muscles, but very inspiring to see how quickly it can come back, too.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

It was a beautiful day here. Perfect weather, family and friends over and lovely home made gifts and cards from the children.

A framed chicken painting from D, aged 8. He loves chickens a lot and wants to be a chicken farmer when he grows up.

A beautiful card from M, aged 11. She loves cats and kiwis.

After a massive lunch, we went out for a walk in the 'hood

And took in some high culture:

Hope you had a great day, whether or not you're a mother!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good news and new running shoes!

Today I had my 3 month post-surgery check up with the orthopaedic surgeon. Apart from having to wait for hours to see him it was a great appointment!
He was amazed at my recovery and said he had never seen anyone recover as quickly and completely in his whole career! Yay! The ankle is doing very well, and the newly constructed foot too! 

I'm able to go back to my regular yoga practice and pretty much resume my 'normal' activities. The only things I'm not allowed to do is run or jump until August. I can live with that!
Also, no long sandy beach walks. Boo!
Still. I've come this far and I'm very, very patient.

Another plus is that I'm allowed to wear heels again if I want, but he advised me to ease back slowly. Seeing as I rarely wear proper heels anyway, this won't be an issue. He did recommend wearing running shoes for long walks, and, as I walk around 7-8km on an average day, I decided to celebrate by buying myself some new and very bright Nike Gykasous. Here they are in all their glory!
They will make a change from the daggy white ones!

On my way home I stopped off at the DVF shop to see what delights they had in store. This caught my eye. It's a silk tunic-y thing with pearl studs all over it. Very bling and luxe. Silk crepe lined in silk. The price was way out of my league ($1075), but I did enjoy trying it on. If I ever find a money tree it shall be mine....

I also had a play with the bags in the Coach store. This one is very practical and turns into a clutch too. 
As I was carrying my old Mulberry Bayswater, which weighs about 7000kg, I was seduced by its lightness and simplicity. Yes, it came home with me too....

 All-in-all a good day. This evening I'm going to celebrate with lots of wine and friends! 

Happy Friday and weekend

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yellow and Purple

Yes, more pics of my outfits in my work loo! This week I'm on a bit of a yellow and purple kick. Mornings are getting colder in Sydney so yesterday I wore a coat.

This particular coat is s new purchase from a local Melbourne label called 'Gorman'. I have a couple of other Gorman pieces and I really love Lisa Gorman's use of colour and natural fibres. The prices are mid-range: $350 or so for a coat, $150 or so for a knit. This coat is a lightweight wool and perfect for Sydney winters.

I'm wearing it here with a bright blue Equipment silk shirt, Jenny Kee scarf, Acne black jeans and pistol boots. Wendy, if you're reading, I managed to get a stain on the silk shirt before I even left the house!!

Today's outfit featured a purple J Crew schoolboy blazer, navy J Crew cotton sweater, grey Isabel Marant cords, black Acnd Pistol boots and yet another Jenny Kee scarf. My hair is finally long enough to tie back!! Hurrah!! I love my hair in a short bob, but the maintenance is getting too much. I don't wash it often, only once a fortnight or so, but when I do, it's a total faff drying it then torturing it into submission with a GBH iron.
So, longer means less faffage and better condition hair, I hope!

Do you torture your hair, or are you a 
more laissez-faire person with regards to coiffage?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

An embarrassment of boots

The sandals have been almost packed away 'til Spring and it's time to assess my boots for the season ahead. I got most of them out and am a bit shocked how many there are....

From left to right:
Pied à Terre (1988)!!!, Beau Coops (2009), Isabel Marant (2008), Acne (2009), Acne (2011), Acne (2012), Ann Demeulemeester (2006), Patrick Cox (1992), Costume National (1994)

I love ankle boots, and have had a bit of a fetish for them since the late 80s. The Isabel Marant ones are in a shocking state, but I can't quite bring myself to throw them out yet. The Pied à Terre ones are too narrow for me these days, but I've promised them to M, who will probably fit into them next year. She can wear them for dressing up!

I love Acne Pistols too, although they are a bit too ubiquitous these days. I bought
Acne Free boots last year in Berlin, and these are my favourites at the moment. I love their slightly pointy toes and Chelsea boot styling.

In comparison, I have relatively fewer high boots. These are my new suede Daniele Arancani boots bought for a bargain price on Shoescribe. Next to them are old Marc Jacobs boots from 2000! I wore these when pregnant with my first child! They're still going strong, although a bit ratty.
The floppy ones at the end are old Costume National from about 1999. I also have some Robert Clegeries, but they are in storage.

These are my favourite knee high boots. They're Dries Van Noten from about 2003/2004 I think. They're very 70s, with a perfect 7cm heel and lovely tan leather. I will be very sad when these die!

An outfit: black jacket from an Op shop (thrift shop), J Crew Tippi sweater, black acne jeans, black acne boots.

Are you an ankle boot lover or do you prefer a higher style?

Hope you're having a great weekend. My J Crew shopping moratorium is going well so far.