KHAKI: THE NEW NEUTRAL

My wardrobe is full of neutrals – black, white, grey and denim, but I’m thinking of making them make space for a new friend. Mr Khaki. So understated, yet stylish. I think he’ll fit right in with all my usual favs.

I’ve already got a pair of khaki skinny jeans, they were perfect last winter with ankle boots, striped tee and my leather jacket and this summer I’ve been wearing them cuffed with a loose tee and Havaianas. Next on my list is definitely a slouchy khaki jacket, the perfect trans-seasonal piece, and perhaps some boyfriend style khaki pants. To ensure you don’t end up looking more army cadet than cool, skip the camo and stick to plain khaki.

Here’s some inspiration on how to work khaki into you wardrobe…
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All images are from my fashion pinterest page.

FIVE THINGS EVERY ENTRANCE SHOULD HAVE

I absolutely love open plan living, the space our extension has given our living, dining and kitchen area, with four sets of large sliding doors wrapping around the space blurring the lines between indoors and out is fantastic, however there is one issue.

There is no front door. Not only do visitors get a little confused about where to go when they arrive (a future mission of mine to fix), but inside the space there is no clear ‘entrance’. Somewhere to drop your keys or check your lippy before you leave, somewhere that’s both practical and stylish. I’ve been looking forward to finally making our ‘entrance’, and I’m so pleased with how the space came together.

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Here’s my guide to the five things every entrance should have…

1. A Small Tray for keys, loose change – There are many beautiful small trays in most design stores, you can pick up something perfect for under $30. Mine is actually the bottom of a hurricane lamp, I loved the perforated design etched into the white metal.

2. Storage – I love cramming as much storage as possible in every room in the house. It is the only way to keep the clutter at bay. For us, I was finding several pairs of shoes waiting to be tripped over near the door each day, so these baskets from Freedom Furniture were the perfect way to hide them.

3. A Mirror – Allows you to have a final check you’re looking amazing (or at least have nothing in your teeth) before leaving the house. This Kmart Mirror was a steal at just $25!

4. Something Green – I like to add something living to every space, it adds colour and vibrancy. I’ve added a mix of succulents, Sansevieria trifasciata otherwise known as Mother-in-law’s Tongue and Pothos all varieties are very hardy (vital when I’m looking after them).

5. A Rug or Mat – this helps to define the space, especially important if it’s in a open plan or multi purpose space like ours. This is next on my list to purchase and I think a black and white striped mat is the way to go.shelves collage

Although in magazines I see homes with hooks for bags and coat racks styled with the colour matched, fashionable items look stunning in an entrance, in real life it’s more likely to be piled with not so fabulous coats, kids hats and old umbrellas – so I prefer to keep all that at the back entrance instead.

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INTERIOR DESIGN: INSPIRING CAFES

One of my very favourite things to do is while away time in a cafe. The best obviously have amazing coffee and mouthwatering food, but also without a doubt they have inspiring interiors. I have often wanted to replicate different aspects of a cafe’s design into my own home, from lighting to open shelving and tiled splash backs. Despite zero industry experience, my husband and I have spend way too much time day dreaming about opening our own cafe, solely so we could design the fit out (well ok having free flat whites for the rest of my life would also be ok). Here’s some of my favourite designs I’ve seen, what a dream it would be to travel around the world visiting them all!

One of my very favourites is Hally’s, a Californian inspired cafe in London. There’s so much I’d love in my own home from the white washed brick, to the floating wooden shelves and the dip dyed wooden chairs.
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Next is Portrait Haarlem in Amsterdamn, housed in renovated stables it’s a truly beautiful space. I love the use of layered neutral finishes and textures rather than bright colours.aPORTREIT-HAARLEM3haarlem montage

I’m not sure about the name of this Melbourne cafe- Barry’s, but I am sure I love the colour palette! If anyone knows where I can find some espresso cups like those I will owe you big time! They would look just perfect next to my new coffee machine.a ltvs-barrycafe-01a ltvs-barrycafe-13

What is it with random cafe names in Aussie? This one made me laugh, Hams and Bacon in Sydney has a gorgeous vine covered exterior and I love the yellow subway tiles!hams-and-bacon-1ham-and-bacon-2hamsandbacon 3

Here’s a few more bonus pics too good not to share…

Holy Belly Cafe in Paris, a combo of exposed brick and festoon lights will win every time. holybellycafe in paris

Restaurant Story in Helsinki, the 10 metre high ceiling is epic.restaurant story in helsinki

And finally on our worldwide cafe tour, Hueso in Mexico somehow makes bones beautiful, not an easy task.hueso mexico

MY STYLE: IN TEN MINUTES

I’ve been asked by lovely readers what my normal morning style routine is, I was going to call this post from bed to ‘not bad’ in ten minutes which is more accurate but it didn’t have the same ring to it!

I don’t enjoy copious amounts of uninterrupted time to style my hair just right, try on several fabulous outfits before settling on the perfect look and then primping my face with every primer, contour and highlighter on the market, what woman does?!. My morning reality looks a little closer to ten minutes of making myself look decent while my two year old draws over herself with my favourite lipstick. What I’ve discovered is with a little plan, it really is achievable to leave your house feeling fab in just minutes.

THE OUTFIT
Normally woman waste so much time just choosing something to wear, gazing into their wardrobe seeing nothing inspiring. If you followed my guide to how to give your wardrobe a makeover, you would have found that choosing an outfit each day is now easy, because all your favourite, go to pieces are laid out in an organised way. For me it’s more often than not denim, a tee and casual comfy shoes, in summer that means my trusty Havaiana’s.
aa tenminute styleHAIR & MAKEUP
Blow drying and waving with a GHD is my preferred method to style my hair, but usually I don’t have the time and it’s a case of checking if it looks passable down naturally and if not I chuck it up in a top knot.
10 min style 2My makeup routine is quick and easy. I know it would be quicker to skip makeup all together but to be honest I feel a lot more confident when I do wear it. I got introduced to MAC Cosmetics when I worked in fashion, all our events and photo shoots were done by MAC and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. Each morning I add concealer under my eyes to combat my usual lack of sleep and cover any blemishes (it’s not right to get both wrinkles and pimples right!?). Next I fill in my eyebrows using MAC Eyebrow Pencil in AC3 and lashings of MAC Mineralize Multi Effect Mascara in Black. Lastly I add subtle blush Estee Lauder in Sensuous Rose and lip gloss finishes the look, my favourite is currently MAC Cremesheen Glass in Deelight, a beautiful natural shade. If I’m feeling a little fancy I add my favourite MAC eyeshadow Sweet Satisfaction, it’s a beautiful shimmery sand colour and really suits blue and green eyes, and then a great little trick to look more refreshed, a little MAC Shroom on the inner corner of my eye. Try it, it really makes your eyes pop. Keep your daily makeup routine in its own wee bag to eliminate the hassle of finding your favourite items. I then throw on my everyday jewellery that works with any outfit I own- Lindi Kingi bracelets and Kirstin Ash rings and finally a spray of my favourite Jo Malone fragrance, English Pear & Freesia.

Just like that ten minutes are up and I no longer feel the need to cringe if I run into someone I know at the supermarket looking like I just rolled out of bed.

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HOME DIY: BEDSIDE TABLE MAKEOVER

I have so many ideas of what furniture I would love to find and restore for our home. The problem is I really have no idea how to do it, so I’ve been procrastinating and have yet to do anything! So I’m starting small, I found this old wooden bedside table at a garage sale for just $3. I figure if I completely stuff up, it’s not too much of a loss. I am hoping it transforms into a gorgeous and unique bedside table for our wee daughter Ava.
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THE BEFORE
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THE PREP
The first task is to sand all the vanish off the cabinet, so I was left with a smooth even finish. Thank god for an electric sander! It was actually really fun to use. Using a hand sander to finish off all the little corners and edges wasn’t so fun. After you have finished sanding use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the majority of the dust, and then a final wipe with a cloth. Don’t skip doing this process thoroughly as the quality of your final product really depends on how good your preparation is.
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THE PROCESS
1. Primer
Paint the cabinet with the primer-sealer, let it dry completely, and then give the cabinet a light sand all over before repeating the process. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3, it dried in 30 minutes and I could recoat in one hour.
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2. Paint
Paint the cabinet with the semi-gloss water based enamel, just like with the primer I let it dry then gave it a light sand before giving the cabinet a second coat. I did notice that you could still see some brush strokes in the paint, this could have been improved by using a more expensive high quality paint brush. I’d definitely invest in better brushes next time.

3. Design
Ava’s got a huge obsession with bunny’s so I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate that. I really loved a bunny print I had seen on a pinterest image, and tried my best to replicate it onto the front of the cabinet door. To make it a little easier I first sketched the image on a piece of paper until I was happy with it, then cut it out and placed the template on the cabinet so I could trace around it lightly with a pencil and was left with a basic outline of the bunny, this made it a lot easier when painting it.cabinet bunny

I have a lot of left over paint test pots from other art projects in Ava’s room, so I played around with the colours I had until I was happy. This ensured the colours I painted the cabinet would blend well with her existing room. Paint test pots are inexpensive and can be bought from any Mitre 10 or Bunnings. I had initially wanted to create an aztec pattern but gave up thinking it would be too tricky, I instead chose to do different width stripes. Using painters tape to mark each stripe it was extremely easy, make sure you press well on the tape to ensure the paint doesn’t ‘bleed’ through under the tape.cabinet test pots
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THE RESULT
I am so happy with how it has ended up!! It looks so adorable in her room and the colours blend perfectly with her existing furniture.
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BEFORE / AFTER
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BRINGING RETAIL TO LIFE

I’m loving a new concept in retail that is being seen around the globe, where entire houses and apartments are being created and then styled full of amazing finds with everything in the space from books and linen, to art and furniture for sale.

The Loft in Amsterdam is the brainchild of The Playing Circle. Let’s take a moment to just appreciate those windows. Wow.loft3loft5 I love the picture ledges, the stripped cushions, the parquet floors, the vintage leather armchairs…who am I kidding, I love everything in this space, I can’t fault it.loft4loft2This bedroom is almost to much to deal with, it’s so so stunning, the muted tones and mix of new and vintage furniture is inspiring.loft7

Closer to home one of my very favourite Australian blogs, The Design Files presents The Design Files Open House each year. This year they built an apartment within a huge warehouse space and filled it with a carefully curated collection of furniture and homewares, all available for sale.designfiles6designfiles1designfiles2designfiles5designfiles7designfiles8designfiles10

MY STYLE: LOVIN’ A LITTLE LACE

lovin a little laceThis summer high on my wish list has been white lace. And although I totally swoon at exquisite red carpet handmade lace looks , what I’m loving is something a lot more wearable, by mixing boho inspired lace trimmed pieces with more casual elements of leather, stripes and denim.
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I picked up this Wish Dress for just $50 on sale at Dfusion in Christchuch (worth checking out for their other lace pieces), and although my husband thought it was slightly ‘Little House on the Prairie’, I absolutely love it! By mixing it with black leather accessories it stops it from being more costume than cool.market1market3laceblog5

I’m now lusting after this lace trim blouse from Bohemian Traders (thanks to a reader who told me about this beautiful brand!).get the look, laceI’ve also found some other stunning and wearable lace pieces at Free People and The Iconic (all on sale!), enjoy! xx

FASHION 101: HOW TO SHOP A SALE

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The word SALE can send the most sane women into a confused, excitable, unable to make smart decisions mess. Too often you’ll end up with items that will never see the outside of your closet because they are too small, too out there, too not you, too so last year. Fear not, there is a way to beat the sale, you just need a plan, and I just so happen to have one for you.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

YOUR WARDROBE: After clearing out your closet (see guide here if you need) you should be able to see what items are missing. Do you have enough separates to mix and match with each other? Do you have the right shoes to complete your outfits? Are there any of your essential or basic wardrobe pieces that are getting a little worn and will likely need to be replaced soon? Make a list of those pieces.

FAVOURITE STORES & DESIGNERS: Now it’s time to make sure you sign up to your favourite stores and designers email newsletters and follow them on Facebook so you are first to know when a sale is starting. Look at these stores prior to sale season and find specific items that fit your most wanted list, remember to keep note of this.

2. CHOOSE YOUR METHOD

ONLINE STORES: I really don’t like the frenzy of a sale, I much prefer shopping from the comfort of my own home, with a glass of wine if I need to relax a little! Also by shopping online I have so many more options, there’s a smaller amount available in the physical stores where I live. If you also decide to do your sale shopping online, if possible make sure you know your size in most designers first, as obviously you won’t have the opportunity to try on clothes before purchasing.

PHYSICAL STORES: If you do decide to go into the store to shop, go soon after the store opens so it isn’t too busy and make sure you wear comfortable clothes that are easy to remove, slip on shoes and if possible wear a bag that goes across your chest so your hands are free. Yes this is serious business.

3. SALE DOS & DON’TS

DON’T settle for items that are close to your wish list but not quite – if you wouldn’t choose it full price, don’t now.

DON’T buy trend based items because they are ‘in’, you won’t have enough time to justify the cost before it’s ‘so last season’, remember the price per wear rule. Of course if you LOVE it and couldn’t care less if it’s a trend or not then get it.

DON’T be tempted to buy items that are a little too small or too big because of the discount, you won’t wear them. The exception to this is if you could alter it easily to fit. And for the love of your feet, don’t ever think you can fit into a size too small pair of shoes because they are just so stunning! I stupidly once bought gorgeous Marc Jacobs heels that were down from $900 to $400, I justified it as I was attending Australian Fashion Week and the shoes would be just perfect with everything I owned. The problem was they were a size too small and all the stretching in the world in the next week before I flew to Australia didn’t help. My feet were literally numb after the first day wearing them. Cost per wear = $400, ouch.

DON’T kid yourself. I’m sorry to break it to you, but the theory if you save 50% off a fabulous $400 dress, you are actually making $200 is not true. Money will still disappear from your bank account. And if that fabulous dress is a floor length evening gown, when you spend your days watching Peppa Pig and thinking up creative ways to hide vegetables in dinner, chances are you aren’t going to get a lot of wear out of it.

DO make sure you fully understand the returns policy, often you will find you can’t return sale items. However if you can, you may be more likely to buy those items you are a little unsure of, knowing you can return them if you decide they aren’t going to work.

DO google an item before you buy it. You could find it even cheaper at another store. I was so surprised when I googled a pair of $300+ Loeffler Randall sandals that I saw on Tash Sefton from epic blog They All Hate Us. I soon found a pair for just $65 from Amazon of all places, I didn’t even know they sold clothing or shoes?! You want to make sure you are getting the best deal before you finalise the purchase.

With this powerful new knowledge, you are now ready to go forth and shop, shop, shop…just keep calm and repeat – if it isn’t on the list, if it isn’t my size, if I don’t LOVE it, I WON’T buy it!

FASHION 101: GIVE YOUR WARDROBE A MAKEOVER

I have always dreamed of a wardrobe that was almost like a mini boutique in my own house. Working in fashion only increased that desire and watching Big gift Carrie that jaw dropping closet in the Sex & the City movie kind of tipped me over the edge!

When we began renovations on our home last year, very high on my wish list was a walk in wardrobe. Boring things like money got in the way of that (I’m still not over it). However we still did manage to steal enough space to give us a very generous size wardrobe, which is lucky as our bedroom is so small we can’t fit additional furniture like a set of draws alongside our king bed. Regardless of the space available, through clever organisational skills and smart styling choices, I know everyone can have a wardrobe that inspires them.

This is not a super quick process I warn you, but well worth it I promise!

wardrobe makeover 101

1. WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN
Take all of your clothes out of your wardrobe and draws and place them on your bed in piles of similar items e.g all dresses together, all t-shirts, all jeans etc.

2. TIME TO BE RUTHLESS
Try on every piece of clothing, group by group to help you decide whether to throw, give/sell or keep each item. Having a trusted girlfriend on hand through this process (and perhaps a glass of wine) will help.

THROW: Any items that are so worn you wouldn’t wear them out of the house need to be thrown out. Poor quality chainstore items often quickly appear in this pile, it’s not much of a surprise. But I was so, so upset to finally throw out several beautiful designer pieces that I had worn to death, but the fact was I hadn’t worn them in over a year because of the awful state they were in. Now I do have a little exception for this rule, I always keep a very small amount of old clothes for doing messy jobs around home, no need to ruin clothes you love when painting or cleaning!

GIVE / SELL: Any item that you can’t even remember when you last wore it, or if it’s two sizes too small or too large belongs here. You can either donate to charity, hold a clothing swap party with your girlfriends or if they are of good quality and especially if they are a designer label, put them either on trade me or sell through a consignment store. Personally I love the idea of a clothing swap with your friends, make a night of it with a couple of wines and you could end up making someones day and walking away with some great free clothes to take back home!

KEEP: What you should be left with is your very favourite pieces. Don’t breath just yet, there’s still work to do!

3. TIME TO ORGANISE
How you organise the clothing you have, really depends on the space available and your lifestyle. My current lifestyle of being a stay at home mum most of the time, sees me wearing a uniform of denim jeans or shorts with a loose fitting tee or shirt most days. So those are the items that need pride of place in my wardrobe. Think about your lifestyle? Are you a corporate worker? Are you always planning your next fun night out? Or perhaps you are a sporty girl that is most likely wearing lycra and trainers? Whatever your lifestyle, those STYLE STAPLES need to be most visible and accessible to you in your wardrobe.

STYLE STAPLE – TOPS: Hang up as many of your tops (camis, tees and shirts) as possible, it allows you to see your options so much easier that way. I find colour coding mine, the same way a clothing boutique does allows you to choose your outfits faster.

STYLE STAPLE – DENIM: Some may prefer to fold these out of the way in a draw, but as they are a style staple of mine, I stack mine by wash (dark, distressed, white) front and centre in my wardrobe.

STYLE REGULARS: These are the items that you wear often, but not everyday, so it’s still important to keep them visible. For me this is casual dresses, pants, blazers and my leather jacket. I hang them in order; skirts, dresses, pants, blazers and jackets, to keep them organised so I can easily see my options.

STYLE BASICS: Drawers are perfect for housing your basic wardrobe items. Allocate one draw per group of clothing. I have four drawers; one for my sporty gear, one for casual tees/knits, one for casual skirts/shorts and one for pyjamas. The drawers are actually quite small which works well as it limits the amount I can keep. Don’t jam pack your drawers or you’ll find it gets messy quickly and you are less likely to find anything you want to wear. You are better off moving some of those wardrobe basics to the GIVE/SELL pile.

SHOES: The best thing I did in our wardrobe was change the standard design to allow for shelving for my shoes. It means they don’t mess up the floor of the wardrobe and they are easy to see. I do secretly hide my not nice shoes at the back and only my favourites on display! If you have any space in your wardrobe, perhaps beneath a hanging rack, purchase a cheap white bookcase from Bunnings or Mitre 10, they moonlight as the perfect shoe rack!

my wardrobe organisation

ACCESORIES: Any favourite belts or bags I have displayed. I have little ‘S’ shaped hangers that hold them perfectly. Any others I pop in a basket on the top shelf of the wardrobe, so they are easily in reach but don’t clutter the space.

OUT OF SEASON: Currently the chance of you wearing chunky knit sweaters and thick winter coats is close to nill, so why let them take up valuable real estate in your wardrobe? I prefer to fill either a box or an empty suitcase with my out of season items and then store them out of the way. I still like to keep a couple of knits for colder summer nights, so put these in a basket at the top of my wardrobe for easy access if the mercury plummets.
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SPECIAL OCCASION DRESSES: I used to actually have quite a busy social life (seems a distant memory these days) and got plenty of chances to dress up in stunning dresses and sky high heels, I even kept my favourite collection of them on a clothing rack in my room so I could swoon at them whenever I wanted. Well times certainly have changed and now instead I group several dresses together in garment bags and keep them in the wardrobe in our playroom.
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4. HOWS IT WORKING FOR YOU?
I remember when working for a magazine, the owner drummed into me ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’. And he is damn right. The only way to know if your wardrobe is working for you is to measure the results. There are a couple of great tips to see if you are actually wearing the clothes you swear are your favourites. For any hanging items, turn all your hangers backwards, once an item is worn you can change it to face forwards. For folded clothing you could try placing something like a coloured piece of card on top of each pile of clothing, each time an item is worn you place it back on top of the piece of card. After a few months it will become obvious what you aren’t wearing – hanging items whose hanger is still backwards and folded items still beneath the coloured card, it may be time to consider moving them to the GIVE/SELL pile.

I would love to know how you get on with your wardrobe makeover! Please let me know if you would like any specific advice about your own space and how to make it work. The very best thing about having a well organised wardrobe is not only that it allows you to more easily choose what to wear each morning that makes you feel your best, but it becomes a lot clearer the items you are missing to make your wardrobe complete and what you need to put on your shopping list! (I love how I’ve managed to make this whole process yet another justification of shopping! It’s a talent I tell you!).

MY STYLE: BEACHSIDE MORNING DATE

Who ever said ‘date night’ had to be reserved for the evenings? I love sneaking a few hours when we can when our toddler is at preschool to enjoy time together. This morning we had a lovely morning in Pilot Bay, the perfect excuse to give my new Chaos and Harmony Cascade Sandals their first spin! Their gunmetal finish means they suit pretty much any colour they are matched with, so mixing with your existing wardrobe is easy (This was another way I justified their purchase!)jumpsuit1

The warm, breezy weather was ideal jumpsuit conditions. I am loving how comfortable jumpsuits are, and the fact that like a dress there’s no need to mix and match separates. The only negative is the reality of getting in and out of it is kind of a mission, especially this one from Neon Gypsy with over a dozen little buttons down the front. Here’s a free hot tip – don’t wear this while drinking a few wines as you will find like me on Christmas evening, you spend way to much time trying to redress yourself in the bathroom!

Today I styled this look with my chocolate Deadly Ponies bag (8 years old and still going strong) and my every day essential accessories – Lindi Kingi bracelets and Kirstin Ash fine rings.

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