Monday, January 27, 2014

Obsessed: Seating by the window

In view of buying a place this year; I start to conjure up ideas on decor.
Whatever, however the shape or size, I have an urgent need to set up my own library.
So dire is my need to set this personal space that it has become an obsession.
Past attempts to build one pretty much thwarted since I moved a few times. Thought I should start it proper when I settle down - somewhere

Important element of the design is; the library has to be private, with seating next to the window.
Preferably upstairs, where I can look out discretely for who is coming and going.

Otherwise, downstairs is fine too; besides the kitchen (so I can nip in for cuppa or lemonade); with a large window facing the back of the house (concrete flooring - no grass, with a set of white wrought iron tables and chairs with some potted plants; with my dog(s) running about) so I can have absolute privacy.

Found only one photo online for visual ideas; will keep hunting. If you find some, let me know. Thanks.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hair cropped boy-short! - the gamine pixie is back on! Thanks to Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables!

She doesn't look too sure at first
Not all women are blessed with a face that suits long hair; and not all women enjoy having long hair. Lots kept their tresses long to keep interests of men.
Keeping her chin up, looking cute in a dress 
Unfortunately I am neither of the above.
Perhaps because I look tired with long hair, or that my hair follicles doesn't seem to hold on to my hair long enough for me to keep them beyond my shoulder. Most importantly, I don't like it and it does not suit me and my lifestyle.
Grown out slightly, very chic

I am fortunate that my husband likes me for who I am (mind you I care enough not to get overweight, and tries my darnest to dress appropriately most of the time). When I asked him, out of curiousity whether he prefer me keeping my hair long; he would say,'I married you when you had short hair, why would I want you different? I like you just the way you are, it matters more that you are happy with how you look and feel.' And I know he is right.
Oh yes Anne, you've got much to smile about

I never liked Anne Hathaway, to be honest.
I thought she played her cards to be in the favour of her audience. I thought she lacked character. Her oversized eyes and lips seems to spell innocence, and that is all there is; no complexity no depth.
One has to literally drag me outta house to watch her movie; and wrestle for the remote whenever one of her movies aired on tv. Then there comes Les Miserables movie.
I read that she made herself ill, putting herself through a tough diet and having her hair cut off for the role of Fantine; it is really impressive and her performance touched me deeply emotionally. I watched the musical twice, to finally see the suffering and Fantine up close truly stunned me. For that time I was in the seat I forgot I was watching Anne. It was Fantine.
On cover of Bazaar Feb 2013 issue
Anne was featured on multiple covers and media and I find myself poring over every photo and news. I don't just like Anne in her new look; I LOVE it.

She look younger; brave; fresh and even more beautiful than I remember seeing her on media.Her new crop shows off her large eyes, lips and porcelain skin to perfection.
She looks like she is no longer trying (hard to win her audience over) with looks, she has what it takes to be a respected actress.

In my humble opinion, I think long hair is pretty but its the short hair that reveals the woman; physically the neck and shoulders are exposed, the brows her eyes her lips come into attention. Long hair seduces with the softness and lures the men to the women; with short hair one discovers the woman within if you dare come forth to unveil it. Every short hair woman is a challenge.
And it takes a man with character, real substance to appreciate it; one who does not judge or be seduced superficially. For the woman, ask herself 'Are you afraid that you may be less popular now that you have nothing to twirl while trying to get the attention of the bloke in the bar?';  'Do you think you look less feiminine in a dress?'. In a word, are you Confident enough to carry it off?

Which is perhaps why Anne trembled when she was getting her hair cut for the role.
But once it was done, she said 'I don't think about the hair much now; I always loved being a low-maintenance girl.'
And so do I, Anne.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than getting out of the shower, towel dry my hair; slather cream all over my body and find my hair already dry by the time I dress and enjoy a cup of tea before bed; with my fella appreciating how refresh I look and how nice I smell before cuddling up to sleep.
Love your wedding picture too Anne, you were beaming. You are one truly modern bride with the Cropped hair and lace head-dress. Looking forward to seeing more of you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Style Obsession - Twiggy, Jean & Cary

Tragic Jean Seberg. 
Ask anyone who knows me for the last 40 decades, they would know I long been a fan of the short cropped hair cut.

Cary Mulligan
Well the fact that I look better with short cuts. Trust me, I had it long I have it medium; both aged me and I feel like crap. I must say I am pro-minimal maintenace. I hate fuss. Plus, girls with long hair all look just about the same anyway! Short hair says spunk, character, guts and individualism!

Having to rub hair care products in to maintain shine and tie hair up in the morning for work is hell for me. So it is no surprise I had it all cut off (years of keeping it to its length, snipped of in a minute. Woohoo!)

There is also the other reason why I favour a short cut, how it makes me feel every time I had my hair cropped. I feel lighter, younger, happier and overall, in control.

Since moving to England I have yet to find a hair stylist who is able to do what my friend cum hair stylist friend in Singapore (Anne from J Salon, Far East Plaza) can do. I cannot wait to go back to Singapore to have her do her magic and indulge in our usual girly banter about our husbands.
Really love Twiggy's look back then - individual and unique with a touch of cheekiness.

Anne knows my love for the short, heavily cropped look, with long fringe and a bulky crown. I showed her pictures of Twiggy and Jean Seberg for inspiration at the first visit, what follows was years of friendship between us; and never need me to tell her what to do. I think it is the hair stylist's job to understand our face shapes, and to adapt our hair cut to our lifestyles, hair type and head shape. And Anne covers all those areas in wonderful ways. Every visit all I do was I sit comfy and let her do whatever she wants. An hour later I would walk out, as if on air; feeling a million dollars, and strangely MORE powerful.

I went to David Youll in Paignton for my hair cuts, upon recommendation from locals. Service is not cheap, products they use are good but what bothers me is how little my stylist contribute to my hair cut. Which I find rather unnerving and annoying at the same time. Joules, my hair stylist; she is nice enough in a saccharine way. After several visits, I find she has little or not knowledge of the shape of my head (which is flat at the back); I had to constantly remind her to texture my hair at the crown. Even having a bob I need to tell her how I want it (angled, not a bowl shape).

Just couple of days ago I switched to another salon located near the beach when I need a trim.
The bloke is Ian from Scalps Salon. Lots of chit chat and laughter, and he really textured my hair in after listening to my needs. And he even did a undercut, which is cropped at the back, with layers overlapping slightly (with wax, this helps to bulk up and look fuller on the crown). It is much shorter visually, which disappointed me as I did walk in with a shaped bob by Joules. With the textures, the bob looks like I had a short boyish cut; but Ian promised the shape of the bob is still there. So I reckon after couple of weeks it will grow out nicely, bob shaped with lots texture. Fingers crossed. But Ian has shown more initiative and understanding than Joules, so I am quite happy to go back to him when the back needs cropping in again.

No one should underestimate the value of a good hair cut. If you find a stylist who makes you feel as good as how I felt leaving the salon, stick to him/her. Saves you having to give instructions or explain how you want your look to be (ridiculous when we should be advised how we should have our hair done to look our best. They are supposed to be the professionals for crying out loud) and it is the best therapy without surgery.
So let's see in a couple of weeks how things grow out.

For now, enjoy the collection of pictures I used as inspiration for my hair.
There is Twiggy and Cary Mulligan; then there is the late Jean Seberg.
Jean, an American actress; starred in 37 films in Hollywood and in France, including Breathless (1960), the musical Paint Your Wagon (1969) and the disaster film Airport (1970).

In August 1979, she went missing and was found dead eleven days later in the back seat of her car, which was parked close to her Paris apartment in the 16th arrondissement. The police report stated that she had taken a massive overdose of barbiturates and alcohol (8g per liter). A suicide note ("Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves.") was found in her hand, and "probable suicide" was ultimately ruled the official cause of death by the French coroner. However, it is often questioned how she could have operated a car with that amount of alcohol in her body, and without the corrective lenses she needed for driving. One year later, her former husband Romain Gary committed suicide.
Tragic it is. One wonders how she would look now if she would have lived. Looking at how Twiggy has grown in her years gracefully, bet Jean would have too. RIP.

Simplify - don't multiply

Remember those days when we have little and we were happy?
Remember those days when we did not have a mobile phone, those days we don't have emails to check anyway so there is no need to keep checking our inbox on the phones or text someone when we actually turn up at their doors to visit?
People stop sending cards, there is online e-cards or emails. People hardly call each other anymore because they can send a message through social medias.
I think you get where I am heading.

Mind you I ask myself those questions and I find myself missing those little personal things we used to do for our friends and family, don't you? Handwritten cards or surprise visits, a long chat over the phone catching up on things you missed...Ironically, we log on facebook or other social medias to get in touch with each other but actually, we are getting more out of touch - physcially and emotionally.

I thought to myself - I need to simplify; get back to the basics.
Don't get me wrong, I love that my smartphone tells me when I have a new email in my inbox and I can chat on my messenger to a friend who is 12,000miles away. I am thankful for the fact that I can do those things while on the go. But I always make it a point to send a handwritten card or a gift (that is related to a person's taste, thank you. Point is some people buys presents because the occasion calls for one, not because they want to get the person a gift. Often they just pick whatever I can find at a price they are happy to pay. And the person on the receiving end, especially someone like myself, KNOWS when it is a social gesture. So even gifts is getting less personal. OMG) to my friends to let them know they are thought of and loved.
But there are parts of life that needs to be away from your gadgets.

When you are home after work, switch the phone off and get talking with your partner is a great start.
I get uber annoyed when I ask my husband how his days was, and it takes him a good 2 minutes before he answers my question; because he was busy checking his Twitter, blogger or facebook. There were occasions I really want to fling a wok over or take his phone and chuck it out of the window. Lucky for him I never set my thoughts in motion or he would have to a new phone every other day!

My observation soon move to things around me. Gadgets that help to make chores easier, I appreciate. Especially the dishwasher. I hate scrubbing pots and pans, especially if I made a thick gravy or fry things up. Of course, the washing machine. I could never wash my laundry by hand. For those two, I am thankful.
I know friends who are glad with their blender or that thing that makes dough; no more mess and less kneading during baking and getting a glass of fruit juice is a breeze. Of course there is the fridge and the can opener...

Moving on - Clothes, Shoes, Bags, Jewellery, Makeup and Accessories.
Now you and I know, there are definitely things we bought ourselves that we hardly use; but need to have it just because. And what got us to accumulate so much?
Remember how our mothers and grandmothers look so pretty and put together in the photos?
They don't have 10 handbags and 50 pairs of shoes and wardrobe in every possible colour.
And I don't remember any story from my elders about their mothers ever complaining of how little things they have got. Back then, it was about bringing up their children, making sure their husbands' needs were taken care of and friends who hang out together; doing baking, knitting over a cup of tea.
We may have 1,001 things now but I feel we severely lack of something we can all do with - quality of life. Why else would we constantly feel the need to buy new things to fill the house? Either you are bored like me, or it's just us lacking real friends or neighbours. How sad is that?

I know some people measure their quality of life with the number of holidays they go for, the brand names that adorn their homes, the car they drive and the post code of their address.
I measure quality of life in terms of happiness, contentment and peace.
These are not feelings that we get from acquiring the new IT bag or the latest mobile phone. Those feelings come from deep in side us, when we are happy with what we have got; no regards to what we have got.

Children does not care whether the cookie they have are from ASDA or from Harrods. Remember how happy we were with a toilet roll and couple of markers, we made pen holders and walkie-talkies; and tire ourselves out chasing each other playing hide and seek. We never felt like we are done injustice because we need the latest toys. In fact, we ask for nothing else but to see our friends in school. I remember how me and my schoolmates come up with games with what we got from where we were; it could have been a playground, a garden or the drain; we always managed to find something to do.

Look at the kids now. Media advertise all sorts of toys and games, and the costs are not at the level many can afford. And kids, because they are not playing outside physically, parents babysit their kids with computer and PS3. I know parents who give their children blackberry phones just so they can call them. Just why would any child be calling their parents or vice versa when the child is in school?
Children compare their mobiles to see who has got the better phones, causing peer pressure issues.
The issues goes on and on and I know you know where it is getting.

Remove all these things now, there are the good useful things that can improve the quality of life; making things easier and more productive that even I have to admit I cannot do without.
THEN, there are things we should be wise with.

Rise above the hype that is surrounding us.
Ask ourselves, when faced with temptation to get something that we don't need or already have; do I need a new one? Do I need this brand name to feel that I am successful?

A wise woman told me, "Happiness and Contentment comes from within, if you can buy those things, they are not real." I find the statement true, and it is stuck in my head all these years. I am none the wiser but I have hers words in me to remind me to come down to ground zero when I get carried away.

There are so many false joy around us; if I get that IT bag I will be the happiest woman on earth and ask for nothing else!" a friend once said to me. She is still pursuing every IT bag that arrives in the shops. Her wealthy husband left and she is scaring many suitors. She is well aware of the gravity of her problem, which is costing her plenty in terms of finances.

Through her I saw my own mistakes with my retail habits, though a mile away from hers; I do have wastage due to bad self image. And that is something I need to work on and which I am doing. I can see myself on a healthy route and it is something I planned to keep at. As for my IT bag-mad friend, she heard all she need to hear from me and her financial advisor; in time I hope she can stop and look at the things she acquired to fill the emptiness in her life and realise that those voids can only be filled by herself. I promised to give her support and would see her through, when she is ready to confront her demons.

As for me, I need to get out more and meet people. I spend much of my waking hours in the house with my 3 furry kids and husband. With my jewellery business about to go on a relaunch in 2012, I want all parts of my life to be in place.

As a footnote, I am going to bring in something my grannie told me when I was a child: If you think you have little, there are people who has even less. If you think you have a lot, there are people who have more. Ultimate bliss comes from the fact that you know you have Enough.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Capsule Wardrobe - do you believe in it?

Well, I do.
While I was busy packing my things into boxes to move to our new place; I realise I have many of the same item! I am sure you too might have accumulated, without you realising, the same item in same colour, same size; just different labels. Not only is that crazy, I find it outright wasteful!
So why do we do it?

I think most women spend because the fashion magazines keep telling us what we need to be on trend this season. For one who don't follow trends, I know I shop because I am bored.

For the longest time we hear people talking about an capsule wardrobe; meaning to have a few key pieces and working around just them. If we don't keep up with what is new in the shops, or to lust after the new IT items in the shops; an capsule wardrobe IS possible!

Don't you get annoyed sometimes when you are about to dress and get out quick, but can never find anything to wear because your closet is crammed full of things?
Just how could it be possible that we cannot get dressed when we got so much things?
Well, there are things that doesn't fit; then there are things you no longer look good in or things you bought at the spur of the moment. We need to clear those things out, keep those things that still works and an wardrobe that lasts.

The shops are going to hate me for writing this but we need to shop less by shopping smart.
By shopping smart, we need to know our body type and be realistic about what suits us.

I am just like any other woman out there, who is always unsure what body type I am, or what exact size I wear (some shop cut things smaller, for eg H&M; and some bigger, for eg Next).; and I constantly struggle to keep my weight at the ideal number.
We need to remember; our weight our lifestyle our finances our habits; are all within our control!
I can never emphasise how important it is to know our body. Because when we have that knowledge, armed with a organised wardrobe; dressing up for any occasion at any time of the day is no longer an issue because we know exactly what we have and we can put thing together without fuss.
We will also be spending less on things that we already have, cultivating a healthy habit which ultimately will benefit our lives - financially and emotionally.
Imagine the joy!

I am starting a thorough cull; not just on the things I own, but habits!
Well in the new year, I have my jewellery business (which reminds me that I need to start a blog on that) to keep me busy; I will be far from boredom. So no more shopping for excess! Yay!

Before the mayhem starts, I decided the best way is to do an wardrobe archive.
I pick out the things I use often, knowing well that I will never part with.
I started out on my precious Louis Vuitton scarves; then the 3 metallic tops.
It is terrifying just thinking of going through my jeans and t-shirts; for the love of God I have like 80!
Then there are the over 30 pairs of shoes! But it's got to be done!

The charity shops are gonna love me this Christmas.

Friday, December 9, 2011

oh for the love of (Isabel Marant) Sneaker Wedge boots...

Yes, I was caught by the frenzy of the hi top sneaker wedge by Isabel Marant.

Let's be honest, after strutting around all day in stiletto heels we don't remember they make our legs look long and sexy; all you want to do is to kick them off every chance you can when no one is looking.
I don't remember anyone not liking the comfort of a sneaker.
But I got chunky calves and though standing at 1.78m, somehow I feel that the flat lace ups makes me look short. Short and stubby, not a good look.

I first saw the sneaker wedge by Isabel Marant on Selfridges site, (ouch!) price - £430.
If you read my earlier blogs you may already get an idea that I am not a brand snob.
I embrace new innovative ideas but never see the point of doshing extra for designer item.

Saying that, I do own a Birkin; and I would trade my life for it if I get mugged (having to starve for months after paying for it haunts me forever. Thereforth I swear I would never put myself through that sort of agony. I also avoid Hermes everytime I pass the boutique.)

I am definitely a Isabel Marant sort of woman.
I have been wearing slim cropped pants, stripe jumpers, loose fit boyish jackets with a touch of quirk (usually accessories, shoes or bag, never on the body) long before I heard of the designer. You can easily pull things from my wardrobe and put together an outfit and end up with similar looking outfits seen on her Fall 2011.

Ash Wedge Sneaker
I think after years of shopping we would end up with a capsule wardrobe of things that we cannot do without. And perhaps I.M turned up at the right time and showed the world what every woman needs (which I happen to own and wearing already), so the wave of interest. I don't think I count as one of her fans, but I do take an interest in her work whenever it is featured in magazines or when I am roaming the shops. 

There is one I,M that I did have a crush on - as mentioned in the title - The Sneaker Wedge.
Since it was launched it was so successful, I.M had it done in other colours.
At £430 a pair from Selfridges, I can see my hubkins having a fit if I ever get one.
Lucky for him, I did not.
The price tag is an issue for one, the other is that they are not available in my size.
I have been longing for a hi top sneaker, and if I.M can start the trend of slipping a hidden 2" wedge in there, someone would have done something similar. With that thought I went on a hunt.

Topshop did some at £85 a pair.
Topshop Wedge Trainer
Then of course, there are those from Ash, which cost £199 a pair.
But the problem with the shoes from both retailers is that the wedge heel are too obvious.
The point is an HIDDEN wedge.
So the hunt continues.

Went on ASOS and saw Aldo Netz.
The colour: Tan. Same hi top. In suede. And the all important wedge! £80!
I almost jumped out of my seat in joy. 
Then I thought, perhaps there is a bargain to be found for Aldo.
And guess what, I am right!
On Aldo website, they are on sale at £38.26!
Of course I hit BUY. The shoes arrived in less than a week and I have been wearing them ever since.
Not only are they comfortable, they are gorgeous to look at.
So go grab yours now while the sale is still on!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Possibly the easiest to follow make up demo for Chinese Women

This is the 2nd video from the same make up artist, but this one is a more dramatic look; suitable for perhaps a evening do. Never knew it is this easy to achieve the look.
Love it. Enjoy.