Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wardrobe post: Yeojin Bae Knit Dress and Tartan Jacket

I don't do outfit posts very frequently. I lack the motivation to dress up, make sure my hair and makeup look half-decent and then stand in front of a tripod and run back and forth half-a-dozen times until I get a good shot.

I have endless respect for the countless bloggers out there who regularly do wardrobe or style posts. Some of my favourites are listed below:

Lady Melbourne
Where Did U Get That?
4th and Bleeker
Cupcakes and Cashmere
Le Luca
Smaggle Style

Each of varying style and professionalism, these blogs make me smile and provided me with enough inspiration to give the outfit post another shot.

In a previous post, I wrote about a jacket that I practiced some DIY on recently.

I often wear it with my grey Ellery dress, but last weekend I teamed it up with my Yeojin Bae knit dress and Bianca Buccheri wedge booties. Oh-so-comfortable, and able to take me from work to dinner in a flash.















Maybe next time I'll work on the location.


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Monday, June 28, 2010

How to: De-bling your jacket

A few weeks back I picked up a cute tartan jacket at Bolleball in the city. Stocked chock-a-bloc with cheap Asian-import labels such as Sunny Girl, this is a shop for those who want to stay on trend but don't mind if their purchases don't outlast the season.

My wardrobe is a complete mix of price points, local and international purchases, vintage one-offs and high street items. I don't think many people can afford to shop 100% designer, even if they wanted too. My philosophy is to mix it up; no-one can really guess the provenance of each item anyway and you know it will be your individual style.

But basement bargains sometimes need a little modification before you actually want to wear them, and this jacket was a case in point. Liberally decorated with diamante-encrusted zips, I figured this was the kind of DIY I could handle. (As against putting shelves up with Miles the other weekend - another story altogether.)

I hunted down some gold-plated craft accessories at Lincraft (no-idea what they were really intended for), and got to work with my old jewellery pliers.













So, the new zips are still slightly kookie - in various shapes such as envelopes (or are they miniature handbags?) mini heart-shaped lockets and keys, but they are small enough to escape attention, and definitely less *bling* than the original diamantes. 

Mission accomplished.

Bolleball
183 Elizabeth St
Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9670 1519

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Singapore Part III: Raffles Hotel

After a long day pounding the marble floors of Orchard Road's vast shopping malls, our second evening in Singapore started out at Raffles Hotel. Established in 1887, Raffles has housed many eminent guests over the years, including Queen Elizabeth II, Rudyard Kipling and Charlie Chaplin.



We visited the touristy yet undeniably atmospheric Long Bar, birthplace of the Singapore Sling.



The Long Bar serves bowls of peanuts at every table. After you have broken open the shell and picked out the nut inside, an odd tradition kicks in: patrons cast their empty shells onto the tiled floor, which progressively fills up with drifts of dusty, empty peanut shells. Gimmicky, but fun.





The hotel was built at the height of colonialism, and has been lovingly maintained.






We left via the grand marble staircase and caught a taxi to Robertson Pier for dinner at Brussels Sprouts, which claims to offer "the best Belgian Beers and Mussels in town". Despite this strange claim, the Mussels Mariniere, with celery, onion, cream and butter in a white wine sauce, were admittedly quite tasty. I didn't try the Belgian beer.

We then walked over to the touristy Clarke Quay for drinks and a sample of Singaporean nightlife. Taking photos somehow slipped my mind sometime halfway through the bottle of wine at dinner, so you'll have to believe me when I say that we finished up at a respectable hour and were soon in bed getting our beauty sleep. Really.


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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Singapore Part II: Retail trends predicted

I spent most of my time in Singapore inside shopping malls. Brightly-lit, clean, marbled shopping malls inhabited by international retailers. Not my usual overseas shopping style, where I usually try and seek out boutiques that stock local designers.

However, one benefit of spending hours inside retailers with head offices in London, New York or Madrid is that I got a taste of the season ahead.

Due to it's climate, Singapore is forced to focus primarily on spring/summer fashion, and at the moment stores are ranging stock that won't hit Australia for another couple of months.


I managed to drop into TopShop, Zara and Uniqlo in between work commitments, and noticed the following trends which I suspect will play out strongly over the coming months:

Florals
Wedge-heels
Platforms
Harem pants
Tavi-inspired bows
Paisleys
Pastels
Cullots
Blazers (lots of blazers!)
Cuffed wrists, worn pushed up the arm
Playsuits

Clogs
Patterned leggings



Kate Moss for TopShop

Awash with pastels

Tavi, anyone?

What do you think, can you see yourself donning a playsuit this summer? My little sister could get away with it, but she's 16. Not sure if I will.

Newfound discovery: Massimo Dutti. Fabulous Spanish brand, not disimilar to Country Road, but with more of a focus on dresses rather than your wardrobe basics and, of course, a great range of men's shoes. (Spanish men do shoes so well.)

So what did I buy?

Well, this pair of cream brogues from TopShop
A navy blazer from Zara
An inky-blue draped shift dress from Massimo Dutti
Some leggings from Uniqlo

And a purple ToyWatch.


All in between lots of very important meetings, of course.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday edginess

I often get kind of edgy on a Sunday if I haven’t done anything “productive” yet that weekend. Although I’m not sure productive is the right word. It’s hard to define exactly what my inner psyche is after sometimes: I can have done the washing, cooked a meal, been to the supermarket, exercised and been out drinking with friends on the Friday or the Saturday, yet still feel somehow incomplete when Sunday turns up.

I think it partly comes from having now lived in the same city for eight years. I need a change. This is the longest I’ve ever been settled in one place.

One thing that does tend to scratch my Sunday itch is writing. But I have an aversion to sitting on my computer all day, in our cramped little study with my back to the window.

So instead, today I left the house, laptop in tow, and have settled myself at Journal on Flinders Lane.


I’ve got some excellent people watching at my disposal, and I can tap away without looking out of place. Sadly, today there isn’t any wireless because the City Library is closed for the Queens Birthday. But it’s the kind of place that inspires blogging: there are Apple laptops aplenty, arty students with big glasses drinking their coffees, a girl reading Tolstoy and another penning her thoughts in a leather-bound journal.


I’ve downed a pot of tea and am feeling content with the world. Time to head home, go for a run, and cook a roast dinner. Maybe then I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something tangible...?!


Journal
Shop 1
235 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
ph: 9650 4399

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Singapore Part I: Newton Circus

Singapore isn't often seen to hold the same exotic excitement as the other Asian capitals. Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok and Beijing promise visitors the allure of the orient; Singapore is known for its cleanliness, polite citizens and ban on the importation, sale and consumption of chewing gum (which was partly lifted in 2004).

Nevertheless, it was with great excitement that I learned I'd be visiting the city-state for work. My present employer places great value on keeping in touch with market trends, and despite Singapore's role as the "well-behaved cousin" of the Asian cities, it's still considered a retail hub, with flagship stores showcasing experimental concepts and cutting-edge ideas.

We flew over on Singapore Airline's new A380, seen here through the rain at Melbourne international airport.


Singapore Airlines was a pleasure to fly with: tasty food, complimentary mouthwash and toothbrush in the bathrooms, hot towels on takeoff and landing and paintings on the cabin walls. The icing on the cake was the personalised entertainment system, loaded with over 100 movies, TV shows, music albums and games.


On our first night I'd organised to meet up with a friend who has spent the last two years living in Singapore. She took us to Newton Circus to sample the local hawker food.


We ate spicy morning glory (green beans), barbequed chicken wings, Singaporean speciality fried carrot cake (which, strangely, doesn't have any carrot flavour at all), roti prata (Indian pancake tossed and fried, eaten with curry), fried calamari and drank sugarcane juice with lime. The seafood was relatively pricy, but looked incredible at each of the stalls.


As did the sugarcanes.


And I'm still unsure where the carrot cake name comes from.


After that we crawled back to the hotel, ready to reconvene in the morning and start our retail tour of the capital. More to come!


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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Singapore, here I come!


Tomorrow morning I'm getting on an A380 and flying direct to Changi Airport in Singapore.

I'm going on business, as part of a market visit to see what trends are prevalent in retail at the moment.

Hopefully I'll be able to report back with a few interesting observations from what will surely be an exhausting, whirlwind tour of the major shopping precincts in Singapore!

We've also booked dinner at this place, which looks really neat.

See you after the long weekend!

[Image courtesy of williamcho]

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Recipe: Easy mushroom dinner

Step 1: Come home hungry after gossiping with your mother for the last hour on the phone.

Step 2: Dig out two or three large swiss mushrooms from the vegetable cooler, bought at the Prahran Market on the weekend.


Step 3: Unwrap the left-over brie from your trip to the country the other weekend.


Step 4: Slice up brie and put onto upturned mushrooms.


Step 5: Wish you had more cheese.

Step 6: Discover some Mersey Valley cheddar, and add this to the brie.


Step 7: Realise that if you're going to do this properly, you should get your boyfriend's camera out and put your iPhone away.


Step 8: Microwave on high for 1 minute.


Step 9: Vow to ignore any reader comments that point out any similarities between two swiss mushrooms and a pair of breasts with large nipples. Also wish that the superior camera resulted in similarly superior food photographs.

Step 10: Shred some prosciutto and lay over the melted cheese.


Step 11: Slide under the grill, and leave for 4 - 5 minutes or until prosciutto is warmed through.

Step 12: Slice up some crusty bread, and spread with good quality, lightly salted butter.


Step 13: Remove mushrooms from oven and serve on top of bread slice.


Step 14: Relish every last mouthful, ideally with some red wine while watching an episode of Glee.


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