Why You Should Start Shopping For Christmas Now!

We may well be in the early part of the year but if you’re anything like us, you feel how fast 2020 went. One minute we were all being put into lockdown and the next, it was Christmas. Every day is Groundhog Day right now for many people, but that actually means that you are going to blink and it’ll be Christmas again!

You should be planning and preparing for Christmas now, so that you are ready in case of more lockdowns, more outbreaks and more issues. You want to have the freedom to shop but utilizing your online abilities, you can log on and get Smooth Sales | Crazy Deals Every Day easily. Christmas may seem like it’s an age away right now, but it’s good news as this will give you time to get everything sorted out. So, what can you be doing right now?

  • Start shopping! Setting your budget for each person/family you buy for is important. Without a budget to work to, it’s very easy to end up spending more than you can officially afford. Setting your budget now will help you to gradually buy what you need without breaking the bank. Your budget can be as set or as vague as you like, but you do need it in place to get a rough idea of how you can break up your needs over the next few months. You can then start shopping based on this! Any ideas you may be struggling for? Well, go for the traditional hampers and gift baskets of bath bombs to make life easy for you.
  • Enter the sales. Between now and Christmas, you’re going to encounter summer sales, Easter sales, Fall sales and more. This means plenty of opportunities to save some cash and shop where you need. You could buy clothing and technology on sale when you have the money to, and then you can probably cut your budget in half!
  • Create a cupboard. You need somewhere to hide your purchases for the Christmas season. Not only do you need to think about keeping things hidden from the kids, you need to consider that a cupboard will mean that you’re not cluttering up the house with all the random purchases. Tape all the receipts to the boxes for now and add the name of the recipient to it – just so you know for whom you’ve bought a gift. Add gift wrap and cards to the Christmas cupboard, too, just do you have everything in one place.
  • Homemade gifts. If you plan to send Chrstmas cakes, jams and fudge to family, friends and colleagues, start planning now. Jam can be stored for months, as can Christmas cakes and puddings. If you plan to make your own ornaments for family, do these early, too. Get everything stored in your new Christmas cupboard!

 

Christmas is only far away because we’re in the early part of the year. It’ll come around quick enough and the earlier you organize it, the more you can sit back and relax while the season rolls on through!

Spring Summer Wardrobe Update

Oh hello Spring! Today is the 1st of September which means it’s officially Spring in Australia! So happy to know that Spring and Summer’s warm weather is not far from us as this Winter felt like an eternity. Battling with cold wind, I’ve been all wrapped up in black and different shades of grey coloured outfits in the last few months. It’s definitely time for a change. While it’s still really cold and I can’t change the weather, there’s always online shopping – a wardrobe update is due:).



Since I discovered this fabulous online fashion platform last year, Lyst’s been my go to place to check what’s on trend from different designers. With Australia’s increasing influence in the fashion industry, this time I’d share with you my pick from the following 5 best selling brands on Lyst:

1.Seafolly
2.Keepsake
3.Quay
4.C/meo Collective
5. Finders Keepers

Here’s a selection of my favourite products from the 5 brands – in no particular order:

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  1. Quay Australia All My Love Cat Eye Sunglasses In Pink. Quay Eyewear is sunglasses label dedicated to the recreation of vintage styles. When it comes to sunglasses, I normally stick to my Ray Ban aviator, Karl Lagerfeld retro shades or Dior oversized frames. But those Pink Cat Eye sunglasses really caught my attention – how fun would that be to wear them! It must feel so good to see the world through a pair of rose coloured glasses!
  2. Finders Keepers Lucie Pants In Cherry. Over the years of experimenting, I’ve learned a few tricks to make my legs looks longer in pants:Wear high waisted pants; wear super long bootcut pants paired with super high heels/platforms or; wear cropped pants. Look how cute are those cropped parts from Lucie – they are flared with little splits at the front. The material is also heavy weight to help them stay in shape. Also available is the black color but do I really need another pair of black pants? Go cherry.
  3. C/meo Unstoppable Top. When it comes to choose lightweight tops, I always prefer cotton or silk for obvious reasons. They feel good on your skin and they are good for your skin! I was drawn to the beautiful shade of blue of this cotton shirt from C/Meo. The overall style is fairly simple with a very clean cut and no buttons on the front but check out those flared sleeves with tie details – love!
  4. Keepsake Women’s Pink Stay Close Long Sleeve Silk Top. I remember saying Pink flowers are the only pink things I like. But look at it now – I’ve picked a pink top in addition to a pair of pink sunglasses! Love this feminine long sleeve shirt with open shoulder and thick chocker detail. Guess what, it’s made of silk. Who could say no to that?

Sydney Flower Market Addiction

Over the past 15 years I’ve heard lots of people saying wonderful things about Sydney Flower Market but never made an effort to go until last month. It’s not like I don’t like flowers. Let me just tell ya: Procrastination rules.

Ok so I finally went to Sydney Flower Market on a Friday morning around 8:30 am despite the general advise that you need to be there in the early morning – 5 or 6am kind of early. In my defense, I got up early that morning but I had to spend 2 hours at home to have a full breakfast and commit to a long Yoga-stretch session. Why? Because I felt the urge to stick to my morning routine that day. Anyway, at 8:30 -9am, there were hardly any people left in the market. The market hall looked wet and empty and not so appealing. Those left over flowers were cheap – Tiger Lilies for $5 a bunch, though they looked a little sad to me. I left the market empty handed, thinking it might be a while till my next visit.

Two weeks later a friend of mine got in touch and wanted to catch up at the Sydney flower Market on Saturday morning around 6.30am. Perfect! So we went together, except this time we were late again. Learning from last time’s experience, I ditched my breakfast and stretching session in the morning but my friend overslept a little:). Fortunately, when we got there at 7:30am, the flower market was still full of people, and full of gorgeous flowers too!sydney flower market-7 sydney flower market-2 sydney flower market-1

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Who could resist those precious roses, at $4 a bunch?

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Peonies? Not quite like those ones in instagram photos but I guess they are out of season now.

Determined to grow flowers at home, I even got 3 pots that week. The next Saturday I went back and got another 4 pots of different flowers. It’s totally addictive! Until now, I’ve managed to keep everything alive. Surprise, surprise.

From my personal experience, it’s better to go on a Saturday morning if you are planning your first trip to Sydney Flower Market. It’s catered for the general public on Saturdays, therefore you don’t have to battle with florists and get there super early. The prices are amazingly reasonable, for buyers. You could even get a beautiful, big bunch of flowers for as low as $1. If you love flowers, you’ll love the Sydney flower markets.

Address: 250-318 Parramatta Rd, Homebush West NSW 2129 (Right off Flemington Train Station)

Open time: 5am – 11am
The majority of trading generally takes place before 9am

What’s On My Dress Shopping List For This Spring & Summer

Do you like wearing dresses? Well, you know I could wear dresses all year round because they are so easy to get into and anyone can manage to look fabulous in a pretty dress! Yes, you can say that I’m a bit dress obsessed:).

With the weather getting warmer and warmer in Sydney, I’m really in the mood to look for some new dresses. The good news is, I’ve just discovered a great online platform that allows me (and you) to shop for a wide selection of dresses from all kinds of designers and styles in one place. Heaven!

Since I always get asked where I buy my dresses from, today I’m sharing with you what’s on my current dress wishlist:

1. If You Only Know Maxi Dress from Free People (US$168): This easy and effortless gorgeous maxi dress caught my eyes because of its vibrate colors and flowing style. You all know how much I love maxi dresses!
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2. Bare Minimum Sweater Dress from Nasty Gal (AU$103): Cold shoulders are always in. I love the super comfy, clean design of this dress. It looks great with over the knee boots.

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3. Rib Strap Back Bodycon Dress from Missguided (US$26): This playful, yet dreamy dress would be good for both daytime and evening wear. Can’t believe how affordable it is!

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4. Ibiza Lace Dress from Free People (US$168): Another dress from Free people, you’d probably guessed by now it’s one of my favourite brands. Everyone needs a good lace dress. I love that burnt orange color and beautiful lace pattern of this dress. 
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5. Print Pleated Deep V Gown from Babe (US$189): This dress reminds me of That Versace Dress JLo worn to 2000 Grammy’s but it’s more wearable for everyday people;). I love the sweeping pleated skirt and this stunning yet subtle print. The sheer mess insert on the front is a huge bonus.
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7. Lace Skater Midi Dress from Missguided (US$76.50): This dress can be classified as a classic little black dress but it doesn’t look like the boring black kind. I also love the flared skirt and its perfect length.

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8. Embroidered Silk-chiffon Mini Dress from Chloé (US$1,970 after 50% discount): Fabric is a key factor when I shop for dresses. This dress is made of 100% silk and from one of my favourite designer Chloé. I just love their handbags, shoes and clothes. This natural toned silk dress is lightweight and perfect to wear loose.

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9. Cambon Embellished Silk-organza Gown from Temperley London (US$618 after 60% discount): Another silk number, but this time it’s a long black gown for evening wear. I was drawn to its simple yet elegant design immediately.
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10. Filefly Slip Dress from Free People (US$128): Featuring beautiful cutout and open back design, this lightweight print slip would be perfect for a hot summer day. Bring it on, summer!
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Create a Soothing Bedside Space That Inspires Sweet Dreams

Ahhhh the pleasure of laying down in your comfort zone. Satin sheets, fluffy pillows, dimmed lights and all of your beloved items just within arm’s reach – your favourite books, a warm cup of coffee and that heavenly smelling hand cream you can’t go to bed without. Yup, they’re all perfectly placed on your bedside table that you so much love and admire. And why wouldn’t you? You spent weeks of thoughtful consideration, research and read tons of magazines on ways to buy bedside table that is ideal for your type of bedroom oasis. And since I recently went through that whole process (which although pretty fun, was quite exhausting too), I want to share with you a few tips to help you complement your otherwise perfectly designed bedroom with basically no stress or worries.

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Size matters

Although their height can vary considerably (it all comes down to personal preferences), a nightstand that is either too short or too tall is both uncomfortable and can look quite awkward if placed right next to a shorter or a taller bed. Your best bet is to buy bedside table that’s within a few inches of the top of your mattress. When it comes to width, look for a nightstand that will complement your bed rather than overpower it or feel too small when placed right next to it. Bear in mind the width of your room. Smaller and narrower pieces of furniture will do just fine in a smaller space, while a larger room needs bigger furniture.

Style it up

Although bedside tables don’t necessarily need to perfectly match the rest of your bedroom furniture, they should at least be in the same design family. For a contemporary look, combine rustic wooden furniture with metal nightstands. On the other hand, for a more traditionally-oriented style, go with a matching set of nightstands. To add more character to the room, choose vintage ones. Just make sure not to mix too many different types of wood as they can easily clash, creating an unintended interior design mess.

DIY Ideas

The bedside table is a landing pad for so many essentials – reading glasses, water, books and cell phones, just to name a few. Nevertheless, they’re rarely as varied as the stuff we put on them. Therefore, there’s really no need for you to settle for a generic design that consists of four legs and a simple table top. The bedroom is the part of your home where you can freely express yourself and your unique character, thus, there are a few bedside table ideas that pack much more personality than a simple boring four legged piece of furniture. For that purpose, I gathered a few ideas on pieces that you can actually repurpose in order to create a bedside table that will leave a statement and awake your sleepy head. I’d definitely consider these for my next bedroom makeover.

  • Vintage luggage – These pieces of travel essentials make an amazing bedside table solution when stacked atop one another. You can adjust their height by adding or subtracting pieces and you can also use them as storage space for some of the items that you don’t frequently use. If your luggage pieces are quite dissimilar in colours and patterns and do not look well together, you can paint them in a solid colour, which will unify their material or colour differences and will put more emphasis to their shape.
  • Antique sewing machines – Remember that antique sewing machine that you had no idea what to do with so you put it away in the garage? Well, time to repurpose it; it can be quite useful at your bedside, acting both as a bedside table as well as a family treasure showcase. The filigree of the metal base adds a dose of visual interest and it is the ideal complement for traditional, rustic as well as some edgy contemporary bedrooms.buy bedside table
  • Wooden folding chair – You will get a two-in-one solution if you decide to use a folding wood chair as a bedside table, as you’ll also get an additional seating when needed. This is a great idea for smaller bedrooms as folding chairs are compact and easily adjustable. Also, if you’re not much happy with the colour of the chair you can easily repaint it to fit your bedroom design style.

To sum up, it’s clear to see that everyone has their own preferences when it comes to designing their private nest. Some go for bedroom suites as they like everything in the room to match, while others strive to unveil their creative side and turn to the DIY options for a vivid and versatile bedside table solution. Whatever your choice, don’t let trends dictate how your bedroom will look. Instead, choose something you’ll love for many years to come and will be happy to be around every single day.

best bangkok shopping

A Quick Guide to 20 Best Bangkok Shopping Places

My focus of the trip to Bangkok wasn’t on shopping itself but on exploring and sightseeing. However research the best shopping in Bangkok was also part of the mission. The hotel I stayed in Bangkok is within the Siam District and right opposite to MBK shopping centre, therefore it was a super convenient spot and I’d stay there again next time in Bangkok. The thing is, you might be overwhelmed by the endless shopping choices in Bangkok. So where to start? Where can you find quality gems instead of cheap & nasty knockoffs?

Here are 20 Best Bangkok Shopping Places including shopping centres and markets.

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Siam Paragon – Photo source: Tourism Thailand

Let’s start with shopping centres and shopping malls first:

Siam Paragon

With a prime location next to the city’s busiest BTS station, its towering glass facade contains a huge selection of designer stores, from Hermes and Chanel to street favourites such as Zara and H&M. Siam Ocean World aquarium, a bowling alley, a concert venue and a multi-screen cinema is also there. Definitely one of the best Bangkok shopping places.
www.siamparagon.co.th; 999 Rama 1 Rd. Siam

Siam Centre

After a major renovation, Siam Centre offers new inspirational spaces for art and design, befitting its reputation at the vanguard of the local fashion scene. The highlight is the Fashion Visionary space on the third floor, home to the flagship stores of top Thai designers and multi-Thai_label store The selected.

www.siamcerter.co.th; Rama 1 Rd. Siam

Siam Discovery

The sister mall of Siam Centre celebrated its’s 10th anniversary with an overhaul in 2011, which included the addition of lots of new eateries as well as the opening of an ice-skating rink and a Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.

www.siamdiscovery.co.th; Rama 1 Road, Siam

Erawan Bangkok

This mini-mall might look petite, but it offers high-end boutique you can’t find elsewhere, including Comme de Garcons, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Lanvin and Alexander Wang.

www.erawanbangkok.com; 494 Ploenchit Rd, Chit Lom

Centralworld

This massive complex is home to seven floors, or 550,000 sq meters of restaurants, cinemas and stores. It’s a good spot for high-street brands like Topshop, Gap and Uniqlo, as well as Thai favourites and also houses an Isetan Department Store.

www.centralworld.co.th; Ratchaprasong Intersection, Ratchadamri Rd. Siam

Central Chidlom

Opened in 1973, it’s the closest thing Bangkok has to Harrods, and remains the Central Group’s flagship department store. It’s packed with leading brands, like Ralph Lauren, DVF, Coach, Paul Smith and Gucci. Don’t miss the great view from the seventh-floor food court.

www.central.co.th; 1027 Ploenchit Rd. Chit Lom

Armarin Plaza

The mall’s Greco-Roman facade actually hides some unexpected gems. ID1 on the first floor holds a collection of local designers, while the Thai Craft Market on the third floor is good for souvenirs.

www.amarinplaza.com; 596-502 Ploenchit Rd. Chit Lom

Gaysorn

Thailand’s leading high-end mall is home to numerous luxury international labels such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, and Fendi and Thai brands like Sretsis, Disaya, Zenithorial and Panpuri.

www.gaysorn.com; 999 Ploechit Rd. Chit Lom

Zen

Actually part of the sprawling CentralWorld complex, this trendy department store stands apart thanks to its focus on cutting-edge fashion, leading labels and high-end home decor.

www.zen.co.th; 4/5 Ratchadamri Rd. Pathumwan, Chit Lom

MBK Center

Clothes, shoes, cameras, mobile phones, suitcases and souvenirs – everything is here at bargain prices. This is a shopping centre where you can haggle for your purchases. You’ll find quite a few nice Japanese restaurants here including my favourite all you can eat hotpot and sushi place. There’s a popular Thai food court on the six floor and there’s a everyday market offering a variety of delicious street food right outside MBK centre. Definitely one of the best Bangkok shopping places.
www.mbk_center.co.th; 444 Phayathai Rd. National Stadium

K Village

One of the city’s first semi-alfresco community malls remains a popular spot among expats and locals who call the area home. It features a number of boutiques ranging from high-end pet stores to bespoke tailors, as well as lots of restaurants. One real draw is the monthly farmer’s markets held on the last Sunday of the month.

www.kvillagebangkok.com; Soi Sukhumvit 26. Sukhumvit

Terminal 21

Boasting an airport terminal-cum-international destinations theme, the nine floors let you stop off a the Caribbean, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London and Istanbul. The lower floors are dedicated to high-street chains, while the upper floors offer intriguing boutiques by Thai designers. There’s also a food court, restaurants and a cinema.

www.terminal21.th.com; 2-88 Sukhumvit Soi 19, Sukhumvit

The Emporium

Set in the heart of an upscale residential area, The Emporium offers luxury shopping from brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior and Celine, along with Thai favourites like Jaspal and Jim Thompson. There are also lots of eating option, a cinema and the Thailand Creative and Design Centre on the top floor.

www.empoiumthailand.com; 622 Sukhumvit Rd. Phrom Phong

Platinum Fashion Mall

Platinum is Bangkok’s wholesale fashion shopping centre and the biggest source for the city’s street and market stalls. You can find everything fashion-related from women’s shoes to men’s suits. And don’t worry about having to buy wholesale, as even single items come very cheap.

www.platinumfashionmall.com; 222 Petchaburi Rd.

Asiatique

This evening-only (from 4pm) shopping centre on the banks of the Chao Phraya River is themed according to the city’s old architecture. divided into sections ranging from the waterfront to a 100 year old refurbished sawmill, it includes over 1,500 boutiques covering quirky fashions and intriguing souvenirs, plus offers a variety of eateries and wine bars. Asiatique is also home to a large ferris Wheel, Calypso Cabaret, Joe Lois puppet theatre.

www.asiatiquethailand.com; 2195 Charoenkrung Rd.

OP Place

Situated in a beautiful neoclassical-style building close to the river, this luxury mall oozes charm from the sweeping wooden staircase to the antique lift. It’s home to a host of high-end boutiques offering unique and rare antiques and artefacts from across Southeast Asia, handcrafted jewellery, bespoke tailors and fine art. there’s also a free shuttle service to the nearby OP garden, which houses art galleries, restaurants and high-end boutiques.

Address: 30/1, Soi 38, Charoenkrung Rd., Bang Rak

River City

Situated right on the river, the third and fourth floors of this mall are packed with boutique stores selling the very best in Thai and Southeast Asian art, antiques and artefacts. Once you’re done shopping, you can also take advantage of the collection of bars and restaurants on the ground floor, which offer great river views out on the terrace.

www.therivercity.com; Yotha Rd. Si Phraya Pier

A few of the best markets in Bangkok:

Chatuchak Market

Better known by locals as JJ, Chatuchak is a vast weekend market. More than 15,000 retailers occupy the 27 -acre space, which is broken down into 27 sections, roughly categorised by the products each section offers. You can literally spend days amid the warren of stalls, but if have limited time, then this is the general breakdown:books are in Section 1, while Sections 2-4 are home to young fashion designers. Sections 5-6 have vintage clothing, and you’ll find art in Sections 7-9, Sections 10-24 offer a real mix of miscellaneous stuff, while Sections 25-27 are dedicated to crafts and home-decor items.

Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak

Open Sat-Sun 09:00–18:00, and Fridays 18:00–24:00.

Talad Rod Fai (Train Market)

The popular “Thailand Rotfai” or train market has found its feet at its new location behind the Seacon Square Shopping Mall. Featuring a large number of vintage hop, cool bars with live music and foods talls in a retro setting, the massive weekend night market is packed with character and a hit with shoppers looking to find vintage items. The market is open on Wednesday, and Friday to Sunday from about 6pm to midnight.

Ratchada Train Market is located on Sri Nakarin Soi 51, open from 17:00 to 01:00, from Thursday to Sunday.

Sampeng Market in China Town

We’ll finish the list of 20 best Bangkok shopping places with my personal favourite market in Bangkok: Sampeng market. I’ve talked about it in my previous Bangkok China Town blog post. This is very easy to get to and not only limited to the weekend. Open from 9:oo -18:00 daily, Sampeng Market is also a wholesale market where many store owners and market stall vendors from other parts of Bangkok come to buy wholesale deals and then re-sell elsewhere. Needless to say, you can find some good deals here. Just keep wandering through the alleys and shop till you drop.

 

Hello Birkenhead Point Shopping Center

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Haven’t been to Birkenhead Point Shopping Center for a while. This place’s just gotten better and better. It’s mid November but you can clearly tell that Christmas is on the way!

It used to be a pain to shop in Australia with very limited international designer stores available. It is still relatively more expensive to buy clothes in Australia in general but compared to 20 years ago, Sydney’s a shopping paradise now ;).

We are yet to test our new purchase, a  light strobe that is much more powerful than the camera speed light … on the beach. That led us to a trip to Birkenhead Point shopping center for a new swimming suit, my excuse any way.

This time, I was going for a high waisted bikini or a one piece swimmer. There are so many body hugging dresses and standard bikinis in my wardrobe but I’m shying away from those nowadays, for obvious reasons.

More of loose clothes, that’s what I need. Who wants all the hard work to stay in shape? You know that Chinese saying: There are no ugly women, only lazy ones. Yep, I’m definitely lazy.

To go with the loose theme, I went to the shopping center in this flowy dress. It’s quite unique in design, featuring the shape & pattern of a scarf. The material is super soft and it has a lace panel around the neck and upper back area.

Pairing it up with my quick and easy summer ensemble: a straw hat, Ray Ban aviator sunglasses, a pair of brown leather thongs bought from UK and my old brown leather Miu Miu bag, I was out of the door within two minutes. No makeup, no brushing hair. Here’s your winning formula that guarantees you to look fabulous in no time: A hat + sunglasses = best hair and makeup.

Birkenhead Point Shopping center went through some major renovations over the years and it just looked stunning in a hot summer day with gorgeous water views and a huge glass roof running over the top.

How did the shopping go?  You might want to know by now. Yes, the shopping trip was successful too –  I found not only a high waisted bikini that I liked but also a one piece swimming suit with a slight twist.

That doesn’t happen very often; usually I struggle to find anything good enough to take home. Maybe there are more choices available, maybe I’m just less picky now. In any case, I’m not complaining!

Location: Sydney

Photos: CandidTown Photography

 

 

 

 

 

The Week: In Photos

I’m a sucker of old and beautiful things, be it old buildings, antique furniture or vintage jewellery and accessories. Can’t do vintage clothes though because a lot of vintage clothing shops have this foul smell. Besides, most so called “vintage” clothes available now are made of polyester. It just doesn’t make sense to buy or wear old smelly polyester. To me, any way:).

Open air antique/flea market is a totally different matter. I get plenty of pleasure just looking around. If by any chance there’s something unique enough that I can take home, that’ll be even better.

So the past week started at antique/flea markets. For the first time in a long time, I even bought something – a huge silver bracelet. You can see it in my last photo.

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Sunday market in Sydney

Sydney has been blessed with warm, sunny weather the whole week. Cruising around the beautiful harbour was such a treat.

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A day cruising around beautiful Sydney harbour.

Needless to say, I met THE journalist John Pilger at Utopia Australian premiere in Redern and had the opportunity to shoot some portrait of him.

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Utopia Premiere in Redfern. The day I met John Pilger.

The week finished with a natural light photo shoot. I got to wear comfy summer outfit and of course my new found bracelet!

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Shooting in natural light. Huge Silver cuff on the right, from Sunday market hunting.

Happy weekend:)

Beginner’s Guide to Best New York Shopping

You might wonder where to find the best New York shopping before your first trip to the Big Apple. You’ve decided where to go, now you need to know where to shop. New York City is a splendid city for retail therapy, if you need it. From quaint little boutique shops to posh department stores, there’s almost something for everybody who’s keen to shop.

Best New York Shopping for First timers

Century 21

c21-logoMind you this Century 21 is not that real estate agent Century 21. There should be a Century 21 department store in every major city in the world. Walking around New York city, you can spot people carrying big Century 21 shopping bags everywhere. The store is huge and there are top brand names with heavily discounted price tags. No wonder it is always packed and people walk out the store loaded with goodies. I found it quite amusing though,  cashiers were in no hurry serving customers despite of long queues at each cash register. One cashier was singing to herself while counting my notes in extremely slow motion with her figures, as if she was in a happy dream. Did I get eye contact or greetings from her? No. Did I complain? No. I found shoes half of price that I would normally have to pay in Sydney. Handbags 1/3 of the prices of that in Sydney. An authentic Yankee’s cap at less than half of the price that is available in Yankee Stadium. And more. I was a content shopper. It’s just that I’ve never seen shop assistants carrying out their duties with such attitude before. I was totally amused.

Best New York shopping - Century 21

Century 21 – The home of department-store designer leftovers



Fifth Avenue

Best New York shopping - fifth ave

The heart of Manhattan retail spans Fifth Avenue from the upper 40s to 57th Street and across. Fifth Avenue is home of classic shopping in New York city. Come to see these majestic buildings on Fifth Avenue decorated with big American flags. Famous old department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman are all there.  The huge Louis Vuitton flagship is at the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue. Looking for something cheap and cheerful? There are at least 3 H&M stores in that area. Go to Mac Cosmetics and get a couple of make up consultants to give you a make up without even asking, if you have time. And have a sample of Lindt Chocolate on the way.

The Fashion Avenue/7th Avenue

Best New York shopping - fashion avenue

Most likely your New York journey will start from Time Square. Lead your way to 7th Avenue aka the Fashion Avenue from there. Running through the Garment District, Fashion Avenue is the bustling area of New York city. A great deal of fashion designers started their first shops on Fashion Avenue. Enjoy innumerable amount of famous boutiques and clothes from famous designers as well as abundant restaurants and bars.

Soho

Best New York shopping - soho

Fashion & street art in Soho

If you want to add some personality in your style, Soho is the place to go. Short for “South of Houston”, Soho is marked by landmark cast iron architecture, chic fashion and artistic vibe. Shops here range from trendy boutiques to outlets of upscale chain stores. Take your time to walk around and look out for something different from main stream chain stores. You might like these charming boutique shoe shops on Broadway selling cute leather boots.

Madison Avenue

For people who have deep pockets and prefer highest end shopping in New York, there’s Madison Avenue more on the  Upper East Side. This shopping strip is home of the most luxurious designer boutiques. At Barney’s Madison Avenue flagship (660 Madison Avenue New York , NY 10065), you’ll find Prada suits, Alexander Wang dresses, maybe Julia Robert or Jennifer Garner too.



Best shopping in NYC – Madison Avenue shopping map:

Best New York shopping - madison shopping map

 Macy’s Herald Square

Though you are no longer able to find the tallest building in the world in New York City, you can still tick off the world’s biggest department store off your list in NYC. Stroll down Broadway to 34th Street, you’ll see the block long, art deco landmark – Macy’s Herald Square.This Macy’s eared a spot on this list of the best shopping in NYC due to its size and historical importance in America. Ride the original wooden escalators from 1902, the first to be used in an American store, as part of your site seeing tour. Find something you want to buy there? Get a Tourist Discount Card for 10% off at the balcony-level visitor’s desk.

Best New York shopping - macy's

It’s good to be a tourist.

How to Buy Authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton?

While buying a pre-owned Louis Vuitton bag, it is a must that you get your money’s worth and that the product you buy is genuine. If you want to know how to buy authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton, here are a few tips on how to identify whether the pre-owned Louis Vuitton that you are about to buy is a genuine one.

Monogram Placement: Check for the symmetry in the monogram placement. This is a very important indicator of an authentic Louis Vuitton piece. Most Louis Vuitton monogram bags and wallets, regardless of the style, have a side to side symmetry except for few very old vintage bags.



 how to buy authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton

Side to side symmetry in the monogram placement

Countries Manufactured: Louis Vuitton has many factories outside France. Based on the model, LV bags are currently being manufactured out of France, in countries such as USA, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland other than the obvious France. So, do not think that your Louis Vuitton bag is a non genuine one just because it is manufactured outside France.

 how to buy authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton bag made in Spain

Eye for Details: Louis Vuitton is very particular about their stitching and lining. The stitched would be even and regular and there will be the same number of stitches in different bags of the same model. The lining material would invariably be made of cotton canvas material and never suede. The color of the canvas is often brown.

How to Buy Authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton

LV speedy bags have 5 stitches going cross the handle tab.

Fonts: Louis Vuitton uses a particular type of font with a well rounded O. Verify this to check for the authenticity of your bag.

How to Buy Authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton

Note the even and regular stitches and round “O”.

Tags: When a brand new Louis Vuitton is purchased from a store, there are usually two tags that are supplied along with the bag but provided separately. The first tag would have “Louis Vuitton” and the material of the bag. The second one would have the model number, the bar code and the bag’s name in French. The tags are never attached to the bag. Sometimes you get a care booklet. However, there is no authenticity card that accompanies a Louis Vuitton bag, and if someone offers you a LV bag with such a card, then it is in all probability a non genuine one.



Receipts: Some non genuine sellers may try to convince you by saying “comes with the original receipt”. A pre-owned bag with receipt doesn’t guarantee you buy authentic pre-owned louis Vuitton. Remember that a receipt can easily be counterfeited and the presence or absence of one does not in any way tell you whether the bag is genuine or not. A genuine LV receipt would be on watermark paper and the size would be smaller than an A4 paper. You can also verify whether the store address given in the receipt actually exists. It should also have the name of the sales person who sold the bag as well as the complete contact details of the buyer.

Dust bag: The earlier dust bags were made of soft cotton flannel material with a very tiny LV embossed on it. The later versions are more yellowish and are made of thicker linen like material with LOUIS VUITTON more prominently displayed across the front. But any further advertisement or writing on the dust bag – and you should know that it is not genuine.

Date Codes: It is very important to understand the meaning Louis Vuitton date code in order to buy authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton bags manufactured after 1980 would have a date code, but you can get genuine older models without the date code as well.

 

 



Silver Jewellery Hunt

Big, colorful costume jewellery is in. But I’m forever on the hunt for good quality, pretty silver jewellery. I prefer pretty things that last. Besides, I can’t wear costume earrings. My ears get irritated and hurt by them. The trouble is that most 925 silver jewellery available in the market look rather boring. That’s why, as soon as I found the kind of silver jewellery that caught my eye in Europe, I bought plenty. Actually, more than plenty.

Pure silver can’t be used in jewellery making because it is too malleable and can be damaged easily. 925 silver jewellery is a standard type of silver jewellery made by craftsman. The beauty of 925 silver jewellery increases with age since the appearance takes on a soft sheen as time goes.  It is easy to prevent tarnishing of the silver jewellery as it only involves putting them in lemon solution or lime juice to make them shine again.

Intricate details of a turquoise gemstone silver bracelet.

silver jewelleryAccording to research, silver jewellery is attractive and healthy to wear because silver is needed in our bodies to keep balance of body elements. It also helps in keeping the blood vessels elastic, formation of bone, skin formation and repair. It is believed that when one wears silver jewellery, it stimulates the flow of energy. 925 silver jewellery can help us to avoid lethargic tendencies and make a person feel stronger and concentrate on thoughts. What I like about silver jewllery is that it is suitable for both fair skinned and dark skinned people, which make them elegant present for people we care about.

When it comes to fashion and jewels, blue is definitely the color of in season. Regardless, I fell in love with this turquoise silver bracelet immediately. It’s got faceted gemstones on the surface that sparkle in light. Greens and purples are also on trend. And of course those bold, chunky silver bracelets, pendents with unique patterned purple and green stones came back to Australia with me too. The thing I love shopping overseas — variety. My ears will be thanking me, there are so many different kinds of new silver earring for them. I particularly like the large rose silver earrings in silver and rose tones. They are big in size but not weighting a tone to become a burden after a few hours wearing them.

Oh, THAT chunky cut out silver cuff bracelet. Can’t wait to wear it in Summer.

Silver Jewellery

It’s a Chanel, it’s a Chanel WOC

Can’t call myself a  huge Chanel fan but I don’t mind the idea of dressing up with a Chanel half moon WOC chain bag. What do you do if a handbag is too big and a wallet is too small for your special occasion? Choose a Chanel WOC (wallet on a chain):).

Basically, it’s a clutch bag with a long shoulder chain, built-in card slots, bill, and zippered coin compartments.  There are many different styles of Chanel WOC and they come in different colors and sizes. They are made of different materials.

Classic Quilted: The most commonly known rectangular shape with diamond-quilted pattern available in both caviar and lambskin leather.Chanel WOC classic quilted

Timeless Envelope: Pebbled caviar leather with large embossed CC logo, not quilted.

chanel woc timeless cc

Camellia: Lambskin with embossed camellia flora pattern.

Lipstick: Patent leather with large multicolored CC logo.

Brilliant: Classic diamond quilted leather with crystalized CC logo.

Chanel woc brilliant

Half Moon: Pebbled caviar leather, half-moon shape with large embossed CC logo.

chanel woc half moon

Boy: Classic boy shape, quilted front flap with a CC metal nameplate on it.

chanel woc boy

 

Sevruga: Micro pebbled matte leather, not quilted.

 

Different materials of Chanel WOC:

  • Lambskin:  a very delicate, smooth leather that could be scratched and scuffed very easily.
  • Patent leather: a shiny, plastic looking leather.
  • Caviar leather: pebbled,  the most durable leather compared to other Chanel leather lines.
  • Cevruga leather: micro pebbled matte leather. The least expensive Chanel WOC (still costs more than $1.000).

 

Why I like the Half Moon the most out of the all the different types of Chanel WOC.

chanel woc half moon

  • It’s chic, feminine shape. Personally, I don’t want another square -ish, quilted Chanel bag. Call that “timeless” or ” classic”, to me, this modern, unique looking Half moon WOC bag is like a breath of fresh air.
  • It’s made of caviar leather. The Half Moon is more susceptible to wear and tear. Unless we have millions to inherent, we want the bag costs us thousands of dollars to last a little longer. Do you agree?
  • The Half Moon is the roomiest among the Chanel WOC bags. It has the greatest length compared to other Chanel WOC. Due to the pleated design, it has more room to give.

I was totally unsure if I should put this into my blog. But since there isn’t a lot information on the Chanel website, I’ve decided not to let my research go to waste:).

 

Cologne Hightlights

Extremely impressed with the picturesque historical towns, superbly clean streets and endless shoe shops in Germany, we even managed to get a speeding fine in a country that normally doesn’t have speed limits. Our Journey in Germany started from Cologne. If you only intend to stay in Cologne for 2-3 days, here are a few things you could try.

Cologne, view from Hilton

Cologne Dom

We were lucky to have an awesome view of the Cologne Dom tower from our hotel room in Hilton. Cologne Dom is a splendid Roman cathedral and heart of the metropolis on the Rhine. And yes, it only took 600 something years to complete.  On the second day in Cologne, I got to see the impressive panorama from the cathedral tower across the city and Rhine on the top of Cologne Dom though in order to do that we had to climb 533 narrow, winding steps first.  Honestly at one stage I felt the climbing was never going to end and it was becoming increasingly hot battling with traffic (lots of people going up and down) on the narrow stair case inside an old cathedral. But the view from the top was rewarding. On the way to the viewing platform, we walked pass the St Peters bell, the largest freely swinging church bell in the world weighting 24,000 kg. I’m still wondering how could this bell swing being so huge and heavy?

Cologne

This is the view from the top:cologne

Kolsch and Roast Pork Knuckle

In the heart of Cologne city, just a few steps from the cathedral is the old town where you can always find authentic German food and enjoy the famous local beer in Cologne, Kolsch. Kolsh is a beautifully refreshing warm- weather beer normally served in skinny glasses. Its pleasantly fruity and slightly bitter taste goes perfectly well with roast port knuckle, one of my favorite Germany/ East European dishes. You know, the roast port knuckle with golden brown crispy, crackly skin attached and fell-off-the -bone tender meat. Finding nicely cooked pork knuckle however is a bit of a hit and miss. We finally found it at Peters Brauhaus in the old town. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures, couldn’t wait to start eating and drinking.

Pretzels and Berliners

They are on the list  because they are huge. And everywhere. And surrounded by massive bees.

Shopping

Cologne is one of the most popular cities for shopping. We were told that there are people who make special trips to Cologne just to stroll and shop on the most popular shopping streets Schidergasse, Hohe Strabe and others. Apparently Schidergasse is the number one shopping street in Europe. Its highlight is the weltstadthaus, which resembles a huge glass whale. Inside the glass whale is a gigantic, multilevel shopping centre with a sea of clothing and shoes.. more clothing and shoes.. You guessed it, more shoes.

Below left, view of the glass whale shopping center from Cathedral Tower.

Whenever you are tired of shopping, stop to have a cup of coffee. Or have a pretzel, they are everywhere.

Paris Designer Outlet shopping

Designer Outlet Shopping Paris

Designer outlet shopping Paris experience is quite different from shopping form Italy designer shopping outlets. High end designer shopping outlets are quite popular in Europe and I have been to a couple of impressive ones in Italy. Recently, I checked out the luxury designer shopping outlet around Paris area, just 30 minutes away from the center of pairs. La Vallee Village is only 5 minutes train ride from Disney Europe outside Paris.
How to get to designer outlet La Valle Village:

Designer outlet shopping paris

La Vallee Village August 2012

If you have some spare time  in Pairs apart from engaging the usual sight seeing activities, designer outlet shopping is fun and worthwhile. There’s a shopping express shuttle bus service departing from Place des Pyramides near the Louvre Museum twice a day but we went by public transport,  just in case we wanted to leave early or stay longer. Public transport is very convenient in Paris so it wasn’t a hassle at all to get there by suburban train RER. If you want to travel by RER, remember it is from any central PER A station to Val d’Europe station, the second last stop (the last one is Disneyland Paris). On Sundays, there’s free return shuttle bus service every 15 minutes from the RER station to La Vallee Village. Do worry if there’s no shuttle bus to take you there directly. It is only about 10 minutes stroll from the PER station any way. Once you walk out the RER Station, you’ll see the Val D’Europe shopping mall. Walk through the huge shopping mall, you’ll arrive at La Vallee Village – your Paris designer outlet shopping destination.

The Designer Outlet Shopping Paris Experience:

The Village is pleasantly charming with over 90 outlet boutiques offering reductions on the recommended retail price. Not quite like the Italian designer outlets I’ve visited before offering mainly the very high end designer like Fendi, Prada, Gucci etc, this shopping village has a mixed luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo, Burberry and Tods as well as the mid- range popular brands like Calvin Klein, Guess, Polo Ralph Lauren etc.

Discounts are usually around 30 -60% of the recommended retail price here. The last piece in stock could have a deeper discount. If you are lucky that it happens to be your size, you can save up to 80%. Normally I don’t have such luck picking up bargains as I have a size 8 (Australian Size) frame and size 7 feet. Anything of that size would normally be out of stock from my past designer outlet shopping experience. So my expectation wasn’t high before the Paris designer outlet shopping trip but I did have a list of brands that I wanted to browse in particular:




Jimmy Choo: Handbags and shoes

Salvatore Ferragamo: Comfortable, not so out there yet stylish shoes for daily office wear/functions

Reberto Cavalli: Funky dresses, pants and accessories

Missoni: Zig zaggy patterned sweaters and dresses

Dolce & Gabbana: Loud and colorful outfit and accessories

Versace: Bold patterns and accessories

Burberry: Clothing and handbags

Armani: Jackets and jeans

Michael Kors: Dressing watches

Tod’s: Leather handbags

Nike: Socks and sports shoes

Lacoste: Comfortable and stylish walking shoes

Samsonite: Travel luggage

Valentino: Over sized leather totes

Charming village style:

Paris Designer Outlet shopping

The weather was excellent on the day I was there, making this Paris designer outlet shopping experience extra enjoyable. Offers from the shops didn’t disappoint either. You could get a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes for as low as 150 euro, the iconic black patent Jimmy Choo Ramona Bag at an 800 euro discount. You could get a Roberto Cavelli Jacket (equivalent Australian Size 16) at 300 euro, discounted from 2500 euro or 99 euro for a Burberry light jacket for men with a retail price tag of 399 euro. Michael Kors dressing watches were marked as low as 115 – 149 euro.

Winter in Sydney generally doesn’t get really cold; as a result it is extremely hard (for me) to buy good autumn/ winter clothes. My mission for this trip was to buy some high quality, good looking Autumn/Winter clothes at relatively bargain prices.  Long sleeve shirts, dresses, sweaters and jackets would be nice.

Did I buy anything?

Well, there were a lot for sale but it was hard to buy anything at the beginning. There wasn’t anything I fancy in Roberto Cavalli or Missoni. The shoes in Jimmy Choo are mostly not my size, or my size but undesirable color. Samsonite didn’t offer any better deals than normal shops outside the shopping outlet on their luggage. Lacoste didn’t have any walking shoes on display.

Just as I was wondering if I would end up leaving empty handed, Guess store appeared in front of me. The store is big and busy so I went in. There were piles of casual clothing and the discounts were deep. I found a long sleeve shirt with wide collar and fitted waist line for only 9 euro (discounted from 79 euro). Just what I needed and what a bargain!  In Burberry store, I found a Burberry silk, pleated back short jacket for 150 euro, discounted from 550 euro, last one for my size. A Burberry sweater made of silk, cotton and linen for 150 euro, discounted from 750 euro, last one in stock and my size! Of course they went home with me.

It turned out to be a successful trip! I would certainly recommend all my girlfriends to do some Paris designer outlet shopping if they go to Paris. Usually there would be more promotion offers if you go between mid – July to mid – August. If you are planning to go, why not make the most out of your Paris designer outlet shopping trip! The choices are abundant in that area… Val D’Europe shopping mall next door is huge. You can find the usual European chain stores like Zara, H&M, Pull & Bear’s there. If you don’t find anything to buy, Disneyland is just one stop away! :)

louis vuitton paris

Louis Vuitton Paris Champs-Élysées

If you like timeless style and quality with a touch of luxury, then you have enough reasons to pay a  visit to Louis Vuitton Paris Champs-Élysées.

Standing tall and proud, Louis Vuitton is situated the left hand side of Champs-Élysées towards Arc de Triomphe. Expect a small queue to get in if you visit on a weekend. Summer day time runs long in Paris, the store opens until 8pm while day light is still plentiful. Handbags and wallets are usually 10 – 100 euro cheaper to buy from Louis Vuitton Paris and you can exchange your bags within 30 days in any Louis Vuitton stores in Europe. There’s also a 12% tax refund for overseas shoppers.

I was in Louis Vuitton Pairs Champs-Élysées last week. Sipping champagne while picking out goodies was such a treat; better still, Louis Vuitton organised all my purchases to be delivered to our hotel on the same day so we were able to keep meandering on the streets of dreamy Paris for the rest of the day, baggage free.

louis vuitton paris

Louis Vuitton Paris Champs Elyesse August 2012

Among my new additions, the Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte  Secret Long Wallet will be accompanying me the most. Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte leather line is pricier than the other monogram canvas lines but it is indeed one of a kind. I particularly like the amazingly rich feel of this supple, grained leather. Louis Vuitton Monogram is embossed on the grained leather, looking just like footprints in sand. The wallet is big with wrap around zippered closure. Inside, there are 10 card slots, 2 long pockets for notes and 1 large zippered coin compartment. With large enough capacity to hold my lip gloss and key, it can also be carried as a small clutch.

I also bought Louis Vuitton Artsy from Damier Azur line. Artsy is a classic, feminine bag with exquisite handcrafted handle and golden charm key rings attached to the bag. There are 6 open wall pockets and one large zippered pocket inside the bag. This IS my type of bag, at least I can pretend to be organised with so many pockets in my bag.

Did I need to buy another Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag? Maybe. Louis Vuitton Neverfull is cute and ever popular. I like its light weight, large capacity and practicality. A little over extremely large bags by now, I got both Artsy and Neverfull in MM size. Could have easily picked up more bags during that one trip to Louis Vuitton Paris Champs-Élysées, but 20kg luggage limit was bothering me. Might go back soon to get another one or two.

Louis Vuitton Paris